Offbeat

Tazz Virtual Makeovers Make (almost) Anyone Look Good

Tazz is an online makeover site that does an admirable job of recognizing your facial features from an uploaded photograph. You experiment in real time with different hairstyles, eye color (different contact lenses) makeup (colors and shades). There’s an easy way to compare before and after photos and share them with friends. Thinking this would improve my self-portrait that I used in the reader contest a month ago – I decided to give the service a shot. The results aren’t pretty – so you may want to skip them and just use the link below to upload and try the…


Hallmark’s New Self Adhesive Gift Wrap – Time Saver or Just Tacky?

Hallmark announced on Monday a new line of wrapping paper. Instead of using tape , this paper is self adhesive and Hallmark claims the wrap is “sticky enough to create clean lines and crisp folds without leaving any residue on the gift“. I couldn’t resist testing these claims – so I headed to Hallmark Gold Crown (the only place it’s sold). Here are my thoughts on whether this is worth the extra $1.20 per roll that I paid ($4.99 for adhesive vs $ 3.79 for similar sized regular wrapping paper). P.S. – Even if you’re not looking for wrapping paper…


New York City Automatic Toilet: $ 110,000 for a Wet Seat?

Yesterday we made a trip into New York City. Finding a (clean) bathroom when in the city can be a challenge. In January of 2008 the City of NY unveiled a fully automatic bathroom that cleans itself after each use. Well, I just had to check it out. And I made a YouTube video to show you the high and low points of my experience.


The Stereo Mini Portable Sound Box from USB Fever REVIEW

A couple of months back, I asked my LEGO friends Beetle and Maynard with their girlfriends Sunshine and Faith to check out the new Fingertip Mini Cube Speaker that Thomas at USB Fever sent from overseas. (see the review: Make Some Music) Sunshine: “We were looking for an upgrade to a dual speaker setup. It was then that Judie from GearDiary told us about the Stereo Mini Portable Sound Box from USB Fever. That Judie girl ROCKS, because it as exactly what we were looking for!” (L to R) Beetle, Maynard, Faith and Sunshine with the Stereo Mini Portable Sound…


AntWorks – Space Age Ant Habitat

Observing ants in your home used to mean obtaining the typical ant farm which used sand as the medium for the ants to live in. A modern development and improvement on the old sand ant farms are the AntWorks ant habitats. This habitat uses a special gel instead of sand. The gel setup was originally developed for an NASA experiment, in which ants were sent into space on board the space shuttle to study insect life in near weightlessness. Traditional soil-based ant farm tunnels would collapse from the intense vibrations during a take off. To solve the problem, NASA scientists…


If It Has Leaves Three, Leave It Be or If Nobody Else Will Do It, Chris’ll Review It

Regular readers of GearDiary.com know that we have a very talented team of reviewers here. What you may not realize is that there is sort of an unspoken pecking order among the team members about who gets to do which review. For instance, if the product has four wheels or a screen bigger than 19″, you can bet Judie is gonna write the review. If it is the latest, most technologically advanced PDA or phone, Clinton and Mitchell are the “go-to” guys. Allen is a real gearhead when it comes to games and gadgets. If it is whimsical or might…


Crank It Up: XC-253 Flashlight Review

Here in the states with the change of seasons, there is always the possibility of inclement weather, power outages at home or being lost in the campgrounds with nightfall approaching. The Boy Scouts have a motto: Be Prepared. “Be prepared for what?” someone once asked Robert Baden-Powell, the founder of the World Scout Movement. “Why, for any old thing.” he replied. While I don?t doubt that any Boy Scout can start a fire with two sticks, for guys like me, I need a little technology to give me a head start. Courtesy of Vavolo, here?s a very cool looking Handle…


The Ally Dome: Barkitecture in motion

I wanted to share about my affection for a different set of gear… now we all love wireless stuff, cell phones, tablets, etc, etc. but I’m here to testify having POWER TOOLS are heaven-sent! One day, I’ll have a big workshop with table saws, compound miter saws, routers, cordless drills, jigsaws and all of the accessories like clamps, drill and router bits to build furniture to house all the gadgets acquired over the years! When we were remodeling our kitchen, there was quite of pile of construction materials and demolition scrap left over ready to haul to the local dump….


Cold Hands No More: Warmmi USB Heating Gloves Review

Spring is here and if you’re lucky to have a cubicle space that has a window view with authentic sunlight streaming in, it may still be frigid inside with the air conditioner running full blast. On such a nice day! Then again, I once worked at a start-up tech company where there was no heat during my winter of discontent. There were many nights of wearing my layered clothing under a down jacket. Although the old computer that was assigned to me was a wood-burning model, it emitted no heat to warm my freezing fingers. And we all know productivity…


A Palm Treo cradle – LEGO style

I was looking around for a charging cradle that would allow me to store my Palm Treo 650 or 680 in an upright position. Most of the ones that I’ve seen advertised range in price from $29 to $49 USD. While esthetically useful, the practicality of obtaining a cradle meant having yet another spare power cable and sync cable stored away in a shoebox of miscellaneous wires and USB cables. The ancient Greek phillospher Plato is quoted as saying Necessity is the mother of invention, which means that a need or problem encourages creative efforts to meet the need or…


Pimping my Mac (Aquarium)

This past August in Nashville, Tennessee it was too hot to be outside to do any yard work, so I decided to work on a project in the comfort of air conditioning. Everything I do or build is a mentally consuming exercise. I Google for ideas, pictures and documentation. Later I sketch, process and make the commitment to get it done. But I’m such a perfectionist when it comes to building things, so I have to manage my time. I’m taking a break from Legos and anything lumber related to try my hand on something totally different. I’ve got the…