Category Archives: Reviews

Pebble Smartwatch

I am now the proud owner of a Pebble Smartwatch (I went for the “Classic” version).  It seems to play nicely with my iPhone 5s.  My favourite “watchface” at the moment is the built in “time as text” one (although I do think the iWatch one is cool).

I have installed the Pebble SDK and I am going to try to develop an app/watchface or two.  Stay tuned.

OWC Data Doubler

I have just installed an OWC Data Doubler kit in my 13″ MacBook Pro (the late 2011 model).  It is a bracket that replaces the optical drive that ships with the MacBook Pro and allows you to install a second 2.5″ hard disk or SSD.  In my case I have installed a 480GB SSD (KINGSTON SV300S37A480G Media) in the location of the original disk and moved the original disk to the Data Doubler.  The boot disk is now the SSD; I intend to use the old disk as an internal backup drive.

The instructions are very good, all of the tools required are included and the kit itself is of a very high quality.  I highly recommend the Data Doubler kit (and the idea of installing an SSD into a 4 year old MacBook Pro to give it a new lease on life).

Useful Mac OS X Software

Here is some software I use on my MacBook Pro and recommend.  I have no commercial interests in any of them.

BBEdit (or it’s free cousin TextWrangler)

Available from Bare Bones Software or through the App Store.  TextWrangler (a free “lite” version from the makers of BBEdit) probably fulfils my requirements but once I had the funds I purchased the full version.  The best text editor I have used on any platform.  I have been using this product since the days of Mac OS 7.1 on a PowerBook 150 (when BBEdit Lite was available as opposed to TextWrangler).

VLC

A media player available from VideoLAN.  Plays just about any format I need.

PCalc

Simply the best calculator application out there (and available for iOS too).  I used to use the “lite” version of PCalc on the aforementioned PowerBook 150 during my university engineering studies.  Well worth the money.

VirtualBox

A free virtualisation platform (now available through Oracle).  Worth a look if you need to run old software on old operating systems every now and then.

Review of iPod Touch Software I Use

  • BirdSight AU (Natural Guides, LLC) – the only app I have paid for, unfortunately it cannot handle any strings with apostrophes in it (ie. Thomson’s Lake, a fairly basic bug in a database app I would of thought), otherwise this is a good app, would be better if there was a way to get all of the sightings out of it in one email (as opposed to one “observation” collection at a time);
  • Files lite (Olive Toast) – does what it does perfectly, highly recommended, I am seriously considering buying the full version;
  • Mactracker (Ian Page) – awesome, highly recommended, very slick interface;
  • TouchCalc (Alexander Clauss) – very good, I use it regularly;
  • To Do’s (AustinBull Software) – basic ToDo app, does what it needs to do well;
  • Sudoku (Mighty Mighty Good Games) – addictive;
  • Solitaire (MobilityWare) – very good fun.

Review: Twinhan Alpha Mac Edition (DVB-T USB 2.0)

Harris Technology have these for under $60. I thought that was a bargain so I picked one up. I have recorded a TV show and was very impressed (it is my first foray into digital TV as well). Here is a brief review:

Pros:
  • It’s cheap;
  • It includes EyeTV (version 2.x, still great);
  • It works exactly as advertised.
Cons:
  • The box is big (and mentions that you need a FireWire port?);
  • The printed documentation is average (thankfully you don’t need it);
  • The included aerial is useless unless you live under a transmitter (use a rooftop antenna).

Review: Belkin Flip

I just purchased a Belkin Flip (a two computer KVM setup). It works as advertised and currently shares my monitor, keyboard and mouse between my Mac Mini and my Power Mac G4 500MHz DP. I am impressed with the quality of most of the cables. My only gripe is the paddle that allows you to switch between inputs is a little flimsy (and the cable is very thin). For the price, however, it is excellent value.