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Story by Yvette Cardozo

Photos by Yvette Cardozo and Ventev
High on Adventure, May 2015


Phone charging on outside wall


It started with the trip to Dubai. My friend had one of those cell phones that seems to go dead within four hours. So a couple of times a day, she pulled out this small gray box, plugged it in, and, voila, the phone got charged.

I wasn’t home a week when a local newspaper columnist did a piece about charging phones (and tablets and whatnot) “in the wild.”

She was sitting there on a city sidewalk, you see, charging her phone at the base of a tree (okay, this is Seattle, so power outlets on trees are not unreasonable). She mused about how folks are always in search of power, how they scan a room (or a tree) for an outlet out of habit.

And she then started talking about portable power. Sure, you can plug into your car. But if  you are not in your car or if you don’t have a car, well, there’s always the frantic search for power.

And I remembered the flight back from Dubai when my phone was down to 7% and I knew I needed to make a call when we landed.

iPhone on a wall charging next to a tree. Desperate for phone power, this iPhone owner plugged in wherever she could, in this case the outlet for tree lights on a cafe patio in Wenatchee, WA.
Photo by Cardozo

So I sent off for the Ventev. I got the powercell 6000+ which has two USB ports, one (the 1A/5 watts) good for handsets and the other (the 2A/10 watts) good for tablets or rapid charges. The enclosed sheet promises 25 hours of talk time, 18 hours of 4G internet, 20 hours of video playback or 100 hours of audio playback (hmmm ... audio books for endless drives).  

There are numerous chargers out there and I can’t vouch for them but I can say this about the Ventev...it’s small (about the size of a large pack of smokes), it’s easy to use and it works.

Technology doesn’t come easy to me. But I was able to open the package and figure it out just by looking at the thing. Unfold the built-in plug, plug it into the wall, wait for it to charge, take it with you. I never did get around to the instructions. The hardest thing about it all was liberating the devices and their cords from the packing (tip...the containers open from the bottom...pull off that black thing).

Ventev Powercell 6000+ combination charger - Wallport and Portable Battery Charger in One Ventev Powercell 6000 with charger. Photo by Ventev

All you need is the cord that charges your phone...or one of the company’s neon colored cords so you always have a cord with you.

And there’s also the Ventev Dashport r2240 which plugs into your car with 12 watts and two USB ports if you’re in a real hurry and happen to have your car. Otherwise, if carry space is tight, there’s the r900 which works in a car (but can also be charged with a wall adapter) and once charged, can be used for emergency phone power on the run.

Ventev Dashport r2240
Ventev Dashport r2240 Dual USB Universal Charger - Ventev Dashport Dual USB charger. This plugs into car lighter outlet. Photo by Ventev

The picture accompanying this, by the way, was taken with my freshly Ventev-charged phone of my friend’s phone being charged.

Ventev devices work with both Android and Apple devices. Retail price for the Ventev powercell 6000+ is $74.99, for the dashport r2240 $29.99, for the dashport r900 $39.99, cables $14.99. (All of this is bit less on Amazon.com). There are also less powerful Ventev devices that are cheaper.

Ventev: www.ventev.com  

  Ventev in use  
Ventev in use. The Ventev in action, plugged into my friend's Samsung S3 cell phone.               Photo by Cardozo



by Yvette Cardozo
High on Adventure, May 2015


Sure, I could buy cheap reading glasses, but here’s the thing...what if it’s not only reading glasses but also glasses for far vision you need on a trip?

What if you’d like to have an affordable emergency pair without having to blow $400 on a spare? 

Or what if, like me, your vision changes from morning to night and your eyes have differing prescriptions?

Enter Adlens adjustable glasses.

  Adlens Sundials in case   Adlen Lennon glasses  
Adlens Sundials in case - Adlens adjustable sunglasses.
Photo by Adlens
Adlens Lennon-Groups - John Lennon style glasses. Photo by Adlens

I first learned of these one day when I was fishing for a weather report on TV and stumbled into Good Morning America. The host and her guest - I instantly tagged them The Giggle Girls - were trying on the glasses and yes, giggling.

But the concept got my attention and I sent off for a pair.

The Adlens Adjustables, as they’re called, come in an assortment of colors ranging from black through several neon shades. I opted for pink, figuring they would be easier to find in a dark suitcase.

There are a couple of adjustable glasses out there and, honestly, I had tried a cheaper version that simply didn’t work. But the Adlens glasses did.

Adlens adjustable glasses
  Woman wearing  Adlens glasses  
Adlens adjustable glasses with adjustment knobs visible on upper sides of frame. Photo by Adlens
Woman wearing Adlens adjustable glasses. Photo by Adlens

At the moment, I need reading glasses in one eye and a distance prescription in the other (long, long story). The glasses are supposed to accommodate anything from minus six (truly nearsighted) to plus three (pretty strong readers). I figure I need about a minus two in one eye, a plus two in the other, not to mention the day/night shift in vision.

But apparently, I’m not the only one out there whose vision shifts. It happens to diabetics and to some people who have had lasik surgery. It definitely happens to anyone (like me) who had the older radial keratotomy surgery for nearsightedness before lasik came on the scene.

The very pink glasses arrived in their own plastic case. The idea is you close one eye, adjust that lens with a knob on the frame, then close the other eye and do the same. And I did. And they work.

No, they don’t replace “real” prescription glasses. But they are a great item for an emergency, especially if your vision is somewhat weird like mine and you don’t feel like doling out several hundred for a spare pair that will inevitably be lost or sat on. And you can share them with someone else on a trip. Just readjust them for each person.

Turns out there are a couple of other choices from this company. There’s a “John Lennon” line (yes, they’re round just like John Lennon’s glasses) that once adjusted, can’t be changed. And there’s a new adjustable sunglass line, Adlens Sundials, that is $10 more than the $59 Adjustables and work the same as the Adjustables.

Okay, now we get into the technical stuff.

  Adlens alvarez diagram   Adlens fluid injection system  
Adlens alvarez diagram - Diagram of how Adlens adjustable glasses work. Technology is called alvarez.
Photo by Adlens
Adlens fluid-inject diagram - Diagram of how John Lennon glasses work. Technology is called fluid injection.
Photo by Adlens

The adjustable glasses use something called Alvarez lens technology. Each lens has two wave-shaped polycarbonate plates that are able to glide across one another. The power of each lens can be varied by moving the plates relative to one another.

The John Lennon glasses use fluid injection technology. Each variable focus lens has an elastic membrane held in a chamber between rigid front and back polycarbonate plates. When fluid is injected into the chamber the elastic membrane bows outwards or inwards to change the power of the lens, as shown in the diagram. But once you’ve set the focus and remove the knobs, I guess to make them look more stylish, they can’t be adjusted again.

Bottom line for me is these glasses do the job and will truly come in handy next time I’m off to some ski resort where I sleep at 8,000 feet and my vision is constantly shifting.   http://www.adlens.com




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