THE 3D STORE

bobble head -3d printedInstead of buying your own 3D printer, you can have Amazon print 3D objects for you for around $30 for most items.

We like the idea of a personalized bobble-head doll. The tiny figures, around three inches high, bobble when you touch their head. We’ve seen these for sports figures, and even race-horse trainers like Bob Baffert. But we’ve never thought of making our own. Unfortunately, you can’t upload a photo to make it really resemble someone. You’re stuck with choosing from a variety of hair styles, eyes, and clothing.

On display as examples are wallets, jewelry, toys and games. Check out the printed dog bone and the 3D-molecule earrings. We especially liked the caffeine molecule earrings. To find the 3D store, go to Amazon.com/3dp

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MIRRORING THE MESSAGE

multiple monitorsIf 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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BLOCKING THE BLUES

bright screen bad for eyesThere’s a growing body of research warning about too much blue light, the kind that comes out of our phone and computer screens. In short, it appears to be bad for the eyes. It could lead to macular degeneration, headaches, wrinkles and other problems. It can also make it harder to fall asleep if you use your device at bedtime. Bob feels it’s like staring into a light bulb.

Part of the light in the “blue” wave lengths is useful in daylight but disruptive at night. There’s a free app called “Bluelight Filter” for Android users that filters out the blue light on phones and tablets. The filter intensity is adjusted to the sun cycle based on your local sunset and sunrise times. It’s already been downloaded more than a million times.

For iPhone/iPad users, Mac owners and PC users, there’s a similar app called Flux, available free from justgetflux.com. Like the other app, it also adjusts your screen as soon as darkness falls and has been downloaded about 50,000 times.

Another way to go is to add a thin plastic cover on your phone or tablet. There’s one called the “Konnet Care Vision Protective Shield,” $20 to $30 from KonnetOnline.com. It claims to protect your eyes from 99.99 percent of ultraviolet — the damaging part of the blue wave lengths. We tried it and noticed a significant difference after we put it on our iPad Mini; it muted the brightness.

The bright white screen problem goes all the way back to the first Macintosh, which had a white background (unlike the blue or black screen background of early PCs). Steve Jobs hailed it as just like reading or typing on a blank sheet or paper, but of course a sheet of paper doesn’t shine into your eyes and after a while becomes tiring to look at.

By the way, we came across an interesting comparison of the light we can see as part of the full electromagnetic spectrum — of which visible light is only a part: If the full spectrum were a line stretched across the United States, coast to coast, the part we can see would be about a half inch, located somewhere in Ohio.

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FROM CASSETTE TO DIGITAL

record playerIf you Google “How to Turn a Cassette Tape into MP3s,” (or click here), you’ll get a CNET article that walks you through every step. We found it after a reader asked, but we bet lot of people have old tapes they’d like to preserve and play on a computer, phone, tablet or digital player.

The teacher  on this site warns you that there are a lot of steps involved. Before proceeding, check to see if you can buy the CD or MP3 version at Amazon, iTunes or eBay. Most everything is available in digital form.

To convert tapes yourself, you’ll use the free program “Audacity” for Windows, Mac or Linux, as well as iTunes, also free. There’s a video tutorial as well as a step-by-step picture guide on CNET.

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TIME TO SUNBURN

sunburnTime to Sunburn” from Wolfram Alpha tells you how long you can stay in the sun, based on your skin type, time of day and location. Search “Time to Sunburn” to find it.

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SELF-DESTRUCTING MESSAGES

BOMBPrivNote.com -Write a note to someone that will self-destruct after they read it. They get a link to it in their email or text message and you get notified when it’s read. You can even give the note a reference number.

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LEARNING ANOTHER LANGUAGE

foreign language instructionMemrise.com has foreign language instruction as well as lessons in science and literature. The repetitive nature of its quizzes makes learning easier.

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BUILDING A WEBSITE

 wwwHtmlDog.com teaches you how to build a website from scratch, for free.

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WHO DO YOU KNOW?

who do youWhoDoYou.com offers help on finding a handyman, painter, doctor or whatever. The recommendations are culled from public Facebook posts in your area.

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GETTING A CHARGE

XOLAR 3000Another day, another charger. We’ve been flooded with these things, but some are unusual.

The “Octofire” charges eight USB devices at once. It’s $80 from BiteMyApple.co. The  “Xolar 3000″ from Bracketron, $50, lets the sun charge your gizmos while you’re on the golf course or at the beach. The “Konnect Two,” $50 from JunoPower, charges two devices while also serving as an ultra-bright flashlight– a dog walker’s favorite.

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