The Panasonic PtAE2000U Projector blasts out 1500 lumens of 1080P magic, with a contrast ratio of 15,000:1. Not only is it 40%+ brighter than any other 1080P projector on the market, but with most new HDMI projectors priced at or above $10,000, the Panasonic's $2,500 price tag is frankly suspicious. (Did these beauties "fall off a truck" on the way from the SONY plant?) Since I replaced my old Runco with this projector, my neighbors have been camping out in my basement.
The WhoHas Award for Best Security Product
I've experimented with just about every home automation gizmo available. Most of the time they languish unused due to complexity, bugs, or low utility. For example, I'm not sure I'll ever really get around to controlling my irrigation system through my browser. (Who has time for this?)
But my latest pet project has worked out just great. I've replaced the key locks on my doors with numeric keypads. Access is now faster, and no longer dependent upon carrying a key around. Keypad codes, unlike physical key locks, can be changed immediately. You can provision multiple key codes, and each with access at different times of day. A log is kept of which keys are used when.
I've got my keypads working off a server that connects to digital locks on the doors, which has the added feature of locking and unlocking doors around the house on demand or on schedule. But the core value can be had without the central server--just retrofit your old fashioned door with a locally controlled mechanism. They range in price from $100-400, depending upon quality and programmability.
The WhoHas Award for Best Pen
Why pay $500 for a shiny Montblanc when the same price will buy you a LiveScribe Pulse? The Pulse's internal memory stores every word you've written, and it even stores an audio recording of the conversation that took place in the room right at the time you wrote those words. It's so simple--you just take notes as usual in their spiral paper notebooks. Later on you click on a word and the pen's internal speaker starts playing the conversation!
The Pulse has an LED display, speaker, headset port, camera, and connector for transferring all its visual and audio contents to a PC or shared web space. It comes with some other very cool but not really practical apps, like the ability to play music (with accompanying repercussion!) on a hand-drawn piano keyboard, and real time language translation of what you're writing (both written and aural).
The WhoHas Award for Best Culinary Product
For our anniversary last year, Nathalie surprised me with a Citrus Press grapefruit juice squeezer from Williams Sonoma. It quickly captures every drop, enabling my juice addiction. This beautiful steel machine evokes the power of a '73 Buick--you'll want to park it on open counter right there between the Sub-Zero and the Thermador.
The WhoHas Award for Best Car
I own three cars: an electric GEM and two Odyssey minivans. Odyssey is the perfect family vehicle. It drives like a car, the third row seats and second row center seat can disappear into the floor, and it has all the bells and whistles you need with kids--like a rear-view cam and dual power sliding doors. It's affordable, fuel efficient, Honda-reliable, and damned sporty-lookin.
The WhoHas Award for Best Fashion Product
Even if you don't have frail Ashkenazi skin like mine, you need to ward off the skin cancer. So when you swim outdoors, consider wearing a sun shirt to partially obviate the sunscreen regimen. (Who has time for this?)
Coolibar has a great line. My favorite is the one on the right that zips off easily when wet and, more importantly, qualifies for Star Fleet as a Star Trek TNG uniform.
The WhoHas Award for Best Pharmaceutical
Sonata (or the generic zaleplon) sleeping pills are shorter acting than Ambien or Lunesta, so you don't wake up tired.
Legal disclaimer: Ignore my advice--I know nothing. I'm a blogger, not a doctor. Medicine has risks. For example, the manufacturer of Sonata advises:
"...discontinuation of Sonata should be strongly considered for patients who report a 'sleep-driving' episode."
Now that's good advice!
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