This Week’s Tech Gadgets – Oct. 15, 2012

By Gregg Ellman

Likes millions of others around the world, I chose to upgrade to the iPhone 5 a few weeks ago and until recently it sat uncased.

Unlike the iPhone 4 to 4S upgrade, the iPhone has a different body so that caused a delay in the release of cases and accessories from third party vendors.

According to several tech supply companies, Apple didn’t release the specs of the new phone and it’s new redesigned Lightning power connection until the actual announcement.

As for the cases, they have been popping up on my doorstep almost daily, which gives me a lot to choose from.

Literally within second’s of the iPhone 5 announcement my inbox was flooded with emails from companies announcing their new cases and most said that their products would be available any day or soon.

The first one out of the gate and into my hands was from Scosche and among their choices was the rawHIDE.

It’s made with a polycarbonate shell and has a genuine leather exterior.

Just as with every other case, you get full access to the screen, volume control and the lightning port. $24 black only


As I’ve written previously, Otterbox makes some great products and their efforts with the iPhone 5 continue their tradition of protecting high-priced portable gadgets.

You can’t go wrong in choosing between Otterbox’s Defender or Commuter Series iPhone 5 cases.

The commuter is a two-piece design with a silicone skin-tight shell that  fits perfectly into a hi-impact polycarbonate shell and comes with a self-adhesive screen protector.

With Defender series you get everything you need to either carry the phone in your pocket or bag and also at your hip with a belt-clip holster that swivels both north/south and east/west,  depending on your preference.

A polycarbonate shell has a built-in screen protector and then is surrounded by an impact-absorbing silicone. $25 for the Commuter or $35 for the Defender


Lots of companies have tried to incorporate a small wallet into their cases and the best I’ve seen so far is the Wallet Case from Targus.

Without adding any bulk, the back opens to reveal a patent pending compartment where you can store a credit card and drivers license or just a few business cards.

It’s made with a faux leather exterior and is available in black, French blue and merlot. $25


MarCom Winner, M Booth and Associates

Winner: M Booth and Associates
Title of Entry: “Country Crock’s “A Very Veggie World””
Location: New York, NY
Client: Unilever-Country Crock
Category: 116. Other

With offices around the world, M Booth and Associates is one of the largest public relations companies.  They were approached by Unilever-Country Crock to create a brochure promoting vegetables.  That sounds like a tough challenge, but M Booth was up for it.  The creative team imagined vegetables in all different types of scenarios in a myriad of locations.  The result is a photographic feast.  Vegetables never looked so good. Full brochure, here.



This Week’s Tech Gadgets – Oct. 8, 2012

By Gregg Ellman

AirPrint is a feature Apple put in iOS devices a few years ago to help users print emails, documents and photos without using  a computer if you had a newer, AirPrint-ready printer.

The problem for many people is you already have at least one printer that doesn’t have the feature so printing is not possible. That’s where the Lantronix’s xPrintServer Home Edition comes in.

The device (4.5 x 2.4 x 0.8-inches) is small enough to hide behind a printer and has ports for USB, ethernet and power all on one side.

It comes with everything you need to get it going except a USB printing cable. The setup is pretty simple: plug in the printer, ethernet cable and power cable in that order and give it a few seconds to set itself up.

Then your iOS device or any computers on the same network will recognize your printer(s) as “Auto Discovered (USB)” and you print.

Within the instructions it’s noted that the xPrintServer can work with up to eight printers with a USB hug (not included), I tested it with a few Epson printers and it worked perfectly.

A listed of compatible printers is at the company’s website and you can ask to have yours added if it’s not included yet.

I reached out to company officials about any future of an Android version and they indicated  “Lantronix is focusing on providing iPad and iPhone printing solutions at this time, and at the point when an Android solution is available, the company will announce it.” $100


At first glance the iStabilzer Dolly looks like a kid’s toy but it’s actually a useful device that attaches to your smartphone to turn handheld, shaky video into smooth rolling and panning footage.

Four smooth rolling wheels are on a pair of axels and attach to the bottom of the metal base. An 8-inch arm is attached in the front, back or center of the base.

Your smartphone or even a GoPro is attached to the arm with the iStablizer mount and can then be pivoted and angled to most any angle you want. The mount can also be used on any standard threaded tripod mount without the Dolly.

Roll it, angle it, put it up high, down or anywhere you can reach or it will fit.

While I was testing it, I had my iPhone out of its case but since the mount is spring loaded I would think it would be fine with most smartphone cases.

The dimensions are 8 x 3 x 5 but changes when you attach the arm and it weights 1.25 pounds before you attached you phone or camera. $50


The Jabra Solemate, called the Ultimate Portable Speaker, definitely gets the WOW vote from me.

Pair it up with any Bluetooth-enabled device for a wireless connection or just use a microUSB or 3.5mm audio cable (included) to connect ’em up.

But after you’re connected and you turn up the volume you’ll hear the great sound. The sound, with a great deep bass, comes from front-facing dual tweeters and an integrated subwoofer.

In addition to music, it’s built with a microphone so hands-free cell calls can be used with it or just have it cranked up for great sound while gaming.

The design is the speaker is also pretty cool with a handle for portability on one end of the body. The other end as all the ports and power control.

The top and bottom of the handheld speaker is made with rubber, while the body is made with a high-quality metal mesh body to let the sound out.

It also comes with a sound bag to keep it clean free from weather, dirt or dust but still blasting out the sound.

The internal battery should last for up to 8 hours of use before a USB charge is needed. It’s available in black or white models for $199.

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


This Week’s Tech Gadgets – Oct. 1, 2012

By Gregg Ellman

For years I’ve been a digital music junkie with a variety of devices but it’s still kind of cool to go back to the player I used in high school – a Sony Walkman.

The latest in the line of digital players is the Sony E470 Series MP3, the thinest Walkman ever at just 7.0 millimeters (0.276 in). The rest of the body is 3.75-inches long by about 1.5-inches wide.

Photos and video’s are viewed on a 2-inch LCD.

Music and video’s are loaded into the player with ease from Windows media player or iTunes.

The internal battery is rated to work for 36 hours of music playback or up to 6 hours of video watching.

Great-sounding hybrid silicone soft EX earbuds are included with the digital player that also has a built-in FM tuner.

While it comes with instructions, they aren’t really needed to work the player. Everything loaded and played with ease but I did kind of miss the static I used to get from my original Walkman of the 1980’s

Additional features include two pre-installed Sudoku and Tetris-like games, a microphone,  a clock and alarm features.

Built into the internal software is a feature called SensMe tone analysis, which will group your music based on beats-per-minute.

It’s available in metallic red or with a black finish and sells for $79.99 with 8GB of storage (as I tested) or 16GB for $109.99.


The XD Sport from Optrix transforms your iPhone into a rugged action sports camera.

Once your iPhone is mounted in the water resistant case, the included mount can be put on a bike, boat, plane or even your dog if they cooperate – obviously mine did not.

The three-element glass lens has a 175-degree field of view for capturing an ultra-wide angle image.

As for the case, it’s military grade, which means it’s rugged and can withstand drops and bumps a lot more then the average case or keeping the iOS device caseless.

It’s built with a polycarbonate shell with a rubber interior to protect the pricy smartphone and is waterproof up to about 20-inches. Your devices touch screen is fully accessable through the 0.5mm-thick touch screen membrane

It’s available in different bundles depending on how you want to mount it with flat and curved mounts.

The motorsports bundle has a tripod mount and a suction cup or with the H20 bundle you get what is referred to as the strongest suction cup you can buy.

This includes an indicator to alert users to any loss of pressure where the suction cup can become detached.

Currently the system is available for the iPhone 4/4s and is not designed for the iPhone 5 but a company spokesperson indicated the Optrix is in the process of tailoring for the newer models. starting at $99


You can’t predict a roadside emergency but you can count on Eton’s Road Torq self-powered emergency kit to fire up with the needed light to help get you through the problem.

The American Red Cross has their approval and logo on the light, which has a 1.7 W LED flashlight with 90 lumens.

It’s built with a rechargeable lithium-ion battery;  to charge it up, you use hand turbine technology, which translates to you cranking it.

For every two minutes of cranking you’ll get about 15 minutes of power. Three legs fold out to keep it standing on its own to shine a single watt LED spotlight built with an adjustable head.

You can also plug it into a cars DC outlet for power.

It measures 2.5 x 7.125 x 2.5-inches and weighs just 13-ounces, which gives it easy portability and storage. $30.

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


MarCom Winner, Nationwide

Winner: Nationwide
Title of Entry: “Nationwide Corporate Capabilities Brochure”
Location: Columbus, OH – Ohio
Client: Nationwide
Category: 34. Capabilities

Nationwide is an insurance company whose commercials we’ve all seen. The company also puts together a smart, sleek capabilities brochure. The brochure communicates with concise writing, well designed graphics, and interesting photography. The layout allows the reader to take in the information without being overwhelmed. The brochure manages to tout the companies capabilities without getting bogged down in superlatives or hyperbole.


MarCom Winner, Purdue Research Foundation

Winner: Purdue Research Foundation
Title of Entry: “Purdue Office of Technology Commercialization 2010 Annual Report”
Location: West Lafayette, IN
Client: Purdue Research Foundation
Category: Publications / Annual Report 31. Other

Annual Reports come in all sizes and varieties. Though they serve a very important function for corporations, universities, non-profits, and NGO’s, often they are not the most exciting publication off the presses. With a name like “Purdue Office of Technology Commercialization 2010 Annual Report”, you would expect a technical and not so exciting report. But Purdue does things a bit differently. This annual report contains unique design techniques along with bold graphics and exceptional photography. If you were wondering what this office does, it commercializes the university’s intellectual property.


MarCom Winner, Chandler Chico Agency

Winner: Chandler Chico Agency
Title of Entry: “Ali and Christina’s Inspirational Song for the Cystic Fibrosis Community”
Location: New York, NY
Client: Novartis
Category: 160c. Social Media Campaign

There is any number of diseases in America vying for recognition and awareness. Cystic Fibrosis received a huge boost this past year through a social media campaign created by Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation and Chandler Chicco Agency . Singers Ali, age 22, and Christina Christensen, age 15, were recruited to help. They are sisters with Cystic Fibrosis who appeared In 2010 on America’s Got Talent. A song and video were created called “Something About Me”

Using the song as a hook, the agency conducted a multi-faceted campaign that utilized media tours, traditional and online PR, and social media. Millions of people were touched and reached across media platforms. enrollments jumped by 96% and traffic increased by 750% just in the first week of the launch.


Betty White Is Still Hot

Winner: The Lifeline Program
Location: Tucker, GA
Title of Entry: “I’m Still Hot”
Category: Video/Marketing Product or Service
Title of Entry: “I’m Still Hot”
Category: Branding/Viral Music Video
Title of Entry: Betty’s Corner
Category: Social Media Site

Here’s your marketing situation. You have a life insurance product called life settlements that is not well known and somewhat difficult to understand. It is not fun, sexy or interesting. Your target audience for the product is seniors. And by the way, you have less than a million dollars to spend on a national campaign. And to make things more challenging, the communication method of choice is viral.

What do you do? Hire Betty White. She is fun, sexy, interesting and most importantly credible. The Lifeline Program gives seniors the opportunity to cash in their life insurance policies before they die. Betty White is vouching for this product, so it must be a good thing. While the target audience for the product is seniors, success may ultimately rest on whether their sons, daughters and other influencers understand and endorse the program. Reaching these baby boomers is also important because they are the customers of the future.

The Lifeline Program produced a music video remix with Betty rapping with British dance star Luciana to her #1 hit “I’m Still Hot”. The video premiered on Good Morning America and has been a YouTube sensation. The I’m Still Hot Remix is a hot commodity on iTunes with most of the proceeds benefitting one of Betty’s favorite charities, the Los Angeles Zoo. The Lifeline Program also produced radio spots and a social media site called “Betty’s Corner” which further embellishes the brand.

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