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Trick out your laptop or tablet with these top five ideas for 2014

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Get a jump on CES2014 with these winners introduced in 2013. Pump up that laptop and whiz through the New Year with these must-have accessories, services and gadgets.

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JUD500 from J5 Create

With today’s Ultrabooks and laptops being notoriously under equipped to handle all the USB gadgets on the market, J5 Create has come out with a fabulous docking station that is as slim as a flattened cigar, but packs a whopping 9 additional ports:

  • USB 3.0 powered
  • USB 3.0
  • USB 2.0
  • VGA port - up to 2048x1152 resolution
  • HDMI port
  • Ethernet port
  • Stereo speaker out port
  • Microphone in port
  • Wormhole switch port

With that many additional hookups, you can keep your external drives attached all at once as well as using an external keyboard and mouse. Add on the external monitor and you’re starting to cruise with a laptop every bit as pumped-up as a desktop.

Check out the JUD500 and other model docking stations at http://j5create.com/.

(This is a “Senior Recommended” product. See the whole list.)

Sugar Sync

Sure, you’ve heard of Dropbox, but what makes Sugar Sync a better choice? How about the following:

Backup any folder on your computer – not just the dropbox folder.

Select any folder on your computer to sync with all your other devices

Select permissions for the folders you decide to share

Upload and sync files via email

Microsoft Outlook plugin available

[See the Sugar Sync video here]

I’ve been using it for a year now and it works tremendously well. Check out all their benefits at http://sugarsync.com.

(This is a “Senior Recommended” product. See the whole list.)

Dodo iPad Holder

Want a classy way to carry and protect that new iPad? Dodocase has just come out with the ritziest case ever for your iPad – the Endangered Species: Bighorn Sheep case fpr iPad 2/3/4 and iPadAir.

This limited edition case is testament to traditional bookbinding skills while also bringing awareness to one of California’s endangered species. Beautifully crafted, this looks just like a book when sitting on a bookshelf and would be a great way to disguise your tablet when away from home.

The case comes complete with the proper opening for your rear facing camera and a matching elastic strap to secure the case. Check them out along with DodoCase’s extensive line at http://dodocase.com.

My Cloud Server

Now you can have your own cloud storage without paying any recurring charges. 2 to 4TB models are available from Western Digital. Keep your files safe at home – but available anywhere the road takes you.

With free apps, you can upload, share and access your files from your Mac, PC, smartphone and tablet – either iOS or Android.

[See the video of My Cloud here]

This personal cloud gives you personal control with a dual core processor and a USB 3.0 expansion port. Simply plug it into your router and follow WD’s online instructions. From the apps you’ll be sharing data in no time.

See the full line of My Cloud drives at http://wd.com.

K1 Miniature USB Drive

Got an Ultrabook and running out of memory? That’s me. With almost 80 GB of programs loaded on my Ultrabook, I’m constantly running out of space for photos and data I create. It’s a royal pain to be constantly moving files off so I have enough room to work on new projects.

Problem solved with this ingenious little USB 3.0 mini drive. Smaller than the tip of your finger, the K1 drive from PKparis is available in sizes up to 64 GB. That’s 50% of my total onboard storage in something only 1.2 cm2.

Even better that being small, this device is amazingly fast. Uusually USB keys operate at under 60 MB/s – while the K1 works up to 140 MB/s. That means that movies and photos download to the drive as quickly as possible. The strong aluminum case makes sure that it can take the daily abuse of in and out of your backpack multiple times a day without coming loose or falling out.

See the whole line at http://pkparis.com.

(This is a “Senior Recommended” product. See the whole list.)

Check out these and other great gift ideas 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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