Gear Bits

Travel With The booq Taipan Lift

I am reviewing the booq Taipan Lift ($89.95 – $99.95) by using it during my quick trip to San Francisco for TeleNav’s Waypoint. It is a briefcase style laptop bag which, to be quite honest, isn’t my preference. (I tend to like messenger bags and backpacks.) Having just gone through airport security, however, I am totally sold on this bag for travel. There are, in fact, three specific design aspects of it that have already come in rather handy.


Five things I like about the Speck SeeThru Satin Hard Shell for 17″ MacBook Pro, and one thing I don’t

Speck has been covered extensively by Gear Diary, and with good reason – their products are well made, they protect the devices they are meant to hold, and they look great! While at CES I visited the Speck booth, and one of the many things that impressed me was that Speck makes a cover for my 17″ laptop — it seems like accessories for this size are rather rare. Fast forward to last week when I received a SeeThru Satin Hard Shell for my 17″ MacBook Pro, and my laptop has not been naked since. Dan just recently reviewed this…


The iPad Revealed: GearChat #2

Across the blogosphere, millions watched with bated breath today as Apple unveiled their latest — the obviously (yet unfortunately) named iPad — to a crowd who seemed to be enthusiastic and yet instantly critical of the ~10″ tablet. Gorgeous UI, large vivid screen, the ability to run existing iPhone apps, and a new iBook store are huge selling points for some. The absence of a camera and multi-tasking are among the possible deal-breakers for others. Not immediately obvious are exactly who the iPad’s intended customers might be — other than users who don’t mind carrying yet another device. Join Dan,…


Salt Dough Ornaments are Holiday Fun for the Whole Family

After moving this year, Kevin and I realized we were a bit light on Christmas tree decorations; but instead of going out and buying a bunch of them, his girls and I spent a day making salt dough ornaments. This is something that my mom used to do with my brother and me when we were kids. Mom thinks it’s because play-dough wasn’t easily available living overseas, but it could just as easily be because we were on an enlisted military man’s budget and she was a stay-at-home-mom. Whatever the reason, salt dough is very similar to play-dough, and the…


The Polaris Ranger EV Is Quiet Fun

My friend Steven showed up with his latest “toy” a couple of days ago — the a 2010 Polaris 4×4 Ranger EV. I’ve got a tricked out red 2009 Ranger XP 700 EFI (complete with CD player and Sirius Satellite radio, heh). Mine may beat his in a race, but his has a feature that leaves mine in the dust – it’s electric and nearly noiseless. I thought his buggy was neat enough that I should share.


Voice Recognition Technology Today

I’ve been using various voice to text solutions for a number of years. I began using Nuance’s Dragon NaturallySpeaking when it was back in version 7 or 8. Unfortunately, back then it was often more proof of concept than useful tool. The process of transcribing text was slow and the accuracy was not all that good. Over the years two things have changed. First, the power of our devices has grown exponentially. My iPhone is, on many levels, as powerful or more powerful than the computer I was using just a few years ago. And my iMac and my MacBook…


Walmart Selling Caskets Online

Wal-Mart has started offering caskets and urns at prices that are probably cheaper than what you’d pay at your local funeral home. Online casket sales are not a totally new concept as Amazon offers them and so does Costco. But somehow a Wal-Mart casket seems, well, cheap. Take comfort knowing that you didn’t overpay for Mom or Dad to be laid to rest in a specially designed $999 “Dad Remembered” or “Mom Remembered” casket. Wal-Mart even ships coffins directly (embalming sold separately) to the funeral home which I’m sure will cause your local funeral director to be really friendly when…


Hour Glass Coffee: The World’s Coolest Coffee Maker

Soon temperatures will finally start to cool off here in South Texas and it will finally be time for some serious coffee drinking.  Yes, I know many of you cannot live without your daily dose, but I only drink it when it is cool outside and without caffeine.  First of all, I don’t do caffeine at all, and if I drink coffee everyday the acid starts to bother my stomach.  The Hour Glass Coffee maker produces a low acid coffee extract via a cold brew process.  (hence the title “World’s Coolest Coffee Maker”) The video shows how the system works. …


Bioshock Bento is too Cute to Eat!

I’ve long been fascinated by the patience and artistry that goes into making a Japanese Bento Box; if you aren’t familiar with these, then you should start by looking at these images on Google as well as this Flicker Pool. As explained in the introduction on one of the multitudes of Bento Box sites I’ve found: As with so much of modern Japanese culture, the aesthetic (especially for children and young women) is strongly based on a compact cuteness. If you went to a school where kids brought packed lunches, you know how much it means to a kid when…


Don’t Copy That 2 reminds you to … not copy stuff!

So how many folks remember that public service announcement (PSA) ‘Don’t Copy That Floppy’? Well, the folks at Consumerist have noticed that an ‘Official Sequel’ has been released, ‘Don’t Copy That 2’ that reminds you that copying and especially profiting from making copies is a serious crime … and the new video is every bit as ‘hip’ as the original!


Giving the 17″ MacBook Pro Laptop a Try

I’ve been greatly enjoying the HP dv6 that I recently upgraded to Windows 7, and that got me wondering about Snow Leopard (OSX 10.6). Dan was evil kind enough to send me a link to the latest Apple refurb sales last week, and I couldn’t help myself…after perusing the wares, I bit.


CoPilot Live 8 for iPhone (North America)

I’ve been doing a series of reviews of navigation software for the iPhone.  The folks at ALK (the makers of CoPilot) have released CoPilot Live into the market for a very nice price of only $34.99 (for the North America version).  At this price it will appeal to many people.  Here I’m taking a first look at CoPilot Live (with a full review to follow) and give some initial impressions.  So let’s get to it!


Some Thoughts On the HTC Hero After a Few Days

I have become increasingly disenchanted due to the nonsense being pulled by Apple and AT&T with regard to the iPhone and applications for it. Time and again they have actively limited the device reaching its potential by intentionally crippling or rejecting apps that make it more useful. When the Google Voice apps were pulled from the App Store — and Google’s own app rejected — I started looking around to see what other device options might be available. Ultimately, the HTC Hero seemed to be the best option. Sure, it lacks the US 3G but then again, I spend the…


Visit David Letterman Stage Door Weekdays 5:30 – New York Tourist Tip

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=l7z3wL0EZPQ Have you always wanted to see a celebrity (or two or three) up close and personal? I have a secret to share. If you’re in New York City while David Letterman tapes (check the web site because he does not tape every night) – you can wait by the stage door at 5:30 pm and watch the celebrities emerge from that night’s taping. Last night I was in the city for a Toshiba event and saw Diddy, Ginuwine and Missy Elliott. All three stopped, chatted and signed autographs for a crowd of under 15 people — Ginuwine’s manager even…


Navigon (Lite) for iPhone with North America Maps

Other than AT&T Navigator, Navigon probably has more presence worldwide in GPS Navigation (especially through it’s stand alone products) than anything we’ve seen so far.  First they released their product for the European market a few weeks ago, and now they have released a “Lite” version sporting North American maps (full version coming soon). Let’s take a quick look at this offering from Navigon. Of the current iPhone navigation choices for the iPhone I’ve seen so far, this one has the most pleasing user interface yet.  The graphics are clean, sharp, and the color choices are pleasant.  That said, this…


DOOM Resurrection – an iPhone Gaming First Look

I have to admit that when it comes to gaming I have a weakness for 1st Person Shooters and… Zombies. But can games that combine the two really work on a device as small and “buttonless” as the iPhone or iPod Touch? After spending the last 45 minutes or so playing id software’s new release DOOM Resurrection the answer is a definitive “YES!!!” DOOM Resurrection, currently $9.99 in the App Store, combines great graphics, a good story line, and truly usable touchscreen controls into a fantastic gaming experience. While other games have done a good job with using the touchscreen…


Unboxing The iPhone 3G S – A GD Video

Travis got his iPhone 3G S at the Apple Store this morning, and Larry’s iPhone arrived at his home home a bit ago. I’m still waiting. 🙁 Larry has unboxed his on camera for your viewing pleasure. (Hint: Pay special attention to the gentle way Larry treats his iPhone 3G, now that it has been left for a newer, hotter model.) http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=rFqA0gGBB2Q


Give her the Sun with the Sun Jar

If choosing a gift can be a problem, for sure choosing one for your mother can be a demanding task: you would like something useful, but it should be also feminine, maybe original and possibly not too expensive. Stop thinking, why not giving her something simply… natural? Why not giving her the sun?


Iri5’s Ghost in the Machine Series

Over the past couple of weeks, the internet has been abuzz with posts about the artist Erika Simmons’ iri5 “Ghost in the Machine” creations. These pieces of art, which are made from old cassette tapes and other media, feature musicians and film stars. I first learned about her work on Neatorama, and when I checked the artist’s Flickr, I was hooked; I wanted to own one! Bob Dylan


The Nokia N85’s Killer App

There are many reasons to like the Nokia N85, but the one thing that has blown my hair back and made me truly appreciate this talented little device is something I had never before seen in a mobile phone…an FM transmitter*. And not just any weak wannabe transmitter, I’m talking about one that is just as strong – and allows the music to sound just as rich – as the dedicated transmitter on my Sirius box does.


Use PayPal’s free disposable credit card number to manage recurring charges

UPDATE: This post was written in 2009; at some point in 2010-2011, PayPal stopped offering this service. =( One of my pet peeves is online sites that require payment with a credit card along with a “good until canceled” order to keep charging my card until I notify them to stop. As anyone who has ever dealt with some online sites can attest, the ordeal to STOP a recurring charge can be 100 times more difficult than the two clicks it took to start.