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Technology Today  - February 2012
by Robert Sanborn

CES 2012 Pepcom’s Digital Experience

One of my favorite things to do at CES is to visit the Pepcom Digital Experience.  A lot of great companies and some really cool products. Monster, www.monstercable.com was there showing off their home power monitoring system that they are partnering with People Power to create a cloud based system to allow you to see how much power is being used by devices in your home. Using Monster power control systems, and a gateway that connects to your home router, you will be able to us an app on your Smartphone to connect and see what is going on with the units as well as to be able to turn them on or off.  It will be called the “People Power Monster Control App” and with it you can control when power is on or off, see how much is used, and do it all remotely. The single socket will be around $149 (with the gateway) and you can then add a three outlet socket for $119.

Another way to control power items from your iPhone or any other Smartphone is from Belkin and their new WeMo home automation system.  www.belkin.com/wemo/  They call it your home at your fingertips with a range a products from outlet control to motion sensor to upcoming things like baby monitor, garage door opener, and door locks.

And speaking of remotely controlling things; that theme was everywhere and one of the coolest products I saw was the learning thermostat for your home.  From Nest, www.nest.com, it is a replacement thermostat that learns as you use it, is programmable, and is remotely controllable through an app. And, its simplistic design and looks are very appealing. Available now for around $249. They were also a CES Innovations award winner.

Another take on remote control is still the power point presentation with a mouse of a different outlook from Logitech.  The Cube, www.logitech.com/news/cube is a traveling mouse that doubles as a presentation controller. It is wireless and switches modes depending on where it is. Hit the on/off switch and you don’t worry about the battery draining when it is in your bag. A very unique layout, look, and design for around $69.

FileMaker, www.filemaker.com has been around with their FileMaker Pro database for a very long time and I have always been impressed with the ease of use and setup.  They have now come out with versions for both the iPhone and iPad tablet computer that was really cool to see.  If course it really helps to have someone that knows what they are doing but to see how easy it was to put an app together and to import your data files and information make this very easy to deal with.  You create your applications with FileMaker Pro on the desktop and then access them on your iPhone or iPad. 

iPhone accessories were everywhere this year from the very practical to the utterly silly. One that I found very useful was from Case-Mate, www.case-mate.com. I got the Phantom Case for the iPhone 4S and it adds both screen and case protection in a tough DuoFlex and PolyCore material that is form fitting and very sturdy. Best of all, it is a very non slip material that when you sit the phone on nearly any surface, it stays there.  About $50 and they even have YouTube installation videos.

For years, I would store critical files offsite on a CD and then a DVD. Even with storage drives in the terrabytes, the question was always how do you securely store information on media that could easily walk off and disappear. Imation is coming up with some rather unique solutions to the problem with a line of encryptable CDs, DVDs, and Blue Ray discs. The encryption is built into the drives themselves so that if they get lost, you have nothing to worry about. Or, how about biometric flash or external hard drives to keep your data safe. Some really clever and very innovative options from Imation.  www.imation.com Look for some very cool cloud sharing ideas coming as well as a way to use your cell phone as your password.

D-Link, www.dlink.com has long been a maker of mundane things like networking adapters and routers but they are also expanding into the home theater realm with their HD Media Router 3000.  With speeds up to 14x faster than Wireless G; greater coverage in your home, and a HD Fuel Technology to prioritize bandwidth for even better performance, you get it all in one box.  You can also add on USB devices and share them on  your network and comes with gigabit ports for hard wired speeds between devices.  It will be around $189 when it comes out and this device won the Best of CES 2012 award from CNET.

Duracell, the long time maker of powerful batteries for everything has teamed up with Powermat www.powermat.com Technologies to come up with some really cool ways to charge your Smartphones. They are partnering with everything from automaker General Motors to Madison Square Garden to put their Powermat charging stations all over the place. With these kinds of deals, they are reaching the critical mass of acceptability to this technology.  You can get your own Powermat charging station for your Smartphone for around $99. With Powermat, you slide a small charging connector on the back of your phone and then can simply set it on the charging station to recharge it.  See their website at: www.duracellpowermat.us

Robert Sanborn


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