Category Archives: Tech Toys

Macbook Pro 15′ with Retina Display

When I was studying in 2008 I bought my first MacBook.  I never used it as much as wanted or should have. I’ve tried to do my study work on it, but was a little frustrated that everything worked different to Windows.  Back then I didn’t feel like I had the time to spend learning how to use the MacBook Properly.

Since then I have not used the MacBook much. But when we went to Fernie I decided to take it along and started spending more time on it. The more I used it, the more I liked it. The only challenge was that it was now pretty old and slow. So when I got into Starter League, I decided it was time for a new one.  With the prices in SA and the falling rand, I could not wait to get to Chicago to buy one.

Picture of My New Macbook Pro 15' with Retina Display

My New Macbook Pro 15′ with Retina Display

So the day I landed in Chicago I made my way to the Apple Store on Michigan Ave in down town Chicago.  After some discussion with the sales rep, I decided to get the MacBook Pro 15’ Retina display with a 2.7 GHz processor and 16 GB memory as well as NVIDIA GeForce graphics card with 1GB on board memory.

==> Click Here to buy a MacBook Pro 15′ with Retina Display <==

This retina display is really amazing, it is crystal clear and at this resolution watching HD videos are really cool.  I also love the mouse pad without buttons, actually works much better.  Apple has also done a great job with all the added functionality through gestures on the mouse pad.

Picture of My coding setup with Terminal and Sublime

My coding setup with Terminal and Sublime

The battery life is also impressive.  Between Dropbox and iCloud my docs and personal info was synced in no time, and it felt like I have been using this MacBook for ages.  I am really looking forward to spending many happy hours on my new MacBook Pro learning to code! It is going to be awesome!

==> Click here to buy a MacBook Pro 15′ with Retina Display <==

I also got a snazzy hard shell cover to protect the Macbook. I looks really cool!

Oakley Airwave – Review

The Oakley Airwave is now one of my favourite tech toys! It is clearly still early days for what is possible with the product, so there is the usual early adopter hassle factor with some of the features and especially the online software. But I am sure all of that will improve rapidly.

==> Click here if you wanna buy the Oakley Airwave Goggles<==

I could not wait to get my hands on the MOD Live HUD from Recon once I got to Canada, but I was not sure if they would fit into my goggles. Then just before we arrived in Fernie, Oakley launched the Oakley Airwave with built in MOD Live HUD. So the only thing I HAD to get for myself in Calgary was the Oakley Airwave goggles.

Gunmetal with Black Iridium lens and White Factory Text with Fire Iridium lens

Oakley Airwave Goggles

From online reports it sounded like I would be able to get the Oakley Airwave goggles at an Apple store. So I made sure we got to the closest Apple Store, even with the kids being extremely tired from the jetlag. The Apple Store was in a big mall, so while the kids slept in the car I raced inside.

Walking towards the Apple store I noticed that there was an Oakley Store upstairs. When the Apple Store did not have the Oakley Airwave goggles, I went round to the Oakley Store. Luckily they still had some left, the Gunmetal with Black Iridium lens was sold out but they still had White Factory Text with Fire Iridium lens.

Now I could not wait to get onto the mountain to try the Oakley Airwave goggles out. They worked  like magic, and for a data obsessed geek like me, it makes skiing even more fun. Not that I thought that was possible. Here is some of the pros and cons of the Oakley Airwave goggles:

Pros of the Oakley Airwave goggles:

–          The heads up display worked perfectly for me, I love checking the starts after every run and the max stats served as motivation for me and a mate to have a race.

–          It is just so cool! The goggles look awesome and the Iridium lenses remind me of fighter pilot lenses.

–          Uploading the data to the web based software is very easy.

–           The lenses are interchangeable so you can change them for varying conditions. (You have to buy the other lenses separately).

–          The apps are great. I have a Contour GPS camera, it connects through Bluetooth to the Oakley Airwave. This allows you to see what the camera is recording on the Heads up Display.

–          Unlike endomondo the software both on the goggles and online knows when you are on a lift and when you are skiing. So the data only records when actually skiing.

–          It connects to Android and iPhone (only 4S or 5). The latest update for the iPhone app also allows you to control music, read text and see caller ID on the Heads up Display (same for android).

Cons of the Oakley Airwave goggles:

–          Battery life – like most first versions of hardware the battery life is not all that great. I have had to turn the brightness down and turn the display off at times to conserve the battery.

–          I use endomondo with a heart rate monitor when doing other sports, so I love having the heart rate stats and more accurate calorie count. Although you can buy a polar heart rate monitor that will allow you to see your heart rate at any one time on the Heads up Display. This data is not recorded. Bummer.

–          Engage the online software is still very elementary. It only gives you the run data and displays it on a map. No aggregate data or any other manipulation is given. They can learn allot from endomondo on what to do with all this rich data.

–          Like endomondo there are also some discrepancies with the data on the device and once it is uploaded. One example is that the device measures jumps in time and online shows it in distance, I can’t seem to find a way for this to correspond.

I have read some complaints online about the loss of peripheral vision with the goggles, but that is not a problem for me at all. They actually align perfectly with my helmet and I have not noticed any change in peripheral vision.

==> Click here if you wanna buy the Oakley Airwave Goggles<==

Overall the Oakley Airwave is one amazing tech and ski toy! There are some drawbacks, but I am sure with software updates and iterations on the hardware this is going to get better and better. As if I needed any more reason to get onto my skis.

Kindle Paperwhite – Review

I love reading on the Kindle Paperwhite

I love reading, and I have loved every one of the kindles I have ever used. So I could not wait to get my hands on a Kindle Paperwhite. Amazon promotes it as the worlds most advanced e-reader, and it does not disappoint.

==> Click here to Buy: Kindle Paperwhite <==

The build in light works really well, so at last I can read in bright light or no light at all, without any problems. I can finally lie in bed and read without a bed lamp. The light has bunch of settings that allows you to adjust it for whatever light conditions you find yourself in. The tech behind this build in light is awesome. It actually shines the light onto the text from above. This means that it is not as tiring on your eyes as a computer monitor or iPad.

One of my favourite features of the Kindle Paperwhite is the ‘time left’. Instead of viewing the progress in the book on the bottom right corner you can change the view to the estimate time you have left to finish the book.

The battery life on the Kindle Paperwhite is also impressive! Even with the light on, will it last a reported 8 weeks. I have only had it for about two so I will see if it can make it that far. This is also my first Kindle with a touch interface. I have been a little nervous to try it up to now, but with all the other great features I decided to give it a try. The touch actually works brilliantly. I don’t know why I was hesitant.

I also got the Kindle Paperwhite specific cover, which fits it like a clove. It complements the already impressive form factor of the kindle. It makes reading such a pleasure that the device seems to disappear and you can just get lost in the book.

==> Click here to Buy: Kindle Paperwhite <==

The only problem is that currently they only sell this in the US. So I had to drive across the border to get one, but it was well worth the 80km road trip to Eureka, Montana. If you can get your hands on one of these, make sure you take it!

MOD Live HUD from Recon – Review

Awesome Tech Ski Toy!

Awesome Tech Ski Toy!

UPDATE: see my hands on review of the Oakley Airwave with build-in MOD Live HUD from Recon.

As most of my friends know I am a sucker for tech toys. Over and above being an Apple Inc. fan boy I also like most other new and sometimes old technology. I have had three helmet cameras for skiing some better than others. The latest one I have is a Contour GPS, which is an awesome GPS enabled HD camera. It also has Bluetooth that connects to my iPhone. This allows you make sure everything is set-up correctly before you go down the mountain. Here is a video from our trip in March at Meribel, including a decent wipe-out!

That works OK, but one of the challenges you face is that you have no way of knowing if the camera is correctly aligned while you are skiing. It would also be some much cooler if you could actually use the GPS while you are skiing. Thx, to Jano and Tech Toys on Discovery we have found a product that solves those problems. Have a look at this promo video:

The MOD Live HUD from Recon looks like a really amazing tech toy! It has a display that fits into your ski goggles. This allows you to do so many things! You can connect it to a heart rate monitor, your cell phone, helmet cam and it has a build in GPS. This combination of tech means you can track you friends, navigate the mountain, read SMS’s and use it as a view finder for you camera. All while skiing and without even having to take you goggles off!

It also sounds too good to be true. Well as soon as we are in Canada I will order one and see if it turn out as good as it looks. It will even give you the height and length of your jumps! It is going to be soooooo much fun playing with his wonderful toy!

==> Click here if you wanna buy the MOD live HUD from Recon<==