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Why You Should Write Long-Form Content & Blog Articles

In Content Strategy, General, How To, Opinion by Michael SheehanLeave a Comment

So, I’m not a huge fan of short-form content. Well, I have to clarify that a bit: short-form blog articles. While I know that there is a time and place for short-form content (think social media), articles that appear on blogs, in my opinion, are simply not doing a reader justice if they are just a few short paragraphs. Yes, I know that there are plenty of bloggers and writers who are masters of the short-form article. And I commend them for being able to pull it off. Unfortunately, I simply cannot.

I have been writing blog articles, professionally and personally, for well over a decade. Heck, HighTechDad.com has over 1000 articles. (Where I find time to do it, I’m not entirely sure but it has become a sort of addiction.) And as my writing evolved, I started to notice a tendency towards longer pieces. Let me qualify what I consider a long and short piece. For me (currently) any article over 700 words I consider to be “longer” and I tend to now write a minimum of 1000 words. If I were to write a “short” piece, it would be between 500-700 words. Anything below 500 words I feel is almost not worth writing (there are exceptions, of course).

And, as I said, there are some superhero bloggers out there that can pull off the short-form article and do it all of the time. But frequently, those same authors also post their short articles daily or several times a day. This I cannot do for one reason or another – time being one of them. But also, many of those authors are masters of the written word and able to pack immense amounts of meaning into minimal prose. They are concise and effective. (I, on the other hand, am verbose and…er…well, I hope equally effective.)

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Why Having a Quality Monitor Like the 4K BenQ EW3270U is Critical To Your Vision

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

Do your eyes feel tired at the end of the workday after staring at a monitor? Do you get headaches often when you stare at your screen? Does screen flickering make you nauseous? Well, there is a good chance that it is your monitor that is causing these problems. Things like blue light, flicker, refresh rates, having your monitor too bright or too dim, shadows, reflections, ambient lighting, or any combination of these items can actually be affecting your viewing comfort or lack thereof. By not thinking about these combinations, you will suffer from eye fatigue, headaches, lack of energy while working, or having your brain simply too stimulated to relax. So how do you create the proper environment and/or configure your monitor to be optimal for your eyes? Well, you can constantly tweak and fine-tune the settings on your monitor, or you can get one that actually does all of the configurations for you automatically. I will be going into greater details of some of these issues described above as well as reviewing the BenQ EW3270U, a 32” monitor that has all of this built-in! (*Disclosure below.)

BenQ EW3270U monitor review - red display

Warning: this is a bit of a long review. There are essentially two sections, one about eye care and safety and the other about the BenQ EW3270U itself. It’s a lot to digest but investing in a good monitor means that you have to understand the differences and things to look for. This article hopefully gets you part of the way there on your research and eventual purchase decision.

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How To Easily Transform Your Desk into a Sit/Stand Desk with FlexiSpot Standing Desk Converter – Review

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

You should have seen the evolution of my wife’s desk over the past couple of years. It has gone from being a bit cluttered to now being incredibly well organized and clean. (My desk is always a mess of papers and tech items I’m reviewing…I’m a lost cause.) But one thing that she has struggled with is somehow making her desk work both as a sitting as well as a standing desk. We all know the benefits of standing when you work (not all of the time but regularly alternating). I have been lucky at work to have a fully-motorized desk at my work. But at home, it was a different situation completely. But we now have a great solution. It’s called the ClassicRiser Standing Desk Converters M2. And it has transformed her work environment, literally. (*Disclosure below.)

FlexiSpot ClassicRiser Standing Desk Converter review - a desktop converter

My desk currently is a permanent standing desk (I use a tall foldable chair when I need to sit). But it’s not really a desk. It’s actually a baby changing table/drawer/hutch that has a section that pulls out where you would put a pad down to change your baby. As my kids are all teens now, I converted this piece of furniture into a standing desk. It was the perfect height and actually still looked pretty good. But, as I said, it’s permanently in “standing mode.” That’s fine. I only use it a few hours a week and I get the benefits of standing.

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Hive + OhmConnect = Home Automation, Energy Savings & Saving the Earth

In Consumer Electronics, Gadgets, General, Hardware, Sponsored, Technology by Michael SheehanLeave a Comment

At first glance, talking about electronic gadgets to help save energy and save the Earth sounds a bit like an oxymoron. I mean, how can something that consumes power actually save power? Well, there are ways to look at this. Some things will always consume power but what varies is the amount of power they actually consume. In other cases, adding a new energy consumption device that controls and regulates larger power-hungry devices can actually reduce overall energy consumption. And then, of course, there are those devices you add that just consume energy, but in this article, I’m not going to discuss those. Every Earth Day, many people look to do something to help our only home, Planet Earth. And while some people chose very active ways to help, others may do the bare minimum or nothing at all. It depends on your values, your lifestyle, your resources, and your commitment. In the end, however, it is truly important to make the attempt to make a difference. And interestingly, this is what the smart home automation company, Hive, is doing with their partnership with OhmConnect, a California-based software energy management company that allows its subscribers to maximize energy usage in return for cash payment. These two companies are leveraging each other’s services to save the planet, one watt at a time. (*Disclosure below.)

LED bulbs

Last year, I decided that I would make the investment in LED light bulbs. I must have purchased 20-30 bulbs to replace all of the old, incandescent bulbs in light fixtures throughout my house. It was a bit of an expense, but when you realize how little energy they actually use coupled with how long they last, the long-term cost savings becomes immediately apparent. This goes to my first example in the previous paragraph. Yes, I will always have the need to turn on a light, but how much power the light bulb consumes can be changed in a downward way – saving energy in the process.

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Review: BenQ ScreenBar is an LED Desk Light that’s Better than Traditional Ones

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

I have to be honest here. When I was asked to review a light, I was not really that excited about doing it. I mean a light is a light is a light, right? And nowadays, lights “need” to be smart, right? You need to be able to control them remotely. Or they need to be intelligent in some way. Well, remote control is not always needed. But intelligence of some sort is a definite plus. But then let’s think about desk lamps. Sure they can have innovative designs or looks, or perhaps turn on or off when you touch the base. And they have multiple dimmer settings perhaps. But then I got my hands on the BenQ ScreenBar e-Reading LED Task Lamp and my idea of what a good, work lamp changed dramatically. This “desk” lamp (and I wanted to emphasize desk here because it’s a bit different than what you might think) brought much better lighting to my computer workspace. (*Disclosure below.)

BenQ ScreenBar Review - in the box

Let me set the record straight here, the BenQ ScreenBar is really not what you would think about when you envision a desk work lamp. In my mind, it seems like the BenQ engineers took a step back and then designed this lamp based on some common issues and scenarios that traditional desk lamps face. And then they crafted a solution that seems to meet a majority of the needs of workers. And I will be diving into these refinements.

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OMG! My Wife Loves the Odd JBL Soundgear Personal Bluetooth Speaker

In Audio, Consumer Electronics, Gadgets, General, Hardware, Review, Technology by Michael SheehanLeave a Comment

Looking a bit like a mix between a crashed alien spaceship that you might find in Area 51 and a whiplash collar, the JBL Soundgear is an odd portable Bluetooth speaker. It definitely is unique in its design but yet it fills a really nice niche. Headphones are great when you are on the go or want to have some privacy when you are on the phone. And speakers are great at home but they are tied to a room or specific location. The JBL Soundgear merges these two features and even creates its own space. And, my wife loves the Soundgear, so much so, I haven’t been able to test it much. (*Disclosure below.)

HTD JBL Soundgear & BTa unit

When I first unboxed the JBL Soundgear I thought “wow, this is a strange speaker.” It is curved and designed to fit around your neck. I actually haven’t seen too many designs similar to this out in the market. But I was intrigued. What kind of an experience would it be? How is the sound? Would people around me hear what I am listening to? When would I use the Soundgear and how would I use it?

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Got a Flatscreen TV with Crappy Sound? Try these Inexpensive Logitech Speakers

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

Flat screen TVs have dropped in price tremendously. I just picked up a nice HD one for about $100. Great picture, great streaming hub, absolutely horrible sound! And it’s not the only flat screen TV in my house suffering from the same crappy sound. The bass is pretty much nonexistent, it sounds tinny, and simply uninspiring, definitely quite there opposite of the picture. Luckily Logitech came to the rescue with some small, low-priced speakers that bring enjoyment back to viewing, listening, and even more! (*Disclosure below.)

HTD Logitech Speaker review - small speaker

I would be surprised if you didn’t have a similar situation at home. Sure, you could buy a pricey and high-end surround sound setup or an equally pricey sound bar. But would you really want to spend more on the speakers than you spent on the TV itself? Probably not. So I set out looking for some sort of power external speaker that wouldn’t cost much.

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