Mophie Juice Pack Air (iPhone 5)

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The quest for my ideal charging case seems to be an ongoing adventure. For a while I used a Mophie charging case with an iPhone 4. It worked fine until the micro-USB port broke. After that I sent the case off for repair and switched to a wireless charging case. Eventually I ended up with an iPhone 5. A short time after receiving it I ordered another wireless charging case (Duracell Powermat PowerSnap Kit). The newer version also included a snap-on battery pack (that itself could be charged wirelessly).

The case worked OK but it felt clunky and when the battery was attached it was also heavy. Most of my issues with the case were relatively minor but as a whole it was somewhat awkward even though it functioned as advertised. One major annoyance is that a small piece at the base of the case had to be snapped off in order to sync the phone or charge it directly. I also became increasingly concerned that this particular piece would eventually break, thus rendering the entire kit useless until it could be replaced.

Recently I decided to try a Mophie Juice Pack Air with the iPhone 5. So far, I’m happy with it. I can’t say that it’s any lighter than the Powermat kit but at least the battery is always available and, more importantly, I can sync and charge the phone via the built-in micro-USB connection. Unlike the Powermat case, the Mophie case is far more sturdy. It also has a bottom section that separates but it’s a well formed piece that is not likely to break easily.

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It’s a great device though it has one significant flaw. When the battery charges the phone it will not stop charging once the phone reaches a full charge. Instead, it will continue to charge the phone, which can result in one using up the Mophie battery sooner than expected (or necessary).

A nice touch was the addition of a headphone extension cable.

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It may seem like a small thing but I’m already using this. Though the iPhone earbuds plugin just fine, a pair of larger headphones I recently purchased would not work with the case without it.

Updated 02/22/2014: I haven’t been able to sync the phone via the micro-USB connection. I’m not sure if the device is supposed to support this function, if there’s a problem with the battery pack, or perhaps there’s an issue with the cables I’ve tried.

Updated 07/06/2014: The battery still holds a good charge and so far the charging port hasn’t broken off.

Updated 12/31/2014: I’ve stopped using this charging case but only because my work phone was replaced with an iPhone 6. Up to that point it continued to work well and I did not have problems with the USB charging port, as I did with a similar case for an iPhone 4.

Default Settings for a Netgear 54 Mbps Wireless Print Server w/4-port Switch (WGPS606)

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Someone gave my father-in-law an old Netgear wireless print server. It includes two USB ports (for printers) and four ethernet ports. The device can connect to an existing wireless network, so it’s essentially a wireless bridge device. He wanted to use it to extend Internet access to an out-building on his property.

I configured the device to work with his network. In the process, I had to find the default settings so I could connect to the device and configure it. Netgear no longer offers support for this device and I wasn’t able to download the manual from Netgear’s Website. I had to use third-party sources. I figured I’d go ahead and post the default settings needed to connect to this device.

Netgear 54 Mbps Wireless Print Server w/4-port Switch (WGPS606)

Device IP: 192.168.0.102
Username: admin
Password: password

Insteon 2-Wire Dimmer or Switch Not As Easy As X10

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About a year ago I started swapping out some X10 dimmer and appliance modules with new Insteon modules. They’re much more reliable and more secure than X10 gear. However, the in-wall modules have one requirement that prevents me from using them. Specifically, they require a neutral wire.

Since our home has a mix of older wiring, or the neutral wire wasn’t brought down to the switch, I can’t install most Insteon modules. I am able to use plug-in modules, which work well so I still have a mixed environment of Insteon and X10.

There are some 2-wire Insteon modules available. However, the wiring requirements aren’t as simple as those for X10 devices. I’m probably not going to purchase any of these. I may just continue using plug-in modules until we can afford to have our electrical wiring upgraded throughout the house.

The issue is that the 2-wire modules actually use two components. One component is installed at the switch and the other is installed in the electrical box at the light fixture. According to the documentation it creates a neutral wire between the two devices using the existing two wires.

This just isn’t as simple as what I’d prefer. I’m not stating that the 2-wire Insteon modules are faulty or not good. The purpose of this post is just to help others learn that using these won’t be as simple as replacing a light fixture switch.

Creating Desktop Shortcuts for Quick Access to Startup Disk Options in OS X and Windows 7 (Boot Camp)

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This post just provides some quick tips on creating desktop shortcuts for accessing the Preferences Pane (OS X) and Control Panel (Windows 7) options for selecting the startup disk on a Mac.

These aren’t single-click shortcuts that will initiate an automatic reboot into the other OS, though I may work on that later. These tips will just save a few clicks when preparing to boot into OS X or Windows on a Mac. I’ve been using this method for some time.

Creating a Startup Disk Alias in OS X

  1. In the Finder go to your primary OS X drive
  2. Navigate to System -> Library -> PreferencePanes
  3. Select StartupDisk.prefPane
  4. Click and drag to the Desktop while holding Cmd + Option
  5. Rename the alias, if desired


Creating a Desktop Shortcut in Windows 7

  1. Open Control Panel
  2. Click on System and Security
  3. Right-Click on Boot Camp
  4. Select Create Shortcut from the context menu

Range Problems with the 4×2 True Matrix HDMI Switch Remote

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I’m on my second 4X2 True Matrix HDMI 1.3a Powered Switch w/ Remote (Rev. 3.0) with the first one ready to be shipped back for replacement. When I received the new switch I noticed that the range of the remote was about half of that of the old remote and the spare remote in the bedroom.

The most likely cause was a low battery. Unfortunately, I didn’t have a spare 2025 “watch battery” at the house. I did have a fresh 2032 battery. Hell, I thought, why not? Even the circuit board in the remote has 2032 printed on it. It might have nothing to do with the preferred battery type, but I went ahead and replaced it with the 2032, which did fit.

The range is back to working the same as that of the other remotes. It’s possible this might eventually fry the remote, so if you choose to go this route then you’ve been warned that it could be damaged.

ASUS EeeBox PC as a Home Automation/Media Server

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I recently acquired an ASUS EeeBox PC (EB1006). My goal is to set it up to serve media, manage our home automation systems, and some additional security roles. I’m hoping this will be the last major change to the home automation setup for a few years.

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