After last week's Apple event, I've been pretty excited to test out the upcoming AirPlay feature on the iPad and new Apple TV. Now, iHome has me even more pumped with its new line of AirPlay-enabled speakers that are coming this holiday.The iHome AirPlay speakers will presumably connect to your home's WiFi signal, allowing you to stream your tunes via your iPad, iPhone, or iPod Touch from anywhere in your house. Details about the systems are scarce now, but I'm sure like all iHome products, they should provide seamless integration with your various Apple iDevices.
For me, Spring cleaning means ripping out that rat's nest of cords behind my desk and getting a fresh start with minimal cable interference. Thankfully, there's a new wireless charger on the block that will help me keep things neat and tidy. Like the Powermat before it, the Case-Mate Hug ($100) charges your iPhone without all those nasty wires and cords. Sure, it won't charge your BlackBerry or your PSP, but it will do the job for your iPhone 3G or 3GS.
The sleek aluminum Case-Mate Hug comes with two elements — the slim, form-fitting, and shock-absorbing iPhone case, and the pad, which transfers power to the case via magnetic fields to juice up your smartphone. The coolest part about this pair? The pad uses "smart charge" technology to only charge your phone till it's 100 percent full, then stops pulling power to save you some cash.
Sometimes, you just need to have some music handy to set the mood — during your day in the park, your weekend away, or your camping trip with friends — but you don't always have room in your bag for a big 'ole ghetto-blaster like you did in the '80s. These days, if you have a Bluetooth-enabled device, a digital playlist, and these speakers, you're already set to go. The Tubular Wireless Speakers ($80) from Ipevo connect wirelessly over Bluetooth and will blast your tunes for up to eight hours on a full charge. Small enough to fit in your bag, but powerful enough so that you can actually hear your favorite songs, the Ipevo speakers come in stereo so you get a full sound out of the tiny package. Plus, they would look good on your desk if you decided to keep them all to yourself. I don't blame you — they're pretty cute!
I was stoked after seeing a commercial for the Powermat, a wireless gadget charger that claims to charge any of your electronic toys without wires, cords, or trouble just by placing your device on the Powermat — finally a solution to my cord-management problems! A few days later I saw the Powermat at my local Best Buy and considered forking over the $100 listed on the price tag for convenience alone. But then reality (and an explanation from the sales rep) set in: $100 is not the bottom line on this super charger.
The Powermat does exactly what it says it does: charges your cell phones, PSP's, smart phones and other gadgets, but it does so with the help of dedicated cases that have a receiver attached to the back. Bye-bye custom iPhone and Blackberry cases — you'll be rocking the Powermat case and battery pack (which sticks out on the back) from now on. What's more, each gadget case starts at $30, and you'll need one for each device you want to charge! For me, this meant spending over $200 just to have all of my daily accessories covered. I walked away a little disappointed, but I'm sure I'm not the only one who's been fooled by a gadget commercial before. Share your gadget commercial rants, or about the time you bought a gadget and it wasn't what you expected below!
Last week, Sony announced they have developed a "highly efficient" wireless power transfer system. Meaning that soon you can purchase a Sony TV without a power cord! The technology is based on magnetic resonance, meaning that electromagnetic energy will be transferred between a transmitter unit and the device. Currently, the transfer can occur at a distance of about two feet.Similar technology already exists in Dell's new Latitude Z notebook computers that charge without wires. When this sort of technology was first announced in 2007 by a team of researchers at MIT, 74 percent of you said you were into the idea.
Sony hasn't set a release date for gadgets containing the new technology, but the thought of wall-mounting a completely wireless TV is pretty exciting!
You know I've got my iPhone loaded up with a few WiFi finding apps so that I can hop online wherever and whenever, but what if I'm without my trusty smartphone? Hopefully (knock on wood), that will never happen. But if it does, then this little gadget could come in quite handy in a pinch.
Called the WiFi Seeker and Light, this keyring attachment is always there when you need to find a signal. With a push of one button, it shines a small LED light so you can find your way in the dark, and the other tells you the strength of any surrounding wireless signals. I tested it, and it does actually know when there's a wireless signal. Now if it would just tell you the security password so you can actually use them, I'd call it a miracle! I couldn't find the exact one online if you wanted to get one for yourself, but there are a few choices on Amazon.
If you have WiFi and live in an apartment building, you may notice there are lots of other WiFi networks visible on your network list (and naturally, your neighbors can probably see yours as well). Although this fact alone isn't dangerous, it can be if your own network isn't password protected. Leaving your wireless signal open could put you at risk of intruders illegally downloading on your bandwidth, stealing personal info, and even gaining access to your personal documents on your home computers and laptops.
So when setting up wireless Internet at home, make sure you set a password that is long and hard to remember so your home network isn't hacked. Read through your wireless routers instructions carefully for step-by-step instructions. And, hey, Mac users — just because your computer is at a lower risk for viruses, that doesn't mean your wireless can't be hacked as easily as everyone elses, especially if you're using a lame password!
Considering a majority of North Americans have cell phones with decent audio output, this is something that may be the wave of the future. Didiom is a new application that makes it possible to stream music from your computer to your phone — for free and wirelessly. All you have to do is download Didiom to your phone and desktop and you can start streaming tunes to your phone (they offer the service to over 200 phone models). And if you don't have an extensive music playlist, you can download music from the Didiom Marketplace, which offers over 1 million songs.
The good news about this is Didiom recently signed a deal with EPM, which offers many high-quality DRM-free record labels, so with this, users will be able to access and buy more music.
I just got back from a fab trip — a bunch of friends and I boarded a Carnival Fun Ship in honor of their birthdays. I have to admit, although I was looking forward to a relaxing vacation, I was nervous because I knew I would be out of cell range while we were spending the day at sea. What is a geek girl to do when she is totally disconnected!? Sure there are those iCafes aboard the ship, but who wants to spend money on those shared computers? So of course, I was ecstatic when I picked up my phone to see full reception – 23 miles off the coast!
Cellular at Sea is the Wireless Maritime Service that provides you with reception on a number of cruise ships, even when you are in the middle of nowhere. There are plenty of roaming partners that work with Cellular at Sea, so you should be able to make your calls while on vacay. But let's get real, you should keep it short – you're supposed to be relaxing!
How did my Cellular at Sea experience go? Find out when you read more