Tag Archive: travel

Sigmo Multicolour

Star Trek fans rejoice, the universal translator is finally here…well sort of.

The Sigmo voice translator is capable of translating 25 different earth languages, is portable and comes in a variety of colours. Works with both iOS and Android via Bluetooth.

Imagine you’re traveling in a foreign country and you walk into a restaurant where no one speaks your language. Ordering food or drink could end up being quite an ordeal. With the Sigmo, all you have to do is push a button and speak into the device. It will output your translation over the speaker, in the language you’ve selected. Push another button, have your partner in conversation speak into the device and it will output in your language.


You can choose from:

English (US), English (UK), English (Australia), English (Canada), Spanish (Spain), Spanish (United States), Spanish (Mexico), French (France), French (Canada), Finish, German, Italian, Japanese, Chinese (China), Mandarin and Cantonese(Taiwan / Hong Kong), Catalan, Korean, Dutch, Norwegian, Swedish, Danish, Portuguese (Portugal), Portuguese (Brazil), Polish, Russian, Arabic, Indonesian, Hebrew, Czech, Turkish, African, Malay, Croatian, Thai, Greek, Bulgarian, Turkish, Slovak, Hungarian, Ukranian, Hindi.

Unfortunately, I don’t see an option for Klingon

. Maybe in the next version…

Live long and prosper.


Check it out at:


A new Coen brothers film celebrates Greenwich Village in its 60s heyday, but what’s left of Dylan and Kerouac’s New York? Karen McVeigh takes a cycle tour of the area

Five decades have passed since America’s troubadours and beat poets flocked to Greenwich Village, filling its smoky late-night basement bars and coffee houses with folk songs and influencing some of the most recognisable musicians of the era.

A few landmarks of those bygone bohemian days – most recently portrayed in the Coen brothers’ film Inside Llewyn Davis, out on 24 January – still exist. The inspiration for the movie’s fictional anti-hero, Davis, was Brooklyn-born Dave Van Ronk, a real- life blues and folk singer with no small talent, who worked with performers such as Pete Seeger and Bob Dylan, but remained rooted in the village until he died in 2002, declining to leave it for any length of time and refusing to fly for many years. Van Ronk’s posthumously published memoir, the Mayor of MacDougal Street, takes its name from the street that was home to the Gaslight Cafe, and other early 60s folk clubs.

The Village stretches from the Hudson River Park east as far as Broadway, and from West Houston Street in the south up to West 14th Street. Its small scale makes it easy to explore on foot and perfect for a musical pilgrimage, but the arrival last summer of New York’s bike-sharing scheme, Citibike, makes for a more adventurous experience.

I picked up a bike outside Franklin Street subway station, south of the Village in Tribeca, and headed out to the river, at Pier 45. Looking south you can see One World Trade Center: at 541m, it’s now the tallest building in the western hemisphere. Cycle or walk to the end of the boardwalk that juts out into the Hudson, facing Hoboken, New Jersey, and look to your left and you can see the Statue of Liberty. From there, it’s a short cycle along Christopher Street, up Hudson and along West 10th, to Bleecker Street, where designer boutiques such as Marc Jacobs, Michael Kors and Lulu Guinness mark the area’s steep gentrification.

On MacDougal Street, a jumble of comedy cellars, theatres and cheap eateries have mostly replaced the old, liquorless cafes and basement bars of the folk scene. It is the hub of New York University’s campus and many of the bars, falafel joints and pizza houses are priced for students, with $2 beers thrown in.

But several older venues still exist, including the Bitter End, which staged folk “hootenannies” every Tuesday and now calls itself New York’s oldest rock club”. The White Horse Tavern, built in 1880, still stands on the corner of Hudson Street and 11th. It was used by New York’s literary community in the 1950s – most notably Welsh bard Dylan Thomas. It was here, myth has it, that the writer had been drinking in November 1953, before he was rushed to hospital from his room at the Chelsea Hotel, and died a few days later.

The original Cafe Wha? remains at 115 MacDougal Street, on the corner of Minetta Lane. In the bitter winter of 1961, when the Coen brothers movie is set, cash-strapped artists similar to Davis would take their chances at the open mic. It was here that Bob Dylan made his New York debut, and Allen Ginsberg and Jack Kerouac performed. Cafe Wha? continued to attract artists and musicians long after the Village folk scene gave way to rock’n’roll. A notice on the door catalogues a few of the famous names who played here: Jimi Hendrix, Ritchie Havens, Jerry Lee Lewis, Little Richard and the Velvet Underground. It is still a popular music venue, with a house band playing five nights a week.

The real centre of the folk scene back then, however, was Washington Square, where musicians would gather on Sundays to swap ideas, learn new material and play. According to folk singer and historian Elijah Wald, the ballad and blues singers who sat around the fountain in the park created sounds that would influence artists from Joni Mitchell and Joan Baez to folk-rock groups the Lovin’ Spoonful, the Byrds and the Mamas and the Papas. The hero of the Coens’ film is not Van Ronk, according to Wald, but he does sing some Van Ronk songs and shares his working-class background.

When I visited on a sunny but cold December day, there was only one musician, a saxophonist, playing under Washington Square’s stone arch, but at weekends the park fills with rap and jazz musicians playing to tourists and students. Bikes are not officially allowed inside the square, but there are Citibike stations around it, so it’s easy to park and walk around.

A block north of the park, on West 8th Street, is a historic 107-room property once known as Marlton House and home to many writers and poets, who were attracted by relatively cheap rates and the bohemian neighbourhood. Jack Kerouac wrote The Subterraneans and Tristessa while living here and, in a darker episode, Valerie Solanas was staying in room 214 in 1968, when she became infamous for stalking and then shooting Andy Warhol.

Sean MacPherson, who owns the stylish Bowery and Jane hotels nearby, has just reopened the building as the Parisian-inspired Marlton Hotel (marltonhotel.com). I popped in to its very comfortable lobby for coffee and a flick through its copy of John Strausbaugh’s The Village: 400 years of Beats and Bohemians, Radicals and Rogues. And I caught up with Strausbaugh later, to ask him about the village in the early 1960s, when young idealists were living hand to mouth and sleeping on friends’ couches.

“In 1961, if you were in any way an artistic person in America, in that vast American landscape, you were a lonely figure,” said Strausbaugh. “You heard about San Francisco, you heard about Greenwich Village, and you went there. You didn’t play there to make money; you went there to be heard. Like Dylan, who played at the Cafe Wha?, then got another entry-level gig, then began playing at the biggest places.”

There were others, Strausbaugh said, like Van Ronk, who were talented, but whose ambitions were more modest than those of Dylan and Baez. The unique thing about the Village, he added, is that it survived so long as a bohemian enclave, from the early 1850s, when it attracted poets such as Walt Whitman, to the beatniks and folk revivalists of the 1950s and later.

“The left bank [in Paris] did not last 100 years, but the Village did,” he said.

Many of the buildings and sometimes entire streets in the Village have been preserved and are now home to some of the most expensive real estate in Manhattan and sought-after for their distinctive, old Greenwich Village look. A struggling folk artist might find a cheap meal in one of the student cafes around MacDougal Street, but they would never be able to afford to live in the area – or anywhere in Manhattan, realistically.

“It has not been completely finished off,” said Strausbaugh. “There are still a lot of theatres. But the people who make the music have not been able to live there for 20 or 30 years.”

Siva's Reviews: House of Marley

House of Marley: specializing in gear for the iLife.  


I can’t talk about House of Marley without taking a moment to acknowledge the man who started it all. A man whose principles and messages of love, and “inity” continue to inspire and shape the course of countless lives in so many ways. In fact as testimony to his longevity and influence, Forbes lists Robert Nesta Marley as number 5 on the list of top-earning deceased celebrities.  

Siva's Reviews: House of Marley


Bob Marley was indeed a man with a message and on a mission, who took the fullest advantage of his fame and stature to spread songs of equality, human rights and love of god and each other throughout the world. I was fortunate as a child, to have seen him in person once, as he sat amongst a small group of people gathered around him by the Sunday Morning Well on the island where I grew up. I couldn’t have been more than 7 or 8, but I remember it like it were yesterday, and what I remember most was his smile. A genuine smile, that came from his eyes and shaped his mouth and shone from his heart. It’s been over 30 years since that day and I am happy to see how his legacy has lingered on and continues to shape the world we live in, in so many ways. And House of Marley is one of those ways.


House of Marley exists under the larger umbrella of the Marley family name, with profits from House of Marley’s revenue going into the Marley family’s 1Love Foundation and with various Marley offspring showing up at House of Marley events to support the line.


The Marley’s are known for, among other things, music and lifestyle. And House of Marley continues in those genres by offering products to support both our love of music and our choices to live a more conscious modern mobile lifestyle, taking into consideration the environment and world we live in when deciding which products we choose to buy, endorse and support.


Siva's Reviews: House of Marley


House of Marley’s guiding principles reflect those of Bob Marley, and all the products they make are crafted with both love and awareness of our ecosystem. Their products feature a variety of recycled materials; including their patented REWIND fabric made with 30% Hemp / 30% Organic Cotton / 40% Recycled Plastic Bottles (RPET) as well as incorporating recycled woods, plastics and aluminum. House of Marley is a trailblazer leading the way when it comes to incorporating recycled goods back into new, high-quality lifestyle gear and iDevice accessories.


Their line up is diverse, and I would certainly suggest that anyone interested visit the House of Marley website to see all the variety and options they offer. As you’ll notice if you visit the site, much of their tech is geared towards Apple products, and you may also notice that some items are only available at the Apple Store online as part of an ongoing charity donation event where Apple doubles the amount House of Marley raises and the proceeds go to the Little Kids Rock charity which gets instruments and music education into “under served” school systems.


For now though, here are a few of my favorite goodies from House of Marley that I would expect to be of special interest to iDevice users:


Revolution On-Ear Headphones



The Revolution On-Ear headphones deliver an incredibly dynamic and responsive sound quality at a very affordable price. In fact, it’s easy to assume that the Revolution headphones cost much more than they do once you take a listen! The sound quality is pristine and rivals that of headphones typically priced at $100 or more.


The House of Marley Revolutions, like all House of Marley gear is crafted from recycled fabrics, aluminum and plastics and that approach also includes the packaging. Presentation is everything they say, and House of Marley has also nailed that aspect of their gear. The “natural” aesthetic element of House of Marley products can’t be overstated.


When I tried on a pair of the Revolution on-ear headphones I was truly blown away by what a rich and layered soundscape opened up before me. With a full range of clear tones the Revolution delivered a near-studio quality listening experience. Their powerful bass was much appreciated as I cranked up some Roots reggae and when it came to one of my favorite pastimes, video gaming, they reminded me that as good as the speakers on my iPad may be, they just can capture the subtle complexities and layers of some of my favorite games; like Bastion and Infinity Blade II.


Siva's Reviews: House of Marley


The Revolutions are lightweight and fold up compactly to slip into the included cloth rasta-colored storage bag. The Revolutions, like all of House of Marley gear that incorporate in-line volume controls, also feature a mic and call control button that works specifically and seamlessly with Apple iDevices. Everything about these great Marley headphones is inspiring and high quality. If you are looking for a great pair of headphones that will deliver a professional grade sound at a bargain price, look no further. Check out the House of Marley Revolutions HERE for just $90.00.


The Chant portable Bluetooth speaker


Siva's Reviews: House of Marley


I think Chant is the perfect name for the House of Marley portable Bluetooth speaker. Chanting to Bob Marley meant to sing praises, to sing praises to whatever higher power you sing praises too. In its name we are reminded to give thanks and praise, and with it we are able to bring our songs of freedom with us wherever we may roam, with a sound that is loud and ready for a celebration and a design that has a very organic feel to it while reflecting its reggae roots. The Chant is encased in a REWIND fabric shell that has cutaways to expose the charging port and 3.5 mm jack. With its slick bamboo wood trim, Rasta-color accents and plush padded construction the Chant is a beautiful hybrid of style and practical durability.


House of Marley’s Chant rocks! The sound quality is great! What would you expect from the Marleys though? This tiny, lightweight portable boom box is all speaker, and packs its punch. The Chant has one full-range driver and one passive radiator for bass reinforcement providing an expansive soundscape for indoor or outdoor media broadcasting.


The House of Marley chant is small and light enough to be clipped on a belt loop or the outside of a pack, and it also has a built in microphone so it can be used as a speakerphone. Additionally, the Chant comes with a short 3.5 mm cord to connect to any device that has that size jack. The Chant mini boom box has a 6-hour rechargeable battery so that you are good to go for a fair stretch without having to plug back in a power up.


Siva's Reviews: House of Marley


The Chant would make a perfect gift for teens on the go, student’s and writer’s desktops, iDevice gamers, hikers, anyone who likes to stream music or movies on their iPad or iPhone… maybe even for yourself! The Chant is available in the Apple Store online for $100.00.


Zion In-ear headphones


Siva's Reviews: House of Marley


The Zion earbuds are the top-of-the-line in-ear headphones that House of Marley offers. These noise-canceling earphones will shatter your concepts of what a quality pair of earphones can be. Everything about the Zion exudes quality and attention to detail. With their fabric wrapped cords, finished wood speaker shells, custom fit earpieces and even their carry case made out of House of Marley’s patented REWIND fabric, the House of Marley Zion earphones will not disappoint!


The House of Marley Zion earphones are the best that House of Marley has to offer, and that’s saying something. I tested a pair extensively, with everything from FLAC audio files of live Further shows to AAC and WAV files of Bob Marley and Dr. Dre. All I can say is look out Dre, there’s some serious competition on the block when it comes to the best earphones and headphones at a reasonable price.


Siva's Reviews: House of Marley


The Zion in-ear headphones are tough and durable and I can t speak highly enough about their sound quality. The accuracy with which they reproduce sound is uncanny, especially for 11mm speakers! The multi-tonal clarity is crisp and precise; delivering every note and nuance with an accuracy and richness that has to be experienced to believe. The Zion are some of the best in-ears I have had the pleasure of reviewing and when all things are considered: cost, appearance, speaker sound and microphone quality, not to mention Eco-friendliness, indeed, the Zion are hard to beat. The House of Marley Zion earbuds are available HERE for $100.


Lively Up Backpack


Siva's Reviews: House of Marley


This military-inspired, lightweight backpack is simply but well made. I’d consider it their iPad daypack option, made sturdily with 13oz REWIND fabric.


The Lively Up pack pays homage to Bob Marley’s oft used expression and song by the same name: Lively Up Yourself. You don’t have to be an expert in Rastafarian dialect to figure out what that sentiment is encouraging us to do. In the spirit of “lively-ing up” House of Marley introduces their Lively Up pack line up. The Lively Up backpack is the perfect accessory for you when you feel the spirit move you and the time to get lively is at hand. This backpack is the perfect size and fit for anyone (student, teacher, urban professional or outdoor adventurer) who wants to carry their iPad or small laptop plus a days worth of gear around with them.


The Lively Up backpack has a padded back with 4 compartments. There is a large main compartment, within which is a piece of fabric dividing the compartment into two separate sleeves. It also has a zippered front compartment ideal for a 10″ iPad or small MacBook or of course, an iPad mini. Lastly it has a mini pocket, accessible by a rear/side zipper that opens up a discreet sleeve set into the backside panel of the pack. With hook closures and adjustable lightly padded straps the Lively Up backpack is a perfect companion for carrying your iDevices and a day’s heavy load.


Siva's Reviews: House of Marley


Available in 3 natural and earthy tones, the House of Marley backpack is available HERE for $100.00.



Siva's Reviews: House of Marley


As always, thank you for reading. Stay tuned to iPhone Life for more tips and reviews to help you with your holiday gift shopping.

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