Friday, September 1, 2017

DEVICE ESSENTIALS



Making Cyber Life Easier & Secure….

© 2017 BOB SKIDMORE ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

BOB SKIDMORE

CORRESPONDENT

Here are a couple of gadgets that can make Cyber Life easier and safer for you.


The XTREME 59001 Universal 2-Way Tablet Stand is a neat, compact folding stand. It’s designed to work with most any tablet or iPad. Since it folds up and is very lightweight, its’ portability easily travels with you. The rugged design will hold the weight and size of most pad devices available today in both a horizontal or vertical position. Being adjustable, viewing angles are easy to set making touch screen keypads simple to access and viewing much more comfortable without having to hold the device. This isn’t a substitute for external keyboards previously featured in this column, but rather a convenient, inexpensive solution. The best part, it’s only $4 at 5 Below stores.


I don’t normally recommend stores in this column, but here’s a cost-saving tip. FIVE BELOW stores are a nationwide chain that I was recently introduced to while visiting Cleveland, Ohio. You might compare it to a dollar store with the exception that everything is $5, or below. Hence, the name. Among various merchandise, they have a section devoted solely to Technology at ridiculously low prices. A good place to purchase high quality iPad covers and other accessories cheap! In addition to store locations, you can order items on-line at their web site: http://www.goo.gl/Jiz4hX

With the rapid growth of the Internet we now see more hacking and viruses being targeted to our unattended computers. While not a cure-all, one step in the right direction might be the addition of the NET 7 TECH Internet Network Security Lock Switch


This switch simply installs in-line between your computer and Internet modem. Two standard Ethernet connector ports are provided making for a quick installation. Operation is simple. When your computer is not in use just depress the switch and you are disconnected from the Internet. When Internet use is desired just press the switch again and Internet service is restored. 


It’s also possible to connect it to the incoming Internet feed so all wi-fi and hard wired hookups are disconnected from the Internet. Cost: $27.95 and available at Amazon. http://amzn.to/2gwaOI8

GADGETEER’S RATING: ★★★★★

Graphic credits: Manufacturer & Google Images

Bob Skidmore is a freelance writer, who may be contacted at bob.thegadgeteer.skidmore@gmail.com, or followed at twitter.com/bskidmore for the latest gadget industry news. He does not represent, or endorse any of the products he reviews and his opinions are solely his points of view and not those of the manufacturer. The manufacturer generally supplies products and press releases at no cost for the articles and no other compensation is received. THE GADGETEER is highly selective as to products he feels worthy of review so as not to waste the reader’s time, thus the reason for many superior ratings.

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Tuesday, August 1, 2017

MACALLY ~ A Practical Smartphone Car Mount


A Practical Smartphone Car Mount….

© 2017 BOB SKIDMORE ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

BOB SKIDMORE

CORRESPONDENT


Most of us have smartphones, but what do we do with them when in our automobiles? First off, let me say, I’m not promoting the use of texting or operation of your smartphone while driving your car. In fact, many states have laws against such use coupled with stiff fines.

(TIP: It’s advisable that you check local laws in your state to confirm the legal use of smartphones in your automobile. It is possible that even with Bluetooth, smartphone use may be prohibited when the vehicle is in operation.)

That being said, most new sound systems, in both old and new model cars, do have the capability of linking your phone to your car’s sound system via Bluetooth. This feature allows you to receive and make hands-free calls. If you have Siri, an iPhone feature, you can even tell your phone who to call by simply saying their name and, when prompted, which phone to call. Accessory devices are also available that act as a Bluetooth transceiver. Such devices allow independent connection to your Bluetooth enabled smartphone via your radio. (Scosche MotorMouth III $39.95 www.goo.gl/3jfl4F )

There are a large variety of mounts on the market today. Having tested numerous models, I’ve settled on the MACALLY MCUP for this review. Unlike most of the others, the MCUP fits into your cup holder. Generally, most cars have cup holders that either pull out from the dash, or are incorporated in the center console. The MCUP has a unique, fully adjustable, base that allows for a precise, secure fit in most cup holders. 


By simply twisting the locking knob in one direction or the other you can create a tight pressure fit, or cause the mount to be released. A rather short, stiff gooseneck is attached to the base and extends upward to an adjustable grip that accommodates iPhones, smartphones and other phones between 1.77 and 4.1 inches, in both vertical and horizontal positions. 


This size variable means that even phones in cases or with external battery packs can probably be used. The gooseneck is purposely stiff to minimize movement by bumping or vehicle shift and is remarkably resilient should you accidently bump it.

Having tested many brands and models I found the cup holder design to be the most practical and reliable. Suction cup units can easily detach depending on heat and dampness. Vent grill designs impede airflow, rattle and can easily detach if bumped. The MCUP stays in place, is easily viewed and accessible, naturally, when the car is not operational.

GADGETEER’s RATING: ★★★★★

MSRP: $19.95

For more information go to: http://www.goo.gl/YCH4Yz

Graphic credits: Manufacturer

Bob Skidmore is a freelance writer, who may be contacted at bob.thegadgeteer.skidmore@gmail.com, or followed at twitter.com/bskidmore for the latest gadget industry news. He does not represent, or endorse any of the products he reviews and his opinions are solely his points of view and not those of the manufacturer. The manufacturer generally supplies products and press releases at no cost for the articles and no other compensation is received. THE GADGETEER is highly selective as to products he feels worthy of review so as not to waste the reader’s time, thus the reason for many superior ratings.

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Saturday, July 1, 2017

BLITZWOLF ~ Charging Up To Six Devices



Charging Up To Six Devices….

© 2017 BOB SKIDMORE ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

BOB SKIDMORE

CORRESPONDENT


Charging multiple devices can be a real challenge. Typically, the need for individual chargers of various shapes and sizes would be required. In addition, to hook up all this gear could be space consuming using all the various chargers.

The BLITZWOLF BW-S4 desktop charger is a possible solution. It’s a neat new design. A lot of thought went into it, but there’s still room for improvement. The design incorporates 6 USB ports, 3 on each side of the unit. Each port has a dust flap cover to minimize dust. 


When all three flaps on one side are opened it becomes a tray allowing a non-covered smartphone to lie on its’ side. A cool idea, but, since most users have some form of protective or external battery case, or cover, the smartphone may become too thick for the tray. The unit itself is very compact making it ideal for home or travel use.

The BLITZWOLF BW-S4 has an input voltage of 110-240 volts, 60/50Hz at 1.2 amps making it a worldwide device.

(TIP: When purchased in the USA, an AC wall plug adapter for the foreign countries where the unit is to be used would still be required.)

The output voltage is 5 volts, 10 amps DC allowing each port to deliver up to 2.4 amps to the plugged in device. Naturally, the charging speed is determined by how many devices are charging at any one time and what the current consumption is. Devices that can be used include Android smartphones, iPhones, iPads, iPods, GPS, PSP and many digital cameras. Basically any device that uses the standard USB wall charger will work.

The BLITZWOLF BW-S4 is a well-built charger. It has a white glossy finish that matches many OEM chargers that come packed with your device. It certainly gives you a lot of bang, or charge, for the buck! The only shortcoming is the fact that the original intent of laying your smartphone in a fold-down tray is probably not possible, a design flaw indeed forcing me to give it only 4 stars. Definitely a must have if you have multiple devices that use a USB charger.

GADGETEER’s RATING: ★★★★

MSRP: $29.95

For more information go to: goo.gl/DIwefq


Graphic credits: Fizzics & Google Images

Bob Skidmore is a freelance writer, who may be contacted at bob.thegadgeteer.skidmore@gmail.com, or followed at twitter.com/bskidmore for the latest gadget industry news. He does not represent, or endorse any of the products he reviews and his opinions are solely his points of view and not those of the manufacturer. The manufacturer generally supplies products and press releases at no cost for the articles and no other compensation is received. THE GADGETEER is highly selective as to products he feels worthy of review so as not to waste the reader’s time, thus the reason for many superior ratings.
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Thursday, June 1, 2017

BRYDGE


“BRYDGEING” The Gap In Tablet Keyboards….

© 2017 BOB SKIDMORE ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

BOB SKIDMORE

CORRESPONDENT


Since 2010 iPads and tablets have become the next best thing to laptops. They’re small, easy to use and especially convenient when on the go. Perhaps one of the negatives is the lack of a truly responsive keyboard. While touch screen keyboards, common with these devices, fill a need, they can be clumsy and sometimes unresponsive. So, what’s the solution?

BRYDGE has taken the external keyboard to the next level. While many competitive keyboards have existed for quite some time, BRYDGE has succeeded in providing a truly professional product.

The BRYDGE keyboard accessory is made from a single piece of honed, solid aluminum, unlike competitive models made of plastic. Its’ appearance, style and features can easily be compared with that of Apple’s more recent MacBook models. Two solid, pressure-fit hinges are supplied with an adjustment range of 180°. 


This unique hinge design makes it easy to attach or remove from the tablet to/from the keyboard. When attached, the pad easily folds flat to shut down and store. In this position the BRYDGE automatically turns the screen and keyboard off, or conversely returns both to normal operation when opened. In essence the BRYDGE keyboard has the feel and look of a lightweight laptop. It can also be used when completely unattached. Other features include backlit keys with three levels of illumination and an off position. It’s interesting to note that the RETURN KEY in many cases acts as the HOME BUTTON found on the iPad. The rechargeable battery uses a standard USB type charger and can maintain a charge for as much as 3 months. This makes it possible to use the BRYDGE worldwide. Battery level indication is also provided,

I found the BRYDGE to be very user friendly. When reading a book or newspaper in the attached mode I easily adapted to the horizontal position. 
However, what did take some adjusting to on iPad models was the lack of a track pad on the keyboard. I found myself constantly reaching for a missing track pad. This is not a fault of the BRYDGE, but rather the lack of design by Apple, perhaps a welcomed future design consideration on Apple’s part. The BRYDGE is available in several models to accommodate various brands of tablets; 12. 3 for Microsoft Surface Pro 3 & 4; 12.9 for iPad Pro 12.9˝; iPad 9.7 Pro, iPad Air 2, and iPad air; iPad Mini 4. A complete line of accessories including a 128gb SSD card for the Microsoft version, are also available.

GADGETEER’s RATING: ★★★★★

MSRP: $99 - $149 Depending on model desired. Available at retail, or on line from the manufacturer.

For more information go to: goo.gl/zqAK1P

Graphic credits: Manufacturer

Bob Skidmore is a freelance writer, who may be contacted at bob.thegadgeteer.skidmore@gmail.com, or followed at twitter.com/bskidmore for the latest gadget industry news. He does not represent, or endorse any of the products he reviews and his opinions are solely his points of view and not those of the manufacturer. The manufacturer generally supplies products and press releases at no cost for the articles and no other compensation is received. THE GADGETEER is highly selective as to products he feels worthy of review so as not to waste the reader’s time, thus the reason for many superior ratings.
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