reviews

Review: Intocircuit Power Castle 15000 mAh Dual USB portable charger

Jeff's Rating: 4/5

tl;dr: Slightly pricey, but it'll be worth it when you need it!

I've carried a small external USB battery pack with me for the past few years, ever since I started relying on my iPhone as my only camera, phone, reading device, and emergency-backup-Internet device. And there have been many times where I would've been up a creek (or more literally, lost in the middle of an unfamiliar city!) without it.

But the little battery pack I tote around is only really for emergencies—it can barely top off my iPhone when the phone is already at 50% capacity, and if the iPhone gets below 10%, it'll struggle to even maintain the current charge if I have to use the iPhone while charging!

Intocircuit Power Castle - Front

Review: iClever 6-port 10A USB charging station

Jeff's Rating: 5/5

tl;dr: No matter how many mobile devices you have, there are never enough high-current charging ports—unless you have one of these!

I was given the iClever 6-port USB charging station pictured below so I could review the device on this site and on Amazon.com. I'm no stranger to beefy multi-port USB chargers; I now own three of the things, and use them for charging many devices at night, powering a cluster of six Raspberry Pi computers, and charging USB battery packs for long trips (it's great to not have to worry about finding an outlet for two or three days at a time while on vacation!).

iClever 6-port USB charger

Review: Logos' Verbum Bible Software

Jeff's Rating: 4/5

tl;dr: A great, albeit pricey, resource for expanding anyone's knowledge of sacred scripture. The basic package is an excellent option for most any Catholic.

A few months ago, I was given the opportunity to try out Logos' Verbum, the de facto Bible study software. I tried out Verbum 5 for the Mac, and will share my thoughts on the platform below.

Logos Logo

Initial setup

First, a major caveat: though I go on a bit about my initial impressions being less-than-stellar, please read through to the end of this review—the software itself, once installed and configured, more than makes up for its initial warts.

Review: Anker Ultra Slim Mini Bluetooth 3.0 Wireless Keyboard

Jeff's Rating: 4/5

tl;dr: A great (and very inexpensive) alternative to an Apple-branded keyboard. You get what you pay for, and a little more.

Ever since Apple introduced its first 'chicklet-style' keyboards on laptops, I've been a fan. I love the feel of a loudly-clacking Apple Extended Keyboard II, but I can type much faster and more accurately on Apple's newer keyboards, like the $69 Apple Bluetooth Keyboard. I also like the compact footprint and durability of the aluminum-bodied keyboards, even with the larger Apple USB Keyboard with Numeric Keypad ($49).

Anker Bluetooth 3.0 Ultra Slim Keyboard Black Closeup

Review: iRig Mic Cast

Jeff's Rating: 3/5

tl;dr: Offers little more than the built-in iPhone microphone, but it's a good mic for the price, and is very useful in certain situations.

iRig Mic Cast on iPhone 5

Since adding my comprehensive overview of audio input and microphone options for iPhones a couple years ago, there have been many purpose-built microphones that are made particularly for smartphones. IK Multimedia's iRig Mic Cast microphone is one of these purpose-built devices.

Review: Audio-Technica ATH-M30 Stereo Headphones

Jeff's Rating: 5/5

tl;dr: For the price, these cans can't be beat. Durable, simple, and powerful.

In 2005, I bought a pair of Audio Technica ATR-M30 headphones. After helping a band record an album (Lost in Ecstasy, by the Priestie Boyz), three trips to Europe, and hundreds of hours of listening enjoyment at home, nothing except the pads on these headphones has needed replacement (and those are cheap and simple to replace—I bought a set of replacement pads for $10).

Review: The Making of Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back

Jeff's Rating: 5/5

tl;dr: Odds are 725:1 you'll love this book! If you enjoyed Star Wars (IV-VI), if you want to learn about moviemaking, if you appreciate art—you'll love this book by J.W. Rinzler.

I've watched the original Star Wars trilogy too many times to count. My Dad introduced me to the series in the late 80s, and since then I've watched the movies as they were adapted for VHS, TV, LaserDisc, DVD, and now Blu-Ray.

I have strong opinions about who shot first, which of the trilogy was the best movie (this has changed as I've grown), the proper viewing order of all six existing Star Wars motion pictures, and which cut(s) of the film(s) were best (I don't believe the 'original theatrical cut' was the best—and I wonder how many people who advocate such a release realize that there were more than one...).