Did you ever pull your hair out and bang the door every time your phone would give out in the middle of that all important conversation or your digital camera would turn off just when you were about to take pretty little Emily’s photo on her first birthday.
If that’s what you feel then welcome to the club. We feel you buddy because that’s what we’ve been through. But before you slam your gadget against the wall, think about the Eneloop USB Booster Stick, a portable device that can be compatible with your phone or camera and keep it from turning off.
Sanyo decided to gift gadget freaks on the move with the charging stick. We decided to find out about the gizmo that backs up other mobile small electronics and here are our impressions.
What you’re looking at…
The Eneloop USB Booster Stick is a sleek, slim, featherweight charger for all devices with USB charging cable. The Eneloop Booster Stick comes with 2 Eneloop Nickel-Metal Hydride rechargeable batteries that power it. This nifty little gadget charges or supplies power to devices for 90 minutes at an output of 5V/500mA. With its batteries, it weighs just 76 grams, which is just about the perfect weight of the average ghost. The size of the Eneloop USB Booster Stick is 5.82 x 0.7”.
The Sunny Side…
- The great thing about the Eneloop USB Booster Stick is that it can back up most of the useful portable electronics like portable game consoles, music players, and, oh of course, mobile phones.
- Certain phones and other devices require high current for proper charging. Apple’s I phone is one such example. The booster stick delivers power to such devices by regulating the charge current sent to that device.
- Don’t be sad if you don’t like the number 90. The power of the booster stick can be extended for an indefinite amount of time by carrying extra batteries.
- 45 U.S. dollars. That’s all Sanyo is asking for this ultra useful charger. All that hard work for just a small price tag.
The Shady Side…
- Toys that are not USB charge enabled won’t be charged with the Eneloop USB booster Stick. We really wish this were not so. It would have been cool if the stick was multifaceted. But with many devices becoming USB enabled we can’t say we are going to be sad for long.
- Doesn’t come with a USB cable of its own so you can’t do anything if you lose the USB cable (and your banging the door would be justified in that case) of any device you want to boost up. But then again, what are the chances of that happening huh?
Besides missing a couple of things we talked about, the Eneloop USB Booster Stick is a great, must-have complement to your portable electronics collection. You can finally go out on that long trip somewhere far far away without wondering what you’re going to do if your gadget’s power ran out. The sleek silver stick will give your device the right amount of inspiration that will get it back up on its feet again. That piece of aluminum almost makes us want to write a letter to dad. “Dear Dad. I need a charger really really badly”.
A Look At The Aluratek Libre
We were wondering what to do while waiting for a friend. We had to show to the doc for a bad case of flu. We couldn’t exactly laugh out loud with some of the funny text messages we sent to one another.
This is a hospital for God’s sake! We were just about to get infected with a bad case of boredom ourselves. And then a light bulb just turned on.
What would reading with an Aluratek Libre be like? We decided to find out. But one thing’s for sure, it would surely beat dumb text messaging.
What you’re looking at…
Book maniacs and read freaks are up for a real treat with the Aluratek Libre. Finally, there is a respectable way to be a book worm. Many are under the impression that for reading ebooks they might have to turn to Sony, Amazon or Barnes and Noble. The Aluratek Libre ebook reader is an affordable alternative.
With 117 MB RAM, 5” display, expansion slot of up to 32 GB and a battery life of 24 hours with 2 weeks standby time, the Aluratek Libre is a pretty package packed with user-friendly and reader-friendly functions. Heck, it’s not too bad to look at either with the charcoal colored plastic casing that isn’t stained with finger prints or smudges.
It’s like you took it right off the shelf. There’s more in the bag. The Libre comes complete with ebook reader pro, a USB cable, a power charger, a hand strap, earphones, a carrying pouch (and you thought it was naked or something), a quick start guide, and warranty and registration cards.
The Sunny Side…
- Wow 179 bucks! That’s great! Mommy can’t say no. You get a cocktail of functionalities with a friendly price tag.
- The 2GB SD is preloaded with 100 ebooks so after getting the gizmo you can pretty much get lost in the world of black and white.
- The refresh rate is faster than an electric shock.
- You can turn the page fast and read on with crystal clear resolution.
- In the desert, the Aluratek Libre is your best friend. That gizmo can last for 24 hours before the recharge indicator lights up. The device can last 2 weeks to a month on standby mode.
The shady side…
- We missed some of Amazon Kindle’s functionality like Wi-Fi which isn’t here but the price tag more than makes up for this.
- The Aluratek Libre has no internal storage but the 2GB SD card fills up the gap just fine.
- Sometimes we wished The Aluratek Libre had a screen as big as the Kindle but we forgot that wish real fast after listening to some MP3 background music while reading. You enjoy this facility in the Libre.
We welcome the Libre to the ebook revolution.The Libre hits its competitors with a friendly price tag. It’s not too much to ask for all its offering. All in all we wouldn’t go to a gizmo store for the Aluratek Libre and walk out empty handed and neither should you.
The Motorola Droid
There’s nothing really motor about the Motorola Droid. In fact the functions it brings to your pocket for your pocket money is pretty much high tech and easily summed up with the “Droid” part of Motorola Droid. It’s multifaceted and there are bright sides and dark sides to it but at the end of the day you want to answer the question: Is it worth your buck? We pretty much think so.
What you’re looking at…
The droid leads the pack in being the fastest Android device for Google so far. It’s not surprising to know that the web browser is fast as lightning on this thing. The device boasts better messaging and contact management. You could talk for long periods without sensing any ill effect on call quality.
The sunny side…
Motorola Droid is sure to cultivate fans with a beautiful high resolution screen. Coupled with smooth scrolling and a great implementation of the virtual keyboard, the result it shows could make any owner a happy camper.
-We loved to browse using the Motorola Droid.
The zoom is absolutely awesome and you can’t miss a thing with this kind of a feature.
-Fans won’t go on an empty stomach with Google and uploading issues. Motorola provides its users with turn by turn navigation on Google absolutely free, plus there is a wide array of mobile applications to choose from. Owners won’t own an empty phone.
-If you want to share memories with folks worldwide or just make a mini documentary, this is the phone you want to turn to. The video recorder is wonderful and uploading to YouTube is as easy as biting a banana.
-The width and thickness of the phone will remind you of the I phone. Processor responsiveness will put a smile on your face for sure.
The shady side…
-The keyboard is made a bit too flat so it’s not too hot for typing but it gets the job done. Also, sometimes you wished your thumb was on the other side if you were a right hander and tried to open the keyboard because it opens up the wrong way.
-Physical buttons for calling, hanging up and mute for phone use are missing so you might be slowed down when trying to perform these functions.
-Sometimes, only sometimes we missed a few calls while having the phone in our pockets because the vibration function is a bit weak. Sometimes you wished it vibrated a bit more. There’s also that minute camera lag.
-You’re going to need some patience on your side while playing videos on you tube.
Verizon customers won’t be disappointed with this smart phone. Fans will cling to the good points while critics will hang on to the bad ones. The shady angles however are not shady enough to keep your wallet in your pocket. Overall a pretty package, the Motorola Droid leads previous droid devices and will not only serve your cause, but it will also look great near your wallet.
I was able to visit with the host of the ever-informative and popular Geek Brief TV video podcast. Geek Brief TV is a must-watch for anyone interested in technology and gadgets. Cali delivers the tech news at a fast pace and in a down-to-Earth manner.
RS: Having started Geek Brief TV in 2005, do you feel more or less geeky now than you did in 2005?Â
CL: I certainly feel more geeky now. I was always a geek, but there’s something to be said for involving yourself in the world of technology 24/7! Things I didn’t have time to pay attention to before, or learn how to do before (like build a robot) are no longer an issue. Now it’s my job to do it, and I love that!Â
RS: Geek Brief covers such a wide array of technology, if you had to pick 1 item, what item covered in Geek Brief was your favorite?Â
CL: ÂOooh, I hate this question!! It really boils down to some of the products I covered in my Christmas Gift Guide, the “You” Edition. I love Drobo, the Kindle, the PogoPlug and Eye-Fi.Â
RS: As the director of the Geek Intelligence Agency, do you have any secret messages to relay to the GIA members?Â
CL: Stay brave! It’s up to us to stimulate the economy with our gadget buying!Â
RS: Fans of Geek Brief TV know that it’s a very tightly knit show about technology that packs lots of information into a small package. I would like to ask, do you talk fast to increase the denseness of the content in each brief or are you just amped up on caffeine?Â
CL: ÂHaha! Well, both! The fast pace of GeekBrief.TV was inspired by the TV show Gilmore Girls. Their scripts were known for being seven times longer than a normal TV script. The producer was always telling her actors “that’s great, but it could be faster.”
People can comprehend a lot more at a fast pace than they think they can. I get a lot of people who complain when they first watch, but 95% of them come to love the pace.
RS: Being a maven of technology and working with some of the coolest gadgets available and with the holiday season approaching, you must be difficult to buy presents for. What would be a good gift for the host of a popular technology news podcast?Â
CL: Anything to do with robotics is a great gift for me! Or on the more practical side, I’m always in need of t-shirts for the show. That’s usually what my family gets me.Â
Check out Geek Brief TV at http://www.geekbrief.tv
It seems every family has at least one person in charge of taking family snapshots. After looking over dozens of catalogs and even more web sites, I have compiled a list of great gifts for that camera buff.
Giottos Rocket Air Blower. (About $12) Every camera bag should have one of these indispensible gadgets. The Rocket Air Blower shoots a powerful stream of air that will clean lenses and filters. It’s design prevents dust from being blown into the object being cleaned and it does a remarkable job in cleaning the surfaces of filters or lenses.
Bower Wrist Strap (About $6) Small camera or large camera, a wrist strap is cheap insurance preventing a camera from slipping out of your hand and hitting the hard floor. The Bower wrist strap is comfortable to use all day and is large enough to hold a DSLR safely. This is not the tiny wrist strap that comes with some cameras. This one is padded and thick to it won’t cut into your wrist or slip off your hand. Even with my big hands, this wrist strap worked extremely well.
Joby Gorillapod (About $45) Every shot can be made better with the use of a camera support. Unfortunately there isn’t always enough space to set up a full tripod. The GorillaPod uses a series of interlocking plastic joints to lock it’s three legs around almost any object. Trees, fence posts, even a kitchen chair. The Gorillapod is small enough to take with you almost anywhere and is surprisingly strong.
Samsung 8-inch Digital Photo Frame (About $80) Every camera buff wants a way to display their photos and digital photo frames are perfect. Housing the images on an SD card, updating the images is easy and is limited by only the size of the SD card. What makes this Samsing frame a little different is that it is the ony one I’ve found where you can schedule a time when it’s on and off so it isn’t using electricity while you aren’t at work or asleep. This particular frame can also be used as a second PC monitor.
Casio Exilim EX-FS10 (About $175) This 9 megapixel pocket-sized camera works remarkably well. With a bright 2.7 inch LCD display and ISO settings from 50-1600, this camera is capable of many great photographs. In burst mode, it can take up to 30 photos per second, which is impressive for such a small camera. The camera’s video capabilities also set it apart from its peers. Not only will it shoot 848×480 resolution video, but it can shoot it in super slow motion which can be very fun for shutterbugs of all experience levels.
Kodak Zi8 HD Pocket Video Camera (About $180) If you are looking for a sub $200 video camera that shoots HD and fits in your pocket, then this is your camera! Video can be 1080p resolution at 30 frames per second and can upload to YouTube quickly and easily via the USB cable. For the price and the video quality, it will be difficult to find a better video camera out there.
All in all, the variety of photo-centric gadgets keeps increasing and the features continue to keep us shutterbugs happy year after year!
Thanksgiving is coming up, so I thought I’d do a roundup of gadgets to help on Turkey day.
- Qooq (pronounced Cok) http://www.qooq.com/ Approx $520: Qooq is a device meant for the kitchen that connects to your home network by Ethernet or WiFi to look up recipes. You can even subscribe to a monthly update that includes tips and recipes. This device also has a meal planner, so you can put your entire 4 day Thanksgiving meal spread in there and look up a new way to prepare cranberries. The Qooq can also be used to get weather updates so you will know why some of your guests are late, internet radio can bring in some holiday music, and it can also be used a s a digital picture frame.
The Qooq comes with 500 preloaded recipes and features a touch screen so you don’t have to mess with a mouse or keyboard.
2. Sharper Image Rechargable Wine Opener http://www.sharperimage.com $39.99: After that 5th bottle of wine, the traditional method of poping the cork might be asking a little too much. Sharper Image to the rescue! The Rechargable Wine Opener removes the cork with just a push of the button.
3. Digital Measuring Cup http://www.comforthouse.com/taylor3890measuringcupscale.html (Taylor Model 3890) $30: If the rechargeable wine opener has been in use, maybe a digital measureing cup will be necessary this Thanksgiving! Taylor’s digital measuring cup will handle all your measuring needs for the big day. Dry goods or liquids, this measuring cup will do it all. The cup is one liter in size and will automatically calculate volume from weight. The digital measuring cup will measure in pounds, grams, fluid ounces, cups and millimeters
4. LED Fridge Magnet http://www.iwantoneofthose.com/new-arrivals/digital-video-memo/index.html about $50: The screen is 1.5 inches and has a built-in camera to record images or video. It can store up to 30 seconds of video and can be plugged into your USB port on your computer. Maybe capture some of the family memories in the kitchen and keep it on the fridge until at least the next holiday. Although this gadget won’t help you prepare the meal, it entertain those that seem to congregate around the food.
5. Cook your Turkey with Lasers! From a competition by Electrolux, invented by French student, Ludovic Peperstraete http://www.coroflot.com/public/individual_details.asp?individual_id=200276 : Still a prototype, but maybe for next Thanksgiving. This oven uses three lasers to ZAP your food. The cooking dsn’t come from the lasers individually but from the lasers criss-crossing each other to make heat. Hopefully you won’t blow the turkey up!
6. USB Microwave-Beanzawave- $160: Lastly, maybe you have to work at your tech support job on Thanksgiving. Heinz brings us Beansawave, a USB powered microwave. You can nuke some Thanksgiving beans right there in your cubicle while fixing a network adapter in Newark. This little gadget uses mobile phone frequencies to cook the meal in less than a minute. Being advertised as the smallest microwave, the Beanzawave (horrible name) is less than 8 inches tall and is currently not available to the public, but it should be available in the very near future.
Recently I was able to interview founder and CEO of SCOTTEVEST, Scott Jordan.
SCOTTEVEST manufactures clothing with a proprietary system of routing wires and cables into clothing for gadgets along with unique pockets for all your electronics.
RS: First off, WHAT is SCOTTEVEST?
SJ: It’s a full line of clothing designed to carry, among other things, all your electronic devices. We have a patented Personal Area Network that enables you to wire your devices in your garment in a fashion that allows you to manage your wires and have everything in a pocket and everything in its place. We recognize that people are carrying around more and more stuff and now you can do so without looking like a geek
RS :What made you decide to create the first vest?
SJ: It was the year 2000 and I was traveling quite a bitÂ¦I had a commute from Chicago to Princeton, NJ. I worked in a business casual environment and I didn’t have any pockets to store my stuff. This was before the iPod was invented and there were CD players and such with earphone cables. I was constantly asking my wife to hold my gadgets as we went on our walks. I came up with the idea of designing a great looking jacket. At that time it was called the EVEST 1.0.
RS: Have you always been fond of gadget?
SJ: Yes! I have to have all the coolest gadgets! It started with the transistor radio when I was young. Transistor radios and cameras and it never ended.
RS: Your products have so many useful pockets, do you ever have problems at security check points?
SJ: No. Quite the opposite. You can take your jacket off and put it right through. It’s no different than using a suitcase or bag full of your devices. In fact with the restrictions on carryon bags, the SCOTTEVEST makes it much easier.
RS: How has social media affected your business? Twitter, Facebook, YouTube?
SJ: I’ve been doing this for quite some time. I have notices that many of my hits come from social media. I think people like to interact with the CEO of a company that they are buying products from. I personally respond to every single tweet that comes to my twitter account. I really enjoy interacting with the customers on a daily basis.”
RS: Tell me a little about your newest productsâ€the soft shell Jacket and the Flex Cargo Pants.
SJ: The softshell jack will be available at the end of November. Its like most soft shells with waterproof breathable material. The unique thing is all the pockets and the clear touch fabric [He then demonstrated by placing his iPhone into a pocket of his hoodie and showed how you could control the iPhone right through the the clear pocket window] The flex Cargo pants won’t be available until January. They have a little bit of stretch in them and they have a lot of hidden pockets.
RS:What is the item in the catalog with the most pockets?
SJ: I would say the Signature System. It has 52 pockets.
I think that we all know that technology is getting out of hand, and we have gadgets where we never thought gadgets should be. I mean, we have cameras on our cellular phones, for crying out loud!
Another device that I’ve been seeing in places where I never thought it would be is the digital picture frame. Digital picture frames have been huge on the market, as practically every electronics company markets some type of digital frame of some sort.
I suppose that it stands to reason that someone figured out a way to put their digital mugs on a mug. Yes, that is the Digi-Mug, a digital picture frame that fits on your average commuter-style coffee mug.
The frame is a 1.5 inch display and can support both BMP and JPG images with optional backlight. I suppose the real question is how you get the pictures onto the mug itself. I assume it is with a USB cable of some kind, but my source doesn’t have that information.
My sources do say that the Digi-Mug is powered by a lithium ion battery, and the user can save up to 50 photos with its 1MB worth of memory. Now, as far as the price and availability of the Digi-Mug, I don’t have word on that.
I’m always looking for new ways to grow readership here at zMogo.com, and assumed that because we are in the same ‘tech’ niche as BoingBoing.net, an ad placement on their site would perform fairly well.
I was wrong.
BoingBoing ads are sold through the Federated Media ad network, a web service with the mission “to support independent website authors and audiences, by connecting them to marketers in an ongoing and robust conversation that feeds everyone involved.”
They go on to make the following claim about BoingBoing:
Boing Boing attracts more than 3 million unique visitors to its site each month, and has over 600,000 RSS subscribers. And it now offers Boing Boing Video, which was recently highlighted by CNN, and Boing Boing Gadgets. By Comscore’s measure, Boing Boing is among the five most-visited blogs on the web. Technorati’s list of most influential blogs — based on how many other sites link to that blog — puts Boing Boing in the top 5. According to Google, more than 600,000 other sites link to Boing Boing. Forbes voted Boing Boing “best of the web” among tech blogs… blah blah blah.
Sounds pretty good, right? Here are the results:
Ad Type: Text ad
Run Dates: January 26th through February 1st
Total Cost: $227.50
That’s a great CPM (seriously), and I’m sure the ‘branding’ from a text ad will last us for years, but 52 clicks at $4.38 per click? Awesome.
So without further ado, here are the top 3 reasons not to advertise on BoingBoing.net:
- It’s a waste of money.
- It’s a waste of time.
- There are hundreds of advertising sources that deliver a better ROI, starting with the obvious Google AdWords, and ending with bathroom graffiti.
It was a lesson well learned, and I just hope this story can help other web publishers/marketers avoid making the same mistake. More tips here.
Over at Smashing Magazine they have a great article up about what it takes to make a great web site that is optimized for mobile devices, with some good advice and observations about the current state of mobile web-design.
The article is divided up into five sections, each covering a different aspect of mobile web-design, but for the most part includes simple tips for designing web sites in an age when people are increasingly accessing the web through cellular phones and other mobile gadgets. There’s no techno-babble here, just sound and straightforward advice.
Some of the article’s suggestions may seem obvious, but it is fundamental design features like the ones Smashing Magazine makes note of that can make or break a mobile site for users, so this is indispensable knowledge.
Some important points made in the article:
Simplicity is key: Smashing recommends that you should keep mobile sites down to the most fundamental features, since mobile web pages must be condensed into a small size. As such, only the most central features of your site should be included on the mobile page, meaning you should keep the site’s wheat to chaff ratio as high as possible. As the article says:
When it comes to mobile websites, simplicity is key. Because of the lack of space on the screen and Internet connections that are often slower, it’s important for visitors to have access to what is most crucial, and as little else as possible.
Prioritize your content: This piece of advice is related to the last, because keeping your mobile site simple means choosing only the most important features, and requires you to distill the most crucial aspects of your website down into the mobile format. Surprisingly, Smashing recommends that mobile sites should not include any ads, in order to save much-needed space and keep the visitor’s experience as straightforward as possible. As the article explains:
One thing you may find surprising when viewing mobile websites is how much of the content is prioritized for the visitor. Of course, all websites should be user-focused, but because most websites are run commercially for business purposes, there are often elements that aren’t necessarily important to visitors, such as banner ads. While advertisements have largely become an accepted part of the Internet, most mobile websites are ad-free. The content available on a mobile website is typically of the highest priority to the average mobile visitor, not the company, although in the end the company benefits by having a more usable website.
Screen size: One issue unique to web-design for mobile devices is screen size; different mobile devices have different screen sizes, and when screen real-estate is limited due to small screen-size, tailoring and optimizing your site to a specific screen size is an important step in making sure your mobile page looks good.
According to the article, if you’re going to develop your site for a particular screen size, 240×320 is the size you ought to pick: it’s the most common screen size for mobile devices, and its use is on the rise. The article explains its reasoning, citing two articles on the subject:
The results of the study behind these articles show that 240 x 320 (a.k.a. QVGA) should be the standard for mobile development. Many newer mobiles and smart phones have larger screens, but smaller ones are largely a thing of the past.
Focus on the user: This is another topic that is related to earlier recommendations. Mobile sites often can’t be simple mirrors of their full-fledged counterparts, so decisions must be made about what features should be included in your mobile page. When deciding what is essential for a mobile site, it is important to think about what the user is doing at your site, why they’re visiting, and what they want or need to do. A mobile page-user’s motives may diverge drastically from that of someone using a normal, non-mobile web site. As the article explains:
Another aspect to this issue that must be considered is the status of the average mobile visitor. What are they doing? Why are they accessing the website at that time? What are they likely and unlikely to have any interest in? Keep in mind that the goals of mobile visitors are often vastly different than those of visitors sitting at a desk.
Some other interesting tips:
- Use alt tags whenever you can, because some visitors will have images disabled!
- Headers take on increased importance in mobile web-design, where design capabilities are limited by the format, so make use of them!
- Keep colour contrast in mind, because on small mobile screens, readability takes on much more importance! Good colour choices ensure that your site is easy on the eyes, and colour choices may need to be different on mobile phones, which may display colours differently than a monitor.
- Finally, Smashing recommends you test the site as much as possible! The only way to figure out of your site looks good on a particular phone is to try it on that phone. Like any good site, testing is key, but for mobile sites, which pose some very idiosyncratic difficulties, testing is uniquely important.
Overall, Smashing’s mobile web-design tips are essential for anyone thinking of making their way into the world of mobile site-design. The article even has links to some useful resources at the bottom, so check out the article here if you’re looking for mobile site-design advice!