June 2009

Restoring Family Treasures: My Great-Grandfather’s Pocket Watch Restoration

A couple of months ago, I was given a box containing a treasure like no other. Inside were the remains of two pocket watches; both were in terrible shape, and both were obviously old. Since they came from my uncle’s widow, I knew that they were somehow related to my family, but there was no further information. One of these pocket watches would yield a most amazing discovery, the other is still a mystery. When I opened the box I was given, this large Waltham pocket watch was the first thing I saw. It was in pitiful shape, having no…

DOOM Resurrection – an iPhone Gaming First Look

I have to admit that when it comes to gaming I have a weakness for 1st Person Shooters and… Zombies. But can games that combine the two really work on a device as small and “buttonless” as the iPhone or iPod Touch? After spending the last 45 minutes or so playing id software’s new release DOOM Resurrection the answer is a definitive “YES!!!” DOOM Resurrection, currently $9.99 in the App Store, combines great graphics, a good story line, and truly usable touchscreen controls into a fantastic gaming experience. While other games have done a good job with using the touchscreen…

Building a Rainwater Collection System: A GearDiary DIY

Ten years ago, I acquired two 55-gallon plastic drums to store an emergency supply of water for the impending Y2K disaster occurring at the stroke of midnight 2000. Of course, I became suspicious when the plane I was flying on did not fall out of the sky on 9/9/99 and my trusty Honda still ran like a charm well past January 1, 2000. Being the positive person that I am, I was grateful to acquire several storage containers of personal hygiene items, first aid supplies and all kinds of camping paraphenia that I still use. So what if Y2K was…

Is the iPhone 3G REALLY a Good Deal??

TechCrunch has an excellent post up answering the question “Should you get an iPhone 3GS” from a number of perspectives. Overall it is a fantastic piece that looks at a wide range of variables and offers answers to the question based upon each, and I must say I agree with the authors conclusions. Well, that’s not COMPLETELY true. He had me at “Hello” but lost me at the end when he wrote… Overall? Maybe. As I said, there’s really no clear-cut answer as to if you should get the device. You really need to look at the functionality above, and…

EasyBloom Plant Sensor Review – Help Your Plants Thrive!

I do not have a green thumb, but through much trial and error over the years I have compiled a list of plants I can keep alive. I have also learned that there are some, that when I see them seemingly thriving and beckoning to me at the store…no matter how good they look, I should just keep on walking. When dealing with indoor plants, I know that I do best with ones that can handle diffused light and weekly watering; since I love blooming flowers, I tend to buy orchids. Outdoor plants must be able to handle direct sun,…

Stanton T.55 Belt-Driven Turntable – Unboxing and Review

Whoever thought I would be using a belt-driven turntable in 2009? And yet, that’s what I did over the weekend. Sure, we all know DJs love vinyl, but me, the typical end-user? What gives? Well, it turns out there are a host of treasures to be found if you “go retro”. LPs stored in the attic are just waiting to be broken out once again. And if you don’t have any disks left you can just go to your local record store where your favorite music can be had for a song. (Ha, music… song… get it???) If you DO…

“There Is No Science Fiction”

The divide between our imaginations and our reality may not as be as wide as we think. Tonight’s “60 Minutes” had a repeat piece titled “Mind Reading” on the development of a budding technology referred to as ‘Thought Identification’ or in laymen’s terms – ‘Mind Reading’ – and it’s a technology that seems to work with a fair degree of accuracy.  As Lesley Stahl asks: “How often have you wondered what your spouse is really thinking? Or your boss? Or the guy sitting across from you on the bus? We all take as a given that we’ll never really know…

Monitor – A Gear Diary Video QuickView

Applications like Prism and Fluid make it possible to create site-specific applications allowing “users [to] split web applications out of their browser and run them directly on their desktop. Prism lets users add their favorite web apps to their desktop environment When invoked, these applications run in their own window…” [from Prism landing page] It is a great way to have a direct line to some most-used sites without having to deal with the entire browsing experience. They work well and are free. Unfortunately, for many of us it can quickly mean having five, ten or twenty “site-specific” applications. It…

Hero of Sparta iPhone Review

From the developer: You wake up alone on an unknown beach – your boat and entire fleet missing… It’s the beginning of an epic odyssey to find out just what game the gods are playing with you, King Argos. Your fate now lies in their hands. Battle like the fierce Spartan warrior you are to avoid a tragic death as you journey from the Oracle’s Island, Atlantis and finally to the depths of the Underworld. You will fight the most phenomenal monsters from mythology, defy Cerberus and the Cyclops, and challenge the gods themselves! It’s your chance to write your…

Myst (iPhone / iPod Touch) Review

As noted in my original article when the game was released, Myst is a classic adventure game released for the Mac in 1993 that was the best-selling PC game for a very long time until the arrival of the Sims franchise. Aside from being the ‘killer app’ that was largely responsible for the CD-ROM drive gaining traction in the marketplace. Since the initial Mac release and follow-up PC release, the game was re-released on the PC as a fully 3D game, got a series of sequels and even a (failed) online game, and more recently been released for the DS…

iPhone cufflinks complement your Apple collection

These Apple iPhone (unofficial) cufflinks make great fashion accessories for those obsessed with Apple’s smartphone. The front of this cufflink design show off some favorite Apps while the backing is silver plated. Proudly show your iPhone devotion to the world with these cufflinks priced at only $50/pair and available for same day shipping. iPhone Cufflinks – $50/pair

Music Skins Keep Your Devices Rocking

Carly Z: There are some moments that make you think the people around you are psychic. I remember sitting in my friend’s dorm room in college studying for a final, when she suddenly stopped, took a looooooooooooong drag on her cigarette, and looked at me with my bright dyed hair and worn out Descendents sweatshirt and said, “Brandeis will suuuuuuuuuuuuuuck the puuuuuuuuuuuunk out of you.” Sadly, she was right. But I can recapture a little of that ol’ punk-ass spirit with a MusicMatch skin for my MacBook.

Tasty Accessories for Netbooks

Just as the right side dish can make or break the meal, the right accessory can take a good device and make it even better. Something as simple as a case or an external battery can be the difference between a nice device and a truly great one; between a device that is usable and one that is a pleasure. Accessories have the power to remedy shortcomings, increase usability and, in some cases, save the day or a trip to the repair shop. This post is the first in a series of device accessory posts that begin with the question……

Review of the Just Mobile CB-200 Cooling Bar for MacBooks

One of the challenges with any MacBook or notebook PC is cooling. While these devices are made to be a bit more heat tolerant than their desktop tower counterparts, they still can overheat which can cause damage or diminish performance. Getting air flowing through the cooling fans and vents on your MacBook or notebook is they key to avoiding potential disaster and the team at Just Mobile have come up with a sleek, stylish and amazingly simple solution for MacBook users. The CB-200 Cooling Bar is an solid, all aluminum bar that you rest the back of your MacBook onto….

The Weather Channel Review

Description from the developer: Leave it to The Weather Channel, the most trusted brand in weather, to deliver the perfect  weather application for your active lifestyle! This highly customizable application has everything you need to stay warm, safe and dry whether you’re heading across the country, across town or across campus. Features: • Location-based conditions and forecasts • Fully customizable weather maps • Local, National and International video forecasts • Local and national severe weather alerts • Share Alerts and Forecasts via email • Store and nickname your favorite locations

2010 Ford Taurus puts on a great SHO

The Ford Taurus – the car that changed America’s view of the family sedan – is all-new for 2010 and ready to take on the world’s best, with an upscale new design, enhanced driving dynamics, class-leading technologies and competitive pricing.

Mediafly for BlackBerry Review

You may remember our recent coverage of the Mediafly service that syncs media content — specifically podcasts for now — to a wide range of devices.  Well, Mediafly is wasting no time.  Their goal is to launch on multiple smartphones throughout 2009, and then hit even more home stereo/video equipment in 2010 so you can have your media content synced and shared on just about any consumer device out there.  The fact that Mediafly is device-agnostic is exciting in that your content goes with you, regardless of what device you may use or decide to uopgrade to in the future….

Review: Spb Geo Game for Windows Mobile

Spb is a name most users of Windows Mobile know well. From their Mobile Shell to Weather and Wallet and a host of other useful and entertaining utilities, these guys have done well by the Windows Mobile community over the years. Their latest release is a simple but challenging and fun game for Windows Mobile and Android – Spb Geo Game. This game is clearly in the ‘edutainment’ market, as it asks some challenging questions but makes it fun along the way. The game has two main modes – World Flags and World Capitals – and provides plenty of challenges…

Motorola Rival A455 Review: Messaging Machine

The Motorola Rival A455 is one of the newest phones to be added to the Verizon Wireless handset lineup. This messaging workhorse gives you instant access to IM style texting, emoticons, a slide out keyboard, and an on screen touch pad right out of the box. I had the opportunity to use the A455 over the last two weeks, and here are my thoughts on this multimedia powerhouse.

WeatherBug for Android Review

When outside or planning to go outside, checking the current weather conditions is usually the first thing I do.  With WeatherBug for  Android , it’s a simple swipe and a tap to find out what is going on outside. The WeatherBug app is a lot like the desktop counterpart.  It has the current temperature in the notification area and it will optionally use the integrated GPS to change it’s location automatically.  That is a fantastic idea and one I use a lot when traveling through the greater Columbus area.