Gadgets that Help You Hit the Road
The Interop Las Vegas 2009 show gave me a chance to break out some of the travel-related devices that have been around the office for a while. In the course of doing audio podcast interviews and videos, I took advantage of several gadgets to make my life a bit easier.
First, though, I needed to get to the show, and used the opportunity to try out the Genius GHP-04NC noise-canceling headphones while on my flights to and from the show. Priced at less than $50, the headphones combine the ability to block out background noise while still letting you listen to your music or play your games. The company says the headphones use the "superposition principle", which uses "an inverted version of the noise signal to cancel outside noise when two identical sound waves combine."
The headphones are powered by two AAA batteries (one in each ear pad), and each pad swivels to combine a more comfortable fit for the user. The headphones come with a travel leather bag and a 6.3mm stereo adapter as well. In my tests while flying from Phoenix to Providence, the headphones did a pretty good job at blocking out a lot of the noise from the plane, but it didn't provide total silence. After a while, the headphone ear pads pinched my ears a bit, so I'm not sure whether I'd be comfortable wearing them on long, long flights. Still, it's a great value at $50 for a pair of headphones that are noise-canceling, but that also let you listen to your music. (3.5 stars)
Audio podcasts were recorded with a portable dual-microphone recorder, which record the files on a SD memory card. In order to transfer the files into my PC for editing, I used the new SanDisk ImageMate All-in-One USB 2.0 Reader ($32.99). The device includes read/write speeds of up to 34MBps (according to SanDisk), and supports most, if not all, of the popular memory card formats (SD and its micro and mini varieties, MMC, Memory Stick and xD versions, and Compact Flash). A metal stand lets you keep the reader attached to a desktop system, or you can detach it and bring it along (just remember the mini-USB cable). A neat feature is a transfer button on the top of the device that automatically launches an application or Web site when transferring the files. (4 stars)
Other devices that I brought along that made my trip enjoyable (and I've reviewed before) include the Microsoft Arc Mouse, the Mophie Juice Pack Air rechargeable battery for the iPhone, Flip mino and Plantronics Voyager PRO Bluetooth headset.
Shaw can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter.