Archive for June 2018

Gadgets :: June 27, 2018

by Gregg Ellman
(@greggellman)

You can say the recent release of the TwelveSouth AirFly is timed perfectly with the summer travel season upon us, or you can say anytime is perfect for that matter.

The wave of Bluetooth headsets work great with your smartphone or tablet, but connecting them to wired headphone ports is impossible. That’s why almost every airline has installed for in-flight entertainment. 

Now you connect the tiny AirFly to the 3.5 mm wired headphone jack with the included audio cable and pair is wirelessly to your handheld devices Bluetooth.

It works great with wireless earbuds, headphones and true wireless earbuds. I tried all three successfully. 

While it works great at 36,000 feet, there are still ways you can use it on the ground. Using a wireless headset with a TV was a challenge until I tried the AirFly, which solved that problem. Also connecting to audio systems at a gym is now a breeze to keep yourself from being tethered to a workout machine with an audio cable.

A built-in USB rechargeable battery will last for about 8 hours and works indefinitely if you have a power source plugged into it while in use. Besides the microUSB charging port and the 3.5 mm audio connection, the only other button is for pairing.

To pair, press the button on the AirFly for a few seconds and the pairing button on your headphones. There’s no display, app or anything to show that the connection is made, it just works. After the first time they are paired with your device, a connection is made whenever the AirFly is turned on and in range of each other.

It’s another gadget to carry around, but the AirFly measures only 1.8-by-.13-by-.39-inches and weighs just .55 ounces.  A travel pouch is included. Apple AirPod fans will like the comparison, which has it just a slightly smaller than the wireless earbud case.

One obvious reminder, remember to unplug it before getting off plane or leaving the gym. Otherwise, I’m pretty certain someone will be enjoying the wireless freedom.

www.twelvesouth.com $39.99

Speaking of true wireless earbuds, another great set I tried is the Altec Lansing’s new True EVO Wireless Earbuds.

Aside from great sound and the wireless aspects (not even a wire connecting the two earbuds),  they are packed with features.

Most true wireless earbuds come with a hard storage case, which doubles as a charging case. This lets you charge them while they connected to a USB power source or just sitting in your pocket.  

Altec has added Qi wireless charging to the case, so just put the case on any Qi charger (not included) and it will charge the earbuds and the case cable free. You’ll get about four full charges, which takes three hours per charge out of the case, before it needs a charge itself.

Aside from being packed with these great features, we generally purchase audio equipment for the sound and these do not disappoint. The clarity and bass along with an affordable price make them ideal for any user.

Lawn work or exercising during the summer heat generates sweat, which isn’t a problem with the Altech EVO earbuds and it’s IPX6 water resistant rating.  One button Bluetooth pairing is simple and handsfree calls worked perfect.

Several sets of earths are included to ensure a proper and snug fit.

www.alteclansing.com $99.99

Gadgets :: June 20, 2018

by Gregg Ellman
(@greggellman)

The Royole Moon 3D Mobile Theater brings big screen movies right to your head. 

The headset has two full-HD 1080p Amoled displays with a resolution over 3000 ppi, which create an amazing theater effect right in front of your eyes. All this built into a front-facing display with a minus 7.0 diopter for nearsightedness and plus 2.0 for farsightedness.

The display emulates a giant curved screen with stereoscopic 3D. Moon wears like headphones in great comfort with padded ear cups broadcasting hi-fidelity sound with active noise-cancelling. 

A VR experience is what you want out of this device, and while I’m no expert in audio/video headsets, the experience I got was amazing and in great comfort.

On the Moon site, they state the goal of the headset is to “deliver a truly immersive, 3D movie watching or gaming experience that could be enjoyed anytime and anywhere,” which they absolutely did. What they didn’t say is how addicting they can become!

I’m sure gamers will love these, I tried them with a gangster movie and the effects were stunningly delivered in a cinematic experience on the adjustable virtual 800-inch screen for 3D or 2D viewing. All without lagging or ghosting. 

Content is accessed via WiFi, HDMI or you can store digital files in the 32GB of internal storage. A 6000mAh battery charges is 2 hours and is good for about 5 hours of video playback. They also have a foldable design, which are great when tucking them away to keep your mobile theater in a backpack.

While the price can be a little alarming, you must realize all you’re getting in one complete package. And obviously when you spend $799 on a headset, you want to know a lot more about it. The Moon site is really thorough on formats, sound and specs for everything you would need to know.

With every new purchase of a Royole Moon, consumers will be offered three SD, HD or 3D movies from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.

http://www.royole.com/moon available in choices of matte, gold with matte, and white with high-gloss finishes

Amped Wireless WiFi Smart Plug is as simple to use as any smart plug I’ve tried.

The plug has a single 120v grounded outlet and one USB charging port (5V/1.5A) built with an overload protection circuit breaker and surge protection. 

As for the smart home aspect, it connects to your existing WiFi (802.11 b/g/n) and after you download the free Amped app (iOS and Android) you can control up to 150 devices (according to the Amped site).

I tried it with some basic home lights and small kitchen appliances and it worked perfect. With the app, you can turn the plug on and off manually as you wish, or set up a schedule with specific times and days.

In my case, I had my coffee maker up and running during my wakeup time (which can spoil you very quickly) and I had a lamp turning on and off at specific times.  No matter what I tried, it worked perfect.

If you have multiple lights in different rooms you want going on or off at the same time, you can add multiple Amped WiFi Smart Plugs and just run the identical schedule with the app. The smart plug can also be paired to commands with Amazon Alexa.

The USB port is handy to charge smartphones and many other USB devices needed a boost of power.

The smart plug controls just one device at a time, but Amped also has a WiFi Smart Power Strip for controlling multiple devices.

http://www.ampedwireless.com $69.99, priced at $19.99 at Amazon

V-Moda has announced the new Crossfade 2 Wireless Codex Edition, for those who seek professional-grade audio quality. The Bluetooth headphones feature three audio codecs for improved wireless audio quality and universal compatibility. 

The Crossfade 2 Wireless Codex Edition can be operated in wired mode, with the included V-Moda audio cable inserted into headphone jack, which switches off all electronics and achieves zero latency. 

A built-in hidden microphone is there for handsfree calls and a 1-button speakeasy cable for wired use is included. A rechargeable lithium-ion battery provides over 14 hours of continuous use.

For a limited time, V-MODA has a trade-in program available for customers who purchased the previous Crossfade versions. Those who purchased the first version can upgrade to the Codex Edition for just $100 when trading in a Crossfade 2 Wireless, or $150 when trading in the original Crossfade Wireless.

http://www.V-Moda.com $350 available matte black, matte white and rose gold.

Gadgets :: June 13, 2018

by Gregg Ellman
(@greggellman)

Many of us have boxes of negatives waiting for the day when we either buy a scanner to digitize them or take them to a retail location for them to scan. Either way, that day doesn’t seem to be coming, yet.

I can tell you that as a photojournalist for 30 plus years, I have an endless number of negatives ready and waiting. Getting to the project has been on my list since the digital era began 20 years ago. 

Most people are just looking for a way to get the images into a digital world, not to make billboards out of them. This week I found my solution with the Kodak Scanza digital film scanner.

The easy-to-use scanner comes with all the adapters and inserts to convert 126, 110, super 8 and 8 mm, 35 mm film negatives and slides to jpeg files.

A little about the scanner: it measures just 4.7-by-4.7-by-5-inches and has a fold out 3.5-inch LCD color display to clearly see the image you’re working on. 

Each image is scanned into optimized 14-megapixel or interpolated 22-megapixel digital files, which go directly onto an SD card.  When you’re done scanning, take the SD card and put it into your Mac or PC and work with your own photo editing software.

The scanner’s size  and the direct scan to memory cards enable great portability so you can do your scanning without being connected to your computer.

The scanner front has buttons for power and a one-touch one-step scan and save button, which makes it so easy.

You can make some image adjustments in the scanner for RGB levels and brightness levels. I personally liked how fast the image scanned and then did my adjustments on my desktop iMac with Photoshop.

A film cleaning brush, HDMI cables for viewing images on a TV, AC power adapter and a USB power cable are included. They all connect to the scanner on the back, which is where your SD memory card is inserted.

Before you begin your scanning, hopefully you’ll be able to locate a small light table and a film loupe just like I did to help the project. Note; my intention was to only scan in a few images; about 11 hours later I was still at it. It’s that easy, fun and productive.

The Kodak Scanza is available from its North American brand licensee, C+A Global for $169.99.

https://www.kodakphotoplus.com

It’s a good time to mention an item I’ve written about in the past, Pine Mountain ExtremeStart Firestarters, which are ideal for a safe and simple way to get camp fires or fire pits started fast and safe.

The breakfast bar-sized packs are placed in the middle of where you want the fire started; light the outside pack and add some wood or charcoal. 

Next thing you know your fire will be going great, without any dangerous fire starting fluids. But obviously, with fire proper cautions should always be taken

http://pinemountainfire.com $5.99 for a box with 12 starters

Cave Tools has had a tremendous response to the launch of their BBQ Smoking & Cooking Journal App. In the first week more than 550 iPhone and 400 Android users download the app, which is free right now.

The app has features to keep details on you’re cooking recipes and allow you to share the step by step directions you followed to prepare your perfect meat.

There’s also wood smoking and internal meat temperature guides, which provide all the reference information you need to prevent overcooking or oversmoking your food.

One feature that caught my attention right away on the clean and simple designed app was its ad-free and no annoying push notifications.

https://cavetools.com

Gadgets :: June 6, 2018

by Gregg Ellman

(@greggellman)

You’re on the clock for Fathers Day shopping, check the calendar, it’s only a few weeks away. To avoid panic shopping and buying dad a gift he won’t want but is afraid to insult you and return it, here’s my list of cool and useful choices.

DeWALT’s Flexvolt 60V Max 2.5 Gallon Cordless Air Compressor is part of the DeWALT  Flexvolt line, designed to give you the power of a corded tool but untethered from a wall outlet. What this means is the compressor (21.5-pounds without a battery) is powered by a rechargeable 6.0Ah battery, good for up to 1,220 nails for a floor, baseboard or anything of his choice on a single charge. The compressor has an oil-free pump and a single regulator for pressure adjustments, compared to two in many others. Just turn a knob to get your desired PSI. It’s built in a roll cage for durability with rubber feet.  The maximum tank pressure is 135 PSI.

www.dewalt.com  $299, the Flexvolt Cordless Air Compressor comes with one 6.0Ah battery and a fast charger for $299

I can see how the myFlipShade comes in handy for every dad who has a smartphone. The pop-up shade is portable and attaches on in seconds to help shield the sun (or rain) in broad daylight, making it simple to read the LCD without hiding the the sun or finding a shady location. And if it’s not sunny or raining, you can use the shade for some privacy from those never ending prying eyes at home, banks or those close airline seats. The thin profile myFlipShade slides on top of a smartphone and attaches with an  adhesive strip. When not in use, just tuck it behind the phone or use it as a stand for handsfree watching. 

www.mycharge.com $9.99 at Amazon and Target

Grill. Melt. Eat. Repeat. Thats the theme of the Party Grill, which should get repeated over and over and over. It’s designed for simple and continuous use so the party continues while the grilling goes on. How often do people want to eat at different times? Put the grill right in the middle of the table and guests can grill at will. The electric and smokeless tabletop grill is ideal for cooking and entertaining inside or out. On the top you can cook your meat, potatoes, veggies and sauces; cheese and other sides can be headed up on the bottom side in non-stick trays.

https://partygrill.com $99, includes reversible grill top, 8 non-stick pans and 8 scrapers

When I was younger and my dad got a bug zapper he made sure we all knew when a one got zapped. If your dad’s the same, he must have the Stinger On-the-Go Insect Zapper, which has 400 square feet of zapping coverage. It can be powered by AC or four AA batteries (neither included) or go really portable with the internal battery, which has a USB charge good for three hours. With a weight under 2 pounds and a 10-inch height, the lantern looking zapper is great to use anywhere at home, lakeside or any buggy summer activity. Inside the zapper is a black UV light to attract flying insects, which are greeted by Stinger’s slow release NOsquito Mosquito Octenol replacement lure, which includes 735 mg of octenol. The lure should be replaced every 30 days. The zapper is made with weather-proof plastic, clog-free design and two operating modes; zapping or ambient light.

www.stingerproducts.com, $19.99 for the zapper, replacement bulbs $9.99, 

replacement lure $6.99

The myCharge’s home and go portable battery is small (5.6-by-2.78-by-0.62-inches, 0.68-pounds) and simple but useful 24/7/365 for dad to charge his cell phone, gaming unit, tablet or any other portable USB gadget on-the-go. With 8000 mAh of power, it will extend the life on most devices several times. A pair of USB ports lets you plug in your cables to charge two devices at once. It’s built with fold-out wall prongs to charge in any standard AC wall outlet, while also working as a charger while recharging itself. Four-light LED battery indicator are on the battery so you see how much power is left.

https://mycharge.com $49.99

Sennheiser’s new CX SPORT in-ear Bluetooth headphones will help dad turn the world off while he sits poolside, mows the laws or a while working out since they are splash- and sweat-resistance. Along with the great sound, the features packed into the portable are endless. For comfort, you got four sizes of ear adapters along with three fin sizes. This will ensure you get a comfortable and secure fit to keep the sound in your ears but block out unwanted outside noise. An inline mic and controls handle calls and music selections. The internal battery charges in 10 minutes for an hour of sounds and fully changes in 1.5 hours for six hours of sound. You can also connect the CX SPORT to two devices simultaneously to hear the wireless (Bluetooth 4.2) Hi-Fi sound.

https://en-us.sennheiser.com $129.95