Aether Cone gets Bluetooth

Aether Cone Gets Bluetooth Update

I had the opportunity to review an Aether Cone “thinking music player” a few months ago. Still one of the cooler looking wireless speakers around, with decent sound and a “thinking” part that was a better stab at voice recognition/music curation than I was expecting. My primary gripe about the Aether Cone was its lack of Bluetooth support. Aether just fixed that. An automatic firmware update currently rolling out offers two welcome new functions: Bluetooth support and multiple Cone capability. The Aether Cone just got a whole lot better!

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ZAGG Slim Book case beside MacBook Air

ZAGG Slim Book: Turn Your iPad Mini Into the Tiniest MacBook Air Clone

In recent months, I’ve reviewed several ZAGG keyboard cases for Apple iPads. The ZAGG Folio was the keyboard case that finally convinced me my iPad Mini could actually be useful as a productivity tool. The Rugged Book let me turn an iPad Air into a kids’ laptop, perfect for school and with toughness to survive being carted around in a bag and suffering the occasional collision with a wall or piece of furniture. ZAGG sent me their latest iteration, the Slim Book, and I have to say, this is the best one yet. A keyboard case that combines the best elements of the Folio and the Rugged Book, and an aluminum finish that transforms an iPad Mini into a miniature — but functional — iPad Air clone.

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Kobo Aura H2O is waterproof

Kobo Aura H2O: Last Year’s Top Premium E-Reader Goes Waterproof

Last year I wrote a review of the Kobo Aura HD, a premium e-reader with an ultra-sharp display. Many people thought Kobo was losing it for releasing an e-reader that cost more than many tablets instead of focusing on releasing models cheap enough to be impulse buys. A year after the Aura HD and Amazon was in the premium game too, with the $219 Kindle Voyage. Rather than enter an all-out spec war with Amazon, Kobo opted for a different strategy with its followup: take the Aura HD and make it waterproof.

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The FitBit Aria smart scale in black or white

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

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.

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HomePlug - WiFi Range Extender

One Rock, Two Birds — The TP-LINK WiFi Range Extender With HomePlug

I have a basement that is not wired for Ethernet, and I’m no mood to run any more cable. The WiFi signal strength down there has never been good, and I’ve had no luck with range extenders. My sons like to play video games and watch Netflix (on the Smart TV) down there, and I frequently join them and bring along my MacBook Air (with no Ethernet port) to do some writing. For my boys, I had previously installed an older TP-Link HomePlug system that worked great… but my laptop wasn’t able to take advantage of the connection. Fortunately, TP-Link has a new solution.

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Level Up Your Wireless Network With Netgear

I can scarcely remember a time when I didn’t own a Netgear wireless router. It’s not that I’m brand-loyal, mind you, but rather because Netgear always seemed to have a solid enough product in my usually meager price range. So suffice it to say that when I was offered a chance to check out their new Nighthawk AC1900 – a dual-band gigabit router that retails for around $250 – as a part of the recently launched Netgear Ambassador Program, I was intrigued but skeptical.

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GeekDad Review: Sonos Play:1 Compact Wireless Speaker

I’ve had the opportunity to play with many Sonos products over the years and have watched with interest as the company has expanded from a specialized player found mostly in independent, audiophile stereo stores to a nationally recognized brand with a growing product line. And while it still continues to offer premium equipment, Sonos has also branched out into less expensive gear. Up until a month ago, the price of entry to the Sonos streaming music ecosystem was $329 for a Play:3 speaker plus $59 for a Bridge (needed to connect the wireless speaker to your Wi-Fi network). The latest addition to the Sonos line-up makes the high quality wireless audio even more affordable. The Play:1 which hit shelves in October, goes for $219 but still offers high quality sound and the ability to be integrated (now or later) as part of a larger Sonos music network.

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GeekDad Review: Kobo Aura

I’ve written previously about Kobo’s Aura HD, the 6.8-inch, 265 dpi, EPUB-compatible e-reader that still leads the pack so far as I’m concerned. Kobo has now released the Aura, a 6-inch e-reader that doesn’t have quite the same razor sharp display as the Aura HD, but it’s much more compact and shaves some dollars off the price tag as well. By being smaller than comparable e-readers, finding a variety of different cases to choose from may be an issue again. But you can’t have everything…

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GeekDad Review: Philips Hue

I bit the bullet and bought a Philips Hue connected LED light starter pack back in November of last year. At the time, with a ton of favorable buzz and availability exclusively through Apple (you can now buy Hue gear through Amazon), the bulbs were in short supply. Online lead times quickly stretched into the two month range. My local Apple Store have two kits on the shelf, so I hustled down, pushed through the people standing in line for the iPad Mini launch and snagged a starter pack. I haven’t reviewed the Hue system until now for two reasons. First, there’s a lot of technology packed in one of those bulbs and I wanted to have some sense of durability and reliability — I’ve had more than my share of cool gear that packs it in after a few weeks of use. Second, I wanted to see how a Hue bulb performed under extreme conditions, namely being installed in an outdoor light fixture through a Canadian winter. The verdict? A few quibbles such as price and current availability limited to a single bulb form factor aside, Philips Hue is a showcase for what LED technology and home automation can offer.

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