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NLee the Engineer gave 5 stars to: Digital Treasures ChargeIt Battery Station Pro Battery Charger (DRDT-08767)

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NLee the Engineer reviewed:

Digital Treasures ChargeIt Battery Station Pro Battery Charger (DRDT-08767) by Digital Treasures

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This universal charging station is a keeper! (Just don't get too excited about recharging alkaline cells), February 6, 2016
[Note: My review was originally written back in August 2013, for the White version of this charger. Amazon later separated different color versions into different product pages. So shop around for the version with the lowest price.]

I already have two 'universal' chargers that can handle AA/AAA/C/D and 9V batteries: the original Rayovac PS3 and the Tenergy TN190. This product (Digital Treasures ChargeIt! Battery Station Pro) attracted my attention since it seems to combine advantages of both PS3 and TN190, plus additional features.

The ChargeIt! Station Pro is a 'Smart' charger that monitors each cell independently, just like PS3 and TN190.
- It is able to recharge alkaline cells (like the PS3) in additional to NiMH and NiCd types
- It has an LCD display panel (like the TN190) that shows individual battery status
- It can recharge high-capacity C & D cell (the PS3 can only handle up to ~3000mAh)
- It has two USB ports with output capabilities of 1A and 2A, respectively (the TN190 only has one 500mA port)
- It accepts 12V input, which means it can be powered from car battery with a simple CLA (cigarette lighter adapter)

The ChargeIt! Station Pro claims to offer "microprocessor monitored charging". This seems to be true based on my observation.
- When a battery of unknown status is inserted, the charger first sends severel current pulses through the battery, presumably to determine the battery status and chemistry.
- For a NiMH cell, the charger starts with ~800-850mA. As the battery gets closer to being fully charged, the charger switches to lower duty cycle to reduce the average current. It stops (LED changes from Red to Green) when a negative voltage slope is detected.
- For a NiCd cell, the charger starts by discharging the cell (LED=Yellow), then follows by a recharge (LED=Red) similar to the case for NiMH.
- For an alkaline cell, the charging current starts at ~80-100mA. As the battery voltage gets higher, the charger switches to lower duty cycle. It stops when battery voltage is high enough (over 1.55V approximately)
- The charger is intelligent enough to detect error conditions such as: wrong battery type selected, reverse polarity, completely exhausted cell (under 0.1V). The Red LED blinks in case of fault.

After playing with this charger for a few weeks, I found it to meet my expection in every aspect. I have used it to recharge different batteries, including C-size NiMH (Tenergy Centura C), AA LSD NiMH (Sanyo eneloop), and ordinary alkaline AA cells (Duracell Copper Top) without problems. The two USB ports also come in handy for recharging my tablets. Unlike the case for TN190, the USB ports of ChargeIt! Station do not turn off when batteries are inserted into the charger.

The only minor concerns I have are:
- The LCD panel needs a backlight
- The charging current of 850mA is too low for high capacity D cells. It will take over 12 hours to fully recharge a 10,000mAh cell.
- The 9V charging port seems to be dumb. It simply charges at 40mA for about 8 hours.

The capability of recharging ordinary alkaline cells is useful when I'm in a pinch. On the other hand, it is important for one to have a realistic expectation. Based on my experience:
- You can never recharge an alkaline cell back to its original capacity. You may get 70% the first time, less with every subsequent charge.
- You can only recharge an alkaline cell a handful of times before its capacity drops too low, or it starts leaking.
- You should use freshly recharged alkaline cells immediately. Don't let them sit on the shelf or inside unused appliances. They may leak if the gas pressure inside is not released soon.
- Do not recharge 9V alkaline battery with this charger. It will either rupture or leak.

I consider this ChargeIt! station to be a better value than the TN190 just for the two USB ports. Consider the added capability of recharging alkaline cells as a bonus, but don't weigh it too much in your purchase decision.
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2874 days ago
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Rogue Amoeba and Apple’s New Beats 1 Station

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On June 30th, Apple launched their new Apple Music streaming music service, to compete with streaming services like Spotify and Rdio. To promote this launch, Apple also introduced a brand-new, worldwide radio station known as Beats 1. Beats 1 is staffed by big-name DJs playing commercial-free music to listeners all around the globe, 24 hours a day, and it’s all available free of charge. In over 100 countries across the planet, people are enjoying the communal experience of listening to the same music, and that’s pretty cool.

Of course, this is hardly a new concept. There have long been both Internet streams of terrestrial radio stations and Internet-exclusive radio stations. Indeed, our own Internet radio station-in-a-box software Nicecast powers many of those very stations! What makes the new Beats 1 station different is that it’s being produced by Apple, with their rather massive resources behind it. The promotion they’ve given the station has already propelled it into popular culture.

That popularity has led users to ask us for help in enhancing their listening experience. Below are three ways our software can help you listen to Beats 1 (and anything in Apple Music, too).

Using Airfoil with Beats 1

Airfoil IconAirfoil makes it easy to transmit audio around your house, using the AirPlay protocol. With Airfoil, you can send audio from applications like Spotify or your web browser out to AirPort Expresses and Apple TVs, iOS devices, and even other Macs. AirPlay audio sending is incredibly popular, and Airfoil gives you more control and power over how it works. However, iTunes has AirPlay sending built right in, so why is Airfoil needed?

Unfortunately, when you tune in to Beats 1 in iTunes on your Mac, you’ll notice that iTunes’ built-in AirPlay sending is not offered. It’s also unavailable for other stations including NPR and ESPN radio. No explanation for this is given, though it’s likely due to licensing issues on Apple’s end. Whatever the cause, Airfoil is here to lend a hand! Just set iTunes as your source in Airfoil running on your Mac, and you’ll be able to send Beats 1 out to any and all of your devices which can receive AirPlay audio.

Airfoil and Beats 1Airfoil sending Beats 1 to AirPlay outputs

Using Nicecast with Beats 1

Nicecast IconBefore Airfoil and the AirPlay (née AirTunes) streaming protocols, the previously-mentioned Nicecast was the way to ship audio around both the Internet and your own house. Way back in 2004, before Airfoil had been created, we wrote about using Nicecast to get audio to an AirPort Express. A similar setup works for other hardware which can’t receive via AirPlay. As long as your device can tune in to an Internet radio stream, Nicecast can help you send audio over to it.

In this case, setting iTunes as the source in Nicecast is about all it takes. Nicecast will create a stream of the audio playing in iTunes, and you can then tune in to that stream with your audio playback hardware. If iTunes is playing Beats 1, Nicecast will pass it along for listening. Naturally, this also works for any and all Apple Music playing via iTunes.

Nicecast and Beats 1Nicecast creating a stream from Beats 1

Once you’ve set up Nicecast, just find the “Local” URL from the Share drawer. Tune in to that with any audio player on your network, and you’ll hear the audio from iTunes. We’ve already seen users making great use of Nicecast to get Apple Music out to their Sonos devices (they offer helpful instructions on tuning), and we’re pleased we can assist.

Using Audio Hijack with Beats 1

Audio Hijack IconFinally, we’ve had users ask us about timed recording of Beats 1. Of course, our audio recorder Audio Hijack can help you there. Unfortunately, Apple doesn’t currently provide a tune-able link to the stream, which is what a timed recording requires. Thankfully, it appears that mirrors of the stream are popping up, and you can certainly tune in with those.

Audio Hijack and Beats 1Audio Hijack set to record Beats 1

With this simple setup, you can record shows which are on at inconvenient times, then listen to them at your convenience!

Of course, even if you just want to listen live, Audio Hijack can improve your experience. Improve audio quality with audio effects to the stream. Even better, if you stream iTunes through Audio Hijack with a Time Shift block in place, you can pause the music while you make a snack, rewind to catch the name of a song again, or just build up a buffer of content so you can skip past songs you don’t like. Neat!


We hope our software can enhance your listening experience with Beats 1 and Apple Music. If you’re a new user, you can save on the purchase of any of the apps mentioned above. Just purchase before the end of July, and use coupon code BEATS1 to save $3. Enjoy!

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3297 days ago
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Colin Trevorrow and Chris Pratt Talk ‘Jurassic World’ Expectations, ‘Back to the Future’ and More

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Colin Trevorrow and Chris Pratt Nerdist

It’s been just one week since Jurassic World hit theaters, and everyone still can’t stop talking about the triumphant return of dinosaurs to the big screen. Whether you liked the movie or not, you can’t deny that it’s quite the box office milestone. There’s a chance it could take the top spot at the box office again this weekend unless the family-drawing power of Pixar has anything to say about it.

So if you’re anxious for some more talk about Jurassic World, why not listen to a one-hour chat with director Colin Trevorrow and star Chris Pratt? The two discuss the huge expectations that come with making a Jurassic Park sequel, some similarities to Back to the Future Part II (which I didn’t think about until now) and much more. Listen to Colin Trevorrow and Chris Pratt Talk Jurassic World after the jump!

Here’s the Colin Trevorrow and Chris Pratt Nerdist podcast episode:

Aside from the talk about Jurassic World, this is just a great podcast to get to know Trevorrow and Pratt better as people. It’s not a super intimate talk like Inside the Actors Studio, but it’s a very raw and genuine talk with the actor and filmmaker. It also helps that Chris Hardwick and Matt Mira are just two comedians and movie fans who are very easy to talk to.

Pratt dives into his struggles with weight loss and his worry about peaking in his 20s, not to mention delivering an impressive impersonation of his Parks and Recreation co-star Nick Offerman. And Trevorrow proves to be a very down-to-earth director, very familiar of how much scrutiny his work would be held under, the legacy he was inheriting and uphill battle that came with it. If you have the time, I suggest listening to this while you drive or work out.

Thanks to Nerdist for getting Trevorrow and Pratt to sit down for this one-hour chat.

The post Colin Trevorrow and Chris Pratt Talk ‘Jurassic World’ Expectations, ‘Back to the Future’ and More appeared first on /Film.

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3318 days ago
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‘Star Trek’ Fan Invited to Pitch ‘Star Trek Uncharted’ TV Series to Paramount


Star Trek Uncharted

In what would likely be a dream come true for any Trekkie out there, Paramount Pictures has made the unprecedented move to invite Star Trek fan Michael Gummelt to pitch a new TV series that could allow him to boldly go where no fan as gone before.

Gummelt isn’t an entertainment industry professional or anything like that, which makes this all the more incredible. But he has a thoroughly thought-out pitch for a new TV series called Star Trek Uncharted, formerly known as Star Trek Beyond, which would bring Star Trek into the 21st century, complete with an all-new crew, new technology, and a new Enterprise.

Find out more about Star Trek Uncharted after the jump!

Gummelt recently revealed this incredible opportunity at his official website, saying:

“I can now officially announce that I do, indeed, have an invitation to come pitch Star Trek Uncharted at Paramount this summer! As far as I know, this is the first time a fan (not an established industry insider) has been invited to pitch a Star Trek TV series. This is, obviously, extremely exciting and I’m doing my best to get support for it from industry professionals. One of my concept cast members has read the script and expressed interest in supporting it, which is fantastic!”

There’s a lot of information at Gummelt’s official website for his fan concept Star Trek Uncharted, but here’s the basic plot description of the series, along with the mission of the new Enterprise:

A mysterious signal is received from the Andromeda Galaxy, claiming to be from the creators of life in the Milky Way, and inviting us to come meet them.

A new “space folding” technology developed– a Hyperwarp Gate constructed to warp jump 2.5 million light years to the Andromeda Galaxy.

Probes have returned successfully with data about Andromeda.

A new USS Enterprise is built. It is the first ship to bear the name since the original Enterprise was destroyed in the Galactic War.

The Enterprise is the first ship assigned to the new galaxy. Its Mission:

  • To explore strange, new worlds.
  • Seek out new life and new civilizations.
  • To chart the Andromeda Galaxy and its inhabitants.
  • Establish first contact.
  • Form alliances and diplomatic relations.

The Enterprise will occasionally return to Milky Way for staffing changes, refits, extended leave.

Meanwhile, Starbase A-1 is being built, will be complete at end of first year and two more ships will join the expedition. Admiral Oviedo San Lagos will be the commander of Starbase A-1.

Sounds like a pretty solid way to reinvent Star Trek for new audiences. If you go check out the Star Trek Uncharted website, Gummelt also has an entire list of main characters, detailed rather extensively. And there’s even hypothetical casting for each character, including the likes of Scott Eastwood, Jay Baruchel and Natalie Portman. That sounds a little ambitious for a TV series, but this could also just serve as an example of the look that Gummelt envisions for each character.

This may be the first time that any non-industry professional fan has been allowed to make a real pitch to a studio, but it’s likely a very rare occurrence that won’t become a new trend. More often than not, fan-fiction and fan pitches for shows are pretty terrible. But there are plenty of gifted, passionate fans out there who have good ideas for the properties they love, and it’s very cool to see someone like Gummelt at least get a chance to see his dream realized.

TrekMovie.com caught up with Gummelt who explained how this all came about:

“I think when the rumors of the naming coincidence came out, Paramount saw my website and the passion I had for Star Trek and the idea of it returning to TV, and for my specific concept. I think they felt I would gladly jump at an opportunity to come in and pitch it… which, of course, I did! I’m not under any illusions about my chances (and I realize CBS has the rights to produce any new Star Trek TV series), but it’s a chance of a lifetime and I have nothing to lose. I have a great job and a great life, so why not take the chance?”

Star Trek - Enterprise

The creator also explained how he sees his idea, explaining that this isn’t a reboot, and in his mind, it wouldn’t have any ties to the original franchise or timeline, at least to begin with. Gummelt says:

“This concept has gone through a lot of different incarnations over the past 20 years since I first started working on it. But the way I look at it now is: it should, first and foremost, be a show that can stand on its own. It shouldn’t rely too heavily on any deep, intimate knowledge of every past Trek show and movie. It would be very tempting to put in all sorts of references and trivia that only fans like me would get. But for Trek to return to TV after so long, it needs to be reinvented for a new generation. Not a reboot, that’s already being done in the movies.

What I want for this series is for it to be the future – a Star Trek TV series that feels modern and feels futuristic relative to our current times. So, as I see it, “Star Trek Uncharted” is set sometime in the future, distant enough that it doesn’t really matter which universe it takes place in. It’s universe-agnostic. In my fantasy world where the series actually gets made, it would need to establish itself as its own show, with its own identity. Only once it’s accomplished that would it need to establish its place in the lore. In any case, I imagine it would be up to Paramount, CBS and Bad Robot to decide if they wanted to use it as a “shared universe” show along the lines of Agents of SHIELD.”

Gummelt changed the name of his project to Star Trek Uncharted after the rumored title for Star Trek 3 was said to be Star Trek Beyond. Thankfully the new title isn’t worse than the original name, so Gummelt lucked out there.

If you really want to dive into this whole pitch that Gummelt has for a new Star Trek TV series, it’s imperative that you check out the Star Trek Uncharted website. It’s crafted by a hardcore Star Trek fan, and it really seems to have the spirit of the kind of show Trekkies would like to see, and it offers something modern and new for audiences who may not be familiar with the deep, rich mythology of the iconic sci-fi franchise.

No matter what happens, I think it’s clear that Paramount and CBS need to figure out how to do a new Star Trek TV series sooner than later, because fans are hungry for more than the rebooted film franchise. Rumors were being kicked around back in March that CBS might make it happen, but we haven’t heard anything yet. Next year is the 50th anniversary of the original series, so that would be the perfect time to make an announcement. Stay tuned.

Are you dying for a new Star Trek TV series? Would you like to see Star Trek Uncharted become a reality?

The post ‘Star Trek’ Fan Invited to Pitch ‘Star Trek Uncharted’ TV Series to Paramount appeared first on /Film.

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3318 days ago
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Apple hasn't convinced The Beatles to let you stream their music

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Consumers are about to learn a confusing lesson: Apple Music and the vast iTunes Music Store catalog are not equal. Later this month, you'll be able to start paying Apple $9.99 per month for on-demand streaming access to over 30 million songs. Apple refers to this as the "Apple Music library." The Apple Music library is very different from the iTunes store. And that's a critical distinction; what you're not getting is an all-you-can-eat listening feast that pulls in everything iTunes has to offer. If that were the case, that 30 million figure would balloon to an enormous figure. So the iTunes store and regular old music purchases remain a significant piece of the puzzle. Apple describes it as "the heart" of everything, because without iTunes, this catalog would look awfully similar to...

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3330 days ago
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No, your Apple Watch heart rate sensor is meant to do that

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Apple Watch heart rate sensorApple has quietly explained the change in Apple Watch heart rate measurement, a timing tweak that had left some fitness-focused wearers confused. Whereas the optical heart rate sensor - the glowing green light that tracks blood movement through the skin - had previously pinged on at a regular schedule, keen-eyed Watch owners had spotted potentially lengthy gaps between readings. Contrary … Continue reading
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3330 days ago
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