Is it finally time to get an electric vehicle? Answer these 5 questions to see:

I made up my mind that it was time for me to get one back in 2016. Although I still had a year left on my current lease, I knew that my next car would be an EV (electric vehicle). I watched every video that I could find. I read countless blogs and articles, and I asked my EV driving friends every question that I could think of. Most of these questions consisted of “what if” scenarios because of the infamous human condition known as “range anxiety.” More on that later. I did my research, and in the late summer of 2017, I placed my order for a new EV.

Although there are several EVs on the market (more now than back then), I went with Tesla, an American made EV. I originally wanted the NEW Tesla Model 3 that had just been introduced (early 2016). It was initially projected to be delivered in a year, and I figured if I placed my order right then in 2016, it would be ready by the time my lease was up. About a month or two went by, and I had already succumbed to my fear and anxiety that it wouldn’t be built in time. There was just no guarantee that Tesla would be able to deliver my Model 3 by the fall of 2017. They had hundreds of thousands of pre-orders, and producing a new vehicle from scratch isn’t easy. I just couldn’t take it, and I canceled my order. I got my $1,000 deposit refunded and decided that if I were really going to do this, I would get the Model S instead. After all the Model S had been around since 2012 and it was proven to be a great car. It would be the most expensive car that I ever bought (leased). I wasn’t thrilled about the price, but I was excited about everything else. When I placed my order in late summer 2017, I just couldn’t stop smiling. This was it! I was finally getting the car that I had wanted for over a year. My “dream” car was delivered on time (if not a week early), and it was love at first sight. I could NEVER go back to an ICE (internal combustion engine) Vehicle. 

It was everything that I dreamed it would be.

It was quiet. It was fast. It was full of tech. The 17” touch screen was amazing. It handled like a dream. Best of all, I would never need to buy gas again. About a week before taking delivery, I had my electrician install a 240V (NEMA 14-50, same plug you would use for an electric oven) plug in my garage. While you can charge an EV even with a standard 120V household outlet, it’s much faster and more energy efficient to charge at 240V. The car comes with a Mobile Connector (charger) and at the time with the necessary adapters to plug into a 120V or a 240V NEMA 14-50 plug.

Although I had this NEMA 14-50 plug installed initially, I later upgraded to Tesla’s (optional) dedicated High Powered Wall Connectors (HPWC)

I got home, and it was the first thing I tested. I wanted to make sure that I’d be able to charge my car without any issues. It worked perfectly. It was really at this moment that I would be spoiled for life. Waking up to a full charge every day and never going to a gas station again is life changing. 

Let’s answer the question: Is it finally time to get an electric vehicle?

The short answer for the vast majority of you reading this post is YES. I won’t try to BS you and say that EVs are for everyone. They aren’t (yet). I also don’t have any hidden agenda about this. I don’t get paid by Tesla or any other EV manufacturer. I just want to educate those that are interested. Don’t bother telling why it’s not for you. You have your reasons, and that’s fine. 

Most of the people driving cars today would definitely benefit from going with an EV. They are cheaper to operate and maintain. Like I said though, they aren’t for everyone and depending upon your situation, it might not yet be the right move for you at this time. So let’s go through the usual questions/objections and figure it out. There are really five questions that will help you decide:

1. What’s your daily commute look like?

By the way, stop and go traffic doesn’t negatively affect your range in any significant way.

Most EVs sold today have a range of 200-370 miles on a single charge. If you have a round trip commute each day of less than that, then you’re probably a candidate for an EV. Even if your commute is longer than that, but you have a charger friendly workplace/school, then it’s still a probability that you can drive an EV. The average daily commute in the US is 16 miles each way. That’s 32 miles just back and forth to work. Add the occasional errands during the day, and it’s probably still easily under 100 miles a day. This means that the average US commuter could charge at home or at work once a day or as needed and never need to charge anywhere else unless they were going on a long road trip.

2. Can you afford it?

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Use your AirPods with ANY Device – AirFly Review

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.

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2018 MacBook Pro Review – 39 Days Later

It was a surprise low-key announcement by Apple. An upgrade to the MacBook Pro line. I wasn’t expecting it as everyone was telling me not to expect a MacBook Pro capable of supporting 32GB of RAM until 2019. Perhaps when Apple starts using their own processors instead of Intel. I was just as surprised as the rest of the world. I was also happy that the wait was over. I had been holding out going to a new MacBook Pro for years. I was still using my work Mid-2014 MacBook Pro 15″. At work we are allowed to upgrade computers every 3 years and unfortunately for me that was in 2017. Instead of going with a 2017 MacBook Pro (which wasn’t much better than the 2016 MacBook Pro), I opted to go with a 27″ iMac instead. Most of my day-to-day work and live streaming is done from my home office these days. I don’t do roadshows and tours like I used to. Therefore a nice fast desktop Mac was the way to go.

The reason I skipped the 2016 and 2017 MacBook Pros

In 2016 Apple made the radical decision to redesign the MacBook Pro. In the process they did away with all the traditional ports and instead went with 4 Thunderbolt 3/USB C type ports. At the time this was painful for most users because it meant buying an adapter for every single peripheral that you wanted to connect. I was still intrigued until I talked with others that had the new one. The feedback was pretty consistent. I didn’t find a single friend/colleague that raved about the new 2016 MacBook Pro. Everyone I asked “so how is it?” the response was pretty much the same “it’s OK. It’s not really any faster than my previous model.” This coupled with having to buy a bunch of dongles and adapters AND still being limited to 16GB of RAM meant a pass from me. Apple upgraded the MacBook Pro again in 2017 moving to a faster Kaby Lake processor, but that was about it. It was still limited to 16GB of RAM and no significant speed benefit. There was also the problem with the design of the keyboard. I remember the day one of my colleagues sat down next to me and started working/typing on his 2016 MacBook Pro and the clicking/clacking was so loud that I wanted to scream. This coupled with the high number of people reporting keyboard failures meant another pass in 2017 and going with the 27″ iMac instead as I didn’t want to be stuck for another 3 years on 16GB of RAM.

Why the 2018 MacBook Pro?

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My 1st Tesla Model S Road Trip – No more range anxiety!

In September 2017 I took delivery of my new Tesla Model S. Although I had put in an order for a Tesla Model 3 on day one of pre-orders, I later decided to cancel that order and go for the Model S instead. This would be my first EV (electric vehicle) and I spent an entire year researching it and talking with other Tesla owners before pulling the trigger on my order.

Driving the car has been nothing but fun! It’s awesome saying goodbye to gasoline and more importantly gas stations. I work from home so I don’t really have much of a daily commute. I charge the Tesla each night right in my garage, therefore I wake up every day with a “full tank.”

This also means that I never really have to charge away from home, unless I decide to take road trip

I had a business trip coming up to the Tampa Florida area (about 480 miles away) and decided to drive instead of flying. It would also give me the chance to take some video equipment along that would be easier to bring in the car rather than flying with it.

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I Found a Magnetic Wireless iPhone X Charging Mount for my Car

Now that I have an iPhone that supports wireless charging I wanted that same convenience in my car. Putting my favorite wireless charger in my house is a piece of cake. I really like the Anker Wireless Charging Pad for my desk and nightstand. However, in the car i had been using a magnetic vent mount that I really like. Here’s one that I like and used with my iPhone 7 Plus from Arkon and here’s one that I like from Kenu. The only problem with either of these two mounts is that while they securely hold my iPhone in place, in order to power it I need to also plug in a cable. I want a solution that is just as convenient as the Anker Wireless Charging Pad, but for my car vent.

I found the right mount!

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I Absolutely Knew Better!

data loss

I have been telling photographers for years to always have at least three copies of your images/videos. This also applies to traveling photographers. I have also said for many years that “there are two types of computer users: those who have lost data and those who will.” With this in mind you would probably think that I’d be one of the last people to lose some of my precious images/video, but that’s exactly what happened. I didn’t follow my own advice and it’s no one’s fault but my own. I can’t blame the hardware. I can’t blame anyone else. It was all me. I knew better!

I’m telling you my sad story so that hopefully it won’t happen to you.

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Iceland 2017 – The gritty details!

Iceland 2017 Load out

Hey everyone! I’m back from Iceland and as usual I learned a lot and had a blast. With that said there are a lot of questions that come up when ever I do a photographic excursion and this trip was no different. The questions started even before I left about the equipment I was taking and in some cases why I wasn’t taking more? As promised here is the list of gear I took based on the load out pic above.

  1. Targus laptop rolling backpack. I initially bought this for Photoshop World so that I would have to carry my heavy backpack back and forth. For the Iceland trip it served as a secondary equipment bag.
  2. Thinktank Streetwalker Backpack. I love this camera bag because it not only holds my camera gear, but also my iPad Pro and MacBook Pro.
  3. Klear micro fiber cleaning cloths.
  4. WD My Passport Wireless 2TB HD. This drive is a lifesaver as it allows you to backup your SD cards without having to use a computer. It has a lithium ION rechargeable battery and you can just plug your SD cards in and they automatically copy to the drive.
  5. Klear wet pack screen cleaning pads.
  6. SkyRoam contract free WiFi Hotspot
  7. Platypod Max camera tripod without being a tripod.
  8. Rode SmartLav+ microphone for doing live streaming and interviews.
  9. Arkon Smartphone Tripod for capturing 360° and iPhone videos in general
  10. Gitzo Traveler Carbon Fiber Tripod
  11. Nikon cable release for capturing long exposures without having to touch the camera.
  12. DxO ONE 24MP DSLR quality camera for iPhone.
  13. Mevo Live Streaming 4K Camera.
  14. Insta360 nano 360° still, video camera and live streaming camera.
  15. Ricoh Theta S 360° still and video camera.
  16. FlatHat Drone collapsable landing pad.
  17. Nikon 14-24mm Wide Angle Lens
  18. Nikon D810 DSLR 36MP full frame camera
  19. Nikon 28-300mm Zoom lens
  20.  DJI Mavic Pro 4K Drone
  21. Anker Solar 15W USB charger.
  22. Monster 4 port AC travel power strip
  23. OREI 2 in 1 USA to Europe Adapter Plug
  24. Anker backup batteries for charing USB devices.
  25. Vovomay Hardshell Shoulder Waterproof Suitcase Bag For DJI Mavic Pro
  26. iPad Pro 12.9″ 256GB WiFi-4G Gold
  27. Apple Pencil for iPad Pro and case.
  28. MacBook Pro 15″ Retina 2014 with custom Gelaskin.
  29. PlugBug USB port for Apple wall charger.
  30. iPod touch 32GB
  31. Apple AirPods, but my Blackpods arrived the day I left.
  32. Coast Head Light dual color.
  33. Anker PowerLine+ Lightning cables.
  34. Camera Rain Protection.
  35. di-GPS for my Nikon DSLR

See the whole story below…

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5 Ways to Keep Your Mobile Devices Charged When You Travel

As I head out this week on another Iceland adventure I started to layout the gear that I plan on taking. I’m excited to document this trip with my new DJI Mavic Pro drone, but as usual I will have my iPhone 7 Plus, iPad Pro and 360° cameras. All of these devices need to be charged. For the Mavic it’s not much of an issue as I have multiple batteries, but for the smaller devices with built-in batteries I need to be able to charge them when I’m not near an outlet. That’s why I’ve standardized on Anker batteries (and cables). I put this short video together highlighting my three favorite batteries:

5 Ways to Keep Your Mobile Devices Charged When You Travel

I use the Anker PowerCore 20100 as the battery that’s always in my bag. This ultra high capacity battery can charge my smartphone and tablet multiple times before needing to be recharged. I can usually get a few days of use out of it before needing to recharge the battery itself. So if I forget to charge it at night it’s not the end of the world. Next up…

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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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