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ASAP Dash Portable Battery – 0 to 100 Percent in Minutes, Not Hours

In Consumer Electronics, Gadgets, General, Hardware, Mobile, Review, Technology by Michael SheehanLeave a Comment

The problem with portable smart devices like smartphones and tablets is that they don’t sip power, they gulp it down! Often, after only a few hours of usage, battery levels start to dive well below the comfort level of the end-user. There is nothing worse than being out and about away from that wall charger of sustenance for your device. If you are like me, whenever possible, you keep your smartphone fully charged and plugged in, but sometimes you know that you will be on-the-go for hours, away from the ability to charge. But you can be proactive. You can bring a portable battery charger. But that poses another potential problem – remembering to charge your portable battery. And that takes time to do as well. This is where the ASAP Dash, a portable, pocket-sized battery charger, professes that it can come to the rescue. And I will tell you why.

HTD ASAP Dash - back

The ASAP Dash, currently an Indegogo campaign, has some pretty bold claims – that it will charge “up to 16x faster than standard chargers on the market today.” This is something that actually is important to understand. First though, let me clarify that being a gadget freak, I typically don’t support Crowd Funding campaigns. There are just too many really cool ideas out there and I really don’t have deep pockets. In this case, the ASAP Dash team sent me out a late prototype of their battery charger, one that is very close to what will eventually be released. So, my disclaimer – my observations and results may be different from what end users of the final ASAP Dash provides.Read More

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CottonBrew: A Personal, On-Demand, Online Tailor for Men Who Hate Going to the Store

In Clothing, General, Review by Michael SheehanLeave a Comment

I have one suit. One that serves three purposes: weddings, funerals and other important occasions. I have had it for many years, over a decade in fact. It still seems to fit despite middle-age taking over my body. I don’t really think about what is fashionable nor even stepping foot into a department store unless I’m put in a headlock. So when CottonBrew approached me to find out if I was interested in trying out their custom and personalized tailoring service for a new suit, I was intrigued by the fact that I didn’t have to go get measured in a store and just choose something off the rack. What CottonBrew professes is a quick, easy and personalized suit-buying experience without the hassle of stepping foot in a store.

I’m sure there are other dads out there who feel the same way I do. Their wives or significant others do much of their shopping for them. I am no different. I can’t remember the last time I went looking for a shirt or pants, shoes maybe, but something as significant as a suit? Forgetaboutit! CottonBrew changed my mind, however, about “shopping” especially since I could do the measurements myself (actually with the help of my wife) and it only took a few minutes. And you don’t even need to provide the additional measurements, you can just take three selfies and send them in as well.

HTD CottonBrew - tailor

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See a Doctor if You’re Sick; See ACDelco if your Car’s Sick

In Auto, General, Sponsored by Michael Sheehan

It’s the winter and you have a cold. You feel run down and you aren’t performing at your peak efficiency. So what do you do? You bundle up, take vitamins and try to get as much rest as you can. Guess what? Your car may have a cold as well. As it sits in the garage or in the driveway or transports you here or there, it too might not be running at peak efficiency. In order to keep your vehicle healthy, you should treat it with the attention it needs. You wouldn’t give your body bad food when you are sick, so why would you do that with your car? The folks at ACDelco feel the same way, especially when it comes to winter car care and preventative maintenance.

ACDelco - diagnostics

When you are born, hopefully you arrive happy and healthy. In much the same way, when a GM car rolls out of the factory, it is outfitted with original and authentic ACDelco parts. From batteries to spark plugs to windshield wipers, GM vehicles have GM Original Equipment from ACDelco. But obviously over time, things age – cars and people alike. As you age as a person, you need to start paying closer attention on your “preventative maintenances.” Hopefully, you eat healthy food, exercise regularly and engage in an otherwise healthy lifestyle. But, we all know that things go bad and you may need to visit the doctor, either for an ailment or just for a check up. Your car shouldn’t be much different. It, too, doesn’t often age gracefully, especially if you treat it badly, so in order to extend your vehicle’s life, you need to take care of it.

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Wink-ing Cree Connected Light Bulbs On and Off

In Consumer Electronics, Gadgets, General, Hardware, Review, Technology by Michael SheehanLeave a Comment

Does everyone remember the Clap-on, Clap-off light switch (called “The Clapper”)? Yeah, I realize I’m probably dating myself, but I remember when this device was all the rage…and they still sell this thing. Times have changed and technology has evolved…dramatically! Now, with your smart phone, an Internet of Things connected up (like the Wink hub) and some connected lightbulbs (like the new Cree Connected lights), you can turn on or off your lights via a smartphone or predefined rules or tie them to a series of other triggers or actions to fully automate your life.

HTD Wink & Cree Connected LED Light Bulb - bulb off

It’s important to note, you can simply use the Cree Connected LED lightbulbs just the way you use regular light bulbs. If you have a lamp, you can turn them on and off using that old traditional switch. It works just fine. But, you get the added benefit of saving energy in the process. These soft white (2700K) bulbs are cost-effective replacements to traditional 60 watt bulbs. On the Cree website, there is a calculator to help you understand how much you can actually save versus a traditional 60 watt incandescent bulb. As is shown in the graphic below, running both lights for 4 hours a day can save you almost $8.00 a year. A 60 watt incandescent bulb uses exactly that – 60 watts, whereas the Cree Connected LED bulb consumes only 11.5 watts over the same period.

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Run Internet Connections through Electrical Power with NETGEAR PowerLine (PL1000)

In Consumer Electronics, Gadgets, General, Hardware, Opinion, Review, Technology by Michael SheehanLeave a Comment

My dad’s house has a problem. The Internet connection comes in at one part of his home upstairs, but the wireless signal doesn’t make it downstairs to the other end of his home, making his streaming capabilities there practically impossible. Because his home is older and historic, he doesn’t want to run Ethernet cabling on the outside of his home or drill holes throughout the house. And WiFi simply won’t help because there are too many walls to go through. So, as I want to enable him to be able to binge-watch shows, as well as be able to use WiFi throughout his home, I had to figure out a simple solution. It turns out NETGEAR has just the solution with the Powerline 1000 (PL1000).

   NETGEAR Badge
Disclaimer: I am a NETGEAR Ambassador and I received this product in exchange for my honest, unbiased opinion and review.

PowerLine technology is not that new but it has been improving dramatically. Essentially, it allows a network to be created using a home’s electrical infrastructure. To put it simply, you can run Internet connectivity through the electrical wiring of your home. And, when properly set up, the speeds are quite dramatic. PowerLine is good in environments where you have obstacles that could degrade WiFi signals, where you can’t run Ethernet cabling or where you quickly want to set up a temporary or permanent network.

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Adding a Nightlight is a Snap with the SnapPower Guidelight

In Consumer Electronics, Gadgets, General, Hardware, Opinion, Review, Technology by Michael SheehanLeave a Comment

Being a homeowner, I often have a “honey-do” list that endlessly extends. I tend to start projects and then get distracted by the next item on my list and often leave things somewhat completed. It’s bad, I know. This ADOS (Attention Deficit…Ooooh Shiny) is a fault. So, I love it when I find a project that is easy, one that I can say that I hit the 100% completion mark on. Recently, I wanted to add a nightlight into our master bathroom. Sure, that is easy, right? But I didn’t want to just plug one in. In my tech-filled home, plugs are scarce, a luxury almost. So when the folks at SnapPower contacted me to see if I wanted to test out their SnapPower Guidelight product, it got my interest.

HTD SnapPower - prongs

I have done plenty of electrical projects in my home. Anything from running new electrical for an overhead fan to putting up dimmable lights in my garage to replacing most of my light switches with dimmers. Electrical work is actually pretty easy, provided you turn off the main power to whatever circuit you are working on to following code as close as you can. Of course, I have done fairly basic projects. Putting in the SnapPower Guidelight was probably the EASIEST electrical project I have done. And there was no wiring/re-wiring involved.

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A Device to Secure ALL of your Connected Devices – Bitdefender BOX

In Consumer Electronics, Gadgets, General, Hardware, Opinion, Security, Technology by Michael SheehanLeave a Comment

There is a swarm of connected devices taking over our homes. These can be in the form of computers or smartphones, connected thermostats or lights, video doorbells or security cameras, or even appliances like refrigerators or smart TVs. It seems that every new gadget that is supposed to bring automation, security, utility or just wonderment now needs to be tethered or connected in some way to the Internet, extending its functionality into the digital ether. And, so, with these life-altering promises, we plug devices in or connect them to Bluetooth or WiFi in order for them to be able to communicated with us, each other and the outside world. Apart from the fact that we still don’t truly know the effects of the various radio waves now bombarding us (something my wife recently pointed out to me), we also don’t really think about the security of these devices within our private networks. The folks at Bitdefender have decided to change this, with (yet another) device that you plug into your network, the Bitdefender BOX. But this device is different. It is intended to protect all of your connected devices from digital dangers from the outside.

HTD Bitdefender BOX on a router

The idea behind the Bitdefender BOX truly intrigues me. It is a small device, probably no larger than an earlier Apple TV, that plugs into your networks and then protects any device that has an IP address. Don’t know what an IP address is? Think of it as a unique phone number for all of the devices within your network. A connected device is assigned an IP address when it connects to a router (the traffic cop within your network that tells traffic where to go). The IP address is assigned an IP address by a DHCP service (basically a dynamic listing of numbers in the form of ###.###.###.### that keeps track of what device has what number). But enough geek talk (learn more about IP Addresses or DHCP).Read More

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25 Things My Family Liked About the 2016 Kia Sorento

In Auto, General, Opinion, Review by Michael SheehanLeave a Comment

This is not a traditional automobile review of the 2016 Kia Sorento SXL AWD SUV. (By the way, the SXL actually stands for the trim: SX plus the “Limited” which is the “L” but I just shortened it to make it easier to write.) There are plenty of automotive experts, fans and aficionados out there who will provide all of the technical aspects of this vehicle: 0-60 and skid-pad results, curb weight and cargo volumes, or the punchiness of the V-6 can all be found in those reviews. Instead, and this is typically how I approach car reviews (and tech reviews for that matter), I wanted to look at the 2016 Kia Sorento from the perspective of a dad who likes cars and how the car worked within my family, and most importantly, what my family thought about it.

HTD 2016 Kia Sorento - side view

For starters, let me tell you about the “test scenario.” It was a road trip from the San Francisco Bay Area, down to Los Angeles and back again, as well as some around-the-town trips and one commute to work and back. These activities provided me with lots of hands-on and feet-to-the-pedal time with the 2016 Kia Sorento. The trip to LA and back gave my family plenty of long hours in the cabin, with the ability to press every button and adjust every seat and feel many types of roads.

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