Archives For Gadgets

Bringing tech to the corn fields of the Midwest, gadgeteer and cat lover Adam Miarka contributes to Zatz Not Funny when the overlord allows. When not on ZNF, Adam posts pictures to and harasses the public from @adammiarka on Twitter.


Being a Kickstarter for the first generation Simple TV, I’ve always been interested in technologies that could disrupt traditional TV viewing. When the original Simple TV was announced back in 2012, it looked like something that could actually let me break from my current (TiVo) setup while lowering our monthly expenditures.The original Simple TV had one fatal flaw, a single tuner for recording.

Despite this limitation, I decided to back the project to get a feeling for how this new setup might work in our household. The idea of having a device that could basically capture any OTA or ClearQAM signals and then have it playback on a myriad of devices (web browser, iOS devices, Android devices, Roku) was very enticing. You only need to bring a hard drive to get the Simple TV party started! Continue Reading…

The CES 2014 Posts

Dave Zatz —  January 27, 2014

Now that the Vegas dust has settled, we’re finally caught up on the bloggable topics and have collated the bulk of our CES coverage in this handy bulleted list. Until next year!


Smart TV & Streaming

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As our homes acquire sentience, a few are attempting to traverse the technological silos… in an approachable way, suitable for civilians and geeks alike. While companies like Zonoff, Revolv, and Smarthings each strive to take home automation mainstream with somewhat differing technological and marketing approaches, they share a vendor- and network-neutral approach as they aim to provide an alternative to the security and telecom firms that are likewise pushing into this realm. And, as you might guess from the tweets and pics, I came away from CES quite enamored with Zonoff. Continue Reading…

Anker Saves The Day (Again)

Dave Zatz —  January 18, 2014


As I’ve yet to find that perfect gadget caddy, we’ve gone ahead and implemented Plan B. When picking out a new bedroom set about 18 months ago, we went with a collection that we otherwise may have passed over due to tricked out nightstands housing a power squid in the top drawer (and undercarriage lighting). Turns out, the AC adapters were way too bulky to be practical. But what else could I do with the pre-drilled holes and drawer organizer? Enter Anker’s $20 5-port USB charger. I still need to tidy things up and would prefer most of these gadgets live on/in my dresser or the kitchen, but this seems to be a good solution for the time being.

CES 2014: Oh, The Miles

Dave Zatz —  January 17, 2014


While I mostly classify activity trackers as novelties, with limited actionable intelligence, CES is the absolute best place to put them through their paces (ha, punny). With my buddies Brad Linder of Liliputing and Kevin Tofel of GigaOm each stepping up to the plate. Kevin sports a Fitbit Force wristband and Brad rolls with a Withings Pulse puck – so the comparison isn’t entirely equivalent, but both shed light on the massive scale of CES – which covers multiple convention and expo centers across multiple Vegas venues. Each hiked over 35 miles in pursuit of gadgety goodness and we salute them for their efforts (and cardiovascular fitness).


Speaking of CES tracking, attendee badges (or at least press badges) were outfitted with NFC stickers this year. In my Vegas experience, the feature was used to check into press events and ensure we’re entitled to and received only a single boxed lunch (per day). Missing Remote dumped the Bcard Smartrac data – which wasn’t super revealing, but folks like us clearly enjoy tinkering.


As alluded, the connected home category is primed to explode. And, based on this FCC filing, the next entrant will be D-Link – who’ll be adding an $80 “WiFi Smart Plug” to their existing stable of IP cameras.

The DSP-W215 mydlink Wi-Fi Smart Plug is a multi-purpose, compact, and easy-to-use device that allows you to monitor and control your home’s electronic devices from wherever you are. Set a schedule that turns your TV off when you’re asleep, have your hi-fi wake you up in the morning, or ensure that your desk lamps aren’t left on when you’re at work. The handy mydlink smartphone app will allow you to switch your appliances on or off in an instant, or change your power schedules on-the-go, ensuring that you won’t have to worry about leaving something on when you’re away.

Unlike Belkin’s competing WeMo line, this first D-Link “HomeSense” product appears much more simplistic (at launch) – without an ability to create complex rules and link actions. Having said that, beyond mere smartphone on/off control, the 802.11g/n Smart Plug will at least provide data on energy usage (to replace my ancient Kill-a-watt?) and utilizes a thermal sensor to protect against devices that might overheat.


Via The Digital Reader, we learn that Amazon continues to schmooze talent in the Boston region. The next Lab 126 event can be found here, with more interesting language attached to a December mixer:

We are working on a revolutionary V1 product that will allow us to deliver Digital Media to our customers in new ways and disrupt the current marketplace. […] We believe this new product will be even bigger than Kindle!

Of course, we have some idea what Amazon might be working on in regards to a television-based streamer. And there probably are greater numbers of TV viewers than readers these days… but enough to eclipse Kindle tablets and e-readers? I’m not so sure. Are we looking at an Amazon phone or smartwatch or is this just typical marketing hyperbole?