Technology and Gadget News and Reviews

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Meat Thermometer Technology

To become a barbecue master, you need to take the guess work out of your cooking. You could have food instincts that are akin to Gordon Ramsay‘s, Jamie Oliver’s and Wolfgang Puck’s combined, but you ain’t going to know the inside temperature of your large piece of meat without a meat thermometer. Because sticking your finger inside certainly won’t work (ouch).

So if you take cooking on your quality smoker from the Barbecue Smoker Guide seriously, you are going to need one of these bad boys.

Seeing as there are tons of the devices on the market, I will narrow your search down by recommending the top 3 best wireless models at the end of this article. So if you’ve got the Best Electric Smoker, don’t consider cooking something on it until you pick one up.

Before that, here’s some general advice on thermometers in general.

What to look for

“Don’t buy a crappy thermometer. Buy the best and you’ll only cry once.” Greg Rempe of the BBQCentral Radio show once said. And he is right. Like with everything, buy something that is cheap and you will likely pay the price sooner or later. Buy something quality that is reliable and it will pay you back over time.

Durability

Therefore, the first and most important aspect to look for is durability. These little babies are going to be exposed to a large helping of grease, extremes of temperature and multiple barbecue sessions. So you don’t want it malfunctioning at the slightest knock.

Speed and accuracy

Another important aspect when choosing your thermometer is the speed and accuracy of it. Accuracy is obviously important as you obviously need an accurate reading on your food temperature. And there can be a small difference between raw and rare-cooked food if you like your food that way, so making sure your device has a reading that is bang on the money is vital.

You need the speed because to plunge the probe into your cooking food, you are often sticking your arm in a hot oven. So you don’t want a model that takes so long to read the temp that your arm starts cooking in the oven in the process.

Thickness

To plunge the probe into thick pieces of meat, you are going to want a stainless-steel model that is also thick enough to not buckle under the force. So don’t buy skinny, plastic models or they can snap off it plunged into thick pieces of cooking meat.

Here are the top 3 wireless thermometers on the market today, considering price and performance:

Taylor Digital Thermometer

This little gem is battery operated via a simple on/off switch. You also won’t have any problem probing your big bits of meat with this thermometer as it features a four-foot long stainless-steel probe. The probe is connected to the monitor via a special cable that is long and durable enough so that you can close the oven door with the probe inside and read the temp without heat blazing over your face from an open oven door. Pretty handy. The temperature range is 30 to 395F.

CDN DTQ450X ProAccurate

With the ProAccurate the monitor is attached to the probe itself so won’t be able to read temperatures while not opening the door. Well you could try and leave the device inside and read the monitor through the oven glass…actually don’t. You won’t need to actually as one of the selling points of this one is it delivers temperature readings in 3-6 seconds. Most thermometers take around 1 minute.

This pocket-sized gadget is also shatterproof and waterproof and thin enough to probe thin cuts of meat, fish or poultry.

Pyrex Digital Probe Oven Thermometer

Like a combination of the two above, this battery-operated thermometer with oven-safe probe keeps track of internal temperature in fahrenheit and celsius degrees. It also has a Timer alarm for when your food is ready.

Top 5 Websites for Recipes

A sharp knife will cut through chicken like butter.Whether it’s coming up with new and innovative ways to feed your family, planning a course for a party, or just trying to find a way out of the chicken and potatoes slump you’ve found yourself in, it is becoming more and more common to turn to the internet to find recipes and food ideas. In order to make your search that much shorter, here’s a list of five websites you can use to find that perfect meal.

AllRecipes.com

AllRecipes.com provides a great place to go to find all kinds of new recipes. While they may not actually have ALL recipes, they do have a wide variety. In addition, they present many videos that may help you solve those pesky stuffing or cutting problems you may run into. They even include an entire section devoted to holiday menus and ideas, which is great if you are in charge of preparing Christmas dinner for your entire family.

As icing on the cake, by signing up with the website, you can save recipes in your very own virtual recipe box to easily locate those recipes you loved making. And, another perk of membership, they will even create shopping lists for you to take to the store!

Food Network

If you are a fan of the Food Network on television, then you are absolutely going to love their website! Find recipes from your favorite Food Network chefs without waiting for them to come back on television! They also have tutorial videos and blogs from the chefs that can help you tackle the trickier concepts in their recipes. These are the people to go to if you feel like you don’t have the best Cuisinart food processors, or the best knife sharpener, but still want to create a culinary masterpiece.

Recipe.com

What do you do if you have ingredients on hand, but don’t know what to do with them? Check out Recipe.com; that’s what you do! Instead of presenting you with tons of recipes, recipe.com allows you to tell the website what main ingredients you have on hand, and then they provide you with a list of recipes that you can get started on right now without needing to hit the store! From web to your stove in minutes!

Epicurious

Epicurious is a fantastic website if you have literally no idea what you want to eat, but don’t want to make a boring recipe you’ve had a hundred times. In addition to a fantastic blog that celebrates food in all it’s wondrous glory, they have recipes and ideas, tutorials and videos, and even their very own online culinary store where you can go and get that perfect gift for your foodie friends.

Simply Recipes

Simply Recipes is a wonderful place to go for those down-home, healthy, and easy-to-make recipes. There are few frills on the food here, but it makes for wonderful food and ideas nonetheless.

I hope this list helps you find the right recipe for you and your occasion!

Harnessing Mobile Tech in…Fishing?!

We’re big fans of all things tech here at nowin8.com, so when we come across something interesting, we love to have a closer look – even if it’s totally outside of the normal computing and gadget market. That’s why we were so taken aback when we saw something technologically cool in the fishing industry.

Sure, fish finders for amateur fishermen have been around for a few decades now, and they have some pretty slick technology, but when it comes to computers, smart phones, and other devices, there’s not a lot going on.

Introducing the Vexilar T-Pod

One of the most innovative products we’ve seen in a long time, the T-Pod fish finder unit from Vexilar is made up of two major components.

The first is the actual transducer/transmitter that goes in the water and uses SONAR to find fish and the bottom of the water you’re fishing on. It works just like most other transducers and relays information based on sound waves to your display so you can see what’s going on. The cool thing about this one is, though, is that not only is it just over $100, coming in at the very low end of fish finders, but it actually is a small Wi-Fi generating pod. When it is turned on, it creates a wireless signal that allows it to connect to the display screen! Pretty cool. Now, what about that display screen?

The other component is the screen, but you won’t get one included with the device when you open the box. That’s because the display screen is your existing Apple or Android smart phone or tablet. You just download an app (“Going fishing today, Bob.” “Hey, is there an app for that?” “Yup!”) and sync it with the Wi-Fi connection on the transducer and you will receive the signal right on your phone or tablet.

Now, this is awesome for a few reasons. For one, most of the competitors in this price range are dull gray-scale screens that are a bit difficult to get a clear picture with. By using your smart device, you get access to the incredible screen resolution and full color display, making what your viewing under the water easy to see and identify.

Second, it means less bulk, fewer parts, and less cost for you. If you’ve already got a smart device, you just need to head to the app store…can’t get much easier than that. You’ll probably have your phone with you while you’re out on the water anyway, so why not make use of it this way?

The finder comes with a handy arm band that will fit most smart phones so that you don’t have to hold it in your hand. This gives you both hands for fishing, which you’ll obviously need, and provides a great place for you to see and access the display quickly.

The app comes in 17 languages, and the transmitter is backed by a 1 year warranty. These guys are serious about their product and continue to innovate and make it better.

So there you have it – your day’s top tech device harnessing mobile technology…in fishing!

Why Macs are Better than Windows

It’s a Fact

Unless you’ve been under a rock for the past decade, it isn’t even a fair game anymore between Macs and PCs. On every end of the technology market – computer, smartphone, tablet; hardware or software – Apple has decisively won. You could check out the quarterly sales figures for solid evidence, but we’re going to provide an indisputable argument for why this is true. It’s, really, just a fact – no doubt about it.

The average Mac. Credit Wikipedia

Early Innovator

The explosion of touch screen technology and interactive operating systems started with Apple’s iTouch and, since then, the operating system on your laptop or desktop computer is more or less the same as the mobile alternative. This makes communication ideal between all of your iDevices. And with Cloud Storage, integration is the name of the game. No headaches, just usability and cross-platform functionality.

Now, mobile-centric OS’s, such as Android and Windows 8, are further removed from being effective – Android being a linux derived plug and complete non-competitor in the integration game. Windows 8 had to make a sacrifice to keep up with Apple’s decisive hold on the market.

Maybe in a few years, with Windows 9 or 10, we’ll be able to see a truly universal OS from Windows. But, for right now, it’s still in its awkward teenage phase. There are bugs, glitches in usability, and it is just not as intuitive as consumers would like it to be.

This is because Windows 8 is Microsoft’s attempt to create a mobile friendly interface, but they’ve failed two times over with this. 1) Tablet users have to deal with a lightweight OS that doesn’t perform everything you need it to, or you don’t have enough power to fully utilize the heavier elements the system provides. 2) Laptop and PC owners have this strange hybrid of technology that cannot be fully utilized without a touch screen. It’s absurd!

The average PC. Credit Wikipedia

Quality

Macbooks and iPads have proven that they’re quality products. You can walk in and out of the store, from the floor model to your purchase at home, and constantly be satisfied with the device. Even if you do have an issue, Apple’s customer service is uniquely equipped to quickly and efficiently handle your problem, often at cost to the store you bought it from. Truly selfless to accommodate your needs.

Windows doesn’t live up to the same standard. Often the technology has hiccups and flaws that can be a pain to correct without being a PC aficionado. This requires you to run diagnostic tools, sometimes even externally, to fix your problem. And, unfortunately, often the software doesn’t provide the quick fix that you’re hoping for. Most times you end up in the store, negotiating your way to the product you deserve.

Conclusion

Save yourself the headache, and buy a Mac. It’s the old and new standard and the rest of the market is still trying to catch up. You can wait for them to do so, but you may be waiting a long, long time.

The Curved Phone: LG G Flex

Have you heard about the LG G Flex?

The phone is actually curved. It’s supposed to cut down on glare and help immerse you in the experience, but frankly, it is a bit gimmicky. As you’ll see in this great Tekzilla review, it isn’t full HD, it’s quite bulky, and it is more for show than anything else. Also, can you imagine putting that thing in your pocket?

Watch the review…

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Review of the iPhone 5s

A lot of people need to decide what their next smartphone will be. Their contracts are ending and opening up the floor for buying a new device. The iPhone 5s has been out for a couple of months now, aged but still an impressive purchasing option. It’s still the latest iPhone released, as the 6 doesn’t even have a release date yet. Even if the iPhone 6 is released this year, buying the iPhone 5s is still a viable option. Plus, you could always wait for the price to drop significantly when the 6 is announced. The market is sure to burst with people trying to sell their previous smartphones.

iPhone 5s front and back. Credit: Wikimedia

Well, besides what the future has in store, the iPhone 5s still holds the spotlight and deserves a thorough review of its amazing features. Why should you buy the iPhone 5s? Read through and find out!

The iPhone 5s is a sturdy phone, yet has a thin, light-weight design that won’t feel heavy in your pants pocket or carry bag. It’s the perfect mobile size as a smartphone, not attempting to be a half-breed tablet. We’re looking at you htc!

Grey iPhone back. Credit, Wikimedia

Down to the specifics… Each iPhone 5s comes equipped with the much touted Touch ID technology, you can unlock your phone with your fingerprint! Now that’s convenience. Certainly a nod toward the future of mobile devices. Each device runs on an A7 chip with 64-bit architecture. Basically, it’s one of the most powerful phones out even months after release. Plus, the new iSight camera is even more empressive than the last model, and internet connection with LTE wireless is nothing to ignore.

To match the hardware, Apple has their new iOS 7 operating system loaded onto each device. If you’ve seen it, you’ll notice the big leap from the previous iOS 6. Visuals have been upgraded to match the additional power of the phone and the excellent screen resolution. I would definitely go to an Apple store near you and play around with the beautiful nuances of the updated operating system.

Besides what comes in the box, you can buy high quality cases for your iPhone 5s. These cases are made specifically for this phone, matching it perfectly and providing a much needed variability to their look. You always have the option to buy knockoff brand cases, but the ones Apple make are above the rest, made of premium leather with an inside of soft, color-matching microfiber.

iPhone 5 top. Credit Wikimedia

As is the biggest selling point of iPhones, the apps do not disappoint. Every new iPhone comes with better-than-ever versions of iPhoto, iMovie, GarageBand, Pages, Numbers, and Keynote. Besides the built in software, the Apple app store is unmatched in available choices and quality programs. 

So there you have it, the iPhone 5s is really a marvel of technology and will last you ‘till your next upgrade is available. Apple products are known for their out of the box usability, and even if you have a problem: Apples customer service is there to help out fast and efficiently.