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October 2014 Archives

October 6, 2014

Nero 2015 Digital Media Suite

The Nero 2015 digital media suite is now available, adding new mobile apps to this fine collection of media wranging and playback tools.

Nero has gone its own way with digital media software, expanding from its roots in disc burning, adding media editing tools, and then focusing more and more on media access and playback -- from PC to set-top to mobile.

You can immediately see the range of the Nero suite from the integrated Launcher, with tools to view, edit, burn, and backup your media:

  • Manage and Play - Nero MediaHome, MediaBrowser, Blu-ray Player
  • Edit and Convert - Nero Video, Recode, Creative Content
  • Rip and Burn - Nero Burning ROM, Express
  • Backup and Rescue - Nero BackItUp, RescueAgent
  • Nero Apps - for Android and iOS
  • Your Product, Tools & Settings, Tutorials, Photo Products, News
But the real focus of the 2015 edition is the media management and playback, with Nero MediaHome and the new Nero apps.

Nero MediaHome starts as a general media organizer for photos and videos, now with support for geotags, plus tags, smart albums, and face recognition. As with other photo tools, you can adjust and enhance photos, and share your efforts favorite memories by creating slideshows and photobooks, and by uploading to sites including Facebook and YouTube.

But the real focus of MediaHome is media playback -- all your media, available on all your devices. All your media, since MediaHome can integrates your playlists in Windows Media Player and iTunes. And to all your devices, since you can stream your PC-based photos, music, and videos to your TV sets -- it will take care of converting the media formats as needed for each device). Plus the new Nero MediaHome Receiver app allows you to play your media on mobile devices throughout your house.

This is part of the new Nero 2015 collection of companion Android and iOS apps that extend the range of your media to mobile:

- Use the Nero MediaHome Receiver app as a wireless player for your mobile device to play your media collection anywhere around the house. It connects to a PC running MediaHome to so you can enjoy videos, photos, and slideshows

- Use the Nero AirBurn app to wirelessly copy files and media from your mobile device to burn on disc. It transfers data, photos, and videos from a smartphone or tablet to a PC running Nero Burning ROM so you can copy and archive to disc, or create compilations to share.

- Use the Nero MediaHome WiFi Sync app to sync your media between your PC and Android device, wirelessly or over USB.

There are also new companion Nero Manual apps for the Nero PC applications, so you can get help, tutorials, and video guides on your mobile "second screen", and while you working in your PC application in full-screen.

The result is a compelling collection of tools for organizing, editing / converting, archiving, and enjoying your ever-growing media collection.

The Nero 2015 suite offers the core media wranging tools:

  • Nero Video for traditional video editing and authoring, now with 4K Ultra HD support and editable effects templates
  • Nero Recode as a focused tool for converting video formats for playback on different devices, now with direct transcoding from Nero Disc
  • Nero Express for easy disc ripping, copying, and burning
  • Nero Burning ROM for full-power disc burning, now with Nero AirBurn direct burning from mobile device
  • Nero BackItUp for PC and mobile backup to physical media, plus cloud storage plans
And Nero has separated out its other media tools as free downloads, including:
  • Nero WaveEditor - Audio recording and editing
  • Nero SoundTrax - Music digitizing and mixing
  • Nero DiscSpeed - Disc drive optimizer
The core Nero 2015 Classic suite is available for around $99 (or upgrade for $59). And you can step up to Nero 2015 Platinum for $129 (upgrade for $74). The Platinum suite adds 4K (UHD) video editing, a Blu-ray Disc player (including 3D support), Blu-ray ripping, plus a large collection of additional video effects and movie theme templates.

Nero Burning ROM 2015 is available separately for $49, Nero Video 2015 for $59, and Nero Recode 2014 for $39.

The Nero Downloads page offers 15-day trial versions of the core tools. Nero Media Home and Nero BackItUp are available as free downloads, along with the ancillary audio and disc tools.

The Nero Apps are available on Android. Nero AirBurn and the Manual apps also are on iOS, with the others coming soon.

Find Nero 2015 on Amazon.com

October 17, 2014

Razer Kabuto Mobile Mouse Mat

Mouse pads may not be a particularly exotic or high-tech topic, but even so you sometimes can find something that just makes sense in a nice way.

The Razer Kabuto Mobile Mouse Mat is an ultralight mat that so thin and portable that it also doubles nicely as a screen protector.

The mat itself is about 11 x 7 2/3 inches -- not large but also not too small.

It has a soft microfiber tracking surface for precice manipulation, and is backed with high grip rubber base that holds its place securely on textured or smooth surfaces.

The mouse moves smoothly but with control, and the mat surface is also very comfortable for your hand.

When it's time to move out, I lay the mat over the keyboard of my laptop to cushion and protect the display. It's so thin that the laptop closes and sleeps as if it was not there. You also can roll up the mat to pack for travel.

The Kabuto Mouse Mat has worked well for me. It's functional, comfortable, attractive in its basic black, and available for around $18.

Find the Razer Kabuto Mobile Mouse Mat on Amazon.com

October 22, 2014

Velvetwire Powerslayer Smart USB Charger

The Velvetwire Powerslayer USB Charger is a smart device -- literally and figuratively.

The Powerslayer is literally smart, because it delivers power only when needed, so it does not overcharge your device and waste power. The LED indicator glows when charging, and then turns off when your device is fully powered -- No wasted energy here as it delivers 2 Amps of charge, for phones and tablets.

And the Powerslayer has a smart design, with an idiosyncratic rounded/angled look in a textured polycarbonate housing. It's reasonably small and light, and easy to use with a fold-out plug and the USB connector positioned slightly off-angle.

The Powerslayer USB wall charger is available for $39, in coral red, fathom black, hull off-white, and marine blue.

Velvetwire also offers a snazzy Premium USB Cable with tangle-free, braided cloth in a marine and coral color weave. It's available with an Apple Lightning or Micro-USB connector, at $19 for 1 meter and $29 for 2 meters.

There's also a Powerslayer Kit for $79, with charger, cord, and a natural leather travel case with wool felt interior.

So get smart, and you can charge away without needing to worry about leaving your device plugged in for extended periods.

PS: Next from Velvetwire is the Powerslayer Blu, due this winter, which adds Bluetooth low energy (BLE) connectivity and the option of high-power or eco-mode charging. It connects to an iOS app for monitoring, and can interact with Apple HomeKit devices.

Find the Velvetwire Powerslayer system on Amazon.com

October 27, 2014

Logitech Bluetooth Multi-Device Keyboard

As we integrate more and more electronic devices into our lives, we come to appreciate accessories that can work across multiple devices -- like wireless speakers that play from multiple sources and wireless keyboards that work with computers and mobile devices.

Logitech has keyed off this idea with the Logitech Bluetooth Multi-Device Keyboard.

This is a full-size desk keyboard, with the familiar layout and shortcut keys. Plus it's a universal wireless keyboard that also works with your tablet and smartphone.

The keyboard can connect to three different Bluetooth wireless devices at once, with an Easy-Switch dial that you simply turn to switch typing between the devices.

And for working with your mobile devices, it has an integrated cradle slot to hold a smartphone or tablet and angle it to read while you type.

This is not an ultralight or particularly portable keyboard. It's a full-up solid desktop keyboard replacement, that also is designed for working with your tablet (to type documents or long emails), or with your phone (albeit typically for shorter tweats or texts).

The Logitech Bluetooth Multi-Device Keyboard (K480) is around 11.8 x 7.7 x 0.8 inches and 1.8 pounds. It runs on 2 AAA batteries for around two years. It's available in white or black for $49.

Find the Logitech Bluetooth Multi-Device Keyboard on Amazon.com

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About October 2014

Entries posted to Manifest Tech Blog in October 2014, listed from oldest to newest.

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