FileMaker, an Apple subsidiary, released a new commercial today featuring a few “staff members” from the US version of The Office. Check it out and watch how these Beet Lords manage their entire business with FileMaker. It’s as if anyone can do it (and, truth be told, anyone can: we use FileMaker here at both TMO and BackBeat Media to manage our entire operation).
Recent Articles By Dave Hamilton [RSS]
DOCSIS 3.1 modems bring more than just possible gigabit speeds, they also bring a solution to the Bufferbloat problem. Dave Hamilton answers Phil’s question about this and explains how and why.
LAS VEGAS – At CES this week, RhinoShield, makers of thin-yet-strong iPhone cases, was showing off their new “Mod” modular case. The Mod works by letting you put together different parts to create the case that you want. Starting with a bumper you then add a backplate and even a camera lens mount if you like. In each configuration we tested the case was strong and felt cohesive. Holding my phone with the bumper+backplate on it felt like I had one, solid case on my phone. With 11 feet of drop protection, this makes sense! Priced at US$34.99 (or $31.99 plus shipping on Amazon), you can choose different colors and patterns for both pieces of the case. And if you want to change your style, just buy a new backplate and pop it in! RhinoShield mod comes in sizes ranging from iPhone 5 to iPhone X, with everything in between, including Plus-sizes.
LAS VEGAS – Netgear’s Orbi is one of our favorite wireless mesh systems available, and they’ve been doing a lot to update it over the past few months (see our “How to Choose Mesh Wireless” article for more details). The most recent update came at CES in the form of new hardware: the weather-resistant, AC3000, RBS50Y Orbi Outdoor Satellite. The only product that can be paired with both the consumer-grade Orbi and pro-grade Orbi Pro, the RBS50Y is a fully sealed, outdoor mesh point that can be added to an existing Orbi system. Just plug in power and go. Netgear wisely chose not to add Ethernet ports to it for security reasons – an outdoor access point gives people easy (and perhaps unwatched) ability to plug in. The Orbi RBS50Y is available immediately and Amazon has it for $329.99.
Our thanks Other World Computing for helping support us as a sponsor for TMO’s CES 2018 coverage. As usual, at CES this year OWC was showing off a wide variety of their latest and greatest products, all of which are super high-quality and engineered with care. They were highlighting both their USB-C Travel Dock as well as their Thunderbolt 3 Dock. Each of these Docks lets you connect all kinds of peripherals to your Mac, and OWC has made sure that video passes properly from your Mac through to your displays. This isn’t easy to engineer, and isn’t always the case with every Dock manufacturer, which is why we love to get ours from OWC.
LAS VEGAS – Every year at CES I make it a point to pass through the Las Vegas Convention Center’s Central Hall at least once just to see the spectacle of new TVs on display. Each year, all the big manufacturers try to out-do one another (including renting booth space under dummy company names and expanding last-minute) just to create the most impressive display. This year, for me, LG’s OLED TV tunnel was a perfect entrance to the mayhem. Thankfully, I got there before the power went out, but that’s another story for another time. For now, just enjoy my tour through the LG tunnel.
LAS VEGAS – At CES this week Scosche was showing off its new Magic Mount Pro CHARGE line of magnetic mounts for use in the car. The new Pro line includes four products: Window/Dash with a suction base, Vent for air vent mounting, Surface for setting on the console with Scosche’s StickGRIP mat, and CD, for mounting inside those CD player slots that we never use anymore. They all combine a neodymium magnetic mount and a 360-degree adjustable cradleless design with Qi charging to truly make for a seamless mounting-and-charging experience. Every product comes with two MagicPLATES to stick to your phone. Included and online templates guide you in placing the MagicPLATES to avoid interfering with the Qi charging coil inside your phone. All are available immediately.
LAS VEGAS – Kickstarter darling Advanced Sound has just released a set of universal fit, dynamic driver earphones built for musicians to use as in-ear monitors for just US$24.99 per pair. The Advanced S2000 features a single 10mm dynamic in each earpiece, and they’re designed to loop the cable over the ear to stay in place on stage. The low price point is intentional: they know that musicians wind up getting their in-ear cables pulled or earphones crushed in a gig bag, and their thought is to make them inexpensive enough that one doesn’t worry about replacement costs. The sound? I haven’t tried them on stage, but I did try them in my hotel room and on the show floor. They have a great sound with a high-mid boost that actually matches what I prefer for on-stage. That lift gives vocals a little more presence, and is exactly what you want. For $24.99, these will remain in my gig bag as spares or a rehearsal set, for sure. If you just want to listen to music, the original $39.99 M4 would likely be a better choice, as the EQ is a little smoother for that purpose.
LAS VEGAS – Popular iPhone grip and stand maker, PopSockets, has launched their next accessory: the PopSockets Car Vent Mount. Built to fit into the air vent of your car, this makes it super-simple for any one with a PopSocket on your phone to mount it on your car’s dashboard in one, easy motion. Pricing is US$9.99 and it will be available this week or early next from PopSockets.com or Amazon.
This is a device that you plug into your network at home and is then accessible anywhere for both syncing and remote access, creating a true, turnkey private cloud.
Our thanks to Elgato for joining us this year as a sponsor for TMO’s CES 2018 coverage. The effort, planning, and expense it takes to comb through all the noise at CES and bring you targeted, relevant coverage is quite large, and without our sponsors we wouldn’t be able to do it all for you. Elgato sees the value in this and was very quick to jump on board to ensure that you would get the very best of what we have to offer this year. We’re very thankful for that, and we hope you are, too.
The Elgato Eve Button is a simple-to-use, elegant device that brings you the ability to easily choose a HomeKit scene without saying a word or lifting your phone. Simply tap, double tap, or press-and-hold to choose from one of three scenes, and setup takes about a minute.
LAS VEGAS – myCharge, long-time makers of quality battery packs and charging bricks, this week announced at CES the upcoming availability of a new portable battery with two Qi surfaces built-in. The US$79.99 Portable Power Bank Unplugged 10K Dual is about the shape of a smartphone, and features a Qi pad on top so that your phone will charge when the battery pack is simply up against it. Cleverly, myCharge has included a Qi coil on the bottom of the pack, as well, allowing it to charge from a Qi pad (like then $29 myCharge Powerdisc shown in the picture). In a true “passthrough” sense, a phone stacked on top of a charging battery pack will see the phone charge first, then the pack afterwards, making for a very convenient setup to have on your desk or bedside table. Stack ’em at night to charge, grab ’em in the morning and go! The myCharge Portable Power Bank Unplugged 10 Dual will be available in March and has a list price of $79.99.
LAS VEGAS – TiVo has been making a lot of changes to its user interface lately, and it’s not all just on the surface. Under-the-hood they’ve added some hooks and been hard at work putting all the pieces together for some pretty impressive third-party integrations. Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant integrations are pretty far along, and TiVo is close to getting certifications for both of those, likely being available before the end of February. More than just turning TiVo on and off, these voice assistant integrations allow for fairly granular controls, including channel changing, play/pause, rewind, and even commercial skip. IFTTT integrations take this one step further, allowing bidirectional communications. This means TiVo could tell IFTTT that the “press D to Skip” icon is on the screen, and that could trigger an IFTTT skill to send the “skip” message back to TiVo. Yep, auto-skip is available and I’ve seen it in action! Even better news: IFTTT integration will work all the way back to Series 4 (Premier) units and doesn’t require the new Hydra UI (except auto-skip actually will require Hydra, at least at launch). Look for more from TiVo soon.
Catalyst is still one of the only companies to offer a case for your AirPods, and now have won a CES Innovation Award for it. They were showing off the case and its new colors at CES Unveiled on Sunday. With most people just now having finally gotten AirPods, I figured this was a good time to call this a Cool Stuff Found for you all.
LAS VEGAS – Ring, maker of video doorbells and security cams, added an entire home security kit to its lineup today. The US$199 Ring Alarm Home Security System starter bundle includes a keypad, Base Station (with siren), motion sensor, and door/window sensor. Additional motion and door/window sensors can be added to the system, of course. On its own, the Ring Alarm will send alerts to your iPhone, but it can also be paired with an optional professional monitoring service and cellular backup service for $10/month. The nice part is, if you’re comfortable doing your own monitoring with your iPhone, you don’t need to ever pay a monthly fee. Just set the Ring Alarm system up, connect it to your Wi-Fi, and let it do its thing and alert you when something is awry. The Ring Alarm system will be available coming in 2018.
LAS VEGAS – At CES this week JBL announced the new Link 500 voice-activated, multi-room speaker at the top end of the Link line. Link is JBL’s Wi-Fi-enabled, voice-controlled line of speakers, all with Google Assistant built-in. Besting it’s smaller sibling, the Link 300, the new 500 adds a second woofer and second tweeter and boosts the total output to 60 watts. We recently discussed the Link product line on Mac Geek Gab 685 and it’s the first set of speakers that makes me think someone could have multi-room audio from a company other than Sonos. Supporting both Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, the Link has some options many smart speakers don’t, including portability: the Link 10 and 20 both have batteries that can power them each for hours of synced, wireless playback. The JBL Link 500 is available today for preorder for US$399.95, and is expected to ship on February 1.
LAS VEGAS – Reliefband Sunday released Reliefband 2.0, their updated wrist-worn nausea-prevention device. Showed last year at CES under the “Reliefband Neurowave” name, it’s now been retooled and is ready for purchase this week as Reliefband 2.0. This adds a stunning new form factor and includes hypoallergenic 316L surgical steel contacts, wrapped in a latex-free band with a battery that lasts for 24-26 hours of constant nausea relief. Reliefband targets a nausea-reducing acupressure point on the underside of your wrist, and combines this with TENS (transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation) to trigger both the median and vagal nerves, resulting in nearly immediate, drug-free relief of nausea in most users. Users (or at least this user!) will experience tingling electrical impulses, the strength of which can be controlled on the band itself. Reliefband 2.0 looks like a fitness tracker and is targeted at anyone with nausea, including cancer patients, cruise-ship passengers, post-op care, and others. Reliefband 2.0 was released Sunday and will be available for purchase for US$175 this week.
LAS VEGAS – Kwilt Shoebox was showing off their private cloud storage device at CES Unveiled Sunday, giving iPhone users an easy way to back up, offload, and view all your photos and videos.
LAS VEGAS – Homeowners (and probably insurance carriers!) can rejoice at the Guardian automated leak prevention system, shipping today. The system is entirely do-it-yourself and requires no plumbing to be done at all. Simply clamp the main unit onto the pipe where your water main control valve is, and then set the Wi-Fi-connected sensors in strategic locations around the house. When one of the sensors detects a leak, the system’s automated motor closes the valve to prevent water damage from a constantly-fed open pipe. Each sensor has a 15-year battery inside it. We think that’s long enough to get your money out of the system and move on to something else cool in 10 years! Guardian also includes a temperature sensor to help prevent against water damage from frozen pipes. At 45F the system starts sending alerts to your iPhone; at 40F it shuts off your water. The iOS app can also be used to control and monitor the system remotely. A kit with the battery-backed base unit and three Wi-Fi sensors is priced at US$399, and you can add more sensors whenever you like.
Apple’s macOS High Sierra introduced enough performance enhancements that my dual-core, 2011 MacBook Air felt like it had new life breathed into it. Occasionally, though – and more and more frequently recently – events would cascade such that my CPU would run at full tilt for 5-10 minutes before finally settling in. When that was happening, Activity Monitor and/or iStat Menus would show two system processes chewing up CPU: tailspind and spindump. Thankfully, we now know how to stop that.