Top Five Wireless Phone Chargers

Dusan Belik of Serbia writes about his passion for all things techno as if they were alive and natural. He thinks that by using a smart phone to organise your life, you demonstrate how much you care about the way that you use your precious time on Earth. Fair enough… whatever turns you on?  He also refers to the new Tylt VU charger is “sexy”… Sexy…? You need to get yourself a partner mate!

Whilst wireless phone chargers are surely not sexy, they can be extremely useful, for the simple reason, like all wireless technology, no wires are required. Given the obvious advantages of these devices, an increasing splurge of wireless phone chargers is arriving on the market.  

Take a look at the top five…

Tylt

Tylt VU

The Tylt VU Wireless Charger is designed for Qi compatible smartphones and it has to be said that this novel charger looks like a mini sun-lounger and could well indeed look sexy if a totally naked miniature nicely rounded type was sunbathing on top of it!

A vibrant appearance is at the heart of the Tylt VU, although the red, blue and yellow ones perhaps aren’t going to light everybody’s fire. One of the features of this charger is that it works both horizontally or vertically, meaning that you can charge your phone at a 45 degree angle and still see its screen.

This colourful wireless mobile charger will shipped in June 2013 and will cost approximately £46.

You can buy the Tylt VU here.

Duracell-Powermat

Duracell Powermat 24

Powermat have been frontrunners in the wireless charging game from the outset. The company’s latest rendition comes in the form of a flat charging pad, which is shaped simply to the profile of your iPhone. The Powermat 24 is compatible with the iPhone 4 or the Samsung 3.

A Duracell Powermat 24 kit will set you back approximately £64 and includes a spare battery comes with this set along with a plug in charger. You can buy the wireless charging pad on its own for approximately £32 at the official Duracell Powermat website.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kr4OQEkRI18&feature=player_embedded&list=PL4H8vdb09DoLKJWsZEuMIwweNpxY3NYkB

Nokia-Fatboy

Nokia Fatboy charging pillow

The tendency to treat our iPhones like a baby can certainly be applied to this novel wireless charger, as you simply lie your phone down gently on top of the pillow without the need to plug it in to anything and wake up to a fully-charged phone!

This little pillow charger comes in five colours that can be matched up to your bed sheets and taken to bed with you.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=_lBPL7mGO3g

This fun wireless charger will set you back about £60 and can be bought at Nokia.com.

WildCharge

Wild Charge Pad from Pure Energy Solutions

A relative newcomer to the wireless charger market, the Wild Charge Pad is the creation of Pure Energy Solutions, a company that prides itself on being a “green energy company.” This wireless charger provides 15 watts of output power and can therefore charge multiple devices simultaneously.  

What is particularly refreshing about the WildCharge Pad is that it is compatible with several phones, including older ones. Another refreshing aspect of this wireless mobile charger is its price – approximately £32.

You can buy the WildCharge Pad here.

Oregon-Wireless-Charger

Oregon Scientific Alarm Clock and Wireless Charger

It’s not such a bad idea to have an alarm clock combined with your wireless phone charger to do away with all that clutter on the bedside table. The Oregon Scientific Alarm Clock and Wireless Charger charges all types of phones which are Qi compatible and even reads indoor and outdoor temperatures.

It’s certainly sleek and being the world’s first combination of clock and wireless charger, has to be described as innovative.

The cost of Oregon Scientific Alarm Clock and Wireless Charger is £89.99 and can be bought here.

Sugru: the “Best Invention Since Sellotape”

Sugru

Few things are built to last. Whether it’s a damaged mobile charger, a broken handle or a hole in your shoe, when something breaks we just fling it on the waste pile. Well, Sugru aims to change all this and get us fixing things again with its space age Play-Dou.

Like something concocted in the Nutty Professor’s lab, Sugru is modelling clay you press into shape before leaving it to dry to form a tough rubbery material. Heat proof, water proof and electrically insulating, the ways you can use Sugru are endless. From fixing a leaking shower to adding bumpers to your iPhone or even to create grips for sports equipment, the inventor’s website is packed with examples of how Sugru has been used to ‘hack things better’. This includes being used by explorers to the North Pole and by the British Olympics fencing team to create custom grips for their cutlasses (if that’s the official term).

The result of 6 years of research and 5000 experiments by its determined young inventor, Sugru has been available to buy online for the last three years. But after shifting nearly a quarter of a million packs and selling out on QVC in four minutes, retailers have finally taken notice. You can now get hold of this space age Plasticine from 300 branches of B&Q stores across the country.

Sugru-Packs

Sugru has plenty of admirers, with TIME magazine naming it one of the top 50 inventions of 2010 (even ahead of the iPad) and the “best invention since sellotape” while Forbes has dubbed it “21st Century Duct Tape”. Check out what The Economist and Wired out to say about this highly versatile silicone rubber.

So if you’ve got things that need fixing around the home, want to “drop proof” your iPhone or need a custom grip for your tennis racket, head down to B&Q to grab your packet of Sugru before the three month trial ends.

You can also buy 8 mini-packs of Sugru online for £11 from Sugru.

Air Copy: Wireless Scanner for all tablets and smartphones

“iPad’s are just for consumption” is one of the more tiresome and persistent “trolling” remarks that was unleashed on Apple’s tablet when it was released in 2010. Well that and it’s lack of support for Flash but those remarks seem to have calmed down for some mysterious reason. But iPads – and tablets in general – are not the new netbooks i.e., terrible, underpowered devices that force injurious comprise on the user. Whilst tablets do require you to adjust the way you work, it’s often for the better (I have a bucket full of USB keys that receive little or no love since DropBox came into my life). And 10 hours of battery from a lightweight, instant-on computer is always good in my book. It even has Final Draft now and can be used to make music, movies and images. And even regular office work.

Air-Copy-Wireless-Scanner

ION don’t just make fun toys like dance mats and guitar controllers. They also want to update your mobile office and road warriors will be pleased to see Air Copy – a wireless scanner for tablets and smartphones – pretty much all of them.

Air Copy offers ultra-portable high-res tablet scanning in a compact wireless design – just what you’ve always wanted right? Air Copy is pretty sleek and compact enough to fit in a messenger bag, old-fashioned briefcase or backpack. Air Copy offers high-resolution 300 DPI scanning and gets to work in seconds (I know that this is ambigious as 5 weeks is also measurable in “seconds” … but it’s fast is what I mean). Air Copy is works with any document or photo – up to size A4- and pops them directly into your iPad, iPhone, Android and Windows-based tablets, or old-fashioned laptop computers.

“The range of devices Air Copy is compatible with is one of its most powerful features. It’s a truly flexible scanner, whether you’re using it at home or on the go.”

Wendy Fortin, ION Product Manager

Rather than relying on Bluetooth, Air Copy generates its own WiFi network, so you can connect *anywhere* without needing to be near a home or office’s WiFi network. Air Copy’s free scanning app allows for viewing the scan in real-time on the tablet or smartphone’s screen.

Pricing and avaliablity TBC but for more information, visit Ion Audio.

Getting Things Done: Great productivity apps for the New Year

I always marvel at people who “get things done” and have lives that run like a well-oiled machine. Especially when my life seems to be a series of badly timed misadventures, barely held together with duct tape. The arbitrary change in calendar is as good a time as any to take a look at Productivity Apps that can help you take 2013 up a notch.

Clear-LG

Clear
It’s very easy to dismiss Clear as style over substance – the very opposite of what a productivity app should be. Unlike other apps that replete with seemingly endless options and customisations, Clear is one of the most barebones apps – with just a list of todo items that fills the screen. There are no alarms, scheduling or any of the features you’d want from more sophisticated apps. However, this barebones approach is also the app’s key strength and its laser-like focus makes it one of my go-to productivity apps. The clever use of the touchscreen interface makes entering items fast to the point where it’s almost second nature. Plus they’ve expanded the Clear universe to include a Mac OS app, which syncs via iCloud to your iPhone.

Out now on the App store for 69p

Reminders
It would be remiss of me to wax poetic about Clear without mentioning its most obvious direct competitor Apple Reminders that ships with every iPhone. Not only is it free, but it also provides wireless desktop synching via iCloud. Data entry is nowhere near as smooth as it is with Clear but it does have voice input via Siri and geo-fencing. The ability to push a button whilst jogging, say “remind me to buy new shoes when I get home” and for that to be logged and triggered when you get back to your door is pretty good for £0.00.

Workflowy

Workflowy
Amazingly Clear isn’t the most basic looking app on the list and minimalism is clearly a trend. Workflows offers little more than a cascaded list of things. But sometimes – or in my case often – that’s all you need. The ability to create text-based cascading lists around areas or interest and to then drill down into seemingly limitless sub lists is great. The text based system lets you use hashtags and @s to allocate tasks and priorities – e.g., Pick up laundry #today or Discuss presentation with @Geoff. The beauty of text means that Workflowy works on most platforms – I love using the web-based interface for inputting large blocks of text. Like most cloud computing it falls down a little when you don’t have internet access which is frustrating when you just want to look at a list. In addition, the iPhone and iPad apps are a tad lacking in sophistication and you can’t help but want to swipe, pinch and zoom around the interface. Still it’s one of my favourite ways to collate and organise lists.

Out now for free on the App Store

30_30-LG

30/30

30/30 is a great time-based todo list that functions both as a list of your a upcoming tasks and a cattle prod to get you to actually do them. The clever interface utilises a variety of swipes, pinches and taps to input todos (it’s very proudly button free) but what really sets it apart is the large timer that counts down however much time you allocated to the task you are currently doing. Nothing makes me more productive than a deadline – as the old showbiz saying goes you can’t reschedule Monday. You can of course hit a little buffer button to give yourself an extra 5 minutes if you’re running late – or knock off 5 if you’re ahead of schedule. You can also schedule breaks which is an important part of any working day. iCloud syncing means that you can set up a day on your multiple devices and then have a phone or iPad out on your desk giving you that extra incentive. The app runs in the background as well (a lot of my todos involve other apps on my iPad/iPhone). The name (and concept behind it) is that you work for 30 minutes, focused only on a single task (and they mean focused with no distractions).

When the time is up, you give your mind a break and do something completely unrelated, also for 30 minutes and then you repeat the cycle: work/break, work/break – 30/30, 30/30. Obviously you can vary the pattern to suit your work style.

30/30 is “always free” and out now at the App Store.

Wacom Inkling: Analogue-to-digital sketching

Love to doodle? I’ve been doing art with digital devices for ages and very little (for me at least) matches the joy of scribbling with paper and pen. Although 53 digital’s Paper comes close. Wacom are something of the de facto standard when it comes to tablets and even they know the joys of old fashioned sketching. Of course one of the fun things about living in the future is that we can take old fashioned things and ram cutting edge technology in them.

Wacom-Inkling

Inking is digital sketch pen that captures a digital likeness of a user’s work while sketching on old fashioned paper. We’ve seen other fancy pens – notably (pun intended) LiveScribe’s offerings – although Inkling is doesn’t require special notebooks and instead works with any piece of paper.

Rather than a complete input solution, Inkling is more of a “front end” for artists, illustrators and graphic designers for their rough concepts and creative brainstorms. Rough ideas are capture on real paper in real ink and then brought to life on a computer.

Inkling works via a wireless receiver that’s positioned on the edge of the page. As long as there’s an uninterrupted line of sight to the pen tip, you can capture the sketch and manipulate it digitally later on. The ballpoint pen uses Wacom’s pressure sensing technology (1024 levels of sensitivity) to detect how hard the pen is being pressed to the paper so you can apply shading and various other forms of nuance to your work. The bridge between the digital and analogue worlds works both ways and you can create layers in the digital file while sketching on paper.

When you’re done sketching simply connect the receiver via USB to transfer all sketches as bitmap or vector files. It’s odd that something so futuristic as analogue-to-digital sketching uses something that feels as old as USB but it is a universal input method. Wireless background syncing would be nice but I’m clearly spoilt.

Files can be edited with Inkling Sketch Manager (included) to edit, delete, add layers or transferred to creative software applications for further editing including Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator CS6 (both 32bit and 64bit operating systems), as well as Autodesk Sketchbook Pro 6. Alternatively, files can be saved in JPG, BMP, TIFF, PNG, SVG and PDF formats for use with other applications. Inkling Sketch Manager also supports Mac OS 10.8.

The Inkling sketch pen is priced at £149.99 (including VAT) and is available now from Wacom partners and the Wacom eStore.

LiveScribe Sky WiFi smartpens: Joined up thinking

Sky-Wifi

We took a look at the LiveScribe smartpen range over a year ago and I think it’s still one of the most impressive gadgets I’ve had the pleasure of playing with. It’s one thing to innovate with phones, tablets and computers but brining cutting edge technology to something as old and basic as paper was at the time mind blowing. I actually use a LiveScribe pen in my day to day life, taking notes in writing meetings and language classes and can attest to the fact that they are indeed very useful and worth the price.

However, despite being incredibly futuristic, certain elements of the smartpen seemed old fashioned – namely having to plug the pen in and upload data via USB (although I appreciate that that’s pretty new in terms of technological advancements). And getting my notes on to my devices was slower than I would have liked. There was an app but the notebook-to-app path was less than ideal. Fortunately LiveScribe haven’t stood still and have just released the LiveScribe Sky.

The LiveScribe Sky makes smartpen’s smarter as the built-in wifi adds connectivity to your note taking. Logging on to a wifi network is surprisingly easy, and there are stickers you can add to existing notebooks if you have already have older versions of LiveScribe. The stickers let you scan for networks and add passwords with relative ease.

Use is pretty much the same as it was with previous versions of LiveScribe. Simply hit record on the special notebooks and all everything you write and say will be recorded. There’s a sync now button on the special sticker sheet but this is normally done automatically in the background. Taking notes without internet access? That’s fine as the pen will just upload everything the moment you get back online.

The added layer of magic? LiveScribe will now automatically sync with Evernote so all your notes can be uploaded to The Cloud and are available on a range of devices. Evernote are pretty device agnostic so you should have access to your musings on most smartphones and tablets – as well as laptop and desktop PCs.

In practice this works pretty well – although it can sometimes take a little while for notes to appear in Evernote (and it’s doing a lot of work in the background so I probably should be a little less impatient. Having app-based access to notes is great and you can share from Evernote to platforms such as Facebook and Twitter so you can even make fun little pencasts. If you are a casual scribe this is not the pen for you but it you take a lot of notes then you should definitely take a look.

For more info www.livescribe.com

Office essentials: Dymo Touch Screen LabelManager 500TS

Whether you work in a busy office or have a booming eBay business at home, the Dymo touch screen label maker, otherwise known as the LabelManager 500TS, is sure to make your life easier. The time it will save you in editing, printing and cutting labels is worth its weight in gold, or at the very least save you from tearing your hair out whilst you try to print off multiple labels at once.

Dymo-Touch-Screen

The touch screen interface is easy to use and means you can quickly edit your label before it is printed. There is also the option to add special fonts and clip art. The 300dpi resolution will clearly show any graphics and fonts in crystal clear clarity. There are also a range of built-in symbols to choose between to further personalise your work.

The automatic label cutter is a real boon, and will not only save you time, but it will also eliminate any costly mistakes that may be made when manually cutting and sizing your labels.

Compatible with either a PC or Mac, you can also use the label printer without connecting it to a computer thanks to its rechargeable battery pack. The clever device is capable of printing a wide variety of DYMO D1 labels in 6mm, 9mm, 12mm, 19mm and 24mm widths.

The Dymo LabelManager 500TS – which prints twice as fast as any other previous Dymo label maker – is available from most stationary shops or online at the company’s website. The recommended retail price for the LabelManager is £197.99.

For more information on how your label-printing life could be made easier, visit www.dymo.com.

Planon Scanstik: An office in your pocket

It may be the size of a pen, but the Planon Scanstik, is capable of scanning a full page in colour just as any regular full-sized flatbed scanner would. But this one you can fit it in your pocket. Yes that’s right, you can take your very own scanner with your wherever you wish to go. The Scanstik is perfect for the businessman on the move who wishes to save some documents or even a student who is in a library researching work for an exam. Just think of the possibilities…

ScanStick

You use the Scanstik just like a normal, conventional scanner, tracing the pen over the page you wish to scan. It is fast too – a full page can be scanned in only four seconds.

Once stored in the Scanstik, you then connect it to a computer using the USB port and transfer the files across. The MicroSD memory is capable of holing literally thousands of scanned images in black and white or colour, with a resolution between 150 to 600dpi. The Scanstick includes ABBYY FineReader software for easy editing, along with PaperPort OCR and Crystal Line Contact software to improve image quality.

The full technical low-down is as follows:

Resolution:150, 300, & 600 DPI

Scan: 24-bit Colour JPG, B&W

Dimensions: 8.9″ x 0.5″ x 0.5″ (227mm x 13mm x13mm)

Battery: Re-chargeable Lithium Polymer (charges through USB slot)

Memory: MicroSD card slot (purchase separately)

Connectivity: USB

Image Technology: PlanOn CLC (Crystal Line Contact)

Platforms: Windows XP, Vista, 7 32/64 and MacOSX

Leather Case

USB Cable

ABBYY FineReader SE OCR Software

PaperPort OCR Software

For more information on how you can get your hands on the world’s smallest colour scanner, visit www.planon.com.