Category Archives: The Market

Olloclip lens system for the iPhone X. Do I NEED my DSLR camera any longer?

Olloclip for iPhone X

Digital photography is one of my favorite hobbies. For years I’ve carried large, heavy, and unwieldy DSLR cameras around my neck. I’ve used Sony alpha series cameras and they have served me well.

Since 2007 I’ve also used the cameras in my Apple iPhone as a back up. The Sony has been used for “serious” shots, and the iPhone for “simple” (non-serious?) shots. Each year as I’ve purchased new iPhones the camera and software have gotten better and more sophisticated. My last couple of iPhones – an iPhone 7 Plus, and the latest iPhone X have included dual lens cameras. One lens is for regular use (sort of wide angle), and the other lens is for telephoto (2x) use.

The iPhone X camera hardware and software are so good that I have begun using the system as my primary go-to camera and photo editing “lab.” But I wanted to add a lens for every day and particular use – like super wide-angle, or fisheye, or even more telephoto and macro close-ups.

I think I’ve found the answer in a lens system called “CONNECT X” from Olloclips. Olloclips has made a snap-on lens for iPhones and some Android phones for the last five-plus years. I’ve tried them on older iPhones with some good luck, and some frustration concerning attachment and detachment.

A couple of weeks ago Olloclips sent me an email that they were releasing a new connection system for the iPhone X that was easy to use, aggressively priced, and flexible.

The Olloclip system is easy to use and extremely clever in its design. Each lens can be flipped and used with either of the back two Apple camera or the front camera. Using the Olloclip “Slim Case,” the lens holder can be easily attached or detached. Each lens is metal and glass. Well designed and sharp in their views.

I purchased the “Mobile Photography Box Set” for the iPhone X ($99.99). It includes three lens – super wide, macro 15x, and a fisheye. The set also comes with the easy-to-attach and use clip system for attaching to your iPhone X. In addition, I purchased the telephoto 2X lens which should make the iPhone X into a 4X camera.

Finally, I bought the “Slim Case” for the iPhone X for $29.99 which provides back and side protection for the phone as well as an oversized opening to attach the Olloclip CONNECT X system. Be aware the CONNECT X system does not work with any other protective case for the iPhone (even Apple’s). You will need to remove your protective case to use CONNECT X unless you buy Olloclip’s “Slim Case.” The good news is that most front screen protectors (I use and recommend Zagg’s “Sapphire Defense” extreme hybrid glass cover that has sapphire infused into the glass) can be used and do not have to be removed when using the CONNECT X base and lens’.

I could spend the next few paragraphs describing the photographic quality of each lens, and how easy it is to put on and take off. I could also show you dozens of photos that I, or others, have taken with the system. But I won’t. You can see lots of videos, before and after photos, etc. on the Olloclip.com website. Trust me this stuff is reasonably priced, built like a tank, cleverly designed, and easy-to-use. You can also go to instagram.com and search by the tag #olloclip to see photos made by Apple iPhone Olloclip users.

I’ve seen everything now! Ember heated mug is a winner!

Ember heated mug

Wow! Just when you thought you had seen it all along comes ember click here to go to the ember web site. This is perhaps one of the sweetest uses of technology that I’ve seen in a while. While I probably would not have been the first on my block to run out and pick one up for about $80.00, our son and his sweetie thought this would be the perfect (and it is) gift for dad’s birthday.

Overview:

The ember is a porcelain mug that contains a surprising amount of technology, plus a rechargeable battery system that keeps your coffee, tea, or other hot beverage at precisely the right temperature. You use an Apple or Android app on your smartphone tablet, or Apple Watch to set the temperature in Fahrenheit or Celsius degrees. The app sends a Bluetooth signal to your mug that maintains the temperature selected by using a rechargeable battery operated heating element.

Are there benefits, or is this a gimmick?:

There are benefits to this system that are emotional, practical and economic…

  • The consistency of taste – from your first sip until your last the coffee tastes the same.
  • No guesswork involved – you are alerted on your watch, tablet or smartphone when your beverage is at your preferred temperature.
  • Save money – since the hot beverage tastes the same from beginning to end no more throwing away cold or lukewarm coffee.
  • No disappointment – your ember lets you know when it needs recharging with a red LED and you just set it on the charging pad. The onboard LED glows green when it is fully charged and ready-to-go.

Is it worth the price?:

Yes, the ember unit is sturdily packaged (very Apple-like), beautiful minimalist design, solid construction, well engineered and enjoyable to use on a day-to-day basis. Although you can’t pop it in a dishwasher, it is easy to rinse out, or hand wash.

The bottom line:

The ember is a practical and fun device if you enjoy hot beverages. Ember makes the porcelain mug shown here as well as a travel mug for your car. You can purchase ember at Starbucks, Best Buy, Target, and Amazon.

Say Hello to a Good Buy: The Replacement for Granny’s Computer has finally arrived!

Apple 9.7” iPad

As a technology advisor to seniors, the most frequently asked question I get is: “My Grandmother (or Grandfather) needs a new computer which one should I get?”

My response is: “They no longer need a computer they need a tablet computing device. If you surveyed seniors that use computers (desktop or laptop) and ask them what they actually use their computer for, the responses would undoubtedly include:

  1. Getting, reading, replying to eMail.
  2. Reading and responding to Facebook.
  3. Playing a game that might include Solitaire, Scrabble, or Wheel of Fortune.
  4. Reading a good ebook or magazine.
  5. Surfing the web for news, weather, and funny stuff.
  6. Seeing photos of my adult children and younger grandchildren.
  7. Maybe shopping online.

All of the seven above can be done on grandma’s lap while she is sitting on her couch or lying in bed using a lightweight tablet. Not so with desktop computers, and not easy with so-called laptops.

There are hundreds of different tablet computers that range in price from $49.99 (Barnes & Noble Nook 7″ Tablet) to over a $1,000 (Apple 12.5″ iPad Pro Tablet). In my humble (but well experienced) opinion, the BEST choice for doing the seven items above is the new $329 9.7″ Apple iPad Click here for more info

Here are ten reasons why this is the one to buy:

1. This is the most current version of the iPad that Apple has honed to perfection over the past six years.

2. The screen is bright, easy to read, and the exactly the right size to read ebooks and magazines with ease.

3. It comes with the A10 Fusion processor chip that is incredibly fast – great for videos, games, and going from one app to another.

4. The main camera on this iPad is 8MP takes stunning photos and can record in HD video. Plus use it for FaceTime calls with family and friends.

5. Use it to connect to almost any Bluetooth keyboard.

6. Get FREE ebooks, music, audiobooks, and movies from your local library using the Libby and Hoopla apps.

7. Weighs just a tad over 1 pound.

8. Thousands of cases, covers, keyboards, stands, screen protectors, styli, and headphones are available for this model iPad. Apple’s sensational electronic Pencil also works with this model.

9. Secure Touch ID, stereo speakers, 32GB of storage (more available), a cellular option is available, your choice of three different finishes.

10. Over 1,000,000 apps in Apple’s App Store.

Want to make your parents and/or grandparents happy? Get them an iPad, not a replacement desktop or laptop.

Say Hello To A Good Buy! Lamicall stands for iPhone and iPad

Lamicall “A” Stand for iPhone

Apple iPhone users click here: Lamicall “A” Stand at Amazon

Lamicall “S1” Stand for iPad

Apple iPad users click here: Lamicall “S1” Stand for iPad at Amazon

A great product at a great price:

If you are looking for a table top stand for your iPhone or/and iPad look no further.

Lamicall makes greats stands for mobile devices. Depending on the model and style they are made from aluminum or steel and are available in different colors.

The stands are adjustable so that you can find the perfect view to work, play games, type, or watch movies. Sturdily built and nicely finished. Rugged enough for daily use.

Both stands can hold your Apple mobile device in either a vertical (tall) or horizontal (wide) position. Both stands also have “pass through” holes for your charger cord and headphone connector (if you have an iPhone that supports this).

If you buy from Amazon make sure that you get the Lamicall brand AND it’s the correct model with the adjustable holder, and not just one with a solid base and holder.

Depending on the deals at Amazon the smaller “A” stand (for iPhone’s) is around $13.00 and the larger “S1” stand (for iPad’s) is around $19.00 including free shipping if you are an Amazon Prime member.

Truly a “Say Hello to a Good Buy!” value for design, construction, and price.

Late by 7 Seconds.  Shame on me!

Late by 7 seconds

Late by 7 seconds

To follow-up on yesterday’s blog in reference to the iPhone 7 I did order one.  

As you can see by the confirmation email above I ordered a new Apple iPhone 7 Plus exactly 7 seconds (is that a coincidence?) after ordering began at 3:00 AM EDT this morning.

Apple said that they will begin shipping on September 16th (next Friday).  As you can also see by the second blue circle above, my order – 7 seconds into the ordering process – will not ship until sometime between September 23 and September 30.  Sigh… I guess that happens if you are 7 seconds late.

I ordered through the AT&T app.  Perhaps I would have made the “cut” if I would have ordered using the Apple app.

Maybe mine is delayed because I ordered one of the new colors.  I ordered “Black” (like a matt black), not the “Jet Black” (like a piano black) color.

Oh well, being a senior geezer I’ve learned to be patient, and I’m far too old to stand in line at the Apple store next Friday to pick one up.  My luck I would be 7 seconds late standing in line and they would all be gone.

After I get the thing, and have a few days to play with it (I’m really looking forward to the new dual lens camera), I’ll post a review here on itechgeezer.com

Here’s Why Image Counts: Tesla 3 vs. Chevy Bolt

 

Tesla 3
Tesla 3
  
Chevy Bolt
Chevy Bolt
 

If you were in the market for a pure electric vehicle and the cost was the same would you buy a Tesla 3 or a Chevy Bolt?  A third of a million Americans just voted with their pocket books and the answer for them was a Tesla 3.

In comparing the two vehicles consider the following:

  • Both cost about $35,000
  • Both are total electric vehicles (no supplemental gas engines)
  • Both are made in the USA
  • Both have an electric range of about 215 miles
  • Each has a different “style” or “look” – I’ll leave which is more attractive to you, the reader
  • The Chevy Bolt will be available in late 2016
  • The Tesla 3 will be available in late 2017

If we are to believe that the two vehicles are so similar (except for that “style/look” thing) why are the following facts so dissimilar:

  • In the first week of ordering availability in late March of 2016 the Tesla 3 garnered over 325,000 pre-orders requiring a deposit of $1,000 each.
  • Since its January 2016 unveiling the Chevy Bolt’s parents (GM) has projected that it will sell 20,000 in the first year.

What?!?  How can that be??? How did the Tesla 3 beat the pants off of Chevy Bolt without any struggle at all?

Tesla basks in same sort of consumer “glow” as Apple.  Its high-end design, engineering, construction, fit and finish and a reputation for overall quality are admired by owners, and non-owners alike.  Consumer Reports magazine reviewed the original Tesla Model S vehicle and gave it the highest marks of ANY car ever reviewed.

The Chevy Bolt looks like it was designed by a committee on both the exterior and the interior.  While this is the company that brought us Corvairs and Vegas, it also brought us inspired vehicles like the Corvette Stingray. 

The Tesla 3 looks like a coordinated effort of a team that believes in synergy of both the exterior and the interior of the vehicle.  The Tesla 3 interior is of a minimalist design and the cockpit dash panel looks like an oversized iPad. 

To be successful in the long term, EV’s (Electric Vehicles) will have to be more than “boxes with wheels” that are re-engineered gas vehicles with batteries.  Only “clean sheet” electric vehicles that are designed from scratch will succeed.  And to totally succeed there will need to be nationwide electric recharging stations that can handle ALL the connectors from different EV’s and not just proprietary ones from one or two manufacturers.

We need to start thinking of personal transportation as “computers with wheels.” Those with out-of-box thinking like Apple and Tesla will most likely be the winners.  Can Detroit make the change?

Your thoughts and comments are always welcome.  Thanks for reading Tom Gordon’s – The iTechGeezer blog.

Computer “Buggy Whips” are getting harder to find each day…

Computer Buggy Whips
Computer Buggy Whips

The Good Old Days

In 1957 I was 11 years old and my dad (who loved gadgets as much as I do) ordered a “crystal” radio kit from the Allied Electronics catalog for me to assemble for a Boy Scout project.  I waited not-so-patiently for our postman to deliver the “box” from Allied Electronics in Chicago. After the “box” arrived I spent a couple of days pouring over the schematics and step-by-step instructions and then wiring and soldering the device.  A day later dad and I strung the dipole antenna from one large maple tree to another and than ran the antenna cable to my bedroom window.  I put my headphones on, and messed with the “whisker” wire over the “crystal” until I finally (and faintly) heard WOOD-AM radio in Grand Rapids.  Over the next week I listened to music, Jack Benny, The Lone Ranger and other cool stuff.

In the 1960’s I spent every dime of my allowance, birthday gift money and my forty-five cent an hour soda-jerk job at the Caleldonia Rexall Drug Store on electronic kits from Allied Electronics, Layfayette Radio and Heathkit Electronics in Benton Harbor, MI.  I built Ham radios, CB radios, short-wave radios and on and on.

Over the last forty years, thanks to Radio Shack I’ve been able to find almost any electronic gadget and widget I’ve ever needed for computers, TV’s, music systems and more.

But… like horse “Buggy Whips” Allied Electronics, Layfayette Radio, Heathkit and now Radio Shack have all disappeared from our American highways and byways.

Finding “Stuff” Today

It’s not impossible to find cables, connectors, circuit boards, and other electronic parts today.  One can walk into Meijer, Walmart, and Best Buy and find the basic parts that you need.  Some of you may have a “Joe’s Electronics” (or Bob’s or Al’s) that was once a proud Radio Shack franchise.  Others on the West Coast may be close by to a Fry’s Electronics store which is similiar to a Best Buy but also carries lots of computer and electronic parts.

And of course we can’t forget that we can use Google to search for anything our hearts desire.  Then go directly to Amazon to buy it at the lowest possible price with free shipping (if we are an Amazon Prime member), and perhaps no state sales tax if you are in one of the few states left that haven’t forced Amazon to collect it.

I won’t get on my soapbox in regards to Amazon killing off local electronic merchants and other Internet merchants – I’ll save that blog for another time.

But How About Tomorrow?

Steve Jobs, one of the co-founders of Apple once remarked that digital devices should be like toasters.  Plug ’em in and push down the bread.  Steve never liked DIY (Do-It-Youself) electronics and is well known to have hated computer “ports”, switches, buttons and the like.  His minimalistic view on electronics shunned almost everything except for the machine itself.

We would not be where we are today digital electronics wise without the DIY pioneers that depended on third-party parts and supplies.  That was then, and like “Buggy Whips” – parts are still parts – but they are a lot harder to find then they used to be. Sigh…

Thanks for reading, and feel free to leave a message, or ask a question – Tom Gordon, the iTechGeezer