UPDATE: 2013 Winners posted here!
By Gregg Ellman
I tried the starter kit ($59.99), which includes a Fob, Tag, keyring and has a screen driver to open the hardware and insert the included CR2032 lithium coin batteries, along with a keyring.
The Fob attaches to the included keyring and after you have it linked with the free Kensington Proximo app (with a very easy setup), anytime the devices are separated an alarm sounds. If your phone is within range but you can’t seem to find it, press a button and it will
It’s easy to think of this as a monitoring device for your expensive smartphone but it also works in reverse once everything is linked up. With your phone in your pocket or purse, it can alert you that you have left your keys behind.
Within the app, you can set the sensitivity and a specific sound to allow you to control how far you are separated from your device before the alarm goes off.
The Tags look like the Fob and can be placed in a computer bag or attached to anything (or anyone) that you want alarmed. But unlike the Fob, it’s only one direction; the app will find it but you can’t use it to find your phone.
The Proximo App Dashboard tracks up to five items with a single Fob and up to four Tags. Additional Tags cost $24.99 each.
A battery meter on the dashboard will alert you of a low battery needing replacement in any of the devices, which should be about every six months.
If somehow you get out of range between the devices, an app lets you tap a button to let you know where your device was last seen and even pulls up a map with a specific address.
Even if your phone is on a silent mode, when the alarm is activated, you’ll hear it.
Just twist open the speaker, pair it with your device via Bluetooth and you’ll be amazed at how much better the sound is than the built-in speaker on your smartphone or tablet.
It’s not room-filling sound, but great for an office or, especially in my case, having some sound to play satellite radio while stuck in hotel rooms.
A rechargeable battery is built in for up to eight hours of use and can be powered up in two hours with a USB charge using the included cable.
It is 2.5 inches in diameter, just over 3-inches long when expanded and about 2.5-inches when closed.
Another choice, with a bigger size (2.8 x 6.5 x 2.9-inches) but much better sound is the the brick shaped Auvio Portable Speaker ($79.99).
It’s also Bluetooth and works as a hands-free speakerphone and runs on a built-in rechargeable battery.
Both speakers have aux-in ports to connect to non-Bluetooth devices.
The Victorinox Swiss Army Jetsetter looks like a tradition pocket knife the company is famous for but instead of the knife you get a pocket full of storage.
A foldout and detachable USB 2.0 flash drive is among the features in the mini tool kit, which includes a ball point pen, bottle opener, phillips screwdriver, tweezers and scissors in the 16 GB model I tested out.
The detachable flash drive is Windows and Mac friendly, although it comes pre-loaded with Mac-friendly security software to protect your data stored on the device.
This lets you secure your data with passwords and even web brows without leaving any cookies or history behind.
It’s available in capacities of 8 GB black ($39.95), 16 GB red ($49.99) and 32 GB silver ($99.99). There are a few different features in each, with the 32 GB model having a LED mini light for example.
By Gregg Ellman
The Logitech Harmony Touch remote does everything you want your pile of existing remotes to do and a whole lot more.
It costs a little more than what you might want to spend for a universal remote but after seeing how easily it can be programed with your computer to operate more than 225,000 devices _ up to 15 of them at once _ money won’t be an issue.
What I have found out about Harmony remotes is how easy it is to program them for your specific choices of channels; then just navigate the 2.4-inch touchscreen with backlit buttons to select your favorite choices.
The company obviously spent a lot of time and effort on the design of the remote, so it’s worth mentioning that the curved design rests comfortably in your hand while in use.
At first, the number of buttons might be a little overwhelming, but get past that and give it a try.
Using the Logitech MyHarmony website lets your configure the remote to set up your devices (TV, DVR, DVD, receiver, etc) and choose your favorite channels and shows.
My initial setup didn’t work the way I wanted to, (I had a picture on my TV but no sound) so I went back to the website and reprogrammed it to my preferred choice and it worked perfectly.
In addition to the touchscreen LCD, other choices include pause, play or stopping your program.
A drop-in charging cradle is included to keep the lithium-ion battery charged up.
Computer accessory maker Targus and iDevices LLC have a technology partnership for the design, development and distribution of the iNotebook.
The new device, gives iPad users the option to write or draw on paper and transfer it to the table wirelessly.
The hardware includes the Bluetooth-enabled writing receiver that communicates with the included stylus/pen to transfer the handwriting. Both are built with an internal rechargeable battery and are charged with the included miniUSB cable.
A leather portfolio is included to house the iPad and notepad (compatible with standard A5 and 8” x 5” notepads), which isn’t made of any special paper so it should be easy to find replacements.
Setup is simple, requiring download and installation of the free iNotebook app from the Apple App Store.
The app puts all the pieces together from the pen, to the paper, receiver and finally to the tablet.
There’s not a lot to it; get all the pieces turned on and write away. Documents can be saved in the Apple iCloud.
Other features can be customized, such as how to organize the saved files, what the backgrounds look like and you can even email directly from the app.
When you read the list of features in the Pelican ProGear S100 Sport Elite laptop backpack, you would think you’re reading the specs of a backpack ready for combat.
From a distance it looks like any other backpack but when you get up close you see the craftsmanship that a company like Pelican has become known for.
Among the features are a built-in crushproof and waterproof case, lockable compartments, a TSA-ready laptop area, hip belt, shoulder straps and a lumbar pad with an ergonomic ventilated back. All of these are encased in a rip-resistant material.
It weighs 7.14 lbs empty and is carry-on friendly when traveling by air.
The TSA aspect keeps your laptop (up to 17-inch) in a separate compartment so it can be inspected by airport security without obstruction.
A front compartments can hold endless number of computer and electronic accessories or even a change of clothes.
Once filled (as long as your back can take the weight) it’s amazing how much it holds and how well it functions.
Contact Gregg Ellman at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Follow him on Twitter: @greggellman.
2013, Gregg Ellman.
|Winner: TheeDesign Studio
Title of Entry: Website Redesign for Lizard Lick Towing
Location: Raleigh, NC
Category: Home Page
The first rule for any website is to capture the essence of the product or company. TheeDesign Studio nailed it with Lizard Lick Towing. What you see is what you get. Check out the store, you can get Ron’s sexy shades for only $20.
By Gregg Ellman
Cleaning out a notebook from last weeks Consumer Electronic’s show is an impossible and endless task, but here are a few items I either used all week to get me through the show or caught my attention as cool everyday items.
The Innergie PocketCell Duo, did an amazing job at keeping my iPhone and iPad powered up all week while I was away from wall outlet charging.
It’s a pocket sized charger, measuring just 3.75 x1.75 and 1-inch deep – 40 percent smaller than a typical eye glass case – so it’s easy to carry in any pocket.
The device is a rechargeable battery with 6,800 mAh of power and pair of USB ports in the side, which attach’s to most any portable electronic gadget for charging. This includes the power-hungry tablets, which require 2.1 Amp USB ports for charging.
Five LED power level indicators along with a power/charge activation button are are also built into the side of the battery.
Included is the Innergie Magic Cable Trio, which has an integrated 3-in-1 Apple 30-pin, Micro and Mini USB connectors in a single cable. The battery also works with the USB cable, which comes with virtually every gadget.
The powerful 6,800 mAh are good for charging a smartphone four times or giving a tablet a full single charge.
The PocketCell Duo is charged up itself via USB and is certified for use with Apple devices including those with the new Lightning connection along with Android tablets and smartphones
www.myinnergie.com $99.99 available in March, the Innergie Lightning Tip will be available in early April.
It weighs 12 pounds, measures 7.75 x 5.75 x 6.75-inches and has a 150-watt battery for powering lights, laptops via the built-in AC, 12V and USB ports.
The 15W Bolder 15 Solar Panel can fully charge it up in 15 hours of sunlight.
www.goalzero.com $359.99 and available in the spring
Title of Entry: Golden Spoon site
Location: Irvine, CA
Client: Golden Spoon
Category: 21. Business to Consumer
|Winner: Hilton Worldwide
Title of Entry: Hilton Worldwide Celebrates Inaugural Global Week of Service
Client: Hilton Worldwide
Category: 107. Special Event
Many “special events” entered into the AVA’s usually involve conventions, seminars, or employee gatherings. But Hilton Worldwide wanted to create an event that would make a difference in communities across the planet. Hilton challenged employees to get involved whether in Michigan or Mumbai. The first annual Global Week of Service event furthered the company’s vision to “fill the earth with light and warmth of hospitality.” Hilton partnered with Feeding America, Global FoodBanking Network and other non profits along with hundreds of local community organizations. In just eight days, team members at more than 600 properties completed 800 volunteer projects in 401 cities around the world. Events ranged from rebuilding community centers to mentoring young people to restoring natural habitats. Hilton even created a website to track Team Member and property volunteer projects. Some of projects tackled were new, but others were an extension of on-going community partnerships.
If you, your company or someone you volunteer with deserves special recognition for community service or social responsibility, we want to hear about it. Through February 1, we will allow anyone to nominate one business or one individual for free in our 2013 Communitas Awards.
AMCP is a marketing and communication organization that gives back to the professional community that we serve. Our MarCom, Hermes and AVA Digital competitions do not charge entry fees for pro bono work and we partner with our winners through grants to support efforts in their communities. Last month, AMCP’s board donated $15,000 in the name of our members to organizations that are working to rebuild communities ravaged by storms, homelessness and unemployment. Recipients included the American Red Cross, Salvation Army, local life shelters and missions, the YMCA and various charities. www.amcpros.com
Over the past five years, AMCP has contributed over $85,000 to charities and nonprofits. But perhaps our biggest contribution is administering and financially supporting the Communitas Awards, an international program that recognizes individuals, companies and organizations that give back to their communities and demonstrate social responsibility. By recognizing these givers, we are hoping to not only help their community efforts, but their businesses. We envision a day when every company will have to exhibit a spirit of communitas as an essential business practice.
The free nomination offer is only until February 1 and is not being publicized beyond our own database. The nomination form will reflect no charge for one nomination upon check out.
John Rodgers Creative
Creative Design Program Manager
American Red Cross
Christine Cardellino Writing & Editorial
|Winner: Dr. Craig Oster
Location: Haslett, MI
Nomination Title: THE HEALERS
Category: TV Pilot
Through our pro bono program we get to meet some incredibly interesting and inspirational people. One of our friends, Dr. Craig Oster, was diagnosed in 1994 with ALS, better known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. We met Dr. Craig in 2009 through a video produced pro bono by Scott Allman Productions, entitled Grateful to Be Here. While most victims of Lou Gehrig’s disease die within 3-5 years of diagnosis, Dr. Craig has fought the degenerative neuromuscular disease for 18 years. Along the way, he earned a Ph.D. in clinical psychology at Michigan State University and served as an inspiration to the many healers and patients that daily grapple with the disease. With the help of Troy Anthony Garriga, Jr. and Brandon Klock, Dr. Craig has produced a pilot for a television series called THE HEALERS. It is a holistic approach to healing that is intended to give people who are suffering physically, mentally and emotionally, the inspiration and hope they that thought was beyond their grasp.
By Gregg Ellman
The technology world will again bring us new tablets and smartphones in 2013, but what else can we expect, and how do we keep those power-hungry devices running and sounding great?
And more significantly, what do we do with all those digital files?
Backing up your digital data and accessing it is easy but is also one of the most commonly avoided digital chores.
Western Digital, a world leader in digital storage, supplied some interesting facts concerning digital storage from a recent Omnibus Survey.
Results show 40 percent of desktop owners and 31 percent of laptop owners have experienced data loss, most often because their device crashed.
Included in that loss, for 41 percent of adults, were photographs – cherished information lost in a crash, lost or stolen hard drive.
In the survey, 41 percent of adults said the reason they don’t back up their digital files because they are not sure how to do it.
WD’s My Book Live Duo is one of the easiest all-in-one desktop solutions for digital file problems in any digital-oriented household. This includes photos, documents and videos.
After a simple setup creating your own personal cloud with no monthly fees, it stays in one centralized location on your home network.
Any Mac or PC can use it to back up content and even gives you access to check it on your own flat screen TV remotely or a tablet or smartphone from anywhere securely over the internet.
The WD 2go web access gives users access to the home cloud storage fee-free. Just log in and it mounts on your computer like a local or hard drive would.
With mobile devices including iPad, iPhone, Blackberry, Windows and Android smartphones or tablets the WD 2go and WD Photos mobile apps let you view documents, stream video content or set up the photos to show off in a slideshow.
Oh, and by the way, Western Digital’s research also found that “One-in-six adults (16 percent) have lost information that was embarrassing and potentially something they wouldn’t want others seeing when their device crashed, was stolen or was lost.”
www.WDC.com 8TB $649, 6TB $479, 4TB 379
V-Moda’s newly launched M-100 headphones are the Taj Mahal of headphones in sound, design and durability.
The headphones are made with 50mm dual-diaphragm drivers (patent-pending) to produce the powerful sound. After just seconds of listening to music with the headphones on, you get it.
Craftsmanship is at the highest level for the M-100‘s, constructed with a combination of steel and other metals for an eye-catching design.
They fold up into the included exoskeleton hard carrying case for portability. Each padded ear cup has the signature V-Moda shield on the outside, which can be replaced with personalized, engraved shields.
Also included: A pair of detachable Kevlar-reinforced cables, a SpeakEasy microphone cable and an all-new SharePlay cable for sharing music and media without extra adapters.
Each set of headphones is designed with durability to survive 70+ drops on concrete; the SteelFlex headband is made to be virtually indestructible; the cables are designed to bend more then 1 million times.
Aperion Audio’s ARIS wireless Hi-Fi speaker gives you room-filling sound without a wire.
It connects via WiFi and is Windows 8 friendly for use on a PCs, laptops, tablets and smartphones. It shows up as speaker device on your network
For sound junkies, six internal speakers_ four powered drivers and two passive radiators _ generate the sound with 100 W RMS total power. There are three sound modes: natural, bass boost and enhanced stereo.
What this means to you is amazing sound. Aesthetically, it is designed with in a single-piece brushed aluminum enclosure, an adjustable/removable steel base measuring a rounded rectangular 6.5 x 14.75-inches.
To operate it with a Windows phone, use the Play To or the DLNA app to select the speaker and blast your music.
Android phones can choose from several apps in the Google Play market or the DLNA app from the Android Marketplace.
The company notes on its website that for Apple users, “If you mostly use iTunes in your home, ARIS for Airplay is coming in 2013, which will work natively with your iPhone, iPad, and Mac or PC for music playback.”
As for powering up a dying portable USB device, it can be a challenge, especially for students.
Gomadic’s SunVolt and SunVolt Max portable solar devices have charging speeds identical to a traditional wall charger and folds into briefcase design when not in use.
The SunVolt and SunVolt Max are engineered with monocrystalline photovoltaic technology, allowing it to capture power from the sun and convert it to usable energy.
Any power-hungry device at 5.5V or less (pretty much any smartphone, MP3 player or portable consumer electronic device) can be energized.
When not in use, it folds into a water-resistant carrying case with a built-in arm-strap, a zipper pouch and inside pockets to store other devices.
Devices needing up to 10 Watts of power can be recharged with the SunVolt. The SunVolt MAX has a larger panel for 50 percent more charging power.
A single USB tip, compatible with most popular devices, is included; other sized tips can be purchased.
Both the SunVolt and SunVoltMAX ship with standard USB charging ports, which will work with any USB charging cable (not included).
www.gomadic.com for $99.95 and $129.95 respectively.
Contact Gregg Ellman at email@example.com.
Follow him on Twitter: @greggellman.
2012, Gregg Ellman.