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Stump Stand for iPad and iPhone by Sandy Foster

Stump stand with ipadHi, this is Sandy with my first-ever review for the NosillaCast. Today I’m going to give a brief overview of a very versatile stand for iPhone and iPad. What’s new about a stand, you ask? Nothing, of course! But this one has many possibilities in a very simple, yet effective form.

It’s called “stump” for a reason, as it looks rather like the tilted stump of a tree. It’s made of some sort of rubberized material and is hefty enough to reassure the user that an iPhone or iPad is not going to fall over. There’s a slot in the tilted top, and that slot is wide enough for either device (iPhone/iPad) and deep enough to hold them steady — even my 9.7” iPad Pro. I don’t have the larger size iPad Pro, so I couldn’t really give a recommendation either way on that one.

Stump stand without deviceHowever, because of the slot and the tilt of the top of the Stump, there are options for using this stand. I most commonly use it with my device in portrait mode, which works fine, even with the “smart” cover on my iPad folded to the back.

Alternatively, if I want to charge the device at the same time as I’m looking at something on it, I can put it into landscape mode in the slot. Finally, because of the rubberized surface, I can even use the Stump as a sort of brace for angled viewing.

I’ve had my Stump for several years now, and it shows no signs of wear, despite daily use. It comes in a variety of colors for around $25 each, or — on the stumpstore.com web site — you can buy three for the price of two.

Allison’s Amazon Affiliate Link to the Stump Stand: amzn.to/…

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Tiny Tip – MacTracker for Current Price of used Apple Devices

It will be hard to top the first Tiny Tip. So many people have told me they love the strategy of creating a Delete Me folder! Don’t set your expectations that high for every Tiny Tip, though. In the words of Billy Bob Thornton in Bad Santa, “They can’t all be winners.”

When you want the new hotness coming out of Apple, one of the ways to justify your expensive purchase is to resell your existing Apple products. The good news is that Apple devices hold their value really well. The bad news is it’s tedious to figure out what your devices are worth.

Traditionally I write down all of the specs of a machine, and then go over to eBay. I search for the same device on eBay while setting the filter to sold items only. Then I create a spreadsheet and start recording the last 10-12 that have sold recently. I keep detailed notes in my spreadsheet on how they might vary from the one I’m trying to sell.

I throw out the super high ones, which are usually those sold by a company. Then I throw out the lowest one if it’s got something clearly wrong with it or it has something fundamentally different spec-wise from the one I’m selling. I average the selling price in my beloved Excel to determine a price. If I’m selling to a stranger, that’s a fixed number, if it’s to a friend who maybe could use a little bit of help with the price, I’ll lower it a bit. At least I know the value of the equipment, but this process takes 3-4 hours.

Mactracker logoBut that’s not the Tiny Tip. For Father’s Day I got Steve a new iMac, so I needed to figure out what his old one was worth. It’s a 27″ Mid-2011 model. I was too lazy to walk all the way down to his office and pull the specs directly, so I popped open the fantastic free app, MacTracker. (Available in the Mac App Store and in the iOS App Store.)

MacTracker has been around forever, but it’s continued to get better and better over time. The developer now includes all desktops, laptops, iPhones, iPads, Apple TVs, Airport routers and more. You can find out everything about these devices, up to and including hearing their original startup sounds. It’s super cool.

Mactracker showing current priceBut that’s still not the Tiny Tip. HERE’S the Tiny Tip. I looked up Steve’s iMac model in Mactracker and I noticed something new. The Initial selling price was there, but below that was “Current Price” with a US flag next to the price. Boom, you know the current selling price!

But wait, there’s more. I noticed that it was in blue, so I clicked it. I got a prompt asking if I wanted to open the link in a browser. I trust Mactracker, and it was awfully sweet of it to ask permission so I allowed it.

The price link in Mactracker took me to a site called bidvoy at us.bidvoy.net. Now here’s the really cool part. Bidvoy shows you the price over time. There’s a pulldown to choose from some standard time frames from the last 6 months to 2 weeks, or you can set a custom range. The data points even have a trendline through them.

Below the graph you get the average over the last 6 months (which is the number you see in Mactracker). You can see the weekly trend, how many auctions and the price margin. Not sure what that one was.

Below that you can even see the best time to purchase based on this historical data, and the best time to sell. For Steve’s model, you want to buy on a Sunday between midnight and 4 am, and I should try to sell it (if I’m doing an auction) on a Tuesday between 4 and 8 am. They show the prices for those two times, but it doesn’t entirely make sense. The average for Steve’s iMac is shown around $600. The best time to sell says almost $800, but the best time to purchase says $650. I would think that the average should be between the best time to sell and buy, wouldn’t you? Still interesting.

Bidvoy showing graphs

But bitvoy isn’t done yet. After the graphs, you can see a list of the same model currently-selling on eBay. For each one they show the current bid price (or buy it now price), the time left, and a red, blue or green badge telling you if it’s underpriced, normal, or over priced. If you see one that strikes your fancy as a buyer, you can click on it and go right into the sale on eBay.

One caution on using Mactracker and bidvoy. While this is easy, if the Mac you’re buying or selling isn’t the average model, the price you see here will not be representative. For example, in looking at the current auctions, I realized that this includes not just the i7 version I bought for Steve, but also the i5’s that are less valuable. I cranked up the RAM and disk when I bought it for him, so that should be taken into account too.

Using Mactracker and its connection to bidvoy is a great starting point and can get you most of the way there with the simple click of a button. I should mention that the iOS version of Mactracker doesn’t have this current price feature, so you’ll need to view it on a Mac.

I’ve just realized that the definition of a Tiny Tip is that it could be described in one sentence or two but that doesn’t mean I can’t make a lengthy post about it anyway!

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NAB 2017: B&H Mobile Microphones

Allison interviews Alan Lugo about several of the microphones that B&H offers for mobile applications. Alan covers 1) the Rode small condenser microphone that plugs into the audio jack your mobile phone, 2) the Audio-Technica low cost lavaliere microphone, 3) the Zoom iQ7 high quality stereo microphone that plugs into the Lightning port of your iPhone, and 4) the Sennheiser Action Mic designed to plug into a GoPro Hero4 camera for improved audio capture. The setting is the NAB Show floor in the Las Vegas Convention Center. Learn more at https://bhphotovideo.com

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Apple’s New Strategy: We’ll Meet You Half Way

Right airpod showing more blue corrosionLast year before the new iPhone 7 came out, all four of the iPhones in use by my family were suffering from the battery shutdown problem. Kyle was getting a new iPhone 7 from me for his birthday but I asked him to take his iPhone 6 into Apple while it was still under AppleCare to try to get it replaced. Apple told Kyle there was nothing wrong with the battery and refused to replace it. They said to do a DFU (Device Firmware Update) and to not restore from a backup and that would fix it. They were certain that there was something in Kyle’s apps or data causing the problem. We know from recent reports that Apple is now admitting that something was indeed wrong with the OS that was causing the problem and they’ve been able to measure a decrease in the problem from a recent iOS update.

Continue reading “Apple’s New Strategy: We’ll Meet You Half Way”

International Data with Google Project Fi on an iPhone

Project fi nano simWhen Mike Elgan, (the digital nomad) came on Chit Chat Across the Pond to talk about how he works and lives all over the world, of course we talked about how he uses technology to do this. If you haven’t listened to CCATP episode #456 from September, it’s a fascinating discussion.

In that conversation, he said that an essential tool of how he gets along is by using Google’s Project Fi. You may have heard of Project Fi before but I’m betting that unless you have used it yourself, you don’t quite get what it is.

Project Fi is a cellular service from Google where you pay $20/month for a service fee, plus $10/GB for data. You get unlimited domestic talk and text, and unlimited international texting. Unlike any of the cellular plans from any of the big US carriers, your data usage is prorated so you only pay for what you use. If you come in under what you thought you’d use for a month, Google refunds the difference. Need more than what you thought you’d need? You pay by the MB. Seriously. This would be cool on its own, but the data plan works in more than 135 countriesContinue reading “International Data with Google Project Fi on an iPhone”

CSUN 2017: Tap Systems Wearable Keyboard

Allison interviews Trevor Settles from Tap Systems about their innovative wearable keyboard. Tap is a bluetooth, one-handed “keyboard” that allows the user to type out characters on any surface with combinations of finger/thumb presses on the surface. Tap works with any bluetooth enabled desktop or mobile OS that supports the HID Keyboard Standard. This includes iOS and Android phones and tablets, Windows and Mac computers, and most Smart TVs. The Tap keyboard will be available for purchase around August of 2017. The setting is the Grand Hyatt Hotel in San Diego.

Learn more at http://tapwithus.com

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CES 2017: udoq Mobile Docking Station

Allison interviews Marcus Kuchler from udoq about their novel docking station for mobile devices. udoq can accommodate several mobiles devices at once and is completely adaptable to any connector type, from Lightning to micro USB to USB-C. udoq can easily be reconfigured as your collection of mobile devices changes. It comes in four sizes: 250mm, 400mm, 550mm, and 700mm and will be available in the U.S. in March 2017. The setting is the ShowStoppers show floor.

Learn more at http://udoq.com

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CES 2017: CMRA Band for Apple Watch

Allison interviews Roi Ginat from CMRA about their new camera band for the Apple Watch. CMRA has two HD cameras embedded in the band, one outward-facing 8MP and the other self-facing 2MP. It also captures HD video and has a battery that lasts a full day with normal use. CMRA seamlessly integrates with Apple Watch and iPhone and it syncs photos/videos with your photo gallery. The CMRA band is available for pre-order and will be shipping in the Spring of 2017. The setting is the ShowStoppers show floor.

*** Update August 2017: This product has not yet been released and the getcmra.com site still shows it is in pre-order status a couple months after the advertised release date of “Spring 2017”. We are concerned whether it ever will be released. ***

Learn more at http://getcmra.com

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CES 2017: Nonda ZUS Connected Car

Allison interviews David Vespremi from Nonda about their new ZUS Connected Car accessories. ZUS accessories are modular and are based on a smart phone charger which logs the car’s mileage, provides the car’s battery status and remotely guides you back to your car. ZUS accessories also include a smart key finder, backup sensor and tire pressure sensors. ZUS tire sensors can be added to any tire without having to dismount the tire or replace the valve stems. All ZUS accessories are controlled and monitored through the ZUS app available on the iOS App Store and Google Play. The setting is the ShowStoppers show floor.

Learn more at http://nonda.co

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CES 2017: Cobra Wireless Backup Camera

Allison interviews Dave Marsh from Cobra about their new automobile backup camera. Cobra’s HD backup cam is integrated into a license plate frame that you can easily install yourself with no wires. The battery powered camera sends rear facing video via Bluetooth directly to your Apple or Android smartphone when the accompanying Cobra app is installed. The backup camera video is quickly activated on your smartphone by pressing a button on a remote provided by Cobra. The Cobra HD backup camera will be available in April 2017. The setting is the CES Unveiled show floor.

Learn more at http://cobra.com

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