The Gadgets Page

January 28, 2015

Interstellar Orchard’s Intro to Travel Photography

Filed under: Cameras — Laura Moncur @ 10:55 am

Travel Photography Tips from Interstellar OrchardIf you want to take great pictures when you’re traveling, Interstellar Orchard has some very good tips for you:

I really love how basic she keeps this tutorial. So many tutorials are so complicated that a beginner can’t really understand them. I have been using Photoshop for decades now and some of them are too hard for me to understand. I really like how simple she keeps it!

January 23, 2015

pplkpr: People Keeper Wearable Tech

Filed under: Wearable Tech — Laura Moncur @ 8:00 am

What if an app could tell you which people you should avoid and which people you should see more often? That is the concept behind pplkpr. It’s an app that works with your smart watch (like the Mio) that monitors your heart rate when you are meeting with friends and gives you feedback.

pplkpr from Kyle McDonald on Vimeo.

My biggest objection to this would be if I had to wear an ADDITIONAL bracelet to get this data, but if it works with a smart watch that I already own, then that would be information that would actually HELP me. I don’t already own a Mio, however, so I can’t test with the heart rate functions. I can, however, manually add the information, so I think I’ll give it a try.

I’m interested to see how this works…

January 20, 2015

Magzter: It’s Great If You Like Elle India

Filed under: eBook Readers and Peripherals,PDAs and Phones,Software — Laura Moncur @ 8:00 am

It sounds like a great deal, doesn’t it? All you have to do is download the Magzter app, pay the $9.99 a month fee and you can have access to over 2000 magazines and comics!

But I’ve been burned before… so I looked at the list of magazines and I thought I found paradise. All of my favorites were listed on their website! I got so excited.

Magzter It's Great If You Like Elle India from The Gadgets Page

I added the magazines and signed up for the Gold account. Then I tried to download one of my favorites. Oh… that one isn’t included on the Gold account. Oh well, I’ll try another one… That one isn’t included either. Sure, it LOOKS like I can read the magazine, but the only thing that downloads is a preview issue that has about 6-10 pages from the latest issue.

Okay… well… what magazines ARE included?

When I went to the Gold Magazines and chose the ones from the U.S., there were only 34 magazines. THIRTY-FOUR. Not even one magazine in my favorites was included. NOT ONE. When I allowed the magazines to be from any country and chose the ones that were in English, there were a bunch more added to the total, but I’m really not interested in reading Elle India or New Zealand Women’s Fitness.

So, yet again, I cancelled the introductory subscription and deleted the app. Why do I keep falling for these things?

Via: Magzter launches “all you can read” magazine subscription for $9.99 per month | TUAW: Apple news, reviews and how-tos since 2004

January 19, 2015

3D-Printed Prosthetic Arm: E-nabling The Future Gives Hope

Filed under: Misc. Gadgets — Laura Moncur @ 8:00 am

I had NO idea that this was happening:

There is an entire community of people who are designing 3D printed arms for children who are missing limbs. THIS!!! This is the reason why 3D printers are important. This is why they are going to change the world, not all that Cory Doctorow stuff. Being able to print up a prosthetic arm for your child and when he grows up a bit, being able to print up a bigger one is AMAZING!!

It’s all because of E-nabling The Future:

They have a variety of designs available online here:

THIS is the future that I want to see of 3D printing, not silly little toys and gadgets. THIS changes childrens’ lives!

Via: 3D-Printed Prosthetic Arm Inspired by Star Wars | POPSUGAR Tech

January 18, 2015

Tilt Shift Generator App

Filed under: Cameras,Software — Laura Moncur @ 8:00 am

Tilt Shift Generator App Review on Starling FitnessLONG ago, I bought the Tilt Shift Generator App. It is one of my favorite apps to use to create beautiful pictures.

I mostly use it to add a little pizzaz to a normal photo, rather than making a tilt shift photo. For example, I recently earned my one year chip at Overeaters Anonymous and talked about it on Starling Fitness. Here is the photo for that entry in its original form.

BEFORE Tilt Shift Generator from The Gadgets Page

And here it is with the tweaks from Tilt Shift Generator.

OA Abstinence Chips from Starling Fitness

I really liked how the selective focus on the one year chip really made it stand out. That little extra makes a photo even better at times.

I have been using this app for well over five years and I absolutely adore it. If you are looking for a quick way to make your photos look just a tad bit better, this is a great app for you, and at only 99 cents, it’s a great deal!

January 17, 2015

WhatsApp Messaging

Filed under: Software — Laura Moncur @ 8:00 am

WhatsApp Review from The Gadgets PageWhat if you had unlimited messaging, photo messaging and voice messaging and it was all free? Some people don’t have that on their phone plan. Or some people regularly need to talk to people internationally. I actually have an app that provides this for me called WhatsApp.

Here’s a quickie review of it from Cult of Mac. This review is almost a year old, but it’s a good introduction.

I like that it works on wifi, without sucking down my data or minutes. Additionally, there is a way to send voice messages. By holding down the microphone on the right, you can record a message and send it, just like phone messaging. This has been SO helpful to me because there is one person who I need to call and leave a message every day, but her phone is a nightmare. Sometimes the voice mail comes. Sometimes I just get a weird silence and no way to leave a message. I have NEVER had this trouble with WhatsApp.

I have always shied away from apps like this because I HAVE voice messaging on my phone. I HAVE text messaging on my phone. It’s just like iMessage… except ONE important thing…

Whomever I’m talking to doesn’t have to have an iPhone. This app works on iOS, Android, Blackberry, Nokia, Symbian AND Windows phones. Whatever your friend has, they can message, voice and photo message with you for FREE.

January 16, 2015

iPad Smart Cover Display

Filed under: eBook Readers and Peripherals — Laura Moncur @ 8:00 am

This is a really cool display that shows the smart covers for iPad:

Via: Clever Apple Store window display | TUAW: Apple news, reviews and how-tos since 2004

January 15, 2015

Utah Department of Employment Security and Their RCA Spectra 70

Filed under: Retro Gadgets — Laura Moncur @ 12:00 pm

A while back, I wrote an entry about some photos I found in an antique store:

Back then, I guessed that these pictures were from the Corporate Office for the computer company itself:

If you notice, the 1965 brochure doesn’t mention a Salt Lake City office, but the 1968 brochure does. Considering that RCA stopped selling the Spectra70 in 1970, I suspect these photos are from the opening of the Salt Lake City office.

I was WRONG! I am so lucky, because Mike Dodas, who worked at the Utah Department of Employment Security during the 70s recognized the people in the photos! He emailed me and I asked him a ton of questions. Here is his response!

December 15, 2014

Dear Laura,

I was very happy to hear back from you! It’s really great to be able to talk to someone about these systems from the past with someone who is interested. I guess I’ll start with your questions, first. In those early days, we were the Utah Department of Employment Security, which was abbreviated (nation-wide) to Job Service. Today it is the Utah Department of Workforce Service. I will refer to it as Job Service.

RCA Spectra 70 UT Department of Employment Security from The Gadgets Page

(Continue Reading…)

CES 2015: Parrot Mini-Drones Choreographed Display

Filed under: Toys and Games — Laura Moncur @ 8:00 am

There is something to be said for a company who bases their entire promotion on the product itself. Parrot had a huge display at CES this year and the majority of it was used for this cage. Every few minutes, the mini-drones would come out and do a choreographed display like this one filmed by

By the time we saw this display, I was SICK of drones, or quad-copters, or hex-copters or whatever they finally decide the names of these little toys are. I’m sure the big ones that we saw could be used for something other than camera flyovers and playtime, but on the whole, these are toys.

But there were SO many companies with drones that it makes me feel like they are something that I should pay attention to.

All I can see, however, is a future where every pre-pubescent kid has a mini-drone, following them around and filming every moment of their lives. Or maybe a sky so full of drones that I have to swat them away like bugs. I know that there will be laws and the future won’t turn out to be that dystopia, but then again, laws agains drones are just as dystopian. All those people who love to fly these little quad-copters and RC planes will be run out of their hobby if the states outlaw them.

In the end, drones were a HUGE thing at CES this year and as much as I worry about it, I am excited to see what the future will look like!

January 14, 2015

CES 2015: Beam Pro Telepresence

Filed under: Cars & Transportation — Laura Moncur @ 8:00 am

Beam Pro had a booth at CES this year and I came face to face with the idea of telepresence. If you are unfamiliar with the concept, watch this video clip from the television show, Big Bang Theory.

Beam Pro is a professional version of this kind of device. It is marketed to companies for meeting attendance and remote presentations. And it has a MAJOR flaw.

You can’t look the person in the eye.

You can barely see what I mean in this video.

She does a very good job of looking into the camera for most of this video, but a couple of times, you do see her glance down at the screen. Only professionals would do a good job with a telepresence. Most of the people I saw at CES 2015 who were interacting with people were staring at their screen the entire time. It appeared that they were looking downward, like they were ashamed.

When I was talking to the telepresence, I did the same. I looked at the screen, which is lower than the camera. It took an incredible effort to look at the camera because I wanted to see the person’s face. What they need to do to fix this is somehow mount the camera behind the screen.

We WANT to look at peoples’ faces. That’s why we both were looking at the screen instead of the camera. The camera needs to be in a different place for this to work.

Oh, and any telepresence that can be knocked over by a careless intern is no better than a laptop computer carried around by said intern. In fact, if you had an intern carry around a laptop using FaceTime or any other teleconferencing software, it would actually be BETTER and cheaper than a Beam Pro.

Except MegaBeam. Nothing beats MegaBeam.

They had a HUGE version of this telepresence product rolling around their show floor called, MegaBeam. Here is a picture of me interacting with it.

CES 2015 Beam Pro Telepresence from The Gadgets Page

It was so large and intimidating that it really made me feel happy and chosen when it interacted with me. This is how it looked from my point of view.

CES 2015 Beam Pro Telepresence from The Gadgets Page

Something large like MegaBeam sets off the guttural instincts and causes one to genuflect, even if it is manned by a nerdy guy with glasses. He asked nicely if I would take a picture of him and post it with a MegaBeam hashtag and I complied without a second thought. The sheer size of MegaBeam ensured my compliance.

And he didn’t even need to say, “Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain…”

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