MicFlip First Reversible Micro-USB Cable

microflipThe folks at Winnergear have come out with the World’s First Reversible Micro-USB Cable. Have you ever gotten frustrated when you where trying to plug a Micro-USB cable into something, and flipped it back and forth a couple of times. Or looked at the device to figure out the correct orientation? I have! Well those days are gone.

This review is simple, just plug it in anyway you want! Not only on the Micro-USB side but also the USB Type A plug both are reversible. Simple no more stabbing the plug and flipping the connector. Just plug it in.

Get it today for $19.99 at WinnerGear free shipping included.

STM Trestle Backpack Review

stm-trestleBackpacks are a challenge to review as many look and feel the same. My goal is to always breakout what I think sets a backpack apart. The folks at STM Bags sent over the STM Trestle Backpack for me to review. Having reviewed a few of their backpacks in the past, I am pretty familiar with their product line. But this specific backpack I instantly fell in love with.

First and foremost was the build quality in that they have really stepped into the premium backpack category in material and build. The inside of the bag was where it really sold me in how well they protected my devices. The sleeves where a laptop or tablet will go are fleece lined making for a fantastic scratch free environment for my devices. Thoughtfully there is a well designed pad at the bottom of the bag so that if I set the bag down hard, I will not bust anything.

stm2While the STM Trestle is smaller than most backpacks, it fits my 12 inch laptop and my iPad Pro perfectly.  There no less than 6 pockets to stash stuff a nice feature is  a zippered pocket within a zippered pocket where you can make it harder for someone to get to that pocket that is snooping. It is designed in such a way that both men and women will want to have this on their shoulder.

In the main pocket of the backpack there where 4 sections to organize your gear/ paperwork.  Critical straps are always double and triple stitched with bag zippers that will not bind and or break. To many laptop bags come with weak zippers that split. This is not the case with the STM Trestle.

Priced at $119.95 I am confident that you will get years of use out of this backpack. It is the perfect travel or day to day companion to tout your gear around yet be small enough you can stash it under the table at lunch and not have it in the way.


Samsung Galaxy S7 Review

s7The folks over at AT&T sent me a Samsung Galaxy S7 to review unlike other reviews I do. I thought it appropriate to let my wife use it as well for a couple of days as she is currently using a S5. Her comments are below, but let me weigh in on the device first.

The first thing that hit me was wow the screen is simply incredible, and it really did take me by surprise. The second thing that really hit me with this phone was that it was incredibly thin and lite weight. So lite in fact that I had to touch my pockets several times a day to make sure I had not left it on the desk. I also had a small concern that I would drop it the finish on the S7 is really polished. I would definitely want to make sure I had a case for it! So far as the operation of a phone it was very fast and app load times are equivalent to other top end mobile devices.

Obviously every new phone is typically better than the last, and this phone is no exception. The Samsung team really did a nice job with the S7 and as indicated by various reports is selling very well.

My wife’s comments follow. She says the S7 is a significant improvement over her S5. While pretty obvious to me this comes with a disclosure, prior to her using the phone she had been leaning at going back to iOS. But after using the S7 for three days as her primary device, she said that next month when her current phone is eligible for an upgrade that she would stay on Android and be looking very favorable with getting the S7. This more than anything surprised me. She also said that the she could actually multi-task with the Samsung Galaxy S7 and that the screen was large enough that she would likely not need to use her tablet as much.

The specs:

  • 5.5″ Quad Super AMOLED dual-edge display
  • 12 MP dual-pixel rear-facing camera and 5 MP Front Facing
  • IP68 water-resistant rating1
  • 3,600mAh battery
  • Quad Band World Phone

I want to add something on water resistance a friend of mine upgraded to the S7 upon examining the review phone, he dared me to dunk it in water.  I did not, but when he got his, he put it in a glass of water in front of me and left it there for 20 minutes.  Worked like a champ. I do not suggest doing this with a new phone, but he proved that the water resistance of the phone was pretty incredible.

You can pick up the Samsung Galazy S7 from AT&T for $26.50 for 30 months or $794 retail.

Famous Route 66 To Become First American Solar Road

SolarRoadways logoU.S. Route 66 is more of a legend than an actual highway these days. Route 66 was decommissioned as an official thoroughfare decades ago, giving way to more modern interstate transit ways. Portions of Route 66 still remain, however. And there are plenty of guides that can help you drive an approximation of the old route from Chicago to Los Angeles, if you want to indulge in some nostalgic Americana.

In its heyday, Route 66 was emblematic of the mid-20th century American dream. Cars were cool. Gas was cheap. The open road beckoned with a sense of adventure. Much has changed since those times. Cars are seen now more as functional devices than modern works of art. Even when prices are down, most drivers still groan over the cost to fill up a gas tank. Conveniences like GPS and mobile data have taken some of the adventurous edge out of a long road trip.

Change is inevitable. Yet, it seems somehow fitting that Route 66, an icon of 20th century fossil fuel consumption, will become the first road in America to be partially redone with special solar-power generating pavers:

The street pavers were developed by Solar Roadways, a company created by inventors Scott and Julie Brusaw which raised more than $2.2 million in crowdfunding in 2014 to bring their technology to market. The Brusaws claim that replacing all of America’s roads and parking lots with their solar pavers would generate more than three times the country’s electricity consumption in 2009.

It seems like a no-brainer. Why not replace all of the world’s roads and parking lots with solar-generating pavers? It’s all open space that’s just sitting there, waiting for a solar upgrade. The state of Missouri’s transportation department will be spearheading the installation of these photovoltaic pavers on Route 66. They’re hoping to have them in place by the end of the year.

Ergotech’s New Sit-Stand Products Give You Flexibility at Work

Ergotech sit-stand desksIt’s a pervasive fact of modern life. We’re stuck in the seated position for multiple hours a day, starting at one screen or another. This type of long-term sedentary behavior has been proven to contribute to a plethora of health problems. It’s become such a big concern, that a cottage industry has arisen of apps and devices designed to remind us to get up and walk around the room once an hour. And while those solutions can help, they still don’t address the core problem of constantly having to sit. And thus, the sit-stand (and even the treadmill-based) desk was created to make it easier for desk-strapped information workers to go from sitting to standing while still being able to work. Desk and display accessories manufacturer Ergotech recently entered the sit-stand space with its own line of offerings.

First up is Ergotech’s One Touch Free Stand:

Ergotech’s One Touch Free Stand is a free-standing sit-stand workstation compatible with both PC & Apple iMac® monitors which requires no desk mounting or clamping for use! Powered by an electric motor and providing the highest range of vertical travel on the market today at 20”, the Free Stand easily adjusts to your desired height giving you the ability to sit-stand throughout your work day.

The One Touch Free Stand comes standard with the base unit and an electric motor, as well as an upper & lower work surface.

The middle offering of this new product line is the One Touch Free Stand Bundle:

Ergotech’s One Touch Free Stand Bundle is a free-standing sit-stand workstation compatible with both PC & Apple iMac® monitors which requires no desk mounting or clamping for use! This bundle conveniently includes Dual Monitor Mounting equipment, making this bundle a one stop solution for most users. The One Touch Free Stand base lies flat on the desktop and installs in less than 10 minutes. Powered by an electric motor and providing the highest range of vertical travel on the market today (20”), the Free Stand easily adjusts to your desired height giving you the ability to sit-stand throughout your work day. The One Touch Free Stand Bundle comes standard with the base unit, an electric motor, an upper and lower work surface and Dual Monitor Mounting equipment. The Free Stand has just a 27″ desk footprint and is able to hold any size single monitor and up to two 30” monitors on the included Dual Monitor Mounting Equipment.

The third sit-stand product is called the One Touch Ultra:

Ergotech’s One Touch Ultra Sit-Stand Workstation is electric powered and mounts directly to your existing desk or wall!

Compatible with both PC & Apple iMac® monitors, the One Touch Ultra comes standard with both a lower and upper work-surface and your choice of desk mounting hardware.

Able to hold up to four monitors, the One Touch Ultra blows the competition away with its unique features and outstanding performance.

With the highest range of vertical travel (20″) and the biggest work-surface on the market today, the One Touch Ultra is sure to surpass all of your sit-stand workstation needs.

Ergotech’s One Touch line of sit-stand products begins at $749.00 with additional options for adding extra displays, depending on the model.

Prevent Car Theft By Storing Your Keys In the Microwave

MicrowaveThere’s plenty of good advice out there that can help you prevent car-related theft. Park in secure, well-lit areas, Make sure you always keep your windows rolled up and doors locked when you’re away from the vehicle. But police have some new advice when it comes to keeping your vehicle secure. And it’s not like any we’ve seen before. Authorities are now advising owners of keyless fob-style car door openers to store their keychains inside appliances like microwaves and refrigerators.

Apparently, thieves are ditching the crowbar approach to breaking into cars and instead using high-tech methods to gain entry into vehicles:

A recent alert from the department warned of a growing trend of car thieves in California using an electronic device called a power amplifier, which allows them to easily unlock vehicles and quickly pillage them for valuables. According to the alert, the amplifier takes advantage of the radio communication between the cars and the key fobs used by owners to lock and unlock vehicles.

If the methodology behind the crime seems wild, the best way to prevent it may seem even stranger:

According to the department’s alert, one of the best ways to guard yourself against these would-be hackers is to keep vehicle keys in a place that blocks radio frequency signals, hence the advice to store keys in a microwave. The statement also suggests storing keys in the fridge, a metal box, or a specially made Faraday Cage—which can cost anywhere from $25 to more than $300 online—to thwart the high-tech car burglars.

So there you go. Next time you come home from running errands, be sure to place your keychain inside the microwave. Just make sure you take the keys out before you heat up last night’s leftovers.

Player Threatened Blizzard Entertainment with AK-47 Over Silence Penalty

Heroes of the Storm logoIn September of 2015, Blizzard Entertainment added a silence penalty to Heroes of the Storm. (Blizzard will soon be adding a silence penalty to World of Warcraft as well.) Players who earn a silence penalty lose the ability to chat with most other players. It is understandable that being silenced will irritate players who were being abusive in game. Even so, that doesn’t excuse the guy who decided to threaten Blizzard Entertainment with an AK-47.

According to the Department of Justice (Eastern District of California) website, a 28-year-old man named Stephen Cebula has been charged with “making threats to injure employees of the video-game company Blizzard Entertainment, Inc.” The post also says:

According to court documents, between July 2, 2016, and July 3, 2016, Cebula transmitted messages over the internet to Blizzard Entertainment, in which he stated that he “may or may not pay [Blizzard] a visit with an AK47 amongst some other ‘fun’ tools,” and “might be inclined to ’cause a disturbance’ at [Blizzard’s] headquarters in California with an AK47 and a few other ‘opportunistic tools’..”. Cebula was arrested on July 12, 2016, and is in custody. He is scheduled to be arraigned July 26, 2016.

If he is convicted, he faces a maximum statutory penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. The Department of Justice website says: “The charges are only allegations; the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.”

The Los Angeles Times reported that in one threat, court records showed that Stephen Cebula wrote “Careful Blizzard… I live in California and your headquarters is here in California… You keep silencing me in Heroes of the Storm and I may or may not pay you a visit with an AK-47 amongst some other ‘fun’ tools.” Blizzard’s headquarters is in Irvine, California.

Players that earn a silence penalty in Heroes of the Storm receive it because they have been posting abusive chat, posting spam, cheating or botting, or doing things in game intentionally to anger the players on their team (like walking away from the keyboard). If you someday find that you earned a silence penalty, it’s ok to feel upset about it. Just be very careful about how you choose to express your irritation online.

GNC #1131 Verizon Plays Dirty

Verizon plays dirty in forcing a number of their unlimited customers to throttled plans and has decided to be a bully. Verizon made a bad business decision before and consumers chose wisely now they are going to be forced to pay up or have their accounts canceled. Verizon is going to invoke the nuclear option. If I was one of those customers I would not go quietly in the night. All of those affected unlimited customers will have their plans cut off on August 30th. Unless the Feds step in or a user gets a court injunction.

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Congress has Questions About Pokémon GO Data Usage

Niantic Pokemon GoThree members of the United States House of Representatives sent a letter to CEO of Niantic, John Hanke, with some questions about the amount of data that Pokémon GO uses. The members of Congress who wrote the letter want “to better understand what measures Niantic has undertaken to ensure consumers are informed of Pokémon GO’s effect on their mobile data usage.” The letter states:

Third-party testing recently found that the typical Pokémon GO player users between 10 and 20 megabytes of data per hour of play. A serious user playing for three or more hours per day could use two gigabytes of data per month. T-Mobile CEO John Legere reported that in just four days, the number of Pokémon GO users on the carrier’s network had doubled and their data usage had quadrupled. Users have reported maxing out their monthly data usage plan within a few days of playing.

The members of Congress who signed the letter were Frank Pallone Jr. (Democrat – New Jersey), Diana DeGette (Democrat – Colorado), and Jan Schakowsky (Democrat – Illinois). They came up with four questions that they would like Niantic to answer:

  1. Are there best practices that Niantic follows to minimize the amount of data consumers use when playing Pokémon GO?
  2. Has Niantic worked with wireless carriers to ensure that consumers are not unexpectedly hit with large overage charges?
  3. Does Niantic conspicuously warn consumers before they start using the app about how much data the app consumes?
  4. Does Niantic have any mechanisms in place to make sure consumers are made whole in the event they are hit with an unexpected overage charge resulting from the use of your app?

CEO of Niantic, John Hanke, has been asked to provide responses to those questions by August 9, 2016.

The amount of data that Pokémon GO uses is not the only concern mentioned in the letter. In the first paragraph, the letter says: “In addition to issues related to the game being played in inappropriate locations, safety, and privacy, recent reports suggest that Pokémon GO could exhaust a consumer’s available monthly mobile data.”  The letter does not mention anything at all about the problem that many Pokémon GO users are facing – the app drains the phone’s battery rather quickly.

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