Space Bar Monitor stand + 6-port USB hub by Quirky – Review

Space Bar Monitor stand + 6-port USB hub by Quirky – Review

Quirky - Space Bar 6-Port USB Hub - Back

What we love…

easy to set up out of the box, reduces clutter on your desk and maximizes charging space for a variety of devices which use USB charging

What we’d love to see…

a better place to store your cords when not in use as well as a better description of which ports you can use for what, I found some ports worked for synching my iPhone while others did not

Summary

Overall, a fun easy to use accessory which will minimize clutter on your desk and allow you to charge multiple devices as well as providing additional storage space

Our Rating

recommended-by-the-imums

The Quirky Space Bar Monitor stand is much more than your basic monitor stand – it’s also a six port USB hub that also holds your monitor.  The dimensions of the product are 21.88 x 6.63 x 1.88 inches and on each end it includes four USB hubs along with power on the back and two additional plugs for USB products.  I placed a standard 27″ monitor along with the various devices I was charging including my camera, two iPads, an iPhone on the stand.  The stand is rated to hold 25 lbs and I think mine was holding about that with all the items I was charging.  The device does take up quite a bit of space, especially on smaller desks, but it makes up for the lost space in being multifunctional.  In addition, when not in use, a standard Apple keyboard (and some PC keyboards) will fit in underneath the stand allowing you to have more space at your workstation.  Quirky is a company that works with inventors who submit their ideas for a product.  Once the product is submitted to Quirky, the power of social media takes over and a variety of people help the inventor with their idea and  decide if the product should be built out further and then voted on to see if production should move forward.  After that, if the product is selected to be manufactured then people can purchase it via a variety of methods including Quirky’s site, Amazon and other sites.  Typically once the first run of a product runs out, Quirky will incorporate feedback in the product before making another batch of them.  The inventor of this product is Michael Cavada who is a teacher at a school in Pennsylvania who teaches photography and runs a Mac® computer lab who was trying to come up with a solution for keeping the room neat and tidy.

More space, more portsThe Space Bar is a sleek addition to my desk which allows me to seamlessly charge my gadgets.  I liked that you could charge any device that used USB which meant you could charge phones, tablets, speakers, frankly anything that used USB.  I frequently have more things to plug in than space on my desktop and laptop so this seemed like a nice solution that was very quick to set up out of the box and start using.  I liked that it helped to minimize the clutter on my desk by providing one spot for me to charge everything and the black surface made it easy to clean and didn’t collect dust on my computer parts.  Another solution could be that instead of using the space underneath for your keyboard that you could slide your gadgets underneath and put them out of sight.  I also slid an external backup drive as well as a few other things underneath the device instead of putting my keyboard under there which meant they were quick at hand when I needed them.

One of my wishes for the Space Bar was a place to store the cords when I wasn’t charging things.  When I finished charging things I was left with the cables which were just hanging out on my desk.  It would have been nice to have something to coil them up on so I could leave them plugged in but not have the clutter on my desk.  I also wish there was a way to have the USB ports sync your Apple devices with your iTunes account, currently the front four ports will allow you to sync but the back two do not.  I also wish that there was an option to remove the backlight from the ports when not in use – it’s a neat feature during the day, but if you have your computer set up in your bedroom it can be a bit of a deterrent to sleep.

Overall, this is a space saving solution that provides six USB ports in either white, aluminum or black to match your choice of colors for your desk.  The model I tested had USB 2.0 ports, although I’ve been told they have upgraded to USB 3.0 now.  The price point for the product seems to be on target given that you get additional desk space, the ability to charge multiple devices as well as a cleaner look for your desk.

This product can be purchased in black or white for $99.00 or for $129 in brushed aluminum and is available from Quirky here .

Alison, the American iMum is from Massachusetts. She lives there with her sons and husband. In their spare time, they enjoy playing outside, enjoying nature and of course testing apps and fantastic products on their devices. They have a variety of devices including an iPad, iPhone, and an iPod and is often found with a device! My older son loves technology and loves testing out the “latest and newest” apps and tech. I love sharing information about apps and products with others to help them make decisions without feeling overwhelmed with all of the choices.
NETGEAR Push2TV Wireless Display HDMI Adapter with Miracast (PTV3000) by Netgear

NETGEAR Push2TV Wireless Display HDMI Adapter with Miracast (PTV3000) by Netgear

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What we love…

easy to install, allows you to watch TV, look at photos, watch movies

What we’d love to see…

more explicit instructions on the need to update the firmware on a laptop and suggestion to use a laptop for the first time use

Summary

Quick, easy to install device that allows you to mirror your device to a TV or other larger screen enabling a larger audience to enjoy

Our Rating

recommended-by-the-imums-300x71

The Netgear Push2TV Wireless Display HDMI Adapter with Miracast from Netgear is a really cool device that allows you to mirror items from your Android, Windows, Kindle or other non iOS device directly to your TV.  This small device allows you to show videos, photos and other items from your smart device up to 1080 pixels and provides really good sound as well allowing you to “stop passing the device” when you want to look at photos or watch a movie and instead allow you to watch at the same time.

We recently moved, and although we had internet set up pretty quickly it took a few days to get cable working.  When my son asked if he could look at pictures on my laptop – I did one better.  I opened the box and had the Netgear Push2TV set up in about 30 minutes including the downloading of new firmware.  The setup was straightforward, simply connect the Netgear Push2TV to a power source, plug in the HDMI cable to both the back of your TV and the back of the device.  When I got the device in the mail, I had downloaded the latest firmware for the PTV3000 onto my laptop knowing that it would be necessary in order to use it and I encourage you to do so before opening the package.  Once we had the device set up, I turned on Netflix and instantly we started streaming a movie which meant that my son was very happy!

A few tips of use, I did find that by putting the PTV3000 and the laptop fairly close together meant the signal was stronger and they worked together more effectively.  If I had them any more than 15-20 feet apart we started to see a few skips in the playback on the TV.  I would also suggest that the first time you use it, that you use a laptop rather than a tablet or smartphone so that you can update the device drivers.  We also really liked the slideshow version as my son loves to look at photos – I loaded a bunch onto the laptop, fired up music and then put on a slideshow of photos.  I’m thinking this would be great if you had an event and didn’t have time to do a formal slide show or even for a birthday party to show how your child has grown up over the years.

One other thing I really liked up the PTV3000 was how small it was – as you can see by the photo below it’s about the size of half a pencil.  That means it is super portable and will fit easily into your laptop bag to bring along with you as long as you have a good internet connection.

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In terms of future enhancements, it would be nice if the first time you plugged in the Netgear Push2TV and then subsequent times that it automatically checked for firmware.  I had read the card in advance and was aware it would need to update but the process wasn’t necessarily as smooth as I would have anticipated.  I also would like to see a note on the package that you need to purchase a HDMI cord in order to use the device, I had an extra so I was lucky that I didn’t disappoint my son when we used it for the first time.

Good picture quality, easy to set up and install once you have the latest firmware on your laptop.  My son asked me several times if this was “cable” because the picture was so good and it was easy to install.  This device means that we can mirror a laptop, smartphone (Android) or tablet (Android) so instead of all passing the device you can watch on the television.  At the pricepoint, approximately $50 this devie will enable to you have your videos, photos and display your smartphone, tablet or other smart device on the go without lots of cables. Note – this device does not work with iOS.

NOTE: A product was supplied by the company for review purposes, no other form of compensation was received, all opinions stated in the review are those of the author and have been offered honestly.

Alison, the American iMum is from Massachusetts. She lives there with her sons and husband. In their spare time, they enjoy playing outside, enjoying nature and of course testing apps and fantastic products on their devices. They have a variety of devices including an iPad, iPhone, and an iPod and is often found with a device! My older son loves technology and loves testing out the “latest and newest” apps and tech. I love sharing information about apps and products with others to help them make decisions without feeling overwhelmed with all of the choices.
Back To School Giveaway -Win an iPad Mini or Nexus 7 from iTooch at The iMums!!

Back To School Giveaway -Win an iPad Mini or Nexus 7 from iTooch at The iMums!!

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iTooch_BackpackIt’s Back to School time and to celebrate The iMums have teamed up with  iTooch by eduPad  for a fun giveaway. One lucky reader will win their choice of 32GB Nexus 7  tablet or a 16GB iPad Mini!! So whether you are an Apple fan or an Android fan you can get a great tablet for the new school year. If you win which one would you choose? To make the giveaway fun we have a little Spot the Difference competition for you – look at the 2 pictures (below) of iTooch in the classroom and find the 7 differences and you can enter to win.

iTooch make a great range of educational apps and they are available on iOS,  Android and Windows 8 Platforms.  The iTooch line of educational apps have been created by teachers and designed to meet US Common Core Curriculum standards from 1st Grade to 8th Grade. The apps cover Mathematics, Language Arts, Music, Health and Science. We have previously reviewed  iTooch Elementary School  and iTooch Middle School, our student testers found the apps engaging and we were impressed by the large amount of content and the fact that the questions kept changing.

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The iTooch apps have had a recent upgrade (since those reviews were written), new features include:

–  A brand new interface: the user experience has been completely redesigned in order to be clearer, more colorful and simpler to use.

– Multiple players: this feature is designed to handle multiple players such as students in the same classroom, siblings or friends.

– Speech synthesis: the most asked for feature is now available on the new version of iTooch apps! This feature will be very helpful to our youngest users who are learning to read as well as to students with special needs.

– Font Size adjustment: thanks to this new feature, users will now be able to adjust font size to their preference.

– and lots of other cool stuff, like an improved blackboard, a scientific calculator, tutorials… as well as lots of new activities.

You can check out their entire range on iTunes here:

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iTunes

 

You can check out the entire range on The Google PlayStore here

SPOT THE DIFFERENCES

Look at these 2 pictures of iTooch in the classroom and spot the 7 differences.

Picture no.1

Back_to_School_02

Picture no.2
Back_to_School_01

If you get stuck on finding all the differences check back frequently as I will drop hints here every few days to help you find them – one hint per difference!

HINTS

1) Something is missing from on top of the desk

2) How’s the Weather outside?

3) What is in iTooch’s hand?

4) Look on the floor

5) How many planes??

6) What’s written on the board?

7) What’s drawn on the board ?

There are 2 compulsory entries in this giveaway- 1) correctly spotting the 7 differences and 2) the blog post comment. You can also earn extra entries via giving iTooch and The iMums some Social Media love and via sharing the giveaway. If you do any Facebook entries please like The iMums and iTooch and friend request Mary TheiMum, if you do any Twitter entries please follow TheiMums and iTooch. Please enter via the Rafflecopter widget. Prize will be shipped from USA, winner responsible for any import duties/ taxes.

Be sure to enter all our other great giveaways too!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

 

Mary is originally from England but now lives in California with her husband, dog, cat and three children. Mary and her family love Apple products and own an iPad2, iPad3, iPad Mini, iTouch, iPhone5 and several MacBook Pros. They also love cub scouts, skiing, camping and hiking. The family iPads are also used for therapy for their daughters Apraxia (speech disorder).
 News: CoPilot Navigation Apps Updated With new intelligent ActiveRoutes Feature

News: CoPilot Navigation Apps Updated With new intelligent ActiveRoutes Feature



 iPhone5 Minimalist Map Style

Princeton, N.J. – August 21, 2014 – ALK Technologies, a global leader in GeoLogistics® solutions and navigation software, announced a new update to its family of CoPilot mobile GPS navigation apps for iOS, Android and Windows Phone 8. The update, version 9.6.2, is available for free to all 10-million CoPilot drivers worldwide.

 

CoPilot v9.6.2 brings valuable enhancements designed to make car journeys more efficient, including ActiveRoutes™ to find the best way to your destination based on actual road speeds, a free North America and Europe offline map update and new CommuteMe™ time windows. v9.6.2 also brings the CoPilot Premium app, which includes unlimited use of voice-guided, turn-by-turn navigation and one year free ActiveTraffic™  service, to Windows Phone 8 users.

 

“The road trip still remains an American staple,” said David Quin, vice president of consumer applications at ALK Technologies. “The new CoPilot update will enable these travelers to navigate unfamiliar roads safer and more efficiently. CoPilot offers drivers offline maps and the flexibility to manage those maps on their device. This means that no matter how remotely a user travels, they’ll still have reliable navigation at their fingertips.”

 

The new ActiveRoutes feature provides drivers with even more accurate routing, finding the fastest route to their destination based on the actual road speeds at a given time of day. For example, if a certain road is historically slower during afternoon rush hour, ActiveRoutes will take this into consideration when calculating the fastest route to a destination.*

iOS Exit Numbers

Other enhancements in v9.6.2 include:

 

·         CommuteMe Time Windows: CommuteMe will automatically load a preferred commute route one hour before and one hour after a user’s usual departure time to and from work.

·         Motion Lock Passenger Override: Passengers now have the ability to disable the Motion Lock driver safety feature during a journey if needed.

·         Free Updated Street Maps: Whether a driver is a local or wants to travel like one, users have the most up-to-date and accurate offline maps to guide them. Maps updated include North America and Europe.

·         Map of India: CoPilot GPS now includes the complete street-level map of India. Users can download a map before they travel and navigate without the need for a mobile data connection, avoiding unexpected international roaming charges.

 

*ActiveRoute requires a CoPilot ActiveTraffic™ subscription.

 

About CoPilot Navigation Apps

CoPilot® Premium is the paid edition of CoPilot, and includes unlimited use of voice-guided, turn-by-turn offline GPS navigation with 3D maps and 12 months of CoPilot’s ActiveTraffic™ service included as standard. It is available on iOS, Android and Windows Phone 8.

 

CoPilot® GPS is the freemium edition of CoPilot, providing powerful trip planning and offline maps. Unlimited use of voice-guided, turn-by-turn navigation is available via in-app purchase. It is available on iOS, Android and Windows Phone 8.

 

For additional information, please visit www.copilotgps.com.

 

 

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Mary is originally from England but now lives in California with her husband, dog, cat and three children. Mary and her family love Apple products and own an iPad2, iPad3, iPad Mini, iTouch, iPhone5 and several MacBook Pros. They also love cub scouts, skiing, camping and hiking. The family iPads are also used for therapy for their daughters Apraxia (speech disorder).

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