The Gadgets Page

September 4, 2012

DIY Tangle-Free Earbuds with Embroidery Floss

Filed under: Audio and Video — Laura Moncur @ 9:02 am

Apartment Therapy has a great tutorial showing you how to make your favorite earbuds both colorful and tangle-free using embroidery floss.

DIY Tangle-Free Earbuds with Embroidery Floss from The Gadgets Page

The tutorial suggests using the Chinese Staircase knot style to create this, but you could just as easily use the similar knotting style with only ONE thread because you’re going around the edge of the earbud cords, you only need ONE strand of embroidery thread instead of three like they’ve shown in their tutorial.

Either way, you’ll end up with earbuds that won’t tie themselves into knots every time you shove them into your computer bag or pocket.

July 6, 2012

Giving Yurbuds a Second Chance

Filed under: Audio and Video — Ian @ 10:00 am

One of the nice things about working at Gadgets Page is getting to try products that other people didn’t like. Yurbuds are earbuds designed to stay in while you’re exercising. Like many earbuds Yurbuds has mixed reviews and I think this is the cause; Yurbuds, because they are designed like custom earbuds, may not fit a certain type of ear. Like many products that come in multiple sizes they may not fit everyone. This is much more apparent in a product like shoes. Nothing made in bulk can be perfect. These just fit a lot more people than some others do like the apple earbuds.

Personally the Yurbuds fit me quite well and are much more comfortable than anything else I’ve tried. They stay in my ear and they don’t hurt after a short period of time of wearing them. I like them and find them much nicer than headphones and other earbuds.

Yurbuds are quite expensive though. The ones I have sell for about 35$ or 40$ on Amazon. Thats the same as a few cheaper pairs of earbuds, but whether or not its worth it is up to you.

Yurbuds V10-11ID-10601 Inspire PRO Earphones at Amazon.com Looking at other reviews I noticed that reviews almost alternated in saying “The sound is amazing” and “The sound is horrific.” Though the truth of the matter is that the sound doesn’t really matter much while you’re exercising.

One thing that bothers me about them is I can’t get the covers to stay on the earbuds it came with. When I put them in my pocket for a while the covers almost always fall off. Its only a minor annoyance, but still.

In my experience with them I have found that they work as advertised for me, but that doesn’t mean that they work perfectly for everyone. I like them and they work for me, and I think that you should give them a shot.

March 7, 2012

Yurbuds: Not Quite Good Enough

Filed under: Audio and Video — Laura Moncur @ 9:36 am

In January at CES, the nice people at Yurbuds gave me a pair of their ear buds to test for The Gadgets Page. After two months of using them, I’m finally ready to write a review.

The promise was that Yurbuds would stay in my ears through the sweatiest workouts and they wouldn’t hurt. At the booth at CES, they measured my ears and said that the size 5 buds would fit in my ear, stay there and not hurt me.

That’s a tall order. I’ve never been able to use the Apple earbuds because they just fall right out of my ear. I’ve always had to use the in-canal ear buds, but after a half hour running, they hurt and need to come out, not to mention the gross factor of ear buds that have been in my ear canal and covered in ear wax. Blech!

The folks at the CES booth were quite adamant about the correct way to put the Yurbuds in my ears. I made sure that every time I put them on, I twisted them into my ear, just like they showed me.

I’ve tested the Yurbuds for the last two months, during the cold walks and runs of January and February. Honestly, I was quite impressed with them. They had only fallen out once, when my hand hit the cord and literally YANKED them out of my ears. I used the microphone once when my mom called during a workout and she was able to hear me and understand me while I talked. I used the button to advance past songs that I was sick of and it was handy as well.

But yesterday was different. It was a warm day for my walk, so all I did was throw on a hoody instead of piling on the fleece and layers. I couldn’t keep the damn earbuds in my ears. They fell out three or four times on my half hour walk. After two months of great workouts, I couldn’t understand why they stopped working, and then I remembered. During the freezing walks of January and February, I had always worn my fleecy ear band. Not only did it protect my ears from the cold, it was keeping in those Yurbuds. Yesterday, it was warm enough that I didn’t need extra protection. That’s why they kept falling out.

Yurbuds V10-11ID-10601 Inspire PRO Earphones at Amazon.comThis morning, the freezing wind whipped the house noisily, so I bundled up. My Yurbuds stayed in place under my ear band and hat. I realized, with disappointment that the promise was not to be. Ear buds that shape just do not stay in my ears unassisted, and if your ears are shaped the same as mine, sadly, Yurbuds won’t work for you.

As soon as the weather warms up, I’ll have to relinquish my Yurbuds and return to the gross and painful in-canal ear buds that I’ve used for the last three years. I really hoped that Yurbuds would work for me, but sadly they weren’t quite good enough.

If your ears usually work with this shape of ear buds, then you’ll be immensely happy with Yurbuds. You can purchase them here: Yurbuds V10-11ID-10601 Inspire PRO Earphones at Amazon.com

January 19, 2012

Earbud Knitting Kit

Filed under: Audio and Video — Laura Moncur @ 10:00 am

There is a design flaw in this Earbud Knitting Kit from UncommonGoods.

A truly awesome earbud organizer would not only roll up into a untangled mess in a little package, but also be a cross body bag to hold your iPod or iPhone. These earbuds aren’t connected to the case, so they are just something that makes your earbuds more bulky, but less tangled.

December 6, 2011

Polk Audio Ultra Fit 3000 Sports Headphones

Filed under: Audio and Video,Reviews — Christy Strebe @ 11:39 am

Polk Audio UltraFit 3000 Headphones at Amazon.comThe nice folks at Polk audio sent me the Polk Audio Ultra Fit 3000 Sports headphonesto review. They were such a nice surprise to arrive in my mailbox because they are AWESOME. These are the first pair of head phones I’ve used that don’t come out while I’m riding my spin bike. Usually I have to put my head phones back in three or four times. The Polk Audio Ultra Fit 3000 Sports headphones have an ear hook that looks like it would be uncomfortable to wear, but once they were in place I didn’t notice it.

The sound quality is remarkable too! The headphones come with three different cable lengths, so if I have my iPhone in an arm strap I don’t have a long cable dangling down, or I can attach the headphones to my Nano and clip it on my shirt collar.

The cables are also flat so it doesn’t get all tangled up if I just throw it in the pocket of my gym bag (they come with a nice carrying pouch where they are normally stored). I would definitely recommend these to anyone who’s headphones routinely fall out, or if you’re just looking for a great pair of sport headphones.

November 17, 2011

Technical Innovation + 12 Years = Progress

Filed under: Articles,Audio and Video,PDAs and Phones — Michael Moncur @ 6:16 pm

Today, Apple’s iTunes Match service went live. For a small yearly fee, iTunes Match allows you to keep all of your music online. Apple stores it in their iCloud servers, and you can play or download it from your computer, iPhone, or iPad. To save you the trouble of uploading your 100GB of music, Apple’s service conveniently scans your MP3s. If iCloud already has a copy of the song—quite likely given Apple’s user base—it will simply “match” the song rather than uploading it. Thus, you can have access to your entire music library from all of your devices in a very short time.

Thanks to iTunes Match, you have a backup of all of your music, instant access from anywhere, and the chance to upgrade your MP3s to a higher quality.

Sounds like progress? To me it sounds like a blast from the past.

Remembering My.MP3.Com

January 2000. Google was only a couple of years old. Facebook didn’t exist. Apple was a company that sold funny-looking computers. They wouldn’t introduce the iPod for another year. The most sophisticated smartphone looked like this.

This was when MP3.com, originally a site for musicians to share their own music, launched a feature called My.MP3.com. This was a cloud-based music service that let you stream your entire music collection from any computer. It used a matching algorithm so that you wouldn’t have to upload a track if they already had a copy. Does that sound familiar?

Unfortunately, MP3.com didn’t ask for permission from record labels. They were sued by Universal Music Group for copyright infringement, lost to the tune of $53 million, and went out of business.

What if there were no legal objections? I’m still not sure MP3.com would have succeeded. It was limited to music you bought in CD form at a store—there was no way to buy music from their site. It’s hard to scale servers to support this kind of load, and their service was limited by the technology of the time—you had to use a computer to access your music, and few people had broadband Internet access.

Progress Takes More Than Technology

This is an important lesson in how technical innovation is only a small part of progress. MP3.com had the cloud servers 12 years ago, and they had the same matching concept as iTunes Match. They even had a great domain name. But they didn’t have the industry connections to make it legal or the infrastructure to make it practically useful.

Apple introduced the iPod in 2001, along with the first version of the iTunes music store. While the iPod and later Apple products are mainly praised for their design and technical features, Apple also made amazing progress in doing all of the legal wheeling and dealing necessary to make the whole thing legitimate. It took years for iTunes to reach the point where it had licensed music from all of the major publishers, with some popular bands like the Beatles taking 10 years. Finally, after a ton of work from Steve Jobs and Apple, iTunes Match brought the same features as My.MP3.com to the real world. The service is much more useful, too, since you can play music from your phone over a 3G network.

My point here is not to complain that copyright law needs to change (which it does) or that we live in an overly litigious society (which we do). But if you’re wondering why a new feature hasn’t been released yet on your favorite gadget, or if you’re considering selling something yourself, remember that a great idea and a technical innovation always have the potential to bring progress. But if the company doesn’t deal with the legal issues and the infrastructure, It just might take 12 years to arrive… and it might be a different company that succeeds with the idea.

September 1, 2010

High Tech Turn Ons

Filed under: Audio and Video,PDAs and Phones — Laura Moncur @ 10:00 am

I was browsing through my old Seventeen Magazines from 80′s and I found this AWESOME article in the May 1986 issue called High Tech Turn Ons.

High Tech Turn Ons by Seventeen Magazine May 1986 from Flickr

The most interesting gadget is the second one on the list: Pocket Watch by Panasonic from Flickr

Pocket Watch: Liquid crystals may sound like something in a diet drink, but the only thing they make thin is a TV set. A liquid-crystal display (LCD) makes a TV set flat because it replaces the whole picture tube, much as a tiny microprocessor chip replaces a clunky, old-style circuit board. Less than an inch thick, Panasonic’s CT-301 Pocket Watch is the first high quality TV to use a liquid-crystal display. There have been other color TVs with LCDs, but this exceptional new model is the first to deliver a subtly hued, finely detailed TV picture. Measured diagonally, the screen is 3 inches across. $300

Here we are over thirty years later and now 20% of Americans have a tiny TV in their pockets at all times. It ALSO is a phone, a keyboard tutor [iTunes link], music player, and game machine. In fact, my iPhone can replace EVERYTHING that was featured on this High Tech Turn Ons article all for less than the cost of ONE of these items.

After reading this old article, I realized that the future is AMAZING. The iPhone and other smartphones are everything I wished for as a kid and MORE. I thought that I’d have a flying car by now, but I guess I’m willing to forgive that in exchange for my iPhone.

February 2, 2010

CES 2010: Euri Case and IRTronix

Filed under: Audio and Video — Laura Moncur @ 10:00 am

We have finally reached the point where we can send a movie in a greeting card. Euri has created ring boxes and LCD greeting cards that can display video and audio.

Euri Case and IRTronix

You can see how they look here:

They have teamed up with American Greetings and Target Stores, so you’ll be able to buy a greeting card with video and audio that you choose yourself soon!

January 25, 2010

CES 2010: Cy-Fi Wireless Speaker

Filed under: Audio and Video,PDAs and Phones — Laura Moncur @ 10:00 am

If you ride your bike often, the Cy-Fi Wireless Speaker might be a good option for you. You can connect your iPod or iPhone to it and it will play your music and act as a hands-free speakerphone. Here is a video from CES showcasing it.

It comes in both Black and Silver designs:

Here is the commercial for it:

When I was riding my bike to work everyday, this would have been a godsend for me. I used to listen to my MP3 player with earbuds, but that made it so I couldn’t hear around me as well. Something like the Cy-Fi wireless speaker would have let me hear the cars around me AND my music.

January 14, 2010

CES 2010: Samsung Video Art

Filed under: Audio and Video — Laura Moncur @ 10:00 am

The most brilliant way to make me to stop for a moment and actually WATCH a Samsung television was to show off video art.

CES 2010: Samsung Media Art Gallery

It was easy to miss, but along the side wall of Samsung’s booth at CES this year, they displayed gorgeous video art. My favorite was “Desire Has No History,” which is a quote by the famous photographer, Susan Sontag. You can see it here:

The vision of three beautiful and active gadgets being ground down to nothing is striking, but the reversal of the video is brilliant. It’s as if the gadgets were being made before my eyes instead of torn down.

Here is a clip from Mike and Matt’s favorite video, “Life as a flower to be near you.”

The description of the video was interesting:

The woman making the cake represents the expression of love. The man eating the cake represents the act of receiving love. The spinning cake (which was filmed over a 4-week time span) represents the progression of love.

That was an interesting concept, but the look on the face of the man haunts me even now. He looked so incredibly SAD to receive that cake.

Samsung did a brilliant job of getting me to stop and look at their televisions. I usually don’t write about the myriad of TV choices, so I would usually just rush past their booth on the way to something a little more interesting to me. These art installations were enough to attract my attention.


It was so loud on the show floor that the actual audio for both of these videos was unusable, so I added some music that was similar to what was playing. The music credit is Altean Twilight from Royalty Free Music.

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