Pepcom’s Holiday Spectacular

Pepcom’s Holiday Spectacular trade show was held at the Metreon in SanFrancisco on 27 Oct. Here are some of the ‘smartphones, tablets, laptops, cameras, apps, headphones, wearables, home tech, games and gadgets’ that we saw.

Kingston Technology Corporation was showing the Kingston MobileLite Wireless G3 (MLWG3), a small box that can connect to your smartphone or tablet via WiFi. It has a slot for an SD card (or microSD card using the supplied adaptor) and a USB slot for flash drives. The latest version is somewhat faster that the earlier MLWG2, since it can use the 5MHz band, and its a larger battery means that it is a bit thicker. These devices compensate for the refusal of modern phone manufacturers to configure removable memory cards. I was able to move pictures back and forth both to my Android phone and to my iPad. The internal battery is large enough to charge most phones twice. Handy and not too expensive. https://www.kingston.com

TrackR-Bravo – Of course the items that you can attach a Tracker to are endless, but I put mine on my very unique cane – carved to tell the story of how Mexico City was established. I can navigate without it and in the past have left it in restaurants, libraries and movie houses. This way I don’t have to do a search of all the places I’ve been. Wish they would do one small enough for my glasses. The Trackers use bluetooth to communicate with nearby smartphones. Any smartphone can detect them, so that if you left your item on a plane that then flew on to somewhere else, you could still find out where it is if another TrackR user is nearby! https://www.thetrackr.com/

ecobee was showing WiFi controllable thermostats with extra room sensors (ecobee3), to give you finer control over your environment than whatever the temperature is at the wall where the traditional thermostat was mounted. https://www.ecobee.com

HelloSign: Do you need to have someone legally sign a document or contract? HelloSign has worked out all the tedious and annoying legalities to let you do this online. They offer a free service if you just need to do this once in a while, and a set of paid services with increasing usage and capablilities. Check it out at https://www.hellosign.com

Luma makes small WiFi unobtrusive access point devices which can mesh-network to give you seamless coverage in larger spaces – they call it Surround WiFi. They come with a smartphone app to aid you in optimizing the setup; from the user’s point of view they can hand off connectivity as you move around, so there is only one SSID and one security password needed. https://getluma.com

eero makes small WiFi unobtrusive access point devices to give you coverage in larger spaces. These devices allow you to set up a separate guest network, control access times. Updates come automatically over the Internet. https://eero.com

TP-Link was showing off their PowerLine (ethernet over powerline) adapters and WiFi repeaters, and some WiFi controllable LED light bulbs. If you need Alexa to be told to turn the lights to red (or blue), there is one there for you, but it is bit pricey. There are simpler models that can be brightness controlled or tunable white light (warm white to daylight) controlled. https://www.tp-link.com

Kinematix has a product to monitor runner’s performance called “tune“. Think of it as having a coach running beside you. It consists of two sensor insoles that fit underneath you shoe’s regular insole. It measures each foot’s ground-contact and heel-contact time and can provide a running plan based on the analysis of the data and the GPS info in your phone or smart watch. I’ll bet it can be used by ballerinas too. https://www.kinematix.pt

ThinOptics have made reading glasses fun. They appear and disappear magically with a smooth swipe of your finger and they are small. Small enough to fit in a pocket, on the back of your phone, attached to your key chain or hung around your neck lavaliere-like. The tensile polycarbonate frames are what allows them squnch down and spring back. And how can they be so small? – they are pince-nezes and clip onto your nose with no side pieces – think Benjamin Franklin. A great holiday gift for friends who are old enough to need reading glasses – but want them to be fun. Styles range from $19 to $29 at Target, Amazon and more. https://www.getthinoptics.com

Rand McNally, who have been making maps for 1000 years (well, maybe not that long) have a “connected car” system called OverDryve™ with a large tablet-like screen to supply maps, dash cam and backup cam display, music streaming and even tire pressure for the perpetually nervous. http://randmcnally.com