American inventiveness is alive and well as represented by some of these recently introduced products.
Spoiler Shield for Apple iOS is an app that filters out information from Facebook and Twitter that would otherwise spoil the ending of your favorite TV show or sports event.
It works with more than 30 popular TV shows including “Breaking Bad,” “Mad Men,” “Survivor,” “The Bachelor” and “The Voice,” as well as all NFL and MLB games. When Spoiler Shield detects an offending incoming post, it covers the content but displays the name of the person posting. I spoke to the inventors, Josh Solt and Matthew Loew, when they were developing this product a few months ago and learned it came about because of their own frustration of reading about the ending of a “Game of Thrones” episode that they recorded to view after it aired. The app is easy to use; just select which of the broadcasts you want to filter. The programs are updated regularly. Free from the Apple App store. An Android version will come later. (spoilershield.com)
Logitech Ultrathin Touch Mouse T630 is a portable, yet very usable Bluetooth mouse that works with both Mac and Windows computers. The mouse was designed to accompany the Windows Ultrathin notebooks that never really took hold. But it’s the perfect companion to a MacBook Air or any computer. It’s about 3 inches by 2 inches and ¼-inch thick, and is substantial enough not to wander on your desk. It works nearly as well as the full-size Apple mouse. Both have a similar touch-sensitive surface that responds to a range of finger gestures such as zoom and next page. It’s thin enough to fit into a slim pocket to take with you and has a rechargeable battery that charges from a USB port ($70, Logitech.com).
The SurfacePad is a new kind of case for the iPhone 5 and 5s. It’s essentially a piece of high quality suede-lined leather that wraps around the phone to protect the front and back. The case opens like a book to answer the phone and acts as an easel to prop it up for watching videos. The case is not much thicker than a credit card. It attaches to the rear using removable adhesive. While it does a good job protecting the front and back, it does leave the edges somewhat vulnerable. Comes in red, black and white ($35, twelvesouth.com).
Logitech FabricSkin Keyboard Folio — Logitech has been a leader in high-quality full-size keyboards for iPads. I have been using their Ultrathin keyboard for my iPad, which is an aluminum cover that separates from the iPad to become a keyboard stand. It’s a great design, but it doesn’t protect the back of the iPad.
The FabricSkin Keyboard Folio solves that problem. It’s a portfolio that holds both the iPad and keyboard, protecting the entire iPad, front, back and edges. Open it and the iPad folds forward to snap into place, held in position with hidden magnets, and angled for comfortable typing on a desk or in your lap. The case is an attractive woven nylon fabric that comes in a variety of colors. ($149, Logitech.com).
Porch is a new online information service that helps you discover home projects and repairs that have been done in your neighborhood and, in some cases, provides the details behind them. It also serves as a showcase for construction professionals to show off their work.
Its intent is to let the homeowner undertaking a new project such as a kitchen remodel search for similar projects that have been done in their area. A map displays icons where the work was done, and in some cases you can see details of the project, such as its cost and before and after images. The exact location and the homeowner’s information are not disclosed.
You can filter the data by the type of the contractor, such as architect, plumber, roofing, contractor, and carpenter. The site went live Sept. 17 with what the company said were millions of projects detailed. However, I found that most of the listings provided just a simple listing such as “roof repair” with little few details. Porch is a clever idea, but needs to greatly expand its database to live up to its potential (porch.com).
The Zepp Sports Sensor is a small 3-D sensor that attaches to your baseball or softball bat, tennis racket or golf glove and records the motions of your swings. Using software on an iPhone, it analyzes the data and provides advice on making improvements to your game. The product was just announced and will be available in November. ($150, zepp.com). Their first product, the GolfSense, is larger and works just for golf; it is available now for $130.
Baker is the author of "From Concept to Consumer," published by Financial Times Press. Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org. Comments may be published online or as Letters to the Editor.