Articles by Travis Ehrlich

Review: Arctic K381 Slim Keyboard For Windows

Our school finally recently replaced the teacher workstation computers with updated machines running Windows 7.  One thing they did not replace was the old keyboards.  I am not sure how old the keyboard I had was, but it was enormous.  I remember a few years ago when keyboard seemed to have the bigger is better phase and this was a remnant from that era.  The keyboard was so high that I had to use a wrist pad to raise my hands up to even use it.  I was not a fan of the large spring-loaded keys either.  (I know some…


Catapult Madness for iPhone/Touch Review

A strange thing often happens with IOS games.  Sometimes a simple, seemingly boring game can become completely addicting bringing joy, frustration and waste lots of time.  I recently found Catapult Madness at the top of the games list and it was on sale for free so I thought I would give it a try.  I was mildly amused at first, but kept wanting to extend the distance I threw the peasants so I kept playing.  That mild amusement turned into straight addiction as I kept upgrading and getting further and further.  The addition of GameCenter compatibility has created more of…


Review: Duracell myGrid Charging Pad

Our world seems to become continually more mobile.  With all of these mobile gadgets comes a need to charge and charge often.  Unfortunately, devices have not adopted a standard for charger connectors so that leaves many of us with a ton of plugs throughout the house.  We have a vase on the kitchen counter near a set of wall plugs that holds all of the various charging cords while keeping them hidden.  Basically, I throw the rats next of wires in the vase so my wife does not kill me due to the mess.  Duracell has released an interesting product…


Review: Philips CushionSpeaker Laptop Stand

So I am sitting in my recliner with my 13″ MacBook Pro in my lap.  The laptop is a bit warm and the show I am watching sounds terrible through the stock speakers.  My only choice to fix these problems is to dig out a laptop cooler then find some external speakers.  How about having all of this in one cool product?  Luckily, Philips brings the CushionSpeaker to combine comfort and sound into one device.  Let’s take a look. The Philips CushionSpeaker combines a laptop stand with a USB speaker device to bring a stylish all in one product.  The…


Halloween Edition, GhostCamPro for iPhone Review

We are all feeling the financial pinch!    Blue Plate Special is a weekly review of bargain apps for the iPhone and iPod Touch. Nothing over $.99. With Halloween quickly approaching, I decided it would be appropriate to find a spooky app for this week’s Blue Plate.  There are many applications with a Halloween theme, but some of my favorites utilize the camera.  We have had loads of fun with Haunted Face which Dan showed here last week so I was looking to add to my camera arsenal.  GhostCamPro will make any picture into a creepy experience by adding a ghostly…


Trainyard for iPhone/Touch Review

We are all feeling the financial pinch!    Blue Plate Special is a weekly review of bargain apps for the iPhone and iPod Touch. Nothing over $.99. Yes, I am a sucker for puzzle games on my IOS devices and love to find new games that fit the Blue Plate Special price.  Trainyard is currently on sale for $.99 so jump on this one quickly.  It is always interesting to see the many ways developers can create a puzzler.  I have a soft spot in my heart as a train lover for this one.  My dad loves to watch trains and…


Flick Fishing for iPhone/Touch Review

I recently took my oldest son fishing with a buddy and his daughter.  This was not his first time fishing, but it was definitely our most fruitful adventure.  The kids were catching perch and bass as fast as we could get the bait wet and they were having a blast.  Luckily, we hooked onto a couple of larger bass and Peyton had to learn to fight and real a fish that could really fight.  Being the geek that I have made him, he asked if there was a fishing game on the iPhone on our way home.  We decided to…


App Update Alert: TabToolkit For iPhone/Touch/iPad

One of my favorite and most used guitar apps is TabToolkit from Agile Partners.  I love the ability to search, download and read guitar tabs on my iPhone and iPad.  The application actually knows when a tab is available on the page and will download and store it with a simple tap.  As great as this app is, a huge update just went live in the app store.  This is a considerable update to an already amazing app.  Click here to read a full review of TabToolkit. Some of the new features: Guitar Pro 6 file format:  Many TabToolkit customers…


Review: Philips Notebook SoundBar

Like many of you, I rely heavily on my laptop. Even with an iPad, I use my MacBook Pro all day and every evening. As much as I love this computer, one thing that totally annoys me is the speakers. It is not that I expect theater sound and booming bass, but half of the time I just cannot hear. When I am watching Hulu or Netflix I want to know what is being said and not strain to be able to pay attention. I have tried many laptop speaker solutions, but the Philips Notebook SoundBar is a clever and…


Ace Flashcards for iPhone/Touch Review

As an educator and parent of a kindergarten student, flashcards are always a part of my life.  Many of my students make them for each test for a variety of subjects.  Coincidentally, the students who put the time in to make the cards seem to always make above average grades.  My son is learning to read and has a couple of sight words added each week.  We have two sets of flashcards at home and constantly quiz him on his words.  In Texas, students must pass a standardized test called the TAKS test which includes social studies in the 10th…


Guitar + iPhone = CASTIV’s Guitar Sidekick

The iPhone and iPad have spawned hundreds of apps for guitar players.  It has been truly exciting seeing the genre build and develop over the past year.  I have actually reviewed several of these apps and use them regularly while I jam at my house.  PocketAmp AmpKit Amplitube Tab ToolKit Guitar ToolKit The only problem I have found with these apps is where to place my iPhone.  I usually balance it on my leg or leave it on the couch.  Either way, I end up in an awkward posture which is a terrible habit to form as a guitar player. …


Rocketeer for iPhone/Touch Review

The last two weeks, I reviewed apps that were kind of off beat and different from the usual Blue Plate Special choices.  As I searched and scraped apps this week, I ended up returning to a familiar genre.  I have the biggest game of our season to date so things are a little stressed.  Getting a minute to escape is important to keep my insanity, so I was continually drawn to finding more games.  I stumbled across an interesting game that is currently on sale for free!  I recommend picking it up quickly if you plan on trying it out. …


Review: Everki Track Laptop Messenger Bag

For some time I have been using a backpack as my gear bag.  I like the backpack because it provides tons of room and lets me hold onto my college youth of backpacking around campus.  My main backpack has been the Everki Beacon laptop that I reviewed here.  I loved the quality and features of the Beacon so when I had a chance to review two new Everki bags I jumped at the chance.  I was actually ready for a change to a messenger style bag to bring a bit of professional style to my daily gear travels.  The Track…


Review: Speck PixelSleeve For iPad, Netbooks

Until very recently, I have not been mobile with my iPad.  I was able to get WiFi set up in my classroom last week and love being able to take my magic little device to use as a teaching aid.  I previously used a book style leather case that I liked, but was not comfortable in traveling with it in my bag.  It just did not seem like enough protection for the iPad.  Although I liked the ability to stand up my device with the other case, using it in an educational setting proved to be difficult.  I needed something…


Blue Plate Special Silly Edition: Flip/Bubble Text for iPhone and iPad.

We all use our iPhones and iPads for many daily tasks.  Besides gaming, most of these tasks have become quite practical and serious.  Sometimes it is fun to just be silly for no good reason with your i device so this week I am bringing you the Silly Edition of the Blue Plate.  This app really has no great value other than it is just kind of fun.  If you ever get bored with the default text the iPhone allows then it is time to try Flip/Bubble Text for iPhone and iPad.  Basically, the app allows users to type anything…


Review: Arctic Hub 4 Port USB Hub

USB devices have become the standard for geeks and technophobes alike.  If you plan on using modern technology, you are almost guaranteed to be utilizing USB ports for many devices.  Of course, none of my computers come with enough hubs, so I must find other ways to plug all my gear in.  I have tried many expandable USB hubs with varying success.  One problem I have had is the size as well as space for plugs.  I have one hub that has three spots on both sides equaling six.  There are very few cords or drives that will plug in…


Review: Philips Multimedia Speakers 2.0. Cute But Party Hard!

I remember a day when listening to music meant a stereo was in the room with you. Since today out music is completely mobile, the old fashion stereo unit is almost extinct. I find myself listening to a computer or my iPhone. I have learned that a nice pair of powered speakers is all that is needed to listen to music or even watch streaming television and movies.   I actually prefer powered computer speakers around the house to iPhone dock stereos. I recently received the Philips Multimedia Speakers 2.0 to try with my computer as well as around the house…


Review: Splash ID for iPad

Think about how much information we use on the internet that cannot be avoided, but could be devastating if it landed into the hands of a hacker.  I know I have many log ins and passwords that I keep track of.  Some of these are to sites that allow for automatic purchasing or may even contain valuable financial information.  Then there are bank and credit card accounts and other important information.  With all of these different pieces of information, it is hard to keep up with and even harder to keep safe.  Consider Splash ID a safe for all of…


Friendly-Facebook Browser for iPad Review

My iPad is the first gadget I have owned that seems to constantly grow and change the more I use it.  At least once a week I find a new use and grow ever more dependent on my magical little device.  I still use my MacBook Pro for most of my writing and heavy computer use, but the iPad is my main media consumption and gaming device.  As many of you know, IOS apps are fantastic with the added real estate, and many companies and websites are utilizing the UI and space.  With all of the goodness, there is still…


Hoggy for iPhone/Touch Review

It seems that my weekly trip through the app store looking for cheap gems has brought yet another addicting game.  I mean, even I need a short break from Angry Birds!  Apple’s latest event stated that the iPod Touch is the number one portable gaming device.  The numbers are not in front of me, but I will argue that my iPhone has become a wonderful gaming option.  My sons play on my wife’s iPhone a lot more than they play with their DSi anymore.  Well, I have now added Hoggy to my list of fun on the IOS platform.  Lets…


Review: PocketAmp For iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad

An exciting new thing is happening in the world of IOS devices!  App developers are beginning to utilize the power and UI of Apple products and turning them into electric guitar effects and outputs.  I have never hid my love for playing the guitar, and the fact that we can now combine that love with my tech and gadget addiction makes me feel like a kid on Christmas morning.  I recently reviewed two hardware adapters that allow the guitar to be played through an iPhone or iPad, and each come with application solutions for the guitar.  You can read them…