Filed under: Gadgets, Power and Data Distribution
If there’s anything I’ve learned over the past few years, it’s that if you need to park or charge your gadgets in or on something, that something had better be from BlueLounge® Designs. An awful lot of charging stations and electronics organizers come my way, and without fail, the items from BlueLounge are the ones that consistently cause my lower jaw to come crashing (involuntarily, of course) down onto my laptop desk. They’re always chic, modern, a little bit funky, and minimalist in a way that could never be misconstrued as boring.
Case in point, our latest BlueLounge® addition, the Refresh Charging Station. This hot little number is gorgeously designed, comes fully equipped with built-in connectors, and is so small that you could almost call it “tiny.” It’s exactly the kind of thing you’d want babysitting the cell phone and iPod™ that are, if I’m not mistaken, currently sprawling out on your counter or desktop.
This brilliant little gadget corral/charger measures only (approximately) 9½ x 2 x 5½ inches, so it leaves most of your surface space available for more important things, but despite its compact footprint, it can accommodate up to 3 small devices at once. Refresh’s gently sloped surface is rubberized to provide plenty of traction for the gadgets that lounge on it, because, let’s face it, no one wants a cracked iPhone™ screen under any circumstances… least of all a slippery charging station mishap.
As I mentioned before, the Refresh charging station is very discreetly tricked out with 2 iPod cables, 2 USB extensions, and mini and micro USB connectors, so right off the bat, it’s compatible with 1,838 different gadgets, even without their individual chargers. When it’s time to repower, just slip the connector(s) you need through the charging surface, plug in, and let the Refresh do its work.
Convenience, organization and technology all rolled into one space-conscious and very stylish package. Now that’s refreshing.
Ever done a repair or home improvement project just to find, when you were done, that while the main thing you were set on accomplishing came out great, something else was accidentally damaged in the process? Like maybe you managed to finagle that couch up a tight, curving stairwell, but not without putting a hole in the plaster wall? Or perhaps you refinished your hardwood floors with beautiful results, only to peel the paint off your baseboard molding when you pulled away the painter’s tape that had been protecting it from stray polyurethane? Arrrggghhh!!!
Of course, these examples are purely hypothetical (yeah, right). But apparently I’m not the only goof-up out there taking one step forward, immediately followed by one step back. It’s not something that might be obvious from the get-go, but any sort of through-wall work (cable runs, conduit additions) can turn a necessary but annoying-to-repair drywall cut into an even bigger mess. Think of what would happen if you were to put pressure and friction on the cut edges of a work hole with wiring or pull tape, and how banged up things would get of you kept hitting it with tools and material as you worked. Not too pretty.
That’s where the BES Drywall Protector Plate comes very much in handy. It’s exactly what it sounds like – a plate that installs over drywall cuts to reinforce work holes and provide a protective shield against assault by tools, materials, and hands. Just line it up with your drywall hole, slide the adjustable tabs to lock it in place, and go about your work without constantly worrying that you’re dinging up the sheetrock more than you should be.
The drywall protector plate works with wallboard that’s anywhere from ½ to ⅝ of an inch thick, and is completely reusable. And the best thing is that it maintains the status quo for post-job restoration. There are no screw holes to patch, and no excessive drywall damage to contend with – just repair the work hole (as you expected to do), and enjoy the lack of nasty last-minute surprises.
The BlueLounge® Nest – An Extra Set of Hands to Hold Up iPads, Kindles, and Other Tablet-Style Gadgets
Easter’s just around the corner, and being that it’s the time of year that we traditionally have bunnies, chicks, and little candy eggs on the brain, it’s an extra fun coincidence that we just started carrying yet another awesome BlueLounge® product, which happens to be very appropriately named the Nest. It may not be the ideal place to stash your kids’ Cadbury Creme Eggs on Easter morning, but it’s designed to hold something even cooler (think iPads, Kindles, and other gadgety tablets).
Before I go any further, I need to come clean of a dirty little secret: I haven’t yet joined the ranks of iPad and eBook owners. But when I do, the Nest will not be optional. One of these babies is coming home with me as soon as I get tabletized! I don’t mean to get overenthusiastic about a gadget stand, but the thought of having to hold onto a tablet at all times during use is a little exhausting. Maybe I want to catch up on my reading while eating a sandwich, or sit back and watch a movie without having to keep a death grip on the screen, or attempt to balance it in my lap. No, I’ll definitely be requiring the services of a Nest.
I hope that I’m not coming across as some kind of tablet stand snob when I say this, but this is one of, if not the best, one I’ve seen yet. There are tons of easel-y ones out there, and while the Nest can and does act like an easel, it also does double duty as a very cool-looking pedestal, depending on which way you turn it. Did I also mention that it comes in several extremely eye-catching colors? (BlueLounge® is great with colors.) And that it has a little storage compartment for keys and other miscellaneous treasures/junk? (They’re amazing at organization, too.)
All this, and it’s priced comparably with, or cheaper than, most other tablet stands on the market. I’m telling you, this thing is so good, it’s almost a reason to go out and get a tablet. And now, if you’ll excuse me, I think there’s a homeless Kindle wandering around out there with my name on it…
Filed under: Cables and Wires, Power and Data Distribution
Not too long ago, I blogged about an extremely cool extension cord lock that’s able to internally secure connected power extensions to prevent accidental pull-aparts. An amazing concept and product, but one that’s really better left to pros who work with power tools on a daily basis, than to a mere DIY weekend warrior like me. It’s the kind of thing that I’d love to use in the yard and garage, but considering the fact that it needs to be hardwired onto your main extension cord, this particular plug lock was just a little too hardcore and industrial for my needs.
Just as I was beginning to think that extension cord locking was out of my league, the Angel-Guard® Cord Connect™ Plug Protector waltzed in the room – only a couple of days ago, in fact. Now this is something that any homeowner or handy type can really sink their teeth into (not literally, of course). Instead of installing permanently and working internally, this plug protector forms a protective shield around joined extension cord plugs, to keep them together while blocking out water and contaminants like dust, dirt, sawdust, and grass clippings. And best of all, it’s not permanent – when you don’t need it, just remove it and toss it into a drawer until next time.
But enough of that – let’s get down to how it works. The Cord Connect™ has a hinged, shell-like design that’s equipped with a cord pass-through at each end. To use it, just insert joined extension cord plugs into the connector chamber, and route each cord out through its respective pass-through. Once that’s done, just fold the Angel-Guard’s halves together, snap it closed, and go on your way.
The Angel-Guard® Cord-Connect™ is perfect for times when you’re doing yard work that involves things like electrical hedge trimmers, running some garden/party lights to brighten up a cook-out, or throwing an outdoor kids’ party with the kind of fun stuff (bounce houses and cotton candy machines, anyone?) that needs plugging in. Once it’s in place, you can keep your mind on the work or play at hand, instead of worrying that someone’s going to snag a foot on your extension cords and pull them apart, or that some stray water from the Slip ‘N Slide is going to get on the plugs and cause a short.
Kind of a relief, isn’t it?
Over the past few days, there’s been a whole lot of Barrett-Jackson Palm Beach going on at my house. Every time I unthinkingly drop the remote or leave the room for a minute, the crazed Car Dude I’m married to jumps into action, changes the channel, lets his jaw drop ever so slightly, and gets his classic car auction on. Trying to switch back to another channel is pretty much a lost cause, so I’ve been getting eyeful after eyeful of sweet paint jobs, amazing body work, custom upholstery, and, of course, pristine engine bays.
Seeing that much order and spotlessness under the hoods of so many vehicles has gotten me thinking about one of the coolest wire looms we carry: Bentley-Harris Convoshield. To me, that name sounds kind of rugged and military, like maybe it’s a combo of “convoy” and (obviously) “shield.” But make no mistake: this stuff is pure bling. I’m talking about all-out, pimp-this-ride, so-shiny-it’ll-make-you-squint chrome action.
But Convoshield doesn’t just sit around and look pretty. It also has some down-and-dirty utilitarian factors, like its ability to protect engine bay wiring from dirt and chemicals, its unbelievable heat resistance (up to 1000°F!), and the fact that it just keeps things looking like a well-cared-for cut above, instead of a run-of-the-mill hot mess.
Despite its complete chrominess, Convoshield wire loom is actually made out of nylon copolymer base, which is overlaid with an ultra-reflective aluminum-based coating. The overall result is a knockout automotive loom that looks completely metallic, withstands a ton of abuse, and, according to those of our customers who are hardcore car guys, runs (or drives?) circles around any comparable product they’ve purchased in local auto part stores.
Convoshield isn’t limited to cars, though – we’ve also gotten quite a few happy reviews (and pictures) from motorcycle owners who have used it to take their bikes to a whole new level. Long story short: if you have something on wheels and want to make it look even hotter, just add some chrome Convoshield. Mission accomplished.
Tip-overs always happen so unexpectedly. Like when you’re standing in line at the airport, and the heavy purse or laptop bag that’s lashed to the handle of your tiny wheeled carry-on makes things top heavy, and the whole stack tumbles. Or when your full-grown-adult coffee bar coworker decides, instead of grabbing a stepladder, to climb stock shelves like a monkey to retrieve the lone bag of espresso beans from the very top. Or when another full-grown-adult decides to build up some momentum and ride on, instead of push, an almost-empty grocery cart (“But it worked in the Staples commercial!”).
Yep. I have experienced all of these scenarios firsthand, but for the record, I was merely a horrified onlooker for the second two. But all that aside, tip-overs pretty much suck, no matter what the situation – and there are a lot of possibilities. Take, for example, the fiasco that could unfold if you were carting around a seemingly stable load of 10 or 20 cable protectors. I’m not talking about the flexible, lightweight plastic ones that coil up and can be carried as comfortably and easily as, say, a couple of folded towels. I’m talking about the hardcore polyurethane models that weigh a small ton and can cause quite a ruckus, and possibly pain, if they derail from their wheeled storage cart at an inopportune moment.
While cable protector carts have always sounded like pure genius to me, there are some that, when not fully loaded, run the risk of tipping over as soon as the heavy side gets the better of things. That’s because like some folding-chair carts you may have seen, these wheeled cable cover racks load vertically instead of horizontally. The vertical orientation isn’t a problem, per se, unless the cart is partially loaded, and its weight isn’t balanced. But shouldn’t a cord cover cart be balanced all of the time?
I happen to think so, and that’s why I’m so digging this Cable Guard Transport Cart. Sized to hold up to 25 heavy duty cable protectors, this cart remains stable even if there are only 3 or 8 or 12 actually loaded onto it. That’s because this cable guard cart carries cord protectors horizontally, so matter how many or how few you’re dealing with, their weight is always evenly distributed – leaving you free to let go of the cart at any time, with no fear of tip-overs.
I love balance.
Every so often, you come across a product that’s not only well-made and affordable, but also provides employment and income to those who need it most. Case in point: there’s a little non-profit shop not far from my house, which sells all sorts of handcrafted items made by artisans in third world countries. Musical instruments, housewares, textiles, jewelry, toys – they’re all beautiful and unique, and the kinds of things you’d definitely bring home from travels to faraway places.
The catch is, when these items are sold (mainly to tourists) in their actual countries of origin, the artists can barely turn a profit. Sold in the US, though, for higher (and yet what still seem like shockingly low) prices, these products now yield a much higher income for those who created them. It’s essentially a Fair Trade arrangement, except that instead of applying to things like coffee, the concept applies to handicrafts. I love to purchase gifts there, because you can not only find something uncommon and exotic, but you also feel good knowing that your business is truly helping someone out.
All of this lead-in to explain why I’m such a proponent of today’s featured product: CAB cable rings. CAB cable rings are made to support aerial cable runs in an amazing number of industrial applications and environments, ranging from utilities and paper mills to open pit mines and traffic lights. They’re available in stainless or galvanized steel, as well as in standard and “long” styles, which give you the flexibility to suspend single or multiple cables of varying diameters. Not to mention they’re extremely cost-effective.
But it gets better. CAB cable supports are produced by individuals at the Cambria County Association for the Blind and Handicapped (CCABH) of Johnstown and Ebensburg, Pennsylvania. CCABH was founded by the local Lions Club in the 1940s, and now provides functional disabled adults with job training, employment (producing CAB cable rings and a variety of other products), and a sense of purpose. In addition to job skills and the opportunity to earn an income, members of the CCABH program also receive individual, group, and family counseling, are able to participate in social-orientation lessons that include basic budgeting, banking transactions, and comparison shopping, and are included in CCABH-sponsored outings that include dinners, shopping trips, and tours.
If you’re planning an aerial cabling project, please keep CAB cable rings in mind when you’re shopping around for cable supports. Getting the job done is always a great thing, but it’s so much better when you can support an extremely worthy cause along the way!
Learn more about CCABH…