iRobot Roombas!

I recently acquired the Roomba 770 robot vacuum cleaner. The 700 series Roombas (760, 770 and 780) are the latest and greatest models from iRobot.

All 3 of the 700 series models include HEPA filters, automatic scheduling, a remote control, and the new AeroVac 2 bin, which is larger and easier to empty and clean than the bins on the older models. And all 3 are designed to be great at picking up pet hairs.… Read more »

NexStar 2.5″ External Hard Drive Enclosure

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Towel Jam Kitchen Towel Holder

The Towel Jam by Chef'n is a super-handy little kitchen towel holder. It has soft rubber gripper "teeth" that grab and hold the towel.

Hanging a towel — or dish cloth, wash cloth, or any other smallish towel or cloth — on it is as easy as shoving a corner, edge, or any bit of the towel into the grippers.

To use, just grab the towel and pull.

The Towel Jam is available in 2 sizes: A single-towel holder and a double-towel holder.… Read more »

Pelican i1015 Waterproof iPhone Case

I like to take my iPhone with me when out kayaking, sailing, or running around the harbor in our Boston Whaler. A cell phone doesn't take the place of a VHF radio for marine emergencies, and I always bring my handheld VHF radio, too. But the iPhone can be super-handy to avoid Sea Tow fees by calling a friend with a boat if we happen to get stranded, or to call and let someone we'll be later than expected getting in, or to check the weather on radar.… Read more »

Neodymium Magnetic Hooks

I had never even heard of neodymium magnets until I went looking for some strong refrigerator-hook type magnets. I'm always wanting to hang things on the side of my refrigerator: potholders and mitts, a notepad for shopping lists, scissors, and the like. I needed some hooks on my refrigerator, and so I went shopping online for some string magnetic hooks. All the ones I found were "neodymium magnets."

It turns out that General Motors and a Japanese company discovered the compound in these magnetics in 1982.… Read more »

I Can See My Clock At Night!

My old alarm clock fell off the nightstand and bounced off the windowsill a few too many times. The outer case had cracked open, and the buttons to set the time and alarm were sticking and inoperable.

My favorite thing about my old alarm clock was that it had really big numbers. I have terrible eyesight, and without my glasses or contacts, I simply cannot read any normal clock. So a large display was my main requirement for a new alarm clock.… Read more »

SimpleHuman Grocery Bag Holder

SimpleHuman upright grocery bag holder

SimpleHuman upright grocery bag holder: Nice form factor, great size, but hard to keep clean-looking.

My old fabric grocery bag holder was coming apart at the seams, and the elastic at both ends was shot. eBay has a lot of those fabric bag holders, and I considered getting another one of those for a few bucks, but I'm not real crazy about the fabric bag holders.

I have liked the SimpleHuman upright grocery bag holder for a long time, and I decided it was time to splurge and get myself one.… Read more »

Eco-Friendly Toy Fire Truck

I bought the Green Toys Eco-Friendly Fire Truck for my grandson for his first birthday. His eyes got as big as saucers when he saw it!

I like it because it's very sturdy. My grandson is a strong little guy, and he's pretty good at bashing things around. I'm confident he won't be able to break this thing, though.

It doesn't have any small parts, so no worries there.

The ladder extends and turns, so that'll help with hand-eye coordination.… Read more »

All Lasagna Pans Are Wrong…. Or Is It Just Me?

I've been making lasagna more often of late.... My friends and family love my lasagna — and a big pan of lasagna makes it so easy to feed a crowd. When I make lasagna, I generally make two pans; I cook one right away for eating, and I stick the other in the freezer for unexpected company or spontaneous parties.

I've never been thrilled, though, with my lasagna pans. I have a metal roaster that I use, and a slightly smaller glass casserole dish.… Read more »

Marine Emergency & Safety Whistles

When we go out in one of our small boats, my husband's "small boat toolkit" includes a tiny little plastic whistle that counts as the Coast Guard-required "noise making device." So we typically don't bring an air horn or any other type of horn or whistle. But the toolkit is always stuck away in the bow locker or under the console or somewhere that it's not very accessible, so I started thinking that we really should get in the habit of bringing an air horn to keep handy.… Read more » -