gizmos

I have long been an advocate and user of universal remote controls. I mean, who wants to have a drawer or table top full of remotes that you have to juggle around to control various devices. Nowadays, many remotes that you receive with a new TV or a cable box do have the ability to control a couple of other devices, but normally those controls are limited to just basic functionality, and you frequently have to pick up other remotes to complete the job of turning something on or tweaking a setting. The worst place is typically the living room or where ever you have you home entertainment system and most people have a variety of components and inputs that need to be controlled and set.

For example, if I want to watch a DVD, I have to turn on the TV, set it to the proper input, turn on the A/V receiver, set it to the proper input and turn on the DVD player. That would require 3 remotes. But then, if I wanted to watch TV I would have to touch those 3 remote and then another one for the DVR player. Wouldn’t it be nice to simply press one button and sit back while your remote interacts with all of those devices, turning them on and off as appropriate and setting the inputs properly? And how frequently have you had to write down or walk someone (like a family member or baby sitter) through ALL of the steps required to just watch a show?

This is where the Logitech Harmony One comes to the rescue! After just a few minutes of programming, you will have a touch-screen filled with various activities like: Watch TV, Play PS3, Play Wii, Watch a Movie, Listen to CDs, etc. This techy looking remote control can literally absorb all of the features and functionality of your other remotes, all within an stylish, modern universal remote control. The power of the remote comes from the brains driving it, namely the operating system. I have used a Monster Central remote for many years which actually shares the same functionality which meant that I was pretty used to how it works and how to set it up.

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NOTE: be sure to read through the review as I will have information on a Twitter Giveaway where I will be giving away a FREE Harmony One Remote.

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I haven’t been on a plane for quite a few years, but on my trip up to Oregon for the Intel Summit, “Upgrade Your Life,” I has the pleasure of reacquainting myself with one of my favorite travel magazines, SkyMall. I guess that people actually buy the stuff in here because SkyMall has been around for many, many years. I actually saw a couple of products that I have reviewed in there as well (I won’t mention names for fear of embarrassing them). Perhaps it is due to SkyMall that I have such an attraction to gadgets. As a kid or even teen, I remembered thinking how I really wanted to get some of the items listed in there. However this time, I turned to SkyMall more for comic relief!

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There are some products in there that qualify for the “what were you thinking” category. So I decided to quickly list out a few that really made me slap my forehead or groan or simply just laugh.

So let’s dive right in (these are from the “Late Spring 2010” catalog) and are in no particular order:

The Telekinetic Obstacle Course

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My 3 elementary school girls LOVE Taylor Swift. When I told them that I had a Cyber-shot TX7 camera that is laser engraved with Taylor Swift’s signature and that I was going to give it away, BOY did I get a lot of grief. So, I told them that I would embark on a campaign to get Taylor to come over to our backyard for a private concert instead. (I wonder how long that will hold them????)

From what I can understand, Taylor Swift is HOT among pre-tweens, tweens and teens. And I know Sony products a bit, having participated in the Sony DigiDads program a few months ago. So, this is a match made in heaven! Cool tech coupled with a cool singer!

And The Winner Is…

Congratulations to @graywolfpack who, via random selection using TWTaway.com, won the Sony Cyber-shot TX7 with the laser engraved signature from Taylor Swift!

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Men refuse to ask for directions. Perhaps it is an “independence” thing or has something to do with pride. Women, on the other hand, insist on the careful organization and planning of trips, stopping and ensuring that the way is meticulously laid out. This could go as far back as the early hunter and gatherer time, I’m thinking. Men would head off, with just their spears and adrenaline, hoping to track down the big prey and the women would stay close the the home gathering the fruits and berries.

Or so I’ve been told.

Getting directions is no different. Men seem to enjoy just heading out the door without a care in the world, letting the trail unfold as they go. Of course, I’m speaking about this from a male perspective, and this is extremely stereo-typed (so don’t beat me up here!). I have a pretty good sense of direction but a horrible memory for the names of streets. Even to this day, I can’t remember the names of some of the streets I travel daily. My wife is amazed. I just tell her, I do it by sight. I could draw a map with landmarks along the way, but couldn’t ever write down the names of the streets.

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The thing that has saved me over time when it comes to fighting over directions or the way to go is the GPS. In the past, my wife tried to navigate by reading a variety of paper maps, trying to pinpoint where we were, often fighting off car sickness in the process. And I went through gadget withdrawal as I was focused to simply drive and nothing else. The GPS has made things a lot easier for both of us and has avoided scuffles like “why didn’t you turn right back there” or “you didn’t mention that there wasn’t a gas station for another 60 miles” or “can you figure out how to route around this accident”.

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Find Your Way with the Magellan RoadMate 1470

June 19, 2009

The last gadget that I’m going review right before Father’s Day is upon us (see my other Father’s Day reviews here) is something that every Dad would love to receive. But heck, if you are reading this review after the “magical” day, just know that you can bring a smile to any dad’s face and […]

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HTD Twitter List: Gadgets for Under $100

December 16, 2008

I’m trying something new here. I am going to run a quick series where I will ask a question to the Twitter-verse and then will compile the answers in a list which I will call the “HTD Twitter List“. The list will contain all of the recommendations (within reason) of products or services that people […]

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