This Week’s Latest Tech Gadgets – Oct. 28, 2013

By Gregg Ellman

DxO Optics Pro v9

The annual Photo District News Photo Plus Expo at the Javits Center in New York City always brings out some innovative products for the photo industry and here are a few that caught my viewfinder’s attention.

DxO Labs has announced the ninth version (v9) of its popular image processing software DxO Optics Pro.

It works with both Mac and Windows systems and is advertised to improve on its already best-in-class noise reduction capability. It has a redesigned de-noising engine, allowing users up to four extra stops of noise reduction compared to standard software.

The included RAW conversion software also offers sophisticated tools for optimizing color and exposure, and the fan-favorite Lens Softness tool, which instantly corrects for sharpness based on thousands of individualized lens and camera combinations.

The new version also features improved highlight recovery capability, more accurate color rendering, 30 one-click image effects, and easy-to-use help tools and tutorials.

The software normally sells for $169 but a special introductory offer is on the company’s website for $99 until Nov. 20.


Rogue Safari Pop UpExpoImaging, Inc., has introduced the patent pending Rogue Safari Pop-Up Flash Booster.

It’s an attachment for DSLR cameras that concentrates light from the pop-up flash for photographing subjects at a distance and is optimized for use with telephoto zoom lenses that are 100mm and longer.

With the Rogue Safari, it can add up to 8x more light (an improvement of up to 3 f/stops) on a subject, compared to a DSLR’s unassisted pop-up flash along with up to 12x more than ambient light.

The Rogue Safari does not require batteries and looks like part of the camera when attached. It’s built to withstand the rigors of travel photography since it is molded from rugged, impact resistant polycarbonate materials $34.95
GoTough WonderPanaGoFotodiox revealed the GoTough WonderPanaGo, a smaller version of its professional WonderPana filter system designed to fit the GoPro HERO3 camera.

It’s part of the company’s GoTough product line that features durable, high-impact aluminum camera accessories for the popular GoPro cameras. The line includes mounts and rigs in a variety of colors to match team branding and existing gear you might have.

The WonderPanaGo is made with premium grade anodized aluminum and optical grade glass. It includes a sturdy all-metal mount for the GoTough custom filter system, which easily attaches onto the original HERO3’s waterproof case.

New add-on professional-grade filters include a ND8 filter for shooting in bright conditions, a Circular Polarizer, a UV protective filter, and a custom lens cap. The GoTough Dive Filter Kit includes new pink and purple glass filters to correct color balance during underwater action shots. Prices range from $9.95 to $149.95, and each GoTough product comes with a 24-month manufacturer’s warranty.


CintiqWacom, a leading manufacturer of pen tablets, interactive pen displays and other digital interface solutions showed off the Cintiq Companion line of creative tablets, which are are available in two models.

The Cintiq Companion runs Windows 8 and full versions of creative software, while the Cintiq Companion Hybrid is a traditional Cintiq when plugged into a Mac or PC.

When the Hybrid is used as a mobile device, it works as a stand-alone Android tablet with enough power for illustrators and designers to start creative processes with suitable apps to do light sketching, drawing and painting.

The new tablets have full HD display with touch control and the Wacom Pro Pen along with 2048 levels of pressure sensitivity and tilt recognition. 

The Cintiq Companion models are $1,999 for the Windows 8 with 256GB SSD and $2,499 for the Windows 8 Pro with 512GB SSD. Two versions of the Cintiq Companion Hybrid are available, a 16GB ($1,499) version and a 32GB ($1,599) version.

Contact Gregg Ellman at
Follow him on Twitter: @greggellman.
2013, Gregg Ellman.


This Week’s Latest Tech Gadgets – Oct. 21, 2013

By Gregg Ellman

My 2nd Brain

Think Tank Photo, the premier camera, computer and accessory storage maker has launched a few new product lines aimed at Apple users.

I’ll be upfront and come clean that I’ve been a Think Tank fan and user since the company launched about nine years ago.

Right out of the gate it was clear that all Think Tank products were well-made with durable and water-resistant fabric, pristine stitching, strong hardware and zippers able to withstand a lifetime of opening and closing.

The top-notch craftsmanship continues with the My 2nd Brain line of four computer and tablet bags, all created specifically for Apple laptops and their necessary accessories.

I tried the 15-inch model designed for the MacBook Pro (10.2 x 14.8 x 2.6-inches, $99.75) and it worked perfectly. My computer fit in the main padded compartment and all my accessories packed inside the pouches and pockets.

This included my power adapter, media cards, earbuds, MiFi and a few other USB cords. A separate zippered storage area on the front is called a “Plush Pouch” and it made a perfect home for my iPhone since I was testing this bag on a recent flight.

An additional outside compartment was home to my iPad and its charging cable, pens, pencils, business cards and other accessories.

Another new one is the My 2nd Brain Tablet bag ($75.75), which accommodates any iPad along with an iPhone along with the accompanying accessories and more in the mesh pouches and pockets.

These new products all include a padded and adjustable shoulder strap.
Powerhouse AirAny Think Tank Product can be used with the new Powerhouse organizer cases, which come in three models; Powerhouse Tablet, Air and Pro.

Using the middle-sized Air pouch (7.5” W x 3.9” H x 1.8-inches), I kept all my travel cords in one place, making them instantly accessible

The small cases are water resistant, have a main zippered compartment, with a clear front and a divider. There’s also two other zippered compartments, one with a pair of pouches inside. bags available black, harbor blue, and mist green, while the pouch comes in silver.


Wireless PlusThe Jabra Sport Wireless+ is a durable wireless (Bluetooth V3.0) earbud headset designed for athletes.

Three sizes of eargels are included to help you the perfect fit for the active lifestyle. Also included are a newly designed fit clip, carrying pouch and a USB charging cable.

The headphones can really be considered an all-in-one with wireless functions, built-in FM radio and an Omni Directional microphone for handsfree calling.

They are built to withstand US military grade rain (1/2 gallon per minute), shock and dust protection.

Since they are Bluetooth, they have a tiny rechargeable battery inside, which has a longer life than older models. This one is rated by Jabra to have up to 4 hours of talk time along with 120 hours of standby time.

As for how they perform, the middle-sized eargel kept them locked in place and they pumped out great sound after being paired with my iPhone.

I never had the chance to get rained on to test out the durability but knowing Jabra products well, I have no doubt they would be a good as advertised. $99.95


Kanex meDriveThe meDrive file manager is another one of those accessories iPhone and iPad users have been waiting for, especially since those devices do not have a card slot for expandable media.

Just download the free meDrive app from the Apple App store and connect the meDrive to your existing router through the built-in Ethernet port.

Then make sure you install your external hard drive (not included), which has your digital content stored on the same network. If you have a USB external hard drive that does not require AC power, it can be plugged directly into the meDrive. Either way will work fine and simple to setup.

From there the app allows you to access the USB storage and view photos, movies and documents created with any of the apps within the iWork family.

All the content can be shared in this centralized location and viewed by multiple devices simultaneously. A password can be setup to protect the contents from the outside world.

The hockey-puck sized meDrive is powered via USB from any source. $49.99

Contact Gregg Ellman at
Follow him on Twitter: @greggellman.
2013, Gregg Ellman.


2013 MarCom Entry, Nationwide Insurance

Winner: Nationwide Insurance
Title of Entry: “Seven Days”
Location: Columbus, OH
Client: National Fair Housing Alliance
Category: 263. Nonprofit

NW_FrameEveryone knows about the political strides made in the 60’s that opened the voting process, job opportunities, and education to all Americans…especially African Americans. But what is often overlooked or forgotten is another piece of landmark legislation that broke down housing barriers and put an end to the slogan, “not in my neighborhood”.

To honor that momentous occasion of 1968, Nationwide Insurance produced a documentary which was presented during the National Fair Housing Alliance’s annual convention. The documentary, “Seven Days”, is riveting film that blends historical footage, animations, and graphics to capture the tone of the times.


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This Week’s Latest Tech Gadgets – Oct. 14, 2013

By Gregg Ellman

Since I’m a two-time back surgery patient, I couldn’t refuse to try the Homedics Rapid Relief electronic pain relief pad.

I used it on my lower back, but different models can be used where ever it hurts; back, arms, legs, etc.

It uses over-the-counter wireless transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (impulses) to help block nerves from transmitting pain signals to the body’s pain center.

I applied it to my lower back on mid-strength and at least in my mind it helped. It measure 4.5 x 3 – inches and takes a lithium battery, which is less then a quarter-inch think.

It has 15 intensity levels and I had it toward the upper half of the middle settings.

The GEL pad is reusable and refills are available at $9.99 for two sets. Each GEL and battery is good for about 50 20-minute treatments.

A storage case is included.

My personal doctor has recommended this type of pain relief so it’s fine in my case. Everyone can’t be the same so follow the instructions for proper use and consult your doctor if necessary. $29.99


HiRise iPhone 5 iPad miniThe Twelve South HiRise for iPhone5/iPad mini is a sturdy aluminum stand with a Lightning Cable dock connector for the newer Apple devices supporting that connection.

Twelve South is a company that not only makes great and useful products, but seems to have the system down to match the Apple culture for the modern look on accessories that are well constructed.

The HiRise doesn’t come assembled but only takes a few minutes to get it standing.

After you dock your iOS device, it rises several inches for easy viewing and will charge and/or sync, depending on your preference.

Since the charging port is on the bottom of your device, it only works in portrait mode when docked on the HiRise. The dock doesn’t block the microphone or speaker, allowing hands-free use.

The stand was able to hold an iPhone 5 (i’m sure the 5s as well) and an iPad mini without a problem.

Along with the stand, they include a dock adapter to support your device with carrying case. No one can guarantee every case will work, but the few I tried were problem free. $34.99


SealCase GalaxyKeystone has launched a watertight SealCase for the Samsung Galaxy S4 and iPhone 5/5s.

All functions are available in the single piece case including talking, texting, photos, videos, all your apps and charging.

To get your phone sealed, just unlock the latch, put your phone in and close it shut. The latches and seals keep everything intact.

Just like any waterproof device, I always recommend testing it out in a sink before taking it to heavier use.

It’s waterproof up to 6.6-feet but makes great protection on land from dirt, dust and sand. $69.99 for the case, which includes a lanyard. A belt clip is available for $20

Contact Gregg Ellman at
Follow him on Twitter: @greggellman.
2013, Gregg Ellman.


2013 MarCom Entry, LPL Financial

Winner: LPL Financial
Title of Entry: “Mid-Year Outlook 2013: Converging on the Path of Least Resistance”
Location: San Diego, CA
Category: 92. Brochure

LPL FinancialBrochures are ubiquitous in the financial world.  They advise, inform, or drive sales.  Most brochures are simply words on paper with some pictures and graphics thrown in to enliven a page or make a point.  LPL Financial created one brochure that clearly stands out among the rest.  LPL is a company with 3,000 employees, spread among three different cities.  LPL advises the advisors, both independent and institutional.  LPL recently created a thematic brochure looking ahead to mid year 2013, which takes advisors hiking over a meandering trail through the woods.  The graphics play off the theme laying out important information in a highly stylized fashion.  This is one of those brochures that even a layman can understand.



2013 MarCom Awards Deadline today!

new logo2It’s not too late to register and enter the 2013 Marcom Awards competition!  
In most cases it takes less than five minutes to register, enter and upload entries. No late fees. Individual entries are $65, campaigns are $150.

Results will be mailed and winners posted Nov. 1, so you won’t have to wait long!

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2013 MarCom Entry Deveney Communication

Winner: Deveney Communication
Title of Entry: “Peoples Health – CHA – Television Spots”
Location: New Orleans, LA
Client: Peoples Health
Category: 252c. Campaign

Deveney ProductionsIn Louisiana, if there is one thing natives like as much as food it is their LSU Tigers.  The Louisiana State University tiger is a statewide icon, but it represents more than athletics.  LSU also runs a health system.  Recently LSU teamed with People’s Health to provide services for Medicare enrollees. Deveney Communications developed a clever commercial campaign surrounding “Mike” the tiger, who apparently likes working-out with older people.  Deveney, based in New Orleans, counts Fortune 100 companies as its clients and has been named one of America’s “Top Five Boutique PR Firms” by  PR Week. The campaign ‘green screen’s’ Mike into various situations as he interacts with people exercising and medical professionals working.  It’s all done with wink-and-a-nod while conveying a strong branding tool to a new partner.


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2013 MarCom Deadline Tomorrow!

Header_2morrow2Judging is winding down in the 2013 MarCom Awards.  Enter today and you won’t have to wait long to see if your work is judged to be among the industry’s best. Results will be mailed and winners posted Nov. 1.

In most cases it takes less than five minutes to register, enter and upload entries. No late fees. Individual entries $65, campaigns $150.




2013 MarCom Entry, inferno

Winner: inferno
Title of Entry: “Darn Good Yarn”
Location: Memphis, TN
Client: FedEx
Category: 221. YouTube Video

inferno logoStorytelling is an age-old art mastered by few.  When you get it right it seems effortless and surprisingly easy. But it’s not. Inferno of Memphis, Tennessee knows how to tell a good story. One of the agency’s clients, Fed Ex, wanted to highlight customers who have been helped by its worldwide delivery services…small businesses not located in a major metropolitan area.

This led to a video of a business with a global supply chain operating out of a home in the backwoods of North Maine. Many corporations, educational institutions, and law firms try to tell a story through their CEOs, presidents, and principal partners. They put them in front of a camera, let it roll, and then place video over the narration with a little music thrown it. If you want to know how it is done right, watch Inferno’s YouTube video. It really is “A Darn Good Yarn”.


This Week’s Latest Tech Gadgets – Oct. 8, 2013

By Gregg Ellman

Belkin HD Bluetooth Music
Seems 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 Monster’s 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

Contact Gregg Ellman at
Follow him on Twitter: @greggellman.
2013, Gregg Ellman.