This Week’s Latest Tech Gadgets – March 11, 2013

By Gregg Ellman
@greggellman

i-FlashDrive HDAt a quick glance, you’ll think the PhotoFast’s i-FlashDrive HD is just another flashdrive and it is, plus a whole lot more.

While one end of the drive is a standard USB connection, the other has an Apple 30-pin or lightning connection for your iPad, iPhone or iPod touch running iOS 5.1 or 6.1.

This essentially gives the iOS devices with the USB port many users crave to get content on and off.

The pocket-sized device, about 2 inches long, is built with internal memory in choices of 8 ($99.99), 16 ($149.99), 32 ($199.99) or 64GB (323.17) to store digital files.

It’s Apple certified, doesn’t require a battery or charge, and can be used with secured file encryption for keeping specific files private. Video can be played directly from the drive, which can also be used to backup valuable contact lists.

Other features include editing, deleting, renaming and direct Airplay streaming.

With the iOS connections, data can easily be shared on the iOS portable devices using the i-FlashDrive HD app (free) without the immediate need to connect to you computer.

The 16GB comes in two configurations, with and without Lightning adaptor, while the 32/64 GB models include the Lightning adaptor.

Transfer rates can vary depending on your device. It’s rated to transfer at 10 MB per second on the USB side while the iPad 2 will go at 2.5 and the iPhone 4 1.5 MB/s with the 30-pin connection.

You can not use the -FlashDrive HD for charging or syncing.

www.photofast.com

 

Jabra 510The Jabra Speak 510 is the latest Bluetooth speakerphone from the company, which includes wireless ($179.95) and a corded ($149.95) option.

There really isn’t a lot to it; just pair it up with your smartphone (or tablet) like you would any other Bluetooth speaker for handsfree calls and functionality.

It’s plug and play with a computer.Select it as your speaker in your system preferences for a Skype chat or listening to music.

You can even pair it with multiple Bluetooth-enabled devices with the ability to easily switch back and forth.

Either way, you’ll be really happy with how it sounds along with how simple it is to set up.

You’ll get about 15 hours of talk time before a charge is needed and there’s a status indicator that shows how much power is left.

The round speaker is about 4 3/4 inches in diameter and is just 1-inch deep. Sound is delivered through a grill on the top so don’t use it as a drink coaster.

Jabra supplied me with an interesting detail from a study: mobile workers in the will account for 75 percent of the U.S. workforce by 2015, This percentage makes a portable speaker like this is essential if your like me and in that group.

www.Jabra.com

 

Pantone Universe BookcaseThere still seems to be an endless line of new covers, cases and products for the latest round of Apple products, which will probably get old soon enough.

Case Scenario’s Pantone Universe Bookcase is a high-quality iPhone 5 case, which has a protective front cover that doubles as a stand.

It’s made with Nubuck material and folds open portrait or landscape handsfree positions.

You’ll get access to all ports and plugs along with the touchscreen.

www.case-scenario.com $39.95

 

Aegis SeriesTopKase has launched the Aegis Series of iPhone 5 cases, which include a stylish anodized aluminum design.

It features a a really cool sliding shutter to open the touchscreen LCD, similar to an old roll-top desk, but when it’s closed the screen is fully protected from dust, dirt and scratches.

A feature I’ve never seen in any other design has a microfiber cloth built on the inside of the sliding door to clean the screen every time it’s open or closed.

For added protection, there are 8 internal shock absorbing silicon pads inside the case.

www.topkase.com $49.95

 

retractable LINE PROA big thank you goes to Scosche for being the first to finally have a retractable charging USB cable for the newer Apple lightning connection.

The retractable LINE PRO cable extends up to 3-feet or just 4.5-inches when it’s not extended, making it perfect for travel.

www.Scosche.com $24.95

 

Mapi Orion iPad caseThe Mapi Orion iPad case is made with 100 percent pure cowhide leather and has a strong rotating flexible stand to really keep the tablet in place in multiple handsfree positions.

A flip open cover has a soft inside to protect your screen and gives full access to your speaker, volume and charging ports.

The leather seems really well made and includes built-in magnets to help keep it open or closed. It does add a little weight to your iPad but the looks and usefulness make it well worth it.

www.mapicases.com $159.99 available in black, brown, red, tan, and white for iPad 2, 3 and the newest generations

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

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2013 Hermes Winner, Behavior Design

hermes link graphicWinner: Behavior Design
Location: NY, NY
Title: 2010 Annual Report
Client: Thomson Reuters
Category: E-Annual Report

bhvr_logoBehavior Design agency in New York prides itself on interactive storytelling viewing user experience as a narrative journey.  One of Behavior Design’s e-annual report clients is Thomson Reuters.  The international media and information firm has offices in over 100 countries and more than 60,000 employees…so the task was formidable. Using stylish graphics and multimedia elements, the e-annual report draws in visitors and let’s them explore the company one click at a time.  The report spans the globe allowing visitors to follow the business with interactive maps and information kiosks. The layout is easy to navigate and the content flows from one topic to another.  Annual reports usually contain mountains of information, which can overwhelm.  Behavior Design’s effort is as inviting as it is informational. See report, here.
behavior 2013 web

 

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2013 Hermes Winner, I Imagine Studio

hermes link graphicWinner: I Imagine Studio
Location: Evanston, IL
Title:  Pearlescence Website
Client: Lamin-Art
Category: 132. Website Design

i imagine logoI Imagine Studio is an integrated advertising and branding agency that services a wide variety of clients from its offices in the Chicago and Los Angeles areas.  The agency recently was tasked with designing a website for a decorative laminate company called Pearlescence.  Perlescence captures the colors of nature and creates unique surfaces that are integrated into restaurants, colleges, and medical centers.  The website designed for the company plays with the natural colors found in pearls and gemstones and paints an ineractive canvass that visitors will find easy to navigate and use.  The information is presented in a simple, but highly stylized manner.  The eye catching elements draws visitors in and introduces them to a brand of products that would enliven any business. www.pearlescence.com
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2013 Hermes Winner, Triangle Transit

hermes link graphicWinner: Triangle Transit
Location: Durham, North Carolina
Title: #flipfortransit
Category: 161. Government

triangle_transit-logoRiding a bus has never been so exciting, or so it would seem in Durham, North Carolina.  The city  wanted to promote it’s mass transportation services to a younger demographic.  Triangle Transit services a high tech and university corridor including Durham, Wake Forest, and Chapel Hill. To spread the message, the city produced a high energy, visually arresting video that combines acrobatics with cinematography.  Four athletes move about the Triangle using a combination of parkour, freerunning, and public transportion.  Flips, twists, spins, and jumps are captured in about every angle imagineable as a driving soundtrack frames the action.  The result is stunning. Who thought taking public transportation could be so much fun.

 

 

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This Week’s Latest Tech Gadgets – March 5, 2013

By Gregg Ellman
@greggellman

Brolly rain umbrellaI never thought an umbrella would enter my “to do” list for gadget reviews but the Brolly Rain Umbrella made the cut.

It features a ergonomic handle and grip, enabling users to hold the umbrella to keep you dry and hold your phone at the same time.

Brolly calls the technology in the handle, Grip-ology, which gives each finger hold a lining of rubber for comfort, grip and flexibility. The finger holes are built inside an ABS plastic casing for a strong and comfortable grip.

It’s pretty simple but a great idea and works well.

As for the umbrella part, its just like any other to me and if we ever have rain in Texas, I’d be happy to try it out.

Just watch where your walking, it’s bad enough to be walked into by someone with their head in their phone on a sunny day, being hit by an umbrella won’t add any joy to the collision.

www.brollytime.com $19.95

 

World Time SportI’m a big fan of gadgets that pretty much work without having to read the instructions, but with the World Time Sport Red watch from Phosphor, you’ll have to break out the piece of paper.

After you figure out how to set the time in the very cumbersome process, you’ll have a pretty neat watch to display local and world time.

The display uses the easy-to-read E-Ink technology, which is more commonly known from the Amazon Kindle tablets.

Everything is controlled by the set and mode buttons, which are right below the display on the front.The watch is advertised as buttonless, so all you do is swipe your finger across these control points

Once you get into the settings, you’ll find lots of choices including 24 time zones and settings for five display modes, which are changed by swiping the watch over the lower part of it.

The watch is curved for comfort on your wrist, and is water and sweat resistant.

The silicone band, flexible and water resistant, is available in black, orange, red or white with a matching watch.

www.phosphorwatches.com $99

 

Energizer LED Folding LanternIt’s amazing how Energizer comes up with ways to carry around light, but they have struck again with new devices that feature Light Fusion Technology.

According to Energizer, this technology transmits light throughout slim acrylic panels manufactured through a laser-etching process. What the user gets is a clean, uniform light unlike anything on store shelves and more compact for easier packing and carrying.

The Energizer Folding Lantern comes in two models; LED Folding Lantern ($29.99) has up to 300 lumens, which I used for testing.

In addition to the nice clear and smooth light it broadcasts, it pivots open and stand upright for hands-free 360-degree lighting. When you’re done, just fold it up and use the carrying handle for portability.

The Mini Pop-Up Lantern ($19.99) has up to 150 lumens. Both are powered by AA batteries for up to 100 hours of run time.

The new LED 3-in-1 flashlight ($29.99) also has a bright, daylight-looking shine with the Light Fusion Technology.

It works like any flashlight: press a button and it shines (up to 100 lumens) but what makes this model unique are two fold-out legs on the back.

This enables it to stand like a tripod and use the pivoting head for lighting in any direction.

A secondary light is on the flashlight bod’s side (1 1/4 x 4-inches for 150 lumens of light) and is activated by pressing the power button twice.

A 2-in-1 model flashlight is also available with just the pivoting head and side area light (no folding out legs) for $19.99 and has up to 100 lumens of light.

All of the new lanterns and flashlights are water resistant and will be available in early April.

www.energizer.com

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 – Feb. 25, 2013

By Gregg Ellman
@greggellman

Logitech Rechargeable T651It’s taken me a little while to get used to the Logitech T651 Trackpad for Mac but now I’m hooked.

The square shape (actually 5 x 5 1/4-inches) works like a laptop touchpad except this one is Bluetooth enable. It can be connected with a laptop or desktop computer and be used up to 30 feet away.

An ergonomic design has it laying flat but with it angled lower towards your wrist.

It has a glass surface where you use your fingers to scroll, click and zoom.

The mechanics also allow for left and right click, which we are used to having on a mouse, is accessible with the trackpad in the lower corners.

As mentioned, it takes some getting used to but after a few days it’s like I never worked without it.

A quick driver download added a Logitech Preference Manager option in my system preferences to allow controls for speed, clicking options, zooming, battery level and more.
It’s built with a rechargeable battery, which is charged with the included microUSB cable.

Logitech says a full charge is good for a month but the on/off switch lets it save power when not in use.

www.Logitech.com $60

 

SWITCHAnother entry in the crowded portable Bluetooth speaker market is the Switch from Native Union.

The powerful sounding speaker is shaped like a brick (7.75 x 2.75 x2.7-inches) so it’s not going to fit in any pockets but the sound makes it worth the portability.

Hooking it up is as simple as any other Bluetooth device; just pair it and you’re set. Your device should remember it even after turning both on and off.

Past that, its just rocking good sound with lots of bass from the Switch, which has three divers and an active subwoofer. When in use, it can be left on a flat surface in either horizontal or vertical orientation.

The speaker has controls for the pairing, power and volume. If you have it paired with a cell phone and a call comes in, the speaker automatically switches to call mode for a handsfree speaker phone.

A USB-out port is built into the side to give you the option of charging your mobile device right from the speaker.

It charges in four hours for up for up to 14 hours of use with the included USB cable.

www.nativeUnion.com $149.99 available in black, blue, gray, red and white.

 

dashport r2200Both of the previous items can benefit from the Ventev universal rapid chargers.

We live in a portable power-hungry world and these chargers will work at home, cars, airports or even in the air.

They are available to charge just about any device including Apple, Android, Galaxy, GPS, tablets, e-readers or anything taking a USB connection.

The Dashport Dual rapid charger is particularly handy with a pair of USB ports built into 12V car charger. It’s also available with a single port.

The Wallport AC is available with single or double ports for rapid charging.

The company is really proud of the design and appearance of the chargers and while the do look cool, the bottom line is they work.

www.Ventev.com prices range from $20 – $35 in color choices of blue, gray, green, orange, pink, red and white

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 – Feb. 19, 2013

By Gregg Ellman
@greggellman

HP Spectre ONEIn general I stay away from reviewing Windows-based computers, basically because they get so much coverage on their own and also, to be honest, I’m a long-time Apple user.

So when I was offered a chance to check out the new HP Spectre ONE (23-e010se) all-in-one desktop PC, I looked it up online before accepting. It’s hard to not compare it to an iMac, so I had to get ahold of one.

There’s no need for me to go into what the Windows 8 operating software does in a computer like this; Microsoft does enough promoting on is own.

What’s packed inside of this gem is a 3rd Generation Intel Core i5-3470T dual-core processor 2.9GHz along, a 1TB (5400 rpm) hard drive and my unit had 10GB of RAM for testing.

Before I even plugged it in, I had to admire its 23.6-inch glass LED-backlit display (it’s not a touchscreen), which is slightly less than a half inch thick and is home to to the computer itself.

Like its competitors, HP had to eliminate something to get it so thin so you’ll have to purchase an external optical drive to use or burn CD or DVD’s since there isn’t one built in.

The entire system has just one wire, a power cable, which is plugged into the back of the display stand. After you connect the power, hit a button on the top right of the display to get it going.

All the accessories are wireless and work with a USB dongle under the display in a live USB port.

A pair of AA batteries go into the keyboard, mouse and trackpad for power. After that just hit the connect button on each device and from there it’s almost plug and play.

The operating system goes through a short startup and connect to your WiFi (802.11b/g/n) network or plug in a network cable to the back of the monitor.

All of your connections are on the base of the monitor, which includes a pair of USB 2.0 ports, HDMI, power and a Kensington lock. A pair of USB 3.0 ports are on the right side of the base, while a SD card reader and headphone port are on the left side.

A HP TrueVision HD webcam is built into the front of the display, inside is Bluetooth

You really can’t get a clearer display than the 1080p this produces and the sound, which is listed as Beats audio, sounds great.

Even with the latest Window’s operating system, it still seems like a chore to do anything for a Mac user but after a few days on the Spectre One, it’s obvious HP has finally made a PC you would call fun.

www.hp.com starting at $1,299.99

 

WorkForce WF-3540The Epson WorkForce WF-3540 is another in what seems like a never-ending line of all-in-one desktop printers for home or small businesses.

Regardless of the brand, we all feel the same way about the cost of ink so you have to look at the features of a printer when choosing what to buy.

This one has everything, including Epson Connect, which allows you to print digital files (emails, photos, documents) from anywhere around the world.

With the group of mobile apps, Apple devices and other computers, tablets or smartphones can be linked to print on the 3540.

The printer is a little big and bulky (17.7 x 22.2 x 12.1-inches) so it will take up a little more space then the average ink jet printer.

The all-in-one describes printing, copy, scan and fax. For most, printing is the key feature and it’s endless what you can do.

Among the printing features is double sided printing, a 500-sheet paper capacity, a 3.5-inch touchscreen LCD and is rated for 1 sided 15 black pages per min and 9.3 for color.

A four color DURABrite ink system is used (black, cyan, yellow and magenta) that comes in high-capacity sizes, that lets prints come out in dry and smudge free prints.

Scanning (up to 2400 dpi) is simple with scans able to be saved as PDF’s that are text-searchable and can be saved to flash drives (not included) plugged into the USB port. Single pages can lie right on the scanner or use the 30-sheet auto document feeder.

Other options for connecting is an ethernet port and built-in Wi-Fi for wireless printing and even emailing.

A card reader is built-in for direct access to files on removable media, it prints enveloped

Even with all these wireless functions, it call still be connected directly to most any WIndows or Mac operating system.

Faxing: that’s so yesterday, but the 3450 will take care of it if need.

www.Epson.com $149

 

FatCat mPowerWith the portable electronic world growing at a rapid rates, I could write every week about portable power options to keep your devices running and this week’s entry is the pocket-sized FatCat mPower Travel Charger Series.

The chargers come in a variety of colors but most important are the size choices of 2,000, 4,200 or 9,600 mAH. All you need to understand with those numbers is bigger is better.

They give you the option to charge most any portable USB-powered device at least twice or with the biggest model can do a mobile phone up to about eight times.

Power hungry tablets such as the iPad will need the bigger 9,600 for the 2.1 amp charge they require.

www.fatcatgear.com Powerbar 2000mAH $49.95, 4200 $69.95 and the 9600 $119.95

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 – Feb. 11, 2013

By Gregg Ellman
@greggellman

Doxie One The Doxie One portable scanner is computer-less and one of the easiest to work I’ve ever seen.

Operating this scanner is as simple as a push of a button to scan photos, documents, receipts or just about anything you can feed it in sizes ranging from business cards to 8.5 x 15-inches.

The scanner is portable to a point (1.7 by 10.5 by 2.2, 13.6 oz) where you can put it in your computer bag, but don’t stick it in your back pocket.

There isn’t much to this scanner, except great results.

You have several choices to power it up; the included AC wall power adapter or buy four AAA Ni-Mh rechargeable batteries.

Just insert the included 2GB SD memory card, where your scans will be stored. Third party companies such as Eye-Fi make wireless SD cards, which can be used to wirelessly send your scans to a Mac, PC or even some tablets and smartphones.

To retrieve your scans from the scanner you can insert the memory card in your computer or just connect the included USB cord to your device.

Output formats include JPEG, PDF and PNG files in both color and black and white.

A calibration sheet and a protect cover are included to insert your photos into the scanner, which is great to help protect them.

Scanning 4 x 6-inch images takes just 5 seconds each with a 300 DPI color resolution or about 8 seconds for a full document scan also at 300 DPI color.

Doxie software (Windows and Mac) acts like an inbox and so scans can be sent directly to other apps on your computer or to selected online cloud services.

The purpose of a scanner like this is it’s portability and ease of use, the results are great quality for email, web use or smaller prints.

I would call this scanner a great device for archiving that shoebox full of prints many of us have but don’t seem to have the time to deal with. The Doxie one can easily conquer that shoebox in an afternoon.

www.getdoxie.com $144

 

Musicians ChoiceWhile trolling around the Ableplanet display at CES, I had a quick conversation with someone, who was obviously a big fan of the product since he stated that his headphones from the company are the best he ever owned.

While I can’t agree or disagree with his statement, I can say every set of headphones I’ve tested from the company has been nothing short of outstanding. includes the latest I’ve gotten my hands on from Ableplanet, the Musicians Choice stereo headphones.

One thing I like is how the padded over-the-ear cups are flexible and turn sideways for space saving.

As for the sound, which includes the company’s Linx Audio sound, when you consider the price ($89 at Ableplanet.com or $44 at Amazon) you’re getting a great deal.

As described on their site, Linx Audio creates high frequency harmonics that enhance sound quality and speech clarity of difficult to hear words or notes, and increase the perception of loudness without increasing volume.

An in-line mic controls your sound and music selections on Apple portable devices along with other smartphones and tablets.

They are available in 11 different colors and come with a soft carrying pouch.

www.ableplanet.com

 

 

OGIO RENEGADE RSSOn a quick trip last week I tested out the OGIO Renegade RSS backpack, which has more storage compartments than even someone like me needed to fill up with a laptop, tablet, cables, accessories and gadgets.

Each pocket is easy to access and seems to lead to more compartments, are zippered shut, padded and protected.

A unique design from OGIO called Red Protection (obviously red in color) identifies the safest storage compartment. In this case it was the back of the backpack, which I used for my 15-inch MacBook Pro, although a 17-inch would also fit.

That compartment is also built with a Reactive Suspension System, which translates into a safe and padded storage area.

Pockets, zippers and padding seems to be everywhere and it has padding on the backside so it rests comfortably on your back.

Another specific feature includes a crush-proof Tech Vault, which I used for storage but opted to not test the crushing part; I’ll just take their word for it.

There’s also a tablet pocket but you’ll have your choice of many different places to store that device.

I’ve seen a lot of computer bags and storage solutions and this one is as well constructed and designed as any I’ve seen.

Although it costs more then others, when you factor in how much you spend on the products you store in any computer bag, it makes sense to store them in something that’s going to protect them, such as the Renegade.

www.ogio.com $149

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

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