May 29, 2015

Protect Your Tech

Filed under: News — csadm @ 5:34 am

The first thing most people do when they purchase a smartphone is get screen protection for the front of the device and some kind of case or protection for the body. And for good reason. Smartphones are not cheap and they are personal devices – so if they are worth something to the owner they are definitely worth protecting.

Most smart phones released now days are so attractive that many people are choosing transparent back covers that do not detract from the look of the device.

However if you work in harsh environments, or if you have an outdoors lifestyle, then you will need more robust, all-round protection to protect your asset from falls, bumps, grinds and dust.

In this article I will not only talk about tough protection for mobile devices but also super-tough carrying cases for other more expensive and bulkier devices such as professional cameras, video and surveying equipment.

 

GRIFFIN SURVIVOR AND OTTERBOX DEFENDER

The Griffin Survivor is a rugged iPhone case that wraps your iPhone in multiple layers of tough, strong protection and gives you peace of mind while you work or play outdoors.

This rugged iPhone case is designed to meet the rigorous military durability standards for electronic devices and still be functional. The Survivor can endure extreme conditions, whether it is dust, dirt, rain or shocks. This is possible thanks to the multiple layers of protection that wrap it in polycarbonate, foam and silicone. This case is available for the iPhone 5 and 4S.

A tough, scratch-resistant screen shield clips onto the front of your iPhone, deflecting wind, rain and dirt. The screen responds well, and all swiping, tapping and pinch zooming functions just like it wasn’t even there. The inner casing is constructed from tough polycarbonate that minimizes damage from impacts. There are two foam pads inside the inner casing that cushion your iPhone, absorbing impacts from shocks. Another great feature of the Survivor case is a rear camera cover that rotates out of the way, letting you take clear pictures without blocking the lens.

These layers are wrapped in an outer casing made from rugged silicone that absorbs vibrations and gives the corners of your iPhone protection from drops. This is important because smartphones are generally vulnerable on their corners and many screens are cracked from a short drop or shock. The outer casing also has rubber button covers that do not hinder use, and you can seal every single one of the ports with hinged covers to keep out sand, rain and dust as well. This includes the rear camera window, which can be opened and closed with a silicone rubber and polycarbonate flap.

The Survivor is available in 20 colors and you can mix and match them to give your case a custom look. Each case also comes with a multi-position clip that attaches securely to a bag, belt or strap. The clip is strong and does not fall off easily.

Another similar product is the Otter Defender.

The Defender case is as hard as a rock and is designed to take a brutal amount of abuse. What differentiates it from the Griffin Survivor is that it uses proportionately more polycarbonate to silicone in its design, and it also incorporates a shock cover/easel to provide an additional layer of protection when carried.

One of the best features of the Otterbox Defender is that the manufacturer lets you build your own case by mixing and matching the colors for the inner and outer layers. You can choose from eight colors for the outer layer and nine for the inner layer. You can preview your color selections on the Defender store webpage, giving you a chance to find the color combo that you like best.

Unfortunately, the Otterbox Defender does not protect phones from water, so it is best suited for dry environments. While this case does not protect phones from water, it is a great choice if you are looking for a rugged iPhone case to shield your phone from damage during intense daily use.

 

PELICAN HARD-CASE PROTECTION

One case manufacturer that has built a solid reputation over almost four decades is Pelican Products, a US company based in California.

The company and its products are in a league of their own

“We have always been an industrial-grade, professional-grade protective case supplier,” Pelican Chief Executive Lyndon Faulkner said. “It’s in the DNA of all of our products. They are built for very robust environments.”

Pelican has manufactured nearly 1,000 different sizes of crushproof, watertight and dustproof protective cases. Some of their cases are as large as a small room and able to carry aerospace parts and oil rig equipment. Others are small enough to provide a snug fit for an iPod Nano.

They are like armored suitcases or footlockers on steroids. Inside is form-fitting foam of varying levels of density, depending on what the case is carrying.

They store almost everything used by the military: weapons, explosives, medical equipment. Pelican cases are very popular among photographers and video camera operators who use them to transport delicate camera equipment.

The cases are molded plastic containers that seal with an airtight and watertight gasket. Pelican cases include a barometric relief valve made of Gore-Tex to prevent pressure damage to the case, during transportation or when the air pressure in the environment changes. Pelican cases meet standards for waterproofing, stacking, impact, and durability including MIL-STD C4150-J for waterproofing, IEC IP67 rating indicating complete sealing against dust and water immersion to 1 metre, as well as ATA 300 rating indicating compliance with Air Transport Association standards for durability in shipping. Pelican cases feature a lifetime guarantee.

If the case falls into water, generally there will be enough air in the case to keep it afloat. The barometric relief valve permits air to pass through, but not water or other liquids. Under some extreme conditions leakage is technically possible, but such conditions are unlikely to be encountered, except in the case of deliberate vandalism.

Pelican has a very diverse range of products that take advantage of resistance-technology from mobile device cases, check-in cases, carry-on luggage and even back-packs.

The Pelican 1510 carry-on case is just one example of how Pelican have adapted to the needs of its market.

The build quality of the case is as you would expect with rubberized handles, a locking mechanism, pull-out handle and wheels all of which are very sturdy. As a carry-on piece of luggage it is understandably heavy, but that’s to be expected of any super-tough protection.

Pelican backpacks are also another interesting innovation, as they incorporate a built-in watertight and crushproof case as part of the backpack. The S140 features a case for your laptop, whereas a model such as the U160 has a solid compartment specifically for your camera and lenses.

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May 15, 2015

Apple Watch: Getting Personal

Filed under: News — csadm @ 3:33 am

The Apple Watch is finally here but you will need to own an iPhone 5 or later to put yourself in the market. That’s because the watch, like most other smartwatches is essentially a phone accessory.

In saying that, the Apple Watch will transform your i-Phone experience and take it to a whole new level with communication, fitness, information and time at its core. Apple says that it is “our most personal device yet.”

Apple Watch receives messages from friends, send texts and lets you dictate messages, make speakerphone calls, ping people with animated emoji, give love taps long-distance or send your heartbeat as a sort of long-distance hug. It tracks your steps, logs runs and monitors your heart rate. And yes, you can use Apple Watch to listen to music via wireless Bluetooth headphones. You can play songs like an iPod, get notifications and run apps like a mini iPhone. And it has a totally new force-sensitive display that’s never been seen before.

 

THE APPLE WATCH DISPLAY

A Retina display is the primary surface for every interaction with Apple Watch. And it’s clear why. The incredibly high pixel density makes numbers and text easy to read at a glance, even while you’re moving. Images and graphics render with remarkable sharpness and contrast, including finely detailed ones like the rotation of a hair-thin second hand on a watch face. And the display is extremely energy efficient, critical for a device you wear throughout the day. On most Apple Watch models, the display is laminated to a machined and polished single crystal of sapphire. Next to diamond, it’s the hardest transparent material. On watches in the Sport collection, protection is provided by strengthened Ion-X glass.

In addition to recognizing touch, Apple Watch senses force, adding a new dimension to the user interface. Force Touch uses tiny electrodes around the flexible Retina display to distinguish between a light tap and a deep press, and trigger instant access to a range of contextually specific controls. With Force Touch, pressing firmly on the screen brings up additional controls in apps like Messages, Music, and Calendar. It also lets you select different watch faces, pause or end a workout, search an address in Maps, and more. Force Touch is the most significant new sensing capability since Multi‑Touch.

Since wristwatches were invented in the 19th century, people have been glancing at them to check the time. With Apple Watch, this simple, reflexive act allows you to learn so much more.

Apple has optimized your favourite apps for the wrist by developing Glances — scannable summaries of the information you seek out most frequently. To see them, you simply swipe up from your watch face. In an instant, you can glimpse the weather forecast, check out what’s next on your calendar, or find your current location on a map. You can quickly swipe through different Glances, or tap one to go directly to its corresponding app for more details.

Apple has also added an amazing collection of watch faces to its watch. The faces are customisable – numbers can be added and colours changed. There is everything from a solar cycle showing actual sunset and sunrise times, an amazing planetary face showing the Earth and Moon properly lit to reflect day, night and lunar cycles. You can see all the planets in their current alignment, or spin the crown and see their positions change by date. If that’s not your thing, try the Mickey Mouse watch face.

 

CONNECTIVITY

Because it’s connected to your iPhone, Apple Watch can present time in a more personal way. One that’s based around your life and schedule. You’ll receive real-time notifications for incoming mail, messages, and calls. So you can answer or dismiss them instantly. And since Apple Watch sits on your wrist, your alerts aren’t just immediate. They’re intimate. A gentle tap lets you know the time and place of your next meeting, when you should leave, and the best route to take. Once you’re on your way, a tap on the wrist lets you know when to turn left, or right. And you can always swipe down to see any notifications you may have missed.

 

APPLE WATCH AS A FITNESS DEVICE

Apple Watch gives you a complete picture of your all-day activity. The three rings of the Activity app show your daily progress and help motivate you to sit less, move more, and get some exercise.

It provides a simple visual snapshot of your daily activity, with three rings telling you everything you need to know. The Move ring shows how many active calories you’ve burned. The Exercise ring shows how many minutes of brisk activity you’ve completed. And the Stand ring shows how often you’ve stood up to take a break from sitting. The goal? Complete each ring every day.

It’s also an advanced sports watch, giving you real-time stats for a variety of the most popular workouts. Over time, Apple Watch learns your activity and fitness levels. It uses that information to improve the accuracy of your measurements and suggest personalized all-day activity goals. It even provides custom reminders to encourage you to achieve them.

 

THE APPLE WATCH DIGITAL CROWN

According to the manufacturer, every new product Apple has introduced has been defined by a unique input device. With Apple Watch, it’s the Digital Crown.

On mechanical watches, the crown has historically been used to set the time and date and to wind the mainspring. Apple has reimagined it as a versatile tool that answers the fundamental challenge of how to magnify content on a small display.

Turning the Digital Crown allows you to navigate nimbly and precisely, without obstructing your view.

You can zoom in and out of photos, quickly scroll through lists, input data, or press it like a button to return to the Home screen. The Digital Crown is an integral part of the Apple Watch experience.

 

THREE DISTINCTIVE COLLECTIONS

There are three different models of Apple Watch you can choose, depending on your lifestyle and budget.

The first is the basic Apple Watch with a choice of stainless steel or space black stainless steel case. It has a sapphire crystal and a range of stylish bands.

The second is the Apple Watch Sport with anodized aluminium cases in silver or space gray. It has strengthened ion-X glass and a choice of colourful, durable bands.

The third is the up-market and expensive Apple Watch Edition with 18-carat gold cases in yellow or rose with a sapphire crystal and exquisitely crafted bands and closures.

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May 1, 2015

Mini Speakers Go Boom

Filed under: News — csadm @ 3:29 am

Smartphones are great but if you like to listen to music you will find their speakers simply don’t cut it. If you want your music loud and clear, the solution is a portable Bluetooth speaker which is capable of turning your smartphone into a full-on sound system.

Thanks to integrated Bluetooth, these speakers work with Android, iOS, and, well, any Bluetooth-enabled device, including most laptops and some desktops. Also, they don’t require a Wi-Fi network, making them much more flexible than Apple-only AirPlay speakers. Several models of Bluetooth speakers also integrate a microphone, which adds speakerphone functionality, so you can take calls through the speaker.

Bluetooth speakers are also rechargeable via USB, so they are very portable and once the speaker is mated with your phone, tablet or computer – which is simply enough done – the devices will connect automatically when they’re within about 30 feet of each other.

iUi Design is a company that has taken the Bluetooth speaker craze to a whole new level. The US/Hong Kong company has introduced a number of speakers, but by far their most interesting product is the Mini Mirror Boombox.

The full product name is the IUI Design Mirror Boom Box Mini Cooper Portable Bluetooth Wireless Speaker/ Speakerphone. That’s a big name for such a cool and cute product. So let’s just call it the Mini Mirror Boombox.

The speakers look like someone pulled the side mirror off someone’s Mini Cooper and turned it into a speaker.

The speaker comes in a transparent plastic display case. The compartment at the base of the display case houses all of the accessories, including the wall charger, charging adapters, a microfiber cloth, a user manual, as well as a mini USB cable for charging purposes.

As far as the actual speaker goes, there are three color patterns to choose from – the Union Jack, grayscale Union Jack, and a checkered racing flag.

Just a word of explanation for those not up to speed with the Mini Cooper. The Mini is an iconic British car which has recently seen a resurgence as a pop icon.

According to Al Fortino, Director of Business Development, iUi Design the speaker is a fun, fashion statement and perfect audio partner for your smartphone or laptop.

“Mini Cooper design is almost as iconic as the Union Jack itself. We don’t see this as an accessory for Mini owners but as a top-notch speaker for stylish and fashionable consumers,” he said.

With so many Bluetooth speakers now on the market, it is obvious that iUi Design wanted to create a product that was a unique stand-out.

At the front of the speaker is a mirror that mimics the design of the actual door mirrors of a Mini. When the unit is turned on you will see some colored icons that light up to let you know the status.

The front also has a grill with the Mini emblem as well as an LED light behind. The light will be red when charging and blue when the unit is on.
On the back of the speaker you will find the micro-USB port for charging, as well as a 3.5mm auxiliary audio input for hardwired audio connections.

The bottom of the speaker has a rubber pad to prevent the speaker from roaming and dancing around the table when you have your music cranked up.

Audio quality of the speaker is superb, especially given the size of the unit. For a cute little speaker it packs some serious punch, and there is hardly any distortion when the volume is at the max.

If you want a cute companion for your Mini mirror boombox check out the Mini gearshift boombox.

The gear shift design comes with a base wrapped in genuine leather.

The base acts as a charging station. The knob itself is detachable so you can take the actual speakerphone with you. The speaker has six hours of play time and easy “touch to pair” NFC Bluetooth pairing.

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