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Four product ideas to begin your new year

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Check everywhere and the sales have begun. If you’ve got some cash left, now’s the time to get yourself a present or two. Here are a few suggestions I’ve been experimenting with recently.

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iHome iBN97 Clock Radio and Speakerphone

I’m always impressed with iHome’s line of products and this clock radio is just another feather in their cap.

In a smart move away from the Lightning connector, iHome now makes it possible to connect all devices to this table radio. With Bluetooth connectivity and NFC capability, any Bluetooth enabled device will stream its audio to the iBN97.

A separate USB port in the radio provides charging for your devices and an included mini stand lets your device sit upright on the top of the radio – either landscape or vertically.

A hands-free speakerphone pauses the music on an incoming call and lets you answer and talk as you wander around the room.

This unit offers great stereo sound; whether coming from the built in FM radio, a line-in jack or your latest audio device. This is a winner.

Check out the entire iHome audio lineup here: http://ihomeaudio.com.

[This is a “Senior Recommended” product on DougBardwell.com – see all the recommendations here.]

Rodeo Drive 29” expandable luggage

Traveling season is coming soon – especially if you can get out of this January’s blizzard.

You can’t travel in much more style than by using this beautifully crafted Rodeo Drive collection of luggage from Ricardo Beverly Hills. Lightweight, yet able to withstand cold temperatures, this collection features Makrolon, a superior thermoplastic – designed for cold temps and rough baggage handlers.

Save those overweight fees with this light-weight but durable case. It’s impact and puncture resistant, but looks like a gleaming piece of jewelry. Mine is Black Cherry in color, but it’s also available in Anthracite for those who want to travel incognito.

Sitting on dual spinner wheels, it glides easily next to you or behind you over either carpet or hard surface floors.

With an expansion zipper, you can leave home knowing you’ve got that little bit of extra space for those “must-have” souvenirs.

How’s this for the manufacturer’s warranty: “The Rodeo Drive collection comes with a three-year performance guarantee that will repair or replace your luggage should it become damaged or unusable for any reason.”

See the whole collection here: Rodeo Drive collection or visit Macy’s, Kohl’s, Sears, Bon-Ton or Boscov’s.

[This is a “Senior Recommended” product on DougBardwell.com – see all the recommendations here.]

Lorex WiFi Home Monitor

While you’re away enjoying your new luggage, wouldn’t it be nice to know your home was being monitored 24/7 – without paying those outrageous monitoring service bills. Now you can with the Lorex WiFi home monitoring solution.

The LW3451X series comes with a pan, tilt and zoom camera that can be controlled from the wireless monitor or from your smartphone or tablet via a free app. Two way communication is also available with the onboard microphone.

Record video at prescheduled times or upon motion detection for complete peace of mind. See something you don’t like while monitoring the room – snap a picture of it from the app where ever you are in the world.

Note: if you have the camera recording video at a prescheduled time and you call in during that time – the recording stops and will resume again when you disconnect. If it was set to manual recording – when you disconnect the video does not start again. If it was set to Auto Recording, recording will begin again when the camera next senses more motion.

Get the whole scope on this Lorex monitoring solution at http://lorextechnology.com and you can look in on your home or office whenever the mood strikes you. Make sure kitty isn’t dipping into the aquarium.

Personal Audio Enhancer

The PAE-300 personal audio enhancer from VitaSound is for those who have the feeling they aren’t hearing everything that’s going on around them. Whether it’s trouble hearing TV or a friend’s conversation, the audio enhancer is designed to help.

The PAE-300 comes with a base unit that hooks to 110v power and connects to your TV’s audio out connectors. The base unit then broadcasts the signal to the audio enhancer which connects to your earbuds. If your TV only has an earphone jack and not an audio out connector, the TV will be muted and others will not be able to hear the TV.

The base unit also functions as one of two ways you can recharge the internal batteries in the personal audio enhancer. It can also be recharged on the road with a standard micro-USB cable.

When talking on a cellphone, the audio enhancer has an 1/8” audio-in jack that will connect to your earphone jack on the cellphone. You can now chat or listen to music from your smartphone.

In talk mode, the audio enhancer optimizes the sound of human communication while minimizing background noises for better understanding of the conversations going on around you. A mute button lets you stop the enhancer if needed.

Finally, the fourth function is a relaxation mode where relaxing nature sounds are played through the earphones. There are four separate nature programs to listen to: water rushing down a creek, birds singing, rainfall, and waves lapping onto the seashore.

For the whole story, look into the VitaSound website at http://vitasound.com

[This is a “Senior Recommended” product on DougBardwell.com – see all the recommendations here.]

These products and many others can be found in our annual gift guide.

Doug Bardwell, based in Cleveland, OH, writes about interesting new travel technology topics, across the country and around the world at DougBardwell.com. Feel free to drop him a line at travel.dougbardwell@gmail.com with suggestions for future products to be reviewed. If you've ever used one of the products he's reviewed, please leave your thoughts in the comment box below. To get his stories delivered to your inbox, click the RSS feed or the "Subscribe" button above or follow him on Facebook , Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+. To read Doug’s disclosure notice, click here.

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