The Gadgets Page

November 18, 2015

Padlette D4

Filed under: eBook Readers and Peripherals — Christy Strebe @ 8:00 am

Padlette D4 Green at Amazon.comI received a Padlette at CES a few years back and have been planning to write a review of it since then. I use it every day on my iPad and love it! It is especially convenient when you need to hold the iPad for extended periods of time, like watching a movie or reading an eBook.

Before the Padlette I would try to prop the iPad up on something but it would inevitably fall and usually on my face, which I can tell you is pretty painful. I would also routinely get hand cramps from holding the iPad for extended periods of time pre-Padlette, but since there are a number of ways to hold the Padlette I haven’t gotten a hand cramp since, it is a life saver for my hands!

The Padlette stretches around your iPad, so the only drawback is if you have a cover on your iPad it won’t work. But for my iPad I use a sleeve cover and the Padlette. You also need to position the Padlette so that it is not on the corner that the power button and volume controls are on. It is easy to remove and install so if you wanted to keep your cover and use it occasionally for movies that would also work great.

November 14, 2015

3Doodler 2.0 Hat Embellishments

Filed under: Misc. Gadgets — Christy Strebe @ 5:05 pm

3Doodler 3D 2.0 Printing pen at Amazon.comAt our house we are a little obsessed with 3-D printing, so it was no surprise when the 3-Doodler showed up under the Christmas tree last year. While you won’t get the same product quality out of the 3Doodler as you would a 3-D printer, it definitely has a niche in the crafting world and if you have never played around with 3-D printing it is a good place to start. There is very little set-up, no need to make 3-D CAD drawings, just heat it up and decide what you want to try to make. My kids love to play with this and I have used the 3Doodler for a variety of crafty projects.

You do need to get used to the different types of medium. If you want to draw straight up, have your finished object be a little flexible or if you are joining plastic objects together ABS is your best bet. If you want your object to stick to paper, glass, metal or fabric PLA is your best option. PLA will also allow you to stretch it for a few seconds after it comes out of the 3Doodler and comes in a larger variety of colors than ABS. Both plastics are good for building objects freehand.

My very first 3Doodler design was an embellishment for a hat. I had an hour before we went to a Derby party and this was my inspiration: Grace Du Prez’s award-winning Peacock Hat.

3Doodler Inspiration from The Gadgets Page

To change color in the 3Doodler you need to run all of the previous color through and then you will have a section where the two colors mix. Because I wanted different colors in my feathers, I decided to build all three at once and just free handed the feathers and color placement. I did need to go back and add extra support to the stem of the feather as well. Here was my finished product:

3Doodler Hatt Embelishment from The Gadgets Page

I was able to make three feathers in an hour and add them to my hat just in time. My hand was a little cramped at the end but with the hold button feature the 3Doodler 2.0 has it was much better than the previous model.

I have been extremely happy with the 3Doodler. What I thought was just a toy has become a worthwhile designing tool.

October 7, 2015

Beats Pill+ Speaker Is Coming Next Month

Filed under: Audio and Video — Laura Moncur @ 9:19 am

Beats Pill Plus image via The VergeIt looks like the Beats Pill+ will be released next month and cost about $225.

I haven’t been that impressed with Beats products, but this feature is really intriguing to me.

The new Beats Pill+ companion app will enable users to control the speaker using a smartphone, with features including the ability to control music from two Bluetooth sources and sync two Beats Pill+ speakers together for either simultaneous or dedicated right and left playback.

It’s cool that you can purchase two of them and get REAL stereo separation. The audiophile features aren’t impressive enough to conquer my doubts, however. The biggest problem I have with the Beats Pill+ is something so seemingly trivial that it shouldn’t stop me from buying one, but it does.

It doesn’t have a handle.

I want to be able to EASILY carry the speaker, whether it’s playing or not. I don’t want to put it into a backpack. I want to carry it. With a handle. That’s built-in.

I looked long and hard for a good speaker system that would let me play my music from my phone or the radio. I ended up going with the Sangean PR-D15.

Sangean PR-D15 FM-Stereo/AM Rechargeable Portable Radio with Handle at

It plays my music. It plays the radio. It can use rechargeable batteries. It cost me less than eighty bucks. And most importantly, it has a handle, so I can easily carry it. The Beats Pill+ might be super cool and all, but I want something that I can USE, even if it looks like a square box from the Eighties.

Beats Pill+ Image Via: The Verge: Beats’ Pill+ is its best speaker ever

September 30, 2015

TiVo Bolt Looks Cool AND Skips Commercials

Filed under: Audio and Video — Laura Moncur @ 10:15 am

I haven’t had cable for a few years now, but if I did, I would immediately be buying this TiVo.

TiVo Bolt DVR from The Gadgets Page

That cool design is both beautiful and functional:

That funky arc shape isnt just there to stick out visually however, as VP Jim Denney told us it also allows the smaller box to vent from the bottom. Its a rather unique design, and in our short time using it the box stayed cool and quiet.

Additionally, The Bolt has the ability to skip commercials. That alone makes it worth having.

Now, the DVR isn’t as good as some. It has four tuners (some of the best have six), but being able to record FOUR shows at a time is plenty good for me.

Gadgets like the TiVo Bolt make me wish that I had cable again. In a lot of respects, I do miss it, and having something like this stylish DVR might just convince me to join the fray again.

September 23, 2015

Apple Watch Saves Teen’s Life

Filed under: Wearable Tech — Laura Moncur @ 7:37 am

Paul Houle Jr. Saved By His Apple Watch from The Gadgets PageRemember when the CEO of Swatch mocked Apple for being willing to have a heart rate function on their Apple Watch?

As a watch producer, I cannot accept the responsibility of whether my device warns a customer in time before a heart attack.

He’s probably singing a different tune now that an Apple Watch has saved the life of a teen from Massachusetts:

A 17-year-old Tabor Academy senior was at football practice when something felt off. “I had pain in my chest and my back whenever I took some deep breaths,” said Paul Houle Jr. He would have chalked it up to a hot day on the gridiron. But his Apple Watch alerted him to something serious.

“After practice I went and took a nap, my heart rate was still at 145.” The Apple Watch takes your resting heart rate about every minute or so. Houle knew there was a problem when his resting heart rate was more than double his average. He went to the hospital, where he learned he had heart, liver and kidney failure, which could have been fatal if not for his watch.

“If my Apple Watch hadn’t shown me it was 145, I would have done nothing about it.” Houle’s dad is grateful his son is healthy. His dad didn’t want to buy the Apple Watch, but after his son’s ordeal, he went out Saturday and purchased one for his wife and himself. Houle can’t play football just yet, but he has something else to look forward to – an internship next summer with Apple.

I am so grateful for my Apple Watch because it has made my life easier in so many ways, but this sort of story makes that little piece of technology appear to be miraculous.

September 16, 2015

Apple Might Let You Delete Those Stupid Preinstalled Apps

Filed under: eBook Readers and Peripherals,PDAs and Phones — Laura Moncur @ 8:42 am

Please Let Me Delete These Apps from The Gadgets PageThere is an entire junk folder full of apps on my iPhone and iPad. They are apps that I can’t delete, no matter how much I want to. The undelete-able apps include: Calculator, Reminders, Game Center, iTunes Store, App Store, FaceTime, Notes, Contacts, Voice Memos, Stocks, Tips, Weather, Newstand, iBooks, Compass, and Passbook. Some of those apps are useful and some of them are not. It depends on who you are and how you use your phone. I find it so irritating that I can’t get rid of them on my devices.

According to BuzzFeed, it looks like Tim Cook is looking at isolating each of these apps and allowing some of them to be deleted.

20 min car ride with Tim Cook from Buzzfeed

“This is a more complex issue than it first appears,” he says. “There are some apps that are linked to something else on the iPhone. If they were to be removed they might cause issues elsewhere on the phone. There are other apps that aren’t like that. So over time, I think with the ones that aren’t like that, we’ll figure out a way [for you to remove them]. … It’s not that we want to suck up your real estate; we’re not motivated to do that. We want you to be happy. So I recognize that some people want to do this, and it’s something we’re looking at.”

I am glad they’re “looking” at that option. Honestly, they should have been looking at that a long time ago. I seriously don’t want a junk folder where I have to shuffle those apps that I never use. Just let me delete them.

Update 09-17-15

With the new operating system, you can now delete the Newstand folder as long as you don’t have any apps in it. Unfortunately, they have added Find My Friends and Find My iPhone to the can’t delete list. One step forward, two steps back…

September 15, 2015

Tropes Vs. Women in Video Games

Filed under: Software,Toys and Games — Laura Moncur @ 9:02 am

Anita Sarkeesian has created a brilliant analysis of the boring tropes that video games have been using ever since the beginning of gaming. Her YouTube channel, Feminist Frequency, has all the videos, but here is a playlist of the entire series:

After watching these videos, I suddenly felt a huge relief. THIS is why I don’t like so many games. I don’t really want to save the damsel in distress. I don’t want to earn rewards that take the clothes off the women in the video game. I always felt as if I was not the target audience of the video game industry and now I know why. They have LITERALLY written games that only appeal to less than half the population. LESS THAN HALF.

That is so sad and fiscally idiotic. Women want to go on adventures, too. We don’t want to save our husbands or boyfriends. We want to bring them and our friends along with us. Write games for EVERYONE and you will sell more. I can’t stress how important this is. A good game that lets EVERYONE play will make millions of dollars. It will sell game consoles. I wish I could reach into the minds of every game designer out there and make them understand that if they STOP writing games for straight males and START writing games for EVERYONE, then they will make so much more money.

Plus, I could really use a fun and interesting game right now. I’m getting a little sick of all the Bejeweled rip offs.

August 31, 2015

Your Facebook Status Sounds Stupid When You Read It Out Loud

Filed under: Social Media — Laura Moncur @ 9:04 am

One of the more annoying thing about social media are the posts like these ones:

This video reminds me of a Studio C video: Facebook Friends Song

I find when these videos hit a nerve for me, that the problem is ME. I’m spending too much time reading Facebook or Twitter. I’m spending too much time looking at pins on Pinterest. It’s not my friends’ fault that I am bothered by their posts, it’s MY fault for reading too much. Oh yeah, and I’m jealous, too.

Finding things for myself to do that are post-worthy helps both of those problems. When I do things that are worthwhile, I feel less jealous of my friends who are doing awesome things. I also have less time to get sick of the annoying posts because I’m not on social media as much. When you start feeling like this about your friends on Facebook, take a break and do something awesome instead. It sure has helped me.

Via: Facebook Status in Real Life | POPSUGAR Tech

August 25, 2015

Swatch CEO Is Baffled By The Apple Watch

Filed under: Wearable Tech — Laura Moncur @ 2:55 pm

Swatch CEO Nick Hayek is baffled by the Apple Watch from The Gadgets PageQuote in this article, «Die Alleskönner fressen zu viel Strom» – Wirtschaft –, Nick Hayek, the CEO of Swatch is baffled by the Apple Watch. I had to rely on this article for the translation:

It’s quite obvious that he doesn’t quite understand what the Apple Watch does and doesn’t do and overestimates the “burden” of charging one every day.

The Apple watch is an interesting toy, but not a revolution. These devices, which all eat so much power that they last no longer than 24 hours without needing to be plugged in. In addition, the user immediately loses control of their data. I personally don’t want my blood pressure and blood sugar values stored in the cloud, or on servers in Silicon Valley.

The Apple Watch doesn’t track blood pressure or blood sugar on its own. He seems to be confused. He also said that he wouldn’t create a fitness watch.

As a watch producer, I cannot accept the responsibility of whether my device warns a customer in time before a heart attack.

It amazes me that this man thinks he has the ability to talk about a product he obviously knows nothing about. If we want to be honest, let’s about we talk about the latest Swatch collection. Let’s talk about how “useful” their watches might be.

Swatch Miami Peach Flamingos from The Gadgets PageThere is a Swatch that’s black that tells you the time. There’s one that’s blue that tells you the time. There’s one that is red, green and yellow. Wait! Here’s one that’s a little more useful: it’s pink with flamingos and it tells the time. The most complications you will get are date, day of the week, and stopwatch. If you want to talk about an “interesting toy,” all of Swatch’s watches have been demoted to that status, merely because all they do is tell time. When I have SO much connectivity on my wrist, the fact that I have to charge the watch on my nightstand is insignificant.

The thing that bothers me is that Swatch had a head start. They had a head start on easily changeable bands. They had a head start on watches for fashion instead of lifelong timepieces. They even had a head start on the smartwatch category. Instead of advancing and making their products better, they stagnated and abandoned every good idea.

All of this, coming from a HUGE Swatch fan. I have an immense collection of Swatches:

Swatch Touch Zero from The Gadgets PageI have been a fan for almost thirty years and I feel betrayed by them. I WANTED a smart watch from Swatch, but what they gave me is laughable, even if the battery lasts six months.

When I saw that monstrosity, I wanted to swat Nick Hayek on the nose like a dog who has just piddled on the floor. I have been faithful to this company for thirty years and THIS is what they give me?!

It all reminds me of when Steve Ballmer said that Apple had no chance in the smartphone market. Nick Hayek is someone who should know better. He is someone who should have teamed up with Apple TEN years ago. Instead, he is an outsider in his own industry that is changing so quickly that he honestly can’t keep up with it.

August 17, 2015

Coverage? App – So Helpful

Filed under: PDAs and Phones,Software — Laura Moncur @ 9:27 am

My contract is almost up. I have been unhappy with AT&T ever since I was forced to change over to them to get that very first iPhone so long ago. I used to use Sprint and I loved them, so it was hard to accept that changeover. It’s time to make another change and I had no idea which company to go with.

Fortunately, the Coverage? app really helped me decide. Here is a quick video describing how the Coverage? app works.

I have been using Coverage? for years in order to tell whether I would be able to use my phone when I travel, but today I used it to decide what company I should go with.

The MOST important coverage is how it works where I LIVE, so I looked at the map for each of them:

St. George Coverage Maps from The Gadgets Page

Sure, there were a few dead spots in the Sprint and T-Mobile coverage, but Sprint offers virtually unlimited data, so that seemed like a really good option for me. It did until I decided to check some of my favorite vacationing spots, like Quartzsite. That map told a VERY different story.

Quartzsite Coverage Map from The Gadgets Page

Sprint and T-Mobile were useless in Quartzsite, so our annual trek with the camper would have me go completely dark every year. That wasn’t good. Then, I tried the holy grail of phone coverage: Valley of Fire State Park in Nevada. For years, we have wanted to camp there, but have avoided it because we had no phone coverage. When I checked the map today, I was shocked to see that Verizon had the entire park covered! AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile are no where to be found in Valley of Fire State park.

Valley of Fire Coverage Mapfrom The Gadgets Page

It’s amazing how quickly all my opinions can change just based on a few snapshots. I hadn’t even considered Verizon when I was thinking of switching, but now it is the only one I’m interested in. Coverage? has helped me numerous times when we have planned our camping trips. It’s why I reviewed it on Starling Travel instead of here:

This is the first time I’ve used the app to help me decide which company to choose. I am additionally grateful for Coverage? for helping me all these years.

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