Brydge + Keyboard with Speakers – Review

On July 22, 2014, in iPad, iPad Keyboard, Review, by Russ Walkowich

Brydge + Keyboard with speakers for iPad 2, 3, 4
Company: Brydge
Price: $99.00 MSRP

photo 1

 

The Brydge keyboard series has an interesting background. Begun over two years ago with a KickStarter campaign, the Brydge keyboard initially received favorable reviews by both consumers and reviewers. However, supply problems arose with the company and things faltered. Fast forward to this year and change came to the Brydge. New ownership took over and looked at what was good and made some changes to update the product line to keep up with the iPad and to provide much improved customer service.

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CrazyTalk7 – Review

On June 9, 2014, in Cartoon, Features, by Vicki Stokes

CrazyTalk7 Standard
Company: Reallusion
Price: $29.99

CrazyTalk7 Standard

Have you seen videos of animals talking like humans? Have you ever wondered how that is done? Reallusion has created a family of animation products, CrazyTalk, for beginners and pro animators that makes creating a video of your dog speaking like Hannibal Lecter an easy process. Crazy Talk7 is used to create audio-driven facial animation. CrazyTalk Animator 2 is a complete 2D animation product. At this year’s 2014 Macworld Expo, I had the opportunity to meet one of the CrazyTalk developers and see a demo of the CrazyTalk7 Standard product. I was given a copy to evaluate and it was an absolute pleasure.

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Dragon Dictate for Mac V4 Review

On May 29, 2014, in Review, by Russ Walkowich

Dragon Dictate for Mac version 4
Company: Nuance
Price: $199.99 MSRP

Dragon-Dictate-4
Times have finally changed for Mac users when it comes to dictation on the Mac. It seems that the Mac has always been the Johnny-come-lately to the party as far as dictation was involved. The first time that Mac users could finally say that proper dictation had arrived was when Nuance offered Dragon Dictate for the Mac. Since then Apple finally provided their own version of dictation when they offered up Dictation in the Mountain Lion version of OS X.

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vipOrbit for the Mac – Review

On May 6, 2014, in Apps, Features, iOS, iPad, iPhone, by Vicki Stokes

vipOrbit for the Mac
Company: vipOrbit
Price: $49.99

vipOrbit-icon
I met and interviewed the co-founder and CEO of vipOrbit, Mike Muhney, at Macworld 2014. He’s the co-inventor of ACT!, a popular customer relationship management application that was revolutionary for its time, 1987. Mike’s newest venture, vipOrbit, was developed to address the poorly designed contact apps available on the iPhone.

The vipOrbit iPhone app was introduced in 2011. The iPad app arrived the following year, providing the ability to sync information between the two iOS devices. In 2013, the Mac version was launched, featuring a more effective way to add and update information, as well as, the ability to sync changes between the Mac and iOS devices.

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Just Mobile HoverPad – Review

On March 19, 2014, in Mouse, Review, by Russ Walkowich

Just Mobile HoverPad
Company: Just Mobile
Price: $29.95 USD plus S&H

HoverPad

 

I know, I know… a mouse pad is just a mouse pad. Yet how many of you have gone through pad after pad because you were just a bit frugal in your thought process or your budget and you bought the one that was on sale or the one that had that cute picture that grabbed your attention?

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Kanex SimpleDock
Company: Kanex
Price: $119.95 USD

simpleDock_top_wired

Nowadays most Mac users are looking to make their life run more smoothly and faster when they are working with their computers. Thankfully Apple finally decided to provide users with USB 3.0 ports which PC users had been enjoying for some time. When you are using a MacBook however, you are limited to just two ports. Most users can quickly utilize both ports with peripherals or as charging ports for their iPhones or whatever else.

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ZAGG Origin 2-in-1 Bluetooth Speaker System
Company: ZAGG
Price: $249.99 USD

photo 4

 

The days of the highly expensive component stereo systems are gone. No more turntables, tape players, CD players, tuners and amplifiers. (although I still have my complete system) The influx of Bluetooth capable speakers, headphones and everyday items has been steadily increasing over the past few years as users demand more from the items that they purchase and utilize everyday. One shouldn’t be surprised when that capability has been translated into speaker systems that provide portability and ease of use. ZAGG’s latest item, the Origin 2-in-1 Bluetooth Speaker System, provides the user with both in a well designed product that provides both in a unique way.

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FileMaker Pro 13 – Review

On December 20, 2013, in Review, by Mark Sealey

logo

FileMaker Pro 13
Company: 
FileMaker, Inc.
Price: $329
System Requirements: see this page.

The last FileMaker Pro upgrade appeared about a year and a half ago. Version 12 introduced a broader set of changes then than these made available earlier this month in FileMaker Pro 13. But the 50 or so features which 13 does introduce are impressive, welcome, and very well-implemented.

Most significantly, FileMaker Pro 13 further advances your ability seamlessly to present data in full desktop-style data directly on the web. In sophisticated fashion, users can now fully interact with databases in their browsers (forms, effects and gestures etc on mobile devices), make and see updates in real time, manage content and perform automation. Where sharing and publishing data was once limited in scope and ease of use and/or where many FileMaker operations were once limited to the desktop, everything is now also instantly and transparently available on mobile platforms as well as other desktops. FileMaker can now live in your browser too.

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DIY Data Doubler Kit for Mac Mini – Review

On December 18, 2013, in Hard Drive, How-To, Mac mini, Review, by Russ Walkowich

Data Doubler for Mac Mini with 240GB SSD and Tool Kit
Company: OWC
Price: $225.00 USD
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Just a year ago, I replaced the hard drive in my new MacBook Pro with a 256GB SSD. The difference in speed and performance just blew me away. So as I continued to use my 2011 Mac Mini with its original 500GB hard drive, everything just seemed to get slower and slower until I couldn’t take it anymore. I did my research and decided I was going to order a DIY Data Doubler kit with a 240GB SSD and tool kit from OWC.

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SpiderPro Single Camera System
Manufacturer: Shai Gear LLC
MSRP: $135.00

Nothing says tourist louder than a guy with a camera hanging around his neck. This is one of the reasons why I have tried to avoid the camera neck strap for the past 40 years. A camera suspended from your neck is always in the way when not actively engaged in photography.  A strap dangling from a camera in use is an impediment to the photographic process. Not to mention the resultant neck strain and pain. The SpiderPro Camera Holster aims to eliminate those problems by placing the camera where it belongs, on your hip close at hand and ready for action.
HolsterAtTheReady

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Kensington SafeGrip Rugged Case and Stand
Company: Kensington
Price: $49.99

The Kensington SafeGrip case is designed for the smallest Apple tablet, the iPad mini, and the smallest Apple users, K-6 kids. The design also works well for adults who appreciate style, security, and versatile portability in their iPad mini cases. The SafeGrip design is focused on safety and ease of use for both audiences.

Kensington SafeGrip

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Adobe Photoshop Elements 12 Review

On November 13, 2013, in Photography, Review, by Russ Walkowich

Adobe Photoshop Elements 12 for Mac
Company: Adobe
Price: $99.99 USD
Upgrade price: $79.00 USD

Box Front

 

I have a tendency to take a lot of photographs, be it with my iPhone or with my digital camera. There are times when I go to review the pictures I’ve taken and for whatever reason; user error, lighting or equipment used, that the pictures just don’t seem to really depict what I actually saw and thought I was taking a picture of at the time. For those times, I make use of Photoshop Elements for Mac.

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iFrogz Coda Forte Bluetooth Headphones with Mic
Company: ZAGG
Price: $99.99 USD

CF pic

With the dramatic increases in technology and the portability of the devices that we have come to depend upon in our daily lives, logic dictates that the capability to listen to music or to have a telephone conversation would also have to improve. Bluetooth headphones have quickly become a necessity for users as they don’t wish to be “tied” physically to their devices.

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Mirrorless Mover i30 Camera Bag Review

On September 25, 2013, in Camera, iPad, by Russ Walkowich

Mirrorless Mover i30 Camera Bag
Company: ThinkTank Photo
Price: $69.75 USD
http://www.thinktankphoto.com

Mirrorless-Mover-30i-6

A long time ago, when I first became interested in photography, there was a lot to carry around if you were really interested in doing things the right way. You had your camera, the flash attachment, spare canisters of film, filters, lenses, more film and even a tripod to set your camera up on. Oh, and let’s not forget the camera bag itself which was about the size of a small foot rest (15”x8”x11”), made of leather or faux leather and weighing a ton when all was said and done.

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Balanced – Get More Out of Life – Review

On September 19, 2013, in iOS, Review, by Peter Nikolaidis


Balanced – Get more out of life

Price: Free
iTunes Link

For the last few weeks, I’ve been playing with a new iOS app called Balanced – Get more out of life. Balanced is good for reminding you to perform recurring tasks, but it is not a traditional “todo” list. You would not, for instance, put a reminder to “buy milk,” or do something that is time-sensitive into Balanced — it’s for recurring tasks that you want to accomplish. Balanced seeks to help you keep your life in balance, and rewards you for doing so with some motivational feedback.

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Powerocks Magic Cube Universal 6000mAh Extended Battery
Manufacturer: Powerocks
MSRP: $74.99, Amazon $50.48 (purple)
6210Powerocks
Power on the Go — Peace of Mind in a sack!

Our inventory of battery operated, USB charged, personal devices grows longer and longer. This situation translates into a greater likelihood of finding one of these running out of power at a critical moment. This could prevent you from keeping the kids entertained on a long trip or from getting that message from your spouse to pick up a gallon of milk on the way home from work.

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Mac Kung Fu – Book Review

On May 22, 2013, in Book Review, Mac OS X, by Julie Kuehl

Mac Kung Fu, Second Edition – Over 400 Tips, Tricks, Hints, and Hacks for Apple OS X

Author: Keir Thomas
Publisher: The Pragmatic Bookshelf
Price: US $39 (print) | US $26 (ebook)
424 pages
ISBN: 978-1-93778-507-9

Mac Kung Fu is a collection of hundreds of little things that can make a big difference in the way your Mac works. I’m always surprised when someone stumbles across features that I’ve known for years but are new to them. Mac Kung Fu is full of that kind of stuff. While you may be aware of some of these tips, I doubt many besides the author will know all of these.

Mac Kung Fu book cover

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The iLine Mobile Music Cable Kit Meets All Your iOS Connection Needs
Company: IK Multimedia
Price: $59.99 USD for entire kit; individual cables range from $14.99 to $24.99 USD

Screen Shot 2013-04-03 at 4.56.08 PM

IK Multimedia is releasing a new line of 6 high-quality cables today. Aptly named the iLine Mobile Music Cable Kit, the cables provide musicians and audiophiles with nearly every possible cable to connect your iOS devices to speakers, headphones, stereos, amplifiers, or your vehicle. The Italian-made cables feature a level of craftsmanship seldom met by other manufacturers. IK Multimedia coins the kit as the “Swiss Army Knife” of the cable world.

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iPad in Education for Dummies—Book Review

On March 20, 2013, in Book Review, Features, by Elisa Pacelli

iPad in Education for Dummies
Author: Sam Gliksman
Publisher: Wiley
Price: $24.99 for softcover book, $16.99 for Ebook
416 pages
ISBN: 978-1-1183-7538-9

9781118375389_cover.indd

Elisa’s note: Today’s guest reviewer is my son, Shane Pacelli. Shane is a certified 1st-6th grade teacher, currently running the computer lab at a local elementary school.

iPad in Education for Dummies by Sam Gliksman is a must read for any teacher that has, or plans on having a classroom full of iPads. Gliksman breaks up the book into seven parts, with several chapters within each part. Within each chapter, he has numerous subtitles, step-by-step directions on how to use a certain app, and many pictures showing you what the app looks like. The book is set up so that you don’t have to read each chapter sequentially. Look at the table of contents, find a subject you are interested in, and read about the numerous apps that the author describes how to use in great detail.

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Fujitsu ScanSnap iX500 Desktop Scanner for PC and Mac
Company: Fujitsu
Price: $495.00

I have been a fan of Fujitsu scanners since my first ScanSnap, the S500 model. It was my workhorse scanner for over four years. After giving it away with my old laptop with plans to purchase another ScanSnap, I began using the flat bed scanner of my multi-function printer. It worked after much trial and error but wasn’t as simple as my ScanSnap. It lacked the OCR software and ABBY FineReader which converted scanned documents into editable and searchable formats. Needless to say I was excited to review the Fujitsu ScanSnap iX500 Scanner.

ix500_header

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