SUMMER PROOF THOSE TECHNO GADGETS

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That lounge chair next to the pool is the perfect spot to relax and enjoy the latest summer romance on your eReader, or take out some Angry Birds’ pigs on your iPad.  With Pina Colada in hand and toes in the pool or sand, there’s surely no better way to spend a lazy summer afternoon… until the kids decide to practice their cannonballs, leaving you and your gadgets soaked.  Perhaps you want to use your snazzy GPS program on the boat or hiking, but are worried about your Smartphone taking a permanent nap in the depths of the lake or ending up crushed at the bottom of the cliff you just climbed.  Nerd Chicks have found some easy ways to summer-proof your tech from the fun you’d like to have together.

  • The first line of defense is to get a good case for your gadget.  There are solutions for various perils: water, sand, or impact.  If water sports are your favorite way to beat the heat, the DryCase is a versatile solution to protect your phone or portable electronics from splashes to submersion.  Their watertight, vacuum sealed, clear plastic bags come in sizes to accommodate just about anything you’d consider taking to the pool, beach or lake.  There is a built-in jack for your headphones that doesn’t let in water; they even sell waterproof headphones.  The smaller size comes with an armband to allow you to take your phone or iPod on your next kayaking adventure.  The thin plastic won’t interfere with touch screen use, reading, or taking photos.  Protecting a phone or Mp3 player will set you back $39.99, a larger bag to protect eReaders or tablets is $59.99.
  • Hikers and bikers, or those of us that are just plain clumsy, are likely more concerned with protecting devices from bumps, scratches, or being smashed to pieces while plummeting down a hill.  Otterbox carries an extensive selection of cases for just about any portable electronic device, from phones to iPads.  Their “Defender” line is the most rugged, protecting devices from drops, impact, even offering a bit of water resistance.  However, they offer different versions to accommodate anyone, even those whose most dangerous part of the day is their commute.  Most Smartphone cases are less than $50, which is a bargain compared to having to deliver the pieces of your shattered phone to your cell phone store and beg them to retrieve your data off it, before you shell out the dough to replace it.
  • For those that can’t imagine leaving their laptop or tablet home on their next beach vacation, E. Mishan and Sons makes a “Just Air Shock Proof” laptop sleeve that features waterproof outer layers, air cushions for anti-shock protection, and extra cushioning around the edges and corners.  Available in different sizes and colors to accommodate eReaders to tablets to laptops, the protective sleeves are about $30.  Even if you don’t plan to take your laptop or tablet near the water, the extra cushioning will ensure that your device makes it through a ride in the overhead bin.
  • Finally, a last line of defense available for your pricier tech toys is gadget insurance.  Square Trade offers a line of extended warranties, with optional accidental damage coverage.  While insuring a phone or lower-priced gadget isn’t cost effective (the plan will likely cost more over the life of the device than replacing it), it can make sense for a pricey laptop, tablet or camera.  A $1,000 laptop can be covered for three years for about $159, regardless of where the gadget was purchased.  If you have property or renter’s insurance, adding coverage for a specific gadget to your personal property policy may be less than you think, often as little as $5-6/month.  Call your agent before you drop it in the pool, to see what your policy has to offer.

Is there a favorite gadget that you are still worried about damaging on your next adventure?  Drop us a note on Facebook (facebook.com/nerdsoncall) or email us at or chat LIVE with a NERD at www.callnerds.com.

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 callnerds.com/andrea/.

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 callnerds.com or call 1-800-919-NERD.