November 25, 2021
I've never liked big phones. Ever since my first cell phone, the Samsung SGH-R225, I've preferred to have the smallest phone possible. If someone could make a phone the size of a credit card, that would be perfect. I could just slide it in my wallet and be on my way.
Needless to say, I'm not a fan of Apple's "bigger is better" iPhone trend. At the same time, I've been using an iPhone since the day Apple released the original model on June 29, 2007, so switching to a non-Apple model is a huge barrier. I tried both the iPhone X and the iPhone 11 Pro and returned them both because they were too clunky. To this day, I don't understand how people walk around with those electronic bricks in their pockets.
For several years, I used the iPhone 7, which IMO had the best iPhone form factor of any iPhone. Instead of replacing the aging battery a second time, I moved to the iPhone SE 2020 edition, which has roughly the same shape and size as the iPhone 7. It was OK, but it became increasingly clear the performance was not the same as the higher-end iPhone models many of my friends have. Last month, I decided to upgrade, and there was only one choice: the iPhone 13 mini.
November 1, 2021
Most modern televisions, computer monitors, and laptop displays have glossy screens. These clear display panels provide the sharpest possible image with the deepest black levels, but they also produce glare.
A subtle glare can be mildly annoying, while a strong glare can make a display nearly unusable. So it's important to be proactive in preventing glare. To reduce those shiny reflections, follow these tips:
- Avoid placing your television or computer in a brightly-lit room.
- If the room has windows, make sure the screen does not face the window.
- Place lights behind or to the sides of the screen, rather than in front of it.
- Use dark wall colors if possible, since brighter colors — especially white — reflect more light.
- When using a laptop, angle the screen at 90° or even less to remove reflections on the screen.
Glare is not just annoying — it can cause undue strain on your eyes, causing headaches and other problems. If you're not able to move your workstation to a glare-free space, an antireflective screen cover might be your best option. It will reduce the clarity and contrast of the display, but your eyes will thank you.
October 1, 2021
If you spend several hours a day typing on a keyboard, you're probably familiar with the tight forearms and wrist pain that go along with it. Pressing thousands — or tens of thousands — of keys per day can take a toll. That's why it's essential to have the correct hand position when you type.
Fun fact — nearly all desks are too high for correct typing posture. They force you to raise your hands above your elbows, reducing blood flow and increasing strain on your wrists. The result is faster fatigue in your forearms, wrists, and fingers.
If most desks are too tall, how do you lower your hands below your wrists? The easy solution is to raise your seat. If you have an adjustable chair, raise the seat so that your forearms are at least parallel with the ground. Your keyboard should be just below your elbows. If this height causes your feet to dangle, you'll need a lower desk to complete the correct ergonomic setup. Many desks are 30" tall, so an ideal solution is an adjustable desk that can be lowered to 28" or lower.
September 1, 2021
Have an important phone call or Zoom meeting coming up? It's wise to test your audio first.
Testing your speakers is simple — just play an audio or video clip on your phone or computer. If the sound is clear and the volume is right, you're good to go.
Testing your microphone requires a little more effort. While some apps like Zoom and Microsoft Teams allow you to see your audio levels, a visual meter doesn't let you know how you sound. The best way to test your mic is to record something simple and play it back. I can't promise you'll like the sound of your own voice (I certainly don't), but at least you'll know if your mic is working and if the audio is clear.
August 25, 2021
My Razer Anasi keyboard had a good run. When Razer stopped updating their Mac drivers a few years ago, I knew it was only a matter of time before my keyboard and mice would stop working. Last year's macOS Big Sur update was the nail in the coffin.
After nearly ten years of using the same keyboard, I faced the dreaded task of looking for a new one. I say "dreaded" because 1) the perfect keyboard doesn't exist (every single one I've tried has annoying issues) and 2) the options for Mac users are minimal.
Mac Gaming Keyboard Alternatives
Razer intentionally left Mac users in the dust, so buying another Razer keyboard was not an option. I looked at gaming keyboards from HyperX, Roccat, SteelSeries, Fnatic, Logitech, and Corsair. HyperX and Roccat don't offer Mac support. The only SteelSeries keyboards that are Mac-compatible don't have macro keys, which are necessary for my workflow.
August 1, 2021
If you're like most people, your most commonly-used application is a web browser. While mobile apps are great for some tasks, it's rare to go through an entire day without opening a browser on your phone or computer. If a web browser is your number one app, why not have more than one?
You don't need to clutter your computer with browsers, and it's fine to use your favorite one most of the time. But here are three reasons to install multiple browsers on your PC and smartphone.
- Have a backup browser. Web browsers today (in 2021) display webpages much more consistently than 10 years ago (and especially 20 years ago). But every once in a while, you may come across a site that doesn't look or function correctly in your default browser. It's helpful to have a backup browser that you can try whenever this happens.
- Use different accounts in different browsers. Most browsers remember login information and store cookies for certain websites. This makes it easy to access frequently-used websites, but it can complicate things if you have multiple accounts. If you have personal and business accounts for various online services, it may help to use one browser for your personal accounts and one for your business ones.
- Protect your privacy. If you're logged into websites like Google and Facebook, there is a good chance your searches and browsing habits are being tracked and linked to your profile. While this can provide you with more targeted ads, it may also feel like an invasion of privacy. As an alternative to using "private mode" to avoid tracking, you can also use a secondary browser that isn't logged in to any accounts.
More than a dozen web browsers are available, but some of the most popular ones include:
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