User Friendly

Going whole hog on a speaker dock

By Mark Baard
March 21, 2011

E-mail this article

Invalid E-mail address
Invalid E-mail address

Sending your article

Your article has been sent.

Text size +

For an iPhone accessory to get my attention, it needs to be either very cute or do something that’s really special. The Cool iPig, a speaker dock from Speakal (, delivers on both counts.

With its sunglasses, hooves, and pointed piggy ears, the enhanced version of Speakal’s iPig meets my cuteness criteria, but what is really neat is its motion-detection feature. Like remote-free gaming consoles from Sony and Microsoft, the Cool iPig has sensors that recognize your hand movements and change your music playback settings accordingly.

Wave your hands in front of the motion sensors around the Cool iPig’s ears, sides, and nose, and the device will raise or lower its volume, or play, pause, or skip tracks.

The Cool iPig works with all iPhones (including the iPhone 4 with iOS4), according to Speakal. It also plays and charges all iPods with dock controllers.

The Cool iPig also comes with a remote control and has a 3.5mm input for plugging in other music players.

It’s available for about $150.


Central protection for small-office PCs

I’ve been called a gadget guy, a tech maven, and an Apple wizard. (I once earned my bread biking around San Francisco, fixing Macs.)

But when it comes to Windows PCs, I am fairly clueless — particularly when it comes to battling the viruses that relentlessly infect the machines.

For emergency triage and repair of my Emmanuel College-issued ThinkPad laptop, I rely on the expertise of the IT folks at the school.

Like me, your business might be too small to support its own information technology department. If you are the boss of a home or small office, you probably are the IT department.

The computer security company Kaspersky Lab ZAO, which has its US headquarters in Woburn, last week released software that small businesses can use to stay ahead of hackers and nefarious code.

And in what will no doubt be a boon to office morale, you can use the package, called Kaspersky Small Office Security (KSOS), to clamp down on Web surfing by employees.

From a single PC you can use KSOS to limit each worker’s access to specific games and websites or social networks.

On the more traditional security side, KSOS will scan the PCs on your office network to ensure firewalls are turned on (and will turn on those your employees switched off) and keep the security licenses on all of your business’s PCs up to date.

KSOS includes data encryption and data-wiping functions, and your employees can use the software to store their passwords for websites. It will also automatically generate passwords that are likely to be more secure than the name of your cat.

KSOS is available through Kaspersky’s website ( for between $180 and $400, approximately, depending on the number of licenses needed (10 maximum), as well as other features.

The software is for Windows PCs only.