BlueSuitMom's Working Mom Must Haves: Technology
By Rachael Bender, Co-founder of BlueSuitMom.com
& Beth Bogerman, Contributing Writer
What did we ever do without portable light? And what did we ever do without the incredible brightness of LEDs? The HUGlight by ShowerTek combines two flexible rubberized arms with super-bright two stage LED lights at the ends. Called the HUGlight, it is designed to rest across the back of the neck and allows the flexible arms to be pointed in the desired direction. Each arm tip hosts two independent LED lights for a total of 4 LED lights. On each tip, one LED is for spot illumination and the other is for a wider beam. The control switch allows for toggling between both modes as well as a combination mode for even greater luminescence. The HUGlight’s usefulness isn’t limited to just your neck, as it can be wrapped or draped over just about anything, and it requires only 2 AA batteries. At under $20, the HUGlight provides affordable and handy illumination.
iGo Green Laptop Charger
Charge almost any laptop from this power saving iGo travel charger. The iGo includes two cables—one to charge at home, and one that works in the car or on an airplane. Unlike traditional laptop chargers (which can be known as energy vampires), the iGo Green™ Technology automatically reduces wasted standby power, so there is no need to unplug the charger. Another nice feature is a USB port on the base unit so you can charge your other devices like cellphones, digital cameras, or mp3 players.
We’re always into gadgets that are well designed and provide a lot of functionality. The Blackfire Clamplight does just that. Bursting on the scene just this year, the Clamplight has caught the attention of major players like Popular Mechanics magazine. We love its just-right size and the amazingly bright LED beam. The Clamplight has four basic modes: a typical handheld flashlight mode, a standing flashlight mode, a tripod standing flashlight mode, and a handle-based clamp mode. Two features allow for these arrangements and also really single the Clamplight out. The first is the 180-degree rotating headlamp with tilt-down functionality. The second key element is the pair of rubber-gripped feet at the base of the handle. Opening 1 3/8 inches wide, the handle allows the feet to be clasped around tent poles, pipe, shelves, etc. A locking mechanism will keep the halves of the handle straddled in place, forming a tripod and recalling Pixar’s Luxo Jr. desk lamp. The bright white LED bulb is not meant to be changed, and we are eager to see its longevity, as well as the three AAA batteries it takes to power it. The light beam itself cannot be focused and is fixed. The operation is a single-button affair in keeping with its design aesthetic. The more we find uses for the Clamplight, the more we love it. It’s a toolbox must.
Last year we choose the Kindle I as one of our Top 10 Must-Haves for Working Moms …this year the Kindle 2 remains on our list. Before I had my daughter I was an avid reader. With the additional demands on both “me-time” and the number of products I was lugging around in my diaper bag, there just wasn’t any room for books, magazines, or newspapers. That’s where the Kindle excels: it’s lighter than a paperback book yet can hold up to 1,500 books. No need to make the hard decision of which book to bring on your next business trip or vacation—you can take them all. One of the best parts is that you’ll save money on your book purchases. Most bestsellers are only $9.99, and thousands of classics can be downloaded free from Amazon.com.
Protect your Kindle in style with an eReader cover from M-Edge. They have a wide range of styles and fashionable colors for the Amazon Kindle and Sony eReader. Our favorite is the Kindle Icon Jacket, which comes in black, orange and red patent leather.
Wi-Fire Long Range WiFi adapter
In today’s always-on, instantly connected world, where you can surf the web while flying across the country, it can be frustrating to be working on your laptop and not be able to get a WiFi signal while on the road. Enter the Wi-Fire, from hField Technologies. It is a compact, range-extending USB device that enables you to access a wireless Internet connection from up to 1,000 feet away—three times the range of your internal wireless adapter. We tested the Wi-Fire while on a Thanksgiving vacation at a large resort complex in Hilton Head, SC. When connected to the Wi-Fire we were able to see and connect to about double the number of wireless networks. The set-up for the Wi-Fire is very easy—it involves installing software and hooking up the USB cable. It took us about 5 minutes to get the unit up and running.
Logitech Web Cam
Ranked "Best Overall" by Good Housekeeping, this webcam
connects loved ones around the world with razor-sharp HD video thanks to
Carl Zeiss(r) optics with premium autofocus. Features include excellent sound quality and
no time lag in audio exchanges. Plus, the free Logitech Vid software
makes calling fast and easy.
I love my cell phone and have found myself taking more and more photos and video clips as I capture those rose-smelling moments. As I integrate the use of different applications in my day-to-day, I continually find the need for another hand to hold the device while I snap the photo, use the navigation, or listen to the speakerphone. In these times I use the Gorillamobile. Sporting Joby’s signature articulated tri-pod design and different clip options, the Gorillamobile allows me to take fun photos while riding my bike, share videos with my seatmate on the bus, hold my Mp3 player in my car (better than that beanbag), or wear it as a fashion-forward bracelet. I have even mounted my heavier SLR to the Gorillamobile to take some “artsy” shots. With three-legged, spider-like articulation and recently released Gorillatorch flashlights, Joby makes tri-pod design fun and functional.
For those of us who are still intimidated by the whole music downloading thing or who still want a radio option on their player, Sansa just might have the right player for you. Called the slotRadio player, this compact device (2” X 2” x .6”) is ultra portable for commuting or the gym. It boasts a small (1.5”) but high-resolution black and white OLED screen that displays artist and song, radio dial number, or radio call name ( depending on station). An integrated metal clip on the back allows for easy securing. To make FM radio listening easier, the player allows toggling between multiple user-chosen station presets with the touch of a button. Manual station selection (helpful for our gym’s CardioTheater) and seek mode is also permitted. The real ease of use comes with the MicroSD card slot in the top of the player. Typically found in cell phones and digital cameras, the MicroSD cards in this application come pre-loaded with 500–1,000 randomized songs aided by a marketing agreement with Billboard Magazine. The included “mix card” gives a nice sampling of available genres; we particularly liked the “Work Out” mix that was loaded. Other genre-specific cards can be purchased separately. Minor drawbacks include the inability to repeat a track or return to a track you might have accidentally skipped over. Battery life was excellent as we averaged over 10 hours of use consistently and a full charge took less than an hour. The included earphones are standard fare, and the charger is portably small. The original hard-shell packing case is well designed, and we use it for storage and to travel. With a compact design, great value, and no-downloading fuss, the slotRadio player may be just the bridge over your technological gap.
Moshi Voice Control Travel Alarm Clock
Many times when I’ve been traveling, I’ve put my trust in a morning wake-up call at the hands of an automated dialer at the front desk of a hotel. Then the phone rings twice and I sleep right through it—or they forget to give me my wake-up call. Well, after trying out the Voice Control Travel Alarm Clock from Moshi, I know I’ll never have to rely on an auto dialer again. This compact alarm clock allows you to set the time, set the alarm, choose the alarm sound, turn off the alarm, snooze, check the temperature, or ask for help, all on a voice-controlled system. The snooze feature allows you to sleep for the average 9 minutes between each alarm. Moshi has designed this sleek clock in four different colors: black, white, pink, or blue. At $24.99 this technology and accuracy is worth not being late to that meeting ever again.
We've found many other great products and services that are either Must Haves or Great Finds. You can read our recommendations and those of BlueSuitMom readers in the following categories:
Over the next year, we'll continue to add to the list, so if you know of something we missed, please send us an email.