Back to School with Rocketbook Everlast

School is starting up again, which makes it the perfect time to review this product from Rocketbook. This company is known for its eco-friendly digital notebooks. We are reviewing the Everlast notebook today. If you are a technological-minded student, or know one, this would be perfect to buy.

photo credit:Rocketbook

The pages of this notebook are made of a polyester composite instead of normal paper made of wood. Writing on this specialized paper enables you to re-use the pages. This is made possible by wiping them with a moistened cloth.

What you get with the Everlast

The package includes:

    • FriXion pen- this contains the ink specifically needed to write on the notebook
    • Microfiber cloth- when used with water, will clean the pages perfectly
    • The Everlast notebook- available in black,red, blue or teal                 Executive size 6′ x 8.8′(36 pages)  or Letter size 8.5′ x 11′(32 pages)

This pen is included with the notebook

How to use the Everlast

Downloading the Rocketbook app will give you an easy way to upload your notes or drawings to your choice of cloud services like Google Drive, Evernote, Dropbox, iCloud, and more. After using a FriXion pen (which can be purchased in all shapes and colors) on the pages, scanning your work and marking the icon you have assigned to a destination, you’ll get it filed wherever you desire. Dampen the cloth when you’re done with the page, and easily wipe it all away.

Purchasing the Everlast

This notebook can be purchased on the Rocketbook site for $34.00. Other varieties can be purchased as well. The Wave notebook is similar, but to clear the pages, you microwave it! Don’t attempt to microwave the Everlast, though. If you want more colors of the FriXion, they are available at stores like Target and WalMart. These stores also carry the Everlast notebook. Amazon.com has them for purchase as well.

Thanks to Rocketbook for sending us this free product to test in exchange for our fair and unbiased review. No other compensation was given.

 

National Parks Free Access Pass for People With Disabilities

Sometimes having a disability can cost lots of money. Therapies and doctors costs, adaptive equipment costs, and not working so you can take care of your loved one- well, it can be quite costly. So here’s some good news for a way to save money while seeing the beauty in our national parks if you or a loved one has a lifelong disability. We’ll be talking about the free National Parks Access Pass.

 I think we’ve mentioned a few times here that our son, Jayden, has Autism. Although he’s not as severely affected as others, he has some limitations that impedes with his ability to do certain activities. I’m glad that he can have this opportunity to enjoy any national park for free now. It will open up more opportunities for us as a family, as well.

 

 

 

 

Who qualifies for a National Parks Access Pass?

Anyone who is a US citizen or permanent resident who has a lifelong, permanent disability. In order to get this pass, you need to prove citizenship/residency. You’ll also need to have a way to confirm the disability.

What documentation is needed to obtain a pass?

You will need documents proving citizenship or residency. This can be a US State or Territory issued Drivers License, ID, birth certificate, U.S. passport, or a Permanent Resident Card (Green Card). Also needed is proof of disability. For this, you can use a note from a licensed physician. A document issued by a Federal Agency would also work- for example, the Veteran’s Administration, SSDI (Social Security Disability Income), or SSI (Supplemental Security Income).

How do you obtain the pass?

I was unsure of what to expect when we arrived at Yellowstone National Park a few weeks ago. When I asked how to get the pass on their Facebook page, they simply said to bring the documents needed to any entrance of the park. We got to the park early because I was anxious about getting a campsite without having a reservation. I tried to hand my documents for Jayden to the lady at the gate, but she told us to go to any visitor center, and they would issue the pass card. When I did get to the visitor center at Mammoth Hot Springs, they issued the card quickly and easily. This is all done for free.

If you don’t want to show up to a National Park and wonder if they have a pass available, as some do not, you can order one using this application. This does require a $10 processing fee.

Other bonuses of the Access Pass

Not only will Jayden (and his carload) be able to get into national parks for free for the rest of his life, other amenities are provided at a discount. Camping in the park, for example is discounted. We camped at Mammoth campground, which normally runs at $20 per night. For us, it was only $10. Get your pass before you get to your campsite, though. We did not pick up the pass before heading to our campsite. Since we didn’t have a reserved site, and it was first come/first served, I wanted to make sure we had a site. Unfortunately, there was no reimbursement of our fees. At least we got our 2nd night discounted.

This National Parks Access Pass is going to be a great benefit to those who have a lifelong disability. A beautiful creation available for access to many who qualify. Maybe someday state parks will follow in the footsteps. If you have any questions that I haven’t touched on here, let me know in the comments. Stay tuned for more articles on our trip to Yellowstone.

Control Your Appliances Smartly with Sonoff S20 Smart Socket

Our fourteen year old son was the first in the family to really get into smart home products. He saved up his Christmas money to buy a Google Home Mini. Suddenly his room became the smartest room in our home. He has the ability to turn his lights off from his bunk bed, and set an alarm to wake him up in the morning. I’ve been a bit jealous of the convenience he enjoys. I was really happy to get this new Sonoff S20 Smart Socket to review.

 

 

photo credit: Sonoff

What’s in the Sonoff S20 Box?

The smart WiFi socket, which has an input voltage of 90-250V AC 50/60Hz. It has an output voltage of the same. The max load of this socket is 220V. You’ll need a 2.4GHz WiFi connection. A slip for a 2 year warranty accompanies it, as well as the quick start guide.

Our Experience with the Sonoff S20

Admittedly, it took me a while to get started with this product. First, you need to download the eWeLink app. The Sonoff company is a Chinese- based country, and the translation for instructions weren’t totally straight-forward.  I will say that the company was willing to give me some tech support through Skype, but I figured out a way to register on the app finally through my son’s phone. For some reason, it wasn’t accepting the e-mail addresses I entered on my phone as valid. It worked after I registered through another phone, though.

I’m pleased to say that after I registered on the eWeLink app, I was able to pair my socket with my WiFi. I plugged in my lamp to the socket, and with a tap on my phone, I’m able to click the light on and off. Success!

Now, the app says,”You can create scenes to turn on/off a gang of devices with one tap.” It adds, “Let your devices operate automatically, you can even get rid of your phone.” There’s also something about being able to “trigger on/off the devices by the data range from sensors or by the status changes from other device.”

So, needless to say, I’m still working on my ability to fully comprehend how this all works, but I think that the ability to not have to get up to turn the lamp on is totally worth the $12.86 that this socket costs on the website. You can also use the device with Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant and Nest. Hopefully, I will soon get the total hang of this product, and use it to its full capability.

Thanks to Sonoff for sending us this product for free to review in exchange for our fair and unbiased opinion. No other compensation has been offered. Let us know what you would power with your Sonoff device in the comments below!

Review of Nomad Products for Your Phone

Nomad is a company that we’ve had quite a bit of experience with. It’s been almost a year since we’ve reviewed Nomad products. They are a company that builds for those “seeking adventure.” We have three different products that we’re reviewing for you today that are ruggedly made for the adventure seekers.

Nomad’s Clear Folio for Samsung S9

This clear protective case has a real, quality leather case crafted by Horween. The leather has the distinct aroma you would expect a leather product to have. The inside of the leather cover has slots to hold six cards, and one for cash. Who needs a wallet anymore, when you can hold it all with your phone? The clear, polycarbonate material has a slim design, and wraps around your phone to keep it well-protected. It has a 6 foot drop protection.

If you want to purchase this case, it’s $49.95 on the Nomad site.

The Nomad Wireless Stand

Need a stand to wirelessly charge your phone? This one can do it in two positions- standing up, or flat on a surface.It has a non-slip rubber base for added stability, and charges at a 7.5W.  The aluminum kickstand tucks right under the product when charging your device on a flat surface.

This product also has a leather surface, and can charge all iPhones and Android devices that have wireless charging capabilities.

We think that this is a quality product, and it can be purchased on the website for $59.95.

Nomad’s USB-C Cable

This high-quality cable that was sent to us is 3 feet long, and has several features that make it extra rugged. It’s flex-tested to meet military standards of 4K. The 100 W output will ensure rapid charging. The outer layer is 500D ultra-rugged nylon. There is a moisture barrier that is 2x thick to protect the 2x RF shield for fast sync, and the 4x Polyamide central core. A rugged person could go through a lot of charging cords, but this one should be extremely durable to last a long time. This sturdy cord is a good buy at $39.95

Nomad sent us these products for free to review in exchange for our fair and unbiased review. No other compensation has been given. Photo credits go to Nomad.

The Wacom Intuos Tablet for Digital Drawing and Painting

It’s actually been a couple of years since we’ve had the chance to review any Wacom products. We got the opportunity to review the Wacom Intuos recently, and with a budding artist in our house, we jumped at that chance.

This Intuos tablet from Wacom comes in two different sizes- small and medium, and has an option to buy with Bluetooth or without. We happened to receive the medium tablet with Bluetooth, but here are the specs for both sizes:

Wacom Intuos Specs

Small size is 7.87 x 6.3 x 0.35 inches with an active area of 6.0 x 3.7 inches and weighs 8.8 oz(with Bluetooth)

Medium size is 10.4 x 7.8 x 0.35 inches with an active area of 8.5 x 5.3 in. This one weighs in at 14.5 oz.

Buttons across the top of the tablet will allow for the creation of different shortcuts as well.

The pen that comes with the tablet is a 4k battery free pen. It’s wireless and pressure sensitive. Inside the pen, you will find an extra 3 standard nibs. It weighs a mere 0.4 oz. Two buttons on the side of the pen are programmable to add shortcuts at the tip of your finger. There are 4,096 levels of pressure sensitivity, and you can use different styles of nibs to fill your own personalized needs.

You’ll also get a 4.9 ft PVC-free USB to micro USB cable with L-shape plug. This connects the tablet to your device when you do not have it in Bluetooth mode.

 

 

 

Use of the Wacom Intuos tablet

When you register your Wacom Intuos tablet, and create a Wacom ID, you’ll have the ability to download three different software programs for free. We downloaded Corel Painter Essentials 6 on our Windows computer, and after playing around with it for a bit, our daughter created this drawing:


She’s really excited to use it more and make some magnificent creations! The program wasn’t necessarily user intuitive for her, but fortunately, Youtube has some great tutorials that will explain how to use the different programs, and I would suggest checking out videos to help out if you are new to using these types of programs and equipment.

Buying the Wacom Intuos

Do we recommend the Wacom Intuos tablet? Yes, yes we do! We received the size Medium in exchange for our fair and unbiased review, but you can purchase it for $199.95. The small size with Bluetooth is $99.95 and the small size without Bluetooth is $79.95.

 

A New Review of myCharge Products: Portable Power Outlet and PowerGame for the Nintendo Switch

We have had the opportunity to review many myCharge products in the past. The last one we reviewed around Christmas time was this car battery charger. MyCharge is a company that creates all kinds of different chargers, and today we will review two different products from this company. 

The myCharge Portable Power Outlet

We reviewed a similar item last year, but this one has even more capacity. At 20,000 mAh, this is the largest charging hub by myCharge, and has the highest output at 65 watts.  It boasts the ability to charge a 34-inch LED television for up to four hours.

Right out of the box, you’ll get a pre-charged device, so you can start charging your own stuff right away. There are a few different ways to charge things. The AC power plug in allows you to plug in devices that use AC adapters. On the back of the portable power outlet are two USB-A ports, and one USB C port, allowing you to charge several devices at once- as shown here:

The handy LED panel will show you the status of the power outlet, including the battery level, and if the AC plug in is turned on or off.

This item weighs a little over a pound, and is great for taking on camping trips or tossing in your carry-on for power on long trips. If this sounds like a must-have for you, head over to myCharge’s website and purchase it for $179.99.

MyCharge PowerGame for Nintendo Switch

MyCharge doesn’t just charge phones, tablets, and laptops. They’ve also spread out to other devices. If you have a Nintendo Switch, and need a little extra portable juice for your gaming, this product is for you.

The lightweight (0.4 lb) power pack will provide an extra 10 hours of gaming with a mAh of 7000. It charges via USB cable, which is included. It’s easy to pop in your Nintendo Switch, and is very self-explanatory. The handy led lights on the side will give you an idea of how much extra juice you have left.

There’s not much else to say about this one, but if you are ready to game for a long time, this product is one we recommend. You can buy it for $49.99 on the myCharge site.

Thanks to myCharge for providing these two products for review purposes free of charge. No other compensation has been provided for our fair and unbiased review. Photo credits due to myCharge.

Carry Your Laptop in Style with the Hex Supply Laptop Tote

It’s been a while since we’ve reviewed products from Hex, a company in California that combines fashion with technology. They create designer bags and cases to carry laptops, tablets, phones, and more. When I went to Hawaii five years ago, I took the Hex Cabana laptop tote with me. It has served me well ever since. Well, today, we have a new one to review. This one is the Hex Supply laptop tote.


Photo credit:Hex

What you should know about the Hex Supply laptop tote

  • A padded pocket inside has room for a 13″ – 15″ laptop.
  • Another pocket on the inside will fit a tablet.
  • There is a pocket on the front perfect for a phone.
  • Two pockets on the back of the bag can fit small items.
  • The inside has slots for cards, pens, and keys to keep you organized.
  • There is a removable shoulder strap.
  • The dimensions of the bag: 16.75″L x16.5″W x 5.5″H
  • Volume: 24.9L

Design of the Hex Supply laptop tote

The waxed canvas exterior actually comes in different styles and colors. They are the same price, but are named a little differently. You can find them all under the totes section on the Hex website. The color that we were sent is actually a lighter gray color with a pink lining. The accents are also waxed coated, and this provides a water resistant exterior. Genuine leather zipper pulls add to the classic look. It not only looks good, it is extremely durable with bar-tacked critical seams, and handles/straps that are surplus grade webbed.

Want to buy the Hex Supply tote?

These high quality bags are available for $99.95 on the Hex website.

We thank Hex for sending us this laptop tote free of charge in exchange for our fair and unbiased review. No other compensation has been provided.

New Collection of Catalyst Products Released

Catalyst, a company we have reviewed products for as recent as February, just released a new line of Apple related products on the 10th at Pepcom Digital Experience in San Francisco. We got a chance to get a peek at them, and we will do a round-up briefing on each one in this article.

The Catalyst Carry Case for your Apple Pencil

This rubberized case, available in this slate gray color, will hold your Apple Pencil and adapter, and keep it protected from drops and scratches. The rubberized case prevents it from sliding off your desk. If you happen to drop it, however, it is rated to protect from falls up to 9.9 ft. A small carabiner clip is also included to help you keep track of it. A little bending motion makes your pencil and adapter easy to pop out of their protective pockets. This product is available on the Catalyst website for $21.99.

The Catalyst Apple Pencil Grip Case

Similar to the previous product, this case also has the hypoallergenic silicone material- this time in a triangular shape that lends itself to a comfortable grip. You don’t need to pop out your pencil, as the tip is open ended, but it does have another pocket for the adapter, and those clip together with an included carabiner to keep everything together. The grip case is also MIL STD tested to 810G to protect the pencil in the unlikely event of a drop. $27.99 will buy you this case here.

The Catalyst Waterproof AirPods Case

Now on to protection for those AirPods. This small, innovative case won an honoree award for innovation at CES this year. It’s wonderful if you are around water, as it is waterproof up to 3.3 ft, and drop proof to 4 ft. Also includes a carabiner, so you can carry it with you easily. You can also charge them inside the case with the port for the lightning adapter.
A video is good to demonstrate just what this can do.

This case isn’t exactly new, but it was released in a new color of coral, which is what we were sent. It also comes in Blueridge/Sunset, Frost White, Slate Gray, Deep Plum, Army Green, and even Glow in the Dark!  If you want to get one for yourself, they are $29.99.

 

Impact Protection for the Apple Watch

 

The Series 2 and Series 3 case available in 42 mm and 38 mm is another new product. This one is not waterproof like the other Catalyst cases, but is drop proof up to 9.9 ft with it’s impact truss system. It features 2 layer protection, and a bezel to protect the screen. It also has Catalyst’s patented digital crown button to protect the digital crown button on your watch. It’s easy to install and remove.

$39.99 will buy both sizes in a variety of colors like Blueridge/Sunset, Coral, Black and Space Gray, and Army Green. It does not include a watch band, but we have you covered with the last product…

The Catalyst Sport Apple Watch Band

This band is lightweight(18 grams) and breathable- with it’s honeycomb-like patterned holes. It’s available for the 42 mm and 38 mm Apple Watch Series 1, 2 and 3- and compatible with the Catalyst case.It comes in the same colors as the cases, so it works great with whatever is your style of protection. These bands can be purchased for $39.99 on the Catalyst site, too.

Our thanks to Catalyst for sending us these products to review free of charge in exchange for our unbiased and honest analysis. No other compensation was provided.

Plantronics VOYAGER 6200 UC for the Office and Beyond

These headphones that we are about to review in our second Plantronics review appear very similar to the ones from Jabra we reviewed a couple of months ago. We’ll take a look at this pair on their own merit, though. This Bluetooth® neckband headset with earbuds, the VOYAGER 6200 UC will give the office professional a great experience when answering calls and listening to music.

What you get with the Plantronics VOYAGER 6200 UC

photo credit-Plantronics

When you open the box, the first thing you’ll see is the nice zippered case that houses the headset.  Attached on the outside is the little USB dongle that connects you when you are using Skype or another online conferencing.  Three different sizes of earbuds to ensure a good fit are also included in the pocket. A micro USB cord and a small circular charging dock to charge the headset comes stored in the pouch as well.

Plantronics Voyager 6200 UC Features

Just like the Plantronics BackBeat FIT we reviewed yesterday, the earbuds come in an oval shape for a passive noise cancelling feature. The battery charges within an hour and a half to provide 16 hours of listen time, 9 hours of talk time, and 14 days of standby time. That’s a couple more hours than the Jabra ones we reviewed back in March.

The Bluetooth® 4.1 connection is a strong one that will allow the user to take a 98 ft walk around the office if they need to. It’s lightweight at 2 oz, so no fatigue from wearing them.

Plantronics is looking out for your hearing with SoundGuard® DIGITAL, which protects against sound levels above 118dBA. There is an anti-startle feature during calls which detects and eliminates any large sudden increase in signal level. Also, there is something called “Time-Weighted Average” that prevents average daily noise exposure from exceeding 85dBA.

Active Noise Cancelling (ANC) is provided on the neckband. Dynamic Mute will let you know if you are talking while it’s muted, so you aren’t talking on and on while no one is listening. Speaking of talking, the boomless mics pick up your voice well, and will block out other background noise. You’ll know to answer a call when your neckband vibrates, too.

Buying Options for the Plantronics Voyager 6200 UC

If you decide that you can’t live without these, you have the option to get them in black, like what we have received to review, or there is the “Sand” color which is a beige-ish white color. Plantronics has them listed for $299.95 on their site, which is a bit more than the Jabra pair we reviewed, but I’ve seen them for less if you shop around.

Disclaimer- We received these for free to review in exchange for our honest and unbiased opinion.

 

Wireless Earbuds: BackBeat FIT 300 by Plantronics

Here’s another set of wireless and sweatproof earbuds that will get you through your workout without being connected to your device. The Plantronics BackBeat FIT 300 are one of the Plantronics products we’ve received to review recently. We have reviewed some other Plantronics items in the past, including another BackBeat wireless earbuds set, but here goes our first review of these earbuds.

                                  photo credit:Plantronics

What you get with BackBeat FIT300

The earbuds are the expected item in the box, of course. There is a small box on the right side with battery and relief buttons that adjust volume, manage tracks, and houses the mic and battery. Also included is the micro USB charging cable, and various eartips to help you get the right fit for your ear. If you get the 305s, it comes with a mesh carrying bag. I’m not sure exactly what the difference is. They are the same price.

FIT300 Features

The silicone tips on these earbuds are oval shaped, which is different from what one might see on most earbuds these days. The shape fits snugly in the ear to provide noise isolation. The threaded cord helps to prevent the cord from tangling up in itself. There is a promised battery life of up to 6 hours, and although we’ve seen better, it’s still a decent amount of battery life for a workout. There is a deep sleep mode that will save the battery life for up to six months, so you won’t have to worry about recharging again if you haven’t used it for a while.

The loops on the tips hold the earbuds snugly into your ears, so you can sweat and shake around, and they won’t budge. They are also lightweight at 14 grams, although the inline mic/controller might be a little bulky. It’s probably similar to other wireless earbuds like these.

The sound on these earbuds are pretty great, and worth the $80 price tag.

BackBeat FIT300 buying options

We received the lime green color ones to review, but these earbuds also come in dark blue, black and coral color options. They all cost the same, and as mentioned before, the 305 ones come in the same color, but with a bag. I’m not sure of the difference in quality. You can buy a pair on the Plantronics website, or shop around on-line.

Disclaimer- Plantronics sent us this model for free in exchange for an honest and unbiased review. No other compensation has been provided.