Tis the time of year that stockings need stuffing, dreidels need spinning, and tech needs are at the top of that list. Here is a list of some great choices guaranteed to generate smiles.
Minelab GO-FIND 66 Metal Detector
With more treasure buried beneath the sands, seas, and ground, a fun, solid choice for a metal detector is the Minelab GO-FIND 66. Featuring a Digital Display, and lightweight at 2.3lbs, and feature rich, the GO-FIND 66 is a great introductory model for the explorer in all of us! We think that while it might need a large skinny stocking, it would brighten up the life for many a family trip to come. It’s easy to use for kids, and sensitive enough for adults. It comes supplied with a carry bag, instructions, and accessories, so ready to go without delay. Who knows, maybe Blackbeard’s treasure is located closer to home. Ours came with a nice carry bag, a little trowel, a Smartphone holder, and camouflage skins. We think that kids will especially love it, and remember some birthday parties with buried treasure, that the kids at the party used a metal detector to find them. It’s a fun time anyway you look at it.
For more information on the Minelab GO-FIND 66 Metal Detector visit: https://www.amazon.com/Minelab-GO-FIND-Metal-Detector-Transport/dp/B07BB2NCKB/ref=cm_cr_arp_d_product_top?ie=UTF8
TikiTunes Wireless Bluetooth Speaker with LED Atmospheric Lighting Effect
Bluetooth speakers abound on every corner, but if you want one to go with your favorite Trader Vic’s Rum, then the TikiTunes Wireless Bluetooth Speaker with LED Atmospheric Lighting Effect fits the bill. It’s small, stylish, and sounds fine for some tunes around the Tiki Bar, but its standout feature is the Tiki styling, and flickering LED light source for some island driven flame like ambience. It’s not that loud, but you can order a pair for a stereo sound signature, and a higher sound level. It’s water and dust resistance, easy to sync, and has a 6-hour playtime; long enough for anyone to enjoy themselves while waves dance in the distance and ocean voyages play out in your imagination.
For more information on the TikiTunes Wireless Bluetooth Speaker visit: https://limitlessinnovations.com/product/tikitunes/
myCharge Hub Turbo 6700mAh
We love myCharge battery supplies. Powerful, with a minimum of glitz, just solid engineering, the myCharge Hubmodels are our favorite, and we’ve reviewed them in the past. With a built-in AC plug, you never have to worry about charging them up, and they can charge your phone as well as themselves when plugged in. They come in different power capacities, with the HubMax being our favorite. You can even charge the batteries and a phone or two at the same time. The recently introduced myCharge Hub Turbo 6700mAh has an Apple Lighting plug, as well as a Type-C USB, and a normal USB port that you can use with your own cable to charge your Android devices. With integrated Qualcomm Quick Charger technology, the Hub Turbo can detect if your phone can take advantage and charge more quickly then normally expected. The HubMax Universal saves you a few bucks, but we’d opt for the Turbo. Another favorite charger is the Adventure PowerLumens 10K with an integrated LED light source, perfect for camping, or anytime you need both light and a recharge. Our only wish is that they would have all three integrated cables in their Hub line, so you don’t have to choose between Android, Apple, or Type-C.
For more information on the myCharge Hub line visit: https://myCharge.com/collections
Luxi Incident Light Meter Attachment for Mobile Devices
We love simple, affordable accessories to make your photography better. The Luxi Incident Light Meter Attachment for Mobile Devices is one such product. Small, light, and affordable, it’s a frosted white plastic dome with a black plastic spring clip to fit over the camera lens on your iPhone. While it can be used on other phones, their free iOS Luxi app, is designed to provide an accurate incident exposure measurement using your phone, and there are others that have more specialized and advanced features, but we think that most photographers will be happy with the Luxi app. I spent a year saving up for my first Gossen Luna Pro SBC. Now, instead of the Luna Pro, I’d probably just use my phone and the Luxi Incident Light Meter Attachment. Very cool and perfect as a stocking stuffer. Don't buy just one, buy a dozen for all your photographer friends!
As important a tool as the Luxi is, even more important is the philosophy behind Makers4Good, an organization that pledges that an incredible 100% of profits are donated to charity. “Our mission is to harness talent in the fields of design, engineering, and manufacturing with the aim of contributing to philanthropic projects.” How cool is that! Visit the site, and you can see other products they are creating. We look forward to reviewing them in the future.
For more information on the Luxi Incident Light Meter Attachment for Mobile Devices visit: https://luxiforall.com
For more information on Makers4Good visit: https://www.makers4good.org/pages/mission.html
Breadcrumb Bluetooth Location Marker
The BreadCrumb Location Marker is a small playing card pack sized waterproof Bluetooth tracking device. The idea is that you can leave a digital Bluetooth “breadcrumb” and return to it. You track it via your smart phone and Bluetooth signal. It has an audible tone and LED lights that help you find it. In use it worked fine, and held up under a deluge of wet and windborne rain, but the hitch is that we couldn’t get more than around 50 to 75-feet from it, so we will leave it up to users to determine how the technology can assist them in their missions. Aimed at hunters, to make it easier to return to a favorite hunting spot, we can see other, non-hunting uses for it. We would like to have the audible signal much louder, and the LEDs brighter, since we couldn’t find it buried in tall grass very easily, but it points the way to revisions to come.
For more information on the BreadCrumb Location Marker visit: https://breadcrumbtech.com/location-marker/
Kensington SmartFit® SoleMate™ Pro Ergonomic Foot Rest
While magazines and websites love to gauge, measure, certify, push and pull data, none of it matters if the greatest tool of all is failing. That tool? Your body! Kensington, one of the most respected purveyors of computing accessories has introduced a new series of ergonomic input and support devices. So despite claims that RAM of MIPS matter, what really matters most is healthy and proper ergonomics. Kensington, long respected as one of the longstanding providers of first-rate accessories and peripherals, has introduced something we’ve never tested before, a footrest dedicated for computer users. They have a wide variety, and the unit we tested, the SmartFit® SoleMate™ Pro Ergonomic Foot Rest is an affordable approach to better computing health. If you have ever been on a plane, train, or a bus without a footrest, you know how annoying that can be, but until we worked with the SmartFit® SoleMate™ Pro Ergonomic Foot Rest we didn’t fully appreciate it’s impact until we started using it. It has no chemicals, a wide footprint, non-skid top, and a locking foot pedal. Treat yourself or someone you love, or the entire family. Ergonomics may not seem as sexy as a shiny new mouse, but it should be.
For more information on the Kensington Line of Ergonomic Products visit:
Lexip Ceramic Glide Feet
Gaming is about speed, and mice are now capable of extraordinary speed and flexibility. But, they all face the same enemy, gravity and friction. The Lexip Ceramic Glide Feet are super slick pads that you attach to your favorite gaming mouse. Once installed, your mouse can’t be blamed when you get attacked for moving too slowly; it’s all on you. These are a fun stocking stuffer for the gamer in your life. The only complaint we have, is that despite an included multipage instruction manual, which turns out to be a warranty in just about every language you can imagine, there is no actual installation guide. The only hint to installation of the feet, are a few lines on the box. But, gamers would probably just Google it and figure it out.
For more information on the Lexip Ceramic Glide Feet visit: http://lexip-gaming.com
Other World Computing ClingOn Thunderbolt 3 and USB Type-C Connection Point Stabilizers
There are a lot of things to love for the holidays in the Other World Computing orbit, and while we work on a more extensive review of their storage options, we have the perfect stocking stuffer, their clever, and incredibly useful and cool ClingOn, which is a small plastic collar with self-adhesive designed to stabilize Thunderbolt 3 and USB Type-C cables at the connection point. As anyone who has had experience with the new Thunderbolt 3 and Type-C USB port has experienced, the connection can go in either way, as it’s reversible. It’s also sort of deep seated, which is a curse and a blessing, as it can place too much leverage on the port and cable. At the same time, we have had those connections prove easily disconnected. What’s a user to do? OWC to the rescue, with its clever ClingOn, which should not, to be confused with nefarious Star Trek villains. Small, and inexpensive, the only problem we see is that OWC doesn’t offer them in a Bakers Dozen kit, so you could stuff all the stockings, and all your drives at the same time. They do offer a 10-pack, which is our recommendation. We could also mention their wonderful line of storage accessories, some of which are unique in the industry, like their Mercury Elite Pro mini USB-C storage solution with super quiet, fanless design drive, or the MacBook Pro graphics pro favorite, the Mercury Helios FX 650, a Thunderbolt 3 external graphics processor chassis (eGPU) for blazing fast gaming, VR and high-end graphics processing, that removes the limitations of built-in graphics cards. But, they won’t fit in a stocking. So, those solutions are best under the tree, or better yet, buy 8, one for each day of Hanukah.
For information on the Other World Computing ClingOn visit: https://eshop.macsales.com/item/OWC/CLINGON10PK/
Adobe Photoshop Lightroom Classic 2020 9.1 Release & Creative Cloud Updates
Adobe Photoshop Lightroom Classic, everyone’s favorite image editor and digital asset manager continues to get better each day. With significant speed increases, better utilization of GPU systems, and enhanced image processing tools, we laud the Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom teams for their continued revision and dedication to the creative experience. But, that’s not all, there’s one more thing, as Steve Jobs would say. And it’s that Adobe is on a tear of late. Adobe MAX, the Adobe sponsored conference that is a pedal to the metal experience for users is better then ever. While it’s not here quite yet, keep a lookout in 2020 for their new Photoshop Camera app, which promised to re-write what’s possible with smart phone photography. According to Adobe, “It is a new, AI-powered mobile camera app that brings incredible Photoshop magic directly to the point of capture.” But, that’s not all. “Adobe also released major updates to Lightroom, Premiere Pro, After Effects, InDesign and Adobe XD. With this Creative Cloud release, new Adobe Sensei powered features were introduced across products including Auto Reframe in Premiere Pro, Object Selection in Photoshop, Auto Tone in Photoshop Camera and Live Brushes in Fresco as the company continues to enable creatives to work faster and smarter than ever before.” And what was our (Frank Schramm and I) favorite unexpected discovery? Adobe Fresco! Adobe Fresco is now cross platform, and we found that it's a fun and capable app. As far as we can see, Adobe keeps on kicking ass and taking names. Well-played Adobe!
For more information on Adobe Creative Cloud visit: https://news.adobe.com/press-release/creative-cloud/adobe-max-2019-empowering-creativity-all
Kanex GoPower 50W USB-C Wall Charger with Power Delivery
We first reported on Kanex several years back as the then small company introduced some spot on Mac accessories. Since then, the brand has grown, along with their offerings, and all their products have a similar theme, namely first-rate design and execution, in stylish packages at competitive prices. We love their line of Thunderbolt 2 to 3 adapters with eSATA, and Thunderbolt 3 to eSATA adapters, both of which allow old and new Thunderbolt devices to work at peak efficiencies. They have adapters for just about any use, and for a solid power supply, consider the GoPower 50W USB-C Wall Charger with Power Delivery. It’s a solid product that can provide all the power you might need. Check them out!
For more information on Kanex visit: https://www.kanex.com
iRig Micro Amplifier from IK Multimedia
Are you looking for the perfect small practice amp for your dorm room, apartment, or bedroom? One that has a wide-range of audio signatures and modeling? Do you want it to be small, portable, and able to operate on batteries, or AC power? Look no further, we think we have the answer. The iRig Micro Amplifier from IK Multimedia is small amp that can model a large range of amps, from a Marshall stack to a Fender Blues Deluxe, all controlled by your phone. The amp is small, light, and easy to keep in the smallest room. With settings for gain and master volume alongside a 3-band EQ, the 10-Watt iRig Micro Amplifier is everything our reviewer Jonathan Fogel wanted out of an affordable practice amplifier.
For more information on the iRig Micro Amplifier from IK Multimedia visit: https://www.ikmultimedia.com/products/irigmicroamp/
Piper Computer Kit
We love the Piper Computer Kit, which is build your own computer kit inspired by ease and simplicity. Piper believes that one of the secrets to creativity is confidence, and similar to Lego, it’s easy to snap pieces together and build wherever your imagination leads you. Piper ran a successful Kickstarter campaign and received compliments from Apple Co-Founder Steve Wozniak who said “I love Piper because it represents what enabled me to do all the great technology things in my life.” You can add accessories, learn to code, and much, much more. Very cool! And we love the wood case! Powered by a Raspberry Pi 2, the system isn't a slouch, and will run most any software you toss at it.
For more information on the Piper Computer Kit visit: https://www.playpiper.com
Harris Fogel, Nancy Burlan, Jonathan Fogel, Frank Schramm, and Ken Kramar, Posted 12/1/2019