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December 8, 2015

Another Christmas Gift

When work, vacation time and life all work together my wife and I like to go camping.  Many times we are camping in areas without electricity.  Now do not misunderstand, since I am writing about camping in December.  We DO NOT camp, other than in a warm hotel, during the winter.  However, it did get me thinking about something that could be a good gift for you to give this year.

We are not totally wilderness campers meaning that if we have cell service we like to have our phones available.  You know – kids, grandkids, aging relatives…use your imagination. So cell phones are good to have with us.  When out camping without electricity sometimes the phones’ batteries give it up.

In comes the gift, a portable “gadget” charger.  There are maybe a million of them out there.  No, I have not counted but there are a plethora at least.  I have tested a couple and then last year about this time I saw one that was highly rated in an ad and on a great sale.

It is called a “Kmashi 15000mAh External Battery Power Bank” and it works quite well.  I bought it last Christmas for us to use, you guessed it, when camping.

Front view of Kmashi 15000mAh Charger

The Kmashi regularly sells for $59.95 but last year Amazon had a special for the holidays making it $19.99.  At that price and with the excellent reviews I bought one.  There are a couple of less expensive and more expensive versions of the Kmashi that respectively supply less or more power.  A rating higher than 15000mAh power means that instead of charging a device three or four times like mine, it will charge them more times.  A smaller number means the opposite.  This is true for all of these charger types.

I tested mine when I bought it and it took several hours to charge the unit itself but once charged we got about four phones or tablets charged before it needed a recharge.  It has four lights that show you the power remaining on the charger as it works.  That lets you know when it is running out of power.  It also has three ports and an on/off button.  Two of the ports are for inserting your charging cable and then connecting to your phone.  They are regular USB ports and yes, you can charge two devices at one time.  The final port is where you charge the Kmashi itself.


Graphic below is (from left to right) charging port, on/off button
(barely visible), 4 power lights, over under ports to phones/tables, etc.

Controls view of Kmashi 15000mAh Charger

If you think this is something you or a friend may like, Amazon is offering another deal right now.  Here is a link to the device: rd.dblclx.com/1PG9nRf.  Before you check out of your shopping cart use DNWS3612 as your coupon code.  This code will reduce the price even further to $12.50.  If you are a prime member you will not even need to pay shipping.

Of course, buyer beware, this code worked for us, yes we bought another one for a gift, as of this writing.  But if the code does not work for you, Google for another one.

December 16, 2014

Tech Christmas, Part 2

Last week, I suggested a few techie Christmas gifts. Some readers requested a few more; so, they are as follow.

Let’s start on a slightly different foot. This is similar to the musical cards that play songs or prerecorded messages when opened, but it’s a little different. At spreengs.com, users can create their own video card.

Users create their own video, then upload it to the site, at which point it is completed and mailed to recipients. Or, the company can mail users the card, envelope and USB wire, so the video can be uploaded to the card and sent. The first option costs about $5 more. The few that I looked at ranged about $ 20- 40.

447_mifi5510lFor a gift that keeps on giving — for a monthly fee — try a personal Wi- Fi Hotspot. These small devices supply users with highspeed Internet connections. Speeds are fastest with 4G coverage. Sometimes, I use one for work and it usually gets from 7 to 12 mbps download speed, which is enough to watch movies.  Shown here is the Verizon Mi-Fi that I use which works very well with 4G.

Prices vary for the hardware to the monthly charges for the amount of data used. However, before buying one, check if your cellphone has a hotspot capability, as it may be less expensive.

Tablet sales are down about four percent this year; but tablet keyboard sales are up approximately 90 percent. Users can take an old tablet and, add a Bluetooth keyboard, which costs from $20- 50. Users have found that this is much more convenient than typing on a tablet without a keyboard. You can also get a new tablet with a keyboard included; however, the cost will likely be much higher.

Also available are Mighty Purses, a fusion between fashion and technology available at mighty- purse. com. These bags have a lightweight, built- in battery and a cable for phone charging. They are available in a variety of colors and designs. Prices on Amazon. com run approximately $80- 100.

The Shoulderpod S1 (shoulderpod.com) is a $ 34.90 gadget that attaches to most any cellphone, with or without a case, and has three functions. First, it has a camera grip mode that can be attached to the phone and a grip and strap for users’ hands and wrists, respectively. Second, it has a desk mount mode, which allows users to stabilize without a tripod. Third, it has a mount to attach the phone to the tripod.

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