New Phone – iPhone 6S+, 128GB

Yep, drank the Kool-Aid, again.  But I have to say, as much as I was thinking this behemoth of a phone was overkill, especially in the size department, it is nice.  It fits in my pocket (with a case, in fact) and the camera – wow.  12 megapixels, but that isn’t the real upgrade.  The real upgrade is the optical (NOT digital) image stabilization.  That is what sold me on the + model for the phone.  That is worth the size and weight difference to me.

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So, this weekend I proceeded to migrate my email, contacts and calendar off of an Exchange server I have been using since 2001.  I loved it, but with the ever-tightening budget, I wanted to see if I could live on the services I am already receiving for free, rather than relying on a paid service.  Sure, it is only $8 per month, but hey, that can add up over time, especially since I have been paying for it forever.

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Weather Info

And before you ask, this is not going to be a bitch post complaining about how cold and snowy it has been.  Personally, I love snow, always have.

I installed a neat little bit of hardware in my house that monitors various aspects of the weather.  Both inside my house and outside.  Very cool.  It has a nice web interface to bring up what the station is gathering, and includes charts/graphs as well.  It also has smartphone apps that show  the same information.  All this is great.  The units work as expected and is my go-to weather app on my phone now.  It is called NetAtmo and can be ordered from their website.  Installation was quick and easy, even mounting the outdoor unit was cake.  The outdoor unit is completely wireless, and runs on batteries.  So far, after being on the house for 9 months, I am still showing 95% battery.  Very acceptable.  The indoor unit is plugged into the wall and sitting on the counter in my house.  It connects to the internet wirelessly and is completely stand-alone.  Please click more to see how I am now contributing to Louisville’s weather watching.

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So, I just added another piece to my media gear.  Seagate Wireless Hard Drive, 1 TB.  Purpose?  Simple – carry my movies around so I can watch any of them at any time.  Makes my 32 GB iPad virtually limitless when it comes to storage.  Add the Zagg Spark 2 and the battery life for the hard drive approaches 24 hours.  Since I have the 32 GB iPad rather than the 64 GB version, I have had to be careful about how much I put on it.  Balance the movies with the games and whatnot.  Not anymore.  I can stream right off the HD and it takes no room on the iPad.  OR, I can copy a movie over once and watch it then delete it, saving up battery life on the drive.  Best of all, no need to sync with iTunes to cue up movies.

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Cable TV is Gone

Yep, cut the cord for television after 14 years with it costing me way too much.  Now, I didn’t get rid of the Internet connection – I really would go nuts…  Just the TV and Phone portion.  Went from $160/month to $60/month.  Now, to subsidize this change, I went out and bought another Apple TV 3 for the main TV and an adapter to go from HDMI to DVI-I.  And it works like a charm.

Now, I have all the services that are on the Apple TV and the ones on my Blue Ray player.  Add in all the AirPlay streaming apps from my iPad and iPhone, and I will never run out of stuff to watch.  This isn’t even touching the huge collection of movies and shows I have in iTunes.

Travel with iPad/iPhone only.

OK, since I have had my iPad and iPhone, I have not had the chance to do a complete cross-country vacation.  I have just gotten back from a trip to Sacramento and Napa California.  the travel to and from took about 7 hours (that I could use my devices legally.)  My test was twofold.  First, how long could I use my iPad on the plane to watch movies and second, how well would my tethering work between my phone and tablet.  Short answer to both – extremely well. Continue reading

iOS Controled Lighting

It has been a bit since my last post.  No biggie, though.  In my quest to continue with finding out what else I can automate and control remotely within my house, I have come across WeMo from Belkin.  It is a wifi-enabled electrical outlet that will turn on/off via schedule or by pressing the button within the iPhone/iPod app.  There is also a motion-sensing version as well.  The normal version is $50 and available in a number of different stores; I happened to get mine at Best Buy, my parents got theirs at the Apple store.  The motion-sensing version is $100.

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What’s in my Light Gadget Bag?

Thought I would do a quick post on what I carry in my light gadget bag.  This is the bag I take for longer trips and where I don’t need the full MacBook Pro, or where I just want to take the lighter stuff.  I will do the full list I would pack for a trip, as some pieces are optional and not often taken.  Everything fits well and travels lightly.  With the two extra batteries (Mophie and Opteka) I can go without plugging in for quite a while.  I have tested the time on the Mophie while at Gencon this past summer and it allowed me to go the full day with heavy use and still not touch the iPhone’s internal battery.  It had just about 50% power left when I set it down to charge at night.  I have not stress tested the Opteka yet, but that will happen.  with it being solar, it should keep itself charged up fairly good without a plug in.