Grocery List for Solo: A Star Wars Story (Possible Spoilers Ahead)

At this point since the Star Wars Disney buyout, is it easier to just say you are a Star Wars fan in spite of the prequels and newer films/spinoffs, or just say that you are a Star Wars fan up to the ending of the original trilogy? In the case of Solo: A Star Wars Story, I am not really excited about it, I wasn’t too thrilled at the trailer, and I’m not certain that the story is needed.

The issue is that much of Solo’s solo story has really already been told, or at least enough so the viewer can figure out what Han’s past is. I believe that the same thing applies to Obi-Wan Kenobi, and seeing some of the things he went through in the prequels felt…unnecessary, like showing us information that we have already been told.

For those that haven’t figured it out, I’ve compiled a list of what you will see in the new Solo movie, and you can check them off.

__ Open with Han being raised by the Corellian Pirates as a child. Chances are, he had a Dad that didn’t pay much attention to him, and a mother who, I don’t know, gets killed, maybe both parents at once. Seems like newer Star Wars characters like Rey and Jyn Erso have this orphan backstory, so why not an older one?

__ At some point in time, he meets the Wookee Chewbacca, who hopefully does not have a wife and kids like he did in the Star Wars Holiday Special (which is still canon, right?)

__ Han and Chewie become mercenary smugglers, always struggling to make it.

__ Han meets Lando, and form a decent friendship.

__ Han and Lando have some kind of gambling contest, and, because of the “fair and square” agreement, Han gets the Millennium Falcon all for himself (and Chewie).

__ Han and Chewie do the Kessel Run in under 12 parsecs. It will finally be explained how he did that, because parsecs are units of distance. Yeah, that joke has been done to death amongst Star Wars fans.

__ Han and Chewie meet Jabba the Hutt and make a deal with him that is quite risky with a smuggling operation.

__ While on their smuggling operation, the Millennium Falcon sees an imperial freighter and dumps his shipment. He does it because he is bored at that time, and he didn’t have a choice.

__ The film ends with Han and Chewbacca arriving on Mos Eisley, dodging and escape pod from a starship (the escape pod has C-3PO and R2-D2 in it, in case you are missing this point), because why not set this up? Maybe Han will say something like: “Whoa, who’s flying that thing?”

I honestly hope that I am wrong about these predictions, but they feel so obvious that you don’t have to be Ron Howard to direct a film like this. Whatever the case, hopefully Solo works.

A New Review of myCharge Products: Portable Power Outlet and PowerGame for the Nintendo Switch

We have had the opportunity to review many myCharge products in the past. The last one we reviewed around Christmas time was this car battery charger. MyCharge is a company that creates all kinds of different chargers, and today we will review two different products from this company. 

The myCharge Portable Power Outlet

We reviewed a similar item last year, but this one has even more capacity. At 20,000 mAh, this is the largest charging hub by myCharge, and has the highest output at 65 watts.  It boasts the ability to charge a 34-inch LED television for up to four hours.

Right out of the box, you’ll get a pre-charged device, so you can start charging your own stuff right away. There are a few different ways to charge things. The AC power plug in allows you to plug in devices that use AC adapters. On the back of the portable power outlet are two USB-A ports, and one USB C port, allowing you to charge several devices at once- as shown here:

The handy LED panel will show you the status of the power outlet, including the battery level, and if the AC plug in is turned on or off.

This item weighs a little over a pound, and is great for taking on camping trips or tossing in your carry-on for power on long trips. If this sounds like a must-have for you, head over to myCharge’s website and purchase it for $179.99.

MyCharge PowerGame for Nintendo Switch

MyCharge doesn’t just charge phones, tablets, and laptops. They’ve also spread out to other devices. If you have a Nintendo Switch, and need a little extra portable juice for your gaming, this product is for you.

The lightweight (0.4 lb) power pack will provide an extra 10 hours of gaming with a mAh of 7000. It charges via USB cable, which is included. It’s easy to pop in your Nintendo Switch, and is very self-explanatory. The handy led lights on the side will give you an idea of how much extra juice you have left.

There’s not much else to say about this one, but if you are ready to game for a long time, this product is one we recommend. You can buy it for $49.99 on the myCharge site.

Thanks to myCharge for providing these two products for review purposes free of charge. No other compensation has been provided for our fair and unbiased review. Photo credits due to myCharge.

Carry Your Laptop in Style with the Hex Supply Laptop Tote

It’s been a while since we’ve reviewed products from Hex, a company in California that combines fashion with technology. They create designer bags and cases to carry laptops, tablets, phones, and more. When I went to Hawaii five years ago, I took the Hex Cabana laptop tote with me. It has served me well ever since. Well, today, we have a new one to review. This one is the Hex Supply laptop tote.


Photo credit:Hex

What you should know about the Hex Supply laptop tote

  • A padded pocket inside has room for a 13″ – 15″ laptop.
  • Another pocket on the inside will fit a tablet.
  • There is a pocket on the front perfect for a phone.
  • Two pockets on the back of the bag can fit small items.
  • The inside has slots for cards, pens, and keys to keep you organized.
  • There is a removable shoulder strap.
  • The dimensions of the bag: 16.75″L x16.5″W x 5.5″H
  • Volume: 24.9L

Design of the Hex Supply laptop tote

The waxed canvas exterior actually comes in different styles and colors. They are the same price, but are named a little differently. You can find them all under the totes section on the Hex website. The color that we were sent is actually a lighter gray color with a pink lining. The accents are also waxed coated, and this provides a water resistant exterior. Genuine leather zipper pulls add to the classic look. It not only looks good, it is extremely durable with bar-tacked critical seams, and handles/straps that are surplus grade webbed.

Want to buy the Hex Supply tote?

These high quality bags are available for $99.95 on the Hex website.

We thank Hex for sending us this laptop tote free of charge in exchange for our fair and unbiased review. No other compensation has been provided.

New Collection of Catalyst Products Released

Catalyst, a company we have reviewed products for as recent as February, just released a new line of Apple related products on the 10th at Pepcom Digital Experience in San Francisco. We got a chance to get a peek at them, and we will do a round-up briefing on each one in this article.

The Catalyst Carry Case for your Apple Pencil

This rubberized case, available in this slate gray color, will hold your Apple Pencil and adapter, and keep it protected from drops and scratches. The rubberized case prevents it from sliding off your desk. If you happen to drop it, however, it is rated to protect from falls up to 9.9 ft. A small carabiner clip is also included to help you keep track of it. A little bending motion makes your pencil and adapter easy to pop out of their protective pockets. This product is available on the Catalyst website for $21.99.

The Catalyst Apple Pencil Grip Case

Similar to the previous product, this case also has the hypoallergenic silicone material- this time in a triangular shape that lends itself to a comfortable grip. You don’t need to pop out your pencil, as the tip is open ended, but it does have another pocket for the adapter, and those clip together with an included carabiner to keep everything together. The grip case is also MIL STD tested to 810G to protect the pencil in the unlikely event of a drop. $27.99 will buy you this case here.

The Catalyst Waterproof AirPods Case

Now on to protection for those AirPods. This small, innovative case won an honoree award for innovation at CES this year. It’s wonderful if you are around water, as it is waterproof up to 3.3 ft, and drop proof to 4 ft. Also includes a carabiner, so you can carry it with you easily. You can also charge them inside the case with the port for the lightning adapter.
A video is good to demonstrate just what this can do.

This case isn’t exactly new, but it was released in a new color of coral, which is what we were sent. It also comes in Blueridge/Sunset, Frost White, Slate Gray, Deep Plum, Army Green, and even Glow in the Dark!  If you want to get one for yourself, they are $29.99.

 

Impact Protection for the Apple Watch

 

The Series 2 and Series 3 case available in 42 mm and 38 mm is another new product. This one is not waterproof like the other Catalyst cases, but is drop proof up to 9.9 ft with it’s impact truss system. It features 2 layer protection, and a bezel to protect the screen. It also has Catalyst’s patented digital crown button to protect the digital crown button on your watch. It’s easy to install and remove.

$39.99 will buy both sizes in a variety of colors like Blueridge/Sunset, Coral, Black and Space Gray, and Army Green. It does not include a watch band, but we have you covered with the last product…

The Catalyst Sport Apple Watch Band

This band is lightweight(18 grams) and breathable- with it’s honeycomb-like patterned holes. It’s available for the 42 mm and 38 mm Apple Watch Series 1, 2 and 3- and compatible with the Catalyst case.It comes in the same colors as the cases, so it works great with whatever is your style of protection. These bands can be purchased for $39.99 on the Catalyst site, too.

Our thanks to Catalyst for sending us these products to review free of charge in exchange for our unbiased and honest analysis. No other compensation was provided.

Plantronics VOYAGER 6200 UC for the Office and Beyond

These headphones that we are about to review in our second Plantronics review appear very similar to the ones from Jabra we reviewed a couple of months ago. We’ll take a look at this pair on their own merit, though. This Bluetooth® neckband headset with earbuds, the VOYAGER 6200 UC will give the office professional a great experience when answering calls and listening to music.

What you get with the Plantronics VOYAGER 6200 UC

photo credit-Plantronics

When you open the box, the first thing you’ll see is the nice zippered case that houses the headset.  Attached on the outside is the little USB dongle that connects you when you are using Skype or another online conferencing.  Three different sizes of earbuds to ensure a good fit are also included in the pocket. A micro USB cord and a small circular charging dock to charge the headset comes stored in the pouch as well.

Plantronics Voyager 6200 UC Features

Just like the Plantronics BackBeat FIT we reviewed yesterday, the earbuds come in an oval shape for a passive noise cancelling feature. The battery charges within an hour and a half to provide 16 hours of listen time, 9 hours of talk time, and 14 days of standby time. That’s a couple more hours than the Jabra ones we reviewed back in March.

The Bluetooth® 4.1 connection is a strong one that will allow the user to take a 98 ft walk around the office if they need to. It’s lightweight at 2 oz, so no fatigue from wearing them.

Plantronics is looking out for your hearing with SoundGuard® DIGITAL, which protects against sound levels above 118dBA. There is an anti-startle feature during calls which detects and eliminates any large sudden increase in signal level. Also, there is something called “Time-Weighted Average” that prevents average daily noise exposure from exceeding 85dBA.

Active Noise Cancelling (ANC) is provided on the neckband. Dynamic Mute will let you know if you are talking while it’s muted, so you aren’t talking on and on while no one is listening. Speaking of talking, the boomless mics pick up your voice well, and will block out other background noise. You’ll know to answer a call when your neckband vibrates, too.

Buying Options for the Plantronics Voyager 6200 UC

If you decide that you can’t live without these, you have the option to get them in black, like what we have received to review, or there is the “Sand” color which is a beige-ish white color. Plantronics has them listed for $299.95 on their site, which is a bit more than the Jabra pair we reviewed, but I’ve seen them for less if you shop around.

Disclaimer- We received these for free to review in exchange for our honest and unbiased opinion.

 

Wireless Earbuds: BackBeat FIT 300 by Plantronics

Here’s another set of wireless and sweatproof earbuds that will get you through your workout without being connected to your device. The Plantronics BackBeat FIT 300 are one of the Plantronics products we’ve received to review recently. We have reviewed some other Plantronics items in the past, including another BackBeat wireless earbuds set, but here goes our first review of these earbuds.

                                  photo credit:Plantronics

What you get with BackBeat FIT300

The earbuds are the expected item in the box, of course. There is a small box on the right side with battery and relief buttons that adjust volume, manage tracks, and houses the mic and battery. Also included is the micro USB charging cable, and various eartips to help you get the right fit for your ear. If you get the 305s, it comes with a mesh carrying bag. I’m not sure exactly what the difference is. They are the same price.

FIT300 Features

The silicone tips on these earbuds are oval shaped, which is different from what one might see on most earbuds these days. The shape fits snugly in the ear to provide noise isolation. The threaded cord helps to prevent the cord from tangling up in itself. There is a promised battery life of up to 6 hours, and although we’ve seen better, it’s still a decent amount of battery life for a workout. There is a deep sleep mode that will save the battery life for up to six months, so you won’t have to worry about recharging again if you haven’t used it for a while.

The loops on the tips hold the earbuds snugly into your ears, so you can sweat and shake around, and they won’t budge. They are also lightweight at 14 grams, although the inline mic/controller might be a little bulky. It’s probably similar to other wireless earbuds like these.

The sound on these earbuds are pretty great, and worth the $80 price tag.

BackBeat FIT300 buying options

We received the lime green color ones to review, but these earbuds also come in dark blue, black and coral color options. They all cost the same, and as mentioned before, the 305 ones come in the same color, but with a bag. I’m not sure of the difference in quality. You can buy a pair on the Plantronics website, or shop around on-line.

Disclaimer- Plantronics sent us this model for free in exchange for an honest and unbiased review. No other compensation has been provided.

Berlin Backpack Carries Your Tech in Style

Toffee is an Australian company that offers many sleek and stylish bags of different types to carry your laptops, tablets, phones, and anything else. Their cases and backpacks offer padded protection for your gear, while adding a classic look. In this review, we’ll talk specifically about the Berlin Backpack.

credit:Toffee

What You Should Know About the Berlin Backpack

From the Toffee website:

  • Outer Fabric: 100% waxed cotton canvas and genuine leather
  • Side pockets: 100% genuine naturally milled leather with a subtle pebble grain
  • Lining: 95% Cotton, 5% Spandex
  • Bag Size: 260 mm/11.4 inches (L), 410 mm/15.3 inches (H), 14 cm/5.5 inches (W)
  • Compatible With: MacBook Air/Pro, Surface Pro 3 & 4 and other similar sized notebooks up to 13-inch.

 

Design

This backpack is very nicely designed. Pulling it out of the plastic wrap it came in, I can smell the leather and cotton canvas. It has a new, clean smell. The straps are slightly padded, but not as thick as most backpacks. Still it provides comfort. The Berlin Bag seems like it would be a bit awkward looking on a big person, as it’s size is really not that substantial.

The backpack comes in these three colors. We received the green one to review. As you can see, there is a leather cup holder on the side, and the front pocket could hold some small things like pencils or calculators.

The inside has a winning craftsmanship with pinstripes, and a quilted pocket to provide some nice cushion for your (13 in.) laptop. The smaller pocket in front of that is just the right size to hold a tablet. Of course, there’s also the additional room in front of that to carry books, or other essentials you might need to take along.

The bottom of the bag has four metal feet, which will allow the bag to better sit upright, and also keeps the material up off the floor. The whole build of the bag looks to be very durable, which is good because:

Berlin Backpack Price

The sleek design and durable build will come with a pricetag. You can buy the bag for about $165, which looks to be in the mid price range for the backpacks/carrying cases offered by Toffee. It does qualify for free shipping off their website.

We would recommend this backpack to students looking for a fashionable way to carry their devices. While Toffee sent us this backpack for free to review, we will remind everyone that we are not sponsored by this company, and our review is done without bias.

Controversial: Boy Scouts of America Announce New Name

The announcement was made in October 2017 that girls would be welcomed into the Boy Scouts of America. Since then, people have wondered what changes that would bring about. Many questioned if the name would change, and what that might look like. The answer to that question came today, and we’re going to discuss it here.

Scouts BSA is the newly announced name for the older program for youth age 11 to 18. This program isn’t slated to start until February 2019, but the Cub Scout program(still called Cub Scouts) has already had some early adopter Packs sign up some girls this year. The BSA has created new brochures to draw in families, and they are going with the welcoming slogan:

Of course, not everyone is feeling the love for the changes BSA is making to the program, and I wanted to address some of the things I’ve seen on various sites today.

“What about Girl Scouts?”

Naturally, we’ve seen this question asked a lot. As someone who has youth in both Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts, I’m going to address this from what I’ve seen. Not all programs are alike everywhere, and your mileage may vary. I have seen my daughter start in Girl Scouts as a Brownie. She was enthused to have a place to meet with friends, make crafts, sell cookies, and even learn to cook. Our experience in this troop has varied over the years, and now she is a 1st year Senior. They become Seniors in 9th grade. Her current Troop leader works really hard at putting things together for the girls, and Kyrie learned many things under her guidance- including how to sew.

The thing about Girl Scouts is that much of the activities are done with what the girls are interested in. It doesn’t seem to me that the girls in our area are interested in high adventure activities, camping, backpacking, or building fires. When my daughter turned fourteen, she was allowed to join Venturing- the co-ed, high-adventure program for youth ages 14 to 21. Our Boy Scout troop that I was involved in with my son has invited them along on many adventures- rock climbing, skiing, backpacking, and more. My daughter has really enjoyed those activities, and Girl Scouts hasn’t kept up with her interests like Venturing.

Girl Scouts is a great program, but it seems like the Boy Scouts programming may have more of a draw. The Eagle award seems to be more prestigious than other awards in other programs. I’m not certain as to why that is. I always hear about Eagle awards, and I very rarely hear about Girl Scout Gold awards. I doubt that girls joining Boy Scouts will make the Girl Scouts program go away. There are many girls who enjoy what they do in Girl Scouts.

“Boys need to be taught to be boys”

What does that even mean? Girls have been coming on troop activities with us for many years, and our boys are not less boy because of it. BSA isn’t focused on teaching boys how to be boys anyway. They teach leadership skills, team work, and overcoming obstacles.  These are things both boys and girls can learn. They also learn life skills- things like cooking, first aid, personal management, physical fitness, and more.

Girls are going to be their own troops, though, so I don’t see that they’ll be interfering with the safe spaces of boys. On our backpacking trips that have the Venture crew girls along for the ride, the girls do their own thing, and no boys have had to carry their stuff for them(a ridiculous argument I heard today).

My daughter’s first backpacking trip

“Why would you let your girls go camping with boys?”

People seem to think that some bad things are going to happen when you put members of the opposite sex in tents in the wilderness. Let me start by saying that girls and boys aren’t sleeping in tents together. I’ve been on several trips with Boy Scouts and girl Venture crew members. They slept in separate tents in different areas with leaders nearby. I kept a watchful eye out. Again, girls did their own thing and stayed away from the boys for the most part. Two deep leadership in Venturing requires at least one adult(over 21) female to be present. There is no hanky-panky going on. Scouting is co-ed in most countries, with the U.S. being one of the last to get on board, for many years. All the abuse stories I hear seem to come from the U.S., and always involving men. Yet, girls joining scouting seems to be the problem that is signalling the end of times to some.

I, for one, am looking forward to the new changes, and I hope that I’ve shed some light on why this isn’t a terrible thing. Please feel free to leave comments or questions on this controversial issue. Respectful comments will be approved by us, so please remember the Scout law that includes “friendly, courteous and kind.”