November 2010

PC Game Review: Civilization V

Welcome back to the revenge of the sequels! The fall gaming season is always filled up with a myriad of games seeking to repeat the success of earlier franchise entries. Civilization V is definitely in line with that trend, attempting to capture sales based on the commercial and critical success of 2005’s Civilization IV while also taking the franchise in some new directions. So how did they do? Read on and find out! The Hype: Sid Meier’s Civilization V is the fifth offering in the multi-award winning Civilization turn-based PC strategy game series. As with earlier installments in the series,…


iPad Game Review: Virtual City HD

A couple of months ago I reviewed the iPhone version of Virtual City, noting that my only real complaint was the lack of a sandbox mode. The game already took advantage of the high resolution Retina display, so my assumption was that there would be a minimal difference in the move to the iPad. Turns out I was right … and wrong. Read on to find out what I mean. The Hype: Build a city of your dream – a residential paradise or an industrial center. Build dwelling houses and industrial buildings. Produce goods and deliver them to the shopping…


Alexandra Knights Alligator iPhone Cases 50% Off Today Only

If you’ve been longing to wrap your iPhone in alligator skin, but the idea of spending $300+ just didn’t appeal, this sale will be right up your alley. Until the end of today, you can purchase an Alexandra Knight iPhone case, 3G/3GS or 4G in sumptuous alligator skin without breaking the bank! Usually $295, they are slashed 50% and for the rest of today are only $147.50. There are many colors available – matte and glazed, so there’s sure to be something for everyone. I am debating the matte cognac or the matte army green or the glazed emerald or…


iPad Accessory Review: AUTUM Straight Jacket for Apple iPad

Let’s face it, you can tell a lot about a designer’s aesthetics within seconds of looking at a single product they have designed. That being the case, it is clear that the designers over at AUTUM, a company I had never before heard of, have AMAZING taste. But I’m getting ahead of myself. Judie recently reviewed a leather iPad pouch and was rather impressed. It is beautiful, heavy-duty, rugged leather that, to paraphrase her, holds the iPad in the same manner that a holster hold a gun … and there you have the difference between the frames of reference a…


The Kobo WiFi eReader Review

Earlier this fall we had the opportunity to review the original Kobo Reader, a simple ebook reader sold through Kobo and Borders. They recently updated the original design to include WiFi connectivity, and the good folks at Kobo sent a unit over for review! In many ways the WiFi Reader is just like it’s unconnected sibling; the reading experience is essentially the same. I don’t have an original Kobo Reader handy, but from what I remember the menus look similar. Two changes did jump out at me. One, there’s a dictionary option now, powered by Miriam-Webster, and the second is…


Random Useless Stuff: Teva Grey Ant Stilettos

Having a wife who loves shoes and who also loves the outdoors, I have frequently been confronted with her looking for shoes that are functional but look good. I really don’t think this is remotely what she had in mind! In fact, my wife, her sister, and our 22 year-old niece pretty much called these the stupidest things they’d ever seen! Here is the description: NEW HIGH (M)ART WORLD EXCLUSIVE! Teva, leader in the sport sandal industry is known for their innovation of performance products and advanced technologies in the footwear industry teamed up with Grey Ant, the two collide…


Sony Giving the Japanese eReader Market Another Crack

Looks like Sony is turning close to home for a chance to revive their eBook devices. After basically dropping the Japanese market for Readers, Sony thinks they will not only blow the doors off their sales but they also think they’re going to dominate the Japanese ebook market! Granted, the ubiquitous Kindle has not yet made it to Japan, which gives Sony an additional advantage, but will they really succeed? This is ambitious for a company that could have owned the American ebook market given their head start, but has essentially stood frozen while Amazon and B&N swooped in and…


R.I.P. Irving Kershner, Director of Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back

In the aftermath of the massive success of George Lucas’ Star Wars in 1977, it was somewhat surprising that for the sequel he chose not to direct it himself, but instead sought out an old mentor and respected director in Irving Kershner. As was remembered recently, it was for a couple of reasons: the motivation was because “if the second one worked, then he could make more. If the second one didn’t work, then that would be the end of Star Wars”, and the reason to choose Kershnerwas “because [he] knows everything a Hollywood director is supposed to know but…


R.I.P.: Comedy Film Legend Leslie Nielson Dead at 84 … You Can Stop Calling Him Shirley

When you think of Leslie Nielson, it is hard to imagine that at one point he was looked at as a serious actor in leading roles and a ladies man. Yet in the late 1950’s he was tall, handsome and charismatic, and got lead roles in films such as 1956’s Forbidden Planet pictured at the top. But through the years he never blossomed into the mega-star that some expected, as his serious on-screen personas couldn’t compete with other actors, and no one got a look at his comedic side until 1980. His image now is the one cemented by his…


SCOTTEVEST Carry-On Coat Review

SCOTTEVEST recently rolled out another neat travel product. In this case it is a coat that is specifically designed for travel. The SeV CARRY-ON COAT has 33 pockets (33!!!!!) and can actually be used to replace a carry-on. Here’s how Scott describes the jacket on the site… Sometimes when going on a trip, people choose to “pack light,” and this usually means carrying a small bag or two. The Carry-On Coat redefines packing light by allowing you to replace the contents of a typical carry-on bag with a precisely engineered structure of pockets and compartments built into the coat. No…


Gear Chat: Rotation LockGate. Seriously??

The other morning I read a post by Warner Crocker about his being upset over the change in the iPad’s screen rotation control between the original version of iOS on the device and the new version 4.2.1. Warner referred to it as a “boneheaded move”, and he went on to write this: Where Apple got stupid is in changing the screen rotation control from the hardware switch on the device’s side to one that is now only accessible from the multi-tasking dock. I use my iPad mostly in portrait mode but there are some Apps that work better in landscape…


NOX Audio’s Scout Headset

When I last looked at a product from NOX it was their gamer oriented Specialist set of headphones which I liked really well.  However, most of the time I have been preferring earbuds.  Well NOX sent me a set of their new Scout earbuds to check out.  Are they as good as the Specialist?  Let’s find  out. The Scout headset is of the type that fits in your ears with adjustable silicon cushions.  While some might not like this style I really like how they feel in my ears plus with the different cushion sizes they tend to stay put in your ears when…


Volt, Leaf, the EPA and the Future

It is almost time to pack a bag to head down to Austin, Texas for a full evaluation of the new Chevy Volt (recently named Motor Trend’s Car of the Year) and in doing a little prep work online I notice EPA fuel economy ratings for it and the Nissan Leaf EV have been released along with new stickers and classifications by the governing body. The two vehicles are similar in size but vary in styling and technology. Leaf will only run on electric power ¬ once the battery pack is done, you’re done until you can get to a…


iPad Accessory Review: ViewSticks iPad Car Mounting System

There are a growing number of us who want to use our iPads pretty much everywhere. And one of those places is in… the car. The iPad makes a great car entertainments system for kids in the backseat. The only thing is… you need a good, secure way to hold the iPad in place. ViewSticks offers one system for doing just that. Priced at just $19.95, the ViewSticks are a convenient, low profile way to hold your iPad in place behind the drivers or passenger seat for easy viewing. Here’s a look at them in action… From the Company: Compatible…


Review: Roll-able Bluetooth Keyboard from EFO Gadget Shop

Sometimes I would love to just travel with my Droid 2 or a small tablet sized device but the built in keyboard on my Droid 2 isn’t that conducive to typing big e-mails.  So when I saw this keyboard, I thought let’s try this as a way to make a extremely mobile setup for blogging or e-mailing.  EFO Gadget Shop sent one to me to review.  Will it be as useful as I thought?  Well today we will find out. This keyboard is an extremely portable bluetooth keyboard.  It is many times smaller than a Apple Bluetooth keyboard and even…


SHHHHH…. Don’t Tell Them But Joey and Talia Are Getting an iPad

It seems everyone wants an iPad. Oprah loves her’s… and so do the 270 audience members who each got one last week. Mayor Bloomberg loves his. And the President signed yet another iPad… Yes, the iPad is the “IT” gift this holiday season and a number of survey’s show that it tops kids’ “most wanted” list this year. Now it was only last spring that my niece and nephew each got an iPod touch. Talia likes hers… Joey… well let’s just say Joey and his uncle share the same obsession with iOS devices. What they don’t know… and please don’t…


Review: Monsoon Vulkano Deluxe Pro

I spent a large portion of the summer building a nice deck just outside my back door.  Once it was finished we would sit out there under the bright Texas stars and I would tell my wife I needed a way to watch sports out there.  My WiFi is full strength on the deck, but I could rarely watch live sporting events.  If only I could watch on my iPad or iPhone or even laptop.  Enter the Monsoon Vulkano to grant my wish!  The Vulkano sports technology for TV placeshifting, digital video recording, internet video playback, universal plug and play…


2011 Cadillac CTS Sport Wagon all hat, no rodeo

Absence makes the heart grow fonder. Poetic words meant for lovers and lyricists. In the real world things don’t always go accordingly. My situation refers to the Cadillac CTS Sport Wagon that I recently spent a week with. Here are the words I penned last year during my first experience with the new Caddy: “The vehicle we enjoyed at this stopover (of the Cadillac Culinary Tour) was the new wagon from Cadillac, the CTS Sport Wagon. Wagons have not gotten much love over the past few decades and Chevy Chase did not do them any favors in his vacation movie….


WordStorm for iPhone/Touch/iPad Review

The other night, my wife said she needed a new game to play on her iPhone.  Being the Blue Plate Special guy, I started spouting off a list of free or cheap games we already owned.  Of course, she said thanks and walked off to find her own application.  I finally noticed that she had been silent for a long while and was affixed on her phone.  She explained that she found a new game that was addicting and challenging and that I could use it in my Blue Plate thingy.  I am a sucker for puzzle style games, especially…


Happy Thanksgiving from Gear Diary!

Thanksgiving is a great time to take a break and recognize all of the things in our lives which are going right … the things we have to be thankful for. Once we start thinking about the things in life that are good, it doesn’t take long before we realize that there is much to celebrate. So have a virtual turkey dinner with us on this Thanksgiving, as we celebrate the good things and enjoy the day! We hope that all of you who are celebrating Thanksgiving today have a huge list of things that are going “right”, as well…


SmirkAbout Skins Will Bring a Smile to Your Face

I recall seeing an interview with Penn Gillette one time during which they happened to show his laptop, which was covered with stickers.  All sorts of stickers.  It was garish, but yet it fascinated me in a way because it was so individual in appearance. While I usually just use a clear, protective skin on my devices (’cause I’m just boring that way), I appreciate decorative skins that allow the owner to really show off their personality and distinguish their gadget from all of the others around them.  SmirkAbout, an Australian company, is one of the newer companies putting out…