Google Home vs. Amazon Echo – THE ULTIMATE SMACKDOWN

Google Home vs Amazon Echo

I’m a fan of just about all things smarthome and my digital assistant of choice is Amazon Echo. However, I do like Google products too and decided to give the new Google Home a try. I wanted to do a side-by-side comparison in the areas that matter most to me and the people I talk to. To give you a better idea of how these products work, I recorded this video so you can judge for yourself:

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If You Have an iPhone 7 You Need This Adapter

Although I don’t generally miss the headphone jack on my iPhone 7 Plus, there is one scenario that I do miss it. With only having the Lightning port this means that you have to decide to either charge or use a wired headset. Like I said, this generally isn’t a problem because I’m either using a wireless headset or I’m sitting at my desk and my iPhone 7 Plus is sitting in a iPhone dock which also has a wired headset attached to it. However, for those times when I want to plug in a headset and charge at the same time I’ve found the Belkin Lightning Audio + Charge Rockstar adapter. This adapter give you TWO Lightning ports instead of one.

It works great as long as you know the limitations…

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My 2016 Holiday Gadget Gift Guide is Here

I know it’s late, but it’s here. My 9th annual Holiday Gadget Gift Guide is here. Rather than the usual full blown guide I’ve noticed that people prefer the “short list”. In other words these are my top picks for the gadget lovers on your list. So in no particular order here are my 2016 top picks:

Amazon Echo Dot

I’m a fan of the Amazon Echo, but when Amazon introduced the much less expensive Amazon Echo Dot, it was a no-brainer to put these around the house. Not only do I love the fact that I can ask it various questions like “what’s the weather like?”, “what’s in the news today?,  “play my Beyoncé Pandora radio station”, but also things like “turn on the outside lights”. While the Echo Dot lacks the nice speaker in the Amazon Echo, it can connect to any speaker you have via an audio cable or bluetooth.

Get the Amazon Echo Dot here.

Lutron Caseta Dimmer Kit

One of my favorite gadgets of 2016 is the Lutron Caseta dimmers and wall switches. I have upgraded 90% of the wall switches in my house to Caseta switches as well as all the lamps. Now not only can I control these lights with my iPhone and their app, but also the Home app built-in to iOS 10 (it’s HomeKit enabled) and Amazon Echo. “Hey Siri, turn off the downstairs lights.” You can expand the system to up to 50 devices. I did it over time and couldn’t be happier with my smart home.

Get the Lutron Caseta Dimmer Starter Kit here or the Lutron Caseta Wireless Smart Lighting In-Wall  Dimmer Kit here (requires installation).

Apple TV 4th Generation

I’ve always been a fan of Apple TV, but the 4th generation model takes it to the next level. Unlike previous generations, the latest Apple TV allows you to install Apps from the App Store. Also with the rumors that Apple is working on deals to allow you to watch movies that are still in theaters, it’s never been a better time to get an Apple TV. You can also use it to display/stream content from your iOS mobile devices and Macs.

Get the Apple TV 4th Generation here.

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U-verse vs. Xfinity – No contest…

comcast-truck

This is a follow up to my post back June 17th, 2016. Back then I had just moved to my new home and back then the only wired option for broadband internet was AT&T U-verse. Sadly the maximum speed was only 18Mbps down and a paltry 1.8Mbps up. Although Comcast’s Xfinity was available in my subdivision, they hadn’t run lines yet to the newly developed area.

6 months later I have Xfinity high speed internet again

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My 1st Impressions of the DJI Mavic Pro Quadcopter

DJI Mavic Pro

I’ve been dabbling in quadcopters since the Parrot AR.Drone (a toy by today’s standards). It took a lot for me to buy the first DJI Phantom. I just couldn’t see spending that much money for a quadcopter at the time. Back then there was no integrated camera or gimbal. You used a GoPro and if you wanted a steady camera you invested hundreds more in a 3rd party gimbal that had to be manually installed by drilling holes and soldering directly onto the logic board. My next DJI was the Phantom 2 Vision +. This one was leaps and bounds better than my original Phantom as it had an integrated HD camera and gimbal. DJI has been innovating quickly ever since. The Phantom 3, Inspire and Phantom 4 have made giant leaps in all areas over my Phantom 2. After my Iceland trip, I came back convinced that it was time to upgrade to a better model. I was set to get a Phantom 4, but heard that DJI was going to be making an announcement soon. That announcement ended up being the NEW DJI Mavic Pro! All I could say was WOW! This was drone I was looking for. Something small enough to travel everywhere with, yet with all the modern bells and whistles and image quality of the Phantom 4 (close enough). I pre-ordered on day one.

My DJI Mavic Pro has arrived

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Why You Might Consider Becoming an Adobe Stock Contributor

adobe-stock-sales

I know lots of photographers and except for a few, they are all trying to figure out more ways of making money from their craft. Cameras and smartphone cameras keep getting better and better and therefore the market has become more crowded. Skill will usually win in the end, but the jobs are becoming fewer and fewer in between. One source of revenue you might consider is selling your images via Adobe Stock. This is NOT a “Get rich quick” scheme. As with most things in life you will only get out of it what you put into it. With that said, Adobe Stock can provide a way of making additional money from the images you’ve already taken or the ones you could take while out on assignment.

What’s in it for you?

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iPhone 7 Plus Review

iphone7plus-in-my-hand

I know this review is way overdue. I have reviewed the new iPhone each year on the Monday after release since 2007. Why the delay on my iPhone 7 Plus review? There are a few reasons, but the main one was that I was waiting on one of the hallmark features that is promised for the iOS 10.1 release. I was hopeful that since I’ve waited this long that the new “Portrait” aka shallow depth of field camera feature would be released. As of the writing of this review, it’s still in beta. So I don’t want to give an opinion based upon unreleased software. With that said, let’s get to it…

My iPhone 7 Plus order got off to a shaky start

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How’s It Hangin’? How to Have Your Photos Printed and Hang Them

TLW8575_sm.jpg

Lately I’ve been getting more and more of my work printed and mounted. Typically I get either canvas prints, metal prints or prints that I frame. When I moved into my new house I basically had a clean slate to start with. I started mounting pics where I wanted them, but after hanging the first couple I started to question the height. Honestly I was just eyeballing it. I had always heard that pictures should be mounted at eye level, but what does that mean? After all I’m 6’1″, so eye level for me is going to be a lot higher than eye level for someone shorter than me. That led me to do a little research…

There is a recommended height

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You Can Now Shoot RAW on iPhone Thanks to Lightroom

lightroom_iphone raw capture

Now You Can Shoot RAW on iPhone!

If you’re a photographer and an iPhone 6s (or higher) user, you’re going to be happy once you upgrade to iOS 10 and Lightroom 2.5 for iOS. With an iPhone SE, iPhone 6s, iPhone 6s Plus, iPhone 7, iPhone 7 Plus or iPad Pro 9.7″ you can now capture images in either JPG or DNG (RAW). The benefits of RAW over JPG have been well documented, but I decided to record a video not only showing how the new RAW capture feature works, but to also show you RAW vs. JPG comparisons from an iPhone 6s Plus and the quality differences:

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