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August 30th, 2012

We like writing about gadgets every so often, if for no other reason than to balance the serious tech reading with a little bit of fun. Not everything we want to share today is a “gadget,” so we’re christening this one “Tech Goodies” (and you will see it again with a different month in the title, so keep an eye out).

• PlayStation Vita Power Grip by Nyko

Nyko Power Grip for PS VitaNyko has carved out a niche for itself making accessories for gamers – custom control devices, portable console cases, special mice – and is especially adept at extending the life of infamously short-lived handheld game controllers. The company has such a sterling track record in this category, in fact, that none of the tech-and-testing sites doubted its PlayStation Vita Power Grip ($25) would perform as advertised, just about doubling effective battery life and gaming time. Plug a PlayStation Vita into our plasma display rentals if you want gaming on steroids!

• NVIDIA GeForce GTX 660 Ti

Gamers, digital AV pros, computer artists and geeks: These are the folks that need speed as well as clear, accurate monitors. The NVIDIA GeForce GTX 660 Ti, a new power-efficient graphics card in the $300 neighborhood, is some 10 to 15 percent faster than rival AMD’s Radeon 7870, motivating the HotHardware.com reviewers to conclude that NVIDIA does, in fact, have “another winner” on its hands. The consensus is that you can’t do better, today, for the price. A CRE Mac Pro rental – like your own if you’re fortunate to have this “ultimate Mac” – has expansion slots for upgrading the graphics card, and the 660 Ti uses the same components as current, Mac-compatible models. Looks like it should be a true cross-platform card.

• Instagram 3.0

Version 3.0 of Facebook’s newly acquired toy, Instagram, adds Photo Maps, infinite scrolling, and video speed improvements. For anyone wondering whether its acquisition would slow the pace of innovation, Instagram is Instagram 3.0answering that question with this release. The burgeoning photo-sharing network – available to every device with WiFi, from home computers and smart phones to tablet PC rentals and iPads – is now almost 80 million users strong, and at the core of its latest user interface overhaul is geolocation capability. The benefits of geotagging, and the usefulness of tagged photos for supporting archives and galleries, is evidenced by the new Photo Maps view, which places maps beneath photos for a more informative, “in context” look. Whatever you see will be at a given point on Earth – and Instagram 3.0 gives you that point, while scoring a lot of them with this latest upgrade.

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