So, as literally everyone ever may have noticed, I'm a total rube when it comes to buying all the shiny tech things. I also absolutely LOVE the idea of anything that makes my travel setup lighter and more streamlined (even though I don't travel very much at all anymore). This checks both of those boxes.
I have to admit, this was a total impulse purchase. As you might imagine, I drive a lot of different cars. Most everything I buy from the auction gets driven home at least once before it's put up for sale. I don't like selling a car only for the buyer to discover some little issue that I could have easily repaired had I noticed it.
Anyway, because of that, and my addiction to podcasts, I REQUIRE a good bluetooth to Aux adapter. Something I can throw in any car with an aux in and have music and podcasts from my phone. I have been using the Anker Roav F0 since May, and while it does have some benefits (mainly it has an FM transmitter in case I buy something without an aux port), it's been acting weird lately. It seems like it's not making a good bluetooth connection even though it's like 24" away from the phone. I'll be driving and suddenly my podcast or music will start to sound like a phone call when you're down to one bar, breaking up and losing half of the audio at random. It's infuriating!
If you've been following my recent posts, you already know I picked up a Hero 8 Black through GoPro's trade in program. I've determined that it's a nice little package, especially when paired with GoPro Plus to store all your pictures and videos and also half price on most accessories. Since I could get it for half price, I went ahead and ordered this sleeve with lanyard.
One of the duties I'm using the GoPro for is auctions. I go to at least three auctions a week and take lots of pics and videos to determine what I'm going to bid on, how much, etc.
I don't like carrying around multiple phones, and I don't like filling my iPhone's camera roll with endless pictures of cars, most of which I don't even end up buying for one reason or another. The Hero 8 with GoPro plus is perfect. I take pictures and videos all willy-nilly like I just don't even care about storage, then connect the GoPro to power and it automagically uploads them all. I can pull down the ones I need for sharing or my records and just leave the rest alone. I can format my SD card with reckless abandon since everything is backed up in full resolution on GoPro's cloud.
Anyway, I figured this sleeve + lanyard would be great for that. I can have it around my neck instead of taking up pocket space, it's always close at hand, and I'm less worried about my dumb ass leaving the camera in a car at the auction. It seems like it will be perfect for that. As you would expect from a first party accessory it feels well made, and everything lines up correctly. The lanyard is long enough to put around your neck but has an adjustable little clasp on it should you want to use it as a wrist strap while shooting, which I imagine will come in handy for the more precarious shots GoPros are subjected to. It has a window in the bottom so your mounting prongs can still flip out. It also comes in a variety of colors.
The only downside I have found is that there's no concession for charging. If you want to charge your camera, you have to take it off and put it back on again. It's not difficult to get in and out, but I am worried about stretching over time, as I take it out every single time I need to charge or transfer photos via cable or anything that requires I access the battery, power port, or SD card.
Having said that, I don't actually know how it could include charging access given that the new design uses an entire side of the camera for a battery door. I'm still pretty happy with it for $9, and honestly it will probably last a year at which point I will likely upgrade anyway. Here are some pics so you can get an idea of how this thing looks and fits.
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So, I’ve seen OEC Japanese Express every time I go to Kroger, it’s on the other side of the shopping center from the Kroger at Stage and Bartlett Blvd. It has good reviews and it’s super close to my house so I thought I would give it a shot. I am super glad I did. We called in an order because I had a very sleepy child on my couch.
We ended up ordering a pretty decent variety because all three of us were hungry. We got the Japanese egg rolls, chicken yakisoba, crunch crab roll, shrimp killer roll, and crunch kani cheese roll. I never get sashimi or nigiri on a first trip to a new sushi place, I’m not that brave. I go to pick it up and it’s a tiny little hole in the wall in a strip mall, with the ultra wide lens I managed to get effectively the entire restaurant into a picture.
They’re pretty steady for it being early on a Sunday night, and that’s a good sign to me. First off I definitely want turnover at a restaurant that serves any kind of seafood. Second, if this tiny place in a strip mall is busy on an off night, the food must be good. Spoiler alert: it was.
Everything tasted super fresh and flavorful, the egg rolls are almost certainly laced with crack. The noodles were solid and the sushi hit the mark on pretty much everything. I think the shrimp killer roll was my favorite, with just enough heat and still crunchy shrimp. I’ll basically just shut up now and let the pictures do the talking. (As an aside I’m super impressed with the iPhone 11 Pro camera, but again, I’ll let the pics do the talking.)
Also, all of that food was right at $30, which is downright cheap as hell for good sushi as far as I’m concerned. I’ll definitely be back and I now trust them enough to try to some yellowtail nigiri, which I’ve been constantly craving since whenever I was in California last. If you find yourself out in Bartlett and want some sushi, I would definitely give them a shot.
OEC Japanese Express if you would like to check out their website, it has the full menu on it.
I'm a case flip flopper. When I get a new phone, I immediately start looking at cases. I buy roughly 11ty of them, and then usually end up either using the thinnest one or saying "Fuck this" and just going without a case, maybe with a screen protector.
I think maybe, possibly, the Caudabe cases might be the end of that vicious cycle..
I have gotten into the habit of getting insurance on my cell phones. They've gotten super expensive for high end cell phones and I'm now at the point in my life where I don't need any interruptions in communication. In short, I need a minimalistic case. If you're looking for something like an Otterbox, this is likely not the case for you. If, like me, you just want something to keep your phone from getting scratched up, read on.
Veil vs Veil XT
As illustrated in the above pictures, the difference between the standard Veil and the XT is bottom coverage (feel free to make your own joke). The standard veil covers just the corners while the XT goes all the way around the phone. I have both and prefer the XT. I don't really care about the coverage, and the standard veil might actually be ideal for some (more on that later), but I dislike the tiny little ridges on the standard model where the coverage stops. It's where my pinky sits to hold the phone, and makes it a little uncomfortable for me.
I haven't had this issue, but my buddy Merk says the XT makes one of his third party lightning cables not work. My amazon basics cable works fine, but it's something to keep in mind. If you have an especially full figured charging cable, you might not want to opt for the XT.
That difference aside, the cases are identical in thickness and coverage on all other areas, so I'm just gonna throw up a gallery here.
This is by far the best minimalist case I've found, not just for the iPhone, but for any phone ever. The material is smooth but much grippier than the naked iPhone. The coverage, especially on the XT, will prevent any minor scratches that would negatively impact resale value without making your phone a brick.
Service and Support
I originally ordered a clear 6S Plus Veil. I was sent a smoked 6S Plus Veil. I emailed support and they replied quickly, had me send a pic to illustrate the problem, then immediately shipped me the correct case. They even let me keep the wrong one that they sent! I know it's just a $20 case, but I was so impressed by their customer service it pushed me over the edge to buy the blue XT you see pictured. I just noticed they have a Mother's Day special going on as I went to the site to get links for this article (LOVEMOM for 20% off through Sunday 5/8), so I ordered a clear XT. Now I have 4 6S Plus cases, which brings me to...
I figure I might as well share the love. Look for where I originally post this article on Google Plus and Facebook and share the post. I'll pick two random people who shared to receive one of the Veil cases I have. One is clear and one is smoked. Both are in 100% new condition, used only long enough to try them on. Whomever I randomly pick first can choose which color they want. This is for a Caudabe Veil (not Veil XT) in Smoke or Frost for an iPhone 6S Plus. It won't fit any other model. I'll pick a winner at 12:01am CST on Sunday, May 15, 2016 (So saturday night).
So I've been eyeing the new iPad Pro 9.7, and while it looks nice, I just couldn't bring myself to spend the money when basically the only improvement I would take advantage of is the keyboard. I mean, same amount of ram, same battery life, same resolution. I decided to keep my iPad Air 2 and find a keyboard case to facilitate email and writing stuff like this.
I was actually eyeing the Brydge Keyboard, but I didn't want the back of my iPad getting all scratched up. Also, Clamcase was cheaper, especially after a $20 off code for signing up for their newsletter.
The keyboard is nicely packaged and surprisingly pretty heavy, about the same weight as the keyboard itself.
The keyboard charges via Micro USB, and will supposedly last 200 hours of use and basically years of standby on a charge. So far I've only had it a few days but the battery indicator (You press a battery key on the keyboard and a light blinks to tell you battery level) is still telling me I'm over 75% full.
Speaking of charging, one little annoyance is the iPad charging port. It's sized pretty much exactly for the OEM cable, but that means that basically nothing else will fit. Like, nothing. If it's a tenth of a millimeter bigger it's not going to work.
So I'm now resigned to carry around an OEM lightning cable or take it out of it's case it charge, like a goddamn animal. I definitely wish there was a little bit more clearance.
Aside from that I have very few complaints. The keyboard is honestly as good as my MacBook Pro Retina. It's obviously smaller, but the key travel is very good and I'm having zero problems writing this article on my iPad. I kinda wish it had a backlit keyboard, but I have yet to find a situation in which I would really need it. I'm a touch typer anyway, and once I find a couple of keys, which is pretty easy from the light from the screen, I no longer need to see the keys anyway.
Build quality is top notch. It really does feel a lot like my MacBook. I don't think that's an accident based on the design.
The Clamcase (I swear to god I'm trying as hard as I can to not make clam jokes, thanks Michelle) has the stuff you expect from an iPad keyboard. Pairing is instant. It sleeps the iPad when you close it. All the shortcuts work, like CMD + T for a new tab in safari, CMD + tab for app switching etc.
The case also folds back beyond 180 degrees. When you fold it back beyond the laptop angle, it disconnects the keyboard so it can be used as a stand without getting random keyboard inputs.
As I said, the family resemblance is definitely there.
I think it looks really nice, kinda a MacBook Air Air. In my so far limited experience, it looks like this is going to be an amazing email and blogging machine. It's more portable than my MacBook Pro, and quite honestly, a lot less expensive. I would be a lot less worried leaving this in my car (out of sight of course, but still).
There are still a few niggles. It's a little top heavy when in the laptop position, it's fine most of the time but I would take a little bit more weight in the keyboard portion to make it more stable. The aforementioned charger port issue, the lack of backlit keys, and I can't for the life of me quit hitting the "trackpad" that doesn't exist. I really wish apple would allow trackpad input on the iPad. This would be an amazing experience with a trackpad down at the bottom. Even with those minor issues, I think it's going to be an amazing addition to my workflow nonetheless. I've managed to knock out this article just like I would have on my MacBook. I'm having an issue imbedding links but that's the fault of the Weebly app, not the keyboard.
It works pretty much identically to my MacBook in terms of work flow, my iPhone photos show up immediately, when I don't have an Internet connection I can just connect to my iPhone's hotspot, etc. It obviously isn't as powerful as a computer with a full desktop OS, but I often don't need that. For email and blogging, in a very portable, versatile package, this is a really compelling option.
You can find the clam case for all variety of iPads on their site and on Amazon.
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