GeekDad Review: Google Nexus 9 Tablet

The Google Nexus 9 tablet

It’s that time of year when holiday gift lists are being checked, and there’s a good chance a tablet is on many of those. Once again Google is offering a Nexus tablet, which means pure Android with no third party UI nonsense to get in the way. But while the Nexus 7 was a real bargain last year at $199, it’s been replaced by the larger Nexus 9 and the price has jumped to $399. Is the newest Nexus tablet a worthy choice for Android fans? Will its unusual 8.9-inch display size make it a good choice for kids? HTC — the company that manufactures the Nexus 9 — sent me one to try out. Continue reading

GeekDad Review: Zipbuds Pro Mic Earbuds

Zipbuds are tangle-free earbuds

One of my kids is a music-loving, iPhone-toting teenager with a well-deserved reputation for burning through earbuds. Losing them isn’t the issue. Instead, she quickly tangles the cords into convoluted knots that inevitably end in the frayed cables snapping or being pulled out of the bud housing as the slack disappears. When Zipbuds offered to send “never tangle” Pro Mic earbuds to try out, I marched them straight up to Tasha’s room for the torture test. Continue reading

Logitech Bluetooth Easy-Switch Keyboard K811 Review: Almost Perfect

Logitech Bluetooth Easy-Switch Keyboard K811

I spend all day writing and switching between a variety of devices to do it. Naturally, keyboards are a big thing for me; I have a lot of them and I’m always looking for something better. Logitech sent me a K811 Bluetooth Easy-Switch Keyboard that’s designed to be the keyboard for someone who switches between various Macs and iOS devices. After trying it out for a month I can say this is very nearly the perfect computer keyboard for anyone in this situation. Continue reading

Wireless Vinyl: How I Got a Record Player Connected to Our AirPlay Music System

KenDenmead_2014-Nov-05

Vinyl is not dead, not by a longshot. Consider that you can, if you want, pre-order a version of the Guardians of the Galaxy sountrack (Awesome Mix Vol. 1) as an LP right now. But no one has put out record players with AirPlay compatibility. Continue reading

ZAGG Rugged Book for iPad Air

ZAGG's new armored iPad Air keyboard case

I’ve grown rather fond of ZAGG’s keyboard cases for the iPad in recent months. It wasn’t until I reviewed the ZAGG Folio Keyboard case for the iPad Mini earlier this year that I finally reached the state where I felt productive writing on an iPad. Since then, the combo has largely replaced the 11-inch MacBook Air that I used to lug around for mobile work. ZAGG recently sent me a new model to try out with a MacBook Air and this one offers all the benefits of the Folio Keyboard case, plus impressive armor. The Rugged Book transforms an iPad into a hardened notebook while offering flexibility in configuration options. Continue reading

The Mothership: A Visit to the New SparkFun Building

Sparkfun

The shipping department was full of dudes with asymmetric facial hair on skateboards. An engineer had picked up about a thousand Keva planks and on an upstairs wrap-around counter space, there was a crowdsourced build going on — in which you could tell the crowd had higher than the average bear’s level of design thinking skills. Strung on a wall was a DIY art piece made of light bulbs and wire that was set to ripple in response to sounds. A trigger-operated race car track wound underneath a 7-foot tall version of one of those wooden dinosaur skeleton kits. Continue reading

The Technology of Big Hero 6

BIG HERO 6

Disney’s Big Hero 6 is set in an alternate reality that differs from our world in two major ways: the culture is a melding of American and Japanese influences, and the technological development is slightly more advanced than ours. Let’s take a look at some of that technology. Continue reading

Kickstarter Alert – SAM: The Internet of Everything for Everyone

The prototype SAM modules

SAM is a new project which has just launched on Kickstarter, taking the idea behind individual electronic components that connect together – pioneered by littleBits – and freeing them from the need to be physically connected by adding a battery and wireless chip to each module. Continue reading