September 2009

Teaching an Old Dog New Tricks: Week Four into the Rosetta Stone TOTALe Program

¡Hola Amigos! Even though I had the new Dan Brown book, The Missing Symbol, delivered wirelessly to my Kindle DX this week, and even though I have spent every spare moment I could trying to sneak in a few chapters, I still managed to get a good chunk of my TOTALe lesson done. Yay me! Now I can tell you that “Me llamo Judie,” which will probably not sound as elegant as Julia when pronounced properly, since the J’s in Spanish are essentially H’s. Hoolia verses Hoodie…guess which one wins? 😉

Gear Diary Antique Roadshow

If you see a friend with a gadget fetish carrying something different, chances are it is something new and trendy. Gadget-heads are seen as fickle and trendy, and bitterly loyal … for about 30 seconds until the next bright & shiny object comes along. But I have typically held on to the stuff I loved the most, and recently I’ve been alternating between 4 PDA/handhelds – my Axim x51v, iPod Touch, Psion Revo and HP200LX. Made me wonder – what sorts of ‘old school’ stuff does the rest of the Gear Diary staff use? So I asked the question –…

The HTC Snap and Sprint HTC Snap Windows Mobile Smartphone Review

[Ed note: This review is being simultaneously posted on Gear Diary and Just Another Mobile Monday.] Quite often HTC will release several versions of a single model, and depending upon whether you buy an unlocked or carrier subsidized version, you might end up with very different features. Such is the case with their new QWERTY Windows Mobile Smartphone, the Snap. I was sent their unlocked European version, and Doug received the US Specific Sprint branded device; my comments will appear in black, and Doug’s will be in blue italics. The Unlocked HTC Snap (European Version) The first thing that impressed…

Techlasers Infiniti II 95mW 532nm Green Laser Pointer Review

Back in late June Judie reviewed the SKYlasers 125mW green laser pointer, providing a fun look at some of the interesting things you can do with a laser such as that. Soon thereafter, TechLasers provided us with one of their 95mW Infinity II 532nm Green Laser Pointers to evaluate for review. Judie also sent me the SKYlasers pointer, so I could do a bit of comparing. I will also attempt to answer a slightly more serious question – why the heck does someone need a 95mW laser pointer?

$472 emergency pet evacuation vest is perfect for the crazy cat lady in your life

I’ve had a few cats and none of them seemed terribly fond of playing dress up. I can only imagine the fun you’d have trying to fit kitty into an emergency evacuation vest in the midst of fire, flood or other natural hazard. Seems like a portable pet carrier might do just as well. This emergency pet vest offers: * Japan Firefighting Association-certified flame-retardant jacket * Materials: polyester (base cloth), polyurethane (outer shell), fireproof acrylic (lining) * Heavy-duty carry handle, and double-duty strap/leash * Pet supplies: food bowl, muzzle, hermetically sealed odor control bag (for any items distressing the pet),…

Astraware Casino for Symbian Series 60 Review

I love casinos, but I am terrible at gambling. Flashing lights, lots of bars, video games; essentially casinos are just a grown-up version of the boardwalk arcades from my childhood. Of course, my problem is that I don’t understand how to gamble; I just tap screens, pull levers, and pretend I understand how poker works until I run out of money. Luckily, Astraware Casino for Symbian offers many of those games with virtual money; we’ll be taking a look at this versatile game set today.

Scosche soundSCREEN – Review

There are a lot of options for listening to your iPod sans headphones but this is one of the more interesting and useful designs in my option. The Scosche soundSCREEN wraps around the your iPod like a picture frame (it is particularly good with the iPod touch which is a perfect fit) and lets you watch or listen to music, video and more hands-free. Let’s take a look…

Monolingual: Delete unused language packs on your Mac.

I personally use only one language on my Mac computers, English.  Unless you’re multi-lingual or unless you’re like Judie and plan on taking up another language, chances are you only need one language on your computer as well. The Mac comes preinstalled with several language packs.  These packs includes fonts, and other things which all take up hard drive space. That’s where Monolingual comes in.  Monolingual is a free application (donations are accepted) which allows you to selectively remove any language pack from your Mac that you choose.

All Weather for iPhone and iPod Touch Review

I have a number of weather apps on my iPhone. Overall, they are OK, but I’ve generally had two complaints: 1) They never seem to be as accurate as the information I find at the Weather Underground, and 2) They always seem to want to display the temperature in Fahrenheit OR Celsius, but never both at the same time! I grew up in Detroit where they often broadcast both (because Detroit is on the Canadian border). Additionally, I have friends all over the world. It’s nice to be able to talk about today’s weather without having to reset all the…

The Dead Arise: Nashville Zombie Walk

After a solid week of rain in Middle Tennessee, the graves must have opened, as the undead arose to walk the streets of downtown Nashville. Tourists and natives called it the Nashville Zombie Walk of 2009. The flesh-eating mutants zombies staggered in from all directions, via train, plane and automobile.

Don’t Copy That 2 reminds you to … not copy stuff!

So how many folks remember that public service announcement (PSA) ‘Don’t Copy That Floppy’? Well, the folks at Consumerist have noticed that an ‘Official Sequel’ has been released, ‘Don’t Copy That 2’ that reminds you that copying and especially profiting from making copies is a serious crime … and the new video is every bit as ‘hip’ as the original!

Apple MacBook 13″ Unibody Suit – Review

The new Unibody MacBook Pros are gorgeous. They are sleek, refined and… well they just look awesome. And while it is a shame to cover up those good looks, there is a lot to be said for keeping the beauties pristine… especially if, like many of us on the site, you tend to cycle through devices frequently and therefore rely on keeping resale value as high as possible. So if you ARE going to hide the unibody MacBook behind a protective shell, the least you can do is hide it behind an awesome looking one. On this front Case-Mate has…

Neoprene? No, Neogreene!

We’re all familiar with neoprene laptop cases, phone slipcases, etc. The slightly rubbery feeling material is pretty much a permanent part of any self-respecting geek’s arsenal. And anyone who has spent time around neoprene knows that it has a distinct chemical odor – kind of like new car smell for your computer.

How to enable, discover, and use Gmail keyboard shortcuts

Gmail has enabled increased productivity for those who large amounts of email due to its unique interface (conversations, labels, to name two!). Not everyone uses keyboard shortcuts, but they can be a big time saver in processing email. Read on to learn more about keyboard shortcuts and how to quickly learn them. Keyboard shortcuts are very useful because they quickly allow you to navigate your inbox quickly. You can also do things like select many messages at once and archive them, delete them, and even mark them as spam. Keyboard shortcuts are disabled by default. To enable them, simply go into…

2010 Honda Odyssey minivan

The onslaught of SUVs in the 1990s and crossover utility type vehicles of the new millennium have kept minivan sales numbers from returning to those of their glory days – but automakers are still makin’ ’em and folks are still buyin’ ’em. There aren’t quite as many players in the minivan game anymore mind you, but one who held firm to delivering a quality product over the years has been Honda. Because of that, the Honda Odyssey minivan has had a target on its back almost since its inception.

DivPro from Review

A few weeks ago Judie asked the question “are you that guy?” She was posting about the Shotgun KeyChain. Well has another product, which although does have the ability to turn any can into a ready to shotgun chugger also has some really useful functions out on the golf course. The DivPro is 6 tools in 1; think of it as the Leatherman of the links.

OttoSkins Review

OttoSkins are protective decal skins which when applied to your electronic gadget provide protection from scrapes and scratches while offering you a personalized look. The skins are available in a variety of patterns and designs for a wide range of gadgets. From iPods to iPhones, netbooks, laptops and gaming consoles, there’s probably an OttoSkin for at least one device you own. Let’s take a look at a few of the skins OttoSkins was kind enough to send me to review.

Flatworld Knowledge offers open source textbooks you can listen to or print

Flat World Knowledge is combating the insane price of college textbooks by making open source textbooks an easier solution for colleges. The catalog for now is limited to a few titles per school but eventually they’d like to have more colleges adopt open source online distribution of textbooks. The company sells affordable alternative formats such as print-on-demand full color and black and white print versions, PDF versions, podcast and .mp3 versions, as well as Flat World Knowledge and user-generated study aides such as mobile flash cards and web quizzes to support the books. Naturally social media is in the cards…

Everyone needs a good time waster on their iPhone

I own a ton of games for my iPhone and iPod Touch, but I always seem to be looking for new ones.  Lately I’ve been looking for inexpensive games that don’t take long to learn or play.  Ones that although seem simple are both challenging and more importantly addictive.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m a big fan of Madden 10 and Sandstorm but everyone needs a good time waster on their iPhone, too. Instead of taking tons of screen shots, I’ve decided to show you three of my favorite games of late on video. Remember, these games aren’t super graphically…

Slime Army For iPhone/Touch Review

Overview One day in the peaceful Slime world, the king of monster commanded his army to attack the Slime empire and forced those slimes to be his slaves. The Slime empire was plunged into chaos. The Slime King commanded his gereral (Colonel Slime) to control the army to fight against the enemies. You who have a role of Colonel Slime, have a mission to defeat the monsters and bring the peace back to the Slime world. Swap adjacent slimes to match three or more same color slimes in order to summon slimes to help you fighting in the battlefield. The…

Plantraco Micro Butterfly Review

When I got this  airplane in the mail, I was shocked that this little tiny thing can actually fly.  I am happy to say that this little airplane not only flew, but flew very well even outside where I tested it. Let’s go over all the pieces of this  plane. The plane itself is constructed mainly of a carbon fiber wire for it’s fuselage and durobatic foam for it’s wings, horizontal and vertical stabilizers.  It doesn’t sound like much, but the plane is very durable even though it looks like you could and can crush it.  In normal use, it…