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Sennheiser PXC 550 Wireless Headphones by Helma

Sennheiser pxc 550 headphonesThis is a review from listener Helma from the Netherlands of the Sennheiser PXC 550 Wireless headphones. It’s my first review and my first audio contribution so please bear with me.

By the way, I’m not an audiophile so don’t expect this review to rant about the sound qualities. My qualifications simply go from ‘horrible’ to ‘nice’.

Anyway, Allison always asks us what’s the problem to be solved. Well, actually I had two problems to be solved. These are probably very first world problems, but here goes.

My husband likes to watch sports a lot, which I usually can stomach for about 5 minutes. I don’t want to move off to the bedroom or my computer every time I want to watch something else and watching something on my iPad with the TV blasting something different is very difficult. So I was looking for a way to sit in the living room but watch something other than what’s on TV.

While preparing for our overdue summer vacation I realised I’d love to have a noise cancelling headphone so I could watch some TV shows on my iPad during the plane trip. And it could double for blocking out the sports noise from the TV.

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NC #648 DTNS Live, Excel Replacements, Bluetooth Dropout Fixed, Previous Recipients

Fun with the Cool Blind Tech Podcast guys, My ScreenCasts Online tutorial is up about Parallels Toolbox. I was on DTNS Live and Steve captured some funny moments on video. I walk through all of the options for when you go to High Sierra and Office 2011 won’t work any more, centered around my love for Excel. I’ll explain my Bluetooth dropout problem and how I got it fixed. Then we’ll have a Tiny Tip about Previous Recipients in Mail.

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Bluetooth Dropout FIXED!

Magic keyboard trackpadI’ve been feeling like the unluckiest Apple fangirl of all time with all the problems I’ve had with my Apple gear in the last year. Most recently you might remember the saga back in August of my 2016 MacBook Pro going belly up (wouldn’t charge). It would only stand out in your memory because my 2013 backup MacBook Pro couldn’t connect to Apple’s services so I ended up asking executives at Apple to give me a hand.

Anyway, that all got resolved and I got my 2016 MacBook Pro back with a shiny new logic board. I haven’t wanted to mention it because I was hoping the problem would just go away on its own, but I’ve been having a problem with the Mac ever since I got it back. Do you do that too, go into denial and just wish these things away?

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NC #620 Apple Watch Swimming, Standard Mac Apps, BrainPort Visualization Through the Tongue, eSight Low Vision Glasses, Non-tech Podcasts, GhostReader, BeatsX

Allister here standing in for Allison this week. I have a miniature review of using the Apple Watch Series 2 for swim workouts, I’ll quickly review 26 Mac Apps you didn’t know you already had, Allison will pop by with two more videos from the CSUN Assistive Technology Conference, I’ll make some recommendations for podcasts you might want to listen to that aren’t about technology, Terry delivers on his callout from Allison with a review of GhostReader text to speech software, and I’ll finish up with a review of the BeatsX Bluetooth earbuds with Apple W1 chip.


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BeatsX In-ear Bluetooth Earbuds with Apple W1

BeatsX Bluetooth earbudsI have long preferred in-ear earphones for two very important reasons. First, it’s just not possible to get a decent bass sound from lightweight earphones without creating a seal in the ear canal, and as my hearing is more sensitive to high frequencies, I need all the bass I can get, otherwise they sound feeble. Second, my typical listening environment is “out in the world.” I listen to podcasts or music on my 40 minute commute. This involves riding a train with other (sometimes noisy) commuters, and walking in a city with people and cars and buses and construction and wind. I tried EarPods for one day of commuting and confirmed that these two reasons are very good ones not to invest in AirPods, as cool as they are.

When Phil Schiller announced the AirPods, he also announced a few other products which would use the same W1 chip technology. The Beats Solo3 on-ear earphones would be an interesting proposition, but not for commuting –they’d be too bulky for me. The Powerbeats3 are a sport-style in-ear earphone solution. I’m not a fan of the over-ear hooks which secure these, and with their “sports” features, such as water resistance and an incredible 12 hour battery life (which I wouldn’t need), the price goes up, making them the most expensive of the in-ear products. That just leaves the cheapest product which includes the W1 chip – BeatsX. These are in-ear, designed for comfort, and last 8 hours on a charge. Continue reading “BeatsX In-ear Bluetooth Earbuds with Apple W1”

CES 2017: iDevices Wireless Instant Switch

Allison interviews Sierra Coughlin from iDevices about their range of new home automation products. Sierra focuses on the Instant Switch which is a bluetooth remote light switch. The Instant Switch wirelessly controls any existing iDevices switched product and is HomeKit compatible. The setting is the CES Unveiled show floor.

Learn more at http://idevicesinc.com

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Apple AirPods – Bluetooth With Less Fiddling?

Al airpods christmas hatI’ve mentioned many times that I got really lucky in the husband department. Last week highlights that. Steve gets up pretty early (especially for a retired guy) and when the AirPods went on sale early one morning, he immediately ordered me a set before the ship dates moved out to January. They arrived a day early, on the 20th and he didn’t make me wait till Christmas to open them.

The promise of the AirPods is many fold. One aspect is that they’re supposed to make pairing much easier. Let’s see if Apple really got rid of this major annoyance. We’ll start with the first experience of opening them up.

Packaging and Setup

People seem to be getting disenchanted with Apple in some ways but it’s indisputable that they do packaging like no one else. The AirPods come in a very small plastic case that acts as the charger. I was really surprised at how small it is, It’s about 2 x 1.5 x .75 inches. It looked a lot bigger in the photos I saw ahead of time. Remember the case itself charges the AirPods, so It has a Lightning port on the bottom.

The top of the case flips open and closed with the most delightful magnetic click. Seriously, you’ll find yourself opening and closing this obsessively. Continue reading “Apple AirPods – Bluetooth With Less Fiddling?”

Apple CarPlay Gives a Useful Interface in Volkswagen Jetta – by Dorothy R

Guest Post by Dorothy R (aka @maclurker)

Carplay main screenAs soon as Allison heard I had a new car that included CarPlay, she had to know more. All the details, in their technical glory. Specifically a NosillaCast review. So before I could even get started, I had to define …

The problem to be solved: how to make better use of my phone while driving when my car only has an Aux connection and no BlueTooth.

Solution: Buy a new car with CarPlay.

I am now the owner of a new Volkswagen. While I am sorry to leave my Civic behind, I love all the new technology. Especially Apple CarPlay, which promises to marry my phone and car, leaving me with a smooth uninterrupted experience. I should point out that Hubs has a new car too. A Ford with CarPlay. So we’ve been able to exchange notes on what’s the same and what isn’t. But, it seems pretty consistent. CarPlay is CarPlay, no matter which car it runs on.

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NC #591 Theodore Bearington, Typeeto, Wire, DropShadow App, Security Bits

John, AKA NASAnut in the live chatroom sends a spectacular gift to us. We’ll talk about a free Mac utility called Typeeto that lets you use your Mac as a Bluetooth keyboard for your iOS devices and AppleTV. Joe LaGreca gives us a review of the secure messaging service, Wire, with full instructions on how to install and configure it. I’ll tell you how I made fire, otherwise known as how I wrote an actual Mac application using Automator and bash shell scripts (you can download it here but make sure you read the Read Me!) We’re also joined by Bart Busschots for another session of Security Bits.


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Use Your Mac as a Bluetooth Keyboard for iOS and AppleTV with Typeeto

Typeeto logoI’ve got a cool little utility that may or may not solve a problem for you. Typeeto from mac.eltima.com/… lets you use a Mac as a Bluetooth keyboard for your iOS devices, including the AppleTV. Before I walk you through it, let’s set up a couple of problems it might solve.

The AppleTV is the most obvious problem – typing (even with the new remote) is a nightmare. If you have voice recognition in your country for the Apple remote, that actually works surprisingly well, especially for passwords. But most of the time we end up scrolling right/left/up/down and doing a lot of swearing when we try to type on the AppleTV. Using a Bluetooth keyboard with the AppleTV can make you happier, and if you’re watching TV with a laptop right near you, why not use its keyboard instead of that aggravating remote?

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