Tuesday, June 25, 2013
The Sims Are Having a Better Summer Than You (03:26 PM)

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Even if I don't get an idyillic paradise summer vacation, it's good to know my Sims will be having a wonderful time.

You see, my virtual Sims will be playing in the brand-new "The Sims 3 Island Paradise Expansion Pack" (for PC/Mac and on Origin.com. Watch as we dive beneath the waves and explore what lies on the ocean floor, build and cruise along on our own houseboat to discover uncharted islands or create and run a five-star resort experience.

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“In The Sims 3 Island Paradise, The Sims Studio has brought to life a tropical vacation for players to experience without ever having to leave home,” says Ryan Vaughan, Producer for The Sims. “With so many new gameplay features included in this game, players will be able to explore, inhabit and discover beachside bliss just as they would in real life.”

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If you're in the mood to build and own your own resort, you can do that too.
Be it a family-friendly resort of waterslides and buffet tables, a romantic retreat with bungalows in the sand, or a singles resort that features pool bars, players will make management decisions that will affect their resort’s success. We added pools and fire walk pits, upgraded guest rooms and generally fine-tuned our snazzy resort based on feedback received from customer reviews.( Kinda like Yelp! for Sims.)

And just wait until we add the Carnaval Costumes Pack, featuring two exclusive outfits to make any tropical night more festive. We'll be the life of the party in a feather-clad costume while male Sims can spread their wings like a peacock in an ostentatious ensemble. (Typical.)

The Sims 3 Island Paradise is rated “T” for Teen by the ESRB and is available today on PC/Mac at retailers in North America and on Origin.com.

The NEXT best thing to being there.

Friday, May 31, 2013
You Have Only Seconds : Tornado Gadget You NEED (12:50 PM)

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As we just saw in the disaster in Oklamha, survival comes down to seconds. Having an emergency warning weather alert can make the difference from having time to find shelter when a tornado comes ripping through your area, or taking your chances with 200 MPH winds. Tornado experts estimate that a monster tornado can destroy a single-family house in just 4 seconds.

That's why we pack an Etón ZoneGuard weather alert radio with a combined AM/FM clock radio, NOAA weather alerts, S.A.M.E. technology and - for the first time - visual light alerts to create ZoneGuard.

The S.A.M.E. system is critical since it enables users to enter their county code for local pending weather advisories, watches and warnings. Flashing LED lights - red for warnings, orange for watches and green for advisories - plus a loud audio alert will sound.There is no sleeping through this alarm system, take our word for it.

So you've been warned that a twister is bearing down: what do you do?

1) Get moving. At the first warning of a tornado in your area, or if you spot circular cloud rotation or hear a sound like a freight train, snap into action. Every second counts. Consider annual tornado drills for your family.

2) If at home, get to a safe area. Preferably, in the basement, away from windows. Get under a sturdy table or staircase, and cover up with blankets, sleeping bags, a mattress or anything that offers protection from flying debris. If you can't get to the basement (or don't have one), go to a small room – a closet, bathroom or hallway – near the center of the lowest floor and stay there. Crouch down and cover up.

3) If outside, get low and stay there. If you see a sturdy building nearby, head into the basement. Barring that, find a ditch or low-lying area and lie in it, face down. If there's no low-lying area nearby, get away from trees, lie flat on the ground with your face down and protect the back of your head with your arms. Whatever you do, get away from your car, since it may become a wind-hurled projectile.

And it's a myth that hiding in your car in an underpass will help --- the opposite is true since the underpass acts as a wind tunnel and speeds UP the twister.

For $39 the ZoneGuard is money well spent, Dorothy.

Monday, May 20, 2013
E- cigs : New Tech For An Old Habit (08:57 PM)

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Who knew but apparently May 31st is "World No Tobacco Day." How should we commemorate the day? Weeeelll, maybe if the smokers among us all "Kick the butts" and take part in a tobacco-less day by using South Beach Smoke electronic cigarettes, we'll have a healthier planet, without the flame, ash, tobacco, tar , carbon monoxide, or offensive odors found in traditional cigarettes.

In honor of "World Tobacco Day" South Beach Smoke has partnered with the World Health Organization to encouraging smokers around the world to "kick the butts" and take part in this tobacco -ess day.

Besides the fact that they will make you much more popular in social groups, the battery-powered electronic cigarette, delivers vaporized nicotine without tobacco, tar, or other chemicals. (But keep in mind nicotine itself has health risks of its own and is extremely addictive.) The battery heats a cartridge of liquid nicotine solution, creating an aerosolized mist that the user puffs, or "vapes."

According to our "testers," though e-cigarettes emit no smoke, they deliver an experience like smoking, including the way they're held and the LED tip. They liked the South Beach Smoke in particular, especially the feel, taste and the advanced Lithium-Ion battery technology. (This proprietary battery has been engineered to provide maximum vapor, longer battery life and superior performance, says the company.)


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No word on whether they help people quit the nasty habit, but it sure makes them easier to be around.

Thursday, May 16, 2013
What's Next? NextWorth (12:50 PM)

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Believe me, we understand. You want the latest gadgets. We have so many old iPhones, iPods, iPads and game consoles we could stock a gadget store.

But then we figured out how to trade-in our old gadgets and use the money for our latest obsession. NextWorth makes it easy to trade in old gizmos either by mail (UPS) or at a retail store and you can even chose how to be paid - via PayPal, check, or gift card. (We use Target, where they'll give you an instant in-person quote.)

Since NextWorth has updated its iPad pricing --now, you can get up to $500 for your used iPad, and up to $360 for your used iPad Mini -- it makes sense to get what's next by selling what's old.

Friday, May 3, 2013
Mirror Mirror On The Wall, Who's The Fairest Of Them All? (07:35 PM)

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If you owned the brand-new simplehuman Sensor Mirror, you'd know the answer to that question. (It's YOU, btw.)

Think of those pull-out mirrors you sometimes find in hotel bathrooms that magnify your face to scary proportions: it's NOT one of those, but rather a very clever sensor mirror that lights up automatically as your face approaches, and which uses a " tru-lux light system" that simulates natural sunlight.

This prevents the dreaded "hooker" look; you know, when you've applied your make-up by a dim bathroom light. By allowing you to see full color variation, you can tell when your makeup is color-correct and flawless. (The mirror is also distortion-free at 5x magnification so you can see your entire face at once, which is what you want when applying make-up. )

And like most of your favorite gadgets, it's wireless and quickly recharges with the included USB cord and adapter. (No cords on the counter-top!)

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Unlike traditional bulbs or fluorescent lighting, the long-lasting LEDs won't burn out or diminish even after many years of regular use, says simplehuman.

Around the office, we call it the "magic mirror." If you haven't gotten Mom something for Mother's Day, this would be a perfect gift.

$200. at simplehuman.

Thursday, April 4, 2013
Put Your iPhone in the 'Vault' (01:02 PM)

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Pelican cases are known to be nearly indestructible; just ask the US Military who uses their equipment. Even if you won't be in a war zone, the iPhone Vault can be a good idea.

• Full-seal design defends against extreme wind-driven snow, rain and dust
• Waterproof microphone and speaker covers provide high fidelity audio
• Slimmer and lighter than other smartphone case designs
• Optical glass on both camera areas
• Guaranteed for life

Though this might not fit in your jeans pocket,it's a lower profile than most hard-core protective cases. Available for the iPhone 5 in several color combinations for $79.95.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013
Jabra Revo Wireless (05:40 PM)

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We spotted them first at CES; the new Jabra Revo wireless headphones and have been eagerly anticipating trying them out. We weren't disappointed.
Here's the good, the bad and the ugly.

Good:

* Connectivity is surprisingly good. They connect over Bluetooth 3.0 and streamed seamlessly while we wandered around the office, only losing us when we moved outside. To connect, simply tap your compatible smartphone on the left ear cup for Bluetooth pairing.
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* Sound: Again, surprisingly good for wireless. For an enhanced music experience, it makes available a Jabra Sound App that gives you the full Dolby Digital Plus sound. Use the App to create and browse through playlists, share music and adjust the graphic equalizer so you can play your tracks as you want to hear them.

* Ease of Use: The "Turntable Touch Control" allows you to easily play, skip or pause your music and manage calls. Calls came in loud and clear. Tap to pair with NFC.

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* Comfort: We found these cans very comfortable for long-listening sessions.

* Travel: Revo Wireless headphones weigh in at 8.47 ounces. And you can fold and go

Bad:

* Only one negative; that at $250 they're pricey.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013
SensoGlove : Improve your golf game ? (12:56 PM)

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Until they develop a robot to play golf FOR me, my game probably won't improve. (Actually, I'm sure the robot has already been developed but I just happen to own it.)
So I'm going to give the SensoGlove a try.

How it works:

The built-in digital computer actively monitors your grip with sensors placed strategically throughout the glove, providing instant feedback at all the points of your swing. SensoGlove’s audio feedback warns you at the moment your grip becomes too tight, allowing you to learn and maintain correct grip pressure at every point of your swing.

Even novice golfers like me know that your grip affects every aspect of the game, from chipping to driving. If SensoGlove can teach me to avoid the "death grip" maybe, just maybe, my score will improve.

Since the lightweight digital computer can be removed and replaced without removing the glove, you can use it only when you need it. Heck, I might just wear it all the time.

$89 for the women's and yes, you can get it for the left hand as well. At SensoGlove.


Sunday, March 10, 2013
iSafe Teenagers? Backpack With Alarm System (07:13 PM)

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To test the new iSafe Urban Crew Campus backpack, we gave it to a normal teenager (if ever that adjective could be applied to a teenager) to test it for us.

You see, these iSafe bags are equipped with an alarm activation switch that is conveniently built into the right shoulder strap of the backpack, so if they're in danger, they simply have to pull the pin. The compact alarm features two-125 decibel sirens, a high intensity strobe light and weighs just three pounds with batteries.

After explaining to said teenager that she wasn't to treat this as her own personal disco system, or prank friends with it, she reluctantly tried it on.

"It's not as heavy as I thought it would be." Score one point for backback.
"I like all the padded sections - I could carry my laptop. And the mesh pockets on the side are handy" Score two .
"It's comfortable." (That's due to the foam back and s-shaped shoulder straps.) Backpack is winning.

Would she use it?
"Yeah."

Would she be careful not to drop it on the floor, stand on it, or submerge it in water?

She gave me a blank stare, as her friend drop-kicked her own backpack into the corner.

The iSafe never stood a chance, but will Mom feel a little better knowing she won't kill it in the first few months of college and will have an ear-splitting alarm in her reach? Absolutely.

For parents information: The Urban Crew Campus Laptop Backpack comes in five different color schemes, including: black, red, purple, green and pink, and also features a padded computer sleeve and an audio player pocket. The one we road-tested was $89.99 but they also have "fanny packs," laptop messenger bags, and school backpacks.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013
Your Friends Are Getting More Press Than You (05:06 PM)

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Sure, it' easy to keep up with what your friends are doing just by following them on social media. But what about they get profiled in the NY Times? Unless they post the link,you might not see it. Enter Newsle, which tracks "real news" which you might miss. Link it to your FB friends, LinkedIn contacts, favorite authors, or people you want to know more about.

And yes, there's always the vanity option - that you want to see when YOU make news.

Monday, February 25, 2013
Powerrocks Rocks : Backup Battery Charger (07:04 PM)

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Running out of power is one of the worst technological disasters we can imagine. Yes, we mean "disaster "with a capitol "D." No contact with the outside world, no calendar, no reminders, no watching cute doggie videos on our phones; the list is endless.

To avoid certain doom, we travel with a couple of battery chargers; these brightly-colored "Magicsticks" which are small enough to be mistaken for a lipstick.

They charge quickly, are small and easy to pack, and are powerful enough to power most phones to full capacity. Made by "Powerrocks," the L 2600mAh portable battery works with any device that uses the universal micro USB charging port -which pretty much includes any device you own.

Amazon has them for $29.95.

And if you must know, we have them in pink and purple, to match our iPhone cases.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013
Wacky Japanese Beauty Gadget :Anti-Wrinkle Goggles (08:43 PM)

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If you don't mind looking like an alien, these Japanese "Anti-Aging goggles" promise to reduce wrinkles. The site swears that if you wear these attractive goggles just 5 minutes a day you'll see a big difference. We couldn't make this stuff up. See, here's a quote directly from the Japan Trend Shop:

On the inside of the Mejikara there are specially-designed ridges which massage and help your skin. It puts gentle pressure on the skin and pushes those sagging eyes back up to where they once were!

And to think they're only $51 US!

Thursday, February 7, 2013
Valentine's Day Gift Guide 2013 (06:00 AM)

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Out of ideas for what to get your sweetheart for Valentine's Day? Well, read on to see a few ideas on how to tell your tech-savvy lover how much they mean to you. Flowers, candy, and champagne still highly recommended as accompaniments.

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HTC Windows Phone 8X

Take all the refinements of the new Windows Phone 8 OS and add in a beautifully crafted phone (and I do mean crafted - the designers spent some quality time with this one), and you have the perfect package. Looks, features, and great selling price. WP8 features people hubs so you can keep track of all your connections to someone in one spot; Kid's Corner lets you give Junior your phone to play without fear that your boss will be getting your Valentine's Day photos; and the updated live tiles home screen gives you even more flexibility to customize for a truly interactive, "at a glance" experience. The HTC phone features a gorgeous display built in to a very light, seamless case; world-class ultra-wide-angle cameras; and built-in Beats Audio. $99 and up on most major carriers.

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Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 in Garnet Red

Just in time for Valentine's Day, Samsung has released a special limited edition of its popular Tab 2 7.0 tablet in garnet red. This deep-red hued beauty operates on the Android 4.1 Jelly Bean platform and sports some unique features like a built-in IR transmitter that lets you control your TV and other devices without needing an add-on device. The Tab 2 features a 7" TFT display perfect for viewing movies and TV shows available on Google Play or Media Hub. The Tab 2 is competitively priced and comes with a free matching garnet red case. $220 at major retailers including Amazon, Walmart, Toys R Us and Office Depot.

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AudioQuest DragonFly DAC USB Amplifier

About the size of a typical USB flash drive, this very compact device bypasses the substandard sound processing of most computers and provides audiophile quality sound output that will be music to your sweetheart's ears. Works with all headphones and speakers, as well as AV receivers / amps / pre-amps. This is the perfect add-on if your valentine has invested in a pair of high-end headphones or set of speakers for their computer. $250 online or use AudioQuest's dealer locator.

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Handcuff Bracelet

No, it's not what you think... well, not exactly. Not quite fantasy handcuffs for the bedroom, but more a statement on society. New from avant-garde design house Cast of Vices, this handcuff bracelet is intended as commentary on our obsession with security. So, even if your valentine isn't so security-minded, it's still a perfect "naughty" gift to give for Valentine's Day. Available in gold, silver, and blackened rhodium plate. $275 from Cast of Vices.

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SOUL Party in a Box

Looking to take partying to another level, SOUL has just released the Grand-Daddy of Bluetooth speakers. Aptly called "Party in a Box," this giant features eight omnidirectional speakers (two subwoofers, two midranges, and four tweeters)... definitely enough to rock the house, y'all! Features Bluetooth as well as 3.5mm jack connectivity, microphone connection for karaoke, and the ability to daisy-chain up to eight units together. Disco ball not included. $999 from SOUL.

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Breo iPalm Hand Massager

If your valentine is often asking you for a massage that you are secretly loathsome to provide, the Breo iPalm 520 hand massager may be the best gift you can give yourself... I mean your sweetheart. The first of its kind, the iPalm520 uses air pressure and hot compress massage technology to create kneading and acupressure techniques to relieve fatigued hands. $130 from Breo USA.


Wednesday, January 30, 2013
BB Z10: Zebrawood (02:48 PM)

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There's a lot of buzz about the new Blackberry Z10 device. Even accessory makers are thinking it's going to be a hit and rushing innovative cases to the market. If we had to pick, we'd want this Zebrawood number.

Inspired by vintage automotive interiors, the "Crafted Woods Collection" marries natural materials with a high-tech brushed aluminum.

$80 at Case-Mate.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013
Trendy Bamboo Keyboard (03:35 PM)

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C'mom, admit it. You've always wanted a bamboo keyboard. We found one for you at CES - the new Impecca Bluetooth Bamboo Keyboard for tablets, iPhones, and other Bluetooth devices. Impecca has created the first bamboo computer products in the market and this sustainable “green” line of bamboo computer accessories are created for the eco-conscious consumer.Inlaid with bamboo, it adds a refreshing natural look to a hi-tech work environment.

Well-designed and portable, the Bamboo Keyboard is also very comfortable to use, with a
fixed bamboo panel on the bottom rear of the keyboard that automatically positions it in
an ideal position to ensure ergonomic comfort while typing. The keyboard conforms to standard QWERTY style with an assortment of special “hot keys”, and is compatible with iPads, Android tablets, netbooks and other Bluetooth-enabled mobile devices.

$99 plus a mouse - bamboo of course - at Impecca.