Archive for February 2014

Gadgets:: Get the perfect panoramic with Motrr Galileo

By GREGG ELLMAN— Twitter.com/greggellman

Motrr Galileo
The Motrr Galileo is an iPhone dock designed for taking perfect 360-degree panoramic images.

It’s available for Apple iOS devices in a Bluetooth ($149.95) model and 30-pin dock connection ($99.95).

The Bluetooth is listed to work with the iPhone 5/5S/5C, iPhone 4/4S and iPod Touch (5th generation). The 30- pin Galileo is for the iPhone 4/4S, iPhone 3GS and iPod Touch (4th generation).

Both work with many photography apps, all listed on the Motrr site ( http://motrr.com/apps.html ). It’s updated as new apps become available but there are already many to choose from including Sphere, TimeLapse, DMD Panorama and many more.

The Motrr app is free but there is a charge for some of the others; for example the Panorama app is $1.99 in the Apple App Store.

The 30-pin dock doubles as a charging station since it has a built-in rechargeable lithium polymer battery. A standard tripod mount is on the bottom of both versions.

Right out of the box you would think the Galileo is an Apple product with its solid construction and white finish (also available in black).

It takes a little getting used to but after some experiments it worked really well. You’ll probably have to take your case off, as I did, for it to fit in the dock. It works in both landscape and portrait positions.

If it was late December instead of late February, the Galileo would be my gadget of the year. But since it isn’t, I’ll just say it has an early lead.

Details: www.motrr.com

MUSIC GOES ‘PURE’ WITH SPEAKERS AND APP

Pure SpeakersWhen picking a portable speaker system to use with a portable media player the choices are endless and growing everyday with some great options.

Jongo from Pure is really a complete system. There many options for the system’s speakers: paired as a stereo system, a single speaker in different rooms or whatever your choice may be, inside or out; multiple users; multiple colors; and in multiple streaming choices.

For one streaming option, to connect to your personal Wi-Fi network, as I did, you’ll probably have to read the directions for the setup. But connecting into Wi-Fi to stream audio gives you greater range compared to Bluetooth, which gives you only about 30 feet.

As for the specific pieces used to build a system, I tried out the Jongo T2 and the Jongo S3.

The Jongo S3 ($229) is a desktop/bookshelf sized portable, rechargeable wireless speaker (5.16 by 5.47 by 5.31 inches) and comes in black, white or a mixture called Piano (white body with a black grill) but can be accessorized to coordinate with most any room’s taste.

A grille pack ($29.99) of easy-to-fit replacements is available in choices of white, lime green, burnt orange or mango.

The speaker produces 360-degree sound from five internal speakers (four tweeters for 360-degree sound and an upward-firing subwoofer for powerful bass) and can be paired with additional S3’s to form stereo sound. More is better but even just a single S3 fills the room with sound.

As for the Jongo T2 ($179), it won’t fill the room like the S3 but it makes a great choice for background sound where you don’t want the volume cranked up.

A pair of 10W 3-inch, mid-range drivers are inside and optional grill covers are available in mango, burnt orange and lime green.

Both speakers can be used with Apple or Android devices using Wi-Fi or Bluetooth, along with the Free Pure Connect app.

The company’s Pure Connect app lets users turn their smartphone into a remote control for your music and your choice of Jongo speaker output. This includes your personal playlists or access to a never-ending list of radio stations and music.

The app is free, but there are different levels of service within the app that may incur monthly fees. For example the Green level is free, up to the Violet level for $9.99 per month.

Earlier this year, Pure announced third-party app support via Bluetooth, allowing the Jongo system to support all music apps including Pandora, Spotify and many more. This service is expected out in the spring.

Details: www.pure.com

HEAVY DUTY PORTABLE BATTERY FOR RUGGED TRAVELS

Soldier Power BankYou may want to go anywhere, and take your digital device everywhere. But if you roam too far, you will be without power and watch your device fade to black.

The Soldier portable battery is a welcome remedy, especially for the adventurous traveler. This handy 7800mAh battery backup is built for the roughest environments with a waterproof, rugged shook-proof body.

It’s built with a standard USB and a microUSB port for charging portable electronics on the go and a flashlight with SOS functionality. LED indicators display the remaining battery life.

A friend recently spent two weeks hiking in Central America, so what better way to test it than to take the backpack-friendly battery (4.52 by 3.46 by 1.14 inches) along with him.

The Soldier lived up to its name, handling all the rough-and-tumble of two weeks on and off the trail. An accidental dip in a stream verified the company’s statement that it’s waterproof up to 3 feet deep for up to 30 minutes.

No electronic device can be a perfect solution for all situations and this had its own limitations. At an even one pound, it may be a little more weight than some adventurers want to carry. And to recharge the three internal Li- ion 3.7V 2500 mAh batteries, you’ll need to include your own USB to outlet plug to connect with the supplied cord for an 8 hour charge.

Details: $59.95 at Amazon.com; www.digitaltreasures.com

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

Gadgets:: When it comes to USB why have 2 when you can have 4?

By GREGG ELLMAN— Twitter.com/greggellman

4 Port USB ChargerIf two is good, four has to be better for most families when it comes to accessible USB charging ports.

Leviton’s four-port device fits exactly to replace an existing AC wall plug/box, substituting the pair of standard plugs with the four USB ports.

Its design allows you to plug in your own charging cables for 4.2 amps of power, which is controlled by a microprocessor to accommodate up to four high-powered devices simultaneously.

This can include smartphones, tablets, gaming units and digital cameras regardless of the manufacturer. The only requirement that is they charge via USB.

The four USB ports are aligned in the outlet vertically to lessen stress on the charging cables, according to the company’s website.

Also mentioned on the site is that all Leviton charging devices are UL listed and meet all National Electrical Code requirements for Tamper-Resistant outlets.

When it comes to electrical work, please take all precautions and make sure you know what you’re doing or make use of a certified electrician.

www.leviton.com $39.99 available in gray, ivory, light almond and black

SYNC by 50 Ear WirelessI’ve reviewed SMS Audio Sync by 50 headphones before so it was no surprise when I tried on the latest over-the-ear wireless set. It has the amazing sound as the previous.

What makes the headphones named and endorsed by rapper Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson a lot more convenient is the wireless feature (Bluetooth).

Past the great crystal-clear sound, wireless feature and impressive packaging, the most important feature to me and many others with on-ear headphones is the comfort. These are as good as any, if not better.

While the headphones are designed by the famous rapper, the sound is not just geared towards that genre, which I proved to myself with my 70’s channel on SirusXM.

Other features include 40mm drivers built into the soft leather memory foam cushioned ear pads and folding hinges to store in the hard shell carry case. There’s also full on-board controls along with a mic for handsfree calls.

To my fault, the headphones got buried in one of my endless piles, so they aren’t really new but if you haven’t heard of them, then they are as new to you, as me.

You have your choice of silver or an eye-catching black (my review sample). You’ll get about 10 hours of battery life and then a 4 hour charge to power them back up. A microUSB cable is included for charging.

www.smsby50.com $229.95

CamRangerThe Camranger, in my mind the best third-party digital SLR camera accessory, just got better with a recent free firmware update.

If you’re not familiar with the Camranger ($299.99), it’s a device that connects to select Canon or Nikon DLSR cameras via USB to create a Wifi network from the camera to a smartphone, tablet or computer (Mac and PC) without needing an Internet connection.

This includes capturing and storing the images on your device away from the camera as well as changing settings including shutter speeds, ISO and f-stops.

Among the new features in the update, photographers now can share images with multiple devices and network bridging.

The photographer can share images or live view from camera with others on their personal smart phone, tablet, or computer using the free CamRanger Share app, regardless of there location.

Photographers now have the option to bridge into a network to extend the WiFi range or post images to the Internet immediately.

http://camranger.com/firmware-upgrade

FLIR ONEIf you ever thought about turning your iPhone 5/5s into a thermal imaging device, you are in luck with the newly announced FLIR ONE, the first and only device of it’s kind.

The FLIR ONE puts thermal imaging technology in your hands to extend the limits of human vision, allowing you to see in complete darkness just as the military would with night vision.

The uses are endless. Two examples:  homeowners can use it for security or to optimize energy efficiency in doors and windows.

The FLIR ONE comes as a protective iPhone case that fits like a glove and has a lens on the back to detect and broadcast a live thermal image on the phone’s LCD. It’s not available yet but expected later this year for $349.

www.FLIR.com

Gadgets:: Give your wrist a break with cushy mouse pad

By GREGG ELLMAN— Twitter.com/greggellman

GoSmart RestPadThe GoSmart RestPad is furry computer accessory designed to sit on your desk.

Aside from the great feel, it helps prevent wrist pain associated with the endless amount of daily hours we spend looking at computer screens and mousing, which results in repetitive wrist injury or carpal tunnel syndrome.

Like any other mousepad there is a place for your mouse to slide around but what makes it unique is a 100-percent natural sheepskin rest pad for your wrist.

The soft pillow-like feel gives you a comfortable resting place along with pressure relief for your wrist.

GoSmart testing found it “validated to relieve over twice as much pressure as other wrist rests, as tested with advanced tactile array sensors that measured the contact pressures underneath the wrist.“

The white sheepskin is available with brown, camel or pink mousepad colors and is attached with Velcro making it easy to remove for cleaning.

www.JustGoSmart.com $19.95

TYLT CapioThe TYLT Capio universal car mount is the missing piece to truly make your phone handsfree.

Just as the name states, it’s universal to work with most any smartphone, keeping it upfront and steady on a dashboard or any flat surface in your car.

The Capio is built with patented technology to keep your phone in place. There are no clamps or brackets, which often scratch your phone to use with the Capio.

It affixes to any flat surface including glass, metal or wood and even holds up vertically on a glove compartment. A ball joint neck allows it to be fully adjustable and positioned in most any angle.

When the Capio is completely removed from whatever surface it was on, there’s no sign of it being left behind, sticky tape or scratches.

It’s a great accessory for keeping a phone upright when using map or GPS apps or even to use in the backseat for movie watching.

It measures 4.3 x 2.4 x 3.8-inches and weights just 2.5-ounces.

www.TYLT.com $27

Kenu AirframeThe Kenu Airframe is also used for keeping your smartphone handsfree while driving but instead of keep it on a flat surface, it attaches to an air vent.

A soft molded grip, is used to attach to the vent and it’s design won’t leave any scratches when in use or taken on and off.

There’s not a lot to it, just use the expandable jaw to hold just about any smartphone with a screen up to 4.8-inches.. It also rotates for horizontal and vertical viewing.

The Airframe weighs less then an ounce so taking it along for travel is ideal.

www.Kenu.com $24.95

PULSE Felt AudioFelt’ Audio’s Pulse mobile Bluetooth speaker first caught my attention with it’s small size; 3.2 inches long, 2.2 inches wide and .6-inches thick and a weight of just a few ounces.

Considering it’s pocket size, the sound is great, making it ideal for listening to satellite radio (as I did with it). It’s internal microphone works as a portable handsfree speakerphone.

It has a built-in clip on the back for attaching to a sun visor or to just have it stand on a flat surface.

You’ll get about 8 hours of use before a USB charge is needed, which takes just over a half-hour.

www.feltaudio.com $59.99 available in black or white