Gadgets: iP1 iPod/iPhone dock, Gboard keyboard

Dec 10, 2009 By Gregg Ellman

The iP1 iPod/iPhone dock from iHome is part of the company's Studio Series launched earlier this year.

With an exclusive partnership with Bongiovi Acoustics and their patented Digital Power Station technology, users will hear a solid sounding system.

If you're scratching your head about the company name, the founder is Tony Bongiovi a cousin of John Bon Jovi, who also produced some of his music.

This system was designed to deliver great sound from current recordings as well as improve the sound on older tunes, which weren't recorded up to today's standards.

The added feature can be turned on and off depending on the sound being delivered and what is needed. For a neat display of the sound feature go to www.ihomeaudio.com/iP1 and hit the "B" button.

I found the system much more consistent with the extra feature off, but it's a nice option.

This all translates to a great looking system that delivers room filling sound from a pair of 4-inch glass-fiber woofers and 1-inch silk dome tweeters with a 100 watt amp. It's advertised as distortion-free and that it is.

The unit also has a video out port for hooking up a display for viewing along with a wireless IR remote. With the remote, users can navigate every feature of their iPod/.

Once docked, the portable players will also get charged.

Details: ihomeaudio.com/iP1, $265
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To me, the end of the year is the perfect time to use the Verbatim Ultralife Archival Grade DVD's.

Most people store irreplaceable digital files (still images and videos) on a computer's hard drive. This is fine until the hard drive dies, which is guaranteed at some point.

Even if you are one of the few who do indeed backup files on CD/DVD media, users can expect these discs to last in excess of 100 years, assuming they have been stored properly.

If you wonder how this is possible, company representative Andy Marken explained: The discs are made with a noble metal as the recording layer Â- gold, which is not affected by the environment.

He explained that I can place a disc on the dash of my car down here (Texas) and the disc will warp, whip, what have you, and not be easily readable but the data is still there.

The discs cost more than a standard DVD but you will think they are well worth the money after a failure.

A good idea might be to burn your digital images on a set of duplicate discs, storing one at your house and a second elsewhere.

Each disc holds 4.7 GB of data, which translates to thousands of images for most. A 50-pack spindle sells for around $90 while a 5-pack is about $15.

Details: verbatim.com
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Gboard

The Gboard shortcut keyboard makes life easy for Gmail users.

With 19 finger-friendly shortcut buttons on the 4.88-by-3.5-by-.38-inch unit, users simply have to hit one of them to access simple things like spam and trash.

Each button is color-coded for simplicity and laid out in categories based on tasks.

Other buttons include access to compose, forward, search, select, results, show stars, escape, reply, reply all, archive, next thread, previous thread, next message, previous message, inbox and open/close.

Users won't have to load any software to use it and both Mac and Windows users can connect the keyboard to any open USB port.

Details: gboard.com, $19.99
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(c) 2009, Gregg Ellman.
Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.

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