Ryan and Ken

Ryan's Picks

Anker 5-port 25 watt USB Wall Charger

If you are like me you have more than your fair share of mobile devices and things that need to be plugged into USB ports to charge.  Sometimes getting to a USB port is a pain in the rear or other times you just have run out of wall adapters.  This Anker 5-port unit will fix those problems while offering up the ability to charge up to 2 amps on two ports and 1 amp or more on the other three.  This means that iPads and tablets will charge faster than if you had them connected to your PC.  The only downside is that this unit is for charging only and does not act as any kind of USB hub.

Nest Learning Thermostat with Wi-Fi

The Nest thermostat was the first device that I think put weight behind the idea of the "internet of things."  By connecting to your home wireless the Nest is able to be controlled through your phone or computer which might seem useless until you actually have one and use it.  Want to turn up the heat before crawling out from under your comforter in the morning?  Or maybe turn off the A/C because you're going to be gone a few days and forgot to do it before you left?  Not only that but the sensors on the Nest attempt to learn your schedule and anticipate your heating and cooling needs before you do. 

Fluke 117 True RMS Multimeter

Every geek should have a multimeter and Fluke makes some of the best in the business.  The 117 model is a true RMS unit to allow for measuring non-linear loads and offers the complete feature set that you need to looking at voltages, resistance, continuity and more.  You can use it for commercial applications or just to test things that might be malfunctioning around the house. 


Ken's Picks

Arduino Uno

As you may have noticed, I’ve been up to some hardware hacking this year. The development of the Arduino platform has been a great thing for introducing people to microcontroller programming, and the Arduino Uno is a great place to start. If you’ve ever had a project in mind involving some sort of hardware, like home automation or maybe a LED Matrix controlled over WiFi, Arduino can help you be up and running in a very short time on Arduino. Even if you don’t quite know how to program, there is plenty of documentation to get you up to speed on the basics you’ll need to know.

Also consider a package like the SparkFun Inventor’s kit to help familiarize yourself with the platform and provide some cool toys to play with using your Arduino. Happy Hacking!


Listen, if you are going to start anything in the case mod world, or even the hardware development world, you’re going to need a Dremel. As we call know, sometimes you just need to “make it fit” and a Dremel is going to help you immensely in that process.

You don’t necessarily need to go all extravagant for your first Dremel, something like this kit being sold on Amazon will do. Let’s face it, when you learn how invaluable of a tool this can be, you’ll soon want to upgrade.

Pebble Smartwatch

I've had a Pebble for a few weeks now, and due to the limited support for iOS, I became pretty sour on the whole deal. However, with the 2.0 update that was recently issued bringing parity between iOS and Android in terms of functionality, I see the value in a Smartwatch.

Being able to see notifications without taking my phone out of my pocket seems like a small thing, but it has been very useful day-to-day. I can now push any notification that comes across my phone to my wrist, allowing me to things like screen the caller ID quickly without having to fumble for my phone. By allowing me to quickly decide if a notification is important enough to tend to, the Pebble can actually help maintain social order instead of tear it down.

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