Monday, May 9, 2016

Toddy Cable to bring jazzy design, personalization to charging

When it comes to charging your smartphone or tablet, it’s just another mundane task with a skinny cable. There is not much to see there and certainly nothing to get excited about.

But the Toddy Cable, a new charging cable coming down the pikes from Toddy Gear, Inc., is about to add some spice to charging your electronics.

The idea behind the Toddy Cable includes personalization options to make your cable unique and less likely to be borrowed and not returned. Getting personal with the design for a Toddy Cable is easy enough by simply choosing from a selection of popular patterns and colors created with a 3D modeling process. You can also add a name, favorite quote or logo. For even more creative possibilities, you can upload your own design.

The cables I’ve been testing has an eye-catching design with alternating shades of purple, blue, green and orange colors, intertwined with white slashes and has my name engraved on the flat USB connector. It’s quite jazzy and there are hundreds of designs to choose from, with names like Princess, Blossom and Steel Will. In an office environment, it stands out on my desk and everyone knows it’s my charging cable.

"It's time for cable to catch up to our personal style, said Todd Gabel, Founder, Toddy Gear. "Phone cases are available in fun patterns and are customizable, it's time that cables to join these ranks."

The Toddy Gear team, based in Chicago, Illinois, has all the bases covered with a cable for Android micro USB devices, Apple devices that use the Lightning connector and a combination Android cable with Apple MFI Adaptor. With the latter cable option, you’re set for charing Android smartphones as well as other Micro USB devices, such as my Windows HP tablet. For iPhones and iPads, just slip on the Apple Adaptor.

The cable seem to be well constructed and feels like a quality product in your hands. According to the company it has a flexible outer jacket of PVC material and aluminum connectors that are friendly with most cases. Under the hood are high-quality wires protected by shielding and braiding and high-resistance insulation. With a flat design, the Toddy Cable is about twice as wide as my Apple charging cable, but is still flexible and can roll into a compact package for storage.

The Toddy Cable is about three feet in length and falls about an inch and a half short of the length of an Apple Lightning charging cable. But in my opinion, that’s not a deal breaker.

I expect the Toddy Cable to sail through the Kickstarter campaign started in early April and be in retail outlets soon. Look for it and apply your personal style.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Martian Notifier provides a good smartwatch experience

I had been thinking about purchasing a smartwatch for a while and had decided on the Apple Watch to match up with my up other Apple devices. The Pebble, Samsung, Sony and other brands didn’t appeal to me,so my shopping list was short.

Then I discovered the Martian Notifier and that’s what I’m wearing on my wrist. I’ve had this smartwatch for about a month and I’m liking the features more and more each day.

It was easy to get the Martian smartwatch paired with my iPhone using Bluetooth 4.0 wireless technology. But the company does recommend a battery level of at least 50% before pairing for the first time. You’ll use a Micro USB Cable for connecting to the Martian and to a computer or a USB wall adapter.

According to Martian, a full charge can be reached in 2-3 hours from a power outlet and 3-4 hours when charging from a computer.

One tip is that the watch crown on the right side is shipped with it pulled out to “save the battery while shipping.” You’ll need to set the time and press it back in until you hear a click.

The pairing process was quick and painless; turn on Bluetooth on your phone, download the Martian Notifier app, open and insert a six-digit code generated by the Martian and you’re ready to roll. While in the Martian app, you’ll also select the notifications you want to receive and assign custom vibration patterns for alerts and phone calls. Once the two devices are paired, you should have functionality with a 30-foot range.

While you’re in the downloading mood, you might as well connect the Martian smartwatch to your computer via the USB cable and check for any firmware updates.

At first glance, the Martian smartwatch looks like a traditional analog timepiece, with a large dial, hour and minute hands, traditional crown and roman numerals for the twelve o’clock position. Short silver bars mark the remaining hourly positions.

Then you’ll notice an OLED digital display tucked away in the lower left corner, about where the six and seven o’clock positions would be. Although the display is only about half an inch in width, it packs a lot of punch for displaying notifications from your smartphone.

The OLED display shows incoming calls, text messages, emails and other notifications that you might have selected in the Martian app. It also shows battery level and other information. Another unique feature is tapping the glass to recall a notification received in the past five minutes.

A small LED light resides just above the eight o’clock position and glows red while the watch is charging and solid green green when fully charged. The LED light also flashes blue for incoming notifications and green for incoming calls.

You’ll also notice two buttons on the left side for managing notifications received on the smartwatch. The top button launches voice commands on your phone or tablet and scrolls the notification history forward. The bottom button turns the smartwatch on and off, as well as scrolls through the the Notifier menu and scrolls notification history backward.

I’m loving the battery life of the Martian Notifier. The company claims seven days of battery life and I’m getting at least five before needing a charge. This means I can charge up on the weekend and go for a week before plugging in again. The Martian is unique it that the time piece is on a separate battery from the rechargeable battery used for digital functions and is rated to run for two approximately two years.

The Apple Watch I had in my cart for a while was going to cost around $400. The Martian Notifier retails for around $130 and if you shop around, it can be picked up for around $90. You’ll have a choice of different color combinations for the watch face and bands. It is compatible with iOS and Android devices.

I didn’t like the black silicone band that shipped with the Martian smartwatch. So purchased a black metal band, which dressed the smartwatch up quite a bit and made it easier to put on and take off. Any aftermarket band with a 22 millimeter width (where the band attaches to watch) should work just fine. After removing a couple of links, I had a perfect fit. Just be mindful removing the pins in the band links with the included removal tool is kind of fussy and you might need a better pin-removal tool or a trip to your favorite jeweler swap out the band.

Getting my text messages and alerts with Martian is certainly less of a hassle. I don’t have to dig my iPhone out of my pocket as much now. Just a quick glance at the Notifier is all it takes when a notification comes in.

My smartwatch cravings have been fulfilled for a while, or at least until the two-year battery runs out.

Monday, September 21, 2015

OtterBox cases offer ultimate protection for new iPhones

The OtterBox line of protective cases for the iPhones have become legendary and the latest choices for the new iPhone 6s and 6s Plus are on track to continue to provide maximum protection for your devices.

The Defender, Commuter, Symmetry and Strada series now available and an Alpha Glass screen protector option is coming soon.

According to OtterBox, their cases undergo 24 tests over more than 238 hours to protect against the scratches, dings and drops of daily life. Whether a toddler has your brand new iPhone 6 or you go four-wheeling, OtterBox says you need not worry - they’re built for you and your lifestyle.

The cases even face the “purse test” to fend off scratches from keys, wallets and whatever else an iPhone may come in contact with in a woman’s purse.

The OtterBox for iPhone 6s and 6s Plus are available now at the company’s website and select retailers. Cases for the iPad Pro and iPad mini 4 are also in the works.

If you’re looking for the ultimate protection for your new iPhone, the OtterBox cases should be on your list.

Fast charging devices unveiled from mPower Technologies

The next time you have a dead car battery, instead of grabbing the tangled jumper cables from your trunk, you can grab a device about the size of a TV remote from your glove compartment.

The mPower Jump, manufactured by mPower Technologies, has a 600 amp peak-current rating and packs enough power to jump-start most 12-volt batteries in autos, marine equipment, recreational vehicles, ATVs and small tractors.

The 13000mAh battery in the unit will take about four hours to charge and will have a “jump start current” of 300A, while weighing in at 1.52 pounds. The cost is around $100 and is now available.

This company, which is the consumer products subsidiary of mPhase Technologies, Inc., also is working on their mPower FastCharge device/ The unit will have fast charging backup power capability for cellphones, tablets and cameras. According to the company, the device will fast charge in six minutes through a 12V car cigarette lighter.

The 6000mAh battery, with a weight of slightly more than a half-pound, is designed for on-the-go charging of your electronics when no wall power is available.

The new FastCharge will come in multiple color options and retail pricing will be released soon.

Friday, July 10, 2015

Verizon closes deal with AOL, eyes mobile video technology

Verizon now has mail from the king of the vintage dial-up Internet service.

In a $4.4 billion deal first announced in May, Verizon Communications Inc., a modern-day tech giant, has completed the acquisition of AOL, a tech giant of the 1990s with the famous “You’ve Got Mail” slogan.

AOL’s wall street presence goes away in a puff of smoke and they are now a wholly owned subsidiary of Verizon. AOL’s Chief Executive Officer Tim Armstrong will continue to steer the company in the right direction, with help from Bob Toohey, president of Verizon’s Digital Media Services, and Marni Walden, Verizon executive vice president and president of Product Innovation and New Business.

Although some might consider AOL something of a “has-been” from the dot-com era, Verizon is getting quite a few goodies, such as AOL’s websites, which includes the Huffington Post, a news content provider, and popular gadget sites TechCrunch and Engadget. This deal looks better once you throw in the numbers for AOL of around 200 million unique visitors each month and 2 million Internet subscribers.

But that’s not all Verizon has their eyes on in the AOL deal. Nowadays, AOL is big into online mobile video services and has an attractive advertising technology. Verizon will probably use their existing Digital Media Services and AOL’s mobile advertising capabilities to gain traction in the mobile video market and ensure a brighter digital future.

As Verizon moves forward with this deal under wraps, maybe the next mail from AOL will be about success for Verizon in the mobile video and advertising space.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Digital forensics courses in data analysis to combat cybercrime

As the world of cybercrime increases on an almost daily basis, the world of cybercrime education is expanding to stop the criminals.

Students attending Salve Regina, a a Catholic institution founded by the Sisters of Mercy 1947, will be able to pursue a concentration in digital forensics with a certificate of graduate studies this fall. These graduate students in the Administration of Justice and Homeland Security program will be trailblazers in the field of cyber criminology.

According to the program director, this new emphasis in cyber education will include skills in data analysis for civil and criminal cases and intelligence and counterterrorism matters. Students will expand their knowledge in analyzing data and utilizing networks, servers and analysis tools.

The courses will be offered online and in special programs designed for the workplace at Salve Regina’s Center for Adult Education in Warwick, Rhode Island.

If cybercrime continues to threaten society, maybe more education in analysis and prevention measures will help to eliminate future cases.

Read more here: Data breaches target electronic health records