Category Archives: Technology

Tech Gift Ideas for Dads & Grads

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Cobra. All opinions are 100% mine.

I’m not the best driver in the world, but I’m also not the worst. I’m okay with calling myself an average driver with average needs.

I stick to the posted speed limit, I yield to pedestrians, and I stay within the lines (not just in driving, but in coloring books as well).

There are certain features I wish my car carried with it – not the least of which is a warning light that would illuminate whenever I was about to obey the law and incite a fellow driver’s road rage. They’re probably working on that in a lab indirectly somewhere right now (along with edible turn signals since drivers don’t seem to use them for anything else).

Heading out with the family? Heading back to school? Dads (and grads) could use better tools to further enhance our driving experiences, but we’re not necessarily the kind who will pull over and ask for directions. Sometimes, you have to gift us with technology before we will accept it into our lives.

I was sent an Escort Max 360 radar detector, and my immediate thought was: “I’ve never felt like I needed one before, so how will this tool actually help me as a driving dad?” Then I saw the “Posted Speed Limit Data” feature and got very excited. Yes, this device knows the posted speed limit in your location and will warn you (unlike your car) when you’re going over.

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I’ve wanted something like that for the longest time, and I can’t tell you (as someone who respects the law) how genuinely excited I was to see this. Yes, it’s a system with dual front & rear detection, arrow indicators to point out the source of a radar, GPS-powered for rejecting false alerts, and lightning-fast data detection – but all of that intelligence means nothing if you’re playing fast and loose with the rules.

Yes, I’m a stickler – but that’s what keeps me (and others) safe on the road.

I also like planning ahead, so my trunk has a tiny kit with all sorts of emergency accessories in it. As soon as I saw the Cobra JumPack – Tiny but Mighty, I knew it would be a permanent part of my prevention pack. With it, you can not just rapid-charge your favorite mobile devices, but actually jump start your car multiple times (on a single JumPack charge). And it has a little LED flashlight built-in!

Okay, the smallest things often get me the most excited. Does your portable battery pack have an LED flashlight built-in? Didn’t think so. Oh, and it also comes with jumper cables – without any worry about needing another vehicle to help you start moving again.

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You don’t need to wait for a specific occasion to gift a dad or grad the right tech tools – they may not know that these experiences exist, so why wait another day to enable them to become a better-prepared driver?

I wouldn’t recommend waiting too much longer – because they probably needed these tech tools last week at some point.

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Using eBay to Remember the Geeky ’80s

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of eBay for IZEA. All opinions are 100% mine.

Five Ways Geeks Remember the '80sYou might think of eBay as the go-to place for picking up the knick knacks of yesteryear — and it is that — but it’s so much more. If you’re in the mood for something a little more shiny than a boxed up Speak & Spell from the ’80s, for instance, eBay has plenty of 21st century deals on electronics and technology right here.

I like shiny and new stuff, too, but I won’t deny that I get a little nostalgic for things I collected when I was a kid. I’m not really sure if I’m more of a child of the ’70s or a child of the ’80s. Maybe I occupy a space that astrologers would call “the cusp,” since I feel like I have a foot planted firmly in each decade, shoed in the trappings of both.

My love for Star Wars and general technology, for instance, originated in the ’70s, but it was shaped more definitively in the ’80s (and certainly didn’t end there — by this point, it’s safe to say it won’t end in my lifetime). If you follow anything I do, you probably know that I’m even more of a collector today than when I was as a kid; a nearly collapsing shelf of Darth Vader memorabilia bears witness to this fact. It makes sense, really: my mom had to enforce strict storage regulations in our full house growing up. As a result, a lot of my cherished keepsakes couldn’t make the passage from boyhood to… second boyhood (who wants to grow up? Not this kidult!).

eBay Deals

I could scour the local thrift stores and flea markets to try and track replacements down, but I’m a bit of an indoorsman (it sounds cooler to me than homebody). So my first instinct is to go online to see what I can find. And what’s the first place I always look? eBay. Why? It’s the most likely place to find anything I’m looking for — from old trinkets to new novelties — and it’s been around since 1995. A convenient rating system lets me know, at a glance, if I’m buying from a seller who’s been deemed trustworthy by the community or has a few dings from deals gone bad that might deserve a second look before money changes hands.

Hey, for all I know, I’m rebuying stuff that my parents got rid of at a garage sale 30 years ago! But if it’s being sold on eBay at a reasonable price by someone who’s been positively endorsed by other eBayers, I’ll bid on it. We’ll call it a storage fee.

If you want to see some of the fun, geeky things from the ’80s that I’ve managed to track down, have a look at my Five Ways Geeks Remember the ’80s Guide at eBay.

You may be surprised to note the absence of Star Wars stuff — I could be avoiding the low-hanging fruit to give you something unexpected, but maybe I’m just saving it all for another list. Time will tell! Let me know what you’d like to see in future eBay guides!

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Top Five Things to Look for When Buying an HDTV

Since we talked about 4k screens the other day, it occurred to me that some people may not even know where to begin when trying to decide on a regular old HDTV purchase. It seemed like a perfect time to revisit the advice that Matt Smith (no, not Doctor #11, but The Matt Smith!) once shared. While this was written a few years ago and some of the details may be out of date, most of this excellent advice holds true today if you’re not yet committed to going 4k.

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Five Audio Mistakes Made by Vloggers and Podcasters

Whether you’re doing a video or audio podcast (or vlog), the importance of good quality audio remains throughout. Your production value is absolutely determined by the ability of the audience to hear and understand the message conveyed in your content. Here are my top five audio mistakes frequently made by vloggers and podcasters…

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