Review: Eye-Fi Mobi, a cool idea let down by poor reliability

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An increasing number of cameras these days have wifi built-in, allowing instant viewing of photos on your iPhone or iPad, and from there instant sharing on Facebook, Twitter, Flickr and so on. Which can leave those of us with less sociable cameras feeling a little left out in the cold.

Eye-Fi has offered solutions to this for some time, in the form of wifi-equipped cards that you can insert into your older or pro camera and transmit the images to a PC or Mac. This approach worked, after a fashion, but had two big problems. First, setup was far from easy, and second, transmission was via a wireless router. Fine at home, where you probably didn’t need it, not so fine when out & about, where you probably did.

This was the problem the Eye-Fi Mobi set out to solve: a $50 (8GB) or $80 (16GB) SD card that transmits photos direct to an iOS device running the free Eye-Fi app, with no router required. I decided to give it a try …  Read more

Toys Weekend: AppleTV: $90, MacFlux 4, New MacBook Pros $999

Lot of stuff happening at 9to5Toys.com this weekend…

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Amazon has the Apple TV for $89.99 with free shipping.  That’s the lowest price going (remember it just got Hulu – 1 week free here). Speaking of Amazon+free, you can get a free month of the new Prime streaming to iPad using the new app.

StackSocial offers downloads of the popular “Dreamweaver killer”  Square_fluxMacFlux 4 website building editor application for $40.  There is a huge list of great Mac software currently on sale at Stack Social here.

Fry’s Electronics offers the current-generation MacBook Pro Intel Core i5 2.5GHz 13.3″ LED-Backlit Widescreen Notebook, model no. MD101LL/A, for $999. Shipping adds around $11, or choose free in-store pickup. That’s the lowest total price we could find by $129 and even lower than Apple’s refurbished price.

All4Cellular has Applecare for iPhone for $39.99 (usually $99).

Vaas FM Transmitter with Car Charger and Remote for iPhone and iPod – $9.99+free ship

Western Digital USB 3.0 1TB portable drives for $89+free shipping at Go4Computer/Ebay, Tax in Florida.

Viewsonic VX2450wm-LED 24″ Widescreen LED Backlit Monitor: 49.99+Free shipping from Buy.com

More follow: Read more

Want to make a Mountain Lion USB stick or SD Card Installer? Here’s how

Apple will not offer a USB or Optical Disk external installer to Mountain Lion (as far as we have heard). That does not mean you cannot sneaker net the install around your home, office or lab like Apple Store employees do (sometimes). Lion Diskmaker has been updated to allow you to make a bootable USB or SD Card installer on a 8GB piece of media.

The process is straightforward:

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Poll: Would you enjoy a MicroSD Card slot in your iOS device?

Apple is unlikely to ever do such a thing (among other things, it would kill its pricing matrix), but sometimes I wish my iPhone or iPad had a built-in MicroSD card slot for easy access to lots of cheap storage. The 16GB cards routinely sell for $10 and new cards go as high as 64GB. However, it is not just about the storage being inexpensive and extremely portable. The SD cards easily swap with Macs, PCs, Cameras, photo frames, video players, Blu-ray players, and other phones.

You can currently connect MicroSD cards with the unwieldy iPad Apple Digital AV Adapter (this) and a Micro to SD Card adapter, but what say you? Should Apple build a MicroSD card slot into upcoming iOS devices?

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9to5Toys: Portable USB/SD storage options under $1/GB

From 9to5Toys.com:

A quick roundup of storage options from 9to5Toys at Amazon this weekend:

SDHC Cards:
16GB
Amazon Class 4: $14.38; Transcend Micro Class 4 w/adapter: $12.98 (pictured)
32GB Sandisk Class 6: $29.95  Transcend Class 10: $32.95

USB Sticks:
8GB Kingston:  $6.95
16GB Kingston: $13.99, Sandisk $14.72 Transcend: $13.99
32GB Sandisk: $28.99
64GB Lexar: $61.10

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Last minute gift reviews for Apple lovers

As we close out the year and approach Christmas, here is a quick review of some stellar items we have reviewed over the past few months.

Audyssey Lower East Side Speakers.  Truth be told, we were interested in the Airplay-enabled Lower East Side Audio Dock Air that seems to have been struck by production delays.  In the meantime, we are in love with the standalone LES powered speakers (right).  Very simple I/Os and almost perfect desktop-level sound makes these incredibly good for the small room or workspace.  Sure, they will fill up a medium sized room, but you will find much larger/expensive setups for that.  $199 Amazon. Bonus: If you want Airplay functionality, throw in a $95 Apple TV and an Optical cable.

Doxie Go Wireless scanner: The magic is putting an Eye-Fi card in the SD card slot that allows automatic Evernote/flickr Cloud synchronizing.  I use this at the front of my house without a computer where mail comes in.  Important stuff is run through the scanner and sent to the Cloud before it hits recycling.  Standalone Cloud scanners are the future.  It also does traditional Desktop scanning via USB. ($150-200 at Amazon.)

Atari Arcade. This little plastic iPad “dock” (does not work with iPhone 4) adds a joystick to the 100 Atari applications for $15 app (at present no other games support this – but more are planned). The quality is good and the gaming is certainly nostalgic.  It was fun to teach my kid the games I played when I was his age (which is probably why this thing is such a hit).  It would have been much better with a pass thru charger and landscape options.  Still, fun. ($59.99 Amazon) iCade is a more expensive option.

iHelicopter.net sent us a review unit after we showed their latest preview of their missile-shooting iHelocopter. After a few weeks of playing with this iOS device controlled (through an earphone dongle) helicopter, I can say it works as expected.  I have only used it inside but it has survived a lot of hard “landings” as well as direct hits on the ceiling and walls. The reason this one is so notable is that it shoots missiles through a spring-loaded system.  Yes, this works and with the gyroscope going, it is easy to hit your target.  ($69 shipped free globally.)

Logitech Tablet speaker.  Initially we were down on this little gadget because, let us face it, it is not a “looker”.  However, after playing with our review unit for a number of weeks, it has come in handy on a number of occasions and it produces impressive sound considering its size and portability. It clips to your iPad, is charged via USB and plugs into the headphone jack. The rechargeable batteries last for 8 hours. (Amazon – as low as $22)

Western Digital TV Live. Sure Apple TV does 90% of what this thing does, but if you want stuff like Hulu Plus, Spotify, Facebook or compatibility with DLNA and non- iOS compatible videos, this little $90 1080P TV works great. It also has a full sized USB port for hooking directly into USB Sticks, wireless keyboards, and hard drives.  ($89.99 – Amazon.) Also, consider Roku devices that start at $45.

Sandisk 16GB Class 4 SDHC Card, 16GB Cruzer USB Stick: $15/ea+free shipping

SanDisk® SDHC™ Cards

From 9to5toys.com:


Staples has the 16GB SanDisk SDHC Card for $14.99 with free shipping.  That’s the lowest price we’ve seen for a 16GB SDHC card.  Class 4 represents a minimum speed of around 4MB/sec.

Staples also offers a Sandisk Cruzer 16GB USB stick for $14.99. 8GB is $8.99 and 4GB is $5.99.  Staples currently offers free shipping sitewide with no minimum. Read more

Thunderbolt 13-inch MacBook Pro drops below $1000 ($987.99)

From 9to5toys.com:

Update: Drops to $987.99

MacConnection drops the price on the base MacBook Pro 13 inch from $1199 to $999 after a $50 rebate with free shipping.  Even without the rebate, it is the lowest price we could find on a Thunderbolt-equipped MacBook Pro anywhere.  This model includes Intel 3000 Graphics, LED-backlit display, 802.11n wireless, full-size backlit keyboard, Multi-Touch trackpad, FaceTime camera, Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR, Thunderbolt port, and up to 7 hours of battery life.

Note that this is last month’s  model with a marginally .1GHz slower processor and smaller 320GB HDD which were upgraded slightly a few weeks ago.

You can also pick this up for $929 factory refurbished or $1199 newat the Apple Store. Read more

Chinese maker pulls the glowing Apple logo trick with the iSD Card Reader

Remember the iHub, a four-port USB port that set itself apart with the cool-looking, glowing Apple logo – until Cupertino outlawed them? Apparently someone in China was inspired enough with the iHub and walked away concluding this must be the way to roll with everything. Check out a Chinese SD card reader in the below clip. We actually love its miniaturized all-white design with round corners and the advert certainly looks business, if we disregard the too obvious focus on the many close-ups of the glowing Apple logo. The iSD Card Reader is interesting because it lets the 11-inch MacBook Air owners accept SD and SDHC memory cards via USB as the notebook lacks an SD card slot. It can be yours for $9.90 over at the K.O. Gadget store. And while you’re there, make sure to check out their obnoxious white iPhone 4 air cooler. And what’s with the “Apple and 7 Pioneers” article (mark 00:13)

another video below

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iPad 2 mold: back camera, tapered edges, new side port?

Update, we’ve been told (not so nicely) to remove those mold drawings because they are the property of someone else.  We’ve complied.

Some purported iPad 2 cases hit the web over the last few weeks as well as some unconfirmed reports claiming the iPad 2 will gain an iPod-touch inspired design with tapered edges. These cases appear to show a new slot on the bottom for an enhanced speaker system as well as a hole for a back camera. These case designs are still of course unconfirmed to be legitimate but 9to5mac has managed to get a hold of some iPad 2 case mold drawings from an Asian case supplier.

As you can see in these drawings (above, below, and after the break) the edges are clearly tapered  and the iPad 2’s back is slightly contoured like the current iPad and past iPod touch models. These drawings also add confirmation to the back camera reports and our sources say the camera hole size is close to the size of the iPhone 4’s (which may or may not indicate a similar shooter).

Some new information we have discovered through these drawings is a brand new port opening on the left side of the device. We’re not sure what this opening is for but it is there on these latest iPad 2 design schematics. On the drawings there appears to be an SD card going into the port but that could just be a piece of the case mold machine. The latest rumors point to either a mini USB or a full USB port being present on the iPad 2 so it very well could be one or a combination of the three ports.

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3-in-1 iPad adapter? Pah! How about 5-in-1?

These iPad adapters are starting to look like mini docking stations.  Earlier this week, we showed you a simple $25 3-in-1 adapter that simply pales next to this latest adapter which has USB, mini USB, SD, MicroSD, and a AV-Out port with an included RCA-jack adapter (below).  You simply need to buy at least 50 of them an arrange for shipping from China.  Again via MICGadget. Read more