TweetFollow Us on Twitter

Gadgets for Geeks

Volume Number: 26
Issue Number: 12
Column Tag: Hardware

Gadgets for Geeks

Fun stuff any self-respecting geek would love

by the MacTech Editorial Staff

Welcome

It's that time of year where people think about the toys that they want, and how to spend their money for the next year. Whether it's a new budget for the new year, or just buying something that you want, here's some fun things we've used ourselves this year that we thought any self-respecting geek would love.

The basis for these recommendations are technologies we used for travel to keep our staff connected during assorted trips, and even outdoor products that kept one of our editors connected while leading a group of scouts at a National Jamboree.

FileMaker Go


FileMaker Go

For many years now, MacTech has used a number of FileMaker databases that have allowed us to create workflows for a variety of processes in the magazine. FileMaker is great if you are connected with a Mac, but in the days of everything being mobile, if you didn't set up web access, it was limiting. Enter FileMaker Go.

FileMaker Go lets users view, edit and search FileMaker Pro records on an iPhone and iPad. Databases can be accessed directly from files hosted on FileMaker Pro or FileMaker Server, or database files can be copied locally onto FileMaker Go via File Sharing in iTunes. You can work with data just like you would on FileMaker Pro and:

  •  Add, modify, or delete information;

  •  Find, sort, and navigate through records;

  •  Display data in familiar Form, Table, and List views;

  •  View information in portals, tabs, or web viewers;

  •  Search for information using Quick Find;

  •  Connect to external SQL data sources.

Performance is limited by your bandwidth. And, if your databases aren't optimized to work well over the Internet for your desktop machines, they will similarly suffer performance wise with FileMaker Go (especially over the AT&T 3G network).

A big thumbs up from MacTech on this product. FileMaker Go for the iPhone and iPod touch is US$19.99, and FileMaker Go for the iPad costs US$39.99.


Leisure Jacket for the iPad

M-Edge's Leisure Jacket for the iPad is an US$49.99 case for the Apple tablet that provides protection against sand, dirt, and moisture thanks to its read-through, clear vinyl cover. While it's not waterproof, it has a protective double closure zipper allows access to the charging port without removing iPad from the jacket. The interior of the Leisure Jacket includes a high-density foam frame to provide device security; the iPad can be flipped over for additional screen protection while traveling.

An exterior zipper compartment contains a pocket specially sized for the iPhone and additional pockets for accessory storage. The clear vinyl front cover allows full functionality of iPad's touch screen.

The Leisure Jacket weights 8.90 ounces and measures 8.5 x 10.5 x .75 inches. It's available in a variety of colors. http://www.medgestore.com/products/ipad-leisure.psp

JuiceBar Solar Charger


JuiceBar Solar Charger

The JuiceBar Solar Charger includes 12 connectors covering a variety of mobile phones, cameras and handheld games such as the iPhone, iPod, Blackberry, Nintendo DS, Sony PSP and others.

The JuiceBar sports a 1500 mAh battery and comes with an accessory bag. It allows you to charge various portable devices using a solar powered battery. Plus, it reduces the need for multiple chargers or adapters and provides an energy source that is simple and straightforward.

If you are traveling with a group that has a variety of devices, this is a must-have charging solution. The US$49.99 device measures just 0 .5 X 3.75 X 1.6 inches and weighs 2.5 ounces, and depending on the phone, will give you at least one full charge.

http://juicebarsolarcharger.com/JuiceBar-Pocket-Solar-Charger-5060171700142.htm

Trendy Digital Waterguard Plus

Ever wanted to submerge your iPad in water? If you have, one might wonder why. On the other hand, if you have your Apple tablet around water very often-say, at the beach or on a boat-you do need a waterproof case. Trendy Digital makes one in the US$23.99 Waterguard Plus Waterproof Case for the iPad.

It's designed to be submergible with some qualifications. If the case has been checked and sealed tightly, the device inside should be safe if you accidentally drop it in water and retrieve it quickly. In other words, the WaterGuard is designed to protect your iPad from water-related accidents, not for taking it into the swimming pool with you.


Trendy Digital

Made of UV-stabilized plastic, the WaterGuard Plus Waterproof Case is designed to offer protection when you get stuck in a rainstorm or accidentally drop your bag on a wet surface. When using the WaterGuard Plus Case, the iPad can be slipped directly into the WaterGuard pocket and the transparent surface provides full access to the iPad's touch interface and keyboard. 

The case features a fitted form with back padding to house the iPad. In addition to water, it protects against dust, dirt, sand and other elements. You can wear the WaterGuard around your neck or shoulder via an adjustable strap. And at 3.0 ounces, it's very light.

If you are taking your iPad somewhere where you are worried about water, rain, or significant moisture, you really need something like this. We were astounded at how well the sound worked even in the sealed bag, and it could be a great solution for watching a movie in the spa. The WaterGuard Plus gets a big thumbs up from MacTech.

http://www.trendydigital.com

Emergency Charge Adapter


Emergency Charge Adapter

The BKRadio Emergency Charge Adapter is an US$34.95 device that turns nine AA batteries into a cigarette lighter socket. You can charge your cell phone with your BK Radio Battery or get emergency power for other portable devices.

It works with the iPhone, iPod, CD players, GPS devices, most cell phones and more. The Emergency Charge Adapter is machined from solid billet aluminum. If you absolutely, positively need to have power, this is the simplest and most reliable of devices. We've talked to emergency crews (e.g., fire departments that use them), and we can see why. A big thumbs up from the MacTech crew. http://bkradio.com/

Matias Folding Keyboard

While many people can do occasional typing on the iPad or iPhone via the virtual keyboard, serious keyboarding simply isn't possible without a true external keyboard. While Apple offers two options, they are limiting; the US$99.95 Matias Folding Keyboard provides an ideal third option for serious iPad typists.


Matias Folding Keyboard

Unlike Apple's offerings, this is a full-sized keyboard. There are no tiny key caps designed to look good, but which fail at heavy typing. This keyboard folds to about the overall size and thickness of the Apple Bluetooth keyboard, but unfolds into a full keyboard complete with number pad and a spacious typing area.

If you want to effectively type with an iPad, the Matias Folding Keyboard is an ideal combination of portability and function. You'll have a full sized keyboard that's compact and a pleasure to type on.

A big thumbs up on this keyboard. If you are traveling for more than a little bit, and relying on your iPad as your primary computing device, this is a must have. We can't imagine keeping up with email without this keyboard. (http://matias.ca/foldingkeyboard/index.php)

CandyShell iPad Case


Speck's CandyShell iPad Case

Speck's US$49.95 CandyShell iPad case is a case with a case thin, hard-shell coating, soft rubbery interior lining, bezel and button covers.

It sports a flip-back panel for use with iPad dock and the iPad keyboard dock (the latter isn't included). To use you slide the right (button) side of iPad into the CandyShell case first, then gently snap the other edges of the case around the edge of the screen. To use with dock connector cable, iPad dock or keyboard dock, pull open the flip-back panel. (Don't try to use the flip-back panel as a stand or foot).

As one of our favorite iPad cases, this gets a big thumbs up from the MacTech crew. The cushioning, back flap, and feel are just well thought out.

http://www.speckproducts.com/ipad/candyshell-batwing-black.html

DryCASE Waterproof iPhone case

They DryCASE Waterproof is an US$39.99 is a flexible, waterproof case that allows use of your phone or camera while keeping it dry and clean.

To use, you twist the clasps outward to open the DryCASE, and then simply slide in the device that you would like to protect. Make sure that the contents inside are completely clear of the opening and the closure.


DryCASE Waterproof

Twist the clasps inward to close and lock the DryCASE. Position your device how you would like to use it inside the DryCASE. To pump out all the air, just squeeze the pump until you've removed all the air and can't pump it any more. When you remove the air, creating a vacuum, it will secure the device in place. After you have removed all the air, the DryCASE will be tightly sealed around the contents inside and the pump should be completely flat. You can now remove the hand pump and place the safety cap on.


The DryCASE is completely submersible. You can also order DryBUDS waterproof headphones ($29.99 if purchased separately; $64.99 for a bundle of the case and headphones) for use with the case. The headphones can be used up to nearly 10 feet underwater.

The DryCASE is 4.25 inches wide and 6.5 inches long and will fit almost any phone, camera or MP3 player. http://store.drycase.com/DryCASE-Waterproof-phone-camera-and-music-player-p/dc-13.htm

Invisible Shield for iPad


invisibleShield

Zagg's InvisibleShield for iPad is a film that protects iPods, iPhones, iPads, and other devices scratches. The film is made with Nano-Memory technology that covers and shields your device.Zagg says Nano-Memory technology offers four main benefits:

  •  Durability - self-healing properties offer resistance to scratches and damag;

  •  Coverage - pliability and flexibility allows the invisibleShield designs to cover the corners and curves of your device;

  •  Drop resistant - an improved grip makes it easier to hang onto your gadgets;

  • Glare reduction - the invisibleShield gives your device a slight "orange peel" finish that breaks up glare and reduces finger print smudges, while still creating high res screen viewing clarity.

    Zagg lives up to its reputation, and gets another big thumbs up from MacTech on their iPad product. Zagg ensures a lifetime guarantee if the film ever wears or becomes scratched. The price of films for iPad for a full body cover is US$39.99. The price for full coverage for iPhone is $24.99. http://www.zagg.com/invisibleshield/features.php

    Folding Bikes

    Apple users like their computers, MP3 players and phones svelte, so why not their bikes? Ok, not quite a Mac, but it's cool tech nonetheless. As a surprisingly economical solution, 2KSilver makes 20-inch and 26-inch folding bikes that are good in a variety of circumstances.


    2Ksilver 26 inch Folding Bike

    These bikes are more easily checked on an airplane, or packed in a car. Assembly is truly easy. A single tool is all you need-and that's just for tightening the bike together. In fact, the most difficult thing about the assembly is probably the careful location selection and tightening the bell on the handlebar so it would ring clearly and loudly.

    The 2KSilver bikes are easy to ride. If you're over six feet, you'll want to go with the larger model. The seat will only expand so far on the smaller 16 and 20 inch bikes, and a tall person would need more knee space.

    We found out first-hand that the bike's seven gears are enough to handle biking up and down hills. For more demanding terrain, more gears would be useful. Realistically, if you're looking at a folding bike, you're probably going to use it for basic transportation rather than competitive or mountain biking.

    We love the technology and simplicity of these bikes. Big thumbs up from MacTech's crew. The 20-inch models can be bought for US$179.99; the 26-inch models are $234.99 to $299.99. https://www.2ksilver.com/

    Tatango

    Tatango is a flexible group SMS service designed to work with different size groups-from 10-person groups to 10,000 person groups. It's a must have for a group that needs rapid communication. Messages can be sent out from a computer or a cell phone. Each account can have multiple groups, and each group can have multiple subgroups.

    You can create as many groups as you want under one Tatango account. What's more, you can create subgroups to better manage group members and search your contacts by phone or name. You can let others in your group help you manage the group by making them an administrator.

    With Tatango, you can send your message to an entire group or select a specific subgroup. You can get a preview of what your group message will look like on your group member's phones. If you're not near a computer, you can send your group message from your own phone.

    To send out a message to one of your groups from your phone, simply send a text to the Tatango short SMS number (68398) with an asterisk at the beginning and your message. Tatango will then reply asking which group to send it to, and after responding with a group number all members of the group receive. While on a long trip to the National Jamboree, one of our editors used it to communicate with other leaders, scouts and parents. For example, when a tornado touched down in Washington D.C., it was particularly useful to be able to notify parents of our safety before it hit national news. It was also incredibly useful for more common uses, such as remind everyone with us in one of the museums to get back to the bus.

    All Tatango messages come from 68398, so they never show your personal phone number. Messages arrive with your group name on the top and contain no advertisements.

    Tatango stores all past messages sent to your group. Every message sent is stored for future reference, including the date, message and the recipients. If a group member responds to your message, that reply is also stored.


    Tatango Example

    A big thumbs up from the MacTech crew. This was the easiest to use turnkey system we found for communicating to a lot of different types of devices. http://www.tatango.com

    PowerFilm Solar

    The PowerFilm Solar lets you charge your electronic devices anywhere the sun shines. Using solar technology, these are foldable chargers that come in wattage ranges from 1.5 to 60 watts and in voltage ranges from 3.6 to 15.4 voltages.


    PowerFilm Solar Foldable

    The chargers aren't available for sale directly from the PowerFilm Solar web site, PowerFilmSolar.com; however, they're available online through Amazon.com. The listed sale price on Amazon.com around $250.

    The PowerFilm line of product deserves an entire article on its own about how to build a charging station, and more. We couldn't have handled the longer outdoor adventures without PowerFilm. A big thumbs up from the MacTech crew. http://powerfilmsolar.com/foldable-solar-chargers/f15-1200.php

    QuickerTek iPad Charging Products

    QuickerTek makes three products that will let you get a charge out of your iPad.The US$249.95 Apple Juicz external battery for the iPad uses the Apple 10 watt USB charger that comes with the iPad to charge the battery (or any USB charger), so there's no extra AC power wall wart adapter to lug around.


    QuickerTek Charge Monitor

    The Apple Juicz External Battery for the iPad can fully recharge the device in three hours and has two female USB ports that can simultaneously charge any USB device as well as having propriety circuitry for the iPhone, iPod touch or any 30-pin iPod while being used to charge and power all models of the iPad.

    The Apple Juicz users Li-ion Polymer high capacity 9400 mAh batteries, which will recharge in excess of 2000 times. They sport safety circuitry for protection along with temperature and charge/discharge rates, cell balancing and a fuel gauge with a LED indicator showing how much Juicz is left in the battery.

    The $299.99 iPad Solar Panel is a 10-watt foldable solar panel that charges as fast as Apple's 10-watt wall charger that comes with the iPad. QuickerTek includes an USB monitor/activator so that you can see the charge current level. Also in the kit is a female cigarette lighter adapter and a USB cable.

    The $29.99 Charge Monitor has three functions. The unit will turn on the USB port so that it will charge and the four LED's on the unit shows that the iPad is charging and shows the charging current level or how fast it is charging. The more lights that are on, the more power being put out by the charger and thusly the faster your iPad is charging. No bigger than a USB dongle with a USB connector at each end, the iPad Solar Charger is compatible with 1.0 or 2.0 USB ports, the iPad, iPhone (all generations), the iPod touch and all 30-pin iPods.

    QuickerTek has been in the Apple market for years, and has a number of innovative products. A big thumbs up from the MacTech crew on making an easy to use solar system that can charge multiple devices. http://www.quickertek.com

  •  

    Community Search:
    MacTech Search:

    Software Updates via MacUpdate

    TechTool Pro 9.5.1 - Hard drive and syst...
    TechTool Pro has long been one of the foremost utilities for keeping your Mac running smoothly and efficiently. With the release of version 9, it has become more proficient than ever. TechTool... Read more
    Jamf Pro 9.99.0 - Powerful sysadmin/ente...
    Jamf Pro (formerly Casper Suite) is the EMM tool that delights IT pros and the users they support by delivering on the promise of unified endpoint management for Apple devices. At Jamf, connecting... Read more
    VueScan 9.5.78 - Scanner software with a...
    VueScan is a scanning program that works with most high-quality flatbed and film scanners to produce scans that have excellent color fidelity and color balance. VueScan is easy to use, and has... Read more
    Adobe Lightroom 6.10.1 - Import, develop...
    Adobe Lightroom is available as part of Adobe Creative Cloud for as little as $9.99/month bundled with Photoshop CC as part of the photography package. Lightroom 6 is also available for purchase as a... Read more
    iPhoto Library Manager 4.2.7 - Manage mu...
    iPhoto Library Manager allows you to organize your photos among multiple iPhoto libraries, rather than having to store all of your photos in one giant library. You can browse the photos in all your... Read more
    Smultron 9.4 - Easy-to-use, powerful tex...
    Smultron 9 is an elegant and powerful text editor that is easy to use. Use it to create or edit any text document. Everything from a web page, a note or a script to any single piece of text or code.... Read more
    TextSoap 8.4 - Automate tedious text doc...
    TextSoap can automatically remove unwanted characters, fix up messed up carriage returns, and do pretty much anything else that we can think of to text. Save time and effort. Be more productive. Stop... Read more
    Merlin Project 4.2.3 - $349.00
    Merlin Project is the leading professional project management software for OS X. If you plan complex projects on your Mac, you won’t get far with a simple list of tasks. Good planning raises... Read more
    QuarkXPress 13.0.0.0 - Desktop publishin...
    QuarkXPress 2017 is the new version that raises the bar for design and productivity. With non-destructive graphics and image editing directly within your layout, you no longer have to choose between... Read more
    Path Finder 7.5 - Powerful, award-winnin...
    Path Finder makes you a master of file management. Take full control over your file system. Save your time: compare and synchronize folders, view hidden files, use Dual Pane and full keyboard... Read more

    Latest Forum Discussions

    See All

    Zombie Gunship Survival Beginner's...
    The much anticipated Zombie Gunship Survival is here. In this latest entry in the Zombie Gunship franchise, you're tasked with supporting ground troops and protecting your base from the zombie horde. There's a lot of rich base building fun, and... | Read more »
    Mordheim: Warband Skirmish (Games)
    Mordheim: Warband Skirmish 1.2.2 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $3.99, Version: 1.2.2 (iTunes) Description: Explore the ruins of the City of Mordheim, clash with other scavenging warbands and collect Wyrdstone -... | Read more »
    Mordheim: Warband Skirmish brings tablet...
    Legendary Games has just launched Mordheim: Warband Skirmish, a new turn-based action game for iOS and Android. | Read more »
    Magikarp Jump splashes onto Android worl...
    If you're tired ofPokémon GObut still want something to satisfy your mobilePokémon fix,Magikarp Jumpmay just do the trick. It's out now on Android devices the world over. While it looks like a simple arcade jumper, there's quite a bit more to it... | Read more »
    Purrfectly charming open-world RPG Cat Q...
    Cat Quest, an expansive open-world RPG from former Koei-Tecmo developers, got a new gameplay trailer today. The video showcases the combat and exploration features of this feline-themed RPG. Cat puns abound as you travel across a large map in a... | Read more »
    Jaipur: A Card Game of Duels (Games)
    Jaipur: A Card Game of Duels 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $1.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: ** WARNING: iPad 2, iPad Mini 1 & iPhone 4S are NOT compatible. ** *** Special Launch Price for a limited... | Read more »
    Subdivision Infinity (Games)
    Subdivision Infinity 1.03 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $2.99, Version: 1.03 (iTunes) Description: Launch sale! 40% Off! Subdivision Infinity is an immersive and pulse pounding sci-fi 3D space shooter. https://www.... | Read more »
    Clash of Clans' gets a huge new upd...
    Clash of Clans just got a massive new update, and that's not hyperbole. The update easily tacks on a whole new game's worth of content to the hit base building game. In the update, that mysterious boat on the edge of the map has been repaired and... | Read more »
    Thimbleweed Park officially headed to iO...
    Welp, it's official. Thimbleweed Park will be getting a mobile version. After lots of wondering and speculation, the developers confirmed it today. Thimbleweed Park will be available on both iOS and Android sometime in the near future. There's no... | Read more »
    Pokémon GO might be getting legendaries...
    The long-awaited legendary Pokémon may soon be coming to Pokémon GO at long last. Data miners have already discovered that the legendary birds, Articuno, Moltres, and Zapdos are already in the game, it’s just a matter of time. [Read more] | Read more »

    Price Scanner via MacPrices.net

    Huawei Unveils New ‘Business-Styled’ MateBook...
    Huawei has introduced a trio of new MateBook laptops, expanding its mobile portfolio and building on its success in delivering attractive and powerful high-end devices. The company claims the HUAWEI... Read more
    Deal! Gold 12-inch 1.2GHz Retina MacBook for...
    Amazon has the 2016 Gold 12″ 1.2GHz Retina MacBook (MLHF2LL/A) on sale for $350 off MSRP for a limited time. Shipping is free: - 12″ 1.2GHz Gold Retina MacBook: $1249.99 $350 off MSRP We expect this... Read more
    13-inch 2.0GHz MacBook Pros on sale for $100...
    B&H has the non-Touch Bar 13″ 2.0GHz MacBook Pros in stock today and on sale for $100 off MSRP. Shipping is free, and B&H charges NY & NJ sales tax only: - 13″ 2.0GHz MacBook Pro Space... Read more
    15-inch 2.2GHz Retina MacBook Pro, Apple refu...
    Apple has Certified Refurbished 2015 15″ 2.2GHz Retina MacBook Pros available for $1699. That’s $300 off MSRP, and it’s the lowest price available for a 15″ MacBook Pro. An Apple one-year warranty is... Read more
    Apple refurbished 9-inch and 12-inch iPad Pro...
    Apple has Certified Refurbished 9″ and 12″ Apple iPad Pros available for up to $160 off the cost of new iPads. An Apple one-year warranty is included with each model, and shipping is free: - 32GB 9″... 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
    Sale! 15-inch 2.6GHz Silver Touch Bar MacBook...
    DataVision has the 15″ 2.6GHz Silver Touch Bar MacBook Pro (MLW72LL/A) on sale for $2199 including free shipping. Their price is $200 off MSRP, and it’s the lowest price available for this model (... Read more
    A Kaby Lake Processor Upgrade For The MacBook...
    Now they tell me! Well, actually Apple hasn’t said anything official on the subject, but last week Bloomberg News’s Mark Gurman and Alex Webb cited unnamed “people familiar with the matter”... Read more
    Kodak’s Camera-First Smartphone EKTRA Launche...
    The Eastman Kodak Company and Bullitt Group have announced the availability of a U.S. GSM version of the KODAK EKTRA Smartphone. The U.S. launch coincides with a software update addressing requests... Read more
    Apple Launches App Development Curriculum for...
    Apple today launched a new app development curriculum designed for students who want to pursue careers in the fast-growing app economy. The curriculum is available as a free download today from Apple... Read more

    Jobs Board

    *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
    *Apple* Retail - Multiple Positions - Apple,...
    Job Description:SalesSpecialist - Retail Customer Service and SalesTransform Apple Store visitors into loyal Apple customers. When customers enter the store, Read more
    *Apple* Systems Engineer - California Polyte...
    Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo Apple Systems Engineer Department: ITS - Customer & Tech Support (134900) College/Division: Academic Affairs Salary Range: Position Read more
    Best Buy *Apple* Computing Master - Best Bu...
    **508718BR** **Job Title:** Best Buy Apple Computing Master **Location Number:** 001526-Odessa-Store **Job Description:** **What does a Best Buy Apple Computing Read more
    Data Engineer - *Apple* Media Products - Ap...
    Changing the world is all in a day's work at Apple . If you love innovation, here's your chance to make a career of it. You'll work hard. But the job comes with more Read more
    All contents are Copyright 1984-2011 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.