October 2011

Gear Bag Review: PowerBag Backpack

We took a look at the PowerBag Messenger the other day. It combines an incredibly well-designed, strongly constructed bag with the ability to recharge your devices on the go. On almost all counts it thoroughly impresses. And at under $140, it is not much more than a 6000mAh external battery would be on its own. That makes it a great deal in my opinion. The company makes a number of other designs and they were kind enough to also send a PowerBag backpack as well as the messenger. Since the power aspect of the backpack is the same as it…


iOS 5.0 QuickTip: It is Worth the Time to Set Up Keyboard Shortcuts

I’m a huge fan of the application TextExpander. It is, in fact, one of the key Mac utilities I cannot do without. TE offers a good deal of power but the primary reason I use it is that it allows me to create text shortcuts that have saved me a great deal of typing. For example, instead typing in Gear Diary’s URL constantly I simply type “ggear”. Less than a second later TE converts that combination into “www.geardiary.com”. That’s five characters instead of seventeen. It is even more helpful when using HTML code in a post. For example “llike” yields…


How a $91 Metal Detector Saved the Day!

I got a text message from my husband, Kevin, on Tuesday last week, saying that he had lost his wedding ring while working at the ranch. He’d been digging post holes to rebuild a section of fence that had been damaged during our April Fool’s Day fire, and while he was on his knees flinging the final few rocks from inside the hole, his platinum wedding band had flown off. The rock he threw hit a tree about 15 feet away, and he figured that the ring had taken a similar trajectory. Kev had already spent two hours searching, part of it on…



MiCorner: Is Siri Alone Reason Enough to Upgrade to the iPhone 4S?

One of the iPhone-related questions I have been asked my frequently in the last two weeks is this – “I have the iPhone 4. Is Siri reason enough for me to upgrade to the iPhone 4S?” Let me offer a few thoughts and then, hopefully, any of you who have the iPhone 4S will chime in with your opinions. If you have the iPhone 3G or iPhone 3GS, it is a no-brainer. Your contract is up, so now a discounted phone is likely available; the 3G and 3GS — while still excellent phones — are completely outclassed by the iPhone 4S. I…


Sena’s Quality Leather Plus the iPhone 4S’ Power Makes for a Winning, Luxurious Combination

I’ve always been a fan of Sena’s leather cases. They are consistently well-made and come in a nice range of styles that can fit pretty much every need. They have a host of cases for the iPhone 4S that are now available and many look great. As the company shared, Sena is pleased to announce our iPhone 4S Series collection. Created to enhance functional design and protection with modern flair, the collection showcases hand-crafted, stylish accessories for the Apple iPhone 4S. The exquisite craftsmanship is showcased in the company’s beautiful collection including nineteen designs for the iPhone 4S w/ the design…


PowerBags to the Rescue

Yesterday we reviewed the PowerBag Messenger, a messenger bag that carries a 6000mAh battery and has internal cabling that makes charging an iOS device, or one that has a mini or microUSB connection simple. Today I got home and shot a video of the backpack version of the PowerBag for the second part in the review. Little did I know how handy both bags would be just hours later. You see, the October Surprise dumped a fair bit of snow on the ground today. That, combined with the fact that the trees still had leaves on them that caught more…


Review: Asus EeePad Transformer

The tech press has maligned Android tablets.  There just hasn’t been one that has caught the up to the iPad according to many people.  That may soon change with tablets like the one I have, the Asus’s EeePad Transformer. Hardware Much of the hardware on the Android tablet front has eerily similar specs.  Like most Android tablets that have a version of Honeycomb, the Transformer has an Nvidia Tegra 2, 1 GB of ram, 16 or 32 GB of Flash (mine has 16), WiFi (B,G and N supported), Bluetooth V2.1+EDR, HDMI out, MicroSD Slot, a 5 megapixel camera on the back and a…


Gear Bag Review: PowerBag Messenger

CES is coming up, and this year we will have the biggest Gear Diary team covering the event ever. Even though CES is more than two months off, it isn’t too early to start thinking about the ins and outs of the week. As we have mentioned previously, one of the biggest challenges at CES is keeping cameras, phones and video recorders charged and usable. The days are long and the tools we use to cover CES are in use from early morning until late at night. Battery cases and external batteries help a great deal but, this year, we’ll…


BeejiveIM for GTalk iOS App Review

When I switched from Android to iOS last week, my biggest concern was replacing key apps I use on a daily basis. Most services and apps I used on Android have iOS versions, so the process was fairly simple, so my biggest concern was replacing Google Talk. It’s the only instant message program I use, and I’m on it constantly “talking” to Sarah and our friends. I was worried I’d need a hefty multi-IM program to replace it, but then I discovered BeejiveIM for GTalk. All BeejiveGT does is GTalk and that’s exactly what I wanted. Would it be solid…


Twelve South’s BassJump 2 Pumps Up the Bass!

The folks at Twelve South always have a way of surprising us. They make awesome leather cases like the BookBook for iPad or iPhone but they also make an amazing iPad stand called the Compass. (I use mine all the time.) Now they have something even more outside the box- the BassJump 2 speaker. The new BassJump 2 is a portable, USB-powered subwoofer that “turns MacBook Pro or MacBook Air into a travel-friendly sound system”. Powered by a single USB connection, the BassJump 2 uses proprietary software that “blends the sound output of the BassJump subwoofer with the output of…


Redbox Raises Prices by 20%

Redbox has raised their prices, but it’s unlikely they’ll receive the ire from customers that Netflix did! First of all, prices are going from $1.00 to a $1.20. It just sounds more exciting to point out that it’s 20%. Second, Redbox is easing the price increase for existing customers with a grace period of $1.00 for the month of November. Sarah and I tried Redbox for the first time last weekend, and it was a smooth experience. We spontaneously decided to see if “Bridesmaids” was available at our local Redbox kiosk; I signed up online, and we tried to rent it…


Can You Guess the Kindle Fire’s Achilles Heel?

The Kindle Fire is ready to take the world by storm when it is released next month. It is already SO popular that Amazon has reportedly upped the production numbers significantly. The interface looks great. The combination of 8GB of storage (with about 6GB available to the user) is enough for 80 apps, plus 10 movies or 800 songs or 6,000 books. That isn’t anything to sneeze at, but it is not a tremendous amount of storage, and the Fire doesn’t have an expansion slot. [I’m comparing it to the iPad, whose capacity STARTS at 16GB and goes up to…


iPad/iPhone App Review: G5 Games Navigator

One thing most of us can agree on – finding games on the iTunes App Store (or Android Market or Amazon Appstore or Microsoft Marketplace for that matter) can be a daunting task: if you know the exact name you will have no problem … but if not, you are in for quite a challenge! Hoping to help navigate at least their own corner of the App Store as well as Mac and PC games, G5 introduces the G5 Games Navigator. Let’s take a quick look! The Hype: Find quality casual games in the App Store! Stay updated on G5’s…


Give Your Walking Dead Halloween Costume a Truly Authentic Look

Are you dressing up as your favorite zombie-killing refugee from the show Walking Dead this Halloween? If so you really owe it to yourself to make your outfit as authentic as possible. This Gerber Gator Machete Pro will only run you $53. Add a little fake blood and you are good to go. In the process you will ensure that NO ONE will even think about messing with your candy. Even better, you won’t just win the best costume contest but you will also be ready for the coming zombie invasion in the process. via Werd


Give Your Old UGGs New Life with a Set of UGG Sheepskin Insoles

Let’s just go ahead and get it out of the way: UGGs are ugly. They make your feet look huge, and they are sloppy. I’ve been told that there is nothing worse than seeing a woman wearing a pair of UGGs with a skirt or a pair of shorts; Kev grew up in the San Diego area, and he has issues with those combos, evidently. So there are plenty of reasons to dislike them, but I think the biggest reason boils down to the fact that they are ugly. Now that I have gone ahead and said it for all…


2012 Nissan Versa Sedan Cheapest Real Estate Around

The new Versa Sedan from Nissan offers some of the cheapest real estate on the market today. Completely redesigned for 2012, Nissan touts the new little four-door as “Small on the outside, big on the inside.” And actually it isn’t really that small on the outside. What is small is the pricetag as compared to the market today. For 2012, Versa Sedan rolls in at just under 11 grand. Yes, $10,990 will get you a brand new Nissan, if you can find one of those entry models on the dealer lot. Figure spending something more in the ballpark of 15-16…


Pop Goes the Music Diary: Angstrification

Bad Meets Evil is a pseudo-duo including Royce da 5’9? and Eminem, first heard on the song of the same name from The Slim Shady LP in 1999. The duo have recently gone back into the studio and popped out another EP, this one featuring Bruno Mars in a generic pop-rap-combo song that is all the rage these days. For other examples, see pretty much anything with Bruno Mars in a supporting role, anything at all with Pitbull, BoB and so on. The song that has gotten the greatest amount of attention is ‘Lighters’, which as I mention features Bruno…


What’s for Breakfast? Hopefully NOT One of These 20 Unhealthy Cereals!

As a kid you don’t worry too much about how healthy your cereals are. I mean, I remember being a kid and having Cookie Crisp come out (in 1977, apparently), and thinking ‘OH YEAH’! Then there were some other faves like Crunch Berries, Count Chocula, Boo Berry and Franken Berry. They were all nice sugary junk-food breakfast cereals we all loved … and far more appealing than the healthy alternatives such as Shredded Wheat (not the frosted stuff), Grape Nuts – or at best ‘compromise’ cereals like Cheerios or Rice Krispies with generous help from the sugar bowl. Then –…


TeleNav GPS Plus Gets Tests on a Quick Roadtrip

I have to make a quick trip up to Boston to see a few people. I was hoping to take the train but the schedule just doesn’t work. The same was true for flights. As a result, I’ll be driving to Boston shortly and then, later tonight, making my way back home. The trip is long enough on its own without my taking any wrong turns so I want/need a good GPS program. I looked at all my options and decided to go with TeleNav’s offering. The app now comes with voice-guidance and, thanks to competition in the GPS app…


Playmobil Teaches Kids About the Real World with “Security Checkpoint” and “Safe Crackers” Sets

Are you concerned kids toys coddle them too much? They’re all bright colors and happy people, but what’s the world REALLY like? Playmobil doesn’t want kids to just assume the world is all animal nurseries and magic princess castles — there’s a serious side too. So serious, in fact, that they want kids to play Security Checkpoint, just like mom and dad do at the airport! No, this isn’t a joke. It’s a real Playmobil set. Before you buy, though, be sure to check the reviews: 3.0 out of 5 stars Great lesson for the kids!, September 9, 2005 By loosenut (Seattle, WA)…