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By Gregg Ellman
Odds and ends, a little office cleaning or just call it another in the endless holiday shopping gift guides. Any or all of the above translates into a bunch holiday suggestions for gift lists.
TwelveSouth’s BookBook Travel Journal is more then a great looking vintage world book-style case for an iPad Air, mini or any other table that fits.
It’s has a leather-covered hardback outside and the inside is soft-lined to keep your tablet safe and scratch-free, but it doesn’t end there.
A dozen pockets and adjustable bands are great for keeping your headphones, mouse, cables, chargers, cables and documents in place and within easy reach.
It measures 8 x 10.3 x 1.9-inches and weighs just 16 ounces before you load it up.
Up to three USB devices can be charged simultaneously including tablets, smartphones and gaming devices.
The internal lithium battery is surrounded by a flask design with an aluminum finish wrapped in a black leather coat.
The top has a pair of USB charging ports (1A and 2.5A output) and a single mircroUSB charging port. A dual LED illuminator there alerts you of the remaining power.
By Gregg Ellman
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.
One 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.
www.microsoft.com/surface 32GB $449, 64GB $549
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.
https://yourkarma.com Regular $99 price will be lowered to $59.99 during the week of December 2nd – 7th.
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.
It’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.
www.Armorz.com available for the iPhone 5/5s/5c – $34.95 and the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 – $39.95
Contact Gregg Ellman at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Follow him on Twitter: @greggellman.
2013, Gregg Ellman.
By Gregg Ellman
The camera is built with an aerodynamic design in a rugged waterproof housing, enabling users to run the camera without purchasing extra housings for extreme weather conditions.
The case has an IPX-7 waterproof rating enabling it to withstand a depth of one meter of water for up to 30 minutes, which Garmin describes as “accidental immersion.”
Using it is simple as any camera I’ve seen. Move an external sliding button forward and the camera is recording. Video’s are captured in formats up to 1080p HD and a 1.4-inch Chroma color display helps in composing your recordings or for playback.
Built-in digital image stabilization helps you get still footage by eliminating some of the camera shake.
If you want still photos, the VIRB can take 16 megapixel images, even while the video is recording. Both formats are stored on your microSD memory card. Still image features include time lapse and burst modes.
The features of the compact camera seem, endless including a 2000mAh Li-ion battery good for up to three hours of HD recording, ports include HDMI output, USB 2.0 and an internal microphone.
The VIRB weights just 1.4 pounds and measures about 1.25 x x 2 x 4.3-inches.
If underwater photography is your desire, a dive case is available for $39.99.
A variety of accessories are available including cables, adapters, mounts and extra batteries.
Garmin has an additional model in the series, the VIRB Elite ($399.99). It has all the features of the VIRB but adds WiFi and GPS features.
And finally Garmin has recently released VIRB Edit, a a free desktop software for Mac or PC systems. It allows you to edit and share video footage recorded with the VIRB cameras.
The download is available at the Garmin site.
The pocket-sized device (4.6 x x 3.11 x .55-inches, 4.2 oz) has a 3000mAh battery for on-the-go power and can be set up as a WiFi or hotspot for setting up a network to share videos, music, photos or documents with multiple devices.
A built-in SD card reader lets you store your digital files on the memory cards and access the contents on an smartphone, tablet or computer via WiFi.
Flash drives or bigger external hard drives can be connected through the built-in USB port.
Setting up each device is different but the step-by-step instructions make it problem-free. I would mostly use a device like this for my iPad, since they (Apple) doesn’t allow directly plugging in expandable media.
This allows those or any devices to have never-ending expandable media, which in my case gives me access to my full movie and TV show library.
Up to five devices can connect simultaneously and LED status lights on the front show (l-r) batter level, read/write, WiFi level and WAN.