Archive for September 2013

Gadgets:: SanDisk makes it easy to take anything on the go

By GREGG ELLMAN— Twitter.com/greggellman

SanDisk ConnectAny smartphone or tablet user knows they’re often juggling content due to the device’s storage limitations.

SanDisk’s amazing new line of wireless flash storage solutions takes storage to a whole new level.

Storing data is as simple as ever and users can share or stream digital content to up to eight hand-held devices simultaneously without using any storage on your smartphones or tablets.

While it might sound complicated, using it really couldn’t be any easier.

I’m not one to read instructions on the first go round and you really don’t on this either.

The box describes three easy steps for those who like directions; charge it up (via USB), download and launch the free SanDisk Connect Wireless Flash Drive app and connect to it from your wireless device.

Obviously there are other little steps to do like turning it on with the front-facing button and loading your content, etc.

Testing the iOS version (also available for Kindle Fire, Android, PC and Mac computers) it showed up as a choice in my WiFi settings, which I selected.

From there I went to the app and could view the photos, documents, music or videos I stored on the drive.  It’s that easy.

Storage isn’t limited to the size of the drive you purchase since it’s built with a microSD slot on the side for unlimited media expansion (microSD card not included).

It’s built like an average-sized flash drive so you can easily store it in your pocket and use the content on the go. Up to eight devices can connect simultaneously; three of them can stream video from it at the same time.

The SanDisk Connect Wireless Flash Drive is available in 16GB ($49.99) and 32GB ($59.99) capacities.

SanDisk Connect Wireless Media DriveAnother choice is the SanDisk Connect Wireless Media Drive (2.5 x 2.5 x .5-inches), which is about the size of a single pad of Post-it notes and has the storage capacity of up to 64GB of flash memory.

It’s also built with an expandable memory slot for SD memory cards.

With this amount of storage, high-def movies can be stored and streamed by up to five different users.

You must download a free app to get this going and then, again, using it is pretty simple.

It’s also built with an expandable memory slot for memory cards (SDHC/SDXC), which can allow  photographers to view images on the go.

An internal battery is charged via USB and will run for up to eight hours before a charge is needed.

The Media Drive is available in 32GB ($79.99) or 64GB ($99.99) capacities and works with iOS, Android, Kindle, PC and Mac systems.

When you connect either device to you computer, it appears as an external hard drive and can work as just that. But the wireless functions allow these to work as much more.

www.SanDisk.com

Kinivo BTH240Kinivo’s  BTH240 Bluetooth headphones doesn’t have a lot of bells and whistles or a big price tag.

The simple headset is designed to work wirelessly and fold up for easy storage when not in use.

Connecting to your wireless smartphone or tablet should be simple and from there it’s just put em’ on your head and go.

You’ll get about 30-feet of wireless range, which is typical for any Bluetooth device.

Cosmetically they have padded ear cups on a wrap-around-your-head headband. They aren’t as big, bulky and comfortable as other pricey wireless headphones, which can cost more than 10 times what these cost.

A built-in noise-canceling microphone is included on one ear cup along with all the basic  controls for pairing, power, volume and music selections.

www.kinivo.com $30

My Passport SlimWD, a Western Digital company, has taken the notion that smaller is better and bigger in some ways with their My Passport Slim line of portable hard drives.

The pocket-sized hard USB 3.0 drives are built in a metal enclosure measuring just 4.33 x 3.14 x .48-inches but with storage up to 2TB.

Each hard drive comes with WD SmartWare Pro data protection software, which lets you back up your computer to the portable drive and also have the choice of placing an extra copy in a Dropbox account.

www.WDstore.com 1TB $99.99, 2TB $149.99

Gadgets:: Simple attachment turns iPhone into a light meter

By GREGG ELLMAN— Twitter.com/greggellman

LuxiAccessories and gadgets make me wonder sometimes – what can’t a smartphone do?

At first I was skeptical that the Luxi clip-on attachment from BiteMyApple would work on my iPhone 5 to turn it into an incident light meter. Professional photographers often use light meters to get the most precise settings in most any situation. Often hand-held light meters are more accurate than those built into cameras.

The Luxi and other hand-held light meters measure the actual light falling on your subject. While meters built into digital SLR cameras are often accurate, they measure light reflected off your subject and can often be fooled when measuring something that is very bright or dark.

After trying the Luxi diffusion dome attachment side by side with my Minolta meter, I must say the ambient light comparisons were almost right on. This includes quick tests in daylight as well as low indoor lighting conditions.

As a professional photographer, I’ll still stick to my high end gear options, but the Luxi has impressed me with its accuracy, which has earned it a spot in my camera case.

Installation is simple; just attach the dome over the iPhone’s front-facing camera. Obviously you can’t have a case on the phone but I do have a front and rear screen protector, which it fit over fine.

You’ll also need to download a light meter app, which is free in the iTunes store.

Details: $29.95; www.esdevices.com

IHOME LIGHTNING DOCK & CLOCK

iHome iDL45I always look forward to new products from iHome and especially the recent Apple Lightning dock equipped iDL45 Dual Charging Stereo FM Clock Radio.

Features are never-ending in iHome products but the most important feature in my mind on this unit is the top-loading eight-pin Lightning dock. This enables your iPhone or iPad (full and mini) with the newer Apple connection to charge and play.

It is modern looking with a rounded rectangular shape and a black matte finish. The speakers are front facing with a fabric covering and provide excellent sound from a multifunctional device.

The Lighting connection is on a hinge, which enables it to pivot front and back to support the different-sized devices. In most cases you’ll have to attach your device case-free.

Other devices, including the Apple 30-pin connector, which require up to a 1 amp charge can connect with your own USB cable into a back-sided USB port.

iHome has free apps available in the iTunes store to offer clocks, alarms, radio presets, sleep music profiles and other features for iHome products along with your device but don’t forget there is also a built-in FM radio.

Details: $99.99; www.ihomeaudio.com

GROOVE PAL SPEAKERS ARE CUTE ADDITION TO DESK

GOgroove 2The Accessory Power GOgroove Groove Pal Jr. is an easy-to-use speaker, designed in animal themes, including some that are endangered or highly-threatened.

Models include a bear, koala, owl, panda, penguin, polar bear and a tiger.

It has a built in 3.5mm wrap around cable, which enables most any smartphone, tablet or media to be connected.

The audio from the 40-millimeter high-excursion driver and passive subwoofer is clear and crisp.

A built-in rechargeable battery (850 mAh) is good for up to 6 hours, depending on your volume levels. It recharges in a few hours with the included microUSB cable.

Power can also be supplied with three AAA batteries and when powered up the animals have a glowing LED base.

Accessory Power donates a portion of the net proceeds of certain speakers to non-profit organizations, which educate the public on the struggles of these animals.

Details: $16.99; www.accessorypower.com

Contact Gregg Ellman at greggellman@mac.com. Follow him on Twitter: @greggellman