Technology

My Garmin Vivoactive 3 Review

After reviewing my Pixel 2 XL and the free Google Home Mini that came with it, I figured I’d wrap up my new tech reviews with the piece of technology that I researched more than anything else – my Garmin Vivoactive 3 watch. I bought the better-looking “Black with Slate Hardware” model, which typically retails for $30 more at $329.99, but I picked up mine on Amazon during Black Friday for $274.99. Smartwatches haven’t exactly taken the world by storm. Fitness trackers aren’t necessarily the… Continue reading

12/28/17

Google Home Mini Review

When I pre-ordered my Pixel 2 XL Google threw in a free Google Home Mini. I’ve resisted buying an Amazon Echo not because I thought they were creepy or invasive, but because I just couldn’t think of a good use case. I’d hear over and over again that “you just need to have one” and then it will make sense. So I was kind of curious to see if the light bulb would go off once I received my Mini. The short answer is, it… Continue reading

12/21/17

Peak Smartphone – Reviewing My Pixel 2 XL

One of the downsides of using Project Fi is that your phone choices are pretty limited. But the phones you can buy are the best that Android has to offer, and once you’ve used pure Android it’s really hard to go back. In October I pre-ordered a Google Pixel 2 XL on the day it was announced. My Nexus 5X was showing its age. In particular, the battery life was horrible and the camera was slow. The latter has suddenly become more important now that… Continue reading

12/13/17

Bringing a 1940’s Royal Typewriter Back to Life

A while back I had the idea that it would be cool to have an old typewriter in my office as sort of an homage to how far computing and communication have come in such a short time. My wife mentioned that there was an old one collecting dust at her grandmother’s house. When we expressed interest in it she was gracious enough to give it to us. Last year I spent a few hours on a Saturday cleaning it up and learning how it… Continue reading

10/3/17

We Still Need to Teach Basic Computer Skills in the Age of Chromebooks and Peak Smartphone

I was lucky that both my high school and college were well equipped to train an aspiring engineer. From the time I was a 13 year old freshman I had exposure to all sorts of equipment that most people don’t, from welding to lathes to CNC machines and a wide array of computers and electrical components. My classmates and I could apply the theory that we learned in the classroom, and we graduated as better engineers because of it. But, this technology wasn’t available to… Continue reading

9/26/17

Turning My Amazon Fire HD 8 Tablet Into a Retro Gaming Machine

Back in college my friends and I would pass the time during class by playing classic NES, SNES, and SEGA Genesis games with emulators on our laptops. The recent popularity of the NES Classic Edition has resulted in a revival of classic 8 bit and 16 bit emulation. I’ve long kept emulators on my Android phones (I prefer the ones made by Robert Broglia), but after purchasing my Amazon Fire HD 8 tablet last year I got the idea that I would really enjoy being… Continue reading

6/20/17

Repurposing An Old iPad As A Second Monitor

Over the winter we had some major construction done on our house. For a few weeks my office became a staging area for the crew. Before the project started I lowered my standing desk, threw a few tarps over it, and set myself up a temporary work space on a card table in the guest bedroom. I had an old 1080p monitor and keyboard, which I figured would be better ergonomically and for my productivity than working on my laptop. I was correct, but a… Continue reading

4/4/17

The Technology Sweet Spot

We recently picked up one of the ~$50 Kindle Fire 7″ tablets for use within our warehouse (more on the specific use in future posts). It’s perfect for what it is, a super cheap tablet, but it’s noticeably worse than the Fire HD 8 tablet that I purchased on Black Friday for my personal use for ~$30 more. The screen isn’t very good, the build quality feels quite a bit cheaper, and it’s a step slower. This got me thinking about the sweet spot when… Continue reading

2/14/17

Amazon Fire HD 8 Tablet Review

Amazon got me with one of their Black Friday deals. The Amazon Fire HD 8 tablet without special offers was marked down to a remarkably low $74.99 (it’s $104.99 as of this writing). Despite enjoying reading books on my phone recently, I’d been casually looking for a dedicated tablet reader. I like the form factor, and I like having a dedicated device that I can use without the possibility of getting interrupted by a notification. Now that blue light blocking apps have become ubiquitous, I… Continue reading

12/20/16

The Benefits of Distance

Jason Fried recently wrote a really good post entitled Don’t be too inspired about how watchmaker Roger W. Smith benefits from being one of the few watchmakers in the UK. The physical distance allows him to focus on his work without too much outside influence. As Jason notes, distance – both physically and virtually – can have a huge benefit: I love that notion  —  it’s one I’ve tried to hold dear myself. Don’t be influenced too much. Be aware of what’s great, but don’t… Continue reading

10/26/16