Scott Hanselman

Review - Mophie Juice Pack (not the Juice Pack Air)

July 3, '09 Comments [8] Posted in Reviews
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iphonebatterypack2

The battery life on my iPhone is laughable. If I want to actually use it, like make use of it, then it's dead by after lunch. With 3G, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPS, work and personal mail, yada yada, it's a joke.

Here's a picture of me with my first external battery pack. This got me through the day, but it wasn't very convenient.

When the Mophie Juice Pack Air was announced, I was thrilled. Over the moon. A battery pack that was also a case? Sleek and doubled your battery life? Brilliant.

I ordered one immediately on Amazon. When it showed up, I learned that there's actually a "Juice Pack" and the "Juice Pack Air." This distinction had escaped me...turns out I ordered the original Juice Pack, rather than the more sleek and form-fitting Juice Pack Air.

I did some research, and found out that there's basically three differences between the Juice Pack and Juice Pack Air.

Juice Pack Juice Pack Air
Chunky and only covers 7/8ths of the back of the phone. Sleek and covers the entire phone.
1800 mAh 1200 mAh
Always on (always trying to charge) On/Off switch lets you decide when it's charging

I liked the slim idea of the Air, but I figured 50% more mAh was better for me as a power-user, so I stuck with the standard Mophie Juice Pack, not the Air.

Now, let me say, I really want to like the Mophie Juice Pack. Truly. I hate being negative because I realize there's a company and actual humans behind this product.  However, it just doesn't live up to real world usage.

DSC_0332DSC_0334Wear

I've had the Juice Pack for just about 60 days. I don't work in construction and I don't throw my phone around. Still, the surface of the Juice Pack is rubbing away in a really unattractive way.

See the picture at right? The shiny patches on the corners are where it's wearing away. This is after 2 months.

The sides of the pack have, for some reason, (perhaps grippy-ness?) rubber strips about 2 inches long. On both sides it's wearing away. On the one side it's sliding off and the adhesive/glue stuff is showing. It's very frustrating to see such poor construction around my little phone Star Trek Data Pad.

Charging Behavior

I use the pack all day and so far, it DOES get me through the day, from 8 am to about 6pm before I need to start worrying. I have the brightness of the phone at 30%, Wi Fi on, Bluetooth on, GPS off. I figured with 1800 mAh would get me 12+ hours of normal usage, as the specifications talk about numbers like 28 hours of audio playback and 12 hours of 2G (Edge) talk time, but still, 10 hours is not bad.

The Mophie Juice Pack has 4 small LEDs on the back that tell you how much charge the pack has left. The features page says it has "Smart Battery Technology [that] instructs the iPhone to always drain out the juice pack first." As a technologist, I think this statement isn't really fair, as the iPhone thinks it's plugged-in when the batter is attached. When the "plug power" (in this case, the battery) stops, then the iPhone's battery stars. This is the same behavior as my old $10 4 AA battery charger.

The Juice Pack doesn't have an on-off switch, so it tries to charge the iPhone immediately, even if it doesn't need it, which appears to use power. For me, this means that the Juice Pack's battery is dead for me by around 1pm, which means I'm on my own by the early afternoon. I'd prefer to have the opposite behavior, which is enabled by the switch on the Juice Pack Air. I'd like to drain the iPhone's own battery first, then have the Juice Pack kick in.

Weird Behavior

A nice feature of the battery is that the charging cable is a standard mini-USB, which is more standard than the iPhone cable. However, one oddity is that sometimes I'll have the phone inside the battery and a charging cable attached to the battery and both are discharging. I'd expect the battery to always charge when plugged in. In these cases I have to separate the battery from the phone in order to charge the former. It's odd, as it's caused me to end up with a dead phone battery even while the external one was plugged in, just not charging.

Power Drop Off

After only 2 months, even though I discharge the battery fully (via normal use) every day, and charge it overnight, its lifetime had dropped already. This is after about 60 full cycles. When the battery light indicator reaches 2 out of 4 LEDs, it drops off dramatically within an hour. Basically 4 LEDs to 2 LEDs is 3 hours and 2 LEDs to 1 LED is an hour. This is anecdotal, to be sure, but it's everyday and it's dramatic to the point of pissing me off.

Unreasonable Expectations? Maybe.

The specs say 350 hours of standby?  I can't see how, unless EVERYTHING is turned off...perhaps 350 hours of airplane mode. I'd like a single 18 hour day of normal usage. Or, even a reliable 12.

It's so bad that I have purchased car chargers for both cars and I'm forced to top-up at least once, sometimes twice a day.

It was US$100, which is a lot for anything, including a battery. It's now ugly after two months and at this rate, I'll  be surprised if the charge lasts the rest of the year.

If you have this battery, leave a comment here. Did I get a dud? We'll see and I'll keep this review updated.

About Scott

Scott Hanselman is a former professor, former Chief Architect in finance, now speaker, consultant, father, diabetic, and Microsoft employee. He is a failed stand-up comic, a cornrower, and a book author.

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My Lenovo Choice - ThinkPad W700 vs. ThinkPad W500 Review

July 3, '09 Comments [18] Posted in Reviews
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DSC_0019 "But it’s the same laptop!" my wife said. I've been using a Lenovo T60 or T60p for a very long time. Since it came out, in fact. I had a T60 at my last job for years, and a T60p all the while at Microsoft. I have happily running 64-bit operating systems on my T60p with 4gigs of RAM…unfortunately with the caveat that the T60p can only address 3gigs, no matter what. (Unlike its smarter cousin the T61.)

I've been at Microsoft almost 2 years (it'll be 2 years in October, I think) and I've been begging my boss for a "hardware refresh." That's Microsoft speak for giving your laptop back and getting a better one. You're better off if the laptop you want is "MSIT Supported." Folks have been known to order all sorts of crazy stuff, but they're responsible for keeping it running if things go south.

My budget was limited and I wasn't able to get an SSD (Solid State Disk, vs. a regular hard drive) in my new laptop, but I would have needed at least a 160gig version anyway, so I'm not too sad.

I've been trying out two Lenovo laptops and settled on one. The other gets sent back to Lenovo.

First, The Beast, then Ultimate Winner. Note that all of this is just my opinion, and I didn't get any free stuff or whatever. I'm just writing a review because I felt like it.

The Beast - Lenovo ThinkPad W700

I was on-site working for a week recently at a large NW company that does business online. I took the W700 with me for a trial run. During the final presentation of the code I had written for this client, it was noticed I'd forgotten to remove a reference in the code to a proxy server I'd been running, so the Senior VP saw "http://bigasslaptop:8080" on his conference room screen. At least it wasn't a proper cuss word, but I felt I needed to explain myself to the room. I pulled out the ThinkPad W700 and the VP I thought I'd offended said "Holy s***, that's a big ass laptop. Ok, I get it now. Continue."

winsatwin7 w700dsThere's nothing else it could be called. This laptop is only a laptop if your lap is two-laps wide. This laptop could be considered a deadly weapon and beat a man to death. This laptop has its own gravitational pull with netbooks and smaller laptops orbiting around it.

it's truly awesome. It is a quad-proc machine with an amazing 1920x1200 17" screen and a second 1280x768 pull out side-car monitor. What's that extra monitor for? Toolboxes, the Solution Explorer, your Email, whatever. It's brilliant, and don't knock it until you've tried it.

If you're looking for a luggable, this is the pinnacle. My #1, and really ONLY problem with the laptop is that it's just too big for my bag. In fact, i was unable to find a bag, backpack or briefcase (even my beloved Zero Haliburton aluminum case) that could hold it.

However, if you want a desktop machine that you can really easily move around, look no further. It's a portable machine, but not a machine you move lightly, or without a buddy assist and strong back.

The WEI scores speed for themselves. A 7.2 on the processor out of a max of 7.9, that's crazy on a laptop. Notice the 5.8 for 3D graphics. It's a great gaming machine (Half-Life looks great) and it'd be excellent for 3D modeling. Interestingly, only the Hard Drive suffers compared to the W500.

The Perfect Laptop - Lenovo ThinkPad W500

The W500 is EXACTLY like my T60p. But with more awesome. It basically fixes every tiny thing that was wrong with the T60p, which was very little. It weighs the same and looks exactly like the T60p. It adds an integrated webcam in the bezel, which means one less thing to carry on trips. It also adds a built-in card reader in the front, which is nice as I've got a half-dozen SD Cards lying around. There's 3 USB ports, a VGA port and a Display Link port and a nice ATI card with a half-gig of RAM. It'll run my big monitors no problem. The screen on the W500 is amazing, running at 1920x1200, but the same size as the T60p.

It's got Bluetooth, WiFi with an external switch winsatwin7w500(thanks!) as well as WiMax built-in, which is rolling out through my town.

There's a standard PC Card and an Express Card slot. It's got Gigabit Ethernet, which is nice as the whole house is wired. There's also a FireWire port in front. The only thing it's missing is an External SATA slot.

The W500 isn't the big powerhouse that the W700 is, but it's no slouch for a laptop. Notice that you'd have a 5.9 WEI if you drop out the 3D score. I wish I could have put in a SSD but budgets are what they are.

I love this W500 because it's exactly the same size as the T60p. It's the T60p, but updated with everything new, fast and wonderful. It's a nice, normal-looking laptop that is so powerful I can use it as my main machine. There's lots of giant laptops, but the W500 isn't. I can totally use it on a plane without trouble.

To be clear, I've got a MacBook, I've got a Dell Mini 9, a Dell Studio, and a Toshiba. I've used every brand under the sun and I realize that everyone's got their own opinion. Everyone's had a laptop fail and decided that THAT brand sucks.

I've personally had great success with Lenovo ThinkPads for work. They are the tuxedos of laptops. I'd buy a Mac for a personal machine and run Win7 on it (I do) but for work, as a developer, the ThinkPad W500 is rocking my world. I'm running Windows 7 happily on it as well as booting into a Windows 7 VHD with Dev10 installed.

Size Difference Photos

Here's the W700 under a 17" MacBook Pro under a W500.

DSC_0337 

DSC_0339

 DSC_0015

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About Scott

Scott Hanselman is a former professor, former Chief Architect in finance, now speaker, consultant, father, diabetic, and Microsoft employee. He is a failed stand-up comic, a cornrower, and a book author.

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Hanselminutes Podcast 168 - Successful Cross Platform .NET Development - Mono and Banshee with Aaron Bockover

July 1, '09 Comments [11] Posted in Mono | Podcast | Source Code | Windows Client
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banshee-windowsMy one-hundred-and-sixty-eighth podcast is up. In this one, I chat with Aaron Bockover of Novell about the Banshee Project - a cross-platform Media Player. It's a Mono Application that runs on Linux, Mac OS X and Windows. What are the hard-won secrets of cross platform .NET dev? Aaron and his team know the answers.

I really enjoyed this show. Aaron's team has unquestionably proven that you CAN make a great .NET app that looks great everywhere. Here's Banshee on Windows, OSX, and Linux. Remember, this is written in C#, people. Click the images to see them larger.

banshee-linux

banshee-mac-os-x 

Links from the Show

Subscribe: Subscribe to Hanselminutes Subscribe to my Podcast in iTunes

Do also remember the complete archives are always up and they havePDF Transcripts, a little known feature that show up a few weeks after each show.

Telerik is a sponsor for this show!

Building quality software is never easy. It requires skills and imagination. We cannot promise to improve your skills, but when it comes to User Interface, we can provide the building blocks to take your application a step closer to your imagination. Explore the leading UI suites for ASP.NET and Windows Forms. Enjoy the versatility of our new-generation Reporting Tool. Dive into our online community. Visit www.telerik.com.

As I've said before this show comes to you with the audio expertise and stewardship of Carl Franklin. The name comes from Travis Illig, but the goal of the show is simple. Avoid wasting the listener's time. (and make the commute less boring)

Enjoy. Who knows what'll happen in the next show?

About Scott

Scott Hanselman is a former professor, former Chief Architect in finance, now speaker, consultant, father, diabetic, and Microsoft employee. He is a failed stand-up comic, a cornrower, and a book author.

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Videos from the Norwegian Developer's Conference

July 1, '09 Comments [17] Posted in ASP.NET | ASP.NET Ajax | ASP.NET MVC | Podcast | Screencasts | Speaking
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All of the talks at this year's Norwegian Developer's Conference were recorded, which is always a treat.

I did four talks as well as a live .NET Rocks show. It was a crazy week. I also recorded a half-dozen great podcasts. Three are already live on Hanselminutes and I've got more in the hopper coming soon.


The HaaHa Show - Hacking with Phil and Scott

In this one, Phil is a hacker and he keeps breaking my websites. I fix them, and he breaks them again. Watch movie.

image


.NET Rocks - Live! With Carl, Richard, Scott and Phil.

This is a really silly show and was entirely content-free. ;) Watch movie.

image


The Magic of Astoria - ADO.NET Data Services

Me talking about REST and SOAP and ADO.NET Data Services. Watch movie.

image


Making Your Blog Suck Less

Warning: I do swear in this one. Dunno what got into me. Watch movie.

image


Tour of .NET 4.0

This one's not working right now. Not sure why. I'll update with a screenshot when it works again. Watch movie.


There's a LOT of greats content over there, and I encourage you to check them out. There's DOZENS of awesome talks, but here's just a few.

All in all, if you're in or around Europe, do stop by NDC next year. I've done it two years in a row and it's been a blast each time. It's a very smart, agile conference.

NOTE: Their website is borked right now and has an "off by 1" error for the Day 1 Talks. The "watch movie" links are all shifted. Pick the talk you want, but CLICK the talk above it, wrapping to the left. I'm sure they'll fix it in a few hours.

Second Note: I am just reporting the news here, so don't get mad at me. I haven't been able to get the videos to work on any browser EXCEPT Internet Explorer. They don't seem to work on either Firefox or Chrome. Again, not my thing, and yes, it sucks. It's probably a result of whatever company they selected to do their video, not due to some global Microsoft evil plot to be mean to you personally. Smooches. YES, we will ask them to make downloadable versions.

Enjoy!

About Scott

Scott Hanselman is a former professor, former Chief Architect in finance, now speaker, consultant, father, diabetic, and Microsoft employee. He is a failed stand-up comic, a cornrower, and a book author.

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Hanselminutes Podcast 167 - Convention Over Configuration with Jeremy Miller

July 1, '09 Comments [0] Posted in Agile | Podcast
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jeremymiller My one-hundred-and-sixty-seventh podcast is up. Scott's Norway interviews continue this week, this time with Jeremy Miller, author of Structure Map. Scott and Jeremy chat about fluent interfaces, Convention Over Configuration and how to best simplify your systems.

Subscribe: Subscribe to Hanselminutes Subscribe to my Podcast in iTunes

Do also remember the complete archives are always up and they havePDF Transcripts, a little known feature that show up a few weeks after each show.

Telerik is a sponsor for this show!

Building quality software is never easy. It requires skills and imagination. We cannot promise to improve your skills, but when it comes to User Interface, we can provide the building blocks to take your application a step closer to your imagination. Explore the leading UI suites for ASP.NET and Windows Forms. Enjoy the versatility of our new-generation Reporting Tool. Dive into our online community. Visit www.telerik.com.

As I've said before this show comes to you with the audio expertise and stewardship of Carl Franklin. The name comes from Travis Illig, but the goal of the show is simple. Avoid wasting the listener's time. (and make the commute less boring)

Enjoy. Who knows what'll happen in the next show?

About Scott

Scott Hanselman is a former professor, former Chief Architect in finance, now speaker, consultant, father, diabetic, and Microsoft employee. He is a failed stand-up comic, a cornrower, and a book author.

facebook twitter subscribe
About   Newsletter
Sponsored By
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Disclaimer: The opinions expressed herein are my own personal opinions and do not represent my employer's view in any way.