Thursday, May 3, 2012

Honey, get the phone, no - get the TV

An ideal appliance to keep in touch with globe-trotting friends and family. (Read more about my hands-on test with the Biscotti at

Unlike any single device on the market, Biscotti allows people to make free video calls on their HDTV to family and friends on their TVs, computers, smartphones and tablets. No monthly fees, no head-and-shoulders-only view, just an always-on TV phone that can even be programmed to turn the TV on/off to answer incoming calls (a great security feature if you want to scope out your living room when no one is home).

Ideal for staying in touch across long distances, for traveling parents who don’t want to miss a moment, for seniors who can’t figure out how to use complicated cameras  Biscotti is like reality TV, but with normal people (well, almost normal)

·         Connect with anyone, anywhere from the big screen – whether they are in the living room, the dorm room or anywhere in between.

·         Easy to Install  Biscotti is a single device that fits into the palm of your hand and sets up in minutes. You can control it from the couch with an easy 6-button remote.

·         Real-Life Picture and Sound  High definition camera and microphone captures the entire room, eliminating a head-and-shoulders-only view, allowing users to move about freely.
·         Ready When You Are – Like your voice phone, Biscotti is always on. No more scheduling video calls or waiting for the computer to start. Just tap the remote.  You can even receive calls while watching TV!
·         You’re In Control – Receive calls while watching TV. You can even set Biscotti to turn on the TV and automatically answer certain calls.
·         Everything is Included – No computer or phone line is required.  If you have Wi-Fi and an HDTV, you’re ready to go!

Price: $199 (no monthly fees!)
Available at:

Sunday, April 1, 2012

March Articles

If you are looking for new articles, most all my articles are being posted on  Here are some of the March 2012 articles you'll find there:

"Show me how" to use the newest iPhones
See how easily you can mount your laptop to your tripod
Make videos for the new iPad and iPhone4S
You don’t have to be in New York City to spend a day with Jay Maisel
The secret of more battery life A review of the Powerbag
Bracketron Cradle-iT Golf cart mount
Eight best accessories for your iPhone4 or iPhone4S - Part two  Mophie Powerstation, Simple megaphone, eco extreme, optrix HD
Eight best accessories for your iPhone4 or iPhone4S 
Mophie Juice pack air, Bracketron, Zerochroma, Lifeproof
Marley Jammin’ Positive Vibration headphones – a product review
Olloclip – three lenses in one for your iPhone
ZOMM – a wireless leash for your wireless phone
Tiffen Dfx 3.0 – for your creative side
Possibly the best work pants on the market
Architectural Photography, 2nd edition
American Airlines adds legroom across entire fleet

Thursday, March 1, 2012

February articles

If you are looking for new articles, most all my articles are being posted on  Here are some of the February 2012 articles you'll find there:

Best places to bike - Taiwan  If there’s a country that “gets” biking, it’s Taiwan.
Belkin Wireless Dual-Band Travel Router - a product review  Wireless  router lets you set up your own hotspot.
Sea to Summit 100% silk travel liner 

A sleeping bag liner that you can wash at home.
Photoshop Elements 10 - a book review 

Scott Kelby & Matt Kloskowski collaborate on this title.
Red tech says “I love you” on Valentine’s Day  

Five red Sony products for Valentine's Day 
Could this be the best Nikon yet?  

Nikon announces the D800
Photoshop Down & Dirty Secrets by Cory Barker  
Tips and tricks for Photoshop users.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Looking for new articles?

I've moved - well sort of.  I'm now doing my regular blogging at  Stop over and check out the new articles there.  Heck, even subscribe while you're there so you don't miss anything.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

ANOTHER dozen hot products from the 2012 International CES in Las Vegas

Wireless HDTV,  a Facebook rabbit, PC-MAC file sharing made simple, 1000 speed Compact Flash cards, the best Nikon yet – D4, hi-def video from a remote controlled helicopter,  radar protection and GPS pet retrieval are just some of what’s in store for this “gotta-have” collection from CES. 

The 2012 Consumer Electronics Show closed yesterday in Las Vegas, but you’ll be seeing many of the products introduced at the show in the coming months on your store shelves. Here are another dozen that caught my eye as I wandered the 35 football field’s worth of exhibits. 

If you missed the first dozen, click here.

Be sure to watch the video to see all the product illustrations.

11.       Actiontec MyWireless TV enables you to get your High -def feed without strings of HDMI wires - up to 150 feet away.
22.       Emergency power available anywhere, anytime with one spoon of water and small hydrogen cartridge. Will recharge your iPhone completely with one charge. Under 9 ounces in weight and about the size of a 6” sub (without tomatoes.) from Industrial Revolution.
33      Karotz - the  rabbit does a little bit of everything:
·         Learns your voice & habits
·         Announces your appts.
·         Reads the weather & news
·         Reads your email & tweets
·         Reads Facebook updates
·         Wakes you to music
·         Dials your fav web radio
·         Tutors your kids
·         Records security webcam footage
44.    With a little help from Cinematics, you can trick out your DSLR to act just like Hollywood’s finest cameras, maybe better. You ’ll probably need a bigger bag when you’re done.
55.       Nikon’s newest – the D4 DSLR.  Shooting 16.2 megapixels in FX format with:
·         ISO range from 100-12,800, expandable from 50-204,800
·         10 fps with full AF/ AE or 11 fps with AF locked
·         Magnesium alloy body sealed to resist the elements
·         Accepts CF and new XQD memory card format
·         91,000 pixel 3D Matrix Metering system
·         Advanced video features:
o   Uncompressed HDMI out
o   Mic and audio jacks
o   Full 1080p in FX, DX and 2.7X crop modes
o   Full manual control of Exposure

66.       Way cool product - way strange name - the Wormhole Switch by J5Create. Simple cable connects PC with Mac, or two PC’s or two Mac’s (including tablets)  and allows control of second device from the first. Drag and drop files, control with one mouse. No software needs to be loaded - all USB driven.
77.       Lexar’s new industry-leading 1000x (150MB/s) minimum guaranteed sustained read transfer
7 speed compact flash card. It’s available in 16GB, 32GB, 64GB, and 128GB capacities.
88.       Parrot AR Drone indoor or outdoor remote control helicopter now comes with onboard high def video and still camera. This quadracopter is controlled by Wi-Fi using your smartphone or tablet.
99.       Biscotti brings you high-def video phone on any TV.
·         Real time picture and sound.
·         Free Calls to anyone, anywhere.
·         No monthly fees.
·         Easy setup.
·         Wide-screen picture.
110.   Escort LIVE service works on iPhone or Android platform with live traffic, laser and radar protection. Get real time reports from other Escort equipped vehicles. Currently there are more than a million compatible ESCORT or BELTRONICS radar detector on the road in the United States. ESCORT Live™ is the social network for the road.
111.   Zerochroma cases come sized for iPad and iPhone. Infinitely adjustable in either landscape or portrait mode. Provides solid support for viewing or typing. Also acts as a protective case for device. Folds totally flat when not in use.
112.   TAGG - the pet tracker. If your dog runs away, you‘ll be able to track her movements on your app-enabled smartphone or computer and retrieve her in record time. Get an alert any time your pet leaves a predetermined zone.

I plan to do further in-depth road tests on all the above products, so subscribe to my column or stop back and catch up later. Many products have not been released yet, but most all should hit store shelves by summer 2012. Questions? Comments? Leave them in the comments box below or email me for more information.

If you missed the first dozen pics, check them out here.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

A dozen hot products from the 2012 International CES in Las Vegas

My first 12 products you’ll likely want from this year’s CES…if you bike, shoot video, have an iPad or iPhone, love adrenaline sports or use a computer.

The 2012 Consumer Electronics Show is overflowing with technology for every lifestyle and interest. While Apple and the iPad are never at CES, you can still find accessories for the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch that take them to new levels.

Below, you’ll find ways to improve your iPad or iPhone video and audio, ways to make your iPhone help you lose pounds, and ways to enjoy more content than you can fit into your iPad’s internal memory. 

It’s not all about Apple however. Read and see some great new high end tech from Lenovo and some simple tech with Coby’s replacement for the Flip camera. There’s probably something here for everyone. 

Be sure to see all the images in the video.

  • 1.       Optrix - Heavy duty iPhone case and a pair of helmet mounts let your iPhone become a waterproof and dustproof helmet cam. A special app for the iPhone records g-forces, speeds and GPS tracking to show your course, all embedded on your video.
  • 2.      Ultra slim, but sturdy, Bluetooth keyboard for computer, iPad, iPhone, whatever, from Verbatim.
  • 3.      A trio of Freecom portable hard drives – about the size of your hand. Nice and heavy duty. Ideal for throwing in your camera bag or suitcase. Available as 500GB, 1TB or 1.5TB with two year warranty. USB 3.0.
  • 4.       A surprisingly simple solution to increase the loudness of your iPhone music with no batteries or power required. A simple megaphone for your iPhone from Simple Solutions.
  • 5.       Handiest Handycam yet from Sony. Full 1080HD to SD or Memory stick or internal memory. Will detect human speech and cancel out background noise. Also takes 20.4 megapixel stills.
  • 6.       Heading for the woods? Take your own personal solar power plant with you. This can power your laptop from 2 to 25 hours (depending on size) from stored charge, or even longer if used while the sun is shining. Solar panel folds for storage. No noise - no emissions. Come in appropriate green color, from UPG.
  • 7.       Coby CAM5005 pocket camcorder that picks up where “Flip” left off.  2.7” touchscreen monitor makes filming easy. Internal 32GB memory and optional SD card.
  • 8.       Lenovo’s Yoga - 1/2 Tablet, 1/2 ultrabook, but totally cool. Beautiful touchscreen monitor with Windows 8 and Linux dual OS. Up to 20 hours operation on one charge.
  • 9.       16GB portable wireless storage for iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch. Simultaneously shares with 3 users. Built-in battery. includes USB2.0 cable for charging and file transfer, from Kingston.
  • 10.   Freedom mic from Scosche acts as a Bluetooth lavalier with your iPhone so you can record high quality audio from 33 feet away. The unit can also start and stop video as well as shoot stills from the same distance.
  • 11.   iBike Powerhouse takes your iPhone and converts it into a personal fitness coach for biking. Customize your program to increase endurance, lose weight or shape your butt. Goal specific programs have been designed for real people, not elite cyclists, by fitnes expert Hunter Allen. iPhone holder works on stationery or road bikes and is weatherproof.
  • 12.   H4N Handy recorder from Samson, features 4 track recorder with X/Y stereo mikes as well as dual XLR inputs for 4 track simultaneous recording. Records 96kHz WAV files or MP3’s up to 320kbps. Reference speaker lets you check recordings and SD/SDHC cards are used for storage. Tripod mount enables unit to be used as mic for your camcorder/camera

I plan to do further in-depth road tests on all the above products, so subscribe to my column or stop back and catch up later. Many products have not been released yet, but most all should hit store shelves by summer 2012. Questions? Comments? Leave them in the comments box below or email me for more information.

Coming soon…watch for my next dozen hot picks from this year’s show. 

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Travelpro Platinum 7 series - 30" rolling duffle

The Travelpro Platinum 7 series rolling duffel stands up to repeated across-the-globe trips.

If you are looking for the “don’t leave anything at home” rolling suitcase, you’ll want to give serious thought to Travelpro’s 30” rolling duffel bag. It’s a split, top-bottom bag that’s ideal for a week’s worth of clothes in one half, and a ton of electronics, reading material, beach toys, whatever, in the other half.

I’ve taken it on trips recently to Taiwan, Chile, London, Zimbabwe and three trips to Las Vegas. Packed with enough gear to almost tip the check-in scales every time, this thing has been loaded for every trip and it still looks showroom fresh. The heavy exterior 2000D ballistic nylon fabric makes it flexible enough to handle various shaped loads but through all the baggage handling and mishandling, it retains its shape and good looks.

Heavy duty skateboard wheels support the load and the bag tracks effortlessly behind you with its sturdy u-shaped retractable handle. The handle feels comfortable in the hand and pulls out just far enough to slip a backpack or briefcase over the handle to keep it from sliding off when you stack them in tandem.

Inside the bag, you’ll find all the typical Travelpro nice touches, like elastic garment tie-downs, zippered mesh pockets and soft, cloth lining. Outside, there’s a long slender side pocket – perfect for an extra pair of sandals or easily retrievable sun screen and bug spray.  Another outside pocket on the top edge is great for last minute items or things you need out first.

Whether you are packing a family’s worth of clothes or enough electronics to rival an ABC broadcast booth, this bag can take it all in stride. On my trips, I was typically transferring to different hotels three to four times a week and traveling for two weeks at a time. Combined with the Shelves-to-go insert I’ve been using for a year now, this has been my go-to bag of choice.

See more about the Travelpro 30” duffel bag at Travelpro’s website, along with information on the many other matching bags in their Platinum 7 line.

See Doug’s other reviews of Travel Pro luggage:

Saturday, January 7, 2012

2012 CES - What's the deal?

What’s the big deal about the 2012 International Consumer Electronics Show?
If you make, market, sell, service or write about consumer electronics; you’ll probably be in Las Vegas this week with close to 150,000 of your closest friends. The consumer electronics show is so huge that it fills the Las Vegas Convention Center and the Venetian Convention Center. Other manufacturers display their products in a dozen or more additional hotels and conference venues, each hoping to grab some of this year’s spotlight.

Over 140,000 attendees have signed up and are coming from over 140 countries to see, buy and sell technology to a world that can’t wait for the next biggest, smallest, fastest or lightest device. Did you know that the average U.S. household has 24 consumer electronics devices in their home, representing a $190 billion dollar market each year?

The Consumer Electronics Show is the largest convention in the United States each year and the world’s largest consumer technology show with over 2,700 exhibitors, covering 1.7 million square feet of show floor (that’s 35 football fields.) Over 4,500 journalists and broadcasters will be here to bring you the stories as they break. With almost two journalists for every vendor, there should be no lack of stories hitting the wire this week. (It’s also why local motels that usually go for $69 per night can command $249 per night during the show.)

But what else makes this the granddaddy of all conventions?  Simply put, if you have a breakthrough innovation, this is where it’s usually introduced. Just look at the record of products that have debuted at the Consumer Electronics Show since its inception in 1967.

·         1970   The VCR
·         1981   Camcorder and the CD player
·         1990   Digital audio technology
·         1994   Digital satellite systems
·         1996   The DVD
·         1998   High definition television
·         2000   Satellite radio
·         2001   Microsoft Xbox and plasma TV’s
·         2003   Blu-Ray DVD
·         2004   HD radio
·         2005   IPTV
·         2009   3D HDTV
·         2010   Tablets, netbooks and Android devices
·         2011   Android Honeycomb, connected TV and smart appliances

Will this year see another ground-breaking technology innovation? Stay tuned and subscribe to this column for plenty of updates during the coming week.

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