I had to write something. A majority of my articles are about tech, but every once in a while I need to focus on the other part of my brand name – “dad.” I have 3 daughters. They all live at home. Two of them go to schools in the community, one in high school and one in middle school. These past few days have been hard. I cannot fathom the pain, the suffering, the confusion, and the heartbreak facing all of the parents, friends, teachers and faculty, the first-responders, and the community surrounding Marjorie Stoneman Douglas high school. Having to bury your child at such a young age, without that child being able to realize their dreams and ambitions, is something no parent should ever face. It’s devastating.
Yet, all that politicians do is offer “thoughts and prayers.” It’s a broken record. And there is no action. Again and again.
There is an important distinction to make within the realm of smart homes and what truly defines “smart.” You can now easily get a “smart” plug or a “smart” switch or a “smart” lightbulb. My home, in fact, has many of different manufacturers. They are all controlled via a “smart” hub or some sort of a “smart” voice controller. I’ll be honest. I love the “smartness” of it all. But when you take a step back and really think about it, is it really “smart?” Or is it just connected and remotely controlled? Does that define what is “smart?” (Ok enough with the quotes around “smart” – you get the idea.) Noon Home has a different idea of what makes up a smart home. And yes, while they do make switches, these are not like any other smart switch that I have encountered. They don’t focus on the switch itself (although their switches are exquisitely designed). Instead, their goal is to create lighting scenes that fit the environment, all programmed and controlled by their intelligent switches (notice I upped it a level from smart?) Let me explain. (*Disclosure below.)
First, I need to step back a few months. I attended a local tech show for media that had various consumer electronics companies pitching their gadgets. After an hour or so, I had visited the 30 or so companies and pretty much talked to everyone. The last table was that of Noon Home (who I am going to just refer to as Noon). It was towards the end of the night and many folks had moved on. However, about an hour later, I realized that I had been geeking out with the folks at Noon, diving into the details of wiring switches, how different controllers work, the differences in lightbulb types, how some dimmers don’t play well with CFLs or LEDs, and how light truly should be thought about carefully. It turns out that Noon had come out of stealth mode that day, I believe, and had just announced their new products. Needless to say, I was captivated by what they were pitching.
For the past few months, I have been using the Apple Watch Series 3. But I have been a bit lazy. I have kept it tethered to my iPhone so I haven’t really been using it to its full capabilities. I have the cellular version which has its own number which is magically hidden and mirrored to the actual number of my iPhone. So, if I get a call on my iPhone, it magically rings on my Apple Watch, even if the Watch is not directly connected to my iPhone. I just don’t seem to go anywhere without my iPhone. (But, I may try turning off Bluetooth on my iPhone and have the Watch still be physically next to me.) Regardless, as I spent more time testing out the Apple Watch Series 3, I started to uncover a bunch of features I didn’t even know about. And some of these features work on the earlier models of Apple Watches (while some are specific to the Series 3). Those who use their Watch all of the time will probably simply say – yep, knew about that feature – but for the rest of you who may have received one as a gift over the holidays, or just picked one up, some of these Apple Watch Series 3 tips might be completely new to you.
I do have to say, having used the Series 1 for a couple of years, the Series 3 is quite a jump. There are two huge things that truly stood out to me. For starters, the battery is so much better. With my Series 1 (and granted, it is a bit old now), by the end of the day, my Series 1 was gasping for a charge and so every night, I took it off to get it charged back up. With the Series 3, with the same amount of usage, I still had enough battery to keep wearing it through the night and into the next day. The battery is that much better!
We all know about the childhood stories of Jack and the Beanstalk and David and Goliath. In both tales, a “smaller” hero is faced with a challenge or an obstacle to overcome in order to be successful, and, must do so on their own without the help from others. The “larger” adversary is often one that is more powerful and has the advantage of their size. Though luck, cunning, or careful planning, the hero is able to conquer the titan and the resulting, unpredicted victory surprises all. However, modern-day tales have become much more complex. In order for the “smaller heroes” to compete and prosper against mega titans of today, they must form a powerful team of allies. In its new short film, “A Giant Story,” Intuit, weaves this modern tale of the smaller hero teaming up with a giant in order to conquer mega titans of commerce. Let me explain.
Disclosure: This is a sponsored post and I have received compensation to prepare to research it as well as write it. All opinions within this article, unless otherwise noted, are my own. More information can be found on my About page.
Back in 2012, I wrote a how-to article for those Microsoft Word 2011 for Mac users who wanted to have what is called a “Work” menu available within Microsoft Word. The “Work” menu was a customizable drop-down menu where you could hold documents you frequently worked on. This was functionality previously available in Word 2004 and 2008 for Mac versions. And while I never personally used that functionality, there were (and are) plenty of people who did (and still do). Well, we are now at Microsoft Office version 2016 (which is more affectionately known as Office 365 – NOT the online version, but the actual downloadable software version), and my trick mentioned in the 2012 article no longer works. But, from my understanding, this is still functionality that people want and would use if they could. So, how do you get a similar type of menu or functionality with the latest, software version of Microsoft Word for Mac? This article shows you how.
I received an email from one of my readers (thanks, Bill A. for submitting a Contact request) directly asking how to do a “Work” menu within Word 2016. After digging around in my version of Word (currently version 16.9), I quickly realized that there wasn’t a way to actually create a new menu with the ability to save (or “pin”) certain document to that “Work” menu. This is what it looked like in the Word 2011.
I have said it before, I’ve done a lot of Bluetooth portable speaker reviews during my 10+ years of writing reviews on HighTechDad. But I have to say, the JBL Boombox Bluetooth speaker blows away all of those other speakers…literally. That being said, this is not a little speaker you can just clip to your backpack or belt loop and just go. The Boombox is a beast in many different ways. But, it lives up to the high standards that JBL has set for audio. From crisp highs to a bass that moves the beat and the air, again literally, the JBL Boombox is a force to be reckoned with. (*Disclosure below.)
JBL and I have a long history. In fact, back in the 1980’s, the first pair of speakers that I ever purchased were some JBL L20T’s. These were marketed as small yet powerful “studio speakers” and believe it or not, I still have them. These speakers were powerful and moved the air in much the same way the JBL Boombox does. Technology has evolved from the corded L20T’s I used in my dorm room and later in my apartments and homes. But the sound quality has gotten better and now, with advances in technology, this sound can be transmitted wirelessly via Bluetooth.
It’s the start of a new year and probably like many of you, I have a long list of New Year’s Resolutions. Most of them are informal and many of them will be forgotten about after a few weeks. But it’s always good to set goals and at least make an effort to stick to them. Two of mine will hopefully be met by using a single device – a Western Digital My Passport external hard drive. Let me explain. (*Disclosure below.)
The two goals specifically are to teach myself Final Cut Pro (FCP) and to make sure I do regular backups of my laptop. While the My Passport won’t actually teach me FCP, it will get me down that path a bit more easily. And in terms of developing a backup strategy, the My Passport actually gets me a lot closer.