The Gadgets Page

September 17, 2010

Inside The Redbox

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

A special thank you to Thom Allen, who allowed me to post this photo he took of the inside of a Red Box Machine. If you have ever wondered how that cool gadget works, here is a peek.

Click to see full-size

I’m impressed with how Red Box has taken the polar opposite business model of Netflix. Instead of offering you EVERY movie with a delay in the mail, Red Box gives you the most popular twenty movies at every convenience store in the city. Both methods of business are profitable and it’s surprising to me to know that there is room in the market for both.

Photo via: Inside The Redbox | Official Website of Thom Allen

September 16, 2010

Dishmaster: An Old Invention That Needs A Comeback

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

I absolutely LOVE the concept behind the Dishmaster!


Instead of a sprayer attached to a hose on your sink, the sprayer has a dish brush. Not only does your brush stay right where you need it, it squirts water out on your dishes while you clean. You can see the entire ad here:


Oxo SteeL Soap Squirting Dish Brush at Amazon.comWhat I would love to see is a modern day hack that takes the Oxo SteeL Soap Squirting Dish Brush and attaches it to my nearly useless sink sprayer. What would I have to do to make that a reality in my own home? Maybe it’s time to hit the hardware store and find out for myself.

Advert via: Live Journal vintage_ads: This is actually kinda neat!

September 15, 2010

iSight Is Working Again

Filed under: Computers and Peripherals — Laura Moncur @ 10:16 am

When I upgraded my iMac to Snow Leopard, my iSight camera mysteriously stopped working. It was kind of frustrating because I used that little camera a lot. Unwilling to lug my computer to the Apple Store to see a “Genius,” I just stopped using my iSight camera. I just figured it was a feature that got lost in the upgrade and I’ve lived without it ever since.

Today, I was cleaning out my dock by removing shortcuts to applications that I didn’t use anymore. I watched them poof with a puff of air as they went. I came to Photobooth and I hesitated. I LOVED that application when my camera worked. I decided to just load it up once more before deleting it off my dock.

iSight Is Working AgainTo my surprise, my iSight camera is working again!

With all the updates that I’ve downloaded, I have no idea which one fixed my camera, but I was so happy to see myself smiling. All the things that I used to love to do with the camera (video blogging, taking goofy pictures of myself and playing with the effects on Photobooth) were suddenly given back to me and it feels like I have a whole new computer again.

If your iSight camera mysteriously stopped working with the upgrade, try it again. Like mine, yours might be working again now that Apple has had a chance to fix what was broken in the new operating system.

September 2, 2010

Ghost Radar App

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

I’ve have received so much joy and laughter from the iPhone app, Ghost Radar by Spud Pickles [iTunes link], and that’s just from the user reviews. As far as I can tell, the app is a fancy random word generator. Now, I’ve always been a friend of The Random, so it sounded like something perfect for me. After I read the reviews, however, I just HAD to buy it.

Here are a few of the funniest reviews for your enjoyment.

One Word “Wow” by Night Lover: ok I bought this app this morning thinking that it’s fake and also being a skeptic I’m not sure what to make of it. After I installed it I launched it in my garage and it was dead silent and a few minutes later it started showing strong feilds and then said my name, after that I was a little creeped so I got up to leave and it said “don’t leave” I’m not saying it paranormal but it’s deffinetly strange.

Should I tell him that iPhone apps can access the phone owner’s name?

Is a quiet house worth 99 cents? by monkeyrotica: I have on idea if this really detects anything or if this is just a random word generator. I don’t care. All I know is that I put this on the table in front of my kids and whispered to them, “Ever notice haunted houses are quiet? Ghosts hate noise. The Ghost Detector only works if you’re QUIET.” For the next HOUR they sat silently and listed to the app spit out a bunch of random words. They then whispered among themselves what those words could possibly mean. If you have kids and want some peace and quiet, buy this app.

I actually tried this with my husband’s little sister. We had a very enjoyable (and quiet) half hour talking to the iPhone, OuiJa board style.

Still testing by SoYLaVoz: Ok so it’s been 3 months since I used this app. I thought it was a random word generator until that one day it said my grandmothers name while she was talking. So now 3 moths later I’m playing with it again noted that I’m still thinking this app is a joke. 2 mins into it the word came “Keplar” now this isn’t a random word because I’m a cop and my Keplar (bullet resistant) vest is on my top shelf next to me. So I’m still wondering…

I don’t have the heart to break it to him that Keplar is a random name and KEVLAR is what his vest is made out of.

As I’ve said before, I’m a BIG fan of The Random. I talked about it in detail almost seven years ago:

Music Match is long ago defunct, but the iTunes shuffle feature has nicely taken the place of Auto DJ. When I don’t know what to write about, I put iTunes on shuffle, listen to the songs and do whatever they tell me. It’s a true exercise in creative writing and very helpful to me.

Ghost Radar is yet another way for me to get creative inspiration from randomness. I can just turn it on, collect a few words and write a short story based on them. It rarely produces something I can post on any of my blogs (fiction or otherwise), but it really gets the creative juices flowing.

How Could They Make It Better?

I really wish the programmers for Ghost Radar would take it a step further. Instead of believing their own baloney, I wish they would cross over into full-time chicanery. Here is what I’d like to see Ghost Radar do in future updates:

  • Look up location and spit out words of nearby streets and points of interest based on data from the GPS
  • Access the contacts folder and regurgitate names of people in the contact list or, even better, the recent calls list
  • Listen to the people playing with it and using word recognition, parrot back the words said
  • Scan for laughter and give more words when people interact with it
  • Track the reaction to certain words and give synonyms to the ones that receive more laughter or speaking

In the end, I’ve enjoyed Ghost Radar far more than the 99 cents it cost me. Does it channel the words of non corporeal spirits? No. I don’t even believe it measures electromagnetic fluctuation. Is it entertaining? Hellya.

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 Starling Fitness

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

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.

August 31, 2010

Pooch Power Shovel

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

Pooch Power Shovel at Amazon.comCan we just have a shout out for Inventive Ingenuity?! Take, for instance, the Pooch Power Shovel. No matter the size or texture (ewhh!) of the waste, the Pooch Power Shovel can suck up your pet’s mess without letting it touch you or the machine. You load it with a small bag, wrap the bag around the nozzle and the machine does the rest. It’s cordless, rechargeable and (according to the video) does the job pretty well.

It all looks awesome until you realize that it costs a hundred bucks.

Rake Set by Four Paws at Amazon.comI’ve been using the small version of this rake and pan scooper set for the last eight years. I never have to touch the waste because I dump it in a small garbage can lined with a grocery bag. It’s not as high tech as the Pooch Power Shovel, but it cost me less than a third of what the Pooch Power Shovel costs.

Inventive Ingenuity is a wonderful thing, but only when there is a NEED. Necessity is the mother of invention has long ago been abandoned. The Pooch Power Shovel may be a cool way to remove pet waste, but it is a far cry from the simplicity of a rake and shovel.

Via: Electric Pooper Scooper: The Pooch Power Shovel |

August 30, 2010

Costume Quest

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

There is a new game coming to PS3 and XBox Live Arcade called Costume Quest. Here is a trailer for it:

It seems to have everything I love: Halloween, candy, evil witches and scary amusement parks. Deep down, however, I know it’s just a first-person fighting game and I’ll probably hate it.

Via: Littlest, Yellowest, Differentest

August 27, 2010

Silicone Oven Shield

Filed under: Kitchen Gadgets — Laura Moncur @ 10:00 am

Silicone Oven Shield at Amazon.comI can’t believe it took us this long to get a product like the Silicone Oven Shield. It provides a burn-free grip for your oven racks. Why don’t all ovens come with this feature. I have been using silicone baking pans for years now and I never once thought, “Hey they should put this stuff on oven racks so I don’t burn my arm on them.”

There is a warning in the Amazon user comments stating that you only get one shield and that the shipping is really high for the small item. Even though the picture shows two shields, you should know that you only get one. Unfortunately, the buyer didn’t bother actually USING the shield to see if it works.

In the future, manufacturers will put silicone guards on all oven racks. Until then, we’ll have to retrofit our own.

Via: Put Your Hands in the Oven with a Silicone Oven Shield |

August 26, 2010

FINALLY! A Good Case For My iPad!

Filed under: eBook Readers and Peripherals — Laura Moncur @ 10:00 am

As hard as I’ve tried, I haven’t been able to get paper out of my life. Although I now keep a journal with my iPad instead of writing on paper, I have one weekly goal sheet that I still use. I also get handouts from Weight Watchers every week and I am continually ruining them because they don’t have a nice place to go in my iPad.

I’ve finally found a iPad case that is just as good as the Apple case AND has a spot for my papers and even a pen.

Acase Deluxe Leather iPad Case

The case easily holds a 5 1/2″ X 8 1/2″ paper, which is what I use in my journal. It could hold a 8 1/2″ X 11″ paper folded in half as well. I have some 7″ X 9 1/2″ composition books that looked like they would fit, but they are a little too thick to slip into the pocket. My 5 1/2″ X 8 1/2″ composition books fit perfectly, however.

There were plenty of pictures of the case on Amazon, but they didn’t answer all the questions I had about it. In particular, I wondered how the case propped up. Was there velcro? Did it just stay there? I have a pretty clear picture showing that feature.

Acase Deluxe Leather iPad Case

If you look carefully, there are grooves on the case that allow the flap to stay in one place. There isn’t much variation in the viewing angle, but the Apple case only had ONE choice, so this case is better than that.

The entire case is fatter than the Apple case, but it stands on a table with more stability than the Apple case does, so I feel like that’s a fair trade-off.

Acase Deluxe Leather iPad Case

When closed, the Acase isn’t as simple and pretty as the Apple case. You can clearly see the grooved section here. What it gives up in beauty, it gains in stability.

Acase Deluxe Leather iPad Case

I really appreciate the pocket for papers and the smaller pockets would be nice for ID or credit cards if you wanted to use this case as a wallet and a planner.

Acase Deluxe Leather iPad Case

I was worried that the flap would flop open all the time, but there is a nice little magnet in it that keeps it in place when you’re not using it. It sits so flat that I barely notice it unless I need it.

On the whole, I’ve been pretty happy with the Acase Deluxe Leather multi-view Case/Folio with Stand for iPad. Until I can completely excise paper out of my life, a case like this is very helpful.

August 25, 2010

Twitter Updates for 2010-08-25

Filed under: Site News — Laura Moncur @ 5:00 pm

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