Saturday, March 30, 2019

Nomatic Garment Bag and Toiletry Bag First Look

I decided against making a video because there is nothing really sexy about garment and toiletry bags.  You just put clothes in one and stuff to make you look pretty in another. It got the garment bag and two toiletry bags.  It's another hit from Nomatic.  Waterproof materials, tons of pockets and handles.  It's a must-have in your travel collection.

 Back of bag with roller luggage straps.

Inside the outside zipper is swivel hook to hang up the garment bag.

It's big enough for my fingers to fit inside.

Lockable zippers

Opened up with included shoulder strap

Shoulder strap

Packed with two suits

Packed with enough change of clothes for three days.

Filled with two suits and three days of clothes.

Full and should still be under US carry-on restrictions for overhead compartments.

Battle of the bulge

Small Toiletry Bag

Large Toiletry Bag

Toiletry Bags Together

Thickness difference

Zipped toiletry bags.

Friday, March 29, 2019

Nintendo Switch Online Membership With Twitch Prime

Twitch Prime is giving away up to a year of Nintendo Switch online. I redeemed and got an extension of 3 months on my yearly Nintendo Online account. Pure insanity!

Sign up for Twitch Prime Below:

Saturday, March 09, 2019

Samsung Galaxy Watch Active Unboxing

Samsung Galaxy Watch Active Unboxing


Small Size

2 Day Battery Life

Real GPS (Not Assisted GPS)

Accurate Step Tracking

Accurate Heart Rate Monitoring

Blood Pressure Monitoring


Wonky Setup

Proprietary Qi Charger

Samsung Accessory Service Requires permissions to install unknown apps (Totally insecure)

Samsung Pay Does Work With My Citi Card

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Ampere Unravel Unboxing

Ampere Unravel Unboxing

The best part of Ampere's Hypercube, the 3 10-watt Qi Chargers were decoupled from the unit and sold a a separate product. I didn't have strong assurance that the Powercube would actually ship so I took a chance on the Unravel.

The premise of it is a folding 3 coiled Qi Charger with a strong magnet in the center of one for all seriess of the Apple Watch. 

It uses a 60 watt usb-c of charger to power all three panels. There is some power loss involved so I don't think that a 45 watt pd charger would give all three panels 10 watts .

Videos Below:

So far so good.  I'm at 5 hours of use. My only complaint is that my Google Pixel 3 slow charges at 5 watts.  It lacks Google's certification for 10 watt Qi charging that currently works with the Google Pixel Stand. 

More to come in a future review.  

Sunday, January 13, 2019

What's In My Bag - Photography Edition 2019

This is the Part 2 of my "What's In My Bag" for 2019 focusing on my photography Bag.


Flash Modifier Gear:

Kobra Flash Modifier:  It's a recently shipping Kickstarter that's a forward facing flash reflector that controls light from spraying everywhere. It stops you from being blinded  It weights 4.3 grams and folds in my bag.  It also includes these gel insert to change the light emitted. The slip into a little leatherette wallet for storage.  It's a must-have for photographers.

Gary Fong Puffer Plus Flash Diffuser: It slips over the Nikon Flash and diffuses the light.  I use it in a pinch if the flash has run too hot or I forgot to pack extra batteries.

Nikon 3400: It's a basic DSLR that does the job.  I'll probably switch over to a Sony A7 this year.  I've been using Sony sensors for nearly 20 years and I know what they can an cannot do. 

Neewer Vertical Battery Grip: Holds 2 Batteries.  That gives me some 2500 shots or 5 hours of power.

Waka Camera Neck Strap: Comes with a shoulder strap and a safety tether.  You don't want thousands of dollars of equipment crashing to the ground.

Camera Assistant:   Arsenal is touted as a Smart Camera Assistant.  It uses feedback from a camera that uses machine learning to automatically adjust exposure, shutter speed, aperture, focus.  It connects to the USB port on your camera and then over wifi on your cell phone. It also has additional features bracketing/stacking for more dynamic range. It hasn't worked exactly as I'd hope.  The timelapse feature simply just takes X shots over Y interval.  I expected that it would save images to the phone for timelapse and bracketing, but just saves them to the SD card.  You have to use your computer to stitch them together.  In my usage, most of the images come out overexposed.  Another Kickstarter miss.

Nikon Nikkor 70-300 mm Lens: Produces sharp photos with a telephoto lens.

Apeman i-TTL Speedlight:  Cheap, cheap flash that works better than more expensive lights.

DxO One Lighting Edition:  Produces high quality 20 MP images from a 1-inch sensor.  It's a great little accessory or standalone.  It captures to SD Card or your phone. I wish that I got the USB-C version as well.   The device manufacturing arm of DxO Labs has gone out of business, so no new firmware updates. 

Newest Toy:   Snap 4K Action Camera.  It's a nice tiny camera that you can mount using magnets to your person or a bike mount.  The lens can flip 180 degress. It comes with a Bluetooth remote to remotely start and stop recording.  Also, an extra battery gives you an additional 1.5 of battery for 3 hours of continuous storage.  So far the video and photos are excellent and it's a nice addition to my photo and video equipment

Update (03/23/2019: 2 months later and this thing is dead.  I noticed that it stopped showing recording status and now it's dead even with the external battery connected.  Purge garbage.

Yi Discovery 4K Action Cam:  It's meh.  It's really 2K and not 4K.  No tripod mount or image stabilization, but I shouldn't expect much from a  $50 action cam.
(Update 10/27/2019):  Replaced with a GoPro Hero 7 Black.

More Stuff:
Supon i-TTL Dual Hotshoe Bracket: For when things get crazy.  Speedlight and Arsenal
Eynpire Triple Mount Bracket: For when things get really crazy
USB-C to OTG Micro USB Cable
Google Pixel

Canon Vixia HF R80 Camcorder: It's an ok HD camcorder with an external mic input. With enough light, it performs well.  In low light, there is a great deal of noise.  It's a good camera to get B-roll material but I'm finding that my Pixel takes better video and low light photos and video.

Final thing

Frii TriLens:  A belt mount that holds 3 lenses.  Simple as that.

As I finish the entry, I see that I've left behind two batteries and a charger on a shoot. Time to hit the re-order button.

I was really saddened with the Arsenal not really working as expected.   One thing that I did was test qDSLRDashboard.  It's an Android/iOS App, Windows/MacOS App, and Raspberry Pi App that runs on a Raspberry Pi that remote controls cameras.  It worked using a Raspberry Pi but was a little bulky.    I connected it to a my Google Pixel and then things got fun.  I was able to perform Focus Stacking and remote control of the camera.  Removing any human shake from the camera makes a better photograph. All the functions of the Arsenal minus the machine learning that doesn't seem to work.  The app was only $8.66 plus another $7 for the OTG cable.  The Arsenal was $175 and I had to buy another OTG cable for it because the USB-Cable was bent. It's been nearly 2 months and I have not heard back from Arsenal Report on the replacement.

For those of you considering the Arsenal, hold off and try qDSLRDashboard using your phone first.   It's a cheaper alternative.

What's In My Bag - Everyday Edition 2019

I'm updating my "What's In My Bag" for 2019 split into my everyday bag and my photography Bag.
I'm carrying a lot less now because I've switched out almost everything to USB-C and I'm using a Pixelbook Fulltime now.  I still have the Razer Stealth, but I'm finding I can do almost everything on the Chromebook.

Up first is the bag.

I'm using the Nomatic Messenger Bag.  The only way that I can describe how I feel about Nomatic is that I think someone hacked my brain and gave the OCD, minimalist portions to the founders and they ask me for money in return. Everything has a place and there is space for much more.

I made a Youtube Video just to express my initial happiness.

Mouse: Gearhead Dual Mode Bluetooth and Optical Mouse.  It gets the job done and works on all OSes with Bluetooth or USB dongle.

Power Adapter: Google 18W 3A USB-C Rapid Charger and 6ft USB-C Cable. The rapid charger came with one of my Pixels.  Not sure if it was the Pixel 1 or Pixel 3.  The 6ft Cable is for the Pixelbook.

Powerbank:  CVIDA 10000 mAH Qi Wireless and QC 3.0 Powerbank.  I'm still looking for that perfect Qi Wireless Powerbank and USB-C Power Delivery.  I don't know if I assumed that it had power delivery or it was actually on the listing on Amazon. By the time I got around to test the USB-C Power Deliver, It was too late to return.  I've stuck with it mainly due to size and that it has USB A and C output as well as 5W Qi Wireless Charging.

Miscellaneous Cables: CAT6 Cable, Ravpower USB-A to C Cable, Apple USB-A to Lightning 

More cables and Dongles:  Ravpower USB-A to C Cable
Runlink USB-C Headset and Power Delivery Splitter.
Unlocked Huawei 4G LTE Dongle: I have a Google Fi data sim in there.  It works out of the box on Windows, MacOS and ChromeOS.  It takes a little finesse on Linux.  I'll probably make a post soon about that.
Chafon 6-in-1 USB Charge Cable: Newer Generation of a cable that I previously owned.  It drops the Apple 30 Pin Adapter for a USB-C Cable.
Google USB-C Headphone Adapter: Works on all OSses
Google USB-A to USB-A Adapter: Came with one of the phones
Samsung USB-C 128 GB Drive: USB-C on one end and USB-A on the other
Hyper USB-C SD Card Dongle
Attmu 6" Cable Ties: I got them from Amazon.  I originally thought they were AmazonBasics, but is a different brand.

Another Bag that had a bunch of USB-C Cables. More on that later.

Pixelbook Stuff :
Ravpower 45 Watt GaN Power Delivery Charger: I made a blog post after Christmas about my experience here.
Pixelbook 45 Watt Charger
Google Pixelbook:  i5, 8 GB Ram, 256 GB SSD
Google Pixelbook Pen: The most expensive pen that I've ever purchased.

More USB-C Cables:
Vava 8-1 USB-C Hub:  This one is the winner with smallish size and features.  It has 100W Power Deliver, Micro SD Card Slot, SD Card Slot, HDMI Port (4K @ 30Hz), 2 USB-A 3.0 Ports and Ethernet!!!
USB-C To Lightning
Cable Matters Braided USB-C to Micro USB Cable
USB-C to Micro USB OTG Cable
Anker USB-C Ethernet Adapter: For those ethernet only moments when wireless just won't cut it
7.2 Ft USB-C to USB-C Cable