Are Your Kids Ready to Run a 5K?

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When I first told people that I had signed up my 5-year-old daughter for a 5K, they thought I was crazy. Those with kids around that age were especially incredulous. No one could believe that a 5-year-old would be able to run 3.1 miles. Continue reading

Playworld Superheroes Combines UK Streets with US Heroes

Playworld Superhero Outfit

A new game for families from the talent that brought us Wipeout and Motorstorm, Playworld Superheroes offers an In-App Purchase free creative experience with high production values. 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)

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

Try Family Meditation for Closer Relationships and Personal Growth

Image CC 2.0 Generic by Flickr user Peter Merholz

In an effort to go through life with more mindfulness and as a way to teach my kids to be more introspective and thoughtful about themselves, we have begun a daily family meditation. Not the legs-crossed/eyes-closed/upturned-hands/”Om” type of meditation, but rather the kind where you read short but meaningful passages and discuss them. It only takes about ten minutes per day, but it builds a lot of personal skills in all of us. Continue reading

Need a New Desktop? Build Your Own!

My new rig. (Image: Brian McLaughlin)

Recently, I had a crazy idea. I had identified that I needed a new desktop machine. Ok, needed is a stretch. I wanted a new desktop computer. I had the desire for a more powerful, dedicated machine that could run some games and handle 3D rendering and other higher-performance duties well. It had to be Windows-based for some of the utilities I wanted to run and didn’t want to bother with VM performance or dual booting. I started looking at the traditional pre-built sites like Dell and even some amazing high-end market providers like Maingear. I was impressed by what I saw, but what I really longed for was something I hadn’t done since about 1992: build my own computer from scratch. It was easy enough when I built a 486-based machine. I was in for a lesson on exactly how much had changed under my nose while I was buying computers in a commodity style. 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

Hands-On With the $200 OneUp 3D Printer

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I first spotted the OneUp 3D Printer at the 2014 Bay Area Maker Faire (San Mateo, CA) this last May. What caught my eye was not just the simplicity of the printer but also the colors… a variety of colors of laser-cut acrylic made the little 3DP really stand out. Both kids and adults were gawking and squeezing in for a closer look. I made a note to myself to keep an eye on this company… Continue reading