At Home with Tech

Figure out which consumer tech you need, the right gear to buy and how to use your new gadgets.

Tag: iPhone Xs Max

Why Memories May Demand Intense Colors in your Autumn Photos

After I snapped a few pictures of the fall foliage in New England, I found myself unconsciously pushing the colors to the max when I edited these photos. I think I may know why…

There’s something intoxicating about my memories from autumns long gone. I feel in one way or another, they’re connected to the intense colors that surround the fall season in New England. I was up in Litchfield County in Connecticut this past weekend, and I was surrounded by all of the peak foliage. And as I drove, I felt transported back in time to my high school years as a young student at the Hotchkiss School in Lakeville, CT.

The color of the leaves. The sunlight poring through them. The brisk fall air. It was a reality-bending experience.

And of course, I snapped a few nature pictures with my iPhone XS Max in an attempt to capture that feeling.

But when I reviewed my photos later, they lacked the truly deep colors and dreamlike quality that my mind had created to reflect that time in my life.

As I worked through the photos in Adobe Lightroom, I found myself unconsciously pushing the color index. I made the reds of the leaves redder, and the blue fall sky even bluer. I wasn’t happy until the colors almost began dripping off of my computer screen.

I created a series of images that I don’t think you’d actually find anywhere in New England today, but they still feel entirely real to me. The forced colors connected me back to another time in my life that clearly still speaks to me today.

Using Color to Connect to your Past
What is reality anyway? The present may be easier to quantify, but the past is always in flux, because of how we remember… or choose to remember it.

Memory has its own set of rules, and today… I simply followed that direction without really understanding it.

And if that means pushing the colors to an intensity beyond nature’s capability, then I’ve given myself permission to do exactly that.

If you ever experience a similar impulse, I highly recommend you give it a try…

Ode to iPhone XS Max and Our Brief Love Affair

It’s that time again, and before Apple’s marketing machine whips the world into another purchasing frenzy, I wanted to pen another ‘poem’ and reflect back on my past year using the iPhone XS Max…

Ode to iPhone XS Max and Our Brief Love Affair

Our time is short until the end
This year with you was dreamy
Your gifts were intoxicating
And knowing you was gleamy

Your power undeniable
Entertaining, agile, quick
I sauntered with you in my hand
Such a team, not a sidekick

I did not care what the world thought
It didn’t halt my passion
Just digging that you were all mine
My Millennium Falcon

But I know the heart is fickle
Soon you will seem unlovely
The next promises more warp speed
The age of Discovery

This short term love is created
By your nice friends from Apple
The best marketers on the Earth
Maybe just have a Snapple

Sure, I can upgrade if I choose
But that’s not how I’m wired
Fear not, I shall not abandon
You will not be retired

My passion may evaporate
I cannot feel the excess
But you’ll still be there for me
You’ll do your best to impress

Still, it was exhilarating
I will not forget this fact
To have this special time in sync
I glowed with my Tesseract

Essential Tech I Use and Why

Here’s my list of ten technology purchases I’ve made that creates my foundation for living and working in today’s digital world.

I see myself as an everyman (person) who successfully uses his tech (usually) throughout most days in life. I’ve done my research and also have a decent track record on my specific gear choices. While I’m hardly an authority… I’d like to think I offer an informed point of view.

There is also an ever-increasing amount of choice out there, and figuring it all out can be a complete time suck. The ‘best choice’ is an elusive and always-changing equation. So, my strategy has always been to find what works (at a competitive price where possible) and stick to brands that hold up over time.

Most of all: Keep it simple…

If you think that reading about the essential tech I’ve chosen (or covet) for myself might be useful towards your own tech-selection process, then I’ve got a little list to share…

Ten Technology Choices to Help Get You through Your Day

1.  Smartphone

I upgraded from my old iPhone 6 Plus and finally convinced myself there was no need to supersize it to 512GB. So far so good…

2.  iPhone XS Max Case

It’s tough and looks like it comes from the alternate universe in the TV series, “Fringe.”

Plus, I like saying it’s made with Kevlar.
Holding My Pelican Shield Case for iPhone XS Max

Enough said.

$41.73 on Amazon Prime

3.  Watch

After three years of self-control, I couldn’t stand not trying one of these out. It was an instant success… Not only have I been loving my Apple Watch, it’s also focused me on ‘getting my steps in.’

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And now, I don’t have to think about what watch I’m going to wear tomorrow!

4.  Computer

I began using Macs fifteen years ago due to the advanced multimedia applications, and I never looked back.

Do I feel the need to upgrade to the 2019 model?
Nope. Not yet… I’m doing fine with what I have.

5.  Back-Up Drive for your Computer

I’m a big fan of G-Technology Drives (now owned by Western Digital).

The G-Technology 4TB G-Drive USB 3.0 goes for $129.95 on Amazon Prime.

It’s what I use for my iMac’s Time Machine backups…

6.  Portable Back-Up Drives

  • G-Drive Mobile USB-C

Yes, I’m sticking with G-Technology again…
My go-to choice is the G-Drive Mobile USB-C.

I always grin and shake my head at how digital-storage pricing continues to drop…

7.  Cloud Backup

You do have a cloud backup plan in addition to your local backups, right?

I’ve been using Backblaze after CrashPlan broke up with me.

Offsite backup should always be a part of your strategy…

8.  Premium Point-and-Shoot Camera

Compact cameras that use 1-inch-type sensors can capture better photos than your smartphone…especially in low light.

Being able to freeze that July 4th fireworks moment is priceless!

Yes, these premium compact cameras are expensive, but if you’re serious about capturing great photos without blur and don’t want to carry around a big DSLR, this is the camera category for you…

I use Panasonic’s Lumix DMC-LX10. It’s a couple of years old, but still on the market and now at a discount…
$497.99 on Amazon Prime

I enjoy using my LX10, but If you’d like to know the camera I really covet, and what I’d buy today…
It’s the Sony DSC-RX100 VA… $898 on Amazon Prime.
(No… not the newer VI model. That’s because even though the VA has a smaller zoom, it‘s got a faster lens that can better capture action in low light.)

This is my friend’s new Sony DSC-RX100 VA.

The RX100 series has always seemed to set the gold standard for this category. Yes, it’s expensive, but I think it’s worth it.

9.  Action Camera

I picked up a GoPro last year as a family vacation camera, and I found that it really can enhance your vacation’s fun. A GoPro is small, durable and waterproof… so you can take it to the beach without worrying about a grain of sand crippling a retractable zoom lens. Plus you can snap great underwater shots!

It’s also incredibly fun to use during pool time!

The GoPro HERO7 Black is $343.68 on Amazon Prime.

10.  Wireless Mesh Router

When I replaced my old Apple AirPort Extreme WiFi router, I went with the two-unit mesh WiFi system made by Netgear Orbi.

The Orbi RBK50 (next to my Sonos speaker) costs $279.79 on Amazon Prime.

Mesh WiFi is a game changer… bringing new meaning to the idea of whole-house WiFi.
(I highly recommend it.)

If It Fits Your Budget…
I imagine some of you might be questioning whether all of this gear appropriately belongs on an ‘essential’ list.

While it would certainly be difficult today to operate without a smartphone or computer… does anyone really need the always more-expensive devices made by Apple? Of course not.

But I would also add that there’s value in working within one digital ecosystem. And not that you couldn’t also do that with other brands… but, hey… Apple’s always been a good bet… Period.

And no, you don’t specifically need home WiFi or a GoPro to survive, but I think it’s fair to say they’ve contributed to maintaining a level of digital homeostasis in my life.

That’s a fragile equation and always worth acknowledging… and enjoying when you can.

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