outdoor speakers, rugged bluetooth, rain barrel

The Gadget Zone

Three pieces of cool consumer tech

By James Careless –

If you love great music outdoors but don’t want to risk damaging your loudspeakers, consider getting Grace Digital Audio’s ‘Mini-Bullets II’ indoor-outdoor speakers. They come with a wireless base with an 150′ range. You can plug in your iPhone/iPod/MP3 indoors on the wireless transmitter, then listen to the audio outside on the weatherproof Mini-Bullets (so-named for their shape). For a full sound experience throughout the yard, buy up to five pairs: You can place them throughout the property, turn on the wireless base, and presto! You’ve got your own private radio station! Find the Mini-Bullets at www.ccrane.com.

Bluetooth telephone headsets are great, unless you try to sue them in rough weather conditions. Then the combination of wind noise and water can knock even the most expensive of headsets out of operation, Enter the BlueAnt T1 Rugged Bluetooth Headset; a small, ear-hugging unit that can take what the weather dishes out. The T1 can suppress wind noise up to 35 kph, and comes with soft, removable silicon covers that handle shocks and repel water. One last feature: The T1 has onboard software that allows you to control a ringing phone by saying the words ‘Answer’ or ‘Ignore’ out loud. How cool is that? More at www.myblueant.com/products/headsets/t1/.

Tired of paying for water during the summer months to keep the grass and garden alive? Then you should get a Fiskars rain barrel and diverter from Canadian Tire (www.canadiantire.ca). The rain barrel lets you collect gallons of water from your downspout every time it rains. The faucet near the bottom accepts a conventional garden hose, allowing you to water the flowers without paying a cent in city services. The diverter fits on your downspout: When the rain barrel is empty, it diverts water directly to it rather than to the ground. But once the rain barrel is full, the water goes down the spout, thus preventing flooding. A cool fact: A 1,000 square foot roof that is hit by 1″ of rain generates 600 gallons of free water. That’s why you may want to connect two or more rain barrels together; Fiskars has a kit for that too.