It’s a fun-filled episode this week with interviews from CES with Synology, Satechi, Elgato and iDevices. Sprinkled in between I’ve got a review of an app for Apple Watch called Workouts++, and an app called Cascable that will let you do more to control your WiFi-enabled camera.
Allison interviews Alan Jacobson from Satechi about a range of products all matched to the colors and finishes of Apple’s MacBook, MacBook Pro and iPhone. Alan described a power strip, dock, headphones, headphone stand, Apple Watch charging stand, numeric keypad, mousepad, laptop stand, USB-C disk enclosure, magnetic phone mount and bluetooth presenter, all offered in aluminum, space gray, gold and rose gold colors. The setting is the CES Conference show floor.
Learn more at http://satechi.net
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Guest Post by Terry Austin of ielectrons.com
Hi there Allison and my fellow NosillaCastaways. Terry here…
Boy do I ever have a problem to be solved today!
SPAM calls on my iPhone. I HATE those and some days it seems like they come in every ten or twenty minutes.
The latest trick is a random phone number from a town near you, or at least in your own state.
Enter Nomorobo. Some of you know that this service has been around for a while for home phones. In fact, our own Steve Sheridan did a review of Nomorobo for their landline service back in 2015. I’m sure Allison has that link for the show notes.
One of my best friends on the Internet, Chris Ashley of the SMR Podcast joins us to talk Microsoft. We talk about what the implications are of Windows coming out for the Arm processors, why the Surface Studio has made such a splash, I confess that I bought into Office 365, and how Chris is pretty close to switching from Android back to the iPhone. Chris is delightful, intelligent and funny as always.
I’ve not traditionally done “top holiday gift” guides but I’m inspired by a few little products this year. If you’ve been following along, you’ve heard of all of them, but I think it’s of value to hear what products I’m still using long after the shine of a new gadget has worn off.
I’d like to focus on a few stocking stuffers, but that title comes with questions. If you stuff stockings with candy canes and oranges, this is not the right list. It’s more of a list of things that would technically fit in a stocking. I’m going to keep the price under (and sometimes well under) $50US.
My Favorite Lightning Cables
What Apple geek doesn’t want more Lightning cables? Either you don’t have enough, you’ve broken the good one, or they’re too expensive to buy from Apple. Whatever the excuse, my top pick is still the RadTech ProCable UHD. These are super heavy duty, come with a life time warranty and I’ve personally tried to break them without success. Better yet, they cost less than the ones from Apple.
The ProCable UHD comes in 18″ for $12.95, 6ft for $16.95 (Apple’s is $29!) or a giant 10ft long cable for $24.95.
My Favorite Headphone Cable Manager
Last week I did an article entitled “3D Touch is More Useful Than I Thought”, and the response to it has been great. A whole bunch of people have written in to tell me about even cooler stuff I didn’t know 3D Touch could do. Here’s a few of them.
Steve Feinstein explained that on the iPhone you can use 3D Touch to control the cursor in text entry by pressing on the keyboard. This is spectacular! I never knew it could do this and will reduce a huge bit of friction. I don’t know about you but sometimes I leave typos in because it’s so tedious to try and get the cursor in just the right spot. By the way, if you’re frustrated by this on iPad which doesn’t have 3D Touch, holding down two fingers on the virtual keyboard will give you the same cursor control. I use that all the time.
If you’ve got an iPhone 6s or above, you have access to a technology called 3D Touch, not to be confused with Force Touch on the newer MacBook trackpads. I think 3D Touch is one of those things Apple puts into devices that requires some effort to see if it has any value to you. When it was first introduced, apps had to be rewritten to give you information with 3D Touch. This means that if you tried it early on, you likely gave up on it as a silly gimmick. My goal in this article is to reveal how useful it actually is now. Hopefully this will convince you to give it another try and if you don’t have a 6s or above, maybe you’ll have some renewed excitement about the newer models. We’ll see if I succeed.
First of all, let’s try to define 3D Touch. You know how you press and hold to get the icons to jiggle so that you can move them around or delete them? Well once you have 3D Touch it’s really hard to get into that mode. When you press and hold lightly, the icon highlights and all the others get blurry but the little x doesn’t come up and none of them jiggle. Press harder and you’ll activate 3D Touch. You know you’re in 3D Touch because you’ll get some haptic feedback along with a pop up over a nice light grey background. Maybe I’m just unskilled and uncreative on how to do it, but for the life of me I can’t delete or move apps any more. Oh well, 3D Touch is the new hotness!
This week Apple released iOS 10.1, which included the beta of the new Portrait mode for the iPhone 7+. Portrait mode applies what they call a depth effect, blurring things in the background while keeping the focus sharp on faces in the foreground. The effect is limited to the 7+ because it uses the dual cameras to produce this effect. Two lenses, and a LOT of math.
I’m a huge fan of portrait photography, so this effect was a big contributor to my decision to go with the 7+. Spoiler: I love Portrait mode. I’ve taken dozens of portraits so far of adults and children, and the crisp focus on peoples’ faces really makes them pop out of the photos.
Guest Blog Post by Mark Pouley
Hello Allison and fellow castaways, this is Mark Pouley with a review of an iOS app that I discovered last year and have been using ever since. The app is called Easy Pill for iOS by BirdsCorp.com. Until recently I didn’t regularly take medications so tracking when to take a pill was never an issue, but that changed last year when I was prescribed a number of medications and supplements. Being a geeky castaway I took this as an opportunity to find a technological solution, hopefully one that involved my iPhone and AppleWatch.
Easy Pill is an iOS app that tracks all of your medications and sends you reminders when it’s time to take a pill. This was exactly what I was looking for. Continue reading “Easy Pill Medication Tracker and Reminder”