PompAdapter brings faster charging to existing devices

It’s a common problem. A phone call must be made, but there is no power left on one’s smartphone. Attaching a charging cable is easy, but typically results in a long wait until there is enough juice to make a call.

patent-claimedPompAdapter is a universal power adapter that doubles the charging speed of any mobile device charging cable that a user already owns. The patent-pending (in China) accessory can be used with any laptop or notebook computer, and any Android or iOS smartphone or tablet. PompAdapter just needs to be plugged into any device charger. PompAdapter ships in August at future pricing of $39.99. But Indiegogo backers can get one for a pledge starting at $19 for early birds. Its makers are looking to raise $3,500 by June 2.

This device is a handy one for just about any consumers who own mobile devices –- especially when traveling. An additional plus is that PompAdapter won’t drain a device’s battery even if it remains connected all night long, its makers say.


Ultra-slim Wekey Pocket folding keyboard may be thin on experience

Just because a keyboard folds up doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s easy to drag around with us while traveling. If it can’t fit in a pocket, one can make a case that a keyboard still isn’t much more portable than a traditional keyboard that doesn’t fold up.

Wekey Pocket is a wireless, foldable keyboard with a QWERTY keyboard and a thickness of just under .24 inches, allowing it to easily slip inside a pocket. Its makers claim Wekey is the world’s thinnest and lightest keyboard, pointing out that existing foldable keyboards are more than .39 inches thick when folded.

Cell Phone Accessories

Connex provides a cable as its calling card

Conventional data cables are often either too long or too short to reach the devices they are being connected to. Another frequent issue with cables is that they tend to get tangled up –- especially when there is more than one of them.

Connex is a flat universal data cable that’s been pressed into the shape of a credit card. It’s made of durable synthetic silicone that allows it to stretch up to 18 inches and then collapse again when needed. Connex ships in June at $15 for a Micro USB version and $19 for an Apple Lightning connection version. But early bird Kickstarter backers can get them for pledges starting at $9 or $13, respectively. Its makers hope to raise $5,000 by April 18.

This is an enormously handy accessory to have for a wide range of devices. But a version that can stretch more than 18 inches would be even handier for some consumers. Users of devices that don’t use Lightning and Micro USB, including older Apple devices, are out of luck, so more compatibility options would be nice also.


Networking gives the blues to would-be data invaders

Most computer users want an effective way to protect their data, especially while online. Cloud-based applications and services, however, tend to be open to the public and leave data stored there at least somewhat vulnerable to invaders. is an easy-to-use home server designed for Internet users who work in the cloud a lot and want to protect their data in a simple way that doesn’t require advanced knowledge or frequent updating. The stores data safely while users are at home and can be used in conjunction with various applications, including file sharing and note-taking. REDS-compatible applications stay in the public cloud, but data is processed and stored on the user’s side instead of in the cloud. Users decide who can access their data.


EBlocker lets you block online ads, tracker software

Online ads and digital trackers continue to be an annoying -– and potentially costly or even dangerous –- part of using the Internet, especially when it’s kids who are the ones surfing the Web.

patent-claimedEBlocker is a small, white plug-and-play smart device. It automatically blocks online services that are secretly collecting information about computer users while they’re using any devices in the home to access the Internet. EBlocker can also cloak the device that is being used to access the Internet –- whether it’s a computer, mobile device or game system –- and make it appear that a different device is being used to access the Internet to fool dynamic pricing engines. Once connected, all online traffic is routed through eBlocker for analysis.

The patent-pending eBlocker ships in June at about $217, although early bird Kickstarter backers can get one at pledges starting at about $108. Its makers are looking to raise $81,700 by Feb. 17.

eBlocker must address whether its protection of all home Internet devices justifies buying it instead of just relying on filtering programs and services that perform some of the same blocking functions. One advantage it has is that there is no software to install, a feature that will likely be appealing to many consumers. But buyers will have to cough up more money –- at least $59 — to continue using eBlocker after the first year or they will not get automatic  updates anymore. Future pricing of eBlocker Pro automatic updates start at $59.



Cinq makes it a cinch to add second computer screen

Adding a second screen to one’s laptop computer can come in extremely handy, whether working at home, an office or on the road. After all, it cuts down significantly on the need to toggle back and forth between multiple windows on a PC to find necessary information.

patent-claimedCinq is a portable, 13.3-inch HD (1600 x 900) monitor that connects via USB to a laptop or Intel-based tablet such as Microsoft’s Surface Pro. It mounts to the laptop in two steps: the user applies a clear vinyl Lid Rail Skin to the laptop lid, and then attaches the Lid Rail using a clamp.

Tech Accessories

Saent PC accessory keeps you focused on work, not reading Backerjack as you should

Many people spend a large percentage of their work days on their computers. In many cases, their work would get done a lot faster if they weren’t constantly sidetracked by numerous online distractions.

patent-claimedSaent is a computer accessory that includes a small, circular smart device that acts as a large desktop button. When a user presses the button, a focused work session begins and Saent’s software starts working to block distracting apps and Web sites on the computer. Saent costs $39 as part of its Indiegogo campaign, including one year of premium service, and will ship in November. The retail price wasn’t set yet, but will likely be $49-$69, said its maker, who set a campaign goal of raising $100,000 by Aug. 7.

The Saent hardware doesn’t take up much space on the desk and could certainly come in handy for many consumers –- especially those who are easily distracted while working on their computers. Blocking out distractions could, however, lead to stress if the user is worried about missing something important, such as a crucial email. A “what you missed” report is planned for Saent in the future, allowing users to catch up on what they missed while working and blocking out distractions.

That report would be helpful, but won’t change the fact that some important things could be missed by the user throughout the work session. Some users will also likely find the Saent hardware itself unnecessary because its software could conceivably accomplish the main goal without it. And with the constant threat of distraction driven by smartphones and smartwatches,  users will have to utilize a bit more discipline than Saent can muster by itself.

Tech Accessories

With new MacBook ports, Apple taketh away and Hub+ giveth back

A consumer has just bought the new 12-inch MacBook and wants to connect a desktop monitor or a couple of other devices to it. That consumer will quickly realize that it’s not possible out of the box because Apple’s new computer only has one USB-C port.

patent-claimedThe Hub+ solves that problem. It’s a USB-C hub specifically designed for the new MacBook that offers all the ports most users will need, including two USB-C ports, one SDXC card reader, one mini DisplayPort and three USB-A charging ports. It also includes a built-in lithium-ion battery to charge any mobile phone. Hub+ costs $99 and will ship in July. Its maker set a Kickstarter goal of receiving $35,000 by June 16.

The compact hub is targeted at a very niche customer base at this point because it was designed specifically for the new MacBook. But it could be seen as a must-have accessory for anybody who buys that computer or a wave of new laptops that wlll use USB-C such as the new Chromebook Pixel.

Tech Accessories

Brik Case makes customizing MacBooks a snap

Many laptop users like to personalize the tops of their computers, a fun activity often accomplished with stickers. Laptop users, however, may get tired of previously chosen designs. Not helping matters is that many stickers can be extremely hard to fully remove.

The Brik Case offers a novel way for users to more easily customize their laptop. The Brik Case is a customizable laptop case that uses toy bricks which allow users to constantly change the design of their case. The Brik Case was conveniently designed to easily clip on and off MacBook Pros and MacBook Airs, so long as they were manufactured in 2013 or later. Notably, the case isn’t officially licensed by Lego, Mega Bloks, PixelBlocks, Kre-O or K’Nex. Nonetheless, the Brik Case is still compatible with all of those toy bricks. Its maker is planning to ship the case in August with $39.99 pricepoint. Its makers are hoping to raise $30,000 to help pay for the molds, packaging, engineers and the first order of Brik Cases. The campaign end date is slated for April 25.

The Brik Case hold a lot of promise, albeit for a very niche audience: MacBook users who are fans of Lego and other toy bricks. Making a version for Windows PCs would be an obvious move that could significantly expand the market for the case. The product’s Kickstarter campaign, however, makes no mention of such plans in the future.


ErgoDox EZ keyboard blends ergonomics, mechanical switches

Two criticisms are sometimes made about today’s standard computer keyboards. One is that they don’t offer much comfort while typing. The other knock is that the lack of an audible clicking noise when a key is struck can sometimes lead to less accurate typing.

The ErgoDox EZ keyboard addresses both of these issues. The keyboard itself is split in half, allowing each side to be placed at a slight distance from each other or angled to provide greater comfort to the user. The design, its maker says, can therefore help prevent issues such as carpal tunnel syndrome and repetitive stress caused from typing. Because the product is a mechanical keyboard, it has individual switches under each key which promises to make for a more accurate and faster typing experience.

The keyboard follows the existing ErgoDox, which has only been available as part of a kit that buyers have to assemble on their own. The EZ version will cost $250 and is slated to ship in December. Its maker is hoping to raise $50,000 by April 25.

The ErgoDox EZ keyboard holds promise for fans of mechanical keyboards. The split design is a nice feature already available in rival products such as the Kinesis Freestyle 2. Another appealing feature is the programmable functionality of the key layout, but it’s not clear from the product’s Indiegogo campaign just how simple that will be for users.