Thursday, July 31, 2014

iVictrola Gramophone

iPhone 4/4s Only:

This is a sound magnifier for an iPhone 4/4s, based on the old Gramophones of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, and while it will run you about $90-$95, isn't combining retro tech with today's tech the coolest?

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Key Ring

Loyalty programs are great with their discounts and freebies.  But a key ring full of little plastic scan cards is not for me.  Problem solved with the Key Ring app, available on both iOS and Android.  Just scan or enter your loyalty numbers and all the fuss and clutter is gone.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Buckin' Donkey

If you're a Pittsburgh Steelers fan or just looking for some of the best food in Kettering, the Buckin' Donkey Grill on Wilmington Pike is the place.  Their signature sandwich, when available during football season, is the Pittsburgh Sandwich, as good if not better than the famous Primanti Brothers sandwiches in Pittsburgh.  And they are huge, a plate wide and high enough to tip over by themselves.  And their fries are to die for.

Monday, July 28, 2014

MIT Corrective Displays

Back in my early forties (i.e. oh so long ago) I had Lasik surgery, which was one of the best decisions of my life, and enjoy perfect distance vision. It's wonderful for running, golfing, skiing, gardening, mowing and any other activity involving sweat. The down side is I need reading glasses (i.e. cheaters) to read up close and more than 90% of that time is spent staring at my various and beloved computer displays. 

That may be changing in the coming years based on an MIT research project which bends light at the display, performing the same type of refocusing currently done by corrective lenses. 

Then if I could have restaurants use large print on their receipts, I would be in heaven.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Tesla 3

Due in 2017, the Tesla 3 all-electric car is trying to come in at a $35,000 price point.  Doubt it will have quite the same interior as the pictured Tesla S, but one can dream.  I need three more years out of my Jeep.  Please, another three...

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Quicker Android Unlock

Android Only:

You can save a moment or two every time you unlock your phone by setting the "Bypass lock screen on wake", an option at Settings ... Security.  This puts your PIN, Pattern, etc. on your initial screen, avoiding a second screen.

I use the Pattern unlock option, which saves another moment or three over the PIN option.  Drawing for me is just a quicker motion.  Step-by-step instructions can be found at this link.

Translate To A Specific Language

A follow-on to yesterday's post, you can translate words or phases to another language by starting a search with "translate to" followed by your desired language.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Adios and Vaya Con Dios

The Google Search bar has a number of features beyond entering simple search terms, such as "translate" followed by a word or phrase.  It even automatically detects the language for you.  Demonstrated below is a phrase from the Zac Brown song "Toes".

More Google Search magic spells can be found at this link:

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Allegiant Air

Allegiant Air is a low-cost, no frills airline offering only direct flights, which out of Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky (CVG) include Phoenix, AZ and several cities in Florida.  You have to be very flexible on dates since they don't fly every day, pay for any extras and willing, in some cases, to fly into lesser-used airports, for example, Punta Gorda instead of Fort Myers.  But the combination of direct (what's 5-6 more hours of vacation worth?) and low cost seems pretty compelling to me.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Android L

Android Only:

Google has unveiled their next Android OS version calling it Android 5.0 Lollipop, or Android L for short. Along with longer-lasting batteries, enhanced notifications and improved graphics comes "Android for Work", the native ability to separate work and personal use on the same device.  And no worries if you have an older smart-phone that won't be upgraded to "L", as Google will also produce a separate "Work" app for Ice Cream Sandwich (4.0–4.0.4), Jelly Bean (4.1–4.3.1) and KitKat (4.4–4.4.4).

Read all about it:!bi80Qx

Friday, July 18, 2014

Roku Casting

Roku 3 Only:

I was quite surprised last week when trying out casting from new HTC One M8 Android Phone to my Google Chromecast to find out I could also cast to my Roku 3 box.  Then after researching when that began, I find that an iPhone/iPad can cast photos, music and video through the Roku also.  Amazing little box.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Google Got Gas

Some of those Google Cars that take pictures for Street View maps, in partnership with the Environmental Defense Fund, Colorado State University and Utility companies, have been fitted with air quality detectors, so as they perform their mapping duties they also collect information on gas leaks.  They've only mapped a few cities so far, and Boston, with its older pipes, unsurprisingly has the most leaks.

Google, +1 for the environment!

iOS Text Timestamps

iOS Only:

Text messaging on iOS devices occasionally show date and time stamps, but to see the time for each displayed message, press a message and drag it to the left.  The time for each message is displayed to the right.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Potato Salad on KickStarter

Hump Day Humor:

Zack Danger Brown's (from Columbus Ohio) Kickstarter project has received over $50,000 in funding, a fair amount over his goal of $10.  All he's doing is making potato salad.  You can pledge from $1 to $110 with different benefits.  Here's the $20 package, which I'm sad to say is sold out.

POTATO MADNESS: Receive a potato-salad themed haiku written by me, your name carved into a potato that will be used in the potato salad, a signed jar of mayonnaise, the potato salad recipe, hang out in the kitchen with me while I make the potato salad, choose a potato-salad-appropriate ingredient to add to the potato salad, receive a bite of the potato salad, a photo of me making the potato salad, a 'thank you' posted to our website and I will say your name out loud while making the potato salad.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Outlook Text Messaging

A new feature in Exchange 2010 (geek speak for the server side of Microsoft Outlook) is getting text message notifications for calendar and inbox events such as meeting reminders or an email from your boss.  You get to the setup options you use Outlook Web Access (OWA), select "Options" (top right corner) then "See All Options".  Next select "Phone" (left side) and finally "Text Messaging".

More detailed instructions can be found at:

Monday, July 14, 2014

Divide - Remote Wipe Done Right

Back on June 26th I promised to test the Divide app, which provides separate, secure, Exchange-enabled email, to make sure I could "wipe" out only itself and not anything else on the phone/tablet.  I'm glad to report that it indeed limits the "wipe" to just the Divide app's data and configuration.  This will be a relief for folks worried about someone else having the capability to wipe their entire device.

In addition to that nice feature, and in my limited experience, Divide also two features I really like:

1.  You can configure Divide to use the volume up/down buttons to scroll through your email messages.
2.  The Divide calendar app has a "list" view, sometimes called an "agenda" view.

I also discovered that Divide is available for iOS, in addition to the Android version.  Google has recently bought Divide, so who knows what changes are in store.  Here are the links to each app.

iOS >

Android >

Friday, July 11, 2014

iPhone Shutter

The obvious way to snap the shutter on the iPhone's camera app is the on-screen touch button.  If you, like me, would prefer to keep both hands on the iPhone to keep it steady, you can also trigger the shutter with either the volume up or volume down button.  Then there are three other "weird" ways as detailed on the article at this link.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Allure of the Seas

Not every cruise ship is decked out (pun intended, yet again) like Royal Caribbean's Allure of the Seas, but if you've never taken a cruise and wondered what a ship looks like, this walking tour, courtesy of Google Maps, is amazing.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014


Hump Day Geek Humor:

A PEBCAK error, like its twin the ID-10-T, is shorthand for us humans being the source of many, often hilarious, errors in the use of information technology.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

4W LED Bulbs

I replaced a couple of basement staircase lights last night and used these 4W LED bulbs to replace 20W halogen ones.  I knew they would be more energy efficient and cooler to the touch (the halogen ones will burn), but I would totally shocked (yeah, pun intended) to find out they're twice as bright (not a scientific measure, just my eyeballs).  If they truly last the rated 30,000 hours, I'll be about 98 years old when I need to replace them.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Google Smarty Pins

This could be an addictive, yet educational, game.  If you have children at home for the summer, try this out.