Gadgets:: Some great gadgets before CES

It’s a new year and lots of the tech world will be focused on next week’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, but there’s still a bunch of 2013 gadgets worth mentioning.

Energizer lightEnergizer’s new hard case inspection light is 88 percent brighter than previous models and is built with a rugged body.

It’s equipped with a shatterproof lens, water and impact resistant up to about a 20 foot drop and works on just two AAA batteries (included).

The light beam distance is an amazing 181.5 feet (55 meters) and can shine for up to 8 hours. Of course, that’s with Energizer Max alkaline batteries.

In a somewhat related note: Energizer Ultimate Lithium batteries (AA and AAA) will now hold power for up to 20 years when not in use.

Sounds great. I’ll get back to you on my findings in 19 years. $24.99

BassJump 2The Twelve South company is known for making cool gadgets to pair with Apple products.

I make the Apple reference simply because Twelve South puts in a great effort to make their devices look so similar to Apple products that you would think they are produced by the tech giant and by-the-way, they work great.

This times it’s the remastered software for the BassJump 2 portable subwoofer for MacBook.

After turning up the sound on your computer’s built-in speakers, you’ll never say to yourself that they really rock the house. But when you combine the speakers with the subwoofer you might be able to state that claim.

The device expands what the internal speakers produce to add both low and mid frequencies to form a complete sound system.

The software is refined to work with the new OSX Maverick (10.9) operating system and includes automatic headphone detection and a refreshed Retina-ready interface.

Cosmetically, the Bass Jump is designed with silver gun metal finish to replicate the finish on most Apple computers. $69.99

Monkey KitOcta’s Tablet Tail Monkey kit has a flexible arm to hold an iPad or any other tablet or e-reader in place.

The arm is a flexible stand to position at most any angle and won’t drop your device because it attaches with a vacuum-pump system with great suction power.

There’s a suction cup, which you pump the air out of to create the seal. To release it just pull on the tabs on the side, disconnecting the device.

Position the flexible arm to whatever position is needed or as the company says, “wrapped, curled or tucked” in any angle shape or situation for handsfree use. $69.99

powerdash r900Ventev, a leader in portable charging accessories, has launched multi-function powerdash r900 charger.

It functions as a portable battery with its internal rapid charging 900mAh battery and charges your device with our own cable plugged into the built-in USB port.

The r900 is designed to plug into your vehicle’s DC (cigarette lighter) port for charging while also powering your device if needed.

Tablets and other power hungry devices up to 2.1A can charge while in the vehicle’s port and up to 1.0A on the portable battery. $24.95

RAVPower QiRAVPower’s new Qi Wireless Charging pad will give you a wireless charge as long as your tablet or phone is Qi compatible

For those who have no idea what Qi charging is, it is a standard developed for specific devices to charge wirelessly. To get the charge you just place your Qi device on top of the Qi charger and the charging starts.

This new charger has an internal 4800mAh battery and works devices such as the Google Nexus 4, HTC Droid DNA and many others.

An AC adapter and USB charging cable is included.

If your device isn’t equipped with Qi technology, there are many Qi-compatible covers  available for different phones and tablets.

A quick Internet search found a Qi charging case for an iPhone 5 for $16.99. $39.99

And the envelope please……..The 2013 Gadget of the years is……….

3My 2013 gadget of the year can easily be classified as simply what I like best _ since the judging committee consists of me.

It would be all too easy to name the latest iPhone or iPad the winner, but let me also say as I did in my recent review of the Microsoft Surface that I think it is a great tablet and came in a close second in the voting.

Without a drum roll I’ve chosen the SanDisk Wireless Flash Drive as my 2013 McClatchy Newspapers gadget of the year.

The main reason I have selected it is it’s a really useful device when you combine it with all the other gadgets we use in our life, from sm

artphones to tablets to computers.

It’s available in capacities of 16GB ($49.99) and 32GB ($59.99) and works just like any other USB flash drive.

But it’s far from ending there.


Hidden on the end of the storage device is a little slot that opens to reveal a microsSD memory card. The slot enables your storage media to be limited to however many extra memory cards you choose to have.

The Sandisk wireless flash drive works with the  iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, Kindle Fire and Android devices, as well as PC and Mac computers. Since many of these devices do not have a USB port (the Surface does), you’ll need to get the free SanDisk Connect app from your device’s store.

Once it’s downloaded it takes only a few seconds to make a wireless connection to the drive. You now have access to whatever you stored on it: movies, music, photos or documents.

It’s that easy. (Other steps you must take include turning it on with the front-facing button and loading your content, etc.)

This gives you extra storage on the go without having to make a wireless internet connection or hooking up a USB drive with a cable.

The Sandisk wireless drive charges via USB and is good for about 4 hours of streaming.

ibitz 1

The iBitz Unity from GeoPalz is a wireless device to monitor your family’s health.

It’s a small device you clip onto your waist, or wherever you want, to track your step count, the distance you have gone and even how many calories you burned.

Just download the free iBitz Unity app and connect it to your compatible iOS device running iOS 6 or higher. The app will read the your results for up to 30 days. $34.99

Doxie 1

Winter is a good time to have the new Doxie Flip flatbed scanner.

It’s battery powered and makes scanning easier than ever from anywhere. For the most part, once you put in the four AA batteries (included) and turn it on, you’re ready to go.

Scans up to 4 x 6-inches and 600 dpi are stored directly onto a SD memory card (included), which fits into the card slot on the side.

A scanner like this is ideal for easily digitizing the boxes of photos many of us have tucked away in a closet. It’s also ideal for notes, coins or whatever you wanted entered into the digital world.

It takes about 7 seconds per scan in full color at 300dpi. The scanner measures 10.3 x 6.5 x 1.3-inches and weights a little more then a pound. $149

iB85 2

iHome’s new iB85 wireless (Bluetooth) headphones are a solid over-the-head speaker set with comfortable padded ear cups.

They are made with an adjustable and folding headband along with the padded ear cups in a black, red and silver design.

You’ll get about 12 hours of listening before they need a USB charge with the included charging cable.

Each speaker has a 30mm driver with noise-isolating cushions.

Just pair up your device and start listening. They come along with a travel pouch. $149.99









An App that keeps on giving


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. $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. $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 $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. prices start at 99 cents

Holiday Gadgets


When it comes to technology and holiday shopping, my best advice is to make it useful, not useless. Just because you think something is cool, new or great doesn’t mean it will be an appropriate gift.

As usual, this holiday season there are an endless number to choose from. Here are a bunch of electronics-related gadgets that I think will fit most any user or any budget.

Ear DriveTPKparis has a new USB 2.0 key ring flash drive built into a carabineer so it can be clipped or unclipped to most anything, including-tunnel equipped earlobes.

It weighs just .529 ounces and is stainless steel, making it durable for any weather. The pin and spring have been company-tested to be opened up to 10,000 times. 16GB $26.76 and a 32GB version for $40.22

There’s gonna be an iPad Air in most every house and Kensington has the perfect accessory with the KeyCover ($79.99).

KeyCover PlusIt’s a hard shell cover built with a wireless Bluetooth backlit keyboard inside. The case can hold your iPad Air handsfree in both vertical or horizontal positions.

A big brother model, the KeyCover Plus ($99.99), lets you order and personalize your case in a choice of seven colors.

With both models, if you order before Dec. 31 of this year, you’ll get a promo code for a free SkinIt. They are great sticker coverings, available in an endless number of designs and combinations.

Minx GoThe Minx Go is a portable wireless speaker good for any age in any room of the house.

It’s an amazing sounding desktop speaker, which uses Bluetooth to broadcast your audio from any Bluetooth-enabled device.

The setup take seconds; just press the power button once to turn it on and a second time to activate the Bluetooth setup.

You can connect up to eight devices at once and you’ll get 18 hours of music before the speaker needs a charge or if you leave it in one place just use the included power cord. $149 available in black or white

Melody wirelessSoundcast Systems Melody wireless speaker produces simply amazing sound coming from a rugged 360-degree speaker.

Inside are four full-range speakers for sound in any direction with a weather-resistant enclosure enabling it to operate indoors, outdoors, cold, hot or moderate snow and rain conditions.

The 9-pound speaker has a carrying handle and a high capacity lithium-ion battery should give you about 20 hours of sound before a charge is needed. $449

Urban Xplorer’s HalfPack RT messenger bag is an attractive over the should bag made with nylonUX ballistic fabric, which can also work as a backpack with attachable straps.

It has an endless amount of pockets, compartments, zippers and storage areas for more electronics gadgets and accessories then any tech head would need to carry. It’s described perfectly by the company as, “a classic bag that incorporates modern day functionality with vintage style.” $198 available in bronze, black and burnt orange

JAM Fusion Headphones1Simple, cool, wireless and reasonably priced are how I would describe the HMDX Jam Fusion Bluetooth stereo headphones.

What makes them unique is if you have a pair of them, you can connect them both to listen to the same music, all wireless via Bluetooth.

They have a built-in mic for handsfree calls and a rechargeable battery that lets the music play for six hours before a charge is needed. $89.99 available in black, purple, red and white

The ThinkGeek Radioactive Elements Glowing coaster are a set of four 3.75-inch squares, which glow in a different color (green, red, purple and yellow) when you place your drink on them.

A small replaceable battery comes in each, good for about 4.5 hours of constant use. $19.99

Go with one SmallHands or TwoHands with the felix smartphone and tablet stands.

The SmallHands ($14.99) is a portable stand good for holding smartphones in horizontal or portrait positions.

For the bigger tablets, the TwoHands ($24.99) will also hold them handsfree in both positions. each available in six different colors

MeCam 1The MeCam is a wearable hands-free video camera that comes in 4GB ($49.99), 8GB ($59.99) and 16GB ($69.99).

It measures just short of 2-inches round and has built-in LED infared technology, which enables it to be used in still or video modes in lowlight or daytime condition.

All control buttons are on the side, the rechargeable battery is good for about 80 minutes of use and video is taken at 720p or still images at 5 megapixels. available in five different colors

MagicstickPowerocks Super Magicstick 2800 is a great portable charging solution. With 2800mAh of power, you can charge just about any portable electronic gadget with a USB connection.

The pocket sized device measures just 3.5 x 1-inch round and has an LED indicator to view the status of your charge and remaining capacity of the battery.

They are available in many color choices and include a velvet carrying bag. $39.99

For any photo enthusiast, Lightroom 5 from Adobe is an outstanding choice, especially from me considering it’s one of my favorites for digital image work flow.

Just as Adobe says, “it’s really a great to tool to help aspiring and hobbyist photographers organize and edit their images.”

There’s two great things I can say about Lightroom, it’s easy to use and the results are amazing. $149

LifeLinkThe LifeLink is described as the worlds thinnest smartphone cable, measuring 3.35 x 0.98 0.87-inches and weighing just 0.21ounces.

Its so portable you can just carry it in a wallet and is available in microUSB, Apple Lightning or 30-pin cable connections. preorder for $14

The Moshi Revolt Duo USB car charger has a pair of high-output USB ports and comes with a detachable Apple lightning charge/sync cable for the latest iOS devices.

Moshi Revolt DuoIt plugs into any car’s 9V (cigarette lighter) plug and gives full-speed charging of smartphone, tablets, or any other USB power hungry device, which charges using a standard USB cable. $45

J R Reynold’s First E-Cigarette is a Winner

By Reece Taylor, Technology Editor

The Vuse Digital Vapor Cigarette in its original flavor is a wonderfully fantastic and exquisite little device. within the black box it comes in is a pamphlet on one side advertising the product’s features. On the other side of the box is the Vuse Digital Vapor Cigarette itself this e-cigarette comes in a rectangular plastic see-through case that resembles very much so the kind of rectangular plastic cases new ipods come in these days. When you open up the case you see directions on how to use the product on the inside flap. It shows you how to properly replace the Vuse cartridge when it runs out by a click on method. It also tells of how long the battery lasts which is one day, and what indicates the battery needing to be charged.

When the battery needs to be charged the light on the end of the cigarette will flash red twice. However, the light will flas continuously when the cartridge has run out and needs to be replaced. When the light flashes white for 2 seconds it means the cartridge is running low.

On the other side of this instructional flap is the actual Vuse Digital Vapor Cigarette itself, the charging unit and another pamphlet advertising the features of the product.

The Digital Cigarette itself is a very sleek and attractive looking device. The cartridge on top is black with the produce’s symbol neatly advertised on it in red and silver with Vuse in silver reading above the red banner. The tube part of the Digital cigarette is a nice looking silver color.

Inside the pamphlet it boasts of this product as being “the first electronic cigarette that finally delivers” and that its the “first truly Digital Vapor Cigarette, powered by smart technology for a perfect puff, first time, every time.” When you fold the pamphlet open more it reveals a drawing of the Digital Vapor Cigarette and all of its important external and internal components such as the smart light indicator located on the end that lights when you take a puff and tells you when the cartridge or the battery is running low, the power unit that ensures the longest time between recharging, the Quick Connect device that lets you easily connect cartridges by a simple click on method, the Smart Memory device that knows how many puffs remain in each cartridge and when its depleted, and the V-Liguid device that contains the special ingredients of vegetable glycerin, “highest quality” nicotine extracted from the tobacco plant, and other flavor additives. On the back of the pamphlet are directions for how to charge the Digital Cigarette. on the back of the see through plastic casing it tells that “each cartridge lasts about as long as a pack”, that “the light glows white when you inhale”, and that “replacement cartridges sold separately in a variety of flavors.” Vuse Digital Vapor Cigarette is a product of the RJ Reynolds tobacco company located in Winston-Salem, NC. RJ Reynolds has made such famous real cigarettes such as Newports and Camels.

This is a very unique and special device. It has a very sleek and stylistic look to it. Thats the first thing Inoticed when I took it out of the packaging. it has a smooth silver tube and a black and red cartridge at the top. Its much more stylistic and attractive looking than any other electronic cigarette I have ever seen. The device is simple and easy to use, just like any other Electronic Cigarette. On my first drag i noticed immediately a significant difference in the taste and quality of the product. When I took the first drag it felt more like what an actual cigarette is like when you smoke one. I was very fond of this discovery. Also, I noticed that I didn’t have to smoke it as frequently as other electonic cigarettes because the nicotine level was significantly higher than other electronic cigarettes i’ve tried, faithful to Vuse’s advertisement on the Nicotine factor. When i took my drags the end of the tube glowed an attractive white colored which I found to be much more favorable than other electronic cigarette colors which typically glow blue or orange. Overall, I am very impressed with the Vuse Digital Vapor Cigarette and its my favorite Electonic Cigarette to date. My only problem with it is that its currently only available for retail in Colorado, making getting a replacement Cartridge impossible. I would highly recommend this to any fans of electronic cigarettes and to an extent people trying to lean off using real Cigarettes who are trying to quit. Those people trying to quit smoking however, should be wary to know that the Vuse Digital Vapor Cigarette contains a higher dose of nicotine than regular electronic cigarettes. Overall very satisfied with this product. Only con is the imited sale market which will improve once people realize how good this product is,


Recommended: 5 out of 5


Gadgets:: The Other might be better then the “Other”


Surface 2I’ve tossed around several ways to approach my review of the Microsoft Surface 2 tablet but it’s impossible to make an iPad comparison since I’ve owned several over the past few years.

After coming to grips with the conclusion that I really liked the Surface 2, I was upfront on a recent conference call with Microsoft representatives, telling them that I was really enjoyed using the Surface 2 and many features it has vs. the “other.”

Supporting Flash is an obvious and never-ending difference but the most significant feature in my mind, which the Surface 2 has and the other doesn’t, is the little memory slot tucked away under the built-in stand.

Using the microSD memory slot with cards up to 64GB (not included) enables the Surface 2 to have  memory expansion for storing movies, music, documents or whatever you want. This is in addition to internal memory of 32 or 64GB.

But the positives don’t end there. I really like the tablet’s construction of built-in dual-position kickstand, keyboard and cover.

On the side is a mini display and USB 3.0 ports and comes with the full Microsoft Office 2013 suite of programs.

It runs Windows 8, which allows you to sync it with eight other Windows 8 machines.

Each Surface 2 comes with a free 2-year account to the Skydrive Cloud network. Skydrive is a cross platform Cloud storage solution, which will work with any version of Windows in a browser.

prod_Surface2_PrintOne thing I did notice was that the Surface didn’t come with much documentation, which isn’t really needed. The first time you turn it on the step-by-step instructions are as easy as can be to get you up and running.

A nice feature lets you have multiple accounts without having to turn the tablet on and off. Each user can have their own setup of apps and appearance; just log in and out for each user.

When you set up a children’s account, restrictions can be put in place to limit what can or can’t be done. A weekly report can be emailed to the administrator informing them what the children’s site has been doing.

I do wish the charging cable was something a little more mainstream but I’m sure there are some internal reasons for that.

Other specific specs have the touchscreen tablet measuring 10.81 x 6.79 x .35-inches with a 16:9 aspect ratio and 1920 x 1080 resolution.

There is also a 3.5 megapixel front facing-camera (great for Skype, etc.) and a rear 5 megapixel camera.

I can’t say I’m now a regular Windows users but the Surface 2 sure does have a place in my tablet world. 32GB $449, 64GB $549

KarmaThe Karma can be in the palm of your hand for instant WiFi most anywhere.

The pocket-sized hotspot device (2.5 x 2.5 x .25-inches) named Karma costs $99  and is a pay as-you-use device without any contract.

Data is $14 per GB and it allows up to eight devices to be connected simultaneously without sharing your data. Once someone connects to your Karma and they sign up for data, you will receive 100MB of data deposited into your account.

Karma coverage is in 80 major U.S. cities and a 2014 nationwide coverage expansion will add more than 230 cities using the Sprint 4G LTE Network. Regular $99 price will be lowered to $59.99 during the week of December 2nd – 7th.

BuckshotThe Outdoor Tech Buckshot wireless (Bluetooth) speaker is designed for cyclists, but can be used in most any environment with its rugged, water-resistant design.

The speaker is built with a rubberized outer shell enabling it to be shock-resistant and withstand small drops.

It comes along with a universal mount for bicycle handlebars for riding along with the music or using it as a hands-free device for phone calls since it has a built-in microphone.

A full USB charge will give you about 10 hours of use and its IPX-5 water-resistance rating enables it to withstand splashes of liquid. $49.95

The Armorz Stealth Extreme Lite screen protectors are as strong as any I’ve seen.

Armorz Stealth ExtremeIt’s pretty amazing how clean your screen stays on top of the great protection, which is advertised to be able to withstand impact from a hammer or drill.

While I won’t put that part to test, I will say fingerprints are at a minimum with the 0.2mm think tempered glass.

Officially it has an 8H hardness rating, which means nothing to me specifically except to say it prevents my iPhone 5s LCD from getting scratched up. available for the iPhone 5/5s/5c – $34.95 and the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 – $39.95

Review :: Cord Cruncher

By Kat Taylor, Gear Editor

When I was first handed a pair of the Cord Crunchers, I didn’t know how to respond. I sort of blinked at them blankly, startled by the sheer fact that I’d gotten a pair of headphones none of my friends had ever seen before, and that they worked. They were neon green, and stretchy, though being the cautious person I am I was hesitant at first to pull the very thin cords from the elastic case.

One of my favorite features was the fact that I didn’t have to worry about tangled headphones, something I’d struggled with previous to having a Cord Cruncher in my possession. You could very smoothly pull the headphones from the elastic cover and pull them back in (after getting used to doing so) and all your friends would be in awe at your crazy awesome skills with hidden cords (well, that’s how it felt to me at least). Another great feature was that you could wrap your Cord Crunchers around your wrist and suddenly they became a neon bracelet. There was no more shuffling through your backpack or searching your room endlessly for headphones, because there they were, conveniently on your wrist. People would see the Cord Crunchers on my wrist and would gasp and gawk, saying “whoa, are those headphones or is that a bracelet?” and would contemplate it for a whole three seconds until I told them how the Cord Crunchers were both. That’s overdramatic of course, but you get my point.

I also was a huge fan of the bass booster, and how the headphones completely were sound proof. I temporarily was in my own world while wearing them, and it was great when I was in a noisy room and was trying to work, because I could listen to my own music in peace. However, there were aspects of the Cord Crunchers I wasn’t too fond of. I was constantly afraid I would tear the cords by getting them caught on something, like a door handle or a nail.

Another thing was after a while the elastic was worn a bit, and started leaving these black lines when the headphones were in the case, which bugged me a bit yet at the same time it added character, so that wasn’t as bad (I’m one of those kids of kids, what can I say). Another problem was when I stretched the headphones to get the cords back in the case, the buds on the earphones would fly off without my knowledge and when I went to put my headphones in I was surprised to see they lacked the buds I needed. Overall, I enjoyed using the Cord Crunchers, and would definitely recommend them to friends, but would also tell them that they should take the buds off first.

Rating 4.5 out of 5

#earbuds #cordcruncher #kattaylor #snappingcatus #endlessyears



Belkin HD Bluetooth MusicSeems like this is a week for Bluetooth technology and for those who are still in love with an older stereo or TV, the Belkin HD Bluetooth music receiver is a perfect accessory.

The HD receiver brings together your old system with any device having Bluetooth technology, including iOS and Android-based devices.

Setting it up is simple; plug the HD receiver into your existing system with the included cables (3.5mm to RCA and coaxial HD Audio cables) and pair the receiver with your Bluetooth device. The pairing is done with a simple tap of your device to the new receiver.

For users of Android 4.0 or 4.0.1, you’ll need the free Belkin BT app for the tap-and-play feature.

From there the receiver allows your handheld media player to send any audio files you have stored on it to the existing speaker systems.

Up to eight devices and can be stored in the receiver. $59.99

Monster iSport FreedomSince the Monsters iSport Freedom headphones are wireless with Bluetooth, one you slip them over your ears they make you feel like your listening to a live concert on the go.

Along with the great sound, the iSport gives you a resistant , sweatproof and even washable design.

A multi-function key controls the power, volume, next or previous track and even allows you to answer calls. Obviously, there is a built-in microphone at the base of one ear cups..

The iSport Freedom headphones are made with a fashionable neon green design, a rubberized finish, and a reflective safety trim for night time use.

Each ear cup is comfortably padded with 400mm drivers sending out the great sound  and are connected with a flexible headband.

There’s also a 3.5mm connection if you want a wired connection with the included in-line mic cable. $249.95

SoundDewThe WhiteLabel SoundDew water resistant Bluetooth speaker is music-friendly at home, work or play _ even including the shower.

What makes it waterproof and somewhat indestructible is a internal protective water- and dirt-resistant housing encased with a rubberized outside shell.

The design incorporates a hook on the speaker to let it hang from anything that will hold it including belts, backpacks and handlebars.

The sound quality from the 3-inch speaker is impressive and the portability makes it a great accessory.

An 3.5mm aux-in lets you plug in non-Bluetooth devices for listening and a built-in mic lets it work as a handsfree speaker phone. $49.99 available in blue, black, khaki and red

PrintStikThe PlanOn Printsik PS905ME printer has a line on the box “Print anything, anywhere in just seconds” and after you see it in person, you’ll see this is an accurate statement.

It’s small, portable and very easy to use.

Measuring just 11 x 2 x 2-inches makes it easy to store in a backpack to print boarding passes, movie tickets or anything you have to have on paper right there and then.

It’s designed to be cable-free and connects to your smartphone or tablet with Bluetooth but can connect with the included USB cable. Power is supplied by the built-in rechargeable lithium-Polymer batter.

The paper is stored on a 20-sheet roll cartridge (one included) and the whole setup is stored in a nylon zipper case.

All of the controls including power, a paper feed and a battery level indicator are easily accessed on the side.

When you consider how big and clunky our first home printers were, this one is pretty amazing for document printing. $299 for the printer, 3 print cartridges with 20 pages each $29.99

Gadgets:: WD My Cloud is a must have


WD My CloudThere is what seems like an endless number of cloud storage solutions for storing and sharing digital files but it’s often confusing, so most just keep their digital data on home storage devices.

Simply put, cloud storage has nothing to do with the weather. Instead, it involves moving digital files to an off-site storage location.

Typically, after you move files to the storage site you can view, share or edit the data on any computer, smartphone or tablet from anywhere.

After going to a demonstration recently by executives from WD (a Western Digital company) of the new My Cloud storage solution, I came away thinking ”this is  a company that finally understands the consumer cloud confusion and has a simple, user-friendly solution.”

The hardware system makes it simple for professional photographers down to beginners to store digital images, videos or documents to the My Cloud personal drive.

Simply put, the My Cloud is hard drive device (available 2, 3 and 4 TB capacities) and is simple to set up. After your done, connect it to the Internet and you can access the files you store on it from anywhere in the world, all with no monthly fees.

My Cloud has a Gigabit Ethernet connection, along with a Dual-Core processor, which results in blazing fast speeds to transfer files.

There was a statement WD had in a recent press release, which I couldn’t agree with more: “Everyone is inundated with thousands of digital files scattered across multiple computers and mobile devices and controlling that chaos is a challenge.”

WD also supplied research saying that the average household will own approximately 3.3 terabytes (TB) of digital content by 2016, which is a large amount to control.

WD My Cloud ImageAfter you’re done with the simple setup using the WD web-based interface on a Mac or PC, the software will automatically detect the drive, enabling you to connect to it via the web from any remote location.

Using the remote My Cloud storage allows your devices to free up storage space, while still be able to access the files at any time.

I’ve had many people tell me a lot of the insecurity with cloud storage is you don’t know where the files actually are. In this case with the WD My Cloud, the files are sitting on your desk.

The system can also be used as a computer backup with Apple Time Machine or WD SmartWare Pro software on a PC.

Accessing files on mobile devices (iOS and Android) is a breeze using the WD My Cloud mobile app available for free in the App Store and Google Play. 2TB $149.99, 3TB $179.99, which are both available now. The 4 TB will be available in November with an MSRP of $249.99

Logitech Z600Logitech’s Z600 Bluetooth speakers ($149.99) are designed to be desktop space saving with a curved, vertical design looking like a pair of cool white vases.

Once you connect them to a computer or any of Bluetooth media source, crank them up – you’ll hear great room-filling sound.

The Z600 speakers can be simultaneously paired with up to three devices and if wireless isn’t your device’s thing, there is a 3.5mm port for a direct wired connection.

A USB Bluetooth transceiver also included if your computer doesn’t stream audio or support Bluetooth.

To switch between devices just press pause on the one playing and then hit the play button on the other and the speaker will know to switch over.

Setting the volume up or down is done on a touch panel on the top of one of the speakers, which is very responsive.

They are powered with the included AC adapter.

CardNinjaThe CardNinja is simple solution to rid yourself of a bulky wallet.

It attaches to the back of a smartphone and stores up to eight credit or ID cards.

Installation takes seconds: just peel off the backing and stick it to the back of your device. It can be removed easily if needed.

After it’s attached, load it with your cash, driver’s license and credit cards. In some case you can even use a smartphone cover to hide the CardNinja and your credit cards or whatever you store in it.

It’s made with a flexible spandex material and is available in black, purple eggplant or steel gray. $19.95




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


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.

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. $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. 1TB $99.99, 2TB $149.99