Articles by Joel McLaughlin

Magnetic Nanodots Gyro Duo Is a Cool Toy for Science Fans

I loved playing with Nanodots when I reviewed them a few years ago. They were a great fidget toy when you are concentrating on something at work. Their new magnetic Gyro Duo product is another example of a great desktop fidget toy; they are also not as easy to lose, since they are much bigger than Nanodots.

If You Get a Message About Your “Achieve Account” Being Frozen, Ignore It

Multiple news organizations, in this case all the local TV stations in my area, have reported about this mysterious text message saying your “Achieve Account” being frozen. It also has a number that you should not call because it is an attempt to steal your identity; if you get a message similar to the above message, just delete it.

The Handy car2go Service Comes to Columbus

In the last month or so I’ve been using a great service here in Columbus that will appeal to city dwellers as well as downtown commuters; the service is called car2go.  Car2go is a car rental service that rents Smartcars by the minute. The service is great for that one time you need a car.

The Best Alarm Dock for Android Is the Hale Dreamer

Hale Devices, Joe Born’s newest venture, successfully kick-started the Hale Dreamer via Kickstarter. The Hale Dreamer is an extension of the work that Joe and his team did on the Digital Innovations Speaker Dock. Thanks to the work on that dock, Joe and his team have put together the best alarm dock available for Andrioid devices.

Nanodots GYRO are Safe Magnetic Toys for the Kid in All of Us

A while back I reviewed Nanodots.  Nanodots are similar to Buckyballs (which had been recalled by the Consumer Product Safety Commission because they posed an ingestion risk for children and teens). Nanodots has come up with another magnetic toy that looks like it might be less tempting to swallow by anyone, Nanodots GYRO.

Android 4.4 for Verizon Moto X Is Now Official

I am amazed that the Moto X on Verizon is the first non-Nexus devices to get Android 4.4, as confirmed by The Verge and Droid Life. The update should be appearing on your Moto X as of today. This update does not include the Google Experience Launcher, which is exclusive to the Nexus 5.

The STM Cape Helps the 2013 Nexus 7 Stand Up and Stay Slim

Since the 2013 Nexus 7 has been out for a while, cases for it have started to become easier to find. I have been using the Waterfield Slip Case; one issue with that is how the device is naked when you remove it from the case to use it. The STM Cape does not have this issue, and it has a stand!

Nexus 5 Debuts in Time for Trick or Treat

In the worst kept secret ever, and on the best day for a phone with an OS release codenamed for a candy bar, Google has finally released the Nexus 5. The Nexus 5 is made by LG and is pretty much the same hardware as the G2 but without the crappy software or fingerprint scanner. The Nexus 5 ships with the sweet treat that is Android 4.4, code named Kit Kat. Google has promised that this release should run great even on hardware that is not as robust as the Nexus 5. This is a treat for Sprint and T-Mobile…

The Voice of Siri Revealed

In 2005 Susan Bennett went to Apple to record some audio of her saying some words that iOS users know really well.  Yes Susan Bennett is the voice of Siri. Susan did not know that she was recording Siri’s voice at the time and imagine her amazement when her friends asked her if it was her. In the story, we also find out that she was also the voice of an ATM called “Tillie” and she’s also done voices for Delta Airlines as well. What other voices do you hear that she may have done?

To Phablet or Not to Phablet?

I’ve recently been able to test out a Galaxy Note 2 for a while thanks to Ting. Now that Samsung’s Galaxy Note 3 is almost here, I thought I would lay out the pluses and minuses of going phablet. There are some really compelling reasons that the Galaxy Note 3 just might be my dream device. The Galaxy Note series are often coined as a phablets.  Part phone, part tablet. The Galaxy Note 3 was already on my shortlist of possible new devices when my contract expires in April, so it only made sense to check out the Galaxy Note 2…

TiVo Is the Hidden Linux of the Week

The internet and Linux were both relatively new things in 1999 for much of the world outside of academia. It was at that time that a new device came out that has since been eclipsed by other services. What am I talking about? What many consider the first DVR, the humble TiVo. And yes, TiVo runs Linux. TiVo was originally started by Jim Barton and Mike Ramsay, via the original company which was named Teleworld. Teleworld was then renamed TiVo Inc at a later date.  The first TiVo was demonstrated at the 1999 Consumer Electronics show and then released in…

The Hidden Linux of the Week is Your TV

Valve’s announcement of SteamOS it reminded me of another hidden Linux system. It is the GPL software license that has allowed many devices to adopt Linux.  Android and kiosks are just two of them. This also can include devices you wouldn’t think would need an operating system like your TV. Your TV probably runs Linux. The GPL or GNU Public License is the license that the Linux kernel and the surrounding pieces of code that make a Linux system use.  It is this reason that many hardware developers started looking to Linux to run the core of their devices. This…

Hale Devices Kickstarts the Dreamer Alarm Dock

To date, I am aware of only one dock for Android and that was the Sonr Symphony.  I reviewed an early version of the dock here on Gear Diary. Hale Devices is Joe Born’s new name for Sonr Labs, and the Hale Dreamer picks up where the Symphony left off. Today they are kickstarting the Hale Dreamer Alarm Dock on Kickstarter. The Hale Dreamer combines both a physical dock with software to help control the phone while it’s in the dock. The software enables the hardware features of the dock like a real snooze button and more. It also includes…

Google Completes QuickOffice Assimilation, and It’s Now Free

In June of 2012, Google picked up Quick Office and for the longest time, didn’t do anything with it. Today Google has pushed out a brand new version of Quick Office completing the assimilation of this office suite.  They have added the ability to save work to Google Drive as well; it’s also now free to download for all. Google has made some significant changes to the mobile office suite they picked up over a year ago.  Namely, a brand new look for the application and the ability to use your Google Drive storage. You can also view Google Drive…

The Hidden Linux of the Week Is a Vending Kiosk

Today’s hidden Linux system is one you probably never think about. Have you ever seen a kiosk like at the airport quick check in counter or running a vending area? Well my friend Dan Frey did at his office and he found out that the kiosk that Avanti Markets uses runs Linux. Dan, who is one my fellow co-hosts of The Linux Link Tech Show found this out when the vendor that runs his cafeteria at work was installing them.  They needed help setting up the network connections as the installers were primarily familiar with Windows networking. They asked him…

Hidden Linux of the Week is Android

In the Linux community, the term “Year of the Linux Desktop” has been bandied about for over 12 years. See, I use Linux every day and I bet you do too. This is especially true if you carry an Android device. Yes Android uses the Linux and is in the hands of millions. The year of the Linux desktop is here. History Android was started in 2003 by Andy Rubin as Android Inc. Originally Android was being developed to run on cameras but they quickly realized that would be a limited market. So they started developing it for Smartphones. Money…

Android 4.4 is Now Android KitKat

Google has given Android versions names of desserts for a long time now.  Android 4.4 was supposed to be Key Lime pie but in a fit of marketing genius or avarice, Google has announced that Android 4.4 is now code named KitKat. This includes a contest by Hershey (in the US) as well where winners can win a new Nexus 7. Plus you can see how the smartphone and the KitKat have precision builds by heading to…truly a sweet case of corporate synergy!