My essential MacBook Air add-ons

macbook-air-gallery1-2014The MacBook Air is a great portable yet full-featured laptop.  It is thin, lightweight, and functional.macbook-air-gallery2-2014

However, it suffers on one very important feature:  Storage.

The flash storage is fast:  Because it is not a traditional hard drive, it has no moving parts.  But, the cost of the SSD limits the storage on the MacBook Air.  At least on the older versions.  I got the Mid-2013 128GB version.  Suffice it to say, it is now running at 98% capacity.

The immediate solution is to get two drives.

macbook-air-gallery5-2014

SanDisk Ultra Fit flash drive

sandisk-ultra-fitThis goes on one of the USB ports on the MacBook Air.  For $30, it adds 128GB of extra storage.  The limitation is if the USB port is one of the “slower” USB 2.0 (and not the USB 3.0).  So this would be good for storing and accessing data that does not require fast data transfer (music, photos, Word documents, etc.)

There are also other small-ish USB drives out there, such as the Samsung Flash Drive Fit and the Lexar JumpDrive.  Both of which come in 128GB so plenty of extra storage.

 

Transcend JetDrivetranscend-drive

There are several flavors of this drive.  I initially got the 128GB version, but recently had to get the 256GB version.  Depending on your budget and your needs, I would recommend one or the other.

 

Of course, you can also upgrade the boot drive.  This is a bit trickier, since it will require you to do research on the type of drive you need (Mid-2013 and newer requires PCIe SSD, which are different from the earlier laptops that use SATA).

With a 128GB flash drive and a 256GB JetDrive, I added enough storage to store my files from DropBox and Google Drive, as well as Photos Library and iTunes.

 

 

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CRKT Tighe Rod – Review

CRKT Tighe Rod – a Brian Tighe design and Collaboration

crkt_tighe_rod_5265

CRKT Tighe Rod. Available on Amazon.com (click picture)

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CRKT TIGHE ROD™
Designed by Brian Tighe in Ridgefield, Ontario
You can’t judge a great knife on looks alone. Just in 
case, this one goes way beyond looks.

Once again custom knife designer Brian Tighe puts the edge back in knife design. Whether you’re a casual knife user, or someone who seeks out the truly ôunique”, the Tighe Rod will not disappoint.

Thicker, stainless steel handle scales are attractively skeletonized to reduce weight without sacrificing strength. Titanium Nitride coated blue and then surface finished to create a visually striking color effect.

Innovative, Patented, Handle Integrated, Klecker Lock
Blue Two-Tone Titanium Nitride Buffed Handle
Satin Polished

MSRP $175.00crkt_tighe_rod_5265_closed

You can’t judge a great knife on looks alone. Just in case, this one goes way beyond looks. Once again custom knife designer Brian Tighe puts the edge back in knife design. Whether you’re a casual knife user, or someone who seeks out the truly ôunique”, the Tighe Rod will not disappoint.

Thicker, stainless steel handle scales are attractively skeletonized to reduce weight without sacrificing strength. Titanium Nitride coated blue and then surface finished to create a visually striking color effect.

Solid, blade lockup comes from the Klecker Lock that is uniquely formed within the steel scales creating an innovative, modern lockback design.

The Tighe Rod’s blade rotates buttery smooth with caged mini ball bearings in the pivot, and its shape is user-minded with a broad sweeping, deep belly, and hollow ground cutting edge.

You can open the blade with use of either its blade flipper, or ambidextrous thumb-studs.

For the user that enjoys a folding pocket knife that looks both unique, and offers great cutting tool pocket utility—the Tighe Rod delivers at first sight.

Brian Tighe (Ridgefield, Ontario)

There are edged tool artisans…and then there’s Brian Tighe. A Canadian Renaissance Man, he is practiced in the art of metallurgy, photography, and tool and die making. It’s what helped him make the leap from a creator of high-quality custom folding knives into the top 10 elite. We were honored to have his Buy Tighe™ blade as our limited edition CRKT® 20th anniversary knife and are releasing the new Tighe Tac™ 2’s for 2016.

SPECIFICATIONS
Blade Length 3.57″ (90.68 mm)
Blade Edge Plain
Blade Steel AUS 8, 58-59 HRC
Blade Finish Satin
Blade Thickness .12″ (3.05 mm)
Closed Length 4.64″ (117.86 mm)
Weight 4.8 oz
Handle 420J2 Stainless Steel
Style Folding Knife w/Klecker Lock
Overall Length 8.19″ (208.03 mm)

crkt_tighe_rod_5265_two

Click picture to purchase on Amazon.com (click picture)

Apple Special Event – September 7

Big news regarding the iPhone 7

iPhone 7 (10 notable features)

  • Design – refined design; new finish (jet black) high gloss finish, aluminum body with embedded antenna and single glass face
  • Home button – home, multitasking, siri, accessibility, touch ID, reachability, apple pay; NOW with taptic engine API, force-sensitive, solid-state
  •  Water and dust resistant!!!  IP67 protection standard
  • Camera –
    • OIS on BOTH phones,
    • f1.8 lens,
    • 1st camera has six-element lens 12MP sensor (60% faster, 30% energy efficient)
    • Quad-LED tru tone flash
    • Apple-designed image signal processor (ISP) with 2x throughput
    • 7MP 2nd front-side (selfie) camera
    • with iPhone 7 Plus, there are TWO cameras (one has wide-angle, other has telephoto 2x) with zoom-feature built in to iPhone, zoom up to 10x (with software zoom)
    • Bokeh for shallow depth of field with two lens (but this should already be feasible with f1.8 lens?!)
  • Retina HD Display – 25% brighter, Wide color gamut Cinema standard, Color management, 3D touch
  • Speakers – louder
  • EarPods – lightning connector for headphones; apple EarPods included with iPhone 7; lightning adapter for headphone jack ALSO included
    • Removed jack because lightning can be used, smartphone technology, wireless (Apple AirPods)
  • Wireless AirPods – with battery and charger built into case (24h total listening power); Beats Solo3 Wireless and Powerbeats3 Wireless and Beatsx
  • ApplePay updated for use around the world (NFC and Felica technology); also included in Apple Watch Series 2
  • Performance
    • A10 Fusion – New Generation Chip; 64-bit 4-core CPU; two high-performance cores (40% faster than A9, 2x faster than A8), two high-efficiency cores (1/5 power of high-performance cores) for longer battery life
    • Graphics performance – 50% faster than A9, 3x faster than A8; 2/3 power of A9, 1/2 power of A8
    • “Longest battery life ever in an iPhone”
  • iOS 10

screen-shot-2016-09-07-at-11-43-36-am

Apple iPhone 7 and 7 Plus DOUBLED its storage (32GB, 128GB, 256GB) from original for SAME prices as old Apple 6S and 6S Plus

Home Kit – a home app that integrates management of home devices from your phone

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Motorola VerveLoop+ Wireless Earbuds – Review

Motorola VerveLoop Plus“Take your music anywhere with the Motorola Verve Loop+. These wireless stereo earbuds are super light, perfect for high impact activities, and are IP57 water and sweat proof to hold strong during your most intense workouts – indoors our outside. The integrated mic lets you take calls with ease without having to reach for your phone, while the extended 150 feet of range gives you mobility at the gym or the office. Go ahead, listen to music for up to 9.5 hours without interruption using your phone, tablet, or computer. Verve Loop+ Super Light, Waterproof, Wireless Stereo Earbuds. Cut loose.”

Features:

  • Sweat & waterproof (IP57 protection)
  • Super light with HD Sound
  • Up to 9.5h Playtime*
  • Up to 150ft of range
  • Siri & Google Now compatible
  • Integrated mic for calls

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Star Trek – Into Darkness

Just saw the freshly released movie poster for the next movie.  Awesome!

Star Trek - Into Darkness

Seagate FreeAgent GoFlex Slim – Review

STBE500100

Seagate FreeAgent GoFlex Slim 500 GB USB 3.0 Performance External Hard Drive (STBE500100)

This review is for the Seagate FreeAgent GoFlex Slim 500 GB USB 3.0 Performance External Hard Drive.

My previous favorite go-to backup drive was the Buffalo Technology MiniStation Stealth 500 GB. Was. Now, I have a new go-to drive with the Seagate FreeAgent GoFlex Slim. I did not think a new drive would replace the MiniStation for a while, and I am pleasantly surprised with the GoFlex Slim performance.

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Apple announces newest iPad

The latest iPad was unveiled today in Apple’s special event in San Francisco.

Release date is March 16.  That’s next week, folks!!!  Let’s hope Apple comes through with this date.

Dubbed “The new iPad,” the updates include:

1.  High-resolution Display.  It is the same resolution as the iPhone 4S retina display.  At 2048 by 1536 it boasts over 3.1 million pixels.

2.  iSight Camera.  The new camera sports a 5 Megapixel sensor, using the same technology that’s in the iPhone 4S.

3.  HD video recording.  Let’s you record in 1080p, just like on the iPhone 4S.

4.  Voice dictation.  Sweet…

5.  Next generation wireless… 4G-LTE!!!  Finally!!!

More importantly, the price.  The new iPad is priced at just $499 for 16GB, $599 for 32GB, $699 for 64GB. And $629, $729, and $829 for 4G.  These are the same prices as the iPad2.


Other things:

It can also function as a personal hotspot (requires carrier support).  Up to 5 devices can connect wirelessly to the iPad.

The new iPad gets the same 10 hour battery life as the old model, and about 9 hours when on 4G.  That is not bad at all, considering how 4G sucks the life out of most 4G-enabled cell phones (you know who you are).

There will be two versions of the iPad (AT&T and Verizon).

More info to follow.  Stay tuned.

Grant Wilson Leaving ‘Ghost Hunters’

Grant Wilson, a co-lead investigator of SyFy’s “Ghost Hunters” and co-founder of The Atlantic Paranormal Society (TAPS), is leaving the reality series.  He announced his departure on the Ghost Hunters episode aired on February 15.

“It is with mixed emotion that I am announcing my departure from the cast of ‘Ghost Hunters,'” Wilson said in a statement. “While paranormal investigating has always been and will remain a passion for me, after enjoying nearly eight successful seasons on television, I have made the decision to leave the series in order to focus on other aspects of my personal life.”

“When Grant and I founded TAPS nearly 20 years ago, we never imagined that we would be able to make such an impact just by doing what we enjoy every day,” said Jason Hawes, TAPS co-founder and “Ghost Hunters” co-lead investigator. “I will miss working with Grant on a daily basis, and am indebted to the level of dedication and expertise he has brought to our field. I can’t imagine having a better partner through it all — both on the show and off. Grant and I, along with our spouses and children, are all like one big family. While I fully support his decision to move on from the series, this longtime friendship — as well as our business partnership — will continue off-camera for years to come.”

Grant and Jason offered unparalleled experience and unbiased analysis of paranormal investigation.  Grant said he will still be a part of several more upcoming investigations.

Mark Stern, SyFy President of original content, supported and respected Wilson’s decision, and said that the show would “find a way to reshape itself as it moves forward.”

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Ask Conrad – Why is one speaker not working on iPhone 4S?

Hi Conrad,

With my older iPhone, there was only one speaker on the bottom (and one mic).  I recently upgraded to the new iPhone 4S (Verizon), which seems to have two speakers at the bottom.  But I am only getting sound out of one speaker (the right one).  If I connect my headphones, there is audio coming out of both L and R earbuds.  Should I return or exchange the phone? 

Thanks,

Leslie

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Hi Leslie,

The newer iPhones (4/4S) also have a single speaker, much like the older iPhones.  The 30-pin dock connector at the bottom of the iPhone is flanked by the built-in speaker (right) and the microphone (left).  So your phone is perfectly fine in that audio should be coming out only from the right side, and audio should come out of both L and R while using the headphones.

-Conrad

Review – Motorola SF600 Wireless Sports Headphones

Link to Amazon – Motorola SF600 Wireless Sports Headphones

I received these headphones to test its capabilities as a replacement to my wired headset.   My favorite wired inner-ear headsets are the Ultimate Ears TripleFi 10, followed closely by the Ultimate Ears 600vi set.

I opened the retail packaging to find a quick-start guide sitting on top.  Underneath was the SF600 wireless sports headphone, a bag with 5 sizes of ear cushions, a wall charger, and a convenient black travel pouch.  The package Motorola SF600 has ear cushions in five sizes to ensure a secure, comfortable fit no matter what your pace is.

The selling-point of this headset is the breakthrough HD sound with wireless technology that the manufacturers referred to as headphones that “deliver crystal clear, pulse-pumping sound quality to keep you focused and motivated through every step of every workout.”  What does that mean?  Well, the Motorola SF600 features advanced HD audio capabilities that include APT-X codec technology that Motorola boasts to match or even the outperform wired headset performance.  Overall, the sound is one of the best I’ve heard from a bluetooth headset.  However, there are areas that need work.

I tested this with an iPhone 4S, iPad2, Blackberry Curve, and a MacBook Pro.

How did the SF600 fare?

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