Thursday, April 30, 2015

Volume Control Widget

A recent addition to my HTC One (M8) Android smart-phone is this little widget that displays the various volume settings.  Tap the widget and it expands, making it easy to change any of the configured volumes.  It's been very useful to check and set my alarm clock volume, which mysteriously gets muted from time to time.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

The Grommet

The Grommet just might become your go-to website for finding unique gifts.  It's stocked with ingenious ideas like the Butter Mill and Blade Buddy shown below.  If you're stuck trying to think of a gift for Mother's Day (May 10), spend a few minutes here and your problem will be solved.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Wireless Hard Drive

Drats that I recently bought new external hard drives, as this wireless model would have easily been my choice.  Having a drive connected to only one system and unplugging it from my laptop all the time are my biggest beefs, both solved by going wireless.  USB 3.0 is included for large data transfers, an SD card slot can upload photos and videos and the internal battery can make it 100% without wires.  What's not to love?

Monday, April 27, 2015

Android Apps Crashing

Last week some apps (e.g. Untappd, Score, Solitare) on my HTC One M8 Android phone began crashing.  The culprit was an update to the Android System Webview app, a component of the system that allows an app to display embedded web pages.  I just needed to tap "Uninstall" after finding the app, which removed the update and fixed the problem.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Engadget Daily

Part of how I keep up on technology news is a daily, seven article email digest from Engadget.  It's a rare day when I don't find at least one of these articles to be of interest.  Look for "Subscribe To Engadget Newsletter" at the very bottom of their website page if you want to subscribe.

Thursday, April 23, 2015


GovDeals provides services to various government agencies that allow them to sell surplus and confiscated items via the Internet.  It's amazing how much stuff is listed and some great prices can be had.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Amazon Prime - Unlimited Photos

If you're an Amazon Prime member you now have the extra benefit of free (I love free) unlimited photo storage, making this a good backup alternative with the extra benefit of being able to access your precious's from any Internet-connected device.  Might take awhile to upload your existing stash, as most home Internet upload speeds are pitifully slow, so this is not a project that should wait to the last minute.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Find Your Droid

Google has made it even easier to find your misplaced Android phone.  Just type "find my phone" into the Google search bar.  After verifying your password, the search results show where your phone is currently located, assuming you've configured it properly, it's powered on, network connected, etc.. At the bottom of the map you have the option of having your phone ring.

To paraphrase Star Wars .... "This is the Droid you're looking for".

Monday, April 20, 2015

Mysteries of the Unseen World

This is one of the best TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design) videos I've seen, as filmmaker Louie Schwartzberg speeds up, slows down and magnifies, revealing our world in amazing, and sometimes a little creepy, ways.

Friday, April 17, 2015

After The Credits

In the "old days" most people would leave a movie as the credits started to flow.  More recently, many movies have extra scenes stuck in the middle of the credits or at the end, or both.  But sticking through to the end and not being rewarded with an extra snippet is a downer.  That's where the web site comes to the rescue.  Look your movie up beforehand and if it's a "Stinger", it's been reported as having extra scenes.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Google Doodle - Pony Express

A couple days ago Google celebrated the 155th anniversary of the Pony Express with this doodle, which is also an addicting game of collecting the mail while avoiding crashing into various obstacles.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

The Sharper Image Electronic Wine Preserver

One of my most used gifts ever.  Super easy use, just push it on top of a wine bottle and it sucks out the air, helping preserve the wine.  Even if the bottle is unlikely to survive the evening, this device is easier to use than trying to push its cork back into the bottle.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Dropbox and Office

Dropbox and Google Drive are my most useful, free (I love free) cloud-based storage services, but Google has always been more useful with its free (ditto) imbedded office tools (Docs, Sheets, Slides). Dropbox looks to one-up that with integration with Microsoft's free (ditto*2) Office Online Word, Excel and Powerpoint.  Choice is good, free is great. Game on.

Monday, April 13, 2015


A googol is a term created by a 9-year-old back in 1920 to represent a really, really, humongous number (10 to the 100th power). When the founders of Google way back in 1997 were looking for a company name that would represent something very large, they checked to see if googol was available.  But they misspelled it, resulting in the name Google, which is pronounced the same.  And now you know.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Suggested For You

Google News has become my favorite news web site following the terrible redesign of USA Today.  I simply don't like big and flashy as I'm having my morning's first cup of coffee.  Along with Google News' minimalistic design, the "Suggested for you" section has more stories I'm interested in reading. You hone your preferences by clicking Yes or No in response to the "Interested in ...." prompt.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

MIT Technology Review

MIT Technology Review is one of my favorite magazines, costs $2.50 per issue and delivered via the Kindle app on my iPad.  The latest issue features their opinion on the top 10 breakthrough technologies of 2015.  If they could only all come true...

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Cree Connected LED

Whether you're looking to turn lights on and off as a security measure, remind you it's time to go to bed or light the way to the morning's coffee pot, a connected light bulb such as this Cree, when combined with a Wink or Zigbee hub, could be your answer.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Game of Thrones

I've been wanting to watch Game of Thrones but paying for the DVD's or an HBO subscription was a bit steep.  Then someone mentioned they had checked the DVD's out from their local library for free (I love free).  Score!

Monday, April 6, 2015

Storing Manuals

When I buy a new product, tech or not, one of the first things I do is locate a PDF copy of the product manual(s) and load it to my "Manuals" folder in my Google Drive.  Then it's always available whenever and wherever I need it.

Friday, April 3, 2015

SnapPower Charger

Kickstarter is a great place to find innovative products like this SnapPower Charger, a replacement outlet cover with a USB charging port.  No wiring required, just take off the old outlet and screw the new one on.  I just snapped up a pair of outlets for $33 ($15 each plus $3 shipping).  The project closes in 41 days and all the really cheap deals are taken (bummer), but the two-fer-$33 is currently still available.


You'll have to wait a few months, but the ASUS Chromebit might be your perfect solution for those that want to give Google's ChromeOS a try or you're sold on ChromeOS and have an extra HDMI monitor and Bluetooth keyboard lying around.  Should come in at less than $100.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Be Er

I like my shirts to reflect who I am and serve as a conversation starter.  I think this one speaks to my inner geek and love of hops.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Bizarro Google Search

Head over to the backwards "" URL and your searching world gets turned around, sort of Bizarro style.

Google Maps Pac-Man

April Fool's time at Google.  You can play the vintage Pac-Man game on your city's streets, just visit Google Maps and click on the Pac-Man square at the bottom left of the screen.  Just don't plan on much productivity today.