Review: Overcast for iPhone, the newest contender for the iOS podcast app market

With Instapaper and The Magazine, Marco Arment effectively invented the read-it-later and independent publishing idioms on iOS. Naturally, competitors followed but Arment was already a ‘front runner’ in the market. With Overcast, Arment is the follower. Overcast joins a whole host of other developers in a segment of the App Store that is already well established. It’s a different set of challenges.

In many respects, Overcast acts like its the only podcast app on the iPhone. I mean this in a good way. There aren’t any gimmicky extras or visual widgets to try and spur interest. This is very much Arment’s take on how a podcast app should look and behave. Read on for our full review …

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Review: Kickflip is a cool, simple, and affordable stand for your MacBook

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For the past couple of weeks, I have been testing a new MacBook stand called the Kickflip. I’ve used some of the more high-end stands for my laptop in the past as it improves the ergonomics involved with keyboard typing and because it improves the cooling of the computer. This new Kickflip is not stationary like some other stands on the market, but it is an accessory that sticks to the bottom of your laptop. The stand can be closed for when you want to keep the laptop in a bag or carry it around, and you flip out the kickstand when you want to raise up your laptop. The experience is nice, the stand is sturdy, and I very much have enjoyed using the Kickflip…

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Review: Wiper encrypted messaging/calling app with neat erase feature (and iOS 8 update details)

Yes, another secure and ephemeral messaging app. There’s Wickr, Snapchat, Confide, so what makes Wiper Messenger different? I’ve had the chance to play around with the new free chatting app on iOS, and it seems to act as a fusion of WhatsApp, Snapchat, and Wickr. The app prompts you for your email address or phone number in order to create your account, and then you are brought to a fairly simple interface with three tabs across the bottom: Chats, Contacts, and More. Let’s go tab-by-tab:

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Review: Scott eVest RFID Travel Vest solves 2.5 travel problems in one

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You don’t need me to tell you that being a tech-head can pose a few challenges when travelling. Budget airlines often have ridiculously tight carry-on restrictions, which can make it hard to get all your gadgets into a bag that meets both size and weight limits. And once you arrive at your destination, you also have the worry of ensuring that all your valuable electronics remain safe from thieves.

Scott eVests are designed to solve both problems, allowing you to carry lots of technology on your person, rather than in a bag, with each item securely zipped into an inside pocket. The company’s latest addition to the range – the RFID Travel Vest – adds one further feature: protection of RFID-readable payment cards and passports from portable skimmers …  Read more

Review: Transcend’s JetDrives add whopping 240-960GB SSD to MacBook Air at a great price

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See that little $190 daughter card up there^? It houses 240GB of Transcend SSD and it could replace the 64GB or 128GB SSD that came in your MacBook Air in as little as 5 minutes. Even better, Transcend just released larger versions in 480GB and 960GB sizes to blow your SATA III MacBook Air or Pro into new worlds of space. Keep in mind these are SATA-based SSDs and Apple’s latest round of MacBook Pro/Airs came with speedier PCIe SSDs so you can’t use these on Apple’s late 2013/2014 models (see bottom of the article for compatibility list).

I got my hands on a demo unit and took it for a test drive…

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Review: Photo collages made simple with PhotoMatte software

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I enjoy photography, and mostly prefer to take full control of the final output using powerful software like Lightroom. But there are times when I just want something fast, easy and automated to create something fun for a Facebook image or similar – and that’s what PhotoMatte is all about.

The idea is a simple one: choose a template to suit the occasion, ranging from beach holidays to a wedding; drag your chosen photos onto the template; choose your output format – from Mac desktop image down to iPhone wallpaper – click Export and the job’s done …  Read more

Review: OWC Mercury Elite Pro Mini dual-drive external enclosure with RAID

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One of the reasons I like Macs is that their useful life tends to be significantly longer than that of a typical Windows machine. This is especially true of the pre-Retina MacBook Pro models, where it’s trivial to upgrade both the RAM and the drive.

I’d previously swapped out the 750GB hard drive and optical drive that came with my late-2011 MacBook Pro 17 for two 1TB hard drives. Along with a RAM upgrade, that gave me a 16GB RAM, 2TB hard drive machine. The plan was to use the machine in that form for a year or two, then do a further upgrade to SSDs once 1TB models arrived and fell to a halfway sensible price.

When that finally happened, and I did the upgrade, that gave me two 1TB hard drives surplus to requirements. I could have placed each into its own external drive caddy, but one 2TB drive is more useful than two 1TB ones, so I decided instead to try out OWC’s Mercury Elite Pro mini. This is an external enclosure for two 2.5-inch drives, which supports both USB 3 and Firewire 800, drawing power from either source – making it a portable drive without the need for external power …  Read more

Review: LifeProof Nüüd is just the right amount of protection for your iPhone 5/5s

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This case has been around for a while, and frankly, I’ve always been a no-case kind of guy. But when I found myself not being as careful with my now almost two-year old iPhone 5, I thought that maybe I should just go all the way. Maybe I should get ahold of one of the more protective cases out there, without going off the deep end and getting something would provide more protection than I need.

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Review: Samsung’s U28D590D 28-inch 4k monitor finally brings quality 4k at an affordable price

Ever since the Mac Pro was released in December, we’ve faced an onslaught of 4k displays. We reviewed Seiki’s budget offering last year, and while we liked it overall, it did have more than its fair share of set backs. For instance, you could only use the full 4k resolution at 30Hz, which meant that there would be noticeable lag when using the display as a monitor. Despite the low refresh rate, the display was still a great deal at its then $450 price point (now down to $390) and truly got us excited for the potential of 4k. At CES this year, we also saw a variety of 4k displays, some of which were priced for budget-minded customers, and some of which were high-end. Noticeably missing from CES, however, was Apple’s frenemy supplier/competitor Samsung.

Samsung, at the end of May, unveiled its take on an affordable 4k display. Samsung’s U28D590D is a 28-inch 4k monitor that supports full 4k resolution at 60Hz via a DisplayPort 1.2 connection. There are also two HDMI ports, but they’ll only do 4k at 30Hz, like the Seiki. The big selling point of the Samsung monitor, aside from doing 4k at 60Hz, is that it costs just $646 on Amazon. This puts it far below any currently available 4k monitor with 60Hz capabilities. I purchased the Samsung U28D590D on Amazon while it was priced at $666 and have been using it as my primary display for the past week. How does it compare to the Seiki? Is 4k all it’s hyped up to be? Let’s discuss.

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Review: TwelveSouth HoverBar 3 positions your iPad right where you want it

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There are times when an iPad can act as a handy sidekick to your Mac, but with a typical iPad stand you end up looking a little like a nodding dog as you look up at your monitor and down at your iPad. The TwelveSouth HoverBar 3 is designed to solve that, positioning your iPad display right next to your iMac or Apple Thunderbolt/Cinema Display.

The HoverBar can also be used on its own to position an iPad more comfortably, especially when using it to watch movies …  Read more

Review: Beats Studio Wireless headphones (and what Apple can improve)

A few weeks before initial reports that Apple was planning to acquire Beats Electronics, I started AT&T’s three month trial of the Beats Music subscription streaming service.. Given that generous window of time, I felt more comfortable investing my time than I would with a one or two week trial. When news broke that Apple was in final talks to purchase Beats, I was caught off guard and immediately concerned that the subscription service that I was starting to really like would change under Apple’s watch. Since the deal has been made official, Apple has said that Beats Music will continue as it is (across multiple platforms even) as will the headphones line (Beats branded, not Apple branded) for now.

Because I was rather surprised by the appeal of Beats Music and Apple is now endorsing the headphones more than ever (even if only really for their massive profit margins), I got really curious Friday afternoon to try out a pair of Beats headphones first hand so I did just that. I’ve been using the Beats Studio Wireless headphones (Amazon) just about all waking hour of this weekend, and below you can read my thoughts on one of the products included in Apple’s biggest acquisition to date. Read more

Review: Is Logitech’s iPhone Case+ system really ‘the only case you’ll ever need’?

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We were eager to get our hands on Logitech’s iPhone transforming Case+ system immediately following its announcement. The idea is that this system is so versatile that it’s up to nearly any task you could ask of an iPhone case. It allows you to switch between rugged protection, wallet functionality, a windshield/dashboard mount, and a battery pack without having to remove anything.

Without the Case+, you would need to buy at least five different iPhone accessories to perform all of the same core functions that the Case+ offers: rugged protection, multi-angle stand, ID/credit card carrier, car dashboard/windshield mount, extended battery. It’s certainly a novel idea and an ambitious product from Logitech so head below to find out if we think the Case+ is worth investing in…
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