Monday, February 08, 2016

What tech accessories do I use for work?

In my previous posts, I shared the smartphones, tablets and PCs I use for work as well as how I have my Apple iDevices configured.  In this post, I share my favorite tech accessories:

High Sierra Business Elite backpack is my everyday gear bag for all my electronic devices. I've owned several High Sierra backpacks and they are well made with plenty of pockets to keep all my gear organized

Amazon basics laptop sleeves are affordable, high quality and keep my gear protected and free from scratches and dents when they are in my backpack

Velcro cable ties keeps my cords under control

Vaultz mesh bags keep all my cables and dongles together

Beats Studio Wireless headphones are a great way to listen to music, watch movies on flights and keep out the noise. Yes, they are expensive, but there are deals to be had online (I picked mine up new on eBay for $120)

Pencil by Fifty-three is an excellent stylus for the iPad Air 2 and works with several apps including Paper and Microsoft OneNote as well as others.

Anker Astro battery chargers are fantastic and while mine is old, big and bulky, it still gets the job done. I'm on the lookout for a deal on a newer (smaller and more powerful) model like the 20100

EasyACC 4 port USB charger is inexpensive, small and charges 4 USB devices

Ergotron LX desk mount LCD arm is relatively inexpensive, easily adjustable, well made and frees up precious desk space in my home office

There you have it. My favorite tech accessories. What are some of yours?

Monday, January 18, 2016

What laptops, smartphones and tablets do I use for work?

As a follow up to my earlier post on how I have my Apple iDevices configured, I thought I'd share details on the hardware I use for work:

Apple MacBook Pro (13 inch) my primary work laptop. When I work out of my home office, I connect my MacBook Pro to a 24" external monitor and an external Apple keyboard. I have other Macs (MacBook, MacBook Air) that I use for testing as well as several Windows laptops and tablets that I use for testing

Apple iPhone 6 (64GB) is my primary work smartphone. I have several other smartphones that I use for testing.

Apple iPad Air 2 (64GB) is my primary work tablet. I have several other tablets (Nexus 7, HP Stream) that I use for testing.

Apple Watch is my primary smartwatch and I use it to read alerts, flip Microsoft Powerpoint slides and more.

Apple TV (Gen 3) is my primary streaming device since I use Apple products. I always keep an Apple TV in my work backpack to deliver wireless presentations to colleagues and clients. At home, I use an Apple TV Gen 4

Saturday, January 02, 2016

Ambient Weather Station WS-1400-IP - thumbs up!

A year ago I purchased the Ambient Weather WS-1400-IP OBSERVER Solar Powered Wireless Internet Remote Monitoring Weather Station for my home and I couldn't be happier. For $150, it's extremely easy to setup and use, full-featured, wireless, solar-powered and allows me to share my data via Weather Underground free of charge. 

My home weather station is a perfect example of the Internet of Things (IOT), cloud, big data and analytics in action and I used it as a teaching tool for my kids. The following is a presentation with more details, including photos, that I delivered at my son's local middle school.

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

SteelSeries Nimbus Wireless Gaming Controller - thumbs up!

I previously reviewed the Apple TV gen 4 and one of my complaints was that the new remote control wasn't great for playing games. I'm happy to report that the SteelSeries Nimbus wireless gaming controller solve this issue. Sold at Apple stores and online, the Nimbus can be used with iPhone, iPad, Apple TV and Mac and easily connects via Bluetooth. The controller includes a built-in rechargeable battery and is easily recharged via an Apple Lightning cable.  The controller is well-made, comfortable, responsive and comparable to other game controllers like XBox and PS4.  At $49.95, the Nimbus $10 less than those controllers.

A brief demo of using the controller with an iPad to play Pinball Arcade:

Happy gaming!

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

How I have my Apple iDevices configured

A colleague recently asked me how I have my Apple iPhone, iPad, Mac, AppleTV and Apple Watch configured. While there are lots of ways and everyone will have their personal preferences, here are mine:

iTunes - I use a single iTunes ID for all my Apple devices so all my iTunes (music, videos, book) and App Store (apps) purchases are available on all my devices. While I was initially excited with the prospect of the new iOS 8 Family Sharing feature, it doesn't support iTunes Match (see below) and thus wasn't an option for me. I use the same iTunes id for work and personal, for iCloud and iMessage.

Apple Music - I'm not a fan and I don't subscribe. I have a large music collection that I own and I also subscribe to Sirius/XM in my two cars and use the mobile app extensively to listen to music when connected to wi-fi (typically at home).

iTunes Match - I'm a huge fan and for $24.99 a year, it's a bargain. Our family has a huge number of playlists which are available on all our devices.  Unfortunately, Family Sharing isn't supported so each of our devices (maximum of 10) needs to log into the same iTunes account.  I hope Apple addresses this limitation.

iCloud - Each of the members in our family has their own iCloud account in their own name.  My family makes due with the free 5GB account. I pay $1 a month for the 50GB plan so I have enough space to backup all my devices.  We synchronize our all data across devices.

iMessage - Each of the members of the members of my family uses the same Apple ID for iCloud and iMessage. While I prefer to get all my messages and phone calls on all my devices, my kids have disabled this feature.

OurPact and iOS Restrictions - I use OurPact and native iOS restrictions to limit my kids access

Find my iPhone/iPad - enabled on all my devices

Find My Friends - installed on all our iPhone and iPad. We've invited each other to share our locations. We also have "Notify Me" alerts set (e.g. when the kids arrive home)