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WWDC 2014 Roundup

Lots of great stuff announced today. Probably the best we've seen in a few years. Looking forward to the iOS 8 and OS X Yosemite integration. This brings parity to Android, and then surpasses it.

Free AppStore Gems

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A quick look into the app store will sometimes reveal some real gems - and this week, here are my current free favorites

  • Monday - 1Checker - This is a great proofreading application, help your writing with a little assistance from their online ability to process your prose.

  • Tuesday - Tyme - This is a pretty nice little Time Tracker. If you do any contract or freelance work, this has a nice interface for tracking project time, and even exporting it in a CSV format.

  • Wednesday - FolxGo - Now that Speed Download isn't supported on the latest editions of OS X, this a nice free app, with an option for an in-app purchase that enables scheduling and other tweaks. It even has plug-ins for your browsers - Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and even Opera....

  • Thursday - Composure - This is a fun little free app for collaging your photos, adding stickers to them, fun frames, etc. They do hit you with some in-app adds, but its still a cool little app.

  • Friday - Caffeine - It's been in my menubar for ever. Whenever I'm copying files, watching a video, burning a disc - I want my Mac to stay awake. Caffeine is a cool little app that does just that, with a shot of Caffeine.

Review: HMDX Jam Plus

HMDX Jam Plus

HMDX Jam Plus

I've been looking for an inexpensive portable bluetooth speaker solution for one particular place -- the bathroom. No, not for cranking my tunes when I'm taking care of business, but for those times when I'm taking a shower and want more sound than my puny iPhone 5 speakers can put out. The iPhone does OK, but when you have on the exhaust fan to keep the humidity at a minimum, combined with the pounding of water - it essentially drowns out most of my iPhone's sound.

I took to the streets - I looked high and low. Namely, the big box stores - Target, Best Buy, and Wal-Mart - as that's where I was when I decided to look. They had a few selections, some I'd never heard of -- but then one particular little speaker had some flare, and was in a plastic jar with a lid. What else would something called Jam be in?

The packaging intrigued me, so I did my obligatory Amazon search to see what the reviews were like. The original HMDX Jam had over 1,000 4 star reviews in Amazon, and the new HMDX Jam Plus has over 190. That's all I needed to see.

I took this little guy home and opened the jar of jam, so to speak, and pairing was a breeze. Press and hold the power button for 5 seconds, and then search for the device with my iPhone's bluetooth ability. That's all there was to it. Within seconds I was pumping up the Jam (pun intended) and enjoying my latest Spotify playlist.

The Jam Plus is a mono speaker, but if you buy TWO of them, you can pair them together to provide you with stereo sound. I only purchasd one, so I haven't tested that functionality, but it's nice to have the option. For me though, it wasn't necessary. For higher fidelity, I have my Kicker Ampitheater Bluetooth device. All that I required from the Jam was to be - Portable (it's 3" x 3" x 2.6"), Battery operated (it's rechargable via USB - lasts about 6hrs), loud, and inexpensive ($49 at Wal-Mart). The Jam Plus met all of these perfectly.

How does it sound?

Like you would expect an inexpensive speaker to sound. Good, not awesome. It's definiely louder and punchier on the bass than I expected. It's absolutely more than enough to leave in the bathroom during the shower and you can even move around from a room or two and still hear it just fine. Quite impressive for the price and size. Honestly, I've heard the Mini Jawbone Jambox, and I've not been impressed. This little HDMX Jam Plus sounds better to my ears and my wallet. It doesn't list frequency responce, but for this price, it's forgiveable. I had excellent results with music, podcasts, streaming radio - the whole gamet. I tested them all, and everything was audible, understandle and sounded nice and loud (but not distorted).

Final Thoughts

Nice little speaker for the money and sounds great. If you're on a budget - this is a definite buy.

HMDX Jam Plus - $59.95 USD

HMDX Jam Plus on Amazon - $39.95

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