Gadgets: Card reader helps you shop safer online

Nov 26, 2009 By Gregg Ellman,

NetSecure Technologies SmartSwipe credit card reader is a new device to help Internet shoppers or small business owners.

In one swipe, the USB device reads your credit card, enters it to the Web site where you are shopping but makes it difficult for hackers to monitor keystrokes and steal the account number.

Unfortunately it only works on Windows systems. The installation is simple since you just load the drivers from the included CD and start shopping. And, like you should with any installation, check the company's Web site to ensure that you have the latest drivers.

The device looks like an egg with a groove cut in the middle to slide the credit cards. A USB cord is attached to the back and connects to the included USB extension cord if more reach is needed. A small, blue LED light is visible to let the user know the status of the device.

The software puts an access button in the menu bar of . Once you get to the checkout portion of your purchase, click the button, swipe your card and your information is entered.

According to the company, the device has an advanced Cryptographic Provider. This gives users the sense of security they get with bank ATM machines.

Details: smartswipe.ca, $89.99
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Kensington Charging Dock with Mini Battery Pack for and iPod gives any user all the power they need for extended use.

The drop-in dock will charge the device and dock the included Mini Battery Pack.

This extra batter life extends play time on the device up to 30 hours for music, six hours for video or three hours of talk time, according to the company's web site. Actual time can vary depending on the age of the battery and from device to device.

A detachable USB cable connects the desktop device to a computer to charge or sync. If no computer is around it can connect to the included USB wall outlet plug, which makes a for a great travel combination.

According to Kensington, it's compatible with iPhone 3G, iPhone, iPod touch, iPod nano (1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th gen), iPod classic, iPod mini and iPod (1st, 2nd, 4th, 5th gen).

Details: kensington.com, $69.99
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My favorite Mac utility software, JoeSoft's Drive Genius, has released version 2.2.1 that is Snow Leopard (10.6) compatible.

Apple won't come right out and say that this is the software utility you need to use but indirectly it's obvious.

Several years ago, before I had my own version of Drive Genius, I visited the Apple Genius bar at my local Apple store only to have them run this software in order to get my laptop up and running again. After the second time it was obvious I needed to have my own copy.

Every computer has unnecessary files buried in the hard drive taking up space. This new version includes DriveSlim, which is a safe and easy way to get rid of these unwanted and unnecessary files.

The new version has an updated user interface and includes all the favorite options including Disk defrag, directory repair and the ability to repartition a hard drive. It can be used when problems arise, or just on a regular maintenance schedule to prevent problems.

To me, this software is one of the things my laptop doesn't leave home without.

JoeSoft has also updated Data Rescue 3, which includes a brand new animated graphical user interface.

The software can recover over 100 new reconstructed file types have been from the previous version.

In addition it has a new File Previewer feature, which allows users preview file types prior to them being recovered.

Details: prosofteng.com, $99
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SanDisk's new 32GB SDHC (Secure Digital High Capacity) is among the fastest currently on the market and has the new Class 10 performance rating for HD video recording.

The memory card can read/write at up to 30 megabytes per second for both still and video digital photography enthusiasts. This translates into users being able to utilize many of the advanced features of today's never ending line DSLR cameras.

Often digital photographers take a burst of photos and get frustrated with how long it takes for the images to be written to the card. While waiting this out, often cameras won't allow another photo to be taken.

That usually means the camera is working too fast for the memory card. With the new faster cards, the card should keep up.

In addition to the speed, today's cameras are taking files that are bigger than ever, especially when shooting in RAW format, which takes up to 10 times the amount of storage space as JPGs.

Users can store thousands of RAW images or even several hours HD video. The exact number will vary from camera to camera.

Details: sandisk.com, 32GB $389.99, 16GB $195.99, 8GB $119.99
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(c) 2009, Gregg Ellman.
Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.

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