Gadgets: Turn your phone into a universal remote with Blumoo

June 12, 2014 

Blumoo, from Flyover Innovations, is a device that works with its own app to let you take control and eliminate the pile of remotes for infrared-controlled home entertainment devices.

I figured the setup would take some time, so I sat down with the device, instructions, my laptop, iPad and a nice big glass of ice tea.

After a few refills I was controlling my TV, Apple TV and even brushed the dust off my CD player.

Before starting you must figure out a place for the Blumoo hardware, a 2.75-inch tall device that looks like a mini coffee cup from the side. It's built with an angled base enabling it to receive a signal from most anywhere in the room and is paired with your handheld device via Bluetooth.

The setup guide walks you through steps of what to plug in including RCA cables for audio and of course the included power supply.

The Blumoo app (free) is available for iOS and Android devices. Once the hardware is set up, the app has an endless database of devices (more than 200,000) you can control. There you'll find yours to make the connection.

Within the app you'll have a virtual screen, which is now your remote to select a device, change the channel, volume con

trol and a channel guide.

The app remembers what you watch and sends reminders when favorite shows or even favorite teams are back on TV.

Details: $120.94; www.flyoverinnovations.com

Grill 'gadget' couldn't be more timely

Even though there is no electronics involved, there couldn't be a more timely summer gadget than the Grill Daddy 6-in-1 stainless steel grill kit.

The ergonomically designed heat-shielding handle has a swinging metal shield to protect your hand from the hot grill or splattering food. You can reach anywhere on the grill and the shield, weighted and balanced, pivots to always be between your hand and the grill.

In addition to the handle, by far the main attraction, you get a spatula, fork and spoon along with collapsing tongs and a carrying case.

Everything is interchangeable enabling grill nuts to form combinations such as a tong/fork or a spatula/spoon or just use each tool as needed.

Details: $39.99; www.buygrilldaddy.com

Iphone case bridges gap between paper and tech

These days a smartphone case must be pretty innovative to catch my attention and a few recently did.

Wire Factory, a startup from San Francisco, has launched its first product: The Tegware Bagel for the iPhone 5/5s.

I'm not really sure how they arrived at the name but the case is a design I've never seen until now.

In addition to holding your phone securely on the right side of the synthetic leather folding case, the left side has a 4.2-inch (diagonal) Boogie Board eWriter for taking paperless notes, reminders, memos or just doodling.

The eWriter doesn't connect to the phone so there's no battery drain. Instead it has its own battery, good for five years.

Inside the case you'll find a stylus stored right in between the eWriter and your phone.

Details: $59 available in black now, future colors include brown, blue, coral pink and red; www.tegware.com

Turn your flash into a silent alert with case

Sparkbeats from BiteMyApple takes light from the iPhone's (5/5s) LED flash and bends it through a channel built into the back of the case.

There's an on/off switch to control the lights. They can be programmed for different alerts or environments with the Sparkbeat app (free in iTunes). It can even flash to the beat of a selected tune.

The case is a recent successful Kickstarter project and essentially makes the light a silent ringtone.

Details: $49.99; www.bitemyapple.co

Gregg Ellman, gadgets guru, can be reached at greggellman@mac.com. Follow him on Twitter @greggellman.

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