The Flip-Pal mobile scanner (model 100C) does an amazing job of just that: scanning photos, documents and even books on-the-go. The device stores easily in a computer bag or laptop for ultimate portability.
It’s powered by four AA batteries and works on its own, scanning directly to the included removable SD memory card, without needing a computer.
The scanner also supports wireless Eye-Fi SD memory cards (not included).
The device as a whole measures 1.3 by 10.3 by 6.5 inches, and a pass-through scan viewing area is 4 by 6 inches
The SD memory card comes with stitching software to combine multiple scans, which comes in handy since often you’ll be scanning things larger than 4 by 6 inches. It worked well stitching tests of a document and an 8-by-10-inch photo.
You can choose resolutions of 300 or 600 pixels per inch, and both were complete in less than 30 seconds, including time for the scanner to reset itself.
What I loved was being able to turn the scan over to copy photos mounted in glass as well as images from books (copyrights do apply, so always check). The scanner allows you to see through to the scanning area to make sure everything is positioned correctly.
After scanning, you can view the results on the built-in 1.7-inch color LCD.
A press release for the scanner had some clever uses listed, including a baby’s foot and genealogy hobbyists. http://flip-pal.com, $149.99
Local TV antenna
For years, it seemed we couldn’t get enough TV channels for movies, news or sports. Then recently we’ve encountered the “cut the cable” era, eliminating many of those channels. During that era, the ways to get your local TV broadcasts changed dramatically.
The Winegard FlatWave Micro compact antenna is a great solution and costs only $21.99. As a company representative pointed out, this is a one-time payment with no monthly fees.
The antenna receives local broadcasts from up to 30 miles away. It’s a thick piece of paper measuring 5.25 by 7 by 0.5 inches, which is a long way from the big and bulky rabbit ears my family had on TVs when I was a kid.
The size lets you hide it most anywhere as long as the attached 5-foot co-axial cable is within reach to connect to your TV.
Setup takes just minutes. Connect the cable and run a channel scan to see what it picks up; it’s that easy.
It worked at home, and since it was small and compact, I took it along on a recent road trip. Most of the local channels came in as if I had the hotel cable TV plugged in.
A few channels did have some static, and moving around the antenna seemed to help, working best when I had it against a window. www.Winegard.com, $21.99
iPad Air case
A case and a Bluetooth speaker are essential for iPad owners. The slim (14 mm) designed SoundCover folio speaker for the iPad Air brings them together.
The speakers won’t produce the great head-banging sound you get from many portable Bluetooth speakers, but it’s better than the tablet’s internal speaker.
You must remove the iPad since the touchscreen faces the SoundCover for storage and protection. But once it’s removed and you open the kickstand, the two are synchronized for use (after the initial paring).
You’ll get up to 15 hours of playback before a USB charge of the 3300 mAh lithium polymer battery is needed. Once the iPad is back in the case, it automatically shuts off to save power.
The speaker can be paired with other Bluetooth-enabled devices and has an internal microphone for phone calls, a 3.5-mm direct audio connection and includes a travel bag. www.Onanoff.com, $129.99, in black, gold and gray for the Apple iPad Air 1 & 2 generation