COMPUTER CORNER

Reviewed by
Bill Gillespie and Rosemary McDowall

We usually write about the latest hardware or software available to schools but this month we thought we would look at the technology available for personal use, reflect on some of the issues and see what is available to overcome these problems.

If your house is anything like ours you have a huge number of devices available. We have six phones, three tablets, three laptop computers, two desktop computers, four iPods and a few gaming devices. Finding a spare electrical outlet to charge the phones, iPods and tablets can be a frustrating exercise.

The solution is to have a device that charges more than one device at a time. BlueLounge’s Sanctuary4 is one such device. The Sanctuary4, as the name suggests, can charge up to four devices at the same time. Another device is Kanex’s Sydnee smart recharge station. This smart recharge station will charge up to four devices and, like the Sanctuary4, will charge phones and tablets at the same time.

What we like about both devices is their simplicity. They are extremely easy to use and reduce the mess of tangled cables, cords and multiple chargers. Everything is contained within one neat and tidy solution. We would highly recommend these devices for any home with a number of mobile devices.

Speaking of mess, one thing that we find disturbing is the tangled mess of cords that one tries to hide behind a desk with a desktop computer or, as in our case, two computers at the same workstation. With monitor, modem, printer, scanner, computer and power cables vying for space the area turns into a tangled mess of spaghetti. We have found an elegant solution in BlueLounge’s CableBin. The CableBin is a cylindrical bin to gather and organise clutter and keep it out of sight. The lid provides an opening for chargers and connectors while inside the bin a series of hooks help keep the cables organised, allowing excess cords to drop down through the middle of the bin. Have a look at the website to see what a difference it can make in your home. While you’re on the website have a look at Blue Lounge’s StudioDesk which is another solution for hiding the cable tangle.

Another problem is forgetting to recharge a phone overnight. You know the scenario: just when you need to make that important call the phone is about to die and no one has a charger.

Well, there’s a simple and practical solution: BlueLounge’s Kii, which fits onto a bunch of keys and is dual-sided. One end is either micro-USB or Apple connector and the other side USB.

Simply plug the Kii into your computer or laptop, connect your phone and away you go. Depending on the type of phone, tablet and computer being used you can also sync files on both devices. This is a nice, stress-free solution that easily fits into your pocket or bag.

Hardware supplied by Scholastic. Rosemary teaches at The Forest High and Bill at Elanora Heights PS. They can be contacted at computer_corner2000@yahoo.com.