TweetFollow Us on Twitter

Gift Guide for Geeks 2003: Gadgetry

Volume Number: 19 (2003)
Issue Number: 11
Column Tag: Review

Gift Guide for Geeks 2003: Gadgetry

by Michael R. Harvey

Just cool and interesting stuff to give or get

There is always a large selection of possible stuff to give or get during the holidays. From bath towels, to luxury SUVs. Following are a few choices that fall somewhere in between those extremes.

IBookEndz

The folks over at Photo Control Corporation (www.bookendzdocks.com) have their fingers in several pies. The one that we are most happy with is the BookEndz line of products. For years now, these guys have been making docking stations for many of Apples laptops, from the 1997 G3 all the way to the current 12 inch aluminum PowerBook. We looked at the one they have for the Dual USB iBook. It's a small, compact, rectangular box that simply plugs into the ports on the left side of the iBook. It is available in both white and black. And, it just works. Plug the BookEndz into the 'Book before turning it on, and you are set. Plug once, instead of two, three, or twelve times. It's really, really, handy. FireWire, USB, network, and modem are all there. The RGB connector on the iBook is converted to a VGA connector to make it easier to attach an external monitor. Likewise, the A/V connector is converted to RCA jacks for audio left, right, and video. The only caveat with the iBookEndz is that it won't work with s-video on the iBook May 2002 model. The white colored iBookEndz is $159.95, and the black colored dock is $144.95. Anyone who has a PowerBook will find one of these docks incredibly useful, and would just love to get one for the holidays (hint, hint).

Visual Thesaurus

This application began life as a web-based tool in 1998. Since then, Plumb Design (www.visualthesaurus.com) updated it, and released it as a stand alone product earlier this year. Visual Thesaurus, as its name indicates, provides you with a graphical way to find words, their meanings, and their synonyms. It uses the WordNet database provided by the Cognitive Science Laboratory at Princeton University (www.cogsci.princeton.edu/~wn/). It handles English language words only.

It is, if nothing else, a unique approach to looking up words. While moving over to another program in order to look up a word is less than ideal, having to move over to this program may make it not quite so hard to deal with. Can you find the synonym to that word to need to make deadline? Sure, although because of the graphical nature of the presentation, it may be more difficult than usual to find exactly what you are looking for. That doesn't necessarily seem to be the point of this program, however. I found myself just exploring related links to words that jumped out at me. It became a fun sort of game to follow along a random selection path to find out what would pop up next.


Visual Thesaurus is available directly from Plumb Designs web site for $29.95 (plus shipping and handling if you want them to send you a CD).

Transpod

When the guys at Netalog, Inc. (www.everythingipod.com) came out with the Transpod, I thought it was, hands down, the best iPod accessory ever created. I still think that. This device is a combination FM transmitter, and iPod charger for use in your car. It plugs into the cigarette lighter of your vehicle, eliminating the need for any cords or wires. It can be set to any FM frequency to allow you to broadcast your tunes on your car stereo. By law, the transmitter is very low power, so you pretty much have to have the volume nearly maxed on your iPod, and radio, in order hear the music. The kit comes with the main body of the unit, a mounting bracket (if you want to screw a bracket to your dashboard), a power cord to plug the dash mount into power, the articulating arm for plugging the unit into a car power adapter, and last, an extender arm so you can place the Transpod in a usable position even when your cars power adapter is in an out of the way location. The one thing to note about the arms is that while they can be adjusted up and down, there is no left and right articulation. This proved to be somewhat distracting when trying to read the screen, and having to lean over to do so. This device is $89.99 direct.

That's not all, however. Soon after the release of the Transpod, Netalog came out with the Transpod 2. Similar to its predecessor in appearance, but designed to give you a one piece solution to hold and charge your iPod, while letting you plug the setup into either a cassette or direct audio plug. There is no FM transmitter in this model, but for what it does, you don't need one. IT comes with the same parts as the original, but also adds the cassette adapter, and direct connect cables. Obviously, a direct connection garners better sound quality than FM, so you get as good a listening experience as your car stereo system can produce. This version of the Transpod is available for $59.99.

FireWire 800 Hard Drive

The folks at WiebeTech are the answer to many technicians dreams. They have a range of products designed to make the administrators life a little easier. The MicroGB800 hard drive (www.wiebetech.com) is a truly outstanding gift choice among their offerings. This miniature portable drive has dual daisy chainable FireWire 800 interfaces, and a USB 1.1/2.0 interface. It can be either bus powered, or run off the included AC adapter. A FireWire 800-800 cable, FireWire 800-400 cable, and a USB2 cable are also included. USB operation requires the AC adapter. The drive is plug and play without drivers under OS 9, and Mac OS X (you can boot from this drive on the Mac OS), not to mention Windows 98SE, ME, 2000, and XP. A very nice carrying case is included, which gives the drive case a bit of protection from scratches. FireWire 800 operation requires a FireWire 800 host, otherwise the connection speed will revert to FireWire 400 automatically.

There are a range of options and pricing for this drive. Starting at $159.95 for an empty, install your own drive, case, up to $449.95 for an 80 GB 4200 RPM drive. There is one higher option that WiebeTech recommends for getting the most out of the FireWire 800 connection. A 60 GB, 7200 RPM drive for $529.95. Anyone who needs to move a lot of data around, and needs high speed access to it will find this stocking stuffer invaluable.

iSleeve

The iSleeve is Terforma's entry into the iPod accessory market. These folks have produced a carry case for both original and newest iPods that is supposed to be "a sleek, protective rubber case for business-to-sport versatility, but also unfettered access to the iPod's dial interface and display" according to the press release. And that is a fairly accurate description of the unit. The main rubber case that surrounds your iPod is fairly sturdy, as is the plastic back panel. The rubber has openings to allow you access to the ports on the iPod. The case has even been molded to allow an iTrip from Griffin Technology (www.griffintechnology.com) to plug in without removing the case, a nice touch creating a product to allow easy use of other company's stuff. Installing your iPod into the case is simple. Visual instructions are provided, as are padded strips to help get a custom fit for your particular iPod. Getting the iPod in and out is easy, but the case still holds it securely, so you don't need to worry about it falling out. The back panel has both a belt clip, and a hand strap for holding it while exercising. It is also designed so that you can store your ear buds out of the way, but easily accessible. Getting the ear buds in and out takes a bit of getting used to , but it's not impossible. Access to the dial and buttons is better than most other cases and sleeves for the iPod out there. The iSleeve comes in black and white, and has versions for both the original and new iPods (named G1 and G2 respectively). The iSleeve is available directly from Terforma for $49.99.

FriendlyNET FR1004AL Wireless Router

Okay, so the 802.11g wireless standard, nee Airport Extreme, is the coming thing. That doesn't mean, however, that the 802.11b standard is ready to be cast aside. There's a ton of plain old Airport need still out there. Over the last several months, I have looked at several different 802.11b wireless routers. The FriendlyNET FR1004AL was my overall favorite. Many of the models I checked out had something to recommend them as well as detractors, the Asante offering included. The FR1004AL came out ahead overall, with the best set of features, and the fewest issues to complain about. Physically, this router is great. The case it good, sturdy metal (not flimsy plastic, like most others). The antennae screw on securely, and are also of good quality. This router was the only one I tested that had four ports on it. Most had only two. So, for the FR1004AL, you most likely wouldn't need to put a hub in to handle multiple computers. The range on this beast is great, better than any other router I tested. I literally walked out my front door with my iBook, and down the street a full block before losing the signal. It's got really good signal strength, too. A few others had higher overall signal strength, but none had that in combination with its range. On the inside, the software is uber simple to set up. It almost does itself. And, that's about where it ends. With this router, you don't have the depth of settings you have with some of the other offerings out. That said, what you can do with it is likely more than enough for most. Everything is done via web interface. This router is definitely the perfect gift for that special someone who needed to unplug form the wall. The FR1004Al can be found at many online stores for $90 to $100.


CinemaLift Arm


Now this one is really cool. One thing about the Apple displays that always bugs me is their very limited adjustability. This product takes care of that problem in marvelous fashion. Innovative Office Products (www.lcdarms.com) has several different styles of lift arms for taking LCD monitors up off the desk, and they have created one specifically for Apple Cinema and Studio Displays. These ridiculously sturdy, metal arms have 360 degrees of swivel at all three joints, provide 18" of vertical movement, 27" of horizontal movement, and 200 degrees of tilt. Wire management is handled by threading cable through the arm itself, or via plastic snap on ducts, and clips. The kit has easy to follow instructions, and all the parts, and tools, necessary to put the lift arm together to get it off the table. The only alteration you need to make to the Apple display is to remove the rear support arm by taking out three screws, then pulling off the arm, and a plastic cover from the hinge. One cool thing about the kit is that parts are included to mount the arm any one of several ways. It can be either wall mounted, mount to the desk with a clamp, or anchored to the desk, if you are willing to drill a hole into it, among others. Once the device is assembled, you will need to turn a few screws to get the tension, and pneumatic cylinder adjusted for the weight of your display, but that's it. Your LCD is floating above your desk, and can be easily adjusted to any height and angle you need.

There are two version of the arm. The CinemaLift is for the 20 and 23 inch displays. The StudioLift is for the 17 inch Apple display. The cost of the CinemaLift is $369 with the StudioLift being somewhat less.


Michael R. Harvey

 

Community Search:
MacTech Search:

Software Updates via MacUpdate

Dropbox 22.4.24 - Cloud backup and synch...
Dropbox is an application that creates a special Finder folder that automatically syncs online and between your computers. It allows you to both backup files and keep them up-to-date between systems... Read more
Posterino 3.3.5 - Create posters, collag...
Posterino offers enhanced customization and flexibility including a variety of new, stylish templates featuring grids of identical or odd-sized image boxes. You can customize the size and shape of... Read more
Kodi 17.1. - Powerful media center tool...
Kodi (was XBMC) is an award-winning free and open-source (GPL) software media player and entertainment hub that can be installed on Linux, OS X, Windows, iOS, and Android, featuring a 10-foot user... Read more
Kodi 17.1. - Powerful media center tool...
Kodi (was XBMC) is an award-winning free and open-source (GPL) software media player and entertainment hub that can be installed on Linux, OS X, Windows, iOS, and Android, featuring a 10-foot user... Read more
Bookends 12.8 - Reference management and...
Bookends is a full-featured bibliography/reference and information-management system for students and professionals. Bookends uses the cloud to sync reference libraries on all the Macs you use.... Read more
Apple iTunes 12.6 - Play Apple Music and...
Apple iTunes lets you organize and stream Apple Music, download and watch video and listen to Podcasts. It can automatically download new music, app, and book purchases across all your devices and... Read more
Default Folder X 5.1.4 - Enhances Open a...
Default Folder X attaches a toolbar to the right side of the Open and Save dialogs in any OS X-native application. The toolbar gives you fast access to various folders and commands. You just click on... Read more
Amazon Chime 4.1.5587 - Amazon-based com...
Amazon Chime is a communications service that transforms online meetings with a secure, easy-to-use application that you can trust. Amazon Chime works seamlessly across your devices so that you can... Read more
CrossOver 16.2 - Run Windows apps on you...
CrossOver can get your Windows productivity applications and PC games up and running on your Mac quickly and easily. CrossOver runs the Windows software that you need on Mac at home, in the office,... Read more
Adobe Creative Cloud 4.0.0.185 - Access...
Adobe Creative Cloud costs $19.99/month for a single app, or $49.99/month for the entire suite. Introducing Adobe Creative Cloud desktop applications, including Adobe Photoshop CC and Illustrator CC... Read more

The best deals on the App Store this wee...
Deals, deals, deals. We're all about a good bargain here on 148Apps, and luckily this was another fine week in App Store discounts. There's a big board game sale happening right now, and a few fine indies are still discounted through the weekend.... | Read more »
The best new games we played this week
It's been quite the week, but now that all of that business is out of the way, it's time to hunker down with some of the excellent games that were released over the past few days. There's a fair few to help you relax in your down time or if you're... | Read more »
Orphan Black: The Game (Games)
Orphan Black: The Game 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $4.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: Dive into a dark and twisted puzzle-adventure that retells the pivotal events of Orphan Black. | Read more »
The Elder Scrolls: Legends is now availa...
| Read more »
Ticket to Earth beginner's guide: H...
Robot Circus launched Ticket to Earth as part of the App Store's indie games event last week. If you're not quite digging the space operatics Mass Effect: Andromeda is serving up, you'll be pleased to know that there's a surprising alternative on... | Read more »
Leap to victory in Nexx Studios new plat...
You’re always a hop, skip, and a jump away from a fiery death in Temple Jump, a new platformer-cum-endless runner from Nexx Studio. It’s out now on both iOS and Android if you’re an adventurer seeking treasure in a crumbling, pixel-laden temple. | Read more »
Failbetter Games details changes coming...
Sunless Sea, Failbetter Games' dark and gloomy sea explorer, sets sail for the iPad tomorrow. Ahead of the game's launch, Failbetter took to Twitter to discuss what will be different in the mobile version of the game. Many of the changes make... | Read more »
Splish, splash! The Pokémon GO Water Fes...
Niantic is back with a new festival for dedicated Pokémon GO collectors. The Water Festival officially kicks off today at 1 P.M. PDT and runs through March 29. Magikarp, Squirtle, Totodile, and their assorted evolved forms will be appearing at... | Read more »
Death Road to Canada (Games)
Death Road to Canada 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $7.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: Get it now at the low launch price! Price will go up a dollar every major update. Update news at the bottom of this... | Read more »
Bean's Quest Beginner's Guide:...
Bean's Quest is a new take on both the classic platformer and the endless runner, and it's free on the App Store for the time being. Instead of running constantly, you can't stop jumping. That adds a surprising new level of challenge to the game... | Read more »

Price Scanner via MacPrices.net

Apple Chip Foundry TSMC To Begin A11 System-o...
Digitimes’ Steve Shen is reporting today that according to the Chinese-language Economic Daily News (EDN), chipmaker and major Apple supplier foundery Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC... Read more
MacX MediaTrans 3.5 iOS Data Transfer Spring...
MacXDVD Software has announced general availability of the latest MacX MedTrans 3.5, featuring a new user interface (UI). MacX MediaTrans is ann iPhone manager that enables free data transfer between... Read more
Regular Price $19.95 DupeZap 4 Finder For OS...
Hyperbolic Software has announced the release of DupeZap 4.0.2, their modern duplicate finder developed exclusively for macOS. DupeZap 4 is an utility for Mac owners seeking to reclaim disk space... Read more
B-Eng Releases SSD Health Check for MVNe for...
Fehraltorf, Switzerland based B-Eng has announced the release and immediate availability of SSD Health Check for MVNe for MacBook Pro, their app that delivers important data and insights for MVNe... Read more
Apple iMacs on sale for up to $200 off MSRP,...
B&H Photo has 21″ and 27″ Apple iMacs on sale for up to $200 off MSRP, each including free shipping plus NY sales tax only: - 27″ 3.3GHz iMac 5K: $2099 $200 off MSRP - 27″ 3.2GHz/1TB Fusion iMac... Read more
Apple Certified Refurbished iMacs available f...
Apple has Certified Refurbished 2015 21″ & 27″ iMacs available for up to $350 off MSRP. Apple’s one-year warranty is standard, and shipping is free. The following models are available: - 21″ 3.... Read more
1.4GHz Mac mini on sale for $419, $80 off MSR...
B&H Photo has the 1.4GHz Mac mini on sale for $80 off MSRP including free shipping plus NY sales tax only: - 1.4GHz Mac mini: $419.88 $80 off MSRP Read more
Apple refurbished Mac minis available for up...
Apple has Certified Refurbished Mac minis available starting at $419. Apple’s one-year warranty is included with each mini, and shipping is free: - 1.4GHz Mac mini: $419 $80 off MSRP - 2.6GHz Mac... Read more
Updated iPad Price Trackers
Scan our Apple iPad (and iPod touch) Price Trackers for the latest information on sales, bundles, and availability on systems from Apple’s authorized internet/catalog resellers. We update the... Read more
12-inch 32GB Space Gray iPad Pro on sale for...
B&H Photo has 12″ Space Gray 32GB WiFi Apple iPad Pros on sale for $50 off MSRP including free shipping. B&H charges sales tax in NY only: - 12″ Space Gray 32GB WiFi iPad Pro: $749 $50 off... Read more

Jobs Board

Fulltime aan de slag als shopmanager in een h...
Ben jij helemaal gek van Apple -producten en vind je het helemaal super om fulltime shopmanager te zijn in een jonge en hippe elektronicazaak? Wil jij werken in Read more
*Apple* Mobile Master - Best Buy (United Sta...
**492889BR** **Job Title:** Apple Mobile Master **Location Number:** 000886-Norwalk-Store **Job Description:** **What does a Best Buy Apple Mobile Master do?** Read more
*Apple* Mobile Master - Best Buy (United Sta...
**492472BR** **Job Title:** Apple Mobile Master **Location Number:** 000470-Seattle-Store **Job Description:** **What does a Best Buy Apple Mobile Master do?** Read more
*Apple* Mobile Master - Best Buy (United Sta...
**492562BR** **Job Title:** Apple Mobile Master **Location Number:** 000853-Jackson-Store **Job Description:** **What does a Best Buy Apple Mobile Master do?** Read more
*Apple* Retail - Multiple Positions - Apple,...
Job Description: Sales Specialist - Retail Customer Service and Sales Transform Apple Store visitors into loyal Apple customers. When customers enter the store, Read more
All contents are Copyright 1984-2011 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.