April 2012

Eers PCS-150 Custom Fitted Earbuds Review

I am not much of an audiophile. When I grab headphones, it is usually to walk the dog or run on a treadmill, and for the last several years my headphone rotation has been between whichever pair of apple earbuds are lying around, and a pair of wraparound headphones I am pretty sure I paid $9.99 for…in 2008. So it has been quite the eye-opening experience testing the Eers PCS-150, a pair of high-end headphones with a special twist. What makes the Eers so special is that these are no ordinary earbuds. Instead, you use a special kit called the…


2012 Honda Ridgeline puts ‘Sport’ in Sport Utility Truck

I seem to be taking delivery of a lot of trucks here lately but I don’t mind one bit as I reside in the No. 1 truck market in the world (AKA Texas). Texans use pickups for much more than just work vehicles. For many families these are the only vehicle as they have become that utilitarian. And manufacturers have broadened the choices across the pickup lines to meet individual needs of as many buyers as they possibly can. Down here you would think it is the Texas version of the “New Deal” paraphrased to “a pickup in every garage.”…


Amateur Radio Apps for Android

A mobile phone is a valuable tool that can be used for many things, even Amateur Radio.  I thought I would provide a short over view of some of the apps that are available on Google Play.  As there are always new apps, I will probably do another post as I come across them.  If you have apps that I miss, let me know so I can check them out. EchoLink for Android In my post regarding on what kind of ham radio to buy, I briefly mentioned Echolink.  Echolink is a internet based method for communicating on ham radio repeaters all…


Music Diary Semi-Quavers on Some Early 2012 Releases in Pop & Rock

As I have mentioned before, I love listening to loads of new music across a variety of genres, and have very much appreciated how many folks have shared new music with me since I have started writing music reviews for Gear Diary. I started off with full, large song-by-song reviews (whole notes), and then started to also do somewhat shorter reviews that don’t pick apart each song (half-notes). Then I started a series where I would have a shorter review for a number of albums that also targets a favored song and target audience (quarter note), but have found that…


Hands on with Motorola Droid 4 Pre-ICS ROM Update!

Verizon and Motorola are notoriously slow at getting updates, which was something I knew when I bought my Droid 4. They laid out their plans for the Ice Cream Sandwich Android operating system for their various phones, which is reportedly about to start. As a preliminary step, Verizon has started seeding updates to several phones getting the ICS update in the coming weeks. A friend at work just got the update for their Droid Razr earlier this week, and I subsequently got the one for my Droid 4. As usual, the download showed up on Android fan-sites well before most…


The Waterfield Indy iPad Bag Review

I’m not going to get into all the obvious movie allusions I could make about the Indy bag; suffice it to say the bag has rugged appeal with just enough refinement, and even when brand new it looks like something that might have been handed down to you from a favorite uncle. That’s actually a selling point, I think. Measuring 10.3″ wide x 12″ tall  x 1″ deep, the Indy weighs 17 ounces empty. It is composed of tumbled and distressed leather which comes complete with scratches, imperfections and other miscellaneous markings; this means that from the beginning you can fearlessly use…


TouchRetouch HD for iOS review

Call me jaded, but it is increasingly rare that an iPhone or iPad app really grabs my attention. It is even less common that ones makes me go “Wow, oh wow. Wow wow wow wow wow wow !!” But when an iPad application can render the image you see at the top of this post… when the actual image is this one… And it can all be done in a matter of minutes using just your iPad and a finger… Now THAT is impressive. And THAT is what the app touchRetouch HD can do. The app is surprisingly simple to…


“Book People Unite” Promotes Literacy with a Catchy Tune

Everyone has a favorite childhood book. From fairy tales to Narnia and everywhere in between. Want to help kids experience books in all their glory? Head over to BookPeopleUnite.org, a movement designed to promote literacy through the Reading Is Fundamental organization. They’ve put together an amazing video with a who’s who of artists including Chris Martin, Regina Spektor, Jack Black, and many others behind it.


Gnome Canterwick Beautifully Repurposes Leather-Bound Classics as iPhone Charger Docks

Books have been hollowed out since the beginning of time to hide things, whether it be to disguise and hold adult beverages, money, guns or other “treasures” inside. But here’s a novel idea, rather than hollow out the book to hide something, why not display the book while it is being used to charge your mobile device? Many of your favorite books are here, repurposed to be a clever charging dock that holds your device and hides its cable. Gnome Canterwick says that customization requests for upgrades including “plug location, longer cords, wall adapters, etc.” are welcome.   This new…


Are eInk Holding’s Earnings a Sign of a Non-Tablet Reader Slowdown?

Here’s some news to file under the “maybe a concern” category. It looks like eInk Holdings, the company that makes those beautiful eInk screens for NOOKs and Kindles, had a bad quarter. According to DigiTimes, this was their first set of poor earnings in over two years, and the company is saying it was due to “inventory adjustments”, aka they had fewer orders for new screens. This isn’t good news, but I wouldn’t hold a funeral for eInk just yet. Yes, we are coming off a holiday season where the hot items were the NOOK Color and Tablet and the…


Geode on Your iPhone Could Equal the End of Wallets As We Know Them

  We’ve all heard of (and many of us use) eWallet software and alternative methods to pay electronically; these apps and methods have been around for years. In our move towards convergence and the ultimate goal of lifestyle simplification, it seems that in the last few years there has been a push to eliminate our wallets and get all of our financial tools onto our cellphones. As Travis has pointed out several times, people are more likely to forget their wallet than they are their phone, so perhaps there is something to that. But understandably, security concerns are what keeps many from…


Marco Machera Serves up a Stunning Debut Album with ‘One Time, Somewhere’

Marco Machera – ‘One Time, Somewhere’ I had intended to include this as a feature selection in a round-up of new releases, but then something happened – that turned into a set of ‘semi-quavers’ set apart by a full review on this album. It simply earned and deserved the attention – so here it is! Summary: Since my family has such diverse set of musical tastes – one son is huge into techno while the other favors mostly rap and some ‘screamo’, my wife loves pop and alt-rock from throughout the decades, and I listen to … however you want…


FireFly’s Hello Kitty Light-Up Toothbrush Review

Show me a parent who has no problem getting their kids to brush for a full two minutes, and I’ll show you a parent that is in denial. When my daughter Sarah first learned to brush her teeth, it was common for me to stand with her to help make sure that she did the full minute on each row. As she got a bit older, she (understandably) didn’t want me hovering over her, because she could ‘do it [herself], mommmm!’ The thing is that sometimes ‘doing it herself’ meant a cursory brush over each tooth (maybe), a quick swish…


We Reviewed It and Still Use It, BlueAnt Embrace OnEar Headphones

It is time once again to take a look at an item we reviewed in the past, liked and… months later, still use. Today’s contender… The BlueAnt EMBRACE headphones. You can read the review here, but here’s a snippet of what we said last summer: All of this is good and well but when it comes to a pair of headphones there are really just 2 things that matter: comfort and sound. Are they comfortable?Yup!As previously mentioned, the combination of high quality materials, leather earpieces and abundant padding create a pair of headphones that are incredibly comfortable. I have worn them…


Ellen Reads from ’50 Shades of Grey’

If you follow pop culture and popular books at all, you have heard something about the novel 50 Shades of Grey. If not, I’ll catch you up quickly: it was a Twilight fan-fiction which gained interest from publishers but needed a change of characters, which basically puts a young college student and a rich older man together … but rather than vampires and werewolves we have whips and chains. In fact, Christian Grey makes young Anastasia Steele sign a contract allowing him to subject her to his every BDSM whim. And if you don’t know what BDSM is … chances…


An Open Letter to the PR Rep Pitching Political Books to Gear Diary

At Gear Diary, we get a lot of press releases and product pitches. Most of them are tech or gear related, and sometimes they are not. Most of the time these pitches are quickly processed, and we’ll quickly decide to either post on them or not. Yesterday we got an email that begged for a direct answer rather than a quick delete, which is why I am sharing my open letter to the pr person who thought that Gear Diary would be interested in the book “Restore The Future”. Fair warning: this will get political, so if you aren’t interested…


Mobile Blogging in 2012; What a Difference!

I am headed into the city for a meeting on behalf of Gear Diary, and after I’m done, Elana and I are grabbing a quick dinner in Manhattan before we have a fund-raiser for an organization that supports services for those who are hearing-impaired. Were I going into the city for a full day of events in the past, I would have had to bring my MacBook air, my Canon G11, and some additional equipment that works with them in order to quickly write-up whatever I could in order to get it up on the site as quickly as possible….


Casellet Wallet Case for iPhone 4/4S Review

If you were a fan of the hit show, “Seinfeld,” surely you can remember the episode when George has back problems from the giant wallet he was carrying. That episode struck a chord with me and actually inspired me to look into getting a front pocket wallet. For years I have only carried a wallet in the front, relieving my hind end from sitting on a giant lump. Call me spoiled, but even a front pocket wallet is often too much for me. I never carry it on the sports fields where the freedom to move easily is imperative. One…


Line2 for iOS Gets Updated with MMS and Location Sharing

  I’m a big fan of the Voice Over iP service Line2. The company’s iOS app is clean, fast and lets you make clear calls, especially when you are in a high-speed WiFi network. (They also offer an Android app and I’m hoping to see a version for Windows Phone soon but I have not heard anything about that… Yet.) I use the app all the time and, now that Elana has gone all Apple I’m encouraging her to do the same. Why? Simple! If we use Line2 enough we will be able to drop down to a lower bucket…


No More Windows Phone App Shopping from Zune PC Suite

Well, it had to come sooner or later. As many users discovered the other day when Zune launched on their PCs, a message appeared asking users to restart the app to update the Zune client with new changes, Microsoft has officially nixed buying software apps for Windows Phone from the desktop PC Zune client. In his Windows Phone blog posting, Mazhar Mohammed stated Until today you could shop for Windows Phone apps and games in three places: on your phone, on the web, and via the Zune software on your PC. But we know—probably not a huge surprise here—that most…


Tor Goes DRM-Free, but Does It Change Anything for eBooks?

The big news in ebooks this week is that Tor, a division of Macmillan, is going DRM-free on their whole catalog (including books sold at Amazon and B&N). Needless to say, everyone who follows ebooks is very excited, and for good reason. This is a big step in chipping away at the “walled garden” style eBookstores we have now, where B&N books have different DRM than Kindle books, etc. But who really benefits here? Obviously, we as consumers win here. If this succeeds, ebook libraries will become portable. You won’t need to stress about picking a Kindle and missing out…