Commuter Series Case for iPhone 6 – Review

On October 13, 2014, in Cases, Features, iPhone Cases, by Russ Walkowich

Commuter Series Case for iPhone 6
Company: Otterbox
Price: $39.90 – $44.90 USD


Apple’s iPhone 6 is a beautiful piece of design and function. Thinner than previous iPhone models, larger in size, it just seems to fit one’s hand perfectly. However, that thinness and the iPhone’s material seem to make it something that does seem to move by itself at times, especially out of the users’ hand if they forget that they’re carrying it around. Add to that the tendency of most people to simply slide it into one’s pants pocket and you might have a recipe for messing up one’s brand new iPhone.

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iMovie The Missing Manual – Review

On September 26, 2014, in Apps, Audio, Book Review, iMovie, iOS, iWork, Review, Video, by Mark Sealey

iMovie The Missing Manual
Author: David Pogue
O’Reilly Press
ISBN-10: 1491947322
ISBN-13: 978-1491947326
Price: Ebook: $33.99
Print: $39.99
Print and Ebook: $43.99

10- 1491947322
The “Missing Manual” series, of course, aims to fill gaps that many pieces of software (may) leave by having no – or an inadequate – manual. iMovie The Missing Manual (O’Reilly) looks at Apple’s venerable movie editing software.

The status (in and out of the iLife suite), pricing, versioning, naming, scope, purpose and popularity of Apple’s own iMovie have all varied significantly since the software’s introduction in 1999.

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BlueAnt PUMP HD Sportsbuds – Review

On September 8, 2014, in Audio, Bluetooth, Headphones, by Russ Walkowich

PUMP HD Sportbuds Waterproof/Bluetooth Headphones
Company: BlueAnt
Price: $129.95 MSRP


I have been running and working out for many years now and since the advent of portable electronic devices, the one pet peeve that I’ve had is that I have never really found a set of headphones that will work properly once I’ve started to sweat during the workout. Apple’s earbuds or any major brand in-ear headphones always seem to have the same issue; sooner or later my sweat will cause one side or the other of the in-ear headphone to stop working properly until I’ve dried it out. So when BlueAnt said that they had a waterproof bluetooth headphone, I knew that I had to give them a try.

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Sibelius 7.5 – Review

On August 21, 2014, in Audio, Mac, Macintosh, Music, Review, by Mark Sealey


Sibelius 7.5
Company: Avid

Price: $599.95 ($49.95/$89.95 upgrade)

Avid has received a lot of criticism from Sibelius users of late. Two years ago the Finsbury Park, London, HQ of the Sibelius development team was closed, many developers laid off, and the suite’s coding and maintenance operation relocated to the Ukraine. Rumors of serious financial trouble circulated and the company’s Vice President, CFO and CTO resigned. Yet the market-leading score-writing software did not disappear as some both predicted and feared. In fact, a new version has recently been released; here Sibelius 7.5.1 (a significant further milestone release for bug fixes and maintenance) is examined. It’s found to be as good as ever.

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iHome Lightning Clock Radio for iPhone and iPod
Company: iHome
Price: $69.99

The iHome Lightning Clock Radio features an FM clock radio with six preset channels, and a Lightning dock connector for iPhone/iPod allowing you to charge and play. You can wake up to FM radio or music from your iPhone playlist. The small footprint (4.81” W x 5.12” H x 5.12” D) of the unit makes this ideal for the bedroom nightstand or an office desk.



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STM Drifter Medium Laptop Backpack
Company: STM
Price: $139.95 MSRP


It seems that the backpack is now becoming the favorite means of carrying one’s laptop and other electronic devices around, be it to work or while traveling. Once you think about it, it makes perfect sense. Besides carrying your laptop, you still have enough room to carry any documents that you may need, power supply and cables, water bottle, and dependent upon your state of physical fitness, running shoes and gear.

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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

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

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



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


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


FileMaker Pro 13
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

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.

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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


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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