When I first got wind of today’s product, I had a crazy misconception or two about how (and if) it could possibly work, but regardless, I loved it instantly because it reminded this former member of the Short and Rabidly Obsessed with Inspector Gadget fan club of that guy on her first grade lunchbox – the one with the extendable legs, gizmos that popped out of his fingertips, and helicopter hat. Ba dah duh duh duh…. ba dah duh duh duh dun dun – hoo hoooooooo!
I mean, the Xtender Pole™ from Platinum Tools® is about as close as mere mortals can get to their very own “go-go Gadget drill!” And I’m happy to announce that it does indeed work (actually, this thing is totally insane… in a good way). When I first saw that you could essentially extend the reach of your power drill or driver up to 18 feet so that you could comfortably drive screws into the ceiling without your feet ever leaving the floor, I wondered how that could possibly work – after all, even if the pole did function as intended, how the heck were you supposed to see what you’re doing from that far below, and what good does it do to stay on the ground while installing hardware on the ceiling, just to have someone get up on a ladder to attach wires, chains, or whatever fixtures need to be hung?
Curse my tendency to jump to conclsuions. When I watched the video and saw the Xtender Pole in action, I felt both embarrassed and extremely enlightened at the same time. It works like this: if you need to hang threaded rods and eye lag screws for suspension cables or chains, the whole assembly is installed at once. So you’re not zipping in the eye lags and then crawling up a ladder to attach wires to them. You position your eye lag screws or threaded rods, as well as the wires or chains that are going to hang from them, in the appropriate sections of the Xtender, then hoist the whole thing up, zip in the screw, and you’re done. You definitely have to watch the video… the finishing touches on the eye lag and wire combo really blew my mind. You see the value of the Xtender Pole in a split second.
Now if they only sold a companion trench coat and fedora to go with it…
Happy Friday, movie fans! I know that when we started these little weekly video rewinds I said I’d be highlighting/reviewing our newest videos, but since there are no freshly-minted product demos this week, we’re going to go retro and show one from a few months back (you won’t even know the difference – I promise).
I picked this one in particular because it’s a product that I did a regular blog post on a few months ago, wishing that I had had one of these last year, when my husband and I had a ridiculous (but probably pretty comedic to any possible flies on the wall) episode in which we attempted to hang a much-heavier-than-it-looked metal cabinet in an tiny, awkward bathroom alcove that contained the added obstacle of a toilet exactly where the person holding up the cabinet (me) would logically stand during the whole ordeal. With that in mind, check out this video for the FastCap 3rd Hand Support Beam, and I think you’ll see why this could have really helped.
For this video, we got Mildred, our VP of Sales (and no, that’s definitely not her in the picture above), to step back in front of the camera, and she demonstates how the 3rd Hand adjusts in multiple ways to offer support when you’re trying to install cabinets, server equipment, and even construction materials like drywall and crown molding. And you know what? Even if for some reason you have no need for a support beam but love really cool accents, watch the video anyway, because Mildred’s accent is the best, and she’s always fun to listen to.
I’m the type who always appreciates a precise, well-executed project, repair or installation, so you’ll find me reaching for a level just about every time. Call me OCD, but crooked lines or unintentional slopes in the finished product are pretty much enough to make me lose sleep. I’ve used everything from mini keychain levels to the long ones used by contractors for large-scale jobs, but by far my favorite has been the Torpedo Level from Klein Tools: it has three spirit vials to check level, plumb and 45° angles, is perfectly sized to fit in a toolbox, and has Rare Earth magnets that let it get a death grip on any ferrous metal, so that you can work hands-free in certain situations.
But as it turns out, Klein Tools wasn’t satisfied with a Torpedo Level that was merely awesome – the had to go and upgrade it to amazing. Meet the latest incarnation: the Klein Tools Magnetic Lighted Torpedo Level.
Klein’s Lighted Torpedo Level has the same 3-vial configuration, rugged housing and incredibly strong Rare Earth magnets as its predecessor, but with a few new perks that really take it to the next (wait for it….) level. Sorry, I was cringing as I wrote it and realized the pun, but it was pretty much unavoidable. Anyway, back to the latest features, which happen to be a laser-etched ruler along the bottom edge of the level, as well as a v-notched frame that helps the level sit more comfortably on round pipes and conduit, and LED lighting in each vial window, so you can get accurate readings even if the ambient light you’re working in isn’t the best.
Contrary to the way “New and Improved” can often make you never want to buy the product in question again, Klein Tools has, in my opinion, totally nailed this overhaul! Looks like I might have to upgrade, too.
You’ve got a shock-absorbing silicone cover for your cell phone and a laptop case that can shield your notebook computer from everything short of nuclear disaster or heavy artillery, but let me ask you this: who’s looking out for your tablet?
Like both our old friend Billy Joel and the new wave of obsessive couponing that’s spawned a rash of Sunday circular thefts from coast to coast, the world of Gadget Protection tends to go to extremes (Billy, please forgive me for dragging your name into the same sentence as extreme cheapskates… ummmm, I mean couponers). Pocket- and full-sized electronics are still the most widely-owned gadgets out there, so they have tons of covering/carrying options available, but those somewhere-in-the-middle tablets, Netbooks, and iPads don’t have it quite so easy yet.
Luckily, Pelican has looked kindly upon midsize gadgets, with their breakable screens and too-big-to-fit-in-your-pocket designs, and has put together a little something special to keep them safe when you decide to take them on the road with you (and who doesn’t?). The company’s new 1075 Series HardBack™ cases give your tablet or Netbook (or several smaller gadgets) near-indestructable protection that can be slung over your shoulder and carried along for the ride.
If you’re not familiar with the hallmarks of Pelican cases, let me drop a few key words to give you the idea. Watertight. Crushproof. Impact-resistant. Buoyant. Self-equalizing. They’re basically equipped with everything you’ve ever dreamed of and more. One time, we actually took one of their earlier, mini-sized models out into the company parking lot, repeatedly ran it over with a large SUV, and the case suffered nothing more than a few surface scratches. If you’re going to put your precious electronics into anyone’s hands, I strongly suggest they be Pelican’s.
But back to the details. As their name and my earlier description imply, HardBack™ cases are constructed of a rigid outer shell, which is lined with customizable foam to create the perfect cushioned fit for any device. An o-ring seal keeps moisture out, so much so that you can submerge a closed Pelican case to a depth of 3 feet without any problem. Elevation changes aren’t an issue, either, thanks to a built-in pressure equalizing valve that automatically balances internal air pressure.
Kind of makes you wish they made a Pelican Case in your size, doesn’t it?
Yesterday afternoon, I officially made the acquaintance of the FastCap 3rd Hand support beam. It was a totally new product to me, but it had the very strange effect of immediately conjuring up a mental snapshot of an insanely ridiculous situation I found myself in about a year ago.
During this little flashback, I found myself back in the middle of a home repair project we were working on that involved hanging a much-heavier-than-it-looked metal cabinet onto a bathroom wall. To make things even more interesting, the section of wall that the cabinet was going on happened to be above a toilet, in a very narrow bathroom alcove that didn’t allow for the use of little luxuries like step ladders. Hmmmmmmm.
So imagine, if you will, my husband standing (and trying to balance) on top of a somewhat unstable toilet, with a power drill in one hand, and a fistful of screws in the other. And me, squeezed sideways between the toilet and side wall, desperately trying to hold up and balance that stupid cabinet, arms shaking under the weight. Awesome. I won’t get detailed with exact quotes from the exchange we had in the process, but suffice it to say that it was heated and liberally laced with profanity, especially when the studs turned out to be in locations other than where we had originally calculated.
At that point, I was sucked back into present day, and found myself staring at the 3rd Hand, wondering where it had been all of my marriage/DIY career.
FastCap’s aptly-named 3rd Hand universal support is made for jobs that usually require a second person (who possesses that requisite third hand) to hold up – and keep steady – cabinets, molding, and other heavy fixtures while someone else does the fastening. It’s adjustable from 5 to 12 feet, can manage up to 150 pounds, and can even be used in conjunction with plastic sheeting to create dust barriers between rooms. Add to that the fact that you don’t have to pay it hourly wages and that it doesn’t get pissed off and storm out if you yell at it during a particularly tense moment, and you have the perfect assistant for a multitude of jobs.
Ever done a repair or home improvement project just to find, when you were done, that while the main thing you were set on accomplishing came out great, something else was accidentally damaged in the process? Like maybe you managed to finagle that couch up a tight, curving stairwell, but not without putting a hole in the plaster wall? Or perhaps you refinished your hardwood floors with beautiful results, only to peel the paint off your baseboard molding when you pulled away the painter’s tape that had been protecting it from stray polyurethane? Arrrggghhh!!!
Of course, these examples are purely hypothetical (yeah, right). But apparently I’m not the only goof-up out there taking one step forward, immediately followed by one step back. It’s not something that might be obvious from the get-go, but any sort of through-wall work (cable runs, conduit additions) can turn a necessary but annoying-to-repair drywall cut into an even bigger mess. Think of what would happen if you were to put pressure and friction on the cut edges of a work hole with wiring or pull tape, and how banged up things would get of you kept hitting it with tools and material as you worked. Not too pretty.
That’s where the BES Drywall Protector Plate comes very much in handy. It’s exactly what it sounds like – a plate that installs over drywall cuts to reinforce work holes and provide a protective shield against assault by tools, materials, and hands. Just line it up with your drywall hole, slide the adjustable tabs to lock it in place, and go about your work without constantly worrying that you’re dinging up the sheetrock more than you should be.
The drywall protector plate works with wallboard that’s anywhere from ½ to ⅝ of an inch thick, and is completely reusable. And the best thing is that it maintains the status quo for post-job restoration. There are no screw holes to patch, and no excessive drywall damage to contend with – just repair the work hole (as you expected to do), and enjoy the lack of nasty last-minute surprises.
Filed under: Computer Accessories, Gadgets, Tools and Cases
Don’t ask me how it happened, but by some miracle, Geeky has become the new Sexy. The Conspiracy Theorists out there may surmise that certain tech companies, such as “Orange” and “The-Search-Engine-That-Must-Not-Be-Named” (names have been changed to protect those with powerful legal departments) may have started doctoring water supplies across the nation with geek-seeking aphrodisiac chemicals. Others may say that since we’re all a little gadget-crazy these days, it’s not so weird to pass up human interaction in favor of gaming and social media. Whatever the case may be, certified tech geeks are now making it to the top of “Most Desirable Valentines” lists everywhere, so that begs the question: what do you buy the Apple-Lover of Your Eye?
Chocolates? Sorry… they melt on fingers, and then smudge up computer keyboards. Flowers? Hellooooooooo, not unless they have a Web interface. A romantic dinner for two? Impossible: that would require forcible removal, possibly surgical in nature, from one’s laptop or smartphone. Looks like we’d better give you a few suggestions on how to spark gift-induced romance with your geeky sweetheart.
Being the crew of tech nerds that we are, a few of us at CableOrganizer.com put together a list of His and Hers Valentine gifts with a decidedly techy twist. From iPhone cord organizers and Bluetooths (or is it Blueteeth?) to solar chargers and USB hubs, our Geekentine’s Day gifts are creative, affordable, and may be just what it takes to score a non-virtual smooch or two.
Happy Valentine’s Day!
Filed under: Braided Sleeving, Tools and Cases
Wraparound (or “split”) braided sleeving is one terrific way to tame and hide cables. If you’ve never used it, it lets you bundle and hide cords inside a sleek-looking woven wrap, but is much easier to use than traditional braided sleeving because it’s split down the side. That slit lets you slide cables in along its length, instead of slowly inching the braided sleeving over them like you have to with the expandable kind. To sum it up, it’s a lot like wire loom, but instead of being made out of hard plastic, wraparound sleeving soft, woven, and extra flexible.
But despite its softness and lack of sharp edges, split wraparound sleeving can, like wire loom, be quite a pain in the tokus to install. It’s no hard to do, per se, just time-consuming… especially when long lengths are involved. That’s why Bentley-Harris is making an ingenious little device known as the Woven Wraparound Installation Tool.
Let me just say that inserting cables into split wrap by hand versus using a gadget like this is like trying to clear 6 inches of snow off your driveway with a toy beach shovel instead of using a snow blower. You can do things the slow and hard way, or zip through the job (literally) with a wraparound installation tool. Your choice.
The wraparound sleeving tool does a couple of things at once. First, it keeps your cables gathered together for insertion, so that you don’t have to wrestle with them individually. Then, it “zips” them into the sleeving all at once. No inching your way along – just wrap the tool around your cables, insert the tool into the end of the sleeving, zoom it through, and you’re done. I’m serious – I’ve used tools like this on several occasions, and they’re great… you can’t go wrong. Paying around $5 for one of these is way more than worth it when you consider the time and frustration you’ll save.
Filed under: Network Products, Tools and Cases
I recently hopped onto an airplane to go visit family, and as I got ready to leave, I realized how frighteningly calculated my carry-on packing and preparations have become. It’s a pretty serious case of TSA-induced OCD. There’s the clear cosmetic bag filled with 3oz (or smaller) bottles, the cell phone, the camera, and the ID and boarding pass, all strategically positioned in the oversized handbag in such a way that they can’t fall out or get swiped, but are ready to whip out (in the order needed) as soon as I get to the security checkpoint. Forget the people who bumble with their shoes, belts and laptops – I have a flight to catch, and I haven’t been sent to the x-ray machine yet.
Not to go on about my travel-induced neuroses; the point is that when you have to take your show on the road, things are always more complicated, and it can be a little disorienting when you have to repeatedly juggle your stuff. It’s one thing to do that when you travel home for the holidays, but when your job depends on it every single day, well… you’ve gotta have a way to keep your act together. Especially if you’re an on-the-go phone or network installer who works on the road, and has to truck around all of the tools and parts needed to tackle each job.
That’s why I really like the IDEAL Telemaster Kit for RJ11 and RJ45 cable terminations. Whether you’re dealing with RJ11 or RJ45, this all-in-one kit has a multipurpose crimp tool that works for 1, 2 and 3-pair RJ11 plugs, and 4-pair RJ45s, as well as assorted stranded modular plugs (45 total) that come separated into their own compartments, so you never have to guess which kind you’re grabbing for. One of my favorite things about the plug compartments is that they make it easy to keep track of inventory – they let you see, at a glance, how many of a certain plug type you have left, which definitely beats scrounging around the bottom of your tool kit for just one more RJ45 connector.
I moved last week – a whopping 3 miles away from my old house. But from the way that I panicked over the general safety and transport of my laptop, you’d think I was about to go base jumping with the thing strapped to my back. In answer to what you’re probably asking yourself right now, no, I didn’t have the foresight to purchase, say, a laptop case when I got the computer, so the 5-minute drive through some of the tamest streets in the continental US started looking like the thrill rides I so desperately avoid.
I ended up packing the darn thing in the exact middle of an oversized laundry basket full of clean, folded clothes. But I wouldn’t surrender it to the boys who were tossing the rest of our stuff into the back of a pickup truck – instead, I gave the laptop-padding laundry basket the passenger seat of my car, and then personally carried it into the new digs and unloaded it myself. Ridiculous, I know, but how would you feel if your notebook computer was destroyed?
Luckily, apart from moving, it stays home and doesn’t travel, but I’m starting to feel for people who have to regularly fly with a laptop, or even multiple laptops. That has to be a little stressful – plenty of businesspeople have their entire lives (or careers, at least) stored in their notebooks. Luckily, the designers at Gator know a thing or two about electronics transportation, and have come up with the perfect solution: the Roto-Molded rolling laptop case.
Granted, the since the Gator Rolling laptop case can accommodate up to 8 laptops, it’s more than most solo business travelers need, but it’s perfect for government and military transport, or for traveling to trade shows with multiple company-owned laptops. The rotationally-molded polyethylene outer shell is super tough, and the case’s interior is lined with dense foam that’s compartmentalized for 8 laptops, as well as accessories. And just because they knew that these cases will most likely be flying, Gator has equipped them with built-in release valves, which equalize internal and external air pressure during altitude changes. Pretty smart.