An App that keeps on giving

By GREGG ELLMAN— Twitter.com/greggellman

MXL AC 404You’ll never be asking someone on the other end “can you hear me now” after trying the MXL AC 404 professional series microphone.

It’s a plug-and-play USB device (no drivers needed) with incredible clarity and ideal for Skype, podcasts or any other sound recording.

The microphone gives you 180-degree coverage, which is great for just putting it in the middle of table for a conference call where multiple people are talking from the same device. It measures just 4.3 x 2.95 x 2-inches.

The mic uses boundary microphone technology and built-in custom circuitry to produce smooth, quiet, professional-sounding conferences according to their website.

I used it on a Mac and also plugged in a USB extension cable, which caused no problem.

When I asked my friend on the other end of my Skype chat how I sounded without the MXL mic and then with it, his answer was “no comparison,” obviously with the external mic.

It’s also compatible with the PC world and comes with a nice storage case.

www.mxlmics.com $66.98

Jabra Solemate MiniI’m not sure how Jabra does it but they continue to rock the house.

This time with the Solemate Mini pocket sized Bluetooth speaker. Measuring 4.9 x 2 x 2.3-inches with a 10 ounce weight, so you can see why Jabra promotes it as a perfect travel companion.

Once cranked up there is a good chance the people in the next room might not be friendly neighbors, but you get the idea of how great this works.

There’s nothing to the set up, just pair (Bluetooth or NFC) it by tapping a button and raise the volume. You can also use a direct wired connection.

The battery is good for about 8 hours before a charge is needed.

A rubber coating surrounds the outside of the speaker for protection, enabling it to withstand dust, splashing liquid (it’s not waterproof) and light bumps.

www.Jabra.com $99 available in black, blue, red and yellow

DigiPalsDigiPals are designed as a fun animal-themed pouch to store smartphones, MP3 players or anything that will fit in the zippered compartment.

They are made with a soft microfiber cloth making them great for cleaning fingerprints on your LCD screens.

DigiPals are available in designs of a monkey, owl, penguin and a turtle. It  has a side-zippered pocket to store an ID or anything that will fit

www.digipalsusa.com $14.99

My personal favorite iPad app, PressReader, is offering a free 24 hour trial through Dec. 31, 2013.

The free app is home to thousands of digital formats for newspapers and magazines right. In addition to the iPad, it’s available for other tablets, along with Mac and PC systems.

To navigate the publication of your choice, just swipe your fingertip on the touchscreen.

After the free trial, you can purchases daily or get a subscription for a daily download. When a subscription is ordered, your download starts as soon you launch the app.

www.PressReader.com prices start at 99 cents

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