Look here for Brian M. Westbrook's tech news and details on topics heard on-air during weekly "Tech Expert" segments on FM News 101 KXL (101.1 FM) in Portland, OR. Listen Fridays at 6:20am and 8:20am as part of Portland's Morning News on KXL or online at: KXL.com.
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If you're like me, summer (or what we in the Northwest like to jokingly refer to as "the second weekend in August") is a time for travel-- and keeping you organized, and connected, while away from the home is what these gadgets do best.
Jumping back on KING 5's New Day Northwest with Margaret Larson, I shared some of my favorite finds for Summer Travel Tech 2012.
To get you there, or around while at your vacation destination, the portable Greenzone folding bike fits in a trunk, suitcase, or stashed away in your RV. Taking up very little room, the bike still retains all the features of a bulky full-size pedeler. Shimano components and a sturdy, yet easy-to-collapse, construction mean you'll be whizzing around the campground and out exploring in very little time. They start at $200 for the "Value" model and each bike comes with a handy carrying bag (helpful to keep your car's carpeting clean from grime and dirt the bike picks up during your adventure). Get yours at GreenZoneBikes.com or ask at your favorite local bike shop.
Seattle company Brenthaven makes a line of urban-friendly bike and messenger bags for bicyclists and travelers alike. Among the more fashionable is the Kona backpack with plenty of storage, great weight distribution and a rugged construction. The Kona Project 2 Courier Bags are stylish and functional, perfect for your laptop, and start at $150.
The entertaining behaviour-changing Striiv caught my attention as the perfect on-the-go fitness device. More than a pedometer, the digital coach helps motivate activity through game play, challenges with your friends, and real-time performance monitoring. Compete with your friends and raise money for charity (through Striiv's corporate donors!) just by staying active! The Striiv gizmo is $100 and the energy you'll gain by staying active is priceless. [We gave two Striivs away to audience members on the show-- all the more reason to come down to the studio and join us!]
Want to watch movies in your hotel room? backseat of the car? Perhaps on an airline tray-table? Brookstone makes a case for your iPhone 4 that turns the phone into a portable projector! Complete with battery-boosting, the case slips over your iPhone 4 and lets you play movies, slideshows, and more to any surface. While the case works best in lower-light (look for even brighter models in the future), I didn't find the image quality to be at all disappointing. Brookstone's got it for $229 online.
PivotHead puts a FULL HD camera right into your sunglasses. Stay active, record video, capture images and keep your hands free. Simple one-button recording takes full sweeping 1080p video with glasses that are discreet without a lot of extra bulk. Watch the clip above for sample footage. PivotHead.com to pick your frames and lens colors/style.
Liquipel in-action: My iPhone 4 gets wet!
If you asked me what one gadget I couldn't live without, I'd tell you my phone. (Camera being a close second.) Imagine my fright at the concept of being without my phone for two days so a company called Liquipel could treat it with a special process that would make my phone completely watersafe?! Today on the show, I dunked my PERSONAL iPhone 4 into a bath of water. And despite being extremely nervous-- the phone survived!! Sending in your phone takes a few days, but having your phone work after falling into the toilet thereafter? Dropping into the pool? Splashing into a puddle? I was amazed when I heard about the technology-- and now that I've tried it? In a word: Impressed. Watch the clip above to see my reaction the very first time my phone got wet. Liquipel has won awards for this technology, and like the water wisking away from the components of my iPhone-- so did my own nerves. Revolutionary technology. Treat your phone at liquipel.com starting at $59.
Keep all your gadgets organized on the road with the Targus Demolition Backpack. Mine's black, and has pockets for phones, tables, laptop, and all the charging cables/accessories that go along with the high-tech traveler. Targus has been making travel gear for years, and you can really tell between the comfortable wear and the durable construction. Check out the entire line at Targus.com.
What travel tech can you not live without? Ready to get your most prized gadget... WET? Let me know what you take with you on the road and as always, find me online: