Wednesday, December 04, 2002
Tech Toys and Christmas Gifts

I write a regular column on tech toys and consumer electronics for an online company. Since it's the holiday's here's some of my picks for this year. If you like them, I'll include them here as a regular feature. Let me know!  MLW

How would you like a little insurance the Christmas Turkey or Roast is cooked to the proper temperature? Is the meat thermometer in your house a relic that should be replaced?  Well-- Here's a hint for a stocking stuffer that won't break the bank.

A picture named PolderThermo.jpgFor less than $15.00 you can have the Polder Instant Digital Instant Read Thermometer. (left) This little gem is a godsend.  It can be used for meat and candy temperatures, runs on one AAA battery and reads in less than 1 minute. A picture named PolderTher-Timer.jpg

However if you're in the bi-focal brigade, here's a gem I highly recommend:  Polder Cooking Thermometer and Clock Timer, with probe. (right- Less than $20.) While I own both of these, the Thermometer/Timer is the best thing I've ever had in the kitchen.  The screen is large and easy to read. I've even used the timer function to keep me on schedule. With it's magnetic back, I stick it on the top of the microwave so it's always there to use. The probe clips easily into the slot and can stuck into meat, or a pot to measure the temperature with little fear of getting burned. You can even program a temperature into the device, stick the probe into a roast inside the oven, and run the probe cable out the oven door to monitor your cooking temperature and time. On the grill it measure meat temperatures to insure the steaks were done to perfection. The 7 inch probe is replaceable directly from Polder should you need a spare for less than $8.

7:25:34 PM  #  
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Another Day Older...

Doc thinks of his weblog as a fireside chat. I tend to think of my weblogs as a kitchen table chat with a good cup of coffee. Somedays I pound away on the computer for hours working and rewriting what I have to say about a specific topic.  Other days you're lucky if you get me to touch a computer-- especially now around the holidays or when real world deadlines are pounding on me. Other people use their weblogs for updating everyone on what they're working on, along with personal updates, comments and links to "good stuff."  The reality check is that weblogs are a wonderful way for groups of people to stay in touch on topics of interest. Does this create an online community? Depends.

For those of you who give a RA, for the past couple days I worked on trying to understand the Embroidery Software that came with my Viking 1+ sewing machine. But instead I've been tearing my hair out. I consider myself to be pretty software savvy, and normally with a reasonable learning curve there aren't too many applications that confuse me-- BUT I have never seen a software suite so FUBARED in my life!  The Viking software does not completely convert file formats without major skips in stitching, the software updates and the updates to the file formats can't be found on Viking's website-- thus making it useless. Even the tech manual (which I have read TWICE,) is very poorly written. If I had paid the full retail price for this POS ($2000+) I would be marching it back for a full refund.  I'm going to give myself one more day on it, then find this software a new home, and buy Embird. There is nothing like a proprietary software, complete with lockout dongle and support that resembles a dead telephone line. Anyone understand the Viking software and want to chat? Hit the COMMENTS button below.

6:41:38 PM  #