Friday, July 1, 2016

Prolonging the life of your Apple's USB cables....



Prolonging the life of your Apple’s USB Cables.

© 2016 BOB SKIDMORE ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

BOB SKIDMORE

CORRESPONDENT


We’ve all experienced the frayed cable syndrome at the connecting end of a USB cable. These are typically cables used for charging that are included with your iPhone, iPad, iPod and Apple Watch. Up to now the only solution was to throw away the defective cable and purchase a replacement, something that can become expensive. Well Tudia Products has created an interesting solution that may just prolong the life of the cable and offer other benefits too.



The Tubia Klip Cable Protector is a small two-piece shroud type device that easily slips on each cable end just below the connector. It’s designed to add strength and stability to this most vulnerable section of the cable reducing strain by as much as 80%. These cable ends are subjected to constant bending, pulling and pushing, causing the cable to be damaged or frayed. Customer feedback indicates such problems may appear generally after six-months of use.

Installation is simple. The long shaft piece slips around the cable and is snuggly positioned up to the actual connector. Once properly installed you simply slip the locking cap over the shroud thus preventing the Klip from coming apart.

(TIP: Your first installation may be a bit cumbersome, however, practice makes perfect and you’ll soon become a KLIP installation expert.)

I’ve tested this not only with lightning ends, but also with standard USB and thirty-pin Apple connectors as well. I’ve used various round or flat cables, and had great results.

The Tubia Klip Cable Protector works well and can prolong the life of your charging cable. It can even salvage partially damaged cables as long as the cable is still in one piece and the center conductor’s bare wire is not exposed. Once installed it gives you better gripping power for easy insertion or removal of the cable from your device. Klips are available in five colors ~ blue, green, pink, gray and yellow making color-coding possible. 



A great cost-saving solution to a common and annoying problem!

GADGETEER’s RATING: ★★★★★

MSRP: $7.00 individually ~ also available in bulk packs at substantial savings.

For more information go to: http://bit.ly/1sZerqv

Graphic credits: Tudia

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 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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Wednesday, June 1, 2016

VINYL & TAPE TO DIGI

BEHRINGER UFO202 WITH PRE-AMP FEATURE

A practical primer.

© 2016 BOB SKIDMORE ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

BOB SKIDMORE

CORRESPONDENT


The age of vinyl records and magnetic tape recordings has come and almost gone. Some present day recordings are still being released in very limited quantities in these formats. I say “almost” in that there appears to be a slight resurgence of this past technology by the purest, but for us normal folk what do we do to preserve and enjoy these recordings?

 (TIP: There is a debate by some that the quality of vinyl and magnetic tape far exceeds that of the various digital media currently available. Some also believe that the vacuum tube produces better quality than does solid-state technology. While there may be some truth to all this, an adult’s hearing, after the age of 30, gradually looses its ability to hear higher frequencies and continues to do so to the point where hearing aids become a necessary evil. Some of this was as a result of listening to music at very high volumes in our younger years.)

There are several ways to convert your old media to a CD, computer file or memory stick. In the case of vinyl recordings you need a turntable that either has a USB output, or the more common analogue RCA connectors. If you have USB you can connect it directly to one of the spare USB ports on your computer and then use a software program that we’ll discuss later to make a recording. If you have a turntable with RCA connectors you will first have to plug this into some sort of pre-amp. A pre-amp boosts the very low signal from the stylist to a level acceptable for recording purposes. I’ve found the Behringer U-Phono UFO202 a perfect solution. This device has a phono pre-amp built-in that can also be switched off allowing various other analogue tape recording devices such as tape decks to also mate up with your computer. A USB cable is attached allowing direct connection to virtually any computer platform and provides a high-resolution 48 kHz conversion for high-end audio quality. It’s also used to power the unit. The green LED is a USB status light that indicates power is coming from the USB connection. Two analogue RCA output jacks are provided allowing you to plug into the audio input of other devices. An eighth-inch headphone jack and accompanying volume control are built-in allowing you to monitor the conversion process. A selector switch turns the pre-amp off for non-vinyl conversions. If you’re interested in only converting analogue magnetic recordings you might consider the UCA202, without the pre-amp feature, but since it costs about the same why choose it?

BEHRINGER UCA202 WITHOUT THE PHONO PRE-AMP FEATURE


TIP: The UFO202 is outfitted with a ground lug. You will need to connect a small wire to it and to the metal frame, not plastic, of the turntable. This is necessary to eliminate any hum or buzz that may be picked up from the electrics in the turntable mechanism. Worry not, you won’t be shocked when making this simple hookup.)

Any audio recording of this type requires a software program to make it work. I’ve found AUDACITY, a FREE multi-platform program, works very well. Not only can you use this as your recorder, but you also can edit, filter, speed correct, and equalize the material. Behringer offers this and many other downloads for FREE on their web site. Once the recording is complete it’s just a matter of saving to your hard drive, a CD or memory stick.

So, don’t throw away your precious recordings, transcribe them to your computer and store them on a CD, memory stick or other storage media. Turntables, reel-to-reel recorders, audiocassette and 8-track decks are readily found on EBAY. Happy listening!

GADGETEER’s RATING: ★★★★★

MSRP: Behringer UFO202 (with pre-amp) $39.99 http://bit.ly/1ZQA476
Behringer UCA202 (no pre-amp) $39.99 http://bit.ly/1OtcAyO

Available at retail or from Amazon.
  
Graphic credits: Behringer

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 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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Sunday, May 1, 2016

iXPAND ~ Flash Drive for the iPhone


Flash drive for iPhone/iPad.

© 2016 BOB SKIDMORE ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

BOB SKIDMORE

CORRESPONDENT


Many readers have asked, “How do I save my photos & videos that are on my iPhone or iPad”. Well one way is to transfer them to a computer that has iPhoto installed. iPhoto comes standard on MAC computers and is a downloadable program from Apple compatible with most PC’s. While the process is easy it can be time consuming and somewhat confusing to those unfamiliar with the process. iXpand by Sandisk may offer a unique solution no matter what operating system or platform you may have access to.

iXpand is a flash drive accessory specifically designed to mate up with the iPhone or iPad and your computer. It’s currently available in 16, 32, 64 and 128GB memory capacities that match the capacity of your iPhone or iPad’s built-in memory.

(TIP: The number of photos you can store depends on the memory capacity of the iXpand and the size of each picture. Picture size can range from 72kb to several megabytes.)

iXpand includes an extended flexible lightning connector and a standard USB-A male connector easily making connection to/from your iPhone/iPad to your computer. Your devices must have iOS 7.1 or higher.

(TIP: Your iPhone or iPad device must have a lightning connector. Lightning to 30 pin adapters will not work. Older devices use the thirty-pin connector, so check first before purchasing, or upgrade your device.)

The transfer is simple, but does require downloading the FREE Sandisk iXpand Sync app from the App Store. Once you have this app downloaded simply plug in the iXpand via the flexible lightning connector, click on the Sync app and follow the instructions. Your transfer of your photos and video clips will take place very quickly. When your material is downloaded you can remove the iXpand. You are now ready to transfer the media to your computer. Creating a folder on your desktop and labeling it makes for the perfect destination. Plug the iXpand into one of the female USB-A ports on your computer. iXpand will now show up as an external drive on your computer. Drag or select the contents to the newly created folder and the transfer will take place. Once the transfer is complete I would suggest erasing the content on the iXpand so you’ll be ready for making the next transfer/backup. You may want to burn a DVD or CD as an additional backup or for easy sharing with others. You can also watch popular format videos directly from your drive as well.

(TIP: You can leave the previous material on the iXpand, but when you move it to your computer again you will be transferring the old and the new media which will result in a lot of duplication. You may also want to consider deleting the photos and videos on your iPhone/iPad as well thus freeing up memory on these devices.)

You can use the iXpand on other iPhone/iPads as long as you install the app on these devices. Your family and friends will be your best clients!

GADGETEER’s RATING: ★★★★★

MSRP: $59.99 - $169.99 depending on memory capacity desired
  
For more information go to: http://bit.ly/1RZu0dc


Graphic credits: Sandisk

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 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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Friday, April 1, 2016

SENTEY HUB



7/3 Port USB Hub with Charging.

© 2016 BOB SKIDMORE ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

BOB SKIDMORE

CORRESPONDENT


Most Internet devices have a limited number of USB ports. Laptops generally one or two, desktops three or four and smart TV’s vary from 1 to five. In the early days of digital devices, that are in some fashion computer accessories, one or two USB ports were sufficient, but now with all the USB dependent peripherals, it never seems like you have enough.

A USB hub is a device that provides additional ports while only being plugged into one main port. It’s much like an electrical strip. There are many hubs available, but they vary in size and design. They come in many capacities, but are not necessarily equally as efficient. Some require no power, while others are powered by an external power source. Most USB driven devices require some amount of electrical energy to function. In some cases, two of the USB pins in the USB connector provide the current from the port you are plugged into, however, many devices demand a much higher current and when several devices are plugged into a hub with no external power source that current drops significantly causing potential issues.

I recently tested the SenTey USB 3.0 Hub+Charger. What I like about it is its shape, forward facing ports and brushed aluminum housing that provides interference shielding. This combination works well on virtually any surface and provides easy access to the ports. Its power indicator LED indicates the supplied power supply is active. The power supply supplies 48 watts (12v/4a) and is more than enough to handle the potential load requirement. It offers seven USB 3.0 ports that are downward compatible to accommodate both USB 2.0, 1.2 and 1.1 requirements in older computers. It features a transmission speed of up to 5Gbit/s (SuperSpeed). An additional three ports offer charging capabilities for such things as smartphones, pads and headsets.

(TIP: One charging port offers 5 volts at 2.1 amps that’s suitable for pads and the other two ports offer 5 volts at 1.0 amps for use with smartphones, headsets, etc.)

A USB connection cable to your computer or smart TV is provided. Perhaps the only thing missing is a travel case, also not available as an option.

Unlike other similar hubs, the SenTey USB 3.0 has yet to fail even when all 7/3 ports are active. The three additional charging ports are an additional plus that eliminates the need for individual chargers. You may find this hub available under other brand names, something that happens a lot by OEM (original equipment manufacturers). Prices vary considerably, so check the Internet for the best deal!

GADGETEER’s RATING: ★★★★★

MSRP: $79.95 (Discounted pricing available on line)

For more information go to: http://bit.ly/1V1NKMr

Graphic credits: Sentry

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 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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