Saturday, August 12, 2017

"I hope I'm not getting sick"

To bypass any hopes of yuckies, I end up sitting here drinking an iced Celestial Seasonings Watermelon Lime Zinger Herbal Tea. I tend to make a lot of iced tea, depending on the flavors. Surprisingly, this Watermelon Lime fares better as an iced tea instead of a hot tea. Sometimes they do that - variations are better as cold than hot. But today is one of those days where I am stuffed up and coughing, hoping that I won't be fighting some illness worse than death at some point this week. Especially since the news reports are saying there is some new strain of ailment going around and it's not so much flu, but it's stronger than a cold. You get flu like symptoms for the cost of an every day cold. It's weird; I just hope it's seasonal allergies. I'll be getting sick come Thanksgiving when the snowbirds are back, I reckon.

At any rate, I went to my friendly neighborhood office supply store today because I had to pick up a few things. I have been really thinking about a wireless (bluetooth) keyboard for my smart devices because I hate having to respond to emails or texts with the internal keyboard. It brings ye old "hunt and peck" method to new heights when you don't pay too much attention to what you're trying to type and end up having Auto Correct throw sentences together that make worse sense than what you are trying to write.

When I respond to emails on my devices, my signature line states that the email has been "Sent on my iPhone. Please excuse errors" simply because typing can be a pain when you're used to a normal computer and keyboard. Hell, I've got wireless devices (a Logitech Wireless Keyboard & Mouse) that is "magically attached" to my "it's still working but it's possible on its last legs... for the past 4 years" Dell Inspiron "it's no longer a laptop; it's a desktop" computer.

But whatever. The point of the story is getting side tracked.

Upon researching the keyboard I picked up today, I realize I literally stole it for what I paid. It is no wonder the sales guy kept saying he was "completely jealous about this find" because he "didn't know there was any of these keyboards in stock" [#1] and "for that price point" [#2]. Considering when I asked about this keyboard, I was told that the store inventory said there was one of them left (the one I would be buying) and it was $16.50 instead of the $12.50 it rang up as.

So yes, seeing the Apple Wireless Keyboard with Bluetooth on Amazon for $73.99 is a bit of a sticker shock. It is also no wonder why the sales guy stated that the price I was paying "for an Apple product is amazing, because you never see the brand sell products lower than $30". I also have to point out that I also had a couple discount coupons, and ended up paying a grand total of $10.73; which is a ridiculous savings of $63.26, comparatively speaking. I walked out of the store happy for the purchase and even happier it works.

All things considered, this is a nice keyboard. It's flat, it's thin, it's comfortable in handling. The only regret is that it's the size of a regulation keyboard so I can't just "grab and go" with it, meaning, I can't stash it in my backpack so easily for the times where I think I'll be needing it. For example, I can't bring it to work and write emails at break or use it in the middle of a store (not that I would, anyway). It'll be more for travelling (for now, or at least until I can figure out where else I can take it).

That being said, I will also have to get used to another set of keyboard codes / shortcuts for when I am using it with my iPhone. I haven't used an Apple computer since the days of Oregon Trail on a 5¼ inch floppy disc. Yes, I just showed my age. I am not ashamed! I'm learning the new keys as I type my emails on my phone (I'm using my laptop to write this post because I want the ability to upload photos and have multiple tabs open in Chrome) and have found which key turns on the music app and what key makes my emoji and Bitmoji screen appear in a text to someone. At first I was like "aw man... just my luck - I can't add smileys to anything because this won't let me attach them", and upon pressing a button, voila - they're all there and I can just tap on the picture I'm wanting to add.☺

If I somehow find a mouse to attach to the phone in the near future, the phone may end up being something I rely on more frequently as a computer. But let's not put all our eggs in one basket right now. I still like the opportunity of sitting down in front of a real computer and doing my work. The day I start using my phone as my main source of communication and office work, society will have data chips embedded in their bodies and be fully involved in responding to emails via thought processes.

All in all, it does pay to do your research. Primarily stating, there are a few good examples based on my shopping experience today with the keyboard. One of the ways is that the sales guy asked me where I found my information, as I had a few print outs of wireless / bluetooth keyboards that I was interested in looking at. All of the print outs were from this particular office store's website. I stated that I just did a search for "wireless keyboards" and since I didn't want to pay over $30, I chose the few that were under $25 (also based on reviews. I actually took a leap of faith with the Apple keyboard as there were no reviews posted). Now that I've brought home an Apple certified product (but not refurbished... this sucker is brand new), I am more than happy I was able to pay under $15.

Even as I sit here and type out this blog post, I'm doing more research about what I just bought. There are other big box stores selling this same keyboard for around $5 less than what Amazon is selling it for. It could be even less of a difference when you think some of these sites tack on shipping and handling, taxes, and whatever else they seem to want to include in the final price. That's why it's important to do your homework and figure out what you want and what you want to pay.

Always trust reviews, even if they're the 1 or 2 star ones. Every review is misleading to a point and you just have to trust your gut. Learn to roll with the punches and if the price "is too good to be true", it just may be, but you will never know until you buy it and bring it home.

Pictures or it didn't happen:


See also (aka "being a bit of a Luddite, I sure have Bluetooth technology"):

  • For the music app test

  • Connected into

See also (aka other keyboards I looked at [and were priced much less at the office supply store]):

* this one is less @ Amazon than the office supply store

Amazon keyword search "bluetooth keyboard" for those who want to shop around

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

"It's still all the rage"

Apparently I'm making a post a month again. Not a great feeling when you used to do an edit and update twice a day.

My friend received a smartphone lens kit for her iPhone 6S about two weeks ago. She didn't tell me the model, but she's been sending me a ton of pictures. Gone are the days when you had your cache of stock lenses for your camera; now they fit in the palm of your hand and easily stashed in a pants pocket.

I completely understand the idea of having the adapters, but I really don't see a point. For me, using one of the basic models, I was able to capture some images, but not really to my liking. Sure, I could have turned a light on to make things work better, but no matter what I've tried, it's always hard to get things to focus correctly and look the way I want.

Case in point:

Macro lens

Fish eye lens

Wide angle lens

The macro isn't half bad, but the focus on the fish eye and wide angles look lousy. It's hard enough trying to get a decent focus with out an added lens with these phones, but when adding a lens that doesn't sit on the actual camera, it's a bit hard. Yes, there's a space between the adapter and the case; that's where there's a bit of a vignette effect around the latter two pictures. Even taking off the case, it's not much different, but maybe 15% better.

This isn't to say I haven't tried some other brands like Mpow iPhone Lens,3 in 1 Clip-On (which has an update here). I've gotten the same results with "the more expensive brand" as I have with the "cheapy deepy" brand. 

I wish I could say I am in love with this technology, but I really can't find something amazing to say. It's not something I enjoy doing, as I always tell people "I wouldn't have over a grand invested in a DSLR if I didn't like taking pictures". Relying on my cell phone (which is currently an iPhone 6S) isn't my thing. I know plenty of people who love their phones for the sole purpose of a camera, including someone I work with. He was a photographer in a past life and is always looking into the "next big thing" when it comes to picture taking. Given the fact his experience includes working for a big name  / national studio that does school photos, he knows his stuff. It also doesn't hurt he owns his own production company. So I would tend to trust his opinion a little more than someone on the street. That being said, his newly acquired liking for the adapters is not something I can agree to (and he has a Samsung Galaxy and Canon EOS Rebel T5i... with all the fixings). I seriously find it really hard to want to like it all, plain and simple. Maybe it's me not wanting to rely on my cell phone for everything, maybe it's me not wanting to join the Millennial technological bandwagon, who knows. I just find it interestingly silly the longer people become in love with this stuff. 

The only thing I know is I'll keep chugging along with my (now antiquated) Canon EOS Rebel T3 Digital SLR Camera and continue watching the new models be bigger and better. 

** If you have tried one of the adapters or know someone who has, let me know thoughts and opinions. I am open to hearing what other people think... just like my friend who got the adapters - she's in love with them and doesn't want to get her Nikon fixed!

Until next time...