How to use Amazon Echo speakers and Alexa as intercoms

August 17, 2017
You can call your Echo device from within your house from another Echo device or the Alexa app.

With Amazon’s Echo speakers, you can set up multi-room intercoms and even Drop In on different rooms in the house. If you’re away from home or don’t have an Echo in the room you’re in, you can just use the Alexa app to call into another room. You’ll need to get a few settings straightened out before you can use your Echo devices as intercoms. Here’s how.

Note: I recently wrote an editorial about how Amazon should add password protection to its Alexa app. It’s something to consider before enabling Drop In.

Step 1: Rename your Echo devices
Step 2: Enable Drop In for your household
Step 3: Initiate a Drop In

Step 1: Rename your Echo devices

Though you could keep the default name of your various Echo devices, it’s much easier to just rename them based on the room they are in. For example, if you have an Echo in the living room, rename it “Living Room.” Do this with all of your Echo devic…

How to get the Apple Watch Leather Loop look for less

August 17, 2017
What are the best Apple Watch Leather Loop knockoffs available? Strap these on and find out!

You can’t deny that the Apple Watch Leather Loop is modern, fashionable, and quite striking for a watch band. But… expensive 😭.

Lucky for you, there are a few of options for picking up the Apple Watch Leather Loop look for much, much less.

M Goodees Smart Watch Band
Eagwell Genuine Leather Loop Strap Replacement Band
Womail Genuine Leather Loop Strap

M Goodees Smart Watch Band

If you’re scared to pick up a knockoff Leather Loop watch band because you think the quality might be off, the band itself might not look right, and the look and feel might be, well, cheap, then you probably haven’t seen the Smart Watch Band from M Goodees.

The band is made from a soft genuine leather and a magnetic closure, just like the original Apple Watch Leather Loop. You can easily adjust and fit the band to your wrist size if you have larger or smaller wrists.

With positive reviews online an…

Apple’s VR Dev Kit eGPU enclosure: The Ultimate Guide

August 17, 2017
Need help setting up and connecting a separate display on your VR eGPU Dev Kit? Our VR Dev Kit eGPU ultimate guide can help with all that and more!

Apple wants developers to be onboard with virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) development and has released a cost-effective external graphics processing unit (eGPU) to help with just that. The eGPU kit allows you to connect an HTC Vive VR headset to your Mac running macOS High Sierra for virtual reality game and application development.

How to set up a MacBook Pro and eGPU for VR

Apple’s many, many hardware announcements during WWDC made one thing abundantly clear — 2018 will be the year VR comes to the Mac, and AR to the iPhone and iPad. To help prepare for the coming storm, Apple is offering VR developer kits with an eGPU box capable of driving the most intense experience on any Thunderbolt 3-capable Mac. Here’s how to set up your eGPU on a MacBook Pro.

[How to set up a MacBook Pro and eGPU for VR(/hands-apple-vr…

Parents’ guide to social media for kids

August 17, 2017
If your child hasn’t created an account on at least one social network by now, chances are the question has come up.

Besides being easier to connect with entire groups of friends and classmates through these services, schools are becoming increasingly involved in sharing group accomplishments on social media for all of the parents to see at once. Combine that with the relatively recent appearance of social network celebrities, regardless of inspirational or aspirational interest, and you’ve got plenty of reasons for your child to want into this world they are currently denied access to.

Truth be told, social media is almost exactly as great as it is terrible. It only gets weirder if you’re not an active user yourself, and that can raise a lot of perfectly valid concerns you may have before allowing your child access to these apps and websites. To help you better understand how to talk with your kids about the potential pitfalls and to help you understand exactly what is going on an…

Charge your phone and keep it in place for $36

August 17, 2017
Plugging your phone in to charge it is fine for most folks, but if you’re out and about our simply don’t want to sit by an outlet all day, you need an alternative solution. An external battery pack is great, but then it’s a separate piece you have to worry about carrying around and some of them can be as big as the phone itself or bigger. A battery case is fine, but that does nothing to hold up your phone if you want to watch Netflix or read.

Charge your phone and watch video hands-free Learn more

The Podium-style Charging Stand is the key to being able to keep your iPhone charged up while you’re out while propping it up in either portrait or landscape orientation so that you can watch videos and read hands-free. This stand/charger regularly retails for $159.95, but at iMore Digital Offers, it’s only $35.99, a savings of 77%. This isn’t just a way to watch video without having to hold your phone; there’s a built-in 10,500mAh battery, so you can charge your phone up via a USB port…

How to Save Money Without Sacrificing Quality when Buying Lightning Cables

August 17, 2017
You don’t have to buy an Apple-branded Lightning cable, but you shouldn’t buy uncertified knockoffs.

Apple sells replacement Lightning to USB cables at its online and physical retail stores for $19 – $29, depending on the length you want. You don’t have to get your replacement from Apple, though. To get a good quality Lightning cable for your iPhone and iPad, you don’t need to spend a fortune, you just need to make sure it’s MFi certified.

Here are the best low-cost MFi certified Lightning cables for iPhone and iPad.

AmazonBasics Nylon Braided Lightning Cable
Syncwire UNBREAKcable Lightning cable
Anker PowerLine Lightning cable
iXCC Element II Lightning Cable
What does MFi mean?

In order to meet the strict standards it has for making accessories that are compatible with its hardware and software, Apple provides certification to those companies that meet the standards as part of the MFi program, or “Made for iPhone/iPad/iPod,” but it covers all Apple-built hardware. If a product i…

AltSpace might not be dead, but there are still great alternatives for Social VR

August 17, 2017
After its early demise was announced earlier this summer, Altspace appears to be back for good. However, there are still great alternatives to discover.

In the massive spectrum of apps you can experience in VR, social VR is often the most interesting. So many games played on consoles and phones are deeply social now, with multiplayer as the default and exciting ways to share games together in person, but doing all of that in VR is a little more complicated. Not every headset lets you get up and walk around, but every VR experience in a virtual room with someone else is a unique opportunity to explore a new world with new friends.

After revealing its plans to shut down in early August, AltspaceVR has announced it won’t actually be disappearing any time soon. Following a wave of fan feedback, the team is now in talks with “others who passionate about AltspaceVR,” in an attempt to keep the service running into the near future. However, what’s to come for the service is still relativel…

This $24 50-mile TV antenna gets you local channels without a monthly fee

August 17, 2017
Our friends at Thrifter are back again, this time with a deal on an over-the-air antenna!

This AmazonBasics ultra thin HDTV Antenna is down to $23.99. This antenna dropped to $28 in early February and has sold steadily at that price ever since. This is the first drop below $28 and its lowest price ever.

Features for this antenna include:

50 Mile range to access from broadcast tower; receives free HD channels including ABC, CBS, NBC, PBS, Fox, Univision and more
Reversible with black or white sides to match your home’s decoration; antenna can be painted over to achieve a more personal touch
Supports 1080 HD and includes 16 foot coaxial cable
Multi-Directional and Reversible: No “pointing” needed
Like the product page notes, the success of the antenna varies a lot depending on where you live, what’s being broadcast near you, how far away you are, and other variables like that. If you want to know how to take full advantage of over-the-air antennas like this, check out our article.

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