20130520 223107 [Hands On] A month with Energenie ChargeGenie 50

For as long as I can remember, I (much like many others) have suffered at the hands of a dead battery in my tech. More so now since smartphones have been such a large part of my life.

I’m no way going to blame manufacturers for the capacity or drain of device batteries… I’m a heavy user… In that I doubt 10 minutes go by when I’m not using it! Unless I’m asleep of course!

This has obviously created a gap in the market. When that has steadily filled up with all manor of devices, in all shapes and sizes. Each device is not without it’s pitfalls, equally each device suits a certain type of user more.

I think over the last 4 years I’ve pretty much tried every type on the market; from AA battery powered key rings to solar panels. I’ve also endured my fair share of smartphone case batteries… Non of these devices has proved successful in truly giving me that extra charge I need when I’m out and about..

That was until this year (2013) … When in the excited build up the the yearly Gadget Show at the NEC, I can across a manufacturers name on the programme. Energenie… It’s one I’d never heard of, and never seen any products from before. So I made my way over to their website, and was amazed by the variety and the spec of some of the devices!

This is when I spotted the Energenie ChargeGenie 50, a 5,000 MaH external battery pack.. My school boy maths suggested I should get at least 2 full charges of my iPhone 4S from this, and what’s more it would even give my iPad (thanks to FreeVirtualServers) a boost. So I got in touch with Energenie, and excitedly asked them to reserve me a fully charged ChargeGenie 50 at the Gadget Show.

Once I’d made my way around the show, battery now flagging at 20% I headed over to their stand, and collected what was soon to become my phones new best friend! I carefully opened the packaging and plugged in my phone.. Slowly but surely my device made its way back up to 100%

But wait… It didn’t stop there!! As I was taking many pictures at the show, my device was soon back at 10%.. So of it went again, and charged straight back up to 100!!! Perfect! Just what I needed…

Now, I know external batteries arnt to everyone’s taste, and some people prefer cases.. But until someone comes up with a case that can pack the punch of the Energenie 50 whilst adding little to no bulk I’m happy!

Nearly a full month on since purchasing it, and it still travels faithfully in my laptop bag.. In its own compartment no less, and I can rest in the knowledge that this little unit has got my back!

So…. Thanks Energenie, for your fantastic ChargeGenie 50! Here’s looking forward to the future, when my Energenie ChargeGenie ?100? Drops through the letterbox!

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 Dont just backup.. Clone!
One of the worst feelings in the world for any PC or Mac user is the dreaded error message on Boot-up stating your hard drive has failed. Putting your trust in hardware (despite its age) is foolish to say the least. We are all guilty of it, including myself.

OS X has a pretty impressive backup utility built in as standard TimeMachine which is even capable of doing offline backups. However, TimeMachine won’t help you if your entire OS fails to boot.

But don’t reach for your wallet just yet the boffins over at Bombich have been hard at work updating their flagship backup application Carbon Copy Cloner, which now fully supports OS X Lion. Which not only creates backups (full and incremental) of all of your data, but is also capable of creating recovery boot disks, containing your OS and all of your backed up files!

Carbon Copy Cloner has a long list of features, most of which wouldn’t look out of place in a commercial and expensive backup solution. Carbon Copy Cloner has been designed as shareware, but has not been crippled in anyway. The only thing you will notice on the ‘free’ version is the inclusion of a banner add, much like the one in the screenshot above. However they have been tastefully placed to ensure they don’t hinder your cloning experience. You can however get rid of the advertising banners simply by making a donation to it’s ongoing development.

I recommend using both TimeMachine and Carbon Copy Cloner to my fellow mac users, to ensure an issue free restoration should the need ever occur.

Once Carbon Copy Cloner has been configured to your liking you really can set it up and forget it, as it’s scheduled backups will incrementally keep your backup file up to date.

You can download Carbon Copy Cloner direct from Bombich’s website by clicking this direct link.

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time machine 150x150 Offline TimeMachine BackupsOne of OS X Lion’s new features around it’s fantastic TimeMachine backup facility is also perhaps one of the least known. TimeMachine is a built in backup system which you can set up and forget about, each time it detects your backup device it will automatically start backing up. (If you last one was missed/delayed)

However, if you are a ‘road warrior’ and spend more time disconnected from your backup device then connected, you no longer have to worry about your important files not being backed up. OS X Lion actually back’s up your files in a local cache whilst your normal backup device is unavailable. Then, when you plug in/come in range of your normal backup device, TimeMachine will then move the cached files over to your other drive!

Despite the fact the market is full of third party backup applications, including some very powerful free ones, I personally have no need to use anything but TimeMachine. In my opinion it’s almost perfect!!

Time Machine works with your Mac and an external hard drive or Time Capsule. Connect the drive, assign it to Time Machine, and start enjoying some peace of mind. Time Machine automatically backs up your entire Mac, including system files, applications, accounts, preferences, music, photos, movies, and documents. But what makes Time Machine different from other backup applications is that it not only keeps a spare copy of every file, it remembers how your system looked on any given day — so you can revisit your Mac as it appeared in the past.

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TimeMachine makes finding previously backed up files as easy as navigating normal finder views:

redtimcap 150x150 Offline TimeMachine Backupsclick to enlarge

…Restore files is as simple as ‘Right Click > Restore’. I have actually been known to use TimeMachine as a built in source code revision system. Bringing back files prior to code changes – all whilst being out on the road and not near my TimeCapsule.

If you use something else for your backups, let me know by using the comments system below.

 

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The importance of backups

On January 1, 2011, in Blog, by

backups The importance of backupsFor years I have preached to my friends and family about the importance of regular backups, and here I am … Learning to practice what I preach. On wednesday night my hard drive failed in my 14 month old MacBook Pro. 

The (to date) reliable 500Gb sata Hitachi hard drive had shown no signs of failing, all of a sudden the mac stopped responding, and then would no longer boot up.

Of course when I checked my backup – it was up to date…. WRONG! More then a month out of date, thanks to me moving house etc.

So because of this, I decided it was time to remove my reliance on my terabyte external hard drive. If I had my way I would run out and bag myself an Apple Time Capsule which is ideal for continues backups. However, weighing in at roughly £200-300 it’s a little out of my price range currently.

There are alternatives to hardwired backup solutions, such as cloud based services. Using services such as Dropbox or MobileMe you can securely store your files on the internet. Perfect solution for off site storage. However, having to pull and push files to cloud based services can be a pain. But don’t write them off just yet, as Apple’s utility ‘MobileMe Backup‘ you can schedule the backup and upload to MobileMe’s storage.

Although all of the solutions have their perks and pitfalls I am going to focus on MobileMe Backup in this particular article. 

First things first your going to need to get yourself an MobileMe account, once you have your MobileMe account set up, you will need to configure your mac to connect to it. To do this head over to the system preferences and click on MobileMe. enter your MobileMe’s account credentials and select any/all the items you would like to automatically sync. 

Before you sit back and relax, you now need to get your files backing up to your newly found iDisk. To do this, download yourself a copy of MobileMe Backup. Once it’s downloaded and installed open up Backup from your applications folder.

The backup app should then ask what it is you would like to backup, select your files as required. By default the backup app will be set to backup to your mas’s ‘root’. However, you can use the ‘edit’ facility to choose your iDisk as the backup destination.

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dropbox 2GBs of Free online storage with Dropbox
Online storage solutions seem to be popping up all over the place thick and fast. Each featuring it’s own good and bad points. One of my favourite’s is Dropbox. As with many online storage solutions drop box features it’s own feature rich desktop client. The client is available for Windows, Mac, Linux and some mobile devices. Some of the clients features include: File Sync, File Sharing, Online Backup and Web access. For a complete list of features check out the website.
One of the best points of the Dropbox client is it’s ease of use. The local Dropbox file system is just like your native file system and fits in seamlessly with it’s surroundings. The only give away being the slightly different icons and different context menu. 
The context menu (right click) gives you access to some of Dropbox’s main features from inside your local Dropbox location. Features include ‘grabbing’ the public URL, navigating to the Dropbox webpage and reverting to a previously backed up file.
dbicon 2GBs of Free online storage with DropboxEach file stored inside the local Dropbox folder contains an addition to it’s icon, in the form of a tick. This is a quick and easy way of checking the status of files in your local and remote Dropbox locations.
For example, Dropbox has the ability to make files you place inside the ‘Public’ folder available to download by anyone who you pass the link onto. So if you copy a file into you local DropboxPublic folder, wait for the green tick to appear then right click on the file and click ‘copy public link’. Your clipboard will now contain a link to a public version of the file you have uploaded. An example of this is a PDF file stored in my public dropbox:  http://dl.dropbox.com/u/4204803/burgerking.pdf this is a collection of promotional vouchers for a popular fast food chain. This method works with almost any file and on any version of the Dropbox client.
The Dropbox service also offers a web-based front end to your ‘Dropbox files’, thus giving you the ability to access your files from anywhere in the world with an active internet connection. This combined with the ability to Sync the contents to as many devices as you want creates quite a powerful collaboration solution, for groups of people who work on large numbers of files.
The sync’ing also gives you a seamless background backup solution, ensuring that all your critical data is backed up without you having to do a thing!
The online storage can even be used to host a simple website which you can share with your friends and family.
Dropbox accounts are completely free if you are happy with the 2GB’s of storage, however if you are hungry for more you can upgrade your account to either 50GB or 100GB’s of storage space for a small monthly fee.
If you are interested in finding out more information about Dropbox, or in signing up for an account you can find their website here.
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