Friday, May 27, 2016

My Favorite Older Tech that last

Living in a fast pace world there’s so many new things coming out every day and we try to keep up by having the latest tech on our side but this not always possible for all of us tech lovers out there as we can’t always afford it or sometimes the newest just isn’t always the best. 

It is true that the life cycle of our consumer items has greatly shrunk these past decades, but there are some manufacturers that still produce durable and reliable products that are 2 - 3 years old and still solid. 

The Pros :

  • No surprises, they’ve proven to be reliable and durable
  • They are way more affordable then the latest version
  • They are affordable for most of them especially used or refurbished

Cons :

  • Not all can be for professional/commercial use
  • Not the latest, but the title is pretty clear about that
In this series I will go through some of the Tech I own and have given me satisfaction so far : 

1. Apple iPad mini retina  2, 32GB Wifi

This device is just amazing in performance as long as used as it was initially meant for : consuming media . The 8’ Retina display is plenty for surfing the web, watching youtube, catching up on email, news, etc.. It is very portable (even fits in my jacket pocket) and with a good battery life. I’ve had this for nearly 3 years now and it’s brilliant. The iPad mini 4 is available as well but the only advantage from this one would be the finger print sensor which I can live without.

Price : 319 $

2. Apple iPhone 5S, 32GB

Though you do have your iPhone 6 & 6S with better performance, the iPhone 5S is a great smart phone and can be bought for a decent price now. It’s got a retina screen, supports the latest iOS 9 update and therefore you get the same apple experience with maybe a 0.5s lag (but you can surely live with that!. It’s design is still trending as Apple’s latest iPhone SE has the exact same external look.

Price : 272 $

3. Samsung S6 Edge  

This has come as a surprise to me as I really don’t like Android devices, as the environment is just way too overloaded for my taste. This phone has a slick design (hard to differentiate from the new S7) and is very quick with a QuadHD display and great camera, it’s currently my backup phone for work as it manages well email attachments (though Apple has made progress in that department) and file transfers.

Price : 519 $

4. Bose Mini Soundlink 

The wireless Portable Speaker is just my favorite of it’s kind. Being often on the move, this is a must for music fans but not only. I found many uses for work during video conferences or for personal development when I’m catching up with my audio books under the shower or in my bedroom. It has great battery life as I don’t recall picking it up uncharged thanks to the charging dock included. With it’s all metal build, the device has a premium look and feel for what think is a reasonable. I would recommend getting the cover as well. 

Price : 179 $

5. Raspberry Pi 2B

This one maybe a bit tooo much on the geeky side but I use it solely as an SSH server for remote access to my home network and computers on a secured connection. As most of the devices I have at home are connected this is a great mean for me to interact with my home LAN when needed without having to setup a VPN. I often work on my desktop and forget to save the file on my dropbox or such, or when some one at home needs tech support. There’s a new version out Pi 3 for the same price of 39 $ US and is a better deal with 1GB of RAM. 

Price : 39 $

6. Blue Yeti USB Microphone

This mic is recognized as excellent value and deliver professional grade sound. It’s very solid (and heavy as well) with a full metal build but also a many controls directly on the mic (gain, headphone volume, different patterns and mute). At 105 USD, this is a very decent price to pay if you want to take your sound quality up a few notches.

Price : 129 $

7. Jaybird 2X Bluetooth earbuds

This is my everyday pair of earbuds I carry around to use with my phone (as it has an integrated mic) and listening to music. It provide amazing sound and is great for working out (being sweat proof) and fits perfectly in place. it provides different size foam and silicone buds (but go with  foam for comfort). It last with me easily throughout the day without the need to recharge and are relatively affordable for this category and quality of build. At about a 100 USD now instead of 179, they're a steal!

Price : 103 $

8. Audio Technica M50 Headphones 

These headphone I use when working on my desktop or for any type of recording. They are extremely comfortable for long hours of use, durable and survived the human tornado that is my little toddler. Prices at under 150$ they are better than most headphones over 300$ and I owned top range Bose headphones with noise cancellation.

Price : 125 $

9. Macbook Pro 2013 with 15” Retina Display

This has been my companion for work, audio, video and photo editing for the past 3 years now. Though it only has 8 GB of RAM, I run my virtual machines smoothly on it and offers a decent speed all around. I do wish it was slightly lighter but you are getting a great Apple product. The screen is impeccable with retina display and offers enough ports and outputs to plug in all your accessories without the need of any adaptors. As Apple is not charging much more for the newer versions I 

Price : 980 $ (used)

10. Time Capsule 2012  with 1 TB storage

Backing up your data on a regular basis is a must if you rely like me on your computer on a daily basis, but the process of schedule the task regularly is just not convenient and this is where the time capsule is amazing. With the Time Capsule software offers automated backups as soon as you’re in your wifi network. It serves also as an access point, easy to setup with the airport utility and  
extremely reliable (I never had to reboot it). It’s also expandable thanks to the usb port you can add an additional hard drive if needed and has 3 Gigabyte Ethernet ports.
Price : 74 $ (used)

11. Logitech Performance MX Mouse 

Though I have a track pad for my iMac, I never thought I’d miss having a mouse until I’ve tried this one. It is a lot more resting for the arm and offers me great comfort. I thought I would miss the multi gestures and multi finger controls on the track pad but this mouse had many configurable buttons to make up for these and the scroll wheel is just amazing. It may seem like a luxury to pay 60$ for a mouse but it was definitely worth it for me.

Price : 62 $

12. GoPro Hero 4 Black Edition 

Though this is not quite an old piece of tech, it’s been out for nearly 2 years now but is still the best of it’s kind. It films in 4K (but I use the 1080p 60 fps in most cases) is incredibly resistant and offers great quality images and videos. The only down side is the battery life as in high resolution, you can film about 30min therefore make sure you have at least 3 batteries to make sure you can enjoy this when going out. The Gopro 4 offers also tons of accessories for filming in any conditions and positions being the market leader, the 3rd party kits work fine (exception being the battery). 

Price : 499 $

13. Google Chromecast 

The Chromecast is the best device on the market for enjoying your media on a TV set while being highly portable. Though many other devices offer the same functionality they often come with a power adaptor while the Chromecast plugs straight into your TVs USB port making it easy to setup anywhere on the go. I use it for work as well whenI need to make presentations. The newest device doesn’t offer much more in my opinion besides colors and the possibility for connecting it to the rear of a wall mounted TV set. But since they are the same price, I would recommend  getting the newer version.

Price : 35 $

So that’s my lineup of best tech, I hope this will come in useful. I know there are many other pieces of tech out there but these are definitely my favorite and I use on a regular basis. You will find below an amazon public list with all these items. :

Please comment as I would love to have you feedback!!!!

Friday, June 22, 2012

iPhone 4 freezes when unlocking and no warranty RESOLVED

 Don't get me wrong, the iPhone is probably the most innovative and functional smartphone on the market but nevertheless it has its faults. Also Apple has the best customer service out there not hesitating to exchange your previous phone with a brand new device anytime you show up with a problem they can't resolve on the spot. But this is as long a you're still under warranty .... What happens then? You can still get a new device but it will cost you around 150-200$ !!!!

I came across this problem where the phone just keeps freezing and rebooting everytime I try to get buy the unlock screen. I found an unconventional solution to this problem but before going through this make sure that your problem is sound related (try pressing the volume button if phone freezes then my solution will work). You have to be persistant with it as it could take several attempts before working but keep going.

Try my jacksucker solution and force reboot by holding the home and power for about 15 sec (phone will go off and switch back on with apple logo). If this doesnt work do the fix from the begining by starting here.

Please let me know if this worked for you by commenting and please feel free to donate a few bucks or click on an ad from this page.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Get 70% more dropbox storage in less than 5 minutes without referrals

Dropbox must be the web service I use the most right after Google. If you're not familiar with it, basically it gives you the possibility to access your files from anyone and sync them seamlessly cross-platform and across all your devices.

Today with my extensive use of Dropbox, I naturally start lacking space and the initial free 2GB storage just aren't enough. Unfortunately Dropbox doesn't offer smaller plans of 5 or 10 GB, the "cheapest" paid alternative you have is signing up for the pro upgrade of +50 GB for 99$/year, which is quite excessive for the average Joe . You would wonder why doesn't Dropbox offer smaller plans? This is another interest subject I will cover in my next post. I wrote this article to help people get those few extra megabytes they need to get through their everyday us of this amazing tool which is quite simple but I completely missed out on the first time I signed up or just forgot about since I always .

This is where my 5 minute technique to earn more space on Dropbox comes in  ... with these 5 simple steps, you can earn about 1.4 GB as soon at signup. :
  1. Go through the getting  started section : This is an easy one, only takes 10 seconds and BAM!!! +250 MB.
  2. Comment on why you love Dropbox + Post it on Twitter: This also doesn't take more than 30 seconds and gives you +250 MB again.
  3. Follow Dropbox on Twitter and get +125 MB in 10 seconds.
  4. Link Twitter and Facebook accounts : This step is just 30 seconds in total or less and gives you an extra +250 MB.
  5. Send a referral to your work email and open a Dropbox for the office : I know some may say this is a just a friend referral but not really. I use Dropbox both personally and at the office, I don't want to mix my personal files with the professional ones and therefore have opened a free account with my work email, that I use for business purposes and share the main folder with my personal account. This way I get the +500 MB and segregate my files in a secure way (avoiding some nosy IT guy see my personal files). This takes about 3 minutes.
It may seem obvious for most of you but you'll be surprised the number of people (myself to start with after nearly 2 years of use) who miss out on this as I see so many complaining on forums that the 2 GB just aren't enough and are stuck at this level. And friends often just ignore the referral emails or you really got to insist to have them go through the whole process or are simply already using Dropbox.... So this is another quick and nice alternative.

If you need more storage space there are cheaper solutions such as Google drive where you can get 20 GB for 5$/year (which is a bargain) but Google has some strange opinion terms and conditions that don't really respect privacy.

Again if you like my post please click at least on one of these Google ads to support my blog !!!!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Pinterest: Pin it on button iPad

How to pin it for free on iPad !

I know this may seem like a stupid post, but while going through the Appstore I've noticed that some greedy programmers were taking advantage of people for ignoring this trick and sold it through Apps that go from 1.99 to 0.99 $. It may not seem much but given the 11 million members combined with the over 200 million iOS users, you can make a quick million dollar with this scheme but I'll give it out to my blog fans for free ;)

I myself got into Pinterest last week and was struggling to find a way to use the pin it bookmarklet on my iPad and iPhone like on my desktop. As usual the first thing I thought was that : "Hum ... there must be an app for that ...".  And indeed an app did exist but the one for iPad wasn't a native app and you had to use that awful x2 button (There was really no point in creating such a hideous thing, not very Apple like...). I then started digging through the Appstore and found a few third party apps that between 0.99 and 1.99$ just to be able to pin stuff through Safari : And this is when I started looking for workarounds and a pretty simple one came to mind.

Actually the only thing you need to do is make sure your bookmarks in Safari are synched in iCloud and add the Pin it button to your bookmark bar (go to the Pinterest website, about section, pin it button, and drag and drop the pin it button to your desktop browser bookmark bar) and .... That's it !

The same bookmarklet will appear in all synched iOS devices and will work the same way as on your desktop or those 1.99$ apps.

I could've gone straight to the point since the beginning but there would be no fun in that !!!!

As usual feel free to comment and click on some ads for support !!! Thanks.

PS: Forgot to mention that you do need to have a mac for this to work but nowadays who still owns a PC !?

Thursday, September 1, 2011

No sound from headphones or speakers on iPhone 4 Fix

I think this problem is nearly as bad as bricking your device as iPod, video playback/record, Phone, alarms, or sound related apps stop working. Searching on the Internet, very little effective solutions. During my search I often came across issues concerning either the speakers or the headphones but rarely both! This is why I decided to write this post and provide solutions that work.

Having my iPhone 4 in this state really got me freaking out as my warranty was due to expire in 2 months and all the other people I've come across through the apple discussion groups and different forums on the Internet had to have theirs replaced for a new one as their phone was still under warranty.

Just to give you an idea on the state of my device :
- No sound during calls from headset
- Mic not recording sounds
- No Sound output through headphones
- No sound output through speakerphones
- No Sound through bluetooth handsfree
- When I play a song on the iPod app it just immediately stops

As I live overseas and the closest Apple stores are 1000 km from me, returning the my phone was not an option, so I was bound to find a solution on my own.

I've tried all those so called solutions on the Internet but with no success:
- Plugging in and out rapidly and several times headphone on the iPhone... Nothing
- Tried by reassuring phone settings to factory default... Nothing
- Restored the phone with an upgrade ( from 4.2.1 to 4.3.5) and all that DFU voodoo... Still nothing.

Doubi's Sound fix 
From there I decide to "rejailbreak" my iPhone 4 as iOS 4.3.5 is "unjailbreakable" at the time I'm publishing this post, so I restored my shsh blob with Tiny Umbrella by launching the app and starting the TSS and while the iPhone is in DFU mode (to put your phone in DFU mode Hold Power + Home for 10 secs and the release the power button while still holding Home for 8 secs) and restore the old firmware (4.2.1 in my case). After a few minutes, an error message will pop up (don't worry this is normal) and then... What do you know, you can hear the lock screen beep and don't ask me how but THE SOUND IS BACK !!!

I was so happy to have my iPhone working again that I gave up on jailbreaking it but if one of you is able to after this, please let me know.

I'll give you this other tip as a bonus, when you iPhone is stuck in headphone mode (you can check by pressing the volume button and see if it displays "headphone volume" and if sound is only working with headphones) : Just suck the headphone jack as hard as you can and this will solve the problem.

Hope you found this article helpful and I'm really looking forward to your comments.

If this helped you solve your problem, please click on an ad on the page as a contribution or better yet make a paypal donation, I did save you at least 150$ ;)

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Must Have Apps On your new iPad: Paid and free

First of all, the iPad is an amazing piece of technology. Since bought my iPad 2 3G (loving it) started enjoying reading again and it's given a break to my over exploited MacBook. I've put up a list of apps I think are a must have on your device but left games out of my selection because the AppStore top chart is full of it and it's really not the main reason why most of us bought an iPad in the first place!

I know that this subject has been discussed on several sites but I thought it would be worth sharing my experience on the iPad and the programs I enjoy using on a daily basis. With over 100,000 apps (and counting) for the iPad and 350,000 for the iPhone you just cannot afford the time and money to go through all of them, so I'll make sure you don't miss out on the best.

He are a few apps I strongly recommend and use on a daily basis:

iWork suite: Pages, Numbers and Keynotes Paid

I never thought I would find myself doing such work on my iPad but these apps give you nearly the full power of their OSX versions. I'm working on quotes, finalizing documents and making keynotes presentations through my iPad which is about 10 times lighter than my laptop. Believe me they are fully worth the $ 9.99.

Zinio: Free

If reading was one of the main reasons you purchased your iPad for and that you enjoy your magazines, then Zinio is the software for you. You have a large selection of the worlds most popular magazines (I believe it is the largest digital selection) with crisp display, subscription possibility and offline viewing. It's simple, efficient and relatively cheap.

TuneInRadio: Paid

I use this app every morning to listen to some news radio or music It has an amazing selection of radios from all around the world at a high quality bit rate as good as satellite radio, with album cover artist name and song title. The TuneIn account allows you to sync preferred stations throughout all of your apple devices.

Blogpress: Paid

This is the app I'm currently using to post this article. It's simple and rich on options. It's capable of connecting to all the popular blog platforms (Blogger, Drupal, MSN, Joomla, Wordpress, My journal, Tumblr etc..) and allows integration of Picassa, Flickr for photos. So far it is the best app I know for this.


If you have a MobileMe subscription then having the iDisk app is handy if you need a free app for access to remote storage. It offers basic functions such as browsing, viewing and sharing.

Mykeepass: Paid

If like me you use keepass ( a great open source and standalone) password management software, then Mykeepass is for you: as it is the iOS version of keepass. It is simple and secure as nothing is stored online, it's all local but you can store your password file on any remote storage if you prefer having access to it online and synced.

Selbuk: Free

This is an amazing app I recently discovered and I'm sure you won't find on other blogs. As a small business owner, I needed an application that could create a client, product and supplier database, manage my stocks and follow up my accounting and invoicing. If these are your needs look no further because this little gem brought to us by some Spanish developers is very promising and so far the best of it's kind. I forgot to mention that it includes a cloud service as well. I'm really looking forward to the upgrades to make it more stable and maybe a cocao interface.

Dropbox: Free

Does not need to be introduced anymore but this app is essential if you own an account. Not only it is a great cloud storage app, but also a great document viewer for many formats. I had some ms words documents come out formatted better from dropbox than Pages (although Pages is a great app too).

Goodreader: Paid

This software is the best in the AppStore for accessing any kind of remote storage (iDisk, Dropbox, Googledocs, FTP, WebDav etc..) and can open the most common files (doc, xls, ppt, PDF, images etc...). The app even allows editing and annotations and is worth every single penny.

Evernote: Free

It is a great piece of software for taking notes and keeping them in sync throughout your apple devices. But I mainly use it for my studies and making flash cards. Really it's up to you to find out how it can help you but a must have to organize some ideas and notes.

Google: Free

Honestly I don't find this app exceptional but it's convenient as you have all google services indexed in it. Besides the photo search function, I think it's just a collection of shortcuts to google services. Nevertheless it's practical.

Instapaper: Paid

The iPad app is simple and clean. Does the job flawlessly and the navigator integration is clever.

Flipboard: Free

It's one of the most innovative apps for iPad, offering a whole different and amazing way to consult social websites. On top of that it is a powerful rss reader, bringing to life your favorite readers in a flipbook format.

Skype: Free

Although FaceTime is a great app offering high quality image and sound, it's just not cross platform and doesn't offer the possibility of sending text. Also I get to keep my current friend list. But you have to regret though that there is no native app for the iPad?
UPDATE: There's now a native Skype app !!!

Alarmed: Free

Surprisingly enough the iPad doesn't come with a clock application but there are a few on the AppStore for every need. I found this app simple with a neat interface and decent functionalities for the price ... FREE. And it does the job.

2Do: Paid

There are a few task managers out there but this one is my favorite as it just offers so much details to include in your tasks such as contact, note, voice memo, photo, location and great options as MobileMe syncing and task sorting by nearest location which can help you optimize your movements. You will also enjoy the nice and polished interface.

These are the main apps I currently use on my iPad and believe that you'll find them being useful for taking full advantage of the capabilities of your device.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Make Google Docs behave like Dropbox through Transmit with Webdav

I'm huge fan of remote storage for backing up my recent documents and the important one I always want to keep close to me.

I started by using Google Docs: Loved it! It gave me satisfying storage space for very cheap (5 USD /year for nearly 30 Gigs) and the possibility to edit my documents from a web browser, making it easy for me to edit a spreadsheet or word document from virtually anywhere.

I was then confronted to the difficulty on syncing the files I had locally and on my Google Docs. Uploading and downloading files back and forth just made the whole process counter productive.

I then discovered Dropbox. It offered smooth synching of my local files on drive with the ones on server. This was really convenient for me and for a while I even stopped using Google Docs.

I then discovered the a way on combining Google Docs functionality with Dropbox thru Webdav. Many of you may not know it but Google Docs IS Webdav compatible thru a third party

Using this in combination with Transmit 4's ability to sync directories, I was able to emulate Dropbox functionality while taking advantage of the large storage space I have on Google Docs with it's collaborative functions.

1. Enter as server
2. Enter your google docs username and password
3. Save and Run the connection

Enjoy !!!