#TechTuesday – MileIQ Mileage Tracking App

I have been searching for a way to make my mileage tracking less cumbersome (and ideally effortless) for quite some time.  There are expensive devices and lots of apps with monthly fees on the market but none fit my needs fully for the price I wanted to spend.  I read an article last week that pointed me in the direction of an app I hadn’t really explored, MileIQ.

Before MileIQ, I did what lots of folks likely still do, I kept a mileage log.  My log was in Excel on my car mounted iPad Mini which was convenient, but still required manual input and also required me to remember to log each trip in my busy day. Not only do I want to track the difference between personal and business mileage, I also want to track certain trips to be then charged to my client (outside of the service radius for example).

With MileIQ, it silently runs in the background of any Android or iOS device and follows my every move.  It creates a separate ‘drive’ each time the car moves from Point A to Point B.  It places all the drives in a list to be categorized or will auto-categorize them based on criteria I can set.

This all sounds great, right?  But how much does it cost?  The beauty of MileIQ is that they were acquired by Microsoft and they now have the unlimited plan bundled right into the Office 365 Premium subscription.  Along with great features like Microsoft Exchange email and OneDrive file storage you can now track unlimited mileage in real time for no extra charge!  If you’re not an Office 365 subscriber, you should be!  Get in touch and I’ll help you get started.  Still holding out?  You can use MileIQ for 40 drives per month for free.

Some of the features I love…

  • Auto’magic’ Mileage Tracking – Mileage is tracked all the time and I can categorize them when I have time
  • Work Hours – During specified hours the app will automatically categorize drives as work-related, after hours it logs them as a personal trip.
  • Simple Interface The app gives great on-screen information that is simple to quick to understand
  • Custom CategorizationYou can define a list of personal and business categories, great for tracking mileage for your side project or community work!
  • Office 365 Premium – Unlimited drives are included with your Office 365 Premium subscription 

You can download MileIQ for Android or iOS.  To activate the unlimited subscription with your Office 365 account you’ll first need to register for MileIQ and then visit the MileIQ Office 365 Activation Link.  If you have any trouble, get in touch!

#TechTuesday – Logitech K830 Illuminated Living Room Touch Keyboard

Lots of people have moved from cable and DVRs to internet and Kodi or Netflix for their TV system. Standard remote controls just don’t cut it anymore.  For quick searching, smooth scrolling and all-around usability, it makes sense to use a keyboard and mouse.  The Logitech K830 Illuminated Living Room Touch Keyboard is a great choice!

This super-thin rechargeable keyboard and touchpad combo make finding your favorite show or YouTube video a breeze. The K830 has (super soft) illuminated keys combined and a large sensitive touchpad (similar to a laptop) which make it a joy to use.  The illuminated keys activate as soon as you touch the keys or touchpad which is helpful in low light situations.  The build quality is excellent, the keyboard feels very solid and ‘premium’ in your hands.

I replaced my Logitech K400 Plus Wireless Touch Keyboard (which lost a fight with a glass of Coke), the K400 worked awesomely and really delivers for the price.  It doesn’t have the “premium” feel that the K830 has but certainly does the job.

Some of the features I love…

  • Backlit Keys– No need to turn on the lamp to search for your favorite show
  • Rechargeable – The standard micro-USB charger is a brilliant idea
  • Media Buttons Control the volume, play, pause and much more
  • Bluetooth or USB – This keyboard will allow a standard Logitech Unifying receiver or will connect directly via Bluetooth

I picked one up for me and one as a Christmas gift for a friend, smiles all around with this keyboard, check it out! Logitech K830 Illuminated Living Room Touch Keyboard

#TechTuesday – Anker SoundCore Bluetooth Speaker

Last week’s #TechTuesday post was about the Bose Soundlink Revolve Bluetooth speaker, one of the best Bluetooth speakers on the market in my opinion (and comes with a price tag to prove it). If you’re a more casual music listener or just looking for a speaker to leave in the bathroom to make your morning shower more interesting, the Anker SoundCore Bluetooth Speaker would be a better fit.

The Anker SoundCore is more of a traditional design when compared to the Bose SoundLink Revolve but still delivers powerful crisp audio and an impressive battery life. The Amazon site boasts 24 hours of playtime with this compact speaker.  Although I can’t say I’ve run it for 24 hours straight, I will say I’ve never had it die before it was plugged back in for charging.  The button design and placement makes this speaker very easy to use, even in low light situations.

Some of the features I love…

  • Great ValueThe Anker SoundCore is priced very well for the quality of the sound and product
  • Great battery life – This speaker provides industry-leading play time for the music lover on the go
  • Awesome Colors We don’t make movies in black and white, why should we make your speaker that way?
  • Bluetooth Range – 66 feet of distance between your phone and your speaker is all you need!

Amazon has them in stock at a great price, check them out in Blue (my pick) Anker SoundCore Bluetooth Speaker (Blue)

Need more Bass and Water Resistance?  Check out the Anker SoundCore 2 Bluetooth Speaker with the same great battery life in an upgraded model.

#TechTuesday – Bose Soundlink Revolve

I was admittedly one of the longest holdouts when it came to a Bluetooth speaker. I had considered getting a speaker before but didn’t think I would use it enough to justify the expense. A few months ago I had some retail loyalty points burning a hole in my pocket so I decided to use them on a Bose SoundLink Revolve Speaker in Triple Black. I can’t say enough good things about this speaker now that I own one.

The round design of the speaker just makes sense. When you’re listening to music, either alone or with friends, you are rarely sitting square on facing the speaker – you’re moving around or sitting in a circle.  Why should the speaker be one-sided and square? The Soundlink Revolve delivers equal sound to everyone in all 360 degrees surrounding the speaker. The design does more than just provide great sound, it makes it convenient to grip and grab, and fits nicely when it needs to be packed for travel.

Party Mode is my favorite part of this speaker. All you need is a friend with a Bose speaker and you’re ready to go! The Bose Connect app for iOS and Android allows you to quickly pair two Bose speakers together and stream one source of audio seamlessly to both. This is a great feature for outdoor get-togethers or if you simply want to have the same song upstairs and downstairs while you vacuum. Combine this feature with the handy Tri-Pod mount on the bottom and you’ve got ear-height sound anywhere without the worry of someone knocking the speaker over!  The speaker is also water resistant and shock resistant – because life happens!

Some of the features I love…

  • Audio QualityThe Bose commercial always talked about room filling sound.. this speaker delivers!
  • Great battery life – Nothing kills the mood like a dead speaker, that won’t be a problem with the Bose Soundlink
  • Party Mode – If you have a friend with a Bose Soundlink you can pair them together for unbeatable sound coverage
  • The App – The Bose Connect app is simple to use and lets you manage all things speaker
  • Tripod MountScrew your speaker on to any standard tripod mount – great for boats and RVs!
  • Charging Cradle – The optional charging cradle makes sure your speaker is ready to party when you are!

Amazon has them in stock at a great price, check them out in Triple Black (my pick) Bose SoundLink Revolve Bluetooth Speaker, Triple Black or Lux Gray Bose SoundLink Revolve Bluetooth Speaker, Lux Gray

Need more power?  Check out the Bose SoundLink Revolve+ with all the same great features but way more punch!

Too pricey? Next week’s #TechTuesday article will feature the Anker SoundCore Bluetooth Speaker which will be ‘music to the ears’ of the frugal tech shopper.

#TechTuesday – Parcel tracking app for iOS

I’m a loyal Amazon Prime shopper, if a product I need is stocked on Amazon, it is coming from Amazon.  I also send and receive a fair amount of parcels for my businesses.  Searching around multiple inboxes for tracking numbers and wondering when items would show up was annoying.  I went on the hunt for an app to manage all my incoming and outgoing tracking numbers across multiple carriers.  I came across Parcel for iOS and I haven’t looked back since.

The interface is simple and quick to use and iPad friendly, the application itself takes very little storage space and is light on phone resources.  The free version is ad-supported and does not allow push notifications but still works well if you’re a light user.  The paid version has no ads and almost instantaneous (as fast as the carriers post the updates) push notifications for a couple bucks a month.  I am almost immediately notified when a parcel is delivered to my office, even if I’m out and about. I’ve never come across a carrier that was not supported by this app – and from my experience the APIs are kept current by the Developer.

The most useful feature for me is the ability to have parcels automatically added by email.  I have an mail rule setup in my Google G Suite account to forward any shipping notifications for Amazon and others directly to the app and file the email.  Once an item ships, it auto’magically’ shows up in my Parcel app and notifies me that it was added.

Some of the features I love…

  • Push Notifications – Get quick updates on your parcels right on your home screen!
  • Automatically add new parcels – Forward your shipping notifications and they show up in the app like magic!
  • Day counters and icons – The app counts the number of days since delivery or to arrival
  • Web Portal – Login to the web portal to manage and add your parcels
  • iOS Widget  – This is one of the three widgets I have and it works great

This is one of my favorite apps and I fully support the monthly subscription price for the added benefits, check it out on their Website or download the app for iOS or macOS

#TechTuesday: Plantronics Legend Bluetooth Headset

Until a few years ago, I was the definition of Goldilocks and the three bears (minus the golden locks of course) when it came to Bluetooth headsets.  Every headset I tried was either too uncomfortable, sounded too much like I was in a tunnel, or the battery wouldn’t last long enough.  I stumbled upon the Plantronics Voyager Legend a few years ago when I was looking for a headset to pair multiple devices at once.

I can’t say enough good things about this headset.  I put it on every morning, and by the end of the day, I forget I’m still wearing it until it rings in my ear.  I’ve had many instances where I forget to take it off and wear it to dinner or a social gathering where people surely think I’m some sort of cyborg (if they didn’t already).  The headset seamlessly pairs with my iPad Mini (for my office softphone and skype) and my BlackBerry Passport.  I’ve also paired it with computers and consoles and it works great.

I spent quite a bit of time trying to come up with a downside to this headset and I can’t come up with any.  I had about 10 different headsets (costing more and less than the Legend) before I found this one and I can honestly say I’ve not looked at another headset since – I actually bought a spare Legend in case mine dies!

Some of the features I love…

  • Audio QualityPeople won’t know you’re using a headset!
  • Great battery life! – I charge my headset once a week, twice if I’m crazy busy
  • Pairs with multiple devices at the same time! – No more connecting and disconnecting
  • Comfortable! – I forget I’m wearing it
  • Caller ID – The headset will announce the caller ID (even the name!) in your ear
  • Voice Control for answering calls – No button press needed, you simply have to say Answer or Ignore

Amazon has them in stock at a great price, check them out! Plantronics Voyager Legend Bluetooth Headset