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Loopback from Rogue Amoeba

John Federico

I've wanted to go "all-usb" with my podcast setup for years but was always held back by the fact that there was no such thing as a "software channel strip" that would work with applications like Skype, Google Hangouts or Zoom.

At one point, I went so far as to hack one together using a combination ofSoundflower (with Soundflower Bed) and GarageBand.

Soundflower is the audio routing software while Soundflower Bed is the configuration tool.

It worked, but the CPU on my 11-inch MacBook Air would max out, making the video capture almost unusable.

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A few weeks with Coin

John Federico

As one of the original backers of Coin, I had completely given up on it. 

I figured it was an experiment in crowdfunding, one where I was the butt of the joke.

Imagine my surprise when, after almost two years, I received an email asking me to confirm the shipping address for my Coin. ("Wow. Is it *really* going to ship this time?")

A week later, I was finally holding the impressively engineered device in my hand.

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Twelve South BookBook Wallet Case for iPhone 6 Plus

John Federico

A number of years ago, I decided to simplify the number of items I carried day-to-day and consolidated my wallet and iPhone protection into a single case. (You can find some unique handmade items on Etsy.)

To date, I used a sleeve case with pockets on the outside for credit cards, ID, etc. This is primarily because I always preferred a "naked" iPhone instead of one that's in a case all the time. I've always liked the way the phone felt in my hand but also, a phone without a case is easier to fit into the mounts I typically have in my car.

All that changed when I purchased the iPhone 6 Plus.

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Double-Duty Dongles

John Federico

Chances are that if you have a MacBook Air, you have dongles.

You know, things like USB sticks, ethernet adapters, video cables for external displays and, thanks to it's two lonely USB ports, probably a USB hub. Or two.

I got fed up with carrying my Bag O'Dongles and in the process of looking for yet-another-dongle, stumbled onto a whole category of products to help with this first world problem.

The saga continues.

This past weekend I was prepping for a big pitch and was going through my gear bag to make sure I had everything I needed, which typically includes no less than three video display adapters: HDMI, DVI and (believe it or not), VGA. You'd be surprised how many times I show up to give a presentation and the only available input is VGA.

Again, I was fed up with carrying all this crap, so I jumped on Amazon. Behold, my newest find: a combination Thunderbolt to HDMI, DVI and Display Port adapter. For less than $20 bucks, too. ($17.99 at the time of this post.)

Sure, I still have to carry a VGA adapter, but now I can leave my DVI and HDMI dongles at home and simply carry this one replacement.

I'm a happy geek.

Persistence

John Federico

"Don't bother about genius. Don't worry about being clever. Trust to hard work, perseverance and determination."

-- Sir Frederick Treves

 

Failure

John Federico

"Never forget that failure isn't bad. Failure isn't final. Don't let the fear of failure stop you from achieving the success you deserve. If you're struggling, keep hustling. Keep taking at least one big action step each day."

~Craig Ballantyne

Action

John Federico

"Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, do not sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy."

~Dale Carnegie

The Brick Walls

John Federico

"The brick walls are there for a reason. The brick walls are not there to keep us out. The brick walls are there to give us a chance to show how badly we want something. Because the brick walls are there to stop the people who don’t want it badly enough. They’re there to stop the other people."

~Randy Pausch

Planning for #Sandy (Or, "What to do when you can't find a generator")

John Federico

Almost exactly a year ago, we were without power (And heat. And fresh water.) for almost five days.

My wife and I vowed that we would never go through that again if we could help it, so we planned to buy a generator and transfer switch for this year's storm season so that we could power our home's basic necessities (heat, hot water, sump pump, fridges).

Long story short, we didn't. The money we budgeted for a generator went toward replacing our broken hot water heater, but we vowed to get a generator as soon as it made sense for our budget.

Then we started tracking Hurricane Sandy.

Thursday night, my wife said, "We should get a generator tomorrow." 

Powering our sump pump is critical for us, especially after installing a new hot water and heater and, six months earlier, replacing a broken washing machine - both of which are located in our relatively wet basement.

At 7 AM on Friday I began calling around, looking for generators. Most retailers laughed at my request while others were sympathetic to my search - but they still couldn't help me as there weren't generators in stock, anywhere.

So I started to do some research to find a creative solution. Here's what I came up with.

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