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Tag: iPhone 6 Plus

How to Make Your Old iPhone Act Like New

Is your iPhone having trouble holding a charge? If you’ve owned it for long enough, that’s inevitable. Now it’s time to take your phone on a little trip…

Is your iPhone having trouble holding a charge? If you’ve owned it for long enough, that’s inevitable. Now it’s time to take your phone on a little trip…

My iPhone was in big trouble. After not even two and a half years, the battery in my old iPhone 6 Plus was showing some serious wear.

It just couldn’t make it as long anymore without a little pick me up. And never for more than a day. Sometimes it couldn’t even get to lunch. And then there were the times the battery level would suddenly go from 30% to zero.

In the cold… forget it. My iPhone would shut down faster than you can say,
“I am one with the Force, and the Force is with me,” five times fast.

Time to Make the Doctor’s Appointment
So I brought my ailing companion to the Genius Bar at the Apple Store. The Genius ran the diagnostics on the battery and reported it was almost due for replacement… but not quite yet. I asked if it would last me until this fall.
(Yeah, I’m planning on pulling the trigger on the latest and greatest then.)

“Definitely not,” she said.

“How much for a new battery?”

“Eighty dollars.”

So the way I saw it, I had a choice:

I could nurse my iPhone with a power drip and carry around an external battery or stay close to power outlets for as long as possible. And then rush back to the Apple Store for the operation when there was no longer an alternative…

Or I could electively do the battery swap out now.

Is that even a choice?

The Cost of Living in a Digital World
Look, no battery lasts forever.
It would have been nice for my iPhone to go a full three years on its original power cell, but it’s not like I didn’t get a lot of use out of it.

Is there any other device you depend more on every day?

Is $80 a lot of money for a silly battery? At one level… yes.
But considering the original cost of the iPhone, not at all.

Think of it as a simple maintenance cost…
(The thing doesn’t run on Pixie Dust.)

Tech Zen Restored
So my iPhone was whisked away to the back of the Apple Store for a ‘Battery Replaceadectamy.’
(No, you can’t do it yourself… or at least, you’re not supposed to.)

Now… my iPhone is back to its old self again.
And I’m a whole lot happier… not having to stress about all this.

Look at all of the time I’ve brought back into my life not having to always figure out how to feed my smartphone a little more juice.

I think it’s the best eighty bucks I’ve ever spent.

Ode to iPhone 7

Your closest Apple Store is never that far away. As you stare, it calls out like the Sirens…”Buy our new iPhone 7. What’s your move? Well, I’ll tell you what I did… I wrote another poem!

Your closest Apple Store is never that far away. As you stare, it calls out like the Sirens…”Buy our new iPhone 7. What’s your move? Well, I’ll tell you what I did… I wrote another poem!

You are simply the best
Your frame so cool and sleek
The magic in your guts
You’re now the one to beat

The camera’s the thing
Plus has even got two
I think it may be time
To send Elph* to the zoo

Old earphone jack is gone
Who cares that it’s lightning
Except when you’re charging
And tunes blare frightening

Still, here’s the solution
AirPods are invented
You can listen and charge
No looking demented

Now water-resistant
That would be great in rain
But don’t test the toilet
That could drive you insane

Jet black is cool and hip
Yet now you’ll have to wait
It may be Thanksgiving
Until it’s near your plate

I really love the Plus
It’s size giant and bold
All should own big phablets
(Be sure your hand can hold)

I am two steps behind
Just the iPhone 6 Plus
Should I buy the 7?
Is it really a must?

A thousand is a lot
Full RAM and Plus for me
Dollars don’t grow on trees
No tech in life is free

A trade-in program, wow!
Apple will give some bucks
To take your old iPhone
You cannot say that sucks

My old iPhone 6 Plus
Can fetch me some* smackers
To help me feel better
When eating my crackers

But I don’t feel the pull
There’s other gear I want
A DSLR lens
That can snap pics to flaunt

Hey, a new Apple Watch!
Don’t have one of them yet
And it’s waterproof too
I would not be upset

The 7 is mighty
That’s an obvious fact
If your iPhone is cracked
Tiny and three steps back

I’ve not pulled the trigger
My 6 Plus is just fine
I’m okay with old bling
I’ll pour myself some wine

So the choice is now yours
I think my move is clear
This phone is not for moi***
I’ll wait another year

*Canon Elph camera
**$225 for an iPhone 6 Plus in good condition with 128GB of RAM
*** Never say never.

Seven Lessons I Learned While Camping

Bringing new tech to keep your old tech alive on a camping trip is a great idea, if not ironic. But actual results may vary. This is my story…

Bringing new tech to keep your old tech alive on a camping trip is a great idea, if not ironic. But actual results may vary. This is my story…

I just got back from five days of car camping with my wife, six-year-old son and another family at the Grey Fox Bluegrass Festival in Oak Hill, New York.

The good news is I was able to keep all of my gear alive without the convenience of wall power outlets.
(At a fundamental level, all of my preparations that I discussed last week were sufficient.)

Breakfast for your tech while camping







But the bad news is I often felt like an 800-pound gorilla stumbling about a giant wheat field. I’d definitely pack my tech needs a little differently next time…

Tech Lesson #1
Forget Those Tiny Power Sticks with Big Power Buttons…

Sure, they’re almost as small as sticks of gum. So why not bring them, right?
But their giant power buttons can too easily be turned on during transport.
(Then, when you want to use one, it’s already dead.)

It’s a real a design flaw for this application.
So leave ‘em home!
(Or bring ones that are more difficult to power on)

Tech Lesson #2
Bring Two Extra Flashlights and Expect to Lose Them Along the Way

Look… nobody’s perfect. And when you’re juggling a family ‘in the wild,’ things aren’t always going to be where you left them.
(Or where you think you left them)

That said, you don’t want to be without a flashlight at the wrong time. So that’s why you’ll want access to some back up…

And those lost flashlights… ?
Don’t be too hard on yourself. They’ll likely turn up when you get home and unpack….

Tech Lesson #3
Bring a Solar Panel to Charge Your Hungry Gear

My new Goal Zero Nomad 20 solar panel performed admirably… in the bright sun.
(It was definitely worth bringing.)

Goal Zero Nomad 20 in the field









As soon as I got up on the first morning, I set up the Nomad 20 to greet the early light. Over the next 2-3 hours, I had my iPhone 6 Plus plugged in as I made my coffee with my little Coleman propane stove and had some breakfast with the group.

During that time, I was able to juice my iPhone up from 50% to about 85%. And that’s while I was using it. Not bad…

But it played out that way only on the first day, when the sun was blazing.
(Don’t forget your sun block. And definitely bring an extra sheet to hang off your pop-up canopy to block multiple hours of intense sun exposure.)

But on the other days, when there were clouds in the sky, the energy feed was more inconsistent and sometimes slowed to a trickle.

Even with the occasional cloud passing by, the Nomad 20’s performance was noticeably stunted. The charging icon still displayed on my iPhone, but the charging percentage in the top right of the screen wouldn’t budge.
(Pretty frustrating)

Tech Lesson #4
Have Some Battery Back Up!

When I realized Sol wasn’t always going to be perfectly in place for me every morning, I had to turn to my new RAVPower Power Bank.

This rechargeable 26,800mAh battery happily handled the cloudy days and not only fed my iPhone, but my wife’s too!

It was simply awesome.

Tech Lesson #5
Not Every Device Charges with a Simple USB Plug

When it became clearer to the larger group I was running my own little power café, I began receiving requests to recharge other hungry tech gear that I hadn’t planned for.

Some of this tech came with power cables without standard USB connectors. So they couldn’t plug directly into the USB inputs of my Nomad 20 or RAVPower battery.

That’s where my Goal Zero Sherpa 50 rechargeable power pack with AC inverter came in handy…

Yes, the Sherpa 50 had some performance limitations…

  • It didn’t respond as quickly to the Solar Nomad 20 as my iPhone did
  • And it didn’t have the storage capacity of the RAVPower

But with its inverter, the Sherpa 50 essentially became a three-pronged power outlet.

That’s pretty cool and a lifesaver for your tech sporting weird power jacks.
(You just need to make sure to bring their power blocks… which granted, is counter intuitive when you’re packing to go camping.)

Tech Lesson #6
Don’t Rely on Your Cell Phones to Communicate

Remember, you’re in the middle of nowhere in the Catskills. If there’s no cell service, you’d better have a couple of walkie talkies to keep you and your family connected if you split up to attend different activities at a music festival.

As it turned out, the AT&T cell service that blanketed Grey Fox offered one and occasionally two bars for my wife and me… so we stayed connected via texts.

But I was told that Verizon Wireless users were down for the count.
With zero bars, you’re really going to need those walkie talkies…

Tech Lesson #7
Keep Your Tech Gear Organized in One Place

I really stumbled here. I had my tech spread across three bags.
(A small duffle and portions of two knapsacks… bad organization)

What a big mistake. Whenever I was looking for something, it was inevitably in another bag.
(None of my bags were structured properly to handle all of my tech.)

The dad on the other team brought this really cool ‘utility bag’ where his tech was properly organized and easily accessible. I was quite jealous at the efficiency of his approach.

Plus, the right gear bag allows you to organize and store everything in one place back at home… so you don’t have to spend time gathering your camping tech the next time you’re getting ready to go.
(Guilty as charged)

So upon my return, I did a little online research and came upon this multi-pocketed Phitz Stage Duffle. It appeared perfectly structured to store all of my camping tech, both at home and in our camping tent.

Technically, this bag is for musicians to store their audio gear on the road… and it falls into the ‘gig bag’ or ‘stage bag’ category. And that makes it a little pricey… $59.99 on Amazon.
(Which is twice what you’d spend on a more basic tool bag.)

But if you’ve been adding up my camping purchases, my recent outing has not been exactly a cheap one.

So why not go with the right bag to protect the investment…?


Bonus Tech Lesson

I freely admit I’m not an experienced camper…

But I’m sure I’m not alone when I say a big draw is the opportunity to set up your little portable ‘kingdom’ that functions in the ‘wilderness.’

There’s a certain satisfaction that comes from that self-sufficiency.
…Being able to brew your own pot of coffee the way the old cowboys did.
(Granted, there were no Coleman propane stoves in the 1800’s.)

And though I didn’t build a campfire, I succeeded at keeping the “lights on.”

Yes, I traveled heavy, and I would hardly describe my tech management approach as elegant.

But it got the job done, and my tech survived. And at the most primal of levels, isn’t that what camping is all about?

(That’s my tech grunting.)

Sunset at Grey Fox Bluegrass Festival 2016

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