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Twelve South BookBook iPhone Case Review – Made For Book Lovers!

In Apple, Book, Case, Cellular, Consumer Electronics, Gadgets, General, Hardware, iPhone, Opinion, Review by Michael SheehanLeave a Comment

My wife loves buying iPhone cases with various patterns and prints or simply clear ones where she can put a picture. Most of these she has picked up at mall kiosk stores, much to my dismay as the prices often match the quality and don’t offer the protection that an expensive iPhone truly deserves. There was nothing that unique about these kiosk iPhone cases. But a few years ago, I stumbled across an iPhone case that I knew she would love, particularly because she loves reading and we have a pretty nice collection of old and new books alike. And, I wasn’t wrong. She thinks this unique iPhone case that I’m talking about is the best one that she has had, and many of her friends agree. It’s the Twelve South BookBook iPhone case for the iPhone 6/6S Plus.

So why would book lovers or antique fanatics like this iPhone case? (And do note, Twelve South has versions for the iPhone 4 and iPhone 5!) Mainly because the BookBook iPhone case looks exactly like a vintage book. In fact, it could be easily hidden on a shelf with other books and nobody would know the difference between an actual book and the BookBook iPhone case (see the photo below). But the case has many more features than simply looking like a book.

HTD Twelve South BookBook iPhone Case - hidden on shelf

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Ding Dong: Ring Doorbell Brings Wireless Video & Voice to your Door

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

Doorbells are old technology and pretty much on the door of any home or dwelling. In fact, the doorbell’s history has been pretty “boring” over the years. The first doorbell actually ran on compressed air and was developed by William Murdoch in 1817. Wire that transmitted an electrical current to ring a bell was used by inventor Joseph Henry in 1831. According to Wikipedia, the wired doorbell was pretty widely used by the 1900’s. A pretty big advancement recently was the wireless doorbell which allows you to put the doorbell button and the chime box pretty much anywhere in your house assuming they are linked. More recently, however, doorbells have evolved even more, giving new meaning to the term “wireless,” to the point where you can actually see the person ringing the door bell and have a two-way conversation with them, from anywhere in the world using your smartphone. This is what the Ring doorbell professes to do, and it actually works quite well.

The Ring doorbell evolved from a Kickstarter campaign of a product initially called the “DoorBot.” The DoorBot supposedly didn’t too to well, so the Ring doorbell is the evolution of what the company learned, and in my opinion, they learned a lot. The Ring doorbell is extremely easy to install (especially if you just go down the wireless path) and just as easy to use, and makes a great addition to any home simply because it is useful and does what it is supposed to do.

You might be thinking…a doorbell is just a doorbell, right? Wrong. The Ring doorbell is also a great security device. Once configured, it can detect motion by its night-vision camera up to 30 feet away. So you can know if someone is approaching the door, well before they even ring the doorbell. And, if they don’t ring the doorbell, the Ring doorbell will still capture the movement and save to cloud storage. And you are notified throughout the process via smartphone or tablet app.

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Sphero Ollie: Getting In Touch with your Rollie Pollie Dark Side

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

Drones and wirelessly controlled robots WILL be the rage this holiday season. In fact, I’m guessing these fun gadgets will be hot any time, with kids and their childish parents alike, myself included. What’s not fun about flying something through the sky or racing around on the floor. In fact, I thought that the new Sphero Ollie (the “Darkside” version) would even be fun for my little dog to chase around. Well, I was wrong about our dog who pretty much ignores the Ollie Darkside, but my kids and I actually like it quite a lot.

HTD Sphere Ollie Darkside

A few years ago, Sphero came out with their rolling ball, called the Sphero (now on version 2.0) which my kids and I also played with a lot. What’s not to like about a ball that lights up in a variety of colors, all being controlled via bluetooth on a smart phone. Well, the engineers and developers at Sphero have taken much of the same fun and repackaged it as a two-wheeled contraption that has flashing, multi-colored lights and a variety of tricks. And, it too is controlled via a smartphone app, complete with tricks and sound effects.

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PSA: Watch Out for United States Treasury Telephone Scam

In General, How To, HTD Tech Tip, Opinion, Safety, Security by Michael SheehanLeave a Comment

Have you received a phone call recently from (202) 754-8175 or (518) 861-9598 or perhaps some other seemingly normal looking phone number claiming to be from a person named “David” from the United States Treasury or other government organization? I received two calls that went to voicemail from the two numbers listed above but with the exact same message (which actually repeats a few times). Watch out! It’s a telephone scam!

HTD Telephone Scam - United States Treasury

Unfortunately, the government-run Do Not Call lists don’t apply to telephone scammers, and it seems that many companies or sales callers seem to be flat out ignoring these Do Not Call lists. This database is supposed to be checked by telemarketers and, ideally, should prevent you from being bombarded with telemarketing or sales calls. Unfortunately, it doesn’t always work and companies move around it regularly. If you haven’t registered your land line or mobile phone number, you definitely should take some time to register those numbers.

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Touch of Modern: Exclusive Gear & Gadgets for Guys

In Consumer Electronics, Event, Gadgets, General by Michael SheehanLeave a Comment

With so many online shopping destinations on the Internet, how do you cut through the clutter and differentiate yourself and carve out a niche while providing a unique and somewhat exclusive buying experience? Well, the team at Touch of Modern seem to have figured it out. Having just surpassed $100M in annual recurring revenue and having recently logged their millionth, yes, that’s 1 million, order, Touch of Modern seems to be well on their way to success.

Last night, my wife and I attended a celebration party for these two important milestones. Held at the infamous Phoenix Hotel, known more in my younger years as Miss Pearls Jam House (ok, I’m dating myself a bit but did attend a few events there), it was the perfect venue to showcase some of their more popular products, all of which can be bought from their online store. But as I found, some of the exclusive products really move quickly and can sell out.

Case in point, I was being shown a variety of fancy, shiny and unique men’s watches, pristinely displayed in a case that I was told, held over $500,000 worth of watches.

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Review: Schlage Sense Secures your Door without Keys

In Apple, Consumer Electronics, Gadgets, General, Hardware, iOS, Opinion, Review, Security, Sponsored, Technology by Michael SheehanLeave a Comment

Home automation is all of the rage right now. From being able to remotely control your home’s temperature to turning on the lights to opening your garage door to even remote video monitoring, the connected home adds security and convenience to any home environment. About 5 years ago, I installed the SchlageLINK connected front-door lock. It was great being able to give members of my family their own entry code, track the entries, and more, but that capability came with a monthly cost, something I wasn’t too keen about. Fast forward to today and we have the Schlage Sense which is easier to use and program, has fairly tight integration with Apple’s HomeKit and doesn’t have a monthly cost. And one of the coolest things is just telling Siri to lock or unlock the door.

HTD Schlage Sense - In the box

GIVEAWAY ALERT! Before I dive into the installation, usage and other details of the Schlage Sense, I am giving away one (1) Schlage Sense AND a matching door handle to a lucky reader. Scroll to the end of the article for entry instructions (or click here to jump to it). Do note, there is a short time to enter so be sure you do it. Update: the giveaway is completed but please read on for the review of the Schlage Sense.

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NETGEAR Nighthawk X8 WiFi Router Review: Fast Inside & Out

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

I have been lucky to have been a NETGEAR Ambassador for the past year which has allowed me to receive (for free) and test several NETGEAR devices, in exchange for my unbiased and honest reviews. The latest of these is the NETGEAR Nighthawk X8 which also goes by the names of the AC5300 and model R8500. Having tested both the X4 and X6, I have become quite accustomed to the user interface, the performance and the interworking of each of these WiFi routers. In my opinion, this latest edition to the Nighthawk family truly sets the gold standard for WiFi routers. In fact, the Nighthawk X8, which is a premium WiFi router, seems to be nicely positioned at the top of the premium WiFi router marketplace.

HTD NETGEAR Nighthawk X8 - Front View

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

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NETGEAR Nighthawk X8 – AC5300 Tri-Band Quad-Stream Wi-Fi Router (R8500)

The Nighthawk X8 AC5300 Smart Wi-Fi Router is the next wave in Wi-Fi. With Tri-Band Quad Stream performance, delivers combined wireless speeds of up to 5.3 Gbps. Four external Active Antennas combined with four internal antennas amplify and maximize Wi-Fi range. X8’s Powerful 1.4GHz Dual Core Processor gives you a high-performance networking engine for faster connections. Aggregate 2 of the 6 Gigabit ports to double your wired speeds to network attached storage. Quad-Stream with MU-MIMO support allows you to enjoy simultaneous streaming to your devices for speeds up to 4x faster than traditional Wi-Fi.
New From: $379.50 USD In Stock
Release date October 10, 2015.

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Think Beyond Traditional Content to Make your Users Smile: the Bug Fix List

In Android, Apple, Content Strategy, General, Opinion by Michael SheehanLeave a Comment

Content producers should always be looking for other avenues to engage their audiences. While content strategists often say that engagement is one of the most important measurements of successful content, sometimes it is the intangible that can produce a favorable result. How, in fact, do you measure a smile or a laugh? Often a positive feeling is not measured immediately. But the elicitation of a positive emotion from written content can actually do wonders for your brand, product or service. And sometimes, you must look beyond traditional content to get these reactions.

One example of this non-traditional content is right under your fingers. If you have a smartphone and regularly download applications, you are already engaging in that content. No, I’m not talking about the apps themselves, those are the product or service which is shared and marketed regularly already (hopefully). What I would rather focus your attention on is the fact that these apps are buggy and often need to be updated. Therein lies a non-traditional content source that often goes overlooked. If you or your developers produce perfect code, then this content source is probably not for you. However, to err is human so bugs exist, and your users must be notified. And these notifications are content. This content must be living and updated frequently to keep the attention of your audience or customers. If you create a blog, you must regularly feed it content in order for it to be effective. If you launch an application, you must regularly fix bugs and release new features to ensure that your users remain happy.

I’m not going to dive into how you should develop and release your smartphone apps. I am, however, going to make a small recommendation around the content your produce when you DO release an update or bug fix. Unfortunately, many users simply install app updates without looking at what had been changed, fixed, updated or added to the apps. (Or, there are plenty of people who simply ignore updates until they really must upgrade them.) But there are those of us, myself included, who actually take time to look at the few lines of content added to the app update, specifically, the bug fix list.

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