Hands-on review of the Amazon Dash Wand with Alexa

The Amazon Dash Wand with Alexa is a brand new, inexpensive battery-powered shopping and information device for the home. It’s similar, in a way, to the popular Amazon Echo smart speakers, but it’s different in lots of ways, too.

Amazon Echo devices are primarily used to listen to music, but, the new Dash Wand isn’t capable of playing music. It runs on two AAA batteries, and would quickly burn through them if it were tasked with playing Adele all day. Continue reading Hands-on review of the Amazon Dash Wand with Alexa

Review of the Apple TV (2nd generation), 7 years later

I’ve been actively using my Apple TV (2nd generation) for almost seven years, and I figured March of 2017 was the perfect time to finally share my thoughts on it. Why? I’m getting closer to unplugging this thing from my TV, but I haven’t done so yet.

You see, my TV is eight years old. It hails from a time when two HDMI ports was considered sufficient. The gadgets that I plug into it need to truly prove their worth, and my Apple TV 2 has been skating on thin ice lately. It recently went through a weeks-long phase where it couldn’t play Netflix without crashing. I managed to fix the problem, but I haven’t forgiven it. Continue reading Review of the Apple TV (2nd generation), 7 years later

Amazon aims for domination with the 2nd Gen Echo Dot

When Steve Jobs introduced the original iPhone in 2007, he unveiled several major innovations — but the multitouch interface was by far the most important. It redefined the possibilities of mobile tech. Seven years later, Amazon debuted a product that may have an equally impressive input innovation. However, instead of being a sleek handheld gadget, it was a stark, voice-activated speaker.

Initially, the Amazon Echo was greeted with befuddlement and indifference. Like seeing a smartphone that lacked a hardware keyboard for the first time, a speaker that listened and spoke was a puzzling novelty. Continue reading Amazon aims for domination with the 2nd Gen Echo Dot

Endearingly frustrating: A review of the Nest Learning Thermostat (3rd gen)

I’ve had the 3rd generation Nest Learning Thermostat installed in my home for the past four months, and now I want to share my experience with this sleek, sexy, and slightly frustrating gadget.

If you don’t have time for a long review, here’s a quick one:

Overall, I’m satisfied.

It’s not perfect, but it’s far better than any other thermostat I’ve ever encountered. My wife is less enthusiastic — but she hasn’t ripped it out of the wall yet. Continue reading Endearingly frustrating: A review of the Nest Learning Thermostat (3rd gen)

Switching to an iPhone 6S after two years of Android

When I bought an Android phone in October of 2013, it surprised people. I had long been pegged as an Apple fanatic. Indeed, I was a big supporter of Apple. All of my computers were Macs, I owned an iPad 2 and an Apple TV. I had been using iPhones nonstop for five years. Continue reading Switching to an iPhone 6S after two years of Android

Two Months with the Nest Protect

In our post-2007, post-iPhone world, it can be misleading to define oneself as a “gadget geek.” When you consider that the majority of people in the United States now own a smartphone, this particular term becomes distinctly trite. To truly be a gadget geek, you need to do better than being a smartphone or tablet nerd. You need to embrace bleeding-edge gadgetry in unusual product categories. You need to be a true dork.

Continue reading Two Months with the Nest Protect

One Month with the Nexus 5, After Five Years of iPhone

I did it. After five years of nonstop iPhone, waking up with the iPhone, sleeping beside the iPhone, keeping the iPhone with me at all times… all the time, I finally switched to an Android phone. I’ve had the Nexus 5 for an entire month. Would I recommend other iPhone users make the switch? The answer is no. Kind of.

Continue reading One Month with the Nexus 5, After Five Years of iPhone