just one more geek in a sea of austin techies

October 5, 2017

The Verge Overlooks the Beats Angle #HeadphoneGeek

In a post earlier today, The Verge's Vlad Savov argues that Google's dropping of headphone jacks from the upcoming round of Pixel phones "proves Apple was right".  Vlad is a prolific contributor of tech-related reports and opinions and, in my opinion, is often right on the money in his assessments.  However, I take exception to today's article and wonder how Mr. Savov could have possibly forgotten to mention the huge elephant-in-the-room that is "Apple/Beats".

Steady yourself, because I'm about to delve into some tech conspiracy theory I think is borne out by Apple buying a company that produces wired headphones and then electing to drop the wired headphone jack from future iPhones.  Read on for the full story...

June 12, 2017

Finally... an accurate cellular plan review #PhoneGeek

I've spent more time than I care to admit analyzing cellular services. Today I finally read a "Best Low, Medium & High Cellular Plans" article that I actually agree with.  Normally such articles focus only on the "big four" US carries and so overlook too many alternative carriers and plans.  For instance, my wife's phone service is from Republic Wireless while mine is from Google Fi.  I'll forgive you if these options don't sound familiar -- you can read more about them in my previous posts here and here. My son's *free* plan (yes -- it's really free) is on FreedomPop which you can read about here.

Yes, you read that previous paragraph right: our family uses three different cellular plans from three different carriers.  The end result is we spend a total of about $50 a month for cellular service.  Refer back to, "I've spent more time than I care to admit analyzing cellular services..."

Getting back to the point, though:  the article I read did a fine job boiling down current cellular plan offerings to the best "low-medium-high" options.  Read on to see the results...

January 26, 2017

"Mission One" PC is a BRIX #PCGeek

Gigabyte BRIX 2807
The new year started with news of Endless Mobile's expansion of its low-cost PCs into the US market.  The company's premise is that low-cost solutions can still embrace alluring design.  To be sure, the company's brand new "Mission Mini" is likely the best-looking $130 PC I've seen to date (more on that, below).  The company's brand new step-up system, the $249 "Mission One", is bigger and boxy-er but still attractive.

The new Mission One
is a Gigabyte BRIX wrapped
in a warmer-looking package
Good news:  
I have photos of the "Mission One" internal components... or the equivalents thereof, to be exact.

Surprising (maybe) news:  

The "Mission One" is... a re-branded Gigabyte "BRIX 2807" (circa 2014), a PC small enough to be mounted on the back of a computer monitor.

Interesting news:
You can build your own "Mission One" clone PC using a Gigabyte BRIX $99 kit -- just add a DIMM and an SSD and install the free Endless operating system.  Oh, did I forget to mention the OS and 100 accompanying apps are free?  Read on...