Showing posts from October, 2013

Gadget of the Week - Max Burton Induction Cooktop

TechnoRV has been using the Max Burton Deluxe Induction Cooktop in our RV now for almost 2 years and WE LOVE IT! It was a gift for Tracey's birthday and we've used it everyday, twice a day since. In fact, I can't remember the last time that we used our propane cooker. Since we never use it, the cover stays on and we get loads of extra space in our kitchen.

So what do we like about the induction cooker?

Since 83% of the energy is transmitted directly into the food compared to 30 - 35% for a propane cooker, it's SUPER FAST. At our recent TechnoGeek Learning Rally, Tracey demonstrated the cook top by cooking Curried Parsnip Soup from start to finish in 20 minutes. That efficiency also means that the cooker won't heat up your RV the same as using your propane burner. This can be especially useful on very hot days and puts much less strain on your ac system meaning a cooler rig.

Previously I'd always sworn by propane as I found it much more controllable than elect…

TechnoRV Visits the Motorhome and Caravan Show

The Motorhome and Caravan Show is the UK's largest camping show with over 100,000 visitors this year. It was held in the NEC in Birmingham which is the largest exhibition complex in the UK and occupies 19 halls! Luckily they are organized side-by-side so you can easily walk from one hall to the next, as long as your feet will permit it.

As children, both Tracey and I had camped in the UK. A thoroughly miserable experience. My recollections are of wet grass, cow pats and lying on a blow-up bed in a tent watching a river run past me and wondering at what point my bed would up and float away with me on it.

It is perhaps for this reason that caravans and more recently motorhomes are becoming increasingly popular here. The campsites are still quite basic, many are simply farmers fields with no facilities, but there are more and more resort-style locations being built.

Looking back now at the show, one of the things that struck me most was how expensive everything is here compared to t…

iPhone vs Android - Music (Part 5)

Music is a passion of mine and I've tried about every gadget that came along to bring my music with me. In fact, I even modified my Parka (a popular brand of over-coat back in the 70's, see left) when I was in high school by sewing into the hood a speaker for each ear to be able to listen to the radio on the bus to school. The only problem was that I had to have my hood up to listen to music which got a bit hot in summer! I had to wait almost 10 years until Sony launched the Walkman in 1980. Do you remember the Discman (Sony's portable CD player), and then in 1997 came the first MP3 player. Then everything changed in 2001 when Apple launched the iPod putting 1,000 songs in your pocket. What a concept! I remember being so blown away when I saw my first one. More recently, streaming music services have grown rapidly in popularity. This year revenue from streaming grew by 40% and overtook downloads for the first time (streaming is where you listen to music played from the Cl…

App of the Week - Evernote

I love Evernote. It's one of those apps that once you start using you say to yourself, "What did I do before I had Evernote?" Let me explain. Most of us like to make lists, I know that I do. The problem is, what do you do with those lists, other than lose them or can't find them? Take the example of a shopping list. Imagine being able to create a shopping list on your computer. Then when you go to the shop, it's automatically there for you on your phone. Better still, it's also on your iPad, Google Tablet and your wife's Galaxy.

But it's not just shopping lists. You can save web pages to Evernote, upload documents that you've scanned with Genius scan (remember that from our last newsletter), capture a photo and tasting notes from your latest beer. The list is endless. Each note can be tagged for easy capture, and you can also access your entire note collection online. Best of all, it's free!!

Use your phone as a scanner with Genius Scan

I must confess that I have been "anti-paper" for almost 20 years now (that's a scary thought) and as such, don't even possess a filing cabinet or paper filing system, because I don't have any paper (except passports etc). Even though I have my trusty Docuscan scanner in the motorhome, that doesn't help me when I'm out-and-about.  You can imagine my delight therefore when I discovered an app that allowed me to use my phone as a scanner.

So many times in the past I'd gone into a spasm when someone gave me a copy of their favorite recipe, or wanted to save a menu from a favorite restaurant or even my beer tasting notes from a favorite brewery. What to do with it? Where to file it?

With Genius Scan, you take a photo of your document. Genius Scan will then crop it, straighten it, adjust for parallax error, enhance it to make the text better and then convert it to a PDF document (this is the standard format for saving and sharing documents, and is available…

Should you upgrade to iOS 7?

Just in case you missed it, Apple has released its latest update to the operating system for its iPhones and iPads. In fact, you may have noticed the little red dot or "1" on your Settings tab signifying that there is an update pending. Your phone may have already downloaded the 750MB update - even if you don't update it's sitting there taking up to 3Gb of space on your device (that explains where all the space has gone on Tracey's phone).

So what's to be done? Should you go ahead and just update? If so, what can you expect? Normally it's not a big deal, but this is the largest phone OS release that Apple has rolled out since launching the iPhone and to be honest, the feedback to date hasn't been great. Don't get me wrong, there are some fine new features which we'll cover later, but many people, me included, think it's too "different", has too many unnecessary changes and not enough upsides to overcome the downsides.

The problem…

Bose SoundLink Mini Bluetooth Speaker

For those of you who know me, you'll know that I love my music. In fact, if you've ever been at a rally early, you can always find the TechnoRV booth during setup, just follow the music. Up until now, my favorite way to play music was to stream using Pandora, with my iPhone plugged into my BlockRocker. The sound is great, but it's quite big and bulky.

Back in August it was my birthday and everyone was asking what I wanted. I'd seen a friend with a small portable bluetooth speaker called a Jawbone. It looked pretty cool, but when I read the reviews, I came across the Bose SoundLink Mini Bluetooth Speaker. It got 5 stars out of 316 reviews on Amazon and even though it was a little more expensive, that's what I put on my birthday list!

I Love it!!
When reviewing a new gadget I always try to think of both the positives and the negatives. In the case of the Bose SoundLink, I really can't think of any negatives. I've been using it now almost daily for the last mo…