Monitor your home’s electricity usage on your iPhone

Posted by:
Date: Thursday, January 19th, 2017, 11:18
Category: Gadget, Hardware, Hardware, Home, Home Automation, Review

The RFA-Z109 Eagle from Rainforest AutomationIn our world of the quantified self, Internet of Thing (IoT) and home automation I figured it would be trivial to find a way to monitor my home’s electricity usage remotely and in real-time (without having to unscrew the panel on my electricity panel.) Boy, was I wrong.

I’m a diehard fan of Nest, Dropcam, Hue, Ring and their ilk and I’ve used TED5000 for electricity monitoring at a previous house, but TED requires a fair amount of knowledge (and bravery!) to get set up correctly. After moving to a new house I was determined to find an easy-to-install solution to monitor my home’s insatiable appetite for electricity, and I found it!

Unfortunately, home electricity monitoring products aren’t as popular as I thought, and there’s a pretty high set of requirements that you need to hurdle to achieve such a feat.

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MacBook Pro 2016 Review – It’s going back (Updated)

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Date: Thursday, December 29th, 2016, 15:41
Category: Hardware, MacBook Pro, Review, Uncategorized

My 2016 MacBook Pro is going back.

I can’t think of the last time I returned a new Mac. I’m a textbook early adopter and have always purchased new Macs (especially notebooks) day and date when they come out.

Like most Mac users on the planet, I eagerly awaited Apple’s 2016 MacBook Pro refresh – 500 days in the making. I chose the 13-inch MacBook Pro (over the larger, 15-inch) to replace an aging MacBook Air 13-inch in my fleet.

I ordered mine (MBP 13.3 Space Gray, 256GB, S3136LL/A) on October 27, 2016 and it arrived on November 18, 2016.

My use case

Laptops, like mobile phones, are extremely personal devices. Your mileage will vary.

My 13-inch MBP is primarily for use on my lap. I have a large monitor/keyboard/mouse setup (when I need it) at home and work, so I don’t need the largest screen possible on my laptop.

I also use it on the couch, in my recliner, at the kitchen table, coffee shop, shuttle bus, airplane, train, and Uber. I value light weight over tons of ports. I prefer the 13-inch model over the 15-inch because I commute by bicycle and the 13-inch weighs a pound less:

  • MacBook Pro 13-inch – 3.02 pounds (1.37 kg)
  • MacBook Pro 15-inch – 4.02 pounds (1.83 kg)

While not quite my “weekend/vacation” laptop (the minimalist MacBook 12-inch would be better there), my MBP13 isn’t my workhorse/power user Mac either (I need discrete graphics for that), so it’s somewhere in between. I’m looking for a MacBook with a better screen to replace my MacBook Air 13-inch.

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Pro tip: Force your iPhone to check for App Store updates

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Date: Tuesday, September 13th, 2016, 15:05
Category: iOS, iPhone

pro-tip-power-update-io-app-storeNow that you’ve updated to iOS 10  it’s a great time to update your iOS apps too.

Apple doesn’t allow third-party developers to release app updates that include iOS 10 features until the OS itself is released, which happened today.So you may have more updates than you expected.

I’ve previously written about how iOS Software Update doesn’t check for app updates in the background (you still have to open the app), but did you know that there’s a way to bust the cache and force the App Store to retrieve all of your updates at once?

Well, there is.

Simply open App Store and quickly tap on “updates” tab in the lower-right ten times. When done successfully, you’ll see your “Pending updates” replaced by a blank screen with a grey spinning wheel and “LOADING….” underneath it. Then boom! 39 updates (or whatever).

It’s a handy way to check for important pending app updates, like, say. The Pokemon Go buddy update!

The real reason Apple dumbed-down the iPhone 7 camera

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Date: Thursday, August 18th, 2016, 08:00
Category: Hardware, iPhone, Opinion

I agree 100 percent with Chris Smith’s post on BGR about how the iPhone 7 is about to become inferior to the larger iPhone 7 Plus in a very significant way.

The iPhone 7 Plus' dual-camera vs the single camera in the 7. (Photo: BGR.com)

The iPhone 7 Plus’ dual-camera vs the single camera in the 7. (Photo: BGR.com)

I greatly prefer the 4.7-inch form factor iPhone and won’t buy the larger “Plus size” iPhone because it’s too bulky and it can’t be used with one hand. Plus, my iPad Pro and MacBook usually aren’t far away for when I need a larger screen.

In his article Smith lists several possible excuses Apple might trot out for omitting the dual-lens camera from the iPhone 7, but the real reason is after the jump.

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REVIEW: Peralta Scarlett Sleeve for iPad Pro 9.7-inch

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Date: Tuesday, April 19th, 2016, 05:45
Category: Accessory, Cases

Waterfield/Peralta Scarlett sleeve for iPad Pro 9.7-inch

The Scarlett Sleeve for the new 9.7-inch iPad Pro by Peralta is an essential accessory for traveling with an iPad. It’s a protective sleeve that comes in the perfect size to fit the iPad Pro 9.7-inch.

Scarlett is a neoprene sleeve with a water-repellant nylon exterior and fleece liner to keep your iPad scratch-free. The velcro flap is gone, replaced with a slick, magnetic leather closure.

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Why I stopped wearing my Apple Watch

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Date: Friday, February 12th, 2016, 05:16
Category: Android, Android Wear, Apple Watch, iOS, Opinion

I’ve been a Mac user since 1984 and iOS user since 2007. In 2016 I’m switching from iPhone and Apple Watch to Android and Android Wear as an experiment. This blog post is one in a series from a lifelong Apple/iOS user  switching to Android.

The Huawei Watch is a sharp-looking timepiece.

Like many of you I ordered an Apple Watch at midnight on April 10, 2015 and received it on April 24, 2015. To say that anticipation was high might be the understatement of the year.

Before the arrival of the smart watch, I wore a Breitling watch daily (and a Tag Heuer before that). I don’t consider myself a horologist or even a watch snob, I just have thing for nice watches. A watch is one of the few accessories that men can wear and I have a fondness for fine Swiss movements.

I dutifully wore my Apple Watch from April 24 until December 25, 2015 when I received an Android Wear watch as a gift – more on that later. As a daily Apple Watch wearer for eight months, switching to Android was disruptive and sometimes unsettling but, pardon the pun, the time had come.

I’m quite happy with Android Wear in my first six weeks of wearing it full time. There are four killer features in Wear that trump watchOS…

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PowerPage’s Chris Barylick Starts Geeky T-Shirt Company

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Date: Monday, December 14th, 2015, 00:41
Category: Accessory

This surprised me.

In a good way.

Apparently, PowerPage Managing Editor Chris Barylick has been working on a side project and has launched a cool, geek-focused t-shirt company, called SnarkFish T-Shirts.

When he mentioned this a few weeks ago, I wasn’t sure what to expect. Still, Chris showed me some of his launch designs, I ordered a few and they turned out to be AMAZING, well-made, smart, geeky, beautiful and good for both myself and some people on my Christmas list.

My personal favorite is The Manatee Awakens:

MAwakens_Graphic_1024x1024

Check out the SnarkFish T-Shirts web site and Facebook page when you get a chance and find a cool t-shirt for any geek on your holiday shopping list.

djay Pro for iPad revolutionizes mobile DJing (again)

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Date: Wednesday, December 9th, 2015, 07:19
Category: Gift Guide, iPad, iPad Pro, Review, Software

Algoriddim's djay Pro for iPad - Jason O'Grady

The art of DJing has advanced to the point where it’s now possible to do things on your Mac, iPad, iPhone (and yes, even your Apple Watch) that previously required thousands of dollars in turntables, mixers and speakers. After playing with djay Pro for iPad for a couple of days even my MacBook is starting to feel heavy.

Algoriddim’s djay pioneered (pun intended) the art of mixing and beat matching tracks on the Mac in 2006 and on iOS in 2010. djay is an amazing family of apps that allows you to spin music like a pro and has earned the title of world’s best selling DJ app with over 20 million downloads and an Apple Design Award to its credit.

djay dropped a major update to its disruptive iPad app today, loaded with pro-level audio and video features.

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A few of my favorite things: Waterfield and Peralta bags for the iPad Pro

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Date: Wednesday, December 9th, 2015, 00:12
Category: Accessory, Cases, Gift Guide, iPad, iPad mini, iPad Pro, MacBook, MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, Review

Waterfield's Field Muzetto bag

Having a good bag is almost as important as having good equipment in the first place. If you spent good money on an iPad or MacBook it makes no sense to have your sweet hardware bouncing around in a poorly-constructed vessel that costs less than your Uber fare. It’s also a shame to tuck your beautiful Apple hardware into an unsightly “computer bag” which is why I love Waterfield bags.

I’ve been recommending Waterfield’s stitched-in-San Francisco products since 1999. If you’ve recently acquired a new iPad Pro, or your old bag needs to be updated, Waterfield’s got two great new products that I can’t recommend highly enough: the Field Muzetto and the Peralta Scarlett iPad Pro Sleeve.

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Waterfield Dash: MacBook sleeve of the Gods

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Date: Monday, October 26th, 2015, 05:11
Category: Accessory, Cases, MacBook, Review

Waterfield Dash SleeveCase for MacBook by Jason O'Grady

As long as I’ve used MacBooks (and PowerBooks before them) I’ve kept them in a padded sleeve. Notebooks contain delicate electronics, they store our most import data, and they shouldn’t be bouncing around inside a bag, purse or suitcase without protection. Rather than trying to find a bag to fit my MacBook, I prefer to keep it in a quality sleeve and put that into any bag  I want.

I’ve been recommending Waterfield notebook sleeves since 1999 because of their high quality materials and stylish designs. Their new Dash MacBook Sleeve ($59) is built with a combination of ballistic nylon, impact-resistant compression foam, and a plush liner, and it fits Apple’s new 12-inch MacBook like a glove.

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