Author Archives: Nate Swanner


Chamberlain MyQ Home Bridge review: ‘Siri, open my garage door’

Chamberlain MyQ Home Bridge review: ‘Siri, open my garage door’

If Apple has its way, your entire home will someday be Siri-enabled. Between its various hardware options like the iPhone, Apple Watch and (soon) HomePod, the underlying software that is HomeKit can make your entire home controllable via voice. For many of us, the garage is a daily use portal, which makes it ripe for disruption via Siri. The underlying question is whether or not that’s even a good idea. Instead of wondering, we decided to find out using Chamberlain’s new MyQ Home Bridge.

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HomeKit security device experiments with the D-Link Omna

HomeKit security device experiments with the D-Link Omna

If you want connected home security, Apple’s HomeKit framework is pretty sparse. It’s one of the weak-points of the platform. The only officially listed ‘security’ device for HomeKit is Honeywell’s Lyric Controller, but it’s not available yet. There are plenty of other options available for DIY home security, but they don’t work with HomeKit. It’s a conundrum, but there’s (sort of) a fix. Instead of a proper security system, you can patch one together using cameras and sensors. It works, too – maybe even better than bespoke systems.

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Bowflex SelectTech 560 review: smart dumbbells

Bowflex SelectTech 560 review: smart dumbbells

In the age of technology, health is fast becoming a priority. Devices like the Apple Watch lean into it as a means to encourage sales, and both Google and Apple have apps designed to quantify your well-being. They work, too; not only do you get a glimpse of your raw data points, you often get insight on how that looks over the course of weeks and months, and what trends your data is returning. The question I had was wether or not connected weight lifting equipment like the Bowflex SelectTech 560 can help me achieve goals.

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Sling TV was the real winner of Mayweather-McGregor Fight

Sling TV was the real winner of Mayweather-McGregor Fight

As sporting events go, boxing matches are rarely must-see endeavors for a wide audience. For the dedicated boxing fan, Mayweather vs. McGregor was one of those times. For more casual fans – and those who prefer MMA – the bout was a litmus test for which discipline might be supreme. We didn’t learn much from the fight itself as that goes, but how I was able to consume the fight told me volumes about the future of TV, where Sling is already winning.

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DJay Pro for iPhone embraces 3D Touch and Apple Watch

DJay Pro for iPhone embraces 3D Touch and Apple Watch

Most of us have probably never wanted to create a professional DJ playlist on a mobile device, but Algoriddim doesn’t cater to the masses. It’s popular iPad app, DJay Pro, is a mix of high-level digital mixology with a heavy dose of tablet portability. Now the company has an iPhone 7 companion app for DJay Pro users, but it’s not just a port. If you look closely, DJay Pro for iPhone is the next generation of mobile mixing and scratching.

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The 5 best power packs for the new MacBook Pro (right now)

The 5 best power packs for the new MacBook Pro (right now)

The new MacBook Pro has a very cool trick you may not be aware of. In addition to those USB-C ports being the future of connectivity, they can also charge your computer. That means you now have four different ports to charge from! And maybe the best part: you don’t need to plug in. Those ports also accept charges from battery packs, which makes your new MacBook Pro the ultimate in portability. Here are a few packs you should consider slipping in your bag.

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Why the MacBook Pro reviews are all wrong

Why the MacBook Pro reviews are all wrong

If you take a look around the web, you’ll already find plenty of reviews about the new MacBook Pro. To date, only the non-Touch Bar 13-inch model has been made available, with other models arriving sometime next week (if you ordered early). All told, the reviews are less than glowing, with many likening the computer to a farce foisted on us by Apple. That’s certainly one way to look at it, but there’s probably something a bit more obvious at play.

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Apple’s reality distortion field made USB-C cool

Apple’s reality distortion field made USB-C cool

Remember when USB-C was a bad word? It wasn’t long after the original 12-inch MacBook landed that we began our love-hate relationship with USB-C. It was universal, which is great, but without the lineup of our favorite ports on the MacBook, many started to consider life a dongled hell. With the new MacBooks Pro, Apple did its best to change all of that, and its famed reality distortion field helped assuage much of our contempt for USB-C.

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Reasons why Google’s Pixel 2 could be the best phone ever

Reasons why Google’s Pixel 2 could be the best phone ever

As we’re busy heaping praise on the Google Pixel, one interesting factoid has come out that suggest what Google does next might really blow the iPhone away. It’s not new camera features; many would argue that’s not necessary anyway. It’s also now a new processor, though we’re entirely sure that’s coming as well. Next time, it’ll be all about partnerships and how much time Google has to focus in on how to build what could be the best phone ever, hands down.

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In defense of dongles on MacBooks

In defense of dongles on MacBooks

It’s pretty fashionable to hate dongles the past year or so. Since Apple introduced its USB-C reliant MacBook (you know, the 12-inch model), people have been lamenting the existence of cable add-ons. It’s a fair criticism, considering we’d gone so long with the spoils of ports donning the side of our MacBooks Pro and Air, but it’s time to turn the corner. In many ways, dongles are better than ports. No, really.

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How the new MacBook Pro made me rethink the Apple Watch

How the new MacBook Pro made me rethink the Apple Watch

When the Apple Watch launched, I eagerly bought into the hype and ended up with the wearable on my wrist. It was easily the best wearable I’d ever tried (I’d sampled plenty of Android Wear devices with Nexus handsets ahead of then, and no thanks). Over time, my excitement waned, and the Watch felt a lot like some sort of burden; another device to charge nightly. Now that new MacBooks Pro are here, I’m confident I’ll never buy another Apple Watch.

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When to use Portrait Mode on iPhone 7 Plus iOS 10.1

When to use Portrait Mode on iPhone 7 Plus iOS 10.1

If you’ve updated your iPhone 7 Plus to iOS 10.1, there’s a cool new tool you can take advantage of. In the camera app, a new ‘Portrait’ mode adds a faux bokeh effect to your images that can really make your images pop like never before. It’s a fun feature, but many are complaining the feature blurs parts of the image that shouldn’t be. It’s a fair criticism, but the real problem is that Portrait mode isn’t good for every circumstance, and there are some heavy caveats we’re not paying attention to.

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