Travel Gear

Review: Memorize Words for Spanish for iPhone

Sometimes applications are big and splashy and exciting.   Sometimes they are quite, unassuming, and just do what they do very well.   But it’s not often you run into applications that don’t even really present you with a startup splash screen before going into the actual program.  Memorize Words for Spanish isn’t flashy, it goes right into the program with out announcing itself via a title screen, and its name isn’t particularly flashy or clever, but it clearly speaks to the thing that this application…


Travel Tips on a Snowy Day

I got back from San Francisco just in time to be snowed in here in New Jersey. It was the quickest trip to the West Coast that I have ever taken but it was actually the easiest. I don’t tend to do a tremendous amount of traveling. In an average year I’ll be on a plane four or six times maximum. I am, however, currently in the midst of an unusual period that has me flying quite a bit more…


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.


PhoneSuit Primo “Made For iPod, Works w/iPhone” Battery Review

The iPhone has been great for the aftermarket battery business. I don’t know any power-user who does not carry at least one additional method of charging the device. I’ve tried, and been impressed by many. Most recently PhoneSuit sent me one of their Primo Micro Batteries to try out. The last product from PhoneSuit that I had the chance to review was the Mili. It had a design similar to the original Mophie Juice Pack. I liked it a lot…


Staying Motivated: Learning a Language on a Budget, Week Six

photo credit: woodleywonderworks So you’ve been at this language learning thing for a while now and you find yourself losing interest – or getting too busy – or whatever the case may be!   Now a few days or even weeks have gone by and you need to get yourself back into studying again.  One of the most important things in learning a language is to keep working at it and using it.  If you don’t, you will start to lose…


Scottevest Cotton Hoodie Review

The Cotton Hoodie from Scottevest has an MSRP of $70 and is available now. Now I know what you’re thinking — $70 is a little bit expensive for a cotton hoodie. And, in most cases you’re absolutely correct. A quick Google search for the garment yields a host of various offerings that are, for the most part significantly less than $70. Then again, those hoodies aren’t from Scottevest. Those hoodies don’t combine comfort with the kind of organizational system SEV…


The Wizcom Readingpen TS Reviewed; It Helps With The Hard Words

About a month ago, we were sent the Wizcom Readingpen TS to review. With two middle school children I had some curiosity about how it might help them read easier. The concept of the pen is simple – scan across a word or sentence. The pen converts the  information to spoken words  and if needed provides the definition, synonyms and Spanish version of the word. This is useful for anyone needing a little extra help with difficult words while reading…


Scottevest Soft Shell Jacket Review

I love Scottvest’s products, and during the last few weeks I have had the good fortune to update my SEV wardrobe quite a bit. Last month I reviewed the Evolution Jacket. It was the first SEV product I had seen in some time and I was impressed by how far the line has come. It just looks and feels more refined than ever and, thanks to more than a few tweaks, the system for carrying and organizing your gear is…


Popularity Contest: Learning a Language on a Budget, Week Five

photo credit: woodleywonderworks So this week we are going to talk about what to do when you are trying to learn a language that just isn’t as popular as some of the biggies.  One of the nice things about living in the Internet Age is that we are so connected – all over the world.  So I’m fortunate because I’ve got friends all over the world, some of whom speak English, some not.  Either way,  I like to learn at…


In for a Penny: Learning a Language on a Budget, Week Four

So you’re learning a new language.  We’ve mostly focused on free or nearly-free resources that you can use to assist you in this process.   So now you find you are willing to spend a little money, but not a lot, or you need a little more assistance or you just need a little different approach than the free resources have available for you. What kinds of things are available to you? Like you, I’ve been studying a few languages…


SCOTTEVEST Evolution Travel Jacket Review

I was a big fan of SCOTTEVEST’s technology enabled clothing long before I began writing for tech sites. It just appealed to my inner geek. I got one of their classic vests, as well as their mid-weight jackets, long before most people had heard of the company and wore them for years. Those jackets were among some of the earlier designs Scott and Co. offered but were already highly functional. I had not, however, seen any of the more recent…


The Internet Is Your Friend: Learning a Language on a Budget, Week Two

photo credit: woodleywonderworks In part one of “Learning a Language on a Budget” I talked a bit about the things you can do to get prepared to learn a language. A number of you offered comments and provided additional information about some resources that are available. Much appreciated! In this second post in the series I’m going to focus on some of the Internet resources that are available for the study of Spanish and, to some extent, other languages. There…


Translation and Frustration: Learning a Language on a Budget, Week Three

photo credit: woodleywonderworks So far, I’ve talked about dictionaries and dictionary sites, and other language-learning resources on the Internet.   There is, however, one Internet service that many of us will come across, even if we aren’t in the process of learning a language – online translation tools. Arguably, the biggest sites today for these services are translate.google.com, and babelfish.yahoo.com. This week, I want to talk a little bit about the differences in these sites and how they approach language translation and some things you…


Skooba Design Checkthrough Roller Feview

It is not a so-well-kept secret that I travel quite a bit for my day job. While 2009 has seen a slow down in travel for me, I still will easily make my American Airlines Platinum status for the 4th year in a row. As a reminder to everyone: Airline status is not something to be proud of. It means that you spend too much time on airplanes and that you know exactly which seats and rows have power outlets……


Learning a Language on a Budget: Week One – Getting Ready

photo credit: woodleywonderworks For a few weeks now, Judie has been writing about her experiences learning Spanish using the Rosetta Stone system.  It’s a wonderful language learning system used by diplomats and business leaders the world over.  But it has one big drawback – it’s really, really expensive! In these times especially, many of us are living on a budget and need more cost-effective options.  So, I decided to pull-together some things I had already been working on and go…


Rosetta Stone TOTALe Program, Week 7

Buenos Noches. This week I began Unit 3, Lesson 1, and as had happened when I began the previous other two, I was immediately immersed into a new world where unknown words were being thrown at me as if I should understand their meaning and context. But this time was armed with something I hadn’t had before — an ever expanding vocabulary. By paying attention to what was being written or said, even when I couldn’t understand much of it,…



Skooba Designs CheckThrough Backpack Review

I. Am. A. Mobile. Computing. User… Period. I live for converged devices, laptops, netbooks, and data on the go. I’ve got unlimited data on my Smartphone account; and have tethered my laptop to my phone when I need to be online in a pinch. When I travel, I need to take it with me; and when it comes to airport security, I dread the TSA required aerobics and mandatory disrobing… Thankfully, to help make things easier, Skooba Design has created…


Teaching an Old Dog New Tricks: Week Five into the Rosetta Stone TOTALe Program

¡Hola mis amigas! This week, I was greeted by an instructional video that started the minute I signed into TOTALe. It gave a great overview of what the different parts of the course entailed, and how to navigate the various sections…and I couldn’t help but wonder why it didn’t show the first time I started the program! Of course, the likely culprit is my slow satellite connection of doom; it is totally possible that the screen tried to show when…


Teaching an Old Dog New Tricks: Week Four into the Rosetta Stone TOTALe Program

¡Hola Amigos! Even though I had the new Dan Brown book, The Missing Symbol, delivered wirelessly to my Kindle DX this week, and even though I have spent every spare moment I could trying to sneak in a few chapters, I still managed to get a good chunk of my TOTALe lesson done. Yay me! Now I can tell you that “Me llamo Judie,” which will probably not sound as elegant as Julia when pronounced properly, since the J’s in…


The Dead Arise: Nashville Zombie Walk

After a solid week of rain in Middle Tennessee, the graves must have opened, as the undead arose to walk the streets of downtown Nashville. Tourists and natives called it the Nashville Zombie Walk of 2009. The flesh-eating mutants zombies staggered in from all directions, via train, plane and automobile.