Das Keyboard makes its most compelling case yet for Mac users to go mechanical

das-keyboard-4-mac

My Das Keyboard inevitably catches the attention of anyone who comes in my office. The loud ‘click clack’ of its keys along with its gigantic footprint make it the antithesis of nearly every keyboard aimed at Mac users. But I love it.

Now, I’m not some keyboard evangelist who pledges devotion to a 30-year old keyboard, but I haven’t looked back since getting my hands on a modern mechanical keyboard. While I have the Das Keyboard Professional Model S, the Texas-based company has just introduced its latest Mac solution… Read more

Small States Review: Grovemade’s iPhone 6 dock puts extra emphasis on design and materials, giveaway worth $99

grovemade-walnut-iphone-6-dock

Update (3/14 9:15am): @schellack wins the Grovemade Dock. Thanks everyone for reading and entering this week’s giveaway.

When it comes to Apple accessories, there are typically two options: materials that are designed to mirror the product and those are meant to complement that product in a different way. The former is typically anodized aluminum, plastic or a metal of some kind, while the latter has been trending towards natural materials like wood or fabrics. Personally, I love seeing natural materials complement modern electronics. There are so many companies manufacturing here in the United States that are taking advantage of the natural resources and skills here.

I’ve been able to spend the last few weeks with Grovemade’s latest dock for the iPhone 6. We’ve covered company’s story before and this time around are able to see its newest home for Apple’s phone.

Head below for full details, our review and to learn how you can win a Grovemade iPhone 6 dock for yourself.

Read more

Rock Band 4 slated for a return in 2015 w/ previous song collections transferring and all new hardware

RockBand4-Promo-Illustration

If you’re a Rock Band fan, it has been a long journey since you’ve had some new jams. Stuck on previous generation consoles without an update for five years, the Rock Band faithful have been longing for a new release. Today, they rejoice as Harmonix has announced that Rock Band 4 will be released “sometime” in 2015 for Xbox One and PlayStation 4.

Previous Rock Band users will be able to transfer every song that they’ve previously purchased to the new version, with a small caveat. Head below for full details on this, a behind the scenes look and info on Mad Catz’s new line of Rock Band gear designed specifically for this release.

Read more

Kitchen Tech: Using Nitrous Oxide to make fresh whipped cream, airy waffles, and foam

olive-oil-pancakes

Back in my January Kitchen Tech column on bar tools, I briefly mentioned that certain restaurants are using liquid nitrogen to make frozen cocktails that resemble sorbets — a magic trick that for all intents and purposes is impossible to replicate at home. But when nitrogen comes together with oxygen to form nitrous oxide (N2O), the result is a gas with unique powers. Nitrous oxide can supercharge engines, work as a “laughing gas” anesthetic, and… create whipped cream, ultra-fluffy pancakes like the ones shown above, and super-crispy waffles. You can probably guess which of these applications I’m exploring in today’s Kitchen Tech.

The iSi Gourmet Whip Plus has made guest appearances in two prior Kitchen Tech columns: column 3 on pro-caliber modernist cookbooks, and last week’s column on carbonating tools. It is the only modern kitchen tool Ferran Adrià recommends to home cooks in The Family Meal, and made the top 5 tools recommended by Nathan Myhrvold’s Modernist Cuisine at Home (alongside sous vide water baths and pressure cookers, which Kitchen Tech has already covered).

Why hasn’t it received its own column before now? Because it typically needs to be used with something else in order to make a special product. So for this week’s Kitchen Tech, I’m going to show you how to make the lightest, crispiest waffles you’ve ever had by combining an iSi Whip with a Belgian Waffle Maker. Read on for all the details…

Read more

Treat yourself to sharper, better kitchen knives from Henckels and Wusthof for $20 and up

knives

Ginsu. Cuisinart. A thousand brands you’ve never heard of. With so many options out there, how can you choose a truly great (but reasonably priced) set of kitchen knives?

Knives are so important that many professional chefs bring their own blades to work, each hand-picked for durability, weight, sharpness, and shape. Even if you’re not a cook, your dinner knives could be so dull that you’ll struggle to carve up steak. Today, rather than covering exotic knives, I’m focusing on some great mainstream picks that anyone can afford and enjoy, starting with awesome steak knives from leading knife brand J.A. Henckels, which runs neck-and-neck with longtime rival Wüsthof in offering truly excellent cutting tools. Unlike the Ginsus, Sunbeams, and other mediocre brands out there, Henckels and Wüsthof knives have decades-long reputations for durability, long-term sharpness, and great design.

As Amazon’s #1 best-selling steak knife (with a 4.4/5-star user rating), a four-knife version of the J.A. Henckels set above has composite handles rather than steel, and sells for only $20. For $40, you can get eight Henckels knives with steel handles, a version that has an even higher 4.6/5-star Amazon rating. Having used both types of Henckels steak knives, I can tell you that the all-steel ones feel especially great in the hand and slice meat with superb precision; both versions use serrated blades that legitimately never need sharpening. Our steak knives are every bit as sharp now as they were when we bought them years ago.

More great steak and kitchen knife picks are below…

Read more

Aether’s Cone wireless speaker gains a couple new tricks, still looks beautiful

aether-cone-speaker

Just take a second and look at it. Isn’t this one of the prettiest speakers you’ve seen in a while? This is the Cone wireless speaker from Aether and it just picked up a few added features that tightens the gap between it and SONOS. As of this week, the previously AirPlay-only speaker now is capable of going on the road while also making a push to cover your whole home. Read more

Pansonic’s Nubo weatherproof, 4G-equipped monitoring camera is poised to slay Dropcam

panasonic-nubo

We haven’t seen much in the way of major innovation when it comes to surveillance cameras, with Dropcam and Foscam pretty well dominating the space in recent years. Today, we’re seeing something new from Panasonic with its Nubo monitoring camera, which features 4G connectivity and a waterproof design. They proudly proclaim that this is the “world’s first” camera design to lean on a cellular connection instead of WiFi.

It’s chock full of features, head below for full details, pricing and availability.

Read more

Mad Catz brings console style gaming to Android devices with the L.Y.N.X.3

madcatz-lynx-gaming-controller

Mad Catz is adding to its line of popular gaming controllers, but this time its put a focus on Android devices. The L.Y.N.X.Mobile Wireless Controller is a “highly-compact mobile game controller” that can collapse for travel and has a full-range of controls that you’d expect from a full-sized console. 

Head below for full details, pricing and availability.

Read more

Free Xbox Live Gold/PS Plus Games for March: Rayman Legends, Tomb Raider, Bioshock Infinite + Oddworld

raymanlegends

Update (3/3 2:37pm): Sony has just announced its free PlayStation Plus titles for March, which we’ve added below. The PlayStation Plus games will be available on the service later today.

Each month, Microsoft’s Xbox Live Gold and Sony’s PlayStation Plus services give away a handful of free games to subscribers, adding value to each company’s multi-console online gaming service. Here are the titles from both services:

For PlayStation Plus, Sony is giving away two PlayStation 4-only games: Oddworld: Abe’s Oddysee — New ‘n’ Tasty! (normally $30), the updated version of the classic side-scroller, as well as the cartoony World War 1-inspired game Valiant Hearts: The Great War (normally $15). It’s also offering two PlayStation 3-only titles, the adventure-puzzlers Papo & Yo (normally $10) and Sherlock Holmes: Crimes and Punishments (normally $50). PS Vita owners get the skateboard game OlliOlli2: Welcome to Olliwood (normally $15) and the adventure game CounterSpy (normally $15), both of which are also available for the PS4; CounterSpy is also free for the PS3. The total value of this month’s games alone is in excess of $130, and with new free games every month, a one-year PlayStation Plus membership ($50) or $18 three-month membership gives you a lot to play for a comparatively small amount of money.

This will be a great month for Xbox Live Gold members. Microsoft is giving away the 2D action-platformer Rayman Legends (normally $40) to Xbox One players all month long. From March 1 to the 15th, Xbox 360 players get the phenomenal 3D adventure game Tomb Raider (reg. $20) — topic of one of our Gaming For Couples articles — then the incredible first-person shooter Bioshock Infinite (normally $30) from the 16th to the 31st. A one-year Xbox Live Gold membership is normally $60, but there’s a “Limited Time Offer” direct from Microsoft: $39.99. Given the value of games given away each month, and the other benefits it offers (other discounted games, online multiplayer), Xbox Live Gold is now a no-brainer purchase for Xbox owners.

Full descriptions of this month’s titles are below.

Read more

Kitchen Tech: Carbonating tools turn water into soda, fruit and desserts into fizzy magic

carbonation

I realized the other day that my first exposure to carbonation – the little carbon dioxide bubbles found in soda — came so early in life that I couldn’t possibly remember it. My kids will eventually say the same thing. Despite warning parents that sugary drinks are unhealthy, doctors still recommend fizzy ginger ale to settle kids’ upset stomachs, and no one’s likely to give up Pepsi, Coke, or Red Bull any time soon.

But carbonation isn’t just for sodas. It’s also the bubble power behind beer and champagne, as well as some avant garde culinary tricks that are both surprising and compelling. This week’s edition of Kitchen Tech looks at three different and affordable ways to bring carbonation to your drinks — and food (!) — at home.

Read more

WaterField Designs has a new travel pouch for your tech from its San Francisco workshop

padded-gear-pouch-lifestyle

There are many ways to carry the smorgasbord of items we carry on a daily basis while traveling or going to work. Sometimes though, it’s the smaller things that don’t find a home in your bag or suitcase. With many larger offerings already on the market, made-by-hand San Francisco manufacturer Waterfield Designs has introduced a new Padded Gear Pouch specifically for carrying all the smaller items.

Whether it’s for an iPad mini, external hard drive, Apple TV or simple toiletries, this multipurpose bag can carry a number of different items. We’ve got the full details on this new product from Waterfield, a video from its designer and the full press release below.

Read more

Gaming For Couples: Catch up on 9 great video game columns!

super-mario-3d-world-wii-u

We created the weekly column Gaming For Couples to help you find excellent games to play with your significant other — someone who might not yet be into gaming as much as you, but could be won over with the right game picks. Here’s a roundup of our past nine columns, which contain a bunch of great games, plus recommendations of the best console bundles, demos, and accessories to pick!

Column 1: Our first Gaming For Couples piece looked at super-fun casual games Peggle, Peggle 2, and Peggle Blast, plus the incredible classic rock music game The Beatles: Rock Band.

Column 2: A column focused on Fireproof Games’ iOS and Android steampunk puzzle games The Room, The Room Pocket, and The Room 2.

Column 3: Focused on the console edition of board game Monopoly Plus, this column discusses what happens when you choose the wrong game to play with your significant other; “if at first you don’t succeed, try again”

Column 4: A top pick for couples and families, this looks at the best Nintendo Wii U bundle, games, demos and accessories, including the awesome Super Mario 3D World.

Column 5: A guide to the best Microsoft Xbox One bundles, games, demos and accessories, such as Lego Batman 3: Beyond Gotham.

Column 6: Our look at the best Sony PlayStation 4 bundles, games, demos and accessories, including The Last of Us: Remastered.

Column 7: We look at the better-than-movie-quality multi-console game Tomb Raider Definitive Edition, and NES Remix Pack for the Wii U and Nintendo 3DS.

Column 8: Featuring multi-console cartoony platformer Rayman Legends, this edition also looks at Amiibos and the PlayStation 4 Camera — some Valentine’s Day picks for gamers.

Column 9: Two budget-priced Nintendo Wii U titles — Captain Toad Treasure Tracker and Kirby & The Rainbow Curse — plus related Nintendo 3DS games and Amiibo figurines.

Some of my other gaming columns include budget PlayStation 4, Wii U, and Xbox One games worth second looks, and a guide to the entire lineup of Nintendo Amiibos, Enjoy!

Read more