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Solartab Review: Tablet-Size Battery Packing Power from the Sun

In Consumer Electronics, Gadgets, General, Hardware, Opinion, Review, Tech News, Technology by Michael SheehanLeave a Comment

In my house, there is not only a battle for plugs to charge our smart devices, there is frequently a battle for portable batteries in case those plugs are all used up. In fact, my kids like the ability to not be physically tethered to a plug when they want to charge their iPhones. So, often we have mini, portable charging solutions on various tables around the house (think iPhone – charging cable – portable battery). But keeping those portable batteries fully charged all of the time slowly drains money from our electrical budget. So, why not tap into a free energy source to keep portable batteries charged? This is one of the great benefits of a new portable battery that I just tested, the Solartab. Oh, and does the name give you a hint of this great benefit? It’s SOLAR POWERED!

HTD Solartab - facing sun

There are other pretty compelling benefits to the Solartab. Here are a few right off the top of my head:Read More

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How to Upgrade a MacBook Pro/Air SSD the EASY Way – TarDisk Pear Review

In Apple, Fix It, General, Hardware, How To, Review, Technology by Michael SheehanLeave a Comment

I’m a big fan of do-it-yourself upgrades or repairs when it comes to technology. Most of these mean that you have to roll up your sleeves and open up whatever device you want to fix or make better. I have upgraded hard drives on Macs, replaced keyboards on MacBook Pros, and swapped out batteries on the iPhone 3GS, 4, and 4S, each with success. But one thing that I haven’t tried to do is upgrade the SSD hard drive on my MacBook Pro. These types of upgrades are generally more expensive and a bit difficult. However, this past weekend, I doubled the space on my MacBook Pro in literally just a few minutes (with a little bit of prep time) using the TarDisk Pear 2.0. Here’s how I transformed my MacBook Pro storage from 256 GB to over 500 GB using the TarDisk Pear.

HTD TarDisk Pear - In the box

The biggest issue with upgrading a Mac is that Apple designed their devices to be closed systems. This is true with most of their products (with the exception of the Mac Pro which has the ability to accept upgrades a bit more easily). While many Mac products can accept RAM upgrades fairly easily (with the exception of the MacBook Air), hard drive upgrades are a bit more difficult.

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How to Set Up OpenVPN with NETGEAR R8500 WiFi Router for Smartphone VPN Connections

In Application, Consumer Electronics, Fix It, Gadgets, General, Hardware, How To, HTD Tech Tip, iOS, iPad, iPhone, Security, Software, Technology by Michael SheehanLeave a Comment

I have been using the NETGEAR R8500 WiFi router as my primary WiFi router at home. One of the great features that it has is the ability to run OpenVPN on Mac’s and PC’s. This enables you to not only remotely access your home network in a secure manner, but it also encrypts your traffic when you are using a potentially insecure public network. The only thing missing from this puzzle was the smartphone connection. Well, NETGEAR released a firmware update for the R8500/Nighthawk X8 (version – release notes) to enable OpenVPN connections with iOS and Android smartphones!

HTD OpenVPN & NETGEAR - logos

This is quite an important update as it allows you to encrypt the traffic on your smartphone when you are out and about. The setup doesn’t take much time whatsoever. But you need the following items to be able to do it:Read More

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Slingbox 500 Review: Placeshifting TV the Way YOU Want To

In Application, Consumer Electronics, Gadgets, General, Hardware, Review, Sponsored, Technology by Michael Sheehan1 Comment

A few weeks ago I talked about the idea of “remote” being a descriptor for other words like control, access and viewing. We all love our remote controls and the ability to view things away from where they are being shown. Remote desktop access gives you control of your computer when you are away from it via another device. A remote control lets you sit comfortably on your couch without having to get up to control your Hi-Fi appliances. The Slingbox 500 gives you both  – a way to remotely view and control your TV from a different location, something called “placeshifting” but the same way a DVR allows for “timeshifting” of recorded content.

HTD Slingbox 500 - front view

We are a TV-generation whether we like it or not. And, we are increasingly a mobile-generation, using devices on-the-go to access all aspects of our lives. What happens when you combine the two? You get Slingbox that makes hardware devices that you connect to your media devices which allow you to view the multimedia coming from these media devices remotely. Through hardware and software wizardry, you can literally stream whatever is playing physically at your home or office and view it on a computer, tablet, or smartphone while you are on-the-go. The setup of the Slingbox 500 is actually incredibly easy and, in most setup scenarios, will only take a few minutes.

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Upgrading my Logo…On my Belt Buckle…Done by FosterWeld

In Clothing, General, Hardware, Opinion by Michael SheehanLeave a Comment

A few years ago, I had a belt buckle made for me by FosterWeld. My article included an interview with Chris Foster about how the company was founded in 2007 by him and his wife. As part of my article, they supplied me with a custom belt buckle which had my logo on it. I wore it day after day for about six years and decided it was time for an upgrade.

HTD FosterWeld - Old and new buckles

My previous buckle, shown below, essentially had my logo “printed” on to it using a process called stenciling.

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“Remote” Can Describe a lot: Distance, Control, Access & Viewing

In Application, Consumer Electronics, Gadgets, General, Hardware, Sponsored, Technology by Michael Sheehan1 Comment

Quick! What is the first thing that pops to mind when you think of the word “remote?” It can act as both a noun and an adjective, among other things. When it comes to technology, it is used to frequently describe software, hardware and even services. In some cases, like that of Slingbox, it can actually describe all three of these. But before I discuss the trilogy that is Slingbox, let’s take a look at how the word “remote” works with tech.

HTD remote - google suggestion of remote

Starting with the basics…according to Merriam-Webster, the word “remote” is defined as follows:Read More

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How to Set Up & Sync your iTunes Playlist using iCloud Music Library

In Apple, Fix It, General, How To, HTD Tech Tip, iOS, iPad, iPhone, iPod, Software, Technology by Michael SheehanLeave a Comment

Just the other day, my wife asked me a tech question that I really didn’t know. And I should have. It was: “how can I get my iTunes playlist onto my iPhone?” It seemed relatively straight forward. She had created several iTunes playlists on her PC but she just couldn’t sync it over to her iPhone. I quickly tried a few things that had worked in the past, like trying to check off playlists to sync via a manual sync, but I too, couldn’t seem to get it to work. So I got to thinking, maybe there were others struggling to get their iTunes Playlists to sync as well. I decided to dive into it a bit deeper and figured I would document the process that worked for me.

HTD Set Up & Sync iTunes Playlist - how to

What I discovered is that it is actually quite easy to do, once you know how to do it. And with the magic of the iCloud Music Library, you can update and sync all of your iTunes playlists across all Apple devices. But getting this is the challenge. But have no fear, here’s how I did it. Hopefully this will work for you but it does have some prerequisites and requirements.

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