Review: ZAGG Folio Keyboard Case for iPad Mini

Zagg Preview

I’ve gone on record multiple times about how I feel about using the iPad for productivity. I’m a big iPad fan and the tablets I usually use day to day are Apple products, but the lack of mouse support drives me crazy. I’ve always quickly given up on any experiments with using a Bluetooth keyboard and an iPad in place of my laptop, much as I like the idea of my iPad becoming an ultra-compact travel productivity companion. ZAGG sent me a Folio keyboard case for my iPad Mini with Retina Display, so I thought I’d give the experiment one more shot. I ended up really liking this device. With the right apps, it could actually stand in for my MacBook Air, at least for short bursts of work. In fact, I wrote this post on the ZAGG. Continue reading

10 Things Parents Should Know About the Amazon Fire TV

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Amazon has a lot going on of late. Just yesterday they rolled out the Prime Music service, yet another perk for Amazon Prime subscribers, and next week they are poised to unveil another new device – smart money seems to be on it being the long-rumored Amazon phone. Still, before we dive headlong into speculation, I’d like to take a moment to reflect on Amazon’s last big reveal, the Fire TV. Continue reading

ROCCAT Lua Gaming Mouse

ROCCAT_Lua

Like most people who spend too much time on a keyboard, I have issues with repetitive stress, especially when mousing. To solve (well, postpone) this issue I have taken to using two mice. I switch frequently from right to left hand as pain and typing patterns dictate. On the right is my trusty MX Anywhere and on the left is the ROCCAT Lua Tri-Button Gaming Mouse. The latter is corded so it also gets more attention when the office is filled with robots and the wireless starts stuttering across the screen. Continue reading

Building the S.S. Coraline Spacecraft Simulator

Daniel H. Wilson spacecraft simulator

This is a guest post by Daniel H. Wilson, author of Robopocalypse and the upcoming Robogenesis. But he doesn’t just write books about robot uprisings—he’s also a geek dad himself. Check out this awesome spacecraft simulator he built for his kids. Continue reading

The Most Important Thing Apple Announced on Monday Was Family

Apple Family Sharing

Last Monday, Apple let us in on their plans for the future of, amongst other things, iOS (8), and Mac OS X (Yosemite). Tim Cook and friends detailed a long list of new features—most of which will not be available until this fall—to a salivating audience of developers and fans at the 2014 WWDC in San Francisco. Continue reading

Fun Weekend Project — IR Gun/Target Game

PVC Gun

I met a lot of people and saw a lot of cool things a few weekends back while at Maker Faire in San Mateo, California. I also spent way more money than I should have on a lot of electronics components and books and gifts. But it was an enjoyable event, and I learned a lot of new skills. During the last few hours of the event, I was doing my final walktrough of the Expo Hall where the majority of vendors and booths are located and I found myself stopping at one particular booth (sewn up by his daughter, Meg, and based on the Bioshock Infinite game’s arcade design — cool!) where kids were having some real fun. Because I’m teaching a beginner’s electronics camp in just a few weeks, I was on the hunt for anything new and interesting to possibly add to electronics projects I want to share with the kids. And I found something… from Senseless Devices. Continue reading

GeekDad Review: One Year With the Fitbit Aria Wi-Fi Smart Scale

The FitBit Aria smart scale in black or white

Like many people of a certain age, I’ve had to become much more active in my health management than I once was. Back when I burned gazillions of calories playing football, hockey, lacrosse and hiking for miles at a time, my concern was more about keeping weight on than keeping it off. Fast forward a few decades, add kids (and their hectic schedules), sitting at a computer for much of the day, a fondness for the couch and shows like Battlestar Galactica, appreciation for a certain frosty beverage then throw in a torn ACL and a slowing metabolism for good measure. The result is not awesome. Tracking my weight is now something I need to worry about — to the point where I’m logging a few hours a day on a treadmill desk and celebrate daily milestones like clearing my e-mail Inbox by throwing around weights for a few minutes instead of helping myself to another coffee. Being a somewhat tech-obsessed guy, when our bathroom scale died, I seized on the event as an opportunity to introduce some more technology to the weight management process: the Fitbit Aria Wi-Fi Smart Scale. A year later and the Aria continues to be a valuable addition to our household. Continue reading

Mac Power Users Podcast Episode 193 — Now With Bonus GeekDad!

Mac Power Users

I go back and forth on podcasts… I’ll listen to a few like crazy during vacation or when I’m wanting to dive deep into a topic and then I’ll leave them for a while. Not so with the Mac Power Users podcast from David Sparks and Katie Floyd; since I discovered this podcast a few years back, I’ve been struggling to find time to go back and listen to the ones I’ve missed. Continue reading

Countdown To Maker Faire 2014 — Get Prepared

Year of Maker

Just a few more days… and it’s Maker Faire Time! I know a lot of geek dads and moms make the trek each year to attend what is called The Greatest Show (And Tell) On Earth, and there’s are solid reasons for it. Two days of open-mouthed staring and double-takes. Two days of access to experts (self-taught and otherwise), makers, inventors, tinkerers, dreamers, builders, hackers, and hobbyists. Two days of sightseeing, hands-on activities, and pure surprises. Continue reading

Just Two Weeks Left to Enter MoonBots Robotic Competition

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Registration for the 2014 MoonBots competition is coming to a close. It’s a great way for kids to get involved in robotics… and it doesn’t cost anything. Sign up today! Continue reading

A Great Weekend Project — DIY Arcade Controller

Mockup

While writing projects are in full swing, I often tend to collect small DIY projects that remain stacked on shelves until I have some of that free time… I’ve recently finished up writing two books that are now heading to the printer, and I find myself with some free time. I should be putting together a proposal for my next book, but instead I’ve reached for a small box of parts.
This past weekend’s project was quick and simple (relatively speaking), and I had a very easy gauge for determining its success or failure … would I be able to play the classic Atari 2600 game, Adventure, as it was meant to be played? Continue reading