Filed under: Gadgets, Power and Data Distribution
Ever know you’re going to have a really long day ahead of you, and stash an extra snack or caffeine source in your glove compartment or purse just in case you need to be saved from a serious mood/energy/blood sugar crash before your insane day ends? I do. The last thing that I want is to turn into a surly and/or diva-ish jerk like in the Snickers® commercials, when all that unpleasantness can be avoided with a little pick-me-up. Well, our hard-working gadgets can crash, too, when pushed through long days without enough power to keep them going.
Okay, so I’m not suggesting that a candy bar or energy shot would ever be able to help in the case of tuckered-out electronics, but here’s something very cool that can: the Power Tube Mini-Charger by Juicebar®. Pretty close in size to a bottle of 5-Hour ENERGY®, this miniature charger acts much the same way: it hangs around on standby to provide cell phones and other small electronics with a much-needed power boost when the batteries are starting to run low.
The Power Tube is designed to be charged from a wall outlet (via an adapter), or your computer (via USB connection), and then maintain that charge for up to 30 days, so that it’s ready to go without you constantly having to worry about topping off the charge every few days. When it’s at full capacity, this tiny but impressive emergency charger has enough juice to more than fully charge a standard cell phone battery, which makes a huge difference when you’re faced with situations that can be made or broken by your ability to make a vital call. And emergencies aside, the convenience factor is amazing, even if you’re only faced with a sudden, inconvenient dip in battery power at an inopportune moment… like when you’re calling in a pizza order on your way home from work.
Okay, I know I’m supposed to be highlighting just one product at a time, but today I’m feeling a little crazy, so you’re getting a 3 in 1 deal. It all has to do with the fact that we’ve just launched an extremely cool Cell Phone Sweepstakes that’s running through October 31st, 2012 – anyone who purchases from CableOrganizer.com between now and then is automatically entered to win a mobile phone of his/her choice, up to $600.00 in retail value. You can also register to win without making a purchase – just fill out and submit the online form.
The sweepstakes, in turn, happened because this month (July) is National Cell Phone Courtesy Month, and so we thought that, in addition to the giveaway, we’d put together a little Cell Phone Courtesy Kit in honor of the occasion. And while I’m not sure I can say it will make you behave any more politely on your mobile, it is made up of three very helpful and unique products that will keep you organized, help you avoid charging emergencies, and make you look just a little tech-chic. I have to admit – I’m really digging it.
The kit includes 3 items, each of which are so good that I’ve blogged about them individually in the past: the Core Cord Organizer (3-pack), the Juicebar® Pocket Solar Charger, and the Milo™ Smartphone Stand from BlueLounge®. The Core Cord Organizers are vaguely apple core-shaped cable winders that keep charger cords and earbud wires stylishly under control; the Juicebar® is a solar charger that works with almost any small device and is small enough to slip into a pocket or purse; and the Milo™ stand is a sleek, mod smartphone perch that uses micro-suction to hold your phone while you watch movies, surf the Web or scroll through photos or playlists.
Even better than the products alone is the fact that they’re being made available at a pretty steep discount when you purchase them together. Bought separately, they’d total up to $71.09, but together they’re only $49.99. If you like gadget accessories, it would probably be a good idea to check out this deal. At any rate, don’t forget to enter the sweepstakes!
Filed under: Energy Conservation, Gadgets, Power and Data Distribution
I don’t know if I’m just catching things at exactly the right minute as I flip through the channels at night, but I feel like I’ve been seeing a lot of references to survivalists on TV. Their causes are all different, ranging among horrific possibilities like Take Two of the New Madrid Earthquake, impending fallout from the much-anticipated 2012 Presidential election, and just Armageddon in general. Guns, preserved food, medical supplies… all good things to have when you head for the hills, but let’s not forget our gadgets, folks. Maybe you can ditch the cell phone and the GPS, but I think I’d like to have an MP3 player along to boost my spirits with a few tunes. Personally, I’d have a portable solar charger hidden among my personal effects, because what are you going to do if you need to plug in but can’t?
Okay, okay, so maybe my imagination is running away with me and the survival what-ifs, but the bottom line is, whether you’re living off the grid, camping, or are just experiencing a brief but annoying power outage in the heart of civilization, sometimes it’s nice to have some backup to keep those mobile electronics going. And on the bright side, barring a massive asteroid collision or catastrophic volcano eruption that would put so much dust/ash into Earth’s atmosphere that all light would be blotted out, we’ll always have the Sun. But I digress.
All this to say that I’ve found an extremely new portable solar charger that’s small enough to slip into your pocket, but is made to stand up to whatever tough environments and situations you and your small electronics may find yourselves in. Meet the Expedition™ Solar Charger.
With a folding design that helps protect the solar cells when not in use, and a rubberized outer shell that makes the possibility of accidental drops, scrapes and bumps a lot less scary, the Expedition is meant for the rough and tumble lifestyle of the great outdoors. One feature that I really like is the built-in 60 lumen LED, which will light a 30 x 30 foot area for up to 8 hours on a single charge. Not to mention that it comes with five interchangeable connectors and an adapter cable, so in many cases, you can plug in your devices without their original chargers. In addition to absorbing power from sunlight, the Expedition can also gather energy from indoor light, or even be plugged into a computer via USB for an ultra-quick charge.
So whether you’re living off the land or in a high-rise, give solar power a try… after all, these days it never hurts to have a little backup.
Confession: even as much as I’ve loved going on about smartphones (and mobile tech in general) for the past who-knows-how-long, I only caved in and got one about 6 months ago, and let me just say: aside from the laptop that I rely on for work, I’ve never spent this much time interacting with a silicon-based non-life-form in my life.
And it gets better: I seem to have acquired Smartphone Neck from the obligatory hunch one must assume while making the most of one’s unlimited text plan and squinting at tiny browsers. Seriously – the next time I’m in a clothing store dressing room, I’m going to have to sneak a peek in the 3-way mirror, because I’m pretty sure that I have the beginning of a Quasimodo-style thing happening in the shoulder region.
Just when I feel like I’m doomed to a life of hopeless hunching, along comes Milo™. No, Milo isn’t a massage therapist, chiropractor or maker of neck braces for the gadget-impaired – it’s a gorgeous little smartphone stand from BlueLounge Designs®, my absolute favorite maker of gadget accessories.
Along with BlueLounge’s signature modern, minimalist styling, the Milo Smartphone Holder has an incredibly cool feature that’s referred to as micro-suction, which lets the holding surface grab onto a smooth phone or case with barely any pressure applied – no clips, no big suction cups. It’s one of the best features I’ve seen on anything in quite a while.
Anyway, the whole reason I see Milo as being a neck-saver to any gadget junkie is because of the delightfully comfortable (dare I say ergonomic?) angle it holds phones at, in either portrait or landscape position. Find a surface that you can easily sit in front of (desk, table) and you can sit back and watch streaming videos, scroll through playlists, check incoming calls or text without having to grab the phone with both hands and slowly but surely fall into the Hunch.
Could this have helped poor Quasimodo? I fear not. But it’s never too late to save yourself!
It turns out that GPSs aren’t the only handy gadgets to have suctioned onto your interior windshield these days. I just met the newest addition to our solar power family of products, and I have to say, I’m quite pleased to make its acquaintance. Meet the Car and Boat Multi-Device Solar Charger.
Figures I’d like the Car and Boat Solar Charger – after all, our company is based in South Florida, a region that is widely acknowledged to be the Land of, well… cars and boats (flashy ones). And lots of sun. So it’s the perfect fit! But global coordinates aside, this mobile sidekick will work great anywhere that there’s a steady source of daylight.
As I mentioned before, this extremely novel and useful charger suctions onto your windshield, which puts it in perpetual sunbathing mode. That means it’s continuously charging, so you have the power to recharge cell phones, GPS units, mobile video games and more, anytime, anywhere. This may be the greatest thing to happen to road trips since Red Bull.
The Car and Boat Solar Charger comes with a retractable adapter cable and 4 interchangeable connectors (micro USB, mini USB, Nintendo™ 3DS and Sony PSP®), so that you can directly connect the charger to almost any mobile gadget. Other features include a red LED charging indicator, so you know when it’s charging, and a flashing blue LED, which does nothing more than mimic the look of a car alarm light so that you’re vehicle’s a little safer when you’re not around to watch it (love that!).
Filed under: Energy Conservation, Gadgets, Power and Data Distribution
Just as the soon-to-be-winter clouds and overall December blahs have sent me into a pasty-faced state of Vitamin D withdrawal, an ironic ray of sunshine has emerged on the solar power front. Over the past few years, I’ve been lucky enough to have some fun playing with an ever-improving succession of solar chargers for small gadgets like cell phones and MP3 players, as well as moderate-to-large portable solar power systems to fuel tech and small appliances during camping trips and power outages. It’s always interesting to see the improvements that are made with every new model, but there’s always been something missing: an in-between solar gadget charger that isn’t overkill for the little stuff, but is still big and strong enough to power something the size of, say, a laptop.
I love it when people read my mind and invent something I was wishing for. Meet the Solar Laptop Charger by Digital Ozone™, a still-conveniently-small solar charger (only 5.5 by 1.2 by 7 inches) that converts the Sun’s energy into enough electricity to fully charge a laptop battery or up to 12 smaller devices, like mobile phones.
It’s not bad looking, either. A stainless steel housing has a multicrystalline silicon panel on one side (with which to soak up and convert the Sun’s rays into electricity), and a cool little LCD indicator on the other, which tells you at a glance how much power it has left (I really like that feature – no nasty surprises). Another plus is switchable power output settings, so that you can customize the amount of power that’s doled out, preventing your electronics from being over- or underwhelmed with electrical flow.
And talk about the accessories! The Solar Laptop Charger includes 12 popular cell phone and laptop connectors, so that you can plug in almost any device without a hassle. Since there’s always a chance that you could be short on sunlight or time, there’s also an included AC-DC adapter that lets you plug into faster, more conventional power sources (like wall outlets) whenever the situation calls for it.
You’ve got a shock-absorbing silicone cover for your cell phone and a laptop case that can shield your notebook computer from everything short of nuclear disaster or heavy artillery, but let me ask you this: who’s looking out for your tablet?
Like both our old friend Billy Joel and the new wave of obsessive couponing that’s spawned a rash of Sunday circular thefts from coast to coast, the world of Gadget Protection tends to go to extremes (Billy, please forgive me for dragging your name into the same sentence as extreme cheapskates… ummmm, I mean couponers). Pocket- and full-sized electronics are still the most widely-owned gadgets out there, so they have tons of covering/carrying options available, but those somewhere-in-the-middle tablets, Netbooks, and iPads don’t have it quite so easy yet.
Luckily, Pelican has looked kindly upon midsize gadgets, with their breakable screens and too-big-to-fit-in-your-pocket designs, and has put together a little something special to keep them safe when you decide to take them on the road with you (and who doesn’t?). The company’s new 1075 Series HardBack™ cases give your tablet or Netbook (or several smaller gadgets) near-indestructable protection that can be slung over your shoulder and carried along for the ride.
If you’re not familiar with the hallmarks of Pelican cases, let me drop a few key words to give you the idea. Watertight. Crushproof. Impact-resistant. Buoyant. Self-equalizing. They’re basically equipped with everything you’ve ever dreamed of and more. One time, we actually took one of their earlier, mini-sized models out into the company parking lot, repeatedly ran it over with a large SUV, and the case suffered nothing more than a few surface scratches. If you’re going to put your precious electronics into anyone’s hands, I strongly suggest they be Pelican’s.
But back to the details. As their name and my earlier description imply, HardBack™ cases are constructed of a rigid outer shell, which is lined with customizable foam to create the perfect cushioned fit for any device. An o-ring seal keeps moisture out, so much so that you can submerge a closed Pelican case to a depth of 3 feet without any problem. Elevation changes aren’t an issue, either, thanks to a built-in pressure equalizing valve that automatically balances internal air pressure.
Kind of makes you wish they made a Pelican Case in your size, doesn’t it?
It’s always totally killed me that charging cell phones or digital cameras too well can actually cause their batteries to bite the dust faster. Hmmmm, let me get this straight: I regularly plug in my gadget of choice to make sure it maintains a good charge, but if I’m not standing by to unplug the charger as soon as the battery is full, things will actually start to deteriorate? Nice.
As far as I’m concerned, someone should address that little detail before they bother cranking out iPhone™ 17, or the next most amazing thing to hit the tablet market. We need to prioritize here, people – please, please come out with immortal batteries first! I’m probably just dreaming here, but in the meantime, until we see the day when batteries are no longer burnt out on the very thing that keeps them powered, there’s the Belkin Conserve Socket™.
Designed to work much like a smart power strip, the Conserve Socket™ cuts power to devices when they’re no longer in use, or have had their fill of electricity. The only difference is that instead of being a bulky, full-sized power strip, the Conserve Socket™ has only one outlet, and plugs right into a wall receptacle, just like a nightlight. And whereas smart UPSs detect the on/off status of “master” devices to gauge when to automatically shut off peripherals, the Conserve Socket is equipped with a timer, via which you can tell it to call it a day after 30 minutes, 3 hours, or 6 hours.
If this sounds like somewhat of a downgrade in technology, it’s actually not. Let’s say that you need to plug in a cell phone charger. In most cases, a smart power strip wouldn’t cut power to it, because it’s not a peripheral attached to a master device. It’s just plugged in, period. It’s the main event itself, so to speak, so turning it on or off requires your own decisive action (ie, plugging in or unplugging). “Turning off” would involve you physically disconnecting the charger in order to cut power flow to it, but the Conserve Socket’s timer lets you stop the electrical flow to the charger (and its corresponding gadget battery) without actual physical removal. As soon as that timer goes off, “ping” – no more power (okay, it doesn’t make that noise, but you know what I mean).
The Conserve Socket™ is not only perfect for avoiding overcharged batteries, but is also a great way to make sure that hot devices and appliances (like irons, curling irons, and coffee makers) aren’t left sitting in “cook” mode for too long – no one likes a fire. It helps you conserve energy, save money, and stay safe – not a bad deal for around $13.
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.
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…