May 2013

It May Seem Obvious, but App Updates Are Awesome!

Last week I noticed that the excellent Pocket Informant had been updated, and when checking out the update I knew I needed to capture that screen – I mean, just LOOK at the image above to see some of what was updated! This is version 3.0, which introduced major interface changes as well as integration with other apps and so on. It is an app I bought early on in the App Store days, and one that AT MOST would have cost $15 (I think I got it on an early sale for $6.99, but can’t recall). This is an…


Koala Mount for Tablets Keeps Your Tablet Hanging Around

If you use a tablet and love having it handy and accessible the idea of being able to quickly and easily mount it on the wall may be attractive. The Koala Mount for tablets is designed to let you do just that in an easy, inexpensive way that won’t damage any surface. The Koala Mount is, as my contractor father-in-law calls it, a “handyman special”. In other words, the Koala Mount is easy enough to install that… even I could do it. In fact… I did. The Koala Mount for tablets is a simple product. It features Simple setup using…


Lems Shoes Primal 2 Review

I love sneakers. Even before I became a runner, I vastly preferred sneakers over any other footwear. It still makes me sad that my office is business formal, and the first thing I do when I get home is shuck my work shoes and slip into sneakers. So I take my sneakers very seriously, and when I say that the Lems Primal 2’s I’ve been testing for the past week are some of the best sneakers I’ve ever worn, that’s praise I don’t give lightly. What makes these shoes so great isn’t any one thing, but a combination of things….


Hang Your iPhone in Style with the Just Mobile AluPocket

Our friends at Just Mobile have done it again and created an awesome smartphone accessory that you never thought you would want but which, now that they have released it, makes a lot of sense. The Just Mobile AluPocket is made from high-grade aluminium and moulded plastic. The AluPocket attaches to any flat surface thanks to glue-free tape. Once in place, it is a perfect way to keep your smartphone handy but out of the way. And since it has a slot for the charging cable as well as a connector recess, the AluCup is also a great charging solution…


Make The Choice for Fitness – The Monday Mile

I love to run. Yesterday coming out from food shopping with my wife, I saw a lady lose a cucumber and a few tomatoes out of her cart. I left the second cart (I have two teen boys) with my wife, chased down the produce, and then ran to catch up to the woman to return the items, and then jogged back to my wife. She was talking to some other folks who remarking on how nice I was – and she noted that while I AM nice, and that is why I did it, I like to run around…


The Gtech AirRAM Cordless Vacuum Cleaner Review

In our home we have a Welsh Pembroke Corgi, three girls with shoulder-length or longer hair, and three mohair rugs; there are days when I am not sure who or what sheds worse.  We have a conventional upright vacuum cleaner, and although it works well enough, it is a pain to have to get it out. As you likely know, in order to use a traditional upright vacuum cleaner, you generally have to get it out of a storage closet, unwind the cord, plug it in, and move it about as needed; I’m not sure about your upright vacuum, but…


BROpener Lets You Turn Any Surface Into a Bottle Opener

Summer is here, and that means sun, fun and beer. It also means that GearFest 2013 is coming soon. THAT means we’ll be enjoying lots and lots of IPAs. After all they are Kevin’s favorite, and he has made an IPA-lover out of me too. Last GearFest our bottle opener saw a good bit of use. This year it will be staying in the drawer, because instead of using a standard bottle opener, we will be using the BROpener. The BROpener was a successful Kickstarter project that quickly, and easily turns any surface into a bottle opener. And while I…


Think Tank Photo Mirrorless Mover 30i Review

Think Tank Photos Mirrorless Mover line of bags is a great way to carry and protect your mirrorless camera. The line is “scaled to fit today’s compact, mirrorless cameras, this collection of bags offers the same top quality materials and craftsmanship that Think Tank is known for. “The Mirrorless Mover 30i is also the first accessory I am getting to review for it. It was just a year ago that I finally decided to “up my photography game”. I went out and purchased a Canon T3i, a few lenses an a number of other assorted items. Over the course of…


The Secret Society from G5 Tweaks Your Dopamine Reward System to the Max!

The most ‘addictive’ games are the ones that activate your ‘dopamine reward system’, which is your brains way of dealing with things that feel good. It is the system that makes any positive achievement feel so great and send a ‘rush of good feelings’ over you in those moments. For the new generation of mobile games fueled by in-app purchases, ‘dopamine management’ is a critical factor to keeping gamers on the hook and paying up. Several months ago G5 Entertainment introduced The Secret Society, and have been updating it ever since. I started playing a week or so ago, and…


Cozi Family Organizer for iPhone and iPad – a Blueplate Special

My kids have finally reached the age that our family is going twenty directions at once. This spring we have had my varsity games I coach as well as both of my sons’ baseball games. Of course, most of these all occur at the same times on the same days in different towns. Since I am almost always coaching during this mess, my wife is in charge of keeping it all running smoothly. We recently found an iPhone app that has helped keep the chaos to be somewhat controlled while I was grocery shopping. Cozi Family Organizer made my usually…


Smart Food Scale Promises to Up the Game in Your Kitchen and Reaches Kickstarter Goal

Regular GearDiary readers know that I’m a big fan of a good kitchen gadget, and I love my digital kitchen scale. But I’ve recently seen a new toy that might encourage me to mothball my Bakers Math scale. (Even if it was a really nice holiday present.) Chef Sleeve is known for what they call “counter top technology,” products which make it easier for you to use your tech in the messy environment of the kitchen. The latest product that promises to make your life a little easier is a Bluetooth-enabled kitchen scale they are calling the Smart Food Scale….


Buy GRID 2: Mono Edition – The Most Expensive Video Game Ever

NOTE: This collaborative article was co-written with our special correspondent Wayne Beck. Got $190,000 laying around? Then you can make history and purchase GRID 2: Mono Edition, which includes an actual 170mph BAC Mono supercar in exclusive GRID 2 livery, BAC factory tour, branded racing helmet and race suit, and a PlayStation 3 console. Note: Terms and conditions apply. The standard edition of GRID 2 will release on Tuesday, May 28. This one lucky buyer will appear in the next Guinness World Records Gamer’s Edition as the “Most Expensive Video Game Commercially Available – Special Edition”. The GRID 2: Mono…


Switching Smartphones and Carriers Is Getting Harder Than Ever

Reading over Carly’s post and the comments made something clear to me – plenty of people have at least a vague sense of dissatisfaction with pretty much ALL of the available smartphone choices. iOS is ‘stale’, Android remains klunky, Blackberry is dead-end, and Windows Phone is the also-ran that just can’t seem to win. Many polls suggest general dissatisfaction with all current smartphone brands. Yet when you read about smartphone loyalty, Apple leads the way and in general most people are likely to stick with the brand and operating system they currently use. Which leads to the obvious question ……


Fast & Furious 6 Film Review

The ‘bigger is better’ filmmaking mantra works as this monstrous action-racing film series keeps upgrading with Fast & Furious 6 (a.k.a. Furious 6). The featured film gear this time is a special device called the “Nightshade”, which can disable power in a large area. Other featured gear in the film include  special electronic discs (relating to the “Nightshade” technology), specially customized F1-style “flip cars”, modified cable guns, BMW M5s, a Navistar MXT truck, a rare 1973 Jensen Interceptor, and a custom-made Dodge Daytona for Vin Diesel…the perfect acting name for this successful film series. In this sixth film installment, Dominic…


Heavy Gear Assault Multiplayer Game Launches Kickstarter Campaign

The Heavy Gear world dates back to the 90s as a tabletop boardgame and card combat game, and came to the PC after Activision lost the rights to the Battletech/Mechwarrior series. There were two games introduced that brought the Heavy Gear world to gamers, with the second game being very well received as the best game in the genre at that time … but then the franchised remained dormant until last summer when Stompy Bot Productions announced they were bringing back Heavy Gear in a new game based on cutting edge Unreal Engine 4 technology. Now they are seeking help…


Combo Crew for iOS and Android Pulls No Punches!

Type of app: Action-Fighting Platform/where to buy: iOS or Android; available in the iTunes App Store or available in the Google Play Store Developer: The Game Bakers Description: • Fight with your fingers: slash enemies to trigger crazy combos, tap to guard. A modern beat ’em up with no virtual D-pad! • The first mobile brawler with asynchronous multiplayer across devices. Rescue your friends, or be rescued by them! • A true arcade experience with a great combo system and super moves. • Several heroes with unique combat styles and more than 80 moves to master. • Hundreds of missions…


Why I Don’t Run First Thing in the Morning

Yesterday afternoon we had a surprise softball game for Kev’s youngest at 5:30. We made it to dinner at 7, and we were home by 8. Since I hadn’t yet had time to get my run in, I thought I would go ahead and do it before it got too dark. I was almost to our back gate, a little over two miles into the run, and it was getting pretty dark. I saw a rattlesnake about 15 feet away, stretched out across the middle of the crushed limestone road. There was just enough daylight left that I felt safe getting…


World Tarot Week? World Tarot Day? What?!

Best I can tell, the people who use tarot cards are those who want to believe in the idea of pre-destiny, or that there is some mystical “if I do this, then that will occur” order to the universe — beyond simple cause and effect. It’s kind of sad, really, to imagine someone thinking that by spending time with a deck of decorated cards, they’d be able to figure out what makes them or their loved ones tick. Even sadder is that in most cases people will pay someone else good money in order to have these “insights” given to…


Baofeng UV-5RA Review: Can a $50 Ham Radio Be Any Good?

I hope you have been enjoying my series on Amateur Radio.  It’s been one of my favorite hobbies for about 20 years now, and I love sharing my knowledge with our readers. Today I am bringing you another radio review, only the second one ever for Gear Diary. Just like when I reviewed the Icom ID-31A last year, this Baofeng UV-5RA review is coming from real-life experience with the radio.


Zinio Introduces Z-Pass – 3 Digital Magazines Per Month for $5

If you haven’t already discovered how awesome it can be to have all of your magazine subscriptions delivered to your iPad or mobile phone digitally via Zinio, then perhaps this is the deal that will convince you to give it a try: Zinio has just opened up their new Z-Pass service, where customers can choose three magazines for just $5 a month from over 200 of Zinio’s most popular titles. All you have to do is make your selection and provide a credit card, and then each month your magazines will automatically be added to your Zinio library. If you…


2013 Dodge Grand Caravan SXT All About Value and Functionality

An automotive anniversary is quietly approaching, but I doubt anyone will notice. Of course I am not talking about the 50th anniversary of Mustang – no, I am speaking of the 30th anniversary of the minivan. Yes, that once-ubiquitous soccer-mom vehicle is still rolling off the assembly lines despite being outpaced over the last two decades by SUVs and CUVs. While the number of models available are about half what they were 20 years ago, the granddaddy of them all – the Caravan from Dodge – is getting ready to hit the big 3-0. Now offered only in Grand Caravan…