All posts by Joe

For Those of You Who Have Trouble Sleeping

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Having trouble sleeping at night? One problem might be that you are using your computer before you goto bed. Instead of going into the complex science of eye stimulation (which I do not quite understand myself), I will give you the brief over view. On f.lux’s website they explain it to us that the blue lights that your computer emit can keep you up late at night, so the purpose of f.lux was to eliminate these blue lights. They have done this by making your computers screen adapt to the time of the day. For example, on there website they state: “When the sun sets, it makes your computer look like your indoor lights. In the morning, it makes things look like sunlight again.” Overall, f.lux has personally been a great help with my tendency to work late into the night. So for all of you people out there like me I would recommend downloading f.lux. For more information behind the science of f.lux click here.

Best Beginner Drones for Filming

Low Cost: Cheerson CX-20

Price: $300

A great drone for anyone starting out. When I first got my Cheerson CX-20 I beat, dropped, and slammed into walls. Eventually the drone broke after a few months, but this was a great way to learn how to fly. The Cheerson lacks a high end interface and auto pilot controls, but through this lack of technology I became a better pilot. Having moved on from my Cheerson onto more advanced drones (that basically fly themselves), I would have never gotten to my skill level had it not been for the Cheerson. The Cheerson is a basic quadcopter with similar resemblance to the older DJI Phantom. The UAV does not come equipped with a built in Camera so you will have to snap on a GoPro. Incase you would like a more advanced drone without the price, you can always upgrade your CX-20 with a POV monitor, gimbal, and other accessories at $50 to $100 at a time.

Note: Cheerson has updated to the CX-22 (but it costs twice as much)

Medium Cost: Xiro Xplorer

Price: $800

Probably one of the best valued drones on the market is the Xiro Xplorer. There are two models sold by Xiro including the Xplorer G equipped with a 3-Axis gimbal for your GoPro, or the Xplorer V equipped with an in-house camera created by Xiro delivering crisp 1080p video. The Xiro Xplorer is a very durable and well made device that looks like it should cost twice as much as it does. It also includes much of the technology expected from higher end drones like video streaming, a specially design app, orbit mode, follow mode, and many other features. This is a high end drone, without the high end price tag.

Note: Watch out for the Xiro’s new Xplorer2!

High Cost: 3DR Solo

Price (UAV): $1000

Price (Gimbal): $400

Deemed the smartest drone on the market, it is hard to disagree after my first flight. The 3DR Solo has a noticably sleek and clean look as compared to its ugly competitor the DJI Phantom. Compared to the DJI Phantom the 3DR Solo only lacks in its range, but can be fixed for $20 dollars by buying range extenders and ends up bettering the Phantom. 3DR put time in to developing one of the best applications for their drone, so that a beginner will have the ability to take professional quality shots. The Solo is able to keep itself very steady in the wind, launch itself, orbit, follow, cable follow, and much more (not to mention the updates). If you have the cash, the 3DR Solo is worth the investment as a beginner drone as it is not very difficult to fly.

Note: Don’t worry about model updates as the 3DR Solo has updates that change its dynamics and expansion bay allows for extra accessories to be attached.

Bowers & Wilkins | P5 Wireless

Over the past few years, Bluetooth headphones have entered the market. High-end brands such as Bowers & Wilkins decided to stay out of the market because the company claimed Bluetooth did not provide the ability to deliver high-quality audio. B&W has entered the market with the help of aptX which delivers higher quality audio – however devices such as the iPhone do not support aptX. The P5 Wireless headphones bear a resemblance in hardware to the P5 Series 2 headphones (Wired). The wireless headphones are in the luxury price range at $400, a $100 increase from the wired P5.

The design of the wireless headphones is basically the same as the P5 Series 2. It sports the aluminum design along with leather ear pads that provide an elegant design. It is evident that B&W carefully thought through the design challenges of a wireless headphone. For example, below the right ear pad, the MicroUSB charging port is cleverly hidden. In the event, the headphones run out of battery, one of the ear pads can be removed to insert an audio cable. The headphones come with a beautiful quilted case to store the headphones with a hidden compartment to store the charging cable and audio cable.

When testing the P5 wireless headphones on an aptX supported device, the audio quality was incredibly clear. Compared to the wired versions of the P5, it was hard to tell a difference in audio quality. On non-aptX devices (such as the iPhone), there was a marginal change in audio quality, but the difference was only noticeable to trained ear.

The P5 wireless headphones are not noise cancelling headphones, but it does a good job for the most part. The only time I notice a difference is on flights when noise cancelling headphones are necessary. One benefit of the P5 wireless headphones not being noise cancelling is the extended battery life, it is reported to play for 17 hours (compared to Beats Studio Wireless noise cancelling headphones at 9hrs). If noise cancelling is a must, these headphones are not for you. In my testing, I didn’t notice a huge difference except on airplanes. I preferred the 8-hour battery life gain since I rarely ran out of battery and it gave me one less thing to worry about charging.

The P5 wireless is a beautifully designed headphone that delivers a high-quality audio experience. These headphones require some compromise and this experience is not for everyone. But, if you are looking for high-quality headphones that block most noise and desire longer battery life, these are the headphones for you.

Customizing Your Mac’s Trackpad

Tapping the track pad in order to click has become a very popular way for selecting application or texts when using a Macintosh. Its popularity comes from the convinces factor of not having to press down completely on the trackpad every time. However, tap to click tends to be annoying for new users, who may find themselves selecting texts or applications when not desired. Other than tap to click, the trackpad has many other potential capabilities like secondary click, zooming, rotating, and a multitude of gestures. To find these trackpad customizations locate your System Preferences application, then open the Trackpad pane under Hardware. From there you are free to explore. Bellow is a quick overview of my most commonly used trackpad click and hand gestures.

Tap to Click

As described above, tap to click gives the user the connivence of being able to tap their trackpad (instead of pressing down to select) in order to select text or apps.

Secondary Click

This allows the user the ability to secondary click (a.k.a. right click), instead of pressing control + click.

Zoom and Rotate

Found in the Scroll & Zoom section, zoom and rotate is a quick way to zoom into or rotate photos in selected applications like iPhoto.

Swipe Between Apps

In my opinion this is the best gesture ever created. Although it is simple this gesture enables you to four finger swipe between your desktop screens.