Archive for April 2015

Gadgets :: April 20, 2015

Iris Irrigation Timer

By Gregg Ellman – #greggellman @greggellman


If you forgot to turn on your sprinklers while you are out of town, or it rained overnight but you left for work without turning them off, neither is a problem to control with the Orbit 12-Station Indoor/Outdoor Irrigation Timer.

The system is the second accessory I’ve tried from Lowe’s to work with the IRIS wireless smartphone system (the first was the smart garage door controller).

First, a little about the Iris/smartphone system; it has add-on’s to control alarms, security cameras, thermostats and even electric pet doors. Each must be connected to the wireless IRIS Smart Hub (sold separately $99).

The hub connects to you’re home router with the included ethernet cable.

That might sound complicated, but it takes just minutes with the quick start guide and the web-based instructions.

You must have an in-ground sprinkler system and this system replaces your existing one, with the addition of being able to control it anywhere.

It works on the Z-Wave system, which is a protocol for smartphone remote control systems. Control is done through the IRIS app on smartphones and tablets.

Now on to the sprinkler system; I had the hub installed so that step was completed.

The quick-start guide makes it simple; I would advise reading the short instruction before the actual installation. If they seem complicated just call a friend who is the handy type to install it.

Each of the first six steps is for connecting the timer box to the wires which went into my existing box. The only electrical step was plugging in the AC power cord.

Step #7 is connecting the sprinkler controller to the IRIS hub, which is easily done by following the steps while logged into your Iris account at

If it all sounds simple, that’s because it is, just like the garage controller was.

As for the sprinkler box, it has everything you would expect; 12 stations, can be mounted indoor or outdoor, programable by day/times, lithium battery backup and has a connection for a rain sensor (not included).

I fully expect that the system can pay itself off with water savings along with keeping your lawn nice and green. $129

Cyntur JumperPack miniSmartphones, like most any other portable electronic gadget, can be charged on the fly and now with theCyntur JumperPack mini, you can jumpstart your car on the fly.

It has an internal 12,000mAh lithium-ion battery for jumpstarting vehicles with up to eight cylinder engines. This includes cars, trucks, SUV’s and boats.

What’s even great about large amount of power is it’s small enough to fit in a glove compartment (6 x 2.2 x 1.3-inches and 0.9 lb.)

Back to the beginning, if your smartphone’s battery is dead, the JumperPack has a 2.1amp USB port. It’s good for most phones, tablets, GPS units or most any other portable electronic gadget.

The JumperPack has a 200 lumen LED flashlight and comes with a zipper storage bag.

The battery holds its charge for up to a year and is advertised to be used for up to 25 times before it needs a charge itself.

It also has an IPX3 weatherproof rating and comes with an AC wall charger. $99

Pegasus Wheeled Backpack 1The Pegasus wheeled backpack from ECBC is listed as a 2-in-1 bag on the ECBC website, but I really think thats wrong.

I think it’s at least a 3-in-1.

My three are a rolling suitcase, which can be converted to a backpack and it has a front padded TSA friendly computer bag.

Additionally there are compartments inside of compartments and extra padding enabling it to hold just about every accessory you would want.

Soundmatter DASHaAs for the backpack, just unzip the back panel to get the backpack straps out.

If you carry a laptop (up to 15-inches) in the bag, keep it in the front part and just unzip it and lay it flat on the security X-ray conveyer without taking the computer out.

Included is a portable battery pack (4500mAh) for charging gadgets on-the-go.

After loading your electronics, there’s the main compartment for a few day’s worth of clothes.

The bag measures 22 x 14 x 10-inches and weighs 9 lb. $399.99, available in five colors


Gadgets :: April 6, 2015

By Gregg Ellman #greggellman @greggellman

Panoramic Pod

The Panoramic Pod has the line “picture perfect panoramas every time!” on the front of its box and after just one try I can confirm that statement is accurate.

Cell phones produce great images – but only if you hold the phone steady and horizontal for wide shots. The Panoramic Pod takes care of the later.

It takes 25 seconds to take the image with excellent image quality and just a little longer than that to set it up.

All you do is place the included tripod on a flat surface, attach the pod, attach your phone, and wind the spring-loaded (no batteries required) device.

The pod then rotates taking a perfectly level panoramic image.

With the summer travel season approaching, I consider this a must-have for iPhone-ographers, especially with its compact size of just 8.6 inches long by just under 2 inches in diameter.

The clamp to hold your smartphone works with most iPhone and Android smartphones that are panoramic compatible. $28

Monster DNA PRO 2Monster headphones always sound great so it was no surprise when I tried the company’s latest flagship headphones, the DNA Pro 2.0, which include Pure Monster Sound Technology.

They are built with a great-looking futuristic design that includes comfortable  triangular padded earbuds and dual headphone ports.

As I often do, I tried them on a recent flight and let’s just say I was happy to be on the ground but I could have kept the headphone playing in my ears for another few hours.

I can only speak for my classic rock, but according to Monster, the “DNA PRO 2.0 brings out the very best performance for all types of musical genres, from rock to country, pop to classical, hip hop to alternative and everything in between.”

To assist the listening experience, Head Monster Noel Lee personally created an app (free at iTunes, Android is in development) with the help of Monster engineers to customize your sound listening to exactly how you want for any music genre.

The app has profiles you select that have been “tuned to iconic reference recordings which define the sound signature of a particular era, genre or artist,” according to Monster’s website.

While the app development might have been complicated, using it is simple. Just use the sliders to choose a profile.

The headphones feature dual-port inputs, which allow up to five headphones to be connected simultaneously for music sharing.

Hinges allow the headphones to fold up and stored in the included travel pouch along with the coiled (tangle free) audio and Apple ControlTalk cables $299.95, available in tuxedo white and black

RAVPower 15W FoldablePower on-the-go can’t be any more efficient than the 15 W Ravpower foldable dual-port solar charger.

It stores like a book (14.2 x 7.5 x 1.2-inches, 1.5 pounds) and folds out to expose three solar panels.

For charging, plug your device’s USB cable into either of the two USB ports, which have a combined 3 amp output. This enables charging of most any portable electronic gadget, including tablets and smartphones.

Two devices can be charged simultaneously as long as they don’t exceed the 3 amp total.

It’s built with iSmart technology, which allows it to be compatible with almost every device and charge at the fastest possible speeds.

The construction features water- and weather-resistant nylon and a Velcro sealed pouch for storing smaller devices while charging.

Another nice feature has eyeholes in the design for hanging it to most anything for charing. $49.99


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