Green Tech

Review: The Joy Factory Zip USB Touch-n-go Multi-Charging Station with ZipTail Receivers

Charging cables and cords… they’re everywhere. Literally everywhere. Have an iPhone? You need a 5W wall adapter and a USB cable. An iPad? You need a 10W wall adapter and a USB cable. Using a Samsung Galaxy Tab? You’ll need one of their proprietary chargers. Have a Blackberry or Android phone? Most likely you need a microUSB adapter connected to a wall charger. And the list goes on and on. I hate the mess of cords. That’s why I’ve been so interested in the various conductive charging systems that have been coming to market for the past few years. The…


Intel’s “Upgrade Your Life” Event

Along with 12 other site owners, I was invited to attend the Intel “Upgrade Your Life” experience in Santa Clara, California on July 13th. I went into this event with no itinerary and no idea of what we were going to see, but I figured it had to be more than “just” processor chips. Sure enough, I was in for an eye-opening day … After a greeting by Intel’s Social Media guru Alison Wesley and an ice-breaking game of ‘guess the tweet’ game, we were on to the first speaker … Suzanne Fallender – Director, Corporate Social Responsibility Strategy and…


Forward with Ford: Safety, Innovation, & Being Green!

I recently joined a group of online and traditional media for the “Forward With Ford” event at Ford’s Dearborn facility for a multi-day event covering trends and technologies that Ford is addressing. Before attending, I was offered the choice of exploring three of the following sessions; I chose the ones with stars next to them. ?Living Green As gasoline prices continue to rise, fuel efficiency has become an even more important purchase factor for consumers looking at buying a new vehicle. In the first four months of 2011, small cars sales jumped from 19% to 25% in the United States….


Random Cool Technology: Charge Your Cell Phone Battery By Typing!

Yesterday my cell phone battery was dead just after lunch – poor signal combined with heavy use killed it quickly. That is a tale all-too familiar to many. But imagine if walking could help recharge your devices, or typing on your phone screen? That is exactly the technology being described in the new edition of the technical journal Advanced Functional Materials. Here are some details: This ANU article quotes lead co-author Dr. Madhu Bhaskaran from RMIT: This is the first time we have been able to say that applying a particular amount of pressure will create specific values of voltage…


Chevy Volt: A Week in the Life

I have written about the new Chevrolet Volt extended-range electric vehicle before so I am not going to go into too much technical detail here. This time I am going to delve into the “electric lifestyle” that would surround a consumer who drives one of the new breed of vehicles home. It did not take me long to figure out a week with an electric vehicle was going to require some different thinking. In fact, when the vehicle was delivered, more than half the battery pack was already drained just going from warehouse to carwash to my driveway in the…


Giveacar.co.uk Helps You, uh, Walk off into the Sunset

We here at Gear Diary thought we’d make you aware of a way to rid yourself of technology; automotive technology, that is. Old, unwanted automotive technology, of course. (You don’t really think a site called GEAR DIARY is going to encourage you to dump your technology and go all monk-like, do you?) If you have a car you are not using (or which is no longer usable), but aren’t sure of how best to dispose of it, Giveacar.co.uk (oh, yeah, and you need to be in the UK, did I mention that?) will help you dispose of your old or…


B-Squares Makes Solar Power Flexible

Kickstarter allows some really cool projects to become reality by giving startups the opportunity to be funded by small, individual commitments of support. (I know a few of us on the site have helped fund some projects and took great satisfaction in being part of something new. It also doesn’t hurt that sometimes the funding also yields an early units of whatever is being created. )  One project that I really hope becomes reality is B-Square’s Modular Solar Powered electrics. B-squares are solar power cells that have magnetic connectors at each corner for connecting one solar panel to another. Since there…


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…


Kickstarter Project Focus- The Vere Sandal Company

I’m really digging this whole Kickstarter concept. If you are not familiar with Kickstarter, it is an online threshold pledge system for funding creative projects. Kickstarter has funded a diverse array of endeavors,ranging from indie film and music to journalism and food-related projects. One of a new set of fundraising platforms dubbed “crowdfunding”, Kickstarter facilitates gathering monetary resources from the general public, a model which circumvents many traditional avenues of investment. Project owners choose a deadline and a target minimum of funds to raise. If the chosen target is not gathered by the deadline, no funds are collected (this is…


Chevy Volt: Out of the Box

Buck fifty a day. According to the automaker, that is all it will cost you to operate your new Chevy Volt Extended Range Electric Vehicle when used in EV mode only. The car that GM is calling the “game-changer” is arriving in select markets this month. We spent some quality time with the Volt and its team members on a recent jaunt in the Texas Hill Country north and west of Austin. The event provided a few eye openers, some educational opportunities and at least one typical situation faced by drivers in semi-rural areas. Much has been written about Volt…


Volt, Leaf, the EPA and the Future

It is almost time to pack a bag to head down to Austin, Texas for a full evaluation of the new Chevy Volt (recently named Motor Trend’s Car of the Year) and in doing a little prep work online I notice EPA fuel economy ratings for it and the Nissan Leaf EV have been released along with new stickers and classifications by the governing body. The two vehicles are similar in size but vary in styling and technology. Leaf will only run on electric power ¬ once the battery pack is done, you’re done until you can get to a…


Lexus CT200h Sporty New Hybrid CrossTourer

Lexus has a new hybrid vehicle being readied for market and let me begin by saying I wish them more luck with this CT200h hybrid sportwagon than they saw with the HS250h hybrid sedan that debuted last year. Lexus’ last sporty wagon was on the inaugural IS300 platform and was dubbed SportCross. I was assured the CT200h is not intended to be the next SportCross but the two do share bloodlines and driving dynamics. We spent some time with Lexus and the new CT200h in New Orleans recently and I was left with the impression that the CT should see…


Apolis Global Citizen Transit Issue Smartphone Wallet iPhone 4 Case Review

Companies like Apolis don’t come around very often.  After I had agreed to review their latest offering, a wallet style case for the iPhone 4, I went to read up and learn more about the brand.  What I read really made me stand up and take notice.  Work conditions at the Chinese factory that produces the iPhone have been all over the news of late and details on the numerous suicides by the Chinese workers are shocking.  We’ve all read the stories about the less than stellar work conditions in factories that product sneakers and other brand named clothing too….


Looking for a Job AND Trying to Save the Planet? Here is Where You Should Live!

I have been lucky in my current job that in addition to making cell phone screens more durable and presentation projectors that can fit in your pocket, I have also been able to work on things with specific objectives of cleaning up the environment. It is satisfying when work you love also benefits the planet. At the same time I have friends who have still been unable to find work that is at the level they had before the recession, some still burning through savings and others working at whatever they can find. So it was interesting to read “Top…


Bioserie iPhone 4 Case Review: Made from Plants

I’ve reviewed a ton of cases for the iPhone over the last few years. Cases made from leather, silicone, plastic, metal, felt, fabric and polycarbonate. But the Bioserie case for the iPhone is the first case I’ve reviewed that’s made entirely from advanced bioplastic materials which are derived entirely from plants. Here’s some technical information from Bioserie on how this is done. Bioplastics are a variety of plastics derived from renewable biomass sources, such as plant starches or microorganisms, rather than fossil-fuel plastics which are derived from oil. Bioplastics represent a relatively new and very promising field of modern biotechnology….


Maybe It’s Time to Revisit the DutchTub

Yesterday was a cold, damp day here in the northeast., and tomorrow looks like more of the same. This is the type weather that makes you want to do anything you can to warm up, which prompted my wife Elana to say, “This is when you want… no, you need a hot tub.” Of course, the problem is that the place where we would like to put it is nowhere near an electrical outlet. Luckily there is a solution. photo courtesy of BizIvy photo courtesy of Design Crack The DutchTub, which we first heard about year ago, is a self-contained hot…


The Urinal Sink: Ultra-Efficient, Eco-Friendly … But Do You Want It?

This weekend we were visiting my nephew before he started back to his senior year in college, and took him and his girlfriend out for lunch. He chose P. F. Changs in Albany, which was great for us as we lack quality Chinese food in the Corning area, but a rather odd choice for someone who had spent the entire summer working on a research project with his professor in China. But as we were finishing up and everyone hit the rest rooms before we went our separate ways. Despite their only being four men, we created a line in…


GreenSmart Gear Is Stylish AND Environmentally Friendly!

I reviewed some of GreenSmart’s Neogreene products last year; their basic philosophy is to make functional tech accessories using recycled and non-chemical materials. They had a great lineup then, but they’ve really come out swinging with their 2010 products! One of the great things about their products is that much of their material is made from recycled plastic bottles. If you have or used to have a soda addiction (I’ve been weaned off Diet Coke, but it was a long and painful process), there’s always the (infinitesimal) chance your bottles might be part of their gear! Check out this video…


Green Diary: Making You Feel Better About All That Energy Your Gadgets Are Sucking

It’s an interesting dilemma: the readers of this site tend to love their gadgets, but at the same time want to be respectful of the environment.  All of our electronic tools, toys – whatever you want to call them – use resources in their manufacturing, may contain toxic materials that are harmful if not disposed of properly, and require energy to operate.  If you’re like me, you mitigate some of your less environmentally friendly hobbies by making up for them in other ways (I use an electric lawnmower, for crying out loud). With an eye toward balancing our interest in…


Charge Your Mobile Devices with the Power of the Sun

External batteries are great, but they’re only as good as the mAhs they possess; once you deplete them, until you find yourself near a charging source they become useless. The Monaco Mobile Power Solar Charger from Wireless Ground takes care of that problem by harnessing the power of the sun to recharge itself. You can use the battery to recharge you device and then recharge the battery on to go so it’s ready to be used again. In addition to the battery itself you’ll also get some tips to charge with. The Monaco comes with a USB out cable which…


ECOWRIST Review: Wearable Art That Helps The Planet

Every year I take one of my daughters on a weekend trip to NYC.  This past weekend on our annual excursion we stumbled across ECOWRIST at a street fair in the Soho section of Manhattan.  ECOWRIST was founded by husband and wife team David Gandy and MarQuerite Hamden in 2008 and the pair hand-makes watches from recycling, the use of natural materials, and minimal wastes to ensure as little effect on the environment as possible. From the ECOWRIST web site……….. The primary components of the watches are bamboo, tagua nuts, acheera seeds, coconut, wood, cow’s leather and canaflecha (reed in…