Archive for the ‘Gadgets’ Category

Review : WeatherBug Elite iPhone App

March 10th, 2010 No comments

At this particular moment, I have a total of 10 weather related apps on my iPhone. All but a couple of them are very good, and I figured other people might be interested in benefiting from my purchases! Having an iPhone that can run weather apps is a huge bonus for me. I love weather data, and being able to whip out my phone and check the local radar is very exciting…especially during the summer monsoon months, when I want to know where the next thunderstorm will hit. As more weather apps are developed for the iPhone, I’m sure I’ll purchase those as well. That being said, let’s start with a review of WeatherBug Elite.

Clicking on the WeatherBug Elite icon on your iPhone will launch the following splash screen:

WeatherBug Elite Splash Screen

As soon as the data is loaded, you are presented with the main screen. From here, you’ll be given information about conditions in the default area you choose. For me, these are the conditions in Tucson, AZ. Current temperature, wind speed and direction, humidity and dew point are some of the data available. You also get a nice little graphic that indicates wind speed and direction. Below that is an indication of any active alerts, a synopsis of the current forecast, and buttons for other features at the bottom of the screen.

WeatherBug Elite Main Screen

WeatherBug Elite Main Screen

Clicking on the forecast button gives you a synopsis of the coming days. You can get more detailed information for each part of the day – morning and evening – by clicking on the high and low temperature sections. Not only can you get the next seven days worth of forecasts, but you can also check out things on an hourly basis.

WeatherBug Elite Forecast Page

WeatherBug Elite Forecast Page

WeatherBug Elite Forecast Details

WeatherBug Elite Forecast Details

Now comes my absolute favorite part – data on maps! I spend a lot of time on this page when storms are in the area, and when I want to know how long until we get rain! WeatherBug Elite does an excellent job displaying data on maps provided by Microsoft Virtual Earth. In addition to the radar/satellite data, you can also get local conditions of a particular area by clicking on a pushpin already in the map, or by pushing and holding on an area you are interested in, placing a pushpin there, and then getting the local data. Unfortunately, WeatherBug Elite does not work in landscape mode, so you have to pinch/pull in order to get the area you want to look at. But, the data is awesome, and this is my favorite page!

WeatherBug Elite Maps

WeatherBug Elite Maps

WeatherBug Elite provides you many different layers for your maps, including temperature, pressure, humidity, wind speed, IR satellite, visible satellite, radar, tomorrow’s high temp and tomorrow’s low temp. You can adjust the opacity of the layers, and you can even remove all dropped pins with a single tap!

For those of you who like video weather reports, WeatherBug Elite has that as well. Click on the video button at the bottom, and you are presented with the latest WeatherCast from Rachel.

WeatherBug Elite WeatherCast

WeatherBug Elite WeatherCast

I’ll admit, I’ve never actually watched a WeatherCast, so I can’t yet comment on it.

Finally, on the last page, you can check out cameras for the areas you have set. I have seen up to three cameras for a particular area, and they are generally of pretty good quality. That depends largely, I suspect, on the area you live in. I think these are typically cameras that local weather forecasters use as well.

WeatherBug Elite Camera View

WeatherBug Elite Camera View

All in all, I believe WeatherBug Elite is fully worth the $0.99 I had to pay for it. I started with the free version of WeatherBug, which gives you essentially the same features, but includes ads. Spending nintey-nine cents to remove the adds, and get a few more features, seemed like a good investment to me.

If you have an iPhone, and like to stay up with the current weather, but require more information than just current temperature and high/low, then you can’t really go wrong with WeatherBug Elite. I’ve fond it to be stable, useful application, and became very quickly addicted to the maps feature. I don’t think you can go wrong by giving it a try!

R2D2 Projector

May 1st, 2008 No comments

I love gadgets as much as many of you do. And most of the ones we get exposed to are pretty cool. But I came across one today that surpasses anything I’ve seen in a long time : The R2D2 Digital Audio and Video Projector by Nikko.

This product pretty much defies description, so I invite you over to their web site to watch the video. But, to pique your interest, here’s a short list of the features:

  • Project any digital media up to 260 inches onto walls or ceilings
  • Play DVDs and CDs with built-in player
  • Connect external devices like iPods, memory cards and USB flashdrives
  • Built in 20W speaker system
  • Wireless FM out
  • Format support : DVD-video, DVD/R/RW, VCD, SCVD, Audio CD, CD-R/RW, WMA, MP3, MP4, DivX 3.0, JPEG
  • A seriously cool Millennium Falcon remote!

And all this can be yours for only $2900US!


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MIPS Breakdown

April 30th, 2008 No comments

Your house has more computer power in it than the average laptop! According to an article by Patrick Di Justo in the May 2007 issue of Wired, the modern house has about 31,700 MIPS while the average laptop has about 6,300 MIPS. In case you’re wondering a MIPS are millions of instructions per second, which is a measure of a processors speed. Here’s how it breaks down:

  • Typical Laptop : 6,300 MIPS
  • Modern House : 31,670 MIPS
    • Living Room : 26,750 MIPS
      • Xbox : 21,000
      • Cable Box : 2,000
      • Hi-def DVD : 2,000
      • TiVo : 1,000
      • Television : 600
      • Home Stereo : 150
    • Home Office : 2,600 MIPS
      • Broadband Router : 800
      • Wireless Router : 800
      • Smartphone : 500
      • Inkjet Printer : 350
      • Digital Camera : 150
    • Garage : 1,690 MIPS
      • Car : 1,300
      • Roomba : 80
      • Clothes Dryer : 60
      • Clothes Washer : 60
      • Vacuum : 60
      • Heating/Air Conditioning : 60
      • Home Security : 60
      • LawnBott Lawn Mower : 10
    • Kitchen : 420 MIPS
      • Refrigerator : 60
      • Dishwasher : 60
      • Microwave : 60
      • Stove : 60
      • Toaster : 60
      • Blender : 60
      • Coffeemaker : 60
    • Bedroom and Bathroom : 210 MIPS
      • iPod : 200
      • Electric Toothbrush : 10

I would have thought that my digital camera had more MIPS than a home stereo, but them I’m also surprised that an Xbox has more MIPS than a laptop. Guess you need a lot of processing power to play Halo 3!

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GPS Receivers : Gadgets or Real Technology?

March 18th, 2008 No comments

I was thinking today about my Garmin 76CSx, and got to thinking about whether GPS receivers (often called GPSr), are more gadgets than real pieces of technology? As GPSr’s become more and more prevalent in the marketplace, they will mature to a point where we can do things wirelessly, accessing the Internet and getting data we need on the fly. Sooner or later something like the iGPS will debut, and we’ll have more GPS functionality in the palm of our hands than we ever thought possible before. At that point, is the GPSr just a cool gadget, or an honest-to-goodness piece of technology? I think my GPSr, in all it’s basic glory, is an amazing piece of technology that stands on it’s own with the basic functionality : showing me where I am on the earth. If you think about it, being able to know almost exactly where you are on the earth at any given time is pretty amazing. Couple that with something like Geocaching, and you get very cool technology helping you engage in a very interesting sport. It just blows my mind how cool it all is!


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