Posts Tagged ‘gadgets’

The DSLR plunge

laelene Posted in lifestyle glimpses, photo blog,Tags: , , , ,

I finally made one of my long-time wishes a reality with the purchase of a Canon T6i bundle! I’m really excited about this and very pleased with the quality of images I’m seeing already. Funny enough, my dad had his eye on the very same one so we ended up both getting the bundle at Costco. For the longest time, I told myself I’d get a DSLR once I tried my hand at some manual settings on my regular camera. I did play around with the options, but not as much as I wanted. So I let many years go by before I decided to go ahead with it because I keep dreaming of the awesome photos I can take and I want to have something nice to vlog with.

At first I was going to look for a used or refurbished T3i, which seems to be what all those YouTubers use. But when I found that the price wasn’t nearly as cheap as I’d hoped, I figured I’d be better off getting a nicer one in a bundle. The idea of an extra lens and battery, along with some other accessories, really appealed to me. Turns out I like brand new things that are well put together for me. I’ll pay for the niceties and all just so I can experience that awesome fresh out of the box feeling. My dad’s the same way.

We both eagerly tore into our respective boxes and played around with setting up and using our cameras. I didn’t even get a chance to use it in daylight yet, but I’m very impressed with what came from the dim night lighting that looks soooo much better on this camera. I certainly wasn’t used to such good shots coming from low lighting like that. Call me a happy camper!

My first subject was Molly and I got an awesome string of shots of her walking!

My first subject was Molly and I got an awesome string of shots of her walking!

The items on the kitchen counter looked great in the photo, far better than with the naked eye.

The items on the kitchen counter looked great in the photo, far better than with the naked eye.

I’m very pleased with this camera and I can’t wait to try some outdoor nature shots.

iPhone 6 in pictures

laelene Posted in photo blog,Tags: , , , , ,

I’ve had my iPhone 6 for a week and a half now, but I’m already so used to it that I hardly recognize the iPhone 5. I’m absolutely loving it and I’m so happy with the whole experience. Here are some pics of it, along with a few side by sides with my old iPhone.

iphone 6 white box front of iphone 6 in space gray back of iphone 6 in space gray closeup of camera on iphone 6 in space gray iphone 6 power button on right side of phone iphone 6 volume controls on left side of phone empty open box of iphone 6 iphone 6 earpods and lightning charging cable and plug iphone 6 info cards from box collage of front and back of iphone 6 info card with basic instructions iphone 6 and iphone 5 in respective boxes with lids backs of iphone 6 and iphone 5 in boxes

Snagging an iPad mini retina

laelene Posted in lifestyle glimpses,Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

For the past year or so, I’ve been thinking about replacing my iPad 2. I’ve had it since 2010 and it’s bulkier and slower than I’d like. A few months ago, Target was offering $150 trade-ins plus a $50 gift card. That would make the iPad mini retina 16GB only half its original price! I should have sprung on the deal then, but I missed out and the next week they were offering the iPad mini with the same type of deal. I thought the difference between retina and not wouldn’t be a big deal, so I went to check it out. Unfortunately, the instant I looked at a non-retina screen, I could discern the pixels and it was more obvious to my eye than I had hoped. I set my resolve to get an iPad mini retina the next time I could get it at the $200 price point, with trade-in value and gift cards earned and whatnot.

Finally, on Saturday Panda and I got back from our trip and saw the Target ad for this week – $100 gift card for the iPad mini retina! Between that and my trade-in value around $100 for the iPad 2, I was ready to finally get my new device. Sunday morning, I went in prepared to trade in my iPad and get the mini retina. Then I realized that I don’t have to trade in my iPad at Target, which would give me $91 for it. Since I’m just getting a gift card back, why not go to the highest bidder? Best Buy is quoting $126 for the same one. I’ll certainly be able to spend that sort of money there the next time I get a laptop, TV, or other electronics. So I went ahead and bought the iPad mini I wanted at Target without trading in.

Today I went to Best Buy to trade in my iPad 2 and got that $126 gift card, as promised. I’ll be getting a smart cover for my iPad mini when I figure out which color I like best. I also went by Target again since the first time I didn’t put the full charge on my Target RedCard and I missed out on nearly $15 in savings from the 5% off I get with that card! I had thought that any portion of the charge made on my RedCard would result in 5% off the purchase, but it’s just 5% off the amount charged to the card. Makes total sense, and I should have known that. Good thing I checked my receipt and noticed it, or else that’s a nice meal’s worth of money I would have missed out on.

So now I proudly introduce to you my new gadget, in case you’ve never seen Apple packaging before. Ready for the unboxing?

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Glad to see they had an info card instead of the whole pamphlet printed.

Glad to see they had an info card instead of the whole pamphlet printed.

Of course the plastic part is far more interesting to her.

Of course the plastic part is far more interesting to her.

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Just enough for one hand to hold.

Just enough for one hand to hold.

Trading in that old iPad... farewell!

Trading in that old iPad… farewell!

November Favorites 2013

laelene Posted in general blog,Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

collage of november 2013 favorites including fall colors, touchscreen laptop, yoga, going home, bruins football, fun hair styles, revisiting new york, long sleeve v-necks, and pumpkin flavored

Well gosh, I better get my Nov favorites up before it’s time for the December ones!

1. fall colors – This was the month of gorgeous colors. Fall beauty was everywhere to be found and I loved it. It’s one of the things about having real seasons that I was looking forward to. I don’t know if it was the richness of the leaves, but I swear even the sky was more pigmented.

2. touchscreen laptop – I’ve been using my new ASUS laptop and now I’m used to having a touchscreen laptop. It’s a lot easier than trying to navigate the touchpad. It’s very convenient just to tap on what I’m looking at. Too bad not all my devices are like that – I’ve found I try to tap all other laptops now too, lol. It’s hard to remember when I’m using other laptops that they don’t have touchscreens. Hopefully everything will just have that in the future so I don’t have to keep track.

3. yoga – I’ve been going to yoga again and picking up my practice, which is wonderful. I like that I can choose from a range of levels depending on what I’m feeling. I’ve tried everything from Hatha Yoga for all levels to Power Yoga with some meditation thrown in too. I look forward to continuing with my practice and getting strong enough to do a handstand one day!

4. going home – It was so nice to return home for Thanksgiving and be reunited with my parents, cousin, and cats. It was the first time I’d been back since starting work out east and it was a welcome break. We also got a chance to get together my family and Panda’s!

5. Bruins football – UCLA’s program has finally been doing better and it was so thrilling to watch our team beat USC in our football showdown this year. Our crosstown rivalry is going strong and with the liberty bell securely in our possession, we can proudly say that we run LA. 😉

6. fun hair styles – For a long time, I’d just let my hair fall however it wanted. It’s the easiest to do and requires absolute minimal effort. I started to play around with some hair styles more recently, particularly a side braid, French braids, or a bun. I want to try a braid that wraps around my head, but I’m not quite sure how to end it so I’ll have to test it out.

7. revisiting New York (and the city) – After over a decade, I finally got a chance to return to one of my childhood homes. It was so nice to be able to share that with Panda so he can see some of what used to be my life. It also became an opportunity to explore parts of NYC that I’m not that familiar with. It’s the first time I’d been back to any of my old stomping grounds other than a brief visit to Penn State many years ago. I’ve never returned to my homes in Kansas and Missouri, but I sure do plan on it!

8. long sleeve v-necks – I find these to be so perfect to wear. They’re comfortable, warm, and flattering. I can wear them under another shirt or alone and throw on a jacket for extra warmth. I even use it during yoga if it’s an extra chilly night. It’s easy to dress them up or down and if I don’t want my neck so exposed, I just throw on a scarf. Simple, the way I like it.

9. pumpkin flavored – I almost never get pumpkin flavored stuff, but somehow I ended up trying a few this month and they were quite good! This was a pumpkin souffle I got at a happy hour. Very yummy. I also had pumpkin spice caramels and a pumpkin creme brulee snack. Maybe I should try more pumpkin things since I really enjoyed those foods.

What about you? What did you find yourself gravitating towards in November?

365great Day 149: Brookstone

laelene Posted in 365great,Tags: , , , , , , ,

Learn more about 365great here.

365great challenge day 149: brookstoneWhat a fun store to explore. Brookstone has all kinds of awesome solutions to your problems (whether you even realized you had them at all). You can get massagers, technology accessories, gadgets, toys, and so much more. My most recent visit allowed me to enjoy their massaging zero gravity chair for 15 minutes of comfort. I also discovered they’re now selling fun little plants you can keep in your home, which you buy in store and have shipped straight to your door from wherever the plants are stored. I mean, you could really equip your home with some amazing stuff from this store. It’s a fantastic place to browse for gift ideas and other novelty items that can be quite practical too. I always enjoy stopping by and trying out their various knick knacks and I look forward to the day when I can start filling my house with some of those cool products. Brookstone is great not only because of the range of products they carry, but that they allow you to try out all that stuff as you please!

365great Day 130: Square

laelene Posted in 365great,Tags: , , , ,

Learn more about 365great here.

365great challenge day 130: squareA long time ago, I came across this cool gadget and became obsessed. It’s such a fun concept! For years I’d been dreaming of a solution that would allow businesses to email receipts and not have to print out those annoying paper ones. In fact, I was hoping for an entire system that would send the receipt automatically to the credit or debit card you used so when you check your statements, the corresponding receipt would be there for you to review. That way you’d be able to match up those charges much easier! Square doesn’t quite accomplish that, but it got so much further than I thought anything could at that time. Since then, a bunch of copycats have surfaced and it’s more and more common to see digitized transactions occur. I love the change and I look forward to my vision becoming a reality soon! So thank you Square, for bringing to life what I had only dreamed. That’s truly great.

365great Day 36: plasma balls

laelene Posted in 365great,Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Learn more about 365great here.

365great challenge day 36: plasma ballsThese are such fun toys! I mean, how trippy is it to put your finger on there and watch as it responds to your touch? Even without touching the plasma ball, the constantly moving “lightning bolts” extending out is pretty cool to watch. If you’ve never played with one of these, you’re definitely missing out. It’s like having a magic ball that follows your every move in beautiful hues of pinks, purple, blue, and white. It’s a fun scientific gadget that is sure to please! I’ve got one as a desk toy that actually operates as a USB splitter – practical and pretty in one! A cool gizmo that brings science alive in such a fun way is truly great.

365great Day 9: touchscreen gloves

laelene Posted in 365great,Tags: , , , , , ,

Learn more about 365great here.

Or more accurately, touchscreen compatible gloves. These are awesome because you can keep them on when you need to use your smartphone or tablet. There’s a ton of variety in the style of gloves that come with these special fingertips, from knit ones to more weatherproof ones. Whether you prefer funky ones like mine or more professional ones, these can be a freezing-finger-saver!

365great challenge day 9: touchscreen glovesTouchscreen-capable gloves often use a special type of conductive thread to imitate to conductivity of our skin. It’s a simple and elegant solution that is excellent for anyone who has to be out in chilly weather. I love that it helps solve an uncomfortable (and sometimes painful) situation. What a practical and fun way to solve a pretty common problem! That’s why they’re great.

Geeky cute

laelene Posted in photo blog,Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

robot earbud wrap with googly eyes

penguin retractable earbuds

iplunge plunger-shaped iphone stand

yellow angry birds iphone case

Kickstarter funding addiction

laelene Posted in general blog,Tags: , , , ,

For awhile I had heard whisperings of a site called Kickstarter, where you could use crowd-sourcing to help fund things, but I didn’t check it out.  I forgot how I eventually ended up visiting the site one day… I probably read an article that led me to look into it further.  Well, whatever the case, I found a gold mine of cool ideas that made me happy.  After browsing through a bunch, I ultimately decided to fund one called Twig.

It’s an ultra-portable USB charger and stand for your iPhone.  I hesitated at first because the new iPhone will be out in a few months (hopefully within 2!) and I plan on getting that.  As it stands, the rumors of a smaller charging dock is probably true, so this device wouldn’t work with the new iPhone without a converter of sorts.  Still, I really liked the idea and wanted to get behind it, so I went ahead and funded it.

Then I got one of the emails Kickstarter sends out highlighting some of their favorite projects and one of them really caught my attention.  This one, called the Lumi Process, is like the opposite of developing film in a darkroom.  Whereas traditionally you had to keep your negatives away from the sun, this process actually uses the sun to do the printing.  They have a special ink that reacts to sunlight and imprints itself into any fibrous material.  So the other cool thing is that you aren’t limited to paper like you are in a darkroom; now you can print on a wide variety of mediums, including various types of cloth and even wood.  Being the wannabe amateur photographer that I am, this fascinated me and I just had to get in on the action.

I’ve even got some ideas brewing for Kickstarter projects that I want to post!  It’ll be awhile before I’m ready for that stage, but I’m pretty excited and have done quite a bit of research to brainstorm some cool reward levels.  If you haven’t already checked out the site, you should, and maybe in a few months you’ll see of my projects up there!

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