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Tech Lab Plus

HD Ghost camera is solidly built, stuffed with features

Drift HD Ghost Action Camera

$399 at Amazon.com

As you go blasting down your favorite ski slope, you might want to take along a strap-on action camera to preserve your heroics for posterity. Drift Innovation Ltd.’s HD Ghost is more expensive than many rival­ products, but it is solidly built and stuffed with features.

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The Ghost is sealed in a waterproof housing that can tolerate being dunked nine feet deep. Its LCD view screen is made of Gorilla Glass, the famously tough stuff found on Apple Inc.’s ­iPhone. And it has a push-button remote ­control, so a user can switch it on or off, even when the camera is bolted to his helmet or the handle of his mountain bike.

Like a growing number of digital cameras, the Ghost has built-in Wi-Fi wireless networking. A free smartphone app will connect phone to camera and turn the phone into a remote­ control. The user will be able to start and stop recording, shoot still images, and adjust the camera’s settings from up to 300 feet away. The app is available for ­iPhones; a version for phones running Google Inc.’s Android software is under development.

The Ghost isn’t cheap, but its high-end features make it a worthy option for action sports buffs.

Arion foldable Bluetooth headset

$71.06 at Amazon.com

I never cared for those Bluetooth earbuds that people use with their cellphones. I just hate hooking something onto my ear. But I’m quite comfortable with old-fashioned over-the-cranium headsets. So these phones from Arion suited me just fine.

The phones have an angular modern look and rest lightly on the ears. You charge them up using­ your computer and a USB cable. The manufacturer predicts 13 hours of usage per charge, but I never pushed the limit.

Pairing with my phone was easy enough, and the audio came out clear and reasonably rich. In addition, the built-in microphone did a decent job of transmitting my voice when I was making phone calls.

The Arion comes in a variety of gaudy colors, so if you insist on something subtle, stick to those wireless earbuds. But for comfort and good audio quality, these wireless headphones are a very good choice.

Soulver calculator app

$2.99 for iPhone; $4.99 for iPad

Why buy a calculator app for an iPhone or iPad? Apple has already included a perfectly good one at no extra charge. But the developers at Australia’s Acqualia Software Pty. Ltd. have come up with a clever variation that might be worth a few bucks to you.

With Soulver you can combine text and numbers, allowing you to make notes as you make calculations. This is very convenient for many tasks, like drawing up the household budget. You can type in a description of each number — salary, mortgage payment, car loan — and enter the relevant number right alongside. As you’re plugging this in on the left side of the screen, Soulver extracts the numbers, moves them to the right side, and instantly performs the calculation, with the result appearing at the bottom of the screen.

It’ also speeds up a variety of everyday calculations. When something costs $7.85 plus 8 percent sales tax, what’s the total bill? Just type “7.85 + 8%” and there’s your answer.

Pecking words into a calculator could get a bit tedious. But there’s a nice payoff: When you’re done, you’ve got an annotated description of your work, similar to what you’d get by building a budget in Microsoft Excel. And you can instantly save a copy of your work for future reference.

Soulver nicely updates the traditional calculator, at a modest price.

Hiawatha Bray can be reached at bray@globe.com.
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