Twisting and Sliding Fun with Rubik’s Slide

Growing up, I loved Rubik’s Cubes, but I had a horrible secret: I couldn’t solve one. I could get one side all solved, but that was it. After that, I was just helplessly twisting and turning until another color was solved… and the first one was scrambled. Still, I loved spending time twisting and turning them trying to figure it out.

A while back, I won a Rubik’s TouchCube and I loved it. It was just like the Rubik’s Cube, only with touch-sensitive pads. You could have the cube self-solve too. This was cool, but it wound up not getting used often. The problem was two-fold. First, I still couldn’t solve it on my own. Secondly, I didn’t have much time to spend trying to solve it.

These problems turn into advantages with the Rubik’s Slide. Mine happened to come without a manual. While this mistake was quickly fixed, I was able to figure it out in a few minutes. You basically have six possible moves: Slide Up, Slide Down, Slide Left, Slide Right, Twist Left or Twist Right.

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Meanwhile, the “playing surface” has been simplified. No longer do you need to get 54 colors into the appropriate locations along a cube. Instead, you need to get up to 9 lit up squares (either red or blue) to match the appropriate pattern. Not only is this easier, but there are three modes of play: Easy, Medium and Hard. You can find the level that suits you best and play that one without feeling like the puzzles are way too difficult.

Rubik’s Slide has two modes of play. In Free Play, you solve puzzle after puzzle for as long as you like. In Lightning Round, you solve 10 puzzles as quickly as you can.

Here’s a video I shot of me solving a few Easy Free Play puzzles. (It looks more difficult than it is because I was videoing with one hand and twisting/sliding with the other.)


This is definitely a fun addition to the Rubik’s family and I would recommend it to anyone. It’s great for involved puzzle solving sessions or a quick game here or there. I’ll even be bringing mine to BlogHer just in case I get the urge to solve a puzzle or two.

Disclaimer: I recieved a complimentary Rubik’s Slide to review. No other compensation was given. The opinions expressed above are my own.

ABC Neckties Review and Giveaway

I have a confession to make: Growing up, I hated neckties. I suppose this was understandable. At the time, I only wore neckties at formal (read: “boring” in kid-speak) affairs. The neckties themselves were borrowed from my father and thus didn’t represent anything approaching my taste. I was expected to slap on the tie and then keep it on until the event was over.

When I got a job that required a dress shirt and tie, I found that I actually liked ties. I especially liked theme or offbeat ties such as the Jerry Garcia line, wildlife ties or ones depicting famous cartoon characters. I now have a very nice collection of ties from the very dressy to the very wacky. Still, when I was given the opportunity to review ABC Neckties, I jumped at the chance.

I was impressed with their selection. They have a little bit of everything so you’re pretty much guaranteed to find something you like whether it is a tie featuring Wile E Coyote or just a plain silk tie.

I quickly homed in on which tie I wanted to try. It really wasn’t hard, I’m a fan of comic strips and work as a webmaster. So this tie quickly caught my eye:

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It arrived pretty quickly and I didn’t have to wait long before I wore it to work. I was impressed with both the speed of the delivery and the quality of the tie. I’d definitely order from them again (and, in fact, am deciding which tie to get next).

But wait, there’s more! Thanks to Family Review Network, Affordable Style, and ABC Neckties one lucky winner will receive a $25 gift certificate to ABC Neckties!

Rules for Giveaway:

  • MAIN RULE – Go to ABC Neckties and name one tie that you’d like to wear or, for the ladies, that you’d like the man in your life to wear. (NOTE: You won’t be held to this tie if you win.)
  • 1 Bonus Entry – Follow ABC Neckties on Twitter @ABCNeckTies. Post a comment here with your Twitter username.
  • 1 Bonus Entry Per Day – Tweet about the giveaway. Be sure to include @TechyDad and @ABCNeckties in the Tweet. Please leave a direct link to your Tweet in a separate comment for each daily entry. Example Tweet (feel free to use): Chance to win a $25 gift certificate to @ABCNeckTies from @TechyDad.
  • 1 Bonus Entry Per Comment (limit of 3) – Post a comment one of my other posts from June or July. Be sure to leave a comment here telling me which post you commented on.
  • 3 Bonus Entries – Write a post on your blog about and linking to this post. Be sure to leave 3 comments about this to get credit for all of your extra entries.

To enter, please follow the rules above within the comment section. Contest starts today, July 27th and ends at Noon EST on August 10th. You don’t need to be a blogger to enter, but I do need you to leave a valid e-mail address in your comment so I can contact you for your mailing address once the giveaway is over. I’ll select the winner using and will contact you via e-mail. Once the e-mail is sent, you will have 48 hours to claim the prize. If there is no response, another winner will be selected. Open to residents of the US or Canada.

Disclaimer: I did this review as part of a campaign on Family Review Network for Affordable Style. I received a complimentary necktie from ABC Neckties to facilitate my review. The opinions expressed here are my own and no other compensation was received..

Easy Linkup with LinkE

When we moved into our house, our computer systems went upstairs. Over time, though, we found that we were using the downstairs more. This was aided by the addition of a wireless router and our laptops. When we added our Roku and CinemaTube, we hooked them up to our wireless network. This was a fine solution, but wireless is slower than direct Ethernet hookups. Unfortunately, running network cable throughout our house wasn’t an option due to the age of our house and type of walls it has. That, plus we had enough home repair bills without drilling through walls just to run cable.

Enter the LinkE. The LinkE, from Brite-View, uses Powerline Networking technology to connect your devices to your router. Put simply, the traffic flows through your router, into the LinkE bridge, through your house’s power lines, through the LinkE switch and to your device. If that sounds complicated, all you need to know is that you plug the bridge into an electrical outlet near your router, connect it to the router and then plug the switch into any other electrical outlet in the house. After connecting a device to the switch, you have Internet access.

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I took the LinkE out of the box and plugged one unit in downstairs near our TV. I plugged the other unit in upstairs near our router. I was actually expecting more setup than that. I figured that I’d need to log into some administrative panel and fiddle with some settings or something. Instead, it was literally plug and play. When I hooked it up to our Roku, our Roku was able to tell that it was connected to a wired network and could use that instead of the wireless network. Before you could say “powerline networking”, Netflix movies were streaming through our power lines and onto our TV.

This was highly convenient, but it wouldn’t be much use if the speeds didn’t meet or exceed wireless network speeds. Brite-View advertises speeds up to 200Mbps, but, since my ISP doesn’t give me that much bandwidth, I didn’t expect to reach that figure. Still, I wasn’t dissappointed. The Netflix loading seemed to go faster and, when I connected it to my computer, my web page load times seemed to shrink.

Of course, I’m too much of a geek to accept “seemed to.” I want hard numbers. To quantify just how much of a boost I got, I ran six speed tests at First, I ran three using my wireless connection. This resulted in an average speed of about 1984.7 Kbps down and 988 Kbps up. Next, I ran three tests while connected via LinkE for an average of 2414.7 Kbps down and 1000 up. (I cleared my browser’s cache after each test to avoid any influence there.) The upload speeds were comparable, but the download speed improved by 22%.

Wireless Speed Test Results:

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LinkE Speed Test Results:

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I would definitely recommend the LinkE for connecting home theater equipment to the Internet. Nowadays, many electronics (Blu-Ray, Roku, CinemaTube, etc) come with ethernet ports. Not all come with wireless built-in. Instead of buying wireless adapters for each of these, you could hook up one LinkE and network all of our devices. The LinkE can be purchased from Brite-View. The 1 port bridge + 4 port switch model that I tested retails for $84.99.

Disclaimer: I recieved the LinkE 1 port bridge + 4 port switch model complimentary from Brite-View to test. No other compensation was given. The opinions expressed above are my own.

Geek Dad Book Review and Giveaway

Thanks to winning a contest over at Dad of Divas, I was able to check out the new book Geek Dad: Awesomely Geeky Projects and Activities for Dads and Kids to Share by Ken Denmead. I was instantly overwhelmed, but in a very good way.


The book recognizes that not every dad is your stereotypical sports-loving, beer-drinking man. Some of us like Star Wars, role playing games, and other things of a geeky inclination. Since dads love sharing their favorite activities with their kids, the question becomes: How do we share our love of science, technology and other geeky subjects with our kids? Sharing some items might be easy. You can sit down with your kid and have a Star Wars marathon, but others might not be as easy to share. Chances are, a 7 year old won’t quite understand or have the patience for an adult-level role playing game.

» Read more

Eden Fantasys Review: Good Clean Love Gift Set

I’d like to preface this blog post with a warning. There will be links to some sites that might not be considered safe for work. They aren’t porn or anything, but they do point to a shop that sells toys of a kind often used in the privacy of one’s bedroom. Just a warning to save those link clicks for when you get home. Now on to the review.

I’ve got to admit, I love giving B massages. However, sometimes it can be tough to massage for long. Dry flesh (hands) plus dry flesh (back) equals friction. We’ve considered massage lotions in the past, but B’s skin is highly sensitive. We buy everything we can fragrance free, especially if it will be touching her skin (like laundry detergent). So rubbing a scented massage oil on her skin never seemed like a very good idea. » Read more

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