Review: NOYCE 13' (4m) Lightning cable

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.

A year or so ago, the owner of NOYCE Labs sent me a sample iPhone-compatible microphone to test, and I really liked it—I still use it for impromptu recordings with my iPhone, in fact!

NOYCE 4m 13ft Lightning Cable with Box

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.

I returned my 2016 MacBook Pro with Touch Bar

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.

Review: AUKEY USB-C Hub for New MacBook Pro

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.

AUKEY USB-C Hub - 3x USB 3.0 ports

A Tale of Two Apples: AirPods and the Touch Bar

Yesterday UPS delivered a BTO 2016 MacBook Pro 13" with Touch Bar (to replace my 2013 11" MacBook Air), and a set of AirPods (to replace three different headsets I use daily in my work as a remote employee).

AirPods on 2016 MacBook Pro 13" Touch Bar Safari address bar in Charging Case

The two products tell a different story about the company that makes them:

MacBook Pro with Touch Bar

The MacBook Pro fails to 'thrill' in a way that no other Apple device I've made the conscious decision to purchase has.

Upgrading from a 2013 MacBook Air 11" (portability is king to me, but I needed more performance), the only major external difference is the retina display—something most other 'pro' Mac users have been enjoying since 2012. The Touch Bar itself is mostly useless to me for two reasons:

Review: Epson DS-40 WiFi portable document scanner

Epson DS-40 Portable WiFi Document Scanner

I've always been fascinated by digital scanners; my Dad worked in an industry that allowed him access to some of the newest tech in terms of computing, so I was able to use a full-color (16-bit!) digital scanner hooked up to an early Mac IIci running Photoshop when most people still used computers with 8-bit displays.

3-pass color scanner SCSI with PowerBook 180c
My very-old 3-pass color scanner connected to a PowerBook 180c. It took over a minute per scan—and much longer at 'photo' resolutions.

Review: Elecrow HDMI 5" 800x480 TFT Display with XPT2046 Touch Controller

Elecrow 5 inch HDMI display with Raspbian Pixel on Raspberry Pi 3 model B

I recently found a discount code through SlickDeals for $10 off the Elecrow 5" HDMI Touchscreen display for the Raspberry Pi. Since the Raspberry Pi was introduced, I've wanted to try out one of these mini screens (touchscreen or no), but they've always been prohibitively expensive (usually $60+).

This screen hit the right price (even regular price is $40, which is near my 'okay for experimentation' range), and I picked it up, not knowing what to expect. I've had mixed experiences with Pi accessories from Amazon, and had never tried a product from Elecrow.

Mobius Mini Action Cam Pro - Dashcam setup and review

tl;dr: Watch the example/demo video below to see how the Mobius performs in a variety of driving conditions:

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For the past few years, I've seen countless 'fail' videos, linked videos on reddit, etc. which show both the utility and entertainment value that comes from a dashcam—a camera that records everything that happens in front of your car while you're driving.

When looking around at the options for dashcams, and knowing my preference for reliability and ease of use, I came up with the following criteria:

Review: ODROID-C2, compared to Raspberry Pi 3 and Orange Pi Plus

tl;dr: The ODROID-C2 is a very solid competitor to the Raspberry Pi model 3 B, and is anywhere from 2-10x faster than the Pi 3, depending on the operation. The software and community support is nowhere near what you get with the Raspberry Pi, but it's the best I've seen of all the Raspberry Pi clones I've tried.

Review: Raspberry Pi model 3 B, with Benchmarks vs Pi 2

Raspberry Pi 3 - Front

Raspberry Pi 3 - Back

On Pi Day (3/14/16), I finally acquired a Raspberry Pi model 3 B from my local Micro Center (I had ordered one from Pimoroni on launch day, but it must be stuck in customs). After arriving home with it, I decided to start running it through its paces. Below is my review and extensive benchmarking of the Pi 3 (especially in comparison to the Pi 2).

Hardware changes

There are a few notable hardware changes on the Pi 3: