I've had a long history playing around with Raspberry Pis and other Single Board Computers (SBCs); from building a cluster of Raspberry Pis to run Drupal, to building a distributed home temperature monitoring system with Raspberry Pis, I've spent a good deal of time testing the limits of an SBC, and also finding ways to use their strengths to my advantage.
Three generations of multi-core Pi: model 2 B, model 3 B, model 3 B+
Whether it's been a 6-node Raspberry Pi cluster running Drupal 8, or a distributed home temperature monitoring application, I use Raspberry Pis for a wide variety of fun projects. The Raspberry Pi model 3 B+ is the latest iteration of the 'top of the line' Pi, with all the bells and whistles, and it still comes in at just $35. This year's iteration improves the CPU frequency, wired LAN performance, and WiFi performance, among other smaller changes, and I ordered one and have taken it for a spin.
What follows are my benchmarks and impressions after a couple weeks poking and prodding the new model 3 B+.
August 2017 update: I just noticed the tech specs on the Arc Hub product page have changed to read: "Arc Hub comes with 1 x Mini Display Port 1.2. Capable resolutions are all HiDPI resolutions, 1080p@60hz, 2560 x 1440 @ 60hz, 3840×2160@30hz." The tech specs used to mention 4K at 60Hz 🤔.
original tl;dr: A capable hub, with some slight design flaws. However, not yet recommended if you want to use it with a 4K monitor, due to compatibility issues with higher refresh rates.
When I bought my 2016 MacBook Pro, I expected a lot of changes. Since I picked the function key model over the more port-laden, but much worse-for-me Touch Bar model, I knew that there would be some
growing shrinking pains, going from a generous assortment of five ports on my MacBook Air to two (!) USB-C ports on the MacBook Pro.
tl;dr: The Innergie PowerJoy USB-C charger is a solid power adapter for charging via USB-C and USB-A simultaneously. If you have a high-power-draw device like a MacBook Pro, then the adapter may have a little less utility, but if you use a smaller USB-C device and need to charge both it and a USB-A device, then this is one of the most compact and well-built adapters I've used.
A month ago, I received an email from Innergie asking me if I'd like to review their new USB-C charger they were releasing. I had just returned from a business trip and was slightly regretting only having my MacBook Pro's included USB-C charger, which has one USB-C port. Charging my phone meant plugging my laptop into the AC adapter, then plugging a Lightning cable into my MacBook Pro.
tl;dr: The cable is well-built and delivers 4K at 60 Hz without issue. And the DisplayPort end even uses the locking mechanism to ensure it's retained better—but it's also a tiny bit longer of a connector than most others, meaning it's not the best fit if your monitor needs to fit in a tight space!
When I upgraded my 2016 MacBook Pro, I decided to also replace my main external display (a 1080p 27" monitor) with a 4K UHD equivalent. Since I work on my computer all day, I find it's important to have as good a display (sharp, good color, etc.) as possible, to prevent eye strain.
4K displays are interesting beasts—there are so many pixels on these displays that even decent older laptops (like my former 2013 MacBook Air) couldn't drive a 4K display in native resolution, even if I had the proper mini DisplayPort cable.
Jeff's Rating: 3/5
tl;dr: Slightly pricey, could use a better interface for charge status, and holds 20% less than the advertised capacity, but the still-plentiful amount of stored energy and the ability to charge via USB-C or USB-A makes this a versatile and potent power pack for the price.
Ever since the mid 90s, when I was able to lug around 'power bricks' with my then-amazing PowerBook 190 and 180c (hand-me-downs from relatives), I've been hoping for a reasonably-priced power brick that would double my laptop's battery life, affording me the ability to work all day even when I'm doing a ton of crazy things, like building a ton of VMs and Docker images.
tl;dr: It's a power meter, not a protection circuit. It works well and is worth the money if you need to monitor power consumption, but it's made of plastic and doesn't feel like it can take a beating, so handle with care.
tl;dr: If you need a long Lightning cable, this is one of the few reliable options. If you need the fastest charging possible for an iPad, stick to Apple's much shorter cable.
So when I got an email requesting I review NOYCE's latest product, the longest (at least that I know of) Lightning USB cable available on Amazon, I gladly accepted. NOYCE sent me their 13-foot-long (4 meters for the non-Imperial reader) Lightning cable, and I've used it for a couple months now, so I figured it was a good time for a review.
tl;dr: After two weeks of use, I returned my 2016 13" MacBook Pro with Touch Bar and bought one with Function Keys instead. Read on for detailed Battery stress tests, performance tests, and an exploration of how Apple's botched this year's Pro lineup.
I've owned almost every generation of Mac desktop and laptop computers, and have survived many transitions: 680x0 to PowerPC, Classic Mac OS to OS X, to the PowerPC to Intel switch. I've also owned almost every generation of iPhone and iPad. I even maintain a huge list of all the Macs I've owned! I could justifiably be labeled an 'Apple fanatic'.
I use a Mac as my daily driver, and have rarely made a tech-related purchase I regretted. And I've never returned a Mac, until today.
I have a 2016 MacBook Pro (without TouchBar), and for this Mac, or for a 12" MacBook, a hub/adapter with power delivery is absolutely essential for desk use, due to the limited number of USB-C/ThunderBolt 3 ports.
Eventually, I'd like to plug one ThunderBolt 3 cable into my MacBook Pro and get 4K video at 60Hz (through either USB-C, DisplayPort, or HDMI 1.2+), USB 3.0 for my existing USB 3 devices, and a power pass-through so I can get the full 61W of charge out of my Apple AC adapter.