10 Must-Have Gadgets for the Summer

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Ah, summer. There’s just something about the summer.

It’s the time when possibilities seem endless and memories of summers past drive us to destinations as far as another part of the world, or as close as our backyard to try and create new ones. Summer, in a word, means adventure.

Like any adventure, you’ll need to make sure you have the right tools to not only get the most out of it, but in some cases, survive it. So while items like a cooler and a good e-book might be known necessities, here are some gadgets you might not think of that can help make this summer adventure an instant classic memory.

Turtle Shell Speaker

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One of the most exciting gadgets of the summer, the Turtle Shell from Outdoor Tech might just be the most versatile and complete outdoor speaker available.

Sure, it’s wireless with perfect sound quality, exceptional range (30 feet), battery life (9 hours) and speakerphone capability, but you’ve probably come to expect that in portable speakers. The Turtle Shell is unique, though, in just how good it sounds, and how durable it is, as it can’t be stopped by dirt, rain or shock damage. When you factor in such features as the ability to attach it to a bike, and some undeniably good looks, this is the only outdoor speaker you need.

Price: $129.95

BioLite CampStove

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There’s a variety of gadgets built for camping that are, in one way another, designed to bring you the comforts of home wherever you go. That’s great, of course, but in some way you still want to be able to enjoy the outdoors without feeling like you’ve brought the entire modern world with you.

The BioLite provides a compromise in that department, as it’s an electric campfire that runs off twigs like a usual campfire, but provides a more powerful and sustained flame than you can get out of the old fashioned method. Even better, it takes the energy from that same flame and can convert it to an electrical output through its available USB port should you need it.

Of course, if a better campfire isn’t appealing enough, you can always add the available grill top add-on for a complete outdoor cooking tool.

Price: $129.95

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The Best of the 2013 Max Borges Holiday Tech Showing from NYC

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Recently, the Max Borges Agency threw a tech showcase party in Manhattan to display some of the best upcoming products their clients have to offer for the upcoming year. Fortunately, thanks to a very generous invitation by the hosts, I was lucky enough to attend.

While the view of scenic lower Manhattan would usually be the star of the space, instead all eyes were on a variety of gadgets, gizmos and gear that ran anywhere from under $50 to over a $1000, and included everything from unicorn slippers and tactical BBQ vests, to the newest models of headphones and speakers, all the way up too… well, things that can’t be discussed quite yet.

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Fortunately, there was plenty on display that can be talked about, some of which stood out even amongst the gadget smorgasbord available. So while it would be mind boggling to try to give a rundown of every item, here are five of the best gadgets I saw at the show.

USB Touch Lamp

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Most people look at an empty liquor bottle and see a series of bad decisions. However, the people at Satechi looked at that bottle and saw this devic,e which allows you to turn any bottle, vase or physically compatible glass item into a lamp. Setup is easy, as you simply affix the lamp shade to any compatible bottle and plug in the USB cable to activate the touch-controlled light.

While ideal as a desk lamp, with the right setup, this is a perfect item for college students looking for a cool dorm room decoration, bars making use of those pesky empties, or even for a man cave that could use some creative lighting. Recyclable, affordable and pretty damn cool, this is a great gift for anyone.

Price: $29.99

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The Definition of Manliness: Daniel Winkler Knives

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Rugged. Bold. Stout. These are but a few manly words that come to mind when browsing through the masterful blade work of Daniel Winkler Knives. These days, forged cutlery seems to be an oddity in the market due to mass production. However, Daniel Winker, master Bladesmith, has combined the traditional craft of metalwork & tradition and shaped a selection of blades that are unique, versatile, and spectacular in their own regards.

The blades, which have found their way on the consumer market such as the set of Last of the Mohicans and in teams from the United States and Allied Special Operations, are hand-forged and crafted based on an individual’s specifications and needs.

Quality and Design like No Other

The blades, forged by the hands of the Master Bladesmith (honored by the American Bladesmith Society), has seen its share of awards, including:

• 1998 – BLADE Magazine “Best Utility Hunter”
• 2002 – “Best of the West” Best Knifemaker
• 2009 – Most Innovative Design

The traditional blades, ones designed that you would happen across in the early America’s, use some of the most rugged materials available to a Bladesmith such as Damascus, Elk antler, rawhide, antique steel & patina, and even items like horse hair and beads for a flourish.

The types of blades that fall under the “traditional” label include:

• Belt knife
• Bowies
• Camp knife
• Hawks
• Hunters
• Patch knife

A second set of offers by Daniel take the tactical angle through a variety of belt, field, hunting, and military-grade knives, and onward to other blades such as rescue & stealth axes, tactical daggers, and a jungle knife perfect for cutting down large brush.

To put things into perspective: many of Daniel’s knives are in use by Naval Special Warfare Development Groups and other special forces – so if the military and those readily seeing combat rely on the blades by Daniel than you can rest assured they’re going to live up to your demands.
The simplicity of the design and features is what makes many individuals flock to the blades offered by Daniel; they strip the conventional, mass-produced feeling that so many knives have seem to adopt and brings it back to the true feeling of a sturdy, reliable, cutting tool.
Likewise, sheaths for the blades have been extensively field tested for practical use though many owners have made their own modes to accommodate their style.

Overall, the keen eye and commitment to high-quality materials under the control of Daniel’s talent has forged a series of knives that will not only have you doing a double take but will become the dream of any individual that needs a blade they can rely on.

Overview

Holding a knife can immediately swell emotions of the rugged outdoors even if you’re the city type. The blades are of high enough quality and design that they could be framed or used as a gift but the real value is their usage out in the wild – so keep that in mind while choosing your knife.

The blades, by Daniel, come at a hefty price but the level of workmanship that goes into each warrants the price especially when you need a reliable piece to get the job done. Availability, due to the extensive time to forge the blades and high demand for Daniel’s work, can be scarce so it’s important to get in touch through his website in order to know of the next available listing otherwise you could place a custom order for a unique blade to your specifications.

  

Sunday Reading: Gifts, Prometheus and lots of TV

Father’s Day is just a week away, so this week we focused quite a bit on our Father’s Day Gift Guide. It’s one of the easier holidays to shop for as we mostly consider stuff we like as well, so there’s plenty of booze and gear, and Matt Byrd gave us his 10 best video games for dad. Of course there’s plenty more going on, so here’s some good stuff from the past week:

- In his review of “Prometheus,” David Medsker called it “the most gorgeous space monster movie you’ve ever seen” and he also gave it 3.5 stars.

- Meanwhile, “The Avengers” has had an incredible run at the box office. Read our review if you haven’t seen it yet.

- In the TV world, “Game of Thrones” wrapped up its second season on HBO. Read about the last episode in Nate Kreichman’s blog and you can catch up on all of our reviews and cast interviews on our new Game of Thrones Fan Hub. As this show is ending, “True Blood” returns for a new season which we hope is better than the last one . . .

- We also have to admit we have a thing for Callie Thorne (see her below). You’ll remember her as McNulty’s ex-wife in “The Wire,” but she really caught our attention as one of Hank Moody’s casual hookups in Season 4 of “Californication.” Now she stars in “Necessary Roughness” and Will Harris got to speak with her and other cast members as they start season two.

- We traveled to Nashville to test drive the all-new Nissan Altima, which should be a real winner in its category, and we also reviewed the 2013 Chevy Malibu Eco. This week we’ll be heading out to Utah to drive the new Ford Mustang on a track!

- In a much more serious article, Mike Furci gives some great advice on how to avoid cardiovascular disease.

- In a new playlist feature, Fitz & the Tantrums drummer John Wicks’ lists his favorite songs of the moment.

- Ever have a Corpse Reviver #2? Check out Bob Westal’s latest Drink of the Week selection.

Callie Thorne in “Necessary Roughness”

  

Cool video

I need one of these jackets! If you hate the cold, you have to watch this . . .

  

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