Saturday, January 21, 2012

Casio GW-530A

I own 10 watches, but this is my hands-down favorite. It's the one I wear 99% of the time. It has earned that status for two simple reasons. First, it's solar powered and never needs a battery. Second, it's the most accurate watch on the planet as the time is radio-controlled by the atomic clock in Colorado.

There's nothing I hate more than reaching into my drawer for a watch and finding out it's dead because the battery has ceased to function. Huge friggin' nuisance. Not so with this solar powered Casio G-Shock watch. Light keeps the battery charged...any sort of light. In the 3 years I have owned it, it has never run out of a charge. Doesn't matter if I spend hours on end indoors, the ambient light is sufficient to charge the battery. And once the battery is fully charged, it can run for 11 months without any light whatsoever.

Knowing that my watch always has the exact and precise time is a great feeling...especially since I am the most anal person on earth about being on-time.  It synchs to the atomic clock in Colorado four times each day.

The watch is loaded with features. It works in all 29 time zones. It's got 4 different programmable alarms. It's waterproof and shockproof. It's got a backlight that you can either turn on manually or automatically with a tilt of your wrist. There's a handy stopwatch function and the auto-calendar is pre-programmed through the year 2038.

My boys gave me this watch for father's day three years ago. Here's the best cost a whopping $90 at Costco. To me, that's the bargain of the century for a solar powered, atomic watch that keeps perfect time and never needs a battery.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

My Three Favorite iPad Accessories

I am a huge Apple fanboy. I shamelessly love all things Apple. This holds true for my iPad, which is possibly the greatest device of all time for consuming media. Before the iPad, there was print, there was TV, there was film...each medium had it's own niche. Not any more. Steve invented the iPad and it became  the great equalizer. Now the Wall Street Journal competes with Netflix and HBO Go and Zite and the NewYork Times and Lady Gaga and electronic books...all on one device. It's simply amazing.

The iPad really shines when you travel. All of your favorite books, newspapers, films, TV shows and music are contained in a single piece of hardware. It sure makes traveling easy. The first thing I reach for when I travel is my iPad carrying case.

My case of choice is a Belkin Grip Sleeve. It's padded, made of neoprene and has a reinforced panel that protects the screen. It has a large pocket on the side which I use to hold my portable easel and charger. The case sells for $14.95 on Amazon:

My portable easel of choice is the Compass stand from Twelve South. This is a piece of art that is also a marvel of engineering. It folds down into a small little package: 7" long by 1" wide and 3/8" deep. When used as an easel, like the photo above, it makes it easy to read books and watch movies in either landscape or portrait mode. The Compass also has a small fold-away secondary leg (visible on the middle leg in the above photo) which transforms the product from easel to portable workstation. It elevates the rear of the iPad by 1 1/2 inches and makes it incredibly comfortable for typing. The Compass retails for $39.99 and you can check it out here:

My very favorite iPad accessory are the Bower & Wilkins P5 headphones. For anyone who has tried to watch a movie on a plane with earbuds, they simply don't work. They let in way too much outside noise. The P5's fit over the ears and isolate the listener from the environment. The padded headband and ear cups are made from New Zealand sheep leather...quite possibly the softest leather I have ever felt. The sound is absolutely astounding. When I listen to my music with these headphones, I hear instruments and sounds that I never knew existed on the recordings. These are amazing headphones...the most amazing I have ever used. But you don't have to take my word for it....go to an Apple store and try them out. You'll be blown away. The Bowers & Wilkins P5 headphones retail for $299:

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Kahtoola MICROspikes

Last night it started raining then it flipped over to snow. Then the temperature dropped, which turned the 2-mile walking path around Lake Normandale into a giant skating rink. While it would be nice to stay inside, drink a cup of coffee and read the paper, Zorro must have his morning walk.

Last year I got caught walking in regular trail shoes when a snowstorm swooped in. The visibility was every bit as horrible as the traction and I slipped and fell, breaking a rib. While that was painful, I hated that it kept me out of the gym (my beloved CrossFit) for 2 months. I vowed never again.

I tried a number of winter traction devices and Kahtoola MICROspikes outperformed them all. And they outperformed them on two fronts. The first is the all-important traction on ice and snow. There are 10 spikes on each foot...8 on the forefoot and 2 on the heel. These babies dig in like nothing I have ever seen. I don't even think about slipping.

The second area where they outperformed the others is longevity. I tried the industry leading YakTrax, but they wore out after about 10 outings. They have a nice concept but they are poorly engineered. Hit a stretch of dry asphalt and the YakTrax are ruined.

Kahtoola MICROspikes retail for $59.95 and are worth every single penny. I put them on an old pair of Nike trail shoes that I had laying around. I throw those in the back of my car, that way they are always ready should conditions require their appearance. And Zorro was very grateful for their appearance this morning at Lake Normandale. As was I.

 This is a great product and you can check it out here: