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Tools of the Trade: January 2016

By Michael Castelluccio
January 2, 2016
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01_2016_tools

1. OLYMPUS TOUGH TG-4

 

Although most photos are taken today on smartphones, digital compacts offer more options. The Olympus Tough TG-4 is a full-featured compact that’s exceptionally durable. It can survive drops from seven feet, withstand 220 lbs. of pressure, and is waterproof to 50 feet. Double-locking waterproof/dustproof doors protect the battery and memory card slot. The lens offers a range of 25 mm (wide-angle) to 100 mm (moderate telephoto) zoom and three apertures, from a fast F2.0 for low-light situations to F4.9. A sensor-shift image stabilization eliminates blurred images caused by camera movement. It has both GPS and Wi-Fi built in. The Wi-Fi provides remote control for the camera as well as the ability to download and share photos. Pairing your smartphone is as simple as scanning a QR code from the camera’s LCD. There are a number of scene modes and filters, but the most powerful image feature is the option to take photos in Raw mode, the format that saves more image information and provides wider tolerances when the photo is developed for printing. The advantages over the standard JPEG format make Raw worth exploring. www.olympusamerica.com

 

2. EPSON EXPRESSION HOME XP620

 

Epson’s compact XP620 wireless printer is designed for wireless printing from your smartphone or tablet over your Wi-Fi network. You can also plug in your laptop via USB, insert a memory card, or set up a direct connection to your digital camera via PictBridge. The touch panel’s 2.7″ LCD will help you select or edit the photo, text, or e-mail you want to print. The XP620 profile is a shelf-sized 15.4″ × 19.8″ × 5.4″. The maximum print resolution is 5,760 × 1,440 DPI, and you can print 4″ × 6″ borderless photos in 20 seconds. The color printer is also a copier and scanner, with features that include auto background removal for text, fit-to-page, reduction and enlarging, and photo reprints with color restoration for older photos. You can scan directly to Facebook or the cloud. Paper sizes range from 3.5″ × 5″ to 8.5″ × 11″, and the Expression Home has auto two-sided printing. www.epson.com

 

3. TYLT VU WIRELESS CHARGING MOUNT

 

The Tylt Vu is a wireless charging pad designed for use on your car’s dashboard or windshield. It uses the Qi power interface to work with smartphones that support Qi charging—Galaxy S6/S6 Edge, Nexus 4/5/6, Motorola Droid Turbo, Lumia 920/928/Icon, and others. It has a three-coil system so you can mount the phone vertically, horizontally, or even upside-down. The arm of the Tylt Vu adjusts to any angle for viewing, and the mount can rotate horizontally or vertically. A micro-gel suction cup attaches to any surface—glass, dashboards, or other solid surfaces. An additional USB port is included to charge two devices at once. The Tylt Vu is 6.5″ × 3.9″ × 3.3″. It’s available on Amazon.com.

 

4. ETON BLACKOUT BUDDY

 

From Eton and the Red Cross, the Blackout Buddy is a palm-size emergency light that you turn on by adding water. In the event of a power outage, when the battery life on your phone might be critical, this small light provides 72 continuous hours of light from three bright LEDs. You peel the protective tape from the bottom and pour water over the elements or set it in a glass of water to dampen. It’s for one-time use, but you can store a new one for up to 10 years, and it will still activate when wet. The elements are nontoxic so it’s disposable. www.etoncorp.com/en/products

 

Michael Castelluccio has been the Technology Editor for Strategic Finance for 21 years. His SF TECHNOTES blog is in its 19th year. You can contact Mike at mcastelluccio@imanet.org.


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