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Tools of the Trade: March 2017

By Michael Castelluccio
March 1, 2017
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03_2017_tools

1. CTL J5X CHROMEBOOK

 

With a basic list price of $289 and a number of protective features built in, this Chromebook could be ideal for schools or business teams operating in environments where ruggedness is required. It’s been described as the portable you can stand on because the pressure-resistant cover can handle more than 300 pounds of pressure. As a Chromebook, it’s optimized for web operations, and that includes the full suite of MS Office and Google office applications, including Sheets, Docs, Slides, and the note-taking Google Keep. Announced in January, this Chromebook differentiates itself as a laptop that can be converted into a tablet with a 360-degree hinge. The frame is reinforced around the screen, sides, and corners, as are the ports, hinges, and the power plug. The display is an 11.6″ HD 1,366 × 768 10-point touchscreen. The central processor is an Intel 2.48Ghz Brasswell operating on the Chrome OS. There’s 4GB of RAM and a 32GB hard drive. The ports include three USB 3.0, a microSD slot, HDMI connector, and audio. The battery provides up to 10 hours on a charge. www.ctl.net

 

2. DA VINCI MINI 3D PRINTER

 

The price of 3D printing has come down to earth, and now the compact size and $290 price tag for XYZprinting’s da Vinci Mini make it an ideal entry into the world of 3D printing. Possible projects are available from XYZprinting’s free gallery of 4,500 3D models. The da Vinci Mini is 15″ × 13″ × 14″. The largest project you can print is 5.9″ × 5.9″ × 5.9″, which is also the size of the work table. Operation is controlled by a single button, and the connected colored LEDs will tell you if it’s on standby, printing, or stopped, or if it needs attention due to an error. The Mini is wireless and can receive print directions from Windows 7 and above or Mac OSX 10.8 and above. The filaments are eco-friendly PLA plastics derived from cornstarch with no DEHP or heavy metals. http://us.xyzprinting.com

 

3. LENOVO YOGA 910

 

The Lenovo Yoga 910 is a premium 2-in-1 (laptop/tablet) that has a brilliant 4K screen and probably the best watchband-style hinge for this format. The screen is actually 13.9″ due to the unusually thin bezel, and that’s about 10% more than other conventional 13.3″ laptops. The backlit keyboard has a large 4.7″ × 2.3″ one-piece touchpad, and the case is brushed aluminum top and bottom. The processor is a 2.7-GHz Intel i7 running Windows 10. There are 8GB of RAM, upgradable to 16GB. The hard drive is 256GB, upgradable to 1TB SSD. The two JBL bottom-mounted speakers have the Dolby Audio Premium system, and there’s a fingerprint reader for quick opening. The battery will provide up to nine hours of local video playback. www.lenovo.com

 

4. VENTEV s500 CHARGING HUB

 

Until we get to where we can unplug everything and wirelessly charge all our devices, we’ll be carrying an assortment of cables to support our mobile usage. Simplifying the problem on our desktop, the Ventev desktop charging hub s500 will let you charge up to five devices and keep the tangle in one place. There are two surge-protected outlets on top and three USB outlets on the side, which can be used simultaneously. The LED lights are also grounded. The hub also serves as a stand for phone or tablets so you can continue to use them as they charge. The slots will accommodate most cases. Look for charging hubs at www.ventev.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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