The Epson PictureMate Show is one of those devices that make people say "why would I need that" at first but "Wow, I'm glad I bought that" after they have one.
In addition to producing the consistency and outstanding quality that Epson printers are known for, this device displays photos on a built-in digital picture frame.
I'll get to the print functions, but I really enjoyed having the digital frame functions show my photos in a slideshow (12 slideshow options) on the 7-inch WVGA tilt screen with a 480 x 800 pixel resolution. All this is controlled by a wireless remote.
Editing (cropping, borders, etc.) can be done while displaying the photos.
This printer works fine connected directly to a computer (Mac or PC) but it's obviously designed to work away from them in a portable manner. The unit is about the size of a lunch cooler and has a handy carrying handle on top.
To input photos for display or printing, users have a choice of inputs. Photos can be stored on memory cards such as the popular CompactFlash and SD memory cards. PictBridge-enabled cameras are also supported and there is 270 MB of internal memory.
Epson's ink resists scratches and water, and is fade-resistant. The company states that the photos will last up to 200 years if stored in a dark album. If anyone hits the 200-year mark, please let me know.
Prints (4x6-inch) were great with vivid and natural colors, which required no corrections for my testing. But remember, what you input is what gets exported, so if you have good quality digital files, printing should be a breeze.
Details: epson.com, $199
For a gadget succeed these days, it not only has to work but should be unique.
This is especially the case when it comes to devices for today's tech-crazy families with multiple power-hungry devices needing a daily charge.
The Idapt universal desktop charger accomplishes this while charging multiple devices simultaneously with interchangeable tips, which work with over 3,500 electronic mobile products.
Among the products that can get the power with the Idapt charger are iPhone/iPod, BlackBerry, portable Nintendo game players, GPS units and a long list of digital cameras.
Six interchangeable tips are included and extras can be purchased at the company's website starting at $9.99.
The tips included are the miniUSB, microUSB, Sony Ericsson 2, Samsung 4, iPod-iPhone and the Nokia 2. Users can even purchase one to power up AA and AAA rechargeable batteries.
Users have a choice of getting the charger with two ports (Idapt I2) or the three-port model (Idapt I3), which I tested.
Another choice is the color of the base itself, available in black, pink, silver or white.
Some people may wonder about charging new devices now or in the future and the company states on the box, "Our commitment to continuously develop new tips ensures a never-ending compatibility."
Getting more sleep is something many people (including me) would welcome and there are gadgets out there to help out the quest for more zzzzzs.
The Sleeptracker Elite watch and the Good Nite Lite both track sleep data and help in the quest to get more of it.
The Sleeptracker Elite tracks the sleep data and wakes you up with an alarm of your choice.
Users can then upload the data to a PC to see what is making them sleep more or less. This can be from categories such as caffeine and alcohol intake or even the type of mattress.
The Good Nite Lite is a behavioral modification device, which teaches children who can't yet tell time (ages 2-6) when to get out of bed.
It features visual cues such as a glowing caricature face, which can be programmed to change from a moon to a sun.
The company is running a pre-Mother's Day special offering 15 percent off when purchased at sleeptracker.com. Enter the code MD2010 at checkout to receive the discount.
Explore further: Hidden cameras, invisibility cloaks in Israeli spy expo