Saturday, April 20, 2013

Gibson Self-Tuning Guitars

It's been decades since I quit playing guitar. While I still have about six of them sitting around the house, they are more for decor than generating music. When I did play, there was one absolute rule that applied universally: any guitar you pick up will be out of tune.

"Perfect pitch" was not a gift my parents had imbedded in their gene pool, so keeping a guitar properly tuned was always a challenge for me. Now Gibson Guitars has brought the gift of perfect pitch to whomever has the dough to buy one of their new, lithium-ion, self-tuning guitars.

To tune your guitar, you just hit the master control knob and lightly strum the strings. The digital brain kicks into gear and using the motors built into the tuning keys, perfectly tunes your guitar to digital perfection. The lithium ion battery is good for around 100 tunes until it needs to be recharged.  You'll need at least $799 in your wallet to bring one home.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

iPR: Digital CrossFit Log

Just like dinosaurs, horse drawn buggies and transistor radios, paper is going bye bye. Happened again this week when CrossFitMN announced that our paper notebook journals were being killed off. All those paper notebooks were taking up valuable space that could be better used for new equipment. Makes sense.....I'd rather have new state-of-the-art lifting racks and pull-up bars than paper.

After four years at CrossFit, I stopped recording my daily workouts ages ago. However, I did use the notebook to track my personal records (PR) for lifts and times/reps for The Girls and  The Hero workouts. Necessity is the mother of invention, so I climbed onto the iTunes App Store to see if I could find an app to replace my notebook.

Low and behold, I instantly found a gem of an app called iPR. It was created by a fellow crossfitter to track all of the key lifts and workouts at CrossFit. It is so simple and elegant, you'd swear that Steve Jobs designed it. Entering lifts is a breeze, both for a one rep max and all kinds of variations like 5 rep max. Here's how the summary looks:

It is also incredibly easy to enter and manage your times and reps for The Girls and The Hero workouts. It also has a slick little button where you can note if you did a workout Rx or did it scaled (most helpful for myself, The King of Mod):

So while it is sad that our notebooks must die, it feels good to get my CrossFit journal into the digital age. For just 99¢, you can do the same by buying iPR in the iTunes App Store.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Keeper: iOS Password Vault

In January, we were experiencing a lot of network issues in our home. While we had Comcast Business Class cable installed in the house that delivered 50 Mbps,  some non-hardwired devices were dropping off of the WiFi network. I brought in Nic Gallagher and Bjorn McGillan from The Wire Masters to help solve the problem...and solve it they did.

They did an audit of our house which showed that at any given time, we averaged 58 different devices that were Internet-connected and active. I was floored when I heard about that, but when I started to list devices like computers, the main server, iPads, iPhones, iPods, Time Capsule, Airports, Xbox's, security cameras, the exterior lighting system on the house and WiFi controls for all of the AV added up quickly. We had the throughput speed we needed, but our Airport network that we had built over time clearly could not handle all of the traffic.

The end result was that we had to switch to a commercial WiFi network that was made for a small business with about 50-100 employees. As they were tearing down the old network and building up the  new network, it became obvious that I was really struggling to find all of the user names and passwords necessary to access all of the devices. Some were stashed in the Contacts list on my iPhone, some were in desk drawers and file was a disorganized, steaming mess.

That's when Bjorn suggested I download Keeper from the iTunes App Store. Keeper is a free password and data vault that helps you to organize and store all of you passwords. While it is free, I would strongly recommend you pay the extra $9.99 per year for back-up to Keeper's Cloud. With the press of a button, all of your user names and passwords and backed up to their Cloud. So if you lose your device, you can immediately download all of your information and keep right on going.

Keeper has some amazing features:

  • Keeper uses military-grade encryption and world-class security to protect your data. Keeper's built-in password generator provides you with exceptionally strong, easily changeable passwords.
  • The Keeper Web App syncs perfectly with your mobile apps, allowing you to easily and securely access your Data Vault from any browser. (However, they will charge you for back-up by device, so I keep it simple and run Keeper only on my iPhone.)
  • Cloud Saves: Get the peace of mind that comes with unlimited data backup in Keeper's Cloud Security Vault. If you ever need to replace or change devices, this feature is a life-saver.
  • With one-touch web login from inside the app, you can securely access your favorite sites without ever leaving Keeper.
  • With Keeper's super-handy desktop Browser Extension, you can auto-fill your login credentials and quickly save new website info to your secure Keeper Vault.
  • Custom fields allow you to determine how you want to store information, rather than being forced into a template. You can also select the color and palette of your choice making Keeper your own. 

I now have every user name and password for every device, web account and financial account in Keeper. It's nice to have everything consolidated into a single app....and know that if I need to, I can pull it down from the Cloud in a heartbeat. Right now, the app is free and they are also offering you a free month of Cloud back-up. So it costs nothing for you to get the app and Cloud back-up...and take it for a free 30-day test drive. Check it out in the iTunes App Store.