Recent Articles By Dave Hamilton [RSS]

Get eero Mesh Wi-Fi for up-to-50% Off for Amazon Prime Day

· · TMO Deals

eero for 50% off as part of Amazon Prime Day

eero, one of our favorite consumer mesh Wi-Fi systems, is available for up-to-50% off Monday and Tuesday as part of Amazon Prime day. Deals include:

All of these deals are only available for Amazon Prime members, and only while supplies last, of course. Go now!

Apple's 2019 iMacs Now Available on Refurb Store, Save 15%

· · Cool Stuff Found

Early Tuesday evening, Apple’s 2019 iMacs began appearing on the company’s online Refurb Store, offering savings of approximately 15% off retail pricing. For example, an 8-core, Intel Core i9, 27″ iMac with 8GB RAM, 1TB SSD, and Radeon Pro 580X graphics card runs US$2,999 at retail. On the refurb store this same iMac sells for $2,549, comes with the same as-new warranty, and is eligible for AppleCare+ (just $169). Why only 8GB RAM? Because Amazon sells a Crucial 32GB kit for just $128. Availability on the refurb store is always in flux, so keep looking for what you want. Happy shopping!

Apple’s 2019 iMacs Now Available on Refurb Store, Save 15%

Happy U.S. Independence Day

· · News

US flag and fireworks

We here at The Mac Observer are taking Thursday and Friday to spend with our friends and families while we celebrate Independence Day here in the USA.

Because I love the way perspective skews each of our individual realities, I’ll share this related anecdote: three years ago – to the day – Billy Beefeater wished me a “Happy Treason Day” while giving us a tour of the Tower Of London. I wanted to quote Game of Thrones and point out it would only be treason if we had lost, but I figured maybe that was better left unsaid… at the time.

In any event, happy Independence Day to everyone in the USA, and wishing a glorious weekend to everyone everywhere!

We’ll return on Monday, July 8th, resuming not only our news, tips, and Cool Stuff Found, but also publishing episodes of three of our podcasts: Background Mode, Daily Observations, and Mac Geek Gab. See you Monday!

How to Choose the Best Mesh Wireless System For Your Home

· · How-To

Sorting through the mesh wireless systems available today can be tricky. Read on, and we’ll teach you how to decide which one is best for you. [Update: Anti-malware is a theme of this update, with Plume SuperPods, Orbi, and Linksys Velop all joining the club with solid offerings in this regard. eero and Plume both solved their LAN persistence problems, keeping your Wi-Fi alive even if your Internet connection goes down. AmpliFi is doing some cool things for IoT users with regards to setting up separate SSIDs for that, too. See Changelog – Dave]

SXSW: CLEAR Expands Identity Verification from AirPort Security Lines to Point of Sale

· · Cool Stuff Found

CLEAR, the company whose members we all enviously gaze upon at the airport as they breeze past those of us in the TSA Pre-Check lines, is expanding their identity verification technology to point of sale. Testing in some Seattle sports stadiums, CLEAR’s ability to use biometrics to confirm that you are definitively you is helpful for age verification for alcohol sales, but could also just make point of sale simpler, in general. Part of their mission all along, they figured if they could get approval for their tech to be used to confirm identity at airports, it was certainly going to work to add convenience to point-of-sale while also increasing the security of the transactions. Of course, Apple’s introduction Touch ID at point of sale with Apple Pay starting in 2014 has helped the masses understand the usefulness of this technology. That rising tide lifts all boats, including CLEAR’s. Look for CLEAR to roll out more instances of this tech in the coming year.

SXSW: CLEAR Expands Identity Verification from AirPort Security Lines to Point of Sale

SXSW: Wi-Charge Uses Infrared to Wirelessly Charge Your Devices

· · Cool Stuff Found

On Sunday at the SXSW Innovation Awards Finalist Showcase, Wi-Charge was showing off their infrared-based wireless power technology. They’re not the only company aiming to deliver wireless power to our devices, but they are the first we’ve seen to use infrared (IR) to do it. Using IR comes with a couple of advantages: power doesn’t degrade over distance, a thin beam can be aimed at the device to ensure full power, and IR is something we’ve found to be extremely safe. Of course, the major downside to using IR is that it only delivers over line-of-sight. Their demo at SXSW was delivering a full 1 watt of usable power, but they say their tech could eventually deliver “several watts” of power up to 15 feet away. Wi-Charge was demoing their tech with LED strip lights, an electric train, and a custom-case for an Amazon Echo Dot, all of which could be powered from an overhead IR transmitter. For your IoT devices or even your phone at your desk, this could someday offer a ton of convenience. Wi-Charge is seeking integration partners to help bring their tech to market.

SXSW: Wi-Charge Uses Infrared to Wirelessly Charge Your Devices

CES - JBL's Flip 5 Adds USB-C Charging, Increased Sound Output, Larger Battery

· · Cool Stuff Found

JBL unveiled the Flip 5 Bluetooth speaker at CES this week, with some notable enhancements over the Flip 4. The most visually-obvious thing they’ve done is moved to a waterproof USB-C connector for charging, eschewing the rubber cover that protected its predecessor’s micro-USB port. This means the Flip 5 is fully submergible without having to first check to ensure the waterproof charge cover is in place. Additionally, JBL has remodeled the acoustic design, now using a racetrack-shaped driver that should increase the speaker’s bass response. Battery life is also increased to a full 12-hours of playtime. The JBL Flip 5 will be available this spring for US$99.95.

CES – JBL’s Flip 5 Adds USB-C Charging, Increased Sound Output, Larger Battery

TMO CES 2019 Coverage Sponsor: Other World Computing

· · Weekly Sponsorship

OWC's USB-C Hub and Envoy Portable SSD

Please join me in giving a huge round of thanks to Other World Computing for being on board with us again and helping to sponsor TMO’s CES 2019 coverage. Making the trek out to – and around! – Las Vegas each year to cover CES for you all is no small feat (and that’s not to mention how our feet feel after walking Vegas!). The costs associated with it all are large, and with sponsors like OWC helping to support that we’re able to take our time and mine CES for just the stuff you want to learn about.

CES - Scosche BaseLynx Modular Wireless Charging Station Organizes and Charges Your Devices

· · Cool Stuff Found

Scosche’s CES booth was again full of great new devices for managing your devices in both your home and car, and the highlight to us was their new BaseLynx modular wireless charging station. Available modules include a Qi fast-charge dock, an Apple Watch dock, powered end-cap, and a vertical power station which holds three wired devices. The end-cap has a 12V USB-A and 18W USB-C PD outlet, and the power station has that plus a second USB-A port. You can mix-and-match modules to serve your needs – including just using one if you like – and BaseLynx is engineered to prevent over- or under-voltage, surging, and overheating. Pricing has not yet been announced, and BaseLynx is due to be available this coming spring.

CES – Scosche BaseLynx Modular Wireless Charging Station Organizes and Charges Your Devices

CES - Satechi's USB Docking Stand For All Models of Apple iMac

· · Cool Stuff Found

At their CES booth, Satetchi was showing off their latest: the Satechi Aluminum Stand for iMac. Priced at $89.99 and available in Space Grey or Silver, this combination stand and dock provides three USB 3.1 Gen 1 ports, a USB-C data port, micro/SD card slots, and an audio jack, all conveniently-placed on the front of the stand. Capable of supporting up to 50lbs, the stand can easily support the weight of any iMac and most displays, and would also fit a Mac Mini quite well, too. The Satechi Stand for iMac is built with a USB-C connector on the cable to the computer, but also comes with a USB-A to USB-C adapter for use with any existing iMac. It’s a sharp way to free up some space on your desk while adding a few easy-access ports on the front.

CES – Satechi’s USB Docking Stand For All Models of Apple iMac