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MacWorld Expo Gadgetfest 2011

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This year’s show is a clean break from the past, with plenty of kewel stuff to noodle with, lots of knowledge to be absorbed, and lots of old friends to meet and greet.

Let’s start with more power, Scotty! Extra power for your portables is definitely in demand, and Santom’s Dexim Visible Green Smart Charger was pulling in crowds. The Visible Green is a mains–powered critter that shuts itself down when your iItem is fully charged. Its name refers to a novel and mesmerizing charge indicator feature. Also playing in the power arena is Technocel, with its PowerPak, a smart, compact 1600 mAh, mains–charged outboard battery pack.

The folks at INOITULOS are showing a new member of their IDAPT family that’s not shipping yet. A comprehensive portable package, the company’s universal charging system plugs in to home or car to keep all your gadgets juiced. Not to be outdone, TruePower is showing its TruePower iV Pro snap–on battery pack for iPhones, with a generous 3100 mAh capacity, an extra USB port, and a brilliant white LED on the back for photos or, to light up The Dark. Last but not least in my lust for power (products) is a mention of the U-Socket from Fastmac. They’re showing a new revision of their wacky wall outlet with a difference…two actually. This replacement for a standard two receptacle outlet has two USB power connectors next to the mains spigots, obviating the need for wall warts!

OK, I can’t get past this power thing…Sun power solutions have been incrementally improving over the years and, a couple of products in particular caught my attention. The folks at Solar Components are showing their most excellent JOOS Orange, a weatherproof photovoltaic panel integrated with a massive 5400 mAh lithium ion batter pack. Santom also had a sun–savvy product, their Dexim P-Flip Solar, a folding 2000 mAh solar–charging battery and dock.

Another busy product category at this year’s show is mounting hardware for iEverything. One of my faves is the Rokstand line from RokForm. Milled from solid aluminum, these bombproof babies will prop up an iPhone, iPod or iPad, allowing you to watch a movie, presentation or slide show with aplomb. Also focusing on holding your gear, Monitors in Motion is showing several lines of gas shock–equipped monitor/Mac arms with smooth, solid feel. Another standout line of mounting gear is being shown by REVÉNA. The ELEMENTS AXIS Mounting System allows you to easily move your iPad from one environment to another, while being protected in the company’s TS AXIS case. The case carries an integral quick connect that mates with interchangeable easel, car and wall mount choices.

For those of you that embrace Apple’s diminutive Mac mini, H-Squared has a really simple solution to rack mounting a whole passel of these puppies in a small space. H-Squared also has a new single Mac mini mount dubbed, strangely enough, the Mini Mount, that easily and securely lets you attach your current model mini to any flat surface.

Out West here, we have an annual ritual known as Burning Man. For those who partake, the dust and grime of The Playa is always a concern, especially for your gadgets, who don’t appreciate abrasives on their insides. To the rescue comes Dry Corp with its Dry Case, an everything–proof, clear pouch for all things electronic.

A bit ago, I did a review of Blue’s Mikey 2G and, at the time, I lamented the lack of a good solid stand mount for an iPhone…Well, the brainiacs at YOUBIQ have come up with a solution and, though their spelling skills seem lacking, the Gymbl solves the stand mounting problem and then some. An iPhone case with a detachable, folding easel/tripod, the Gymbl also has a standard tripod thread for attaching to your favorite sticks.

Speaking of blueness, the microphone mavens at Blue are showing their new Yeti Pro, a multipattern USB model for stand or tabletop. The Pro also has analog stereo out via dual XLR in addition to the 96/24 via USB. For Flip users, the copmany has a new Mikey just for you. It adds high quality audio to a Flip’s already good looking video capture. Since I’m on an audio roll, I’ll mention TuneUp Media’s TuneUp plug–in for iTunes. This clever bit o’ware fixes, quick as a wink, many common metadata problems that your music may have.

This year, I found an excellent solver for those with too many remotes, and an under-utilized iPhone, iPod Touch or iPad lying around the couch. L5 Technology has a tiny but powerful, software/hardware combo that turns your iCreature into a universal remote…fantastic!

A quick word about Livescribe, who’s demo’ing a new Echo version of their übersmart pens. You gotta see this little dude to believe it. Last up, kudos to the folks at EZTY, who are doing their part to reduce America’s insane ability to generate waste plastics. They manufacture a line of clever, reusable wire ties and cable holder/clamps. Check ’em out…

That’s all from the show that caught my attention this year. I’ll be covering some of these products in more detail as time permits so, let me know if you have a particular interest and I’ll try to include it. MacWorld runs today and tomorrow so, head on over and mess with this stuff for yourself. There are great sales and show specials to be had as well so, see you at Moscone!

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About Oliver Masciarotte

A graduate of the Lowell Institute of MIT, Oliver A. Masciarotte has spent over 30 years immersed in entertainment tech, working with top companies & clients on marketing, production and product developmentā€¦More at www.seneschal.net/about/