Travel Tech

Last month, my wife, stepdaughter and I went on our honeymoon. We spent it in Hawaii staying at the Disney resort, Aulani. On any trip, I’m always prepared with gadgets, cables and power adapters. This one was no different. I’ll talk about a few things I brought that made this trip more enjoyable.

Amazon Fire Stick
Amazon Fire Stick

I recently posted my thoughts on the Amazon Fire Stick. In my review, I said that it’d be a great option for keeping up on your shows while you’re away since it’s very small and takes up little space in your bag. This turned out to be an excellent idea. Not only did they have free wifi at the resort, it was exceptionally fast and you didn’t need a log in/password, as some other hotels require. This is important if you’re using a streaming media device. It would be extremely tedious if you had to type in log in information every time you wanted to watch something.

Since we were spending our vacation in Hawaii, I wanted to get a waterproof case so I could use my iPhone to take pictures and video. The Wirecutter is the site I turn to when I’m trying to find “the best” anything. They recommended the Nuud series from Lifeproof. It’s a little pricey at $70 for a phone case (currently $60 at the time of this post), but the ability to take pictures or video in the pool or at the beach is well worth it. I was a little leery about trusting this case to protect my phone. The case exposes the front screen which seems scary at first but there is a gasket which seals the phone and keeps water out. It did a great job, I even dropped my phone in the pool and it sank to the bottom and it was fine when I retrieved it. My only gripe is that once water got on to the screen, it would be difficult to tap and swipe the screen. This is not a fault of the case itself since a smartphone touch screen senses conductive object (ie your finger) to register touches. When water is on the touchscreen, which is also conductive,  it can confuse the touch screen’s sensor with multiple screen registers. Regardless, the video and photos I was able to take were definitely worth it.

Lifeproof Nuud
Lifeproof Nuud

I was also gifted a Mpow iSnap selfie stick right before we left for our honeymoon. These gadgets are the new taking pictures with your iPad. It seems socially awkward at first, but since everyone is now doing it, you can’t make fun of anyone for using one. The one I received had a built in button for taking pictures. You simply pair your smartphone with the stick via Bluetooth and whenever you use it to take a picture, you simply press a button and it activates the shutter on the camera app. It’s a clever way of solving the problem of, “How do I take a picture with the phone so far away?” I didn’t get to use this as much as I wanted as it was another “thing” I had to remember to bring whenever we went out.

Mpow iSnap Selfie Stick
Mpow iSnap Selfie Stick

Our honeymoon was unforgettable and thanks to these gadgets, we were able to enjoy our downtime and capture moments we wouldn’t have been able to before.

Weekend Long Reads – October 18, 2014

To Siri, With Love

It’s not that Gus doesn’t understand Siri’s not human. He does — intellectually. But like many autistic people I know, Gus feels that inanimate objects, while maybe not possessing souls, are worthy of our consideration. I realized this when he was 8, and I got him an iPod for his birthday. He listened to it only at home, with one exception. It always came with us on our visits to the Apple Store. Finally, I asked why. “So it can visit its friends,” he said.

Mac OS X Yosemite Reviews

Apple’s new desktop operating system was released this week and there are plenty of great reviews. Here are my favorite, starting with none other than the canonical review by John Siracusa.

OS X 10.10 Yosemite: The Ars Technica Review

Six Colors: OS X Yosemite Review

With OS X Yosemite, Aqua’s All Grown Up

What To Do If You Break The Screen Of Your iPhone or iPad

Do NOT do it yourself:

You can literally die if you try to replace the screen of an iPhone or iPad yourself and you don’t know what you’re doing. I’m not kidding.

The battery is very soft and squishy and isn’t protected by anything else besides the outer enclosure. If you so much as barely dent the battery or puncture it, it will burst into flames and spew poisonous gas into the room. Lithium-Ion batteries are extremely volatile when disturbed.

You can burn down your house, injure yourself, and/or die.

Don’t do it.

iOS 8 and the new iPhones

This week was huge for us Apple nerds. Yesterday Apple released iOS 8 for existing iPhones and iPads and tomorrow, Apple starts selling the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. I’ve posted the best reviews and links on iOS 8 and the new iPhones. Enjoy!

Jim Dalrymple’s review of the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus

John Gruber’s review of the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus 

Matthew Panzarino’s review of the iPhone 6/6 Plus

The Verge: The Best iOS 8 Features You May Not Know About

Macstories: iOS 8 Tips, Tricks and Details