TECHNOLOGY THROUGH OUR EYES: Father’s Day gifts to consider come June 18 by Gary M. Kaye, LOL contributing writer, CCO, www.tech50plus.com
Whether Dad is still active, traveling, hiking, biking, or just taking it easy with the occasional round of golf and lots of time at home or with friends, we’ve got some gifts we think he’ll enjoy: Father’s Day is June 18.Adirondack Firestone—At the beginning of summer it’s hard to think about the coming of winter. But if Dad has a wood stove or likes to keep a blazing fire going, chances are he spends too much time trying to get the fire started. The fire-starting system from Adirondack cuts it down to almost no time at all.
It consists of three parts: a firestone on a wrought-iron handle, a ceramic urn and lamp oil to put into the urn. He soaks the stone in the lamp oil, sticks it under the wood, and lights it with a match. In minutes he’s got a roaring fire without dealing with newspapers, twigs, kindling, or paraffin-soaked sticks. Price for the complete kit is $124.95.
CCrane CCRadio-2E AM/FM, 2 Meter Ham Band, Weather Radio—The purpose of the CCRadio-2E is to make weak signals strong and to produce crisp, accurate audio for the spoken word. AM performance comes from a patented Twin-Coil Ferrite AM Antenna, and traditional FM reception is able to bring in a weak station clearly. Audio can be adjusted for accurate and warm voice rendition and good musical performance. This radio also has the weather band and alerts, along with the 2-meter Ham band. It has the classic CCrane external design, but it keeps getting better inside. It is one of the most popular portables manufactured and has evolved into C. Crane’s flagship radio. Price is $170.
Como Audio Solo—We’re pretty certain Dad is going to love the combination of classic tabletop radio and current technology. It comes from Tom DeVesto, the founder of Tivoli Audio, and Cambridge Sound. It has a solid wood furniture-grade cabinet, a deep rich sound, and will let Dad play FM radio, or stream tunes from his own music library or a variety of streaming services. It has easy-to-use controls and includes clock radio functions. We do, however, suggest to stick around to help Dad set it up for the first time. Price is $299.
Yeti Hopper Two-20—Yeti has become one hot name in keeping food cold. The Hopper Two-20 is a soft-sided cooler that’s ideal for a day on the beach or an evening picnic at his favorite outdoor music venue. With the model Two-20, Yeti made a couple of tweaks to the original design. They moved the zipper from the top to the side, making loading (and unloading) easier, and increased visibility. They also changed the body shape for more comfortable hauling. The Hopper, with either ice or blue ice, will keep picnic food cold for at least a day, maybe up to three, depending on how often it’s opened. Price is just about $300.
Leupold Gx-5i3 All-In-One Golf Rangefinder—If Dad is serious about his golf game, really serious, this little gadget can help him trim some strokes from his score. This is considered the top-of-the-line golf rangefinder with more than a dozen features and high accuracy on the golf course. With the GX-5i3, he’ll be able to know exactly how far away he is from any point on the hole and be confident in what club is going to get him there. Rain, fog or hilly terrain? That’s the other guy’s problem. Those obstacles won’t stand in his way with the GX-5i3. It uses Digitally eNhanced Accuracy (DNA). The rangefinder sports a high-performance engine, and provides the fastest and most accurate measurements, using an incredibly precise laser. It will display distances to the nearest 1/10 of a yard. It also boasts True Golf Range, another name for the slope feature that compensates for uphill shots that play long and downhill shots that play short. TGR is calculated from the line of sight distance, and gives the golfer an adjusted range to the pin, taking into account an incline or decline. It features 6X magnification, an OLED display, fog mode, and a club selector. We’ve seen it priced around $550 in several online stores, including Amazon.com
Amplifi Mesh Network—Does Dad suffer from wi-fi dead zones around the house? Or just weak coverage. The Amplifi system offers several options for giving him high-caliber wi-fi that will let him use all his mobile devices, music systems, or connected health devices from anywhere in the house. The mesh network doesn’t just repeat a signal, it functions as additional routers, using other available frequencies to find the best way to get a signal around the house. A single Amplfi router costs just about $150, while a system with the router and two additional mesh points (please, don’t call them “extenders”) will run $349.
Gerber Center Drive Multi-Tool—Most Dads I know either have some kind of a multi-tool on hand, or they’d like one. Perhaps a couple: one for the car, another for the home. The problem with having all those tools accessible is actually using them. It’s not always easy to pull out the wanted tool and more often difficult to get it to work, as well as a single stand-alone tool that does the same thing. Gerber’s Center Drive Multi-Tool solves a big piece of the issue by offsetting the shaft for the interchangeable screwdriver bits so he will get increased torque and full rotation. It also has a 30-percent longer outboard blade and one-thumb opening sliding jaws (pliers for the rest of us). It comes with a complete set of bits and a nylon sheath. Price is just under $90 at several online stores including Amazon.com.
Fossil Gen 2 Smartwatch Marshall QX Cory Richards Set—If Dad is into smart-looking timepieces and technology, but doesn’t want to wear a geeky looking smartwatch, this is a handsome solution. The sharp-looking Fossil Gen 2 was inspired by the aesthetics of world adventurer and expedition photographer Cory Richards’ original Fossil watch. Powered by Android Wear 2.0, the one-of-a-kind design features interactive dials (for info at a glance), automatic activity tracking, customizable watch faces, an interchangeable leather strap, complete with Richards’ signature, and more. Powered by Android Wear 2.0, the Limited Edition Fossil Q x Cory Richards Touchscreen Smartwatch is compatible with phones running Android 4.3+ or iOS 8.2+. It will give Dad an assortment of notifications that he can customize including: social media / text / email / app alerts / multiple time zones / alarm clock / calendar alerts. It has Bluetooth connectivity, so he can control music on his smartphone, and it will let him use Google’s voice activation features. Price is $325.
Thule Subterra Minimalist Rolling Carry-On—Does Dad still do a lot of traveling, but doesn’t like to check luggage and pay extra fees? If so, he’s got plenty of company. The new carry-on bag from Swedish gear designer Thule is tough, attractive and meets most airline size standards for a carry-on. It has an innovative packing system that will let him ratchet down a packing panel to squeeze in more clothes while also minimizing wrinkling. It’s great for two- or three-day business trips, when he needs to carry enough to look good, without lugging a suitcase. Price is just under $280.
Worx SD Semiautomatic Driver—If Dad needs to do any kind of DIY work around the house, having an automatic screwdriver is handy and easy on his aging arms and wrists. The Worx SD Semiautomatic Driver looks like it draws from automatic firearms, with two different cartridges loaded with two dozen of the most popular bits that store right in the tool. When he wants to change bits, he can just slide the action to unload one bit and pop in the next. It’s powered by a rechargeable 4-volt LiOn battery the company says will hold its charge for a full 18 months, so it will always be ready for him. Best of all, the price is just $30.
Nucleus Anywhere Intercom—The Nucleus can best be described as a family intercom system for the 21st century. First, the user needs two units. They can be in different rooms within the same house, or they can be in different homes. Give one to Dad and keep the other at your house. He’ll be able to see you and your kids whenever you all want. You can add as many units as you’d like. It connects via wi-fi or Ethernet.
But here’s the really nice thing about it: Even though there is an app, you don’t really need it to get multiple units to work together from multiple locations. Establish one family account and each device will connect automatically. Or set up multiple accounts and then decide which units have the ability to connect. It’s not really an Internet device, but it is Alexa-enabled so Dad will have access to information or Prime music. Price is $199 per unit and you’ll need at least two to get started.
CampChef Pro 90X Three Burner Stove—If Dad loves to barbecue but doesn’t want one of those huge propane fired monsters sitting on the deck all winter, CampChef has a great solution. The Pro90X grill uses propane tanks, but it stands on foldable legs. It has sideboards for holding platters or utensils, and it has three powerful burners, as well as an available griddle for making anything from burgers to omelets. It has an available carry case so Dad can take it along for a picnic, or simply stow it in the basement when grilling season is done. The price for the grill alone is $300. LOL