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

By Gregg Ellman

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.   $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.  $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.  $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.  $49.95

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


2013 Hermes Awards Deadline this Friday!

hermes link graphicAttention all Marketing and Communication Professionals. Time is running out to submit your best work in the 2013 Hermes Creative Awards.

You don’t have to wait months to find out how you did. We anticipate being ready to post winners and mail results on May 1.

Deadline April 12


This Week’s Latest Tech Gadgets – April 8, 2013

By Gregg Ellman

Jabra VoxEvery time Jabra makes a hands-free Bluetooth headset, it seems to work better than the previous version, even if the previous was outstanding.

With that reputation in mind, I looked forward to the next generation of Jabra Vox earbud styled headphones, which were rolled out earlier this month.

Even before I plugged the Vox into my iPhone, one look showed that they were obviously designed and built with durability in mind _ but let’s not forget the great sound.

Each earbud is attached to square, tangle-free cable that has inline cord control and mic for hands-free calls, volume and music selections on many smartphones.

Jabra even tested the cord to withstand 15 kg of pull force, which translates to being well-made and able to withstand wear and tear.

If you have never had tangle-free headphone cables, you don’t know what you’re missing.

Each earbud is designed to stay in your ear and you also get three different sized ear gels for the perfect fit.

They also include SnagIt Magnets, which keep the speakers attached to each other when not in use. They can be stored in the included hand carrying pouch.

After you get past the appearance and craftsmanship, all you need to know is that you won’t take them out of your ear after listening to the crisp sound without a a hint of distortion but lots of bass.

You can also add to your listening experience by downloading the free Jabra sound app (iOS and Android), which is described to add depth and dimension to your music with the addition of Dolby Digital sound.

The app includes an equalizer for manual adjustments or presets for classic, dance, pop and rock.  $99.99


Satechi Smart LED Desk LampI never thought a desk lamp would be something that could be classified as “cool” but the Satechi Smart LED desk lamp is just that.

In addition to doing just as it’s named to give your desk some nice, soft illuminating light, it has different modes for specific atmosphere or mood lighting.

Light is measured in temperature, which is stated in kelvin (k), with temperatures over 5000k considered cool lighting and lower temperatures are called warm.

With that in mind, the Satechi light has different modes to achieve a lot of these settings with just the touch of a button on the lights base.

Among the four custom settings are the reading mode, which give you mid-range settings for less eye-strain at 4300k – 5300k; the bedtime mode softens the lighting with a 2500k – 3300k setting.

The low powered light is rated to last over 40,000 hours, which I have no inclination to test or doubt. It’s also built with a multi-pivot and flexible arm to position the light’s in numerous angles.

A USB port on the back of the base enables charging smartphones or anything needing up to a 700mAh charge, which excludes many power hungry tablets.  available in black or white models


iStabilizer FlexThe iStabilizer Flex ($20.88) has a flexible tripod system and a mounting kit to hold most any smartphone or other smaller digital cameras, the latter of which will give you much better quality.

Since the legs are flexible, in addition to standing on any flat surface, it will attach to a fence post, doorknob, rear view mirror or anything it can wrap itself around.

The tripod has the standard tripod socket on top, which can attach directly to some cameras or just use the mount kit to place the camera in multiple angles.

The iStabilizer Mount (included) holds devices up to 2.75-inches wide; past that you’ll need to buy the iStabilizer Mount XL ($19.95) wide tripod adapter.


Garmin StreetPilotLast week after running normal app updates on my iPhone 5, my Garmin app gave me a surprise by broadcasting driving directions through my car stereo speakers.

Later that day I found out why in an email from the company announcing the update to their Navigon iOS app for Apple devices (version 2.4) with Bluetooth audio support and Wikipedia integration.

When the directions start speaking, the music stops and vice versa.

The Garmin app for iOS and Android devices cost a little more than the average 99-cent or even free apps, but after you use it, take my word – you’ll wonder how you every lived without it.  iOS or Android for USA $49.99, all of North America is $59.99

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


This Week’s Latest Tech Gadgets – April 1, 2013

By Gregg Ellman

CamRangerThe CamRanger is the wireless device photographers have been waiting a long time for and after one use I can say it was worth the wait.

It plugs into the USB-out port on most of the newer digital SLR cameras from Canon and Nikon to create a WiFi network with Apple iOS (4.0 and up) devices or Mac computers with OSX 10.7 and up. An Android version is in development and is expected out later this spring.

The setup is simple: Just download the free CamRanger app from iTunes and complete a simple registration process (serial number validation). From there it’s pretty amazing how well it works.

Once you’re hooked up and everything is on, the app displays all the camera settings and enables you to change most of them on your handheld devices LCD.

This includes autofocus, live view, shutter speed, image quality, aperture, ISO, firing the camera itself and reviewing images. The app lets you double tap an image to increase its magnification.

What instantly impressed me was how easy it is to set up compared to a complicated process for similar devices.

On my first day of testing, I connected the CamRanger to my Canon 1DX, which was mounted on a backboard at a college basketball game. Images were shot and edited with my iPad, enabling them to be seen just as the action happened.

The unit can be used while you’re taking photos or you can attach it to a camera to read what’s on the memory card after a day of shooting.

For example, vacation photographers can be out a whole day photographing family fun and then at night, connect the CamRanger to the camera to view, download and email off selected photos; it’s that easy.

The battery looks like a standard cell phone battery and is good for 3 to 6 hours before a USB charge is needed. If you have a portable USB battery, it also works and recharges the CamRanger when connected.

You get a 150-foot range from the device (4 x 2.5 x .5-inches) and it comes with charging and connection USB cables along with a storage pouch, which can be attached to a camera or strap.  $299 check the site for supported cameras and features


KlinggThe Klingg cord hold will work with any wired headphone to keep your cable out of the way and tangle free.

There isn’t a lot to it, just a two-pice magnetic system, which you can attach to clothing or just about any surface.

If you attach it to your shirt, the rear part goes inside and the cable-holding end of the magnetic system stays on the outside, which has a slot to run the headphone (not included) cable in. $19.95 available in many color combinations


Hercules Laptop BackpackYou don’t need to know anything about Greek mythology to figure out that the new Hercules (K7102) backpack from ECBC is all you need for a laptop, tablet and more accessories than you would ever use.

Before you even unzip a pocket, you’ll see the backpack is well made with what they list the material as 1000d Kodra.

Most people, including me, would more commonly call this a canvas-type material but either way it looks good.

The material has a water repellent coating and combines with the water-resistant zippers to keep your items weatherproof, which shouldn’t be confused with waterproof.

After your laptop (up to 17-inches) is positioned with the form spacer and a tablet is stored you’ll have to really explore to find all of the compartments since they seem to be hidden and positioned everywhere.

The main compartment can accommodate the big and bulky headphones of today along with power supplies, cords, cables, sunglasses or whatever you want.

Before you fill it up, the backpack measures 18.4 x 12.13 x 7.1-inches and weighs 2.7 lbs. Even after it was filled to capacity, I was still able to fit it under the seat at my feet on a recent flight.

It features an adjustable ergonomically designed shoulder strap system and side pockets for water bottles.  $139.99 available in berry, black, blue, green and linen

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


2013 Hermes Winner, Great-West Financial

hermes link graphicWinner: Great-West Financial
Location: Greenwood Village, Colorado
Client: County of Los Angeles
Title: County of Los Angeles Horizons and 401 (k) Savings Plans – Emercial
Category: #158. Educational

gwlogoVirtually every company and government employer struggles to bring it’s workers into 401 (k) Savings Plans. Employees are bombarded with brochures, flyers, posters, mailings, and emails to stress the importance of planning for their futures. Great-West Financial is a company that offers a range of retirement savings products. One of it’s clients is the County of Los Angeles. To entice worker participation in the county’s 401 (k), Great-West created a video that is as original as it is informative. Using animation where a worker ant is the protagonist, the video conveys a strong message without being heaving handed. The graphics, animation, and voice over seamlessly work together to make important points in a clever way.



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

By Gregg Ellman

GlobalgigThe Globalgig WiFi hotspot is a pocket sized device, which you connect your portable devices to enable them to have 2G and 3G broadband Internet access from just about anywhere.

The Globalgig charges via USB and works in seven countries around the world on various networks. In the United States it works on the Sprint network

The setup is pretty simple; just turn it on, choose Globalgig as your wireless network and add your own password.

Once the Globalgig is activated, you can connect up to five devices simultaneously to the hotspot.

Sprint 3G Network CoverageUnlike similar devices you can get from most wireless carriers, the Globalgig is available without a contract.

The device works great for web surfing and checking email and costs $119 for the hardware. Data plans start with a 1GB plan for $17 per-month and go up to a 10GB plan for $80 monthly.

A plan can be changed to higher or lower options up to 48 hours before the end of your billing cycle.

You can even log into the Globalgig site to keep track of your monthly usage and register for email alerts when you have used 50%, 85% and 100% of your monthly data plan.

If you choose to have an 18 month contract, you’ll have the same monthly pricing options but the device is free.


Marley Rise UpThe House of Marley Rise Up over the ear headphones standout out from most any other headphones before you even plug them into a music source, simply because of the Eco-friendly design.

They are made with earth-friendly materials including bamboo fiber ear cups, recyclable aluminum and recycled packaging.

Each ear cup along with the adjustable headband have a unique denim covering in color choices of blue, saddle, caramel or camo.

A three button remote with mic is built into the 52-inch tangle free fabric cord, which has gold-plated connections for clear, crisp sound.

Once you get past the cool look and design, the sound you hear is just as impressive from the 50mm dynamic drivers for both music as well as phone calls. The padded ear cups are so comfortable, you’ll forget you even have them on your head.

A canvas carrying case is also included. $159.99


Enercell wall ChargerApple only gives you a USB cable to charge the latest Apple iOS devices including the iPhone 5 and the iPad mini but the Enercell wall charger with lightning connector is another choice.

A 3.28-foot cord separates the wall outlet from the 8-pin Lightning connection. The wall outlet prongs even fold up to make it ideal for storage.

It’s Apple certified for charging, features output over-current and short-circuit protection and is available in white or black options. $31.99


Hi5 batteryUnlike other battery cases for the iPhone 5, the iBattz Mojo Hi5 Powerbank can be attached to the back of it’s case when a charge is needed or the battery can be left off.

A pair of identically designed cases are included with the 2500mAh battery; one black and one white. Each of them have three holes on the back, which are used to attach the battery.

After the battery is attached, plug your iPhone cable into the battery and your phone to charge it up. When your charged up, you can leave it attached to the case or take it off.

To power up the battery itself, it’s charged with the included USB cable.

The battery, which measures 4 7/8 x 2 1/4 x 3/16-inches, has an aluminum unibody enclosure and can also be used as a free standing battery to charge up other USB powered devices.

A power indicator is built into the side of the battery. $79.95

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


2013 Hermes Winner, OneVoice

hermes link graphicWinner: OneVoice
Location: New York, NY
Client: Norelco
Title: Norelco Beard Wars
Category: #78c

onevoice logo Norelco, longtime leader in electric shavers, turned to OneVoice to create a PR campaign to pump up its products with the younger demographic. OneVoice combined the NHL playoffs, two hockey greats, and the Funny or Die website. The humorous campaign centered around the ritual of hockey  beards. Leveraging hockey teams, social media, and traditional media, OneVoice garnered 100 media placements and more than 550 million impressions in key men’s and sports outlets. Funny or die generated more than 180,000 views. See video, here.



2013 Hermes Winner, M Silver Associates

hermes link graphic

Winner: M Silver Associates
Location: New York, NY
Client: Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention and Visitors Bureau
Title: Defrost Your Swimsuit
Category: #81c Special Event


m silver LogoWhen it’s cold outside and you live the northern confines of the world sunshine and beaches beckon.  Ft. Lauderdale is one of the top warm weather getaway spots in America and pulls heavily from the New York, Toronto, and the London markets.  To entice snow birds, the Ft. Lauderdale Convention and Visitors Bureau turned to M Silver Associates.
M Silver is a high-profile consumer marketing public relations agency with offices in New York City and Ft. Lauderdale.  The agency created a campaign called “Defrost Your Swimsuit.”  It placed swimsuits in blocks of ice and left them in Times Square and other high profile places in the target markets.  The campaign landed prominent placement stories in  publications and on television.  One highlight was the weatherman for Good Morning America doing his forecast from inside a glassed in ‘Defrost Your Swimsuit’ trailer on the streets of New York while bikini clad women tossed the beach ball in the background.
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Defrost Your Swimsuit

This Week’s Latest Tech Gadgets – March 19, 2013

By Gregg Ellman

Airport CommuterI’ve had the ThinkTank Photo Airport Commuter backpack sitting around for a while but since I finally got to test it out on a trip and I was thrilled about it, I’ll still report my findings.

I’ve tried a lot of backpacks, which claim they can really hold a lot of gear, keep to form and not be a strain on your back but end up not coming through.

The Airport Commuter is on the other end because I filled it up and it held up as advertised and more.

I filled it up with a pair of DSLR cameras, 3 lenses, a flash, extra batteries and memory cards. In addition, I put a 15-inch MacBook pro and an iPad in separate compartments along with chargers and lots of cables and accessories.

If I organized it a little better, I’m sure I could have added even more.

The harness straps are padded and adjustable and include hardware to attach small accessories.

As with most of ThinkTank products, a built in rain coat is included along with lot’s of weather proofing throughout the bag, which includes material coated to be water resistant.

A medium sized tripod or monopod can be attached to straps on the side of the bag.

Other features include a cable lock, business card holder, water bottle pocket and an endless amount of storage compartments along with cell foam dividers, which create an endless amount of possibilities.

According to ThinkTank, the bag is “Sized to meet international carry- on size requirements,” which I can say I had no problem with. $199.75


X-mini CapsuleThe X-mini capsule speakers are one of those “wow” devices I come across now and then.

They are every bit of pocket-sized and portable just as they are advertised to be but when you crank them up the sound is far from small.

Each speaker measures about 2-inches in diameter by 1.5-inch high, but expand to 2-inches when you twist open each speaker.

Unless you use the Bluetooth, the 3.5 mini audio jack connection cable that comes out the bottom of each speaker is easy to access and is easy to hide when not in use.

For setup, just connect one speaker to your tablet, smartphone or any device playing your audio, and then connect a speaker to the first.

Each speaker is magnetized on the bottom, so you can attach them together for easy storage.

They come in many colors in three different setups; wired mono ($39) or wired stereo ($59)  choices (as tested) or a Bluetooth stereo system ($79).

It’s powered by a built-in rechargeable battery, which has a playback of up to 18 hours. A USB connection in on each speaker for charging it back up (cable included).