Last year, we reviewed the Wacom Intuos Creative Stylus, a great solution for folks that want a better way to interface with the iPad for creative projects. Well, it looks like the bar has been raised once again with the Wacom Creative Stylus 2. Compared to its predecessor, the new Stylus 2 is more comfortable, less expensive (from a market introduction perspective), and more functional. If you’re looking for a great pressure-sensitive stylus, you really can’t go wrong with this choice.
There is nothing quite like piloting a quadricopter. Parrot’s AR Drone 2.0 is a lot of fun to fly – but for a good number of people, it’s hard to justify the purchase, as it is a little expensive. It also makes some people nervous; even though it comes with a protective shell for indoor use, it’s relatively large, making it an intimidating prospect to play with inside one’s house – especially for beginners. Thankfully, Parrot has another option for those people who are jonesing for a chance to play with a remote-controlled helicopter without breaking the bank (or that vase you got as a gift from your aunt Betty): the Rolling Spider.
Last year, the Thumbs homestead purchased an Eton Scorpion Windup/Solar Radio to be used when camping. Inclement weather is always a concern when we go into the wild, and while there is little we can do to control the heavens, it doesn’t hurt to be prepared for what may be coming one’s way. The unit came in handy when the ice storm hit Toronto at the end of the year, as well; when the power went out, we had a way to keep tabs on things (radio) as well as the ability to see at night (flashlight). It is a purchase that we did not regret. Champ, makers of emergency-preparedness gear, also have a similar product called the Survival LightStick (which they sent us to review). Like the Scorpion, the tool has many functions, and while the LightStick lacks a carabiner-style clip, it has a few more features that make it an invaluable companion to have on hand – especially in emergencies.
Nerf has been around for a while, bringing a soft side to fantasy-battle play with their foam dart blasters. Nerf has upped their game recently with the N-Strike Elite line, a surprisingly extensive series of dart-firing blasters. The latest model in the lineup, the Nerf N-Strike Elite Demolisher 2-in-1 Blaster, is what I like to call “the cavalry”. Firing both rubber-tipped foam darts and missiles, this battery-powered blaster is a show-stopper.
Audio has always been very important to me. After playing around with a few inexpensive sets of speakers I got serious about it, and went out and got myself a set of Klipsch Promedia 5.1 speakers back in the early 2002 and have not regretted it since. The KP 5.1 was a staple in my computer room and was used for everything from watching movies, listening to music and of course the odd video game or two. This THX-certified beast featured 4 satellite speakers, a center channel speaker each of which pushed 60 watts and an 8 inch 200-watt subwoofer – for an impressive total output of 500 watts. The highs were crisp, the bass was deep and full and the total system had an impressive response of 25Hz-20kHz. What all of this means is that when watching a movie on my PC through the KP 5.1, I would get a movie theater-like audio experience. So the bar has been set very high.
Unfortunately, after more than a decade of reliable service, the amplifier gave out and I needed to replace the system. Klipsch no longer makes this product (or a viable alternative), so off I went on an adventure of trying to replace what I thought was perfection. After much research I discovered that there were not that many options to replace a system like the one I had. Then I found Logitech’s Z906.
Home monitoring is so much more accessible now than it used to be. Now with smartphone integration, it’s pretty easy to keep tabs on the homestead while you’re away. We reviewed the Belkin Netcam HD a while back. Now meet a home monitoring solution that’s suitable for the great outdoors as well as indoors: the D-Link DCS-2330L Outdoor HD Wireless Network Camera, a network-enabled camera that is flexible, effective, and resilient in our Canadian climate.
There are many things in the world that are a big mystery to the average consumer. Straddling the line between alchemy and sorcery, these secrets lead to much head-scratching and face-scrunching, due to the mystical nature of these odd occurrences. One of these puzzles is the “check engine” light that occasionally pops up on the dashboard, indicating some issue with your car, which leads you to drive to your local garage and pay for a diagnostic and a fix (if required). Lemur Vehicle Monitors helps to fan away the fog of mystery with the BlueDriver diagnostic tool, which turns your smartphone into an automotive information center.