Gadgets Add Bang To Your Techie 4th of July

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4th-of-July image with kids eating and fireworks

Redding, CA. June, 2011. — The 4th of July is a great time to gather your friends and family for food, fireworks and festivities. Of course, NERDS are always looking for ways to add some sparkle to any get together, and your backyard BBQ is no exception. Pick up one or two of these cool tech gadgets for your upcoming party and your bash is sure to be the talk of the town.

• Sound? Check. No party is complete without a soundtrack of great tunes, but who has time to DJ while you’re manning the BBQ? Use your iPod or MP3 player to create a play list of your coolest dance party mix and plug in to the iHome iP29 Portable Speaker Case, retailing for about $80. These compact speakers produce impressive stereo sound and will play music from your iPod, iPhone, or any device with a headphone jack. The unit runs off an A/C adapter or four AAA batteries, so you can easily take it with you to the pool. The splash resistant case will even offer some protection from your cannonball contest. While plugged in, the docking station will charge your iPod or iPhone so you’ll be rocking out even after your party is long over.

• Lights? Check. Who needs to fly to Vegas when you can create your own music and light display in your backyard pool? The “Light Show Fountain” from Solutions retails for about $70. Drop the floating, LED-lit disc in your pool, spa or pond to create a lighted, multi-color fountain water show. The separate wireless base station connects to your iPod or MP3 player and speakers so that the water and lights “dance” in time to your music. It can be used without a music source as well, resulting in a random flashing light show for after-dark ambience. There’s a video on the Solutions website to see it in action. While you probably won’t get away with charging admission, you will be the coolest kid on the block.

• Video? Check. While sitting through Uncle Bob’s last family photo slide show, did you secretly ponder if there could be a better use for his projector? Now you have a reason to borrow it. The Airblown Inflatable Movie Screen allows you to create an outdoor movie theater in your own backyard. Available at Target for about $170, the unit comes with stakes, tethers and fan to quickly self-inflate the approximately 9’ x 12’ screen. Just in case it is not available at your local Target you can order it online. You’ll need a projector to get an image large enough to fill the screen, but you won’t worry about keeping your guests entertained. Project movies from your laptop, or connect your Wii for a rousing Wii boxing tournament. Just make sure you invite the neighbors, or you’ll be scrambling to feed your extra guests when they crash your party.

• Fireworks? Check. A July 4th celebration isn’t complete without fireworks, so what do you do if there aren’t any viewable in your area? Consider the Uchiage Hanabi Fireworks Projector, sold at for $125. Bring the fireworks display indoors with four sounds, five display modes and fifty-five different designs. You can even allow your younger party guests to create unique firework designs with an included template. Fireworks appear to launch from the ground to explode up the wall or on the ceiling. The unit runs off three AAA batteries and can run for about three hours; plenty of time to satiate even your most fireworks-obsessed little ones.

• Photos? For sure! If the photos just don’t seem to live up to the excitement of your July 4th bash, add some pizzazz with photo modification applications. Android users can download Vignette for approximately $4, and iPhone users can get Instagram for free. Both applications allow you to quickly add effects, modify color or make shots sepia, black and white, or retro before easily uploading to Facebook or Twitter. If you didn’t get any worthy shots with your phone, never fear. Google’s Picasa is a great free photo modification program that will allow you to crop, eliminate red eye, modify color, add effects, frames or stickers to any photo on your computer. Your friends will wonder, “Where was the professional photographer?” We won’t divulge your secret.

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About The Author: Andrea Eldridge is CEO and co-founder of Nerds On Call, a computer repair company that specializes in on-site and online service for homes and businesses. Andrea is the writer of a weekly column, Nerd Chick Adventures in The Record Searchlight. She prepares TV segments for and appears regularly on CBS, CW and FOX on shows such as Good Day Sacramento, More Good Day Portland, and CBS 13 News, offering viewers technology and lifestyle tips. See Andrea in action at

About Nerds On Call: Established in a spare room in Redding, Calif., in March 2004, Nerds On Call offers on-site computer and laptop repair services to consumers and businesses. Nerds On Call provides trouble-shooting for PCs and Macs, home and office networks, printers, iPods® and MP3 players, handheld devices and cell phones, home theaters and game systems, and virtually every other form of digital entertainment. In 2009, 2010, & 2011 the company was named to Inc. magazine’s list of 5000 fastest growing private companies. With 7 locations across California and Oregon, Nerds On Call serves more than 40,000 satisfied customers per year. For more information, visit or call 1-800-919-NERD.