Soft and absorbent gym towel upgrades, a tasty movie time companion and a look into the New York real estate market are a few of the things we recommend this week.
Black Jewell popcorn -- I watch a lot of movies and I'm really not very creative when it comes to my film-watching cuisine of choice. Just give me a big bowl of popcorn and I'm ready for a double feature. The Black Jewell brand, available at The Outpost, is by far my favorite. The black kernels pop into small, bright white, very corny-tasting kernels. It's $6 for a jar, but after I shake on the salt and the brewer's yeast and sit down to the latest Netflix arrival, it's well worth it. -- Molly Snyder
"Selling New York" -- Set the DVR and record "Selling New York" on HGTV. It's an entertaining show that, if nothing else, makes you appreciate real estate prices in Milwaukee. Like all reality shows, it's a bit forced and there are plenty of quasi actors/celebrities playing the roles of clients/home buyers. But, overall, it's a fun watch and a great city guide show for NYC. -- Jeff Sherman
The SilverSport Silver Towel -- My health club provides small towels for folks in the weight room/cardio area, which is a nice and probably relatively expensive perk. The towels, though, are pretty much like shop rags. I tried a SilverSport Silver Towel and was skeptical. How great can a towel be, anyway? Pretty great, as it turns out. This towel is soft and thin like a baby blanket, but it's also very absorbent and stands up to washing. Now, the literature tells me that it also uses nano-silver technology to eliminate odor-causing bacteria. I don't usually let a towel fester long enough for that to be an issue, but this thing is very absorbent. I'll be taking it with me for some summer workouts. It's available at Dicks Sporting Goods and at silversport.com. -- Drew Olson
Battery Bar -- I've been a big fan of Windows 7 since I first got my hand on one of the early beta versions (I like it so much, in fact, that I've used the Boot Camp partition on my Mac more than I use OS X) but one small, tiny thing has been nagging me: the inability to figure out how much battery time I have remaining. After doing a little research, I decided to try Battery Bar, a freeware offering from Osiris Development. Simple and basic, the program does exactly what I need while also letting me know the overall health and capacity of my battery. I like it so much, in fact, I'm considering shelling out the $10 for "Pro" version. If you're a Windows 7 user, download it here and give it a try. -- Andrew Wagner
Famousobjectsfromclassicmovies.com -- I blogged about this Web site yesterday, but it's too entertaining not to give it another mention. Simple in design and easy to navigate, this online trivia quiz has you fill in the title of a movie based on silhouettes of signature movie objects. Some are harder than others, but it makes for a fun test of your knowledge of the big screen and a cool alternative to regular movie games. -- Renee Lorenz
Swimsense Performance Monitor -- I'm not a swimmer, but recently took on the sport to start competing in triathlons. I find extreme difficulty keeping track of my workouts in the pool. Being the novice swimmer I am, when given the Finis Swimsense performance monitor to tryout, I was very skeptical. Immediately I was frustrated when I realized I had to plug the device into my computer in order to charge it up. After doing this I realized how beneficial it really was to have access to all of my workouts on the computer.
After getting it all charged up I headed to the local gym to try it out. I was excited for the ability to change the settings on the watch to match the size of pool I would be swimming in. I wanted my workout to be a continuous ½-mile swim. For anyone that swims in a gym pool, you know how hard it is to keep track of what lap you are on, not to mention the calculations of how far you actually have swam. Not only did the device keep an accurate lap count, it also converted each lap into yards, making it much easier to evaluate the total distance I swam. Everything was very user friendly and all the steps were so easy, I didn’t even have to get the instructions out to start/stop/pause my workout. Completely waterproof, and I have used it for six workouts on the same charge.
Anyone looking to get in the pool with a purpose, this is a $200 device worth picking up. I am far away from the Ironman, but if I ever want to train for it, I will have a great resource in the Finis Swimsense. -- Sean Reti
IDAPT i4 Universal Charger -- If you live in a household with several cell phones, iPods and other devices that constantly need charging, you know what kind of rat's nest your outlets can turn into each night. The IDAPT i4 universal charger takes care of the problem, offering three interchangeable ports (plus one USB port) and tons of available tips. It's easy to hot swap the tips, designed for Apple, Blackberry, digital camera and Bluetooth products and more. LED lights let you know what's charging, and it's "future proof," with the company constantly updating its range of adapter tips. The IDAPT is an elegant solution for people with lots of needy electronics. For $60, you can kiss those tangled cords goodbye. -- Andy Tarnoff