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Posts Tagged ipad accessories

Snugg iPad 2 Case Cover and Flip Stand

SnuggThere are all sorts of iPad cases out there, and many convert into a flip stand for easy watching of movies on an airplane, for example. Business travelers can also use the stand feature at exhibitions or conferences where the need to display video or presentations is necessary. The stand has two positions to maximize viewing capability, but both require that the case be in the landscape or horizontal position.

The Snugg iPad 2 case cover and flip stand is unique, however, because they have added a stylus loop for those that use the touchscreen stylus functionality. I also particularly liked the easy-access, but secure Velcro closure that keeps it securely in place.

Something I was surprised about was that when you close the cover, it activates the iPad’s sleep functionality. Perhaps that is standard or unique to this case, but I was impressed nonetheless.

The case comes in a variety of colors including bright reds and yellows, but I opted for a more subtle grey since I use it for business purposes. I also don’t want my iPad to stand out when traveling to encourage people to snatch it on a busy train or at the crowded security lane.

It is not crafted from real leather, rather a blend of leather and vinyl, but it has a high-quality look and feel to it. I also appreciated that the company’s logo was not emblazoned on it; it’s there, but in a subtle way. Cut outs in the case allow for the camera and speaker to be used unimpeded of obstruction.

The back stand is not as solid as it could be so this should not be used for someone that is constantly typing on the screen when it is in the stand position, but most people use that function to show video or photos.

This is an affordable and beautiful case. The detailed stitching around the edges adds an elegant touch. It retails for under $40 on The Snugg’s website or on Amazon.

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Hotspot Shield VPN for International Web Surfing

vpn proxy server

Just as all the money in the world couldn’t save Steve Jobs from cancer, all the money in the world is not going to save you from the army of lawyers running the entertainment and social media tech sites you would like to keep using when you travel. Even the richest expatriate is going to get stymied when trying to log onto Netflix, Pandora, iTunes, Spotify, or Amazon. In some countries (like Vietnam and China), you may not even be able to send a simple status update to Facebook or Twitter. Unless you have something like Hotspot Shield.

If you travel a lot, there’s one small investment you should make: a proxy service subscription. This will enable you to click a button or two and be surfing the web from what looks like Rhode Island or California, not Botswana or Bulgaria. Once you have made that connection, you can stream your Netflix film or download those songs you bought from iTunes or eMusic without a bunch of suits getting between you and your entertainment.

There’s a second part to this too, which is another layer of protection in your surfing. Google can’t follow your around your neighborhood and the globe so easily when you’re covering your tracks and neither can all those damn marketing companies trying to watch your every move. Neither can that squirrelly looking guy two tables over in the coffee shop.

Now don’t get the impression this is all some super-simple process where everything always works out perfectly. I’ve tried at least four of these services during stints traveling and living abroad and all of them had their bugs. Hotspot Shield is not immune from bugs either, but it has fewer than most and the price is downright crazy cheap: $30 per year. If you can’t justify that tiny amount and are tempted to go with the free version—don’t. It’ll only take you a couple days before you’re ready to throw something at your computer because of the annoying ads and hijacked browser. Trust me. Mine slips into free mode sometimes by mistake and I instantly turn into Mr. Hyde.

Overall though, Hotspot Shield is $30 very well spent. With it installed on the multiple devices it allows, I can be surfing away undeterred in one room while my wife is watching a Netflix show and my daughter is logged into Youtube. All from Mexico, no problem. I’ve downloaded songs, streamed Pandora, and logged into my credit card accounts no problem.

The bugs I just had to get used to and live with, after support solved a few but the rest were not to be. None of us can send an e-mail from Yahoo Mail while logged in and others have reported similar problems from other web-based e-mail programs. Sometimes I get a strange “service not available” message from some websites. Occasionally messages I send from Thunderbird will get hung up for no reason.

Overall though, this proxy server service works as advertised and unlike others I’ve used in the past, I’ve had very little downtime. You can even choose to log on from the US, UK, or Australia—a good backup and quite useful if you’re a webmaster and you want to see search results from other countries.

Get a trial run direct from Hotspot Shield and ignore that free option with ads. Trust me. And if you don’t trust me or this link, you can also get it from CNET.com in their downloads section. Here’s a link with the price since for some reason they hide that even though it’s a deal – $29.95.

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Carbon Audio Zooka Wireless Speaker Bar

aaq5-800When I travel, I have an armada of devices from my laptop computer to an iPhone and iPad. But, they are all used in similar fashion. Typically, I am working on my latptop while surfing the Internet or checking email in “fast mode” on my iDevices. I am often watching in envy when people use their iPads or iPhones to screen movies or television shows. Or even at trade shows when people use their iPad as a device to share information with others.

The one thing that seems to hold me back from incorporating it into my own daily work routine is that the speaker is weak (it’s even tough to play back scenes from my favorite sitcom episodes for friends because the volume is so low) and the sound does not seem powerful in any way.

That’s why the wireless speaker idea was so appealing to me. Even after reading about it in other places, I thought it would be bulky or complicated to install. However, the Carbon Audio Zooka Wireless Speaker Bar is wireless and actually attractive. Connecting it to my iPad was a less-than-five-minute process, and its Bluetooth wireless link is almost automatic in syncing up.

It is so easy to use, I might even consider making it a briefcase mainstay. You never know when that craving to show a funny scene from Family Guy to colleagues might just hit!

The sound is incredibly powerful, and this device could even be used to provide background music for a party or work function. It can stand on its own when synced to another device via Bluetooth, but also features a crevice that can hold an iPad for those that want to hold it readily in their hand. Or, it can attach to the top of a laptop screen to balance independently while maintaining a close Bluetooth signal.

I can envision all kinds of great uses for the Zooka from teachers reading audio stories to students to lawyers replaying audio evidence to a jury. A greater than eight hour battery life gives the endless possibility concept even longer legs.

The Zooka features a rainbow of colors for the stylish although my blue speaker is conservative while still turning heads toward my iPad (just what I want when I am trying to sell something or attract attention toward a product demonstration).

It retails for just over $100 making it a great bargain for movie or TV buffs and those who could use a speaker for work purposes. It is available on Carbon Audio’s own website and Amazon.

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STM Linear Laptop Bag for a Slim Profile

STM Linear Laptop bagLooking for a laptop bag that isn’t as bulky as a briefcase, backpack, or messenger bag? This durable and attractive Linear Medium Laptop Sling from STM lets you carry just the essentials in style.

The laptop bag I take with me on a real journey is usually big enough to fit my camera, a Kindle, my phone, and a whole host of electronics and cords. By the time that’s all in there I’m carrying a large laptop daypack like the ones I’ve reviewed from Deuter and Kelty. That’s not the kind of thing I always want to lug around town though, whether that’s my home town or a city elsewhere.

This slimmer bag is meant to hold a 14- or 15-inch laptop, some papers, a 10-inch tablet if needed, and a few (flat) gadgets. That’s plenty for strolling to a hotel lobby, to a coffee shop, or on a flight were you don’t have to lug a bunch of stuff along. It has several compartments inside, a zippered pocket on the outside, then a flap with a zipper compartment going over that and buckling at the bottom. So besides the organization ease, you can pack the valuables inside and what you need to get to quickly outside. You press on the top of the buckles instead of the sides to open them and since this took me quite a wall to get used to, it should be a good extra deterrent.

STM laptop pockets

It’s got soft felt on the inside with cushioning on the bottom, a water-resistant ripstop polyester exterior, and a padded removable strap to sling over your shoulder. It also has a foam grab handle and a flap on the back that can pass over a suitcase handle. It weighs just 1.1 pounds—a half kilo. Their limited warranty has lots of escape clauses and wiggle room, but the components are made well and the list price of this Linear laptop bag is a reasonable $70.

STM makes a whole variety of commuter and urban travel bags that are meant to hold up longer than your laptop will and not look too clunky as you’re strolling down the street. I’m not a big fan of the retro canvas styles, but the Scout 2 version I could live with and here’s Amy’s review of the Impulse Laptop Backpack. The othersĀ  range from from beach-style tote bags to bicycle messenger bags. See the whole line at STMbags.com.

You can buy this STM Linear Laptop Bag online at eBags or Amazon.

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DefenderPad: Laptop Radiation & Heat Shield Pad

DefenderPad_Laptop

The DefenderPad shield is the perfect gift for people who use their laptop in unusual places. I sometimes find myself sitting in bed or on the sofa watching TV with my laptop. Some people may take their computer outside or use it while watching their kids play on the playground.

A common irritation for many is how it can make your lap feel uncomfortably warm after extended use. Many may also be concerned over the radiation emitted from the computer. The issues that can arise from constant exposure to laptop emissions could include fertility concerns, DNA fragmentation, or even skin burns. Those all sound scary, and I admit, something that I have not spent much time thinking about when using my laptop.

This laptop shield is a lightweight, flat surface designed to protect against any radiation while also acting as a barrier for heat keeping your lap cool allowing you to use your computer for longer periods of time. Tested in an FCC-affiliated lab, it boosts your own productivity.

I did find the shield to be a tad too large and bulky for me to carry in my briefcase or efficiently in my carry-on, but for shorter trips it can easily slide in without adding bulk. Many laptop bags are large enough to fit the shield without a problem, and once I realized how much longer I was able to sit with my laptop on my legs without getting warm, it became more of a necessity to tote around.

It is not expensive and is available for sale at DefenderPad’s website or on Amazon. This is a great stocking stuffer or even “welcome to the office” present. The only thing I wish it had were a hole to place a bottle of water or a small pouch to store a pen, pad, or other small things like a phone or keys.

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