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Reading Time: 2 minutesNomad’s new rugged 100W USB-C cable. (Photo by Brad Moon)
USB-C cables were supposed to bring some sort of universal Nirvana to the world of charging devices and connecting PC peripherals. And get rid of the irritation of having to insert a full-sized USB or microUSB cable the correct way. No more upside down cables? No more having to choose between USB-A, Micro USB, and Mini USB cables? It sounds too good to be true.
And it has been too good to be true. USB-C cables seem to suffer from compatibility issues that prevent you from using some cables with some devices. Not all work with chargers. Try to use the wrong USB-C cable to charge your shiny new MacBook and you could see the laptop go up in smoke. The Verge calls USB-C charge cables “playing Russian Roulette with your laptop.”
If you’ve read my posts in the past, you already know I’m a fan of Nomad gear. The company has a well-deserved reputation for designing extremely high-quality accessories. A month ago, I wrote about their Universal cable, my test bench go-to when switching between the multiple USB variations and Apple’s Lightning connector.
Now the company has come out with an ultra-rugged, virtually indestructible USB-C cable.
On the outside, it’s clearly made to last. The three-foot-long cable is far thicker than the USB-C cable that ships with any of your gear, with a coating of braided ballistic nylon. Beneath that is a fire resistant PVC jacket. There’s RF shielding to protect against interference and an extra strong Polyamide core. Beneath it all is extra thick, 20AWG wire. The cable is designed for extremes, including 10Gbps data transfer, 4K video, and 100W total power output. It’s tested to military specs for flexing, surviving 4,000 bends at 150-degrees. The cable also resists tangling, which is always a good thing.
It may be overkill for the Switch when it can easily fast charge a Mac Pro, but why take chances on a USB-C cable? (Photo by Brad Moon)
It’s safe to use for fast-charging a MacBook Pro. I use it for charging a Nintendo Switch, something that can be hit or miss with typical USB-C cables.
If you’re nervous about USB-C—especially for charging—then consider picking up one of the Nomad ultra-rugged 100W USB-C cables. At $39.95, it’s more expensive than the cheap ones you can find on Amazon, but it should last forever. You won’t have to put up with pokey data throughput. More importantly, you won’t have to give a second thought about plugging your laptop, smartphone, tablet, or accessory to a USB-C power adapter.
Disclosure: Nomad provided a USB-C cable for evaluation but had no input into this review.
Reading Time: 2 minutesGeek Daily Deals – Lightweight slip-ons for the beach, poolside, and almost barefoot walks; keep a little extra charge in your pocket at all times.
CIOR Men & Women’s Barefoot Quick-Dry Water Sports Aqua Shoes :
For those situations where you want to go nearly-barefoot, but feel better with a little something between you and the ground.
92% polyester, 8% spandex
QUICK DRY WITH DRAINAGE HOLES: Unique and top-quality sole with seven holes on each bottom to ensure proper water flow out of them? which creates a cooler and healthier shoe environment, quick-dry, super comfortable during water sports.
FOOT SAFETY: The rubber soles, with a really comfortable and thick foam arch-support insert inside of them, are flexible yet thick enough to protect your feet from stepping on rock and stone.Breathable and smooth fabrics with fine stretch on uppers, flexible and comfortable. Smooth designed neck prevents chafing when wearing our water shoes.
EXERCISE OF FOOT MUSCLE: By using foot muscle almost same as barefoot walking, exercise of foot muscle and finger pressure effect for sole are available.
COMFORTABLE: Take advantage of the Textile, more breathable and comfortable, allows all toes to move and articulate without restraint.
OCCASION: Necessities in water park, surfing, beach volleyball, pilates, weight training, wake-boarding, sailing, parasailing, boating, kayaking, windsurfing, cycling jogging, walking, fishing, garden, lawn, car-washing and driving and yoga.
RAVPower Luster Mini 3350mAh External Battery Pack:
For when form is as important as function; carry this candy-sized portable battery in your pocket, purse, or pack for a little extra charge wherever you are.
Small But Powerful Enough: Sleek mini size fits easily into any pocket or bag, but powerful enough to get a full charge of your iPhone 7 or other smartphones (14 hours of additional talk time or 90 hrs of music playback from your cell phone).
Thoughtful And Ergonomic Design: White plastic cap at the top and unique clip-inspired design would prevent the charger from scratching and rolling off your desk; same anodic oxidation technology as Apple matched with a gorgeous metal shell will transform you into a style icon; Easy to press the power button, 3 status LEDs keep you informed of remaining capacity.
Exclusive iSmart Technology: 1A output and 1A input, charge faster and smarter than others, automatically detects and delivers the optimal charging current for any connected device- ensuring the fastest and most efficient charge.
Safety Protection: Short-circuit and over-current protection will make the charger automatically shut it down if a short circuit or overload output occurred while the unit is charging; Ultra reliable A (plus) Lithium-Ion battery with over 500 battery charge cycles.
What You Get: RAVPower 3rd Gen Luster Mini 3350mAh Portable Charger, Micro USB cable, welcome guide, our fan-favorite 18-month quality guarantee and friendly customer service.
Reading Time: 2 minutesGeek Daily Deals – Get a great combo deal on the Sphero BB-8 rolling robot with the amazing Force Band controller; or upgrade to a healthier workspace with this excellent standing desk.
Sphero R001SUS Star Wars BB-8 App Controlled Robot with Star Wars Force Band:
Still just about the coolest toy to come out of the new Star Wars movies, get a great deal on the Sphero BB-8 plus the Force band that lets you control the robot with just your hand motions.
Battle-Worn Exterior: BB-8 app-enabled Droid with a polycarbonate shell sports the wear and tear of Resistance missions
Bluetooth Smart connection allowing Gyroscopic propulsion to a 30m range
Induction charging stand providing 60 minute battery life
Control the BB-8 app-enabled Droid with the Force band through gestures like Force push, pull and drive
Free iOS & Android compatible apps; allow Adaptive Personality, The Force Training and view holographic recordings
This is how you stay a little bit more fit while you get work done.
Straight Up & Down Movement: Our space-saving workstation rises and folds vertically, within its own footprint. There’s no need to make the spatial accommodations that may be required with comparable products.
Smooth & Easy Adjustments: Our single-handle design makes it super easy to safely adjust the height of the desk. You never need to use two hands or extra force like with some other brands.
Spacious Work Surface: With our groove-free, extra-deep desktop, you will have plenty of space to accommodate a laptop, computer monitor, paperwork and more.
Quick-Release Keyboard Tray: Our full-sized keyboard tray features a deeper work surface to fit a larger keyboard, mouse, and mousepad as well as a unique quick-release design so you can quickly and easily remove it when you’re performing tasks that don’t require a keyboard and mouse.
Ergonomic Benefits for Every Height: Whether you’re 5’1” or 6’1”, you can comfortably shift from sitting to standing with 12 different height levels.
First printed in 2004, this new edition features 50 pages of additional beautiful artwork.
Ancient ballads in comic form; art that honors English folklore; collaborations with Neil Gaiman, Sharyn McCrumb, Jane Yolen, Jeff Smith… this and so much more can be said about this book, first available as single issues and now in an impressive compendium, 162 pages long.
For me, the kingdom of Faerie is something I see through Charles Vess’ eyes and ability. I first met him in Sandman: Dream Country, and have been keeping an eye on him ever since.
These traditional folklore tales and songs, adapted to be read as graphic stories, echo the way the verses sound, leading you through a visual representation of their themes that makes you wonder about their ancient meaning.
In Neil Gaiman’s “The False Knight on the Road,” a kid must face the riddles of a terrible spirit, and his cunning answers are all he’s got against a foe much stronger than him.
“Thomas the Rhymer” tells the story of a man who was able to visit the Faerie kingdom and come back, and there are many more. “King Henry,” “The Great Selchie of Sule Skerrie,” “Twa Corbies,” “The Galtee Farmer,” “The Black Fox”—all of these adapted by famous writers in collaboration with Vess.
Not only are these interesting to read and beautiful to behold, but they also serve as a way of understanding a world. The way Charles Vess envisions ancient magic and uncanny Faeries and Pixies is a lesson on the subject all by itself. Read him, learn from him, try to draw like he does, and you′ll be richer in the process.
Reading Time: 2 minutesThe Mohu Leaf Chroma in Frost Blue/Midnight Black
For many cord-cutters, Mohu is the first (and last) name in OTA HDTV antennas. The original Leaf is the bedrock upon which Mohu’s reputation is built, and a steady stream of newer, more refined models has helped keep the company at the forefront of hi-def broadcast technology. Their latest innovation, the Leaf Chroma, is a colorful solution for those of us who prefer to supplement our steaming entertainment with free local channels rather than face steadily increasing fees for cable or satellite TV.
With regard to performance and setup, the Chroma is very similar to Mohu’s previous Leaf Glide model. Like the Glide, this amplified indoor antenna draws power from your television’s USB service port (or a standard outlet using an included USB adaptor), and it’s 16-foot cable and multidirectional design allow it to be mounted practically anywhere to maximize its 65-mile reception range.
It’s also ultrathin and boasts a two-color, reversible design, but that’s where the similarities end. While the Glide is a whopping 21.5-inch by 11.5-inch device in your standard tech color scheme—that being, of course, black and white—the new Chroma is a daintier 25-inch by 7-inch antenna, making it that much easier to integrate into your already crowded viewing space. As the name implies, the Chroma also eschews the classic black-and-white for a number of new color options.
Already, the Chroma is available in two color combinations: the ultra-modern Frost Blue/Midnight Black and the more neutral Tranquil Grey/Easy Beige (the shades of my review unit). Moreover, Mohu assures me that additional colors are on the way.
The Mohu Leaf Chroma in Tranquil Grey/Easy Beige
You see, while Leaf antennas have historically gone for a discreet, vanilla design, the Leaf Chroma, has, at last, embraced the “mount anywhere” nature of the line and seeks to be a part of your room’s décor as opposed to just being another electronic item that’s profile you seek to downplay.
Best of all, though, the Mohu Leaf Chroma gives you all the performance of the Glide with a smaller price tag. Available now for $69.99 via Amazon and through Mohu’s own online storefront, the colorful Chroma comes in at a cool $20 cheaper than its big brother.
Whatever your viewing needs, there’s certainly a Mohu Leaf model engineered specifically to fit them, but, pound for pound, the Chroma Designer Indoor Amplified HDTV Antenna is their best offering to date. Its clean, colorful design, smaller footprint, and cheaper price serve to make it the standout product of their already outstanding line.
Alex Garland returns to the big screen with Annihilation, his latest sci-fi thriller, this weekend. Is it worth seeing? Should you bring the kids or find a babysitter?
1. What is it about?
After an alien… something… crashes into a lighthouse on the coast, it spreads “the shimmer,” a slowly expanding boundary of sorts, around the crash site. Three years later, multiple teams have gone inside to try to figure out what exactly what is going on, but only one man, Kane (played by Oscar Isaac), has come back after having been missing for a year, and he is not precisely in the best condition. And so his wife, Lena, a biologist played by Natalie Portman, and a team of women take their turn going inside. While they explore the strange world being created inside the shimmer, and while Lena searches for clues as to what happened to her husband, all five women also seek to bury their own demons.
While they search, we see flashbacks of Kane and Lena’s life together before he left on the mission.
2. Will I like it?
I did, but I should admit here that I’m a big fan of Garland’s work. His directorial debut, Ex Machina, is one of my all-time favorite movies, and one that is assigned viewing in a class I teach. And his writing credits include 28 Days Later, Sunshine, and Dredd. So I went in with pretty high expectations, and I wasn’t disappointed. The movie nicely manages the mix of being visually stunning and also thematically very dark.
3. How are the performances in the movie?
One of the things that makes the movie so easy to watch is the performances from the almost entirely female cast. Portman is fantastic as always, but she’s aided here by some great fellow actors: Jennifer Jason Leigh, Jane the Virgin‘s Gina Rodriguez, Swedish actress Tuva Novotny, and Infinity Wars‘ Tessa Thompson. All five women are strong, but each has a dark secret that seems to eat away at them as they explore the shimmer, and all of the actresses do a great job of showing both the strength and vulnerability in the roles.
There are only three men with notable speaking roles: the aforementioned Oscar lsaac, who appears mostly in the flashbacks; Benedict Wong, who plays a government agent interviewing Lena; and David Gyasi, a co-worker of Lena’s from the flashbacks. All three are good in the limited parts they play.
4. What is it rated and why?
The movie is rated R for “violence, bloody images, language and some sexuality.” The violence and bloody images are both fairly pervasive through the movie. It is, perhaps, the bloodiest movie I’ve seen in some time. Multiple characters meet very bad ends.
The script doesn’t hold back on the language, with multiple “f” and “s” words uttered throughout.
The sexuality, on the other hand, is pretty understated. There are a couple of scenes that show Lena having sex, but all we see if her bare back.
5. Will my kids like it?
I definitely would hesitate to take younger children to the movie. Beyond the blood and violence, the movie is at times quite frightening. And the overall theme of the movie might be tough for them to understand and come to grips with.
Older teens may enjoy it more, but should know that it is not a shoot-’em-up action film. Like Sunshine and Ex Machina, it’s a much more cerebral take on things.
6. When can I sneak out to the bathroom?
The movie is just under two hours long. There are quite a few scenes while the women make their way through the shimmer that build on the story but can be missed without confusing you too much. However, once they arrive at the army base, I’d suggest that you try to stick it out for the rest of the movie.
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This week we trek to Seattle and discover the Museum of Pop Culture! We didn’t even know the place existed when we got into town. After talking with a few locals, we quickly realized this was a place we needed to experience.
While there we took in the special Jim Henson Exhibit. I used that to introduce the kids to Fraggle Rock and Labyrinth. We were all introduced to this fantastic Muppet clip that I hadn’t seen before: Ragg Mopp.
An added bonus for the episode is a side story about getting hot dogs in the park before entering the museum. As parents, we often try and create fantastic experiences for our kids (like taking them to a great museum). Sometimes, however, it is a little thing that makes the biggest impact on their memory. When we sat down to record this episode I had forgotten all about that hot dog—and was amazed that it was a primary thing Anthony remembered from the day.