Links of the Week (7/13/2020)

Climbing and travel planning…who wouldn’t want to read these links?

“Don’t kill your husband, don’t kill yourself.”

“Don’t kill your husband, don’t kill yourself.”

“Don’t kill your husband, don’t kill yourself.”

This mantra looped in my head as I led out on some of the worst stone I’ve encountered in my 24 years of climbing.

I have my own mantra I use while climbing…luckily it was never this ☝️. Great story and makes me miss home.

Wild Kingdom: Katie Lambert Explores the Remote, Seldom-Visited Citadel


As a climber who doesn’t plan on breaking any records or even leading a 5.12 any time soon, I seek out the 5.10-and-under climbs at my local cliffs. I like climbs that don’t make me contemplate my mortality on every move, as I suspect most of us do as well. Still, the media so often focuses on the climbers ticking 5.15s—the Adam Ondras and Margo Hayeses—when so few of us attain these grades. Perhaps the climbers who make it possible for us to enjoy mellower climbs—our favorite 5.8, 5.9, and 5.10 sport routes—also deserve credit.

Amen to that!

The Mod Squad: The Tireless Climbers Establishing Moderate Sport Routes Around the Country


For my trip planning, I almost exclusively use Gaia GPS for researching, routing and tracking my adventures. I will go through some tips and tricks that I have learned along the way, along with some of the features of Gaia GPS.

I really enjoy Gaia GPS and subscribe to it for all of the MVUM (motor vehicle use maps) stuff. This is an article I’ll be referencing for a while.

So you want to map your adventure with Gaia GPS… — Explore4R


Thomas Frank’s productivity videos are watched by nearly 2 million subscribers. For every video, he writes scripts, collects b-roll and manages distribution so that every video is high quality and finds the right audience. Notion helps him and his growing team organize all these moving parts, freeing up more time for him to focus on the creative work.

Notion is one of those apps that I wanted to use but couldn’t find a use for….well that has ended for me. Notion has now replaced Noto, a note taking app that I was particularly enthralled with for a short period but it’s short comings started driving me crazy.

I’ll be writing about Notion more, but in the meantime you should check it out. (spoiler…I partly use it to plan trips in conjunction with Gaia maps)

Notion – The all-in-one workspace for your notes, tasks, wikis, and databases.

Links of the Week (6/29/2020)

All the Apple links you need to wet your iOS14 appetite….

In our reactions webinar, Josh, Rose, Mike, and I discussed the new features of iOS, iPadOS, and macOS that we are most excited about, including some of of the biggest and most exciting features that didn’t get airtime during the keynote.

The folks over at the Sweet Setup know what they’re talking about.

WWDC 2020 Announcements Reaction, Thoughts on Apple Notes and iPadOS, and More – The Sweet Setup


Apple earlier this week confirmed that future Macs will boast Apple silicon as opposed to Intel-based processors. The transition away from Intel, which Apple categorized as “historic,” will take about two years and will start with new Macs set to hit store shelves later this year.

Crazy to think that this move could speed up these computer “Ferraris” even more.

Former Intel engineer sheds light on Apple’s decision to design its own chips


Apple Notes and Reminders are two of my most-used apps, and each has received significant updates in iOS and iPadOS 14. Though neither app’s improvements have been held up as tentpole features of this fall’s releases, Apple has nonetheless given noteworthy attention to making the user experience for each app better

​I’ve always wanted to use the native apps more, but they were never feature rich enough. Maybe this is the year.

Everything Changing in Apple Notes and Reminders in iOS and iPadOS 14


Apple debuted the trailer for the extravagant sci-fi series at its developers conference on June 22. Based on the 1951 book series of the same name by prolific American writer Isaac Asimov, Foundation tells the story of the fall of a vast far-future Galactic Empire. If the trailer looks a bit like HBO’s “Game of Thrones in space,” that is very much intentional.

I wasn’t sure if I was going to keep Apple Tv+ when my free subscription ran out…but if this is as promising as it looks…?

Honestly, my money is on Amazon and the Wheel of Time series they picked up. If you have read those books, those are ripe for a “next Game of Thrones” type show if it can be done right.

Apple is hoping “Foundation” can be its “Game of Thrones”

Best Around the House Bluetooth Speaker

You can’t beat this quality…

I owned the first version of the Bose SoundLink Mini for almost a decade before it finally gave out.

Think about that.

For almost 10 years I had this little speaker in various offices of mine across the country, playing podcasts, ambient music, the most recent album I found on iTunes. People tend to buy new TVs more often than that!

Bose is known for its quality and you normally pay a premium for their high quality products that produce higher quality sound.

However, if you want a great bluetooth speaker that you can move around the house or just keep in your office like I do…look no further.

Bose SoundLink Mini II Limited Edition Bluetooth Speaker

Behind the Curtain of Today’s Biggest Apple Leaker

Everyone has a story…his is fascinating.

I’ve been listening to the Cult of Mac podcast for quite a few years now. It’s one of the few podcasts out there that is funny, interesting, non-political, and I honestly feel like I could just hang out with the hosts.

They recently had Jon Prosser on their podcast. If you don’t follow the Apple world closely, he has been publishing some of the most accurate Apple leaks in recent memory. He has received a lot of good and bad press from it…as the apple writer world can be a bit possessive of their territory.

This podcast was interesting because he debuted some exclusive leaks…but it was more interesting because at one point Jon starts talking about his younger years and the incredibly hardships he dealt with in the death of his mother, his grandmother passing from cancer, being 19 and the legal guardian for his younger brother, and his drive to create a successful YouTube tech news channel called Front Page Tech.

I actually stopped working in my office and sat slack jawed at what I was listening to. (click on episode 441…his backstory starts about 30 minutes in but I’d encourage you to listen to the first 30 min too. episode 442 is interesting as a follow up)

HUGE Apple hardware drops coming in spring and fall! (CultCast #529) The CultCast

This week: Apple readies its ‘widest array’ of new products ever for this fall Better, faster iMac Pro and Mac mini could reach shelves this spring iPad Pro with speedy Apple M2 processor on course for fall 2022 Apple Maps erects gigantic digital wall to hide Tim Cook’s house This episode supported by Easily create a beautiful website all by yourself, at Squarespace.com/cultcast. Use offer code CultCast at checkout to get 10% off your first purchase of a website or domain. Cult of Mac's watch store is full of beautiful straps that cost way less than Apple's. See the full curated collection at Store.Cultofmac.com CultCloth will keep your iPhone 13, Apple Watch, iPad, glasses and lenses sparkling clean, and for a limited time use code CULTCAST at checkout to score a free CarryCloth with any order at CultCloth.co. This week's stories Apple readies its ‘widest array’ of new products ever for this fall Apple is preparing to launch the “widest array” of new products in its history, according to a new report. This fall is expected to bring new iPhone models, a more affordable MacBook Pro, and big refreshes for iMac and Mac Pro. Better, faster iMac Pro and Mac mini could reach shelves this spring Add faster versions of the Mac mini to the list of products predicted for an spring 2022 Apple event. The tiny desktop will supposedly be upgraded with the latest Apple processors. Win an Invoxia Cellular GPS Tracker and stop losing things [Cult of Mac giveaway] iPad Pro with speedy Apple M2 processor on course for fall 2022 The next generation of iPad Pro will fittingly have Apple’s next-generation processor, the M2. At least according to a generally reliable tipster. Apple Maps erects gigantic digital wall to hide Tim Cook’s house If you find yourself taking a virtual stroll through Palo Alto inside Apple Maps and Google Maps, you're no longer going to see Tim Cook’s house. The modern, four-bedroom condo has had a giant digital wall erected right in front of it. Turns out it's not that hard to get Apple or Google to erase your house from their maps – we've got a how-to!
  1. HUGE Apple hardware drops coming in spring and fall! (CultCast #529)
  2. MORE Apple hardware, incoming! (CultCast #528)
  3. We’ve got more intel on iPhone 14 + Apple’s secret FOLDING iPhones (CultCast #527)
  4. We've got NEW leaks on Apple's 2022 hardware (CultCast #526)
  5. Get ready for Apple’s 2022 Hardware EXPLOSION (CultCast #525)

Thoughts on the ‘7 Best Portable Solar Panels in 2020’

Start with these links for your own solar power research…

After I bought some BioLite campsite lights recently, I got interested in various solar panels to charge them.

I read about BioLite’s native 10 watt solution, big brand names like Goal Zero, and scoured various websites like Wirecutter and Outdoor Gear Lab for reviews on all the options out there.

BioLite Solar Panel 10+

Needless to say there are a lot of options out there.

I am currently teetering on the edge of buying one of these since my family is finally getting to the point where we can start doing some extended camping trips. I do not have a direction that I have gone yet…but I tend to err in the direction of getting a bit more than I need.

Personally, I feel that this gives me the peace of mind that I won’t need to “upgrade” in the future when/if I realize that I want more capability.

image via ecotality.com

The below linked article doesn’t cover EVERYTHING you need to start your research on solar panels and other outdoor power options (see the Wirecutter and Outdoor Gear Lab articles I linked to above too)…BUT…it has some one of the best “introduction to solar panels” write up I found.

Plus it links to 4 or 5 other types of “best solar panel for…” articles. It’s a great place to start if you’re curious.

Solar power varies according to multiple environmental conditions. Solar irradiance values, shadings, temperature, and the amount of direct sunlight exposure changes the output power of your solar panel and can change the charging speed of your solar charger. Moreover, if you are purchasing solar panels for off-grid boat applications, you will probably use a battery pack and a charge controller. Some energy will be lost in the energy conversion process as well. Therefore, you must estimate the size of the solar panel a little above the specific demands if you want it to charge within a single day.

Ecotality.com

Let me know your thoughts on your favorite solar power options!!!

7 Best Portable Solar Panels in 2020 (Review)

Here is another great website that gets more into the technical style reviews…VERY thorough.

Mobile Solar Power or the site YouTube Channel

Best All-Around Smart Lights: Philips Hue

I love these…

There are a lot of smart light systems on the market.

However, when I moved to Pennsylvania and in to a larger house, I thought it was time for me to jump on the smart home light train. Part of this was driven by the fact that our new house has about a million light switches that we can’t remember what turns what on.

Perfect time for a home technology upgrade!!

Photo by Vlada Karpovich on Pexels.com

The Options

Multi-color or standard dimming: I knew that I didn’t really want (rather need) to turn my living room a lovely shade of purple at dinner time, so I stuck with the more basic (and less expensive) option.

Most of these two-tone dimming bulbs give you the bright to warm option that you get with normal light bulbs.

Hub vs No-Hub: This one may depend on how big your house is or how many smart light bulbs you plan on purchasing.

I was moving in to a bigger house and had a bunch of lights I was going to be upgrading, so I went with the Hub option. From what I have read, this puts less traffic on your home wifi-router as well as all the smart lights access your internet via the hub rather than directly.

Also, since going with the hub system normally keeps the brand all the same, it’s easier to keep them all up to date. (from what I’ve seen)

Homekit vs Google Home vs Etc.: What system the smart bulbs are compatible with didn’t really matter to me since I already had a Google Home and Apple products.

Best choice is to get a smart bulb system that works with both…which is what I did.

Photo by Vlada Karpovich on Pexels.com

My Choice

Philips Hue smart bulbs.

Getting the starter pack gives you the hub and a few bulbs, and they are incredibly easy to set up. You can use Google Home or Apple Home Kit, I use both…which I really like.

I’ve got them set up with multiple rooms, both upstairs and downstairs. One of my favorite features (easiest to set up with Home Kit from what I can see) is timing downstairs lights to come on before I wake up and turning off all lights at midnight incase we forget to turn them off.

Also, Home Kit has a location aware setting where the smart lights will turn off if both my wife and I leave the house and turn on again when one of us returns.

All that to say…the name brand company is sure to stick around, is available almost everywhere, and I never have to fear they will go by the wayside.

If you’re curious, you can check them out over at Amazon.

Best USB-C Hub for MacBook Pro

One hub to rule them all…

One of the reasons I waited so long to trade in my 2015 MacBook Pro was all of the glorious ports that it had. From the SD card reader to the HDMI port, it had everything that I needed in that department.

However, as I leaned more heavily in to my Vlog, I began to see the need to upgrade my Mac for speed, hard disk space, RAM, and more.

When Apple came out with the 16 inch MacBook Pro (MBP), it fixed all of the major gripes people had (keyboard, ports, battery life, speed) since the legendary 2015 MBP. It was time for me to upgrade…and upgrade I did.

The only accessory I needed was one hub to rule them all.

I jumped over to Wirecutter for the best recommendation and decided on this hub. It does the trick, feels and acts high quality, is incredibly portable, and has every port I will probably ever need.

If you are in need of a great USB-C hub for your laptop, I highly recommend this one.

Links of the Week (5/04/2020)

Drake’s house is out of this world, Gratitude is healthy for you, and Skynet in its infancy…

Remember the chintzy, pimped-out McMansions that were a staple of the long-running MTV series Cribs? The Toronto home of mega recording artist Aubrey Drake Graham is something else altogether.

Drake’s house is honestly difficult for me to fathom.

Inside Rapper Drake’s Manor House in Hometown Toronto


“I see it as a relationship-strengthening emotion,” Emmons writes of the social dimension of gratitude, “because it requires us to see how we’ve been supported and affirmed by other people

According to sociologist Georg Simmel, gratitude serves as a way to personalize things that we all experience objectively. Simmel has often referred to gratitude as “the moral memory of mankind.”

I love it.

The positive impact of gratitude on mental and physical health


Below is what’s new for parents:

  • PIN protect individual profiles to prevent kids using them
  • Filtering out titles that are not appropriate for their age with country ratings
  • Remove individual series or films by title; won’t show up in profile
  • Easily review each profile’s setting in new “Profile and Parental Controls” hub within account settings
  • See profile viewing history for kids; Turn off auto play of episodes in kids profiles

If you’re a parent like I am…this is a huge win. 😂

Netflix Adds More Parental Controls: PIN Protected Profiles, Disabling Auto Play and More


AutoML-Zero is unique because it uses simple mathematical concepts to generate algorithms “from scratch,” as the paper states. Then, it selects the best ones, and mutates them through a process that’s similar to Darwinian evolution.

​Skynet anyone? 😉

New AI improves itself through Darwinian-style evolution

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