Sunday, May 10, 2015

7 Cool Electronic Tech Products You Should Consider Getting

1. Amazon’s Fire TV Stick:  For only $39, you get an HDMI stick from Amazon that connects to your TV’s HDMI port so you can watch over 200,000 movies and TV shows on Netflix, Amazon Instant Video, HBO GO, Hulu Plus, and play games, music, and more.

The dual-core processor and 1GB of memory make the video start instantly. A remote control is included to help you search for what you want to see, but if you want a voice activated remote control that costs extra. Some people may figure they do not need this stick if they have their video apps all located on their Xbox One, Playstation 4, or WiiU, but the Fire TV stick has other great features such as the ability to mirror your phone or tablet to your TV so you can play games or view your apps on the big screen. You can also sync photos from all of your devices. Another advantage is that the stick is portable so you can take it with you wherever you go such as hotels or dorm rooms.

2. DropCam Pro Wi-Fi Wireless Video Monitoring Security Camera: Let’s say you are going away on vacation, have a pet sitter coming to your house for a week to take care of the dogs, but you can’t stand not seeing FiFi and FooFoo for so long. If so, the DropCam is a great solution. Just hook it up in the room you want to monitor, set it up (takes 60 seconds), and you can monitor live feeds from the desired location day or night (night vision is included), with a 130 viewing angle, and sharp video quality. If it is a person you need to monitor, 2-way talk is enabled. You can watch the feed from any device such as a tablet, smart phone, or computer. All you need is a Wi-Fi connection.

3. GoPro HERO: Almost everyone has a video camera, but with a GoPro HERO, you get a camera that is extremely durable and waterproof down to 131 feet. It is known for its ability to withstand extreme environments and people who seem to get water all over their electronic devices. It supports microSD cards up to 32GB and has software that lets you share the content.

4. Fuji Instax Mini 8 Instant Film Camera: For people who aren’t worried about immersing their camera and want something small and light for under $75, the Fuji Instax is extremely popular and comes in 5 different colors (black, pink, white, yellow, and blue). You do need to buy film with this camera, which is why it is called Instax. The film can be found here.

5. Sony Pocket AM/FM Radio: This is the least technologically advanced item on this list but it is included because it is a great cheap little radio for under $15 that actually works. I bought one for each of my children and they love it because they can listen to some radio before they go to sleep or take it with them wherever they want. It has a telescoping antennae, a built in jack for an earphone, and a carrying strap. This runs on two AA batteries. It is not for children under age 3 due to small parts (choking hazard).

6. Garmin Premium Soft Strap Heart Rate Monitor: For the health conscious such as runners or joggers, this item wirelessly transmits your heart rate to a compatible device for instant feedback. Once paired with your device, the device recognizes it instantly afterwards. This device is worn around the chest with a soft strap for a comfortable fit with adjustable fittings.  It is light, only weighing 51 grams. It has other features such as a barometer, thermometer, odometer, a backlight, alarm, and it is water resistant.

7. Midland NOAA Public Alert Display and Alarm Clock: Great for people who live near dangerous weather conditions (especially tornadoes and hurricanes), this public-alert certified monitor alerts you when specific counties are threatened (up to 25 counties can be monitored at once). It also provides non-weather hazard warning and warning on civil emergencies. Alerts include a 90 db siren, a voice alert, or flashing lights. You will not always be near a radio or have your TV on so this system provides an added line of security. English, Spanish, and French languages are supported.  An emergency power back-up (3 AA batteries) is a feature of this device.

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Review: The Garrett Carrot Pro Pointer AT

As I was preparing for metal detecting season this year, I was watching a metal detecting video online where I heard reference to the new “Garrett Carrot.” Intrigued, I did a little research online and found out this was a reference to the Garrett Pro Pointer AT, nicknamed the Garrett Carrot for its bright orange color.

I am a happy owner of the regular Garrett Pro Pointer and was very curious if the Garret Carrot would be worth the upgrade, especially since it is slightly more expensive than the regular Pro Pointer.

I decided to purchase the Garrett Carrot, which came out in 2015, for the reasons listed below:

1. Waterproofing: As soon as I found out that the Garrett Carrot was waterproof down to 10-feet, I immediately decided to purchase it. Although you can waterproof the original Pro Pointer, that involves rubbing all sorts of sticky goop on it (as you can see here), which I really did not want to do. There was a nice shallow stream I was detecting in with my regular Pro Pointer (which is water resistant but not submergible) but I was not able to get into deeper water with it. The Garrett Carrot changes that.

2. Easier to find if lost: The bright orange color makes the Garrett Carrot very easy to find if you drop it by accident or set it down somewhere and forget it, unless you drop it in a pumpkin patch or a carrot farm. Even if you did that though, the Garrett Carrot automatically emits a distress signal 5-minutes after it is dropped. The regular Pro Pointer does not do this. After 5-minutes of warning chirps (that become more frequent over time), it shuts off to save batteries.

3. Six different settings: Another great feature is the ability to set the Garrett Carrot to vibration mode or audio mode. Each mode has settings of minimum, medium, and maximum sensitivity. The vibration mode is good if you are near people and do not want to make much noise, if you are under water, or if you are hearing impaired. The default setting is medium sensitivity with audio. I changed it to maximum sensitivity with audio so I do not miss the target. Some people may decide to set it to low sensitivity for highly mineralized ground environments but I would argue there is no need to do this if you just ground balance the pointer. Beau Ouimette shows how to do this in this great video. I tried it out and it works well. The Garrett Carrot has a quick-press Fast Return function that allows you to narrow the detection field of large objects. One reason why you really may want to switch to the low sensitivity mode is if you have an object in the ground close to a large metal structure (e.g., metal bench, play set) because now you can move away from the large metal structure, come in slow towards the target and only detect the target. If you had one standard setting as on the regular Pro Pointer, the signal from the large metal object will likely interfere with pinpointing the target.

4. Inch/Cm Markings: The Garrett Carrot has inch/cm markings which are lacking on the original Pro Pointer. This is not essential for the experienced detectorist but still a useful feature to have.

5. More sensitive to gold:
Need I say more.

6. Old Features: All features of original Pro Pointer are retained.

Overall, I highly suggest purchasing the Garrett Carrot for all of the reasons stated above. To put it simply, the best pointer on the market just got better and this is not a paid endorsement. I have had it for several weeks now and really enjoy it. The only downside is that because there are multiple detection settings, you may accidentally press the on button too long, enter reset mode, and switch to another setting by accident. Once you use it for a day though and read the instruction manual, this likely will not happen and if it does it is very easy to fix.