Category Toys

My First M.2 SSD Drive

I have always loved building custom PC rigs since I was young. My need for performance changed from gaming to photo processing over the years. Getting a CPU, GPU, and RAM that makes the rig game worthy is somewhat of a simple task, just look at a bunch of benchmarks and pick the right balance between budget and performance I would be happy with. However, when building a rig that would satisfy photo editing specs, that becomes much harder. There are plenty of gaming benchmark softwares out there, as well as office suite benchmarks, but none really for intensive Photoshop or Lightroom benchmarks. Each graphics software utilize different parts of the PC. Of course if I had an unlimited budget, I would just get the newest and fastest hardware, but that is not reasonable.

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WizGear Phone Mount Review

If you travel as often or more like me, and always rent a car abroad, you’ll know how invaluable a GPS and music is. Luckily you have both of those and more in one device, your smartphone. As I’m sure you have a phone holder in your vehicle at home for safety, and more so convenience reasons, why wouldn’t you have the same for a rental car if it’s more than a day? Back in the day when suction cup phone mounts were the only option, it was a cumbersome solution. The suction cup would get dirty or dusty while packed in your travel bag, the universal mount was also large and bulky.

Magnetic mount are here to rescue all of us! The solution is very simple but very effective, a small device that fits in your pocket. The magnetic vent mount clips to almost all car vents, I’ve had pretty good luck from Chevys, to Hyundais, to Mercedes (although Mercedes’ circular vents are really annoying). It doesn’t block your view with extra arms or brackets, it’s just a few strong neodymium magnets under a soft touch surface. With a metal plate hidden inside your phone case, the phone snaps easily and securely to the mount. It easily rotates to any orientation you want and holds in place even while driving aggressively.

I don’t think there are any better solutions to how you place your phone on and off the mount. It’s just a simple grab and go. The only disadvantage to the vent mount is, you do block half of a vent and lose the ability to direct where the air goes. On the plus side, the vent can cool off your phone when you have the AC on. A small price to pay for ultra convenience especially when renting a car.

The prices of these mounts range from $10 at Walmart, to $35+ for the name brands. I’ve owned both and both work well. I would recommend the $10 version for travel, in case you lose it.

New Workstation

After four years on the same system, it was finally time to upgrade. Editing photos and video is fun again!

Antec P182 Tower
OCZ GameXStream 700W PSU
Intel Core i7-3930K
ASUS Sabertooth X79
CORSAIR H60 Liquid CPU Cooler
MSI N560GTX-Ti GeForce GTX 560 Ti 2GB
CORSAIR Vengeance 32GB DDR3
OCZ Agility 3 120GB SSD
(2) Dell UltraSharp U2412M

View the rest of the photos on my Facebook

Best Bracket, Bracketron Review

Having the right accessories in your car changes your whole driving experience, which is why I am dedicating a whole post just to a phone car mount. I’ve seen many variations of universal phone mounts and brackets, some are universal and some are device specific. There are different mounting methods such as suction cups, vent mounts, dash mounts, and custom fits.

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Easy mileage tracking with the GiSTEQ GPS TripBook

I admit, the first couple of years in my photography business, I would report an extremely rough estimate of how many miles I’ve accumulated for tax reporting. An estimate basically means zero to the tax man, so I hope he isn’t reading my blog. I absolutely hate logging anything manually on paper, so I searched for many iPhone apps that allowed me to track my mileage, which worked for about a month because I would always forget to run the app after my trip, not to mention I still have to plug in the data.

I finally discovered a simple device that does pretty much all the work for you. I’ve been using the GiSTEQ GPS TripBook for 4 months now, and thought it was good enough to highly recommend it. The TripBook is a dongle that you plug into your car through a USB car charger. I recommend getting any sort of dual USB charger so you can charge another USB device while using the TripBook.
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What’s your backup?

This is my storage. 7.5 terabytes on RAID 5. I have 2 more terabytes upstairs. Nowadays, I wouldn’t be surprised if the next guy has more or twice the amount I have. These are two Thecus N5200 NAS on a gigabit connection. It’s fast. I strongly recommend anyone who doesn’t have external storage backups for your important documents and photos to invest in one. They can be bought for even under $100 for the basic models, which is nothing compared to the cost of data recovery services when you lose years of your personal photos from your desktop or laptop, which is a matter of time, not if. You can start by checking out Seagate FreeAgent which I recommended to a computer illiterate co-worker of mine, and she loved how easy it was with the included software. I use Vice Versa Pro to schedule automatic synchronization and backup of all photos from my desktop on a nightly basis. Even with this reliable storage, I don’t feel 100% at ease. I plan on buying more external drives, backing up everything, and storing them in a safe.

Please share any methods you have on backing up your most important documents.