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Ooma Updates and Gets Even Better

One of the standout piece of consumer electronics I have discovered over the past few years is the Ooma phone system. The system brings an unusual business model to the business of phone service. Instead of charging a monthly fee Ooma sells the hardware that connects to your high-speed internet service and then lets you have your phone service for…



Wacom Inkling Digital Sketch Pen Is New Spin on Digital Analog Technology

(Image courtesy of Wacom) While the iPad has become synonymous with the term “tablet”, there has been other digital tablet technology, such as the Tablet PC and the Livescribe Pulse Pen which came out before and is surviving, albeit in more of a niche market. So it is rare for me to see any new devices, especially in the analog-to-digital space….


Hurricane Irene: Be Prepared, Fake Candles Edition

Like everyone on the east coast we’ve been doing our part to get ready for Irene’s arrival. We moved the deck furniture into the garage, made extra ice so things in the fridge won’t go bad if (when?) the power goes out, we’ve charged our devices and some external chargers and we’ve stored up some water. The latter wasn’t so…



Review: Griffin Beacon Universal Remote for iOS

It looks funny. It does exactly what it promises. And, at least for me, it is in the running for “iOS Accessory of the Year”. Okay, I’m exaggerating a bit but I’m pretty serious about how cool I think this iOS hardware/app combination is. The Griffin Beacon is the universal remote on steroids. With this odd piece of plastic powered…


Lorex LIVE SENSE Gives Parents (and Grandparents) Peace of Mind

Photos: Author Having never been blessed with children of my own, I never quite got a grasp of everything new parents had to worry about nor how extensive their “to-do” list was … until last Christmas when we got word of the impending arrival of my wife’s first grandchild. Fast forward to July 26, and Baby J arrives in fine…


Why I Hate Compact Florescent Lightbulbs

Okay, look:  there’s no question that ordinary incandescent light bulbs are on the way out.  Another few years, and they’re going to be as rare as candles.  I’m okay with that; they’re a 150-year old technology, they put out most of their energy as heat rather than light, they’re inefficient.  With more and more people crowding our poor planet, and…


Sonos PLAY:3 Review

We have had a fair bit of coverage of the Sonos Wireless Hi-Fi System over the past few weeks. As I noted in my initial review of the system, I only had the review units in my home for 23 hours before I went and ordered my own. I was impressed by the ease of use, the overall sound quality,…


Gear Diary Video Round-Up

  Last week saw us post a larger number of videos than ever. In them we took a first look at the AT&T Status phone running Android 3.2.2, Carly talked to us about the benefits of Chromebooks and why they might be a great choice for you and we launched not one but two contest/giveaways. Missed any of them? Well…


Sonos Issues Mac OS X ‘Lion’ Compatibility Warning – Don’t Upgrade Yet!!

Yesterday Michael brought word that Livescribe’s Mac desktop software is not currently compatible with Mac OS X Lion. In other words, if you rely on Livescribe don’t upgrade to OS X Lion. This isn’t a surprise or even an issue since there are always small bumps along the way whenever new operating systems come out.  Issues emerge and, within a…


Could This Be the Computer for Your Grandma?

A lot has been said about the iPad and how suitable it could be for people who have never used a computer. Way back during the late 90’s there were many companies attempting to make an appliance computer. That is, a computer that doesn’t require the overhead of a Windows PC, Linux PC or a Mac. Netpliance tried and utterly…


The Maxxeon WorkStar 220 LED Pocket Floodlight Inspection Light Review

photos by Kevin There is not much worse than being in an unfamiliar dark area with no idea where to find a light, or that feeling you get when you have dropped something vital into a dark crevice, but you aren’t sure if there is a “critter” down there that might bite or sting. Carrying a pocket flashlight (or penlight,…


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…


Review: Stem TimeCommand Clock-Dock

I’ve become a big fan of not having to physically dock my iPhone, iPod or iPad in order to get audio from it. That’s why I love using the Sonos system I reviewed a few weeks ago. At the same time, there is a lot to be said for a bedside dock/alarm clock. Sure, the Sonos system lets you set…



Grooming Tool Review: Klhip “The Ultimate Clipper”

Do you really need to spend $70 on a nail clipper? ($95 if you want the attractive leather case specially designed for it.) Of course not! But, as my lovely wife often reminds me, you get what you pay for. In the case of the Klhip nail clipper, while you can get something that does the same basic grooming function…


Useful Things: The Plasma Bulb Night-Light Review

In the 1980s, the coolest accessory you could have in your bedroom wasn’t a lava lamp, it was a plasma globe. I can still remember ogling one at the Service Merchandise store in San Angelo; they cost $199, and I had to save up for several months before I could purchase mine. Before seeing my first globe, I didn’t know…


Vivint Adds Security and Automation to a 1970s Era Deckhouse, Part One: The System

Eight years ago we moved into a thirty-five year old Deck House fixer-upper. Deck Houses are post and beam “kit” houses that are built like a barn, offer huge open space and, because they have no joists or crawl spaces for running wires and plumbing present numerous challenges when renovating. It is for that reason (among others) that eight years…


The CleanDr LCD/Plasma Screen Cleaning Kit and More Review

It’s been a while since I have heard from Digital Innovations.  They have since released many updates to their cleaning products I have previously reviewed so they sent me a box of goodies to share here on Gear Diary.  Let’s see if they are any better than the 2009 versions. First up is their 2 new products made for cleaning…


Adventures in Cloud Computing Brought to Me by WildBlue

image courtesy of toothpaste for dinner Cloud computing. It is here. It is powerful. It is growing. It is a good thing? Had you asked me a week ago my answer would have been a resounding “Yes!” A week later, I’m not sure sure. Read on if you care to join me in my wireless nightmare … For many years,…