Search Results for Category: Computers

RAVPower BOLT 30W/6A 4-Port USB Charging Station


There are some days when my insatiable need for USB charging outlets surprises even me.  It seems every couple of weeks I have ANOTHER device I need to plug in to charge frequently; and the devices I do not need to charge frequently ALWAYS need to be charging when one of my critical devices is dead or dying for more power.

I installed a 6 port USB hub under the lip of my desk; hoping to cure my need for USB ports/plugs but I learned quickly that USB hubs just don’t deliver the juice fast enough to revitalize my high drain electronics.

A few months ago, I contacted RAVPower, the folks that provide us with a lot of hardware to review here about essentially a “power extension cord” for USB power.  Something with a lot of plugs with plenty of juice to push power to my greedy devices.  The apologetically said that they didn’t have anything like that yet, but they would let me know if they did in the future.

The future is now and they were happy to send me one for review. Read more

About Shane Monroe

Shane R. Monroe has been doing technical and social commentary writing for over 20 years. Google+

Plex – The (Near) Perfect Solution for Personal Media


I have a lot of media.  I own several thousand DVDs and Blu rays.  I have collected a lot of media from the internet.  I prefer to OWN (and store) the media I have.  I don’t like Netflix and I don’t like Hulu.  These aren’t solutions for me.  I am paying a lot of money a month for a fast internet connection and I have a lot of stuff I’m storing on my own – not the cloud.  I don’t want to have to UPLOAD my stuff to the cloud to get it …. I AM my own cloud.

… and I’m not alone.  Millions of others prefer to buy, store, rip and maintain their own private collections – for a variety of reasons (see my article on Digital Distribution for my thoughts).  Unfortunately, the issue with being your own cloud …?  Companies aren’t interested in writing top quality software to let you access it.  Your options tend to rely on some proprietary media friendly NAS (like a Synology Diskstation) which suffers from fairly immature software on mobile devices or some sort of specialized delivery system for ONE component of your media (like Subsonic; great music gateway – poor video gateway).

Worse yet, if you plan to SHARE your content with family and friends?  A whole new can of worms is opened.

Take all of these issues and then try to solve ubiquitous playback from TV, web, phone and tablet?  This has been a pipe dream for some time.

Enter Plex Media Server Read more

About Shane Monroe

Shane R. Monroe has been doing technical and social commentary writing for over 20 years. Google+

Ten Tech-Related Things I Hate


Certain things about technology make me mental.  I constantly get asked, “What is your problem with x?” or “Why do you hate y?”  I figured it would save time if I could just link to an article that explain what makes me crazy about tech-related services and concepts.

This is the mind-numbing technology that I would change in a heartbeat if I were In Charge(tm); in no particular order. Read more

About Shane Monroe

Shane R. Monroe has been doing technical and social commentary writing for over 20 years. Google+

HooToo 3-in-1 Wireless Router/NAS/Power Bank (HT-TM01)


DSC00003After my review of the RAVPOWER WiFi Disk/Power Bank (RP-WD01) I was asked to take a look at another, similar product, the HT-TM01 (from now on, just HT) – this time the promise of actual ROUTER ability was added, making this device useful in all new situations.

The HT promises four main functions; a 5200mAh power bank for refueling your USB charged devices, a wireless access point/bridge to share one wifi connection with multiple people, a router (R-45 connector) for wired connectivity and finally a Network Attached Storage (NAS) solution – allowing you to wirelessly share a portable USB drive wirelessly.

Read more

About Shane Monroe

Shane R. Monroe has been doing technical and social commentary writing for over 20 years. Google+

Taotronics Bluetooth Speaker TT-SK01


I wasn’t really in the market for a Bluetooth speaker, but my wife was interested in something for her classroom.  Something small, cheap, portable and easy to use – something she could take to school (she’s a teacher) and use to listen to music when class isn’t in session.  Since her students have light fingers, she really wanted something she could afford to lose.

Of course – she wanted all this AND it needs to sound great.

CIMG3554Looking for something under $30, I ran across the TT-SK01 at Amazon. The TT-SK01 (just TT from now on) comes in a box smaller than you think.  When you open the small box, you find a little black “egg”.  It’s little, solid but not too hefty and rather attractive as cheap electronics tend to go.

Further inspection of the box reveals a short, multi-language manual that actually tells you exactly what you need to know – in honest to goodness English.  Finally, there is a flat, USB cable included – again, remarkably decent quality for a cheap Chinese piece of electronics.  Mine is even red.  Nice compliment to the black egg. Read more

About Shane Monroe

Shane R. Monroe has been doing technical and social commentary writing for over 20 years. Google+

Google’s “Breakfast with Sundar” Wrapup


Everyone is being like Nintendo these days; forgoing the “all in” during big conferences – instead, setting up multiple, smaller conferences and demos regularly spaces throughout the year.

On July 24th, Google presented “Breakfast with Sundar Pichai” to reveal new hardware, software and services. Let’s take a quick look at everything in a nutshell, and we’ll give you our two cents too. Read more

About Shane Monroe

Shane R. Monroe has been doing technical and social commentary writing for over 20 years. Google+

Synology DS212j Network Attached Storage Solution


Storage. For almost everyone that owns technology, storage is the very fabric of life. It doesn’t matter how entrenched in tech you are – storage need eventually raises its ugly head. When it does, we scramble for a “storage solution” which is commonly equated to “more”; more GBs, more TBs (maybe even PBs for some). Some people are more worried about the format of storage; do I need a bigger old school hard drive or should I go for faster SSD solutions? Unfortunately, the “solution” part of “storage solution” is rarely looked at from an ever-growing need point of view; how do I access my storage?

Ah, yes. “The Cloud”. This decade’s biggest buzz phrase and an explosive industry all on its own. There are so many solutions it can make one dizzy and each one promises SOMETHING that “the others don’t have”; be it more storage, automatic syncing across devices – you name it. Unfortunately, they all have shortcomings – ensuring that none of them provide exactly what everyone needs.

Read more

About Shane Monroe

Shane R. Monroe has been doing technical and social commentary writing for over 20 years. Google+

RAVPOWER WiFi Disk/Power Bank (RP-WD01)


I can barely contain myself long enough to write this review.  For the longest time I’ve been searching for the ultimate, portable solution for storage for my non-microSD slot Nexus phones and tablets.

We need more storage.  No matter how much memory your device has on board, you need more; movies, documents, music, personal files – whatever it is you need – there is never enough room for it all.  So you turn to cloud services to help ease the pain.  Of course, there is a problem with that.  What if you have no 4G?  No WiFi?  What if you’re on a plane?  The cloud doesn’t help you. Read more

About Shane Monroe

Shane R. Monroe has been doing technical and social commentary writing for over 20 years. Google+

Injustice: Gods Among Us (Wii U) Quick Look


I’ll share my first thoughts on Injustice: Gods Among Us  (on the Wii U, for a change).  This is not intended to be a comprehensive review; but rather a first look based on about five hours of single player, story mode play.

512CuZA3m8L._SY300_First off, the Wii U version is fab.  No issues.   The game did not require an update out of the box.  Load times are on par with games of this nature, and so far I’ve seen no glaring glitches in execution – and NO “screaming lockups” as I like to call it.  You can play the game ENTIRELY off-screen or use the GamePad as a move cheat sheet.   I was concerned the GamePad might not make a good fighting controller, but 5 minutes in, I knew I was golden.  It feels and executes great – the D-Pad working perfect for a high-octane fighter like MK.  Everything was fast, responsive and comfortable. Read more

About Shane Monroe

Shane R. Monroe has been doing technical and social commentary writing for over 20 years. Google+

Freemium Part Deux: DRM in Disguise


In my article, Freemium: It’s Real, It Sucks, It Really Sucks I discussed the latest bait and switch from the gaming industry. The concept of micro-transactions isn’t new; but now instead of it being an afterthought, games are being BUILT around picking your pocket, $.99-$99.99 at a time. Games like Simpsons: Tapped Out show how the model works; take a four hour game, give it away for free – and drag those four hours out to over a year of “click and wait” while offering time-compressing “donuts” at top dollar. Read more

About Shane Monroe

Shane R. Monroe has been doing technical and social commentary writing for over 20 years. Google+

Filed under : Consoles, Software, The Cloud