Category Archives: Gadgets

Universal Remote Control (for Spies)

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This small little key chain is the “Micro Spy Remote”. It’s a mini Universal remote control that will fit in your pocket. Next time you’re stuck somewhere watching a television program that makes you crazy… try this out and watch the chaos ensue.

Let’s say you’re stuck in an airport for several hours, and the only place left to eat is in a bar. Everyone is drinking, and whooping it up over a sports game you could care less about. Or maybe… you’re at a friend’s house, and they’re watching a movie about something you would rather eat poison than watch. Heck, maybe you’re at home, and your significant other is watching a balloon flying through the air… for the fifth hour in a row!

This is when you need the Micro Spy Remote from ThinkGeek. You can aim it at almost any television in the world, and push a button… voila! It will come up with the proper code to access the tv. You can then change the channel, turn the volume up or down, or even shut the set off! No one will be the wiser, since this remote is so tiny, it’s easy to miss.

This little universal remote is the newest (secret) weapon in your arsenal to confuse hoards of TV viewers and perhaps save the free world as we know it. In seconds (just hold the mute button until the TV target mutes), you can take control of almost any television set, thus preventing S.M.U.S.H. propaganda from brainwashing what the Americans so cleverly refer to as “couch potatoes” (though, really, would anyone notice?)

I think I’ll see how much money is left in my checking account, and order several of these for my friends’ Christmas presents!

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Wireless Gadgets for Photographers

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The new wifi SD card for your digital camera is an awesome little gadget. You can upload your pictures immediately from your camera to any number of sites you have an account at. Photos shouldn’t be trapped in your camera. Set them free.

The Eye-Fi Card is a wireless memory card. It automatically uploads pictures from your digital camera to your PC or Mac and to your favorite photo sharing, printing, blogging or social networking site. No cables, no waiting, no hassles. The Eye-Fi Card comes with everything needed to make it simple to set up and connect to your home Wi-Fi network. After that, pop the card into your digital camera and start capturing those memories. It stores pictures like a regular SD card no matter where you are, and uploads your photos automatically as soon as you return to your home network. All you have to do is turn the camera on. It supports sharing and printing websites, including KODAK Gallery, Shutterfly, Wal-Mart, Snapfish, Photobucket, Facebook, Webshots, Picasa Web Albums, SmugMug, Flickr, Fotki, TypePad, VOX, dotPhoto, Phanfare, Sharpcast and Gallery.

This is very cool, and very easy. The only thing I’d like to know as far as a “wish list” for this, is if it will ever be able to shoot video directly over to the web. Now *that* would be awesome.


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PSP on the HDTV: Component AV Cable

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Pardon me while I watch a movie on my 42″ television… oh, did I mention the movie is actually playing on my PSP, and also on my tv?

I took a DVD that I already own, and ripped it to my PSP. Then, I just grabbed the new Component AV Cable and hooked the PSP to my tv. I can watch movies, read my RSS feeds, or browse the Internet, all using the PSP controls and viewing on my big screen.

There are two main drawbacks to this cable. The first is that while you can browse your PSP full screen, and surf the ‘Net full screen… you cannot play games full screen. Sony dropped the ball with that one. But for only $20.00, that’s not much to complain about! The only other complaint I have is that the cord does not retract back into itself. I LIVE for retractable cords, people!

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One Laptop Per Child vs Asus Eee Notebook PC

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SWAT sometimes hangs out on Ventrilo with us, and even occasionally streams for me when I’m gone. He was wondering if he should go with the One Laptop Per Child(OLPC) program and help another child as well, or spend the same money and get better components for his daughter by buying the Asus Eeee.

I just spoke with my friend David from EyeJot the other day about this same thing. In the terms of price and what you get, the Asus would be a better deal. But for the same price, you get a tad bit “lesser” laptop for your child… AND get one sent on your behalf to a needy child in a third world country. We talk all the time about how technology changes lives. We talk about the ways computers enhance our daily life, give us opportunities, and broaden our horizons. How could you not want to give those same opportunities to another child… and not have to pay anything extra?

One learning child. One connected child. One laptop at a time.

The mission of One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) is to empower the children of developing countries to learn by providing one connected laptop to every school-age child. In order to accomplish our goal, we need people who believe in what we’re doing and want to help make education for the world’s children a priority, not a privilege. Between November 12 and November 26, OLPC is offering a Give One Get One program in the United States and Canada. During this time, you can donate the revolutionary XO laptop to a child in a developing nation, and also receive one for the child in your life in recognition of your contribution.

The laptop through the OLPC program is a solid laptop. It’s good, and will work wonderfully for your child. Many years and an infinite amount of sweat equity went into the creation of the XO laptop. Designed collaboratively by experts from academia and industry, the XO is the product of the very best thinking about technology and learning. It was designed with the real world in mind, considering everything from extreme environmental conditions such as high heat and humidity, to technological issues such as local-language support. As a result, the XO laptop is extremely durable, brilliantly functional, energy-efficient, responsive, and fun.

If you’re planning to buy a laptop for your young child, or any young child… this is the one you should buy. It’s an excellent machine, and you’ll be giving the gift of opening the future to a child who otherwise may not ever have that chance.

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Braun Pulsonic 9595 Review

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We Pirillos are a hairy bunch. I’ve had to shave ever since I was a young teen. I hate straight razors, and being a Geek… I need gadgets! I’ve tried nearly every brand and razor out there, and am happy with the line of Braun electric razors.

For years, Braun has served me well. They give me the success, comfort and speed that I want out of an electric razor. I’m Italian, and I have a LOT of facial hair. Not only is it thick, it’s also curly. That makes it much harder to get a good, close shave. The hairs curl inwards, back towards my face. I’m also prone to ingrown hairs.

Any time Braun comes out with a new razor, I have to buy it and try it. So, of course, I had to try this new Pulsonic. Right out of the box, I can tell the difference in weight with older models. It’s contoured differently, and definitely lighter. Turning it on, it definitely is louder and vibrates differently. I guess it would have to vibrate differently though, since it boasts a different type of blade rotation called Sonic Pulsing.

Doing a small test run with it, it’s not half bad. I’ll have to give it more time, and get it adjusted best for my face. It appears to get my face nice and smooth in most places, but did leave a few rough patches. The way I measure a good electric razor is by how many times I have to go over my face with it to get it completely clean and smooth.

An excellent little Geeky feature to this razor is the LCD readout. It tells you how much charge is left on the battery, and also what the hygeine level is. That way, you know when the razor is due for a cleaning. Every Braun razor comes with a little cleaning case that you pop it in, and let it do its work.

Before I sign off, I have to link back to an old video of the time Ponzi convinced me to try Waxing my face. Why any sane human being would do this more than once is beyond me. Trust me… don’t even try it once.

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Unpacking a New PSP Slim

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I love my PSP. The screen is amazing, and it’s great to watch movies on when I travel. I’m a casual gamer, so this has fit my needs well. I was anxious to try the new PSP Slim this week, and decided to open it on a video.

When the PSP first came out, I wasn’t planning to ever get one. I was still mad at Sony over the whole “memory stick” thing. However, after playing a friends’ PSP, I realized I had to have one. As I said already, I LOVE mine, and use it often. I’ve been looking forward to this newest version.

This new PSP Slim is purported to be slimmer, faster, and have more memory. I bought the Limited Edition Daxter bundle. Upon opening it, I can tell it’s not only slimmer, but it’s also significantly lighter. It feels better in the hands. The buttons are, of course, in the same place as the older PSP. In this new version, you can connect your PSP to the TV for gaming and such.

The LCD screen is much brighter and crisper. THe memory is definitely doubled. The colors it comes in are excellent. I of course, chose silver. I love silver gadgets! RSS is a bit better with it, but still not quite where it should be. I have to also give Sony credit for updating the firmware quite a bit. Specs from the website:

Heart-pounding game play and mobile entertainment now fit into smaller pockets. The latest PSP handheld system is 19% thinner and 33% lighter than the previous model, with twice the memory—now 64MB—for faster loading times. To get you started on the action, this bundle comes with the new Ice Silver PlayStation Portable system, Daxter adventure game and the hilarious Family Guy: Freakin’ Sweet Collection UMD movie. In addition, this pack features 1GB Memory Stick PRO Duo media, an AC power cord, AC adapter and a smaller, more efficient battery pack that lasts up to six hours. Featuring 64MB of internal system memory and a dedicated PSP® CPU running at up to 333MHz, the PSP has the horsepower you need for an unmatched gaming experience. The 4.3″ LCD screen sports a 16:9 widescreen aspect ratio, 480 x 272 pixel resolution, and 16.7 million colors for graphics that come alive on the screen.


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Wireless Digital Picture Frame Review

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When we last left off, I was having trouble connecting the new frame to my wireless network. However, I was able to get past that point, and get everything set up. I am giving this frame a rating of 8.5 out of a possible 10. The biggest downer for me off the bat is the fact that the resolution is only 800×600. I prefer higher resolution on my gadgets, but most people will be fine with this one.

The new eStarling WiFi Digital Picture Frames is living up to expectations in most ways. When I had trouble connecting the frame to my wireless network, I logged in to the website. I downloaded a simple wizard that walked me through getting it connected. The wizard works for Windows and OS X both, which makes the frame more versatile.

I then had to go to the software maker website, and sign up for an account. It was then time to upload or add my photos from other sources. The site was a bit difficult to navigate, which is a snag for me. However, I LOVE the fact that all management of the frame is done on the Web, instead of via the frame itself. That’s the way it should be. Hopefully the site will evolve over time, and become more user-friendly.

If you have a Flickr account, you can now add photos from there directly to the frame. Simply tag the photo(s) you want to share with the word chrisframe. The next time the frame connects to Flickr to check for photos, it will grab everything with that tag included.

The only other real snag for me is the transition between frames. It has standard Powerpoint-like “dissolve” or “wipe” settings. To me, those are pretty cheesy. There’s no way to turn them off on this frame, so I will just deal with it for now.

Be sure and send your photos to Flickr with the chrisframe tag, email them to me, or email me a good quality photo RSS link. I’d love to add your stuff to the frame!


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eStarling Digital Picture Frame Unboxing

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The last digital picture frame I had started off great. Over time, the software just didn’t do the things I needed it to. I decided to give eStarling’s new frame a try. If it lives up to the advertising, it’s going to be excellent.

The new eStarling WiFi Digital Picture Frames appear to be a huge improvement over their old counterparts. Initially, their products weren’t that great, and failed miserably in the software department. When I stumbled across a post the other day mentioning the new version eStarling has put out, I decided to give it a try.


Unwrapping the package, I sincerely hope it lives up to the hype. This frame is excellent looking. It’s very slim and sleek, with a glossy black frame. They’ve taken the eStarling logo off the front, which made their previous offerings appear cheesy. The controls on the back of the frame are well-labeled for ease-of-use. Some of the promises from the box include:

  • Unique email address assigned to the frame to allow users to email pictures directly
  • Multiple RSS feeds allowed
  • Web-to-Frame capability
  • Email-to-Frame capability
  • Ability to send email and RSS feeds from the frame across the Web

If it does all this, I’m going to be one happy geek, for sure. Stay tuned for the product review!

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Mobile Gadget and Phone Etiquette

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Not long ago, I asked our viewers to send me an email with their “Top 5…” as it relates to anything tech. Gordon sent in an excellent list regarding phone etiquette. Following is Gordon’s list:

  • When talking to a friend face to face and the phone rings, abruptly stop talking and answer the phone, and talk as long as you like. It doesn’t matter if it ‘s your mother, your boss or a salesman trying to sell something. Your friend will understand.
  • Leave your ringer turned up while at movies, church, or funerals. When the inevitable phone call comes in and everyone has to listen to the latest rap or country song try not to be noticed as you fumble to turn it off. Everyone will understand.
  • Talk on your phone while driving, weave in and out of traffic lanes, stop abruptly, tailgate and force other cars out of their lanes, while glaring at the other drivers with a “Can’t you see I’m on the phone?” expression. The other drivers will understand.
  • Send text messages and treat them as if they were some kind of top secret military information that if anyone saw them the security of our nation would be compromised. When receiving a humorus text, laugh loudly and don’t tell anyone what is so funny. They’ll understand.
  • Brag to your friend how much better your new phone is than everybody elses, and try not to look too disappointed when a month later your friend gets one that is cheaper and has more features. You’ll understand.

I always hated using my phone while driving, until Bluetooth became available. Although, people who see me driving now think I’m talking to myself or crazy… but they thought that anyway. And poor Wicket. He’s just not ready for his own phone. Maybe one day soon…

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