Review: Bluelounge Kickflip

The kind people at Bluelounge were nice enough to send me a review unit of their Kickflip stand, which I have attached to my 13″ Retina MacBook Pro. The purpose of the stand is to raise the laptop to a comfortable angle for typing.

The Kickflip attaches to the bottom of a MacBook with a sticky material which can be cleaned with soap and water if needed to restore adhesiveness. It is very easy to attach. Once it is there, you just flip it back, and your laptop is at a comfortable angle. It is a pretty good solution if you prefer to have your laptop inclined for more comfortable use.

The only drawback that I’ve run into is that when I am using the laptop in my lap, the Kickflip has a tendency to fall off. It doesn’t happen all the time, but it happens enough that it is on my mind whenever I’m using the laptop in my lap. I’ve been sitting in a presentation, taking notes, and I’ll hear something drop, only to find that the Kickflip has come off, and dropped to the floor. This is kind of surprising, because if you try to remove the Kickflip, it is stuck on pretty good. I have a feeling that this has something to do with the MacBook running hot and making the adhesive a little less effective.

Managing Internet Access

My wife and I have three daughters. All of their names start with e, so I’ll refer to them as E1, E2, and E3. E1 is the oldest, and is almost too clever for her own good. Given a chance, she would stay up all night watching something on Netflix (or Hulu, Youtube, etc.) This makes for a very crabby pre-teen, especially when she has to get up by 5:30AM in order to have enough time to get out to her bus stop by 6:49AM. Even though I’m a huge fan of most Apple gear, and I have had Airport base stations in the past, I’m also a big fan of dd-wrt and when it was time to add 802.11n, I chose the Buffalo WZR-HP-G300NH2 which has worked well for me.

Part of my solution has been to set Access Restrictions:

  1. I added the MAC addresses to the list of clients 
  2. I created 2 policies – School Nights and School Mornings
  3. School Nights is active Sunday – Thursday from 9:30PM – 11:59PM
  4. School Mornings is active Monday – Friday from 12:00AM – 6:30AM

This seems to do the trick. We still allow her to listen to audible, or read from the iPad at bed time, but she can’t stream video at all. We currently leave it wide open on weekends, and will relax this if there is no school. It’s not 100%. I’d really like to see something like what Amazon offers with the Kindle Fire HD (FreeTime?) to restrict the amount of time the device can be used.

If anyone has any additional tips or suggestions, I’d love to see them in the comments!

 Watch hindsight!

Boy was my crazy prediction wrong! I thought that the prices would be:

  •  Watch – $349 / $369-$399
  •  Watch Sport – $349 / $369-$399
  •  Watch Edition – $3,000 – $10,000 or more

What they really are:

  •  Watch – $549 – $1099
  •  Watch Sport – $349 – $399
  •  Watch Edition -$10,000 – $15,000

First off, I have to admit that I just don’t get the pricing. In regards to the  Watch, unless the sapphire crystal is a $200 part, it’s hard to justify the price difference. I ‘m mostly disappointed in the price of the link bracelet. I had missed the fact that these bracelets took more than 9 hours to manufacture. A large part of the disappointment is based on the fact this is the band that I most wanted.

The  Watch Edition is the most confusing to me. Unless I’m missing something, you could buy the “low” end version for $10,000 and the classic buckle for $149, as opposed to the version which includes the classic buckle brand for $15,000. Could there really be $4,851 worth of gold in the parts of the band that connect to the watch? I know that’s not the point, but it’s hard for me to fathom not having to care about that much money.

For me, the final question is which version is right for me. The version that I want (42mm Space Black Case with Space Black Stainless Steel Link Bracelet) is way out of my budget. One model that could fit into my budget is the 42mm Space Gray Aluminum Case with Black Sport Band. However, the bands that ship in the box aren’t big enough for my wrist. My wrist is at least 215mm.

I will more than likely stop into a retail store once they’re available to try on, and see if I’m wrong. Assuming that I’m not, and it doesn’t fit, I will be waiting until Apple or (more likely) a third party produce a band large enough for me to wear comfortably. I’ve been down the road before. The band that shipped with the Fossil Abacus was almost big enough for my wrist, but was too tight to wear comfortably. My all-time favorite watch is a Fossil that I purchased almost 20 years ago, and I still remember needing to have 2 – 3 links added to the band so that it would fit correctly.

For the time being, I’ll wait in the wings and see how this all shakes out.

Great deal on a car mount

The iOttie One Touch 2 is on sale for $17 today. Dana and I both use an iOttie Easy View 2 which can be regularly found for around $15 on Amazon. The One Touch looks to be a bit more robust, and I can only assume that the build quality is as good as if not better than the Easy View 2.
I had tried a cheap solution for Five Below about a year ago, and in the extremely cold temperatures we’ve had, the cheap plastic became way too brittle, and broke the second or third time that I used it. I use the Easy View 2 daily, and have had no issues at all.

Back on top!

According to Gartner (via Electronista) Apple is once again the #1 smartphone seller, worldwide. This speaks volumes to me. I assume that the iPhone 6 Plus is a key factor here. It would seem that adding larger models has helped Apple regain the top stop. As I’ve said before, I think that Apple has a good shot of being at or near the top right after the new model release (iPhone 4, iPhone 5, and iPhone 6 / 6 Plus) as there is a) pent up demand, and b) a larger number of current iPhone users eligible for upgrade. While it’s still possible for them to gain ground on the speed bump release (iPhone 4s, iPhone 5s, etc.), my gut says that it’s less likely because the pool of those eligible for upgrade seems to be lower (again, just a gut feeling.)

At the end of the day, it doesn’t really matter to Apple. They entered the iPhone market looking to become a niche player, and I’m sure they’re very happy with the way things have turned out.

The Apple Watch and upgradability

It’s been 20 years since Apple has promoted the upgradeability of their products. Back in the 68K to PPC transition, Apple sold computers which touted upgradeability as a feature. Apple even made some PPC upgrades (I have one in a Performa 636CD that I keep around.) If I recall correctly, a problem arose when Apple listed a product as upgradeable, but never shipped any upgrades. I don’t think Apple will offer upgrades for the Apple Watch or Apple Watch Sport, but I don’t think it’s out of the question for them to do so for the Apple Watch Edition. If the Edition version of the watch is indeed priced close to $10,000, the question may be “If someone is willing to pay $10,000 for a watch, will they be willing to pay $10,000 a year or two later for a replacement?”. I don’t think it’s out of the question to think that they might be willing to do so. On the low end, if Apple can keep the prices on most of the regular and Sport models under $500, I think there might be no need to offer an upgrade path.

Either way, I don’t think this part of the story will be told until Fall 2015 or maybe even Spring 2016 (when the next Apple Watch is introduced.)