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Tools of the Trade: July 2016

By Michael Castelluccio
July 1, 2016
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07_2016_tools

1. DELL INSPIRON

 

The Dell Inspiron 11 3000 Series 2-in-1 Special Edition (3153) is a convertible laptop and tablet that remains in the budget-level category even though it has been upgraded from its predecessor (3147 edition) with a solid-state drive, an improved processor, 2GB more memory, and dual-band Wi-Fi. Compact and lightweight (7.9″ × 11.8″ × 0.76″ and 3.07 lbs.), the Inspiron has an 11.6″ HD (1,366 × 768) LED-backlit touch display with wide viewing angle and a spill-resistant, backlit, full-size keyboard. The 360-degree hinge lets you flip the keyboard to lie flat on your desk or lap. It has a sixth generation Intel Core i3 processor and 4GB of memory. The solid-state hard drive is available in configurations up to 128GB, and there’s Intel Dual Band 802.11 ac Wi-Fi as well as Bluetooth 4.0. The operating system is ­either Windows 10 Home or Pro, and the five ports include a media card (SD, MMC), one USB 3.0, two USB 2.0, and HDMI 1.4a. The on-board camera is an HD (720p) webcam. The battery life is rated at up to 11 hours. The 2-in-1 also has 20GB of free Dropbox cloud storage for 12 months. www.dell.com

 

2. INNOV8

 

Now that external hard drives are available in capacities ranging in hundreds of gigabytes, the practice of frequent backups of your desktop, along with a lot of what’s on your network, is commonplace. With its ­Innov8, Seagate has upped those capacities, won a major design award, and eliminated the power cord. The Innov8 is the first 8TB USB-C powered external desktop storage unit. A single, reversible USB-C cable is all you need to power the drive and access its 8TB (8,000GB) of storage. There’s no power cord; just plug in the Innov8 to your computer and the USB 3.1 connection opens Seagate’s Ignition Boost technology. The all-­aluminum layered case won a reddot Design Award for 2016. www.seagate.com

 

3. NOTABILITY

 

Among the two million apps in the Apple App Store, Notability has consistently appeared in the top 10 for productivity, often as number one. It’s simply the best for creating handwritten or typed notes, sorting and storing those notes, and then working with them later. You can write pages of notes at a meeting while also recording what’s said. Later, when you open the notes and the audio, you can tap lines in the notes and play back tracks to that exact place. The audio is automatically synced to the corresponding written lines. There’s a zoom panel for writing in a larger space and wrist detection to ensure marks will be made only by the stylus. There’s a wide variety of lined and unlined paper styles, and numerous themes for the home interface. You can share notes as PDFs or audio with e-mail, or save to Dropbox, Google Drive, Box, and iCloud. For a great detailed tutorial, search Sakitech’s YouTube “Best Note Taking App for your iPad-Notability.” Sorry, no Android yet, just iOS for Apple devices available at the AppStore.

 

4. NUBRYTE

 

The NuBryte Touchpoint looks like a tablet mounted on your wall, but it’s really a console to control your lighting and provide ­energy monitoring, a personalized weather forecast, a family calendar, and, with additional units installed, a wireless intercom. About 5″ × 5″ and 2″ thick, the touchscreen can replace one or more of your light switches. There are five smart lighting modes for wake-up, bedtime (gradually dims), ­vacation, motion (on when you enter a room), and night-light. The unit has a built-in subscription to free home security with a wide-angle security camera and motion detector. www.nubryte.com

 

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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