Anker PowerCore Speed 10000 QC Review

Introduction

The Anker PowerCore Speed 10000 QC is an incredible accessory for anyone who needs to recharge their mobile phones on the go. I do a lot of traveling for work and I've been very pleased with the performance of the PowerCore . No more searching for outlets at airports, or sitting on the ground next to the janitor's closet or bathroom waiting to top off my cell phone battery.

Not only does it support Qualcomm Quick Charge 3.0 technology, but for its size, it packs an amazing amount of battery capacity. I can charge a Samsung S7 Edge from empty to fully-charged at least twice. It will even charge the phone with the screen on, something my last PNY-branded portable charger couldn't do. With the screen off, performance is maximized- in fact, it can charge my phone from 20% to full on a 1 hour flight if I'm not using the phone. That means I can take a nap and when I land, my phone is ready to go again (and so am I). I no longer have to worry if I'll have enough juice to get in contact with my ride.

I kind of touched on size already, but this thing is pretty small. The charger measures a mere 3.9" x 2.4" x 0.9". That makes it smaller in length and width than my phone, but of course it's thicker. It's easy enough to slip it into my pants pocket if I need to carry it on me. I usually tote this around in one of the small side pockets in my Ogio Mastermind laptop backpack

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How to Automate Your Home with Tasker

Introduction

Android enthusiasts have been tinkering with Tasker for years- and with good reason. Tasker is a versatile app that is capable of creating a personalized Android experience like no other. It’s described as a way to automate your phone, but when you consider the sheer amount of plugins available, it’s way more than just that. Tasker can use your phone’s apps, files, sensors, and network signals to automatically make your phone behave a certain way- adjust the volume, turn WiFi/Bluetooth/GPS on or off, control the screen brightness, etc. Plugins can extend this functionality, allowing you to use your phone to control other things too, like controlling your home’s lights . It works best with root, but there are a lot of things you can do without root too. None of my devices are rooted, and there’s still plenty I can do with Tasker. Read More


New SmartThings Dashboard

smartthings

Introduction

The SmartThings app just received an update that many users have been clamoring for- make the dashboard more useful! The old dashboard pretty much consisted of Smart Home Monitor. The only people that were really benefiting from that dashboard were the ones that had Smart Home Monitor set up using security cameras, smoke detectors, door/window contact sensors , or leak detectors. Everyone else was kind of left out. The latest version of the dashboard now includes a Favorites section, to go along with Smart Home Monitor. The new section allows quick access to the devices you select. Read More


How to Add Lutron Casèta to Google Assistant

Introduction

Lutron Casèta’s Smart Bridge v2 works well with Siri out-of-the-box, and has been integrated into Amazon’s Alexa . With Google’s push to get Google Assistant up and running on more Android devices (those smartphones running Marshmallow and Nougat), it looks like Lutron has finally added support for their Casèta line of home automation products! This gives Android users a direct link to the Lutron Smart Bridge without having to go through a 3rd party like a Samsung SmartThings or an Amazon Alexa to voice-control lights. This should help consumers that want to voice-activate their lights alleviate some of the extra cost for an otherwise expensive line of products. Google Assistant doesn’t stop at just lighting, it also works with Serena shades. This makes Lutron Casèta home automation so much more useful. One downside to Google Assistant is that it doesn’t support scenes at the moment, so you’ll still need to use workarounds for that. Read More


How to Get Free Home Telephone Service Using Obihai

Introduction

Our family recently switched from Comcast to AT&T’s U-verse for internet and cable TV. Since AT&T didn’t offer us home phone service, and we weren’t ready to give up our landline yet, we were left searching for a provider. I knew that VoIP would be the solution, and there’s a lot of great options out there for cheap service- magicJack, Vonage, Skype, etc. As my research progressed, I kept finding cheaper options. I had nearly settled on magicJack, and as I was reading the reviews of the magicJack Go on Amazon, another product caught my eye- Obihai! Read More


Samsung S7 Edge- How to Fix SmartThings Mobile Presence Sensor

Introduction

SmartThings is a great platform, but like all things technology-related, it’s only great when it works. One issue I recently ran into after I factory reset my Samsung S7 Edge is shown in the picture above- I was constantly seeing my phone come in and out of my SmartThings geofence. Since my phone is tied to various automation routines, things around my home started to operate when they weren’t supposed to. In a single day, my phone was causing my routines to trigger 30+  times! Read More


How to Add SmartThings to Google Assistant

Introduction

Google Assistant is compatible with SmartThings without Google Home! This is great news for Android users that have a SmartThings hub. Since SmartThings now supports Lutron, if you also have a Lutron hub , you can now control your lights from your phone using natural speech voice commands. Since SmartThings doesn’t do Lutron scenes, these won’t be available through Google Assistant. Hopefully at some point in the future Lutron will provide native support to either SmartThings or Google Assistant. Read More


Samsung S7 Edge- How to Enable Google Assistant

Introduction

I’ve been reading a lot of tech articles over the past few weeks that claim Google Assistant is now ready for any phone running Android 6.0 and above. I never received the automatic update for Play services version 10.2.99, so I manually downloaded and installed it. To my surprise, when I long-pressed the home key, I was still shown Google Now cards. One thing I never read about was that you needed to enable  Google Assistant after you update to Play services 10.2.99. Read More


Samsung S7 Edge- How to Get Rid of the Default Keyboard Notification

Introduction

As most Samsung Galaxy users know, their devices are some of the sleekest, most reliable, and most powerful devices in the mobile computing world. But that doesn’t mean they are perfect, and the S7 Edge isn’t any different. I discovered one of the most annoying things about this phone, recently, when I switched keyboards.

I had an app that kept crashing whenever I long-pressed for symbols while using the Samsung keyboard, so I downloaded the Gboard keyboard as a workaround. Everything went smooth, it fixed my problem with the app, and I was happy again. Read More