I have been on a quest to find the ultimate wireless iPhone charger for my nightstand. After upgrading to the iPhone 12 Pro Max, I added MagSafe to my list of requirements:
Has to charge an iPhone, Apple Watch, and AirPods case simultaneously
It should come with the Apple Watch charger already built-in and not require me to use my existing Apple Watch charger.
It should have one cable and one power supply
While the Apple Watch is charging it should be easy to see at night in Nightstand Mode
MagSafe Charging (if you have an iPhone 12 series)
No annoying LED status lights
The Apple Watch charger has to accommodate bands that don’t open!
There are several wireless chargers out there. The problem is that most of them get the design wrong. I’ve gone through a few models and all but the last two I tried were complete disappointments. Again, this is mostly due to bad design. Also, it seems harder to find ones that will charge all 3 devices. Many will charge the iPhone and Apple Watch or the iPhone and AirPods case.
Live streaming continues to be a big part of my life. I live stream multiple times per week as part of my job at Adobe. I stream live Adobe tutorials regularly to YouTube, Facebook, Twitter/Periscope, and now LinkedIn and Behance as well. Since this is what I do for a living I wanted to continue to improve my production values.
I have been tweeking my dedicated live streaming studio since 2016. 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 or make it easier to do my streams.
Like a photography studio, your streaming setup can be very basic or very elaborate
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!
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
There are several security web cameras and video doorbells on the market right now. Each as you would expect has its advantages and disadvantages over the other one. While there are several viable options out there, today I’m going to focus on three that I use regularly. All of these webcams connect to your home/office network via Wi-Fi. By no means should you walk away thinking that these are the only three options. However, these are the three that I’ve had the most direct experience with.
Why use more than one brand?
You can absolutely get good cameras from any of the three vendors I’m reviewing today and use that brand exclusively. However, sticking with a single brand may mean that you’re missing out on other features and uses that you may be interested in. For example, I like my Ring cameras because Ring offers solar powered options that don’t require a power outlet outside the house or having to constantly take them down and charge their internal batteries. Ring also works with Amazon Echo (Alexa) smart speakers with displays so that you can view them in any room without having to fire up the app on your phone.
Nest offers both indoor and outdoor cameras that work just as good as the ones from the other two vendors, but I really like that they offer of all things a native Apple TV app so that I can view my cameras on the big screen.
Logitech offers cameras that cost less and have the big advantage of having native HomeKit support. Having HomeKit support means that the cameras can be integrated into HomeKit Automations. For example, if someone walks within range of a camera at night it can trigger lights inside and/or outside the home to come on automatically. Logitech also lets you do more without having to pay for a monthly subscription to store the videos in the cloud. Because Nest cameras are powered via AC they are always recording/streaming whether there is activity or not. This way you can look at any timeframe to see what happened even if there wasn’t a specific event trigger.
I love all of these features and use them daily, but don’t worry, I’ll tell you by the end of this post which camera I’d go with if I could only pick one.
Thanks to Amazon’s new Influencer Program, I can now put all my gadget and photography recommendations in one place. This is the most complete guide that I’ve ever had simply because Amazon carries so many products. Does this mean that I don’t shop or recommend places like B&H Photo anymore? Absolutely not. I love B&H and quite honestly I will continue to buy my big ticket photography gear and electronics from there. However, there are so many things that I recommend that B&H just doesn’t carry. That’s why I’m stoked to have the opportunity to have my own spot on Amazon. There isn’t anything here that I haven’t used personally. The only possible exception would be a newer version of a gadget or piece of tech that I use that is no longer available.
They are nicely organized by category. You can see my recommendations here.
I love my Apple AirPods on a level you can’t imagine. They are not perfect, but they are absolutely the best wireless earbud solution I have ever tried. While I love my AirPods there are times when I wish I could use them with a device that doesn’t have bluetooth. For example, the in-flight system on planes requires a wired connection. The same goes for gym equipment if you want to watch any of the TV’s that are broadcasting.
AirFly to the rescue
The good folks over at Twelve South have created a great solution. It’s called AirFly. I picked one up in the airport right before a flight. I was happy that it came pre-charged. The cashier even helped to get it paired with my AirPods while I was paying for them.
Anyone that knows me knows that I’m a huge fan of smart home gear. When we built our house back in 2016 I got a chance to have a clean slate and really install all the latest and greatest smart home gear of the time. I wanted lights that would come and and go off at different times, WiFi controlled garage door openers, cameras, voice assistants and more. When it came to lighting I standardized on the Lutron Caséta system. I’ve been 100% happy with it for the last two years. While I love the Caséta system it does have a hard limit of 50 devices per hub. I couldn’t believe it one day when I went to add a device and it told me that I had hit the limit. Now keep in mind that’s wall switches, lamps and pico remotes. But yeah, I hit the 50 limit. Luckily I was able to unpair a remote that we weren’t really using and add the last device.
Last year the holiday season snuck up on me and I failed to get my guide done last year. This year isn’t much different as once again the season just kinda appeared and the next thing you know it’s the last week fo November and here we are. I try to get this done before Black Friday (which has become Black November), but as they say better late than never. If you have a techie or photographer on your holiday gift list, here are my top recommendations for gifts that they are likely to appreciate. In no particular order:
Anker Qi Wireless Charger for iPhone/Android smartphones
Wireless charging is so convenient and this Anker charger is my favorite. Fast, low profile and it just works.
Logitech Circle 2 Wired HomeKit compatible security camera
My top three favorite home security cameras are from Nest, Ring and Logitech. I find myself adding more and more Logitech Circle 2’s because they are cost effective, easy to setup and the only ones (that I like) that work flawlessly with Apple’s HomeKit.
One of the things I hear from photographers again and again is that they want to travel with less gear. One of the things that people want to do is carry an iPad instead of a laptop or not carry a computer at all. The DJI Copilot is a solution that lets you backup your images in the field AND use your mobile devices to review, edit and share your images. Yes, even your raw files. With 2TB of storage and all the connections you need it’s a great solution.
I’m a huge fan of automation in general especially when it comes to smart home stuff. My new home was built two years ago in May 2016. I got the chance to start with a clean slate and put in all the smart home tech that I wanted pretty much from day one. Sadly the builder wasn’t really into smart homes (aside from running ethernet drops) yet so I had to do it all after the house was completed. When people think smart homes one of the first things that comes to mind is lighting and that is pretty much where I started too, but it didn’t stop there. Since most of the things in a smart home are controlled via your mobile devices I also wanted to make sure that most if not all things I did worked with Apple’s HomeKit since I’m an iOS user.