3 Last-Minute Gifts for the Photographer on your List

It’s that time of year and as many of us are still scrambling to figure out what to buy for the special people on our lists, I put together this shortlist for the Photographer on your list.

This USB-C Hub is AWESOME

If the photographer on your list uses a newer MacBook Pro, iPad Pro or PC then chances are this hub will be a welcome addition to their bag. Apple has gone all-in on USB-C and that’s actually a good thing because if everything uses one USB standard then there will be more choices for peripherals for everyone. The transition is slow though. Not all peripherals are USB-C yet. That’s why this USB-C hub is AWESOME. The ALLEASA USB-C hub features an HDMI port, 3 standard USB 3 ports, Gigabit Ethernet, a MicroSD reader, SD Reader and a USB-C port for power. Plug this baby in and you’ll have all the ports you need even on your iPad Pro!

You can get it here.

Music in your studio while you shoot

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Adobe Cyber Monday Deals 2019

It’s that time of year again. This time of year you can usually save the most on your creative tools.

Save 40% on Adobe Creative Cloud All Apps Plan here. It gets even better for students and teachers. Save up to 70% here.

If Photoshop Elements and Premiere Elements 2020 is more your speed save on this bundle here.

It’s also a great time to get your first graphics tablet!

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Tesla Cybertruck – Does Design Still Matter?

The car we all drew in the 1st grade?

Spoiler alert! The answer is YES design still matters. On Wednesday, November 20th Tesla unveiled its long-awaited electric pickup truck. The Cybertruck shocked everyone. It was the first time that I heard so many people use the word “ugly” in reference to a Tesla vehicle. It was my reaction too.

For the record, I have never had any interest in a pickup truck. I’ve never wanted one ever. I still don’t. I’ve driven pickup trucks owned by family and friends when I needed to move stuff, but that’s about it. I would borrow theirs and return it. I wouldn’t think twice about it afterward.

Knowing that Tesla was going to unveil their new electric pickup was only a little interesting to me. I was only interested to see what it would look like. The unveiling was to start at 8 PM PT/11 PM ET. By 11 PM I was already in bed and falling asleep. However, I was awake enough to see the less than one-minute countdown before it started. I waited and just as I suspected it didn’t start on time. I dozed off. When I woke up and looked at my phone again the NEW Cybertruck was on stage. My immediate reaction was OMG WTF? (not in a good way). I turned my phone off and rolled over to go back to sleep. This thing looked awful and I wasn’t going to waste any more time watching.

Sidenote: The unveiling was kind of a disaster?

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I’m back from Adobe MAX 2019

Terry White presenting on the Adobe MAX keynote stage to 15,000 attendees.

For the past few months, I’ve been commuting back and forth to San Francisco. Rehearsing for the Adobe MAX keynote is a big deal and taken very seriously. Although my part was a mere 7-8 minutes long, every second of it is rehearsed and refined for months until it became muscle memory.

It’s an honor to be a part of the keynote and I couldn’t be happier being asked back this year. If you missed my demo you can see it here:

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Ring Alarm vs. SimpliSafe

It was just one month ago that I wrote a review of SimpliSafe. While I do still stand by that review and everything I said, I have actually switched to Ring Alarm! It’s rare that after I do my research and make a tech decision that I end up switching to something else so soon after, but this is one of those cases.

Why I switched to Ring Alarm

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The Best Wacom Intuos Pro Small to Date!

Wacom Intuos Pro Small

I’ve had several Wacom tablets over the years. I use them almost exclusively when I retouch photos and if I ever dabble in creating art. I love my 27″ Cintiq QHD display tablet. However, when I need to take a tablet with me on the go I’ve always preferred carrying a Wacom Intuos Pro Small. With that said, I stopped carrying my previous version. While it was “small” it was still bulky enough to take up more space and weight in my bag than I wanted. My backpack is always heavy. I decided to remove some things to lighten the load. Every ounce matters. I figured I could just use my iPad Pro and Apple Pencil as a tablet if I really needed to. While this solution did work, it just wasn’t the same as a Wacom graphics tablet. Wacom has been refining their pen/tablet technology for years! The newer tablets have a pen that offers 8,192 levels of pressure. This level of precision is amazing. The pen also has configurable buttons on the side and the top can be used as an eraser. Apple Pencil is great, but it just can’t do as many things as you can with a Wacom pen.

The NEW Wacom Intuos Pro Small makes its way back into my life and my backpack!

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HomeKit vs. Alexa vs. Google Home – Which smart home platform is best?

My Smart Home in the Apple Home App on iPad

My Smart Home in the Apple Home App on iPad Pro

I’ve been into home automation and smart home gear for years. I really got serious about it when we built a new house in 2016. A new house meant being about to start from scratch with the best solutions for every aspect of home automation that I wanted. When you talk smart home the usual suspects come to people’s minds: lights, cameras, thermostats, locks, security systems, shades/window blinds, garage door openers, etc. Beyond simple control from your smartphone, smart home automation is really about Scenes and Routines. It’s about using one verbal command, or press one button or come home and have a series of things happen.

This is when picking a smart home platform comes into play

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SliceCharge Pro – the wireless charger you’ve been waiting for

Apple’s AirPower was supposed to be the only wireless charger you would need. One charging mat that lets you charge an iPhone (or Android), Apple Watch and AirPods. Apple decided to cancel the AirPower before it ever shipped. They sited quality/technical difficulties. I can only imagine that this was because you would have been able to put your phone, watch or AirPods anywhere on the mat. Since the Apple Watch doesn’t use a standard Qi charger I’m sure it was hard to make it work when placed anywhere on the mat.

There are lots of Qi wireless chargers on the market. Some are designed just to charge a phone while other bigger mats are designed to charge two to three devices. I originally went with the Nomad Wireless Charger as it was one of the first to have an integrated Apple Watch charger. The Nomad solution works fine, but what I didn’t like about it was that it was one configuration. You lay your phone on it either vertically or horizontally and you put your watch on the dedicated spot. If you want to charge a third device then you put the phone vertically in the middle. What I don’t like about this is that you have to put the phone on it just right (not to far forward and not too far towards the front) or it won’t be on one of the three charging coils and therefore it won’t charge. I have woke up on occasion only to realize that my phone didn’t charge because it wasn’t sitting on it just right.

SliceCharge Pro offers six high speed charging coils instead of three or four

inside view of the 6 total charging coils

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Apple Card – 1 Month Later

It was just over a month ago that I applied for the NEW Apple Card. I got approved and documented the whole application process here:

What’s so special about Apple Card?

This was the first question that my friends and fans started asking me. After all, it is just a credit card right? On the surface, it is a credit card. You apply and if approved you’re assigned a limit and you receive a physical card in the mail. However, that’s where the similarities stop.

Apple Card in My Hand

The first thing that makes Apple Card different is the way you apply. If you watched my video above, you’ll note that the entire process happened in the Wallet app on my iPhone. Yes, you can apply for other credit cards on your phone in a browser or a dedicated banking app, but once you’re approved you’re likely to still need to wait for a physical card to show up in the mail. Once approved for the Apple Card it’s immediately available in your Apple Wallet app. You get to use it with Apple Pay immediately. Even if you don’t use it with Apple Pay you can still look up your Credit Card Number, CCD and Expiration Date in the Wallet app so that you can start using it online with places that don’t yet accept Apple Pay.

A titanium card with just your name on it

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It’s a wallet, not tech

Although my old wallet wasn’t quite a “Costanza Wallet” it was thick enough to be noticed by my buddy Larry Becker. We trade tech recommendations all the time and while this had nothing to with tech, it’s hands down the best wallet I’ve ever had. It’s actually quite a simple concept. Instead of trying to consolidate everything into a smaller footprint, The Big Skinny wallet spreads things out a bit so that the same contents can be, well skinny in your pocket.

The Big Skinny is the best wallet I’ve ever had!

I stopped carrying my wallet in my back pocket years ago because I was sitting lopsided. Also, it’s less of a pickpocket opportunity. Moving it to my front pocket was more comfortable and as you might imagine caused an unnecessary bulge.

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