Friday, December 28, 2012

Smile! You need to look your best for 2013!

Counting today, there are four more days left of 2012.  With the new year, brings resolutions of dieting, learning a new language, being more organized, staying in touch with relatives and cleaning a car more than once a year (trust me - I've heard it all)! Psychotherapist William Anderson, writer for the Huffington Post, explains that instead of creating resolutions we should make written goals.  The simple act of writing down what we have to achieve will make it easier to make it possible.

While I do not have any resolut - I mean, goals - for 2013, I do have one big accomplishment I want to complete before the new year comes around:  have a good time as the clock is counting down! There are so many things I can do: go to a house party, watch the fireworks at an amusement park, take in the atmosphere on a boat party or even go to a club or a bar. No matter what I decide to do, I know that I am going to need to take as many pictures as I can! Enter in the dual charger.

There is nothing worse than going to a party and taking pictures just to have your camera battery die!  That has happened to me on many occasions!  Therefore, I decided to buy another battery. The dual charger will come in handy, because when one battery dies it can be charged immediately, while I still take photos with the other battery. I know for sure that this New Year's Eve, I will be able to take as many pictures as I want!

Whether you want to call it goals, resolutions or visions for the future, just be sure you go out with a bang in preparation for the upcoming battle. Who knows, those pictures you take can give you inspiration to achieve those goals in the new year!

Friday, December 21, 2012

The Last Day of the World - Bring Your Gadgets!

Believe it or not, but the end of the world occurred and we are still here! The ancient Mayans produced a 5,125-year calendar which signaled December 21st 2012 being the day that life would cease on Earth. People have been talking about it all year, "doomsday" merchandise has been produced and parties have been made in preparation for this grand occasion.

As this event happens only once in a lifetime, I wanted to see how other people were preparing for it. I asked my cousin what's the one thing she would take for the ending of the world.  She said she wanted to bring her tablet, because she does not want to be bored. 

My first thought was "what a great idea! I wouldn't want to be bored for the end of the world either."  Therefore, I suggested that my cousin get a Rugged Hard Shell Case for her tablet.

She was ecstatic by my suggestion!  Now she could protect her tablet without the fear that it would get trampled during the stampede to survive!

Granted, the world can still be ending today. It is only in the afternoon Pacific Standard Time. I need to make sure I bring my PS3 for when it does happen. I don't want to be the only one without something fun to play with!

Friday, December 14, 2012

Making your Smartphone (handler) more Intelligent

Believe it or not, I am NOT in the minority of people who do not own a technologically-advanced phone. According to a CBS News article from October 2012, about 1 billion people in the world have smartphones. This means that those other 85% are just like me. So all of those people who think I'm living in the past by not having a smartphone, you are wrong! You all are just too advanced for the rest of us!

This topic is being brought up as I heard a rumor - then I looked it up on Google, of course, so now it must be a fact! - that Apple will be releasing its iPhone 5S in summer 2013. Yes, you read that right! The same Apple that launched the iPhone 5 on Friday, Sept. 21, 2012, in the US and eight other countries selling more than 100 million phones in three days!   Apple lovers all over the world are excited as one bit of gossip is that a dual-Sim may be a new feature. But only time will tell.

My friend, one of the people harassing me about "getting my phone an education", recently upgraded to an iPhone 5. He tells me about all the apps, features, how much time it saves him, etc. He swears that he is more capable because of his phone. I really don't buy into this hype, but I decided to see it in action firsthand.

We go skiing and he takes his phone on the slopes. When he falls, his iPhone 5 falls with him - out of his pocket and into the snow. Naturally, he didn't realize this until about 2 or 3 hours later! His phone was so cold that the screen froze and his iPhone 5 was never the same again.

Seeing that I don't have a smartphone, who would think that I would be wise enough to suggest such a simple a solution: a weather-resistant case for a cell phone. This case is pretty impressive as it has a durable locking system: seal the two ziplocks, roll down the top and then close with the velcro. It protects your phone from dirt, smudges, stains and - for my friend - even snow!

Though there are many people who do have phones with fancy features, most people do not.  Think of all the remote areas in places like Canada, US and Australia that cannot even pick up reception.  Also, you have certain developing countries that do not even cater for that kind of technology.

But really, the moral of the story is this: it doesn't matter how "smart" your phone is. The phone is only as smart as the person operating it!

Friday, December 7, 2012

What do The Hobbit and Santa Claus have in common?

It seems like award-winning director Peter Jackson will end the year on a high note. The Hobbit, his highly-awaited prequel to Lord of the Rings, opens in US cinemas on Friday, December 14th. Many critics expect it to shatter box office records on opening weekend. In addition, Jackson shot this film - as well as the two sequels to The Hobbit - in 48 frames per second (the normal frame rate is 24). According to HuffPost Entertainment, Warner Bros. is planning a limited release to showcase this innovation.  Who knows - it may become the industry standard. Wouldn't that be a great line to add to your resume?!

Enter in Santa Claus. Mr. Claus' arrival is another greatly anticipated event for most children on December 25th. He will be going from house to house rewarding those kids who have been good all year and letting the bad ones know they have to change their ways. Right now, Little Joey should have already finalized his list and sent his letter out.  For those who did not mail their list, have no fear: you can always tell Santa Claus what you want in person! He can be seen at your local mall on the weekends waiting for you to sit on his lap to hear your every wish.  Just be sure to use the bathroom before you take a seat.

So to recap, we have two important events occuring this month: the release The Hobbit and Santa Claus "coming to town". You can prepare for each by going to parties, having a discussion or simply watching DVDs!  The Lord of the Rings triology is a must-see for any die-hard fan before watching The Hobbit. Then you have the multitude of Christmas-themed movies that can be viewed; take your pick: A Christmas Story, Santa Clause, I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus, Jingle All The Way, Elf, Bad Santa (hey, it still has 'Santa' in the title), etc.

If you choose to watch the movies on a laptop or desktop, you can prepare by having these accessories on hand: a USB-powered light (believe it or not, a bit of light comes in handy at some points); a USB-powered clip-on speaker (maximize your sound); and a wireless mouse (easily fast-forward or rewind a scene without having to go right up to the computer).  It'll be a great time you can have during this holiday season with your family and friends.

If all goes according to plan, it seems like this month will end well for everyone: Bilbo Baggins would have gained experience and wisdom on his journey, Santa Claus would have gotten away from the North Pole for a while, you would have succeeded in watching The Hobbit and receiving gifts from Santa Claus (if you are child) or giving gifts as Santa Claus (if you are an adult), AND I may have given Peter Jackson an idea from his next film. My agent will be awaiting your call, Peter.  

Friday, November 30, 2012

Hoi, Ni Hao, Salam ..might as well bring a dictionary

Did you hear about the man who traveled to every sovereign state in the world without flying? That is 201 countries!  His name is Graham Hughes, a Britain who received the last stamp from South Sudan in his passport on November 26th and earning him a spot in the Guinness Book of World Records. Hughes stated that he used public transportation, taxis and ships to get around. Though he encountered some rough times - spending a couple of spats in jail and having his sister pass away during his travels - he succeeded. He spent nearly four years accomplishing this feat, spending less than $100 USD per week.

With only 18 countries under my belt - and knowing the frustrations that can be faced each time one travels - I am highly impressed by Hughes! He must have taken only the essentials and have placed a lot of trust in people. He would have had to set out a plan of what he would need, where he wanted to go and how he would get there. So while I highly doubt that I will be traveling to every country in the world withouth flying, it is always helpful to make a list of valuable things you should take with you when you leave your homeland:

#1 - Open Mind - not everyone is going to act or think like you. Not everyone will understand your humor or relate to your stories. Do not regard others as being "dumb" or "uncultured". If you happened to grow up in a developed country, your experiences will naturally be different that those who have not.  If someone offers you something, be polite and take it. Always be welcome to meeting new people and encountering a new aspect of their culture.

#2 - Dictionary - you must be able to (somewhat) communicate with the people that you meet. So while I am not saying to take a Pimsleur course if you are going to Azerbaijan or the countryside of Burkina Faso, knowing the basic greetings and most common phrases will always put you in a brighter light with the locals. And will also make your journey from point A to point B a lot less stressful.

#3 - Portable Charger - wouldn't you want to take pictures or keep in contact with those that you left behind from time to time?  With technology getting bigger and devices becoming smaller, you can now have a camera that can fit in your pocket or a "computer" (ie: tablet) that you can hold in your hand.  To make those devices keep up with you, a portable charger is the way to go. The ReStore 9200 is ideal as you can charge it via USB and then throw it in your backpack while you are on the move. You can easily plug your camera, tablet or smartphone to it and it can charge while you are on the train, bus or even boat! Just be sure to keep your eye open for someone with a laptop or computer who can keep the ReStore 9200 with juice flowing through it.  For more help with this, re-read #1.

Of course, this list can go on and on. Everyone is different, so people will have a varying list of essentials to take. However, if you are planning on becoming the next Graham Hughes, just be sure to bring your passport! You won't even make it out of your local airport without it!

Friday, November 23, 2012

Headaches and Holidays: The Joys of Traveling at this Time

"Has anyone else packed your luggage?" says the woman behind the counter checking you in for your flight as hundreds of other passengers stand in line and look on.

The weekend after Thanksgiving is the busiest travel time of the year. Walking into the airport, you know there are bound to be long lines, crying children, delays and cancellations. The security check line is going to give you a headache, you cannot find a seat in the Gate waiting area and the man in front of you will not get off his phone even after the flight attendant asked him for the second time! The only thing you can do is hope for the best, but expect the worst. After all, you need to make that journey to see your family and friends.

Packing for a flight can be difficult as you want to ensure you carry enough but don't want to overload yourself. Doing that means you will have to pay more money for an overweight suitcase and who wants to do that?! You should always keep an extra set of clothes in your carry-on luggage just in case the airline misplaces your checked-in suitcase. Just as well, you should not put any of your electronics in your checked luggage. Phones, tablets and cameras should be kept on you or in your carry-on. At this time of the year, camera bags and tablet cases are ideal items to have.

Though all of this does seem like a hassle, do not get stressed: flying is fun! You have the opportunity to get away from your "reality" for a while and engage in conversations with those sitting near you on the plane. You can even catch up on sleep while listening to your tunes. Be sure you have the proper headphones or this plan will go array.

Pretty soon, the plane will touch down and you will hear those words that you were waiting for: "Thank you for flying with us. Have a safe holiday season and we look forward to seeing you again."

Though you may have been delayed and your suitcase may have been damaged, you know you will do it again in a heartbeat as seeing the smile on your loved one's face is priceless!

Friday, November 16, 2012

Thanksgiving and thanks to our friends

Sometimes it's nice to take a pause from life and look around us and analyze just what we've accomplished, what we've accumulated, the friendships we've developed, and everything we might be grateful for. Maybe it's sappy, but enough folks feel the same way enough to make it a national holiday, anyway. So, here's to Thanksgiving, and here's to everyone who has added to our experiences here at from our loyal customers to the great folks at the Google Android Fan site who said such nice things about the GOgroove Pal Bot, we have much to be thankful for.

We certainly hope all of you who may be looking over these words find yourselves in the cheeriest of company come this Thursday, however you may celebrate it. We hope that you will take a moment and reflect on those things that have added just a little bit extra this last revolution around the Sun and maybe even tell those folks who make your life a little brighter just how much they mean to you. And most of all, we wish you a Happy Thanksgiving holiday this year, from the bottom of our hearts of all the staff here at Accessory Genie. Thank you all.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Black Friday and Cyber Monday: The Year's Biggest Shopping Days

Did you notice stores selling Christmas ornaments as soon as Labor Day weekend was over?  Seems like every year the holidays start creeping up sooner and sooner.  It used to be that October 1st you saw stores putting up their Halloween Decorations, November 1st changed to Thanksgiving and the Friday after Thanksgiving everywhere turned into a winter wonderland.  Retailers gave you the courtesy to enjoy one holiday at a time.  But now we start worrying about Christmas in September, which clouds the festivities in between with panic.  This panic in turn makes the holidays fly-by in a blur which we barely manage to recover from. 

Black Friday is the culmination of that panic.  Every year you see  news stories about customers camping out in the wee hours to be the first ones in the big box store to get the best deal.  In the worst case scenarios you hear about actual stampedes and even acts of violence happening in major retail stores.  Retailers took note and started opening at 4 and 5 am, some even open at midnight so you can squeeze in a nice after turkey nap before you go.  At some point enough people decided to avoid possible bodily harm and check for deals online.  From this was born Cyber Monday.  The term was coined in 2005, after researchers noticed that the Monday after Thanksgiving Day 2004 was one of the largest online shopping days that year.  Since then, more and more consumers have taken to making their purchases online by taking advantage of special Cyber Monday exclusive deals.  Accessory Genie will be offering some Cyber Monday electronics deals of their own, including free standard shipping, so make sure to check back.

If you're a traditionalist and must join the frenzied crowds on Black Friday then consult this checklist in preparation:
  1. Wear comfortable shoes for the 3 hour wait in line at the register.  Better yet, wear some steel-toe boots to prevent injuries from errant shopping cart wheels.
  2. Layer.  The temperatures are dipping and the hours of midnight through 5 a.m are especially chilly so dress warm but remember that once inside that big box store temperatures will soar as a result of so many frantic shoppers darting about.
  3. Make sure to stay hydrated.  Drink plenty of water, especially if you spent the morning drinking hot coffee to stay warm.  But be prepared for Disneyland-like lines at the bathrooms.
  4. Map out your shopping territory based on the multitude of flyers you have received in the mail so you can run straight for that 60" flat screen.
  5. Bring a buddy so they can run ahead to get the items you want, because by the time you get through the shopping cart traffic jam they'll likely be out of stock.
Now, here's a checklist to help you prepare for Cyber Monday:
  1. Bookmark your favorite deal sites or store pages for quick access to product offers.
  2. If you're getting several email newsletters, save your favorite ones in an email folder so you can easily go back to them.
  3. Kick up your feet and start shopping
But proceed with caution.  According to studies, since Cyber Monday, 2011, about 22% of employers had to fire an employee due to non-work related internet use. 

Friday, November 2, 2012

How to Stay Connected During and After a Disaster

On Monday half of the continental United States was affected by one of the largest storms in U.S. history.  Superstorm Sandy caused mass devastation across the Eastern seaboard, with New Jersey and New York suffering the most damage and loss of life.  The unprecedented storm and its aftermath remind us of the importance of emergency preparedness.  When the power goes out you lose the ability to light and heat your home, cook food, filter water and communicate.  In a situation like this cellphones, smart phones and laptops can become your only way to stay connected, especially if you have to evacuate.  Unfortunately these items become nothing more than paper weights if they lose their charge. 

In the event of a disaster, natural or otherwise, having a portable source of back-up power will be necessary to keep your electronic devices charged and operating.  One option is a solar charger and back-up battery pack like the ReVIVE Solar ReStore XL+.  This charger can be charged weeks in advance and will hold its charge to be used as needed.  You can keep the charger mounted in a window year round or charge via USB before the power goes down.  Once charged, the ReStore XL+ can charge seven smart phones or 3 tablets to full capacity.  It also has a built-in LED flashlight that can light in full beam or S.O.S mode for up to 50 consecutive hours and a carabiner so it can be attached to a backpack.  Another option is the ReVIVE Trans4m, which is a compact, pocket sized, versatile charger that can charge a smart phone from a 9V battery, AA batteries, unfold to charge from a DC outlet or an AC outlet.  Either of these are portable, durable, compact options that will become necessary items in an emergency kit.

In the aftermath of Sandy, those impacted are now confronted with the daunting task of rebuilding their lives and for many their homes.  If you would like to help the victims of Sandy, you can donate to the Red Cross here.  Remember that thousands of homes have been lost and millions are still without power and they all need our help.

Friday, October 26, 2012

A Brief Lesson On The History of Guacamole and Salsa

This weekend will be host to tons of parties, most of them being of the Halloween costume kind and some of the birthday variety like yours truly's.  With any kind of party, there are several factors to consider like the decorations and the perfect play list.  But one of the most important things to consider is what you'll be feeding your hungry guests to keep them from passing out on the dance floor.  You could opt for the sit down affair consisting of several laboured courses, but this weekend will probably have your guests party hopping so I wouldn't recommend that route.  Instead opt for a few things you can make ahead of time that are crowd pleasers.  My go to's are a giant bowl of salsa and guacamole.  Cool thing is that the ingredients are practically the same and they're both naturally vegan.  These two are so easy that I would be ashamed of anyone who took the Costco shortcut and bought the ready made stuff.  All you need is ripe avocados, tomatoes, onions, chili peppers, cilantro, limes and salt.  For the salsa, omit the avocado. 

Since everything good is made to taste, I won't proceed with a recipe but rather a brief lesson on your staple ingredients. 

First is the avocado, or alligator pear, which is native to Central Mexico.  The word avocado comes from the Spanish aguacate, which in turn derives from the Nahuatl word ahuacatl.  I wish I could tell you what "part", if you will, the Nauhatl were referencing.  But as this is a PG blog, all I can say is google it (hilarious)!  Next we have tomato, whose name is also descendant from the Nahuatl.  They called it tomatl, which translates to fat water.  Tomatoes are from the Americas, possibly originating from the highlands of the occidental South American coast.  It's believed that they were first brought into popular culture after the Spanish conquistador, Hernan Cortes captured the Aztec city of Tenochtitlan and took back a yellow tomato as a souvenir to the Spanish Royal court.  Therefore causing their widespread cultivation and use in Europe.  Texts dating back to 3000 B.C. show that onions most likely originated in Asia and were then taken to Greece and Egypt, then pretty much every part of the world after that.  Chili peppers also come from the Nahuatl word Chili.  Who would have guessed you were speaking so much Nahuatl all this time?  Fun fact, the Trinidad Moruga Scorpion currently holds the Guinness world record as the hottest pepper at 2.0M SHU.  To give you an idea of how hot that is Habaneros, or Scotch Bonnets, aren't even in the top 5.  Cilantro, or coriander, has been around so long, that it has even been found in Tutankhamen's tomb.  Lime comes from the French and Arabic word Lim and is actually a fruit which was first grown commercially in Babylonia.  Lastly, salt, which is essential, in small quantities, for animal life.  Even as far back as 6050 B.C., our Neolithic ancestors were boiling water from a salt-water spring in order to extract.  Salt is such an important ingredient that when the British placed a "salt tax" in India, Mahatma Gandhi and at least 100,000 people marched to the sea in protest and made their own salt.
Now you have plenty of historical tidbits to use as ice-breakers, you're welcome.

Friday, October 19, 2012

The Turning Of The Leaves

Fall is here (even though it's still 100 degrees) and with it comes the turning of the leaves.  Which in and of it self gives way to some pretty fantastic photo-ops.  But first let's get into why leaves turn in the first place.

Leaves are essentially the food manufacturers for their corresponding plants.  During the warmer seasons the leaves are full of chlorophyll, which is what causes their predominantly green color.  Chlorophyll is the magic ingredient that makes photosynthesis possible.  It does this by converting sunlight into solar energy which it then uses to manufacture the plant's food, simple sugars, from carbon dioxide and water.  During the growing season, the plant itself replenishes the chlorophyll, which keeps the leaves looking green and masks the reds and oranges that already exist within the leaf.  As daylight and temperatures dwindle, the leaves' veins begin to close themselves off reducing water and mineral intake to the leaves.  Thus reducing the amount of chlorophyll, or green coloring, in the leaves.  With the absence of green in the leaves, the once hidden yellows and oranges take center stage.  These colors come from the ever present cartenoids, which are also responsible for giving carrots their color.  The shades spanning from red to purple are a result of anthocyanins. 

Now that you've gotten your botany lesson for the day, we'll move onto the fantastic photo-ops, or leaf peeping, as it's called.  If you're fortunate enough to live on a street lined with maple trees then you don't have to travel far to get a beautiful picture.  Whether it's a single leaf, a tree across the street or kids playing in a freshly raked pile of colorful leaves, you are guaranteed a gorgeous shot.  If you chose to venture out, you'll need to pack a little gear.  With the shorter daylight hours and the shooting options ranging from vast landscapes to up close shots, I suggest a camera backpack that has room for all of your gear.  Make sure to pack a few different lenses, a sunshade, lens filter and because of the shorter hours a solar charger that doubles as an LED flashlight to keep your camera charged and light your path home. 

Friday, October 12, 2012

Planning a Halloween Party

A couple of years ago we had an epic Halloween party.  Tons of people dressed to the nines, great music, great food, games, drinks, etc.  All of those things combined would make for a great party but what pushed it over the edge into epic territory were the decorations.  We were fortunate enough to personally know the prop master for the hit show Dexter, yeah that one!  The floors were completely covered in clear plastic with random pools of blood and strategically placed limbs, including a gruesomely realistic severed head on the counter.  All of these items were actual props that were used on Dexter. 

While you may not have that kind of hookup for your decorations, here are some suggestions for your own epic Halloween bash.

Get ready early!  Start gathering decorations beforehand so you're not still decorating when your guests arrive.  You can turn this into a pre-party event by having friends and family help you decorate.  You can also set up a pumpkin carving station where everyone can carve pumpkins that you can light up the night of your party.  If you're on a budget, second-hand stores are a great place to find decorations or knick knacks to make your own.

One of the best parts of a Halloween party are the costumes your guests arrive in.  To encourage everyone to be creative, set-up a costume contest and make sure you mention it on the invitation.  You can have different categories like most creative, best couple, etc.

To keep every ones energy up make sure to have plenty of "finger foods".  You can actually find molds in the shape of skeleton finger bones, severed fingers, etc.  These make great candy molds.  There are also Halloween themed recipes all over the Internet.  

Finally, music.  No Halloween party would be complete without the creepy soundtrack of creaky doors and screeches.  If you really want to set the tone I suggest you get a couple of portable speakers and set them to play whatever the horrifying sounds are in their location.  Example, we had one speaker hidden by the front door that was the creaky door and screeches to set the tone for the pools of blood and severed head that greeted our guests upon entering the house.  We had another speaker playing ghostly groans and rattling chains in the fake graveyard on the side of the house and lastly we had speakers inside and out playing actual music.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Zombies and NyQuil Don't Mix

In preparation for the upcoming Season 3 premiere of The Walking Dead I decided to finally get around to finishing the second season, thank you Netflix instant for making that possible.  Unfortunately I also have a stubborn lingering cold that is feeling more like the bird flu since it won't go away.  Yes, I get dramatic when stricken ill.  So I took a dose of NyQuil too.

So here's what happened, SPOILER ALERT!  In Episode 17 entitled "Judge, Jury, Executioner" the group tries to help a questionable individual named Randall, who they end up holding prisoner because of the possible threat he may pose.  From what he confesses during his torture sesh with Daryl we find out that the crew he rolls with is bad news.  This revelation only serves to further convince members of the group that executing Randall may be the most sensible thing to do.  This is when every one's reminder of what a pre-zombie apocalypse father, Dale, was steps in to remind everyone that executing Randall would only serve to kill what little humanity they have left in themselves.  While Dale is going from person to person trying to sway the vote, our little friend Carl is playing Cowboys and Indians in the woods.  Outfitted in dad's big hat and a stolen gun, Carl stumbles upon a Walker that's stuck in the mud.  So he does what any kid does, throws rocks at him.  Which is all fun and games until the Walker starts to get unstuck.  Carl tries to kill it and fails so he runs back to mom.  Don't think I'm hating on Carl either, stuck-in-the-mud Walker was particularly creepy and shirtless to boot.  I would have run to mommy too.  Now its dark and Dale hears an animal in pain.  Always the humane one, he finds a cow that's been ripped apart and dying.  Just then the extra creepy shirtless Walker, who is also a cow thrasher, attacks Dale ripping him open just like poor Bessie.  Now our last vestige of humanity is put down like the animals we've become when Daryl puts a bullet in Dale, who is now the agonizing beast.

This was an especially difficult episode to watch, even though it was on my smart phone screen with a little portable speaker so I could actually hear what was happening.  All made even more difficult because I took a dose of NyQuil before the opening credits.  By the end of the episode I was well on my way to a deep sleep in an effort to vanquish this cold.  Unfortunately the combination of zombies and NyQuil proved to be exhausting since I spent the entire night dreaming that I was awake and that zombies were coming towards my house in the middle of the night.  To the point that in my delirium I heard distant car alarms and assumed that it was Walkers stumbling into parked cars.

Moral of the story- Don't take NyQuil before a zombie show.  Especially if it turns out to be real.

Friday, September 28, 2012

California Allows Self-driving Cars

So on Sunday I got my first ticket in over a decade, for talking on my cell phone.  I know that it was a completely irresponsible act on my behalf and a well deserved infraction.  To the point that before the officer reached my window I had already admitted to him that he caught me red handed.  This will be one of those things that you chalk up to a pricey life lesson, very pricey.  I mention this less than flattering personal episode to highlight that no matter what the law says, we as human beings will always try to multi-task.  Whether it's using the time behind the wheel to catch up with loved ones, eating lunch at your desk while replying to emails, or chewing gum and walking at the same time, we just don't seem to be made to mono-task (just made that up).  Maybe it's just a survival trait from our caveman days that will remain ingrained.  If so, then Google is a step ahead in enabling that trait.

On Tuesday September 25th California Governor Jerry Brown paid a little visit, with pen in hand, to Google HQ and signed into legislation a law that will allow for the testing of self-driving cars on California roads.  That means that Google's fleet of autonomous vehicles have the green light to be stuck in traffic just like the rest of us.  But that doesn't mean that it's a dead end of sorts.  On the contrary.  The testing will pave the way for safer roads and safer automobiles by removing human error from the equation.  Which is, after all, the largest factor in any accident.  Not only is the idea to make driving safer, but also to enable transportation for the disabled, blind and let's not forget the intoxicated. 

This, of course, brings me back to my less than flattering admittance above and something that Google has in mind as well.  If our cars can drive themselves, than we are at liberty to use our commute time to our liking.  Soon you'll be able to let your car do the driving while you read a book, play a video game, get some work done, or even talk on your phone.  This, of course, won't be an option for about another decade so in the meantime I recommend a hands-free option and yes, I will be taking my own advice on that.  On a side note, when the officer asked for a phone number I could be reached at I gave him my cellphone number and warned him that if they called while I was driving that I would not answer.  At least I made him laugh, even though it didn't get me out of a ticket.  Also, I apologize for the puns in the second paragraph. 

Friday, September 21, 2012

Record Temperatures or Summer Overtime?

 If you're the type of person to always have a space heater and lap blanket at your desk then this might be good news.  If you happen to be the one with the mini fan always on, then not so good news.  So here it is.  This year will almost definitely be the hottest year on record for the contiguous United States.  That will be the fourth time that records have either been totally broken or almost broken in the last 14 years.

Tomorrow is the first day of fall with the Autumnal Equinox happening at 6:49 a.m. EDT, yet it still feels just as hot as it did in the middle of summer.  This is like the groundhog seeing its shadow making for a longer winter, but now it's a longer summer.  If this keeps up we'll have to come up with some animal mascot and tradition.  Maybe a prairie dog in Arizona can be the unofficial judge.  Personally I look forward to autumn with the turning of the leaves, crisp breezes and harvest moons, but I think all of those things will come a little later this year.

For those of you who might be part reptile, you thrive in this lit-up aquarium type climate and I envy you on days like this, but that is beside the point.  That being said you have been gifted Summer Overtime.  Now you have a few, maybe more, extra weekends to spend at the beach, poolside or having Summer Overtime BBQ's.  So take advantage of the warm (hot!) sunny days and balmy nights with your favorite people, food and most importantly music to celebrate the first day of fall like it's the first day of summer. 

Friday, September 14, 2012

A Brief History of the iPhone

The year 1980 gave us one of the greatest films ever made entitled The Gods Must Be Crazy.  In the film the San, or bushmen, of the Kalahari Desert have their peaceful nonmaterialistic existence disrupted when an empty coke bottle falls from the sky (a littering pilot).  Since the coke bottle was unlike anything the San had ever seen they thought that it might be a gift from the gods to help them.  Everyone in the kinship found a unique use for the glass bottle and thus it became an indispensable tool.  That is of course until they all began to feel an individual sense of ownership, which caused the following 2/3 of the movie.  If you want to find out what happens next I highly recommend the film, a wonderful watch.

I use that opening as an example of what the world must have been like in the summer of 2007 when the masses got their hands on the iPhone.  Even when it was first announced in January of the same year the media referred to it as the "Jesus phone" and have since revered Apple and its wares.  The following year saw the release of the iPhone 3G, iPhone 3GS in 2009, iPhone 4 in 2010 and the iPhone 4S in 2011.  Each successive year saw changes, additions and improvements.  These included USB 2.0, voice control and a sassy assistant by the name of Siri who has some fantastic comebacks.

On Wednesday, Apple fans waited with bated breath to see what the minds of one of history's leading companies would present as the iPhone 5.  Now that the announcement has been made the frenzy will commence as Apple fans clamor to get their hands on the newest can't-live-without tool.  Already the iPhone 5 pre-orders are over, they sold out in one hour!  So hold tight, it's just a matter of time before you will be able to sing the praises of what is already being called the best iPhone ever.  Remember, good things come to those who wait.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Which candidate will you choose?

It's time to weigh the candidates.  No, not the Presidential candidates, the tablet candidates.   The current leader is the Apple iPad which has been the leader in tablets since it's release in 2010.  Many slates and tablets from several companies followed soon thereafter but none has come close until now. 

This week Amazon announced the new line of Kindles including the all-new Kindle Fire HDs.  Typical reaction would be cheers for improved ereaders and high-quality, affordable media devices, which it was, but this time Amazon showed up to the game with an ace up it's collective sleeve.  That ace is the Kindle Fire HD 4G LTE.  Go ahead and grumble that a Kindle is no iPad but see the facts and then decide.  So let's compare the two and weigh our decision.

Apple's iPad has a 9.7 inch display with 264 ppi, Kindle Fire HD is slightly smaller at 8.9 inches with 254 ppi.  Kindle wins in storage by offering 32GB for the same price Apple charges for the 16GB iPad.  Both offer 4G LTE data services with Kindle offering one year of LTE service at $50 a year for 250MB a month.  Both iPad and Kindle support Wi-Fi, but Kindle has MIMO (multiple input/multiple output).  MIMO increases the number of antennas at both the transmitter and receiver, which transfers more data without the need for more power or bandwith, making for less dropped connections and faster streaming.  Kindle has a 1.52Ghz dual-core chip, where as Apple runs an Apple dual-core A5X.  Camera and battery life are still up in the air since Amazon has yet to release specs.  Apple, as always, wins in apps.  But here's where it gets good.  The starting price for a new iPad 4G with 32GB of storage, same as the Kindle Fire, is $729.  Compare that to $499 for the Kindle Fire 4G LTE. 

When it comes to choosing your new tablet weigh your options and keep in mind that choosing between these two will make you part of either Android's OS or Apple's IOS party. 

Friday, August 31, 2012

Back to School

Alright parents, we know you love your kids and they're the best and the smartest and you're oh so proud of them.  Your car has the "My kid is an HONOR STUDENT at Lincoln Elementary" sticker to prove it.  But let's be honest, aren't you glad summer is finally over and those wonderful model citizens of the future get to be on someone else's clock?  It's perfectly OK to admit that the phrase Back to School gives you a sense of relief.  So I'm certain you've guessed by now that today's post is all about cool, affordable Back to School gear for your current or potential honor student. 

First up we have the Enhance ErgoPROP stand that works with laptops and tablets.  Just like sitting too close to the TV is bad for little Billy, so is slouching over a laptop screen.  The ErgoPROP has an adjustable riser that helps raise the screen to the perfect, ergonomically correct viewing height. 

Next is the WireFree Bluetooth keyboard.  Pair the WireFree with your tablet for more efficient typing or use it in conjunction with the ErgoPROP for a safe and comfortable homework setup.  Anything you can do to make book reports a little less scary. 

And lastly we have the Enhance Touch Screen Joystick, because every kid needs a reward after they've finished their homework!  The joystick attaches to any tablet screen for that old school arcade feel.  It's also available in a mini version for touchscreen smart phones.  But if you get them the mini version we can't promise your kid won't end up in detention for playing video games in class.

Friday, August 24, 2012

How to Survive a Road Trip With Your Significant Other

Over the course of the summer we've seen plenty of posts and articles all over the internets telling us how to keep from losing all sanity during a family road trip with the kids.  Which are all much appreciated tips, but we all expect kids to get restless and anxious.  The best case scenario, they get sleepy and take a nap just when their iPod or iPad starts to run low.  Worst case scenario you raise your voice to an authoritarian tone and make threats of no more ice cream stops.  Either way you're the superior, the Alpha if you will, in this situation.  You say what goes.  But what do you do when it's just the "two of you", no kids, and the hours in the car start to take their toll?  Usually, about 3 hours into the trip, idiosyncrasies start to pollute the environment.  Whether it's a marriage, partnership, or we-don't-do-labels-ship this phenomenon will occur.  In this case you are both equals, both adults, there is no way an authoritarian tone or threat will go over well with either party.  Allowing any of this to happen could bring impending doom to your relationship.  I'm certain that there have been plenty of relationships that crumbled halfway through a road trip.  But fear not, as we have a secret weapon.

As the old Benjamin Franklin adage goes, "an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure".  In this case the prevention is the ReVIVE DualFLUX DC Car Charge, weighing in at 1.6 ounces.  Here's the secret to prevention part, the DualFLUX can quickly charge both a smart phone and a tablet at the same time from your car's DC outlet.  In this era of handheld technology and constant connectivity what do we do when we want to avoid a confrontation?  We start scrolling through our Facebook notifications, play an urgent game of Draw Something, or have that overdue face time chat with mom.  And this is where the secret weapon comes in handy.  Now neither of you have to worry about your battery dying, leaving you with no digital armor.  And because the DualFLUX has two charging ports you'll completely avoid the chances of a lover's quarrel over whose turn it is to use the charger. 

Friday, August 17, 2012

Flex Alert!

In perpetually sunny southern California we have a summertime phenomenon know as the "Flex Alert".  You see the funny thing about the sun is that it makes the end of summer days intolerably hot.  This causes everyone on the power grid to crank up the AC so as not to become an uncomfortably, and in the worst case scenario, an offensively, sweaty mess.  Along with the AC running you have the fans, lights, refrigerators, computers, washing machines (for your sweat soaked clothing), dryers, flat irons, etc. all running constantly.  This seasonal increase in electricity usage causes a tremendous strain on the power grids.  The result of which is a rolling blackout.  

In order to prevent blackouts from occurring the California Independent System Operator (ISO) monitors the cosmos, the weather, the earth's core and just for good measure asks a magic eight ball "Will it be hot today?" If everything, especially the magic eight ball, says "yes, it will in fact be hot today", the ISO then imposes a Flex Alert.  Which is essentially a plea to all consumers of energy to tone down their use and do what we should all be doing anyway.  Which is turning of  all unnecessary, lights, appliances, electronics, pinball machines, kegerators, hadron colliders, etc.  At least until after 6:00 p.m. which is the official conclusion of peak hours.  Of course there are certain things that need to be plugged in during peak hours for life to continue.  For example, cellphones, smart phones, laptops, tablets, and ultra books to name the more important ones. 

So how, you might ask, can we have our electric slice of cake and eat it too?  The answer to this dilemma is what is causing the problem to begin with, the sun.  Flip the script on this paradox by using solar back-up batteries that harness the suns rays and power just about any device that's USB enabled.  The Solar ReStore XL will charge a smart phone 3 times over, which is perfect after Angry Birds eats your battery life.  Even more impressive is the new ReStore 9200 which can simultaneously charge a smart phone and a tablet.  It doubles as a viewing stand and has an emergency LED flashlight which can run for 150 continuous hours to light up your surroundings in case there is a blackout.  Both back-up battery packs can be charged during off-peak hours through any USB output.  The Solar ReStore XL charges via direct sunlight through the front solar panel and the 9200 can be linked with a chain of add-on solar panels to transform it into a solar charger.  So do your part and opt for solar when charging your devices, or else!

Friday, August 10, 2012

Grand Opening of our Facebook Store

Guess what we did?  We made getting your hands-on our favorite and best selling products even easier!  No we didn't figure a teleportation shipping service, but we did open a store on Facebook.  So now when you're waiting to see if anyone has commented on your most recent crazy cat post you can kill those two minutes by shopping our storefront on the Payvment shopping mall.  Or to take full advantage of your two minute shopping spree just go to our Facebook page and click on the green shopping cart to be transported directly to our carefully curated selections.  As a welcome gift we giving everyone an additional discount to the already slashed prices on our site.  Just enter promo code AGSHOPNOW in the shopping cart to receive your discount.  Happy shopping!

Friday, August 3, 2012

Curiosity about life on Mars?

Good news everyone, we will soon know what kind of clothing to pack for our colonization of Mars. Yep, you read that right but please feel free to read it again.  In what should be front page news, the Mars rover by the name of Curiosity has made some absolutely incredible discoveries about Mars and it's still road trippin' to our red neighbor.   But before you start packing let me catch you up on some facts about this amazing little spacecraft.

Curiosity launched on November 26, 2011 from Cape Canaveral, FL.  It is scheduled to make a horribly terrifying entry into Mars' atmosphere where the descent module will go from 13,200 mph to a dead stop in a little under seven minutes.  This will hopefully end in a safe landing on the 6th of August, 2012.  Once it lands, Curiosity is scheduled to spend two years studying abroad on Mars. This is the seventh American mission to Mars.  All six previous rovers completed their missions successfully and with a $2.5 billion dollar investment into this mission, NASA and all of us rover lovers are keeping fingers crossed that Curiosity will not only be successful but the most successful mission to Mars to date.  The "X" marking the landing spot will be in the Gale Crater which billions of years ago was the martian equivalent of a Great Lake.  This is super important because unlike its predecessors, Curiosity is going to specialize its studies in Astrobiology, the study of past, present and future extraterrestrial life.  This doesn't mean that Curiosity will be searching for Martians, rather it will search for carbon-based compounds to see if there was previously life on Mars.  Of course the outfitting of this newest Rover has to be up to snuff.  Curiosity is equipped with twice as many instruments as its predecessors and has been beefed up to 10 times the weight with the equivalent of monster rover tires so that it can climb mountains.  Last but not least the Curiosity can make its own decisions.  It's not equipped with artificial intelligence but it can gather and measure data, therefore making an educated decision based on it's own conclusions.  So if Curiosity becomes a sentient rover and decides that it likes the chilly -100 degree nights on Mars it can choose to stay up to 10 years on Mars before its battery runs out.

Now that your curiosity of Curiosity has been satisfied here is the front page news.  On its way to Mars, the rover has been gathering data about its surroundings.  Particularly about the radiation types and levels both on the way to Mars and on the surface of the red planet itself.  This is huge news because with the information gathered scientists will know what types of materials, construction and engineering to use for future manned spacecraft to Mars!!  Hence future colonization!  In the mean time we can daydream about what we would pack for a Martian spring.  Maybe a Pal Bot as a peace offering in case there is life on Mars.
Note: Listening to David Bowie's Life On Mars? on repeat while writing this.

Friday, July 27, 2012

It's a Pal Bot!

We would like to ask all of you to join us in welcoming the newest member to our GOgroove family, the Pal Bot Portable Rechargeable Speaker. You won't be able to wait to take this little guy home. Everyone will welcome the Pal Bot with open arms.

Just like a newborn, the Pal Bot notifies you how it's feeling through unspoken cues. Its LED eyes will shine blue when it is fully charged. Once the battery starts to run low the bright blue eyes will change to red, warning you that you have about 30 minutes of play time left. At this point you can hook up the Pal Bot to any USB charging port, with the included MicroUSB cable, and its red eyes will change to purple, letting you know that it is charging. Once fully charged, the Pal Bot will play your favorite songs for up to six hours per charge. This means that you will rarely see its little eyes turn red.

You wouldn't leave a baby at home so take the Pal Bot everywhere and show it off to everyone! The Pal Bot can connect to just about any device with a 3.5mm audio jack. It has a retractable cord in the back that will connect to smartphones, tablets, iPods, computers, etc. So you can listen to just about anything anywhere. The two dual drive stereo speakers and its passive subwoofer make for a surprising sound quality, especially out of such a little guy (just like a crying baby!). You can also move its arms so it can hug you, if you feel the need to. But whatever you do, please do not put one of those flowery baby garter belts on its head. It really hates that.

Friday, July 20, 2012

How To Stay Connected in The Great Outdoors

It's the middle of summer, the days are long and the nights are hot. Perfect time of year to be out and about, enjoying the outdoors. Usually this means leaving your beloved gadgets at home. After all, no one wants to drop their iPhone in the pool or drown their digital camera in the lake. Even if you take any and all precautions to avoid such tragedies, being outdoors usually means being in areas with little service, therefore sucking your battery dry. Only a few moons ago enjoying the outdoors meant being able to disconnect from emails, tweets, status updates and so on. But these are different times, times where we want to be connected all the time, even in the great outdoors.

What good is cliff diving if you can't record it with your iPhone and post the video on Facebook? What's the point of cliff diving if you can't get any comments? But this scenario poses imminent peril for your electronics. First off you can drop your camera bag from said cliff trying to get a POV shot. Then there's the water, the kryptonite to your precious tools. A splash of water is terrifying enough but complete submergence is practically a death sentence. Now let's assume that everything is in working order, there's the added worry of little to no battery life, rendering everything useless as anything other than a paper weight. Take a deep breath, this is a hypothetical situation. No need to fret. Even though we know that there are countless things that could happen I won't continue to worry you any further. Sweat on your brow should happen due to the extra warm sunshine, not the worry I am causing. So let's talk about what we can do to ensure that none of the awful things happen and that you can have the most commented, retweeted and highest ranking experience.

First is the issue of the camera bag plummeting into the abyss? Handled! This Premium High-Impact Plush Carrying Case will protect your camera and if you use the belt loop strap it will stay with you. Just make sure to take it off (or at least take your camera out) before you jump.

Next we have those pesky currents moving all that water. Don't worry; the CamSAVER Waterproof Floating Camera Wrist Strap is the Baywatch lifeguard to your Point n' Shoot. Attach the strap to your waterproofed camera and the lightweight foam strap will keep it afloat.

Lastly there's the issue of power. When you're in the great outdoors you have the most powerful source of energy shining down on you. Use that sunshine for more than a tan by placing the Solar ReStore XL directly in it. The Solar Restore will keep your gadgets charged to their full potential so you can use them as more than weights to keep the corners of your towel down.

So enjoy your summer and make sure to download that app that measures the tide before you dive.

Friday, July 13, 2012


Paraskevidekatriaphobia, say that thirteen times fast. If you can't then you're doomed! Maybe, especially if you're one of the 21 or so million Americans with the terrifying phobia of Friday the 13th. It's going to be a rough year for them with three Friday the 13ths this year, all exactly 13 weeks apart.

For centuries both Friday and the number 13 have been considered unlucky, therefore making Friday the 13th the unluckiest of them all. The superstitions surrounding Friday the 13th have not only endured into the 21st century, but have similarities in countless cultures transcending language and religion. For example, in Christianity it is said that the Last Supper occurred on a Friday, at which Jesus sat with 12 disciples (1+12=13) and we know how that turned out. Also in Norse mythology, 12 gods gathered for a feast in Valhalla, Loki, the god of mischief (or the bad guy in Thor), was excluded from the gathering but decided to crash it. Loki was so enraged that he ordered Hod, the blind god of darkness, to kill Baldur, the god of joy, with a mistletoe arrow. This was said to cause Earth to plunge into darkness. Both of these have been cited as reason to never gather in groups of 13, the belief being that one of the party will perish.

These days it's estimated that over $800 million is lost on Friday the 13th because superstitious people refuse to drive, go to work, eat at restaurants, travel, or make significant purchases. So a huge sale on Friday the 13th is probably as lucky as you can get, at least for now. While major and minor historical and religious events have taken place to perpetuate our fear of Friday the 13th, an even bigger event in the near future may just be what either proves or disproves the association between bad luck and Friday the 13th. On Friday, April 13th, 2029 an asteroid by the name of Apophis will get a little too close for comfort. It's estimated that Apophis will come closer than the communication satellites that are currently orbiting Earth. I guess we'll just have to wait and see how lucky or unlucky that day ends up.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Independence Day Do-Over

This year our nation's Independence Day fell on Odin's Day, which to you and me is Wednesday. For most it meant that Tuesday felt like Friday, Wednesday felt like a combination Saturday/Sunday and yesterday became a second Monday. I don't know about you but I think that this weekend we need a 4th of July do-over, especially the people in San Diego who got 15 minutes worth of fireworks in 15 seconds. They definitely need a do-over. Here's a list of items you'll need to get the most out of your 4th of July weekend.

Whether you're grilling in the yard, celebrating poolside or heading to the beach for a party you're going to need a vessel to play your music. Think about all the movies, shows, music videos, etc. showing people enjoying the summer with friends and family, they always have music. It would be so weird without it, especially the music videos. For this you need an awesome portable speaker or better yet a few awesome portable speakers. Your best bet for all day sound that will play into the night check out the new BlueSync OR3 bluetooth speaker. The OR3 streams completely wireless audio from up to 30ft. away via bluetooth for up to 16 continuous hours on one charge. The orb-shaped comes with an acoustic resonance chamber for deep bass that booms out of the upward facing speaker to actually play your music up and out for everyone to enjoy. If you're having a party at home then you can set up a few of these to play different music through different areas of your home. Chill music by the pool, cool background music by the tables and music to get people moving on your makeshift living room dance floor.

The next thing you'll need is a solar battery pack so you can take advantage of the sun and make it work for more than just your tan. The new ReVIVE Solar ReStore XL has a 4,000 mAh solar panel. This means that once the XL is fully charged you can charge your smartphone along with two other guest's smartphones. The Solar ReStore XL especially comes in handy if you plan on being outdoors all day since you can not only charge your smartphone you can charge tablets, iPods and even your portable speakers!

Finally, if what you want to do for your 4th of July do-over is get out of town and find out what hot dogs and hamburgers taste like somewhere far away then you'll need to equip your car with a universal vent mount that can hold your GPS or smartphone so you can know how to get to that far away place. Make sure to pack your bluetooth speaker and solar battery pack too. You can play your favorite music from the OR3 and the Solar ReStore comes with suction mounts so you can stick it to your car window for optimal charging.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Smart Phone Accessories that You Should Have

Every year, the smart phone industry is releasing newer versions or newer models in the mobile market. With this, more and more people are attracted to smart phones, thus leading to an increase in the sales of smart phones.

It is noticeable that more and more people have smart phones as one of their tech gadgets in their everyday lives. To further maximize the purpose of the smart phone, it is also wise to invest in some accessories or gadgets that can be interconnected with the device. Having any these accessories allows you to enjoy more of your smart phone due to the fact that the designers of these devices have put into mind multi functionality.

In here, let us examine the different accessories and enhancements that you, as a smart phone owner should have in order for your device to give its full performance:

* Protective case - to protect your hard earned investment in the form of your smart phone, it is wise to buy it a protective case. A common protective case is made from two different materials, silicone and hard plastic. A silicone case is a perfect mould of your smart phone; it will fit perfectly on your phone and protect the casing against scratches and soft bumps. A hard case on the other hand is made of hard polymer that is specifically designed for your smart phone. This helps the phone to be protected against heavy bumps and hard scratches. But of course, care should still be observed since having a protective case does not guarantee that the phone is completely protected against damage.

* Earphones/headsets - if you plan to maximize your smart phone by using it as a music player, it is a wise thing to invest in a good pair of earphones or a headset. A good audio accessory for the phone should have a good mix of bass to enhance those tunes used for movement activities such as exercises or workouts. On the other hand, noise cancelling headphones are great if you want to listen to soft music from your phone without interference from outside noise.

* Hands free devices - hands free devices such as a Bluetooth earpiece is a nice investment if you want to use your smart phone while driving or when multi tasking. Since most smart phones have touch screens for interaction, having hands free devices is a great help if you do not feel like using your hands to interact with your phone when a call comes in.

* Car chargers - always on the go and always using your smart phone? A car charger is the best companion for your smart phone as this will allow you to charge up your phone while you are in your car. You will no longer worry about low battery notifications as your phone is always charged up anywhere and anytime.

* Car mounts - with car mounts, you interact with your smart phone without having the need to hold it with your hands while driving. Using this type of accessory allows you to interact with your phone in a safe manner while driving. Furthermore, you can use it as an entertainment device for your passengers while travelling. They can easily watch movies from the smart phone.

* Speakers/speaker docks - want to show off your playlist? Invest in speakers for your smart phone or speaker docks wherein you can dock your phone to a speaker to play music. This gives you the ability to show off to people the real capabilities of your phone when it comes to music quality.

There are numerous other accessories and gadgets on the market but these are a few of the essentials for your smart phone. Investing in any of these will allow your smart phone to show off its real capabilities.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Microsoft Surface Has Changed the Game

Monday was awesome! Which is not typical for a Monday but this Monday was different from any Monday that has ever been or will ever be. Why? Because Microsoft stepped out of the shadows and stunned the world with the Surface.

Apple has been the forerunner in the tablet category with Android tablets trailing behind. Now Microsoft has parachuted into the front of the race with what is hands down an innovative tablet design. This of course does not mean that your iPad or Kindle is a lesser product. It just means that Microsoft took the tablet platform and swan dove into first place. Here are a few reasons why. First, Windows 8, it's a completely new product from anything out there. It was designed to be all about the user and have an intuitive interface. Secondly is the construction, which is a completely new manufacturing process, called VaporMg (pronounced vapor mag) which pulls double duty by making the body lightweight and tough. It also makes the seemingly invisible kickstand a possibility. The kickstand itself is a game changer. Because of the VaporMg process it is virtually invisible when the Surface is being used as a tablet. Once the kickstand is out all it needs is the keyboard and voila, ultra book! This brings us to the third item, the keyboard. Microsoft designed a case for the Surface which is simultaneously logical and revolutionary. The case magnetically attaches itself, much like the iPad's does, but unlike any iPad case this one houses a complete keyboard and tracking pad in an impossible 3mms. The keys are pressure sensitive and even know to lock themselves when the case is closed over the Surface.

Apple had the future cornered with the iPad for play and the Mac Book Pro for work. Now the Microsoft Surface has turned all that around by being what looks to be the best of both worlds. Can't wait to get one of my own and all the cool new accessories to come.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Father's Day Gifts

This Sunday is Father's Day. Another day of recognition many don't know the history of so for those that don't or those who do and want a refresher, here you go.

In the summer of 1910, a young woman named Sonora Smart Dodd held the first Father's Day celebration in Spokane Washington just two years after the first Mother's Day celebration. She felt that fathers deserved to be celebrated as well. The main reason for this sentiment was that her father, Civil War veteran William Jackson Smart, had become a single father and had to take on the responsibility of raising his six children. Originally Sonora suggested her father's birthday (June 5th) as the celebratory date but preparations weren't completed until the 3rd Sunday of June. For the next ten years Sonora Dodd promoted Father's Day with little success. Then in the 1930's Sonora began extensively promoting Father's Day and even raised awareness at a national level. Mrs. Dodd had quite a knack for cross-promoting too. As of 1938 she got the backing of the Father's Day Council which was a New York based group founded by the Associated Men's Wear Retailers. Essentially all the guys that were in the business of making ties helped her promote her cause. For the next 30 or so years the nation was resistant to accepting Father's Day and even went so far as to make sarcastic jokes and cynical remarks in the press accusing merchants of just wanting to ride the success of Mother's Day and make a buck. Regardless of the decades of resistance from the public there were political figures that were for making Father's Day official. Beginning with then President Woodrow Wilson who way back in 1916 wanted to make it official. In 1924 President Coolidge suggested that it be celebrated by the nation as well. But it wasn't until 1972 that dads across the nation got the official recognition when President Richard Nixon signed it into law. So sixty-two years later the tie business went through the roof on the 3rd Sunday of June.

Not to mock anyone who bought their dad another tie this year, or maybe even an electronic tie-holder to sort all the ties from Father's Days past, but I have it on high authority that dads like gadgets too so if you bought your dad yet another tie or "Kiss the Cook" BBQ apron and feel that he deserves a do-over gift after Sunday then here's a few cool gadgets he's guaranteed to genuinely love and maybe even need.

ReVIVE Solar Restore XL- Compact, lightweight device charges with either sunlight or via USB. The Solar ReStore XL incorporates a high-efficiency solar panel with a 300mA charging rate in direct sunlight. With your average smartphone needing around 1300mAh to 1500mAh for a full charge, the XL will be charged up with enough juice after only 3-5 hours in direct sunlight. Leave the pack in direct sunlight for 13 hours to fully charge its internal 4000mAh battery. The low self-discharge Li-polymer battery pack stores emergency power for weeks without degradation, so you can use the power when you need it. Once charged the 4,000mAh battery can charge a Smartphone 3 times over. It has a built-in dual-mode LED flashlight which can shine at full beam or in S.O.S. mode for up to 36 consecutive hours on one charge. It also comes with 2 dual-window suction mounts, a carabiner and a USB-charging cable.

SMARTmini Bluetooth FM Transmitter- Make and Receive Calls on your Phone Hands-Free while driving! Equipped with Bluetooth Technology, it's easy to use your phone while driving. The hands free technology allows the user to make and receive phone calls through their car speakers. If music is playing, it will slowly fade out to allow the user to clearly connect to any phone call. The GOgroove SMARTmini BT plugs into AND grips the inside of your DC car outlet. The redesigned articulating neck is compact and the sleek design compliments any vehicle nicely.

Finally, if your dad is a gamer, give him the old school arcade experience with the ScreenPLAY touch screen joystick. The Enhance ScreenPLAY Tab joystick gives you the competitive edge you need to level up. ScreenPLAY allows you to easily play your favorite touch screen game without missing a move. Just mount the screen-safe joystick over the virtual gamepad and let the fun begin!

Friday, June 8, 2012

CNET Features Panda Pal Portable Speaker

This has been a tremendous week for Accessory Genie. More specifically for the GOgroove Panda Pal portable speaker which was spotlighted in all of its adorable glory on, yes CNET. For those who are unaware of who CNET is, it's a tech media site which was originally founded in 1994 and has a mammoth following with over 12,000,000 unique visitors. In other words, they're HUGE!

For two glorious days CNET has the GOgroove Panda Pal portable speaker featured as an Exclusive Deal at the lowest price anywhere. Besides the cache of being an "Exclusive Deal", both Liza Maloy and Rick Broida from CNET wrote incredible reviews about one of our favorite products. But they weren't just interested in the Panda Pal because of its super cute design or the huge sound it puts out, they want to help Pandas International too. A heart as big as their site.

Pandas International is a non-profit organization that has been mentioned plenty here, but that's because what they do is so important that we'll mention them every chance we get. To reiterate to those in the know or to enlighten any novices, Pandas International is dedicated to the preservation of the endangered Giant Panda and its habitat. They were founded in 1999 after the soon to be founders witnessed the plight of the endangered Panda first-hand in China. Since then they have been working tirelessly to raise funds through donations and to educate the public so that future generations can continue preservation efforts. In 2008, an 8.0 magnitude earthquake devastated the Sichuan Province of China. As a result, the Wolong Giant Panda Reserve Center was severely affected. Immediately following the earthquake, Pandas International dedicated itself to raising money to provide medicine, food and electrical equipment to the reserve and neighboring communities. Since then, Pandas International has been concentrating efforts on rebuilding the forested area the pandas call home through their Bamboo Project. Pandas International has several ways that you can help including Pennies 4 Pandas, Adopt a Panda, and Sponsor a Panda. Another way that they're spreading the word and raising funds is through sales of the Panda Pal portable speaker. From June through October 5% of the net profits of Panda Pal sales will be donated directly to Pandas International.

So hurry and get your very own Panda Pal from CNET and I mean hurry since their offer ends at 11:00pm EST today. If you don't make it to that deal then you can grab one on sale on this very site. Learn more about how you can help the endangered Giant Panda at