Archive for the ‘Gadgets’ Category

The Gerber Tempo Flashlight: Good idea, poor design. Not recommended

Saturday, August 22nd, 2009

I got my Gerber Tempo in April 2009 and have carried it on my keychain until this week (August 2009) when it became too unreliable to trust.

Although there is much I like about the Tempo, I cannot recommend buying it because it is less durable than it should be due to a fundamental design flaw.

The Tempo’s design flaw is that the LED is too exposed. The tip of the LED is flush with the end of the flashlight which virtually guarantees that other items in a pocket or purse will push against the LED. This flaw caused my Tempo to break after four months of light use.  I have to wiggle the LED to get the light to come on. Sometimes a slight wiggle is enough, but often I have to play with the LED for 10-15 seconds to get it to come on and stay on.

Other users/reviewers have experienced the same problem with their Tempos.

If the LED were covered or recessed more deeply (like the LEDs in the excellent Infinity model) the Tempo would be a winner.

On the other hand, if you plan to store your light where there’s little chance of other objects
rubbing against the LED the Tempo might serve you well.  It puts out a decent amount of
light for its size, has a solid feel, and uses readily available AAA batteries.

For now, I’ve replaced the Tempo with a similar-in-size Dorcy flashlight. The Dorcy is cheaper, feels cheaper, has a lens cover and seems to be about as bright as the Tempo.

A Fever for Flashlights Part 2: Tactical Flashlights

Saturday, January 31st, 2009

What is a tactical flashlight?  My definition of a tactical flashlight is a small, lightweight flashlight with an intensely bright light that can be used to startle, disorient, and control anyone on the receiving end, and is tough enough to survive hard use in potentially dangerous situations.  Wikipedia’s article on tactical flashlights has lots of good information worth reading.

I believe the original tactical flash was the Surefire 6P. I bought a 6P at a Dallas gun show many years ago and never regretted it.  At the time there was nothing else that provided such an intense beam of light in a small package. The 6P is still being manufactured and it is still a good flashlight, but I can’t recommend it unless you don’t mind paying too much money for too little flashlight.  The LED version, the Surefire 6PL might be OK, but to my mind, it also seems to be a bit too expensive for what you get.

I haven’t purchased any real “tactical” lights since getting my Surefire 6P, so I can’t recommend any from personal experience, but there are many places on the web you can go for more information. Here are three sites worth checking out.

  2. Lights For Law Enforcement

Unfortunately, hasn’t been updated since  June 2007 so it’s usefulness is going to decrease with time.

Instead of buying expensive tactical lights, I’ve been collecting less expensive LED flashlights can can serve the typical householder in a tactical role.  I’ll review several of those in my next post.

A Fever for Flashlights

Wednesday, January 28th, 2009

I have a fever for flashlights.  The fever started 25 years ago when I bought my first Mini-MAGLITE, it jumped a couple of degrees a few years later when I got a high-intensity police flashlight (a Streamlight SL-20X Halogen) and it began to rage out of control when I saw my first quality LED flashlight.

The LED (Light Emitting Diode) is the best thing to happen to flashlights ever.  LEDs have many advantages over other types of flashlight bulbs. LEDs are almost unbreakable, they are much more efficient in their use of battery power (more light for less power, so batteries last longer with LEDs), and they can deliver almost as much light for lower cost.

Every home, every car, and every keyring should have a good quality LED flashlight.  Here are some flashlights I have used and can personally recommend:

A friend has asked me to recommend a flashlight for home/tactical use, so I’ll be writing more on flashlights in the days to come.

A Convenient Way to Brew Loose Leaf Tea

Thursday, January 15th, 2009

I love coffee (in my opinion, there’s no coffee better than fresh ground Gevalia), but when I drink too much coffee in one day my stomach complains and I suffer from foot cramps in the evening. For that reason, I decided to switch to drinking tea in the middle of the day instead of coffee.

For black tea I like Red Rose Orange Pekoe. Red Rose used to be made and distributed by a Canadian Company, but a few years ago Lipton started distributing Red Rose. Quality was down the first year Lipton marketed Red Rose, but quality appears to be good again. Newman’s Own Organics Royal (black) Tea is also very good.

I like green tea, too, but I don’t have a favorite green tea, yet. I brought five or six different brands of loose leaf green back from China last June but I hadn’t drank any until recently because I didn’t have a good way to brew it. That’s all changed now, thanks to my son, Ty.

This Christmas, Ty got his wife, Amber, a neat little tea pot called the IngenuiTEA from Adagio Teas. I had seen the IngenuiTEA on the web a few weeks before Christmas and I thought it looked like just the thing to promote green tea drinking in the Margheim household. Amber’s IngenuiTEA worked so well, I had to get one for myself.

To use the IngenuiTEA you: heat the water, put the loose leaf tea in the IngenuiTEA, pour the hot water over the tea, steep for the proper amount of time, set the IngenuiTEA on top of your cup and watch the brewed tea flow into the cup.  To clean up, simply rinse the tea out the IngenuiTEA.

I’ve brewed three or four pots of green tea with the IngenuiTEA and recommend it highly. It is convenient to use, easy to clean and brews good tea (I’m not qualified to say whether or not it brews great tea).

The IngenuiTEA holds 16 ounces of water.