BlueLounge® Refresh Charging Station: Modern-Chic Gadget Charging at Its Best

blue-lounge-refresh-charging-stationIf 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.

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The BlueLounge® Nest – An Extra Set of Hands to Hold Up iPads, Kindles, and Other Tablet-Style Gadgets

April 19, 2011 by · 1 Comment
Filed under: Gadgets 

bluelounge-nest-tablet-standEaster’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…

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Valentine’s Day Gift Ideas for the Geek Who Makes Your Heart Beat Faster

red-bluetoothDon’t ask me how it happened, but by some miracle, Geeky has become the new Sexy. The Conspiracy Theorists out there may surmise that certain tech companies, such as “Orange” and “The-Search-Engine-That-Must-Not-Be-Named” (names have been changed to protect those with powerful legal departments) may have started doctoring water supplies across the nation with geek-seeking aphrodisiac chemicals. Others may say that since we’re all a little gadget-crazy these days, it’s not so weird to pass up human interaction in favor of gaming and social media. Whatever the case may be, certified tech geeks are now making it to the top of “Most Desirable Valentines” lists everywhere, so that begs the question: what do you buy the Apple-Lover of Your Eye?

Chocolates? Sorry… they melt on fingers, and then smudge up computer keyboards. Flowers? Hellooooooooo, not unless they have a Web interface. A romantic dinner for two? Impossible: that would require forcible removal, possibly surgical in nature, from one’s laptop or smartphone. Looks like we’d better give you a few suggestions on how to spark gift-induced romance with your geeky sweetheart.

Being the crew of tech nerds that we are, a few of us at put together a list of His and Hers Valentine gifts with a decidedly techy twist. From iPhone cord organizers and Bluetooths (or is it Blueteeth?) to solar chargers and USB hubs, our Geekentine’s Day gifts are creative, affordable, and may be just what it takes to score a non-virtual smooch or two.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

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Manhattan Solar Power Pack: Power the Newest Technology with the Oldest Energy Source (the Sun)

solar-power-pack-icintracomThanks to everyone’s combined obsessions with gadgets and green energy, tech gifts like solar chargers are hot ticket items this holiday season. With a few days left of Hanukkah and Christmas just around the corner, environmentally-friendly gadget accessories are great quick-fix for the last-minute, impossible-to-buy-for friends and family on your list.

Talk about perfect timing. I just came across our very newest product, the Solar Power Pack by Manhattan/IC Intracom, and I have to say, I like it. I’ve played around with other pocket-sized solar chargers before, and while they were very cool and worked, I felt like they were a little… how can I say this? Prototypical. Like someone had only just worked the kinks out, and then put them on the market.

There’s nothing wrong with that (after all, pretty much every decent product out there has undergone a period of evolving from good to great). It’s just that I like to see little bit of polish and refinement in the things that I buy – I’d rather not have the “rough draft,” so to speak.

That’s why I like the Solar Power Pack – it still charges small electronics with the power of the Sun, but has much more of a “next generation” feel to it. And at 3.7 by 1.5 inches, it’s tiny… smaller than your average cell phone, as a matter of fact. Believe it or not, the mini solar cells have the ability to power MP3 players up to 45 hours, cell phones for up to 12, and portable video games for up to 2. Not too shabby, considering that that’s free electricity.

What’s really cool is that the Solar Power Pack comes with a small variety of adapter cables and interchangeabe tips, which allow you to fit just about any popular device out there. Need to top up the battery pack’s power at night, or during a particularly sunless day? Just plug it into your computer’s USB port, and you’ll be good to go in no time. The Solar Power Pack is also perfect for international travel, because it lets you charge your gadgets anywhere, without ever worrying about which wall outlet adapter you’ll need.

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Remote Controlled Power Outlets: How to Switch On the Twinkle Lights Without Knocking Over the Christmas Tree

remote-controlled-power-outlet-mainI made a discovery last night. A bad one. One that could mean the premature demise of my Christmas tree unless otherwise remedied. I can’t plug in/unplug the lights unless I practically climb over and through the tree. That’s twice a night, people, and we’re talking about one of “them balsams” referenced in the Parker-family tree-buying scene in A Christmas Story… the kind that shed their needles like nobody’s business. We’re still nearly 3 weeks out from the Big Day, and I’ve been getting nervous that I’ll have a huge, bald Christmas tree skeleton in the corner of my living room by the time the 25th rolls around.

Needless to say, the old noggin has been working furiously to come up with a solution that doesn’t involve me knocking needles, ornaments and tinsel off the side of my beloved tannenbaum 14 times a week. And by George, I think I’ve got it! Remote-Controlled Power Outlets. Don’t know why I didn’t think of these babies before, but I figured that at least a few of you must be struggling with the same problem, so I wanted to get the word out while there’s still plenty of time.

These remote-controlled outlets are cheap and easy to set up, which is pretty nice considering that most of us tend to be tapped-out on both time and money around this time of year. Here’s how they work: just plug a remote outlet into a standard wall receptacle, and then plug whatever it is you’ll be switching on/off remotely (for me, Christmas lights) into the remote outlet. Then grab the remote control, point, and click. You can even use them outdoors – we’ve gotten great reviews from a few customers who have used the outlets to operate lights and fountains in backyard water features.

Did I mention that they have built-in timers, too? During the holidays or at any other time of the year, the possibilities are endless.

NOTE: This product has been discontinued and is no longer available.

We do offer a similar alternate product – Check out the Tork/NSI 655D Remote-Controlled Indoor/Outdoor Timer

Breast Cancer Awareness Month 2010: Beating Breast Cancer One Pink Product at a Time

October 1, 2010 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Gadgets 

pink-ipod-caseIt’s October 1st, and today marks the beginning of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month 2010. Throughout the US, people are dusting off their pink ribbons, and companies are breaking out their finest pink products, the proceeds from which will be donated to breast cancer research and patient support. is no exception – we’re ready to fight with the Power of Pink!

We’ve pulled together a lineup of the rosiest gadget accessories we could find, and put them all together on one page. The plan is simple – for each and every one of these pink products purchased between now and October 31st, 2010, we’ll donate $1 to Susan G. Komen for the Cure, the non-profit global leader in heightening breast cancer awareness and prevention, supporting breast cancer research, and helping to ensure quality care for breast cancer patients everywhere.

This is a win-win situation for everyone involved: you can treat yourself or stock up on affordable gifts for the tech-loving girly-girls in your life (the holidays are coming fast), and also know that you’re both helping people who really need it, and working to fight a rampant disease that’s impacted more or less each and every one of us in ways both profound and small. So everyone stick together, think pink, and let’s do this.

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Mini Optical Mouse for Laptops… So Long, Touchpad!

July 6, 2010 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Computer Accessories, Gadgets 

mini-optical-mouseNot too long ago, I made the transition from desktop to laptop, and for the most part, it’s been great. The laptop is much smaller, leaves me with more space, and I can pick it up and take it with me whenever (and wherever) I want to. The only time that I miss my old desktop PC is when I’m having a really mouse-heavy day – man, can that touchpad get tedious. It works fine, so I can’t complain about that, but like many others out there (you, perhaps?), I’m sort of hardwired to use a regular mouse. In the sort of way that when I have to, say, navigate to and click on a few hundred links, I can start to feel a little fried.

That’s why I’m planning to get my hands on this little number in the very near future. The Mini Optical Mouse. It’s tiny, cute, and unlike the old roller-ball mouse that I used to wrestle with (sound familiar?), it uses optical laser technology that doesn’t jam up on you. Oh, and one more thing – its cord is also retractable, so everything packs up nice and easy when it’s time to ready the old laptop bag for an adventure.

I have a friend who’s quite the business jet-setter, and she swears by this thing. She does an awful lot of work perched at hotel room desks and airport laptop stations, but having the Mini Optical Mouse along for the ride helps her hit a level of productivity that’s much more on par with a regular day at the office. The faster she can work on the road, the less time she has to spend slogging through backlogged e-mails and reports when she’s back in the office. I’d shell out $30 for that.

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Faux Leather Charging Valet

Power-Valet-Charging-StationThe was a time when I blogged affectionately about the faux leather charging station that maintained order on my kitchen counter, but alas, those days are over. My poor charging station became a casualty to my recent move. Gone without a trace. It’s been a few months now, and I’ve come to grips with the loss and am beginning to feel besieged by charger cords again. Time to move on.

Whereas in our last house we generally used to charge phones in the kitchen, my husband and I have somehow taken to juicing up our small electronics in the guest room/home office of the new digs. That’s fine and all, but I’ll have to change my strategy a bit, seeing as how my snack-size IKEA laptop desk is already tight on surface area. I need something that’s smaller than my old countertop charging station, but that has a similar look and feel. And I think I’ve found it: the Faux Leather Charging Valet.

I love it when things are useful and sound posh, don’t you? Charging valet. But lest you think that my admiration for this product is entirely name-based, let me tell you the other reasons why I’m sold on this baby. First, it’s 10″ x 10″ square, which makes it a lot easier to squeeze onto the back corner of my miniature desk than if it were, say, oblong, like my old charging station.

Secondly, it has the power strip built right in, which is something that you don’t see too often in charging stations (pardon me, “valets“) in this style and price range. Most of the time, you get what’s essentially a decorative, strategically laid-out box that can accommodate several gadgets, but you’re responsible for the actual power outlets. It’s really nice not to have to “accessorize” this charging station with the most essential part of the equation.

And lastly, it looks great, and is practically made to stash small office supplies. In addition to having room for 3 devices, there’s also a shelf that’s perfectly sized to fit a few Post-It pads, and a little drawer that would be ideal for paper clips, pens, and maybe even a short stack of business cards.

Sorry, this product has been discontinued.

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Pelican HeadsUp Lite

June 4, 2010 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Gadgets, Workplace Safety 

headsup-lite-2620Call me a kook, but whenever I see or hear about the old noggin-mount flashlight, I automatically think “crusty Old West miner.” You know, the kind of bent, grizzled old loner with a tobacco-stained beard and floppy hat that hides out in old mine shafts and tries to keep wandering tourists or kids away from the yet-to-be-found-nuggets (the gold kind, not chicken) that he has yet to lay claim to? The kind of guy who rides down rickety subterranean tracks in ore carts, with only the beam of his trusty head lamp to light the way?

Okay, apparently I spent way too many childhood summers mesmerized by the USA Cartoon Express and reruns of 1960s Disney live-action movies (albeit without any regret). It’s just slightly tainted my imagination, and maybe narrowed my mind as to actual uses for a head lamp. But I found out just last night that someone I know, and am in fact related to, actually owns and actively uses one.

Being a landlord, my father-in-law has no shortage of yardwork, both at his own house and his rental properties. Most non-winter weekends see him glued to a lawnmower and weed whacker, and if he’s not able to tame all the vegetation in his care on Saturday and/or Sunday, that usually means that he has to get his mow on on weeknights, after work. On a few occasions, darkness has begun to fall before the job was done, so he just fished around in his truck until he found his head-mount flashlight, then got right back down to business, without missing a beat. It’s also reported to have come in handy during more than one plumbing repair, when he’s had to crawl under sinks, but needed his hands free to wield tools.

A head lamp is starting to sound like a pretty cool idea, isn’t it? If you’re going to give it a go, I recommend the Pelican HeadsUp Lite, which is made just as much for hikers and campers as it is for handy types and pro contractors. You can choose from a Xenon or LED lamp, depending on whether you prefer intensely bright light or longer-lasting batteries, respectively. And whichever you choose, you’ll be automatically prepared to wear it directly against your cranium or around a hardhat with the two included cloth and rubber straps (both types are adjustable).

And here’s my favorite part: a special lens technology actually alters the color spectrum of the flashlight’s beam, so you see whatever’s in the light’s path with far greater sharpness, detail and clarity.

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3M X20 Digital Projector

x20-digital-projectorThere’s nothing like a projected image to make you feel like you’re at the movies. When I was a kid, it was always a thrill to see the media center lady roll a projector into the classroom after we got in from recess, because it meant we were taking a break from the drudgery of Science and Social Studies, and getting to slack off with a few action-packed educational film strips instead. And then there was that time about 10 years back when, despite my being a mature grownup, I jumped right in when my Dad hauled out his work projector (typically reserved for presentations) to entertain my sick, stuck-at-home little brother – let me tell you, the best way to watch Ice Age is on the living room wall.

But those childhood (and kid-at-heart) warm-fuzzies toward projectors in general began to change as I left college and became immersed in things like real-world jobs and the multimedia business presentations that they often require. I’ve sat in more than one crowded conference room, looking on as guest presenters fumbled with laptop-to-projector connections as the hour of meeting commencement, pointing and laughing in derision, jogged right past them. Yikes. And these were intelligent, capable people. But technical difficulties will happen, especially if you’re an outsider dealing with other peoples’ electronics. It’s painful to watch.

That’s why I think that the X20 Digital Projector by 3M looks so incredibly useful and promising. What better way to avoid technical difficulties than to bring your own projector along? I know, I know – it sounds like a schlepping nightmare, but it’s not at all. To start out with, the X20 is little: only 11 by 8 by 2 inches (approximately). And at around 4 pounds, it’s definitely one of the lighter projectors out there. Did I mention that it comes with a carrying case? That makes it a natural for travel. But what I really like is that it can help cut down on how many other things you have to haul around.

While the X20 and it’s cousin, the WX20, both offer (of course) connections for laptops and other devices, the X20 also has USB ports for a mouse and flash drive – perfect for computerless .jpg presentations. And you know what that means, right? Leave the laptop at home!

Sorry, this product has been discontinued.

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