Posts Tagged: gadgets

Review – Cocoon Slim Backpack

I have been using a pretty well made shoulder laptop bag. It has lots of good pockets and the stiching is not flimsy. However, it is still a shoulder bag and that gets uncomfortable during a 15 minute walk to and from work. So I asked for the Cocoon slim backpack for Christmas. It is an exclusive for now through the Apple Store. This is the same company that brings us the Gridit products. I asked for the backpack for two reasons. First, it has a built in Gridit section. Second the slim profile places the weight down the length of my spine better when carrying the backpack. Way better than a traditional shoulder bag. The bag has a very solid feel. The zippers are well made and do not feel like they will separate as a lot of bags do. The sections do unzip to the point you can lay it open fully flat. That completely exposes the built in Gridit section. I was able to organize the items I want to carry but not always use onto the Gridit platform. I found my small Gridit board still fits flat just laying on top of the built in platform. This makes it easy for me to routinely pull out charging cables I need often without opening it all the way. The laptop section has a soft sleeve area for an iPad or other tablet. Then an adjoining pocket for up to a 15\” laptop. There are an external pocket on the front of the backpack closed by zipped for slim materials. And one in the front cover but within the laptop compartment. That\’s it. No other pockets as you would expect to keep it slim. Perfect for a back and forth backpack. I\’m very satisfied with the backpack. An excellent well made bargain for the price.

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RapsberryPi and File Transporter Fun

I wanted to mount some external storage on my Raspi. I had thought about a USB drive etc. Then it occurred to me I had a better solution. I have a FileTransporter on the same network as my Raspi. Here is how I hooked it up. Preparing the Transporter First log into your Transporter admin site. And go to your transporters. https://secure.connecteddata.com/transporters Choose the desired unit if you have more than one. Choose Advanced on the right side and go into the SMF/CIFS section. If SMB/CIFS is not enabled. Check that box to turn it on. Then I chose to enable the \”second login\” option and name the user raspi. I entered a reasonable password and that has the Transporter ready for the Raspi to connect. Configuring the Raspi Log into the Raspi. Create a folder in your home directory: mkdir transporter Set the folder permissions: chmod 777 transporter We need to setup a credentials file: sudo su - While escalated to root: vi smbcreds Edit the file to be as follows, substituting in the password and username you setup as the second smb login on the raspi username=raspi password=yourpasswordhere Save the file and exit. Exit again to return to the pi user account from root. Next we need to edit fstab to mount the drive to the transporter folder: sudo vi /etc/fstab Add the following line to your fstab. You will need to substitute the ipaddress, Name of the transporter, username and password from the transporter. //ipaddress/nameoftransporter /home/pi/transporter cifs auto,credentials=/root/smbcreds,iocharset=utf8,file_mode=0777,dir_mode=0777 Finishing up Now just execute the command: sudo mount -a You should be able to change into the transporter directory and find all the folders you have existing on your transporter. From now on if you restart your raspi it will auto mount the transporter. If you set your rapsi to write any files to one of those folders it will now be automatically distributed to all other transporters sharing that folder. If you have other remote raspis and they have access to a transporter you now wide large distributed storage across them. Maybe one pi grabs photos and another elsewhere displays them. Enjoy!

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Digital Nerve Center

I have been thinking for some time just how much my iPhone is the central processor of my digital life. In some ways my real world life too. I do not carry a personal laptop. In fact, despite being in information security I rarely carry around a work laptop. I tend to just leave it at home for when I need it. My iphone even serves as my car\’s central brain for user functions. Sure Apple Maps gets a bad rap but it works well for me. Bluetooth hands free for both Siri and Phone calls. I rarely even turn on my XMRadio in my car because I just stream content from my phone to my car audio system using my TuneLink bluetooth adapter. Using just my iPhone I do 90% of what I need. I download podcasts and audiobooks on a daily basis. I check email, twitter with Tweetbot, etc all using my phone. It was a little difficult to manage at times due to power. Even with having two Mophie Air iPhone cases. I airplay content such as my audio books to an appleTV while gives plenty of volume for whole room audio via a TV. It could be inconvenient if I needed check a message, pause playback etc when the phone was on the charger. Now enter my Pebble watch. I put in a few minutes and cleaned up what types of notifications get sent to the Pebble. Now I can actually leave my iPhone plugged in on my Kensington Night Stand, with the iHandy Alarm Clock up and still stream my content and check messages all with the iPhone as the central management point. It just amazes me to live in the future. I grew up with the Vic20 and Commodore64 and recall when modems went from acoustic couplers to plug in modular cables. Now, I even write full blog posts using my iPad with a bluetooth keyboard. Sometimes I even edit those posts via my iPhone prior to posting. Got to love it.

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Product Review – Pebble Watch

I was excited to find my Pebble waiting for me this weekend. Reviews by other backers have generally been good. You can find several others listed below so I will not rehash all of the common details. Instead, I want to touch on a couple of issues specific to my experience. Week with Pebble Review Rev.Voodoo Pebble Review Pebble Video Walk Through – Screencasts Online I wore my Pebble to dinner on Friday night. The $spouse\’s comment was that it looked like something out of a cereal box due to the black plastic. My reply was: I was just as excited to get it as when digging the prize out of said cereal box. Granted, it is not formal wear like a Rolex. It does handle the things that I wanted it for. Viewing information and controlling music on my iPhone when walking to and from the office or working out. Even the black rubber band it comes with works best for my immediate needs. I won\’t mess it up with water or sweat. Issues – Siri and Bluetooth I have run into a couple of the reported issues. The Siri blocking issue frustrates me most. This occurs most of the time when the Pebble is active with my iPhone and I try and trigger Siri. You will see the bluetooth selector next to Siri\’s microphone icon. If the pebble is selected then it dead ends the audio and Siri cannot hear you. Sometimes you can select the iPhone to get Siri working again. Often it will flip back to the Pebble if you have lost Bluetooth connectivity. Such as leaving the watch on your desk and carrying your iPhone around the house. I did find that I never have the Siri issue when I am in my car. My iPhone is set to automatically pair with my car handsfree system. The non phone audio of my iPhone also automatically associates with my TuneLink bluetooth adapter that goes to the line in of my car audio system. Siri functions every time normally without hooking into the Pebble by accident. There is another issue I have noticed that no one else seems to have mentioned. If I open an app that consumes a lot of iPhone memory and other resources I think the iPhone is killing the Pebble app. It comes back when the Pebble communicates with the iPhone. That triggers the popup to request approval for allowing the Pebble to talk to the phone again. This is something I hope Pebble can fix in a software update to better hook approved status and not keep prompting going forward. Issues – Notifications I have had a mixed experience on notifications. I had some sporadic issues with even normal notifications working such as iMessages. A reboot of my iPhone seemed to clear that up. Email notifications gave me a brief headache. I did not want every single email showing up on my Pebble. So I killed display in lock screen on the […]

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Product Review – Philips Hue Light Bulbs

Product Review ??? Philips Hue Light Bulbs I have been using the Hue bulbs for a month now. I purchased the starter three bulb kit from the Apple store. It worked out well since I have a floor, table and kitchen overhead lamp in my apartment. Setup ...

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Griffin Powermate – Mic Mute Button

I picked up a Griffin Powermate last week on a whim. It is a usb connected solidly built alluminum control knob. You can press and turn it to trigger events. It also has a blue LED light for giving status feedback. It can work on Mac and Windows. ...

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iPad as a Podcast Skype Source

I was doing some experimenting for a friend over the weekend. It is common to run skype on a second computer when podcast recording and take the in/out audio from the second computer, usually a laptop, into a channel on a mixing board. Then you us...

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Apple iDevices and Audio Recording – Pulling out what is left of my hair out.

Ever since I got my first iPhone, the 3GS, I have wanted to use it to record audio. I have been in podcasting since it started. Six years ago. Not the five Apple tried to claim in iTunes. Five is how long they have had it in iTunes. I also had got...

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