Tech round-up for October 20: Cover your home with Covr Wi-fi, USB hubs from Nomad and OWC, Samsung donating 500 tablets to Canadian families

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This week, two new hubs provide connections for your USB devices when you’re at home or on the road, and D-Link’s whole home Wi-fi is built for large homes. But first, Samsung is giving away 500 tablets to Canadian families with children on the autism spectrum.

Samsung supports families with kids on the spectrum

Children who are diagnosed with autism can have difficulty communicating and in social situations. Researchers have found that technology can help some children with autism to learn to make eye contact with others, which can help them learn to make connections.

The Look At Me app was designed to help. Available exclusively on Android, the software has kids interacting with a mobile device to complete tasks for which they are rewarded.

(For other apps that may help children on the spectrum, Autism Speaks Canada, which is a partner with Samsung, has a comprehensive list of apps that are rated by the amount of supporting research.)

During this year’s campaign, Samsung will be giving out 500 Samsung Galaxy Tablets that are preloaded with the Look At Me app. Here’s where you can apply.

D-Link Covr mesh network packages router with single Wi-fi extender

Many of the mesh Wi-fi systems I’ve been trying out have included multiple access points that you distribute throughout your home.

D-Link’s Covr, which is priced at $400 in Canada, simplifies that by packaging a powerful router with a single extender. The router at the core of the system is able to cover a large single-family home. Add the extender to that, and you’ve theoretically got enough signal to blanket at 6,000 square foot space.

As with other mesh systems, Covr makes sure that you stay connected to your Wi-fi while moving around your house.

The benefit to having a router is that it has four ethernet ports so you can plug some devices in for fully-wired speeds. And set up is easy using either a web interface or a smartphone app.

Because there is a router at the centre of Covr, it’s a good solution for people that can set it up in the centre of their home. If you have to set your router up at the edge of your property, you end up providing Wi-fi coverage to as much of the neighbourhood as you do your home.

Nomad’s new USB hub helps keep your desk uncluttered

There’s nothing worse that having USB cables snaking around your desk. The new USB hub from Nomad helps to keep those cables under control.

Available in black or white, and in three- and five-port configurations, the hub is a low profile cylinder that provides powered USB ports for your many devices and hides the cable connectors underneath.

I’ve got one of these on my desk now that provides connections for an iPad and iPhone, as well as two micro USB ports for wireless headphones and Android devices. The last cable I keep open and available, knowing that there’s always somebody coming to visit who needs a quick fill up.

The Nomad USB hubs are priced at US$40 for the three-port and US$50 for the five port model

OWC’s new travel dock helps you manage connections when you’re out and about

If you’re like me, you often find yourself working out of coffee shops or in hotel rooms. And I love the Macbook Pro that I use when I’m roaming around, but it only has USB-C ports, and there are still plenty of devices out there that require a different connection.

OWC to the rescue. The company’s USB-C Travel Dock is pocket-sized but packed with all the ports you need. There’s an HDMI port that can support a 4K display, two standard (type A) USB ports, and a USB-C port that brings 60 W of power. It’s even got an SD card slot.

All of a sudden my toolkit that I pack around with me got lighter, because I’ve been able to leave a couple of dongles and adapters at home.

The USB-C Travel Dock comes in four colours and costs US$50.


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