June 17, 1991 |
The newspapers have been full of ads in these weeks leading up to Father's Day. Gadgets and gimmicks compete with the usual shirts, ties, cologne and cuff links as the gifts of choice to show Dad "how much you care. " Fathers in particular (and husbands and men in general) have taken quite a licking in recent years and not all have kept on ticking. A New York Times editorial last week was titled "The Husband Vanishes" and said, "Maybe marriage, as detractors claim, has become passe.
February 11, 1991 |
When I discovered that nothing was stolen from the rifled glove compartment of our unlocked car the other day, I rejoiced that the neighborhood seemed to be attracting a better class of thief. Here, at last, was someone able to grasp the futility of stealing two cardboard travel bingos and an ice scraper. I later realized though that what had changed was not the character of the thief but my own accommodation of him. By leaving the doors unlocked, I had avoided a broken window and given him, or her, time to reflect.
October 15, 1999 |
The $125 million Mars Climate Orbiter, it turns out, was fed data expressed in pounds, the English unit of force, when it was expecting the numbers to be expressed in newtons, the metric unit. As a result, the spacecraft flew too close to the surface of the Red Planet, broke apart and burned. The crash two weeks ago was sad, frightening and a tad absurd. Bracketed with the human error at a nuclear power plant in Japan, it underscores once again how gadgets of all sorts, no matter how sophisticated their hidden safeguards, still have to be operated by people.
November 20, 1988 |
The room does not say superstar. It's a sizable but standard hotel suite: Dull yellow light from bulky table lamps, painstakingly nondescript wallpaper and windows overlooking an asphalt expanse of parking lot. But look down at your feet and the star starts to shine through. Black electrical cable ribbons the floor and leads your eye to a heaping tableful of synthesizers, computer terminals and assorted musical gizmos and gadgets. This is Stevie Wonder territory. The man who blew onto the pop scene with the gusty harmonica squalls of "Fingertips" 25 years ago is now famed - and critically chided - for music that explores the farthest frontiers of electronic sound.
March 16, 2013 |
If people are inside Larry Korff's Shore house in Loveladies, N.J., he can "see" them on his video camera from 72 miles away. In early spring, his summer home will "tell" him by text when the plumber stops by to turn the water back on. And never mind those days of entering a stuffy, shuttered house on a Friday night during a heat wave in August. "I can put my air conditioner on two hours before I get down to my beach house, and it'll be very comfortable when I arrive," says the businessman, 61, who also has burglary and fire alarm systems in his Wynnewood home, as well as a programmable thermostat, and sensors on the sump pump and basement walls to detect flooding.
March 29, 2013
WOULDN'T it be great to have Wi-Fi wireless Internet connectivity everywhere for our gadgets? Someday maybe we will - if big guns like Google and Comcast and forward-thinking municipalities ever decide to build hot spots to totally blanket the town. But at the moment, we can make do with freedom-breeding, Wi-Fi signal-spreading devices such as the D-Link DAP-1320 Wireless Range Extender and Novatel's aptly named MiFi Liberate mobile hot spot. Plug 'n' Play Designed for home use, the tiny D-Link plug-in booster does a pretty decent job of extending the signal range of your current wireless router, which improves the speed and stability of signal reception at "fringe" zones far removed from the wireless router.
October 24, 2011 |
MICHAEL McGettigan has gone through his share of smartphones and other high-tech gadgets. He bought the first iteration of a PalmPilot and kept branching out from there. But when his Palm Treo broke a couple of years ago, he felt as if he had lost an appendage. McGettigan's minicrisis inspired him to simplify his life. Instead of feeling lost when numbers are locked in a fried phone, McGettigan now relies on a notebook like Filofax to keep all of his pertinent information organized.
June 17, 2012 |
The ElliptiGo is a portable road bike you don't pedal the usual way. A hybrid between a bicycle and an elliptical trainer, the ElliptiGo is powered by long flat pedals you push your feet up and down on while standing (there's no seat). That action is easier on the joints than regular bike pedaling, and takes advantage of gravity, while providing a good cardio workout on the road. Available in three models, ranging from 3- to 11-gear systems, the bikes have adjustable and removable steering columns and removable front wheels for storage and transport.