The Gadgets Page

December 31, 2009

OWLE iPhone Camera Accessory

Filed under: Cameras — Laura Moncur @ 10:00 am

I was pretty excited about the OWLE iPhone Camera Accessory when I first saw it. It is a case that your iPhone fits into that gives you a boom microphone and an adapter for 37mm lenses. It comes with a standard and macro lens.


Here is video showcasing it:

Think Geek has it for sale for $129 right now:

I have to admit that I am feeling the limitations of the iPhone camera and sometimes I miss my Panasonic Lumix. The problem with the OWLE is that it’s just as bulky as carrying around a “real” camera. If I have to carry around some bulky thing, I might as well just carry around my Lumix. It has a wide angle Carl Zeiss lens and optical image stabilization.

The iPhone camera is the best camera available, which means that it’s the camera that I have when I’m not planning on filming or taking photos. Unfortunately, the current iPhone camera will never be good enough for serious photographers and videographers. No amount of added lenses and mounts will change that.

Sorry, OWLE, you’re cool, but if I have to carry around something that bulky, I’m going to be packing some REAL heat.

Via: OWLE Adds a Boom Mic and Wide Angle Lens to your iPhone |

December 30, 2009

How To Get Your Lost Camera Back

Filed under: Cameras — Laura Moncur @ 10:00 am

The brilliant Andrew McDonald has provided this Pictorial Guide to avoiding Camera Loss!

‘How can I prevent Camera Loss?’ I hear you ask, wishing I’d get to the point. Well, you can’t prevent cameras from getting lost, but you can do something so your camera can be found very soon after it has vanished.

All you have to do is take some photos – which you never delete from your camera – so when someone finds your camera at the bottom of the gorilla pit they are able to locate you and return the lost property to its rightful owner.

To illustrate, he included the photos that he keeps on his personal camera:

How To Get Your Lost Camera Back

After reading through the photos and laughing with him, I would definitely try to contact him to return his camera.

I need to go take a picture of myself in the bathtub now…

Via: * Your daily gif blog *: How To Avoid Camera Loss

December 29, 2009

Refillable Makeup Palettes

Filed under: Health and Beauty Gadgets — Laura Moncur @ 10:00 am

A while back, I reminisced fondly about Revlon Custom Eyes refillable eyeshadow makeup kits.

Revlon Custom Eyes from The Gadgets Page

Revlon Custom Eyes from The Gadgets Page

It looks like another company has come up with a replacement for my beloved Custom Eyes. Make Up For Ever has created the Make Up For Ever refillable palette.

Make Up For Ever Palette

I received an advertisement from Sephora offering a free palette when I buy three refills for the palette (which usually costs $20). Here’s the link to the promo:

My problem with Make Up For Ever is that the eyeshadow and blush refills are so EXPENSIVE!! Each eyeshadow is twenty bucks! That was another thing that I loved about the Revlon Custom Eyes. The refillable palette was about five bucks and then each eye shadow was a couple of bucks apiece.

Mary Kay CompactsYou can’t convince me that Make Up For Ever eyeshadow is worth $18 MORE than Revlon eyeshadow. It’s the same trouble I had with the Mary Kay refillable palette. Years ago, I bought a couple of makeup palettes from Mary Kay. Aside from the irritating issue of having to order the makeup through some flaky stay-at-home mom who never returned my calls, refilling the palette just never seemed worth it. When I wanted a new color of eyeshadow, I ended up buying an entire makeup kit from Sephora rather than call my Mary Kay “Specialist” back.

Mary Kay Compact Pro at Amazon.comEven worse, they have since CHANGED their compacts, so if I want to replace the eyeshadow, I can’t. I have to buy their new compacts. Fortunately, through the power of Amazon, I don’t have to deal with an “Independent Beauty Consultant” and I can just buy what I want online. Although not as expensive as Make Up For Ever, Mary Kay products are still kind of pricey compared to Revlon, Cover Girl or Maybelline.

Color WorkshopEven the cheap makeup companies make refillable palettes. For example, this Color Workshop makeup case came with several palettes to put into the case. I couldn’t swap out individual eyeshadows and blushes, but I could change to a different palette using the four that the case came with. I saw a similar set at WalMart in their gift aisle just this year.

In the end, I have never found a refillable makeup palette as good as Revlon had in the Eighties. I’m sure they still hold a patent on Custom Eyes. I wish they would revive it and make my day!

Stila 6 Pan Compact at Amazon.comUpdate 12-29-09: It looks like Stila also makes refillable compacts in sizes of three, four and six pan sizes.

The eyeshadow and blush pans are held in place with magnets, which is an ingenious twist on the refillable palette market.

Ecco Bella Elite Collection Compact at Amazon.comI also found these refillable makeup compacts from Eco Bella:

These may be pretty, but the replacement eyeshadows range in price from $18 to $25 a piece, so they seem very overpriced.

December 28, 2009

DDR Dance Pad Purse from Liz Revision

Filed under: Misc. Gadgets — Laura Moncur @ 10:00 am

The wonderful Liz Revision made this purse out of an old and broken Dance Dance Revolution Dance Pad.

DDR Dance Pad Purse

She used a pattern to create the purse and even included a lining. Excellent work, Liz!

Via: Dance Dance Revolution Pad Turned into a Purse |

December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas from The Gadgets Page

Filed under: Retro Gadgets,Site News — Laura Moncur @ 10:00 am

Atari Lynx ChristmasAll the writers at The Gadgets Page wish you a very merry Christmas.

May you receive all the gadget visions that dance in your head.

I’ll leave you with a photograph from our Christmas back in 1991. It was our second Christmas together and Mike bought me a Atari Lynx II for the holiday. You can see it plugged into the wall front and center under our tiny tree if you look carefully (it’s the big black rectangle). It cost us over a hundred bucks and Mike had to order it from the only Atari dealer left in Salt Lake City. He was a crazy guy with an office in South Salt Lake that was filled top to bottom with old Atari parts, boxes of papers and oh so many wires and cables. He believed that the government was tracking him by reading the magnetic strips in money. He was the first person to point them out to me and showed me how to remove them so the government wouldn’t be able to find him.

The two of us played Chip’s Challenge and S.T.U.N. Runner all day. Looking at the photo, it looks pretty meager, but it was a wonderful Christmas!

December 24, 2009

Kodak Pocket Camera I and IA Instruction Manual

Filed under: Cameras,Retro Gadgets — Laura Moncur @ 10:00 am

While shopping at a used bookstore, I found this little instruction manual for a Kodak Pocket Camera.

Kodak Pocket Camera I and IA Instruction Manual

It is for a hundred year old camera, but some of the advice is good even today. I love their simple definitions for things like Depth of Focus and f-Stops. This photograph showing the proper way to hold the camera is wonderful!

Kodak Pocket Camera I and IA Instruction Manual

These old Kodak cameras had a feature that I wish modern day cameras had. It was called the Autographic Feature and allowed you to document notes about the photograph when you took it.

Kodak Pocket Camera I and IA Instruction Manual

The advice on how to take photographs is still good even today. I love this description of why it’s important to keep your lens clean. All of us need to remember this simple tip when we pull our camera phones out of our lint infested pockets for a quick shot.

Kodak Pocket Camera I and IA Instruction Manual

If you own a camera like this, then this instruction manual might be helpful. You can see the whole manual here:

If you don’t own a camera like this, it’s sure fun to see how far photography has progressed in the last century and how the definition of “pocket” has changed over the years.

December 23, 2009

A Beautiful Digital Watch

Filed under: Watches — Laura Moncur @ 10:00 am

1979 Sears Christmas Catalog P170 by Wishbook from FlickrRemember when digital watches tried to be beautiful?

They actually came pretty close to it. This photo is from the 1979 Sears Christmas catalog. Back then, they were doing their darndest to make digital watches look good.

Now, they have the technology and ability to make digital watches beautiful, but they DON’T. The digital watch has been relegated to the sport watch category. Sure, Kenneth Cole, Diesel and Fossil have a couple of nods to the beautiful digital watch category, but only for men and the watches they’ve made available are USELESS. They take up the same amount of space as a fully functional heart rate monitor, yet they just show the time. Some of them show you the date, but you can’t depend on it.

Dear watchmakers of the world: I’m ready for my beautiful digital watch now!!

December 22, 2009

Skedoodle Redux: Etch A Sketch Free Style

Filed under: Toys and Games — Laura Moncur @ 10:00 am

Ohio Art Etch A Sketch Free Style at Amazon.comWhile Mike and I were out Christmas shopping, we came across an Etch A Sketch Free Style and a flood of memories came back to me. I had never owned an Etch a Sketch when I was a kid, but I did get a Skedoodle one year. The Etch A Sketch Free Style reminded me of my old Skedoodle.

Instead of two knobs, like the traditional Etch a Sketch, the Etch A Sketch Free Style has a joystick control that allows you to move the stylus on the screen in two dimensions. The Skedoodle had the same kind of control and I LOVED that thing. It was a strange hybrid between a Etch a Sketch and a Spirograph.

1979 Sears Christmas Catalog P556 by Wishbook from FlickrI found it in the 1979 Sears Wish Book. Its description makes it sound like more fun than my ten year old brain could handle.

Skedoodle by Hasbro

Move the control stick, you can draw lines, curves, circles – even write your name on the Golden View Screen. To erase, flip over and shake.

It had inserts that you could put into the joystick area that would help you make Spirograph-like designs. Just like the Spirograph, I was never really able to make a beautiful design like I was supposed to, but that never stopped me from enjoying that toy to its fullest.

Unlike the Etch a Sketch Free Style, the screen of the Skedoodle was domed and golden in color. Here it is in its full glory.

Skedoodle from The Gadgets Page

You can’t tell from the photo, but the way you would make Spirograph-like pictures is you would run the joystick along the edges of the plastic insert. It would create a shape on the screen (as shown). Then, you were supposed to turn the screen itself by grabbing a hold of the black dial on the front. This may have been an easy feat for the adults who designed this toy, but my small hands just couldn’t turn that dial without accidentally erasing the picture. After all the times I tried to make a design, I got maybe three or four shapes done before accidentally erasing the screen. It was VERY frustrating. Now that I’m an adult and have full-sized hands, I probably could make a design within minutes.

My Skedoodle died a sad and miserable death. One summer day, I sat on a lawn chair and systematically ran the stylus over EVERY inch of the screen without erasing. I wanted to see what was inside the Skedoodle and if I cleared the screen, I would be able to see it. My obsessive behavior paid off and I was able to see the mechanism in the toy and how it was connected to the joystick. Unfortunately, it never recovered. No matter how much I shook up that poor Skedoodle, the screen never returned to its golden beauty. I could ALWAYS see that mechanism inside.

I’m trying my best not to buy an Etch A Sketch Free Style. I SO want to systematically run the stylus over every inch of the screen to compare its innards with my memory of the Skedoodle innards.

Etch A Sketch: Find The Dog A BoneThe coolest thing about the Etch a Sketch Free Style is you can download a bunch of PDF puzzles from their website:

When you print them up on transparency film, you can have a bunch of fun puzzles for your toy. That’s one thing that Skedoodle never had. When I lost those little plastic inserts, they were GONE with no hope of replacement. Of course, by then, I had already demolished the golden screen with my curiosity and obsessive thoroughness.

In the end, the Etch A Sketch Free Style is an interesting update to both the Etch a Sketch and the Skedoodle. Seeing it in the store brought back a flood of memories and it was a struggle to not immediately buy it on impulse.

December 17, 2009

Talking Clock

Filed under: Misc. Gadgets,Retro Gadgets — Laura Moncur @ 10:00 am

Last weekend, I went to visit my mom. In the bathroom, I saw a clock that has been part of the house since the Eighties and it looked it.

Talking Clock

We bought this clock for Carol when her eyes started failing. When you press the button on the top, the clock announces the time. Here is a video of it in action.

I’ve seen this clock in my parents’ house for two decades, but something about the retro Max Headroom style made it jump out at me. It suddenly looked out of place in their house. All the Eighties stuff that used to be in their house has slowly gone away, leaving this last vestige. The talking clock was spared because of its functionality. We should all be so lucky.

December 16, 2009

3D Camera: Old Concept, New App

Filed under: Cameras — Laura Moncur @ 10:00 am

When I saw this advertisement for Revere 33 Stereo Camera, I wanted one:

Revere 33 Stereo Camera

It reads:

So lifelike you feel like you’re right there with 3 dimension pictures!

It’s a camera and viewer that takes 3D photos and then lets you see them in a viewer similar to a Viewmaster. Some of them are still around today.

Wollensak Revere 33 by cso237 from Flickr

3D Camera iTunes LinkFortunately, if you own an iPhone, you can do this with an inexpensive app called 3D Camera [iTunes Link].

The way it works, you aim the camera straight ahead and take a left picture. Then you move the camera a little to the right to take the right picture. The 3D Camera software merges the images for you, creating a stereogram, color anaglyph or wigglegram. Here is a screenshot of the directions:

3D Camera on the iPhone by LauraMoncur from Flickr

It’s easiest to do these 3D photos on inanimate objects like this tiny lava lamp and snow globe. Since I have 3D glasses lying around from my Toy Story Mania! game, it’s easy for me to see the 3D object using the color anaglyph.

3D Camera on the iPhone by LauraMoncur from Flickr

If you’re able to see stereograms, then this option is the best for you because you can see the image without color distortion from the 3D glasses. Note: view this stereogram by crossing your eyes.

3D Camera on the iPhone by LauraMoncur from Flickr

It’s a lot more difficult to get humans or animals with the 3D Camera, however. If they move, even a little bit, it will screw up the photo. Since Maggie was being stone still, I was able to get a pretty good 3D picture of her here.

3D Camera on the iPhone by LauraMoncur from Flickr

If you look at the stereogram, however, you’ll notice that in one photo her eyes are more open than in the other, which creates a weird effect in the 3D photo. Note: view this stereogram by crossing your eyes.

3D Camera on the iPhone by LauraMoncur from Flickr

The Wigglegram makes that weirdness looks like she’s blinking.

Wigglegram of Maggie

Ansel Adams took MANY stereogram photographs over the course of his career. I wonder if he had to do it like this or if he had a camera like the Revere 33. I absolutely LOVE 3D Camera. It makes me feel a little bit like Ansel Adams. I originally bought the 3D Camera app when it first came out and they have since made taking the photos MUCH easier. It’s a great application for the iPhone and almost as good as the Revere 33 Stereo Camera!

Ad via: vintage_ads: Revere 33 Stereo Camera

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