CategoryReview

How my Apple Watch saved my life (really)

I had a health scare a couple months ago. I haven’t talked about it to many people, not because I want to keep it secret, but because that kind of sharing just doesn’t come naturally to me.

Writing about it is a different story, however; like any journalist worth his salt, I can’t resist a good story — even if it’s my own. So I wrote about it for Macworld, and I’ll share it with you all that way.
For the record, I feel great. I have no restrictions on what I can do, other than take one little pill every day. That’s a small price to pay for remaining upright.

I can’t tell you how much it’s meant to me to have my wonderful family through all this — especially Judy, who for some reason I still don’t fully understand, wants me to stay alive as long as possible (despite my reminder that I’m worth a lot more dead.) She is — as always — my rock, my center and my soulmate.
Anyway, if you want to know the story, here you go.

SolarTab Review: A bright spot in outdoor charging solutions

Let’s get this out of the way right up front: The SolarTab is the best solution I’ve seen for using solar energy to charge your gear in the wild. The problem is, with the ubiquity of cheap, high-capacity external batteries, I’d pretty much written off solar chargers as obsolete. But more on that later.

A bright spot in solar charging

The SolarTab combines a high-capacity 13,000 mAh battery with a 5.5W, mono-crystalline silicon solar charger. The “mono” part is important. Older solar chargers use poly-crystalline panels—the ones with that fish scale look. Mono-crystalline chargers are much more efficient at turning light into energy.

The company says the SolarTab’s turns 21 percent of the sunlight it receives into energy; that’s right near the top of the charts for consumer-grade — even residential — panels. Commercial grade and “concentrator” panels have higher efficiency, but you wouldn’t want to carry them around, even if you could afford them.

It’s also the best packaged solar charger I’ve seen. You’d be forgiven for mistaking it for an iPad — its dimensions are almost identical, and in its protective case, it’s a dead ringer for one. This makes it a breeze to slip into a backpack or travel case — if you can fit your iPad, you can fit a SolarTab. It’s a sleek, slim alternative to the traditional canvas, foldable solar chargers that dominate the market.

Read the rest of this article on The Mac Observer.

Pre-review PSA: Solartab solar charger/battery combo at 25% off

I’ll have a full review shortly, but I like the Solartab portable solar charger enough already to pass along the news that it’s currently on sale for 25% off its list price. The iPad-sized solar charger has an integrated battery powerful enough to recharge even an iPad.

Solartab Premium Portable Solar Charger for Phones and Tables
$97 (25% off) at Amazon.com

On The Mac Observer: Home Wi-Fi Weak in Areas? Use TP-LINK’s Powerline

Let’s all agree that Wi-Fi is a marvelous thing. It sets us free, untethered — literally — from cables and walls. It’s usually easy to set up, too — plug a router in, connect your cable modem (or whatever gets you to the Internet), answer a few questions and boom — you’re good to go.

Unless of course you travel to a room in your house that’s too far from your router, or you’re behind a concrete wall that doesn’t let the signal through, or you have an older device that doesn’t have Wi-Fi, or you’re in an area where a hundred other routers create congestion, or…you get the picture.

The short story is: Wi-Fi is great until it isn’t. As a result, wired networks still have their advantages, and the best network usually offers a mixture of wired and wireless options. Unfortunately, running network cables through your home can be a messy, expensive and difficult affair.

Read the full article on The Mac Observer.

‘Hanging by a thread’

I was a guest on the British Tech Network’s Mac Show this week, along with Chris Breen, Josh Centers, Adam Christianson and Host Ewen Rankin. We had a great time speculating on what Chris will do as he leaves Macworld for that “fruit-flavored technology company.” We also talked a lot about the Apple Watch, what Pebble’s Kickstarter project for its own smart watch means for consumer appetites, Apple’s March 9th event and other assorted nonsense.

As usual, it was a tremendous amount of fun with a great panel of smart, funny people. The Mac Show has a bright Chat Room as well, and they add a lot to the program. It’s worth listening to (and subscribing) whether you’re interested in hearing my ramblings or not.

The show can be found on the British Tech Network’s website.

Macworld Review: Vivosmart finds its place by not trying to be a smart watch

My latest Macworld article is a review of Garmin’s Vivosmart. It’s a fitness band that looks to differentiate itself from Apple’s offering by being a fitness tracker with smartphone features, rather than a smartwatch that also happens to track your activity.

I think it’s a smart move by Garmin: get a great fitness band with some useful features at half the price of the Apple Watch. And you don’t have to wait until April to get one.

You can read the full review on Macworld.com.

Audio Hijack 3 is a must-have upgrade that adds fun to a powerful utility

Rogue Amoeba released Audio Hijack 3, a major update to its audio capture and recording utility. The new version features a completely overhauled interface that makes creating and using recording workflows much easier and looks amazing.

The old: Powerful, but imposing
For years, Rogue Amoeba’s Audio Hijack Pro has been an essential utility for capturing, mixing and recording audio traveling through you Mac. And when podcasting took off, Audio Hijack obtained legendary status, making it inexpensive and relatively easy to boost production values, making it possible for indy podcasters to sound like much bigger studios.

But all that power was somewhat hidden behind a skeuomorphic interface of dials, knobs and switches, and the program’s tabbed interface made it tough to get a holistic view of your workflow.

Continue reading

iRig Mic Studio looks like IK Mulitmedia’s next big hit

IK Multimedia has been on fire lately, with a slew of high quality, innovative products for musicians and podcasters. Today, the company announced its newest product—iRig Mic Studio.

The mic itself is an “ultra-portable large-diaphragm digital condenser microphone” for iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, Mac, PC and Android. It has a 1″ diameter condenser capsule into an enclosure smaller than an iPhone, targeted at musicians, vocalists, home producers, podcasters, broadcasters, voice-over artists and more.

Continue reading

Macworld Review: NewerTech’s Wireless Keypad Puts the Finishing Touch on Apple’s Own Keyboard

I wrote a review for Macworld (after all these years of tech writing, it’s my first piece for them) in which I take a look at NewerTech’s unimaginatively named “Wireless Aluminum Keypad” and like what I see. How much did I like it? You’ll have to read the full review over at Macworld to find out.

‘Cosmetically damaged’ PowerPots on sale for $100

BioLite’s stove may have gotten more buzz, but Power Practical’s PowerPot V is — to me — a much better implementation of generating electricity with heat. I’ve talked about it during my Tech vs. Wild sessions, and it always scores high on the “wow factor.”

Now, Power Practical is selling “cosmetically damaged” PowerPots for $99 — a third off the regular price. The sale is this weekend only, so if you’re interested, check them out now. My perspective is that if you’re really using it out in the field, it’s like to get cosmetically damaged before long anyway, so why not get it that way and save some money?

More information, including an online order form, is available here.

© 2017 RandomMaccess

Theme by Anders NorénUp ↑