Category Archives: Accessory

Todoist is Doing an AirPods Giveaway



Todoist wants you to get the most out of Todoist for iOS 11 with a new pair of AirPods. They point out that the headphone jack not likely to return to iPhones anytime soon. Todoist is giving away a new pair of AirPods so you can enjoy all of the wireless productivity with Todoist and Siri.

To enter the Todoist contest, you need to do three things:

1. Tweet the one task you’d like Siri to complete for you to make your life easier.

2. Attach an image that best reflects your task to your tweet.

3. Use the hastag #TodoistHandsFree

Doing that, and you will automatically be entered to win one of three pairs of Apple AirPods. This contest closes on Tuesday, October 3, 2017. Three different winners will be randomly chosen out of all proper entries and will be announced on Twitter within five business days of the contest closing.

For the purpose of the contest, you can tweet a task that you want Siri to complete for you that would be entirely impossible for Siri to actually do. The example given by Todoist is “Hey Siri… organize my closet.”

My best guess is that the purpose of this contest is to make people aware that you can use your AirPods to quickly ask Siri to add something to Todoist for you. The blog post about it says “Just double tap either AirPod, ask Siri to add a task to your Todoist, and continue on your merry way.”


Wireless Charging



I‘ve always been a bit on the fence when it comes to wireless charging. The wireless charger itself still needs to be plugged in with a wire.

Back in October I ended up buying a Samsung wireless charger when I upgraded phones. I ended up using it a bit, but generally found that it was more desirable to physically plug my phone in at home in order to take advantage of the super fast wired Samsung charging. The wireless charging process was not as fast and therefore not as convenient when needing to give the phone a quick 10 or 15 minute juice-up.

So, the wireless charger mostly sat unused.

Recently I bought a new car, a 2017 Toyota Yaris iA. The new car has a space in front of the gear shift in the mid center stack perfect for a large phone that includes USB and a 12-volt power socket. I found myself wondering if I plugged the Samsung wireless charger into a 2.1 amp-12 volt power source, would the wireless charger work properly or not.

I experimented and found that the wireless charger works perfectly well with a 2.1 amp 12-volt power source. The next steps were easy. I used a quantity of the rubber grip mat stuff to make the forward slanted phone area flat, and plugged in the Samsung wireless charger. Since the 12-volt socket only has power when the car’s ignition is turned on, I can simply leave the 12-volt charger plugged in all the time just as if it were in my house connected to an AC power source without fear of it running down the car’s battery.

When I get in the car, I simply lay the phone on the Samsung wireless charger and as soon as the ignition comes on while I’m driving the phone is charging without me having to futz around with plugging wires in. Also, the phone connects to the car’s audio system via stereo Bluetooth, making for a 100% seamless experience.

My conclusion is that wireless charging is most useful in an automotive environment, provided that there’s a flat, convenient area for the wireless charger to rest and the power socket is tied to the car’s ignition.


Avido WiBa is a Contactless Power Charger at CES



Avido has created something that many people have been wanting.  The Avido WiBa is a contactless power charger that you can take with you when you travel.  Todd spoke with Kevin about this amazing new charger.The Avido WiBa is a CES 2017 Innovation Award Honoree.  It is the first of its kind.

The Avido WiBa wireless charging power bank does not require cables.  It is very simple to use.  First, put the Avido WiBa portable power bank onto the charging dock.  In just a few seconds, the power bank begins to charge wirelessly.  Put your phone on top of it, and it instantly begins to charge.  The portable power bank and the phone charge at the same time.

The Avido WiBa is priced at $79.95.  It comes with everything you need to get started, including the power plate and the Avivo WiBa itself.

Support my CES 2017 Sponsor:
30% off on New GoDaddy Orders cjcgnc30
$.99 for a New or Transferred .com cjcgnc99 @ GoDaddy.com
$1.00 / mo Economy Hosting with a free domain. Promo Code: cjcgnc1hs
$1.00 / mo Managed WordPress Hosting with free Domain. Promo Code: cjcgncwp1
Proximity Beacons for Android Course.



Flavr Festive Phone Cases



flavr logoWith the departure of Hallowe’en, it’s socially acceptable to discuss Christmas in the UK, though I suspect the USA has to get past Thanksgiving before giving in to the seasonal traditions. Recent years have the seen the rising popularity of Christmas jumpers (sweaters) revelling in fun knitted patterns. Jumping on this kitsch clothing are Flavr with a range of festive phone cases, riffing on the jumper styling.

Flavr Festive Fone Cases

Available for iPhones and Galaxy S7s, these Christmas crackers cost GB£18 (inc postage) from Flavr’s Xmas Shop or only £9.99 from Carphone Warehouse stores.

Flavr Festive Phone Cases

So bad, they’re good!

 


Topop USB C to 3x USB A and LAN Adapter Review



The physical USB type A interface connector seems to have been around forever and to be fair, it’s had an impressive lifespan starting with USB 1.0 back in 1996. Since then, the communication standard has been updated several times and the connector is still very relevant with USB 3.1 which now sports transfer speeds of up to 10 Gb/s.

USB type C is the latest connector design providing high speed data comms in a neat reversible design. So neat that a couple of manufacturers have ultraportables with a single USB C port. No USB A, no ethernet, no video. Looks great but a pain in the port if there’s a pile of cables to plug in. Accessory makers have stepped in to address the problem and here we have the Topop USB C to three USB A 3.1 ports and RJ45 Gigabit LAN adapter.

As the unboxing video shows, the adapter arrives in plain packaging and it’s a fairly functional device: this isn’t brushed metal milled from a single block of aluminium to complement the MacBook. It’s a sturdy matte black plastic . In terms of ports, there are three USB 3.1 type A ports on the top and a Gigabit network port on the far end. A short cable terminates in a USB C plug.

Topop USB C Adapter Topop USB C Adapter

Having three USB A ports and a network port is very useful on these minimalist devices. Who has a USB C memory stick? And there are always wireless dead-spots. The Topop adapter gets out of these predicaments.

However, I discovered quite quickly that the presence of a USB C socket on a device does not guarantee functionality, so check compatibility on the website and assume that the adapter only works with phones, tablets and laptops mentioned. Believe me, it doesn’t work with the OnePlus 2, 3 or Google Pixel C, but find a device that is compatible (Apple Macbook, Google Pixel Chromebook) and the adapter will work fine.

Topop USB C Adapter Topop USB C Adapter

Priced just under GB£20, the adapter’s in the right price bracket for the features that it offers. There’s no doubt that the Topop is a handy gadget to throw in a bag for occasional use, though if I was looking for a dock-lite on my desk, I think I would pay more for a better match to my laptop. Of course, your aesthetic requirements may differ.

Thanks to GoldenSwing for providing the Topop USB C to USB A 3.1 and Gigabit LAN adapter.


LampChamp Turns A Lamp into a Charging Station



lampchampÖlens Technology was founded by Ron Meritt and Paul McCloskey III. Their mission is to invent products that help people live better lives. They have created LampChamp, a simple tool that will make it much easier for people to charge their devices.

There are a lot of people who use a smartphone and who will eventually need to charge it. Trying to keep everything charged can be difficult for families where everyone in the house is using more than one device. LampChamp can turn any lamp into a USB charging station, providing you with another place to charge smartphones and other devices.

First, remove the bulb from whatever lamp you want to turn into a charger. Next, screw in LampChamp. The base of LampChamp can screw into any lamp. Replace the bulb by screwing it into LampChamp. You can now plug your device into LampChamp’s 2 AMP USB charging port.

There is an on/off switch on LampChamp that controls your lamp. You can use the switch to turn on, or turn off, the lamp. Either way, LampChamp will continue to charge your device. LampChamp works with all cell phones, smartphones, tablets, and e-Readers that require a 2 AMP or less charger.

LampChamp might be useful for people who need to do a lot of traveling. It isn’t always easy to figure out where the hotel room’s outlets are located. They might be behind furniture or in inconvenient locations.  It might be easier to use LampChamp to convert a hotel room lamp into a charging station.

Technical Specifications:

  • Input: 100-240V AC, 50/60 Hz
  • Output: 5V DC, 2A
  • Base Interface: E27
  • LED Bulb Wattage: <60W
  • Price: $29.99 for one LampChamp (when not on sale)


ThinkGeek has a Star Trek TNG Bluetooth ComBadge



Star Trek TNG Bluetooth ComBadge ThinkGeekThinkGeek is selling an exclusive Star Trek: The Next Generation ComBadge that is more than just a prop. This one actually has some functionality!

The Star Trek Bluetooth ComBadge is an officially-licensed communicator badge. It hooks up to your phone or device via Bluetooth, and has a built-in microphone for hands free calling. Connect it to your phone, tap the badge, and you can answer or send calls, play or pause audio, or access Siri, Google Now, or Cortana.

The badge plays a communicator sound effect when pressed. Keep the badge charged via a micro-USB charging cable.

To be clear, the badge does not include the voice of Majel Barret, the woman who was the voice of the Enterprise Computer in the Star Trek: The Next Generation television series. (She also played Lwaxana Troi in the Star Trek TNG).

Product Specifications Include:

  • Officially-licensed Star Trek: The Next Generation merchandise
  • Plays classic communicator chirp sound effect when you press it
  • Connects to your phone or device via Bluetooth
  • High quality micro-speakers by Massive Audio
  • Wireless Range: 33 ft
  • Drivers: Neodymium magnet
  • Frequency Response: 200Hz – 20KHz
  • Signal to Noise Ratio: >80dB
  • Materials: ABS and zinc shell
  • Attaches using magnets so you don’t have to make holes in your clothes
  • Batteries: Rechargeable Lithium-ion (one charge lasts 10 hours)
  • Charges via micro-USB cable (included)
  • Micro-USB Port: DC5V, 350-400mA

The ThinkGeek website notes that the specifications are subject to change pending licensor approval. The Star Trek TNG Bluetooth ComBadge is priced at $79.99 and is coming in November of 2016.


Ergotech’s New Sit-Stand Products Give You Flexibility at Work



Ergotech sit-stand desksIt’s a pervasive fact of modern life. We’re stuck in the seated position for multiple hours a day, starting at one screen or another. This type of long-term sedentary behavior has been proven to contribute to a plethora of health problems. It’s become such a big concern, that a cottage industry has arisen of apps and devices designed to remind us to get up and walk around the room once an hour. And while those solutions can help, they still don’t address the core problem of constantly having to sit. And thus, the sit-stand (and even the treadmill-based) desk was created to make it easier for desk-strapped information workers to go from sitting to standing while still being able to work. Desk and display accessories manufacturer Ergotech recently entered the sit-stand space with its own line of offerings.

First up is Ergotech’s One Touch Free Stand:

Ergotech’s One Touch Free Stand is a free-standing sit-stand workstation compatible with both PC & Apple iMac® monitors which requires no desk mounting or clamping for use! Powered by an electric motor and providing the highest range of vertical travel on the market today at 20”, the Free Stand easily adjusts to your desired height giving you the ability to sit-stand throughout your work day.

The One Touch Free Stand comes standard with the base unit and an electric motor, as well as an upper & lower work surface.

The middle offering of this new product line is the One Touch Free Stand Bundle:

Ergotech’s One Touch Free Stand Bundle is a free-standing sit-stand workstation compatible with both PC & Apple iMac® monitors which requires no desk mounting or clamping for use! This bundle conveniently includes Dual Monitor Mounting equipment, making this bundle a one stop solution for most users. The One Touch Free Stand base lies flat on the desktop and installs in less than 10 minutes. Powered by an electric motor and providing the highest range of vertical travel on the market today (20”), the Free Stand easily adjusts to your desired height giving you the ability to sit-stand throughout your work day. The One Touch Free Stand Bundle comes standard with the base unit, an electric motor, an upper and lower work surface and Dual Monitor Mounting equipment. The Free Stand has just a 27″ desk footprint and is able to hold any size single monitor and up to two 30” monitors on the included Dual Monitor Mounting Equipment.

The third sit-stand product is called the One Touch Ultra:

Ergotech’s One Touch Ultra Sit-Stand Workstation is electric powered and mounts directly to your existing desk or wall!

Compatible with both PC & Apple iMac® monitors, the One Touch Ultra comes standard with both a lower and upper work-surface and your choice of desk mounting hardware.

Able to hold up to four monitors, the One Touch Ultra blows the competition away with its unique features and outstanding performance.

With the highest range of vertical travel (20″) and the biggest work-surface on the market today, the One Touch Ultra is sure to surpass all of your sit-stand workstation needs.

Ergotech’s One Touch line of sit-stand products begins at $749.00 with additional options for adding extra displays, depending on the model.


ZUS Kevlar Cable has a Lifetime Guarantee



ZUS Kevlar CableNonda, a startup that is based in Palo Alto, California, has created the ZUS super duty cable. It has been fully funded on Indiedgogo and will start shipping to backers on July 6, 2016. ZUS is made with Kevlar and has a lifetime guarantee.

ZUS was designed to solve the problem of splintering cables that only last for a few months. Nonda created the ZUS Cable with DuPont Kevlar fabric (which is 5X stronger than steel and is used in ballistic body armor). The Kevlar provides the ZUS Cable with added protection against cord splintering and daily wear.

Every ZUS Cable is covered by a lifetime warranty. If your ZUS Cable breaks from normal wear and tear, Nonda will replace it.

The tough nylon braiding on the ZUS Cable keeps it inherently tangle free. Each ZUS Cable comes with a complementary velcro tie to keep things further organized.

The ZUS Cable is 4 feet / 1.2 meters. It comes in Micro USB to USB, Lightning to USB, or USB-C to USB. The Micro USB to USB is for Android devices, Samsung, Kindle, HTC, Motorola, Nexus, Nokia, LG and other Micro USB devices.

The Lightning to USB is for iPhone SE, iPhone 6s / 6s Plus, iPhone 6 / 6 Plus, iPhone 5 / 5s / 5c, iPad Air / Air 2, iPad Pro, iPad mini, iPod touch and iPod nano. The USB-C to USB is for Macbook 12-inch, Chromebook Pixel, Nexus 5X, Nexus 6P, LG G5, HTC 10, OnePlus 2, Nokia N1 Tablet, and other USB-C devices.

Their USB-C cable is a full USB-C spec cable. It meets the following requirements: 56K Ohm Resistor, Vbus IR drop of less than 500mV, and GND IR drop of less than 250mV at 3A. Their Lightning cable is Mfi Certified.


HYPER Releases USB Type-C Hub with Mini DisplayPort Support



HYPER USB Type-C Hub with Mini DisplayPort supportSanho Corporation, creator of the HYPER line of Apple and mobile accessories, has announced the availability of the HyperDrive USB Type-C Hub with the Mini DisplayPort support which allows the USB Type-C enabled 12” MacBook to connect to the Apple Thunderbolt Display and other Mini DisplayPort compatible displays (like the Apple LED Cinema Display).

HyperDrive is an adaptor that expands the single USB Type-C port on the new Apple 12” MacBook to 5 different ports including Mini DisplayPort, microSDXC, 2 x USB 2.0 and a USB Type-C port that supports pass through charging so that you can use the HyperDrive USB Type-C Hub and charge the MacBook at the same time.

Despite the number of ports, the HyperDrive USB Type-C Hub is very compact and as thin as the MacBook itself. It has been designed to stay flush with the MacBook. It comes in Gold, Space Gray, and Silver aluminum (so you can match it to your MacBook). The HyperDrive USB Type-C Hub acts like an extension of the MacBook, so you never have to take it off.

The HyperDrive USB Type-C Hub with Mini DisplayPort retails for a MSRP of $49.95 and is currently available.