How to Do It Yourself!

How to Shop for a Realtor

Sarah and I recently sold our house and bought a new one …  or to be accurate, the house is new to us and was built in the 1920’s, which is part of what drew us to it. I’ve received numerous questions from friends about the criteria we used to find our realtor. Since a home can be the biggest, most expensive piece of “gear” any of us may own,…


How to Remove Gum from a Smartphone Screen

I am the go-to person among my friends and family with smartphone troubleshooting questions. Last night was definitely a first, though, as someone (who has requested to remain anonymous) managed to stick their iPhone in a pocket with a piece of used chewing gum. The result was a sticky mess all over the iPhone screen, but with some quick searching and a common household solvent, I figured out how to…


How to Maximize Do Not Disturb on iOS

I admit, I did not make much use of the “Do Not Disturb” setting on my iPhone when it first appeared. But Apple’s commercials for the Do Not Disturb on iOS feature with the Williams sisters playing ping pong caught Sarah’s attention, and she insisted I learn how to maximize the setting. Apparently my iPad and iPhone echoing each other with emails, news, and text messages all night was starting to…


Game Play Puts Game Boy Games on iPhone 5 Without Jailbreaking

Have you ever longed for the days of your childhood you spent with your eyes glued to the black and grey screen of the Nintendo Game Boy?  Did you pride yourself on beating Super Mario Land?  I know I did.  I don’t know how many countless AA batteries I drained with that handheld.  Now, with Game Play, you can relive those glory days on your iPhone 5 without jailbreaking your…


How to Listen to Text on Your iOS Device

Remember the commercial that went something like “Reading is fundamental”? It is but there are some times when it is far better to listen to an email or a document than read it. I had done this via an iOS app but then I learned that iPhones, iPads and iPod touches have the capability built right into the operating system as part of Apple’s commitment to accessibility for those who…


How to Maximize iOS Notes App

I have a confession to make. Despite an Evernote account, and a Catch.com account, being a dedicated Todo and Pocket Informant user … I use Apple’s Notes App more than almost any other piece of software on my devices. Sometimes, when you’re taking notes, you don’t want lots of bells and whistles, you just want to take notes. There’s a reason the pen and paper have endured, and that’s the…


Create Shortcuts in iOS, Your Gear 101

One terrific (but often unused) tool baked right into iOS is the ability to create keyboard shortcuts. With them, you can type in just a few brief letters and have a much longer piece of text appear in the body of whichever document you are working on. They are particularly useful when you have a block of text that is used on a frequent basis. For example, our Kickstart This!…


How to Get Your Google Contacts onto Your iPhone

In the past week, we’ve heard results from AT&T and Verizon, and in the particular case of Verizon which had iPhones account for TWO THIRDS of its smartphone sales, 20% of those sales went to former Android users. I have detailed my years long Android exclusivity, which just ended in late December with the purchase of an iPhone 5. I got one for my wife and we got them for…


Raspberry Pi Hacked to Allow Siri to Open Your Garage Door

What a world we live in – We now have computers that fit in our pockets, gorgeous televisions that are 1″ thick, and a dude who skydived from the edge of space.  Continuing along that vein, now you can program your credit card sized computer, otherwise known as the Raspberry Pi, to open your garage door for you using Siri’s voice commands on your iPhone.  Seriously. RaspberryPi.org forum user “DarkTherapy”…


Building a Budget-Friendly Home Theater PC

Hello again, friends and tech-lovers.  Today we are going to talk about building a Home Theater PC or HTPC for short.  More importantly, building a budget-friendly HTPC.  In one of my previous posts, I talked about the Ceton inifiniTV 4 tuner, a great way to turn your PC into a set-top box for your cable TV.  But, what if you don’t have a PC lying around to use?  What if…


Got an Old PowerPC Mac? Resuscitate It with Linux.

Apple has long left the PowerPC based Macs of old behind; however, any G4 or G5 based Mac is still a very capable machine.  Most of the G5 Power Macs I have come across are dual-core G5 machines and some of the iMacs are as well.  Apple isn’t releasing updates for the last supported version of Mac OS X that will run on PowerPC based Macs.  Firefox and Chrome are…


D-Star Breathes New Life into Amateur Radio

D-Star is the newest mode I have recently added to my Amateur Radio arsenal.  I bought an Icom ID-31A D-star, radio which I will be reviewing here soon, but I wanted to share a little about D-star and why it’s a cool mode before I did the review. The History of D-Star D-star is a mode that was created by the Japanese Amateur Radio League in 2001 after doing three…


How to Root the Nexus 7; And Some Good Reasons Why You Should do it

  The Nexus 7 is no doubt one of the hottest tablets to hit the Android Community. Running a bloat free Google OS on top of a Tegra 3 platform has proven to be a crowd favorite. So why take the possibly “warranty voiding” steps to gain Root access to the device? Even if you are not an enthusiast there are many benefits to rooting the tablet past the obvious…


Building a Simple Ham Radio Antenna without Soldering

One of the first things you might want to do after getting your Ham Radio License is talk on the radio.  However, there are many things you may have to do to get that done depending on what kind of radio you purchase. If you purchase a handheld radio, you likely already have an antenna included in the box.  These radios typically will have 2 m and 70 cm bands…


How to get Amazon Prime Streaming Media and Flash Content to Play on your Nexus 7

  Amazon Prime Streaming “Ronin” on Nexus 7 Flash is dead…or is it? Although Adobe Flash is no longer support on the latest version of Android 4.1 (Jellybean), that does not mean you can’t enjoy the benefits of Flash content and movies. The move from flash-based content to HTML5 has been long underway but the truth is that the internet is still riddled with flash content including the one of…


Making Siri Work for You; Some Gear Diary Suggestions

Image courtesy of headlondon.com Siri is an interesting innovation.  I remember back in my early days  in the tech biz, when I read about and heard plenty of people talking about a) how voice recognition was just around the corner, and b) how voice recognition was dang hard, and it was going to be a long ways out in the future.  Of course, in those days a 500 MB drive…


Go Custom with Skinit’s Infinity Case for iPhone 4

Tired of going to Best Buy and looking through hundreds of boring, repetitive case designs? Skinit.com thinks they’ve got you covered. Today, the website launches an innovative line of customizable cases for the iPhone 4 and 4S. As a site known for their high-quality protective skins and casings, the company’s aptly named Infinity series offers up a two-part accessory featuring a protective skeleton and a fully personalized “Switchplate.” As seen…



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…



Which Ham Radio Should I Buy?

In my continuing series on the subject of Ham Radio, I’ll now attempt to answer the great unknown question: Which ham radio should I buy?? Well What do you Want to Do? In a lot of ways, this is almost the same as asking which phone one should buy.  The first question you should be asking isn’t which radio do you want to buy, but what do you want to do, or what…