A Great Speaker for your Amazon Echo Dot

Echo Dot

Amazon sells four (five if you count the new “Look”)  versions of the Amazon Echo. Three of them, the Echo, the Echo Tap and the Echo Dot are really geared towards obeying your voice commands and playing music. The Echo and Tap have decent built-in speakers, but the Echo Dot is really an Echo with a much smaller speaker. Of course this means that Dot can be sold at a much more attractive $49 price point (currently on sale for $39) and that makes it a no brainer for people look to add Alexa to other rooms. Yes the Dot does have a speaker, but this speaker is really not great for music playback. While you can attach any speaker via the AUX out jack or Bluetooth, it means that it will take up more space having two devices instead of one. Luckily there is a really good speaker that has been designed to be a perfect match for the Echo Dot.

The VAUX is a perfect match to your Echo Dot

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The Whole House Music System I Always Wanted – Bose SoundTouch

Have you ever bought something with one use in mind and then later you realized that you could use it for another purpose too? That’s exactly what happened to me when I bought my Bose SoundTouch 300 Soundbar. I was looking for a 5.1 WIRELESS surround sound system. I’m a fan of Bose gear and when my neighbor told me that Bose had just the system I was looking for I ordered it on the spot. Yes there are other wireless systems out there and I even had one. I had a Vizio soundbar with wireless subwoofer. However, with the Vizio soundbar the satellite speakers plugged into the subwoofer. In my family room I don’t have a back wall to run wires. Therefore the Vizio system presented a wiring challenge. The Bose SoundTouch 300 is actually sold piece by piece or you can buy the whole setup. You can just buy the soundbar. You can add on the wireless subwoofer (Acoustimass). You can add on the rear speakers. They are all wireless. Each speaker needs to be plugged into an AC outlet for power, but they don’t need to be wired to the soundbar or any central point. This was exactly what I was looking for. I am completely happy with the performance of the Bose SoundTouch 300.

What I didn’t realize at the time was that you could add additional SoundTouch speakers for music in every room

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Awesome NEW Backlit Keyboard for Lightroom Users

I finally got a chance to put my new Lightroom USB Backlit Keyboard to use. Editors Keys has been making dedicated application keyboards and keyboard covers for years. I typically go for the keyboard covers for my MacBook Pro, but when I’m at my desk I had been using a full size Apple USB keyboard. The Apple keyboard is not backlit. I use Lightroom everyday. So if there was a application keyboard to choose for me it would be Lightroom (or Photoshop).

You have to see the Lightroom keyboard in action!

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The Best Lightning Cables for the Money – Anker Powerline II Dura Review

On the left is an Apple Lightning cable, in the middle is the new Anker Powerline II Dura and on the right is a NewerTech Lightning cable.

If you use an iPhone, iPad or iPod then chances are you’ve worn out the supplied Apple Lightning cable. They usually wear out around the connectors, exposing wires or simply failing to work anymore. I stopped buying Apple branded cables for this reason. I tried other brands, but they all seem to fail at one point or another. Some wouldn’t even give error messages indicating that the cables weren’t completely compatible. Sigh.

Anker makes the BEST Lightning cables for the money! Continue Reading »

My New PITAKA Minimalist iPhone 7 Plus Case Excites me and Scares me

I would say that probably 99% of the smartphone users I know have their devices in a case. Usually your case choice (or lack there of) says a lot about you. You’ll see cases that are thick and protective, decorative and pretty and very thin offering basic scratch protection.

What’s the point of having a super thin phone if you’re going to put it a thick heavy case?

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Nest Cam Outdoor Review

Nest Cam Outdoor mounted

I’ve been buying wifi and ethernet enabled home security cams for years. The first ones I got were made by Panasonic and while the resolution was crappy compared to today’s solutions, they had some nice features such as pan/tilt and even a weatherproof version. I bought the Dropcam when it first hit the scene and it not only worked in 720p HD, but it offered a cloud DVR service. This meant that even if the camera was stolen, the captured video wouldn’t be lost because it was tucked away neatly online for access after the fact. Dropcam was bought out by Google and rebranded Nest Cam. The current indoor Nest Cam has a better camera at 1080p. Checking in your home while you’re away is great. However, these cameras were all designed to work inside, not outside. In most cases people simply place them up against a window to capture what’s going on outside. That works but has its challenges (usually the reflection from the glass can be a pain). Google solved this problem by shipping the Nest Cam Outdoor model.

Nest Cam Outdoor is designed to be placed outside

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Let’s go to Iceland this summer!

Iceland lagoon

Last year I got an incredible opportunity to spend part of my sabbatical in Iceland. See the story here. Of course when I got back many of my friends, fans and family asked “Why didn’t you take me with you?” “Next time, take me with you.” “Do you need an assistant?” Well here’s your chance to go with me this year. The good folks over at focusonnature.is are dedicating one of their amazing tours to me and a small group of photographers that want to tag along. It’s rare that I travel to the same place on vacation two years in a row, but in this case I’m willing to take one for the team 🙂 You can get the details here.

6 Days of Pure Icelandic Photographic Adventure

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A Wall Charger and Backup Battery in One – Anker PowerCore Fusion 5000 Review

Last year I standardized on Anker for all my mobile device charging needs. Their products are top notch and so far their Lightning cables have outlasted all other brands I’ve tried. I’ve used several of their backup batteries, but this new one is a great idea! Normally you’d carry a phone charger when you travel so that you could charge your phone at night or when you’re going to be in one spot for a while. You’d probably carry a backup battery too. This way you could charge your smartphone ore tablet on the go when you’re not near a plug. Now imagine if you could have one portable charger that served both purposes.

The NEW Anker PowerCore Fusion 5000 replaces two things in my backpack

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How to Live Stream from your Desktop – My Live Streaming Studio Setup

Terry White streaming studio

Live streaming has become a big part of my life. So much so that it’s actually a major part of my day job. I stream live Adobe tutorials regularly to YouTube, Facebook and Twitter/Periscope. I spent most of 2016 streaming to Twitch.tv. Since this is what I do for a living I wanted to have high production values.

Therefore I setup a dedicated live streaming studio in my home. Being a photographer I’ve setup a few photography studios and no matter how you equip your studio you can always find more gear that you want and ways to improve it. I’ve been building out this live streaming studio since May 2016. I have everything I “need” to do my streams, but I’m always looking out for ways to improve upon what I have.

Like a photography studio, your streaming setup can be very basic or very elaborate

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The 1st HomeKit Enabled Security Camera has Shipped! D-Link Omna 180 Review

When it comes to home security cameras I have pretty much standardized on Google’s Nest Cams. However, the one thing that is not likely to appear in any Nest products is HomeKit support. HomeKit is the standard that Apple created for home automation and is supported in iOS, Siri, Apple TV, and the Home App that’s now built-in to iOS 10. So that means that you either buy accessories that work with HomeKit or competing platforms. Since until now there were no shipping HomeKit enabled security cameras, it really didn’t matter which platform you went with. However, that has just changed now that D-Link has shipped the Omna 180 Cam.

Viewing the Live feed from the Omna 180 cam in the iOS 10 Home App.

The 1st shipping HomeKit enabled security cam is lacking features that other cams have…

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