A quick warning to Surefire fans

Heads from an older E1L vs. the newer EB1.

Heads from an older E1L vs. the newer EB1.

Surefire’s various E-series models are getting brighter.  They are also getting slightly larger (again), and the last time that happened (going from the old incandescent heads to the LED heads), some subset of Surefire fans maintained a desire for the smaller, older style which lasts even to today despite Xenon bulbs being horribly inefficient.  If you happen to be the sort of flashlight nut who will later wish you had bought the older model, the old ones are currently still available at most dealers even as the new ones are rolling in.  Amazon has both the older E1L and the newer/larger/brighter E1L available.  The new one also has a much higher MSRP, in case the old one wasn’t high enough for you.

Have you looked at flashlights recently?

PD32Daylight_280p

The washout effect here is amplified by the limitations of my camera, but it sure looks cool.

Due to recent improvements in LED technology (in particular, Cree’s XM-L emitters), now is a good time to grab a new flashlight.  Of course you already have several.  But if you haven’t bought a new flashlight this year, you are probably holding some inferior device which puts out a mere 200 or 300 lumens.

The Fenix PD32 Ultimate Edition, pictured here burning holes through retinas at high noon, more than doubles your pathetic year-old pocket light with 740 lumens.  That’s the equivalent of a 60-watt incandescent bulb, which is quite a milestone in the world of pocket-able flashlights.  Nitecore has a similar eyeball-blasting model MT26 available if you are not absolutely hooked on Fenix.  And if you want to spend more money, Surefire has just upgraded their E2D Defender to the new “Ultra” version with 500 lumens.  The E2D’s lumen count is lower than the others, but note that it uses Surefire’s TIR internal optic system which sends more light to the spot beam and not quite as much to the flood area to make their spot beams as bright as higher-rated standard flashlights.

I picked the Fenix for its neutral white LED, but if you just blindly buy an upgraded version of whatever might be your favorite brand at the moment it should be pretty impressive.  Do be aware that all of these will reduce output to the 2nd-highest setting after a few minutes of continuous use at maximum power to avoid overheating.  Fine for harassing cows at night, but don’t expect to leave it on at full power for 2 hours straight.

Tom Bihn Tri-Star–a great carry on travel bag

The Tom Bihn Tri-Star is a mid-size carry on travel bag designed for short trip. It’s size is designed to meet all airline carry on size regulations (including the stricter carry on regulations in Europe and Australia).   I typically use it for short trips of one to three days.

As the “Tri” in it’s name implies the bag is designed around threes:

  • The Tri-Star has three main compartments of approximately equal size. The front compartment can be further divided left and right, with a zip out divider.
  • On the left side are three horizontal zippered pockets. The top zippered pocket spans the full height of the bag; the second goes about half way; and the third is the shallowest of the three.
  • Three ways to carry it – Padded Suitcase handles for carrying down narrow aircraft isles, Padded (and stowable) backpack straps for longer hikes, and metal attachment rings for a shoulder strap (the Tom Bihn Absolute Strap is a $30 add-on)

The front has an additional curved pocket on the right–I use it to stow my boarding documents. It can be used for stowing a water bottle as well. Continue reading

Make tough luggage tags from your business card

A quick travel tip, don’t put your home address on your luggage. Makes it a bit easy for thieves–they know you are on the road, they know your address. I usually put my office address. There’s always someone there to answer phones if the airline calls, they have better security than my house.

The easiest way to make a luggage tag is to use MMMLS8535G – Self-Sealing Glossy Laminating Pouches w/Loops for Luggage Tags
. Take your business card, put it in the Pouch, press together. Voila, a nice neat, tough luggage tag. As a bonus, it makes your luggage a bit easier to spot on the carousel–especially if you have standard black luggage.

Milwaukee Fastback™ Utility Knife

A cool utility knife?  Really?  Well Milwaukee has managed to create a well-built, useful and cool utility knife–Milwaukee 48-22-1901 Fastback Flip Open Utility Knife.   The design of the knife centers around ease of use and speed of use.   If you read the promo material they advertise that you can open the knife 3x faster because you open the knife one handed.  Press the button and let gravity do the work.   When the knife is locked open, we never felt a wobble.   Make sure your fingers are out of the way though when you close the knife–otherwise it can hurt you.

PDFpenPro: PDF Editing Software for Mac OS X

If you scan documents to PDF or have to manipulate PDF files on any kind of regular basis, check out PDFPen and PDFPenPro for Mac. It can scan multiple documents straight into a PDF (where you can then edit them) and then email the PDF file you created directly from PDFPenPro. It also has a library feature where you can keep scanned images you wish to add to existing PDF documents (scanned copies of your initials and signature for contracts, watermarks, etc.)

www.smilesoftware.com

Geoff Perlman is the CEO of REALSoftware a leader in Cross Platform Development Tools.

Waterfield Designs Suede Jacket Cell Phone Case

Waterfield Suede Phone CaseGizmohound.com recently ordered the Waterfield Designs Suede Jacket Cell Phone Case for review.   Waterfield’s Suede Jacket case is one of the thinnest cases out there for a cell phone and comes in a large variety of sizes to fit various cell phones (iPhones, Blackberry’s and Droids).  The case is available with an accessory pocket (for earphones, or a few business/credit cards).   The case costs $10–adding the accessory pocket adds another $4 to the cost.

The case is made from soft suede (which Waterfield calls Ultrasuede®)  The material offers scratch protection in your pocket or purse but since it is a soft material it does not offer significant impact presentation.   The build quality for the case is high–well stitched, no threads unraveling and high quality material.   Being able to pick a specific case for your phone means that the case fits your phone very well–in fact when you get it the case will be a bit snug.   However, the suede does stretch over time to make it easy to slide your phone in to the case.

We truly wish this case was available in different colors.  The black suede disappears in a dark purse.   Do remember this is a soft case–it is not ideal for impact protection.  Slipping your phone into and out of the case does take a bit of effort–not great if you’re an obsessive person who checks emails and text messages constantly.

If you’d like more impact protection, a case that’s easy to slide your phone in and out of and own an iPhone–the iPhone Smart Case might be a better choice.

WaterField Designs is a maker of distinctive, custom-fitted, cases and bags. Unusual in this day and age is that products are manufactured in San Francisco.   We found them to be a responsive company that communicates with you very well about your order.

WOD: TIKKR Watch

My friend and uber-entrepreneur Randy Cohen introduced me to the TIKKR watch. Simple, clean design that comes in three colors–white, black and orange (it is from Austin after all). The watch band is rubber and it encases the watch. The cost…$65. Have to say have gotten more compliments per dollar than almost any watch I own. My wife’s stolen the white version for herself. You can find more about this watch at http://www.tikkrwatch.com/

By the way WOD stands for Watch of the Day. This is a new series I am starting on Gizmohound.com If I wear a new watch on a day, I’ll snap a picture of it and include a brief description. If you can still buy it, I’ll try to include a link to the product. A review? Maybe…but mostly just show off some fun watches.

My official iPhone 4 Review

Apple iPhone 4I’ve been an iPhone user for about two years now and since I now have an iPhone 4, I thought I would share my thoughts on it.

Purchasing the iPhone 4

I bought the iPhone 4 last Thursday. I waited in line for quite some time but it actually turned out to be worth it as I met some really interesting people. Apple was great about supporting the people in line. They brought us bottled water and arranged for Chic-Fil-A to bring us breakfast sandwiches for free which was really great. In other ways, Apple goes a bit over top on these first days of sales of a new iPhone. They assign you to a sales person who walks you into the store. That person immediately congratulates you on buying an iPhone. That seems a bit strange to me. After your purchase, the sales person takes you to another person to activate your phone. After removing the shrink wrap, the activation guy asked me if I would like the “honor” of opening the box. Again, that seemed strange to me. I just wanted to buy the phone and this seemed a bit inauthentic. That’s probably the wrong word actually because the two Apple Store employees did seem genuine. Perhaps “unnecessary” is the right word? Continue reading

Solution: Lost the key to your filing cabinet or desk?

Have you lost the key to your filing cabinet or desk? Do you want to replace the key core? Most office furniture locks have a number on them. That number combined with the furniture manufacturer’s name allows you to order a new key. You may be able to get the key at your local locksmith. If you want to order it online Easykeys.com offers a simple solution. Just choose the manufacturer’s name and the lock number and Easykey will have the key on it’s way. If it’s urgent you can even get them to deliver it next day air. Destroyed the lock and need a replacement? Easykey also sells lock cores.

www.easykey.com