Our favorite smart phone gadgets [Gadgets 007]




The arrangement of the plus and minus on the Logitech speaker makes it look like it has a big crucifix on the side.


I was just at a (non-tech) trade show, and several vendors were giving 'fuel rod' smartphone rechargers away as booth freebies, ranging from 1500-2300mAh. Given that these retail for $8 in large quantity for the low end ones, that's nice swag.


Battery packs are a must.

I use a 12V/2.3Ah three-cell Li-poly battery, sourced from China in quantity as part of another project (sequesterde a pair for myself) as the main power pack. This gives me 12 volts on a bog-standard 2.1/5.5mm barrel jack. Useful for 12V gadgets, e.g. a miniature soldering iron.

Then there is a modded car lighter-plug buck converter, having the barrel jack as input and providing two USB-A sockets (and one short stub of a microUSB cable). That provides me with 5 volts for smartphone (earlier it was a Nokia E71 modded with microUSB charging connector in addition to the stock one), camera (a modded Nikon so it has a microUSB for charging, a 3.5mm jack for audio/video output, and another microUSB for data upload, instead of its proprietary crap), a modded ebook reader (with microUSB for charging), and other USB-powered gadgets. Up to three things can be charged simultaneously, one with the stub cable and two with regular microUSB cables. The charger assembly then comfortably fits in a thigh pocket of cargo pants, and the long wire assures comfortable use of whatever peripheral is in operation.

Modular design, with good six times the juice the overpriced off-the-shelf stuff provides. (Three times each, two batteries.)

For charging the batteries, a microprocessor controlled aircraft-model grade charger is used; an overkill but that's what I have. (Todo: Get or make a smaller one.) Modded to use a laptop power supply (with a switch with four silicon diodes (0.7V loss on each) to drop the 19-20V voltage to below 18V where the charger stops complaining about overvoltage). The laptop PSU itself has an adapter from the IBM socket (harvested from an old laptop, sticking to one brand has its advantages as over the years you accumulate a stockpile of spare parts) to the barrel jack, tied to the cord to not get lost.)

European airports so far cope with the wire ratsnest fairly well, seems to be a matter of pro-looking casing.

The Spring thingy is clever. Should try it out with Sugru. Would be compatible with way more earphone models than with just The Fruit. The Smartwrap thingy as well, but not $5-a-piece clever, when the same can be lasercut (or even handcut) from an elastomer sheet or hand-moulded from Sugru.

A lot of hacks can be done on the go. In addition to Sugru (good material but with annoyingly long cure time when you're on the go), a good stuff to carry is a little bag of polycaprolactone (aka Shapeloc) pellets. It was in a hotel room where I used hot water from a tea kettle to shape a connector strain relief overmould from this material, to get me out of trouble. (Add a microsized soldering iron with a small spool of reliable lead-tin solder, some heat-shrink pieces, and couple other tools and you get a pound worth of stuff to keep your electronics healthy and happy.) So polycaprolactone should go to the gadgets list too. Maybe a separate repair/mod-things-on-the-go list too.


What many people saw instead of the product...


I was just wondering about how many cans of beans she had to eat in order to generate that magnificent blast behind her...


much gratitude for confirming it isn't just me


Yeah. I have nothing against breasts, but it's really old-fashioned to be so blatant about using 'em to get clicks/sell stuff. Considering how often BB gets its undies in a twist over other-but-similar things it'd be nice if they'd take the high road and just give us a shot of the product.

I won't be reading the article or clicking any of product the links in it, if anyone cares (which I highly doubt).


I have nothing against breasts

So you're either a female woman without a bra or a man male without access to a female woman...

EDIT: Edited out old-timey semantics from joke.


No - I saw the breast attracting electronic device as well... Isn't that what they wanted me to think?


I feel like BB is a more intellectual place where I can avoid beer and bewbs type stories or endorsements.
I stand with the other comments in feeling that the headless swimsuit breasts are a crass attempt at manipulating the nerve running between the gonads and wallet having nothing to do with the product.
This is not a random candid shot among many taken that day by friends at the pool, a advertising shoot is a planned event and the digital editing means that effort went into this picture. 
The woman on the right is sufficient to demonstrate that the water resistant speaker is being used by a pool. We see someone apparently admiring her water resistant purchase, there is a readable message, and not the mammary glands with cut off face on the left which say nothing except buy this because... BOOBIES!!


I carry a butane soldering iron even while cycle touring or playing with light aircraft. The other stuff too, I should really get a few packs of Sugaru, currently I carry a stick of hot glue. The problem is that repaired electronics and electronic repair tools get the stink eye at TSA and UK security, so far security in Tel Aviv doesn’t seem to care about that stuff at the airport just at malls.


Sugru is good, but needs about 24 hours to cure. Which limits its usefulness in "tactical scenarios".

I completely forgot to mention hot glue. It is one of the most versatile substances. Usable for potting electronics, ad-hoc assembling stuff together (e.g. making a block of relays and connectors, and then mounting the rest of parts on this "base" dead-bug style), overmoulds for connectors (when the original screw-on housings are unpleasantly big, you need a 90-degree angle one, or you're using a connector salvaged from a cable (never throw out connectors from the chewed-off cables, they can do good job after being cut out of the plastic overmoulds)), and so on and on and on. Can be worked with using a butane torch (which makes it even more fluid and better-sticking than the hot glue gun), can be flame-polished (remelt the surface of the object and it gets smooth). And it is a good training for working glass with a torch as the softening behavior is somewhat similar. Just take measures to never touch the molten glue - it is worse than napalm!

I have the luck that the only security I encounter is on the airports (central Europe, so not even that is exceedingly annoying); even when I once caught fire in a subway (small sealed lead-acid battery as a pocket power supply for phone and other stuff, and an insulation slipped on one wire in a connector, oops - the wire shed its insulation rather quickly, these things can pump out a LOT of juice) I got barely noticed by the fellow passengers (and added a 3-amp Polyswitch fuse on the battery afterwards; these things are cheap and plentiful and there is no excuse for not putting them almost everywhere). (Since then I switched to lighter Li-poly with built-in overcurrent protection in the battery protection module.) If somebody would pester me for homemade tech, I'd probably go ballistic; I consider the right to make and modify (both hw and sw) and wildly repurpose (and take apart and reverse-engineer) things to be one of the basic human rights.


Foolish citizen, your human rights end with the right to be free from all fear except that which we use to gently guide you


I grew up used to the threat of global thermonuclear war. It is kind of hard to top it. Certainly not with the wimpy stuff the Powers That Be wave around now.


It was probably not intentional, but I'd recommend not using "female" where "woman" suffices just as well (and is also the more grammatically correct term in your sentence, anyway), and especially when you say "man" immediately after in the same sentence.


It was probably not intentional, but I'd recommend not using "female" where "woman" suffices just as well

Is using the term "female" bad? I hadn't heard that before. I just thought it sounded better for Groucho, but I could be wrong! smiley


Yes. It's dehumanizing. Especially when you say "man" in the same sentence. Not to mention the MRA types who use "female" disparagingly instead of calling women, well, women. It's creepy.

Further, a female could mean a girl OR a woman. Woman is far more specific. So you're lumping them together, girl and woman both, and yet talking specifically about a man. It's not unusual for human female** to be lumped together in that fashion (up to calling adult women "girls" in professional settings, for example).

It's also worth noting that it's very rare to see "male" used in the same way you did female in that sentence. Rarely do people say "male" and yet why is "female" so popular? It's disconcerting and noteworthy, particularly when you consider the definitions of these words.


Someone asked me this morning as I contemplated my feelings on this topic: Don’t female and woman mean the same thing? Well, not exactly. A female is defined as: “of, relating to, or being, the sex that bears young or produces eggs.” It is a biological definition that denotes one’s sex. The “one” in that sentence can refer to any animal with the capacity to reproduce. Woman, however, is described this way: “the female human being (distinguished from man).” In observing these definitions, one can conclude that being called a woman establishes humanity. I am human. I am woman.

It's not really political. It's just dehumanizing and disrespectful, neither of which I consider "political" Treating human women with respect should be a given. Also, it's not grammatically correct. **MY usage of female was correct since I was intentionally trying to include both girls and women. smile

It's bothersome that respecting women and treating them as human beings is seen so often as "political". I happen to be a woman, and I don't consider being spoken about in a respectful manner as "political" but rather as the bare minimum a decent human being of either gender should aspire to.


Not to mention the MRA types who use "female" disparagingly instead of calling women, well, women. It's creepy.

Well, thankfully I'm not an MRA-type and I was just telling a joke and using semantics that I thought sounded like an old, vaudville comedian like Groucho Marx or whomever. smiley

Yes. It's dehumanizing. Especially when you say "man" in the same sentence.

Ok, my intentions weren't to dehumanize anyone. I edited it! smiley


I wasn't calling you an MRA type, and I don't think you are (though that doesn't mean you're not immune to saying/doing sexist things sometimes, but none of us are, including me) -- but your condescending (and incorrect) meme is noted, however. I was very polite, but hey, I suppose for some, a demand o be respected as a human being and as a woman is asking for "trouble". I don't mind. I'll continue to demand it.

Oh but wait, ha ha, it was just a joke, amiright, and I lack a sense of humor? Ha ha ha. I enjoy being mocked for my reasonable expectations of respect!

But thank you for the edit, I suppose.