Go Go Gadget Safety: Seven Nifty Gizmos for a More Secure Home

You probably don’t usually mention home security and cool gadgets in the same breath. Home security seems more necessary than exciting, and items like deadbolts and window locks are a bit of a snooze for most gadget-heads. Right?

Think again! Today’s technologies have combined with traditional safety concerns to create a new generation of home-security devices that put the “fun” in “functional— McGruff meets James Bond, if you will. Here’s a look at seven must-have gadgets—none of them expensive or complicated to install—that are fun to show your friends and will help protect your home.

• In the “Why didn’t someone think of this before?” category is FakeTV, a small electronic device that produces exactly the same sort of flickering light a television does. The result is that your house looks occupied. And guess what? Burglars pass over occupied houses. FakeTV is much more convincing, and hence more effective, than the old light-on-a-timer trick.

• Door locks may seem kind of ho-hum. But today’s smart locks, controlled by a smartphone and/or web app, are high-tech, efficient, and even elegant. There are several companies jumping into the smart-lock field. Some products replace an existing lock system, while others can be installed over the deadbolt you already have. While each smart lock has different features, all allow you to control who has access to your home with a tap of your phone.

• Not exactly a gadget, but a whole family of them, SimpliSafe is a next-generation home security system that’s wireless, affordable, and easy to install; the New York Times has said that SimpliSafe “offers all the bells and whistles for a lot less money.” Among its features are text alerts, free apps for smartphones that give users complete remote control, and a wide variety of sensors including motion, smoke detector, keypad, panic button, and more. It can be installed in minutes, requiring no special expertise or tools. Way better than letting some stranger put wires in your walls.

• The Dropcam is a nifty high-definition Wi-Fi video camera with remote viewing and two-way sound, so you can keep an eye on things at home when you’re at work or on the go. It can be installed and set up in minutes, and the video can be watched remotely from an iPhone, iPad, or Android device. And you can also add a recording option that stores up to 720 hours of video.

Doorbot: Even the name sounds cool! Doorbot is a Wi-Fi enabled video doorbell that allows you to see and talk to visitors through your smartphone from anywhere in the world. Whether you’re on the other side of the house or the other side of the country, you can see who’s ringing your doorbell and answer the door (or not, as you choose).

• Have you ever driven away from your house and realized you left the garage open —or obsessed later over whether you had? The Garage Butler is an automatic garage door closer designed to address that situation. It works with your existing garage-door mechanism and can be programmed to close the door after a certain number of minutes. Plus, a light sensor signals it to close the garage door after dark. Hey, this thing could be more useful than an actual butler.

• So simple, but so effective, is the doorstop wedge alarm. Tuck it under your door at night, and if anyone tries to enter, the device emits a 125-decibel alarm, waking you up and scaring off a would-be intruder. It’s great for at-home use, but because it’s small and lightweight, it can also be easily taken on the road and used in hotel rooms.

These gadgets can all make your home safer and more comfortable. And the fact that they’ll feed your inner gadget geek is just one more part of their appeal.

This post was written by Kevin Raposo, a blogger for SimpliSafe Home Security Systems. Kevin covers topic related to tech, security, and crime. When he’s blogging, he’s typically taking things apart, and assembling them back to together…or at least trying to. SimpliSafe is a growing leader in the home security industry.

  

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Product Review: HeadBlade All-Terrain Razor and Shave Cream

atx

I am not a smart man, Jenn-ay, but I know what love is.

I am not a bald man, but I know an effective head-shaving razor when I see one.

The All-Terrain Razor from HeadBlade is truly awesome, and not because it looks like a miniature ATV, complete with HeadBlade logo hood ornament.

It looks gimmicky at first, but the minute you insert your fingers and take it for a ride, you notice it was built for maximum efficiency and ease of use. Once you use it, you wonder why no one had ever thought of this before.

With your fingers in place, you gently pull the All-Terrain Razor (ATX) over the area you want to shave, leading with the wheels with the blade pulling behind. The ATX has a suspension system that adjusts to the pressure you apply and to the curvature of the area you’re shaving.

It may seem strange to be a 30-plus-year-old man shaving with a toy car, but you get over that feeling pretty quickly thanks to the effectiveness.

Even though the ATX is something you can use for hair on any part of your body, I felt that its true purpose was to shave the head of a man who maintains the “cue ball” look. So I enlisted the help of my neighbor Brian, a former marine who keeps his head smooth at all times.

When I handed him the ATX, he looked at me curiously. He flipped it around in his hand and said, “What am I supposed to do with this?” I explained the concept and showed him this video:

Two days later, Brian said it was the easiest head shave of his life. He only had to go over areas one time and he didn’t have to go slow to avoid cutting himself.

The wheels on the front of the ATX really take all the work out of it for you in terms of lining up the next area you want to shave, and makes it easier to avoid missing patches of hair. They also guide the blade over uneven areas, where a normal straight razor could potentially knick or scratch the area.

HeadSlick shave cream was the perfect complement to the ATX. For a shave cream with water as the most prominent ingredient, it exceeded my expectations for not only a smooth shave, but for how well it moisturized my skin. It had the consistency of a pre- or post-shave balm and functioned like a cooling strip on a razor.

The HeadBlade ATX is as effective as it is innovative. There is truly no other product like it on the market.

Check out HeadBlade at www.headblade.com

  

App of the Week: Infinity Blade 3

Developer: Chair Entertainment Group

Compatible with: iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch,

Requires: iOS 7.0

Price: $6.99

Available: here

You really can’t understate the influence the “Infinity Blade” series has had on mobile gaming. While the drop dead, drop jaw, just plain unbelievable graphics have long been the most obvious selling point, they only represent one of many things that “Infinity Blade” showed could be done on a mobile device that simply wasn’t believed possible before. That includes a style of touch screen play that managed to adapt itself to the simpler control scheme of mobile devices but didn’t sacrifice any fun or functionality in the process.

Essentially, then, “Infinity Blade” showed that modern gaming as we know it was not only feasible on a mobile device, but could lead to an experience every bit as enjoyable and rewarding as larger console and PC releases. It was an exhibition of excellence that was carried on by the superior sequel “Infinity Blade 2,” and continues to thrive with the (allegedly) last, and most recent, installment in the premier mobile franchise, “Infinity Blade 3.”

This is usually the part where I may explain a bit about the story of “Infinity Blade 3” as an intro, but continuing its trend of defying convention, that’s not really possible here. The “Infinity Blade” series has managed to build a quite deep mythology that this game looks to wrap up in a satisfying manner. Unlike say “Mass Effect 3’s” attempt at this same feat, “IB3” actually does manage to tell a story that not only feels like a worthy conclusion to the tale so far, but is an incredibly entertaining tale to play through as well. That means that while fans of the series will gain the most from knowing the full ins and outs of this world and its characters, even those just jumping in will have no trouble enjoying the ride. That also means that going into details regarding the plot will be ruining a tremendous amount of fun to be had for everyone involved.

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Yet even if the story were either a complete bomb, or simply non-existent, the gameplay on its own would be well worth the higher than usual admission price. For the most part, it doesn’t stray far from the previous games, as you engage in a series of trying battles using a clever dodge and combo fighting system that never wears out its welcome, which is fortunate as you’ll once again find yourself starting over again and again thanks to a death system that borrows from rouge games, and sees you trying again and again to make it just a bit further.

There are some new additions however, including an enhanced skill system that is well implemented and adds another level of addiction to the already unforgettable proceedings, and a blacksmith for leveling up and improving your weapons. Two of the bigger new features (potion brewing and gem crafting) are a bit more superfluous, and occasionally cumbersome, but do reward those that invest the time in them, and do nothing to tarnish the overall pristine experience.

“IB3” doesn’t do quite as much to reinvent and improve the series as “IB2”, but it’s no matter considering how well the original system functioned in the first place. It’s more of a follow up than true sequel then, but in that role it allows the series to hit its stride and become something that doesn’t overstretch the boundaries and limits of mobile gaming, and doesn’t water down and shrink a console game, but rather provides a harmonious balance of the best of both worlds.

There are plenty of mobile games that prove that simplistic experiences not reliant on big graphic and bigger budgets can end up being as much fun as any other game out there, but every now and then, you want something that feels like you’re taking your favorite PS3 or Xbox 360 game with you without sacrificing a single aspect, and for those times there is absolutely nothing that can provide the experience like “Infinity Blade 3,” my app of the week.

  

Phiaton’s new over-ear headphones

Phiaton Bridge Headphones_GLAM

Phiaton sent us a new set of over-ear Bridge headphones and right away we were very impressed with the design. Check out the photo above and you’ll notice the machined aluminum design with the soft black perforated leather and the red accents. With headphones these days everything starts with the design as we all want to look good while enjoying our music in public. These new headphones are also very comfortable as well.

The sound quality was also excellent with a deep bass response as the new Phiaton headphones feature the following specs:

- A dual -chamber structure providing richer detail and clearer, more powerful bass
- Frequency range: 15 Hz ~ 22 kHz
- Impedance: 16 Ohm
- THD: Less than 1% at 1 kHz
- Sensitivity: 99 dB at 1 kHz
- Maximum input power: 1,000 mW
- Weight: 250 g (without cord) / 0.55 lb (without cord)
- Cord Length: 3.6 ft / 1.2 m

Check them out here! The holidays will be here before you know it so these can be a great gift option for the fashion-conscious music lover.

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2013 Back to School Gift Guide

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School will be starting again soon, which can only mean that it’s time to give the affected love ones in your life the tools they’ll need to survive another year in the jungle of academia, which we usually call back to school gifts. Of those students, perhaps none are facing a less enviable position than those entering their first year of college. Though those four (or five, or six) years will inevitably be some of the best of their lives, they are entering a whole new world that will initially scare and bewilder them.

Here are some gadgets and gear that no student should be without this school year.

Google Chromecast

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Fresh from our friends at Google comes what is destined to be one of the best gadgets of the year: the Chromecast. If you missed my write-up on it over at Gadget Teaser, the Chromecast allows you to stream certain popular programs from your PC and mobile devices (including Youtube and Netflix) to your TV wirelessly, with just the press of a button. Essentially, this turns your current TV into a smart TV with almost no set-up, and at a fraction of the cost. Simply put, everyone is going to want this, as evidenced by the significant waiting time it can take to get one.

Satechi 10-Port USB 3.0 Hub

hub

With gadgets now such a big part of our daily lives, most people don’t have enough vacant outlets in their home to plug them all into, which is where the Satechi 10-Port USB 3.0 Hub really comes in handy. As its name suggests, the hub features nine SuperSpeed USB 3.0 ports and a 2.1A charging port on the side that’s strong enough to charge an iPad or comparable tablet. It’s compatible with a wide range of devices – including digital cameras, printers, external hard drives, keyboards, flash drives and smartphones – and can either be plugged into your PC or Mac, or directly into a wall outlet with the included power adapter. The USB ports are divided into sets of three, with separate on/off switches and blue indicator lights to let you know which ones are in use, and the hub itself doesn’t take up too much room on your desk (which is especially important for college students living in a dorm environment), providing a versatile and clutter-free solution to charging.

Satechi Smart LED Desk Lamp

lamp

This is by far one of the sleekiest, coolest desk lamps we’ve ever tested, and it also happens to be incredibly eco-friendly and energy efficient, boasting a lifespan of over 40,000 hours and consuming only 1/8 the power of an incandescent light and 1/2 the power of a fluorescent light. The lamp is operated completely by touch control, with four different brightness modes – Reading, Study, Relaxation and Bedtime – each with varying ranges of color temperature, and a timer function that automatically turns off the lamp after one hour to help conserve energy. Additionally, you can further fine-tune each mode using the brightness up/down controls, and even charge a USB device simultaneously using the port in the back. Satechi’s Smart LED Desk Lamp also boasts a flexible, multi-pivot positioning system that allows you to adjust the height, angle and direction of the lamp to your specific needs. It’s a little costly at $100, but at that price, you won’t find many other desk lamps that reproduce natural light quite like this.

Read the rest of this entry »

  

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