Category Archives: Hardware

MacBook Accessory – USB Type-C Solar Juicz Chargers

Product Announcements – QuickerTek of Wichita, Kansas has released their 30 Watt and 60 Watt USB Type-C Solar Juicz Chargers. These solar panels are the only products of their kind, featuring the USB 3.1 adapter cable necessary to power and charge the 2015-2017 MacBook and MacBook Pro 13″ and 15″. Users of these newest model MacBooks now have access to the convenience of solar power and the satisfaction of protecting the environment.

These solar panels are available with either 30 Watt or 60 Watt of solar power capability to extend the MacBook’s run time and include a Type-C USB (3.1) cable fully utilizing PD protocol. To use, they can be plugged directly into the MacBook’s special USB 3.1 adapter ports. These solar products power the computer battery for use while simultaneously charging the internal battery. Other photovoltaic cells can’t offer this same advanced capability.

They have also been created with practicality in mind – featuring water resistant, foldable and durable photo-voltaic cells. Each panel is light weight for easy travel, weighing in at 3 pounds, including with accessories. They are also powerful enough to charge the MacBook as quickly as an Apple AC charger, minimizing down time.

30 Watt Specifications:

  • Dimensions folded: 9″ x 7″ x 2″
  • Dimensions deployed: 35″ x 18″
  • Weight: 3 lb.

60 Watt Specifications:

  • Dimensions folded: 13″ x 7″ x 2″
  • Dimensions deployed: 48″ x 52″
  • Weight: 3 lb.

QuickerTek is offering the 30 Watt USB Type-C Solar Juicz Charger for $499 (USD) and the 60 Watt USB Type-C Solar Juicz Charger for $999 (USD). These solar panels can also be used to charge QuickerTek’s Most Powerful eyeBattery and Most Versatile eyeBattery.

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Will Your iPad Take iOS 11?

Tech Tips – iOS will be generally available on September 19, but not all iPads are compatible. Officially Apple declares these models compatible: all models of iPad Pro, the iPad Air 2, iPad Air, iPad 5th generation and iPad mini models 2-4 [1].

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if you don’t know what model of iPad you have, you can look at the back of the iPad. At the bottom beneath iPad, in very tiny print, is your model number. I found it difficult to read, so I used the camera on my iPhone to zoom in on the text, take a photo and then read the model number through the resulting photo. Apple lists the model numbers for each iPad [2] and I identified mine as an “iPad Air 2” which is eligible for the upgrade.

What’s important in iOS 11 [2,3]?

  1. New Dock
  2. New App Switcher and Control Center
  3. Being able to open a second task (for multi-tasking) directly from the Dock
  4. The New Files App – almost a filesystem
  5. Drag and drop text, photos and files between applications
  6. A native screen recorder
  7. Improved password management
  8. iPad Pros will get document markup using the Apple Pencil
  9. Inline drawings for Notes and Mail
  10. Document scanning
  11. Indoor maps

 

References:

  1. iOS 11 – A giant step for iPhone. A monumental leap for iPad.
  2. Identify you iPad Model
  3. 11 Ways iOS 11 Makes Your iPad Even Better

See my other iOS articles


 

Mac Accessory – Laptop Lift 90

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Product Announcements – newPCgadgets of San Diego, California has announced Laptop Lift 90, a laptop organizer, riser and space-saver all-in-one. According to newPCgadgets, “The Laptop Lift 90 is the only laptop stand on the market that offers this unique combination of features.”

As a laptop riser, the Laptop Lift 90 raises the back of the laptop 1″ to improve performance and increase ventilation. As a laptop stand, the Laptop Lift 90 holds laptops upright freeing up valuable desk space. To make their new laptop riser stand out, newPCgadgets is offering the Laptop Lift 90 in four high-gloss colors including: pink, blue, white and black.

According to their president Michael Schriner, “With our new Laptop Lift 90 we have created a new way to organize the desktop, improve laptop function and save space. We have also enhanced the look of the work space by offering vibrant colors that really stand out.”

The dual function Laptop Lift 90 is constructed from high-gloss acrylic. Non-slip neoprene pads hold the laptop in place. The product dimensions are 8 “W x 4″D x 2 1/2 “H. The Laptop Lift 90holds all popular Laptops including: The MacBook Pro, MacBook Air and dozens more. The Laptop Lift 90 is designed for both home and office.

Review of the Anker USB 3.0 to Gigabit Ethernet Adapter

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Product Review – A few months ago my home suffered a lightening strike that. among other things, broke the ethernet port on my Mac Mini. While I have been able to use the built in IEEE 802.11 (Wi-Fi) connection, I prefer a hard wired network connection.

A few days ago I found the Anker USB 3.0 to Gigabit Ethernet Adapter on Amazon and thought it would be just the accessory to put my Mac Mini back on the wired network. I ordered it and it arrived yesterday. I was able to install it easily: connect a RJ-45 cable from my Ethernet switch, then just insert the adapter into a free USB port on my Mac Mini.

The new connection was immediately recognized by macOS and I was back to using the wired connection. While I have only been using if for just about 24 hours it has worked perfectly so far.

PROS

  • Easy to install
  • Low cost ($13.99 as I write this review)
  • USB 3.0 compatibility, backwards compatible with 2.0/1.1
  • Gigabit Ethernet support
  • Portable if needed
  • Compatible with macOS and Windows
  • Powered by the USB port

 

CONS

  • Does require committed use of a USB port

 

CONCLUSION

This is a product that I would recommend to anyone who needed to add a wired Ethernet connection to your Mac or PC. You could also use this to add a higher speed or second Ethernet connection to your computer.


See my other Mac and OS X articles


 

Repair Cafés

I had never heard of ‘Repair Cafés’ until I read the article “We Need More Repair Cafés“. As the name implies these are locations where people can take items and get assistance to repair them. Some of these are permanent locations, while others are pop-up locations. As their website says:

Repair Cafés are free meeting places and they’re all about repairing things (together). In the place where a Repair Café is located, you’ll find tools and materials to help you make any repairs you need. On clothes, furniture, electrical appliances, bicycles, crockery, appliances, toys, et cetera. You’ll also find expert volunteers, with repair skills in all kinds of fields.

Visitors bring their broken items from home. Together with the specialists they start making their repairs in the Repair Café. It’s an ongoing learning process. If you have nothing to repair, you can enjoy a cup of tea or coffee. Or you can lend a hand with someone else’s repair job. You can also get inspired at the reading table – by leafing through books on repairs and DIY.

Most of the existing locations are in Europe which makes sense since this movement began in Amsterdam. You can find out more about them at https://repaircafe.org/en/. You can also find the Repair Café closest to you at https://repaircafe.org/en/visit/. Unfortunately there are not many (around 50 at the time I write this) in the US yet and none in Texas.

You, or your organization, my be in the position to start up a Repair Café in your local community.

New Product – DRIFT Wi-Fi

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Product Announcement – Karma Mobility of Irving, Texas, providers of the technology that let’s you take Wifi everywhere at a better cost than conventional WiFi providers, has launched DRIFT, a best priced pay as you go service. At $3 per month and $10 per GB used. DRIFT bests the pay-as-you-go market by $17 per month. DRIFT customers also get a credit back for any unused portion of data at the end of each month.

Karma reports account set up is simple and easy and takes only a few minutes. Additionally, DRIFT customers who share their connection get free data while sharing and earn a $1 credit for every guest that connects. Customers can manage their account and data on their phone and via the web with the ability to change their plan at any time. Drift requires no contracts, has no hidden fees and customers can cancel at any time.

Drift can be used across the US in over 460 cities. It uses a 4G LTE connection and falls back to CDMA 3G in the most remote areas where 4G LTE coverage is not available. Users with a 4G LTE connection can download 6-8Mbps with peaks up to 25Mbps and upload 2-3Mbps. CDMA 3G speeds provide Download .6-1.4Mbps with peaks up to 3.1Mbps and Uploads of .35-5Mbps.

Laptops, tablets and phones can all connect within 100 feet of the Karma Go device which is small, sleek and portable weighing just 2.3 ounces and has a battery life up to 6 hours and 220 hours of standby time.

Mac ‘How To’ Channel on YouTube

Most of us that have used a Mac are familiar with Other World Computing (OWC), particularly if you have upgraded your Mac. I have ordered from them more than once and took advantage of their memory and SSDs when I upgraded my Mac Mini a couple of years ago.

I did not realize until recently that they have an entire YouTube channel of “How To” videos.  There are hundreds of videos available – some specific to OWC products and upgrades, but many others just general “How To” guides. Of particular value are their videos on how to upgrade to to an SSD and how to install memory for a variety of Macs.

If you are considering an upgrade, or just want to open up your Mac for whatever reasons, these guides will be a good place to start. They will show you how challenging, or how easy a ‘do it yourself’ upgrade will be.


See my other Mac and OS X articles


 

Mac New Hardware Upgrade – 1TB PCIe SSD

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Product Announcement – MCE Technologies (MCE) of San Dimas, California has announced the world’s fastest 1TB internal PCIe-based SSD upgrade solution for the Mac Pro (Late 2013). Based on 4 Lane (x4) PCIe architecture, the 1TB SSD Upgrade features read speeds of up to 1400MB/sec and write speeds of up to 1150MB/s. All necessary tools to perform the installation, an illustrated installation guide, and drive cloning software are included.

The MCE 1TB PCIe-based SSD Upgrade for the Mac Pro (Late 2013) takes full advantage of the PCIe (4 Lane) architecture present in those machines. It can reach speeds of up to 1400MB/sec reading and up to 1150MB/s writing. The 1TB PCIe-based flash drives are compatible with all versions of Mac OS X capable of running on the Mac Pro (Late 2013) as well as Mac OS X Boot Camp, feature native TRIM and S.M.A.R.T. support to ensure longevity and each drive carries a three year warranty.

The MCE 1TB PCIe-based SSD Upgrade Kits for Mac Pro (Late 2013) retail for $699.00 (USD) and are user-installable. Each kit includes the 1TB PCIe-based SSD for Mac Pro, installation toolkit, illustrated installation guide, and drive cloning software.

Mac New Accessory – AC AirPort Time Capsule Upgrade

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Product Announcement – QuickerTek of Wichita, Kansas has announced an Apple AC AirPort Time Capsule upgrade. The upgrade adds a 5TB (Terabyte) hard drive and, by request, six external antennas. Designed as a central backup solution for all of the Mac computers in your home or office, the addition of the 5TB hard drive adds a boost in storage capabilities for those in need of more than the 2TB or 3TB storage offered with the unit alone. To complete this upgrade, QuickerTek first opens the chasis and removes the existing hard drive. Once this is done, the 5TB hard drive is slid into the empty space and plugged into the internal board.

The antenna upgrade not only offers dual-band 2.4 GHz and 5.8 GHz Wi-Fi, it also triples the range of the Time Capsule. The improved wireless power allows users the ability to arrange and use their Apple wireless anywhere they choose by providing a wider range and blasting through common line of sight objects. The standard Apple AirPort Time Capsule does not have a built-in port to connect these antennas. So, QuickerTek engineered a means of modifying them with antenna connectors. Customers will quickly discover the wireless performance they have been missing. Buffering is eliminated and multi-user Wi-Fi connections are all smooth and fast.

QuickerTek is the only company in the world offering this innovative upgrade. Two different product versions are available: a 2TB Time Capsule upgraded with the 5TB hard drive alone for $499 (USD) or a 2TB Time Capsule upgraded with both the 5TB hard drive and high gain 5dBi antennas for $699 (USD).

Specifications:

  • Dimensions: 3.85″ x 3.85″ x 16″
  • Weight: 2.38 lbs
  • Color: White

Includes:

  • User manual
  • Adapter cables
  • Mounting base
  • 5TB hard drive
  • Six 5dBi antennas

Pricing:

  • 5TB Upgrade Only $499 (USD)
  • 5TB Upgrade with High Gain Antennas $699 (USD)

Like most QuickerTek products, the new Time Capsule Extreme AC Hard Drive and 5TB Antenna Upgrade is backed with a one-year warranty on parts and labor.

Impressive New Robot

We have seen wheeled robots. We have seen two legged and four legged robots. The new Boston Dynamics ‘Handle’ merges wheels and legs in an innovative design.

With a 24 kilometer (15 mile) range on a single battery charge, and the ability to pick up and carry loads up to 45 kilograms (99 pounds), this is an impressive robot. The ability to handle a variety of terrains and obstacles easily is also impressive.