What would you do if your power went out for three to four days at a time, several times per year? My slice of the San Francisco Bay Area is subject to Public Safety Power Shutoffs (PSPSs), where our utility (PG&E) kills the power to whole communities for days at a time in order to prevent deadly wildfires. I know the shutoffs are an essential safety measure, but they’re also incredibly disruptive. In 2019, the town where I live lost power for several three- to four-day stretches.
To weather these shutoffs, I built a private DIY solar microgrid. …
I’ve said it over and over again: I had no plans to buy AirPods Max. I had absolutely no interest in them.
Okay, that last part was incorrect; I had no interest in paying $549 for them. Sheesh.
But I was definitely interested in them. I figured I’d be waiting for Apple to make a cheaper version of the AirPods Max, maybe an SE version or something. Considering that, I didn’t expect to have any version of the AirPods Max in my hands so soon after their release. But here I am, wearing AirPods Max on my noggin right now.
When I first bought my house in the San Francisco Bay Area late last year, the place was like a museum of energy inefficiency. Nearly every light fixture in the house used a different kind of power-hogging incandescent or halogen lightbulb. When we got our first monthly electric bill, I nearly fell over — it was $868.
I knew that we needed to make a change. So I researched, bought, and installed modern, highly efficient LED replacements for every fixture in our home’s motley collection of random lights. …
I have always loved watches.
That’s not an exaggeration; as a kid, you could find me in the watch section of Wal-Mart as often as you could find me in the toy section. I’ve got cabinets full of cheap, dead watches that I don’t wear but I’ve stopped short of throwing out. I’m not sure why I’ve always been fascinated by timepieces, and it has for a long time been true that more often than not, you can find me not wearing any watch at all, but none of that ever stopped me from buying a new wristwatch.
Last week, I said goodbye to my (fully functional) Samsung Galaxy A70 and unboxed the iPhone 12 Pro. I would be lying if I said I didn’t look forward to it. Even though transferring data across platforms is a painstaking process, I was positively giddy: I couldn’t wait to see what I’ve missed during the past two years of iOS upgrades.
However, it’s fair to say that the iPhone fell short in several ways.
I shouldn’t even have to say this, but I paid a fraction of the price for my Galaxy A70 smartphone. Using a cheap phone is incredibly…
A new tool is quietly appearing in many new and old apps that makes it easier for users to get around and get things done quickly. It’s a supercharged search box that I’ve dubbed the “power bar” and is sometimes referred to as the “command palette.”
Similar to Apple’s Spotlight search on macOS, power bars are built into a specific app and generally summoned with a shortcut like CMD+K (or CMD+SHIFT+P) and then typing in what you’re trying to do. …
Earlier this year, I wrote an article about mining Bitcoin on any PC and also shared the details of a cryptocurrency mining PC I built in 2018. In mining a little Bitcoin of my own, I developed a much deeper understanding of how cryptocurrencies and the blockchain work (and made over $1,600 in the process).
What if you want to graduate to the next level, though, and build your own basic cryptocurrency mining PC using modern parts in 2021? I decided to find out, so I enlisted the help of my friend Adam, a computer engineer at a security company…
The trouble started last year shortly after Apple launched watchOS 7 (along with the new Apple Watch Series 6 and Watch SE). My wife’s Apple Watch Series 3 ($199 GPS model), which I bought for her almost two years ago, did not like the update at all.
It should have. WatchOS 7 is compatible with all Apple Watches back to version 3, but it turns out it’s compatible in the figurative sense: Apple Watch Series 3 can run watchOS 7 but getting it on the wearable is like trying to stuff 16 clowns into an eight-clown car.
“I called you, but I guess you didn’t hear it,” said my mother.
“This line?” I said, popping my AirPods Pros in my ears.
“No,” she said, sounding a bit concerned (or annoyed).
“Oh, you called the house phone.”
That’s when I realized my landline was unplugged. It wasn’t broken. I’d done this on purpose.
Let’s go back two weeks ago.
My home phone rang, and even though I suspected it was a spam or robocall, I glanced at the caller ID. …
Pagers were popular many years ago, and some people may still have one at home. Is it possible to test the pager now? Absolutely, and I will show you how to do it.
Let’s get started.
In the 90s, I was a student and the pager for me was something like a Star Trek Communicator, a piece of the cutting edge technology. It is fun to remember it because now I know that technologically the paging protocol is very straightforward. …