Mac Sources Digital media blog for resources and reviews 2017-03-24T16:06:14Z https://macsources.com/feed/atom/ WordPress Jon Walters http://macsources.com <![CDATA[XShot Action Ultralight Camera Pole REVIEW Never miss that shot]]> https://macsources.com/?p=43181 2017-03-24T16:06:14Z 2017-03-24T16:06:14Z XShot provides an ultralight compact camera mount, perfect for GoPro and Muvi cameras. When camping and hiking, every ounce matters. I have been on multiple cub scout hikes and have experienced the need to carry only what is necessary.  A light pack becomes a heavy pack, towards the end of a hike.   Additionally, I […]

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XShot provides an ultralight compact camera mount, perfect for GoPro and Muvi cameras.

When camping and hiking, every ounce matters. I have been on multiple cub scout hikes and have experienced the need to carry only what is necessary.  A light pack becomes a heavy pack, towards the end of a hike.   Additionally, I have left cameras, left video equipment behind and missed those shots as there was no good way to mount/capture the video.  Our cub scout pack recently went to Cumberland Caverns and did a prolonged cave tour.  I had my iPhone 6s plus on my right hip inside of a Catalyst case.  I missed some pretty amazing shots, images that would have been captured with an extendable pole.  The Action Ultralight Camera pole from Xshot will serve that role.

The product arrives in a visibly appealing retail package, with extreme sporting graphics along the front bottom.  There is a clear window in the top left demonstrating the GoPro mount and the black plastic pole with a clear handle.  I do not have a GoPro, but I do have a Muvi camera, which uses similar mounting gear.  The Xshot device promises to be ultralight, despite the ability to extend from 7″ to 32″.  To fulfill the ultralight quality, the company constructed the Xshot handle from Aluminum.  Additionally, they coated the device to be resistant to salt water corrosion.   With the attached GoPro mount and a 2 oz weight, this device is ideal for action lovers and those on the go.

There are no included accessories with the product.  However, you will not require anything, if you are using a GoPro/Muvi camera.  The included dual prong mount, that was provided with each camera, will fit into the triple prong base of the Xshot device.  Remove the screw using the external plastic nut, insert the camera mount into the XShot adaptor and then reinsert the screw.  You can position the camera at an angle and then lock it down by tightening the nut.  If you want to reposition the camera, you will have to loosen the nut, reposition and then retighten the nut.

There is a negative to the camera mount.  You will have to use a remote control to capture your images/videos with your camera.  There is no electronic connection between the pole and your camera and thus no button in the handle.  Additionally, I absolutely love the wrist strap but wish it was solid black.  I do not like the white “xshot.com” labeled not the strap.  The coloration is attractive, the quality is durable and the aluminum feels resilient.  The screw is easily tightened/loosened and the pole will extend to any position from 7″ to 32″ securely.  The device is lightweight and does meet the standards documented on the packaging.  You can use this device for your smartphone, but you will need a smartphone mount. The Xshot Trek Camera adaptor works perfectly to attach your phone to the pole.  It may be top heavy but will work fine. Lastly, if you need a Bluetooth camera button, you can purchase this through Xshot as well.

Learn more about the device at XShot.com
Find XShot on Facebook.

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Jon Walters http://macsources.com <![CDATA[Zoonicorn iOS Apps REVIEW]]> https://macsources.com/?p=43092 2017-03-24T15:30:35Z 2017-03-24T15:30:35Z From a cute plush toy to well illustrated physical and digital books, Mark Lubratt has started a brand.  Read it yourself or let it read to you. As a father of three small children, 8 and 5-year-old boys and 2-year-old girl, I am constantly looking for ways to get them to learn and read.  This […]

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From a cute plush toy to well illustrated physical and digital books, Mark Lubratt has started a brand.  Read it yourself or let it read to you.

As a father of three small children, 8 and 5-year-old boys and 2-year-old girl, I am constantly looking for ways to get them to learn and read.  This is not so difficult with my 8-year-old  (second-grade student) as he is reading fourth and fifth-grade books.  A child after my own heart, he is self-motivated, loves science and self-learns.  My five-year-old is a little less interested in school.  He loves to watch videos, to play interactive games (ABC mouse) and to have interactive readers.  When I was little I had a Teddy Ruxpin.  I have not found much that will maintain the attention of my children for long.  Each boy has their own iPad Mini, and their own age appropriate educational apps.  I have come across Zoonicorn, which may be an interesting option for some of you.

I received Ene, the green Zoonicorn and a book titled “Buffy Meets the Zoonicorns,” by Mark Lubratt.  The book tells the story of Buffy, the bison, and her dream with the Zoonicorns: Valeo, Aliel, Promithea and Ene.  To go along with the stories, there are 4 plush Zoonicorns that stand at 6.5 inches tall and 3.5 inches wide and weighs 3,2 ounces.  I have been given the green Zoonicorn Ene.  Each of the animals has its own backstory and its own personality.  Ene is listed as the youngest of the Zoonicorns.  With a mischievous, shy, yet hugely caring heart, Ene is an amazing friend to have and to hold.

The plush Zoonicorn and book are fun and my 8-year-old read the book quickly/easily.  Many of the words are too big for my 5-year-old, yet we work on vocabulary regularly. If you are interested in a more digital solution, you can turn to the iOS App store and type Zoonicorns into the search option. You will notice a few options to choose from.  Valeo’s Adventure is a side-scrolling game similar to Super Mario Brothers but uses a Unicorn to collect stars instead of coins.   Additionally, you can get a few digital books that you can read alone, have read to you or to autoplay.  These books included “The Tag Along,” “To Catch A Fish,” “Friends Through the Storm,” and a few other games: Aliels Hidden Objects Premium Children game and Ene’s Matching game.

The book Buffy Meets the Zoonicorns is not currently available in a digital book.  The stories “The Tag Along” and “Friends Through the Storm” are both available in free and premium versions.  The free version will only allow you to read the story to yourself.  By purchasing the premium version, the story can be read to you and actually have some inflection and personality.  I do not like that each book has a $2.99 pricetag.  Personally, this price is too high for a single children’s audiobook.  I also wish that the words would change color like Karaoke.  You will see the picture and hear the words but there is no good way for the kids to follow the words.  I did like that there was some voice acting, similar to many books on Audible.  The Read To Me option requires you to touch the small arrow to proceed.  Or, you can use the Autoplay and the system will proceed page by page unto the end of the story.

When you open the app, there is a “Sign In” option on the top right.  It will ask you to input your birth date, name, email address, and password.  You will also have to add your child’s name.  Unfortunately, the link was broken.  I added my own information, it would then ask me for my child’s information.  Despite trying this multiple times, this system did not work.  I tried this with both Zoonicorn The Tag Along app and in Friends Through the Storm App.  I continued to get an “Error processing your request” message.

Summary:
My 2-year-old liked the Zoonicorn plush toy and my 5 and 8-year-olds liked the physical copy of the book.  Without any visible action, animation, word illumination, the app seemed a little basic for them.  We all had fun with the Valeo’s Adventure app and would recommend that you get the free game from the iOS store.  I do not regret buying “The Tag Along,” I just wish that it did more.
BUY FROM AMAZON

DOWNLOAD – The Tag Along – iOS – FREE

For more information, visit zoonicorn.com
Find Zoonicorn on Facebook and Twitter.

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Robyn https://www.macsources.com/team/ <![CDATA[Aluma Connect Now Available for Pre-Order NEWS]]> https://macsources.com?p=43201&preview=true&preview_id=43201 2017-03-23T20:30:07Z 2017-03-23T20:30:07Z 25 percent of profits from sales of the Aluma Connect device will be donated to support causes working to stop sexual and aggravated assaults. Aluma Innovations recently announced the availability for pre-order of its flagship product, Aluma Connect, the first personal safety device that attaches directly to a smartphone – the one thing that most […]

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25 percent of profits from sales of the Aluma Connect device will be donated to support causes working to stop sexual and aggravated assaults.

Aluma Innovations recently announced the availability for pre-order of its flagship product, Aluma Connect, the first personal safety device that attaches directly to a smartphone – the one thing that most people have with them at all times.

“A personal safety device is only helpful if you have it with you when you need it,” says Todd Baldree, Founder of Aluma Innovations. “Our goal was to find a way to ‘weaponize’ the smartphone in a way that everyone, whether male or female, young or old, can have it with them at all times because unfortunately, a vulnerable and potentially dangerous situation can arise at any time, in any place and to anyone.”

The ultra-slim safety device and app duo contains a Quick-Release Safety Wristband, an audible alarm and a Silent Alert Button. When pulled, the alarm toggle, also connected to the Quick-Release Safety Wristband, activates a loud audible alarm, which then bypasses the locked screen of the smartphone to activate the Aluma Connect app. The app, available for iOS and Android, then contacts a group of friends and family that the user has previously identified as their Social Safety Network and shares a map with the user’s current location. If available, members of the Social Safety Network can choose to be placed in a conference call with one another to discuss the best course of action. Aluma Connect also features a Silent Alert Button that allows a user to discretely notify their Social Safety Network without drawing attention to themselves or the situation.

Aluma Connect

Aluma Connect is an invaluable tool that provides peace of mind and empowers anyone with a smartphone, especially groups that may find themselves alone on a regular basis such as high school students, college students, runners, realtors, restaurant employees, Uber drivers, seniors living alone and more.

“We felt the perfect personal safety solution had to 1) be attached to your smartphone, 2) offer a super loud alarm as some estimate that two-thirds of all crimes are averted once an alarm is sounded and 3) let others know where you are located so they can help or send help. Without just one of these three key features, the solution falls short,” said Ben Holbrook, Co-Founder of Aluma Innovations.

Aluma Innovations is donating 25 percent of all profits from sales of the Aluma Connect device to support causes working to stop sexual and aggravated assaults.

“The genesis of Aluma Connect came out of, in part, after learning of the epidemic that 25 percent of college women are being assaulted during their college career,” Baldree explains. “In addition to our device and app solution, which help to combat this problem head-on, we feel that donating that same percentage of the device profits to other groups fighting to do the same will help combat such a negative rate with a positive one and put an end to this epidemic even faster.”

Pre-Orders of the device started March 14, with delivery expected in June 2017. The device retails for $119.99 ($99.99 per device for a bundle of three), and the app subscription is $1.99 per month.

To learn more, visit alumaconnect.com.
Find Aluma Connect on Facebook and Twitter.

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Robyn https://www.macsources.com/team/ <![CDATA[InkCase i7 REVIEW E-Ink Second Screen Case for iPhone 7]]> https://macsources.com?p=43190&preview=true&preview_id=43190 2017-03-23T20:05:36Z 2017-03-23T20:05:36Z InkCase i7 combines an e-reader and sophisticated case for the iPhone in one product. I’ve never really been ‘into’ e-readers. I enjoy the feel of a real book as opposed to the electronic pages that I can flip through. That said, I have read full novels from the screen of my iPad. When iPads and e-readers […]

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InkCase i7 combines an e-reader and sophisticated case for the iPhone in one product.

I’ve never really been ‘into’ e-readers. I enjoy the feel of a real book as opposed to the electronic pages that I can flip through. That said, I have read full novels from the screen of my iPad. When iPads and e-readers really came into prominence in mobile technology, many (including myself) were left wondering, “which display was better — the LCD or e-ink?” There seem to be opinions on both sides of the tracks, but thankfully, I don’t have to make that determination because, with the InkCase i7, I have both.

Touted as the second screen for iPhone, the Oaxis InkCase i7 is a fantastic case for the iPhone with a secondary anti-scratch e-ink screen. It provides iPhone users with the option to read eBooks and news articles, review upcoming events and weather, and display a beautiful custom picture all through the e-reader screen. The screen provides an anti-glare e-ink reading option with 217 dpi at 480 x 800 resolution. This resolution is quite a bit less than what you would get with current versions of the Amazon Kindle, but it’s still a respectable resolution. The display is a full 4.3 inches and it’s managed by an iOS app.

InkCase i7

The case connects to your iPhone via Bluetooth 4 (low-energy). It has 128 MB of built-in memory and a 460 mAh rechargeable battery. That battery capacity kind of through me off. I’m used to seeing thousands of mAh not hundreds. But as it turns out InkCase will run for days without needing a recharge. That’s the beauty of e-ink — it uses far less energy than an LCD.

The case itself is very hearty. It offers military drop protection and using BubblePro Technology, millions of Micro Weave locks together to reinforce the case rigidity. When the phone is dropped while in the InkCase, energy will be dispersed across the case so that your phone is well-protected. InkCase even comes with a hard plastic pick that is designed to help you remove your phone from the case if you so choose to. I personally love this addition because I’ve used it many times not only with the InkCase but also with other cases that are hard to pry off of my beloved iPhone.

InkCase i7

When I first heard about the InkCase, I was a little apprehensive about using it since I don’t frequently read material at length on my electronic devices. I do, however, love having a case on my phone and I really liked the idea of a case being more than just a case. Installing my iPhone 7 was pretty easy. The InkCase is very rigid and getting it off it quite a different story, but the installation went smoothly. According to the instructions, the next thing you should do is download the app from iTunes. The app allows you to connect to the InkCase via Bluetooth, send images and eBooks from the iPhone to the case, access the live information center, and save news articles through Pocket.

Before you can really make use of the InkCase, you have to pair it to your phone through the app. The process is pretty painless. Make sure your InkCase is powered on and then go to InkCase app > Settings > Device List. The InkCase should be the only thing in the list. In addition to pairing your case to your phone, you can also customize the look of the eReader function, connect to Pocket, and control your Widget settings.

InkCase i7

It’s a pretty straightforward device, but I have to admit that I had a bit of a learning curve. Since the InkCase isn’t a touch screen, I had to retrain myself to use the designated navigation buttons rather than tapping on the screen when I wanted to access a function. When you go back and forth between your iPhone and the InkCase, it can get a little confusing, but the more you use the InkCase, the easier it gets. The navigation buttons are quite responsive as a gentle tap will activate the function. One thing I noticed is that when you are on a screen (image, widget, etc.) and you call up the menu if you don’t switch to a different function, the menu will be slightly burned into the screen until you switch to a different feature. I don’t know if this is typical of e-readers, but it was a little jarring when I noticed it the first time.

InkCase i7

As cool as it is to have an e-reader attached to my iPhone, I really have to say that the case part of InkCase is pretty remarkable. Not only is it protective, but it’s also very slim and easy to hold. It adds very little weight (2.1 ounces) or bulk to the iPhone. The power and volume buttons are very responsive and the cutouts for the Lightning port and speakers are very precise. After my initial testing of the e-Reader feature, I just left the case on my phone because it was such a capable case.

All in all, the InkCase is a pretty cool product. I was able to read in the car successfully (an activity that previously caused me to feel ill when I read on a regular LCD) and I like having access to information that is on my phone without having to use my phone’s battery. There are some limitations for updating and personalizing that I would love to see addressed in an app update, but other than that, the InkCase has been a pretty smooth accessory.
BUY FROM AMAZON

For more information, visit oaxis.com/inkcase-i7
Find Oaxis on Facebook and Twitter.

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Robyn https://www.macsources.com/team/ <![CDATA[Moshi 5K IonBank USB-C REVIEW]]> https://macsources.com?p=43065&preview=true&preview_id=43065 2017-03-23T16:13:39Z 2017-03-23T16:13:39Z Moshi 5K IonBank USB-C is a portable option for the next generation of charging. One of my favorite accessories is my Moshi IonBank 10K. It’s ideal for carrying around in my laptop bag or purse. It has a built-in Lightning charging cable as well as a USB-A cable. It holds its charge well and is […]

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Moshi 5K IonBank USB-C is a portable option for the next generation of charging.

One of my favorite accessories is my Moshi IonBank 10K. It’s ideal for carrying around in my laptop bag or purse. It has a built-in Lightning charging cable as well as a USB-A cable. It holds its charge well and is very sleek looking. Honestly, it’s everything I want in a power bank. Recently I added an Android tablet to my arsenal of mobile technology products. As a many new products do, this tablet happens to charge through a USB-C connection. We’ve been focusing a lot on USB-C accessories lately here on MacSources and part of that is because it’s the next generation of data and power transfer. We are already seeing it as a trend with the new MacBook Pro as well as the other computers in the MacBook line of products. There are many Android products that use USB-C as their primary port, too. So, I’m thrilled to be reviewing the IonBank 5K USB-C from Moshi.

Moshi 5K IonBank USB-C

Just like its predecessor the IonBank 10K, the USB-C IonBank features built-in cables. I cannot stress how much of a benefit this is for user experience. First of all, you have the convenience of never having to carry an additional cable along with you and secondly, Moshi has designed this power bank so that the cables tuck neatly away beneath a magnetic flap. The design of the power bank is ingenious and it’s so easy to use. The battery is a 5,150 mAh capacity power bank with a 1.5A power output. The IonBank features lithium-polymer cells and SmartSense circuitry that charges both devices and the IonBank at the same time. Another thing I really like about the IonBank is its aluminum casing and vegan leather accents. It just adds that touch of elegance that I’ve come to expect from Moshi.

There is a 4-LED light indicator panel on the same side as the USB port. You can use this to judge how much battery life is left (each light is 25% of the battery). To recharge the battery, you use the built-in USB cable. The IonBank does not come with a wall charger, but you can recharge it from your computer’s USB port or any standard USB power adapter.

Moshi 5K IonBank USB-C

It’s a stylish accent piece with a sophisticated function to it. The Moshi IonBank 5k USB-C is smaller/slimmer than the 10K IonBank I have and lighter. Even though my iPhone 7 uses Lighting, I might end up carrying the IonBank around more just because it’s a little more transportable. As of right now, the IonBank 5K USB-C only comes in one color — Gunmetal Gray. I wouldn’t be surprised if Moshi releases other color options though as the standard IonBank 5K also comes in a Sunset Bronze color.

Moshi 5K IonBank USB-C

Moshi’s IonBank series of power banks are a huge win for users. They are compact and don’t require additional cables even though you have that option with the extra USB port included. They are high capacity, high-quality power options for your mobile devices and the IonBank 5k USB-C is a great addition to the power bank family.
BUY FROM AMAZON

For more information, visit moshi.com/ionbank-5k-usb-c
Find Moshi on Facebook and Twitter.

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