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Best of CES 2013: Waterproof Cases

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I just got back from the amazing and spectacular event that was 2013’s Consumer Electronics Show. I had a blast, it was a great time with great people. Nonetheless, I'm a country boy at heart, and it's nice to be back in the rugged wilderness (relatively speaking) that is Sedona Arizona.
 
If you follow my iPhone Life magazine articles and blog postings then you already know a bit about me. I'm an enthusiast of all things outdoorsy, rugged and environmentally friendly. That said, there was certainly no shortage of amazing new iOS gadgets and gear that could make valid claims of meeting the rigorous IP and MIL-STD-810 military-grade standards, that were being presented at this years CES. Read on for a sampling of some of my favorites in the category of heavy-duty, rugged and durable accessories. Trust me when I say, we have a lot to look forward to, in this category, this year.



Meetup at CES - FinderCodes and FedEx get your gear back!

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FinderCodes  is an electronic lost/found exchange (see my review here) that helps you get back your lost gear. A 2013 CES award winner, you use the service to mark and register your stuff in the cloud (with tags) so that should someone find it, they can scan the QR code on the tag and easily and privately return your stuff (and collect a reward you offer). The cloud system tracks and alerts you as well. I met with Blake Sohn, the founder of FC at CES 2013 in Las Vegas, NV, and he discussed the latest partnership with FedEx (also giving me a quick demo of the new return features), and what is next on the horizon for this up and coming mobile service brand.



RØDE iXY Stereo Microphone at CES!

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Over in the Las Vegas Hotel (right next to North Hall), the CES iLounge Pavilion continues full of great accessory gear for the intrepid wanderer! I'll be posting up a full review on the iXY from RØDE after the show, but the high points include: stereo dynamic mic input wrapped in a superb hardware package, and with a recording/sampling ability and impressive range of editing and sharing options. Serious journalism types, podcasters, and musicians that want to capture high-quality audio with nothing more than iPhone (and the iXY) should give this product a serious look!



MyScript Calculator app wins Mobile App Showdown at CES 2013!!

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I'll do a full post up on the Mobile App Showdown later, but wanted to get the word out that MyScript Calculator, an awesomely cool scratchpad-like calculation app (with handwriting recognition and the ability to solve equations) ran away with the MAS this year at CES. The app garnered oohs and aahs during the 4-minute pitch, and the applause-o-meter went off the chart as the crowd went wild for it at the end. If you grab one app this year, make it this seriously cool, award winning calculation app (currently FREE)!



App Review - Free Music Download Pro Plus

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Ever since high speed internet became widely available people have been trying to find ways to get their music for free.  While there have been dozens of different options over the years most of them have either been illegal or unreliable (or both!).  Today, however, you can get thousands of free songs, videos and even live concerts delivered directly to your iPhone, iPod or iPad quickly and easily.  The songs are completely free and 100% legal too!  This is possible by using the free music download pro app on your mobile device.



PicIT24 - Excellent combo of Photography & Social Media

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If you're one of those people who love sharing your status updates and photos with your friends and family, but you're worried that you're spending too much time on social media and not enough time actually living your life, PicIT24 is the perfect app for you.  This app helps you manage the amount of time you spend posting pictures and updates by limiting you to just one post per day and one picture per day. 



Tarot of Love App Review

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If you enjoy getting a Tarot card reading, but don’t have the time or motivation to go to an actual person to get it done, the Tarot of Love App might just be perfect for you.  This is a simple to use app which can give you a full reading for your love life as well as just a general reading about your day.  This is a fun way to get a Tarot reading right from the comfort of your own home, or office.



Game Review - Roach Smasher

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Roach smasher is a simple yet fun game where, as the name implies, you have to smash roaches.  As the roaches run across your screen, you simply tap them to kill them.  The more you can kill the more points you can get.  To make the game more challenging, if you miss a roach you will tap the ice which they are crawling on.  After 20 misses, the ice cracks all the way through and your game is over.  Every time you play you can try to get a higher score than the last time.



Majesty: The Fantasy Kingdom Sim App Review

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Majesty is a fun and unique simulation game where you play as the recently crowned king of a tiny fairytale kingdom.  Unlike other sim games, however, you don't control the action directly.  You can hire your hero's to do your bidding, but you have to make sure you have enough money to pay them or they won't follow your orders.  Managing your hero's happiness and ensuring that they are there to do what you want them to do is challenging, but then you also have to manage your time to ensure that the citizens of your fair kingdom can live and prosper.



AQ SmartSpeaker Review

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Apple's Airplay technology has reset the expectation bar for ubiquitous, wireless multimedia streaming. However, finding accessories that embrace and enhance the Airplay experience is a challenge. One company, AQ Audio, has entered the market with a wireless speaker that promises easy setup and great audio. Did they deliver on this promise? Read on to find out.



Best iPhone Apps, iPad Apps, iPod Touch Apps | iPhone Life Magazine

We review the Best iPhone Apps, iPad Apps, and iPod Touch Apps.  Whether you want to play a game (like Chillingham Manor), navigate with GPS, or discover new apps, you can easily get lost.  There are so many on the market and the number is increasing on a daily basis.  So where to begin?  The following examples are just a few of what is out there.

The Head Finder is one of the iPhone apps around. It is a task management or schedule management that helps you organize all the different things you have to do.  It has a very simple user interface and it seems they designed all the most common functions to be done with as little tapping and typing as possible which is a real time saver.  Several time management apps, in the past, have seemed to waste more time entering events and tasks into the app than you might save by being more organized.  With Head Finder you can have a new task entered in less than thirty seconds with their quick three tap process to create a reminder.

Another one of the best Iphone apps we've seen is The JumiCam. This app allows you to view streaming video from any web cam you want with ease.  It's easy to set up the software on your PC and then connect your phone to see what's going on at your house.  The JumiCam also works very well on either a 3G connection or WiFi. This app allows you to connect to as many different web cams as you want so you can monitor your entire house while you're away if you want.  It can really take the place of an entire security service if you wanted it to.  There are many ways to use this, from keeping an eye on a babysitter while you're out on a date to making sure your pet is safe at home while you're at work.

As the name describes, U.S. Traveller is made for travelers that call the United States their home and travel to countries outside their own. In opening the iPhone app, on the "Countries" tab, you are presented with a list of countries & their correlating flags. The added flags next to the country names are a nice touch, especially since most people can quickly find a country based on visual representation versus textual representation. You can travel from the U.S. to numerous countries - Chile, Argentina, Germany & Italy to name a few. This may not adequately prepare you for the countries you visit, but this will for sure help you. The amount of information and the ease of access it gives to people is incredibly invaluable.