A farewell to gadgets

No, no, Ernesto: this one goes here, that one goes there. Sorry, folks. While it's true that in most regards, penguins make incomparable valets, they are rather rubbish when it comes to packing suitcases. You know, penguin arms.

Yes, as you can tell from the luggage, I am off. Today marks my sixtieth and—for now, at least—final Gadgetbox column, after over two long years in the technological trenches (including the almost 800 blog posts I penned in our first incarnation). I ask you not to shed a tear, as there are greener pastures awaiting me outside of the chiseled stone walls of this volcanic lair. Far, far outside.

If you've followed my meanderings for a while, you know that there is one singular thing in this world that I love, above all else. And that is Richard Dean Anderson. So when rumors of bringing MacGyver to the big screen reached the ears of my agents, I naturally decided that there was no other choice but to make my way to Hollywood. And so I go, with Ernesto and three trunks full of my favorite tech and non-sequential unmarked bills, in tow.

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I spy

I've been thinking, of late, of getting a second job. Not that I don't enjoy my weekly gig sharing gadgetry with you, but there's got to be more to life, right? You need to follow your heart, a wise man once told me. I contemplated this as my birthday passed this last week: here I am, now officially and unarguably ensconced in my late twenties, and I've never accomplished even one of my childhood dreams. It's time.

I shall—at long last—fulfill my destiny and become a superspy/costumed crimefighter.

When it came right down to it, you see, I couldn't decide between them. Really, they're not so far apart, the two: James Bond, Bruce Wayne—they're two sides of the same coin. But regardless if I opt for the "heads" of government-sponsored espionage or the "tails" of vigilante-style street justice, I'm going to be well equipped.

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So metal it hurts

As April closes, we residents of the great commonwealth of Massachusetts are lucky enough to get back to back Monday holidays. This past week was Patriot's Day, which features the running of the Boston Marathon, and the following Monday, the 28th, is of course, my birthday.

I know. You didn't get me anything. Look, it's okay: I understand. I mean, it's not like you have some sort of magical device that keeps track of dates or anything, that could somehow remind you via a message or tone that there was some special event that you were forgetting. Someday, perhaps, but for now, you just have to rely on whatever space you've got left in that noggin of yours. But look on the bright side: you've still got five shopping days left.

The last thing I want you to do is feel guilty—well, maybe that's the second to last thing I want you to do—so on this week's Gadgetbox, I'm going to talk about some of my interests. Perhaps you can divine a suitable gift from this trio of interesting gizmos.

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Check yourself, before you wreck yourself

Life is inherently dangerous. I learned this one day as I came within a hairsbreadth of tumbling headfirst down my staircase. Since then, I've decided to be careful. Very careful. When I get up in the morning, the first thing I do is strap on all my protective padding, slap a pair of protective goggles on, and then not leave my room. It's a safe, if lonely life.

But it's not without its benefits. My concerns for safety have inspired me to pass on my knowledge and research to you, dear readers. So this week, we have three ways for you to protect yourself from the manifold risk and dangers that this existence brings with it.

The heady smell of brilliance

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The not-so-great outdoors

The return of spring heralds one thing above all others: the ability to go back outdoors, into the frigid wastes laid barren by the apocalyptic war mankind raged against what they told us were encroaching space aliens. Somehow, I can never quite get up the wherewithal to visit said wastes—I’m not quite sure what to do with all that terrifying open space.

Instead, I think I’ll stay tucked safe within my hardened bunker, deep beneath the surface of the Earth. Maybe someday I’ll venture outside, after I take the time to drag out the old biohazard suit—suppose I’ll have to find one for Ernesto, too. Do you think they make biohazard suits in penguin sizes? What size is a penguin, come to think of it?

Anyway, should you be braver than I and venture out into the Overworld, you might find yourself a bit at loose ends. Fortunately, we’ve assembled for you this collection of gadgets that should make your outdoor experience worthwhile. Just remember to watch out for the mutated troglodytes, okay?

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Run for the hills

This week, I came across the most important and impressive device known to mankind. It’s a device that will forever change—for the better—the way that we live our lives. It will feed the hungry, shelter the homeless, cure the sick, and even at long last explain how the hell a show like Yes, Dear got on the air.

APRIL FOO—what? April Fool’s Day was yesterday? Why didn’t anybody tell—wait, it’s always April first? Well, that’s not very convenient, is it? What am I supposed to do with this column now? Oh, sure, “find some gadgets to talk about.” You say that like I can just pop open the front door and there will be gizmos queueing up. It’s hardly that easy.

Anyway, er, give me just one second here annnnnnd, there. All set. So, here’s the Gadgetbox lineup for today. In the leadoff position, a delightful plug-and-play apparatus for your SATA hard drive; in the two spot, a planter for those without a green thumb; and finally, coming up third, a gadget that’ll give you a run for your money.

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Juice, to go

I haven’t done much traveling in recent months, but I’m no stranger to the open road. Sometimes, when I lie awake at night, I hear the asphalt calling to me: “Dan,” it whispers, “come and find adventure.” Come to think of it, it sounds a little bit like that voice in Field of Dreams. Only, you know, less corn.

But traveling and being a gadget freak can be trying at times. Think of the numbers of cables, adapters, and chargers you end up dragging around with you. If only there were a better way. I like to think that some day, all of my devices will be powered by tiny nuclear fusion reactors. As an added bonus, they’ll glow in the dark, so I won’t be able to lose them. Some day.

On this week’s Gadgetbox, we bring you three devices that help make powering up on the road simple and fun. Well, simple anyway. We shed some light on the subject with a combo flashlight/charger, help you harness the power of the sun, and clue you in on one device that's a highway star.

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