Gadgets: Upgrade, don't trash your old iPod

May 06, 2009 By Gregg Ellman

Getting an iPod upgrade doesn't always have to lead you to the Apple store for a new model, though that is appealing.

An online repair service, rapidrepair.com has recently announced a new upgrade for , which will take the player's storage capacity to 240GB. The upgrade ($294.99) is currently made with a 1.8-inch drive for fifth-generation iPod Video players, which originally came in 30GB, 60GB and 80GB units. Rapid Repair is currently testing the 240GB drive in other iPod models in addition to selected Microsoft Zune players.

The expanded drive gives users the ability to store an amazing 60,000 songs, 50,000 photos or 300 hours of video, according to a recent product release. The numbers can and will vary depending on the file size of each song, photo or video. Compare those numbers to the largest iPod Classic currently sold by , which is a 120GB model able to hold 30,000 songs or 150 hours of video.

Once the new drive is installed, the iPod also becomes more energy efficient. Rapid Repair tests showed a 33 percent improvement in , resulting in longer play for the unit.

The company offers a variety of sizes and prices of upgrades, depending on the iPod model. Users can either do the installation themselves or have it done by Rapid Repair for an extra installation fee.

If your existing iPod drive works fine, but you want to add capacity, Rapid Repair also will sell your old drive for you. Currently only selected models are being accepted for resale.

Other options for a full iPod makeover include a new front panel, an extra thick backing and an extended battery, which will give users a 10 percent extra capacity over the existing battery.

Each iPod upgrade comes with a 1-year manufacturer's and a 90-day warranty from Rapid Repair.

Details: www.rapidrepair.com

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Kensington has some new accessories designed for the traveling user. They include the Kensington Wired Mouse for Netbooks. The USB device ($14.99) is a two-button mouse along with a scroll wheel, which works on both Mac and Windows systems.

Weighing just 0.13 pounds, the mouse has a 2-foot cable compacted into its small design, making it an ideal gadget for any laptop bag.

For security, the Kensington Security Lock for Netbooks ($24.99) is a 6-foot security cable, which coils to 3 inches when not in use.

One end of the lock attaches to the security slot found on most of today's laptops while the other has a 4-wheel keyless combination lock. Your customized combination can be stored on the Kensington Web site, www.register.kensington.com. Once you register, the password can be retrieved instantly at any time.

The Reversible Sleeve for Netbooks ($14.99) offers small laptops safe storage. The neoprene sleeve will stretch to give notebooks up to 9 inches snug and cushioned protection.

Measuring just 10 inches by 2.5 inches by 9 inches, the sleeve also can store accessories, depending on the size of the laptop.

Details: www.kensington.com

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I'm pretty picky on which cases I use for my devices (phone, iPod, etc), and once again OtterBox has a winner with the Impact Series of cases.

OtterBox says the new cases for the BlackBerry Curve 8300 series of smartphones will keep them "Thin & Sexy"; I prefer to say it keeps it secure and functional.

The durable silicone case wraps around the device in seconds, giving it a rubberized surrounding with extra padding on the corners where impact typically occurs. If it takes more than five seconds to slip your device in the case, you've done something wrong.

While the case gives great protection for day-to-day bumps and bruises, it does not make the phone waterproof or water resistant.

In addition to the case, a self-adhering clear film is included to protect the Blackberry screen. It also comes with a microfiber cleaning cloth.

The case allows users full access to all device functions, including the full keypad, LCD screen, volume control, headphone jack, speaker, microphone, camera functions and the charging port.

Details: www.OtterBox.com

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Contact Gregg Ellman at greggellman(at)mac.com.

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(c) 2009, Gregg Ellman.
Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.

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