A few months ago, I decided to get more serious about my recording setup in my home office. I do a lot more screencasts both for my YouTube channel and for other purposes than I used to, and I can't stand poor audio quality. Therefore I finally decided to get some sound absorption panels for my office, rearrange furniture a little for better isolation, and—most importantly—buy a proper USB audio interface and microphone.
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.
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.
I am using a 2011 Mac mini as a backup server for all the data I store on iCloud, and for the first few days while I was setting up the Mac, I noticed the 4 TB and 2 TB external USB drives I had plugged in would spin down after a few minutes, and I would have blissful silence as long as there wasn't an active operation on that Mac (which should be fairly rare; just hourly Time Machine backups and periodic SSD activity since the iCloud libraries are all on SSD).
However, after a few weeks, I noticed that at least one of the two hard drives runs continuously, 24x7. Something on the Mac mini must keep hitting the drive and preventing it from spinning down.
To see what was happening, I used
sudo fs_usage | grep VOLUME (in my case,
4\ TB\ Utility) to monitor what processes were accessing the drive, and what files they were accessing. After a few minutes watching (and doing nothing else on the computer, to make sure I wasn't causing any extra filesystem seeks), there were a couple regular culprits:
My brother gave me what will likely be one of the best useless-but-oh-so-fun gifts ever—a Dream Cheeky Thunder USB foam missile launcher.
The launcher can be used with an extremely boorish app for Mac or Windows... or you can control it with some basic USB communication! I've found a few projects which allow the launcher to be controlled via any OS with Python fairly easily:
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!
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!).
Whether you call it Cat5, Cat-5, Cat5e, or even the newfangled Cat6, it remains the best cable in modern history. Never has the humble element Cu (copper) been so adaptable, flexible, and amazingly helpful in so many areas.
This article explains how you can utilize Category 5 cabling to route just about any kind of multimedia or network signal over short, medium or long distances, and many tidbits of extremely helpful information and links to products to help make your life much easier.
A few examples:
tl;dr You can get Gigabit networking working on any current Raspberry Pi (A+, B+, Pi 2 model B, Pi 3 model B), and you can increase the throughput to at least 300+ Mbps (up from the standard 100 Mbps connection via built-in Ethernet).
Note about model 3 B+: The Raspberry Pi 3 model B+ includes a Gigabit wired LAN adapter onboard—though it's still hampered by the USB 2.0 bus speed (so in real world use you get ~224 Mbps instead of ~950 Mbps). So if you have a 3 B+, there's no need to buy an external USB Gigabit adapter if you want to max out the wired networking speed!
Since I'm running a Mac, and don't have a spare linux-running machine that can mount ext4-formatted partitions (like those used by default for official Raspberry Pi distributions like Raspbian on SD cards), I don't have a simple way to mount the boot partition on my Mac to tweak files on the Pi; this is a necessity if, for example, you break some critical configuration and the Pi no longer boots cleanly.
To mount an ext4-formatted SD or microSD card on a Mac, the easiest option is to use VirtualBox (and, in my case, Vagrant with one of Midwestern Mac's Ubuntu boxes). Boot a new linux VM (any kind will do, as long as it's modern enough to support ext4), shut it down, go into Settings for the VM inside VirtualBox and enable USB, then reboot.
Follow these steps once the VM is booted, to mount the flash drive: