Our phones have become invasive. But what if you could engineer a reverse state of being? What if you could make a device that you wouldn’t—couldn’t—use for hours at a time? What if you could create a device that could filter out all the bullshit and instead only serve you truly important information? You could change modern life. And so after three-plus decades of building devices that grab and hold our attention—the longer the better—Apple has decided that the way forward is to fight back. Apple, in large part, created our problem. And it thinks it can fix it with a square slab of metal and a Milanese loop strap.
Traveling often I'm always in search of gadgets that can ease my stress.
One of the first world problems I usually encounter when travelling, is the wi-fi limitations in hotels. Often too slow and most likely don't support more than once connection at a time. Usually the cable connection is an excellent solution for my laptop, but what about my mobile devices?
Recently, I discovered a device that’s a combination of an external battery pack, Wi-Fi router, and a micro NAS.
What is the TripMate?
The TripMate is a combination device.
- It’s a 6000 mAh battery pack that you can use it to recharge your devices on the go.
- It’s a Wi-Fi router; that you can use both as a LAN-to-Wi-Fi node or a stand alone Wi-Fi node that can be shared with many devices.
- It’s a NAS (Network Attached Storage unit) that you can plug a to a USB drive and share files and stream media.
The device is well-designed and built in the shape of a small battery. It weighs only 125g, the same as an iPhone 5. Wide only three fingers, it is light and compact enough to be stored in a backpack or even a pocket. Perfect for trips.
How does it work?
As a battery pack, the TripMate functions seamlessly. Even if not over powered as other external battery packs. I was able to charge fully my iPhone 6 and more than 50% of my iPad. I was able to stream content to my iPad for 6 hours straight before dying.
As a Wi-Fi router I always maxed out the connection speed I was on.
Wi-Fi coverage was also outstanding. Considering most people will be using the device in small areas (such as hotel rooms) the signal power is more than enough.
As a NAS it also performed well. I had no issues moving files between a Hard Drive and my Macbook. And HD video streaming is flawless.
If you need a travel router and a travel NAS, you can't go wrong with the Tripmate. For only 35€ it's a more than respectable device that can drastically improve your trips.
I'm an anxious guy. I've always been. I unfortunatly live with the fear of forgetting about something, taking precautions before doing anything. I simply need to have everything under control.
Amongst my many fears, I have always felt the urge to do double, if not even, triple backups of everything for my peace of mind.
The war for the best Online storage service has recently escalated to a new level. Companies such as Microsoft have even started offering 100GB for free if you have a Dropbox account.
The competition is rough and the decision to choose the right cloud storage service is starting to get a bit complicated.
I don't want to share with you a compare chart based upona my online researches where I point out the differences between the various solutions.
I will simply describe to you my current online backup setting hoping that it could be somehow inspiring for you.
But before getting in to details, let me answer a couple of things:
Why you should always have more than one Backup
You're backup will never be safe unless you have a solid backup strategy that relies on redundancy. I oblige to the backup rule of three, also known as the Backup 3-2-1 rule. What if your house burns down? What if Dropbox screws up for some reason your backup and you instantly loose a decade of pictures?
3 copies of anything you care about - Two isn't enough if it's important.
2 different formats - Example: Dropbox+DVDs or Hard Drive+Memory Stick or, as I do, Hard Drive+Backblaze, or more
1 off-site backup - If the house burns down, how will you get your memories back?
Why use three services?
Why do I still use Dropbox if it's so expensive?
Because of it's almost perfect (and fast) camera roll upload functionality and due to the fact that many App I use daily sync trough dropbox. Another main reason why I use Dropbox is the fact that in time I gained up 20GB for free by inviting people to join Dropbox. Very convenient.
Probably I will switch completly to iCloud Drive as soon as I'm able to fully test the Photos app since it looks really promising and I can sync all of my App settings trough iCloud too.
I can't deny that I also make use of Flickr for an extra backup solution limited only to photos. I use a IFTTT recipe to auto-upload My Camera Roll folder from dropbox to Flickr.
Why don't you rely only on Google Drive?
Because of the file ownership policies.
"Your Content in our Services: When you upload or otherwise submit content to our Services, you give Google (and those we work with) a worldwide licence to use, host, store, reproduce, modify, create derivative works (such as those resulting from translations, adaptations or other changes that we make so that your content works better with our Services), communicate, publish, publicly perform, publicly display and distribute such content.
The rights that you grant in this licence are for the limited purpose of operating, promoting and improving our Services, and to develop new ones. This licence continues even if you stop using our Services (for example, for a business listing that you have added to Google Maps)."
This sentence doesn't clearly define the final scope.
Dropbox: is mainly used for Camera uploads and syncing App settings, as fore-mentioned, I’m waiting to fully test the Photos App of iCloud Drive when it will be officially released.
Google Drive/Creative Cloud: I use Google Drive to have a shared reference folder and for when I need to collaborate on documents or projects with teams that don’t use or have Creative Cloud(that offer 100GB if you're subscribed).
Backblaze: After much research, this service is the easiest and most affordable way to backup files to an off-site cloud server. For only 50$ a year it does a complete backup of my hard drive and my external USB disks. No weird settings to play around with, just register, download the app and start syncing all of your hard drive. Is it secure? Yes, the files that are backed up on Backblaze are more secure than the files you have in Dropbox thanks to data encryption.
If you loose your computer or you need to restore it you can simply reinstall the app and conveniently restore your data in 3 simple ways: downloading a zip file, making the company send you a USB drive or a USB flash drive.
Backing up files has never been so easy and affordable. I think that memories(and documents) are worth less than 5$ a month. So why not reach the peace of mind and starting setting up your own personal Backup in the cloud?
I rely on Omnifocus 2 to manage my projects. I've set up a complex and well balanced ecosystem in the last few months that is crucial for me to be sure that I get things done and on time.
However, throughout the day I need an app that can give me the ability to quickly jot down personal tasks and create alerts that will buzz me until I put them off. For this reason, reminders such as "call Mom", "go to the dentist", "Pay car insurance" find their place in Due. Because it repeatedly reminds you of items that are due until you act on them, it‘s impossible to forget anything with Due.
Due has been around for more than 4 years and has always found it's place on my iPhone's homescreen. Due 2's new creation panel features a grid of quick access times that can tapped to rapidly set daily reminders. With Due you can set due dates and reschedule existing ones *fast* by tapping on any of the 12 preset and customizable times. No need to scroll through the time picker wheel.
A long flight can be both a curse and a blessing when it comes to getting things done.
The aircraft cabin noise that simply doesn't stop, with kids two rows ahead that won't go to sleep, the guy sitting next to you smells like he has been on a diet that required him to eat only onions and keeps looking at your monitor asking questions like: What are you working on? You’re a designer? I’m a designer too, I use Power Point. Can you use Power Point on MacBooks too? All of this while the guy sitting in front of you reclines his seat disintegrating your knees.
But on the bright side, with a couple of tricks and gadgets, a long flight can be a productivity sanctuary.
A place where to do the work that thrives on network disconnection. Like writing this article. Focusing on that assignment, clear up your email inbox and writing a few chapters of that book that you never have time to work on.
It’s all about isolating yourself from distractions.
And to do so I would like to share with you the list of my must-have travel accessories for in-flight enhanced productivity.
Have you ever experienced an 8 hour flight during the night after a 12 hour shift?
The aircraft cabin noise that simply doesn't stop, with kids two rows ahead that won't go to sleep, and occasional announcements that interrupt your sleep sinergically create a wall of stress that can’t be destroyed.
You need do yourself a favour: Buy a pair of noise-canceling headphones. I was skeptical at first but now I can’t live without them.
The Bose's QuietComfort 25 over-ear headphones feature excellent noise isolation and a sculpted, powerful audio performance and comes with a neat carrying bag and an airplane plug adapter to enjoy your in-flight entertainment. They are great even with no audio since they suck all of the noise from the cabin. If little children start screaming, just launch some soothing sound from your iPhone and you’re done.
This little wonder allows you to both charge your devices during long flights, both it’s able to stream two separate HD movies and some MP3s simultaneously on a flight. Plus, once landed and in the hotel it serves as a great wi-fi router replacing the usually-not-so-good Hotel connection.
Tired of having people give quick glances at your work? Raise questions about stuff that is none of their business? A handy Screen privacy filter is all you need. You can even buy one for your tablet if you, like me, prefer using your iPad to get stuff done during flights.
This little wonder is a USB 3.0 portable hard drive with an embedded Wi-Fi network and a battery. Besides working as a regular USB hard drive it can also become a wireless media server. Excellent to wirelessly stream content to mobile clients, such as tablets or smartphones.
A surgeon mask
Even if it’s the universal symbol for flu, this precious object is an armor. Besides protecting you from bacteria and other horrors lurking in the air aboard airplanes it create a healthy microclimate for your nose and mouth. Quick tip: bring always two masks. When the woman sitting next to you will ask if you’re sick just hand a mask over to her. She will thank you later when the guy sitting next to her will start sweating garlic from his armpits.
This infamous device should be used carefully. A man got kicked off a Flight for using it. When attached to the seat in front of you it will prevent it to be reclined giving you more space and making sure that your laptop or glass of water doesn’t get catapulted on your face.
So even if you’ll look like an idiot with your noise-isolating earphones and a white mask, this simple setup will enhance your in-flight experience. Working with no distraction is almost a stress relieving activity. You’ll get things done in no time and you’ll even have time for a great power-nap.
And what about you? Do you have any travel accessories that you simply can’t live without?
In this age of instant technology, we are bombarded with an overload of information and demands of our time. This is part of the reason GTD is so popular in the information world — it’s a system designed for quick decisions and for keeping all the demands of your life in order. But even if we are using GTD, sometimes we are so overwhelmed with things to do that our system begins to fall apart.
ZenHabits provides us a must-read: How NOT to Multi-task — a guide to working as simply as possible for your mental health.Read More
As usual, every year I like to share my personal collection of what I think are the most indispensable apps to have on everyones smartphone.
With the evolution of iOS, this device has enhanced drastically my productivity and professional life. If it weren't for Adobe's Creative Suite I could rely only on the combination of my iPad and my iPhone to get things done.
Also this year I have divided my apps in to Action folders. So when I need to get things done and be productive I have my own special toolbox of Apps that I can't live without inside the "Work" folder.
So, without further ado, I'm glad to introduce you my personal Must Have iPhone Apps 2015 Edition:Read More
I've been thinking a lot lately about wearable devices, especially after the announcement of the Apple Watch.
My biggest concern with wearables is the element of distraction. What happens when a device with potential to be incredibly distracting is not just in your pocket, but strapped to your wrist? Can devices like Google Glass augment our activities without distracting us from the physical world?
I'm a fan of "uni-tasking" and I know for sure that the fact that people can multi-task without any loss in the quality of their work is simply a great myth.
Right now the "wearable" trend is happening simply because it can be done.
For me gadgets like the Apple Watch, Google Glass need to be artifacts that can enhance human abilities. I am fully dependent upon modern technologies, because they make me more productive, not less.
For this reason I wanted to start researching the world of wearable devices with something simple. A fitness band.
I spent a good amount of time reading reviews regarding what would be my next purchase, and I ended up buying the Jawbone Up24.Read More
Let's get things straight. I'm one of those guys who needs to reach inbox zero by the end of the day. I treat my email inbox as a sort of a Task list. Every email needs to be processed, if it requires an action it get's sent to Omnifocus, if it's document to keep as a reference it goes directly to Evernote. Nothing remains in the Inbox.
My iPhone is probably my primary tools with which I check my Email, however in the last years Apple’s Mail for iOS has remained largely the same since its first release…clearly this isn't good.
Treating my Inbox as a Task List, I required a much more powerful tool than the standard Email App, so a long time ago I started looking for the best Email client available for iOS. The quest ended recently with me left with three outstanding email clients: Google Inbox, Mailbox and Accompli Mail.Read More
Winning products are created by visionary, multidisciplinary teams that are able to deliver a stunning experience. Those who have mastered the magic of crafting the user experience are able to smash their weaker competitors...Today, User Experience Design is often associated with efficient, smart and beautiful products. Products that are simply well designed. This is exactly what the market wants to pay for. This is why Apple became such an important company. This is why Instagram is worth so much. And so on.
Interesting read by Marcin Treder on how A Product Manager’s role (in general) and a User Experience Designer’s role, somehow overlap.
“Product Manager and UX Designer — What’s The Difference?” by Marcin Treder