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Gear Diary



Tech, Autos, & Gear in Layman's Terms Since 2006



Updated: 2016-09-30T17:55:38Z

 



Spray Nine Cleans up Summer’s End #sponsored

2016-09-30T06:01:01Z

This post brought to you by Spray Nine. The content and opinions expressed below are that of Gear Diary. Summer is definitely over; the pool is getting closed. The lawn furniture is going into the garage. And the pool floats… well, the pool floats are looking pretty ratty. They are so bad that we were …This post brought to you by Spray Nine. The content and opinions expressed below are that of Gear Diary. Summer is definitely over; the pool is getting closed. The lawn furniture is going into the garage. And the pool floats… well, the pool floats are looking pretty ratty. They are so bad that we were going to throw them out. Thanks to Spray Nine’s Heavy Duty Cleaner, the pool floats were given a reprieve. Prior to now, I wasn’t familiar with Spray Nine. Were I an auto technician, a manufacturer or even a serious DIYer, I likely would have been. You see, Spray Nine has been around for over 60 years. Without the need for bleach or corrosive chemicals, Spray Nine’s Heavy-Duty “Triple Threat” formula cleans, decreases and disinfects. The result is that you get professional-strength cleaning right at home. The company notes that the product is useful for attacking grease, dirt and mud, scuff marks, carpet stains, ink, mold and mildew, yellowing, brake dust, tar… the list goes on and on and on. Perhaps more importantly, the company notes that Spray Nine will kill viruses in 30 seconds and bacteria in just 45 seconds. The result is that you will be able to be confident that whatever you have cleaned is really clean. Spray Nine offers an extensive list of various places their product might come in handy. Here are just a few examples of how it can be used around the home … Around the Home: Underneath stoves and refrigerators, countertops, sinks, tubs/showers, toilets, floors, ceramic tile, pools & hot tubs, garbage pails, toys, patio furniture, tools, sporting equipment, BBQ’s, fiberglass, vinyl siding and more. With such an extensive list it’s pretty funny to me that the main reason I jumped at the chance to try this product and, assuming it worked as promised, help promote it isn’t listed here. If it were it would read: Remove mold and mildew for a variety of different pool rafts so they don’t need to get thrown in the trash now that (tear rolls down eye) summer is over. Better still, by cleaning them with Spray Nine before putting into storage you can rest assured that when spring arrives (huge smile appears on face) the rafts will be clean and ready for the summer. I did just that. Here are some before pictures. Note: I sprayed the product, waited three minutes and rinsed it off. I did not wipe down the raft or scrub it in any way. With just three minutes on the pool float, you can get an idea of what it can achieve! And here are the after photos! Yup, Spray Nine’s Heavy Duty cleaner was able to take pool floats headed for the dumpster and give them new life. (Just wait until I take a scrub brush to it this weekend!) That means we saved some money and kept them out of the landfill. Best of all, it did the job without bleach or harsh chemicals. And this is just one example of how the product can help you clean up! See what Spray Nine Heavy Duty can do for you. Get $3 off when you take the Spray Nine Challenge.   [...]



Chant Sport from House of Marley Brings Big Sound

2016-09-29T00:56:51Z

Crisp, clean audio is something I love and demand while listening to my favorite tunes. The new era of Bluetooth connected audio devices not only makes us wireless, but they can also sound pretty good. I recently had the opportunity to review the Chant Sport from House of Marley. The speaker costs $89.99 and doesn’t …Crisp, clean audio is something I love and demand while listening to my favorite tunes. The new era of Bluetooth connected audio devices not only makes us wireless, but they can also sound pretty good. I recently had the opportunity to review the Chant Sport from House of Marley. The speaker costs $89.99 and doesn’t disappoint. Let’s take a look!  The Chant Sport is a sturdy Bluetooth speaker with an eco-friendly design. The battery allows for around 8 hours of play time and includes a built-in microphone to allow for speakerphone calls. The speaker stands 6 1/4 inches tall with a diameter of just under 3 inches. The waterproof speaker has four buttons on the top make up the controls and a sealed area on the side contains the charging and auxiliary ports. I think the design is attractive, and the Chant Sport feels like it is well made and rugged. First thing is first, we had to test the waterproof claims. I was a bit nervous tossing this great sounding speaker in water, but it had to be done. After filling the sink, the Chant Sport followed while playing music. The speaker floated around the sink for several minutes and never skipped a beat. The sound was obviously distorted while in the water, but there were no negative effects and the unit is still working like new. It is definitely waterproof. The top of the Chant Sport sports the controls; a power button, Bluetooth pairing button and volume up and down. I was not able to find a way to change tracks, but that is easily accomplished on the phone or watch. The most important feature of any speaker is the sound. The Chant Sport does not disappoint. I was pleasantly surprised at the quality of sound. After listening to a wide range of music genres, I can safely say that most any music will sound great. The highs are crisp and the mids are balanced. The bass is not what I would call booming, but the low-end is definitely enough to give great sound out of such a small speaker. Music that includes acoustic instruments and vocals are especially good. The family has adopted this speaker as our by the pool device. Not only does it sound great, we have no worries about getting it wet. The Chant Sport by House of Marley is a great Bluetooth speaker option. The design is attractive and it is extremely rugged and the fact that it is waterproof makes it usable in most any situation. The sound is pretty impressive coming from such a small speaker. If you are interested in big sound from a small package that can be used outside, take a look at the Chant Sport. You will not be disappointed. Source: Manufacturer supplied review sample What I like: I love the design and sound from this speaker. It is an added bonus that the Chant Sport is waterproof What could be improved: I would like to see the addition of track control [...]



Lose It Health App Releases a Feature That Make Logging Food Easier

2016-09-30T17:55:38Z

With fall in full swing, many of you are probably attempting to eat right and watch the things that you eat. Some of you may even count calories, but today one of the more popular weight loss apps in the App Store announced a feature that is not only cool, but will make log what …With fall in full swing, many of you are probably attempting to eat right and watch the things that you eat. Some of you may even count calories, but today one of the more popular weight loss apps in the App Store announced a feature that is not only cool, but will make log what you’ve eaten faster and easier! Lose it!, a prominent food logging app announced “Snap it”, a great beta feature that does everything that you think it could do and more. Snap It uses today’s most advanced image recognition (and your phones camera) to deliver results instantly. I had a chance to beta test the “Snap It!” feature within the Lose It app and it’s pretty awesome. The premise is simple. You open up your app, and select which meal you are currently in the process of eating before snapping a photo of it (it’s worth noting I took a photo of meals before as well as during eating and it worked). Snap It then goes and analyzes the photo and gives you suggestions of what is in the image. I took a photo of a breakfast burrito from McDonalds, which was already pretty vague to begin with (and completely unhealthy, don’t judge me) and it picked everything up with precision, down to the calories. This is MAJOR for someone like me who forgets exactly what I’ve eaten throughout the course of the day, so taking a photo makes life a little easier. So how exactly does Snap It get to be so accurate? In a nutshell, it’s all in the framework. Using a Food-101 dataset, Lose It! managed to build a model that defines 101 different food categories (over 100k images) that go through an image analysis to give you an accurate reading. Working in tandem with FoodDist, Lose It! then optimized the model in order to refine each individual category. TDLR; Lose It’s! software improves with the more images taken. It’s worth noting that Lose It! mentioned that if the Snap It Feature confuses a food, you can easily correct it. I am currently exclusively using Lose It! on my iPhone 7 Plus, and I’m hoping that being able to accurately log in my meals by simply snapping a photo makes the searching through endless categories a bit easier, which has put me off on “calorie counting” in the past. Lose It is currently in the App Store for free, but you can also purchase the premium version within the free app for $39.99 annually. To download Lose It! Today click here! [...]



Click and Grow Wall Farm and Wall Farm Mini: The Future of Farming?

2016-09-28T17:03:59Z

I love my Click and Grow Herb Garden so much that I have two of them; one grows flowers and the other grows edibles. With the success that the company’s had with their table-top sized products, it’s no surprise to me that they have taken their calling to the next level by creating the Click and …I love my Click and Grow Herb Garden so much that I have two of them; one grows flowers and the other grows edibles. With the success that the company’s had with their table-top sized products, it’s no surprise to me that they have taken their calling to the next level by creating the Click and Grow Wall Farm. Ready for the zombie apocalypse, I see. Imagine farming indoors — with no pesticides, fungicides, hormones, grasshoppers, caterpillars, or wildlife to worry about — all you need is some blank wall space, a power outlet, and you’re in business. There are two models available: the Click and Grow Wall Farm, and the Wall Farm mini. Let’s start with the Wall Farm: Click and grow says that their new wall farms will provide you with “fresh food for every single meal 30% faster, using 95% less water, and with 600% more vitamins than anything else on the market.” The Wall Farm measures 53” x 15” x 82”, and it has the capacity to grow up to 57 plants; it offers automated watering, modifiable timer settings, online control and monitoring, and it costs $799 for the basic unit — not counting the plants. When you buy it, you also sign on for a $59.95 monthly subscription which includes 20 refills. The refills available include: When the Wall Farm is shipped out, you will select the plants you want to subscribe to via a form.   Imagine a Wall Farm in your kitchen, office, school, or bunker (ha!) — this is a neat idea that can keep fresh greens in your belly without the need to farm outdoors. I think it would also be perfect for those who live in apartments (with no space to garden) or people with accessibility issues who otherwise can’t garden outdoors. And for those who don’t have as much space or need as many plants, there is the Wall Farm Mini: The Wall Farm Mini measures 53” x 15” x 62”, and it has the capacity to grow up to 38 plants; it offers semi-manual watering (you fill the reservoir once a month or so, and it disperses the water), an app that offers plant tips and deal. While it’s not connected, similarly to the Click and Grown Herb Garden it will still do most of the work for you. It has a launch price of $199 for the basic unit (it will be $299 retail) — not counting the plants. I hope to have one of these to review soon, so I’ll be able to tell you more by the end of the year. Once again,when you buy it you’ll sign on for a $59.95 monthly subscription which includes your choices from the 20 refills I mentioned above.   What makes the Click and Grow system so special? Well, that answer has always been the combination of their special grow lights, the water reservoir, and the efficient smart soil refill pods that they use. The backbone of our technology is the specially developed nanomaterial Smart Soilthat keeps the level of oxygen, water, pH and nutritional ingredients at an optimal level. The Smart Soil is made of natural renewable sources and is biodegradable. The combination of these items takes all of the guesswork out of the process; you simply set things up, plug it in, add water, and wait. Within a week, you’ll have sprouts; in one to two months, you’ll have plants producing food (or flowers, if that’s what you prefer). src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/dg--sPrO3uE" width="640" height="360" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"> Click and Grow takes the guesswork out of the process; raising the plants indoors removes many of the reasons gardens fail. If you want to grow a garden but space, time, bugs, wildlife, accessibility, or heck — your black thumb — have[...]



Amazon Introduces Updated Fire TV Stick – $39 Includes Voice, Alexa

2016-09-28T17:07:27Z

Amazon just introduced an updated Fire TV Stick which is priced at $39.99 and due for release on October 20, 2016. The new device looks and acts a lot like the old one with the addition of Amazon’s Alexa virtual assistant. Using Alexa you can search by voice, play music, or perform most of the …Amazon just introduced an updated Fire TV Stick which is priced at $39.99 and due for release on October 20, 2016. The new device looks and acts a lot like the old one with the addition of Amazon’s Alexa virtual assistant. Using Alexa you can search by voice, play music, or perform most of the commands that you could on the Amazon Echo device. The hardware is beefed up, going from dual-core to quad-core processing and faster WiFi 802.11ac MIMO. Early purchases also qualify for a $65 media buying credit. Amazon Fire TV Stick – Shipping October 20, 2016 [...]



X-Doria Clearvue Case for iPhone 7 and 7 Plus Is a Simple, Elegant Solution

2016-09-28T00:15:44Z

What’s the first thing you buy after purchasing a new iPhone?  A new iPhone case of course!  Even before my iPhone 7 Plus showed up, I purchased the X-Doria Clearvue case and had it waiting for me at home.  What drew me to the X-Doria Clearvue was the fact that it was small, light, and …What’s the first thing you buy after purchasing a new iPhone?  A new iPhone case of course!  Even before my iPhone 7 Plus showed up, I purchased the X-Doria Clearvue case and had it waiting for me at home.  What drew me to the X-Doria Clearvue was the fact that it was small, light, and see through…and $9.99. The X-Doria Clearvue is made with transparent thermoplastic polyurethane, or TPU for short.  It’s a soft and elastic plastic that also sports a resistance to oil, grease, and abrasion.  It’s a great material for mobile phone cases that a lot of case manufacturers take advantage of.  The result, in the case of the X-Doria Clearvue, is a flexible plastic case that is easy to get on and off of your phone, but still provides a decent amount of protection from low drops.  The case weighs only 1.05 ounces and adds very little bulk to the iPhone 7 or 7 Plus, so it’s easy to keep in your pocket. Check out my video review for a brief overview of the X-Doria Clearvue: class='youtube-player' type='text/html' width='1220' height='717' src='http://www.youtube.com/embed/ChX0k4lD0s0?version=3&rel=1&fs=1&autohide=2&showsearch=0&showinfo=1&iv_load_policy=1&wmode=transparent' allowfullscreen='true' style='border:0;'> The X-Doria Clearvue has a lip at the front that extends past the iPhone screen, providing some protection for the screen if you were to put the phone face down on a table.  The back of the Clearvue, living up to it’s name, is clear, allowing you to appreciate the design of the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus.  The power button and volume buttons are covered with silver accents.  The cutouts in the X-Doria Clearvue are adequate to access the mute switch, allow room for the camera lens(es) and speakers, as well as the lighting port.  The cutout at the lightning port is also large enough to accept third-party lighting cables, which is key because who wants to buy legit lightning cables? Overall, I’m a fan of the X-Doria Clearvue.  It’s a no-frills case, but provides simple and elegant protection, for a great price.  I love the fact that you can appreciate the iPhone’s design through the case and it doesn’t add much weight or bulk to the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus. Have an iPhone 7 or 7 Plus you’d like to protect?  You can get yours today on Amazon. Source: The X-Doria Clearvue was a personal purchase. What I Like: Simple, no-frills case; Transparent; Minimal weight and bulk; Decent protection; Lip at front of case to protect screen; Cutout accepts third-party lightning cables. What Needs Improvement: Nothing at this price point. [...]



Take Your Media Everywhere You Go with Plex Cloud

2016-09-27T21:42:44Z

If you haven’t heard of a little company by the name of Plex, you’ve probably been living under a rock. The popular media player and server announced today a service that will make sure you are never without your favorite music, movies, and photos again. Announced today, Plex introduced Plex Cloud, and its name says …If you haven’t heard of a little company by the name of Plex, you’ve probably been living under a rock. The popular media player and server announced today a service that will make sure you are never without your favorite music, movies, and photos again. Announced today, Plex introduced Plex Cloud, and its name says everything. Currently in a private beta, the $60 service will essentially give the user UNLIMITED storage courtesy of Amazon’s web services. So all of those family photos and home movies, you can now have them on every device, from your Google Chromecast to your Xbox One, even your smartphone if compatible. Currently I am hosting everything off of a Western Digital hard drive, and in order to watch it from my Plex account, I have to have the hard drive on 24/7. So now I’ll have sound peace of mind knowing that if the power ever goes out, or my hard drive dies, I have media backed up to the cloud and it will never get lost. Prior with Plex you needed an always-on computer or NAS which means I can do away with the wires and extra endless boxes and stream ANYWHERE. One thing I wish I could do is link to my Dropbox, Box, or OneDrive, but to be completely honest I feel as though I’m already paying a lot for those services. But for $60 a year, and UNLIMITED storage, I might be cancelling those “other guys” for this one-two punch of a deal that Plex is offering up. Not having to deal with upload bandwidth and data caps is a thing of the past with the Plex Cloud. While space is very limited, you can actually still sign up for the beta, and for more information you can head over to Plex today! [...]



Defeat Excessive Roaming Charges While Traveling with This Hotspot

2016-09-27T21:42:33Z

If you are a frequent traveler, you know that roaming can get to be pretty pricey. And a popular cellular data roaming company by the name of KnowRoaming wants to look out for you with their new hotspot! KnowRoaming actually offers mobile service without charging you a small fortune in the process, which is great …If you are a frequent traveler, you know that roaming can get to be pretty pricey. And a popular cellular data roaming company by the name of KnowRoaming wants to look out for you with their new hotspot! KnowRoaming actually offers mobile service without charging you a small fortune in the process, which is great for the traveler who wants to enjoy a truly unlimited data experience in over 90 different countries all with just the flip of a switch. The Global Hotspot by KnowRoaming will actually be great for the business traveler and their companies who need to host reliable service to a group heading overseas and do not want to suffer from a pricey hotel connectivity bill, or go the way of paying per-day for on-location Internet access. The Hotspot itself boasts some incredible features like the ability to last 20 hours without charging (on top of being connectable to up to fifteen different devices), and if you’re on the go, it will also serve as a portable battery chargers to your devices! Described by KnowRoaming’s CEO Gregory Gundelfinger: “The reality is business happens everywhere and people need instant connectivity on all their devices. We’re thrilled to say our Global Hotspot provides fast, secure, and reliable data around the globe from top-tier networks.” But don’t let his words just be your only reason to choose the Global Hotspot, the fact that KnowRoaming will only cost a flat rate of $7.99 a day is cheaper than the hotel that you’re staying in while being much faster, and its giving you UNLIMITED data that you can even manage, using your KnowRoaming account that comes included. Why wouldn’t you want to pay for lower rates while getting better service? The answer is simple: you know you’re paying too much for roaming, so KnowRoaming is the clear winner when it comes to global traveling and connectivity. For more information about the KnowRoaming head over to KnowRoaming today! [...]



Satechi Type-C Multiport Adapter: Slim, Multi-Featured, and Extremely Handy

2016-09-24T20:20:45Z

The MacBook is one of the most capable (and portable) laptops I’ve ever used, but getting acclimated to its single Type-C port has been an adjustment. Products like the Satechi Type-C Multiport Adapter are making the transition much easier. The Satechi comes in space gray, silver, gold and rose gold to match your MacBook; I …The MacBook is one of the most capable (and portable) laptops I’ve ever used, but getting acclimated to its single Type-C port has been an adjustment. Products like the Satechi Type-C Multiport Adapter are making the transition much easier. The Satechi comes in space gray, silver, gold and rose gold to match your MacBook; I was sent the gold version. This Type-C multiport adapter has a pass-through USB charger so you can plug it into your MacBook’s Type-C port and still charge the laptop while you are taking advantage of the multiports. The adapter measures 4.2″ long by 1.1″ wide by 0.2″ thick, and it has a 6″ long cable coming off the bottom. The adapter is portable, light, and easily tucked into even the slimmest gear bag pocket. The adapter is plug and play; you won’t need any additional software or drivers to make it work. Its body is composed of brushed aluminum with black plastic accents. On the bottom end, there is a 4K HDMI port; if you have a monitor that you’d like to attach to your MacBook, this will make it possible. Satechi mentions that you should use HDMI 2.0 cables “for optimum performance”. On the side, there is a Type-C port where you can plug your power cable; there are also two Type-A USB 3.0 ports for any other peripherals you need to attach. The Satechi Type-C Multiport Adapter is the slim yet multi-talented accessory I have been looking for, and it now sits in one of the slim pockets inside my backpack as an everyday carry item. This adapter makes my MacBook an even fuller-featured computer; bets of all, it will work with any Type-C tablet or laptop — it’s not Mac only. The Satechi Type-C Multiport Adapter retails for $59.99, and it is available from Amazon [affiliate link]. Source: Manufacturer supplied review sample What I Like: Slim design that doesn’t take up much space; A 4K HDMI port so you can attach a monitor to your laptop; Works with any Type-C enabled laptop or tablet; Adds two USB Type-A 3.o ports; Pass-through Type-C charging What Needs Improvement: So far I have no complaints whatsoever! [...]



2016 Volkswagen Jetta GLI Is the Jetta That Does

2016-09-24T17:01:43Z

Several months ago I reviewed the 2016 Volkswagen Jetta sedan. I liked the car but it was a sedate, average daily driver. Recently I received the Jetta GLI, and I gotta tell ya, where the Jetta 1.8T left off the GLI begins, and for 2016 the GLI gets some nice upgrades. Think of the GLI …Several months ago I reviewed the 2016 Volkswagen Jetta sedan. I liked the car but it was a sedate, average daily driver. Recently I received the Jetta GLI, and I gotta tell ya, where the Jetta 1.8T left off the GLI begins, and for 2016 the GLI gets some nice upgrades. 2016 Volkswagen Jetta GLI/Images by Author Think of the GLI as the sedan version of the fun little Golf GTI. It features sport-tuned suspension and a peppy 210hp 2.0-liter TSI turbocharged direct-injected four-cylinder engine. Oh, and you can get it with a six-speed manual gearbox. Leading the enhancements for 2016 is more aggressive front fascia including new grille and foglights and a new rear bumper design with diffuser and dual chrome-tipped exhausts. It also gets 18-inch Mallory design aluminum alloy wheels with either all-season or summer performance tires. Inside there is the new MIB 2 infotainment system featuring USB and Car-Net connectivity along with all the best Volkswagen has to offer in the Jetta lineup including the rocking Fender premium audio system. The GLI arrives in SE or SEL trim and our tester was of the latter, meaning it also included blind spot detection with rear traffic alert, adaptive front lighting, and navigation. All new GLI models get Volkswagen’s automatic post-collision braking system. Pricing is $30,100 out the door for the GLI SEL model with the manual tranny, and if you want the DSG automatic tack on another grand. Fuel economy from the 210hp/207 lb. ft. torque 2.0T engine is 24 mpg city and 33 mpg highway. Our tester arrived in fiery Tornado Red body paint. This thing looked fast just sitting still. The interior was black leather that was comfortable most of the time, but climbing in after work under the Texas summer sun it was a bit extreme. Here, I would prefer some type sport cloth seat material. The 2016 VW Jetta GLI is a blast to drive and takes the mundane to a higher level. Suspension is quite stable without being too stiff, and the car handles well in the corners while remaining stable and smooth on mixed road surfaces. It accelerates quickly with long gear runout, and neither shifter nor clutch becomes overbearing. We found ourselves looking for longer routes to and from work just to get more of the fun driving experience. This is the Jetta that could – and does. [...]



With the Robo C2 and R2 3D Printers, the Robolution Has Begun

2016-09-23T18:03:11Z

I’m finishing a review of  an amazing Robo 3D printer, an impressive device and I’m having fun. The company just announced two new additions to their product line, the Robo C2 and Robo R2 smart 3D printers. With Wi-Fi and a new Robo app, they make 3D printing smarter, faster and more convenient. The Kickstarter …I’m finishing a review of  an amazing Robo 3D printer, an impressive device and I’m having fun. The company just announced two new additions to their product line, the Robo C2 and Robo R2 smart 3D printers. With Wi-Fi and a new Robo app, they make 3D printing smarter, faster and more convenient. The Kickstarter project to fund the new printers began on September 21st and is set to usher in the next-generation of consumer 3D printing! Robo is a company that makes the highly rated consumer 3D printers. The two new additions to its growing product line are the Robo C2 and Robo R2. These are smart 3D printers with Wi-Fi that are powered by a new Robo app. When developing these new printers Robo totally redesigned and reimagined both next-generation printers. Their goal was to “exceed consumer expectations while defining the new industry status quo with a wish-list set of innovative features required in a modern, connected smart device; making 3D printing fun, easy and accessible to everyone.” They turned to Kickstarter for funding for specific reasons. As they explain, Touching on the cornerstone of its success on Kickstarter three years ago, Robo is once again using this same platform to continue telling its story of innovation and creation that allowed it to launch and cultivate its fan base. And it’s because of those Kickstarter fans’ continued support and inspiration that the company returns back to Kickstarter to give the community access to an exclusive limited run prior to the general market release in November. You can find the project here. The Robo C2 compact in size and, thanks to its small footprint, is engineered to fit any space. Despite its small size, however, it can scale nearly any project with great detail and efficiency. The larger Robo R2 offers high-performance 3D printing. It is the successor to Robo R1+PLUS and delivers a larger print size and a heated print bed. It also has an onboard camera for remote print monitoring and the ability to print two materials at once. (This requires an additional extruder head that is sold separately. Both printers feature built-in Wi-Fi, fast print speed, the ability to create products of substantial sizes, have large color touch screens, automatic self-leveling print beds, integrated model slicing and lament run-out detection. These are full-features 3D printers designed for anyone wanting to jump into this amazing new world of creativity. As Braydon Moreno, co-founder of Robo, explains: Working non-stop at our San Diego headquarters, we’ve redesigned our printer from the inside out and see it as an incredible opportunity to continue pushing the boundaries in this space, while providing an unforgettable consumer experience. Robo C2 and Robo R2 will continue empowering people to make the imagined real as they bring their ideas to life with our simple-to- use technologies and create anything from prototypes of new products, to household items, to customized and personalized pieces. We know the future of 3D printing is bright and that future’s now with these two new products — coupled with the ride that is the Robolution. Robo C2 anmd R2 A key aspect of the new printers is the new Robo app. This app, which works with both printers, lets people connect and print right from their mobile device. It also lets them monitor the printing progress in real-time, manage multiple prints and printers at once, connect to cloud libraries and lets them access thou[...]



ROAM ROPES Wireless Earphones & EQ Engine: Music the Way You Want to Hear It

2016-09-23T06:29:23Z

Not that Bluetooth earphones and headphones weren’t already growing more and more popular, but Apple’s removal of the 3.5mm headphone jack has all but ensured that this is the direction mobile audio has headed. Do you have a favorite set of Bluetooth earphones or headphones yet? I’m still trying to decide. Lately, I’ve been using ROAM …Not that Bluetooth earphones and headphones weren’t already growing more and more popular, but Apple’s removal of the 3.5mm headphone jack has all but ensured that this is the direction mobile audio has headed. Do you have a favorite set of Bluetooth earphones or headphones yet? I’m still trying to decide. Lately, I’ve been using ROAM ROPES. Is it just me, or does the square box hanging off the wire seem reminiscent of the iPod Shuffle? ROAM, a company founded by Steven Lamar, may seem new to you, but Steven has a history in the audio world. As the president of SLS, he “brought SLS from the pink sheets to the American Stock Exchange, launched SLS’ first consumer product in partnership with Quincy Jones and secured product placement agreements for SLS products with Mark Burnett Productions.” Steven was also the “founder of Jibe Audio, LLC, which was responsible for the concept and design of the Beats by Dr. Dre headphone product line,” a claim that Beats has contested (but then, they have a history of contesting any early contributions made to the company outside of Dr. Dre’s and Jimmy Iovine’s, don’t they?). You can read more on ROAM’s back story and their founder’s personal reasons for keeping cellphones away from people’s heads by clicking here. ROAM ROPES are a premium wireless headphone product that offers excellent sound — as long as you don’t mind wearing the set as a type of necklace with an “EQ engine” pendant (which also holds the rechargeable battery) hanging from the middle. Their design might seem to make them a bit more “involved” than some wireless headphones, but it also means that they are easier to wear throughout the day — being that they are easily accessible for putting on when you want to listen to music, or they can be comfortably left off (yet still easily accessible) as they hang around your neck when you aren’t wearing them. Included in the package are a carry case, a short microUSB charging cable, a microUSB to 35mm jack cable (for when you don’t want to use Bluetooth on your headphone jack enabled device or if your battery dies), a selection of ear hooks and tips, a quick-start guide, and a ROAM sticker. ROAM ROPES look like a pendant necklace with earbuds coming  off each side, and in a way, that is how you should approach using them. Wear them around your neck with the EQ Engine “pendant” hanging down. Leave them on. Forget about them. Put them on when you want to wear them, and remove the earpieces when you need to pay attention to something else. They are comfortable, and you’ll quickly get used to wearing the extra ‘necklace’. You can wear the EQ Engine pendant under or over your shirt; you can adjust how low or high it hangs on your torso by pulling on each side of the earphone cables. Speaking of cables, these are flat and tangle-free; very nice. Why the pendant design? The pendant (we call it the EQ Engine) is where all the magic happens. It houses an amplifier, audio equalizer, Bluetooth and battery that sends the amplified audio signal to the ultra high end, dynamic, balanced armature earphone drivers. The combination of the amplifier, EQ processing and earphone drivers is what reproduces the exceptional audio you hear through ROPES earphones.[...]



The Onee Is a Terrible Solution to a Serious Problem

2016-09-23T00:16:54Z

Look, it’s an unfortunate reality that the world can be quite unsafe. If you’re a woman out in a situation where you’re drinking, you need to worry about drugs in your drinks, assaults from your Uber driver, and what seems like a million other threats. There are a number of startups and apps that aim …Look, it’s an unfortunate reality that the world can be quite unsafe. If you’re a woman out in a situation where you’re drinking, you need to worry about drugs in your drinks, assaults from your Uber driver, and what seems like a million other threats. There are a number of startups and apps that aim to help make people more secure when they’re out and about, but this is literally the dumbest idea I have ever seen, and I have been a geek for a long, long time. Apparently, the Onee is a wearables/app combo where you can pair your Onee with a friend, and then your apps sync up. Once you’re out and about, you can signal your friends by discreetly buzzing them with the Onee, where one buzz means all is well and two buzzes means, “come save me” … or, based on their awful marketing video, one buzz means come take a group photo, while two buzzes means, “I’m ditching you to go to a donut shop.” And no, that’s sadly not a joke. Watch their video: src="https://player.vimeo.com/video/183113295" width="640" height="360" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"> So there are a few things we can all agree on here, and I have to give credit to The Verge for their biting criticism of this concept as well. One, the idea of the buddy system is good. Two, if you already have your phone out to track your friend, why the hell would you use the Onee to find them when you could just text them? And three, how bad of a friend are you if you leave a party and don’t invite your other friend to go with you to get late night donuts? The consensus among my coworkers, by the way, is that you would be dead to them if you didn’t bring them with you for donuts. Leaving the party is fine. Leaving the party and not inviting others for the donuts is unforgivable. In all seriousness, the Onee is an awful idea on a purely practical level. It’s ugly, expensive ($95 per bracelet!), and chunky, so you’re depending on your friends to buy and wear a super ugly friendship bracelet so you can buzz them discreetly. But you can also buzz your friends discreetly with your phone. Or an Apple Watch! In fact, there’s very little the Onee does that you can’t do with any smartphone-connected traditional wearable, and that’s my biggest issue with it. Discreetly buzzing your friends is neat, but it’s hardly worth the value proposition. On the other hand, if the Onee also sent out a true emergency alert to more than just its paired bracelet AND let out a loud emergency tone, then it might be more worthwhile. A bracelet that buzzes your friends is dumb. A bracelet that can act like a high-tech “rape whistle”, startling someone attacking you and alerting others that you’re in danger, that’s a good idea. Unfortunately, that’s not the Onee. Save your money, buy some donuts, and come up with a real safety plan with your friends instead. [...]



Coolbox: A Toolbox Integrated with Stuff You Already Have

2016-09-20T14:20:01Z

The title says it all really. However, let me share with you what is probably one of the silliest toolboxes I have ever seen because everyone wants a tool box with a clock, speakers, and a battery for charging phones — oh yeah it also holds tools! When I came across this in my daily web travels, …The title says it all really. However, let me share with you what is probably one of the silliest toolboxes I have ever seen because everyone wants a tool box with a clock, speakers, and a battery for charging phones — oh yeah it also holds tools! When I came across this in my daily web travels, I just had to shake my head. Coolbox looks like a cheap plastic tool box with a bunch of things tacked on for the questionable price of $199. You can pre-order this thing, and it won’t get to you until February 2017. So what does this “Coolbox” have? Well: POWER 8ft AC Extension Cable 3 Fused AC Ports (Female) 2 USB DC Ports (Female) HANDLES Dual Side Handles / Single Top Handle Premium Metal Lid Latches Able to Support 60lbs of Equipment WATER RESISTANT System has IPX4 Rating USB and AC Port Covers Rugged Marine Grade Speakers MAGNETIC LID Neodymium magnetic molded into underside of the Lid Able to hold 500g AUDIO Dual 20W RMS 8Ohm Marine Grade Speakers Bluetooth 4.0 (BLE) Wireless Connectivity 3.5mm Aux input DETACHABLE LED LAMP Custom Designed with internal rechargeable battery 480 Lumens Max Brightness Dual Brightness Settings 4 Hour Battery Life MOBILE DEVICE INTEGRATION Custom Tablet Stand on Top cover (exterior) Custom Tablet Stand near Lid Hinge (interior) Hidden Mobile Phone compartment behind main logo on front WHITEBOARD Removable and Clips into Underside of Lid Dual Side / Dry Erase Surface L12″xW17″ Some list, eh? So why is this a bad idea? Well, one problem I see right off the bat is that this stuff all probably adds extra weight to the toolbox which is also going to hold very heavy tools. Not exactly something I am looking for. Another is that products such as these tend to not be great at anything including the intended purpose: to hold tools. Also, have you ever had a TV with VCR or DVD player integrated? What happened to the TV when the DVD player died? Well, it still worked except you had to attach to it another DVD player and the integrated one is useless and probably makes the TV larger than it needs to be. The same with the Coolbox. If the clock goes out in it, you’ll need to carry a clock. What happens if the internal battery dies? Can you buy a replacement battery or is that dead battery now dead weight? This extra stuff just seems to me to be too extra. While I am sure some guys might need that crap, I already have all of that and then some, and it all works. Some of my gear can even fit into a regular toolbox, and if something breaks I replace it and not the whole entire thing. So what would I suggest? How about this tool box below. This is the Blue Hawk 30.5-in Black Plastic Wheeled Tool Box is available now at Lowes for $49.98. It has a huge capacity, wheels, some trays inside, and not much else but it will work! All the time. Until you break it — and then you STILL haven’t spent the price of the Coolbox even after you buy another. The Coolbox ain’t so cool. It advertises itself as the worlds smartest tool box. To me it’s dumb. I’ll take any number of cheaper alternatives that will do the job better and not have all the extra added weight for things I may not even need to carry. I’ll stick to the ones I already have. Oh, and to the folks at Coolbox: if you want to send me one to review to try to prove me wrong, go ahead. You might convince me[...]



CrystalTech Nano 2.0 Liquid Screen Protector: Scratch Resistant, Water-Repellant, Bubble-Free, & Antibacterial

2016-09-19T21:20:36Z

While at IFA, I managed to drop my phone not once, but three times — face-down. This chipped the glass protector I was using to the point that I was worried I might cut myself on it, so I removed it. I’m trying something new now, the CrystalTech Nano 2.0 Liquid Screen Protector. CrystalTech Nano touts its …While at IFA, I managed to drop my phone not once, but three times — face-down. This chipped the glass protector I was using to the point that I was worried I might cut myself on it, so I removed it. I’m trying something new now, the CrystalTech Nano 2.0 Liquid Screen Protector. CrystalTech Nano touts its liquid screen protector as having these properties: ? 9H HARDNESS ? SCRATCH RESISTANT ? ANTIBACTERIAL PROTECTION ? ENHANCES TOUCHSCREEN ? WATER RESISTANT ? NO BUBBLES ? FOR PHONES & TABLETS ? ONE SIZE FITS ALL ? NANO TECHNOLOGY ? EASY TO APPLY ? PROTECTS FOR UP TO 1 YEAR Included in the package are a microfiber wipe, instructions, and the two-step cleaner and nano technology materials in a packet. CrystalTech Nano is a truly revolutionary product that contains pure, particle free, Silicon Dioxide – SiO2 – which means that it contains “pure glass”. The glass is in a molecular form and is held in a liquid. It doesn’t become “glass” until it’s allowed to dry. This forms the base of our proprietary formulation. The nano-coating contained in Crystaltech Nano not only protects the device from surface damage but also keep it hygienic as it contains an anti bacterial formula. In recent tests many devices were found to harbor various undesirable viruses and other illness causing microbes but a device coated in Crystaltech Nano helps stop these bugs bonding themselves to the surface and help maintain a positive tech-hygeine plan. Recent independent laboratory tests attest to more than 99.9% of bacteria being eliminated over time with the use of Crystaltech nano! Application is pretty straightforward: Clean your device with the included isopropyl alcohol wipe Dry your device with the included microfiber cloth Apply the pre-treated swab in a circular motion over your device’s entire screen Wait 5 minutes Polish your device’s screen with the microfiber cloth Your device’s screen is ready for normal use after 60 seconds The coating will fully cure within 48 hours That’s it! There are no bubbles, my screen is crystal clear, and I was even able to use the wipes to do two phone screens. The packaging makes it clear that the kit can do a phone or a tablet, so I figured why not? I’m not willing to take a box-cutter or other sharp object to my phone’s screen, so I will leave you with this video …   src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/kUo_FJxo2_E" width="640" height="360" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"> The CrystalTech Nano 2.0 liquid screen protector is a great solution for those of us who have issues getting a stick-on protector straight, or who hate the look or feel of a protector sitting on top of their phone or tablet’s screen. I haven’t yet dropped my iPhone face down since applying the CrystalTech Nano 2.0, but if I do and there are any issues, I’ll update this review at that time. The CrystalTech Nano 2.0 Liquid Screen Protector retails for $19.99, and it is available directly from the manufacturer*. Source: Manufacturer supplied review sample What I Like: Easy to install; no bubbles; Enough in the package to do a couple of phones or a tablet; Invisible protection What Needs Improvement: Nothing so far! *Turn your volume down when you click-through to their site: soft EDM starts as a YouTube video a[...]



Google Jumps into the Trip Management Game with Google Trips

2016-09-20T14:14:46Z

If you travel a lot your phone is your friend. It keeps track of your flight, your hotel, and more but it’s either via e-mail or an app like Google Keep or something else. Well, Google has brought together everything in one beautiful app called Google Trips! Google Trips promises automatic trip organization. If you …If you travel a lot your phone is your friend. It keeps track of your flight, your hotel, and more but it’s either via e-mail or an app like Google Keep or something else. Well, Google has brought together everything in one beautiful app called Google Trips! Google Trips promises automatic trip organization. If you have a trip and you used your gmail account to set it up, it will look in your mail for those reservations and then create a trip automatically. Once in the trip, you see a nice pic of the destination, places to go, places to eat. It’s pretty bare bones at the moment but it’s really beautiful. It even picked up stuff in my gmail from my past trips too. Unfortunately this one is for Android only and there does not seem to be a web interface yet. To Google: Please add Keep Integration and let me add a packing list right from Trips! Also let me add things to the list as well that AREN’T automatic.  Do those and I see no reason to use any other trip management app. [...]



SanDisk Defies Logic with Their 1TB Extreme Pro SDXC Card

2016-09-19T23:02:59Z

If you shoot 4K video, then you know how quickly the gigabytes get used; here to make your life much easier is the new SanDisk Extreme Pro 1TB SDXC card. That’s one thousand gigabytes to you, sir! I remember when 1GB was a huge deal — it wasn’t that long ago, for goodness sake! Showcasing the most advanced …If you shoot 4K video, then you know how quickly the gigabytes get used; here to make your life much easier is the new SanDisk Extreme Pro 1TB SDXC card. That’s one thousand gigabytes to you, sir! I remember when 1GB was a huge deal — it wasn’t that long ago, for goodness sake! Showcasing the most advanced imaging technologies is truly exciting for us. Sixteen years ago we introduced the first SanDisk 64MB SD™ card and today we are enabling capacities of 1TB. Over the years our goal has remained the same; continue to innovate and set the pace for the imaging industry. The SanDisk 1TB SD card prototype represents another significant achievement as growth of high-resolution content and capacity-intensive applications such as virtual reality, video surveillance and 360 video, are progressing at astounding rates. – Dinesh Bahal, vice president, product management, Content Solutions Business Unit, Western Digital I’m simply blown away that a card so small can handle such a huge amount of data, and I’m obviously not the only one … Just a few short years ago the idea of a 1TB capacity point in an SD card seemed so futuristic – it’s amazing that we’re now at the point where it’s becoming a reality. With the growing demand for applications like VR, we can certainly use 1TB when we’re out shooting continuous high-quality video. High-capacity cards allow us to capture more without interruption, streamlining our workflow, and eliminating the worry that we may miss a moment because we have to stop to swap out cards, – Sam Nicholson , CEO of Stargate Studios and member of the American Society of Cinematographers. SanDisk has just revealed this little beauty at Photokina 2016; as of now, there is no info on price or when it will actually be available. Not soon enough for all of you videographers, right?   [...]



Vizio M50-D1 Home Theater Display Is So Smart, It Is Brilliant #ad

2016-09-19T17:48:52Z

As Raina and I were setting up our new house, one of the things I knew was that I wanted were large televisions both in the living room and the bedroom. Fortunately, I was approached by VIZIO and offered the opportunity to review one of their new 2016 VIZIO SmartCast M-Series Ultra HD HDR Home …As Raina and I were setting up our new house, one of the things I knew was that I wanted were large televisions both in the living room and the bedroom. Fortunately, I was approached by VIZIO and offered the opportunity to review one of their new 2016 VIZIO SmartCast M-Series Ultra HD HDR Home Theater Displays. We love it. VIZIO provided a 50″ model with Google Cast built into it and a 6” Android remote control tablet in exchange for me doing this review; let’s take a look. THE ALL-NEW VIZIO SMARTCAST M-SERIES: Designed to Captivate. Introducing the all-new VIZIO SmartCast™ M-Series™ Ultra HD HDR Home Theater Display™. Part of the VIZIO SmartCast collection with Google Cast built-in, the M-Series features a powerful 6” Android™ tablet remote, and the stunning picture of High Dynamic Range. What you love won’t change, but how you experience it will never be the same again. The first thing worth noting when considering one of these new VIZIO products is the fact that this isn’t a television in the sense that one traditionally thinks of a television. Rather, VIZIO refers to this as a “tuner-free” display. The difference between a tuner-free display and a traditional television is that a traditional television has an ATVSC TV tuner component built into it, which allows it to receive over-the-air broadcast TV without the need to connect the unit to a cable box, satellite box or streaming system such as Roku. Since we, like most people these days, either stream our media or watch live TV from a cable or satellite box, there’s no longer a need to have the tuner built into the unit. This allows VIZIO to remove the tuner thereby saving weight, bulk and, in the process, it makes setup easier than ever and makes an amazing display surprisingly affordable. If, however, one wanted to use one of these devices for watching over the air broadcast television,they would need to purchase an external antenna. It isn’t a huge expense, but it might be an inconvenience. Thankfully that’s not something I expect that we will ever want or need to do. This new VIZIO SmartCast M-Series Ultra HD HDR Home Theater Display has a resolution of 4K ultra HD. That means it looks better than anything I’ve ever had the opportunity to watch at home … so long as the content we are watching in super-high resolution. It has plenty of connectivity and, as mentioned, it ships with a 6″ tablet remote. More on that in a bit. All the connectivity you would want on the back and… There are three basic ways one might want to use this VIZIO SmartCast M-Series display. First, one might opt to connect a cable or satellite box to one of the three HDMI connections on the rear of the unit or to the easily accessible HDMI port on the side. Plenty of connection options on the side. Choosing this option allows the display to work as if it were any other cable or satellite-connected television. Second, the inclusion of an assortment of HDMI connections means you can also connect an Apple TV, and Amazon streaming device or a Roku box to it. We have an Apple TV connected to ours so we can access iTunes and use the display for AirPlay. The third option is the most unusual and is what makes these displays so unique. You can wirelessly “cast” me[...]



Power Toothpaste Goes Retail!

2016-09-20T00:23:58Z

We had the chance to check out Power Toothpaste when they were first crowdfunding their product. Caffeinated toothpaste may sound crazy, but it’s actually pretty delicious and seems to offer a legitimate boost of energy in the mornings! I’ve used my sample toothpastes a few times when I didn’t have time for coffee and needed …We had the chance to check out Power Toothpaste when they were first crowdfunding their product. Caffeinated toothpaste may sound crazy, but it’s actually pretty delicious and seems to offer a legitimate boost of energy in the mornings! I’ve used my sample toothpastes a few times when I didn’t have time for coffee and needed a boost to get to work, and found it really was fairly effective. Now everyone can have the same opportunity to get hyper while brushing their teeth, but it won’t come cheap. Power Toothpaste is retailing at $14.99 for one tube, though the five-pack brings the per tube cost down to ~$10/tube or $49.99. It is pricey for straightforward toothpaste, but it does offer a jolt of caffeine, so if it replaces one cup of coffee per day it makes the price more reasonable. It’s also worth noting that it’s not so far off the mark from other specialty toothpastes: Tom’s of Maine runs from $9 to $17 on Amazon, for example. Power Toothpaste claims you can save a fair bit of money over coffee, claiming one tube is equivalent to 90 cups coffee! If you have a Starbucks a day habit, this could save you quite a lot in your budget (though it might take longer to tip in your favor if you’re brewing from grinds from home). Watch the video: https://youtu.be/L9jhXKGDluc  Caffeine laced toothpaste isn’t for everyone, but if you need an energy boost in the morning and don’t have the time or inclination to grab an energy drink or cup of coffee, it’s worth checking out Power Toothpaste! [...]



1More Pair of Headphones to Check out Today

2016-09-18T22:39:49Z

With Bluetooth Headphones becoming a popular item to have after Apple’s announcement earlier this month, companies have been scrambling to come up with innovative Bluetooth products to sell. Luckily, 1More was already prepared with their brand of headphones, and they sent us over two models to check out that you might want to purchase.   …With Bluetooth Headphones becoming a popular item to have after Apple’s announcement earlier this month, companies have been scrambling to come up with innovative Bluetooth products to sell. Luckily, 1More was already prepared with their brand of headphones, and they sent us over two models to check out that you might want to purchase.   The first of the two, the MK802 Wireless Bluetooth Headphones ($129.99) by 1More are essentially a Bluetooth headphone that you would go out and about wearing, or carry with you on a long flight and know that they will get the job done. With the option of being wired with a companion cable (in the event the battery dies), the MK8082’s are an upgrade from those headphones you picked up at Best Buy that were on sale and you figured “why not”. Available in red or blue, I went with the crimson red color to stand out from the traditional color I typically get. Here are some additional details on the MK802’s: Frequency Range: 20-20,000 Hz Bluetooth: Bluetooth 4.1 with 30 ft. Range Battery Life: Standby 5 months, Talk 26 hours, Music 15 hours Driver Diameter: 40mm Optional Cable: 1.2 m Optional plug: 3.5mm The ear cups of the MK802’s are actually pretty soft to the touch, and even better while listening. Most leather ear cups I’ve felt in the past have always been pretty stiff, and after about an hour of wearing, I tend to adjust them. Not the case with the MK802’s which come with their own pretty nifty headphone adjusting system that works with just one hand that I thought was pretty cool compared to Apple’s Beat’s headphones which adjusting mechanism I’ve personally hated for some time. Since the MK802’s are so comfortable, I’ve actually begun my lift days at the gym with them. Unlike most Bluetooth on-ear headphones on the market, the MK802’s stuck to having the controls (Power, volume, call control, and bass control) on the right ear cup, but made the buttons a nice enough size to remember on the fly, and more importantly, didn’t make them gesture based. While I’m all for a quick swipe to do things, when doing pull-ups or vigorous workouts with gesture headphones you will tend to hit something you didn’t mean to. What does this mean in terms of audio? With the KN802’s, they match up, and actually are better than those Beats your friend has. With a 15-hour battery life and a fraction of the cost, the only thing that friend with the overpriced headphones can say is “your headphones are red like mine”. You can choose to entertain them, or simply just tell them to take a listen. At $129, not only are the MK802’s matching the beats in terms of bass, but for $100 less, you get a headphone that’s diaphragm is made of PEEK, which is a polymer that will deliver balanced sound, that won’t make your audio sound muffled, even from up to thirty feet away thanks to its heightened Bluetooth range. If you’d like more info about the MK802’s ($129.99) you can head here. Second on the list are the iBFree ($49.99), which are a pair of in-Ear Bluetooth headphones by 1More, available in fo[...]