Technology

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

Fitness Bands & Passive, Continuous Health Tracking

Last week I upgraded my beloved Garmin Vivosmart to one of their newer models, the Garmin Vivosmart HR+. The main difference between the two is that the HR+ has a heart rate monitor. Particularly interesting is that it doesn’t just track heart rate during a workout, it tracks it passively all day long. It’s super simple to pull up a quick graph on the device or get more details within the app. The thing with wrist based heart rate trackers is that they’re known for… Continue reading

7/25/16

I Unintentionally Read A Book On My Phone

Last week I wrote about speed-reading business books, which is still much easier for me to do with a physical copy of the book. Any book I really love I buy a physical copy of, and there are still plenty of places where a physical book makes the most sense (the beach!), but most of the time I prefer reading on my trusty old Kindle. A few weeks ago I bought a book from my phone and had it delivered to my Kindle. When I… Continue reading

7/18/16

How To: Use Skype On Windows With An Apple iPhone Headset

I’m an Android user but for the life of me I can’t find a better hands free headset than the Apple headset that comes with the iPhone. I’ve tried a variety of highly rated ones over the years and always came back to the Apple as being the most comfortable and best performing. I carry them in my laptop bag so I’ll always have them handy if I need to take a long phone call. Which got me to thinking: could I use them for… Continue reading

4/12/16