Archive for November 2017

Gadgets :: November 15, 2017

By Gregg Ellman
(@Greggellman)

Most everyone has Wi-Fi somewhere in your house, but the word “somewhere” is the key in that phrase. The most common origin of the signal is a home office, which is great but won’t give you the same signal strength throughout your home.

The Amped wireless Helios-EX tri-band range extender fills the gap between the existing signal and where it’s needed in extended areas. It’s built for multi-device households.

When I first read about the Helios-EX, the company touted its ability to maintain Internet speed, which many other similar devices I’ve tried claimed to do, but didn’t. They did extend the signal, but not a strong signal.

Amped Wireless was true to its word. From one corner of my house to the other, which really wasn’t getting any signal, I could not only surf the web but stream was also possible. It said range could be extended up to 12,000 square feet.

You don’t have to be a tech head to set it up. It’s not plug-n’play but also not that difficult. Power it up, connect a computer, tablet or smartphone to access the setup menu. It’s really straightforward and walks you through each step including selecting your existing Wi-Fi network (with password). Honestly, it’s simple, easy and takes just minutes.

For most people, there’s no need to know whats inside the Wi-Fi extender, but if you need to know, according to the Amped website it’s “built with a powerful Quad-Core ARM Processor, 12 high power amplifiers, and 4 total high gain antennas, the HELIOS-EX delivers up to 12,000 square feet of additional Wi-Fi coverage.”

www.ampedwireless.com $179.99

The Bluetooth speaker market is crowded and I often wonder how it keepss growing and growing. There’s a simple formula for a speaker to be successful and that’s great sound.

When you add stylish craftsmanship like Wren has done with its new V3US ($399), it’s a winner. A genuine wood cabinet makes it really attractive; not reason enough to buy it but it sure adds value after playing your music.

The sound is nothing short of excellent, crystal clear at an volume level. Over the last few days I’ve used it as background sound as well as turning the volume up to head banging levels.

Either way, this AC powered speaker stands out for many reasons. It connects with up to 16 speakers simultaneously on the same network, which is a lot but if it’s needed, the Wren V3US will do it. You can set the speakers up to hear the same music or different groups in multiple rooms with multiple zones.

In addition to Bluetooth, it streams AirPlay and Play-Fi with Apple, Android handheld devices and Mac or PC computer operating systems. An aux-in 3.5mm stereo jack offers a direct connection.

It measures 12-by-4.5-by-4.5-inches and can be positioned vertically or horizontally, even with its rounded edges.

Wren makes a portable version, the V3USP for $449.00, which has a built-in rechargeable lithium ion battery.

www.wrensound.com available in almond crème anigre with a midnight black grille or espresso wenge with an arctic white grille

Robotosaur caught my attention, so since we are in the holiday gift time,, it’s worth telling others about the interactive remote control dinosaur.

It features a mood sensor with built-in sound effect and will even yawn when’ he’s tired and snores while in sleep mode. When awake, the LED eye’s change colors to reflect its mood.

The remote lets you control forward and backward movements including spinning, shaking, and even wagging of its tail.

Robotosaur is available for $99.99 and can be found nationwide at major retailers.

Gadgets :: November 8 2017

By Gregg Ellman
(@Greggellman)

You might not think of an external hard drive as fun, sexy or cool, but the OWC Mercury Elite Pro Dual mini can be any or all of them. I can say first hand you’ll find it useful at home, work, play and even consider taking it on vacation.

And if you wonder why I feel this way, I’ll be happy to tell you. I’ll start by mentioning probably the most common topic I get asked about; backups. And my answer is always the same: backup, backup, backup. No exceptions. If you don’t, it’s not a matter will you lose your digital files, its just when.

Working as a photographer (my primary professional) brought one of the most grueling schedules I’ve ever had over the past two months. This included travel to all ends of the country covering a wide variety of subjects and topics resulting in over 160GB of digital image files.

Anyone who deals with digital files knows this is a large amount. It’s not a question of storage space on my laptop, which can handle it fine. Add the fantastic Mercury Elite Pro Dual mini to the equation and I had the peace of mind with 4TB of backup RAID storage in a device that easily fits into my backpack (5.7-by-6.1-by-1.1-inches, 1.25 pounds).

The included RAID (redundant array of independent disks) technology provides an additional backup. Inside are multiple drives, allowing your files to back up in separate locations within the same enclosure for an additional backup.

The dual-drive is USB 3.0 in a bus-powered form factor and is stored in a solid aluminum chassis enclosure. With the RAID, you’ll get the choice of a few settings, which can be changed on the back of the hardware. RAID 0 will give you super fast data transfer speeds up to 861MB/s, while RAID 1 will allow greater data redundancy from mirrored disks for a secure backup.

While it might sound confusing, it’s a simple setup that takes no time at all, making it ideal for professional photographers or families with priceless vacation photos, videos and digital music.

Swappable hard drive configurations range from 1TB ($219.99) up to 4TB ($329.99). Solid state drives start storage starts at 240GB ($268.99) up to 2TB ($879.99).

USB cables for standard USB and USB-C are included for use with a Mac or PC.

https://eshop.macsales.com

The OWC Thunderbolt 3 Dock brings your computers, accessories and cables together in any office.

It’s built with an incredible 13 ports for connecting hard drives, monitors, card readers, laptops or just charging or syncing smartphones and tablets to a desktop or laptop.

The front has a single USB 3.1, an SD memory card reader and expanded analog audio in/out port. The back has four USB 3.1 ports, an S/PDIF pro-grade digital audio output, FireWire 800, Ethernet, dual Thunderbolt 3 ports and a mini display port. An AC power adapter is also plugged into a back port..

Large amounts of data can transfer at incredible speeds, especially with the Thunderbolt 3, which can go up to 40Gb/s.

Uses for the dock on any computer station are endless, especially since it takes just one cable to connect to your computer, instantly connecting all the other ports.

I use a MacBook Air, which does’t give you a whole lot of ports. Now, with the Thunderbolt 3 dock (3.5-by-9.1-by-1-inches), even on the road, everything I need connected is done without swapping cables.

Along with the ports and usefulness, what I didn’t even think of before hand was the organization it brings. Instead of wires coming and going all over my desk, everything is centrally located and without the need of pulling cords in and out since I have more ports than needed. Think of the dock as your computers file cabinet.

https://eshop.macsales.com $299, available in space gray or silver

Gadgets :: November 1, 2017

By Gregg Ellman
(@Greggellman)

The annual PhotoPlus Conference, the ultimate display of products for photography enthusiasts, was this past week at the Jacob Javits Center in New York City.

There was no shortage of new products on display and here are a few that caught my attention.

Band.it is a soft, ridged elastomer band that stretches over most interchangeable camera lens and is universal to fit lenses from just about every manufacturer. It features extruded ridges on the exterior to provide a raised surface for better grip on the lens. The inside keeps a tight grip to hold it in place.

https://camerabandit.com $25 for a single or $45 for a band.it outfit for a home and focus grip

Digital Silver Imaging’s new print hanger is an aluminum rail to display your images in is an elegant and affordable way. A pair of aluminum rails gently and securely slide onto the top and bottom of your print for an easy and attractive display.

They come in pairs ranging from 12-inches ($18) up to 72-inches ($92) wide and have a centered hanging hole pre-drilled on the back of the top hanger. You can hang a single print or any amount that fit. If your width is longer, just order another.

https://digitalsilverimaging.com

Frame Destination has an innovative guide, “How to Choose and Order the Perfect Frame for Your Metal Prints,” which does just that.

The company designed the step-by-step guide to ensure customers have an easy experience to choose just the right metal (or wood) frame for their work. They also assure the work is displayed safely without needing glass or acrylic. And, you see the exact prices with the features you add or remove.

Metal frames provide a timeless look to any metal print, which come in several options. The guide explains each option with customized choices including the frame, mat board, finish and backing.

https://www.framedestination.com

Illuminati Instrument Corp.’s Illuminati Smartphone-enabled wireless light and color meter lets photographers can measure and control critical elements for producing images with proper exposure and color balance up to 80-feet away.

The bluetooth meter measures ambient, continuous, and strobe lighting at multiple locations in a scene and sends the results to your Android or Apple smartphone. With the readings, photographers can set light rations with natural or artificial light, match the cold and get the right settings for a perfect exposure.

Three AAA batteries keep it powered and it works with any type of lighting, including daylight, fluorescent, strobes and tungsten. Multiple meters can be used for reading multiple light sources simultaneously.

http://illuminatiinstrumentcorp.com available for pre order on Indiegogo for $249

LitraTorch is a pocket-sized versatile adventure photo and video light. Measuring just (1.5-by-1.5-by-1.65-inches), aluminum-cased light is waterproof up to 30-feet, drop proof with a military grade construction (810G MIL SPEC rating) and mountable.

A one-touch operation has four levels for a light output of 100, 450 and 800 lumens of high quality LED light. A strobe setting produces 2200 lumens of light. The 5700K daylight color temperature is flicker free and and has an ultra-wide beam angle.

A white diffuser, silicone sleeve, belt clip, GoPro ¼ 20 finger mount and a USB charging cable are included for the built-in rechargeable Lithium Ion battery.

https://litra.com $79,95

IF

The Sirui A-1005 aluminum travel tripod kit features a fully retractable dual stage center column, half turn twist-lock leg locks for quick and easy deployment with three leg angle positions giving photographers flexibility in all shooting environments,

It has a load capacity of 22 pounds and the legs fold 180 degrees for a folded length of only 14 inches. If needed, it converts to monopod and the center column can be attached for increased height.

https://www.sirui.com $139.99