Archive for the ‘Gadgets, Gizmos, Gear’ Category

USB Octopus Hub

Do you find yourself searching for an available USB port on your laptop or desktop device or having to disconnect one USB device in order to temporarily use another USB device? Although there are dozens of portable USB hubs available on the market, few products offer a solution that is as playful, stylish or colorful as the USB Octopus Hub, which includes four USB ports on flexible cords.  And, at a retail price of $10.00 each, it’s a good value, too.



The USB Octopus is available in black, white, purple and yellow (not pictured here) from  Go to the official Gadget4All website by clicking here.


To go to previous posts in the Gadgets, Gizmos and Gear category, click here.

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Going, Going, Gone Mac

Last week Apple introduced a “refreshed” line-up of its MacBook Pro line, together with numerous other product announcements, including the widely-anticipated and much touted new iPhone 3Gs.  The changes to the MacBook Pro line included the introduction of a new 13-inch MacBook Pro, which previously was available under the standard, and lower-cost MacBook series.  After being a life-long Windows/PC user, I made the big leap last week and have “Gone Mac,” as they say.

I ordered the 13-inch MacBook Pro online from the Apple Store, together with some optional upgrades, such as the 2.53 GHz processor and a 500-GB hard drive.   The MacBook Pro arrived this week, in the customary sleek and ultra-stylish Apple packaging.  It looks beautiful.  And within two minutes, the MacBook Pro was up and running and connected to the local wireless network.  Awesome!

I’m now left wondering:  Once you go Mac, do you ever go back?





 To read recent views of the new MacBook Pro 13-inch, click on the review links below:

Review from Gizmodo
Review from PC Magazine
Review from Laptop Magazine

Or read more about the general upgrade to the MacBook Pro line from The Apple Blog, by clicking here.

To order your own MacBook Pro, with complimentary shipping, direct from the Apple Store, click here.

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Top 10 iPhone Apps



As new applications for the iPhone continue to pour into the market, I’ve updated my list of Top 10 Favorite iPhone Apps (listed in random order):

* Save Benjis
* TripIt for iPhone
* Google for iPhone
* QuickVoice
* Around Me
* Wall Street Journal
* New York Times
* Zoom In
* EverNote

To see other lists in the “Top 10 Favorite” category, click here.


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iPhone DocScanner


Have you been in a situation where you wanted to capture an image on your iPhone and then convert it to a PPDF file?  Well, now there’s a handy application, called DocScanner, from Norfello, that allows you to take a photo from your iPhone and immediately convert it to a PDF file which you can then send anywhere.   DocScanner can be downloaded from the iTunes Store or via the iPhone.  The cost is $9.99.




To learn more about the features of DocScanner, visit the official website from Nortfello by clicking here.


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iPhone Camera Zoom


If you’ve been frustrated by the current iPhone’s lack of a zoom feature on the built-in camera, there’s a great application called Camera Zoom, from Kenditech, that provides variable zoom (up to 4X), which you can download and install from the iPhone App Store.  The cost is $0.99.

Here are the features of Camera Zoom:


You can also watch a short video that shows how Camera Zoom works on your iPhone.


To learn more about Camera Zoom, visit Kenditech’s official website by clicking here.


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Google Mobile App


One of my new favorite iPhone applications is Google Mobile, which I downloaded to my iPhone earlier this week.  This app allows you to perform Google voice searches by simply speaking into the phone– without the use of the keyboard.  The phone senses when you are ready to speak, based on the movement of the phone, captures your voice command, and automatically detects when you’ve completed the voice entry.  Next, Google performs the search and returns the results to your iPhone.   

Google Mobile includes the following features (as listed on the Google Mobile for iPhone website):

  • Voice Search.New! Speak your queries without even pushing a single button.
  • Search with My Location.New! Search for business, weather, and movie information without specifying where you are.
  • Local search suggestions on a map. See nearby business suggestions on Google Maps — just tap the “near me” suggestions.
  • Instant access to search. Start a Google search with just one click.
  • Google Suggest. Get relevant search suggestions as you type, saving you keystrokes.
  • URL suggestions. Get to popular web sites quickly by tapping site web address suggestions.
  • Contact search. Quickly find contacts in your address book.
  • Search history. Get instant access to your previous searches.
  • Easy access to other Google products. Launch other Google products like Maps, Gmail and News from the Apps tab.

You can download the Google Mobile app — FREE– by clicking on the Apps Store icon on your iPhone or via iTunes.

Here’s an informative 2-minute video from Google that provides more infomation on the features of Google Mobile.

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Skype, Calling

I recently started using Skype, an online Voice-over-Internet-Protocol (VoIP) software provider that offers users free Skype-to-Skype calls and low-cost calls to landlines and cell phones worldwide.  With Skype, you can:

*  initiate calls from your computer to any land line or cell phone worldwide;
*  place FREE calls from your computer to another Skype user anywhere;
*  send text messages from Skype;
*  use Voicemail to retrieve incoming missed Skype calls;
*  obtain your own, unique Skype phone number in your desired country;
*  forward incoming Skype calls to your cell phone when you’re unavailable;
*  do more…

Skype is particularly useful when traveling in other countries and you want to initiate or receive calls from your home country using your laptop and a high-speed Internet connection.  Skype allows you to eliminate costly overseas roaming charges on your cell phone.  In order to use Skype on your PC, you need to download and install software from the Skype website.

Here are the key Skype features, as listed on the Skype website…


Skype was founded in 2003 by Niklas Zennstrom and Janus Friis, in Estonia, and was purchased by eBay in October 2005 for $2.6 billion.  As of year-end 2008, Skype had over 405 million user accounts worldwide.

To learn more about Skype and to sign-up, go to the official Skype website by clicking here.

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Acer Aspire One


I recently started using the new netbook, Aspire One, from Acer.  It’s a tiny, extremely-lightweight “netbook” designed for web browsing and email– and it’s quickly become my new favorite gadget.  I’m using the ZG5 model, which comes equipped with an 8.2-inch (1024X600) screen, 160GB hard drive, 1 GB RAM, and a Intel 1.6 GHz Atom processor– all packed in a easy-to-carry 2.2 pound package.  There is no DVD or CD drive; however, there are three USB ports and two memory card slots.  It also includes a built-in webcam, microphone, and wi-fi (802.11 b/g).  It’s available in several variations of hard-drive capacity, operating system (Windows XP or Linus), battery-capacity, as well as colors (sapphire blue, seashell white, black and coral pink).

Here’s a brief description of the product from the official Acer website:

In spite of its dimunitive overall size, the Acer Aspire One is remarkably easy to use and the smaller keyboard has not been cumbersome or difficult to navigate.  It’s a great solution for light traveling or day trips when your computing needs are light and your focus is on web browsing and email.  You can easily stash it in your existing backpack, briefcase, or shoulder tote.  Plus, the Aspire One is available at a remarkably low price– ranging from $300 to $400, depending on selected options.

Industry experts are predicting a boom in the netbook market in 2009, and it’s easy to understand why–   they’re functional, compact, super lightweight and inexpensive.

To download the official Acer Aspire One brochure (in PDF) from the Acer website, click here.  To read more about the Acer Aspite One from the Acer website, click here.

If you want to read a product review of the Acer Aspire One from, click here.  To order your own Acer Aspire One from, click here.

If you wish to read previous posts in the “Gadgets, Gizmos, Gear” category, click here.

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If you occasionally find yourself “missing” from travel photos because you’re behind the camera, you might appreciate one of the GorillaPod products from Joby.  The GorillaPod is a lightweight, flexible camera holder that can serve as a traditional tripod as well as a versatile camera holder that you can temporarily attach to stationary objects.

While traveling in India last month, I used a mini GorillaPod and found it very useful and practical.  It also eliminated the need for me to search around for folks to take my photo. 

The GorillaPod is available in four different sizes/configurations (for video cameras, SLRs and compact cameras) and in different colors.  Suggested retail prices range from $24.95 to $54.95.  The products are available directly from Joby, your neighborhood camera store, and numerous online retailers, including  Click here to view the products from the Joby online store.

If you wish to read previous posts in the “Gadgets, Gizmos, Gear” category, click here.

Photo Credits: Joby

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TravelSafe Bag

I recently purchased the TravelSafe 100, a compact, lightweight security pouch that is designed for travelers who want to safeugard their wallet, camera, PDA, jewelry, or other small items in situations where there is no other secure place for valuables.  The Travel Safe 100 is manufactured by PacSafe, a leading provider of anti-theft bags and travel products.  I previously featured another product by PacSafe in a earlier post.   Click here to read the previous post.

The portability of this “safe” allows you to lock your valuables wherever there is a sturdy, stationary item to which you can attach it– either indoors or outdoors.   Examples include hotels without in-room safes, campsites, cars, motorcycles, dormitory rooms, or at the pool or beach.

Here’s more information from PacSafe about their product…

Here’s How You Use It:

Place your items into the Travel Safe.  Close the bag, by cinching the top of the pouch closed by using the stainless steel coil drawstring, which is woven into the top of the pouch.  The drawstring coil secures the bag and is kept firmly closed by a reinforced high-impact resistant polycarbonate locking system, so it can’t be opened.  After the bag is locked closed, you then wrap the steel coil around or through a stationary device (tree, metal frame of a bike, car seat or bed) and fastened with a hardened shackle brass padlock.

How Much Does it Hold?

The Travel Safe 100 has an internal capacity of 152 cubic inches (2.5 liter), and is 14 inches long by 8 inches wide.  It can hold a variety of items, from an assortment of cameras, PDA’s, GPS devices, to any number of other small items. The bag has an approximate expansion width of 6½ inches. It’s lightweight, only 9 ounces (250g).

Product Features:

  • The Travel Safe is constructed with the woven stainless steal mesh, the patented “eXomesh” interlocking security system.
  • The locking system is impact-resistant, and features a polycarbonate locking device made with a reinforced locking bead with pressed-brass fitting.
  • Pouch cinches securely at the top.
  • Each bag is provided with a hardened-shackle, solid brass padlock complete the with three keys.

The suggested retail price is $39.95. 

You can order the product from a variety of online retailers.  To purchase TravelSafe 100 directly from PacSafe, click here.   To order from, click here.

If you wish to read previous posts in the “Gadgets, Gizmos, Gear” category, click here.

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ChargePod Charges!

At last, there’s an accessory that allows you to charge several devices–such as phones, PDAs, MP3 players, etc.–simultaneously, without the usual desktop clutter of multiple power cords– ChargePod!  This handy device is made by Callpod, a consumer electronics firm focusing on consumer wireless and cellular technology products.  The ChargePod system includes a charging base, which accepts up to six devices, and an assortment of adapters compatible with most consumer wireless and celluar products.  The primary features of the ChargePod are:

  • * Charges up to 6 devices at the same time
  • * Small, portable and lightweight
  • * Eliminates the clutter from having multiple chargers
  • * Compatible with thousands of mobile devices such as iPods, cell phones, Bluetooth headsets, PDAs, digital cameras, navigation units, mp3 players, digital readers and portable gaming systems
  • * Chargepod is compatible with all foreign 120/240 V adapter wall plugs; no additional power supply is necessary


The ChargePod and adapters are available for purchase online from the Callpod website and from other online retailers, including

 Check out previous posts in the Gadgets and Gear category, by clicking here.

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Handy MobileLite Card Reader

I like this handy, compact MobileLite 9-in-1 USB Card Reader from Kington Technologies.  The reader accepts SD, SDHC, MMC, MMCplus, MMCmobile, RS-MMC, microSD, and miniSD, MMCmicro cards.  It is compliant with USB 2.0, SD 2.00, SDHC and MMC 4.1 standards and includes a tiny lanyard to prevent the cap from getting lost.  It works great, fits in your pocket and retails for around $10.  Its available from many online retailers, including

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Pacsafe Strap for Cameras & Gadgets

I discovered this cool strap/lanyard, manufactured by PacSafe, that provides a safe, secure way to carry your digital camera or other gadget.  The strap is fully adjustable in terms of length and is made of a strong, flexible cable that cannot be cut or pulled apart.  It also comes with two short straps that get tied to your device, allowing you to switch the lanyard between devices, with a simple snap.  The product retails for $9.95 and is available on the PacSafe site, as well as other retailers, such as REI.

PacSafe also manufactures a variety of other travel, business and personal accessories, with a focus on security.  Check out their website for more information.

If you wish to read previous posts in the “Gadgets, Gizmos, Gear” category, click here.

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A Handy Travel Outlet from Belkin

The Belkin Travel Surge Protector is a great accessory for travelers who tote around lots of gadgets, since most hotel rooms have a limited number of power outlets, particularly at the work desk.  The surge protector features a 360-degree rotating plug with three AC outlets and two USB outlets so you can charge your smaller devices, such as iPods, phones, etc.  It’s lightweight and easy to pack and carry.  Retails for $24.  It’s such a good idea– what took so long?  Get more information from Belkin at or order it online from at

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X Shot is X-cellent

In case you haven’t seen or tried this product, called X Shot, it’s an excellent camera accessory and an idea that is long overdue.  The X Shot attaches to your camera and allows you to take a shot of yourself (or your group) with you in it!  Plus, it avoids those shots of your arm and shoulder when you try to take you own photo by extending your arm.

Check out the X Shot at or order it from




Check out the X Shot at

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