bquinlan: (Default)
I'm used to using my phone as a nightstand clock. All of my previous Android phones have been used that way, with various stands, so I didn't expect to have any trouble with my latest. The only difference is that I wanted to use wireless charging (Qi) with this one (a Samsung Galaxy S5). That turned out to be a lot harder than I expected.

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If you like roleplaying games of the non-computer variety you probably own a collection of dice. This link points to a new company that sells spinner-type rings that can act as dice. They have rings that will stand in for every standard polyhedral die, some interesting non-standards, and even a few multiple die combinations.

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bquinlan: (Default)
I like having some sort of masking sounds to cover background noise when I sleep. White noise is the classic answer, but I prefer repetitive natural sounds like rain or a bubbling brook. There are plenty of devices made for this specific purpose, but I've found them to be mediocre, at best, and badly overpriced. So when my last one broke I decided to replace it with a better, and less expensive, solution.

I bought an inexpensive digital music player, replaced the firmware with free open source software, purchased a "nature sound" MP3 track, and edited it into a loop using more free open source software. Total cost was around $30, plus an hour of my time to replace the firmware and edit the track. No real technical expertise was required.

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Inka Pen

Dec. 25th, 2010 11:50 pm
bquinlan: (Default)
I recently posted a writeup on Fisher's pressurized ballpoint cartridges. Here's a clever and useful pen that comes standard with a Fisher multipen cartridge.

Inka Pen

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bquinlan: (Default)
One of my simpler gadgets is a device made by Nite Ize called the Figure 9. The name comes from its shape.

Nite Ize Figure 9

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bquinlan: (Default)
Have you ever tried to sign a credit card receipt with a pen that just did not want to write on it? Or had your pen stop working in the winter cold? Or tried to write on a vertical surface and gotten nothing after the first few letters?

There is a simple solution to all of these problems: Fisher Pressurized Pen Cartridges.

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bquinlan: (Default)
I'm a big fan of multitools, but the conventional folding plier designs are too bulky for a lot of people to carry casually. There is another less common approach that is often referred to as the one-piece multitool. These are usually made from a single flat piece of metal with cutouts that perform various functions.

I carry a Piranha from PocketToolX.

PocketToolX Piranha

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bquinlan: (Default)
I think everyone should keep a few basic tools with them all the time. They make life more convenient and they might save your life in an emergency. However, there are a lot of folks who do not want to add any weight or bulk to what they already have to carry around.

The KeyTool made by True Utility takes minimal to a new level.

True Utility KeyTool

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bquinlan: (Default)
I have discovered what I suspect is the smallest possible vehicle charger for USB devices, the Amzer Atomic USB Vehicle Power Charger.



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bquinlan: (Default)
I was pleasantly surprised to receive some requests already, so I am going to start working on those.

[personal profile] elke_tanzer asked for suggestions on a good flashlight to put in a car emergency kit.

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bquinlan: (Default)
Are you familiar with blind spot mirrors? They are small convex mirrors that attach to the outside mirrors on a car or truck. You have almost certainly seen them on school buses and semis.

Do you have blind spot mirrors on your own car? If not, you probably should add some. Soon.

Blind spot mirrors allow you to see into the gap that exists between the outer edge of your peripheral vision and the inner edge of what you can see in your regular rear-view mirrors. That area is bigger than we tend to think. Entire vehicles can hide in that gap. Isn't a device that helps you avoid hitting them worth five bucks and five minutes?

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bquinlan: (Default)
I don't believe in the perfect gadget. Everyone has different needs and wants and tastes, all of which are moving targets as they change over time. What I want to do here is suggest general kinds of gadgets that might be useful and possible talk about why I like a particular one. I hope that seeing my reasons will help you to make your own guesses about their suitability for your needs.

In that light, I think it's only fair to provide a bit of background on how I got to be a gadget geek. That doesn't mean you have to read it. Feel free to skip ahead to the more useful entries.

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bquinlan: (Default)
My name is Bob Quinlan and I am a gadget geek. I love all kinds of gadgets from smart phones to pocket knives. My friends come to me for advice on what networking gear, or flashlight, or pen to buy. And I usually have some new piece of gear to recommend that they don't know they need...yet.

I have just returned from a visit to my friend [personal profile] dragonfly. While I was there I helped her pick out a networked printer and offered my usual unsolicited advice on other gadgets that she really should pick up. For her part, she encouraged me to write this stuff up as I come across it and introduced me to Dreamwidth. I will be delighted if some of my advice turns out to be useful to others too, but I know I have a loyal audience of at least one.
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