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Tech Tools: Bring on the Fall

Whether your autumn activities include bird-watching, tailgating or spooking Halloween trick-or-treaters, we've got the gadgets and gear to enhance the fun.
Tim Gideon

Foliage Photos

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-WX150

The leaves are turning, and you want a camera that captures their vibrant colors better than your phone or an app designed to make every shot look like a ’70s Polaroid. Despite a substantial retractable 10x zoom lens, this 18.2 megapixel entry from the venerable Cyber-shot line fits easily in a jacket pocket. Even in the often-overcast lighting of October skies, the camera delivers crisp, beautiful photos, and it’s no slouch in the HD video department, either—the overall video quality is strong, and a built-in HDMI port allows for immediate viewing. $249.99 list, store.sony.com

 

 

Tailgate Tech

BBQ Guru CyberQ WiFi

This barbecue temperature control system is for serious grillers who might also want to catch a game. Not only does the CyberQ control up to three different grilling temperature zones, monitor fuel consumption, time your meals, sense when the lid is open and quickly return all zones to their target temperatures—it also has a built-in Wi-Fi web server. This means you can monitor your grill from your phone, tablet or computer. And while we don’t suggest leaving any grill unattended, it frees you up enough to monitor important tailgate activities without having to stare at the coals all afternoon. Kit, $295; fan and adapter, $95 and up, depending on your grill’s make and model (direct), TheBbqGuru.com

 

Faraway, So Close

Nikon Monarch 7 Binoculars

Certain autumn activities, in particular, greatly benefit from an excellent pair of binoculars. Whether you’re hunting, bird-watching or trying to steal the catcher’s signs from the outfield bleachers, Nikon’s Monarch 7 brings everything to you with higher resolution and brightness than most of us have ever experienced when peering through a pair of binos. Waterproof and fog-proof, the Monarch 7 makes color accuracy a priority, and its phase-correction-coated prisms and multicoated lenses bring you clear views even in challenging, backlit scenarios. $479.95 list (8x42mm model), bhphotoVideo.com

 

Go Long

DirecTV NFL Sunday Ticket Max (with App)

Every true football fan has considered, at one point or another, plunking down the cash for the considerable investment that is DirecTV’s exclusive NFL Sunday Ticket package. After all, you need to first subscribe to DirecTV, then buy the package—this ends up costing a pretty penny. The Max version of the subscription package, however, may just make you pull the trigger. Not only do you get every game on your television, but you get the To-Go app, and with it, access to every game, live, on your phone or tablet from anywhere you can get Wi-Fi. This is why we have smartphones. $299.95, or $59.95/month for five months, directv.com

 

Rock Out(doors)

Outdoor Technology Turtle Shell

The Turtle Shell, a striking, geometrically contoured portable speaker, looks like it was designed for the Batcave. With its water-resistant, rugged design, however, it’s equally at home in the great outdoors, making it the perfect companion for autumn weekend adventures. Stream music via Bluetooth from your mobile device to the hand-sized mini boombox, and field calls (if you must) via the built-in microphone. A fully charged battery nets you about 10 hours of playback, perfect for day-trips—or for hiding inside jack-o’-lanterns to stream spooky sounds to trick-or-treaters. $125 direct, OutdoorTechnology.com

 

Oktoberfest Provisions

HopTech HomeBrew Starter Kit

HopTech’s website claims, “if you can boil water, you can brew beer,” and while this may be an oversimplification of the qualifications needed for the hands-on process, it’s not far off. Making a batch typically takes about three or four weeks, with the most time-consuming work coming at the very beginning, and a little more work at the halfway point when you bottle your concoction. You can control each batch’s bitterness and alcohol content, and your yield should be equivalent to about a case of beer. Everything you need to be the hero of this year’s Oktoberfest, save the actual bottles, is included in this kit. $98.95 direct, HopTech.com

Post date: 
Oct 10, 2012

 

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