I have several Philips Hue bulbs in my house that started with a Christmas gift last year and has grown over the year since then. I love the ability to change the mood of my room by varying the intensity and the color of the lights, but it is an expensive setup. The starter hub and three color-changing bulbs is $200, and additional color-changing bulbs are $60 each and white WiFi-controllable bulbs are $30.00. What if you want to change the mood in your room but don’t want to invest hundreds of dollars to do it? Moodies are heat-safe silicone (same stuff used in silicone bakeware) sleeves that slide over a CFL or LED bulb and change the color of the light. Of course, they can’t be controlled via WiFi, but you can buy a Rainbow Pack of 8 Moodies to change your lighting whenever you like. The Rainbow Pack of 8 colors is $19.99, and individual Moodies are $3.00 each.
In honor of John Hancock’s birthday (January 23rd, 1737), I challenge you to put away the QWERTY keyboard and grab your favorite pen and paper because it’s National #HandwritingDay. John Hancock was the first person to sign the Declaration of Independence, the act which inspired the saying “Put your John Hancock on it” that we still use today.
Tweets, Facebook and Instagram posts that are tagged with #HandwritingDay and #mHDay are being showcased in a real-time online gallery at Moleskine.com. Readers have a chance to win a box of Moleskine notebooks, sketchbooks, and pens by submitting their handwritten message here.
Several months ago I reviewed the ZeroHour XD Tactical flashlight thinking I would never need another, but the folks at ZeroHour have me rethinking that. They are running a Kickstarter campaign to develop a smaller and more feature laden flashlight and battery backup.
The ZeroHour Relic XR is their latest flashlight which is currently seeking funding through Kickstarter. It is a compact USB rechargeable tactical flashlight with variable control ring, tail-cap switch, and waterproof battery backup all-in-one. Their first flashlight, ZEROHOUR XD, set new standards for flashlights by offering the ultimate integration of light and power, and on that foundation they’ve built a new device that is smaller and lighter yet gives you even more control. If you head over to Kickstarter and pledge $140, it will lock you in to receive a Relic and backup battery which is due to ship in May.
In the near future, I’ll be looking for an evaluation unit for review and we’ll see how it stacks up to the original ZeroHour.
In today’s world, our personal technologies are not only tools to help us survive modern life but in many places status symbols and fashion statements as well. Long before computers, laptops, smartphones, and tablets, a person’s wristwatch told much about who they were and where they came from. There are still people who wear watches for status, fashion and crazy as it may seem…to tell the time. The folks at Swiss Legend create a multitude of fashion watches to do just that and sent me several of them to checkout. [click to continue…]
We’ve told you about these ultra-cool steampunk clocks with Nixie tubes displays. Nixie tubes are “the LEDs of yesteryear” that used to be used for displays on scientific equipment, voltmeters, counters, and control panels. They’re no longer in production, but ThinkGeek found some limited-edition kits that let you build your own clock with an alarm function and that can even tick, if you like. The clocks can be set to 12/24 hour display, and you can set time zone and daylight savings time settings. The base has steel hardware and blue LED accent lights. The clock is microprocessor-controlled (comes with a microUSB cable), and it can even send IR data packets to another clock. ThinkGeek also says this Nixie clock “can be used to create your own Divergence Meter straight out of Steins;Gate if you can figure out what algorithm determines the Divergence Value of the current world line in relation to the absolute world line of 0% and plug that in.” They warn that this kit has a lot of pieces and requires intermediate-to-advanced skill levels. The DIY Nixie Tube Clock Kit is $199.99 from ThinkGeek.
This is not the typical folding outdoor chair! Although the rEvolve chair does fold up into a carry bag, that’s where the similarities end with most outdoor chairs. The rEvolve has a swivel base, so you can turn from side and side – even a full 3600 – and never miss the action of a game. It’s comfy for sitting around a campfire or you could even use it in your cabin. rEvolve is available in two models. The deluxe model has built-in speakers, as seen in the included image, and a compact mini-amp that’s powered by 2 AA batteries. The rEvolve chair with speakers is $89.99. If you don’t need the speakers, the standard model is available for $79.99 from rEvolve. Both chairs have a built-in drink holder in the arm. (Go to the Features section of the rEvolve website to order.)
The Gadgeteer has reported in the past about how you can print a light saber, a storm trooper, musical instruments, and pen holders using 3D printers. When I think of 3D printing, these are the types of things that come to mind, but I was blown away when I read about how a 3D printed model of a little four-year-old girl’s heart saved her life (okay, maybe some of you have already read stories like this, but this was the first for me). [click to continue…]
It’s Thursday, which means it is time to update some older reviews for products that we’re still using or for products that worked great while we were doing the original review, but bit the dust soon after. Just scroll to the bottom of each of the listed reviews for the latest update.
We lug our smartphones and other personal devices everywhere. But one of the drawbacks of the device features arms race—with larger display sizes, faster processors and connectivity speeds and other new features—is an ever-increasing need for power. My iPhone 4S’s battery life had been steadily decreasing over time, so I found myself needing a boost throughout the day or when traveling. When Julie offered SkinnyCharge for a review, I thought it might be a good addition to my EDC and travel gear. Gadget on!
As the title says, Martian Watches and GUESS have produced a new smart watch called the GUESS CONNECT. It was introduced at CES 2015, where it was selected as a CES 2015 Innovation Award Honoree in the wearables division. The CONNECT is based on GUESS’ fashionable best-selling RIGOR watch. The watch is “water resistant and will incorporate Martian’s Dual Mode functionality, simultaneously offering voice command functions via Classic Bluetooth while utilizing Bluetooth LE to provide hands-free and eyes-free notifications to the wrist from thousands of popular apps and programs. The GUESS CONNECT smartwatches will uniquely house a fully-contained Martian module that sports a microphone and clear audio speaker.”
When combined with the free iOS or Android app, you’ll use voice commands to instruct CONNECT to read or send messages, initiate or accept a call, or anything your iOS or Android phone permits through voice command. The small screen at the bottom of the watch face displays information and notifications, and you can set vibrations to alert you to incoming notifications without ever having to glance at the watch face. Availability hasn’t been announced yet, but from March 2-5, 2015, the companies will present their smartwatches at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona at #CS124 Congress Square, Wearables Pavilion. Stop by the booth for a hands-on demonstration and a chance to win some of these remarkable watches if you attend these international events. Click the following links to learn more about GUESS CONNECT, Martian Watches, and GUESS. Check the bottom of this post to links to our reviews of a couple of Martian Watches.
Have you thought about using a standing desk for all those health benefits you’ve read about, but you don’t want to completely give up the option of sitting? What if you could have one desk that functions as both a sitting and a standing desk? And what if it’s priced low enough that it won’t destroy your budget? The BEKANT Desk sit/stand model from IKEA ticks those boxes. This simple desk is is 63″ long X 31.5″ deep. With the push of a button, the desk height changes from a minimum of 22″ to a maximum of 48″ tall. BEKANT “has been tested for office use and meets the requirements for safety, durability and stability set forth in the following standards: EN 527-2 and ANSI/BIFMA X5.5-2008.” It also incorporates a cable management system into the underside of the desk. The BEKANT sit/stand desk is available with black or white legs and your choice of birch veneer, black/brown, gray, or white table top for $489.00 from IKEA stores on online.
I can’t wait till the day when our smartphones have batteries that will last for a week or longer without needing a recharge. Hey I can dream can’t I? Until that day comes (I’m not holding my breath), I will just make do with Qi wireless charging. Qi which is pronounced as chee, is a wireless charging standard from the Wireless Power Consortium for inductive electrical power transfer over distances of up to 4 cm (1.6 inches). At least that’s what Wikipedia says it is. All I know is that I love wireless charging and have been using various Qi charging pads and docks for the past few years. The latest one I have had the opportunity to test is the Choetech Qi Wireless Charger (T513). Let’s check it out.
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Do you find yourself having to constantly move the flashlight around when you’re walking at night to see what’s ahead and to make sure you’re not going to trip over something? With the Nightlighter Flashlight, you’ll be able to light up both directions without moving your hand. The Nightlighter looks about the size and shape of the handle of those retractable dog leashes, but it’s a dual-light flashlight that illuminates both the area at your feet and ahead of you. The forward-facing light uses 4 ultra-bright 5mm white LEDs to shine a narrow-angle beam on the path ahead of you. The downward-facing beam has two ultra-bright 5mm white LEDs that cast a wide-angle beam at your feet. The three-way switch lets you choose only the forward-facing beam, only the downward-facing beam, or both. The Nightlighter produces 20 lumens of light.
The body is made of high-impact polymer, and the ergonomic design and oval handle makes it easy to carry. You’ll receive your first set of 3 AA batteries with purchase. The Nightlighter Flashlight is available in random colors for $19.95 from firstSTREET.
The Slim Leather Wallet by abrAsus is attractive and functional. Closed, it’s only 3.56 inches long X 2.31″ wide X 0.98″ thick; it’s 7.63″ wide when opened. It’s a perfect size for a front-pocket wallet. Inside are pockets to hold up to 7 cards and another for coins. There’s a cash slot between the two pieces of leather to hold currency. You can remove cards easily from the holder with a push of your thumb.
Let’s start 2015 off with a gadget giveaway! Here’s your chance to win a bundle of seven prizes from Boxwave, InkCase, Tokyoflash, Wicked Audio, BuQu, Divoom and Scosche. You can win this contest simply by writing a comment to this post. If you’re willing to do a little extra work, you can get two extra chances to win, for a total of three chances. We have a lot of good stuff to giveaway, so don’t waste any time, please click through to see the list of prizes and instructions on how to enter. [click to continue…]
One ritual we have in our household is called ‘anime night’ every Wednesday. My husband has a collection of his favorite anime series that are in different formats, so we built a cheap media PC to watch them all. The problem is, it’s a full blown PC in the living room. When the VidOn Box was offered to be reviewed, the thing that caught my eye was the ability to play nearly every video format, including subtitles, either via USB or streamed from our home computers. [click to continue…]
The photo of the cased iPhone 6 in space isn’t an artist’s rendering; it was taken by the camera sent up on the weather balloon with this phone. Urban Armor Gear tested their iPhone 6 case by sending it up to the stratosphere and dropping it from 101,000+ feet. During the trip up and down, UAG says the phone endured “temperatures as cold as -79° F / -61° C and winds as strong as 70mph. During the descent, the iPhone withstood a 150-RPM rotation speed as the parachute deployed and the flight rig struggled to stabilize. Upon landing the flight rig broke apart, however, the iPhone remained undamaged and fully functional.”
The UAG composite cases are made of a hard armor shell and a soft rubber core and bumpers, and they meet military drop-test standards (MIL STD 810G 516.6). They have HD Screen protectors to guard against scratches, over-sized tactile buttons, and easy access to the power and headphone jacks. They come in black, white, clear, orange, slate blue, and pink for only $34.99 for the iPhone 6 size. They are available to fit iPhones (4 and newer, including iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus), Samsung Galaxy phones (SIII to S5), Samsung Note (II, 3, 4, and Edge), HTC One (including M8 model), Nexus 6, iPad Air 1 and 2, all iPad minis, and the Microsoft Surface Pro, Pro 2, and Pro 3.
We’ve featured USB charging stands on The Gadgeteer before, but those had a paltry max of 6 devices charged at once. The 96W 10-Port Giant Family-Sized Desktop USB Rapid Charger Cradle from Allputer can charge up to 10 devices simultaneously from a single wall outlet! The charging cradle accepts 100-240V, 50/60Hz AC power (max 2A) and outputs 2.1A power to 8 charging ports and 1A to the remaining 2 ports. There are 10 slots with 0.35″ of room to hold your gadgets. You can charge virtually any USB-chargeable device with this charger. The 96W 10-Port Giant Family-Sized Desktop USB Rapid Charger Cradle is $119.95 from Allputer.
The main interior compartment can be reconfigured to custom fit your gear. The bag has an integrated sleeve that can accommodate up to a 16 inch laptop. This means my Toshiba 17 inch mobile workstation gets left behind, but I don’t know of any camera bag that has that capacity.
The ApeCase ACPRO2000 Pro Digital SLR and Video Camera BackPack is available for order at LoveCases for £99.00.
Your choice of the best smartphone for you is a very personal one. Just as personal, and almost as difficult, is your decision of how to protect it. Cases and screen protectors can coddle your baby in rugged armor, can show off your personality, or can be very minimal. Lately, I’ve swung toward the minimalist extreme, allowing my Samsung Galaxy S4 to remain completely naked. I only stash it away in my Waterfield Designs Finn Wallet on those occasions when some sand or moisture is likely to wander into my pocket. Also, due to past experiences with plastic film screen protectors, with their diminished light transmission and unavoidable permanent screen bubbles, I’ve left my screen unprotected. [click to continue…]