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An amazing case is the Pelican...

PELICAN touts its reputation for making high-performance case solutions that are watertight, crushproof, dust-proof and used by professionals in the most demanding situations including firefighters, police and military.

I've owned several of the company's cases over the years, and when I think of Pelican, the words "useful" and "indestructible" come to mind.

After recently testing the Pelican 1560LOC overnight case (full of camera equipment) the useful part went to a whole new level.

First, a little bit about Pelican cases: Composed of polypropylene copolymer, they are probably the most durable hard cases available. They can be stood on and dropped and still keep your valuables intact.

Pelican cases can tolerate temperatures ranging from -25 C to 100 C and are water-resistant.

Many can be ordered wwith customization to specific needs, and for the model I tested, I had Velcro dividers and built-in compartments for a laptop and its accompanying accessories.

As for the useful aspect, the dividers can be set up however you wish for any type of gear, but what got me hooked on this case was the laptop storage.

The padded laptop sleeve is attached to the inside front cover and can store a laptop up to 17 inches. Similar padded and removable sleeves surround the laptop for storing cables, chargers or whatever accessories are needed.

Once everything is stored to your liking, clip the latches shut, pull out the retractable extension handle and start rolling.

Cases can be ordered with Velcro dividers or foam that is customized to your exact items. A personalized nameplate can also be purchased.

Details: $249, www.pelican.com

Freaq-ing awesome

SOUNDFREAQ'S Sound Rise (SFQ-08) wireless speaker and alarm clock is a nightstand system designed the way a gadget like this should be: It can be used with any brand of wireless devices; it doesn't take up a lot of space; and it looks good and sounds great.

Charging and docking are done with the USB cable that came with your device, meaning you're not hostage to using the phone on a dock specific to any brand.

As for the clock, it's a front-facing display that has controls to adjust the brightness with six display settings.

Audio is streamed with Bluetooth (4.0) into a great-sounding speaker system. If wireless streaming isn't your thing, there's an aux-in port for a wired connection.

There's also a backup battery compartment to keep the clock running in the event of a power failure.

Time in 12- or 24-hour settings, snoozing, sleeping, two alarms and even an FM radio is built-in if you want to go old-school with the presets.

Details: $58.93, available in black or wood/taupe finishes; www.soundfreaq.com

Instant headset

WHEN I first read about the Moov Mic, I thought it was an interesting name and, more importantly, an interesting device with the concept of, mike plus headphones equals headsets.

It's a pretty clever accessory that turns your favourite headphones into a full headset for wireless calls, Skype or gaming.

The setup takes seconds. You'll need headphones with a half-inch diameter spot to connect the Moov Mic's magnet and once attached, you're done.

Just plug them together and you're all set. No software, setup guide or anything. Truly plug-n-play.

The mike is a flexible boom microphone and has a windscreen to boost clarity. It sounded great to my callers.

Details: $19.95, http://headsetbuddy.com

App spotlight

UDACITY is already well-known for hosting free, useful online classes in topics from robotics to computer science to mobile development. Now, the Udacity app for iPhone and iPad lets you take those classes with you anywhere you go, and enjoy them on your mobile device, for free.

The new app essentially serves as a mobile portal to all of your subscribed or available Udacity courses. Whether you're enrolled or not, you can use the app to see what's available and interesting, see what the requirements for the class are and whether a certificate will be awarded when you finish the course and sign up. Any videos associated with your course are available to view on your phone or tablet, and if you know you'll be travelling -- on a plane for example -- you can download them for use offline.

The app is completely free, and it's available now. If you're interested in more classes such as the ones offered by Udacity, check out our Lifehacker U series, which is regularly packed with free online classes from Udacity and other institutions.

-- Lifehacker.com.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition May 4, 2014 ??65535

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