The holidays are upon us once again. The following ten items of digital hardware and software I either added to my toolkit this year or relied on heavily. I recommend them all to you with a hearty HoHoHo!
1. iPod Touch 6 (64GB). No iPhone for me; I don't want to carry around $500 or more worth of electronics so small that I could drop it out of my pocket or forget and leave it somewhere, with all of my personal info on it. But I want to enjoy most of the features that Apple has built in to its portable devices -- the great little cameras, the audio recording options, the apps, and so on. So I compromised with the latest iPod Touch. I'm in love.
For more information on the iPod Touch 6 visit: http://www.apple.com/ipod-touch/
2. The iPod Touch 6 puts out a surprisingly decent quality and level of audio, given its diminutive size. But it starts to feel thin and tinny after a while. Paired with my Touch, the Monster Superstar Bluetooth speaker can fill a room with clear, crisp sound. Compared to the UE Boom it's lighter and smaller, but also waterproof and floatable. Perfect for travel, poolside (or in the pool), camping out.
For more information on the Monster Superstar visit: https://www.monsterproducts.com/SuperStar-High-Definition-Bluetooth-Speaker
3. Textnow app. For free IM and nationwide calling (free international calling to 140 countries coming soon), turning the iPod into an iPhone -- so long as I have a wifi connection. There's a version for desktop and laptop computers also, all of which use the same number, all interconnected.
For more information on Textnow visit: https://www.textnow.com/
4. VXi BlueParrott Point Bluetooth smartphone headset. I continue to us my Dubyaphone, an LG Rumor Touch. (See story here.) This year I upgraded my accessory to the BlueParrott Point headset, handsomer and more comfortable than its predecessor.
For more information on the BlueParrott Point headset visit: http://www.vxicorp.com/products/blueparrott-bluetooth-mobile-solutions/b...
5. The Selfie Stick, from GoTech. Because owning a smartphone means making selfies. (I think it's actually a legal requirement.) Yes, this is the one that Tom Hanks used to make his farewell selfie with David Letterman. Lots of el cheapo knock-offs around; I opted for the original, and picked the wired model, figuring it would suck up less power than the Bluetooth model, and I don't plan instant uploading of my efforts. Selfie Stick glasses optional. (See photo.)
For more information on the Selfie Stick visit: http://www.theselfiestick.com
6. The PhoneSuit Journey All-In-One Charger will re-energize my iPod Touch as needed. Or any smartphone. Or any tablet. Self-described as "the world's thinnest all-in-one charger" (0.5" thick), it integrates a powerful battery, Lightning cable, Micro-USB cable and AC wall charger into a device just a little larger and thicker than my iPod Touch 6. Apple Mfi certified.
For more information on the PhoneSuit Journey All-In-One Charger visit: http://www.phonesuit.com/journey-all-in-one-charger-for-iphone-apple-sam...
7. Sleepphones. I started going to the gym this fall, after years of sedentary living with little cardio or strength exercise. To concentrate on my own thoughts and cover the ambient noise (including the rock classics they pipe into the fitness room), I bring along an old iPod loaded with music and spoken-word material. But I don't enjoy the feeling of earbuds. I also suffer from tinnitus, which anything in or directly over my ear canal aggravates. Enter AcousticSheep's Sleepphones, which sit in a comfortable, washable headband that I can adjust to sit just above my ears. Much better. (They've just introduced Runphones, which sit in a washable moisture-wicking headband. You can buy extra headbands.)
For more information on the Sleepphones and Runphones visit: http://www.sleepphones.com/
8. SRS Labs iWOW-3D Audio Enhancement Adaptor. To fatten up the sound coming out of my Sleepphones, I added to my vintage iPod a vintage iWOW, a dongle with a 3.5mm jack on one end and a 30-pin Apple dock connector on the other. Weighing next to nothing, the iWOW boosts the bass and otherwise enriches the music. Now outdated (though you can still buy them on Amazon); but, as Wikipedia says, "The Sound Retrieval System (SRS) is a patented psychoacoustic 3D audio processing technology originally invented by Arnold Klayman in the early 1980s." Whatever devices you use most likely incorporate some iteration of the Sound Retrieval System (SRS).
For more information on the SRS Labs iWOW-3D visit: http://www.amazon.com/SRS-Labs-iWOW-3D-Enhancement-Adaptor/dp/B0026650XS
9. Kingston DataTraveler Micro 3.1 16GB USB Flash Drive. My first computer, back in the '80s, was a Tandy 200 laptop, which came with 24 KB of RAM (yes, you read that right), expandable to 72 KB. With the two upgrades, that gave me built-in storage of 24 pages of text. As I recall, it cost me upwards of $700. So imagine how I feel about 16 gigabytes of memory at Extreme USB 3.1 speeds in a thumb drive that's smaller than the first digit of my thumb, with a street price of $10. For $30 you can up that to 64GB. If these get any smaller you'll need a subcutaneous implant.
For more information on the Kingston DataTraveler Micro 3.1 visit: www.kingston.com
10. My wife Anna swears by the Olloclip 4-in-1 Lens I gave her for her iPhone 5, with which she makes great stills and videos of our cat Billie -- fisheye, wide-angle, two levels of macro. So I'm hoping Santa brings me one to fit my iPod Touch 6.
For more information on the Olloclip visit: https://www.olloclip.com
These are a few of my favorite things…
A.D. Coleman, posted 12/15/2016
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