Dongle? What the heck is a “dongle?”
If you’re a Bluetooth veteran, you’re probably already dongle-savvy, and can both read and speak the word without giggling or wrinkling your forehead in confusion. But if you’re a bit of a tech rookie and find your mind spiraling downward, imagining all sorts of fun and colorful definitions, let me interrupt your train of thought before it gets too out of hand, and set the record straight. A dongle is a type of hardware that plugs into a computer, and basically unlocks a particular software program and allows it to be used. In the case of these particular Black Box USB dongles, the technology in question is Bluetooth.
Designed to look almost identical to a standard USB flash drive, a Black Box Bluetooth dongle plugs into your computer’s USB port, and enables it to interact with other Bluetooth devices located within a certain range. It lets you create an instant, wireless personal network – pretty cool. And in these days of data theft paranoia, these dongles are safe to use, thanks to their built-in encryption and user authentication programming.
Depending upon what type of range and how much security you want your Bluetooth network to have, these USB dongles are available in two models: Class I, which has a 100 meter range (great for covering an office or your entire home), or Class II, which enables a contained, hacker-protected network within a tighter 10 meter range. They’re also conveniently compatible with just about any computer: whether you’re a desktop or laptop, Mac or PC, Black Box has you covered.
Filed under: Gadgets, Power and Data Distribution
Cell phones, PDAs, digital cameras, MP3 players, handheld video games…. if you’ve had it with juggling separate chargers all of your small electronics, I’ve got a charging station that you’ll definitely be interested in: the Sanctuary. Right off the bat, I have to share my assumption that this device charger was named the Sanctuary because of the feelings of order and serenity it can bring to those who use it. Untangling multiple charger cords can be a stressful experience, but it’s one that you’ll never have to deal with again…. once the Sanctuary comes on the scene, that is.
The reason for the Sanctuary’s calming effect is twofold. The first (and most obvious) reason can be chalked up to its aesthetic properties. Design-wise, it’s no-frills: clean lines, smooth contours, and a pleasingly stark white exterior. The second (and, I should add, concealed) soothing element is that the Sanctuary contains 12 built-in connectors that are compatible with up to 1,500 different devices. You realize what that means, don’t you? You can finally toss all of those cluttering chargers… or at least stash them away for travel. The Sanctuary plugs into a power outlet with just a single cord, and the built-in connectors do the rest of the work.
Have I mentioned how delightfully compact the Sanctuary charging station is? Only 9″ x 9″! I don’t know about you, but I’ve lost a chunk of countertop far more expansive than that by charging just 2 cell phones and a digital camera — it’s amazing how much space a few measly charger cords can take over. And while we’re talking about charging multiple devices, I should let you know that despite its diminutive size, the Sanctuary can accommodate 4 or 5 well-placed devices, with room left over for your keys.
Just imagine getting home from an incredible vacation with tons of picture taking. You’ve opened a few windows to get some fresh air into your closed-up house, dumped the contents of your suitcase into the washer, and taken a quick shower to get rid of all that travel grime. What’s next? Transferring all of those gorgeous photos to your computer, of course. Now where is that USB cable?……
If you’ve ever had to cope with your pictures being “trapped” inside your digital camera because you lost the USB cable that came with it, then you’re really going to be crazy about the USB QuickConnect™ 12-in-1 Camera Kit from GoldX. This combo kit comes with a USB cable and 12 interchangeable connectors, so no matter what USB format your camera uses, you can custom-create a cable to hook it up to your PC or laptop.
All 12 connectors have gold-plated contacts for great signal transmission, and the cable itself is shielded to block out EMI and RFI noise that can interfere with data transfer. The kit is compatible with cameras by Sony, Panasonic, Canon, Sharp, Kodak, Nikon, Olympus, Pentax, Toshiba, Konica, and Minolta (just to name a few), as well as some mobile phones and PDAs. And when you’re not using the cable and connectors, they all tuck neatly inside the included storage case so that nothing gets lost.
It’s a rough choice that no music lover should have to face: do I listen to my iPod, or do I pack it away into a protective case so it doesn’t get wet/banged around/broken? A basic sense of responsibility would dictate that you protect your expensive miniature electronics when you travel or venture out into wet environments, but as is the case in most situations, responsibility is no fun. How could it be, when taking care of your MP3 player means that you have to cut yourself off from those must-have tunes? Sigh.
Well, don’t get yourself down about it for long, because the pros at Pelican have accomplished yet another feat of case engineering, and this time, it was all done in the name of the almighty iPod®. Pelican’s i1010 iPod® cases let MP3 player owners take their stuff on the road without worrying that their portable music libraries will get scratched up, destroyed by water, or smashed to smithereens. If you’re not familiar with standard Pelican gear cases, you’ll probably be impressed to hear that they’re crushproof (you can drive over them with an SUV and nothing will happen), dust/dirtproof, and in most cases, watertight. These miniature versions are crushproof and dustproof just like their full-sized predecessors, but are only classified as “water-resistant,” as opposed to “watertight.” But we’re not complaining about that – the reason for the slight step down in moisture protection is due to one of the case’s coolest features: the Funjack.
The Funjack is what lets you listen to your music even when your iPod is securely closed inside the case – it actually lets you plug your earbuds in right through the case’s side wall. Pretty cool, is it not? So even though the case isn’t completely watertight, it does seal out most moisture, and is virtually indestructable in just about every other way. Oh, and I should probably mention that it comes in 7 iPod® matching colors. Sounds like a win-win situation for both you and the iPod® , doesn’t it?
All of you gadget fans out there should get a kick out of today’s featured product – I know I do! If small electronics like cell phones, MP3 players, or PDAs often accompany you to the beach or on camping trips, boats and other outdoor activities, you need a Pelican Micro Case. As you’ve probably guessed from the name, they’re manufactured by Pelican, the renowned case company that’s known for their watertight, crushproof, and buoyant equipment cases. Their regular line of products is commonly used by the military, professional photographers, and other groups and professions whose equipment require the ultimate in protection both in the field and during travel.
But for the rest of us Average Joes and Janes (you know, the ones who don’t have weapons, sophisticated computers or insanely expensive photographic equipment to protect) Pelican developed the Micro Case Series. Even though they’re small, these polycarbonate Micro Cases are extremely rugged — they’re so tough, in fact, that they can withstand up to 5000 lbs of pressure. True story: last year, we at CableOrganizer.com decided to test this for a product demonstration video, so we took a Micro Case out to the parking lot and ran it over with a large SUV. NO damage!
The case’s waterproof qualities are equally impressive: Micro Cases completely seal out moisture. Whether you drop one overboard or leave it out in the rain, absolutely no water can get inside to harm your belongings. And have I mentioned that these mini Pelican cases also feature an automatic purge valve. This built-in valve automatically equalizes the case’s internal pressure with the ambient air pressure surrounding it, so there’s no threat of the case popping open during air travel, mountain climbing, or any other activities that involve altitude changes.