Switchmate for the Super Simple Internet of Things

Switchmate

Switchmate is a smart lighting solution that snaps magnetically onto a standard light switch, allowing the switch to be flipped remotely via smart device. Continue reading

These Audio-Technica Earbuds Will Actually Stay in Place

The earbuds come in a variety of colors. Image: Audio-Technica

A lot of one-size-fits-all earbuds just won’t stay in place. Even the ones with interchangeable tips can sometimes wobble themselves out, depending on your activity. But you don’t need to move up to on-ear or over-the-ear headphones just to make sure they stay put. Continue reading

Doing the Two-Smartphone Shuffle

2 iphones

You know who I’m talking about even if I’m not specifically talking about you. This is the person that comes into a meeting at work and plops down a stack of smartphones on the conference room table. I have recently joined the two smartphone club, and because I see so many others like me struggling to do this dance properly I thought it was time to help make things a little easier. Continue reading

Kickstarter Reminder — DuinoKit Jr. Electronics/Arduino Project Kit

DuinoKit Jr2

This is just a quick reminder that the DuinoKit Jr. Kickstarter project is down to less than a week. It’s already reached its funding goal, so any stragglers out there who might be looking for a fun all-in-one electronics style kit that teaches Arduino and programming, take a look at the DuinoKit Jr.

Project owner, Dan Alich, has finished two successful Kickstarter projects previously, both larger versions of this kit called the DuinoKit Essentials. Dan understands the issues with manufacturing and shipping, so he’s got the experience needed to delivery the products on time for a May 2015 delivery. Continue reading

Doxie Go Wi-Fi: A True “Take It With You” Scanner

Scan something

My fellow geek dads, friends, and family members know I am a scanner geek, through and through. This is a technology that continues to evolve and offer up more features to both home and office users. Armed with a personal scanner, you can get organized, reduce your clutter, and become more efficient.

I’ve got two scanners in my office, but they’re in no way portable. There are a number of smaller scanners out there that have a small footprint and are extremely light (in weight), but the one that’s been stowed in my truck and pretty much goes everywhere I go these days is the Doxie Go Wi-Fi. I’ve reviewed the Doxie Go in the past for GeekDad, but this new version has some improvements and now satisfies one of my biggest demands for a portable scanner — I don’t always have my laptop with me, but I almost always have my iPhone and/or iPad, and they both work great with the Doxie Go Wi-Fi and the matching iOS app. Continue reading

My Private Solar System

Our Solar System

I’ve wanted my own solar power system since the first time I learned such a thing was possible. A year and a half ago, I learned about a great program called Solarize Seattle. They team up with local installers and community organizations to make solar more accessible to homeowners in and around the Seattle metropolitan area. And more importantly, they help educate homeowners on how solar in Seattle was possible. Continue reading

GeekDad Review: Inateck 4-Port Compact USB Charger

USB Charger saves electrical outlets but not cables

The bane of my existence is my kids’ constant battle over chargers for their portable devices. When we travel, the hassle is magnified, with fewer outlets and the need to lug around a bag of chargers. What’s the solution? Continue reading

The Home of Tomorrow Today

LYRIC

As I made my way through CES 2015, I couldn’t help but get the feeling that I’d been lied to. Allow me to explain: the future I was promised was big and shiny and festooned with silver lamé jumpsuits. And also robots. Lots of robots. Continue reading

Replacing the Battery in a MacBook Air

MBA taken apart

I recently wrote a year end post about products that had disappointed me in 2014, and one of the featured culprits was a 2008 vintage MacBook Air whose battery had swollen to the point it was distorting the aluminum case. Since Apple no longer sells components for this notebook — even though the battery is a consumable (thus the reason for my griping) — I was offered the choice of using the MBA only while plugged in, finding a third party battery or buying a new laptop. I bought a replacement battery from Other World Computing (OWC) and installed it, proving that the non user-replaceable battery in these things is indeed easily user replaceable. And so far, so good on the battery from OWC. Continue reading

11 New Gadget Kickstarters You Want to See (and Back)

doodler

Here are 11 cool new tech projects that have launched on Kickstarter. Check them out! Continue reading

Festivus of Gadgets (Products That Disappointed Me in 2014)

MBA swelling battery

As part of GeekDad and in other roles, I have the opportunity to test a lot of gear. Some are loaner units provided by the manufacturer, some I end up buying and writing about. Review periods typically last days to weeks and while I can learn a great deal about a product during that time, sometimes even the best turns out to be less than satisfactory in the long term. I thought I’d do something different this year and close out 2014 with a few examples of products that found a way to disappoint me — giving some consumer electronics the Festivus treatment, if you will. No aluminum pole, but I do have an aluminum notebook on my list of grievances. Continue reading

Hobbyist Kits — Yesterday (200-in-1) and Today (DuinoKit)!

The DuinoKits

I must have been around twelve years of age when I began developing an interest in electronics. I started taking electronic gizmos like alarm clocks and kitchen appliances apart (often without permission) and examining them more closely. Rather than discourage me, my parents switched gears and birthday and Christmas presents moved from toys to more fun and advanced project-like gifts. One of the more memorable ones was a 200-in-1 electronics kit from Radio Shack. Continue reading