Where I’ve Been

Some may care, some may not. But I havn’t been writing as much. I’ve been enjoying my time with my family and putting technology to the side for a bit.

Our little boy is 4 months old now and has so much personality. It has been so much fun seeing all of the changes. I have had a lot of time off with him, which has been great and it leaves little time for writing.

My wife and I finally have our evenings together-now that the little one falls asleep on his own. Once he is in bed for the night, we have been enjoying reading and catching up on shows that have been neglected. It has been great being able to focus on our still-new marriage.

Most of my free time outside of family stuff goes towards my school work. I will have my Masters competed in September. I cannot wait to be finished!

After September I really want to focus on writing again. Whether it is technology or not, who knows.

But that’s what has been going on here. Doesn’t sound like a lot but the most important things take up a lot of time. Life is good.

Decline Sticker Pack

Have you ever found yourself wanting to playfully decline an invitation? Or maybe someone just hasn’t been getting the point of a “no”. This new sticker pack, Decline, from the married team Alyssa Guerrero and Timothy Buck, is a lighthearted way to get you through those tough “not today” moments.

I don’t take advantage of stickers within iMessage as much as I should but a lot of apps come with these sticker packs.

With Decline, you can reply to your friends, family, and colleagues with a sticker that may make the let-down go over a bit more smooth.

There are 25 stickers to choose from and launches today, January 7th.

Go download Decline from the Apple App Store. Also, go check out all of the creative things Alyssa and Timothy are constantly working on.

Review: mophie Juice Pack Access for the iPhone 11 Pro

Another phone, another battery case. I wont spend too much time on this one because at this point, there isn’t much that has changed over the years.

The mophie Juice Pack Access is mophie’s latest battery case for the newest iPhones. They made them for the iPhone 11, 11 Pro, and 11 Pro Max.

The cool thing about the Juice Pack Access is that the bottom of the case is open to allow you to use the Lightning cable that came with your iPhone.

To charge the case up, you can plug in the the included USB-C cable or sit it on your wireless charger. Either way, when you charge the case, it will also charge up your phone.

To use the battery portion of the case, which is the entire point of it, there is a button on the lower-back of the case. Pressing and holding the button will turn on the case and in turn, start charging up your phone.

In my tests, I got about 36% extra charge using the mophie Juice Pack Access. This isn’t very impressive but if you know the iPhone 11 series batteries, you really don’t need too much extra.

The cases come in black, blush pink, and red.

The case is normally $80. Is $80 worth an extra 36% battery? That is up to you. But if you act quickly, you can actually get this battery case for around $48 through mophie.com. They are running their post-Black Friday deal and for $48, I say go buy this case.

What do you think about the mophie Juice Pack Access? Will you be picking one up? Let me know on twitter or Instagram!

This post is not affiliated with mophie or Zagg.

The Mealy Apple Turns Three

It is hard to believe the blog is three years old this month. A lot has happened over the last three years. Not only in my personal life, but also in the tech world.

We had the original AirPods release, the iPhone 8 and of course the iPhone X. Another year went by and we got the iPhone XS and then the iPhone 11, this year.

The iPad has gotten some great improvements with the iPad Pro and has really hit the sweet spot in price with the 7th generation iPad.

Over the three years, I have learned a lot. I have gotten my first paid gig. I received my first products to review from very gracious companies. And, I have also made a few bucks from affiliate programs.

I have felt pretty nostalgic lately—about a lot of things. From video games, to TV shows, to older technology that has come and gone. But more recently, I have been thinking a lot about Tech TV. Remember Tech TV? It was a network that had a slew of tech programs. One of the lead hosts at Tech TV, Leo Laporte, started his own podcasting network over at TWiT.TV and that has been as close as anyone has gotten to the old Tech TV days.

I miss the shows like Call for Help, The Screen Savers, and the video game review show, X-Play. Now, I’m not going to start my own tv network. But I have been thinking more about legacy. I am not doing the blog for money, though I’m not turning it away either. This is my outlet to talk about the things that I love. 10 years from now, I want my audience to have grown and look at me as someone they can trust with my opinion and thoughts on tech. This is a marathon and I am enjoying the ride.

There have been so many times over the last two years that I have wanted to give this up because I am not putting out as much content as I would like. But I would rather put out quality content over quantity and trying to keep up with news outlets. Because that is impossible. Then, each September, I have folks send me a message asking which iPhone they should get and what the best value is. I love that. That keeps me going.

So, where does The Mealy Apple go from here? I am going to keep up what I have been doing with reviews and the random thoughts on news. Could there be a podcast in the future? It is possible. With all of the tech podcasts currently out there, I would want to try something different that would set me apart. So until then, I will keep thinking on that part. I thought about putting out an audio version of each blog post that I put out. I know YouTube is a happening place, but I have never thought seriously about video. Writing is where I wanted to start and that is where I plan on keeping my focus over the years to come.

Thank you to everyone who has stopped by the blog over the last three years. You are all awesome.

Come give me a follow on twitter and Instagram so that we can connect and you can let me know what you like or don’t like!

Turning Off Live Photos

A Live Photo on your iPhone is a photo that records 1.5 seconds before and after you press the shutter button. This allows you to capture a little bit more than just the single photo you are used to.

Recently, Apple has started allowing us to edit Live Photos so that you can select a part of the photo that you actually want. This is cool.

But I could do without the feature. It bugs me. Every time I turn it off, it comes back on. This has been driving my wife and I nuts since we got our new phones.

I forgot about one little feature.

To turn off Live Photos and keep it that way, first go to your camera and tap the target-looking logo in the top status bar.

Then, go to Settings > Camera > Preserve Settings > Toggle on Live Photo.

This will keep it turned off. I know this is a simple tip but can be frustrating when it keeps coming back on after you have turned it off.

I’m Going Home

Three years ago I came home.

I came home with no idea what was going to happen. Fortunately, I have an amazing family that wouldn’t let me fail.

Over the next few months I was employed with a promising career and reacquainted with my family.

A few months later, I moved out on my own again and was ready to start dating. That was weird. Thankfully it didn’t take long to find the girl of my dreams. I knew right away that I wanted to marry this girl. Nearing 30, we did not want to waste time. I proposed.

Soon after, we got married, our nephew was born and news of a baby of our own, was on the way.

A month and a half ago my world changed again. Maverick was born. And what a whirlwind it has been. I still can’t believe we made someone so perfect.

In three years, a lot has changed. Well, it’s time for another one. Another big change.

Today, we are homeowners.

Today, I came home. Again.

Our first home

Owlet Smart Sock 2

So, here it goes. My first review of a baby product.

What is it?

The Owlet Smart Sock 2 is the second version of a sock that measures a babies heart rate, oxygen levels, and tracks their sleep. I was a little hesitant to put a lot of faith into a device such as this, but I will tell you right off the bat, I can’t imagine not having it.

The Sock

At first, I didn’t think our newborn would care for having a device strapped to his foot all night long. And for all I know, he may not..he still isn’t talking to us at three-weeks-old. Weird.

Photo courtesy of OwletCare.com

But he really doesn’t fight it. It took a few nights to get it strapped on right, but after a couple of times, you get the hang of it.

The sock has a washable-fabric outer layer with a bulge from the heart rate sensor.

Who is it for?

In the box, it comes with three sizes of socks which are very easy to switch out as your baby grows. The socks are made to fit babies from 6 pounds to 25 pounds and up to 18-months in age. Out of the box, in our first week home, we had to go up to the second size. So, if it feels like it is too small for your baby, it probably is.

Base and Battery

Also in the box, is a base station. This is what communicates with the sock through bluetooth. The bluetooth range is up to 100 feet. I could not verify that distance but I think it is safe to say, it is correct.

One downside with the base is the light. The light has a purpose but boy is it annoying. When all is well, the base station lights up green. ALL NIGHT LONG. There is no option to turn this light off. I was wrong. Thanks to a couple of readers, you can dim the light by pressing and holding the base’s button. The reason for the lights is to notify you if there is an issue with heart rate, oxygen level, or disconnection. Along with the light, are the sounds. The sound I completely understand. It is ear-piercing and will wake you out of your sleep. I would really like if you could at least dim the light. Again, I was wrong on this.

The base is also how you charge the sock. In the box, you receive a micro-USB cable. To charge the sock, just plug it in every morning after taking it off of your baby and you’ll never have to worry about a dead battery. Owlet does say that you’ll get 18 hours of battery, which is nice to know.

How it works

Here is where the “smarts” come in. Of course this sock has an app. The Owlet Care app, which works for iOS and Android, is where you will see all of your babies readings. From there, you can see their heart rate, oxygen levels and the sock’s battery.

If the sock detects that your babies oxygen levels drop below 80%, the base and app will notify you. Also, if your babies heart rate rises above 220 beats per minute (BPM) or drops below 60 BPM, it will notify you.

To dismiss any readings, the base has a button on the top that you can press. The only readings we have gotten so far is from a “disconnection”. This is usually when me or my wife are in the process of changing or feeding him in the middle of the night and when he is wiggling like a wild man.

Something Owlet also advertises is sleep tracking. I’m not impressed by it too much. It is nice to see when you put the sock on and roughly when he woke up. But with all of the intermittent “naps” throughout the night, it kind of renders this useless. Maybe once he is waking once or twice a night this will be a handy feature. Three weeks in, it isn’t a selling feature.

Bottom Line

My wife and I can’t imagine not having the Owlet Smart Sock in our lives so far. It allows us to get some sleep when he is sleeping. And we need it. We are still learning this whole parenting thing and this is not a substitute to pay attention to your child’s needs. So please, use common sense.

You can pickup the Owlet Smart Sock 2 for $299.

Disclaimer from Owlet : *The Smart Sock is an information-gathering product intended to assist in tracking the well-being of healthy babies from 6 to 25 pounds and up to 18 months of age. It is not a medical monitor or other medical device and is not intended to diagnose, cure, treat, alleviate or prevent any disease or health condition or investigate, replace or modify anatomy or any physiological process. You should always follow pediatrician-recommended safe sleep practices when using the Smart Sock.

Disclaimer – Some of the links in this post are affiliate links, and at no additional cost to you, I will make a commission if you decide to purchase after clicking the link.