MacWorld

Review: Henge Docks Gravitas

While I was at MacWorld a few months ago I spent a few minutes looking around the Henge Docks booth. One of the biggest pain points for me having multiple iOS devices is managing the lightning cables when I want to sync one of my devices with my computer. I have an extra lightning cable, but hunting around for it and then reaching around behind my Mac to plug it is inconvenient (yeah, I'm lazy). So the Gravitas from Henge Docks really caught my eye. The standout feature of this dock is its weight. You wouldn't think that being incredibly heavy would be something to brag about, but in this case it is. Think about it. You go to push your iOS device into the dock and the first thing that happens is that the dock slides away. Not with this dock. They specifically designed this dock to have enough weight to it so that you could dock your device with a single hand. The one thing I asked the Henge Docks people was if the weight of the dock made it expensive to ship. In reality the dock still only weighs 2.5 pounds (1.2 Kg), so shipping costs really aren't a factor (I've bought books heavier than that before). Some of the other great feature about this dock:

  • Made of a zinc alloy 265% denser than aluminum
  • Lightning and 30-pin models available
  • Swappable inserts, allows you to dock iPhone and iPad in the same dock
  • Charge and sync your device in the Gravitas using the included USB cable
  • Audio line out from the back of the dock
  • New inserts will be created for future generations of Apple Lightning equipped devices
  • Despite its impressive weight, the Gravitas only has a 3.5 inch (89 mm) diameter
  • Looks really professional, matches the look and feel of Apple products

I plan to get one of these for my desk...

Review: Ergotron Products at MacWorld

If the crowd standing around the Ergotron booth at MacWorld each afternoon waiting for the drawings to give away free products is any indication, these guys make some pretty sought after items. I got to spend a little bit of time playing with the products in the Ergotron booth during MacWorld and two of them really caught my eye.

WorkFit-A, Sit-Stand Workstation

WorkFit-A, Sit-Stand Workstation

WorkFit-A, Sit-Stand Workstation

My favorite item at the Ergotron booth was the Workfit standing workstation. The model they had displayed worked with the Apple iMac or a computer using one of Apple's Thunderbolt displays. What really caught my eye about this workstation is that will work with a desk you already have. It has a heavy-duty clamp that secures to the back or side of your desk and then the adjustable arm allows you to instantly switch from a regular sitting desk to a standing desk. My wife and I built our main computer desk at home out of oak and the design of the desk hides the computer keyboard drawer and printer inside the desk so it doesn't look like a desk at all. This workstation from Ergotron would work really well with a nice piece of existing furniture you really like the look of but wish it had the function of a standing desk. But alas, my number didn't come up at MacWorld so instead of winning one I guess I will just have to save up my pennies...

Neo-Flex® Desk Mount Tablet Arm

Neo-Flex® Desk Mount Tablet Arm

Neo-Flex® Desk Mount Tablet Arm

The Neo-Flex Desk Mount Tablet Arm by Ergotron was the other product that really caught my attention. I have always wanted to get a really good iPad mount, but this mount puts all other iPad stands to shame. This is not a iPad/tablet mount for the faint of heart. This thing is solid! It kinda reminds me of something out of one of the Terminator movies...indestructable. This isn't a stand you are going to want to carry around with you, install it once and leave it there. But rest assured, once you put your precious tablet into this mount it is not going anywhere. This mount is fully rotatable and can extend and retract which allows you to put the iPad in any orientation or position you need it in.

MacWorld Day 1

Not much time to write about all I've seen at MacWorld...too darn busy! Hardly any time to even sleep. I did keep a journal of all the things that caught my eye on Day 1 of MacWorld in my Day One app and used the new "Publish" feature. So checkout my Day One entry from my 1st day of MacWorld. If there is something you see that you really want me to write about leave me a comment.

The published Day One journal post is here.

Making Business Cards for MacWorld

The travel gods were smiling on me this year and somehow my business travel just happened to take me to the vicinity San Francisco around the time of MacWorld/iWorld 2014. So I took full advantage of being "in the neighborhood" and arranged to attend. Being the tech geek that I am I can't wait to not only see all the vendors and tech talks but even more importantly meet people from all over the country and the world that share the same passion for technology that I do! This may seem "old school", but I felt like I needed to make some kind of business card that could hand out to the people I meet at MacWorld. Rather than just take the easy route and use an online service to print up a few business cards for me I decided to make some custom cards myself. I started with the Squarespace Logo that I got for free as a Squarespace customer and stuck with the Gattaca theme of my website to design the layout and graphicss for the rest of the card. I started the design layout in Pages, but my very artistically endowed wife (who is also an engineer) bailed me out and took over the project from there. Pages was giving her fits when trying to adjust the text layout of in the standard business card template so she switched to Microsoft Word and finished the design there. After the layout was complete the real work began. The process of getting all of the spacing and margins to work with the card stock I chose to use was a chore. Also, printing out the 2-sided cards and testing out thr printing before actually printing to the card stock was very time consuming. My wife likes doing these types of artistic projects but I think even she was done with art for the weekend when this project was completed.

I think the end result was well worth the effort because they turned out really nice. I used a really thick card stock I bought from a local craft store that had a little bit of a textured and raised background so it gave the card a 3-dimensional feel. My wife quilts so she already had all the tools necessary (a good rotary cutter and some measured cutting surfaces). See my picture gallery below for a picture of the finished product as well as the materials and tools used.

I would NOT recommend going this route unless you have experience doing this kind of work and already have the required tools. Otherwise, you are better off financially just paying a professional service to print you out some really sophistacated looking cards. In the end even paying for high-end cards is going to be cheaper than the materials, tools and the time investment required to do it yourself. I will say that I was able to get exactly what I wanted in this case and for me since we already had the tools it ended up being pretty cheap. The major investment was my wife's time. I think I owe her something from MacWorld now, what do you think?

My tech blog here at 1wayswim.com is fun for me and I DO have a day job, so it really hasn't crossed my mind to pay a professional to help me with some of the graphic design and layout for my website. However, I do have a friend (E, yes that is her full name) that is a graphic designer. When I grow my site a little bit bigger I will talk with her about doing some professional design work for my site.

I will be at MacWorld/iWorld for all 3 days (March 27-29), so if you are there too track me down and I'll give you one of my cards!

The finished product!

The finished product!

Close-up of the card stock I chose to use. Color matches well with the clean industrial look of the Gattaca movie.

Close-up of the card stock I chose to use. Color matches well with the clean industrial look of the Gattaca movie.

Tools used for the project, a rotary cutter, straight edge and a good cutting surface.

Tools used for the project, a rotary cutter, straight edge and a good cutting surface.

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