Deal of the Week: July 25th, 2014: 10-in-1 Portable USB Card Reader for $5.99

10-in-1 Portable USB 2.0 Card Reader for $5.99THIS WEEK: 10-in-1 Portable USB Card Reader for $5.99 (reg. $19.99)

Access nearly any type memory card, including SDHC, microSD and more with this USB 2.0 Card Reader. One cool feature: it even has a built-in USB cable. With it, you can expect quick USB 2.0 data transfers up to 480 Mbps.

Not only is this a nifty card reader, it can also house up to nine memory cards – which makes it the ideal accessory for your digital camera, PSP, or PDA. And it’s Mac/PC compatible.

Get complete details on this week’s DOTW.

Apple debuts OS X Yosemite public beta

Apple OS X Yosemite public beta announcedToday, Apple released a beta version of the next version of its Mac operating system, OS X Yosemite. Yosemite was announced and previewed at Apple’s World Wide Developers Conference in June; the official release is slated for sometime this fall.

As Information Week says:

Participating in Apple’s OS X Beta Program — which is distinct from the Beta Seed Program for Mavericks — is free, but there may be non-monetary costs, such as time or data lost due to crashed applications. Apple warns the OS X Yosemite Beta “may contain errors or inaccuracies and may not function as well as commercially released software.”

Another cost comes in the form of silence: Apple considers its beta software confidential and forbids beta testers from posting screenshots or discussing the software publicly. By agreeing to Apple’s Beta Program terms, testers promise to take reasonable steps to keep Apple’s software confidential, such as shielding the screen of a Mac running OS X Yosemite from onlookers.

If, after all that, you’re still interested in participating in the development of the next generation of Mac operating systems, you can sign up for the public beta here.

VIDEO: Upbeat new Apple spot shows how much people love their MacBook Airs

As the popularity of MacBook Air continues to grow, so do the many ways users customize these ultralight notebooks. ‘Stickers,’ a brand-new spot from Apple, showcases the creativity of these folks. Fun stuff (and if you watch carefully, you’ll spot at least two references to recent Apple acquisition Beats Audio).

VIDEO: New iPhone 5s ad, ‘Parenthood,’ hints at future Apple smart home initiatives

A new 60-second TV commercial spotlighting the iPhone 5s, Parenthood, was posted by Apple last Sunday. In it, parents are shown using their iPhones to teach kids how to brush their teeth, as well as using it as a baby monitor, to find a lost pet, and to turn down the room lights. This dovetails neatly with Apple’s recent announcements surrounding HomeKit, a platform for smart home devices.

It also happens to be a clever, warm and engaging piece of advertising.

Deal of the Week | July 5th, 2014: UltraLast 4-pack of AA alkaline batteries for 99¢

UltraLast 4-pack AA alkaline batteris for 99 cents at Connecting PointFlashlights. Remotes. Garage door openers. Laser pointers. So many devices, so few AA alkaline batteries to power them all.

Until now.

For this week’s DOTW, we’ve scored a major buying coup on four-packs of UltraLast’s excellent AA alkaline batteries. And we’re letting them go, while supplies last, for less than a buck a pack.

Find out more about our latest Deal of the Week here.

Connecting Point will be CLOSED Friday, July 4th, 2014

Connecting Point will be closed Friday, July 4th, 2014In observance of the national Independence Day holiday, both Connecting Point locations (Bend and Medford, Oregon) will be closed Friday, July 4th.

Enjoy the long weekend, and please take care of yourselves! Remember we’re in Fire Season, conditions are tinder-dry, and temps will likely be high. Be very careful with matches, fires, and (especially) fireworks.

We’ll be open for business as usual Saturday morning.

Apple milestone: On this date in 1976, original Apple I personal computer first offered for sale. Price: $666.66

Original Apple I personal computer motherboard

Image credit: Wired.com

The first Apple computer was a kit. These early versions were hand-built by Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak, and first shown publicly at meetings of the Homebrew Computer Club. This club was an informal, Silicon Valley-based group of electronic enthusiasts and technically-inclined hobbyists. In other words, nerds – über nerds, with a number of infamous hackers and future entrepreneurs among its members.

Apple co-founder and Apple I creator Steve Wozniak

Apple I creator Steve Wozniak

The Apple I was essentially a motherboard, with CPU, RAM, and basic text/video chips on a single board (see above). You had to build your own enclosure, and provide your own keyboard and monitor. But it was a fully functioning system on a single circuit board, it was reasonably affordable – and that was a breakthrough at the time. Apple had incorporated a few months earlier (on April 1st), but this was their first product to make it to market.

[A side note: A little over a year later, Connecting Point - then known as TEAM Electronics, on E Street in Grants Pass - would become one of the very first retailers in the world to sell and service the newly-introduced Apple II - launching a decades-long partnership between the two companies that persists to this day.]

Its $666.66 price tag works out to about $2,800 in 2014 dollars, adjusting for inflation – which may seem a bit steep for such a rudimentary device. But recent auctions have seen original Apple I’s selling for as much as $50,000. They’re extremely rare, and an important part of computing history. The Apple I paved the way for the revolution to come.

So check your attic. Scour your garage. Look under the bench in your cellar workshop. You may be sitting on a goldmine.

Deal of the Week | June 27th, 2014: 12-piece electronic tool kit for $14.99

12-piece electronic tool kit for $14.99Twelve tools in one – and it doesn’t fold up into an unwieldy metal clump you carry in your pocket.

No, this tool kit is full-blown and compromise-free. Granted, it won’t fit in your pocket. But it does come in a padded, zippered pleather case. And within that case: 12 of the most commonly needed tools to examine, diagnose, and fix electronic devices. You get a soldering iron, a de-soldering pump, a couple kinds of pliers, a couple screwdrivers, and more. Good stuff.

Good stuff that won’t set you back a small fortune, too – especially this week. Since it is our featured Deal of the Week, we’re marking down its usual $39.99 price to a paltry $14.99. Find out more here.