• Ever have to root around in your phone to find a picture of your dog to show to someone? With Shout! by Cellairis your dog can be your phone. Shout allows you to order a phone case covered with your favorite design or photo or one of many designs provided. A $40 card will get you a case of your choosing shipped to you. Cellairis.com.
• Those razor-thin LCD TV's are attractive and take up less room than the dinosaur boxes of the past, but there isn't much room for speakers, so often the sound is tinny. One solution is ZVOX Soundbase, a sound system for TVs that range in size from 17 to 36 inches. They are made for the television to sit on top. The 24-inch Model 320 can be had on sale for about $200. They can be purchased at zvoxaudio.com, on the ZVOX EBay store or at licensed dealers.
• More and more people are watching TV streamed from the Internet or from streaming services such as Netflix or Hulu. Google has an easy way to get the picture from your computer to your TV. Called the Chromecast, it plugs into an HD port on your TV and connects to your home WiFi system. It can play content on your TV from licensed vendors such a YouTube or Netflix or from any tab on the Chrome browser. $35 at most retail electronics stores and on the Web.
• Soundfreaq's Sound Spot speaker can play content from any Bluetooth device. It comes in a variety of colors and is $70 at Target, Kohl's, Best Buy and other retailers.
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• The Samsung Galaxy Note III is a phone -- a big phone. Its Full HD Super AMOLED screen is 5.7 inches, making it one of the largest phones on the market. A stylus is included for use with the handwriting recognition features. It is available from various carriers and on sale at T-Mobile for $660 unlocked, $299 with a 2-year plan.
• Need to monitor an older adult who lives alone? Live!y makes sensors that can attach to a pillbox, refrigerator door and a keychain to get an idea of whether your mom or dad is eating regularly, taking their medication or engaging in other activities. Sensors are $149 and the service is $19.95 a month with the first two months free. The sensors can be monitored from a computer or mobile device and the data can be compared to normal activity patterns.
• Sometimes you need a flashlight but have to have your hands free. Energizer's 7 LED Headlight has five lighting modes of varying intensity and attaches to a head strap. The red flashing mode would be a useful safety device for bicyclists at night. Available many places online and retail for $15-$20.
• Well-known lock maker Schlage has entered the home automation field with the Nexia Home Intelligence line. You can control locks, lights, thermostats, cameras and more from the Internet. The basic "smart" deadbolt and alarm kit can be found online for as low as $160. Many other accessories are available.
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