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 AirPort is Officially Dead! Now what? – Linksys Velop Review

three AirPort Extreme Base Stations

In case you missed it, Apple has officially announced the end of life of AirPort Base Stations. They will continue to sell existing stock, but the product will not get any new features and Apple will no longer develop this product line. What does that mean for existing users? If you have an existing AirPort WiFi network and it’s up and running with no issues, you’re probably fine for a while. I have three of the latest AirPort Extreme Base Stations and haven’t had any issues. They just work! However, I just replaced them. Why? Although I wasn’t having ANY issues with my existing WiFi network, I’m asked for recommendations all the time. I don’t like to recommend products that I haven’t actually used. Also I looked at this time as a opportunity to try something new. Apple AirPort Base Stations haven’t had any real new features in years. Now that they’ll no longer be selling them (once stock clears), I wondered what Apple would be recommending to customers? One of the systems they sell in the Apple Stores and online is the Linksys Velop system.

Linksys Velop has over 4,100 reviews on Amazon.com and has a 4.5 star rating

Linksys Velop in the family room

Any product that has that many reviews on Amazon and manages to still have a 4.5 star rating means that people must really like it. I got mine setup and I could easily give it a 4+ star rating, but it’s not perfect…

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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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Review: Shooting Wirelessly with the Nikon D600 and WU-1b Module

WU-1b

I’ve been a fan of shooting wirelessly to my iPad since the early days when I got my Nikon D7000 using an Eye-Fi Pro X2 card. After that I configured my Nikon D4 and WT-5a module to shoot either wirelessly to my MacBook Pro or my iPad and now that I have a Nikon D600 (and loving it!) I was interested in seeing how the new Nikon WU-1b module works. The idea in all of these scenarios is to use the iPad or iPhone for review of what I’m shooting with my DSLR and sharing with email or social media of quick event photos.

The Nikon WU-1b is a narrowly focused solution

WirelessMobileAdapterUtility

With the Eye-Fi and WT-5a module for the D4 you can wirelessly transmit your photos to a variety of Apps. However, the WU-1b seems to be narrowly focused by Nikon to shooting wirelessly to your iPhone or Android Smartphone. They provide a Free App (Wireless Mobile Adapter Utility) for both platforms (see my review of the iPhone version here). Once you download the App it’s pretty easy to get started. Just plug in the module into your D600’s USB port and turn your camera on. The WU-1b will start broadcasting its own WiFi hotspot. Connect to that hotspot via your smartphone and launch the App. Once you’re in the App you can either set it to wirelessly fire the shutter (with Live View on your smartphone) of your D600 and then transmit the image to your smartphone or you can switch the App to the mode that allows you to shoot normally with the camera and the images will be transferred to your smartphone as you take them. Whether you shoot in RAW or JPG the module will send JPGs to your smartphone. I normally shoot RAW to the 1st card and Basic JPG to the 2nd card (my Eye-Fi) card. When I’m in this RAW+JPG mode the WU-1b seems to send the smaller basic JPG. However, when I’m in just RAW mode it sends a larger full-sized JPG and of course that takes a lot longer. Speaking of time, the smaller JPG (about 500kb) takes about 5 seconds to show up on my iPhone. The larger JPG (about 1.6-2MB) takes about 10-15 seconds to show up on my iPhone.

Wireless Mobile Adapter Utility - Nikon Corporation

It works as advertised, but…

WirelessMobileAdapterUtility-transfer

While the WU-1b works as intended it really falls short in the review department. Unlike other tethering solutions you don’t actually see the images as they come in to their App. Instead you see a progress bar and once the images are there you tap to review them. Also while the camera settings are displayed, there is no way to change them in the App. Look at this is merely a transfer utility and remote shutter. Also there is no native iPad support. Yes the app works on an iPad, but in the smaller phone size.

Shuttersnitch saves the day AGAIN!

shuttersnitch-WU-1b_iPad

Shuttersnitch is the App I use for All my wireless tethering to iPad needs. It works with the Eye-Fi cards and it works with the Nikon WT-5a module. The good news is that it also works with the WU-1b module. Unlike the bear bones Nikon Utility, Shuttersnitch gives you a great way to review your images as you take them, star rate them, geotag them and share them via email, social media and cloud storage such as Dropbox or any FTP/WebDAV location. It’s a professional App! I remembered that a recent update of the App mentioned support of the WU-1b module and sure nuff it works great! I had to simply turn on support for the module in the settings and just start shooting. The images came in as usual.

Shuttersnitch for iPhone and iPad

ShutterSnitch - 2ndNature

 

The Bottom Line

For the price, there’s really no reason not to get the WU-1b module if you have a Nikon D600. It provides a pretty painless way to get images from your Nikon D600 wirelessly to your smartphone and it can work anywhere since it creates its own ad-hoc network. Add the Shuttersnitch App and you’ll be even happier with it. Oh yeah, one more thing: Nikon can you please explain why the Nikon WT-5a (for the Nikon D4) costs $500 more than the WU-1b (for the Nikon D600)? Is there really $500 more technology in the WT-5a? I’m thinking not! Yes I see the price is coming down on it from the outrageous $877 that I originally paid, but really? c-mon!


TiVo Wireless 802.11n Wireless N Adapter: 2nd Look

Last week I shared with you TiVo's announcement of their NEW 802.11n based WiFi adapter for their Dual Tuner DVRs including the TiVo HD and New TiVo Premiere. I said then I that I thought this adapter was over priced, but I still wanted to test it to see how much of an improvement it was over the 802.11g based one. I was totally surprised by what I saw when I opened the package. 

 

It's nothing like the old adapter

Don't let the design and pictures fool you. The reason that I thought that the new adapter was over priced was that it looked just like the old one and therefore I figured it connected to the USB port like the old one. It doesn't! This NEW Adapter is a completely new design and instead of connecting via USB it connects to your TiVo's Ethernet port. You also have to plug it into  the AC to get power to it. Actually there is nothing TiVo specific about this new adapter. It's just like any other Ethernet based 802.11n Wireless Bridge. Unlike the old adapter you can't even configure it from the TiVo HD. You either have to use your computer or you have to have a wireless router that has a WPS button. Although my New TRENDnet router does have the WPS button, I opted to just configure it directly by plugging into my MacBook Pro via Ethernet. Configuring it was pretty straight forward and once I was done I plugged it into my TiVo HD and it worked perfectly!

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Wacom Intuos 4 Wireless: Video Review

When I'm in Photoshop and I don't have my Wacom Tablet I feel naked! I've become so used to it that I won't retouch a photo without one. One of the things I've always wanted was a WIRELESS Version. As a matter of fact during my part of the Adobe Creative Suite 5 launch I was walking around with a Cintiq 12wx.

It was really wired to a Mac Pro, they green screened it out to give the allusion of it being wireless. Although we're probably still a ways off from having enough wireless bandwidth to do a wireless Cintq, we are at a time where we can have a wireless Intuos 4! Here's just a few minutes of video featuring the Intuos 4 Wireless Edition:

 

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X8AytkRxFJc

 

The Particulars

The tablet is using Bluetooth and therefore it's Mac and PC compatible. I'm using it above in the video with a NEW MacBook Pro 15" and Photoshop CS5. Most of the Creative Suite design tools support pressure sensitivity. It has 2048 levels of pressure and an 18 hour battery life per charge. It charges over USB with the same supplied cable that can also be used for a wired connection if the battery dies. The Battery is user replaceable. The wireless range is 10 meters. More specs here.

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Sennheiser Evolution G2 100 Wireless Mic for Video Review

G2100

I have been doing still photography and motion video/graphics for years now. Although I feel pretty comfortable making hardware selections when it comes to DSLRs and HD Cameras, I know very little about Audio equipment. I know the importance of good audio. As a matter of fact (rule) you can't have good video without good audio. People are forgiving when it comes to marginal video quality, but if the audio quality is bad people will stop watching. Since it was time for me to invest in a decent wireless mic system for doing video work, I turned to my buddy Bruce Mandel of Mandel Video for some recommendations. After I got the links that he sent me I quickly learned that you can spend a little or a lot for audio equipment just like you can for camera gear. I already had a low end $100 system that I wasn't really happy with. I also knew that I didn't want to spend a ton of money either. So I guess I was looking for something in the middle of the range. After looking at my options, I decided to go with Sennheiser Evolution G2 100 Wireless System. I knew that basically I was buying the older model since the Evolution G3 was out. However, since the G2 was going for about $300 less, I went for it.

 

Getting Started with the Sennheiser Evolution G2 100 Series

When the box arrived, I was able to get it setup without ever touching the instruction manual. Again, I'm not an audio expert, but it was pretty easy to figure out the setup for the transmitter and receiver. I put the supplied camera mount on the receiver, put the batteries in both units and attached the supplied lavalier mic. After turning on both units I could see the level indicator moving on the receiver indicating that it was picking up sound from the mic. Cool! Next I plugged the mic into my Sony VX2000 DV camera and recorded a short clip. I walked around and spoke at different levels to see what the sound quality would be like. I was pleasantly surprised by the pickup that it had from the mic being located relatively center of my chest. 

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