Here is a roundup of several products of interest. Each one is unique and excels in some way. Like previous reviews, these are products I bought for my own use and like very much. In no particular order here they are.
RAVPower USB-C PD Charger – This is one of the first of a new breed of very compact smart chargers that are able to power and charge a variety of products, including notebook computers using a USB Type-C charger port. This implementation also has 4 additional ports to charge phones, tablets and other devices. That means that travelers need only take this one playing card-sized charger (and the cords) for all of their devices including a MacBook, iPad Pro 2018, Nintendo Switch, iPhone Xs XS XR X, Galaxy S9 S8 and more.
Here are the specs:
- USB C PD: Up-to-45W USB C Power Delivery fully recharges your 2015 13” MacBook in only 2 hours; smart 2. 0 adjusts to connected devices and outputs up to 2. 4A per port
- Charges 5 Devices: One USB Type-C PD 3. 0 port pairs with four smart 2. 0 USBs for a simultaneous fast charging treatment
- Works Worldwide: Universal 100V-240V AC input ensures the wall charger connects even when you’re travelling abroad
- Fully Protected: Integrates safeguards for overcharge, short-circuit, over-voltage, and overheating
The product is available from Amazon for $31. Truly a terrific buy and a boon to business travelers that have been carrying a multitude of devices. Best of all you need only one AC outlet to charge everything.
Automatic LED light bulb – I needed to change the light bulb in the fixture that illuminates my front porch and wanted to use an LED bulb to keep energy consumption low. Typically they use about 10% of the electricity of a normal bulb. I thought about putting it on an automatic timer to turn the light on and off, but didn’t want anything too complicated. That’s when I discovered this ingenious product. It’s an LED light bulb that looks like any other, but it has a built in light detector that turns itself on and off based on the ambient light – essentially on at sunset and off at sunrise. Not sure how they do it, but the sensor manages to ignore the light from the bulb. The Sensor Light is just $8 each when purchased in a pack of two.
Things – Things, Version 3, is one of those rare masterful programs that make your busy life much more manageable. It’s essentially a ToDo list with features that make it powerful yet easy to use and even fun. I recently did a search for software to manage dozens of activities, projects and appointments and found the usual array of outliners, list programs and other solutions. But this product was so much better than anything available and had rave reviews. It’s hard to describe without using it how fluid and attractive it is. There’s a free trial for the Mac version to experience it. When I tried it I struggled for a day to realize that there are three levels of items: Areas, Projects and ToDos. Once I realized that I was able to define my areas and add the tasks. Don’t be put off by the price, $50 for the MacOS version and $10 for the iPhone or iPad. It’s well worth it. Check it out here.
The $249 Apple Watch – Perhaps Apple’s slowing business is providing us with one of the few great deals on the Apple Watch. In recent days there’s been a price break on last years Series 3 models with prices almost half of what they once were. The differences between Series 3 and the current Series 4 are relatively minor (primarily screen size and fall detector) and you can find the larger man’s size (42mm) with an aluminum case for $249. This is a terrific price and brings it close to Fitbit’s watch that has far fewer features. Of course you need to have an iPhone – doesn’t work with Androids. The Apple Watch had GPS, a heart monitor and runs many of the same programs on your iPhone. As a result it’s away to get reminders, directions, text and email on your wrist. I bought my watch at Costco, but search the web for deals. One step up from this model is with a built-in phone for those that don’t carry their iPhone with them. If you go most places with your phone then you can still use the basic model to answer and converse on calls and save the $10 charge your carrier charges for the more expensive model.
New line of wallets – I want to call attention to one of my favorite San Francisco companies, WaterField Designs that makes great leather products for travel and personal use, including a new line of wallets. One of their new styles is the Stratto, a slim, full-grain leather bifold wallet with convenient hidden slots for contactless cards so users can conveniently tap-and-go while cards remain safely inside. It’s the third wallet unveiled by WaterField as part of its Wallet Month celebration, the culmination of a two-month crowdsourced design project for which the company harnessed the wisdom of over 2,000 customers to create new wallet designs. Every week in March, WaterField will unveil two additional new wallets, each handcrafted in WaterField’s San Francisco sewing studio.
My personal promotions
The Amazing NYA – Neil Young has created a website and iOS app (Android app coming) called NYA for Neil Young Archives with help from his team – including myself – where you can listen to all of his recordings in high resolution streaming audio – a technology breakthrough. It’s taken years to build because it is so rich with its historical notes, lyrics and even videos and live streamed concerts. All of the content can be easily found on a timeline or in a virtual file drawer. It’s free to browse and listen to a song of the day and album of the week, but it’s only $19.99/year to access thousands of tracks. Members can buy his concert tickets and avoid the scalpers. Upcoming shows include the Northwest in May and Europe this summer.
Artist Decorative Wine Maps – Lastly for those into wines, I’ve created poster size watercolor prints of some of my favorite wine regions that include a map and wine labels. Available for three regions: Napa, Sonoma, and Paso Robles. These wine maps contain hand painted reproductions of the actual labels along with a hand drawn map of the region. Check them out here.