Category Archives: Hardware

Mac & iPad Accessory Sale – newPCgadgets Stands

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Product Announcements – newPCgadgets of San Diego, California has discounted their popular selling iPad and iPhone acrylic stands and their new MacBook Stand as clever gift ideas for the upcoming 2017 Holiday season. Their slotted iPad acrylic stand is ideal for Apple owners, or soon to be, that would like a solid stand to position their iPad for better viewing and ease of interaction. With over 10,000 already sold, newPCgadgets has lowered the price 40% to $39.95. Bring the Apple store look home and give a clever gift to the Apple fan in your family.

In addition to newPCgadgets slotted iPad stand, newPCgadgets is also offering a lower priced stand for both the iPad and iPad mini. These acrylic pedestals with non-skid white silicone rings duplicate the look and feel of the Apple store and provide a great base to place the iPad on. They have lowered the retail price by 40% just in time for the Holidays.

For shoppers looking for a clever and colorful stand for the MacBook owner on your gift list newPCgadgets has just introduced their Laptop Lift 90. This MacBook stand and riser all-in-one is a great solution for raising the MacBook to a comfortable viewing angle. When not in use the Laptop Lift 90 stores the MacBook upright to save precious desktop space. newPCgadgets reduced the price 30% to $19.95 (USD) for the Holidays.

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iPad Accessory Sale – Gumdrop Cases

Product Announcements – Gumdrop Cases of Walnut Creek, California has announced their Black Friday holiday deals, beginning November 22nd and ending Cyber Monday. There will be a daily deal each day that runs for 24 hours only (excluding Thanksgiving Day).

The Promotion Schedule Is:

  • Wednesday, November 22 – All iPad cases 40% off with discount code IPAD4017
  • Thursday, November 23 – Happy Thanksgiving!
  • Friday, November 24 – All Lenovo Miix cases 30% off with discount code MIIX30X7
  • Saturday, November 25 – All Samsung cases 50% off with discount code SAMS5017
  • Sunday, November 26 – All Dell cases 30% off with discount code DELL3017
  • Monday, November 27 – Check back on Cyber Monday for our surprise deal!

Gumdrop Cases offers a wide selection of rugged cases to protect iPads, including:

  • iPad 9.7 (5th Gen, 2017)
  • iPad Pro 12.9
  • iPad Pro 10.5
  • iPad Pro 9.7
  • iPad Mini (1, 2, 3, 4)
  • iPad Air 2
  • iPad Air
  • iPad (2, 3, 4)

With three styles of cases to choose from, anyone can find the right fit:

  • DropTech Clear – Excellent drop protection, with a screen protector and clear Polycarbonate back to show off asset tags, logos, or stickers.
  • Hideaway – Also offers some of the best drop protection and includes a screen protector and a built-in stand to prop up your iPad.
  • DropTech – For iPad Pro devices, the durable DropTech case also includes a handy bi-directional pen holder.
  • FoamTech – Perfect for younger users, the FoamTech case includes a handle that also doubles as a stand.

You can also use the discount codes on Amazon for any product on the Gumdrop Cases website that has a “Buy on Amazon” button. Click that button to go to the corresponding Amazon page and you can enter the promo code before checking out (this promo code will work as long as Gumdrop Cases is the seller). Discounts valid only on the Gumdrop Cases website or Amazon website (no POs and no other discounts can be bundled with an order).

New Accessory for Apple Released – QuickerTek TriBand Antenna

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Product Announcements – QuickerTek of Wichita, Kansas has released a new antenna for the 500GB, 1TB, 2TB, and 3TB Apple Airport Time Capsule and Base Station. With this new addition they are made capable of going from a 0dBi antenna gain to 5dBi antenna array with the TriBand external antenna system. Depending on each consumer’s specific situation, in house testing shows 2 to 3 times more signal is gained when the Legacy Base Station or Time Capsule is upgraded with this system.

Although the Time Capsule is quite powerful by utilizing the Draft-N 2.0 specification, there is plenty of room for improvement. The MIMO (Multi-Input Multi-Output) antennas are modest in receptive sensitivity and transmission capability. More sensitive external antennas can remedy this. This is exactly what the TriBand is designed to accomplish.

The TriBand self-install kit comes with:

  • Triple 5dBi omni directional antenna system
  • 3 foot coaxial extension cable
  • Instruction manual with detailed instructions on adapter cable installation
  • 3 custom adapter cables

TriBand compatibility:

  • Compatible with all 802.11a/b/g/n/ac wifi2.4gHz and 5.8gHz networks
  • Adds external antennas to Legacy Base Station Extreme and Time Capsule access points
  • The adapter cable system allows for connecting Wi-Fi amplifiers and directional antennas

Our external antenna system for the Apple Airport Base Station and Time Capsule is the only unit of its kind on the market. It has been sold over the years for both home and business use.

Through the month of November, QuickerTek is offering 20% off the TriBand, bringing the price from $125 USD to $99 USD.

MacBook Accessory – QuickerTek qCard 2 and qCard 3

Product Announcements – 802.11ac wireless is fast – as much as twice the speed of the previous 802.11n wireless of the built-in MacBook wireless card. This high-speed wireless provides streaming video, video conferencing with no hiccups, fast media file downloads and nearly instant web browsing. QuickerTek of Wichita, Kansas offers internal wireless cards which provide older Macs with 802.11ac capabilities.

Any last generation MacBook Pro or Air running Mac OS X 10.10.x and a PCIe bus is a candidate for the qCard 2 or qCard 3. Bluetooth 4.0 LE is also added with this product as the qCard 2 and 3 uses the same number of internal antennas as the latest generation MacBooks. Installation is easy, saving you money on “hidden costs” for repair shop labor.

There are two qCards engineered by QuickerTek to match what is inside your Mac. The Macbook Air models have two internal antennas which is why we call it a qCard 2 and the Macbook Pro models have three antennas thus the name qCard 3. Utilizing the same chipset and drivers as the new MacBook Air or Pro model, this card can be used to upgrade PCIe Mac models to the newly announced Wi-Fi standard of 802.11ac. The Blue Tooth 4.0 LE is also added and uses the same number of internal antennas as the latest generation of Macs with 10.10.x. You can get double the speed you’re getting now with the 802.11n wireless network. 802.11ac uses the 5 gHz spectrum as well as 2.4 gHz standard used with 802.11n.

qCard 2 and 3 Features:

  • Delivers the fastest wireless speeds to older MacBook Pro and Air
  • Delivers Bluetooth 4.0 LE to older MacBook Pro and Air
  • Leaves USB ports free
  • User installable
  • Very low cost

For the month of November, QuickerTek is offering 20% off of these 802.11ac internal wireless cards, bringing the price from 99.00 USD to 79.00 USD.

Product Review of the “ANKER Multi-Angle Stand”

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Product Review – I bought the ANKER Multi-Angle Stand just a few days ago for use with my iPad. There are times when I want to use it as my primary writing device and having a stand that will prop the screen up at a comfortable angle makes a big difference.

I have been using it and I am very happy with it. Event though it is not very large, it easily props up my iPad on a table of lap desk. The fact that it is only $8.99 on Amazon is a real plus in my mind.

It has six preset positions from nearly vertical to nearly flat. A button on the top left allows you to change the angle of the stand and each position is locked in place with a clear ‘snap’ of the stand. It has pads on the bottom edges to reduce the chance of sliding. There are also similar pads to both hold and protect your electronic device. Though the unit is very light, it is of strong construction. I have no fear of it being bent or broken in the bottom of my computer bag.

This little accessory will be in my electronics travel kit from now on.

Pros

  • Will work with almost any phone or tablet
  • Six different angles for devices
  • Low cost ($9)
  • Light weight (less than 4 oz)
  • Small size (3.15 x 4.72 x 1.06 inches)
  • Will hold devices weighing up to 11 lbs.

 

Cons

  • Stand only has fixed positions
  • Non-slide pads on the bottom could have more ‘grip’

Control Your Dongles

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Tech Tip – We all have so many dongles, cables and other accessories these days to carry along with our phones, tablets and laptops. It is often difficult to control all of these small items. Certainly there are several solutions that you can buy that are designed for the purpose, but we often have unused items laying around the house that offer a ‘free’ alternative.

For so many of us over the age of 40, the most likely option is an old eyeglasses case. But there are other containers that will fill the need – small boxes, jewelry boxes and various bags. While I was first introduced to this idea by my wife who was using an old eye glass case for her cables, I have seen the ‘life hack’ idea elsewhere since then.

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While these containers are on the small side, they will contain and control a variety of items that you want in your computer bag. In the photo above I am using an old jewelry box, a plastic cream cheese container from The container Store and the box that my AirPods came in. It is much easier to find one of these containers than digging through your computer bag trying to find a specific dongle or thumb drive.

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.

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