Eight CES Hits and Misses

By  |  Wednesday, February 3, 2010 at 4:41 pm

I have four more blurbs about cool products I found at last month’s Consumer Electronics Show.

In the Drink

The day will come when you drop your digital camera into the pool–or if you use your phone in the bathroom, it’ll land in some odd place. Here are products to dry them out. Pour the ingredients of Dry All into an airtight container with your wet gadget and wait for 48 hours. The other method is to slip your device into a Bheestie bag and hang loose for up to 72 hours. Neither product will help unless it’s used immediately. Crossing your fingers might add to the drying process. Both products cost $20 and–pardon my LOL–no, I haven’t tested either.

Quiet on the Set

Attach the Easy Shot Clip to your pocket, and as you wander around, it records two hours of video and sound. The unobtrusiveness of the camera is what struck me: I could wear it at a birthday party, say, and capture the event. If you’re geeky, attach it to a helmet for a first-person look to your video. It has 2GB of storage, produces 640-by-480 video at 30 frames per second, and has a built-in, rechargeable battery. It’ll cost about $70 when it’s available in April.

The Print Shop

It’s been around for 25 years (my mom still uses an ancient version from 1990). The latest iteration has all the things you remember — a way to create invitations, labels, sign, greeting cards — and tons of clipart. And Encore has added new features including smart wizards, photo editing, and over 150 custom projects. The dopey part: The new version isn’t backward compatible; nor is there a trial version. The Print Shop Deluxe costs $35 and works with all versions of Windows.

How Far Did I Go?

If you charge clients for travel time, or need to keep track of mileage for yourself or employees, you’ll love the Mileage Tracker. With a built-in GPS, it records the miles you’ve driven, including the time it took you, where you went, how long it took to get there (and back).If you want, it shows the route, including stops. (You spent two hours at the Kitty Kat Inn…what’s up with that?) The portable device generates accurate reports, ideal for IRS audits (or for tracking your kid’s whereabouts). The Mileage Tracker costs $200; there are no monthly fees.

CES: More Misses

I’m a pragmatist, a frugal one at that, and I have to be convinced that a product is useful and necessary, will make my life richer, or just make me seem bright and witty. I’m going to take a pass on these.

Swiss Tricks

Victorinox, the Swiss Army people, have knives with built-in flash drives. I think it’s silly, but I’m probably the only guy who does. They have 30 variations, some with laser lights, ballpoint pens, and flash drive with 16GBs of RAM. At CES, they were showing off a flash version with fingerprint scanning security. If you’re boarding a plan, you can detach the flash drive and pack the knife part. Prices start at about $30.

Feel the Hype

I enjoy listening to jazz. (I’m exploring online music at RadioTuna right now.) But I don’t like feeling my music, much to the disappointment of Vibe Attire. Connect your MP3 player to the vest, choose the intensity level, and start vibrating–to the tune of about $150 for the vest. I imagine it’s also ideal if you connect it to your TV and watch adult videos. Just saying.

Now Hear This

My uncle Ted won’t give up his hearing aid, the one he bought 40 years ago. “It looks like a flesh-colored Bluetooth headset,” I shouted to him recently. Now there’s the AuraEQ-bluetooth-headset that doubles as a — yep, you’re way ahead of me — a “personal local sound amplifier.” (And don’t you dare call it a hearing aid, y’hear me?) About $80.

GPS Rip-Off

It’s the thing that’s stolen from cars the most often: your GPS device. Often it’s taken because the thief knows where you are — not home, for sure — and can click “take me home” to see where you live. MapLock tried to sell me on a gizmo that leaves your GPS device in broad daylight, securing it with a locking device and what I think looks like an easy-to-cut cable. Watch the video to convince yourself this is a $50 product you don’t need.

My advice: Stow the GPS receiver in the glove compartment before you leave the car and wipe clean the suction marks on the windshield. Get rid of the black disk stuck on the dash for the suction cup on the GPS’s holder (a guess-where-my-GPS-is-hidden alert). It’s not as convenient, but depending on the car we’re in, we use either a homemade cup holder mount or a portable mount.

[This post is excerpted from Steve’s TechBite newsletter. If you liked it, head here to sign up–it’s delivered on Wednesdays to your inbox, and it’s free.]

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