Archive for May 2013

Gadgets:: For the Grads and Dads

By GREGG ELLMAN— Twitter.com/greggellman

Kingston Wi-DriveThe tech world has an endless supply of gift choices for this season’s dads and grads celebrations. The only problem you’ll have is narrowing your choice so I’ll make it easier with my random list.

Portable devices are great but many limit the amount of storage for digital files. Kingston’s wireless pocket sized Wi-Drive extends the capacity of your portable devices up to 128GB.

The drive lets you store digital files including documents, videos and photos on the handheld device, which can be shared with up to three users simultaneously.

The Wi-Drive creates a WiFi network between the devices and once connected your streaming is just like the content is on your device itself.

To load data onto the drive, plug it into a computer via USB and it acts like an external drive.

A rechargeable battery is good for up to four hours of use before a USB charge is needed.

www.kingston.com/us 128GB $149.99, 64GB $89.99, $32GB $84.94

Canon PIXMA MX922Canon’s PIXMA MX922 Office All-In-One (AIO) printer does it all, including my personal favorite feature _ an AirPrint wireless printing from an iPhone or iPad.

It’s built with a seemingly endless number of features including printing (WiFi, up to 8.5 x 11-inch borderless and PictBridge), copies, fax and dual sided scanning.

Scanning and copying can be done directly to a flash drive connected to the front side USB port or connected to a computer (Mac or Windows).

A 3-inch LCD is easy to read and navigate for setup and general use. It has a five-ink system with two blacks, cyan, magenta and yellow.

One of the black inks is a high-yield pigment black. This allows more documents to be printed  without having to change the pigment black ink nearly as often.

Other features include direct CD or DVD printing, a 250-sheet paper tray along with a separate tray for 4-by-6 or 5-by-7-inch paper.

www.USA.Canon.com $139.99

Lyrix DuoThe pocket sized Lyrix Duo is a 2-in-1 Bluetooth speaker, which comes along with a removable receiver.

Once the receiver is connected to any Bluetooth enabled device, the speaker can be placed up to 33-feet away for crystal clear sound. Volume can be controlled on your device or on the receiver.

The speaker has a suction cup to secure it to any flat surface including windshields for handsfree calls while driving.

A built-in battery charges up with a USB connection and will last for about 4 hours of sound.

www.digitaltreasures.com $49 available in red or blue

Kensington Contour Overnight BackpackKensington’s Contour overnight backpack ($78.58 ) is well made with a numerous number of pockets, which even includes a built-in liquid pouch.

You can fit up to a 15.6-inch laptop in a checkpoint-friendly design. All you do is unzip the compartments and lay it flat for the X-ray machine without having to remove the laptop.

In the front is a pocket organization system with multiple compartments to keep smaller items organized and padded’ adjustable straps let you get the right fit so you can avoid neck and shoulder strain.

www.kensington.com $75

Garmin nuvi 3597Garmin’s nüvi 3597 personal navigation device has a 5-inch high-resolution (800 x 480 pixels) display that is only an amazing half inch deep.

The company has incorporated the “pinch and zoom” technology we have come to use in many of today’s smartphones, to give you a quick magnified view of specific information.

It comes with detailed maps of North America and HD Digital Traffic along with free lifetime updates for both.

Every feature you would want from a handheld GPS is built in, including Bluetooth, easy to understand driving directions and it works with Garmin’s Smartphone Link free mobile app for iPhone or Android.

This app allows the 3597 to share information with your phone such as where you parked and whether you are using your phone’s existing data plan.

www.garmin.com $349

Ainos Wallet caseIf you go iPhone or iPad case shopping, your head will spin when you see the choices.

The Ainos wallet flip leather case is true to the word when a company representative described it to me as elegant, with its perfect design and glossy leather finish.

Just slide your device in; you’ll keep full access to the screen, ports and controls. The flip is built with a built-in magnetic system to keep the device closed when needed or easily opens.

The back of the case has three slots for credit cards, a drivers license or even cash.

www.mapicases.com $59 available in black, brown, red, tan and white

Mophie Juice Pack HeliumIf power is your need, Mophie has a solution starting with the Mophie Juice Pack Helium ($79.95) iPhone case.

The ultra-thin case has a 1500mAH built-in battery that can give your phone a few charges.

Talk time can increase up to six hours, up to 30 hours of audio playback or seven hours of video watching.

A LED power indicator is on the back shows  when the battery needs a charge (USB), which will also simultaneously charge your phone when they are connected.

Mophie’s Juice Pack Powerstation PRO ($99.95) has a 6,000mAH internal battery, which is capable of charging just about any portable USB device including power-hungry devices needing a 2.1amp charge.

It’s built with a tough design, which has an impact- and splash-resistant design that has been designed to international standards for dust and water resistance.

The Juice Pack Powerstation Duo ($99.95) also has a 6,000mAH battery and a pair of USB ports to charge two devices simultaneously, including 2.1amp devices.

The Duo doesn’t have the ruggedness of the PRO model and instead has a black soft-touch exterior.

www.Mophie.com

Kensington KeyFolio BThe KeyFolio Expert is a multi-functional iPad case with a standard keyboard built into the case.

Just slide your iPad in the built-in bracket and pair the keyboard with Bluetooth. The keyboard has an internal battery (microUSB charged, cable included) good for an incredible 80 hours of use or 60 days of standby time.

Typing on the keyboard’s plastic keys is comfortable and makes a great replacement for the virtual keyboard on the tablet. It also has shift keys on both sides and two programable keys for iOS devices.

www.kensington.com $99.99

Gadgets:: It’s the time of year to take your phone for a swim

By GREGG ELLMAN— Twitter.com/greggellman


Scosche boomBOTTLE
For the most part, portable electronic gadgets and water are a bad combination. But here are a bunch of waterproof accessories to keep your reading, music, photos or calls  beach-, water- and even fishing-friendly this summer.

The Scosche boomBOTTLE is a portable Bluetooth speaker built in a body with a durable, weatherproofed, non-slip, shock absorbing exterior.

There are a pair of 40mm drivers at each end of the speaker to broadcast sound in a full 360 degrees. A subwoofer is in the middle of the 8.125-inch long rounded body.

The speakers are in dust-proof speaker grills, allowing for incredibly clear, unobstructed sound even when cranked up to high volumes.

Along with the design to withstand the weather, it’s made to withstand drops or vibrations from rough terrain.

The Bluetooth connection gives you a range of 33-feet to keep your sound wireless for up to 10 hours before the lithium-ion battery needs a USB charge (cable included).

The rounded construction with a 2.85-inch diameter enables it to sit in water bottle and cup holders.

Controls are on the outside for volume and music selections along with a microphone for handsfree calls.

www.scosche.com $149.95 in gray. Available later this spring in blue, green, pink or yellow

Lifeproof frēLifeproof makes everything you need to keep your iPhone or iPad weatherproof and even floating if it gets dropped in the water.

The Lifeproof nüüd case and cover give the iPad (generation 2/3/4) 100 percent protection and full access to the device’s buttons, controls and touchscreen.

Your device is also safe from small drops since the case is shock and impact protected. It’s rated to keep it safe in water up to 6.6-feet but they also make a Lifejacket ($59.99), which is placed on the perimeter of the nuud to enable the whole setup to float in water.

Everything is still accessible on the iPad with the jacket on, including the speaker and microphone.

For the iPhone (4/4S/5), the Lifeproof frē is a slim styled case, which gives full protection to the smartphone, while still allowing full access to all the phone’s controls including the touchscreen and camera.

Lifeproof NÜÜDThe company also makes a lifejacket ($39.99) so the phone can float along with bike mounts and armbands, all designed for taking your phone in any environment.

Lifeproof also recently announced a Total Water Protection Program for the Apple iPhone ($10) and iPad ($20) to anyone who purchases a LifeProof case on its website. The optional program offer is a one-time repair or replacement of the device for up to one full year if it sustains accidental water damage in a LifeProof case.

www.Lifeproof.com iPhone 5 case, $79.99, iPad case $129.99

Keystone ECO MarineCaseThe Concord Keystone ECO MarineCase for the iPhone 5 is made of a polycarbonate hard shell and is waterproof up to 20-feet deep. It includes an attachable floating lanyard to keep the case and phone afloat.

When the phone is in the case you’ll get full access to all the functions including calls and photos and video underwater.

They also make waterproof cases for additional smartphones, including older iPhones, Samsung Galaxy S III, Blackberry Z10 and the Motorola Droid Razr Maxx HD.

Another choice is the Keystone slim waterproof case, which also has a polycarbonate hard shell, keeps the phone in a thin profile while waterproof up to 6.6-feet.

www.concordkeystone.com $49.99 each, the MarineCase is available in black or white, the slim case is available in black, blue, green, pink or white.

DryCaseI’ve written about the DryCASE’s waterproof accessories before, but since they are a personal favorite and an outstanding product, it’s worth mentioning again.

With the DryCase itself (4.25 x 7-inches) you can put in any device that fits and with its vacuum-sealed technology you’ll have it waterproof up to 100-feet deep.

Just slip your device into the see-through plastic and lock the pair of clamps. Then, with the included pump you take out the air to make the tight seal, enabling touchscreen to work with the plastic covering.

Once you take the air out, it’s recommended to let it sit 10 minutes to ensure the vacuum tight seal is secure.

The DryBUDS SPORT waterproof earbuds are good down to 10-feet and plug into the pass-through headphone port built into the case.

They are built with an over-the-ear clip design to keep them in place and even have a waterproof microphone, obviously for using above water. Three sizes of ear buds are included to help get the right fit.

www.DryCase.com DryBUDS Sport $39.99, DryCASE for phones $39.99, DryCASE for tablets $59.99

Kensington EVAPFor those with a phone or other electronic item that has hit the water unexpectedly (toilets come to mind) your device might be somewhat salvageable with the Kensington EVAP.

After your device gets wet, turn it off and remove the battery and SIM card (if it has one) and remove any visible water or moisture. Then immediately put the device in the EVAP bag.

Put one of the included drying agent pouches on each side and seal the bag.

The bag is designed to absorb the moisture from within the device. According to the website, the pouch has specially formulated molecules to attract and capture moisture.

It can take up to 48 hours to remove all the moisture and is built with a moisture indicator to tell you when the process is done.

www.kensington.com $19.99

Gadgets:: ScanMyPhotos.com clears out the shoebox

By GREGG ELLMAN— Twitter.com/greggellman

ScanMyPhotos 2After my mom sent boxes of my family’s photo albums years ago we found a nice space on my closet shelf with hope of one day digitizing them.

Ten years or so later, one of the boxes has finally seen the digital era, with no thanks to my scanning ability.

I recently tested a company called ScanMyPhotos.com and I wish I had found them sooner.

The system is pretty simple; just choose what service you want from a variety of choices including scanning for slides and prints with prices per image. I chose one prepaid photo scanning box for slides and one for prints.

I registered on the site and the next day received a prepaid and addressed United States Postal Service flat rate shipping box in the mail.

Now all it took was for me to choose and organize the photos I wanted scanned since I was limited to how many photos fit in the box.

In my case I was able to pack in 2,297 photos, all 4 x 6-inches or smaller. This option does allow sizes from 3 x 3 up to 8 x 10-inches.

My slide box was filled with 523 35mm slides, although I could have fit in a few more.

ScanMyPhotos 1The company does a good job communicating during the process, especially considering that you are sending a box whose contents are impossible to value since the contents are irreplaceable.

I got an email confirming they thy received my boxes and just a few days later an email announced my scanning was complete.

Later that week my images arrived on my doorstep along with a DVD of my newly digitized images. Orders are advertised to be completed in most cases in about 2 or 3 weeks.

ScanMyPhotos.com has commercialized a new type of super-fast scanning technology, which results in 300 or 600 DPI scans for prints. Slides are scanned into medium or high resolution files.

While this was the best choice for my photos, scans can be done on a per image basis or a variety of bulk scanning options so check the site for what works best for your family archives.

Other upgrades include duplicate DVD’s or having images saved to thumb drives, or even hard-cover bound photo index books.

With the index books, you can flip through pages of contact sheets to easily locate a specific image. You can also have your images rotated so they are all upright or digitally upgraded to make them look perfect.

All I can say is be prepared to spend hours staring at the images on your screen. The scans were great quality, more than enough for  prints. But why do that since it will put me right where I started!

You also might want to warn your relatives your doing a project like this – you’ll be filling their inboxes with photos instantly.

www.ScanMyPhotos.com

WD UltraWD, a Western Digital company has announced the pocket sized My Passport Ultra portable hard drive is a perfect candidate to put a backup of these scans on for safe keeping.

The drives (3.25 x .5 x 4.25-inches) are available in 500GB ($99.99) and 1TB ($129.99), with a 2TB model expected out later this year.

It’s built with fast USB 3 speeds, but is also backwards compatible with USB  2.0 and 1.

With the innovative hard drives, WD SmartWare Pro back-up software can  automatically back-up up to five computers to the drive and will even integrate with cloud services such as Dropbox for backups.

Everything stored on the hard drive can easily be protected with a password along with hardware encryption.

www.wd.com available in black, blue, red and titanium

BlueAnt Q3The stylish BlueAnt Q3 premium smartphone earpiece is HD voice compatible and does everything you would want from a Bluetooth device.

The headset comes with a bunch of earbuds to get the right fit in either ear and a hook ensures it stays in place, which is my my personal pet peeve for these gadgets.

A shinny black metal body cover is built with a power switch. There’s a multi-function command button for pairing the device along with volume controls, a port for USB charging and obviously a microphone.

Setting it up is as easy as any Bluetooth device; just turn it on and a voice walks you through the setup. After your initial setup, just press the multi-function control and say the words “pair me.”

Up to three phones can be connected but one of the coolest features is the commands you can speak to make your handsfree experience easy.

For example, once you press the command button, say “Am I connected?” and the Q3 checks for a connection and if there isn’t one an attempt is made.

Google voice actions and iOS Siri actions are integrated in the device along with an iPhone battery meter and a call back command.

www.myblueant.com $99