Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

GPS, smart phones, the iPad and more, for all generations

A car GPS, like this Garmin model, gives visual and audio cues to keep you on your way.

Garmin

A car GPS, like this Garmin model, gives visual and audio cues to keep you on your way.

Where once the microwave, VCR and cell phone seemed impossibly modern and just as impossible to master, well, that was then. Cool new technology really gets things done in a gadget world — and it isn't all just unnecessary silliness. • Here are some of the latest tech tools that can help you preserve those crumbling photos, reconnect with your high school sweetheart or just improve your ability to go from here to there. Technology is a good thing.

Ivan Penn and Mimi Andelman of the Times


FILM AND SLIDE CONVERTERS

Who doesn't have boxes of slides and negatives from family vacations and special events from years ago? Film and slide converters will bring back those memories to view on a computer or TV.

For example: Ion Audio 35mm Slide and Film Scanner (shown), $89.99, Best Buy (bestbuy.com).

Surprise your parents: Transfer their old photos and put together a DVD of images or a digital picture frame. Too techy? Organize some fresh prints in a lovely album. (That's a good time to ID that great-aunt whose name you've forgotten.)


THE USB TURNTABLE

Just take those old records off the shelf . . . and plop those old LPs onto a USB turntable connected to your computer, where you'll then turn them into digital audio files. Don't have a computer? Offer to share the turntable with a friend who has a computer. After transferring, you can listen to the music on CD, on an iPod or on another audio player.

For example: The Sony USB Stereo Turntable System, $199 (sale price $104.19), amazon.com.

Make it pay for itself: After you're done transferring, put the old records out at your next garage sale.


VIDEO CHATTING

The webcam lets you chat by video with far-flung family, indeed anywhere on Earth. Download Skype onto your computer, attach a webcam, put on a headset and you're good to go, for free. Whoever you're chatting with will have to have a similar setup.

For example: Logitech Quickcam Orbit, $62.99; Freetalk Everyman Headset, $29.88, skype.com; shop.skype.com.

But before you shop: Many new computers have built-in cameras. Consider that option if you're in the market.




THE E-READER

Many people love getting cozy with a good book. But Amazon and Apple, among others, now offer the ability to pack hundreds of books into thin, handheld devices. Download new books or revisit Moby-Dick instantly with Amazon's Kindle or Barnes & Noble's Nook (no computer needed; black and white).


THE APPLE iPAD

With its color touch screen, it opens the world beyond the book (though it has that, too). Surf the Web, store photos, listen to music and watch movies. (You'll need a computer for the iPad if you want to back up, that is, save copies, of your downloaded movies and books, as well as get updates, and that's highly recommended.)

For example: Kindle 2, $259, amazon.com; Nook by Barnes & Noble, $259, Barnes & Noble stores (bn.com), Best Buy (bestbuy.com); iPad, $499 for a 16GB WiFi model, higher for more storage, connectivity, apple.com.

Consider this eye-opener: The e-reader lets you increase the type size. Can't do that with a book — without a magnifier!


NAVIGATION SYSTEMS

Don't get lost while driving — there are tools to help get you where you want to go. A good GPS system, technically a "global positioning system," mounts in your car, offers street maps and voice guidance as you drive.

For example: Garmin Nuvi 765T, rated by Consumer Reports as a "best buy," $169, radioshack.com, electronics and big-box stores.

For your Grandma, who has everything: She doesn't have this — yet — but she should.


THE SMART PHONE

What makes a phone smart? If it does more than call people, then it's smarter than the average phone. Text messaging, Web browsing, still and video camera options, listening to music and other features make some phones very smart.

For example: Depending on the type of phone, as well as the telephone service plan (just as you would buy with any cell phone), prices vary from free to more than $200. Check out the various cell phone carriers, such as AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile and others. Or browse from a website like bestbuy.com, entering "smartphone" in the search field.

Some familiar models: They include, from left, the Motorola Droid, the iPhone, the BlackBerry, the Palm Pre and the HTC Touch Pro2.


TRACKING DEVICES

A location-based mapping service helps you find someone when they get lost, such as an Alzheimer's patient. A computer at home monitors the precise location of someone wearing a beeper or other device.

For example: The Alzheimer's Association's Comfort Zone, $99 to $600, alz.org/comfortzone.


THE LAPTOP COMPUTER

If you're considering your first computer purchase, you might like a laptop. It's portable, and that convenience alone is a big draw. And for folks who are looking to untether themselves from the cable wire or phone line, the laptop lets you go wherever you want in the house using WiFi Internet access. Imagine video chatting from your easy chair, catching up on e-mail while watching the evening news or doing anything else you currently do at your stationary desktop computer.

For example: Laptops range widely in price, depending on the features you'd like (among them, webcams, DVD players, storage space, processor speed), from about $350 to $1,200 and up.

Some familiar brands: Mac, Dell, Compaq, Gateway.


MEDICAL JEWELRY ALERT SYSTEMS

You've seen the commercials. Programs like Life Alert allow the home user to touch a pendant button to receive emergency assistance when they have fallen or become incapacitated, or are endangered by a house fire or other crisis. The signal is sent to a center that immediately conveys information to the proper emergency team.

For example: Prices, about $30 to $60 a month, depend on service choices: VRI, monitoringcare.com, toll-free 1-800-860-4230; Walgreens Ready Response, walgreensmedicalalertsystem.com, toll-free 1-866-310-9061; LifeStation, lifestation.com, toll-free 1-866-500-4101; Life Alert, lifealert.com, toll-free 1-800-360-0329.









GPS, smart phones, the iPad and more, for all generations 06/22/10 [Last modified: Wednesday, June 23, 2010 11:42am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. For starters: Rays vs. Angels, with Cobb leading the way

    Blogs

    Rays veteran RHP Alex Cobb had a lot to say Monday about the team needing to focus on getting past .500 and building a winning record.

    And after the disappointing 3-2 loss that …

    Alex Cobb will start tonight when the Rays play the Angels.
  2. Tampa murder suspect told police he wanted to stop neo-Nazi roommates from committing acts of domestic terrorism

    Criminal

    TAMPA — After he admitted to shooting two roommates and led police to their dead bodies, Devon Arthurs said he committed the killings to prevent the pair from carrying out terrorist acts, a prosecutor wrote in a court filing.

    Devon Arthurs, 18, told police  he shared neo-Nazi beliefs with his roommates, Jeremy Himmelman and Andrew Oneschuk, until he converted to Islam, according to a police report.
[Tampa Police]
  3. Pinellas School Board approves plan that aims to close achievement gap

    K12

    After months of behind-the-scenes negotiations, the Pinellas County School Board on Tuesday unanimously approved a plan that aims to tackle the achievement gap in 10 years and settles a long-running lawsuit over the education of …

    "I'm an optimist. I think this is going to work," Pinellas School Board member Linda Lerner said Tuesday after the board was presented with a plan that aims to settle a long-running lawsuit over the education of black students and close the achievement gap. The board voted 7-0 to approve the plan. [DIRK SHADD   |   Times]
  4. With big concerts approaching, Tampa Bay venues remain vigilant after Manchester attack

    Public Safety

    In the aftermath of an explosion that killed at least 22 people — including children — moments after a pop concert ended in England on Monday night, local venues are assuring the public that security will continue to be tight at the Tampa Bay area's upcoming big-ticket shows.

    Fans cross Himes Avenue in Tampa toward Raymond James Stadium before the start of Beyonce's Formation World Tour in Tampa on April 29, 2016. [LUIS SANTANA | Times]
  5. Kahwa Coffee to open second drive-thru store in St. Petersburg

    Retail

    Kahwa Coffee will open its 12th location and fourth with a drive-thru in a former "farm store" in St. Petersburg.

    Kahwa Coffee will open its 12th location and fourth with a drive-thru in a former "farm store" in St. Petersburg.
[Times file photo]