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MAC TREAT #245: Localize Files in the Cloud

For those of you out there storing files in iCloud, this is a handy tip to know. Apple’s iWork suite defaults to this option, and all three apps (Numbers, Keynote, and Pages) provide access to your iCloud storage within the apps themselves.

But, if you’ve ever wanted easier access to these without having to open each individual app, you can view what’s stored via the Finder.

  • Go to the [User] > Library* > Mobile Documents folder (Note: My Mobile Documents folder has a number extension on the end; I’m not sure why, but it doesn’t alter these directions)
  • Type something (anything; I typed “much wow”) in the search field in your Finder window
  • Select “Mobile Documents” as the destination for your search (instead of the default, “This Mac”)
  • Click the “+” icon to the right of the window (to the right of the “Save” button), and choose “Kind is Document”
  • Go back to the search field and erase what you typed; you should now see all of your own iCloud docs
  • Click the Save button, rename the saved search (I named mine “iCloud docs”) if you’d like (make sure not to erase the “.savedSearch” extension), and check “Add to Sidebar” to add this search to your Finder window sidebars

*To show your User Library, go to the Go menu in the Finder, and hold down the Option key to make it available to select.

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It's Back Baby! iPad with Retina Display

Earlier this week, Apple sent out an email announcing the reintroduction of the iPad with Retina display (4th Gen). (See the press release here.) As you may remember, when the iPad Air was announced, the iPad 4 was taken off the market.

Well, it’s back baby! The iPad featuring the Retina display will replace the iPad 2 and will provide a great upgrade in power, performance, and value. The iPad with Retina display (4th Gen) features the Lightning connector, meaning that this replacement spells the end of 30-pin Dock Connector usage on any iPad or iPhone model. (Note that the iPod classic still features the 30-pin connection.)

The iPad with Retina display is $100 less than the iPad Air, coming in at $399 — a great value. We’re even offering free shipping for the next week, just for you! See our special below.

P.S. If your current accessories support the USB-to-dock connector, there may be no need to replace them completely. Apple makes a Lightning-to-30-pin Adaptor, found here.

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Party With Us in Burlington on St. Paddy's Day!

Sick of snow? Well, get out of the house and stop by our South Burlington location next Monday the 17th from 5:30pm – 7:30pm for some fun, food, drinks and giveaways and to help us kick off our March Mayhem Bracket Contest.*

We’ll raffle off door prizes from Smugg’s, Beats, Hammerhead, Chill Pill and more every 15 minutes and you’ll be entered to win all of our eight giveaways just by showing up! Of course, we’d love for you to get in the spirit by wearing your St. Patrick’s Day best or gear representing your favorite team.

Don’t forget: Free food, free drinks and free swag next Monday — come on out before you hit the town for St. Patty’s Day and join the March Mayhem fun!

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Read more about our contest at Smalldog.com/marchmayhem!

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A Candle-Powered iPhone?

If you’ve been reading Kibbles and Bytes over the past few months, you might have noticed I’ve written more than once about power and electricity. A few weeks ago, I wrote about generating electricity and how watts work. In that article, I mentioned that I’ve experimented with thermoelectric electricity generation and I thought this week I’d explain a bit about what that is and how it works. Spoiler alert: it’s pretty cool!

Sometimes it can seem like our iPhones are just electricity black holes. Sure, they last a pretty long time, but they still need to be charged a lot. This problem has spawned a whole line of products to help charge our devices when a wall outlet isn’t available. Most of these that I’ve seen are based on solar. We even carry a number of solar-based charging systems by Goal Zero. These are really cool products, and they work really well, but you probably already know the catch: Without sunlight, all they can do is look nice.

With this in mind, I set out to see if I could use thermoelectric generation to generate power on demand. Thermoelectric generation uses something called the Seebeck Effect. When you have two dissimilar metals joined together in a loop, a temperature difference between the junction points will create a current. You can use any two metals, but modern devices use a P-N semiconductor junction. These tiny semiconductor pieces are small (sometimes only about 1/8” cubes) so dozens (or more) are linked together to form a thermoelectric module. When you apply heat to one side, and cool the other side, the module generates electricity.

Could you use one of these to charge something like an iPhone? Yes and no. These modules are typically only 5%-8% efficient, so you need to work really hard to get appreciable power from them. In my design, I used a 5-watt module and a tea light candle. 5 watts is enough to charge a smartphone, but to get that power, the hot side needs to be about 300C and the cold side would need to be around 25C. That’s a hard differential to create, and I was never able to do quite that well.

There are things you can do with that low power though, and having it on-demand allows it to be useful in ways solar panels can’t be. One thing you can do is use your own body heat to power an LED flashlight. How is that possible? LEDs don’t need a lot of current, but they do need a few volts. The small voltage generated from the heat of your hand can be boosted to drive the LEDs. Thermoelectric generators also power deep space probes. Out of reach of the sun’s rays, they use heat from radioactive isotope decay to drive the generators. One final application is in waste heat energy harvesting. Thermoelectric generators are used to capture waste heat energy from industrial processes to improve energy efficiency.

Obviously you can’t use radioactive isotopes to generate your power, but a few companies have developed thermoelectric generators for the consumer market. The most famous is probably the Bio-Lite camp stove. They claim it can charge an iPhone, which is probably true, but I expect it takes a very, very long time. Since it’s a stove, you also can’t use it indoors. Another company, Tellurex, has a device you can run with a tea light candle (like my design) called t-POD. I actually bought that one to try, and I have to say, it works really well. It comes with a bright LED light it powers, but I’ve plugged in other small circuits as well.

For now it looks like we’re mostly stuck with solar when it comes to powering our devices without a wall outlet, but we might see that change in the near future.

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Black History Month - Sanford, Florida's haunted past

The city of Sanford, Florida is in today’s headlines as the place where Trayvon Martin was shot and killed.

But the city is also haunted by racist memories of the past, dating back to the early days of baseball Hall of Famer, Jackie Robinson. After Robinson joined the Brooklyn Dodgers, he was sent to train with their minor league team, the Montreal Royals, in Sanford, Florida.

Upon arrival, Jackie Robinson was met by an angry white mob and members of the Ku Klux Klan. They refused to let Robinson practice on the field. It was reported that Robinson had to pry himself through a hole in the fence of the baseball field to join the Royals.

Later that night, Jackie Robinson was forced out of town to avoid serious injury by racist haters. Sanford, Florida’s nightmare of racial injustice went on for years after the Robinson incident.

The story of black civil rights activists Harry and Harriette Moore plagued the community for years. Harry Moore founded the first branch of the NAACP in Sanford, Florida. The teacher was a known advocate for voter registration and the salary disputes of black teachers. It was no secret that Moore’s involvement led to an approximate 31 percent increase of black registered voters in the mid to late 1940’s. Unfortunately, hatred stirred in the local KKK, which had widespread presence in Sanford, Florida. On December 25, 1951, the home of Harry and Harriette Moore was firebombed. It was the couples’ wedding anniversary. They died a few days apart.

Even now, decades after Jackie Robinson encountered one of the worst bouts of racism in baseball history and the death of the Moore family, accusations of racist police brutality and wrongful death continue to lie in the courtrooms of Sanford, Florida.

The city, which is approximately 30 percent black, is investigating the recent murders of three black men. With the shooting of Trayvon Martin by George Zimmerman on February 26, 2012, the entire country has rallied around the victim’s family, demanding justice.

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