SOMEONE IS LISTENING

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BACK TO THE PAST

Topics: Polaroid cameras, password managers, uninterruptible power supply

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HOW’S THAT AGAIN? GETTING A TRANSLATION OFFLINE

  “Google Translate” is a free app for Android and iPhones, that can now translate 52 languages, whether you are online or off. For example: We tapped the microphone icon, then tapped “Spanish,” and said “Where is the bus station?” A voice from the phone then immediately said “Donde esta la estacio del bus?” If the person you directed this to, spoke the answer into the phone’s microphone, the phone would translate their answer into English. Joy tried Indonesian because she’s reading “Tales of a Female Nomad,” and the nomad spent most of her time there. The app solves the worst problem with the old method of using foreign language phrase books: There’s usually little trouble in speaking the phrase […]

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GETTING A JUMP

We stopped paying for AAA road service after they refused Joy’s call for help. Joy’s car was sandwiched tightly between two others in a crowded medical parking garage and she couldn’t get in. She finally got help from a building employee.

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NEWS FROM THE DRONES CLUB

Recently we wrote about taking our drone to the park and seeing it waft miles away from us in a few seconds. Afterward, a reader wrote us with his solution. It does not involve hours of practice flying.

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THE DRONES CLUB: BEWARE TINY SCREWS AND INSTANT LIFTOFF

Gone in 60 Seconds. Not the movie. Our drone. It was bouncing along the grass, struggling for liftoff, so Joy handed the controller to Bob, and said, “You try it.” Bob naturally pushed the lift lever all the way up and the drone climbed like a socialite at a garden party. Within three seconds it was out of sight. We couldn’t have been more surprised if we’d launched a pocket rocket. “There,” Joy said. “I think it came down over there.”  This was all wishful thinking, of course. As we went through the grass and the nearby woods, the odds were growing that it came down in the next county. Maybe. Bob had made the most common mistake in droning, […]

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COOL GADGETS FROM CES

Here are some cool gadgets from the recent Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. As with all CES products, they’re expected out by the end of the year, but you never know for sure.  Here are the coolest of the cool. ili wearable translator from iamili.com. It’s the size of a small flip phone and when you speak into it, it translates between English, Chinese and Japanese. A short video on the company’s website is fun. A handsome young guy with big dimples takes the device to the streets of Japan. He makes comments in English to pretty girls and the gadget speaks them aloud in Japanese. Often, he says he would like to kiss them. Most run away, but […]

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COMPUTERIZED CARVERS ON THEIR WAY TO THE HOME WORKSHOP

If you ever go to a manufacturing show, you’ll see lots of big, incredibly expensive machines cutting little pieces out of big blocks of metal and other materials. The machines are controlled by computers and can even work in the dark, with no human nearby. The system is called CNC, which stands for Computer Numeric Control. Now, you can get one of these for your home workshop.

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GIZMOS IN VEGAS

Here are a few items that appeared at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. Check YouTube for online demos.

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9 GIFTS FOR THE ULTIMATE TINKERER

“9 Gifts for the Ultimate Tinkerer” is Engadget.com’s list of drones, robots and more.

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