Scott Hanselman

Choosing the right Portable Power Phone/Tablet/Gadget Battery Charger

July 26, '13 Comments [17] Posted in Hardware | Reviews
Sponsored By

microusb-vs-miniusb[1]I travel a lot and I've talked about the importance of having power while on the go. I carry a small Four Outlet Mini Power Strip, for example, as well as an all-in-one travel plug adapter. I like tools and gadgets that solve more than one problem and/or have multiple-functions.

Until phone and tablet batteries batteries can last for a day of solid use, I also carry a portable battery charger. In fact, I have been testing a bunch over the last few months in search of the Perfect Portable Battery Charger. Spoiler Alert, it doesn't exist yet, but each of these chargers has one of those characteristics.

What do I want? I want a 8000mAh or greater portable charger that weighs less than a pound, has a USB port. It should support a full 2A output for iPads or large tablets, but at LEAST 1A for phones. Bonus points for built in cables for iPhone and micro USB. It should have Solar for emergency charging. Bonus points if it can charge two phones at once, or at least take a 2A load. The fewer dongles or adapters I need to carry, the better.

NOTE: For reference as you read, here's mini-USB vs micro-USB using a photo from PowerLet and Rob Jackson.

What kind of charger do I need?

As you look at these devices and their Pros and Cons, ask yourself these questions:

  • How many times will I need to charge a single phone in a day?
    • Look at your phone's battery and see if one of these batteries will charge it once, twice, or ten times.
  • How large a battery do I want to lug around?
    • Some of these are the weight of your phone, one over a pound and a half. You WILL notice that.
  • Do I live somewhere with a lot of sun and not a lot of outlets?
    • Consider a solar charger, especially if camping (or urban camping)

WakaWaka POWER Smartphone Charger

That black part isn't a phone, that's the battery and on the side is a Solar Cell. The WakaWaka will charge in sunlight in about 8 hours, or in about 4 hours when charge it using micro-USB input.

71-7UCaCJBL._SL1500_WakaWaka

Pros

  • Charges with Solar if needed
  • Extremely light, less than half a pound (200 grams!)
  • Flashlight with several brightness levels, good for camping
  • Small company, supports micro-finance and charitable giving

Cons

  • Only a 2200 mAh Lithium battery.
    • NOTE: Given that an iPhone 4/4s battery has 1420/1430 mAh battery this will give you about a single charge and a bit more. This device would be great with a 6000 mAh battery.

 

myCharge RFAM-0007 Portable Power Bank 6000

This simple and light charger charges with whatever micro-USB AC adapter you already have. It's claim to fame is the three built in cables for charging.

61N9tMfZVbL._SL1436_71cnXqNibzL._SL1500_[1]

Pros

  • Built in old-style iPhone cable. Built in mini- and micro-USB cable.
  • 6000 mAh, very light.

Cons

  • Built in cables are wonky. My iPhone one has failed and no longer charges. I can still charge via the one USB port.
  • In my experience it's power drops off FAST. Feels more like a 2500 mAh device.

Yell BPS66 6600mAh Dual USB Energy Bar

This weirdly shaped battery is a full 6600mAh and weighs only 180 grams (well under a half-pound.) It has a mini-USB in for charging and two USB ports for output. It comes with 8 little adapters, but I haven't used any of them. I just use what came with my phone. It will also charge a large iPad which is a great plus. Charges in about 9 hours.

81ExbDgkRNL._SL1500_201895144254

 

 

Pros

  • Very small and extremely powerful
  • Inexpensive given how much power it packs.

Cons

  • Still needs a mini-USB charger, preferably one that puts out 1A or more.

i.Sound Portable Power Max with 16,000 mAh

Ok, TO BE CLEAR, this thing is a BEAST. It weights 1.4 pounds, almost half what my Ultrabook laptop weighs, but - it puts out an obscene 2.4A if need be and can charge as many as 5 small phones at a time. It adds over 24 hours more usage to an iPad with a 16000mAh battery. This is a great overnight charger.

71n2sddoy-L._SL1500_814rHMTWcKL._SL1500_[1]

Pros

  • 16,000 mAh. There's nothing else that packs this much power. Charges an iPhone 10 times.
  • Up to 6 devices (if you use their splitter, otherwise 5)
  • Flashlight

Cons

  • Requires a proprietary AC charger - Don't lose it!
  • Heavy as heck.

PowerTrip 6000mAh with 50mA Solar Panel

This is a nice charger that plugs right into the wall. The solar panel is very small and will top it up a little in a day of full sunlight, although I've never been able to full the battery only on solar. It's the built in AC that sets it apart.

PowerTrip-with-iPhone-5powertrip2

Pros

  • Built in US AC plug. Just plug the whole charger into the wall. Big win.
  • 6000 mAh, 1.5A output.
  • Small solar panel built in.
  • Comes with three little 6 inch cables for mini, micro and Apple, useful.

Cons

  • Expensive and hard to find, about $100
  • Just one USB port

Related Posts

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
Hosting By
Dedicated Windows Server Hosting by SherWeb

The impact of a compliment

July 24, '13 Comments [54] Posted in Musings
Sponsored By
womenintech

This is the beginning of a great compliment. Here, the President is speaking about the Attorney General of California:

You have to be careful to, first of all, say she is brilliant and she is dedicated and she is tough, and she is exactly what you'd want in anybody who is administering the law, and making sure that everybody is getting a fair shake.

Here's where it goes too far.

She also happens to be by far the best-looking attorney general in the country.

Is it a gaffe? Is it a nightmare? Is it tacky or inappropriate or any of a dozen other adjectives? Perhaps. That's not the point. It's simply not necessary and it's completely beside the point. This happens every day and it happens often in computing and technology contexts.

How you look is a combination of things, not the least of which being a genetic roll of the dice that you can't control. How you are, how you conduct yourself and how your work is perceived by your peers is absolutely under your control. And it is from this place, where your merits lie, that compliments spring.

When you compliment someone in a work or professional environment solely on their looks you are minimizing years of hard work, struggle and mental effort.

I like compliments as much as the next person, but it's important to not conflate personal compliments ("What great shoes!") with professional compliments("What an amazing slide deck!).

I would not like to see a comment like "Watch the kind (and well-dressed and hot) Scott Hanselman presenting on HTML5."

I'd rather see "Watch this ruthlessly competent presenter talk about HTML5."

You get the idea. Compliments to other developers should always be gender non-specific like "ruthlessly competent" or "bad ass." If someone is good at their job, you can always say "you're really good at your job." No need for extras.

Too sensitive? No, this is simple. Compliment the work and the person's effort in the creation of that work.

Your favorite presenter's outfit, hair, makeup (or lack of all three) didn't make that code run.

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
Hosting By
Dedicated Windows Server Hosting by SherWeb

If you're not using Glimpse with ASP.NET for debugging and profiling, you're missing out

July 20, '13 Comments [40] Posted in ASP.NET | ASP.NET MVC | Open Source | Tools
Sponsored By
Glimpse NuGet packages

I've blogged about Glimpse since the day I first saw it at Mix 2011's open source fest. It's popular, but frankly, Glimpse is so useful more people need to know about it.

From within your ASP.NET application in Visual Studio, install Glimpse using NuGet. You'll want to install the right Glimpse packages for the ASP.NET features you're using. For example, I'm using MVC4 and Entity Framework 5, so I will use NuGet and:

install-package Glimpse.MVC4
install-package Glimpse.EF5

These packages pull in the core Glimpse libraries plus the hooks for the specific ASP.NET modules and handlers needed for Glimpse to collect all the information about your application and present it to the client side. Be sure to pick the right NuGet packages for your project type.

The releases of Glimpse 1.4.0, and now most recently 1.5.0 improve Glimpse with the addition of a really amazing HUD (Heads Up Display). As you hover over each segment, it pops up with lots of details about the HTTP request, AJAX requests, deep inspection database interactions, and lots more.

Glimpse's new HUD

Here I've hovered over one segment and you can see the time it took to render this first page, and exactly how much time was spent during each activity, from rendering to action methods to database connections.

The Glimpse HUD expanded

You can move from the HUD to the standard Glimpse view. The best part is that each Glimpse Tab is a plugin itself! There's a whole community creating Glimpse Plugins. If you're using RavenDB, or NHibernate, or SignalR or whatever, you can get introspection into what's going on in a Glimpse Tab.

You turn Glimpse on and off with cookies, and you can setup security policy however you want. Glimpse isn't in the background creeping around - you have absolute control over when you want it used. Perhaps local and only when debugging, or perhaps always and with a specific cookie value, it's up to you.

Below you can see the actual SQL query executed by my Entity Framework code and how long it took to execute. I didn't have to change any part of my code or do anything more than just install Glimpse. Glimpse added the modules and handlers, and Glimpse policies can be installed to turn Glimpse on or off based on any option I can think of. I can even put Glimpse into production and only turn it on for certain requests, giving me a profiling tool I can peek at whenever I like.

EF SQL queries viewed within Glimpse

You likely use F12 developer tools in Chrome, IE and Firefox, and you've seen Timeline views before. But remember that Glimpse is JavaScript and HTML on the client - it's NOT a browser plugin - and it's a series of plugins on the server that give you a holistic view that's way more than just what's visible on the client.

Glimpse's Timeline View shows you exactly what's happening on the server, how long it's taking, and how it all fits together.

image

Sessions within Glimpse are all tracked and be optionally named. Since the server is collecting what's going on, you can pull out a popup browser window of Glimpse and connect to sessions from other browsers. Below I'm using an iPhone mobile emulator from ElectricPlum and inspecting requests from another browser window.

Using Glimpse to debug remotely against an iPhone Emulator

Glimpse is all open source and under the Apache 2.0 license. You can certainly help out, but the most interesting thing in my opinion is writing Glimpse Tabs - extending Glimpse to collect and show new data. Tabs can show technical stuff, but even business stuff that's specific to your application or style of application. For example, the Umbraco CMS could make a Glimpse Tab that puts configuration or technical Umbraco specific details up front. A line of business app could show tax details or shopping cart contents.

Glimpse is so useful that it's the first thing I install after I File | New Project on any non-trivial thing I'm working on. It's replaced Mini-Profiler as my go-to "production profiler" for web apps, and if you use ELMAH to collect and manage your application errors, there's even a Glimpse ELMAH plugin!

Check it out and go talk to Anthony and Nik about Glimpse on Twitter and thank for their work!

DISCLOSURE NOTE: The Red Gate company sponsors the Glimpse open source project. Red Gate also sponsored my blog feed this week. That is a cool coincidence, but it's just a coincidence. Red Gate does a lot of stuff. This post about Glimpse was written earlier. Just an FYI for y'all.


Sponsor: Big thanks to the folks at Red Gate for sponsoring the feed this week. Take a moment and check out their free download of Deployment Manager! Easy release management: Deploy your .NET apps, services and SQL Server databases in a single, repeatable process with Red Gate’s Deployment Manager. There’s a free Starter edition, so get started now!

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
Hosting By
Dedicated Windows Server Hosting by SherWeb

Making a better, somewhat prettier, but definitely more functional Windows Command Line

July 16, '13 Comments [58] Posted in Tools
Sponsored By
Running htop via ssh under ConEmu
 

I've blogged before, in fact in 2004, (!) that Windows is missing the text mode boat. There is a massive opportunity for a great, nay, awesome and pretty, command line on Windows. If someone cracks this problem, they're gonna be heroes.

I love iTerm2 and its tabs, its font handling, its simple elegance. I want this on Windows. In 2011 I found Console2, and then in 2012 I moved to ConEmu, a great tabbed terminal for Windows. Even then, it's not "pretty." I love these guys, and the ConEmu is truly an amazing and configurable piece of software, but it was written by developers for developers. I have to change the fonts to Consolas for the main font and Segoe UI for the rest to make it tolerable. Am I being petty and focusing on looks? Absolutely. Gorgeous and functional software is why Mac companies like Panic exist. They make things that are pretty AND functional. Windows folks could definitely "lovingly design" stuff more.

Here's some command line utilities that augment and help - but don't yet complete save - the Windows Command Line.

Clink

I just learned about Clink and I'm hooked. It's hooked as well, directly into your cmd.exe window! *rimshot*

We all know that there's Cygwin for a bash-like experience in Windows, but Click is a small utility that brings some of those productivity and editing features into cmd.exe directly!

  • Bash-like line editing from GNU's Readline library. Read more on Readline's keyboard shortcuts.
  • Better path completion (TAB).
  • Paste from clipboard (Ctrl-V). Oh yes.
  • Support for the completion of executables/commands, and environment variables.
  • Undo/Redo (Ctrl-_ or Ctrl-X, Ctrl-U)
  • Improved command line history.
    • Persists across sessions.
    • Searchable (Ctrl-R and Ctrl-S).
    • History expansion (e.g. !!, !, and !$).

The most significant change that Clink makes is to Tab Completion, moving to a more Bash-y "show them the choices" mode rather than the DOS-like "make them cycle through everything." Here I've pressed TAB over 2013-0 and Clink is showing me what I can choose from.

using Clink to make cmd.exe better

PowerShell ISE

Surprise! You already have this on your Windows computer. Ya, it freaked me out also. You can even hide the script pane if you want (Ctrl-R) and just use PowerShell ISE as a console! You get auto completion (see the Directory intellisense below), coloring, aliases and all the power of PowerShell.

Sure, it's not bash, but that may be a good thing. You may not have been exposed to PowerShell and the prospect may frighten you, but try it for a bit. They've aliased the obvious commands "ls" does what you'd expect as does "dir." Moving around will feel like any command prompt.

Not to mention if you are using PowerShell you already get a full debugger experience.

The PowerShell ISE

It won't win any awards for good looks (again, I come back to the importance of fonts, whitespace, and good typography...get a designer) but it is extremely functional and you already have it!

ConEmu lets you put your consoles in JumpLists!ConEmu

I've talked about ConEmu before, but I'll bring some of that over here. ConEmu takes your command prompt and adds tabs, status bar details, admin tabs, freakin' taskbar progress bars on copies (which is hot), and deep support for FarManager (Norton Commander anyone?)

Tabs in ConEmu in Windows

ConEmu is definitely a huge jump for console usability on Windows. The feature that really blew me away was Progress Bar integration. If you're familiar with Windows 7 you are likely familiar with the way that progress bars are overlaid over a Windows 7 Taskbar button. ConEmu looks at the current application running and some heuristics and overlays progress. Madness. Do a chkdsk and watch the progress bar. Love this little detail.

ConEmu Progress Bar

Git for Windows or Cygwin

If you want a Linux-like experience on Windows with a nice shell, Cygwin has long been a choice. However, since the release of Git for Windows most folks I know just install it and use the Git Bash. If you get Cygwin proper you'll get a much more complete "fake Linux" through their very competent set of command line tools, but for most, Git Bash will suffice.

Git Bash gets you close

What about SSHing? That's a fundamental part of command-line life for folks connecting to remote Unix machines. For me, I have a Linux farm I run on Azure that I often need to ssh into.

Random: I like to say I 'shoosh' into the machines, but folks keep looking at me weird. I thought this was a thing?

However, the SSH clients for Windows suck. Ok, they don't suck, but they are ugly. It's scandalous how ugly. Mad respect to PuTTY for being awesome and super functional, but it's like running Windows 95 in a window every time I launch it. Here's some better SSH clients, including a fork of PuTTY itself.

Bitvise SSH Client - more importantly, SSH from the command line

The Bitvise SSH Client is free for personal use and works great. There's a whole GUI, and, bless them, it's not pretty. However! There's also a command line version which is the REAL treasure. I just want to type ssh and be on my way.

In fact, I made a batch file called "ssh.bat" and put it in my PATH that just has this inside: "stermc %1" this means I can just type ssh user@hostname:port and be on my way. This is, for me, WAY easier than putty for most things. Bitcise is definitely worth checking out.

Find a SSH command line too like Bitvise

Kitty

Kitty is a fork of version 0.62 of the original PuTTY. There's also a portable version that I've put in my Dropbox utils folder (which is in my PATH) so it's on every machine I have automatically. Kitty has some nice features like Send to Tray, transparency, session launching (so you don't need Pageant), and lots of little poweruser features like "rolling up" the app if you Ctrl-Click on the Title Bar.

Kitty is a better PuTTY alternative

Kitty also can integrate into your browser to handle ssh:// links, which is a nice touch.

What console app improvers have I missed? What do you use on Windows? Sound off in the comments.


Sponsor: Big thanks to the folks at RedGate for sponsoring the feed this week. Take a moment and check out their free download of Deployment Manager! Easy release management: Deploy your .NET apps, services and SQL Server databases in a single, repeatable process with Red Gate’s Deployment Manager. There’s a free Starter edition, so get started now!

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
Hosting By
Dedicated Windows Server Hosting by SherWeb

Hanselman's Newsletter of Wonderful Things: June 4th, 2013

July 11, '13 Comments [8] Posted in Newsletter
Sponsored By

I have a "whenever I get around to doing it" Newsletter of Wonderful Things. Why a newsletter? I dunno. It seems more personal somehow. Fight me.

You can view all the previous newsletters here. You can sign up here to the Newsletter of Wonderful Things or just wait and get them some weeks later on the blog, which hopefully you have subscribed to. Email folks get it first!

Here's the newsletter that I sent out June 4th.


Hi Interfriends,

Thanks again for signing up for this experiment. Here's some interesting things I've come upon this week. If you forwarded this (or if it was forwarded to you) a reminder: You can sign up at http://hanselman.com/newsletter and the archive of all previous Newsletters is here.

Remember, you get the newsletter here first. This one will be posted to the blog as an archive in a few weeks. 

Scott Hanselman

(BTW, since you *love* email you can subscribe to my blog via email here: http://feeds.hanselman.com/ScottHanselman DO IT!)

P.P.S. You know you can forward this to your friends, right?

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
Hosting By
Dedicated Windows Server Hosting by SherWeb

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed herein are my own personal opinions and do not represent my employer's view in any way.