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You Had One Job, TrackR

Trackr with no circleI’m a positive person, so if I don’t like a product, you won’t hear me review it. I’ll usually write to the company selling the product instead and tell them where they can improve. That’s why you don’t often hear me tell you not to buy something.

But I’m going to make an exception today. Please don’t buy the TrackR. TrackR is a coin-sized device that you’re supposed to hook on your keychain, throw in your luggage or purse, or hook to Fido so you can find these things if they ever get lost.

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Sandman – the Perfect Bedside Clock from Palo Alto Innovations

Sandman clock closeupPeople love clocks. I’m not sure why, but even in the middle of the night if we wake up, we want to know what time it is. But a clock on your bedside table can be a problematic if the numbers are too bright and keep you awake.

A lot of people keep their phones plugged in next to their beds, but it’s a hassle to wake them up. If you’ve got a phone, a tablet, a smart watch and a clock, where do you plug in your bedside lamp? For years Steve has had an iHome clock radio to give him a clock by his bedside. It has a 30-pin dock connector for his iPod, so that’s super useful nowadays. I said it was a radio but who listens to radio any more?

The iHome was expensive at $100 but it had one feature that sold Steve on it. He could dim the clock every night and turn it back up in the morning. It wasn’t ideal for me because from my side of the bed, without my contacts, I couldn’t read the numbers. Oh well, it worked for him. Continue reading “Sandman – the Perfect Bedside Clock from Palo Alto Innovations”

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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”

Guest Review of the Tucano Elements Second Skin for MacBook 12″ by Allister

Greetings Allison and fellow NosillaCastaways. Allister here from New Zealand with a quick review of a product that won’t excite many, but will help prevent moments of horror.

Tucano MacBook sleeveThe problem to be solved is keeping my gorgeous gold 12″ MacBook looking gorgeous. I bought the laptop while travelling and so quickly became aware of just how easily it marked even carefully putting it in its own pocket in my work-provided laptop backpack. It clearly needed its own special protection.
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Hazel Video Field Guide by MacSparky

Hazel video field guidePop quiz: would you rather go to the dentist, or scan in that giant pile of papers next to your desk? It’s a tough question, right? You bought that fancy pants scanner everyone was talking about a few years ago, and you committed to going paperless, and you probably bought some storage to file away all of the bills and such, but you still dread the actual job of scanning, am I right? Each time you finally go through them all, you swear to yourself that this time you’ll keep on top of it, this time you’ll do it once a week, this time you won’t let it stack up. And then three months later there’s that giant stack again.

David Sparks, aka Mac Sparky, co-host of the Mac Power Users Podcast, and good friend of mine, has been blathering on and on for years about how he uses Hazel to automate scanning of his documents. I have always meant to go watch some of his videos and read some of his tutorials to figure out how he does it and what’s so cool about Hazel, but I figured I’d never find the part about how to get started. I was afraid that going to his site might be like starting in an upper division calculus class when you forgot to take Algebra 1.
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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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Guest Review of Enigmo by DorothyR

Enigmo iconBefore my husband and I head out on a new cruise, I like to find some new games for my iPad to while away the hours between ports.

This year I found an intriguing game called Enigmo from Pangea Software. There’s also a sequel Enigmo 2. Both priced at $1.99 from iTunes.

Quoting from the manual:

Enigmo is a 3D puzzle game where the goal is to use the various puzzle pieces to direct droplets into their containers. The faster that the containers are filled, the more bonus points you get. There are three types of liquids in the game: Water, Oil, and Lava. There is a specific container for each. Once you have sent at least 40 droplets into each container, then you have completed that level. Continue reading “Guest Review of Enigmo by DorothyR”

Network Not Work! How I Solved My File Sharing Problem With BitTorrent Sync

Allister here, taking my turn to stand in for the vacationing Allison.

network-volume-mac-iconI’m a huge supporter of the OS X operating system and often try to gently drop hints to those second class citizens we call Windows users about how great we have it. But in the interests of objectivity, I do always admit there are flaws. One of the biggest flaws I warn people about is how OS X handles network volumes. That is, drives on another Mac, connected to a router like an Airport Extreme, or on a dedicated Network Attached Storage, or NAS, device.

My wife and I run a small business and one of my roles is creating assets in the form of PDF documents and images. My wife uses the images online and the prints the PDFs to create our products. So the problem to be solved is how can I create and maintain these assets on my Mac while giving my wife access from her Mac to use them as needed? Continue reading “Network Not Work! How I Solved My File Sharing Problem With BitTorrent Sync”

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