Gear Bits

WD-40 Limited Military Collectible Series

  Collections are fun. I have a collection of fountain pens still even though I rarely use pen and paper these days. I have a collection of gadgets, but that is more about my involvement with Gear Diary than anything else. And there was a point in my younger days when I collected unusual beer bottles. It was a fun collection and a great excuse to buy interesting six-packs. And since I was collecting EMPTY bottles… well you know… I’m sure dad was onto the scam, but he went along anyway. Thanks, dad! Yes, collections are fun, and when the…


Google’s Chrome Ad Is a Tear-Jerker

Ok, maybe it’s just me (and Sarah!) We’re tired, it was a long, exhausting weekend. We were watching TV when the new Google Chrome commercial came on. In seconds we were both a bit teary-eyed. It was sweet. It was dorky. It was really, really brilliant. Yes, instead of taking the obvious path and focusing on specific Google services such as Gmail, it showcases the way memories can be saved. Its message, ” This isn’t about Google Chrome it is about you, your life and the stuff that matters!”


Is the Twitter Bubble Over?

I once attended a work event where someone explained how he knew the so-called “tech bubble” of the early 90’s was over and done. It was Christmas Eve, he said, and his retired, conservative mother-in-law asked if she should own shares of Amazon.com. As he told it, at that very moment he turned to his wife and said: “That’s it, tech’s done.” If we go by that logic social media is done. Yes, if that is the correct indicator the social media bubble is about to pop. How do I know? Simple, at a mother’s day brunch earlier today my…


DoubleTwist Brings AirPlay to Android

I really like Apple’s AirPlay which allows you to use your Mac or iOS device to stream video or music to an Apple TV, powered speakers connected to an AirPort Express or one of the growing number of AirPlay enabled speaker systems. (In fact we have reviews of two such systems on the way.) I have expanded the “reach” of AirPlay in my home so that it is now available in four different rooms. I have, however, resisted jumping fully in because I don’t want to be completely and totally locked into Apple’s ecosystem. (Like I’m not totally locked in…


Doing Good One App at a Time: Make a Wish Makes an App Wish Come True

The Make a Wish Foundation does some pretty amazing things for some pretty sick kids. Here’s one that brings kindness and tech together. 9 year-old Owain Weinert has pre-B Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia. After his diagnosis he reached out to the Make A Wish Foundation who, in turn, reach out to PopCap Games. One thing led to another and before you know it PopCap was working with Owain to create the iOS game Allied Star Police. The game should be available soon. Seriously, how neat is that??? Personally, I don’t care whether I ever play the game, I’m buying as soon…


Music Diary Quickie: Word of Mouth STILL Reigns Supreme

Over the last decade the ways of finding and sharing music have exploded – there are web forums, social music sites, subscription services, recommendations on music sites like tunes, Twitter, Facebook, and on and on. But guess what? There is still no better way to find something than a recommendation from a trusted friend – and better still, direct sharing that leads to a purchase. My brother came to visit us over Easter for the weekend, and on Sunday morning I put on Jason Parker’s Five Leaves Left. My brother grabbed his iPhone after a couple of songs and asked…


Undo the Damage Inflicted on Marine Life with Recycled Carpet and Bottles? You Bet!

  It is hard to believe but thanks to recycled carpet and water bottles marine areas that are currently “dead zones” can be brought back to life. Bruce Kania, CEO of Floating Island International has developed a way to create artificial islands from the garbage and, in the process bring life back to aquatic areas that would otherwise remain dead zones. Kania’s company takes the debris and uses it to create a “loofah-like mesh of plastic”. They then add soil and seeds and set it afloat. Nature takes over from there. The seeds bloom and grow and, as a post over…


‘Be Consecrated to Me with This Ring’ (Or Is It ‘With This Coin’?)

Within my tradition, a couple is officially married when one partner gives the other something of easily assessed value; which is probably the original reason why Jewish wedding bands don’t usually have stones — the addition of the gems makes easily assessing the value impossible. The result is that while we usually use a ring in a wedding, it doesn’t HAVE to be a ring. Yup, the object used in the ceremony CAN be a ring or it could be something like a watch or a coin; you name it. So long as you can easily determine the value, you…


PPC Techs Apple iPad Black Universal Capacitive Stylus Review

  Steve Jobs was clear when he introduced the iPad that using a stylus was a “no-no”. Instead, he encouraged all of us to use our built-in pointers; you know, those things called fingers. Well that has worked pretty well for me over the last year. In fact, it has worked so well that I have increasingly tried to touch the screen of my MacBook Air only to be reminded that, oh yeah, it has a trackpad, not a touchscreen. There are, however, times when you might want to use a stylus. No, the iPad will never be as stylus-friendly…


OS X Lion Turns Your Laptop Into the Best Desktop Ever

9to5Mac had an interesting post earlier today regarding a seemingly minor change in the upcoming OS X Lion release. As they explain, Among other subtle changes, in Lion when you shut your MacBook’s screen while connected to an external monitor, the machine no longer goes to sleep but instead switches immediately to external monitor-only view while staying active. To flesh it out a bit, when I have my 13″ MBA connected to an external monitor, mouse and keyboard and I close the lid the external monitor goes blank and the MBA goes into sleep mode. If I want to use…


An Ingenious Dieting Tool: The Diet Fork

I saw this on Etsy and thought it was cute. Want to look more svelte? Try eating less with a “Diet Fork.” You’ll be so frustrated by the time you are done trying to stab your spaghetti or rice that you’ll just naturally begin eating less, your stomach will shrink, and you’ll live happily ever after! Well, maybe losing weight isn’t quite that simple. Okay, so there are some fundamental flaws with that theory, but I still thought the Diet Fork Magnet was a whimsical item — perfect for gifting to your friends who are always starting the latest fad…


You Know You’re a Geek When …

We are in Massachusetts for three nights for a friend’s wedding…yet somehow a weekend trip required a MacBook, a netbook, a Kindle 3 and a NOOKcolor. Oh, and not pictured: an HTC Incredible and my Motorola Droid. When I met Sarah she didn’t even have a smartphone; apparently geekery is contagious!


A Mac Keyboard Accessory I Really Want: the Mobee Magic Bar

Mobee Magic Bar Both Elana and I use an Apple wireless keyboard with our MacBook Airs when we are at home. We love the keyboards and the flexibility they offer but we hate the wastefulness of constantly having to replace the batteries. Sure we could use rechargables and and we were about to get a system when I saw this: The Mobee Magic Bar. The Mobee Magic bar offers a USB-powered recharge dock for your keyboard that lets you cut the cords but then, when needed, charge it up once more by simple plugging it into the computer. It looks…


A Marriage Statistic

Note that the above chart is missing one key slice. In 2004, Massachusetts legalized same-sex marriage. No World Wars or other disasters befell the state, but the Red Sox won the World Series! So remember, in the event of same-sex marriage, two people get married AND long-standing bad sports curses break. Win-win! (And that really is the most exciting thing that happens. As Dan loves pointing out, Sarah and I are just as boring as every other couple!) Via Good.is


Mobile Computing as It Was Meant to Be

  I can think of far worse work stations than this! Take one gorgeous spring day, an 11″ MacBook Air and Rain Design’s awesome laptop stand and you get one rather nice place to work. Elana has never raved about a computer as much as she does her 11″ MBA and being able to edit a business proposal for someone while looking out at the lake is pretty darn nice! I think THIS is what mobile computing was made for! 🙂 And speaking of mobile computing… Posted from my RIM Playbook!


Apple is #1 in Global Handset Revenue

While there is a lot of talk about Android and how dominant a force it is in smartphones (hey, I love mine!), there is one thing people sometimes seem to forget: Android isn’t a phone. So while the Android OS is doing very well and some of the handset makers are also doing well, there is one company who makes a single phone on two carriers that is beating all of them – including the former #1 handset maker Nokia! That company is Apple. Here is some of the press release: Apple Inc. overtook Finland’s Nokia Corp. to claim the…


Unruly Cables and Cords? Take Two Apple(cores) and Call Me In the Morning

Cords are a pain. Seriously. They are a royal pain. You got your headphone cords.  You got your sync cords. You got your power cords.  You got your… Never mind, you get the idea. The list goes on and on. Well here is one solution that is inexpensive, effective and a lot of fun too. The Applecore is a simple system for getting your cords in line. They come in small, medium and large so that headphones, sync and computer cables and power cords can all be effectively tamed. Better still they comes in a variety of colors. AND, and…


A Quick Chuckle from Elana’s Uncle

  You know those jokes that your Aunt Gertrude likes to send? The ones that come with 9000 other email addresses in the To: line since she doesn’t know how to use the BCC line and be respectful of others privacy? Well sometimes they are actually kinda funny. Like this one… Here is the proof that we have become too dependent on our computers: Question: Are you Male or female? To find out the answer, Look down… — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — —…


The Cruel March of Technology

I tend to keep my Mac laptops for two ‘generations’, which allows me to extract maximum value from them in terms of return on investment before trading them in or selling them. At that point there is still solid performance and decent value remaining. When the iPad 2 launch was approaching, I decided to look at the possibility of trading in my 2008 Macbook Pro. Lately I have used Gazelle, as they give a reasonable value and their process is so quick and painless that it is worth taking a little bit less because of the time savings. But as…


Take Off With the Jetlev R200 Flyer Jetpack

So tomorrow there are a number of us who will be excitedly pre-ordering the HTC Flyer Android Tablet. But that’s tomorrow, and it is a whole day away. In the meantime there is another flyer worth a look, although it costs a heck of a lot more. The Jetlev R200 Flyer is a Jetpack that makes personal flight a reality. The device uses pressurized water to levitate the pack and it’s “driver” and go vertical or horizontal. At close to 100K it is a luxury for people who live lives of super luxury but who knows, in a couple of…


HandyBand Magnetic Wrist Band

This falls under the heading of “Now why didn’t I think of that?”. I stumbled across something called the Handy Band yesterday and kind of wish I had come up with it. The Handy Band is a magnetic wristband that will result in “no more searching for dropped screws, nails, nuts or bolts!” The Advertisement: The Magnetic Wrist Band: Introducing the HandyBand, the amazing magnetic wrist band that keeps small metal objects right where you want them. The HandyBand’s unique magnetic circuitry makes any job easier. No more searching for dropped screws, nuts or bolts. Every HandyBand is made by…