Scosche solBAT II Solar Battery Charger

Reserve iPhone Power

In planning our honeymoon to Thailand, there is much to be said about the peace of mind that comes from knowing that you will have ample power supply should you need it.  My main concern was to always have battery power on my iPhone should we run into a situation where we will be unable to recharge the device for more than a day.  Safety first!

I decided a 2 step approach would be best.

1.  Extend the life of the iPhone with a built in battery pack case.

2.  Have reserve power in a separate solar charging device.

 

For the first part, I wanted to get a power supply case that was slim, light, and easy to use.  After much searching and deliberation, I decided on the Mophie Juice Pack Air

Mophie Juice Pack AirI bought the Mophie Juice Pack Air from Walmart for just $60.  When you take into consideration that most iPhone cases cost $30+ then you quickly realize that this is a great product for the price.  The pack extends the iPhone battery life by giving it a charge whenever you want.  You can put the case in “stand by” mode, and it will not drain the Mophie to charge the iPhone until you want it to.  Or, you can use the Mophie power juice before tapping into your iPhone charge because when the Mophie Juice Pack is turned on, the iPhone uses that power first, just like it would if it were plugged into the wall.

Overall, I feel very confident that I will not be stranded without iPhone battery life and that the $60 investment is well worth it, even for day to day life.

 

However, should I get stranded somewhere long enough that both the Mophie and iPhone battery are drained completely, I can give them both a boost of charge with the Scosche solBAT II – Solar powered backup battery and charger.

Scosche solBAT II Solar Battery ChargerThis Lithium Ion Solar Powered portable battery charger is fantastic.  It allows you to plug in any usb powered device and charge it.  You can charge the solBAT with a usb for a rapid charge (2 hrs) or leave it in direct sunlight to recharge the internal battery (4-5 days) or power usb devices simultaneously.  This handy battery pack uses lithium ion, so you don’t have to worry about waiting for it to completely drain before charging it again (like NiMH batteries – offered with the KODAK Solar Charger KS100-C+2).  Plus it has a strong 1500mA battery with 500mA output to quickly charge the device that needs it (camera, phone, pda).  This item is only $30 at Walmart vs. $40 for the Kodak.  It comes with a handy ring clip to strap onto your backpack, and a hard case holder with suction cups so that you can keep it on the windshield of your car so that it charges continuously and is always ready to give you power in times of need.

 

Overall, these two devices combined will allow me to use my iPhone for several days without worrying that it will die.

 

Well worth the $90 in total!

Apple TV

Apple TV Home System

I just setup an amazing home entertainment and data storage system…for the entire house. After several hours of research and puttering online, I’ve been able to create the perfect system to house all of my photos, music, and videos using Apple TV.

First, this is the hardware I am using:

46″ Samsung LED TV
Bose Cinemate GS Series II Soundsystem
Apple TV 2G
Apple Macbook x 2
Apple Airport Extreme Base Station
D-Link DNS-321 NAS drive with 2x 2TB RAID1 hard drives
Seagate FreeAgent GoFlex Desk 3 TB USB 2.0 External Hard Drive

Now here’s how to set everything up:

SETUP THE TV SYSTEM

  1. After hanging the TV on the wall and hooking up the Bose system, setup the Apple TV by connecting the optical audio directly to the Bose and the HDMI directly to the Samsung TV.  Turn on Apple TV to make sure it works.

INSTALL AIRPORT EXPRESS AND THE D-LINK DNS-321 NAS MEDIA STORAGE

  1. Connect the Airport Extreme base station to your modem or router with an ethernet cable.
  2. Setup your Airport Extreme wireless mode to “create a wireless network” so that your apple TV can connect to the network.
  3. Install the D-Link DNS-321
    1. Install the 2TB drives in the D-Link DNS-321
    2. Connect the power cables and connect the ethernet cable to the Airport Extreme
    3. If working on a PC, just insert the CD and follow the directions on the screen to setup the RAID 1 settings
    4. If working on a Mac with OSX 10.5 or later, you will see the D-Link drive appear in the SHARED location on your finder screen.  The icon will look like a little computer screen with the label dlink-6a201b (or something like that).  When you click on that, you should see the folder “web_page”.  Click on that and then “goweb.htm”.  This will launch the NAS setup screen.  When the username and password are required, just type “admin” for user and leave the password field blank.
    5. To setup the RAID drive, click on TOOLS in the top menu.  Then click on RAID in the side menu.  Then click “set raid type and re-format”.  Select Raid 1 so that you will have a backup disk of everything that you put onto the hard drive.  It is up to you whether you want to select the “auto rebuild configuration”.  I selected to have the auto-rebuild configuration on, so that if one drive ever fails (indicated by an amber light on the unit) then I just need to insert a Apple Extended (journaled) formatted drive and the device will automatically rebuild the new drive.
    6. Now that you have your drive Raid-1 configured, it’s time to allow the drive to be seen over the network. Keep in mind that I had my computer ethernet cable connected to my modem, which is connected to my Airport Extreme by ethernet.  The d-link NAS is connected to the Airport Extreme by ethernet. This step will make the NAS available wirelessly to be used by AppleTV.
    7. Setup the D-LINK like this

JAILBREAK APPLE TV 2G WITH SEASONPASS

  1. Download SeasonPass HERE
  2. Read Install Directions HERE

INSTALL ATV FLASH

  1. ATV Flash is a great add-on for your jailbroken Apple TV.  It allows you to install other features such as XBMC, NitoTV and CouchSurfer on your Apple TV.  The price for this software is negligible compared to the features available with XBMC alone!
  2. Download ATV Flash HERE
  3. After jailbreaking the Apple TV, install ATV Flash.  You might need to run the ATV Flash install twice to see it displayed on your Apple TV screen.  DO NOT REBOOT THE APPLE TV OR YOU WILL BE LOCKED OUT AND NEED TO BOOTSTRAP YOUR APPLE TV AGAIN TO USE IT.  I find that the bootstrapping works really well, the faster that you can connect the cables while installing the software.

INSTALL THE PLUGINS

  1. I installed NitoTV only.  From there, I used NitoTV to install the other plugins like Overflow, Weather, and XBMC.  You can also use Couchsurfer, but I found that the system doesn’t work properly on all websites, especially if there are pop-ups…so I opted to keep that plug-in deactivated and save ram.
  2. I use Overflow to keep my Apple TV home screen looking neat and organized.  Afterall, even a jailbroken Apple TV should look as seamless as Apple intended Apple TV to look.

SETUP XBMC

(to be continued)

Productivity like a Martial Artist

I’ve been using Omni Focus for a little over a year now….well, since the iPhone came to Canada in 2008.  This program is absolutely amazing.  But, it doesn’t make sense unless you understand what GTD is.  GTD stands for Getting Things Done.  It was created by David Allen.

GTD takes productivity and resource allocation out of your head…..so it relieves your stress.

The first time I did a brain dump to the Inbox….I almost started crying from the relief……a huge weight lifted off my shoulders…almost literally.

My mind was clear….and then I started just Getting Things Done.

So, my OMNI Focus is an amazing tool to allow you to use this productivity mindset.

It rocks because it’s synchronizable to your iphone.  The app is $20…but worth every penny.  Especially since it uses the map and tells you when you are in relation to where your projects can be done.  EX…pick up bananas at the grocery store.  Drop off package at UPS.  As you’re are driving…it will alert you to something that you can “Get Done” in the area.

Check out OMNI Focus HERE