The Gadgets Page

December 10, 2015

Sling TV: Is It Worth It?

Filed under: Audio and Video — Laura Moncur @ 7:51 am

Sling TV from The Gadgets PageYou have been paying cable fees forever. You have been paying them for so long that the prices have slowly crept up for years and are now choking you at $130 a month. What if you could cut the cord and STILL watch live TV?

That’s the idea behind Sling TV.

It used to be that you had to buy a Sling TV adapter, but they have made it easier to get set up with them. If you want to watch the games on your phone or tablet, they have an app that allows you to do that without a DVR or television. If you want to watch it on your TV, you can do that with the Xbox One. Suddenly, live television is available to you for as little as $20 a month.

The only problem is the TV lineup:

Sling TV Lineup from The Gadgets Page

They are quick to mention the channels that are included, but the channels that aren’t are quite popular. USA, MTV, VH1, BBC America, BET, and Bravo are just a few of the channels that are missing. Then, to get channels like The Cooking Network or The Outdoor Channel, you have to add them. To get as many channels as that bottom of the line TV line-up that you get with cable, you pretty much have to pay $45. If you want HBO, you’re looking at a $60 bill. And that doesn’t count the internet connectivity you’ll have to still pay the cable company.

Is Sling TV worth it? Yes. If you travel often, Sling TV is the absolute best way to get live TV. If you usually have cable, stick with the basic cable package and you’ll probably come out ahead.

December 5, 2015

DoubleTime strap for Apple and Mechanical Watches

Filed under: Watches — Matthew Strebe @ 8:32 am

Full disclosure: The author of this article is the inventor of the strap.

The DoubleTime strap is the only watch strap in the world that lets you keep the classic look and functionality of your favorite watch and add all the useful wizardry of the Apple Watch. You no longer have to choose between the classic elegance of your traditional watch or the notifications and apps you’re addicted to from your Apple Watch. With the DoubleTime, you can just have both all the time.

Double Time Front View from The Gadgets Page

In the photos above and below, you can see the DoubleTime strap on a Yacht Timer with a 38mm space grey Apple Sport Watch with black buckle and lugs. Also shown is a World Timer with a 44mm stainless steel Apple Watch and silver buckles and lugs.

Double Time Back View from The Gadgets Page

The DoubleTime strap puts your classic watch right where you’ve always had it in the normal wristwatch position, where you can check the time in a meeting without having to wake it up, and where people will notice your style. It puts your Apple Watch level with the flat bottom of your wrist.

All of the activity monitoring, pulse, and other health monitoring features work perfectly, and it wakes up when you rotate your wrist to look at it just as you’d expect. Better yet, your notifications remain private. In meetings with my hands on the table, nobody else could see my watch wake up and display notifications.

Double Time Watch Band Mechanical Face

Available in many sizes, The DoubleTime strap places both watches perfectly on the wrist for maximum comfort and ease of use. And there’s no need to worry about scratches: Apple Watches are incredibly hard. In six months of nearly constant testing, including using it while typing on an aluminum laptop, my aluminum and gorilla glass Apple Watch Sport has never acquired a blemish. The Watch and Watch Edition models are both even harder than that.

Double Time Watch Band Apple Face

The DoubleTime is subtle. In six months of prototyping and public testing, the only time people noticed the Apple Watch was when I deliberately pointed it out or they caught me taking a notification on it. At no time did it appear to be too showy. A black Apple Watch is nearly invisible with the black strap.

Double Time Watch Band Side View

The DoubleTime Strap is built with the traditional look and style of a classic leather watchband, and comes with lugs to instantly attach your Apple Watch. You can switch your Apple Watch amongst any number of DoubleTime straps so you can wear it with your entire watch collection, and you can swap the original Apple Watch bands right back on when you want to wear the Apple Watch alone.

The DoubleTime strap is especially discreet when worn with the smaller (38mm) space grey aluminum or black stainless Apple Watches, but it works perfectly well with the 42mm Apple Watch as well. The straps come with smaller 38mm lugs which match the 38mm watches and keep the strap centered in the larger 42mm Apple watches. Lugs are available in black, grey, and silver.

The DoubleTime strap is no more expensive than Apple’s straps. Our Kickstarter is coming soon, and the DoubleTime will be priced at $50 each for those in the Kickstarter campaign. After the campaign completes, the DoubleTime strap will be available from for $80 each.

Sizing the Double time for perfect is complicated because the center strap has to match the size of the wrist and both watches. To size it correctly, the website asks you for your wrist circumference, Apple Watch size, and the distance between the lugs on your top-watch. The site will then determine exactly which strap segments you need and ship them.

For questions about the DoubleTime strap, please email

November 18, 2015

Padlette D4

Filed under: eBook Readers and Peripherals — Christy Strebe @ 8:00 am

Padlette D4 Green at Amazon.comI received a Padlette at CES a few years back and have been planning to write a review of it since then. I use it every day on my iPad and love it! It is especially convenient when you need to hold the iPad for extended periods of time, like watching a movie or reading an eBook.

Before the Padlette I would try to prop the iPad up on something but it would inevitably fall and usually on my face, which I can tell you is pretty painful. I would also routinely get hand cramps from holding the iPad for extended periods of time pre-Padlette, but since there are a number of ways to hold the Padlette I haven’t gotten a hand cramp since, it is a life saver for my hands!

The Padlette stretches around your iPad, so the only drawback is if you have a cover on your iPad it won’t work. But for my iPad I use a sleeve cover and the Padlette. You also need to position the Padlette so that it is not on the corner that the power button and volume controls are on. It is easy to remove and install so if you wanted to keep your cover and use it occasionally for movies that would also work great.

November 14, 2015

3Doodler 2.0 Hat Embellishments

Filed under: Misc. Gadgets — Christy Strebe @ 5:05 pm

3Doodler 3D 2.0 Printing pen at Amazon.comAt our house we are a little obsessed with 3-D printing, so it was no surprise when the 3-Doodler showed up under the Christmas tree last year. While you won’t get the same product quality out of the 3Doodler as you would a 3-D printer, it definitely has a niche in the crafting world and if you have never played around with 3-D printing it is a good place to start. There is very little set-up, no need to make 3-D CAD drawings, just heat it up and decide what you want to try to make. My kids love to play with this and I have used the 3Doodler for a variety of crafty projects.

You do need to get used to the different types of medium. If you want to draw straight up, have your finished object be a little flexible or if you are joining plastic objects together ABS is your best bet. If you want your object to stick to paper, glass, metal or fabric PLA is your best option. PLA will also allow you to stretch it for a few seconds after it comes out of the 3Doodler and comes in a larger variety of colors than ABS. Both plastics are good for building objects freehand.

My very first 3Doodler design was an embellishment for a hat. I had an hour before we went to a Derby party and this was my inspiration: Grace Du Prez’s award-winning Peacock Hat.

3Doodler Inspiration from The Gadgets Page

To change color in the 3Doodler you need to run all of the previous color through and then you will have a section where the two colors mix. Because I wanted different colors in my feathers, I decided to build all three at once and just free handed the feathers and color placement. I did need to go back and add extra support to the stem of the feather as well. Here was my finished product:

3Doodler Hatt Embelishment from The Gadgets Page

I was able to make three feathers in an hour and add them to my hat just in time. My hand was a little cramped at the end but with the hold button feature the 3Doodler 2.0 has it was much better than the previous model.

I have been extremely happy with the 3Doodler. What I thought was just a toy has become a worthwhile designing tool.

October 25, 2015

CARSON Universal Smartphone Optics Adapter

Filed under: Cameras — Matthew Strebe @ 8:58 am

Carson HookUpz Universal Smart Phone Optics Digiscoping Adapter For Binoculars Spotting Scopes Monoculars Telescopes Microscopes and More (IS-100) at Amazon.comThe Carson “HookUpz” universal smartphone adapter is a clever device that adapts any smartphone camera to just about any optical device, such as binoculars, telescopes, microscopes, and spotting scopes. This allows you to add the camera you already have to the optics you already have.

CARSON Universal Smartphone Optics Adapter from The Gadgets Page

I use the the adapter with my image stabilized binoculars. This gives me an 18X telephoto lens that is image stabilized and easy to shoot through with results very similar to a DSLR.

CARSON Universal Smartphone Optics Adapter from The Gadgets Page

The adapter is very simple to use: Just insert your phone and line up the camera with the aperture on the adapter. Then clamp the adapter to the eyepiece of the optic. The entire setup takes less than a minute to be very precise.

CARSON Universal Smartphone Optics Adapter from The Gadgets Page

Once your phone is mounted to the optic, you can use the phone’s screen to observe through it and take pictures. The results with my binoculars were very good, and with my spotting scope the results were excellent.

CARSON Universal Smartphone Optics Adapter from The Gadgets Page

There are some physical limitations you may run into with image circle size; you may get falloff at the edges of the image because the optic image projection is smaller than your phone’s sensor. Just crop the image to eliminate this effect.

CARSON Universal Smartphone Optics Adapter from The Gadgets Page

I found the Carson Universal Optics Adapter to be reliable, clever, and well made. If you ever want to shoot through your optics with your phone, it’s the one-size-fits-all solution.

Carson’s website:

October 7, 2015

Beats Pill+ Speaker Is Coming Next Month

Filed under: Audio and Video — Laura Moncur @ 9:19 am

Beats Pill Plus image via The VergeIt looks like the Beats Pill+ will be released next month and cost about $225.

I haven’t been that impressed with Beats products, but this feature is really intriguing to me.

The new Beats Pill+ companion app will enable users to control the speaker using a smartphone, with features including the ability to control music from two Bluetooth sources and sync two Beats Pill+ speakers together for either simultaneous or dedicated right and left playback.

It’s cool that you can purchase two of them and get REAL stereo separation. The audiophile features aren’t impressive enough to conquer my doubts, however. The biggest problem I have with the Beats Pill+ is something so seemingly trivial that it shouldn’t stop me from buying one, but it does.

It doesn’t have a handle.

I want to be able to EASILY carry the speaker, whether it’s playing or not. I don’t want to put it into a backpack. I want to carry it. With a handle. That’s built-in.

I looked long and hard for a good speaker system that would let me play my music from my phone or the radio. I ended up going with the Sangean PR-D15.

Sangean PR-D15 FM-Stereo/AM Rechargeable Portable Radio with Handle at

It plays my music. It plays the radio. It can use rechargeable batteries. It cost me less than eighty bucks. And most importantly, it has a handle, so I can easily carry it. The Beats Pill+ might be super cool and all, but I want something that I can USE, even if it looks like a square box from the Eighties.

Beats Pill+ Image Via: The Verge: Beats’ Pill+ is its best speaker ever

September 30, 2015

TiVo Bolt Looks Cool AND Skips Commercials

Filed under: Audio and Video — Laura Moncur @ 10:15 am

I haven’t had cable for a few years now, but if I did, I would immediately be buying this TiVo.

TiVo Bolt DVR from The Gadgets Page

That cool design is both beautiful and functional:

That funky arc shape isnt just there to stick out visually however, as VP Jim Denney told us it also allows the smaller box to vent from the bottom. Its a rather unique design, and in our short time using it the box stayed cool and quiet.

Additionally, The Bolt has the ability to skip commercials. That alone makes it worth having.

Now, the DVR isn’t as good as some. It has four tuners (some of the best have six), but being able to record FOUR shows at a time is plenty good for me.

Gadgets like the TiVo Bolt make me wish that I had cable again. In a lot of respects, I do miss it, and having something like this stylish DVR might just convince me to join the fray again.

September 23, 2015

Apple Watch Saves Teen’s Life

Filed under: Wearable Tech — Laura Moncur @ 7:37 am

Paul Houle Jr. Saved By His Apple Watch from The Gadgets PageRemember when the CEO of Swatch mocked Apple for being willing to have a heart rate function on their Apple Watch?

As a watch producer, I cannot accept the responsibility of whether my device warns a customer in time before a heart attack.

He’s probably singing a different tune now that an Apple Watch has saved the life of a teen from Massachusetts:

A 17-year-old Tabor Academy senior was at football practice when something felt off. “I had pain in my chest and my back whenever I took some deep breaths,” said Paul Houle Jr. He would have chalked it up to a hot day on the gridiron. But his Apple Watch alerted him to something serious.

“After practice I went and took a nap, my heart rate was still at 145.” The Apple Watch takes your resting heart rate about every minute or so. Houle knew there was a problem when his resting heart rate was more than double his average. He went to the hospital, where he learned he had heart, liver and kidney failure, which could have been fatal if not for his watch.

“If my Apple Watch hadn’t shown me it was 145, I would have done nothing about it.” Houle’s dad is grateful his son is healthy. His dad didn’t want to buy the Apple Watch, but after his son’s ordeal, he went out Saturday and purchased one for his wife and himself. Houle can’t play football just yet, but he has something else to look forward to – an internship next summer with Apple.

I am so grateful for my Apple Watch because it has made my life easier in so many ways, but this sort of story makes that little piece of technology appear to be miraculous.

September 16, 2015

Apple Might Let You Delete Those Stupid Preinstalled Apps

Filed under: eBook Readers and Peripherals,PDAs and Phones — Laura Moncur @ 8:42 am

Please Let Me Delete These Apps from The Gadgets PageThere is an entire junk folder full of apps on my iPhone and iPad. They are apps that I can’t delete, no matter how much I want to. The undelete-able apps include: Calculator, Reminders, Game Center, iTunes Store, App Store, FaceTime, Notes, Contacts, Voice Memos, Stocks, Tips, Weather, Newstand, iBooks, Compass, and Passbook. Some of those apps are useful and some of them are not. It depends on who you are and how you use your phone. I find it so irritating that I can’t get rid of them on my devices.

According to BuzzFeed, it looks like Tim Cook is looking at isolating each of these apps and allowing some of them to be deleted.

20 min car ride with Tim Cook from Buzzfeed

“This is a more complex issue than it first appears,” he says. “There are some apps that are linked to something else on the iPhone. If they were to be removed they might cause issues elsewhere on the phone. There are other apps that aren’t like that. So over time, I think with the ones that aren’t like that, we’ll figure out a way [for you to remove them]. … It’s not that we want to suck up your real estate; we’re not motivated to do that. We want you to be happy. So I recognize that some people want to do this, and it’s something we’re looking at.”

I am glad they’re “looking” at that option. Honestly, they should have been looking at that a long time ago. I seriously don’t want a junk folder where I have to shuffle those apps that I never use. Just let me delete them.

Update 09-17-15

With the new operating system, you can now delete the Newstand folder as long as you don’t have any apps in it. Unfortunately, they have added Find My Friends and Find My iPhone to the can’t delete list. One step forward, two steps back…

September 15, 2015

Tropes Vs. Women in Video Games

Filed under: Software,Toys and Games — Laura Moncur @ 9:02 am

Anita Sarkeesian has created a brilliant analysis of the boring tropes that video games have been using ever since the beginning of gaming. Her YouTube channel, Feminist Frequency, has all the videos, but here is a playlist of the entire series:

After watching these videos, I suddenly felt a huge relief. THIS is why I don’t like so many games. I don’t really want to save the damsel in distress. I don’t want to earn rewards that take the clothes off the women in the video game. I always felt as if I was not the target audience of the video game industry and now I know why. They have LITERALLY written games that only appeal to less than half the population. LESS THAN HALF.

That is so sad and fiscally idiotic. Women want to go on adventures, too. We don’t want to save our husbands or boyfriends. We want to bring them and our friends along with us. Write games for EVERYONE and you will sell more. I can’t stress how important this is. A good game that lets EVERYONE play will make millions of dollars. It will sell game consoles. I wish I could reach into the minds of every game designer out there and make them understand that if they STOP writing games for straight males and START writing games for EVERYONE, then they will make so much more money.

Plus, I could really use a fun and interesting game right now. I’m getting a little sick of all the Bejeweled rip offs.

Next Page »

Powered by WordPress
(c) 2003-2017 Michael Moncur, Laura Moncur, Matthew Strebe, and The Gadgets Page