Articles by Joel McLaughlin

SPB TV for Android Review

When out and about, sometimes you got a few minutes to kill.  SPBTV for Android phones can help you use up a few of those minutes with a little mindless entertainment or a news update from overseas. SPB TV is an application that streams live TV from the Internet directly to your phone.  It has a nice interface and some of the streams even have an on-screen guide to what is coming up next.

Review: 2XL 4 Corners Headphones

It’s been a while since I reviewed the Brickyard headphones from 2XL.  I really like  them even though their over the ear  style design can become warm on the ears. 2XL has solved the sweaty ear problem with a new style of headphones in the new 4 Corner Style of headphones. The design of these new headphones is unique in that instead of round like traditional headphones of this style, these are square. The square shape of these headphones do not make them at all uncomfortable.

Altec Lansing Expressionist Ultra Review

Not all speaker sets are created equal, that much is certain.  Altec Lansing has sent me their latest — and what I consider their best — the Altec Lansing Expressionist Ultra Speakers. The Expressionist Ultra is currently the top of the Altec Lansing line.  This very stylish three speaker system boasts 200 Watts of power, and its tremendous sub woofer is bigger than the computer the system is connected to.

Review: Altec Lansing inMotion CLASSIC

I’ve never had a great iPod speaker.  I bought a cheap one at Kroger that didn’t last a month.  It also required you to have it hooked to the wall all the time which limited its use.  The inMotion CLASSIC that Altec Lansing sent me solves both the quality issues with my old speakers and let’s me be free of the wall. While the inMotion CLASSIC isn’t the first speaker dock to have integrated batteries, it is my first one and that has to be my number one favorite feature of the inMotion CLASSIC.  If I want some music while…

Altec Lansing Orbit USB iML237 Speaker Review

Last year Judie reviewed the Altec Lansing Orbit speaker.  It was an interesting speaker that can be used with any device sporting a normal 3.5 mm headphone jack.  The downside to using such a speaker with a laptop is that the internal sound card in most laptops can be a bit noisy. Altec Lansing recently sent me a sample of their  Orbit USB iML237 speaker. It solves the sound card issue perfectly.  

Tux Droid: a Nabaztag for Linux Geeks has released the new Tux Droid 2.0.  Tux Droid is essentially a Open Source Nabaztag that looks like Tux the Penguin (Tux was originally designed as the Linux mascot by Larry Ewing).  The Tux Droid is wirelessly connected to your computer via its cute fish shaped dongle, which  has a striking resemblance to Tux himself.  What does Tux do?  He’ll do a little dance whenever you get an E-mail, Twitter message or a Facebook messag; he also has a text-to-speech engine, and by interacting with Tux Droid, you can also complete certain tasks on your computer.  If you aren’t…

RockBox Review – Breathe new life into your iPod

I have a confession to make.  I love iPods.  I have been a consistent user of the iPod since I got my first one about the time Mac OS X Tiger came out.  Back then I was a Mac OS X fan and I had a PowerBook.  I loved my PowerBook.  I used iTunes on my Mac back when it was still clean and sleek.  Now iTunes is a bloated mess that I just dislike dealing with.  I have also transitioned to using Linux as my OS of choice, which can make life difficult if you love iPods, but not…

Review: Icon Rogue 2 LED Flashlight

Not all flashlights are created equal.  Back in 1979, Anthony Maglica created Maglite.   Maglite is the bar where all flashlights are measured, for me.  Almost nothing could top it back then.  Well, Paul Kim, the designer of the Icon Rogue series of flashlights may be the new Anthony Maglica.  The Icon Rogue 2 is the best flashlight I have come across in all of my LED flashlight reviews I have done.   It is that good.

Coghlan’s Flint Striker Review

From the days of the cave man, starting fires has long been something man has struggled with.  The Coghlan’s Flint Striker which is a twist  on a fire-starting technology that is almost as old as time.  Even with today’s more modern technology, you  still might want to use one of these instead of matches or butane lighters. Coghlan’s Flint Striker is a rod made of magnesium with a striker attached with a piece of cord.  It is simple to operate.  You just take the striker and hold it in one hand with the word UP facing the top of 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…

Review: Dataviz Documents to Go Version 2.0 for Android

Since I got my G1, I have been interested in viewing documents on my G1.  However that was not possible, except for PDF files.  I was able to quickly find a good PDF viewer in IcViewer.  However, there have been times that I would like to create a Word document or Excel spreadsheet.  Since there is no Open Office port for Android, I had to make do with some note apps, bringing the text into a document once I got back to my desk.  Once that was done, I either had to print to a PDF file to view it…

Life+Gear 6IN1DC Flashlight Review

It never fails.  The power goes out in the middle of the night and your flash light is out of batteries.  Now that we are getting to the heart of the hurricane season, before the next storm hits maybe you should  get your family a Life+Gear 6IN1DC. The 6IN1DC is touted as a quad power device. The device can run on 3 AAA Batteries,  a DC Adapter (not included), an AC Adapter (also not included) and backup power. 

Life+Gear 200 Hour Glow Sticks Review

We have all seen the cyalume glow sticks that you snap and then shake to get a chemiluminescent glow.  Kids love them, but there is one downside: You can’t turn them off.  Imagine having a glowstick that you can not only turn off, but at the press of a button you could make that glow stick into a regular flashlight.  That is essentially what we have with the Lifegear 200 Hour Glow Sticks.

Review: Nimbuzz for Android

Android has a built in IM client that is actually pretty good.  It supports a lot of the instant messaging services, but does not support any of the new chats like Facebook chat or Skype.  Nimbuzz has finally released a client for the Android operating system that supports Facebook and Skype as well as Live Messenger, Yahoo Instant Messenger, AOL Instant Messenger, ICQ, Google Talk, My Space, Study VZm SchuelerVZ, Gadu Gadu, Hyves,Jabber and Giovani.  Most of these other services Nimbuzz supports I have never heard of.

Jolicloud OS Review

Netbooks are all the rage, and while Linux did start out on netbooks, it seems Microsoft has been getting the lion share of the shipments.  Well, if you have a netbook and are tired of Windows XP, but your hardware is too anemic Windows Vista or you don’t think you are geek enough for Linux, maybe you should try Jolicloud. Jolicloud is based on Ubuntu Linux, the Linux OS that is considered the easiest Linux distribution to use. It has been getting a lot of love from such sites as Lifehacker, PC Magazine and Cranky Geeks. How good is it?…

Review: HP Mediasmart LX195

The single biggest problem my wife and other family members have is making sure that their data is backed up.  The HP Mediasmart LX195 will help you make sure that data is safe and a while lot more. This server is based on Microsoft’s Windows Home Server.  It’s not my normal operating system of choice, but I think that Microsoft and HP have done a good thing here.  They have done something that is difficult with Linux.  They have made it extremely easy to setup a media server and a backup server all in the same tidy package.  Try as…

Review: Cy-Fi Wireless Sports Speaker Bluetooth

I was searching for a Bluetooth speaker system to use with my T-Mobile G1 and lo and behold  I came across the Cy-Fi Wireless Sport Speaker.  This nifty little speaker can attach  to the handlebar of your bicycle or motorcycle allowing you to rock out as you ride. This spacey looking speaker weighs only 5 ounces and is very slim.  You can slip it one of your pockets and use it indoors as well as on the bike.  It comes with a dock, power supply and 2 different brackets.  Probably the most shocking thing is that it comes with a…

Where GPS for Android OS Review

I reviewed Sherpa yesterday.  While it was very good, it was slow as molasses.  Where GPS, or what most of my friends just call Where, is an app that does a lot of what Sherpa does and more.  It does it very fast. At the core, Where utilities your phone’s GPS in almost every aspect of its operation.  You can manually change to any location by entering in a Zip code, so you can use this for trip planning as well.  When you first launch Where, it asks if you are still where you were the last time you ran…

Sherpa for Android OS Review

One of the most touted apps on the new T-Mobile myTouch 3G is Sherpa.  Sherpa gives you a unique way to discover things near your current location.  Geodelic, the company behind Sherpa has put a lot of work into its interface, and it’s a very beautiful app for Android based phones.  It is also now available on the Android Marketplace, so I installed it on my G1 and gave it a spin.

Bluebird Pidion BM-150R from SDG Systems Review

It has been a while since I have heard from SDG Systems.  Brian Fuller from SDG Systems contacted me about the Bluebird line and offered to send me one to give the once over.  I chose the BM-150R which is the closest to what Gear Diary readers may want to carry. Let me say this up front: the Bluebird line from SDG is all targeted at enterprise users.  They are not your typical consumer device.

CozyHoze Boss Management System Review

I have been diagnosed with Obstructive Sleep Apnea over two years ago.  Obstructive Sleep Apnea is where your airway closes off while you sleep causing you to stop breathing.  CPAP, or continuous positive airway pressure is the best therapy for the moment.  It uses a blower and a mask system to blow air into you as you breath in.  This helps keep the airway clear so that you don’t stop breathing and you don’t wake up. As a Obstructive Sleep Apnea sufferer there are many frustrations.  The first one is the mask and you just kind of have to get…