Archive for the 'Gadgets' Category

15
Apr
09

Jawbone

JB_red.jpg
I spend a lot of time on the phone at work. Some on a land line, but mostly on my cell phone. I know it’s major dorksville to have a bluetooth headset sticking out of your ear. To top it all off, they don’t always work that great–static, poor volume and terrible noise cancelation being some key issues.

I’ve tried some headsets in the past, ranging in price from $25 to $50 in the past, but was greatly disappointed in performance. I’ve been eyeing the Jawbone for a while as they were always getting good reviews. The only problem is that I had only every seen it in the $120 range. Hard to justify.

As luck would have, I was in London Drugs picking something up when I saw the Aliph Jawbone Gen 1 unit on sale for $69. There was only 1 left and it was the Red one. I snatched it up.

There is no doubt that I looked like an absolute dork with this red hair clip looking thing sticking out of my ear. To make me look like an even bigger tool, I ended up talking much louder than I needed to. This thing works so well, that even with background noise you can speak as though the person is right in front of you.

If you are looking for a BT headset, I totally recommend these headsets without hesitation. However, I would suggest taking a close look at the 2nd generation unit as it is much more elegant looking.

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15
Jan
09

Griffin Windowseat

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So what do you get an iPhone -owning-Gadget nut like me for Christmas? Do you get him case? Nope, already have that. How about a travel charger? Sorry, have that too! Car charger? In the glove compartment.

The WindowSeat from Griffin is the answer. I received one of these from my friend this Christmas–thanks Sam–to my excitement. It’s very much like the suction cup holders for GPS units in peoples car, but for the iPhone and iPod Touch. It attaches to your window or on your dash with an adhesive platform. Also included are: 3.5mm audio cable and an extension arm.

I had it set up on my window in a matter of minutes, basically ready to go out of the box. However, if you want to mount it to your dash or use the extension, it will take a little longer. I tried out a few different angles, on the windshield, on the dashboard and with the extension arm. I found that there is excess vibration when the extension arm is used. This may or may not affect you depending on your car’s ride. I found extra reach of the extension very convenient but the bouncing of my iPhone was very distracting and annoying, so I went back to the regular length.

Switching from portrait to landscape is a very easy twist of the wrist. Make sure that you mount it high enough to clear the dash with room to spare for the rotation and the charging cable–just in case you need it.

Anyone considering this set-up may also want to invest in a bluetooth headset. The iPhone mounts very securely in the holder making it difficult to detach for phone calls–though it could be because I have an Invisible Shield by ZAGG all around.

I hope that in the future they will make a case that works with this holder. It would be great to pull it out of my pocket or off my belt and put it in the holder when I get in the car.

I will say that I am extremely satisfied with this product (as any product I’ve ever used of Griffin’s) and would recommend it to anyone who spends a significant time on the road.

15
Oct
08

iPhone Anti-Glare Film

With the iPhone being out in Canada for close to 3 months, there has been a flood of accessories on the market. There are at least a hundred cases out there. But, one of the most useful accessories that I’ve come across and purchased is the Anti-Glare Film made by Power Support.

The phone comes with this beautiful scratch resistant glass display that is Super glossy–which is part of it’s beauty. However, it does leave a lot of streaks when you touch it with your fingers. And, when you are outside there is major glare, even with contrast levels turned up.

This is where the film comes in handy. It sells on the Canadian Apple Store (online and retail) for about $15. There are 3 items in the package: 2 Anti-glare films and 1 applicator–since there are 2 films share it and the cost with a friend. The applicator is basically a slightly adhesive piece of plastic you use to pull the dust of the screen. Then you apply the actual film which, contrary to the name, is more like a sheet of plastic than a saran wrap type film. The whole process takes you less than five minutes.

The colours on the screen does lose a little vibrancy, but being able to see the screen, without glare, in the brightest situations make it worth every penny. On top of that, it also does an excellent job hiding any greasy finger marks.

If any of you are iPod Touch users, they have one for you as well.

12
Sep
08

Travel Charging Solutions

I spend a fair share of time away from home at hotels or in Victoria. For anyone that travel frequently, you know how much hassle lugging chargers and cables can be. On top of your pluggables, you also have to worry about finding enough outlets at hotels.

The first solution that I found is the Monster Outlet To Go 3 outlet surge protector. Lina and I travel with 2 or 3 cell phones, laptop, and a couple of iPods. Of course, we have one surge protector each. It’s the perfect travel companion as the short cable plug into itself, and is neat and tidy. Couple that with a USB-to-wall-charger and we can charge your USB device with ease.

Perfect!

 

 

Or so I thought…

 

 

Recently however, I’ve discovered an even better device while browsing at Vancouver’s only Apple Store.

Belkin offers what they call a Mini Surge Protector with USB Charger: a surge protector with 3 household plugs and 2 USB outlets. How awesome is that. The main plug rotates 90 degrees to hang vertically or horizontally off the wall outlet.

Now I don’t have to take my charger for my work Moto Razr and iPhone/iPod. And, that still leaves all three outlets for things like laptops and other battery chargers.

All this for only $25 at the Apple Store.

Nice!

17
Aug
08

iPhone use on BC Ferries

The iPhone is an awesome way to kill time on the ferry!! This was the first weekend that I headed to Victoria with my new phone, and it made the time absolutely fly.

I was very sceptical of Rogers/Fido coverage for Data between Tsawwassen and Swartz bay. I expected that my internet use would drop out frequently and be super frustrating. But, to my surprise EDGE coverage is wide spread and strong. 3G isn’t too bad either.

I noticed that, with 3G, I dropped my connection a few times which caused it to switch to EDGE, dropping the entire connection momentarily. If you just turn off 3G, the connection is very solid–a strong and steady signal.

(As I am typing this, the captain announced that a pod of Orcas can be seen up ahead. I’ve never seen so many people moving so fast on the ferry.)

I’m looking forward to future ferry trips.

25
May
08

New Apple Store – Vancouver

I went to the Apple Store opening in Vancouver yesterday, and to my surprise (not really), there were 2 bajillion people lined up there — there goes my free T-shirt. It was amazing.

The line went from the front of the store, out the nearest exit onto Granville, around the corner onto Georgia and down the street reaching Howe. Crazy. You could hear and feel the buzz of anticipation of the crowd. It was funny watching regular shoppers come in to the mall and ask what was happening and not understand why anyone would line up for this purpose. Obviously they don’t use Apple products.

The gates finally open and an massive cheering erupts, not from the crowd as you might suspect, but the employees of the store. The first bunch of people get to walk into the store lined with employees clapping and cheering as the are handed their T-shirt. It must have been nice to get that star treatment.

Compared to the Chicago store, which is the only one I’ve been to, it looked quite tiny. But, of course, finished in that Apple elegance. I waited to see how quickly the line would subside since I didn’t want to wait 1 or 2 hours to get in. It didn’t look like it was moving so couldn’t stick around to get in. I guess I’ll try on Monday.

Edit: Pictures added. Click to see larger pictures on flickr.
Apple Store Opening VancouverApple Store Opening VancouverApple Store Opening Vancouver

06
Mar
08

Classic Games

Recently, over lunch, Raf and I were having a flash back to yesteryear. We chatted about how we used to play this game or that game on the PC (I know, I didn’t always use a Mac). Reminiscing about such times, inevitably brings me back to my favourite game of that era: Day of the Tentacle. It’s a point-and-click adventure game, which is a genre that doesn’t really exist anymore.

To my surprise, I’ve found out that there are many emulators that allow you to play the game on multiple platforms. I can even use the PC CD on the Mac and play it.

I’ve now downloaded the emulator and now I have to find the CD-ROM.

Check out the video of the intro:

Update: I found the game shortly after I posted this, and wow does it ever work great.  I also found Sam & Max and that so far works flawlessly.   I predict that I’ll be spending countless hours playing these in the near future.




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