reviews

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:

Orange Pi Plus Setup, Benchmarks, and Initial Impressions

tl;dr: The Orange Pi Plus offers much better specs, and much better performance, than a similarly-priced Raspberry Pi. Unfortunately—and this is the case with most RPi competitors at this time—setup, hardware support, and the smaller repository of documentation and community knowledge narrow this board's appeal to enthusiasts willing to debug annoying setup and configuration issues on their own.

Orange Pi Plus - Front

Orange Pi Plus - Back

A few months ago, I bought an Orange Pi Plus from AliExpress. It's a single-board Linux computer very similar to the Raspberry Pi, with a few key differences:

Review: Truffol Autograph Fusion iPhone 6 case

Jeff's Rating: 5/5

tl;dr: The first time I've put a case on my iPhone—and kept it on after a week!

I have always disliked iPhone cases. I've owned every iPhone since the beginning, and have never used a case; instead of a case, I kept the phone in a holster case on my left hip.

Every once in a while, I tried a new case, but returned it to the store within a day or two. There were always too many tradeoffs in terms of usability with docks and different headphone and dock plugs, and most cases made the phone harder to hold and use.

iPhone 6 Truffol Autograph Fusion case

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.