DRIVING APP HAPPY

The engine warning light went on in our 14 year old minivan, and the dealer said we should add some goop to the gas and that might make the light go off. We’re giving you the short take. Somewhere deep in there, the automatic sensors in the car’s computer didn’t like the engine exhaust, or the carburetor setting or something like that. This incited Bob to a fit of high dudgeon (which is common for him) because back in the old days when he drove a 1962 Morgan, he could tune the engine himself. Everything was accessible to the owner back then, but now you need a computer analysis. Well we have one. It turns out that every car made […]

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PORTABLEGUITAR

“JamStik” looks like half a guitar. Okay, maybe a quarter. Actually, it looks like a fat fret stem, the part where you put you fingers down to shorten the strings. It costs $299 and works with your iPad, iPhone or Mac. The sound is interesting but not like a real guitar. Still, that’s okay, a lot of electronic instruments have their own sound, and sometimes we like it that way.

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YOUR RING IS LISTENING

You’d have to be living on Mars to be unaware of all the smart watches coming out this year. But did you know you could also get a smart ring?

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GADGET MOUSE

We’re enchanted by a $25 mouse from Satechi. It glows in different colors, cycling through red, green, blue, lime green, purple, turquoise, and silver. Looks very space age. If you’ve got a favorite color, push a button on the back to lock it in. It works well and feels smooth, so color us gadget happy.

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NIGHT LIGHT

Bob just loves flashlights, so we got a “Champ 2-in-1 Nightlight Flashlight, ” which is a combination flashlight and motion sensor. Plug it in and it lights up when someone walks by. Unplug it and it’s a flashlight. It has three LEDs, so it’s bright but lasts long. We saw it at discounters like Amazon for $20. What can we say – we like gadgets.

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MIRRORING THE MESSAGE

If you’ve got a classroom full of kiddies, you don’t have to buy them all their own computer or tablet, or crowd around a single device. A $25 program called “Multiple Monitors” does the trick. It can mirror the screen from one computer on any other monitors in the room. The program is from ActualTools.com and is easier and cheaper than using HDMI splitters to connect several monitors to one computer. It works in all versions of Windows, from XP on up. Businesses could use it too. We can think of situations where you might want the same slideshow or program running in the lobby and other areas or at a trade show. There’s a free 30-day trial.

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GETTING A CHARGE

Another day, another charger. We’ve been flooded with these things, but some are unusual.

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YOUR PHONE IN BRIGHT SUNLIGHT

We’ve always loved the original Kindle’s “e-ink” screen. It’s easy to read in bright sunlight. Now there’s an InkCase Plus” that does the same thing for your smart phone.

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HOW ABOUT A SELFIE ON TOAST?

We know it’s the age of “selfies” (self portraits), but this has got to be the ultimate: You can have your likeness burned into a piece of toast. All it takes is the right toaster.

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SHARING A MOVIE, A SONG OR AN AUDIO BOOK

Here’s a $10 gizmo that should make plane rides and train trips more fun. Instead of just watching your own movie on your own gadget, watch it together with a friend or family member.

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