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Quirky Switch0

The Quirky Switch may very well be the ultimate multi-tool. 


Before I get into how to use it, I feel it necessary to list all of the attachments offered in this little gadget:

  • Standard Knife
  • Pliers
  • Scissors
  • Nail File
  • Tweezers
  • Thin Flathead Screwdriver
  • Phillips-Head Screwdriver
  • Eyeglass Phillips-Head Screwdriver
  • Eyeglass Flathead Screwdriver
  • Wood Saw
  • Serrated Blade
  • Corkscrew
  • Combination Bottle Opener/Flathead Screwdriver
  • Combination Can Opener/Wire Stripper
  • Pen
  • Magnifying Glass
  • LED Flashlight
  • 1GB USB Memory Stick.

I mean… well… holy crap!  That’s a lot of stuff for one little tool!

But here’s what makes it really special: these attachments slide onto three inner axle assemblies, which are held in place by end caps that twist off.   Which means you can customize the tool with any or all of the attachments.  The more attachments you desire, the greater the width of the tool.  This modular approach makes the Quirky Switch stand out as one of the most versatile multi-tools ever made.

The Quirky Switch can be all yours for $79.00.

by John Barker

Building Efficiency: Insulation0

I know next to nothing about insulation. Except that our old house doesn’t have enough of it.

But I work with a colleague who recently taught me a little bit about the different kinds of insulation and, most importantly, what a difference proper installation of insulation can make. He used phrases like “nice face stapling”, “low density” and “band joist”. A new vocabulary for me that rolled off his tongue as easy as pie.


A Waterproof TV0

Some people enjoy just floating around in the pool with no interruptions, nothing but the gentle lapping of the water against their skin, a frosty beverage in hand, and silence.

I’m not one of those people. 


Pool Cleaning Tips0

My girlfriend and I recently purchased a house (yay!).  And this house has a pool (double yay!).


Mini Portable Solar Panel Battery Recharger0

Kermit might not think it’s easy to be green, but every day, more and more environmentally healthy and user-friendly devices are becoming available. And some of these are portable and easy to use.

Take this mini portable solar panel battery recharger. It’s a nifty gadget that generates 4 different voltages – 3, 6, 9, and 12 volts – using stored solar power.

You simply slide the yellow lever to select the voltage you need. For example, to charge 2 AA rechargeable batteries (1.5 volts per battery) you slide the lever to position 1 for 3 volts and pop the batteries into the compartment on the backside of the panel. To charge a 3.6 volt battery for a cell phone you’d slide the lever to the 2nd position for 6 volts and plug the connector into the phone. There are 5 different connectors plus alligator clips included.

The handle doubles as an adjustable stand which allows the panel to be positioned for maximum sunlight exposure. And it stores energy for later use.

You can charge all sorts of equipment with this little panel. Portable radios, cell phones, MP3 players, flashlights. You name it.

 A great deal at around $25.00, I’m thinking this will make a great gift for my techie nephew. Fun, green and functional.

text and mini solar panel photo by Ann D. Travers

first photo via

Baby Monitors0

We all know how important it is to keep an eye on babies. 

After all, we don’t want them creeping out of their rooms and eating our brains.

Oh, wait.  That would be zombies.  My mistake.  To me they look quite similar.  Drooling.  Slow-moving.  Scary.


The Real UP House0


Anyone who has seen the Disney/Pixar film  UP  knows about Carl Fredricksen’s amazing flying house.  Using hundreds of balloons, the old guy manages to fly across the world and get into all sorts of amazing adventures.

But can it be done in reality?




Turf Scientist Jim Baird of the University of California at Riverside is attempting to bioengineer a type of grass that needs less water to proliferate.


When the Basement Floods0



We’ve been lucky when it comes to basement flooding. I have a friend who lives at the base of a hill that’s full of ledge rock resulting in  rivers of runoff water in her basement.  She’s ended up with members of the local volunteer fire department pumping out her basement on more than one occasion.


Rapid Reel Garden Hose0

Is it just my opinion, or do plastic garden hose reels really suck? 

I’ve had several of these devices, each one of a different design because I was unhappy with the previous model.  The wall-mounted reels tend to be flimsy, cracking in various areas not long after mounting.  The reels on wheels love to tip over—and also suffer from a limited life span.


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