Hurricanes Harvey and Irma- Is it Climate Change?

Spencer Platt / Getty Images

A couple leave their flooded home in Fort Myers the morning after Hurricane Irma swept through the state on Sept. 11, 2017

There has been a lot of talk about climate change in the wake of the two category 4 Hurricanes we have seen in the U.S. within just a couple of weeks of each other. Hurricane Harvey caused at least 70 deaths in Texas, and a lot of destruction of homes and other buildings. While people are still struggling to recover there, Florida is being hit hard as well. This is the first year that two hurricanes of this magnitude have made landfall in the same year in the United States in 166 years of weather reports.

People are joining in the debate whether this is related to climate change, which some are saying is insensitive to do at this time. Scott Pruitt, the head of US Environmental Protection Agency, has said in an interview with CNN that, “To have any kind of focus on the cause and effect of the storm; versus helping people, or actually facing the effect of the storm, is misplaced.

The mayor of Miami, Tomás Regalado, is not in agreement with Pruitt.  He told The Miami Herald that “This is the time to talk about climate change. This is the time that the president and the EPA and whoever makes decisions needs to talk about climate change.” Regalado might have a voice in this since his city is partially underwater because of Irma. If this isn’t climate change, I don’t know what is. This is a truly, truly poster child for what is to come.”

According to CNN in an interview today, the White House Homeland Security Adviser, Tom Bossert, said,”Causality is something outside of my ability to analyze right now,” and that it was too early to tell. He spoke of cyclical seasons and commented that they would do a trend analysis at a later date.

Bringing it to religion- Pope Francis says in the wake of these hurricanes:

“If we don’t go back we will go down. That is true. You can see the effects of climate change with your own eyes and scientists tell us clearly the way forward. All of us have a responsibility. All of us. Some small, some big. A moral responsibility, to accept opinions, or make decisions. I think it is not something to joke about.”

“Those who deny it (climate change) should go to the scientists and ask them. They are very clear, very precise,” the Pope stated the other day during a press conference.

“A phrase from the Old Testament comes to mind: ‘man is stupid, a stubborn, blind man’,” he added.

Should we be thinking about climate change? Is it our responsibility to take care of the earth that we have been given? Can the political parties come together to make decisions that might benefit us all? Leave your thoughts in the comments.


Earin True Wireless Earbuds Review

Only_Buds_front-620x400With all the activity we do, it’s great to not to have to be tied down to something. Many earbuds have you hooked up to a line trailing down your arm, neck , back, or leg. There’s an option, though, for those who don’t want strings to hold them down. We were sent these wireless EARIN earbuds to review, so here we go.

Coming from a Swiss startup, these Bluetooth- enabled earbuds come in a nice package. The box that holds them looks like a cardboard box, but it opens and closes magnetically, and the magnets also attract the earbuds so that they don’t fly out when you open the box. We still recommend that you carefully open the box because there still is a chance for them to fly out, and those little guys are miniscule and round, and they roll.

The box contains the wireless earbuds, a charging capsule reminiscent of the flashy-thing in the Men in Black movie, a micro USB cable to charge the flashy-thing, stabilizers to make extra sure they won’t come out of your ears with heavy activity. There’s also the Comply foam tips that give a tight seal, or if you would rather, there are Silicone tips.

The case, or flashy-thing, will hold the earbuds as they charge, and you had better be sure to put these earbuds in the case when you aren’t using them, as that is the only way to turn them off. If you just put them in your pocket, the battery will drain on them, so it’s best to keep them in the case. It will likely be a safer place to keep them anyway. A simple light will turn on while it’s charging the earbuds, another light on top indicates that the case is charging itself.earin-true-wireless-earbuds-with-charging-case-and-aweni7-5

There are complaints that sometimes the right ear bud will cut out, and there is sometimes lag when watching videos. The left ear bud is the one that connects to your device, and the right one is a slave, so it’s not always as reliable as the left.

Other wireless earbuds on the market might run less expensive on price, but we haven’t been able to compare the sound quality of them. We have reviewed the Jabra wireless earbuds, and they are about $100 more, though the Earins used to be the same price, and the Jabra had the addition of being able to take calls because of the microphone. You can’t take calls on the Earins. You can also check your heartrate with the Jabra pair.

Earin does have a special app that you use on your phone to control the bass boost, the balance of volume in each ear, and you can see how much battery life you have left in them. Speaking of battery life, there is about 3 hours of battery life in them, and you can charge them up to 3 times in a fully charged capsule.

Earin is coming out in the future with the M-2 earbuds. These look to be more advanced with a microphone and a way to control them with touch interface on the earbuds. The question will be whether they are comparable in price and quality to the other wireless earbuds out there. Still, at $149, the M-1 might be what you are looking for.

Secure Protection for Your Phone With the Urban Armor Gear PATHFINDER Series

GLXS8_PATHFINDER_RST-MAIN.1006_grandeUrban Armor Gear has protection available for many devices- laptops, tablets, and phones, and we have reviewed many of them here at TheGeekChurch. The case we’re reviewing today comes from the PATHFINDER series.

The case we were sent to review is specifically for Samsung Galaxy S8, but you can also get them for iPhones. The PATHFINDER series cases come in black, white, and rust- which is the color we got. It looks more orange, and brighter than what you might think rust would look like, but still a very nice, sporty color.

This case has many of the same characteristics that other UAG series cases have- like being feather-light, impact resistant, anti-scratch, and having the same great access to charging ports, and the camera/flash. I currently have the Composite case on my phone(Galaxy S7), and it feels very similar. In fact, the descriptions on the UAG website here and here are pretty much the same- with the exception of things unique to the S8- like being “compatible with Samsung Pay and Samsung Fast Wireless Charging Convertible.”

As with all of their cases, the Pathfinder series is drop tested according to military standard of 810G-516.6, which is assuring to those who want to protect their phones in case they drop. If you can appreciate this quality of case for your phone, they sell for $34.95 on the UAG site, or you can buy them at other places like Amazon, Best Buy and Wal-Mart.



Our Review of the Go Puck 6XR

It’s been a while since I’ve reviewed a Go Puck product , as the last time was the Go Puck 5X, and I have been waiting a while to review the GoPuck 6XR.

Yes, this is going to be another mobile battery review, so I’m going to talk about what makes the 6XR different. I could talk about how it has two USB ports, but so does the MyCharge RazorUltra.

No, the reason why you want the 6XR has to do with the speed. The 6XR comes with Qualcomm QuickCharge 3.0 technology, which means you are going to get four times faster charging.

So, what else does it have? How about a large capacity? It is a 9,000 mAh capacity, which means that it is good for about four charges on a smartphone and even more on a GoPro.

Then there is also the fact that the 6XR has a mount. It’s made for straps and belts, and it appears to be “born from racing” as it says on the box. This makes sense, as GoPuck products appear to be made for life on the go, so why not make them lightweight and give them the ability to keep them close?

In short, I’ll recommend the GoPuck 6XR among the highly saturated market of mobile batteries. You can get it on the GoPuck website for about $99.99.

myCharge Part 3: RazorUltra

MyCharge RazorUltra 1Okay, it is time to conclude this myCharge trilogy with the RazorUltra. I don’t know if it is related to the Razor Platinum, but it has “Razor” in the title, so…maybe?

It doesn’t look like the RazorUltra is made for charging a laptop, but it is cable of charging two tablets at the same time, because it has two USB ports. It has about 12000 mAh worth of power, with 3.4A output, and it is rechargeable via included micro-USB cable that can plug into the wall.

So, it is good for 90 hours worth of power, and it has the myCharge ultra-fast charging up to 65 percent fast of its competitors. It can also recharge up to 50 percent faster than its competitors. Oh, it can hold power for up to one year.

All that, and it is made of anodized aluminum. It is available on the myCharge site for $59.99.

Our Review of the Bio-Key EcoID and SideTouch

bio-key ecoIDOkay, I am going to be very honest with you and say that this is my first foray into Biometrics. I consider myself an expert in tech, but I will have to say that I really struggled with this one. I was able to review two of their products with the EcoID and the SideTouch.

The EcoID came to me without packaging, so I have no idea if it even came with instructions if it were to come to me in whatever packaging that it comes in. I connected it to my computer via the included USB cable, and my Windows 7 computer did recognize it.

From there, I wasn’t certain what I was expecting after I installed the EcoID. I was hoping some software would show up and let me know what was up. You know, so I could lock certain folders, but it’s actually difficult to figure out how to work.

Something tells me this is user error, because I had to do a little research to discover how to get it to work, and I’m still having troubles. In all honesty, I think my inexperience with Biometrics hopefully echoes what others have experienced.

bio-key SidetouchI mean, what if I somehow lock myself out with this thing? That didn’t happen, but only because I couldn’t really figure out how to use it.

I am told that EcoID and Windows Hello will allow customers to use their fingerprint to sign-in to websites and applications using FIDO 2.0/W3C Web Authentication.

So let’s talk about the SideTouch. It’s got a different aesthetic than the EcoID, as it is made for plug-and-play action and it is made for Windows Hello, presumably getting the Microsoft seal of approval.

If you are wanting to purchase these fine Bio-key products, I hope that you will know how to use it. The EcoID can be purchased on Microsoft and Amazon for $39.99. The SideTouch can be purchased at the same price from Microsoft and Amazon as well.

Merkury Innovations unveils Geeni Line of Smart Home Products at CES 2017

Here’s another post about CES 2017, and this one is from Merkury Innovations, who is making some Geeni Line of Smart Home Products. These smart home products include a range of smart bulbs, cameras, and some other things as well.

Let’s start with the smart bulbs, which means these lights can be controlled from anywhere. Part of the series is the Lux Series, that include the 800 and 1050: 800lm (60W-equivalent) and 1050lm (75W equivalent) which costs $24.99-$29.99. There is also the Lux DROP 750lm (65W equivalent) for ceiling fixtures for $29.99, and the Lux FLOOD: 950lm (75W equivalent) for floodlight fixutres for $29.99.

There is also the Prisma series with customizable white or color settings smart bulbs, and you can chose from many types of colors. The models available are 450 (45W equivalent) and 1050 lm (75 equivalent) at prices of $24.99 and $34.99 respectively.

gn-ww103-199_cThen there is the smart power category, which gives some smart plugs for turning any plugged-in electronics on and off from just about anywhere with the Geeni app. There is a Sport series which costs $19.99, and the Energi series with a smart plug and energy meter for about $24.99. Oh, there is also the Surge series, a smart surge protector with 4 outlets and 4 USBs, which costs $49.99.

In addition to this, there is the Vision Smart Camera. It has a 1080p full HD camera with night vision, as well as some motion notification. There is a built-in microphone and speaker, and you can record footage with some microSD cards. It will cost about $89.99.

Check out their products on the Geeni website.

VESA Unveils Two Big Announcements at CES 2017

vesaRight now, in Las Vegas, is one of the biggest tech shows in the world. Yes, I am talking about CES, and for the first time in eight years, I will not be attending.
This doesn’t mean that I won’t be covering it, and I fully plan to with VESA.

If you don’t know about VESA, they are an international non-profit corporation, and they support and set industry-wide interface standards for the PC, workstation, and consumer electronics industries. Generally, I usually cover tech or gadget companies on this blog, but I thought I would cover something that they are showing off at the show.

They actually have two announcements: the first is an early certification program for video source and display products using DisplayPort High Bit Rate 3 (HBR3), the highest data link rate supported by the DisplayPort standard version 1.4 published in March 2016.

So what does this mean? Well, DisplayPort interfaces with HBR3, which are now available on consumer products, and it can drive 8K video resolution using a single connection, not to mention 4K displays. Yes, 8K video is a thing, and I’m guessing this is one more step to bringing 8K to you formally.

The second announcement from VESA is the completion of its compliance test specification (CTS) for products incorporating the USB Type-C connector and the DisplayPort Alternate Mode (Alt Mode) standard. These new CTS documents allow VESA members to have Authorized Test Centers (ATCs) worldwide, or completing self-testing and posting their certified product information to VESA’s database.

This is a move toward more USB-C, and I can’t say that I am too surprised by that. Man, my phone charges so fast with USB-C.

You should keep your eyes on VESA, and I’m wondering what they will be doing in the future. Head on over to the VESA site to find out more information.

Ready the Cannons by William Gurstelle

ready-the-cannonsAs you have no doubt read from all my other posts, I am essentially reviewing gadgets for the rest of the year, particularly for the holiday season. Still, I like to do some book reviews every once in a while, and I will have to say that I really enjoyed William Gurstelle’s Ready the Cannons.

Ready the Cannons is a book that gives the user step-by-step instructions on how to create really cool weapons. Just to let you know, everything that you would create from this book would be non-lethal, like the guy in Mystery Men. You are not creating guns or artillery with lethal force, but wiffle ball launchers, beverage bottle bazookas, and other fun stuff.

As you might have guessed, the first part of this book is a disclaimer saying not to use these creations against someone. As much as this doesn’t need to be said, it is probably good that it was said. I hope that by purchasing this book, I am not put on some kind of watch list.

It is pretty clear that author Gurstelle doesn’t want to inspire any rampant destructive behavior. He is trying to foster creativity, and this book can be appreciated by readers of any age.

Each chapter talks about shooting devices, and it also gives some history about them as well. Did you know that the bazooka was named after a musical instrument that had the same shape? I had a good laugh on the nuclear cannon, which is a definite low point during the cold war.

It’s very clear that this book is a way for the reader to channel their inner MacGyver, and considering that Richard Dean Anderson’s most famous character has been rebooted for a new generation, perhaps this book will have present-day appeal.

If you want to get your hands on this book, check it out on Amazon.

The Wistiki Volia!

Wistiki VoliaToday, I received something in the mail that was from France. I receive a few things every week, and this one had Voila on it. It was fitting, as this box was from France, and I was pleased to review the Wistiki Voila.

The Voila is one of those devices that you put on your keys or something else that you don’t want to lose. All you need to do is download the Wistiki app and pair the device with the smartphone. It is very similar to two products that I have revealed with the Chipolo and the TrackR Bravo.

These particular devices are starting to become very common, and I am not certain what they are called, but if you are in a habit of losing your keys or something, then this works well. It has a minimalist design with a good battery life of up to 3 years, and powerful ring of 90 decibels which should help you find what you are looking for. By the way, it is waterproof that can resist rain and can be submerged.

If this is something that you want to get, the Voila can be purchased for about $49 on the Wistiki site.