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November 2012 Archives

November 3, 2012

D-Link Shareport Go Portable Router

Whether you're on the road for business or vacation (or due to a power outage), the good news is that there are lots of options to hook into the Internet, with public Wi-Fi hotspots at coffee shops and libraries, and Wi-Fi clouds and hard-wired lines in hotels.

But you don't necessarily want to be sharing your device over public Wi-Fi, and one hard-wired connection is limited in these days of laptops and smartphones and tablets.

The D-Link Shareport Go is a portable mini router with the flexibility to turn a wireless or wired network connection into your own private Wi-Fi cloud -- to share among multiple devices (typically up to 5 users), at speeds up to 150 Mbps with 802.11n.

It also has an auxiliary USB port, so you can plug in a USB drive to stream media and share files wirelessly to your mobile devices. You can access the drive using your device's Web browser app, or with the free SharePort Mobile app for iOS or Android to browse, play media, view files, and upload photos to the drive.

In Router mode, the Shareport Go serves as a wireless router. Plug in a network cable, and it converts the connection into your own private Wi-Fi hotspot to share among multiple devices (and a USB drive).

In Hotspot mode, the Shareport Go connects to an existing Wi-Fi hotspot, and again creates your own private Wi-Fi cloud from the connection.

It also can be set up as an access point / repeater to extend an existing wired or wireless network, so that you can access resources on the network over wireless (instead of being isolated in a private cloud).

The Shareport Go is compact and portable, at around 4 x 3 x 1 inches and 1/3 ounce. It includes a rechargeable battery for up to 4 hours of use -- and you even can use it as a charger for your smartphone.

But even with the small size, this is a full-up network router. You can use the Quick Setup options to get it going (through a browser or the Quick Router Setup app), including creating a second public hotspot for visitors, separate from your private cloud.

And, as you might expect from a D-Link product, it also has the advanced and administrative setup options familiar from office routers, including virtual server, VPN, filtering, and encryption options.

The portable SharePort Go is available for around $89. The SharePort Mobile Companion has the same features in a wall-plug design for around $46.

See my update on holiday gadgets -- Portable Accessories - Holiday 2012 -- for more on portable devices and accessories.

Find the D-Link Shareport Go and Shareport on Amazon.com

November 11, 2012

Plantronics Voyager Legend

The Plantronics Voyager Legend is the latest iteration of the venerable Bluetooth headset (see earlier post) with an iconic over-ear design that's bigger then tiny in-ear headsets.

Since the headset rests gently over your ear, you can wear it quite comfortably for extended conference calls, whether around the office or on a road trip. Plus the extra room and boom mic allows the Voyager to pack an impressive set of features:

  • Smart Call Routing - Senses when you place the headset on (or off) the ear to automatically answer a call, direct calls between the headset and phone, or play / pause music.
  • Noise canceling - With three microphones, active Digital Signal Processing, adaptive 20-band equalizer, acoustic echo cancellation, and sidetone detection.
  • Wind canceling - With windscreens, acoustic mesh, and electronic filter in the mic circuitry.
  • Incoming caller announcement and voice commands - Including call "answer" or "ignore".
  • Multi-Point Bluetooth - Can pair two phones, answer calls from either.
  • On-screen battery meter for iPhone, Find MyHeadset app for Android.

Besides the technology boosts, the new Voyager Legend is slightly smaller than its predecessor Voyager PRO HD (4 x 2.5 x 0.4 in., 0.6 oz), and has a longer battery life (7 hours talk, 11 days standby).

The physical design has separate buttons for the key functions, with volume and power on the back, and play/call control on the side. It also features moisture protection against rain, sweat and spills.

The new Voyager also now uses a proprietary charging connection with a magnetric snap fit, which works well for a desk, but is less handy than microUSB for travel.

The new, but classic, Voyager Legend is still priced at $99.

Note: Plantronics released a new firmware update as of 11/1/12 that "improves most reported issues around call clarity and audio distortion" related to the Apple iPhone 5 and iOS 6.

See my update on holiday gadgets -- Portable Accessories - Holiday 2012 -- for more on portable devices and accessories.

Find the Plantronics Voyager Legend on Amazon.com

November 17, 2012

Plantronics BackBeat GO Wireless Earbuds

Headphones are not just for music, and are adding mics and mini controllers to switch between listening and phone calls. Similarly, Bluetooth headsets are not just for phone calls, since you might as well enjoy all that music on your smartphone when you're not on calls.

But music is stereo and immersive, while Bluetooth headsets are just for one ear. So the answer is to use two earpieces, like the Plantronics BackBeat GO Wireless Earbuds -- connecting the left and right ears with a wire, but still wireless to your phone.

The wire also provides a location for an inline controller, so you can use Bluetooth to
adjust volume / mute, answer / end calls, play / pause music, skip between tracks, and even check the battery level.

The earbuds provide sound isolation, with three sizes of cushioned eartips to fit your head, plus optional in-ear stabilizers for more active use.

With the BackBeat GO earbuds, you can be on the go for around four hours, switching between phone calls and listening to music or podcasts. They also include noise cancellation and echo cancellation for better clarity.

The BackBeat GO earbuds are available for $99.99 in black or white.

See my update on holiday gadgets -- Portable Accessories - Holiday 2012 -- for more on portable devices and accessories.

Find the Plantronics BackBeat GO earbuds on Amazon.com

November 22, 2012

Holiday Gadgets 2012 - Moving Into the Cloud?

It's holiday gadget season, with companies from Apple to Amazon, and Microsoft to Samsung, working hard to court us with very different perspectives on portable electronic gadgets -- and to sign up our credit card numbers so that new purchases are just an easy click away.

To help make sense of the broad (and sometimes confusing) array of options, I'll be presenting my annual Holiday Gadgets talk in several locations in the Princeton area -- with a round-up of the latest crop of tempting portable gadgets, and especially the exploding options in portable tablets.

Another expanding focus this year is on the Cloud -- the possibilities of storing all your information and media in online servers. The idea is to make your life easier, so you won't have to plug into a computer in order to copy files to your device, or manage your stuff across multiple devices. But we'll also discuss the trade-offs of the cloud approach, and the big differences between the available services.

And, of course, we'll discuss and demo portable handheld devices, including smartphones and tablets, as well as dedicated devices like e-readers. Plus, another fun selection of portable accessories to share and enjoy your devices on the go, including video and audio, storage and power.

This year's presentation schedule:

Wed., Nov. 28, 2012, 7 pm - Princeton Public Library
    65 Witherspoon Street, Princeton, NJ

Tues., Dec. 4, 2012, 10 am - Hopewell Township Library
    245 Pennington-Titusville Rd, Pennington, NJ 08534

Tues., Dec. 4, 2012, 2 pm - Computer Learning Center at Ewing
    Ewing Township Senior and Community Center, 999 Lower Ferry Road, Ewing, NJ

Wed., Dec. 5, 2012, 7 pm - Hopewell Public Library - Wednesday Night Out
    Hopewell Train Station, 5 Railroad Place, Hopewell, NJ

See my annual article for more on this year's crop of goodies: - High Tech Holiday Gift Guide        U.S. 1 Newspaper, Nov. 21, 2012

And details and links in my Holiday Gadgets 2012 series:
- Cloud Services - Store, Share, Sync in the Cloud
- Handheld Devices - Media Players, E-Book Readers,
      Smartphones and Tablets
- Portable Accessories - Audio, Imaging,
      Storage, Power, Cases, Digital Health

(Illustrations: Google Nexus smartphone and tablets, Apple iCloud diagram)

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About November 2012

Entries posted to Manifest Tech Blog in November 2012, listed from oldest to newest.

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