Tablets and mobile phones are great tools, and I wouldn’t want to be without either of mine very long. I use both of mine constantly throughout the day, both for work and for personal information. Carrying them around, however, is a pain. Especially an iPad. Shirts and pants have pockets that can handle most smart phones, but iPads or other tablets (and most phablets), are really tough to manage on the road when they’re not in use.
This same issue exists for police officers, delivery drivers, phone repairmen and meter readers, who all have to carry something bulky that is only used occasionally. You’re not always getting a signature, reading a meter, testing a line or arresting/Tasing someone, and you need to stash those tools where they’re handy, but not in the way. Most of the above occupations have opted for the tool belt as a storage approach, but for most users of modern gadgetry, that tack is a little passé. A rather new company has looked at the new market (information professionals, physicians, and other data intensive jobs) and put forth a repositioning of an old solution – the shoulder holster. TechSlinger has created an eponymous product that holds a tablet, a phone, and various other gear snugly and neatly beneath the arms, where it can be quickly brought to bear from under a lab coat, a sports jacket, or from being just out in the open. The TechSlinger is a set of two side pockets held together by a harness that clips easily onto those pockets. Read More →
FreeWheelin attached to clip with round charging cable.
Bluetooth speakers are becoming quite popular, since most folks are carrying their music on their phones or tablets. Sure, plugging in an AUX cable gives a better connection in most cases, but trying to use something while its tethered, or having something fall off the edge of a counter because it was precariously balanced next to the stereo and power outlets is a drag. I’ve found Bluetooth also is much more flexible when sharing devices between folks. Once you learn the pairing process, it’s trivial to connect from another device. As Bluetooth 4.0 becomes more common, the quality of both the audio and the connection is growing continually.
RichardSolo, the new company from the founder of the Sharper Image, makes several different products that we’ve reviewed here in the past. His newest offering is the FreeWheelin Audio System for Helmets, a Bluetooth speaker system designed to use on your bike, in your car, and on your desk. Since I try to bike as often as possible, I requested to be the one to review it. Read More →
The Avantree speaker is a compact package with a USB charging cable and a plush carry bag.
With the rise of better music players and streaming services in the last few years, we have also seen a rise in the number of speaker systems, personal earphones/buds and other ways to actually hear the music being offered up. In public situations, folks usually want to have their music pumped directly into their ears, both for music fidelity and for privacy. (Let’s leave the discussion of using speakers in offices and street benches intruding into the soundspace of others for another time, OK?) Sometimes a small speaker is needed when you do want to share music, and the Pluto Air Hifi Bluetooth speaker from Avantree looks like a good candidate as a travel speaker. Let’s give it a look. Read More →
Large, airy, and elegant – the Jas Pro stand from Cooler Master.
We’re a nomadic group, we geeks. Few of our main devices require constant power, a steady place to rest, or a permanent home. But, when you’re back from the road, and want to plug that laptop/netbook/tablet into a large monitor, having a proper place to put said device can really make a difference.
The Jas Pro MacBook Pro Display Stand from Cooler Systems, however, does all these things, and more. But first, an overview. The stand itself is a frame that adjusts into an “A” frame stand. Brushed aluminum has become all the rage for fashionable computer accessories since Apple moved from plastic and Titanium. The Jas Pro starts with this, in the ubiquitous bead-blasted finish of most current Apple products, along with cushions of pure grey rubber, and keeps the design light and airy. The stand measures 10″ by 5.5″, and can fold down to less than an inch thick. Every single point that would touch your device or the surface you’re resting it on is cushioned to prevent scratching, and to prevent slipping in use. Read More →
Photographers are the original Gadgeteers. Meters, lenses, filters, and esoteric little bits and bobs that assist in your camera’s performance are just what the Gadget Doctor ordered! Carrying those things around, however, has always been an issue. Even generations ago, photogs needed a bag or two to carry their stuff from studio to shoot. Once anyone moves from a general point-and-shoot to a serious digital SLR camera that can use more than one lens, the temptation begins.
New on the scene, however, is using your laptop or iPad along with your camera. Whether for actual editing or just to get a better idea of how your shots are turning out on a larger screen, having a laptop or iPad along for the ride on your shoot can help you catch or present much more easily. Booq, a stylish, cutting edge creator of interesting and useful bags for portable tech, has a line of bags with the express purpose of transporting dSLRs and laptops. (Their full line is divided into just laptop bags, professional and casual bags, backpacks, and sleeves dedicated just to MacBooks and iPads.) The Python Sling, the focus of this review, is one advertised to hold a dSLR or two, 4 lenses, a tripod, and an iPad or MacBook (11″/13″ screens). Read More →
The Wedgestand is a simple foam pillow, molded and covered with soft fabric. But it's quite handy to have around!
While iPads and other tablet/ereaders are light, easy to carry, and hold a lot of books, there is one thing they share – after several hours of reading, your hand and arms become tired from holding them. It’s even an issue with books and magazines. Reading stands and book holders have been around for years, but recently, due to the proliferation of single-slab devices coming out, they seem to have been making a resurgence. The Wedgestand is one of the new line of stands, designed for laps as much as for a table or desk. Read More →
MobiSafe is a compact, high-impact plastic lockbox with a steel cable for security.
We write a lot about keeping gadgets safe from damage. Cases, gear bags, screen protectors and the like are all subject to being damaged by something you may accidentally do. But what about preventing an unwanted transfer of technology (ie. theft)? We can’t all go around with safes and lockboxes strapped to everything, can we? Well, there is a company on the market now that tries to help you prevent an uncontrolled loss of gear access. FJM Security has a series of products that can protect various items. Their MobiSafe is a smallish plastic box with an attached steel cable and combination lock, designed to prevent anyone from walking away with your gear. Light and easy to open or lock, the high-impact ABS plastic case is held to any support that can be surrounded by a 2″ circle of steel airplane cable. I was sent one to test, and found it to be as described on their website. Let’s take a closer look at this little gadget! Read More →
I love tech. I love my dog. I really love things that allow me to use tech in relation to other things in my life, like my dog, Jack. Tom Bihn, a premier bag maker in Seattle, has a great specialty bag called the Citizen Canine which can help you keep all your “dog stuff” in one place. I was sent the black version with the Steel grid interior to test. Read More →
Do you hate how your earbuds fit? Do they fall out when running or exercising? Do they hurt when you jam them in far enough to drown out the noise in your environment? Perhaps you need to check out the Clear Harmony SI1100 Sound Isolation Earbuds with Linx Audio from Able Planet. I was sent a pair to test and have compared them with my usual headphones for desk work to test them side-by-side. It’s been an interesting voyage. Read More →
A Mixbook collects your photos and lets you share them with others.
Mixtapes (or mixCDs, if you’re of the younger generation that didn’t have to use tape), those custom-designed soundtracks of your life from high school and before, were ubiquitous. If you liked someone, or wanted to celebrate a special memory or event, you’d make a mixtape to play in the background. We still do similar things through custom play lists on iTunes, Rdio, or Spotify, or tweaked stations on Pandora. In many areas, there are also groups of ladies (mostly) who enjoy clipping, pasting, and constructing scrapbooks of various events. There are special scissors that pink the edges of special background papers, stickers, and other items that fill the aisles of craft stores across the country. Imagine a mashup of these two things, and you have Mixbook personalized printed photo books. Mixbook is a service, basically, that takes this scrapbooking ability online. With the proliferation of high quality cameras, we can now edit, crop, and manipulate photos. No longer do we need to clip, paste, and bind memories – we can do it digitally. The folks at MixBook asked the Gadgeteer team to try out their service, and I was selected to delve into it. Read More →
One of the first places many folks in gadget circles may have gotten a glimpse of their first gadgets may have been a local Best Buy Superstore. They are located in just about any city of decent size, and usually carry many small electronics, in addition to larger things like computers, TVs, car audio, and the like. Driving home from work today, I thought about my days of wandering around the cavernous showroom, compared to my current habit of checking things out online, or in an Apple store. What’s the difference? Why has one died off while the other has grown? Since many Best Buys also carry official Apple products, and have an Apple employee assigned to the “store within a store”, it can’t just be the difference in the products. You can buy most of what’s in an Apple store in a Best Buy.
Best Buy today took a beating in the Stock Market, reflecting the beating it’s been taking in the market over the last year-plus. Investors are worried that management has no solution to pull the big box store from the morass that is the post-brick-and-mortar revolution of this new decade. I’d like to make a few humble suggestions which I think would make it a mecca for those searching for new technology and expertise, as well as a place to learn about and try out tech solutions. Read More →
The AViiQ Portable Charging Station in action!
Interesting take on the age-old gadgeteer’s problem of portable power. AViiQ (pronounced “a-VEEK”) has announced their Portable Charging Station, a 3+1 USB charging hub in a zippered carrying bag. Pockets for your cables, pass-through syncing with your laptop on one of the ports, and a single-slot AC adapter all show their attention to the design details that bug travelers. At $80, it’s a tad pricey, but for the problems solved, it looks like a must-have for Road Warriors!
What's in the box - actually, there's a power plug as well.
I’m a huge consumer of music while on the go. If I’m not doing something that requires concentration, I’m likely to have earbuds shoved in my ears or headphones on. When driving, however, I don’t like to use earbuds/headphones because of the safety issues. I drive an older model car usually, so have been using a tape adapter to connect to the sound system. When Julie offered the team the Bluetooth equipped Jabra Freeway, I jumped at the chance. Read More →