Travel Gear

The LandAirSea TrackingKey Pro Micro GPS Tracking System Review

I’ve reviewed at least three different GPS Dataloggers.  There were the two loggers from Qstarz which are okay and can perform the function very well, and then there was my favorite logger, the Visiontac VGPS-900.  LandAirSea has brought out one that would probably be much easier to hide than the Qstarz since it is waterproof and has other features I will get to later. The LandAirSea TrackingKey Pro Micro comes with the tracker, a Mini-B USB Cable, the Past-Track Software and a manual. The tracker has only a power button and two LEDs which aren’t very bright.  You could probably stick a…


How I Lost Over 6 lbs On The iPad Diet

One of the unexpected benefits of starting to use the iPad in place of my MacBook is that it has made me feel far lighter than ever before. No, I don’t mean “lighter” in a “techno-geeky I’m so happy to be using this magical device…” way. No, I mean lighter as in “using the iPad means I carry a lot less in my bag”. In fact I can now carry a far lighter bag now thanks to the iPad. I set out to figure how much weight I had “dropped” and even I am surprised. Here is a quick, rundown…


Learn a Little Irish for Free!

As a fan of language learning, I just discovered something very cool.   Through today, iPhone and iPod Touch users can download Byki’s Irish language app from the App Store for free! Normally, most of the Byki apps are $7.99, so this is an excellent way to see how Byki approaches vocabulary and phrase learning while putting on a little Irish! I have the Byki apps for a few different languages on my iPhone and computer. The Byki language apps are really good at helping you learn vocabulary and phrases from a wide variety of languages and now, for St….


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 does – it helps you memorize Spanish words. I’ve looked at a lot of different language applications over the past…


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 than usual. In the last 3 1/2 weeks I have been on six different flights and I have another trip…


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 and got a good bit of use out of it before giving it to a friend. The Primo takes a…


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 what you’ve learned already.  So how do you keep yourself motivated?   How do you keep things interesting?   This week, I’ll…


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 is known for. So yes, this particular garment comes at a slight premium cost-wise but what you get for that…


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 a book. How does it work in practice?


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 more usable than ever. Early last week Scott Jordan, the company founder and CEO, was kind enough to send me…


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 least a little of their languages so I can better communicate with them.  If you haven’t guessed, it’s kind of…


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 using mostly free, or nearly free resources I’ve found on the Internet, but sometimes I’ve wanted to use tools that…


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 designs other than through occasionally browsing the online catalog and posting news on Gear Diary. Judie was sent one of…


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 are an amazingly large number of resources available to language learners on the Internet.  Many resources are free (or near…


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 can do to make your translation more effective and accurate.


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… but I digress. Since September 11, 2001 the single biggest challenge with air travel has not necessarily been the airlines…


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 on a mission to learn Spanish as well, but I’m going to try to do it on a more modest…


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, I was able to pick out words I knew that helped put the unknown words into context, even when their…



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 the CheckThrough Backpack.  Let’s take a quick look to see how (and if) this thing makes traveling easier…