Latest Tech Gadgets – July 9, 2012

By Gregg Ellman
@greggellman

Western Digital (WD) has launched a handy home networking product with its Fastrack technology that let’s you choose specifically who and what gets priority for speed when multiple users are on the same network.

This includes narrowing it to specific devices such gaming consoles, smartphones, tablets, computers or any device sharing the Wi-Fi.

With the WD exclusive technology the new wireless N routers will  “intelligently and automatically prioritizes Internet favorites like Netflix, Hulu Plus, VUDU, YouTube, Xbox LIVE, Skype and others, to create a smooth streaming experience in up to Full-HD 1080p quality,” as stated in a recent press release.

On a recent call, WD representatives stressed that advance settings even let you choose specific websites for priority to maximize bandwidth for faster speeds based on who in the family needs it for work or just for fun.

They said that it will be an easy setup for wireless and wired devices, taking just minutes and includes parental control settings on a friendly and intuitive user interface.

The new routers have speeds up to 900 Mbps and choices that include internal storage (up to 2 TB) for a centralized backup and automatic wireless backup, which is accessible for all the computers on the network that essentially creates a personal cloud.

http://wdstore.com pricing starts at $69.99 for the My Net Switch or up to $349.99 for the My Net N900

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Latest Gadgets 06.29 – Summer BBQ

By Gregg Ellman
@greggellman.

 

I have to admit, writing a column on barbecue tools has ended up being very high on my list of the most enjoyable gadgets I’ve tried.

While there  might not be as many BBQ gadgets as iPhone covers to choose from, there still are a lot of great choices to flip your meat.

By far my favorite of the grilling gadgets is the Slider from Quirky, a company known for creative and innovative tech gadgets. Quirky is now taking its creativity to the heat of the coals.

The Slider is a stainless steel double-prong 14-inch skewer you can load with meat, peppers, squash, onions or whatever you want to cook. The greatness is that it is built with a heat-resistant slider, which you use to get your food off struggle-free in just seconds. They come in a set of 4 for $24.99.

The Stake ($29.99) is as accurate as it’s packaging describes it; Grip it, Flip it and Serve it. A true all-in-one device has a spatula, fork and tongs all in a brushed stainless steal tool with a wooden handle.

It might seem hard to think of all of these cooking tools together, but they are all there in the tool, which is 21.25-inches at the longest length. When it’s locked together you have a simple 3.75-inch wide spatula but separate it and you have tongs or slide down the fork to grab your sausage for flipping or removal.

Another multi-functional gadget from Quirky is the Porter Grab and Grill ($39.99), multi-purpose BBQ tray that is the ultimate tool to keep raw food separated from cooked.

The simple gadget (19.5 x 11.5 x 4-inches) has a container on top to hold your meat or anything to go on the grill along with a separate metal mesh caddy on the side for transporting condiments or seasonings.
When you’re done cooking, just lift off the top tray you transported the raw meat in and you have another tray to put the cooked items for serving.
www.quirky.com

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2012 Communitas Winner – Gary Swanson, Professor of the Year

Location: Greeley, Colorado
Business Type: University-Higher Education
Nomination Title: Professor of the Year, Inspirational/Visionary Leader
Category: Making A Difference

 

If you are lucky, sometime in your academic career you have the opportunity to learn your future trade from someone who is so exceptional that being exposed to them for even a short time, shapes the way you go about your life and your career.

When I was a journalism student at the University of Texas many years ago, I had two such professors. Griff Singer was a gruff (mostly fake) old newspaperman who ran the Daily Texan like he was Ben Bradlee and we were uncovering the Watergate scandal for the Washington Post. I can still feel his copy editing cutting straight to the bone. Red Gibson was a dynamic personality who commanded respect. He had this strong air of professionalism about him that defined his role as teacher and ours as students.  There was a respect that bordered on fear, but you could sense that it was a cover-up for the deep compassion he had for his students. His classes were fun and interesting and you didn’t want to miss them. Those two men inspired me and taught me lessons I remember today.

Two journalism students at the University of Northern Colorado think that journalism Professor Gary Swanson is one of those special teachers.  International students Anne-Sophie Garrigou from France and Alejandro Alamo Sanabria from Spain, nominated Swanson for a Communitas Award for his unselfish dedication to his profession and his students. In addition to wanting to proclaim him Professor of the Year, the students cited Swanson as an Inspirational/Visionary Leader… incredibly high praise coming from his students. After reading the nomination, the judges agreed.  Although we can’t bestow a Professor of the Year Award, we are pleased to present Professor Swanson with a Communitas Award.

After you read the nomination letter, we think you’ll agree that Professor Swanson is a special person deserving of recognition.

Nominators: Anne-Sophie Garrigou and Alejandro Alamo Sanabria

Professor Gary Swanson University of Northern Colorado

It has been about 9 months that we have known Professor Swanson, and within that short time frame, he has truly inspired us and made a tremendous impact and difference in our lives. We are both from different countries: France (Sophie) and Spain (Alejandro or Alex) and came to the University of Northern Colorado as 1-year International students in the area of journalism.

In the fall, 2011, we both signed up for Professor Swanson’s Documentary class, his Visual Journalism for New Media class, and Sophie also took Broadcast News Writing with Dr. Swanson. From our first meeting with Professor Swanson he was sincere, truly interested in the well-being and success of his students, and announced he was always available by giving us his cell phone to contact him “any time – even on weekends” with questions or concerns. A professional relationship grew between us over time with mutual respect – and with that came trust.

After completion of the Documentary class in December, 2011 Professor Swanson offered us the opportunity to co-produce a documentary on The American Dream – a project that changed our lives forever. Professor Swanson offered to create and teach a directed-study course to each of us (Sophie and Alex) as well as 2 other students for course credit. And he received no additional time-off or pay to do this. Additionally, he went out of his way and paid out of his pocket for 3 of us to rent a car and drive from Greeley, Colorado to Cincinnati, Ohio and interview the director of the Center for the American Dream at Xavier University. He felt this would be a tremendous experience for us since we had not traveled around the country since we arrived in America in August, 2011. And the director was a critical interview for our documentary. Dr. Swanson also paid for our gas, food, and lodging. It was an incredible journey and took 5 days for us to complete and return to Colorado. Besides the monetary expenditure he provided, Dr. Swanson trusted us and had opened a gateway of friendships to be fostered, especially for us. This enabled both of us to create meaningful connections with people outside of the normal circle that we had already been exposed to at UNC, and in turn, expanded our horizons.

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A Tasteful Display of MarCom Statuettes Featured on “The Pitch”

Final Episode of “The Pitch” Features Two MarCom Winners

In the final episode of AMC’s advertising reality show “The Pitch”, Bandujo and Jones Advertising showed why they are successful, award-winning agencies. Two radically different approaches. Mark Jones knew what he wanted and went for it. Jose Bandujo knew what he didn’t want and looked for the answer. One concept was smooth and laid back. The other was bold and in your face.

At AMCP, we’ve seen Jones’ and Bandujo’s exceptional work for years.  Both agencies have earned numerous awards from us for a wide range of creative work. The quality of Jones’ television spot for Marriott was terrific, especially on such short notice. But it wasn’t surprising. Jones has received top scores from us on web spots for the likes of Diet Coke and Microsoft.  Bandujo’s pitch featured thumping music, brash design and attention grabbing colors. We had seen that bold approach from them in viewbooks and magazine entries. Showing the artwork in Bandujo’s home was an interesting insight into his creative likes and influences.

From a production standpoint, the best part of the show was undoubtedly the introduction to Jones Advertising. In the opening scene, the producers established Jones’ credibility by tastefully introducing the office with a shot through a number of MarCom statuettes.  However, there was a glaring deficiency on the Bandujo segment when the producers inexplicably let the viewers down by not including shots of Bandujo’s MarComs. Maybe they were sending us a message about product placement. The first time is free…  but to see them again, you have to pay.

If you haven’t seen “The Pitch”, it is on the AMC cable channel. The season is over, but you can still catch reruns. It was fun for us to see “The Pitch” not only because of the subject matter, but of the 15 agencies that were featured, about half of them were AMCP entrants and several of the shows included shots of our statuettes.

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Cool New Gadgets 05.28.12

By Gregg Ellman
@greggellman.

 

Summer is here so it’s time to take your portable electronic gadgets for a swim _ but only if you include any of the following accessories to make the device waterproof or water resistant.

DryCASE has a full combination to take your cell phone camera or MP3 player in the water up to 100 feet deep with sound.

Once your slip your device into the see-through plastic, lock the pair of clamps to keep it intact. Then take the air out of the case with the included pump, put on the safety cap and let it sit a recommended 10 minutes to ensure it remains   vacuumed air tight.

After the air is removed the  seal keeps your device and any touchscreen controls or buttons fully accessible.

DryBUDS SPORT Waterproof Earbuds & Microphone are built with an over-ear clip to make a perfect companion for hearing any audio being played and are submersible up to 10-feet.

They plug into a pass-through headphone port built into the case.

I see the microphone being a much better use on land during a storm instead of opening my mouth underwater for an extended conversation.

Three sizes of ear buds and a lanyard are included; the newest version of the headphones even has a waterproof microphone, obviously for using above water.

www.DryCase.com DryCASE $39.99, DryBUDS $39.99

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MarCom and Hermes Winners Featured on New AMC Show, The Pitch

If you haven’t seen the new AMC documentary/reality show, The Pitch, you need to check it out. Each week, The Pitch gives viewers an inside look at two different ad agencies as they compete against each other for a national account. The Pitch is on the same network that brings you Mad Men and is produced by Studio Lambert, the same people who produce Undercover Boss for CBS.

We knew about The Pitch at AMCP because we had signed a release to allow our awards to be shown on the program.  I set the DVR well in advance …then forgot about it. The Pitch has been on for five weeks. I sat down last night to watch the first show and ended up seeing three shows back to back. While the whole process of developing a pitch for a new account is fascinating, the show proves what we all know…ad agencies are gold mines for characters.  This is the new Mad Men. No suits and slick, close-cropped haircuts here. Fifty years later, clothing and appearance are self expressive and in many instances a look is accentuated by tattoos, piercings, and dyed and/or spiked hair…. office staples now include dogs, kids, motorcycles, motorized aircraft, scooters, toys, ping pong and video games…. and of course the long hours of inert, unproductive creative sessions are still fueled by caffeine, cigarettes and alcohol (although not on camera in the office). The show’s producers don’t go out of their way to capture the chaos of so many right brains ponging into each other. They focus on interesting stories of compelling characters involved in the serious business of coming up with ideas that can make or break a product and a career. This is a well-done reality show that provides an inside view into what we in the industry know is a non-traditional, sometimes bizarre profession.

Recent MarCom and Hermes winners will be featured in upcoming shows… WomenK!nd from New York City, Jones Advertising from Seattle and Bandujo from New York City.  Look for our awards in their offices. WDCW of Los Angeles was featured in an earlier show.

The Pitch is seen on AMC on Sundays at 11 p.m. Eastern time.  It is also rerun often.

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Communitas Awards Winner: Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences

Winner: Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences
Location: Kansas City, MO
Business Type: Post Graduate Education
Nomination Title: We Care Community Service
Category: Company Sponsored Volunteer Project

NEW MED STUDENTS INTRODUCED TO COMMUNITY THROUGH “WE CARE” COMMUNITY SERVICE DAY

At most schools, orientation is a chance to get familiar with a new setting, make some new friends and perhaps engage in social time. At the Kansas City University of Medicine-College of Osteopathic Medicine, you get all that and a chance to do something for your new community at the same time.

Incoming medical students get introduced to their new community through a one-day, citywide community service project in the neighborhood surrounding the campus and beyond. During their orientation on Wednesday, August 3, 2011, all 255 new students participated in the University’s 14th annual “We Care” Community Service Day.

Students, faculty and staff joined forces to partner with 10 area non-profit organizations at 13 different project sites benefiting lower-income residents of Kansas City, primarily those living within the Northeast Neighborhood where the University is located. Students, faculty and staff served more than 1,000 hours in this single half-day effort to benefit those in need in Kansas City, Mo.

According to Sara Selkirk, executive director of community and student affairs for the University, through this annual event the University introduces new students to the community and to the University’s emphasis on service. “Medical school is only the beginning of their commitment to a career of service,” Selkirk said. “We believe it is important to place emphasis on the aspect of caring for people and community even before a student attends their first class.”

Community Service Day projects included a variety of tasks, ranging from sorting and repackaging food at a local community food bank, building closets at a women’s shelter, tutoring children and adults in the urban core, and assisting with beautification projects throughout the historic Northeast neighborhood of Kansas City.

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Communitas Award Winner: Acadian Home Builders Association

Winner: Acadian Home Builders Association
Location: Lafayette, LA
Business Type: Nonprofit Trade Association
Nomination Title: Home for the Holidays
Category: Philanthropy

Throughout its 51-year history, the Acadian Home Builders Association in Lafayette, Louisiana, has donated nearly a million dollars to various shelter related agencies and construction related education programs.  AHBA members have made this continuing commitment to their community, even though AHBA is itself a non-profit trade association, which depends upon member dues and yearly projects to fund its own operations.

In November, 2005, the Acadian Home Builders Association established a new project geared to providing a more stable and predictable source of funding.  It’s called Home for the Holidays and each year, the builder-members and associates build and raffle a new home, with the profits dedicated to funding AHBA’s shelter and education related charities.

Since its inception, AHBA’s Home for the Holidays has awarded more than $955,000 to its adopted charities, including Habitat for Humanity, The Children’s Shelter of Acadiana Youth (for abandoned & abused kids), Faith House (for victims of domestic violence), St. Michael’s Center for Homeless Veterans   and this year has established a special fund with the Community Foundation of Acadiana dedicated to retro-fitting homes for returning war veterans with special disabilities.

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Cool New Gadgets 05/18/12

By Gregg Ellman
@greggellman.
Kensington has added the KeyFolio Secure for the iPad 2 to its extensive line of innovative tablet accessories.

The KeyFolio case is made of strong plastic, which doesn’t add much bulk to the iPad. It features an easy-to-use ClickSafe one-click locking mechanism and built-in security anchor to keep your tablet locked in place and secure.

It’s constructed from high carbon steel cables with a corrosion-proof steel lock head.

One end locks to your tablet and the other to anything you think is secure to hold it.

A Bluetooth keyboard is included with the case and can be used in the case or removed if you want to back up from the screen a bit.

The case also has a place to hold a stylus or pen, or just get the Kensington stylus, which features a rubber tip on one end for the touchscreen and a ball point pen on the other

The multi-functional case is available for pre-order at Kensington’s site or at Amazon for $129.99.

www.kensington.com

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Cool New Gadgets 05/08/12

By Gregg Ellman
@greggellman.

A little spring cleaning this week reminded me of a bunch of items I really like but just haven’t had the time to get to.

ZAGG sent an all-in-one press kit of accessories for the new iPad, although many of them can be used with any portable media device.

Included was the invisibleSHIELD ($29.99), the company’s patented protection cover film for the touchscreen.

When using it you still get 100 percent access to the device’s functions, as if you didn’t have anything on the screen.

ZAGG made the cover, which the company says is made from a product that was first used on U.S. Military helicopter blades and is now available for over 5,000 of today’s portable electronics.

My favorite item is the ZAGGsparq 2.0 6,000 mAh portable lithium polymer battery charger ($99), which supplies more power on the go than most any other portable battery I have seen of its size.

I gave a full charge to my iPhone and iPad at the same time with the dual USB ports, and it still had a little juice left in it. To recharge it just fold out the prongs to plug in to any standard household AC outlet.

While it’s recharging up you can charge you devices in the pair of USB ports.

The ZAGGfoam ($9.99) cleans all your devices and the ZAGGsmartbuds ($49.99) let you get the tunes from the devices to your ears in comfort.

www.ZAGG.com

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