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

Black + Decker PP610 Corded Pole Saw Is Ideal for Rapid Storm Cleanup

Pole saw in action

Winter isn’t necessarily the time of year when you think about pruning your trees _ at least not where I live. However, having a pole saw is really handy when heavy snow or an ice storm results in broken branches. Black + Decker sent me their PP610, 10-inch Corded Pole Saw to try out and it beats the heck out of the manual power-lever style tree trimmer I’ve been using. Continue reading

A Geek Dad’s Year-End, Get-It-Done Self Review for 2014

Calendar

I just googled a few items and discovered I haven’t done a year-end, get-it-done review since the end of 2012. I’d done one for 2011 and 2012, but somehow 2013 came and went and I have no idea what happened there. I’ll just blame it on my kids.

My hope is that some of the information below might be useful to you in your own personal and work lives. And trust me… for every item I seem to have under control, there’s a matching item that is completely chaos. I’m looking at my kids again. Continue reading

Adayo Projector Puts a Big Screen in Your Pocket

Adayo in hand

The Adayo Smartphone Projector is a pocket-sized projector currently seeking funding on Pozible. It has already hit its goal, but there are a few weeks left in the campaign in case you want to preorder one. I got a review sample on loan to try out; here’s how it works. Continue reading

Hands-On With the $200 OneUp 3D Printer

OneUp

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

Gadget Review: MobileLite Wireless G2 Media Reader

ML2

On our most recent family vacation, we ran into an offline storage dilemma. My son wanted some movies on his mobile device and my daughter wanted a few on hers – all while not deleting any of the apps or photos that they had stored… Continue reading

New Kickstarter Alert — Bitsbox Teaches Kids Programming

Bitsbox

A few weeks ago my oldest son (age 7) came up to me and asked one of those questions that many parents dread — “Dad, can you teach me to program?” While I’m half-kidding, I’m also half-serous. I’m not a programmer! I have some training (mainly in college, but some self-taught) and I’m comfortable hunting down a book when I need it, but, when it comes to teaching my son, I’m really at a loss. What I’d like to do is find a way to make programming fun and interesting, but also something he can do on his own or at least with me watching over his shoulder but providing minimum assistance. Continue reading

Geeky Gadget Roundup

Creative Soundblaster Roar

I’m kinda slow with gadget reviews—it usually takes me a while to see how well (or whether) a device fits into my life and really becomes useful. There are some devices that immediately become indispensable, and others that seem incredibly cool but just aren’t for me. And, of course, there are some duds that just don’t live up to the buzz. Here are a handful of gadgets and gizmos that I’ve gotten to try out in the past few months. Continue reading

Sugru’s 24 Days of Ideas Calendar

Sugru 24 Days of Ideas

It’s called the Advent Calendar of Ideas, and it’s just the sort of geeky idea I’ve come to expect from the folks at Sugru. For the next 24 days or so, Sugru will be offering up a daily tip or trick or just plain cool hack that can be done using Sugru. Continue reading

GeekDad Review: Black+Decker 20V MAX Lithium Flex Vac Is a Mighty Mite

20v cordless vac

When Black+Decker reached out to see if I might be interested in trying out their new 20V MAX Lithium Flex Vac, I wasn’t all that stoked about it. I’m not a big fan of handheld vacuums, and the kind of mess my household produces — highlighted by active kids and enough dog hair to assemble a new canine every week — is notorious for killing full-sized vacuum cleaners, let alone the little ones. But the high tech MAX Lithium Flex convinced me a cordless vacuum can make quick household cleanup a lot more convenient and proved especially useful on a three week trip to Cape Cod, where a vehicle continually subjected to sand and snack crumbs was in constant need of cleaning. Continue reading

Kickstarter — Simplifying My Wallet

Simple Wallet Plus

When it comes to Kickstarter, sometimes it’s all about timing. Take my wallet. I’m not sporting a George Castanza-style wallet, but I do have a lot of extraneous stuff in my wallet that really needs to be left at home. It hit me last week when I dug through a dozen cards that I’ve used maybe once in 12 months, looking for one I use constantly. I’m all about simplifying and making my life less cluttered, so when the Simple Wallet Plus Kickstarter notice arrived in my Inbox… it took one viewing of the video and 30 seconds to make the jump. (I even got in on the Early Bird option… that NEVER happens.) Continue reading

Gadget Review: ThinOptics Glasses

ThinOptics-iPhone-Cases-x2

Do you wear reading glasses? In my new “old age,” I am finding it difficult to see small things, such as fine print, and I have noticed that this is especially problematic at restaurants with menus. Because of this, in addition to all my other daily carry items, I have added a small pair of reading glasses. Continue reading

Fire Up The Grill: A Trio Of Portable BBQs for the 4th of July

Preview grills

As a frequent camper and grilling enthusiast, I’ve had occasion to put a few of the better known portable grills currently being sold through their paces. I thought I might share my experiences in case any of you happen to … Continue reading

Create Your Own Snap-Together Plastic Models

Framed

Last week I had the opportunity to conduct a camp titled Beginning Electronics and Robot Building (BERB) to a group of 21 kids, ages 8 to 12. It went great, and I’ll be holding the camp again for another group in late July. In addition to learning some basic electronics skills (such as soldering and breadboarding), the kids also got to build a full-fledged Arduino-based robot that they took home. It was a great week, and it also gave me an opportunity to introduce the kids to some other concepts and tools, including 3D printing. Continue reading

Yet Another Reason to LOVE Sugru…

Sugru

I’m not a paid spokesman, but I sometimes feel like it! Ever since discovering Sugru so many years ago, I’ve become a devoted fan of this great little product. If you’re not familiar with it, it starts out a bit like PlayDoh — you can mold it, roll it, and even mix its basic colors (black, red, blue, yellow, white) to make more colors. But what’s cool about it is that it begins to cure… but not harden. When the curing process is complete (about 24 hours, but you have a solid 30 minutes to mold it and experiment), it not only has a rubbery feel to it, but it also pretty much sticks to anything. This means that it can not only be used to attach different materials together, but it can also be used to mold unique parts, repair broken parts, and hundreds more solutions. Continue reading

GeekDad Walkthrough: Unboxing and Using a New Printrbot Metal Simple

Metal Simple

I’ve built a number of 3D printers over the last few years, and I’ve had a chance to sit down and actually use even more of them… all mix of brands and models. One of the questions I hear most often from friends and colleagues about 3D printers is “how hard are they to setup and use?”

The answer to that question depends on the printer, of course, but the amazing thing about 3D printers over the last few years is just how out-of-the-box simple some of these things have become. I thought it might be fun to actually document the unboxing and setup of a 3D printer for GeekDad readers, so that’s what I’m going to do here with the new Metal Simple from Printrbot. I’m going to shoot some photos as I unbox, unpack, setup and begin printing… and hopefully convince anyone nervous about purchasing a 3D printer (or at least the Simple) that they needn’t worry.
Continue reading

Stuck For a Father’s Day Gift? Black + Decker AutoSense Drill Reviewed

Ready to tackle some drilling

We’re getting closer to the big day and for some of you, gift anxiety may be setting in. Our annual Father’s Day Gift Guide should be a big help in that case. And if your dad is looking for new power tools —specifically a drill and driver, then I have a suggestion. Black + Decker sent me its new 20V Max AutoSense Drill/Driver to try out and I have to say, this is a pretty cool drill. It’s not exactly contractor grade, but for most DIY home repair and projects, it should do the trick quite nicely. Continue reading