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).
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.
Every time I turn around there seems to be a new, better car charger than the one I’ve been using. I actually started with this Scosche Dual Charger over a year ago. It worked great, but the thing that I didn’t like about it was that only one of the ports charged at the faster 2.1A speed. Then I discovered this one by Lenmar. It gave me what I wanted, TWO ports both charging at 2.1 AMP/10 watts each. Perfect! Well it was perfect until I discovered that Schosche released a dual 12 watt charger! If you have a newer iPad 4th generation or iPad Air you might have noticed that Apple now includes a 12 watt wall charger instead of the 10 watt charger included with previous models. Now you can charge your iPad Air in car at full speed or speed charge a smartphone. Since we usually aren’t in our cars for hours at a time each day, speed matters. You might be able to get back up to a full charge faster on a shorter commute. I also figure why have just one port when you can have two? This way you can charge your phone and another device such as a tablet or a passenger’s phone.
I also like the low profile fit. The original Schosche I used back in the day stuck out of the socket quite a bit. This one almost fits flush with the 12V socket. Even if your car has a built-in USB port I’m going to go out on a limb and say that it doesn’t provide 12 watts of power. In most cases it’s probably a 5v 1A USB port. As far as I can tell this is one of the fastest car chargers on the market.
I usually carry my Wacom Bamboo Duo Stylus or Wacom Creative Stylus when I travel for business. The Wacom Bamboo Duo Stylus is a great general purpose stylus for touch screens and the Wacom Creative Stylus takes it up a notch by adding pressure sensitivity with supported apps such as Adobe Ideas. However, on a recent trip to Boston I forgot to pack my usual gear and decided to pick one up from Brookstone in the airport. I really was looking for something basic, but I couldn’t resist the Brookstone 3-in-1 USB Tablet Stylus. Like the Wacom Bamboo Duo it serves both as a stylus for touch screens AND a regular ink pen, but they added a 4GB USB flash drive on the end. I don’t use flash drives much these days, but it’s nice to know I have one for a quick file transfer to a client/colleague.
The Brookstone 3-in-1 USB Tablet Stylus feels good in my hand and definitely allows me to draw and sign more accurately on my iPad/iPhone. I guess my only small nitpick is that if you’re going to including a USB flash drive, it’s probably best to make it at least 8GB these days. 4GB seems so small. Otherwise this was a great emergency buy and I will continue to use it along side my other ones.
You can get the Brookstone 3-in-1 USB Table Stylus here.
I travel with an iPhone, and iPad, a Jambox, a Nike FuelBand, etc. All of these devices charge via USB and all of course came with their own chargers. Rather than bring all those separate chargers with me I tend to look for multiple port USB charges that I can plug into one AC outlet and charge at least two devices. I was looking for one that could charge four devices including the iPad/tablets that need more power. I found one!
The Bolse 4 Port Premium High Output Wall Travel Charger has 4 Amps /20 Watts of output. That’s good enough to charge 4 devices at the same time including a tablet. I bought a couple of these and so far so good. As we speak it’s charging my iPad Air, iPod touch, external battery, and Jawbone headset. My only problem with it is the ultra bright blue LED status light. It’s blinding at night in a hotel room. Nothing a piece of gaffers tape or a Light Dim won’t cure, but I would love it if manufacturers either used lower power LEDs or allowed you to turn them off. Otherwise, this charger rocks and lets me easily charge 4 mobile devices at once!
As a frequent traveler I’m always looking for ways to charge my multiple devices with fewer chargers or taking up less outlets in a hotel room. I saw an ad for PlugBug and decided to order one and see if I liked it or not. The idea behind PlugBug is that it replaces the standard plug of your MacBook Pro or MacBook Air Adapter with one that has a USB (2.1 Amp) port built-in. This way you can charge both your laptop AND any USB power device at the same time. The concept is simple and it takes all of 2 seconds to install. I opted for the PlugBug World, which comes with all the necessary adapters to plug into various outlets around the globe. It works as advertised and although it’s “short” on the 85w MacBook Pro adapter, it doesn’t hender its use.
How could it be better?
The 1st thing that I wasn’t crazy about was that it replaces the “extended cord” on the MacBook Pro adapter. I know that you can simply plug the adapter into the wall with or without a PlugBug, but I prefer using the optional extended cord that comes with the MacBooks so that I don’t take up so much space on a power strip and I get a longer cord.
That’s a personal thing with me, but the product works as advertised. Although I CAN use the extended cord, it’s clear by the way it sticks up over the PlugBug that they didn’t design it to be used this way. While we’re at it, I’d also like to see TWO USB ports instead of just one. It would make it much more useful to me if I could use one plug to charge my MacBook, iPhone and iPad at the same time. So make it a little taller to accomodate the extended cord AND a second USB port and I’d “love” it.
Because I travel for a living, I’m always looking for ways to consolidate and have smaller peripherals and gadgets. I carry a bunch of cables because I never know what I might need. This also includes a variety of USB cables. I carry iOS Device Sync/Charge Cables, USB Micro cables for charging things like my Jawbone BT headset and a USB mini cable for connecting hard drives.
The Innergie 3-in-1 Cable does it all
This one cable allows me to connect or charge the vast majority of devices that I carry. I can use it to charge/sync my iPhone or iPad. I can use it to connect a USB hard drive and I can use it to charge a variety of my USB peripherals such as my Logitech Ultrathin iPad Keyboard, Jawbone BT Era Headset or Jambox. The design is pretty cool. All 3 connectors are available by simply unplugging down to the one you need. If you need the iDevice 30 pin connector, then simply plug all 3 together. If you need one either the USB micro or mini just unplug the connector above it and pivot out the one you need.
My only complaint with this cable is that it’s very short (20cm). It’s fine for connecting to your computer, but if you’re going to plug something into a wall charger then you’re probably going to want it to be longer. You can use an extension cable like this one. The only other downside is that you can only use one type of connector at a time. This means that you’ll still need to carry multiple cables if you want to charge multiple devices at once.
I got a couple of these to keep in each of my bags. Now I know I’ll always have the right USB cable.
I remember about a year ago when FastMac teased us with this product. I'm sure they wanted to release it sooner, but they went back to the drawing board and redesigned a better product! The U-Socket is designed to replace your standard US 110V outlet with one that also has two powered USB ports. This way you can charge two standard USB devices and still have access to both outlets for other devices. I ordered three of these and while I didn't expect them until February, they surprisingly showed up yesterday. I was like a kid on Christmas day. I don't know why I was so excited to see such a simple product, but I just think these things are cool.
Before you do it yourself
Electricity doesn't really frighten me. Plumbing and Natural Gas on the other hand do. Although this device has standard electrical wiring like most outlets, it is an electrical installation and if you are the least bit squimish please please please hire a licensed Electrician to install yours. I'm not responsible if you, your devices or your house get fried! I warned you! I'm warning you again. Let a professional do it! With that said, I've been installing replacement outlets and light switches in my house for years. So I was not afraid to TURN OFF the circuit at the circuit breaker and then proceed with the installation. Although the wiring is very straight forward it took a little longer than usual. The biggest problem is that outlet is about twice the depth of a standard outlet. Yes it's designed to fit in a standard box, but it will be tight. The one that I replaced had a little plaster around the box that I had to take my time and chip away first. I also had to be more careful about how I ran the wires around the outlet itself as there is very little wiggle room. To this point I went to install the other two in a newer part of my home and the wiring was more complicated. While I could certainly do it, I would rather pay the electrician to do it as I don't feel like playing trial and error with the connections that are already in those boxes.
Once I got it installed and restored power to the outlet I couldn't wait to test it. First I tested the regular AC plugs and they worked. Then I plugged in a USB cable and my iPhone 4 and heard the familiar tone the indicated that it was charging.
What about the iPad? As you may or may not know the iPad wants 10v of USB power instead of the standard 5v required by most USB products. I expected to get the "not enough power" message when I plugged in the iPad, but to my surprise it gave me the same tone that it was charging. This is actually no different than using an older iPhone charger with your iPad. While it works, it will definitely take LONGER to charge it than the 10v power adapter that comes with the iPad So if I had to give it any strikes that would be the only one. I wish that the ports were 10v instead of 5v. Other than that I think these are really cool.
Correction: The iPad wants 10w, not 10v. FastMac notes iPad "compatibility" . So we're good here!
OLDER USB 2.0 ports only supplied 0.5 amp which would only charge an iPad while it's off or very very slowly while it's on.
Newer USB ports can supply the 1.5 amps that the iPad wants. The U-Socket has enough power at: