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Author Archive for Janet Cloninger – Page 2

Micro Field Bag for iPhone


Pad and Quill has a line of leather and canvas gear bags to hold your laptop and tablets, and they realized they had forgotten a gear bag for one very important item – the iPhone.  The Micro Field Bag for iPhone is made of full grain leather, 18-oz waxed canvas, and stitched with thread that is used in parachutes.  It’s sized to fit your iPhone, a few credit cards, and some cash.  For a $70 pledge at Kickstarter, you’ll receive a Micro Field Bag for iPhone in your choice of blue, green, or gray canvas with whiskey leather.  Funding continues through Wed, April 30, 2014 at 10:13pm EDT;  if successful, shipping is expected in June, 2014.

Turn your favorite speakers into a wireless Bluetooth system


With the new Bluetooth Audio Adapter from Logitech, you’ll be able to convert any powered speakers, like PC speakers, home stereo systems, or A/V receivers, into Bluetooth-enabled speakers.  You can pair the adapter with both your smart phone and a tablet and stream music from one of them.  Once you’ve paired the adapter with a device, it will automatically re-connect.  You can connect any speakers with either a 3.5mm audio cable or RCA plugs to the Logitech adapter.  Logitech says “the Bluetooth Audio Adapter is tuned at Logitech labs to deliver high-quality acoustics.”  And with the extended wireless range, you’ll be able to stream and control your music from up to 50 feet way.  The Bluetooth Audio Adapter is available at Logitech for $39.99.

Forget carrying individual device chargers


Having to carry individual AC chargers for each of your mobile devices can take up a lot of room and add a lot of weight to your gear bag.  With the Aluratek 6-port USB Charging Station with Surge Protection, you can charge up to six USB-chargeable devices simultaneously.  Each of the six ports can produce 2.1A for charging, and the total draw for charging multiple devices simultaneously is 7.5A.  The Aluratek charging station includes a surge protector, with built-in fireproof circuit protection.  You’ll have to supply your own charging cables.  The 6-port USB Charging Station with Surge Protection is $49.99 at Aluratek.

Here’s the solution for when you can’t quite see your iPhone screen


Okay, I recently reviewed my new Satechi ReadMate LED Desktop Magnifier, which I bought to help my aging eyes see small details, but I’m not ready to admit I need this magnifier.  The iPhone5-compliant Magnifier from THANKO, also called the Raku Raku Magnifier,  slides over your iPhone 5 to magnify the screen.  Although it specifies the iPhone 5, there’s an adjustment screw for the clamp to fit it to smart phones between 0.31″ (8mm) to 0.39″ (10mm) thick.  The legs can be moved to adjust the focus for your eyes, and you could fold it flat so you can stick the phone in your pocket or bag.  The magnifier is $15.80 at THANKO.

Amazon introduces Fire TV


Amazon just introduced their entry in the streaming-media box field.  The Fire TV is a tiny, black box that streams many of the subscription services you expect: Netflix, Crackle, Hulu Plus, WatchESPN, and many others.  Unlike the Apple TV, it also provides access to Amazon’s Instant Video, including the free content available to Prime users.  It also easily interacts with Amazon’s Kindle Fire tablets, so you can mirror your tablet’s screen to your HDTV.  You can also use the Fire tablet as a second screen to learn more about what’s playing on the Fire TV with Amazon’s X-Ray, with information provided by IMDB.

It has plenty of power under its hood – “powerful quad-core processor, dedicated GPU, 2 GB of memory, and dual-band, dual-antenna Wi-Fi. With a fast, fluid interface, high definition 1080p video, and Dolby Digital Plus surround sound, Fire TV looks—and sounds—amazing.”  It also has a predictive feature called ASAP that can predict what movies and TV shows you’ll want to watch and have them ready so you don’t have to wait through buffering.

Amazon also added games to Fire TV.  They already have more than 100 games ready to go, including MinecraftThe Walking DeadMonsters University, and Amazon’s exclusive Sev Zero, with many more coming soon.  A gaming controller is available for $39.99 as an optional purchase.  The feature that interests me most is their voice search.  I just spent half the night scrolling around my Apple TV’s alphanumeric matrix entering my updated Apple ID information, and I was about ready to throw the remote through the TV screen before I got everything in correctly.  Searching on the Apple TV is no better, because you still have to scroll and click your way through all those letters to enter a title.  The Fire TV’s remote has a microphone built-in; you speak the title of the show or an actor’s name into the remote, and save yourself tendonitis of the thumb from all that scrolling and clicking and of the shoulder from holding the remote pointed at the box long enough to enter all that.

Fire TV is available for purchase at Amazon now.  It’s $99.00, and it comes with the Fire TV and remote, power supply, and a set of batteries for the remote.  You’ll need an HDTV, HDMI cable, and high-speed internet.  I have those three things already, and my Fire TV should be delivered on Friday.  I’ll just need to make sure I have sodas and popcorn for Friday night movie night using the Fire TV.

Now you can control your Phillips Hue lights from your Mac computer


I got the Phillips Hue lights starter kit for Christmas, and I control them with an app on my iPhone or iPad.  Sometimes I’m at my computer and would like to turn on the lights, but I can’t unless I have one of my mobile devices with me.  Phillips made the API available for third-party developers, and Charles Aroutiounian made use of them to create the Hue Menu app for Mac computers.  This app allows you to:

  • Change the bulbs colors from the color charts in the menu or from the traditional Mac OS color picker.
  • Create presets, so you can quickly turn on a favorite color scene.
  • Select random mode for all the lights or for a specific light bulb to continually change the colors of the bulbs.
  • Set alarms to turn on/off  individual light bulbs.
  • Rename the lights.
  • Set brightness or turn on/off some or all the lights.

The Hue Menu app is $2.99 in the Mac App Store.

This backup battery will let you use a USB keyboard with your tablet


The EneBRICK from Cerevo packs a lot of function into a 4.9″ X 2.5″ X 0.9″ package.  It has a 6000mAh internal battery, and it has two USB ports for charging your mobile devices.  It also pulls open to expose a stand for your smart phone or tablet; it comes with adjusters that allow it to hold a variety of phones and tablets at a 70-degree angle for comfortable viewing.  Those two functions don’t seem so surprising, do they?  Well, the EneBRICK also has a built-in Bluetooth transmitter that allows you to plug in your favorite USB keyboard to turn it into a Bluetooth keyboard.  You don’t have to spend extra money for a Bluetooth keyboard, and you don’t have to settle for those tablet-specific keyboards that have the cramped, undersized key layouts.  Cerevo says the EneBRICK is coming soon.  Unfortunately, there’s no price information available yet.

Divoom’s rugged, wireless speaker is great for travel


Divoom’s Voombox-Travel speaker is a 3″ round, puck-style speaker that’s perfect for taking everywhere you go.  It has a rugged, splash-proof design that makes it perfect for outdoor use.  It streams music wirelessly using Bluetooth 4.0, and it has a built-in microphone so it will function as a speaker phone for hands-free calling.  It has a 2″ driver and a 2″ passive radiator for impressive bass.  The rechargeable battery gives you six hours of music or calling time between charges.  It’s available in black, red, blue, or green for $49.00.  Read more about the Voombox-Travel at Divoom.

Keep that pesky sand at bay with this mat


The Four Person Beach Mat is impossible to cover with sand. Used in military applications to contain sand and dust when helicopters land and take off, it’s  made from two layers of patented, woven polyurethane that filters sand through to the ground as soon as any falls on the mat.  Because of the construction, sand passes through only in one direction, so no sand from the beach will work its way up onto the mat.  The material also resists dirt and water, and it’s strong enough that you can use outdoor furniture on it, too.  Because it doesn’t absorb moisture, it resists mold and mildew.  It has metal D-rings on each corner, so you can stake it to the ground.  At 10′ X 10′, it’s big enough to use for a day at the beach or even for camping.  It’s $99.95 at Hammacher Schlemmer.

Fixed light system for bicycles from Sparse


Sparse offers bright, theft-resistant lights for your bicycle that will not only make others aware of your presence on the road, but will also illuminate your path as you turn.  The Spacer Light replaces a spacer beneath your stem. The light fits both 1″ and 1 1/8″ steer tubes; this mounting keeps the light pointing in your direction of travel as you turn the bike.  It has a 3 watt white CREE LED that gives you four hours in “on” mode and 8 hours in “blink” mode between charges.  The Tail Light slips over and clamps onto your seat post (fits most common post sizes, from 27.2mm – 31.9mm).  It has board-mounted red LEDs – 2 rear-facing, 2 side-facing – with up to 2 watts of power.  The Tail Light also operates in “on” and “blink” modes.

The chassis is die-cast zinc that stands up to the weather (IP4 rating), and both have rechargeable lithium-polymer batteries.  Lights come with a 6′ microUSB charging cable and a power adapter suitable for use in the region the purchase originates from.  You can buy a Spacer Light and a Tail Light for $139.99, a Spacer Light alone for $84.99, or a Tail Light for $64.99 at the Sparse website.

That’s not a knife – it’s a charging cable


Though this may look like a Swiss Army knife, it’s actually a compact way to carry your charging cables.  Instead of blades, the Multi-Tool Adapter has cables: a microUSB, miniUSB, and Apple 30-pin connector for plugging into your device, and a USB connector to plug into your computer or a wall charger.  You’ll notice that it can also be used as a horizontal or vertical stand for your phone, and there’s a compartment to safely store a SIM card.  The Multi-Tool Adapter is available from Allputer for $7.95.

Levenger True Writer Foliage Fountain Pen review


I’ve always loved pens, and I still buy them even though I don’t use them as much these days.  I like my pens to be beautiful as well as useful, and I’ve noticed that my hands are much more comfortable writing with pens with bigger barrels.  My go-to pen these days is a beautiful, screaming red Levenger True Writer ballpoint that I keep in its matching red pen stand.  I have other Levenger ballpoint pens, and I find them to be sturdy, well made, and a bargain for the price.  When Levenger offered one of their True Writer fountain pens, I asked to give it a try.  I received the True Writer Foliage Fountain pen.  We can see that it is beautiful.  Let’s see how it works. Read More →

Outdoor writing products for outdoor writing people


Rite in the Rain notebooks were invented almost 100 years ago by Jerry Darling to address the problem of soggy and illegible paperwork that plagued the Pacific Northwest logging industry.  Although Mr. Darling passed away long ago, his company continues in the hands of Scott and Todd Silver, who have continued to work to improve their products. The line of Rite in the Rain hardbound and spiral-bound notebooks, loose leaf and copier/printer papers, forms, and labels are still made in Tacoma, WA.  There’s a variety of styles for use by farmers, emergency personnel, construction personnel, sportsmen, hikers, and others who work or play in extreme conditions – even for making notes while diving.  The notebooks vary in price by style and size of the notebook, but small spiral notebooks start at about $6.00.  Even if you aren’t an outdoorsman or don’t work in extreme conditions, wouldn’t you like to know that your journal would survive having your soda spilled on it?  You can view the entire line of notebooks, papers, and even special pens at the Rite in the Rain website.

Protect your Jawbone Mini Jambox speaker while you travel


If you own a Jawbone Mini Jambox speaker, you may wish for a sturdy case to protect it in your gear bag.  Look no further than the CitySlicker case from Waterfield.  This case is custom-designed for the Mini Jambox, which fits perfectly in the main compartment.  A mesh pocket on the front of the CitySlicker holds the Jambox’s cables.  The body of the CitySlicker is made of black nylon; the flap is available in your choice of black or Grizzly brown premium-grade, naturally-tanned leather.  It’s $49 at Waterfield.  (Speaker not included.)

AC charger and backup battery – two great tastes that taste great together


The Bolt Battery Charger combines the “world’s smallest portable iPhone USB wall charger” with a built-in 3000mAh rechargeable battery, so you’ll be able to charge your phone whether you’re near a power outlet or not.  You won’t have to keep up with a special cable to recharge your backup battery, because the Bolt has prongs that fold down until you need them.  It’s only 2.75″ x 1.33″ x 1.10″, but it packs enough reserve power to recharge a phone twice.  It charges its own battery as it charges up your phone, so you’ll always have backup power even for your longest days.  It’s $59.99 at REIGN|23.

Vaja Cases Small Messenger Bag for iPad mini and 7″ tablets review


The iPad mini is small enough that I can take it anywhere I go.  My mini with Retina display fits inside some of my everyday carry bags, but not all of them.  When I’m carrying one of my smaller bags and want to take my mini along, I have to make a decision:  do I change bags so everything fits in one, or do I keep the small bag and add a second bag for just the iPad?  The perfect choice would be a small bag to take along the iPad mini with just a wallet, keys, and phone, but I didn’t have one of those.  Turns out that Vaja Cases makes a Small Messenger Bag for iPad mini and 7″ tablets.  It has a couple of other pockets in addition to the big one for the tablet, so I thought it looked promising as a bag that could carry my minimal daily gear and the iPad.  I was happy to get to give it a try when Vaja Cases agreed to send one to The Gadgeteer. Read More →

Add wireless charging to your iPhone 5/5s


I never used to understand the allure of wireless charging, but frankly I’m getting tired of the tangle of wires on my bedside table.  This RichardSolo iPhone Wireless Charging System could remove at least one wire from my tangle.  The charging case looks as sleek as any I’ve seen for iPhone, and it’s available in either gold or charcoal to coordinate with two iPhone colors.  The kit includes one charging case and two power base units, two USB/AC dual voltage 100–240V wall adapters, and two USB/microUSB power cables for the base units.  RichardSolo says the “system generates ZERO radiation with high energy efficiency and rapid charging and has smart protection with no power surges or overheating — does not affect battery lifespan.”  The Wireless Charging System for iPhone 5/5s is available at RichardSolo for $129.99.  Shipping is free for this item if you order by March 31, 2014.

Bypass your MacBook Air’s battery with the BatteryBox – and charge your tablet and phone, too


Most external batteries can charge up your phone or your tablet, but you’re out of luck with your laptop.  The BatteryBox is only 0.98″ x 2.63″ x 3.55″ and just under 9 ounces, but it packs 50Wh of energy – enough juice to power your MacBook with enough left over to charge your mobile device, too.  You can double the battery life of a MacBook Air or charge 8 iPhones with a single charge on the BatteryBox.  It doesn’t recharge the MacBook’s battery.  Instead, it bypasses the internal battery and supplies power directly to the MacBook; this minimizes the number of recharge cycles on the laptop’s battery and extends its life.  The BatteryBox is powered by “BatteryOS, a new way of controlling rechargeable lithium-ion batteries that enables them to have higher capacity and not degrade over time. That means BatteryBox will last 3000 full charge and discharge cycles, and still retain 96% of capacity after 5 years.”  It will work with any Macbook with MagSafe2 and can charge any device charged by USB.

The BatteryBox will ship in Fall 2014; a $10 deposit will reserve one.  You’ll be charged $129 when the BatteryBox is ready to ship to you.

Tokyoflash Japan introduces the Kisai Console Acetate White watch in very limited quantities


If you collect Tokyoflash Japan’s watches, you’ll need to act quickly to get one of their new Kisai Console Acetate White watches.  They have a steel case, white acetate band, and a black mineral crystal lens and “sub-surface” LEDs.  You can turn on an LED animation for extra interest, if desired.  The watch uses rechargeable batteries that can be replaced when they no longer hold a charge.  The Tokyoflash Japan Kisai Console Acetate White watch is available at a special price of $99 until Thursday, March 27th at 11:00am Japan time; if any are still available, the price will increase after that time.

MrLentz – a wallet so minimal, it doesn’t even need the period in Mr.


The MrLentz Jasper Wallet is so minimal, it’s made with a single piece of leather, a couple of rivets, and no snaps to close it.  The wallet is made of hand-cut, top-grain vegetable tanned leather, and dyed using all-natural, non-toxic, and handmade dyes.  It’s been hand-conditioned with extra virgin olive oil, beeswax, and carnauba wax, and the leather is hand-riveted for durability.  If you prefer, the wallet is also available with a snap closure.  The Jasper Wallet is available in sun-tanned natural, Western brown, or Desert Night dark for $54.00 at MrLentz.

Fellowes introduces AutoMax business-class shredders, the first truly “walk-away” shredders

This post brought to you by Fellowes, Inc. . All opinions are 100% mine.

Fellowes Shredder 1 photo Fellowes-285_4x6_zps4abb7856.jpg

Fellowes invented the personal shredder back in 1990, but they haven’t been resting on their laurels.  Since then, they’ve continued to improve and develop new products that help protect your personal information from prying, criminal eyes.  Fellowes’ customers are extremely satisfied with their shredders, awarding Fellowes a 4.4 of 5 stars customer satisfaction rating across their line of home, small office, and commercial shredders.  Customers are so satisfied  because Fellowes listens to them and incorporates what they hear into the development of new products. Read More →

Satechi ReadMate LED Desktop Magnifier review


I recently posted a news article about the Satechi ReadMate LED Desktop Magnifier, a powerful, 5X magnifier to help you see small print, fine details on collectibles, or even the splinter that’s stuck in your finger.  I’ve always been nearsighted as a bat, but I could always see even the tiniest details up close.  As I’ve aged, I first noticed I’d have to take off my distance-vision glasses to see up close for really tiny things.  Eventually, I got bifocals, but even they aren’t sufficient for really small things these days.  I decided I’d buy one of the ReadMates for myself, so I placed my order and received my package in two days.  Within two minutes of seeing my new magnifier, Butch demanded one of his own, so I was back at Satechi ordering one for him.

I thought I’d do a short little review of the ReadMate magnifiers for others who are finding it’s harder and harder to see tiny details these days.   Read More →

Have freshly brewed coffee at the end of the world


With the Jetboil Flash Cooking System Java Kit, you can have fresh coffee when you’re camping, riding out the power outages in the aftermath of a storm, or while trying to survive the zombie apocalypse.  With each 100g Jetpower canister, you’ll be able to brew 12 liters of coffee in the FluxRing cooking cup with insulating cozy (one liter at a time).  A liter of coffee is more than enough to share with others, unless you have a powerful need for caffeine.  The burner has a push-button igniter, and the cup has a Flash color-change heat indicator window, a drink-through lid, and a measuring cup that also serves as an insulating bottom for the cooking cup.  The Jetpower canister also has a stabilizing tripod so you don’t spill your precious brew.  When you’re ready to move on, everything packs up into the cup for compact storage.  The Jetboil Flash Cooking System Java Kit is $99.99 at ThinkGeek.  There’s a limit of one per customer.

This is the proof that you are the center of the solar system!


This necklace from ThinkGeek puts the solar system around your neck.  The Complete Solar System Necklace puts the sun front and center, with the eight planets spaced on each side of the necklace.  Don’t feel bad for Pluto, though.  He may be only a minor planet now, but ThinkGeek arranged for an exclusive version of this necklace with Pluto dangling on the clasp at the back of the necklace, just for their customers.  Looking at the alternate views of the necklace made me realize how big this piece of jewelry is (the sun isn’t quite actual size), but it sure will be a conversation starter.  With the Complete Solar System Necklace from ThinkGeek, you can not only be the center of the solar system, you can own it too, for only $109.99.

Minisuit Bluetooth QWERTY Keyboard Stand Case for iPad mini 1 & 2 review


When Apple released the iPad mini with Retina display, some people were disappointed because it was slightly thicker than the original.  That meant it was probable that many accessories for the original wouldn’t work with the newest model.  That’s not the case with the Minisuit Bluetooth QWERTY Keyboard Stand Case for iPad mini 1 & 2.  I no longer have the original iPad mini, but I can vouch that this keyboard case fits the new, thicker iPad mini with Retina display.  Let’s give it a closer look. Read More →