Apple AirPods – One Month Later

It’s been a little over month since the AirPod First Impressions post (and a month since I’ve updated the Blog, wow!) and the AirPods have earned a place in my Every Day Carry kit.

I was a little concerned about the battery life at first but it’s turned out to be a non-issue.  I’m only charging the case about once a week and rarely have the actual AirPods in my ears for more than an hour at any one time.

For some reason the AirPods seem to feel ever so lightly larger in my ears than the wired EarBuds but without ay kind of precision measuring tools I can’t confirm that’s the case.  Once thing I did start to notice is the seams where the halves come together had an ever so small sharp edge to them that I could start to feel after about 30-minutes of use.  I was able to smooth the ridge out with a very fine sponge backed emery board and now it’s not an issue at all.

As far as sound goes they sound better than the EarPods with just a little more bass that’s noticeable with most types of music.  Microphone pickup is very sensitive and I was told during one of my tests the other party could hear me breathing.  Sound quality on both ends is more than acceptable and is similar to what you would find when using the phone.

I have an iPhone 7 Plus and occasionally find it hard to line the phone up with my ear to get good sound.  That’s where the AirPods become my favorite method for making and receiving calls.

Evidently the AirPods are sill in short supply and as of this writing Apple is still showing a 6-week lead time on shipping.  I have yet to see another person wearing a pair of AirPods which I find surprising.

If you want to spend the $150 on a set of truly wireless headphones and you’re willing to wait a few weeks I still think these are a good purchase.

First Impressions – Apple AirPods

After purchasing Christmas presents for everyone on my list this year I decided to get myself a gift.  After 3-weeks of waiting the package finally arrived…  Apple AirPods!

I love listening to music (mostly Spotify) whenever I can and after seeing the AirPods announcement last fall I was curious about how they performed.  Thanks to a lot of media outlets getting advanced units the reviews were out there before the AirPods were even available for order. For the most part they were very positive.

I’ve tried the inexpensive Bluetooth earbuds connected with a cord that is supposed to go behind your head and I’m not a fan.  The cord gets caught up in your clothing and makes the entire process rather uncomfortable and annoying.  Now, with the AirPods, you can actually go completely wireless and it addresses all the issues I was frustrated with.

The AirPods sound better than the EarPods that come with the iPhones.  They are just slightly larger and, in my case, fit very comfortably in my ears.  The bass is noticeably improved and the overall sound is very nice.  Battery life and bluetooth range is very impressive too.

These are not going to replace my Bose noise canceling over-the-ear headphones that I use when I want to tune the world out but they will be part of my daily carry for those times where I need a little music to make the day go a little better.

It’s to early to say if they were worth the $159 asking price but so far I haven’t regretted the purchase!

Goodbye Pocket, Hello Instapaper!

apps-pocket-iconAlways looking for interesting online content (and a place to capture it) I’ve been using the Pocket application since 2012.  I even upgraded to the Premium version for around $5 a month which gives you some nice auto-tagging, searching, and archive functions.

I was actually preparing to return to the free version of Pocket because I wasn’t using the advanced features as much as I thought I would.  I save the articles I want to keep long-term in Evernote so the archiving features were not a benefit.  I’m still trying to adopt the whole tagging concept too so that was another feature that was wasted on me (I’m a Folder organizer, always have been)…

instapaper-logoThen Instapaper decided to eliminate the cost of their Premium services… (Whoah, game changer right?)…

Well I had to at least try it out.  I’ve seen the Instapaper icon as a “save for later” option all over the Internet for a while now.

I’ll have to admit I’m pretty impressed with how Instapaper works.  It does a MUCH better job saving articles in their original format than Pocket did and it beats Evernote hands down with inline videos and graphics.

Other features include “Speed Reading” where each word flashes on the screen at a speed you select.  It’s a little awkward at first and causes me to read out loud, for some reason, but it does what it’s supposed to.

Another option I just discovered allows you to tilt your phone to auto-scroll the article you’re reading.  The more you tilt the faster the scrolling rate.  It takes a little bit to get used to but works great when you’re sitting in your favorite chair relaxing.

If you’re a fan of offline archiving/reading of online content you should really check out Instapaper.  You can even import your Pocket library into Instapaper and not miss a beat.  It’s a really solid product and you can’t beat the price!

Let me know your thoughts in the comment section below…

TVShow Time!

I officially “Cut the Cord” on Cable TV last November and haven’t looked back.  With subscriptions to Netflix, Hulu, and HBO Go, I get to watch pretty much anything I want when I want (and save a lot of money in the process).  I’m finding a lot of shows that have been around for several seasons and it can be hard to keep track of what you’ve watched and when new episodes are made available.

Tvshow-TimeThis is where TVShow Time (TVST) comes in.  This is a free service on the web that also has apps for Apple and Android.  TVST helps you mark what you’ve watched and has a worldwide fanbase who have running commentaries about the shows you’re watching.  It’s a big community of people who are doing exactly what you’re doing!

Community members make and upload GIF’s of important scenes in each episode to post in the comments and they’re usually very entertaining.  Be warned though there are spoilers in the comments so it’s best not to view until after you’ve watched a particular episode.

TV-Show-TimeOne of my favorite features is a calendar of upcoming shows that goes out about a year in advance.  Wondering when the new season of Walking Dead is going to return?  As of today it’s 48 days away!

To get started you just search for your favorite show and click the “+” sign to add it to your list.  After that you can view show details, season info, episodes, and community comments.

In the settings you can setup push alerts to let you know when new shows are available.  If you’re a Hulu user you can even delay the notifications by 24 hours so they’ll actually be available for you when you get notified.

The basic app is free & they just added in-app purchases that will allow calendar access and some additional customizations (I haven’t tried these yet).  TVST has been a really great resource to help me keep track of my TV viewing and it’s worth checking out!

Belkin Qode Ultimate Pro Bluetooth Keyboard Case for iPad Air 2

Wow, that title is long!  I’ve used the Belkin Qode Ultimate Pro Bluetooth Keyboard Case (Qode for short) since last December and it’s been put into service on a daily basis.

I get pulled into a lot of meetings at work and client sites and I always grab my iPad to take notes in Evernote.  Having a fully functional keyboard makes that task so much easier.  I can type pretty well with the on-screen iPad keyboard but the physical alternative is so much better.

The Qode offers good protection of the iPad, front and back.  One of the things I really like about the keyboard is it’s a separate piece so you can easily detach it and use the iPad on its own.  You can also attach the Apple Smart Cover as an alternative while leaving the back of the iPad covered and protected.

As with any portable device there are usually some compromises.  The only one I can think of with the Qode is the keys are a little on the small side, but nothing drastic.  Switching back and forth between the MacBook Pro and the Qode is pretty effortless.

The Qode offers multiple backlight levels as well as two angles of viewing for the iPad screen.  Battery life is rated at 1-year with normal use and I can honestly say that claim is conservative.  9-months of regular use and I’m sitting at around 50% battery capacity.

When activated (by propping the iPad into one of two magnetic slots) the Qode instantly connects to the iPad.  It has a lot of shortcut keys you can program as well as dedicated keys for cut/copy/paste/volume etc.  You can even pair it up with a second device (phone?) and toggle back and fourth with dedicated buttons.

All in the Qode ads about 1-pound of additional weight to the iPad.  not bad when you consider you are getting a nicely padded rear shell and a fully functional backlit and aluminum clad keyboard on the front.

This has been an awesome addition to my daily carry and you can pick one up yourself for around $100 on Amazon.

Project Apollo – 8,400 Images from the Apollo Program

21750223320_00ee9c1335_kI’ve always been fascinated with the Space Race and the more I read about it the more I want to learn.  The fact we were able to send so many men into space (and bring them BACK) with what would now be considered primitive technology is amazing.

I ran across this link a while back & thought I’d share.  These are previously unreleased images (8,400 in all) of the Apollo Project uploaded to Flickr.

After reviewing the pictures if you get really ambitious you can try piloting a Online Apollo Guidance Computer (AGC) Simulator yourself.  Good luck!

 

 

4-Months of Dead Air?

Wow, it’s hard to believe it’s been 4-months since I last published a post on IndyScan.com.  A lot’s been happening and I’ve obviously not been documenting it here!

My activity on Facebook has increased and I’m giving Instagram another try so the details are out there for those of you who know where to look!  I’m currently testing a plugin that will increase the activity on the blog by posting my favorite Instagram pictures here (just tested it right before this post!).  One of these days I’ll have things streamlined where I can share things with everyone everywhere with a single submission (getting really close to that now).

One of the new activities I’m taking part of this year is kayaking.  I grew up canoeing and have always loved the water.  This year was the year to get back out there.  In May I took advantage of the Rusted Moon Outfitters annual sale (20% off!) and picked up a new Dagger Axis 12-foot kayak.  I used the savings to offset the cost of a really nice carbon/fiberglass paddle and kayak specific life vest.

Dagger-Axis-120-Molten-Top

Dagger-Axis-120-Molten-Side

Having gone on several lake and river paddles I can honestly say this is one hell of a boat.  Very comfortable positioning and ride as well as highly maneuverable.  The retractable Skeg (basically a fixed rudder) makes tracking on open water dead straight and when retracted the boat turns on a dime.

I went on a 2-day overnight (camping) trip with some of the guys from work and I had plenty of room for all my equipment, even though I totally over packed!

Since kayaking has become my preferred form of exercise I decided to add one more piece of gear to the mix.  The Garmin Fenix 3 HR GPS/Smartwatch.  Previously I tried out an Apple Watch and was less than impressed.  After reading the reviews I really wanted to give the Garmin a try.

Garmin-Fenix-F3-HRWell this thing is a completely different animal.  It’s rugged as all get out and does many things very well.  You get all the notifications of a Smartwatch but you also get a ton of tracking info for outdoor activities and it’s completely configurable to match your needs.  From running to hiking to water sports and cycling.  This watch does it all and I could not be happier with the purchase.  It’s great to have an electronic dashboard on your wrist with all of your exercise stats as well as full navigation of where you’ve been and how to get back.  It even has weather alerts (web and barometer based) so you don’t get caught off guard when mother nature decides to storm on your outing.

Screenshot 2016-08-14 13.36.41

The image above shows a solo kayak run from Lafayette Trace (near Bongies in Perkinsville) to White River Canoe Company just south of Noblesville.  15+ miles in just under 5 hours.  It was the first time I got to put the Garmin to use and it performed flawlessly.  All of my distance, speed, and heart rate stats were compiled throughout the trip.  I can use the info to gauge my fitness level as well as track improvements or areas that need worked on.

So it’s obvious my new extra curricular activities have shifted focus away from blogging but at least I’m getting exercise!  Look for more posts in the future along with a few trip reports from upcoming kayaking adventures I plan to have before the snow starts flying.

Until next time…