This Week’s Latest Tech Gadgets – Sept. 12, 2012

By Gregg Ellman

Tech gifts this year will be big hits with audio, tablet and smartphone accessories leading the way.

Bluetooth also seems to be a common theme and here are some tech head choices.

The three-foot-tall iHome iP76 tower stereo speaker system isn’t stocking-stuffer friendly and will cost you a bundle in wrapping paper but bigger is better when you hear the room-filling sound.

Your device can connect via Bluetooth, use a top-loading Apple friendly dock with the included wireless remote or just plug it into the aux-in jack for using any portable media player.

On iHome’s website these are described to “deliver astounding clarity, depth and power” and after hearing them you see that this is accurate.

Additionally, the sides of the tower have LEDs, which change colors in a choice of modes in indigo, blue, green, white, orange, red, violet and yellow. $199


If you want to stuff your audio gift in a stocking, try the CUBEDGE EDGE portable wireless speaker.

It’s shaped like a brick and connects via Bluetooth 3.0 for a wireless connection for use with a 3.5mm headphone connection

In addition to the great portable sound, you get 10 hours of battery life after a USB charge; it also works to answer calls, Skype or other voice options with a built-in microphone. available in black or white for $149


Kensington’s slim profile and pocket-sized Portafolio Due wallet for iPhone 5 works like any other case to protect all sides of the iPhone and even covers up the screen when its tucked away not in use.

What gives it an edge vs the other millions of iPhone cases available it it doubles as a wallet with slots on the inside for a drivers license, credit cards or even cash.

But it doesn’t end there: it has a built-in stand to keep your device hands-free for calls, video conferencing or just to look cool in both vertical and landscape positions. $39.99, in choices of brown marble, red snake, and black


The 200-watt PowerLine PowerCup looks like a coffee cup but don’t fill it with liquid.

It sits in your vehicle’s cup holder and  an18-inch cord comes out to plug into a vehicle’s 12V power port.

On top of the cup is a pair of AC outlets and a USB port for powering and charging just about any electronic gadget for a road trip or camping. $26


AMCP Looks to Help Hurricane Sandy Victims

If you or your company/agency is a past entrant in any AMCP competition and were impacted by Hurricane Sandy, please let us know your circumstances. We will be making a contribution to the Red Cross, but first wanted to help anyone who is associated with us.

Please contact us at or 817-303-2769.


This Week’s Latest Tech Gadgets – Nov. 6, 2012

By Gregg Ellman

The only accessory I plugged into my Mac Mini’s Thunderbolt port was an extra monitor until I tried Western Digital’s (WD) new Thunderbolt external hard drive.

With speeds up to 400 megabyte per second possible, the WD My Book VelociRaptor Duo is priced high per gigabyte but when you experience the lightning fast data transfer, you’ll see the value.

Inside the high-performance desktop hard drive are a pair of 1TB 10,000 drives, which can be used as a 2TB dual drive system or set as a RAID system for backup protection.

RAID, which is an abbreviation for redundant array of independent disks, lets users set the hard drive up with two different options.

When it’s set to RAID 1, a duplicate of your digital files is made for backup protection; RAID 0 will give you the maximum speed and capacity.

Regardless of which you choose, the incredible transfer speeds are what makes this attractive to most any user since transferring gigabytes of digital files can take just minutes instead of hours.

The AC-powered hard drive comes with a single Thunderbolt cable and extras can be purchased to daisy chain with the extra Thunderbolt port.

There aren’t any other ports on the back but adapters are available for USB or Firewire conversions and the speeds when using them can vary.

Since it’s out-of-the-box Apple compatible, it also makes a great choice to use with Apple Time Machine backup software. $802


In addition to digital cameras, lots of other electronic gadgets have expandable media capabilities with a wide variety of digital media memory cards.

With SanDisk’s updated ImageMate all-in-on USB card reader, its a good bet it will work with your media to get superb transfer speeds.

To get the maximum advertised speeds of up to 500/MB/s, it must be combined with the fastest memory cards along with a USB 3.0 compatible computer.

The all-in-one aspect lets SD, SDHC, SDXC, microSD, compact flash (up to UDMA 7) and many other memory cards fit into the reader for an easy download.

A detachable tripod base and a USB cord are included. $35


Energizer has launched a new line of rechargeable batteries.

The Recharge Universal batteries are slightly less expensive than other Energizer rechargeables, have a lower capacity but offer more charge cycles.

They come pre-charged and are available in AA and AAA sizes, good for charging up to 1,500 and 1,000 times respectively.

After charging, they can hold the charge for up to one year when not in use and charge up to 40 percent faster then previous models. AA 4-packs $8.23, AAA 4-packs $14.87


The ZAGGsparq portable battery can charge most portable electronic gadgets including smartphones, tablets and gaming devices on the go.

When the lithium polymer battery needs a charge itself, just fold out the built-in AC prongs and plug it into any standard wall outlet .

Devices can be charged while the battery is getting it’s charge.

The output is 2.1A, which according to ZAGG is rated to be up to four times faster then a standard USB charger.

It’s made with a fingerprint and scratch free finish and has five LED lights to indicate remaining power and charging levels.

Three different models are available: the 1220 model ($31.50) will give an average device a single charge, the 3100 ($69.99) is good for two charges and the 6000 ($99.99) is good for four.

Contact Gregg Ellman at
Follow him on Twitter: @greggellman.
2012, Gregg Ellman.


Congratulations to the 2012 MarCom Award winners.

There were over six thousand entries from all over the world. After about two months of daily judging and many days of processing results, winners are now listed on our website and  information packets are in the mail. U.S. entrants should have their results by Wednesday; Canadians by the end of the week; and entrants outside the U.S. whenever the stars are in alignment.

Check out our Platinum and Gold winners on our website. The database is searchable for cities, states and categories. So, you can find out who else won in your area or who the other winners were in your category.

We’ve also posted examples of winning work on our website, blog and Facebook page. We know how sensitive client permission can be, so don’t worry, if you didn’t give us permission, your work is not displayed.


AVA Awards gets a face lift!

The 2013 AVA Digital Awards competition is set to open this Thursday, November 1st! We are pleased to introduce some new and exciting branding, new categories, as well as a new website and online entry / registration system.

The creative convergence of digital arts, technology and information is changing the way we market, communicate and socially interact. The advent of digital media allows audio, video and electronic text to work together to enhance the speed and flow of information. Show off your best work and separate yourself from your competition. Register and enter November 1st! 


This Week’s Latest Tech Gadgets – Oct. 29, 2012

By Gregg Ellman

You would think you had it all after purchasing an Apple iMac but the Twelve South intros HiRise for iMac is a nice accessory to add to the somewhat all-inclusive computer.

It’s made with what seems to be an identical match as far as appearance with it’s extruded aluminum and stamped steel finish. The match is so that once it’s in place you would think it’s part of the computer.

The installation is basically nothing, just slide the shelf in the position you want and put the base of the iMac on top of that.

The shelf adjusts a few inches up and down with six internal positions, which causes the computers screen to go up and down, so just find the right height that works best.

A magnetically secured faceplate flips open to reveal two shelves, which can be used to store cables or other small accessories. Small hard drives can even be stored inside and have the drives cables feed out the back side of the HiRise to plug into the computers ports.

While I tested it out with a 27-inch iMac, its designed to work with any of size of the iMac family or Apple Displays with an L-shaped base.

A company representative also mentioned that a new that another HiRise, this one for MacBook, is being introduced this week. $79.99


The iSafe backpack joins the crowded retail world of ‘i’ products but it’s almost in a class by itself when it comes to security with the Urban Crew backpack line designed for teens.

A concealed audible alarm is built into each bag that also includes an undetectable activation pin built in to the shoulder strap of the backpack.

Once it’s activated, the alarm yields an noise with flashing lights, to draw attention to the potential theft while the backpack is sitting by itself or on your back.

One model, the iSafe Guardian School Backpack ($49.99) is designed for ages 8 and above. It’s a top loading, lightweight bag with easy access to the main compartment.

The guardian weighs just 1.7 pounds with it’s alarm system and batteries (two 9V alkaline) and is available in black, blue, green and pink.

The Urban Crew Campus Laptop Backpack ($89.99) is designed for ages 14 and up with seven zippered compartments along with an audio player pocket, computer sleeve and padded shoulder straps.

It weighs just 3 pounds with the alarm and batteries. available in five color combinations including including black, green, pink, purple, and red.


Headphones from Monster always seem to set a standard for innovation in both looks and sound.

The new Monster DNA headphones combine their sound with branding from Viacom, home to the world’s premier entertainment brands including MTV and VH1.

After Monster came out with the Beats years ago, many companies saw them as a trend setter and they were copied over and over.

As for the new DNAs, they look a little different from most any other headphones on the market with a futuristic design. Their great sound along with the comfort of the triangle-shaped padded ear cups make them a definite candidate to be copied yet again.

After turning up the music, the sound is nothing short of the high expectations from a company like Monster and I expect the same from V-Moda after I get a chance to try out their new M-100 headphones later this year.

The headphones I tried were a teal/white combination but choices of designs, patterns and two-tone colors are way too extensive to list here; just check out the Monster site.

The cord included with the headphones is Apple friendly to answer calls and control iPhones, iPads and selected iPods. A travel pouch is also included. $229.95

Contact Gregg Ellman at
Follow him on Twitter: @greggellman.
2012, Gregg Ellman.


This Week’s Tech Gadgets – Oct. 22, 2012

By Gregg Ellman

Two products make a great combination for an earful of tunes while on a leisurely bike ride.

The first is the Bikemate Slim Case 3 smartphone bike mount, which to me is one of the best among many bike mounts I’ve tested.

My reasoning is that it’s design and size allows users to put their smartphone inside the clear window case without removing your existing case.

This enalbles it to be compatible with most every smartphone including iPhone 5 (as tested), BlackBerry’s, Droids, and the Samsung Galaxyes;  as along as it’s no bigger then 3.5 x 5-inches to fit inside the pouch.

Attaching it to the bike frame is simple; if it takes more then two minutes, you did something wrong.  It attaches scratch-free with the rubber grip you get in the package and can be adjusted for most bikes.

The case is made of a dual layered foamex to keep your smartphone clean and more importantly visible and accessible.

A Velcro seal keeps it in place but there are openings for full access to the headphone and charging ports.

You can also hear sound from the devices internal speakers but a better solution for sound is the next product.

Obviously you should always keep your volume low to keep yourself safe to hear any surrounding noise, vehicles, etc. $24.99


Phiaton’s PS210 Bluetooth headphones make a great partner with the Bikemate case.

I’ve tested many other headphones from Phiaton and these are as good if not better then any of the previous ones.

They feature an ergonomic half-in ear design, which give you great sound and at low volume I was able to clearly hear my XM radio along with outside noise.

All the controls are on a small controller, which has a clip to attach to your shirt or pocket for easy access.

Once I paired with via Bluetooth with my iPhone 5, the controller allowed me to change the volume, switch tracks and even answer calls and talk through its built-in microphone.

Phiaton’s Echo-Off noise reductions helps eliminate background noise so the person on the other end of the call can hear you loud and clear.

A built-in battery takes a microUSB charge to give you about 14 hours of music listening.

When you want the headphones really cranked up to higher volumes you get great sound with enhanced noise canceling technology along with the Bluetooth 3.0 technology.

Additionally, you get four sizes of silicon ear tips for the right fit, a neck strap, carrying case and a USB charging cable. $98


Blue Microphones Mikey digital audio microphone for the iPad and iPhone is as simple as any to use for audio recording.

It’s advertised as a plug-and-play stereo microphone and it’s just that. It works with just about any recording app such as the one I tested it with, Garageband.

Just plug it in and your device recognizes it instantly and works the app.

You won’t see any difference when you’re recording with the microphone, but when you play it back you can hear the clarity vs. recording done with the built-in mic.

It has automatic and manual gain settings and can be angled (230 degrees) toward the audio source.

Another neat feature has a USB charging port on the microphone, which can charge your iPad or iPhone while it’s being used for recording. This can be a great feature for extended recording sessions to keep your device powered up.

Also included is an adapter to connect instruments to the 3.5mm input port.

SInce the Mikey connects via the Apple 30-pin connecter, those with an iPhone 5 will be fine. A company representative from Blue Microphones sent me a note on that issue saying  “We have tested and confirmed that Mikey Digital is fully compatible with iPhone 5 using Apple’s adapter for the Lightning connection.” $99

Contact Gregg Ellman at
Follow him on Twitter: @greggellman.
2012, Gregg Ellman.