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October 25, 2014

iSpy: Weather predictions and gadget protection, at home or on the go

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Posted: Saturday, May 11, 2013 11:56 pm

Netatmo Urban Weather Station — $179

Alabama has some of the biggest weather geeks in the nation. When severe weather comes around the excitement is too much for some to handle. Now weather fans can be their own James Spann with the Netatmo Urban Weather Station.

Two cylinder-shaped modules provide everything you could want to know about the current conditions inside and outside the home.

The inside module can run on batteries or via an electrical outlet. You’ll want to place the inside module in a spot away from windows or doors, and the small design makes it easy to conceal behind a picture or plant.

The wireless outside module requires four AAA batteries. It’s important to place the outside module in a spot that won’t be in direct sunlight. A covered porch or deck area would be ideal. Be sure to keep it in a spot that won’t see a large amount of rainfall.

Once everything is set up, you’ll have immediate access to a myriad of environmental information, including temperature, humidity, barometric pressure, air quality and noise pollution. It shares the information in the cloud, so you can see the current conditions at your house from your work computer or on the go from a smartphone.

One of my favorite features is the seven-day forecast. The Urban Weather Station will devise a forecast for your area based on the information and data it has collected, and I’ve found it to be fairly accurate in limited testing.

The Urban Weather Station features applications for iOS and Android platforms. Both are free downloads from the respective stores. A web-based application is also available for tracking all the information the device monitors.

Online at www.netatmo.com.

Hercules Laptop Backpack — $139.99

It’s tough finding the perfect bag for toting electronics that can withstand daily use. The Hercules Laptop Backpack from ECBC lives up to its mythological namesake by providing a durable option for everyday computer transportation.

This particular backpack is designed to hold larger notebook computers. However, it provides a snug enough fit that it can also be used for smaller laptops if desired. I’d recommend it for any size between 11-17 inches.

This backpack has all of the standard spots you’d expect from a bag in this digital age — including a pocket for beverages, plane tickets, sunglasses, mp3 players and tablets — all of which are protected with Kodra exterior and water-resistant zippers.

The Hercules looks suave enough for business use despite having the form of a traditional school bag. And business travel is a breeze with ECBC’s FastPass System, which features a special fold-out compartment for quick scanning through airport security.

The price tag will deter many as there are a plethora of cheaper options on the market. Those looking for a solid everyday laptop bag, however, might find the investment worthwhile.

Online at www.ec-bc.com.

Contact Chris Pittman at cpittman@annistonstar.com.

WIN THIS!

For a chance to win this Hercules Laptop Backpack, go to annistonstar.com and comment on this story. Winner will be chosen randomly and announced in the next iSpy.

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