Saturday, March 1, 2014





As a writer of interesting gadgets and things I frequently run across items and shortcuts that are useful, but I simply can’t justify devoting a full article to them. In some cases they are pretty basic things, in others, the manufacturer offers little or no media support making it difficult to fully report on them. So, this month I’m featuring a few of these worthy of your consideration.

Did you know that Apple and various third party manufactures offer a 30 pin “Composite A/V Cable” for use with iPhones, iPods and iPads? The purpose of this cable is for easy distribution of analog video and stereo audio signals to monitors, TV’s, analog recorders and some editing devices such as the Casablanca. This cable includes RCA plugs for L/R audio and video outputs and a USB connector for charging purposes. It’s a quick and easy method for immediate hookup, but only interfaces with thirty-pin connectors. No, you can’t use a lightning connector to 30-pin adapter to adapt this since lightning connectors do not include contacts for audio or video output. I guess Apple decided you should only be connecting to digital devices that don’t recognize analog signals. With so many analog devices in use this seems to be shortsighted thinking on Apple’s part. Are we serving customer needs or those of the manufacturer? Available from MONOPRICE, is a 4ft component A/V cable to 30 pin connector with micro USB connector which allows the cable to also serve as a charge/sync cable for your Apple iOS® devices. Also available are 30 pin and lightning connector adapters for HDMI and VGA devices to interconnect with iPads and iPhones for direct hookup to various display devices.

Analog A/V cable Cost: $39.95 from Apple (considerably less from 3rd party vendors) ( )
Component cable cost: $22.85 (

WHATSAPP MESSENGER is a FREE app that acts much in the same manner as the normal texting app on your smartphone. Since WHATSAPP Messenger uses wi-fi, or the same Internet data plan that you already use for email and web browsing there is no cost to message and communicate with friends. Furthermore, since it’s Internet driven you can text around the world, cost-free. In addition to basic messaging, WHATSAPP users can create groups, send each other unlimited images, as well as video and audio messages, too. In addition, it links to your address book, displaying all your contacts and highlighting those contacts that use WHATSAPP since it does require the recipient of your text to have this app installed. WHATSAPP is cross-platform compatible and is available for iPhone, Blackberry, Android, Windows Phone and Nokia. Whatsapp is currently not supported on iPad or iPod devices. Whatsapp was recently purchased by FACEBOOK for some 19 billion dollars, so someone thinks highly of what they offer.

Available at: The App Store or

INSTANT HEART RATE app: This app is available in a FREE version for Apple and Android or for a one-time fee of$1.99 as an upgrade. It’s designed to measure your heart rate instantly by using your smartphone’s camera to detect the pulse from your fingertip. All you do is place the tip of your index finger on the phone’s camera, and in a few seconds your pulse is shown. It will also beep your pulse and a real-time chart will show you every heartbeat. Features include; Heart pulse measurement, real-time PPG graph, Continuous or auto-stop mode, heart rate zones, data storage and tags, exporting of data to registered users and sharing to Twitter and Facebook. The app is compatible with iPhone 5s/5/4/4s since they have a flash. iPhone 3gs and iPod Touch requires use in good light since they have no flash. The upgraded pay version on iPhone models allows you to store more than 5 measurements in your timeline, contains no ads, and enables you to turn your phone on its side to see a progress chart of your measurements. On the Android platforms the Pro version also contains no ads and stores more than 5 measurements in your timeline. Available at: The App Store; Google Play; Window’s Store or

SHUTTING OFF APPS IN iOS7 (iPhone/iPad): As discussed in previous articles, it’s important to shut off unused apps on your iPhone and/or iPad to conserve on battery life. The new iOS7 operating systems for these gadgets uses a different technique from the previous operating systems. To shut down unused apps, double tap the home button (large button at bottom center of your device), which brings up three small images of running apps. Now, lightly place your finger on the center image and scroll upwards till it disappears. The app is now only turned off, not deleted. To skip over and locate specific apps to turn off, just swipe left or right to scroll thru the apps. 

Bob Skidmore is a freelance writer, who may be contacted at, or followed at 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. Some information for this article may be gathered from various sources available to the author.