D-Link wireless Wi-Fi range extender
$49.99 at Amazon.com
Wi-Fi wireless Internet technology seems almost magical — up to the moment it stops working. If you live in a big enough house or work in a large enough office, a single Wi-Fi router may not have the range to cover every room.
D-Link offers a cheap and effective solution.
The D-Link range extender acts like a relay for Wi-Fi signals. There are no cables to fuss with. It simply plugs into a power outlet. On first use, you set it up to communicate with a main router. There’s a slightly confusing manual method for doing this, but if your router supports WPS — Wi-Fi Protected Setup technology — the range extender will hook itself up with a couple of button pushes. Then unplug the extender, move it to some distant corner of your home or office, and use it to get a stronger Wi-Fi signal.
If you’re plagued by spotty Wi-Fi reception in the basement or attic or even the bathroom, this little device will help ensure your digital gadgets stay on the air.
Ecoxbt waterproof Bluetooth speaker by Ecoxgear
$94.91 at Amazon.com
It will be beach weather before you know it, and that’s the ideal environment for this rugged rechargeable Bluetooth speaker.
Sheathed in dense black plastic, the Ecoxbt is designed to tolerate sand and seawater. The manufacturer warns it’s not designed to be submerged. But the speaker is buoyant, so if you drop it into Boston Harbor, it will stay afloat. It takes a few seconds to sync the speaker with any Bluetooth-equipped phone or laptop. And with a built-in microphone the Ecoxbt doubles as a speakerphone.
Mind you, the speaker is nothing to write home about. The sound is muddy and undistinguished. But the Ecoxbt’s compact size and tough construction may appeal to devotees of water sports.
Arro shopping app
Free at Apple App Store
With so many shopping apps available, is there room for another? The creators of Arro say yes, because their new app is so different. Arro uses the collective experience of thousands of other shoppers to point you to high-quality choices.
For now, you can use Arro to shop only in a handful of categories: electronics, baby care products, fitness gear, personal care items like makeup, and home appliances. Pick a category and go shopping for, say, a camera. Arro asks you to narrow down your options by choosing the features that matter most to you — for instance, ease of use, camera size, and price. Touch “find” and you get a top 10 list of cameras that come close to meeting your standards, based on product reviews posted by consumers.
You also get links to online retailers like Amazon and Best Buy, where you can purchase the camera.
Arro certainly isn’t the most comprehensive of shopping apps. But to quickly learn what shoppers are saying about products that may interest you, it is an excellent choice.Hiawatha Bray can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.