As we turn the corner into spring, the dream of warm weather will start to become more than just a fantasy. Soon enough, the cold weather and rainy days will be behind us, and we will re-emerge from dark interiors back into an outdoor mindset. Which means, that not only will the chores of everyday life be less of a task, but also that outdoor activities will only be a weekend away. And all this outdoor living is sure to draw up a thirst.
I feel sorry for toasters. They all seem to suffer from an identity crisis. We've seen toasters that can fry an egg, toasters that think they're panini presses, and here's a toaster that thinks it's an oven. Wait, what's that you say? Toaster ovens are nothing new? True, but they don't usually come with temperature probes.
The Hamilton Beach Set & Forget Toaster Oven with Convection Cooking (Model 31230) can toast six slices of bread at a time, but it can also do so much more. With an integrated temperature probe, the miniature oven … Read more
Do the blahs of winter get you down, and do warm, sandy, exotic locales sound appealing? Do you enjoy games that have a simple, fun premise? Games that involve skill-based competition and minimal rules instead of maze-like scenarios, heavy weaponry, and kegs of blood? How do you feel about bikini-clad athletes and Italian supermodels? If "all of the above" sounds familiar, you might be a Beach Volley Hot Sports fan and not even know it. It's a beach volleyball sim from Idoru that relies on accurate play based on the real sport's official rules instead of … Read more
BOYNTON BEACH, Fla.--In a windowless second-floor office in the stucco building that houses the Boynton Beach Police Department about an hour north of Miami, there's a computer monitor on the back wall displaying a full-screen version of Twitter client TweetDeck.
"Lots of real estate listings," commented Stephanie Slater, the BBPD's public information officer and chief media spokesperson, sitting in front of the monitor. "A few people are just tweeting news headlines about what's going on in town. Nothing really."
Slater, a former cop-beat reporter for the local Palm Beach Post, was keeping … Read more
Available space on the kitchen counter is a rarity. Aside from making room for all the gadgets and appliances, we are somehow supposed to find the space to, you know, occasionally actually prepare a meal. The invention of the kitchen cupboard is the best thing that ever happened to the kitchen counter, but if maneuvering in or about cabinetry is a hassle, chances are it won't happen--and delivery or a frozen pizza will.
Easy access to a food processor is often the first step to creating a great home a meal. As prep tools go, they can't be … Read more
Hand mixers are necessarily quite powerful. Their function requires fast spinning beaters, designed to plow through everything from thin cream to thick dough. One of the first kitchen-related things we learn as children (other than stove equals hot) is not to stick our fingers into the cookie dough. While hygienically speaking this is a bad idea anyways, the presence of rapidly spinning beaters teaches us that it is a good idea to practice patience. (All bets are off though, when those beaters are detached from the mixer and are begging to be licked clean.)
A not-necessarily welcome result of all … Read more
Machines that open cans have always confused me. Sure, I understand that for some people opening canned goods can be physically challenging, but as a common kitchen item, its popularity escapes me. For me, it's just quicker and easier to use the handheld can opener. Granted, it's not always easy to find the handheld opener, but when you train yourself to always put it somewhere specific (like car keys), it's the quickest, most efficient tool available. Other than acting as a hard-to-misplace anchor, a can opener weighed down by a motor seems to me to be frivolous--unless, … Read more
Coast Defense Free is a fun, no-cost preview of Coast Defense, a straightforward arcade wargame with some similarities to castle-defense-type games. Your objective in Coast Defense is simple: gun down waves of enemies as they advance on your bunker, from infantry (with bazookas or rifles) to tanks and troop transport trucks. The interface has you looking out from your foxhole, with enemies charging from left to right across a beach--and you can tilt your device right or left to scan the entire beach (close to twice the width of your screen). You aim with your left thumb, with a touchscreen … Read more
Amidio makes some heavy-duty musical apps for the iPhone and iPod Touch; I was particularly impressed with StarGuitar, which gives you a virtual guitar with a bunch of preset rhythms, letting songwriters create quick sketches of ideas when they're nowhere near a guitar.
On Tuesday, Apple approved a new Amidio app, called TouchDJ, for the iPhone and iPod Touch, and it's both very impressive from a technical standpoint and a heck of a lot of fun. The iPhone can only play one audio track at a time, but TouchDJ essentially fools it into placing two MP3s side by side for simultaneous, real-time manipulation and playback. It's like a two-track digital DJ setup right on your iPhone.
You get a crossfader to control the balance between the two tracks, plus individual controls for each track's volume, pitch/speed (which aren't independent from one another, unfortunately), equalization (three bands), and effects (the built-in real-time effect sounds like a kind of flanger, and there are several lame samples of a low-pitched robot voice, but you can upload your own). Each track is represented by simple waveform images that use a different color for the bass, which helps you match beats more effectively. A tempobend effect, which lets you quickly bend the speed up or down on either track, also helps you get in sync.
The looping functions were most impressive--you can create a cue and loop mark at any point in either track, then return to the cue with the rewind button, move to the loop mark with the fast forward button, or create an endless loop between the two points. All of this is in real time. If you've got an audio splitter, you can even create a separate cue track for your headphones--for example, to set up a loop in your second track while the first one is playing, without exposing your experimentation to your audience--although this requires some serious processing power, and is recommended only for an iPhone 3GS.
There are a couple caveats.… Read more
The 2011 Bentley Mulsanne was officially announced at the 2009 Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance, but the luxury automaker was keeping quiet with the details regarding its newest land-yacht's power train and tech. However, with the 2009 Frankfurt auto show, the veil has been pulled back and we're finally able to share the goods.
Let's just get this out of the way: 752 pound-feet of torque--that's how much twist is generated by the Mulsanne's 6.75-liter twin-turbocharged V-8 engine. There's also 505-horsepower being generated, but we can't get past that number: 752.
The … Read more