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Forerunners of the iPhone by Allister Jenks

A colleague recently related a story to me which reminded me of the devices I had in my life which could be considered forerunners to the iPhone. I don’t mean in the sense of a phone – after all, that is one of the least used functions of my iPhone – but rather as a device for holding information that I can carry around with me.

Certainly some of my mobile phones fulfilled this role to an extent, but the devices I will recount now were dedicated to the task of capturing, storing, and divulging information on the go. You might think your smartphone took its cues from the world of hand written data, as iOS 6 and earlier tried to portray with skeuomorphic design, but in fact their forbears had already made this leap.

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When You Need a Heavy Duty Lightning Cable – RadTech ProCable UHD

RadTech ProCable UHD 10ftI’ve heard a lot of people talk about how they’re always destroying their Lighting cables by running over them with their chairs, or getting them caught on something, or bending them so that the wires fray at the connector joint.

The only solution seemed to be to buy cheaper cables but buy them in bulk because they were so easy to destroy. Cheap cables can get really expensive after a while though, and you hate to be caught out with one that has failed when you really need it.

If you’re this rough on cables, you might want to take a look at the RadTech ProCable UHD. RadTech sent me two of these cables and they really are industrial strength. The cables themselves have a really nice looking black and grey woven jacketing over them that makes them stiff but still flexible enough to bend. RadTech says that they’re double-shielded to protect against interference from RF noise. The strain relief at the connector joint is super stiff plastic and I couldn’t get a tight bend to form to even test whether it would wear. Continue reading “When You Need a Heavy Duty Lightning Cable – RadTech ProCable UHD”

CCATP #443 Bastian Wölfle – A Geek’s Guide to Diet and Exercise

Bastian before afterThis week our guest is Bastian Wölfle software product manager, German podcaster and self-described crazy man. Bastian lost 40 kg (90 pounds) and he tells us how he pulled this off.

He’s got book recommendations, geeky recommendations on how and what to track in your body stats, and of course gadgets to make the whole process more fun.

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Ricoh Theta S “360” Camera Review

Theta first photoSteve loves photography and videography, having a barrel of fun with his iPhone 6s and his GoPro Hero 3. The GoPro’s ultra wide angle lets him take selfies with a lot of people in the photo. One of his favorite photos (which has been Lindsay’s cover photo for ages) is one of his entire family, 22 of us, all in one shot. That’s really hard to get with any other kind of camera. He also gets phenomenal shots of scenery with his GoPro, often with the two of us in the close foreground. Landscape photography alone can be a bit boring and selfies alone get overdone, but a combination can be a nice change.

There’s only one thing cooler than an ultra wide photo from a GoPro, and that’s the new 360 degree photos and videos you can get with specialized cameras. Before we go too far, I want to acknowledge that “360 degree” isn’t technically correct, because in reality these photos are 4π steradians. Degrees (or radians) only describe one dimension, you need 4π steradians to describe all directions at once. But for the purpose of not sounding like the nerd ball I am, I will use the conventional 360 term. Know that it bugs me every time I say it though.

Alex Lindsay on MacBreak Weekly bought a 360 camera called the Ricoh Theta S and used it to take a photo of 30 of his relatives at his father’s 90th birthday party. He put the camera in the middle of the table and had everyone gather in a circle. It’s so cool! I knew that Steve would love one of these. Luckily Father’s day is coming up soon so I bought one for him early and couldn’t wait to give it to him. The Ricoh Theta S is $350 on Amazon right now, so think GoPro pricing.
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NC #573 BitTorrent Sync, Enigmo, Making Fire, Remote File Access with myDrobo and DroboAccess, Beurer GS485 Digital Glass Scale

Allister here standing in for Allison this week. I’ll tell you how I solved my OS X network drive problems. Then Dorothy, aka MacLurker, reviews the iOS game Enigmo. Next, inspired by Allison, I encourage you to play with fire. We hear from Drobo about their new myDrobo and DroboAccess services from the NAB conference. And finally, I review the Beurer GS485 digital scale.

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You NEED This Wicked Cool Router: Netgear X8 5300

NighthawkA few years ago I got FiOS and my ISP gave me a combo modem/router. I talked to Bart and he helped me figure out how to basically emasculate the FiOS router so that I could use my Airport Extreme to serve out DHCP addresses and WiFi. I created a tutorial as he explained it to me and he made a terrific graphic showing how it works, and we put it up on… so others could learn how to do it too.

In an episode of Chit Chat Across the Pond that you will hear next week, (darn that time travel), you’ll hear Bart explain the security problems with Internet of Things devices. His conclusion is that you can secure yourself by using a third router. I don’t want to spoil the episode so I’ll leave it as a teaser for you to learn exactly why you might want to do it and how it all works. I’ll just say that the main idea is to have your Internet of Things devices on one router, while everything else you care about lives on a second router.
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Hands on With Ring Video Doorbell

Shaq head 2Steve and I had far too much fun setting up and testing the Ring Video Doorbell from Because it was so much fun I have way too much to say about it. I’m going to break this review down into segments that perhaps will help you understand the bits you care about and, if you read long enough, learn why we had to buy a Craftsman wood router. Oddly I’m going to start with the Bottom Line and then back into The Problem To Be Solved followed by Usage, and then by Setup & Troubleshooting. Installation is where I really start to ramble so we’ll do that last.

Bottom Line

Bottom line: the Ring Video Doorbell is really cool, it solves real problems and it only costs $200. Buy one. Here’s my Amazon Affiliate link. Continue reading “Hands on With Ring Video Doorbell”

Everything is Fiddly!

Angry gnome faceLast week our friend Rod Simmons came over for a visit and he brought the new Microsoft Surface Book. He tried to connect it to our home network but it kept getting in and then losing the connection. I wanted desperately to make fun of it, what with my ever so slight Macintosh bias, but I couldn’t. You know why? Because EVERYTHING is fiddly now. Let me give you just a few examples.


I love my new AppleTV and was excited when I heard about the new Plex app that lets you view your ripped and home movies on your AppleTV. Pat Dengler shared her Plex account with us so we could watch her movies on our TV and it worked great. But later when I tried to use MY Plex library it got fiddly. I had our media library on a hard drive hooked up to the Mac mini and had to upgrade it to get it to work with the new Plex app on the AppleTV. Ok, that’s reasonable. But after I did that, I couldn’t get OUT of Pat’s library!
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