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Refurbished CDs Support Youth Empowerment Programs In South Carolina

CD-R, DVD-R, Electronics, Special EventsNancy Woo30 November 2012

Who says the days of CDs, DVDs and Blu-ray are over? Certainly not, an online retailer of gently used CDs, DVDs, books and games. AbundaTrade offers cash for these used items and more, and sells them on their website at an affordable price. Recycle culture has sprouted full force in AbundaTrade, and everyone wins.

This year, AbundaTrade is treating a non-profit group in South Carolina especially well. They are offering 110% of donation profits to the youth mentoring program, Junior Achievement of Coastal South Carolina. What this means is that anyone can donate their old CDs, DVDs, books and games to AbundaTrade and absolutely every cent of profits, plus more, will go to helping Junior Achievement reach their fundraising goal of $262,750 to reach 10,000 students.

Junior Achievement is a non-profit organization that helps children and young adults realize their full economic potential as viable, contributing members of society. Their aim is to empower young people to own their own financial destiny and gain the tools to become independent, successful adults through valuing entrepreneurship, free market enterprise, and the special skills of every individual.

The partnership of AbundaTrade and Junior Achievement show how good intentions and great ideas can come together to form a positive working relationship. In a time when economic conditions are not altogether certain, it is collaborations like these that help spur forward new thought and innovative solutions. The youth of today are the leaders of the future.

If you’re interested in donating your used CDs, DVDs, books or games to fund Junior Achievement’s mission goals, follow these steps. And if you are donating CDs or DVDs, that doesn’t mean you lose the content forever – just back it up on a blank CD or DVD and give the rest to a good cause.

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Highlights from CES 2012

The Consumer Electronics Show is an annual gathering of companies unveiling their latest techno-gadgets for all consumers to enjoy. With 140,000 visitors and 2,700 exhibitors in the flashiest place on the planet, Las Vegas, it’s nothing less than a 4-day long spectacle, a giant toy room and a zoo full of the latest and greatest.

Here are some of the most interesting highlights:

1. Earbuds that Monitor Heart Rate:

Gym fanatics and runners are going to love this one. Instead of having to deal with all the extra weight and wires that come with carrying a heart rate monitor around the chest or arm, plus an iPod tucked into an arm strap with headphones, a company called Valencell demoed some of their 2-in-1 earbuds this year. The earbuds would monitor heart rate without the need for additional equipment. Talk about being light on your feet! And cyclists note: only one earbud is needed to check pulse, so you can still listen for traffic. Let’s hope the demo went over well so we can see these available for purchase soon.

2. Microphone USB:

As gadgets get more and more streamlined, here’s one to add to the list. Rather than using recording technology and then transferring it over to the computer, Blue Microphones propose using their handy dandy microphone USB. It plugs right into the computer so you can record and then plug in with one single motion. The company touts the Tiki device as having as-good human voice recognition through voice isolation and noise-cancelling technologies. Tiki goes for $59 on the consumer marketplace.

3. A Projector for iPhone Photos and Video:

Epson, the leader in printing technologies, now adds iPhone projectors to its long list of technological advancements. White it’s great to look at photos and watch videos wherever you are by powering up the iPhone or other Apple devices, it’s even better to watch them in full big screen glory. Now you can share photos and videos with friends by popping your iPhone into the Epson MultiPlex, which has a dock for Apple products and can also be connected to any laptop or Blu-ray player. Then you just need to find a nice big white surface, and voila! Instant projection of your favorite media. These bad boys retail between $599 and $699.

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Last Minute Gift Idea for Dad or Brother

Electronics, Special Events, VerbatimNancy Woo24 December 2011

So it’s a few days before Christmas (and the middle of Hannukah), and you still haven’t figured out the “wow” gift for dad, husband, brother or boyfriend. You know he’s just as mesmerized by his techie gadgets as the kids are by their talking toys, and you want to get him something that’ll really give him a kick. Here’s a great stocking stuffer idea for those last-minute shoppers.

He’ll probably be a little confused at first, then as it slowly dawns on him what a cool little thing this is, you’ll watch his eyes light up:

It’s not just a wallet, it’s a wallet drive by Verbatim. Shaped exactly like a black leather wallet with red “stitching,” following the look to the tee, it’s actually an external hard drive with 640 GB of storage. Measuring in at only 4.5 in. by 3.5 in., with a clever design to amuse and almost unbelievably fast write times, this one is sure to be a keeper. With one review[1] clocking a 6.5 GB transfer in at just under three minutes, it doesn’t seem like this drive is going to be testing anyone’s patience.

This clever little hard drive is backed by a seven year warranty and includes a short USB 2 cable. Super easy to use (you just plug it in and go), it won’t be fooling anyone with technical tricks – the only trick is its cover design, and that’s a fun one. While it officially retails at around $193, Amazon and other big stores chop the price down to around $100. For a stylish, sleek and fast hard drive with a lot of storage, that’s a pretty good price. And the chuckle in his eyes when he sees it? Priceless.



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Cute USBs Make Great Stocking Stuffers

Flash Memory, Special EventsNancy Woo16 December 2011

The ho-ho-ho holidays are upon us. And that means this string of blog posts are all about some great gift ideas.

We’ve already covered the excellent, thoughtful gifts you can make at home with some CDs, DVDs, high quality photo paper, a good printer and a little creativity. We’ve also given some pointers on making personalized Christmas cards from home. And now, how about some stocking stuffers?

The kids love to see their previously empty stocking filled to the brim with joyous gifts from Santa. This year, why not let Santa surprise them with cute, adorable, fun mini USB drives? Even the youngest darlings are using computers, on their own and at school, and the world of technology is only growing. School projects, essays, reports and videos are all going to be the stuff of evening homework, and giving the gift of a fun USB will not only delight them, it will also prove very useful in storing and transferring media files. And as a parent, who doesn’t love fun and practical?

USB flash drives are preferred to CDs or DVDs for storing information, especially for young ones. USBs are re-writeable, which means data can be stored, deleted, and stored again, a countless number of times, and they’re small enough to fit in a pocket. Most also come with a keychain so they’re hard to lose. And the thing about USBs that turn them from a boring storage tool into a fun, lovable toy is the wide variety of shapes, colors and characters they come in. Shopping around is sure to uncover the perfect drive for your recipient’s personality.

From cute to funny to glam, here are just a few suggestions, of the many, many types of fun USB drives out there:

For Sanrio lovers, the Hello Kitty USB drive:

For chocolate lovers, the Hershey’s USB drive:

The watermelon USB drive:

The fortune cookie USB drive:

Cute little panda USB drives:

For the glitzy glam girl, the jeweled USB drive:

For the Alien lover, an Alien USB drive:

For the comedian, the funny USB drive:

Giving the gift of a fun USB drive is sure to make them smile. And the best part? Because it resembles a toy more than a tool, the kids are sure to keep them close, making them less likely to be lost than any of the traditional flash drives. You’re sure to find the right one to stuff that stocking with.


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Making Holiday Cards: All You Need is a Little Time, Creativity and a Good Printer

Epson, Inkjet Printable Media, Special EventsNancy Woo08 December 2011

It’s the season for spreading good cheer and reconnecting with distant friends or relatives who are undoubtedly leading their own busy lives, as you are. December is the unanimously agreed upon month for taking a little extra time for remembering those people in your life who you value, but don’t get to see nearly enough.

The simplest and easiest way to send a little warmth is through the mail with a holiday card, and the most cherished ones are those that are sealed with a little personalization. There are a few options for making your own holiday cards. You can visit websites that offer the service for a minimal charge, give them a nice photo, choose a design, and have them print and send them for you. For the on-the-go person, this might be the best way to go, especially if you plan on sending a lot of cards to a lot of places.

But if you’ve got a little extra time on your hands, a little bit of tech-savviness and a good printer, it’s simple and easy to just make your holiday cards at home. This is a great way not only to save money and insert that extra personal touch, but it’s also a great wintry activity that you can do with your family. With a little creativity, a few good photos and a little time in the evenings, making holiday cards doesn’t have to be a chore. In front of a fire with a hot cup of tea, it can be a pleasant craft.

Here’s what you’ll need to consider for the holiday card making craft:

•    How many people are you making for? Making a list is a good way to start.
•    Are you going to duplicate one design or personalize each one? This is helpful for determining how much time will go into the project.
•    Does your printer have full black and color ink?
•    Do you have the paper you’ll want to use?
•    Do you have cardmaking software or are you going to use a program like Word?
•    How big will the card be?
•    Do you have envelopes that will fit them, or can you make them?

What you’ll need:

1.    Preferably an Inkjet printer. Epson carries a few top-of-the-line color Inkjet printers that print fast, high quality materials. This is where the card will either make it or break it, because using a low-quality printer or paper may just make it look like a kid’s art project. Using crisp, clean printer technology will result in professional-looking holiday cards.
2.    Black and color ink cartridges.
3.    High quality paper in bulk, like photo paper, glossy paper or card stock.
4.    Photos or artwork on the computer.

Simple steps:

1.    Find photos either of your family, you or you and the recipient.
2.    Using Photoshop, Word, cardmaking software or pre-made designs, craft a cover design. This can be as simple as a photo with a fun border or clip art arranged in an appealing way, or as complex as inserting multiple photos in a clever design, like encircling three photos in Christmas tree ornaments. This is where creativity and a little tech know-how can allow you to really make something special.
3.    Determine which way the cover will go. The easiest way to print is probably by folding a regular 8 ½” by 11” paper down the middle, hamburger style, so that you print the picture in the bottom half of the white space in vertical orientation, then just fold it over. To print a message inside the card, just flip the paper around upside down and repeat.
4.    Write a personal message inside the card, and sign.
5.    Either create your own envelopes with programs on Microsoft Word, or buy custom envelopes to fit your cards.
6.    Address and send!

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