This Week’s Latest Tech Gadgets – May 29, 2013

By Gregg Ellman
@greggellman

olloclip

The olloclip photo lens is now available for the iPhone 5, bringing photography to new levels for iPhoneographers.

A pair of durable lenses give you a fish eye, wide angle and a macro view. Each lens is built on a clip, which fits right on the phone to cover the built-in lens.

To get from one lens to the other, just take the clip off and flip it around; you unscrew the front element of the wide-angle lens to get the macro lens.

The fish eye provides about a 180-degree field-of-view; the macro gives you a focal distance of half an inch and the wide angle expands the viewing angle by 2X.

Since the lens is designed to work on a phone without a case or screen protector, olloclip has launched a new Quick-Flip case.

The case is designed so the corner, which covers the lens, swings open without the need to remove the case. This gives you instant access to attach the lens, and the open corner can now act as a shutter release.

It also has a threaded connection on the case for tripods or other accessories to use in landscape or portrait modes.

The kit includes lens caps and a lens bag, which doubles as a cleaning cloth.

The quality from the lenses is excellent, although they will never replace a digital SLR or even a point and shoot camera.

But having the access to your phone is what makes camera phones so popular and the ollclip is a great pocket-sized attachment.

www.olloclip.com  olloclip kit for the iPhone 5 – $69.99, quick-flip case $49.99 or get both for $99.99

 

MID8065 TabletThe latest tablet from COBY (MID8065) has 8-inch screen and will do all the basics people want from a tablet without taking a big bite out of your wallet.

There isn’t a lot on the setup; the main part is setting up your Wifi (b/g/n). Then set up your email, surf the web or watch YouTube video’s.

It’s built with dual core 1.2GHz processor and 1GB of RAM along with AndroidTM 4.0.

You get 8GB of internal storage but unlike some other leading tablets, it has a microSD card reader. This lets you expand the storage to whatever you want it to be with your own memory cards up to 32GB each.

There’s also 5GB of cloud storage, a built-in microphone, Bluetooth, headphone jack, internal speaker and a high speed HDMI port.

The home screen has all the basics including flash memory and access to the Google Play Store with an app on the home screen.

If your looking for low cost tablet to do all the basics, this can be a great choice. The touchscreen is responsive and switches between landscape or portrait instantly.

I used the tablet for all the basics; email, web surfing and YouTube with ease. An internal Rechargeable Li-Poly recharges with the included USB cable.

www.CobyUSA.com  $157

 

ZAGG BreezeZAGG was right out of the block with available accessories for the new Samsung Galaxy S4.

They include the invisible shield to make your device’s touchscreen scratch resistant while maintaining full functionality.

Cases include a versatile lineup from the Zagg iFrogz lineup that are both durable and attractive. If I had to pick my favorite, it would be the the Breeze cover ($24.99) with its form-fitting design and gray/black mesh design.

ZAGGsparqOther accessories include the ZAGGsparq ($99.99), a portable power supply with a 6000mAh battery.

A pair of USB ports lets you charge two devices at once and a built-in retractable AC power connection eliminates the need for a separate charging cable.

www.zagg.com
www.myblueant.com  $99

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

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This Week’s Latest Tech Gadgets – May 16, 2013

By Gregg Ellman
@greggellman

ScanMyPhotos 2After my mom sent boxes of my family’s photo albums years ago we found a nice space on my closet shelf with hope of one day digitizing them.

Ten years or so later, one of the boxes has finally seen the digital era, with no thanks to my scanning ability.

I recently tested a company called ScanMyPhotos.com and I wish I had found them sooner.

The system is pretty simple; just choose what service you want from a variety of choices including scanning for slides and prints with prices per image. I chose one prepaid photo scanning box for slides and one for prints.

I registered on the site and the next day received a prepaid and addressed United States Postal Service flat rate shipping box in the mail.

Now all it took was for me to choose and organize the photos I wanted scanned since I was limited to how many photos fit in the box.

ScanMyPhotos 1In my case I was able to pack in 2,297 photos, all 4 x 6-inches or smaller. This option does allow sizes from 3 x 3 up to 8 x 10-inches.

My slide box was filled with 523 35mm slides, although I could have fit in a few more.

The company does a good job communicating during the process, especially considering that you are sending a box whose contents are impossible to value since the contents are irreplaceable.

I got an email confirming they thy received my boxes and just a few days later an email announced my scanning was complete.

Later that week my images arrived on my doorstep along with a DVD of my newly digitized images. Orders are advertised to be completed in most cases in about 2 or 3 weeks.

ScanMyPhotos.com has commercialized a new type of super-fast scanning technology, which results in 300 or 600 DPI scans for prints. Slides are scanned into medium or high resolution files.

While this was the best choice for my photos, scans can be done on a per image basis or a variety of bulk scanning options so check the site for what works best for your family archives.

Other upgrades include duplicate DVD’s or having images saved to thumb drives, or even hard-cover bound photo index books.

With the index books, you can flip through pages of contact sheets to easily locate a specific image. You can also have your images rotated so they are all upright or digitally upgraded to make them look perfect.

All I can say is be prepared to spend hours staring at the images on your screen. The scans were great quality, more than enough for prints. But why do that since it will put me right where I started!

You also might want to warn your relatives your doing a project like this – you’ll be filling their inboxes with photos instantly.

www.ScanMyPhotos.com

 

WD UltraWD, a Western Digital company has announced the pocket sized My Passport Ultra portable hard drive is a perfect candidate to put a backup of these scans on for safe keeping.

The drives (3.25 x .5 x 4.25-inches) are available in 500GB ($99.99) and 1TB ($129.99), with a 2TB model expected out later this year.

It’s built with fast USB 3 speeds, but is also backwards compatible with USB 2.0 and 1.

With the innovative hard drives, WD SmartWare Pro back-up software can automatically back-up up to five computers to the drive and will even integrate with cloud services such as Dropbox for backups.

Everything stored on the hard drive can easily be protected with a password along with hardware encryption.

www.wd.com  available in black, blue, red and titanium

 

BlueAnt Q3The stylish BlueAnt Q3 premium smartphone earpiece is HD voice compatible and does everything you would want from a Bluetooth device.

The headset comes with a bunch of earbuds to get the right fit in either ear and a hook ensures it stays in place, which is my my personal pet peeve for these gadgets.

A shinny black metal body cover is built with a power switch. There’s a multi-function command button for pairing the device along with volume controls, a port for USB charging and obviously a microphone.

Setting it up is as easy as any Bluetooth device; just turn it on and a voice walks you through the setup. After your initial setup, just press the multi-function control and say the words “pair me.”

Up to three phones can be connected but one of the coolest features is the commands you can speak to make your handsfree experience easy.

For example, once you press the command button, say “Am I connected?” and the Q3 checks for a connection and if there isn’t one an attempt is made.

Google voice actions and iOS Siri actions are integrated in the device along with an iPhone battery meter and a call back command.

www.myblueant.com  $99
Contact Gregg Ellman at greggellman@mac.com.
Follow him on Twitter: @greggellman.
2013, Gregg Ellman.

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This Week’s Latest Tech Gadgets – May 7, 2013

By Gregg Ellman
@greggellman

Kingston Wi-Drive The tech world has an endless supply of gift choices for this season’s dads and grads celebrations. The only problem you’ll have is narrowing your choice so I’ll make it easier with my random list.

Portable devices are great but many limit the amount of storage for digital files. Kingston’s wireless pocket sized Wi-Drive extends the capacity of your portable devices up to 128GB.

The drive lets you store digital files including documents, videos and photos on the handheld device, which can be shared with up to three users simultaneously.

The Wi-Drive creates a WiFi network between the devices and once connected your streaming is just like the content is on your device itself.

To load data onto the drive, plug it into a computer via USB and it acts like an external drive.

A rechargeable battery is good for up to four hours of use before a USB charge is needed.

www.kingston.com/us  128GB $149.99, 64GB $89.99, $32GB $84.94

 

Canon PIXMA MX922Canon’s PIXMA MX922 Office All-In-One (AIO) printer does it all, including my personal favorite feature _ an AirPrint wireless printing from an iPhone or iPad.

It’s built with a seemingly endless number of features including printing (WiFi, up to 8.5 x 11-inch borderless and PictBridge), copies, fax and dual sided scanning.

Scanning and copying can be done directly to a flash drive connected to the front side USB port or connected to a computer (Mac or Windows).

A 3-inch LCD is easy to read and navigate for setup and general use. It has a five-ink system with two blacks, cyan, magenta and yellow.

One of the black inks is a high-yield pigment black. This allows more documents to be printed without having to change the pigment black ink nearly as often.

Other features include direct CD or DVD printing, a 250-sheet paper tray along with a separate tray for 4-by-6 or 5-by-7-inch paper.

www.USA.Canon.com  $139.99

 

Lyrix DuoThe pocket sized Lyrix Duo is a 2-in-1 Bluetooth speaker, which comes along with a removable receiver.

Once the receiver is connected to any Bluetooth enabled device, the speaker can be placed up to 33-feet away for crystal clear sound. Volume can be controlled on your device or on the receiver.

The speaker has a suction cup to secure it to any flat surface including windshields for handsfree calls while driving.

A built-in battery charges up with a USB connection and will last for about 4 hours of sound.

www.digitaltreasures.com  $49 available in red or blue

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Marketing and Communication Professionals Give Back

AMCPThere may not be a more giving group of professionals than those involved in marketing and communication. In the most recent Hermes Creative Awards competition, there were about 200 pro bono entries.  Most of them were extensive, all-out efforts where the recipients were treated as regular paying clients.

At AMCP, we represent our industry by rewarding those who give their time and talents to others. We underwrite most of the cost of the Communitas Awards and every January allow our other program entrants to enter that competition for free.  We don’t charge for pro bono entries in the MarCom, Hermes and AVA Digital competitions and we give part of the entry fees to nonprofits. In the past few years, we have donated almost $100,000 on our entrant’s behalf. We are especially on the look-out for anyone who has been involved in our awards programs that have been beset by tragedy or health issues.  Among recent recipients have been individuals and organizations impacted by the hurricane on the east coast, a graphic designer whose police officer husband was shot and killed in the line of duty, and sponsorships to support projects that are helping others.

When we receive a letter like the one today, it makes it all worthwhile. I’m hoping all of the companies and individuals who are giving of themselves take a moment to know that it is appreciated,

May 3, 2013

Ed,

In November of 2008, I was awarded a $500 grant to produce a medical documentary on a rare condition known as arthrogryposis multiplex congenita (AMC). You and I spoke and I remember you said that you often don’t see the end result of the awards. I have never forgotten that conversation.

I spent close to 3 years traveling the United States and Spain interviewing families and trying to tell the right story. Then I went through a long process of stops and starts telling the story and finding a team of 3 to help me pull it together. I am proud to say our documentary will be released in June 2013. It has been a long process, a learning process and I can honestly say my best work.

This was important to me because my son was born with this rare condition and he changed my life in so many ways. If our story can touch one family, make one family considering getting a second opinion, becoming open to adoption of special needs children, then I succeeded. You can see the trailer here and below:

You were the first person, the first organization to believe in the work I was doing. I am forever grateful for getting that start.

Many thanks,

Peg Chaidez

 

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This Week’s Latest Tech Gadgets – April 29, 2013

By Gregg Ellman
@greggellman

HITCASE PROA lot of words can be used to describe the HitcasePro case for the iPhone 4/4S and 5 ($129.99), including waterproof, shockproof and innovative, which are all true.

The case is a complete package, with a ABS/Polycarbonate exterior and it even has a built-in wide angle lens expanding the field of view from the phone’s original lens to 170 degrees.

Three outside locks keep everything in place but once they are unlocked it opens like a book.

Before putting your phone in, it’s important to inspect the interior for dirt or dust. Having a can of compressed air would help do the trick.

The phone sits in this patent pending ShockSeal system so you want the seal to be perfect, to prevent water damage. In addition, there a small rubber piece to keep the headphone port sealed, so make sure that’s also in place.

Once you have it cleaned to your liking, put your phone in and lock it shut.

While encased, you’ll have full access to the phone’s touchscreen but it’s now waterproof (up to 33-feet) and ruggedized, as described from Hitcase.

A few handy accessories are included, including the Mount Hitcase mounting system, which locks in place and has a one button quick release.

For real outdoor enthusiasts, the company’s Vidometer app (free from Apple) overlays your altitude, G-Force, speed and shock in your extreme videos.

Hitcase also recently announced the availability of the SuckR mount for $49.99. This is a marine-grade suction mount for in-vehicle use on land or water. The mount attaches to any smooth, flat or non-porous surface to transform the iPhone into a mountable, ruggedized POV camera.

www.hitcase.com

 

MOMENTUMI tried Sennheiser’s Momentum over the ear headphones at the Consumer Electronics show in January and in just seconds I knew they produced incredible sound.

I’ve always liked Sennheiser products because they deliver incredibly crisp sound with great clarity but without head-banging bass and these are no different.

For the past few weeks I’ve given the Momentum’s a place on my head in a more controlled environment on land and in the air. To sum up my feelings, they definitely fall into my favorite headphone line of “you won’t take them off.”

In addition to the great sound, they look great. A black leather headband makes it comfortable and lightweight on your head, along with the padded leather ear-cups.

An Apple friendly smart remote with mic is on the interchangeable 52-inch cable, letting you control volume, music selections and answer calls handsfree. Non-Apple users can use the 56-inch long standard cable.

A hard carrying case is included.

http://en-us.sennheiser.com  $349.95

 

VersaStandHaving a desk, which folds up to 1-inch thick, and weighs less than a pound is what you get with the Ergotech Versa Case and folding desk stand for iPad.

Once your iPad is mounted with the included hard rubberized back case, it mounts to the arm and gives you a 180-degree’s of versatility by having it sit on a flat surface or even mounting it under a cabinet.

A ring is built into the back of the case, which securely attaches to a spring-loaded mount on the end of the arm.

The front LCD is protected by a folding cover, similar to Apple’s folding smart cover.

The stand is built with a silver-colored brushed aluminum finish and has rubber pads on the bottom to prevent it from scratching your desktop.

Two feet separate on the bottom for balance and its arm folds out to attach the case for angling in most any direction. When you’re done, it folds up into a very portable (3 1/4 x 9 x 1 1/4-inches) accessory.

www.ergofreedomline.com  $125

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

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This Week’s Latest Tech Gadgets – April 25, 2013

By Gregg Ellman
@greggellman.

Therapy PillowThe Sound Oasis Sleep Therapy Pillow speakers slide into any sized pillow for relaxing sound.

While they are marketed for enhanced therapy or privacy use, I thought they were a great accessory for bedtime TV audio.

The wired stereo speakers ($22.99) are ultra-thin and plug into any device with a 3.5mm connection. Just slide them into your pillow and adjust the volume on the in-line control.

Each speaker is about 1.5-inches round by .5-inch deep and 73-inches long cord with a volume control.

The speakers are also available in the Sound Oasis Sleep Therapy Pillow ($49.99), which has them built-into the 20 x 26-inch pillow.

A cord, with the in-line speaker control, connects to your device from the pillow. The speakers can be removed so the pillow can be cleaned.

www.sound-oasis.com

 

Spark DigitalBlue Microphones Spark Digital delivers crystal clear audio on Apple iOS and USB (Mac and Windows) devices with basically a plug-and-play setup.

I chose GarageBand as my app, although it’s listed to work with hundreds of apps. With GarageBand running, the microphone was instantly detected and after a few steps it was recording.

The studio-quality microphone weights 1.25 lbs., has LED lights for levels, along with volume controls, microphone muting and gain.

An adjustable desk stand has built-in shockmount and a port to plug in your own headphone for monitoring the audio.

Aside from how well the microphone worked with its simple setup, it’s one of the coolest looking accessories to have.

Whether you’re using it to capture audio for podcasts, instrumental, video or note taking, you’ll be thrilled with the results.

For connections, it includes a long Apple 30-pin connection cable so you’ll need the lightning adapter (not included) for the newer devices. A standard USB cable is included for computer connections, along with a soft storage case, which can hold the mic, stand and accessories.

For sound techies, the Spark Digital has a 20Hz – 20kHz frequency response, an adjustable gain range of 32dB and a 16bit bit rate.

Spark Digital includes a $125 value of both a six-month account to Gobbler, which includes 25 GB of storage for music backup and organization along with a six-month Pro Account from SoundCloud, which lets anyone create, record, promote and share their sounds on the web.

www.bluemic.com  $199.99

 

SnoozeAlarm clocks for smartphones are a dime a dozen, so at this point there must be something that really catches my attention to give it a second glance.

The Snooze iPhone alarm dock from Distil Union does just that with its functionality and its attractive wood (solid, Maple or Oak) finish.

Using it is simple; just slide your iPhone 5 or 4/4S into the dock, which has tracks cut into it to keep it in place.

Then download the free Snooze alarm clock app and you’re all set.

Your device acts as alarm clock with an easy access snooze button built into the dock, which measures about 2 x 3 x 4.5-inches and has rubber feet on the bottom to keep it in place.

A pass-through slot lets you hook it up to charge overnight with your own USB charging cable and AC wall adapter.

The app lets you set alarms and adjust its brightness with the swipe of your finger.

The slot to slide your phone in is about 1/2-inch wide, so keep that in mind when trying to use the dock with a case on the phone.

www.bitemyapple.co  $39.99

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

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This Week’s Latest Tech Gadgets – April 16, 2013

By Gregg Ellman
@greggellman

Hoodman Custom FinderHoodman, a company known for innovative camera accessories, has launched a Custom Finder Kit for Canon and Nikon DSLR cameras.

This accessory is a must-have for anyone owning one of these cameras and knows how difficult it can be to view the LCD in bright conditions or to see magnified details of an image or video.

The main feature of the kit is the rubberized H32 HoodLoupe eyecup along with the HoodMAG eyecup, which you put your eye right up to for viewing anything on your LCD (up to 3.2-inches) even in the brightest conditions.

Diopter adjustment (+/-3) is built into the loupe, which is made with German glass optics. All this adds up to an incredibly handy and glare-free way of viewing your camera’s LCD in actual or magnified ratios.

A new innovative lightweight base plate, made of milled black anodized aluminum is included with the kit and mounts in seconds to the bottom of your camera’s tripod hole.

The baseplate needs minor adjustments before attaching it to your camera and Hoodman has posted an easy “how to” video on there site, which I recommend watching before attaching it to your camera.

Once you have the plate mounted and the hood in place, the loupe can be adjusted or even removed with the turn of a knob.

A hex tool, which is needed for making some of the mounting adjustments is included and has a nice hiding place for storage on the plate so it won’t get lost and is easily found when needed.

The bottom of the plate is equipped with additional tripod and ball-head holes, slots for shoulder or sling camera straps and other camera accessories.

Anyone who already owns a HoodLoupe 3.0 or 3.2 can purchase the custom finder base plate separately for mounting them together.

www.hoodmanusa.com   $199.99

 

LensPen SensorKlearDigital camera sensor cleaning is challenging for many and LensPen, a leading sensor cleaning accessory maker, accurately describes the chore as “a tedious, time-consuming and nerve rattling experience,”

The company’s SensorKlear Loupe kit is a perfect way for any digital camera owner to keep the digital sensors clean for crystal clear digital images.

Looking at your cameras sensor without a magnified loupe is virtually useless, but with the kits SensorKlear Loupe (6x magnification) you’ll be able to see the unwanted dust.

Just remove the lens, place the loupe in the aperture ring, turn on its built-in light, which consists of eight LEDs, and examine your camera’s sensor.

The loupe is powered by two AAA batteries (included) and is adjustable to fit any camera mount.

When you see the spots you want removed, first try the Hurricane Blower, which will most often remove dry dust..

If you encounter spots referred to as sticky dust, which the blower doesn’t remove, that’s where the SensorKlear II pen comes in.

The liquid-free pen touches the sensor directly through an access window on the side of the loupe so you can see and clean the dust at the same time.

Before using this or any other sensor cleaning kit, make sure you read your camera’s warranty. Often damage done to a sensor during a warranty period will result in the warranty not being honored for sensor repair.

www.lenspen.com  $99.95

 

Logitech Bluetooth Easy SwitchIf you’re a member of the Apple team with a Mac, iPhone and iPad then the Logitech Bluetooth easy-switch keyboard is a must have.

First off it’s a portable Bluetooth keyboard, which is small enough to tuck into any laptop bag. But what makes it unique is you can instantly and easily switch between the devices.

Just pair it up as you do normally with each device and you can switch from one to the other with the push of a key on the top row. It’s that simple, no need to turn a device off or disconnected the Bluetooth, just press the button.

In addition to how well it works, it’s a great looking device to fit in the Apple family. It’s built with a brushed aluminum body, backlit black keys and recharges with the included USB cable.

There’s also a battery status light on the top to alert you if a charge is needed.

www.logitech.com  $99.99

 

MirrorCaseThe MirrorCase for iPhone’s 4/4S ($49.95) is designed to let you use the phone in a more natural horizontal mode when taking photos.

In addition to acting as a case, it has mirror on the front end just below the power button, which you aim towards your subject.

With the case you can put it down on a flat surface to aim it with more accuracy if you want to jump in the photo.

The case even helps using the phone to take photos when you don’t want it to be so obvious.

A newer version is available for pre-orders for iPads ($79.95) and the iPhone 5 ($59.95) where the mirror rotates out in both landscape and portrait modes. When your not taking photos, the mirror folds back into the case.

www.mirrorcase.com  $49.95

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

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