I recently switched to T-mobile and upgraded our router to the T-mobile CellSpot (an ASUS dual-band TM-AC1900 router). When setting up this router, I didn’t want to use the default channels. I wanted to select the optimal channels that my wireless router would use on the 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz bands (not all of our devices support the less congested 5Ghz band). Using the Android app called Wifi Analyzer by farproc, I was able to easily see which channels were the most congested. The analyzer provides a graph of the available channels and displays the detectable wireless networks within your vicinity that are using those channels. It also provides graphs of the signal strength of those networks over time, suggests channel ratings (the more stars a channel has the better the channel, although this is affected by the channel you are currently using), provides a list view of all the detectable wireless networks with their signal strengths, provides a WiFi signal meter of individual networks, and gives you a list view of all devices connected to your wireless network under “LAN neighbors”. After using the app to determine your optimal channel(s), you’ll need to log into your router’s web interface, click on the Wireless or WiFi settings, then select the appropriate channel(s). Wifi Analyzer is a free app for all Android devices running Android 2.3 or later and is available through Google Play.
Over the past few years, NKMOS Design Technology has created several versions of their premium smart-device car mounts: the Ultima and Ultima S, both of which began as crowdfunded Kickstarter efforts. Late last year (2014) they began a new Kickstarter project attempting to raise funding for a high end universal tablet stand. The AirStand is now available on NKMOS’s main webpage with Nik sending me one to checkout/review. [click to continue…]
If you’re reading this post, you probably share a common problem that all gadget packrats share. We have lots of devices but no good way to store them while they are not being used. I keep my older MacBook Air on the end table next to my side of our double Lazy Boy couch, Jeanne keeps her MacBook Pro on the floor. On the upstairs coffee table, Jeanne has her iPad and I have my Samsung Galaxy S Tab 10.5 tablet. There’s nothing wrong with this, but it does look cluttered. One possible solution is the Tuck Device Rack from Modko. It’s a V-shaped rack that reminds me of the magazine racks I used to see when I was a kid. The Tuck a modern take on those classic holders. It comes in three colors (white, grey and black) and features a chrome frame attached to a rubber sling that has been designed to hold laptops up to 15 inches and tablets of any size. There is also a smaller rubber pocket that can hold your smartphones, remote controls and more. The main sling is perforated for air circulation and allows the ability to slip charging cables through the slots to plug into your gadgets. Special buttons on the bottom of the frame enable you to wrap excess cord length to keep things tidy and safe. The Tuck Device Rack is priced at $120. For more info visit modko.com.
Whether you have small children, dexterity problems or you just like to be prepared for potential liquid spillage accidents, SipSnap lids have you covered (see what I did there?). SipSnaps are colorful lids made of high-quality, food-grade silicone that is BPA and phthalate-free. The one size fits all lids can stretch to fit almost any type of cup, glass or jar to create a spill-proof container. SipSnaps are available in several colors and two styles. There’s the sippy cup style that has a built in spout that’s great for younger kids and the tumbler style that has a flat design with a hole for a straw, making it more suited for older kids and adults. Either style is priced at $19.95 for a set of three. For more info visit sipsnap.com.
While surfing the internet, your data and activities are being tracked by many companies. Some tracking is beneficial and can provide you with a personalized experience on those websites you visit frequently, but some companies collect your data and develop a profile which they then sell. Additionally, others may not safeguard the information they collect very carefully thus leaving it vulnerable to hackers. Ghostery is a PC/Mac browser extension and an iOS/Android privacy browser used to block undesirable tracking to help you take control of your private information. It detects “trackers, web bugs, pixels, and beacons placed on web pages by Facebook, Google, and thousands of other companies interested in your activity.” It gives you the opportunity to see who is tracking you, learn more about them, gives you links to their privacy policies and opt-out options, and allows you to choose whether or not to block them. Ghostery does not collect any data from users except those who choose to participate in Ghostrank, which collects anonymous information about the trackers you encounter and where you encountered them (not you or your browsing habits) to help them improve their service. [click to continue…]
I recently bought a new Macbook Pro with Retina display, and have been looking for a dock to use with my widescreen monitor and various peripherals. There are a bunch of thunderbolt docks available by brands such as Belkin, CalDigit and Elgato, but I got the chance to look at the Kanex Thunderbolt 2 Express dock. Let’s check it out. [click to continue…]
Most activity trackers on the market right now have been designed to only track steps, calories and sleep. But if your main form of exercising is swimming, regular fitness trackers won’t give you accurate and detailed info on your workouts. The Activité and Activité Pop activity trackers from Withings can now automatically recognize if a you are swimming and will track how long you have been swimming and how many calories you’ve burned. Right now, the Withings Activité and Activité Pop activity trackers are only trackers on the market with the ability to auto detect swimming. These trackers feature a traditional analog watch face with a second analog dial that shows your progress towards your daily fitness goal (steps, swimming, etc). They also have a silent alarm, track sleep and do not require regular charging, but run for eight or more months on a button cell battery. Both watches are water resistant up to 50 meters. The Activité is the higher end model which has a Swiss movement and leather band. It’s priced at $450. The more economical Activité Pop activity tracker is available in a variety of watch face and silicone watch band colors. It’s priced at $149.95. For more info visit withings.com.
If I had unlimited funds and unlimited space, my gadget cave would be chock full of all sorts of geeky toys like these super cool Celtic dice from eondesigner, a designer on the Shapeways site. If you’re not familiar with Shapeways, it’s a marketplace site where 3D modelers can have their designs created and offered for sale to geeks like all of us. I’m not even a role-playing gamer, but these dice are really calling to me. The Celtic dice set includes six 3D printed metal dice that feature intricate Celtic knot work. The set consists of D20, D12, D10, D8, D6 and D4 dice that are available in eight different metal finishes including stainless steel, polished gold steel, matte black steel and more. Prices range from $75 – $99 for the metal sets. The dice sets are also available in nylon and your choice of 13 colors for $23 – $50 per set. For more info visit eondesigner’s Shapeways shop.
Via Robert Poer
I love the ability to customize my iPhone with different phone cases. Normally, I stick to full body cases, since they provide the most protection and (usually) style. The drawback? You spend however much on your thin gold (or other colored) iPhone only to smother it in a bulky case to have enough protection. The Rhinoshield Crash Guard bumper intrigued me because it supposedly has all the drop protection of a full body case in a simple bumper frame. I was able to give the case a whirl, so let’s see how it is.
Imagine turning your 60-inch flat screen TV into a full-fledged Windows 10 computer that you can use to surf, watch movies, play games and more. Sure you can connect your laptop or desktop to your large screen TV, but that’s not a very elegant solution. The ARCHOS PC Stick is a computer not much bigger than a pack of gum that connects directly to your TV, projector or monitor via an open HDMI port. The PC Stick features an Intel Quad-Core processor, Intel HD Graphics, 2GB of RAM, 32GB of storage, and a micro-SD card slot for added storage. The ARCHOS PC Stick comes with Windows 10 and a bundle of productivity software including Word Mobile, Excel Mobile, and PowerPoint Mobile. It has Bluetooth so that you can pair a keyboard and mouse. The PC Stick is also compatible with all Windows, Android, and iOS keyboard applications and game controls, turning any smartphone or tablet into a keyboard. The ARCHOS PC Stick will have a $99 price tag, but there’s no word yet when it will be available. For more info visit www.archos.com.
We’re back with a new batch of review updates from this year, last year and even a review from 2008 for a Black & Decker tool set. Good or bad, we will keep bringing you updates to our past reviews so that you can get an idea how some products continue to perform (or not) long after we’ve posted our review. [click to continue…]
I’m sure I’m not alone when I admit I’ve accidentally flung my phone across the room by tripping over, or getting caught on its charging cord. I’m also sure I’m not the only person who’s grown frustrated with a charging cable that no longer fits snugly into the charging port. Fortunately, a new Kickstarter project is aiming to make those problems a thing of the past.
Znaps is a small, two-piece adapter that replaces your phone’s traditional plug-in port with a magnetic port. You insert a small connector into your charging port, attach a magnet adapter to the end of your charging cable, and – voilà – your phone has a magnetic charging port.
The Znaps is available for Micro-USB and Lightening cable connections for as low as $9. The project has already reached its initial goal and is estimated to begin shipping in November. For more information visit the Kickstarter campaign page.
Last December, I reviewed the i-FlashDrive external storage for iOS device from Brando. It was basically a flash drive that plugged into an iOS device with a Lightning connector to serve as a backup and/or external storage device, and it could work with a computer as a flash drive. It was a convenient way to transfer some files between your iOS device and your computer or another iOS device for backup or for use on the other device. It worked well at the time, but a recent update to the app software revealed the item we reviewed to be a counterfeit. Counterfeit devices fail authentication in the new version of the app, and they can’t be used at all with an iOS device. PhotoFlash, the makers of the real i-FlashDrives, contacted The Gadgeteer and offered us an authentic PhotoFast i-Flashdrive Max for review. We’ll give the PhotoFast i-FlashDrive Max 32GB drive, which is described as “the world’s smallest USB 3.0 i-FlashDrive for your iOS, iPhone, iPad and iPod”, a closer look. [click to continue…]
If you have been lusting after a Misfit activity tracker but didn’t have the extra cash to buy one, you will be happy to learn that Misfit has just released their new Flash Link tracker at the very affordable price of l$19.99. At that price, most people can afford to buy this unique tracker that runs for six months on one coin cell battery and can be clipped to your clothes, worn in your pocket, on your wrist, shoe, etc. The Flash Link syncs with your smartphone to track walking, running, cycling, swimming, tennis, yoga, dance, sleep and other activities. The face of the Flash Link has LEDs around the edge that show the time of day and your progress towards your daily fitness goal. The top of the Flash Link is also a smart button that when used with the new Flash Link app for iOS (Android version coming soon), will turn the activity tracker into a selfie remote for your phone’s camera, a music controller for Spotify and Pandora, and more. Available in four colors, the Misfit Flash Link is available now. For more info visit Misfit.com
I will admit that as a young lad I liked building models. As I got older my interest changed and model building went to the back burner. I have toyed with the idea of picking up some models to keep myself occupied, but I just have not found any that seemed interesting. A company called Fascinations has sparked my interest with their Metal Earth 3D metal model kits. Although the 3D and metal aspects of the models are interesting what really caught my eye were the licensed model sets. They have Star Wars, Star Trek, HALO, Mass Effect and Transformers kits. While most of these models are small in scale, they have a lot of intricate detailing. Models vary in price but, I found the best prices (starting around $7) for the Fascination Metal Earth models to be on Amazon. So, even of you are not a model builder these models may be the items to set your Star Wars, Star Trek, HALO, Mass Effect or Transformers collection apart. If you’re not into those, Fascinations has several other lines of Metal Earth 3D models.
We hope you’re all having a great weekend. To make it even better, click through to see the full list of all the news, reviews and articles that we’ve posted this past week. [click to continue…]
When I travel, I have several gadgets I bring with me. For the past few years I have been using a beat-up backpack I purchased a decade ago, before tablets and smartphones were commonplace. While my old backpack got the job done, it wasn’t built to organize and contain today’s modern devices. I’d been looking for a backpack that better suits my needs when I was offered the chance to review the Lifeworks Voyager backpack.
I wish I could wear sunglasses, but I wear normal glasses with Transitions Optical photochromic lenses. That’s just a fancy way of saying that the lenses darken when exposed to sunlight. They work fine but don’t allow me the ability to change styles as easily as I could if I were able to wear regular sunglasses. So people of the world with good eyes, this post is for you! Baendit eyewear (read: bandit, the outlaws from which its designs are inspired) are modular unisex sunglasses that you can customize yourself to design your own unique pair of sunglasses. They are available in two lens shapes, the Salvatore Giuliano (above left) and Ned Kelly (above right) in up to 100 different color combinations with interchangeable bendable temples and nose pieces. A completed pair of sunglasses runs $119, but you can buy additional parts to change up the styles for $59 – $69. For more information, visit www.baendit.com
The Keyport Slide 2.0 already reduces the size of your keychain, but adding these Bolt locks will further reduce the number of keys you need to carry. Each Bolt lock can be keyed to your car’s key, so you can unlock all your Bolt locks with that single key. You program the lock by inserting your car’s key and turning it; the Bolt lock “learns” the key automatically. Keyport offers three types of Bolt locks: Receiver Lock (left, $34.99), Padlock (center, $27.49), and Cable Lock (left, $39.99). Bolt works with “over 110 million vehicles”. Look for more information about Bolt locks at Keyport.
It’s going to be in the 90’s this weekend in southern Indiana. Ick. My plan is to stay inside with the AC blowing because I don’t like to sweat. What do you do if you have to work or play outdoors when it’s dangerously warm? Staying hydrated is important, but to keep your exterior cool, one solution is an Ice Cold Towel. I don’t mean put a towel in the freezer to make it cold, these Ice Cold Towels are an actual super absorptive fabric made from polyvinyl alcohol and terylene to create a towel that doesn’t require refrigeration to make it cold. When the Ice Cold Towel is damp, the moisture evaporates and causes the towel to have a temperature that’s about 20 degrees cooler than the air temperature. The cooling effect can last 2-5 hours. Thanks Nasa! These towels are hand or machine washable and come in 12″ X 32.5″ in blue, pink or purple for $29.95 each. For more info visit IceColdTowels.com