Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Now we’re chargin’ with gas: ASUS Ai Charger

After finishing yesterday’s post on iPhone charging from a USB 3.0 port, I came across some references to ASUS Ai Charger. It’s a Windows software tool produced by motherboard manufacturer ASUS. It claims to increase the charging speed of iThings connected to the computer, and it works with non-ASUS motherboards, and apparently even laptops.

Few details are provided, and it sounds kind of sketchy, but I gave it a try on my EVGA X58 SLI LE motherboard. After installing and rebooting, there’s a new icon in the notification area:


Clicking, double-clicking, or right-clicking on it has no effect. When I plug my iPhone into a motherboard USB 2.0 port, it changes:


Plugging it into a port on my USB 3.0 add-on card has no effect.

So, what’s the verdict?

image(Click to embiggen.)

It works! The purple charging curve, with Ai Charger, is almost identical to the green 1 A wall charger curve. (It’s offset slightly, because Ai Charger’s magic doesn’t kick in until the iPhone turns on and identifies itself to the computer. If I weren’t starting from a dead battery, there would be no delay.)

I don’t really know how Ai Charger works—it seems to look for a device that it recognizes as an iThing, and then tells the motherboard chipset to do something. There are some reports of blue screens on the Internet, and it’s not clear what motherboards or chipsets it supports. But if you’d like to charge your iThing faster, it seems to be worth a try.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

iPhone 5 does not charge faster over USB 3.0

For a followup, with a solution for faster charging on many Windows PCs, please see: Now we’re chargin’ with gas: ASUS Ai Charger.

USB 2.0 ports are, according to the specification, limited to providing 500 mA of current to connected devices. The Apple iPhone charge provides 1000 mA, so it can charge an iPhone about twice as fast as a standard USB 2.0 port.

USB 3.0 increases the current limit to 900 mA. Even though the new Lightning-to-USB cable is a USB 2.0 cable, I was hoping that it would take advantage of the higher current limit when connected to a USB 3.0 port. After all, there are USB 2.0 ports on Apple computers and some PC motherboards that are capable of providing higher currents to iPhones and iPads.

Unfortunately, this is not the case:

imageClick to embiggen.

The charging rate when connected to a USB 3.0 port is basically identical to USB 2.0, and much lower than the wall charger.

These tests were conducted on my iPhone 5 within a few days of release day. My procedure was to deplete the battery, using the Drain My Battery app, until the phone shut off. After a couple of minutes to cool off, I connected the phone to a power source, and treated that time as a 0% charge. When iOS was back up and running, I used the Battery Magic app to monitor the charge percentage. I recorded the time and charge percentage manually at irregular intervals of a few minutes, until the app reported 100% charge.

The wall charger is the small, cubical 1 A charger included with the iPhone 5. The USB 2.0 port was a back-panel motherboard port on my EVGA X58 SLI LE motherboard. The USB 3.0 port was a back-panel port on a Syba SD-PEX20122 PCI-Express card in the same system. The USB 3.0 card is properly connected to a molex power cable. Neither of the USB ports claims to have any special, high-current or iThing-specific modes, just the normal 500 mA and 900 mA limits appropriate to their versions of USB.

Sound quality issues with iPhone and Blackberry Remote Stereo Bluetooth Gateway

The Blackberry Remote Stereo Bluetooth Gateway is a Bluetooth music receiver that I use in my car to play music from my iPhone. It works great, but it’s no longer in production, so units that are still for sale are generally expensive. This is a troubleshooting tip for owners.

Problem: Sound is garbled, distorted, crackly, or muddled.

Solution: The Gateway doesn’t sound good when the iPhone volume setting is at its maximum. While playing through the Gateway, reduce the volume setting by about 2 clicks of the volume-down button.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Can we stop hyperventilating over the Google employee death benefit?

There’s been a lot of coverage in the past few days about an employee benefit at Google: The spouse of a Google employee who dies receives half the employee’s salary for 10 years.

That’s a nice benefit, but the coverage—both in terms of the benefit to employees, and the “harm” to shareholders—has been hyperbolic. Business Insider concludes:

It kind of makes the free lunch pale by comparison.

Targ manure! It does not make the free lunch pale by comparison. In fact, for many employees, the free lunch is the more valuable benefit!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

My first book experience with Lightroom 4

Regular readers of this blog, if they existed, would recall that I undertook a photographic project in the spring, giving up all of my lenses but one for Lent. I found the project to be enjoyable and productive, and—as threatened—I’ve put together a book of the project.

The book is now available for purchase, but that’s not the reason for this post. I’ve had my copy of the book for a few weeks now, and I’m happy with how it turned out, but I generally wouldn’t recommend it for others to buy. My project was a helpful undertaking for my own development. But the result was a bunch of single images that I was very pleased with. It was not a cohesive whole, either visually or thematically. You can find better photography books to spend your money on. (Also, my share of the book’s sale price is truly minimal—probably less than if you bought someone else’s book through that Amazon affiliate link!)

Instead, I’d like to write a few thoughts on the book-making process, as I experienced it.


Tuesday, June 12, 2012

There was a hole in my mind

I knew that Crash was a weird movie about people who have a car accident fetish, and I heard that Crash won a ton of awards.

But until tonight, I never realized these were two different movies.

Thanks, Reddit.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Jersey Shore: The Professor and Mary Ann

Here’s “the rest”: The vacation pictures that didn’t fit any of the past few days’ galleries.

After Hours
After Hours (best viewed large by clicking the image)

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Jersey Shore: Birds

I previously posted series on Snowy Egrets arguing over a mate and a Great Egret, but here’s the rest of the wingèd crew.

Preening Cardinal
Northern Cardinal, preening

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Jersey Shore: Figure Study

At Cape May Point State Park, a cooperative Great Egret posed for me on a pier. I think I may have interrupted his Tai Chi routines.



Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Jersey Shore: Boardwalk

More scenes from vacation in Wildwood, New Jersey.

Marbles Championship
Marbles Championship

Antique Cash Register

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Jersey Shore: Egregious Behavior

This is the first of several posts showing photographs from our recent vacation to Wildwood and Cape May, New Jersey.

While looking for Red Knots at Cook’s Beach, on the bayshore north of Cape May, we observed the following scene involving a female Snowy Egret, a male who attempted to court her, and another male who objected to the first male’s advances. The dialogue is an interpretation by yours truly.

Egregious Behavior 1
"Hey, baby, I like the way you wiggle your toes when you fish. You come here often?"

Monday, May 28, 2012

Separated at birth?

Luke Swank, native of Johnstown, Circus Tent II, c. 1928–34:

Yours truly, Johnstown Folk Fest, 2008:


(Taken without foreknowledge of Swank’s photograph.)

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

How to make your iPhone home button work right again

The home button on my iPod Touch had become erratic—pressing it would often be ignored, or treated like a double-press. This is apparently a common problem with iThings.

This procedure by Roberto Garza sounds like voodoo, but I tried it, and my home button has been perfect for a few days now.

Monday, May 14, 2012

That’s Uncredible!

Texas man misidentifies Red-headed Woodpecker in his back yard as a (probably extinct) Ivory-billed Woodpecker (via The Birdist.). KYTX credulously reports:

KYTX deleted most copies of the story and video from their web page, but this one's still up as I write this. Note that the deleted story was not replaced with a retraction; it just went down the memory hole. No journalistic lapses to see here, folks!

Pizzeria owner near Pittsburgh misidentifies a pigeon as an angel in his security camera footage. KDKA credulously reports. Luckily, they've called in the nuns, who receive extensive training in image and video analysis.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

FAIL FAIL #1B: The ReFAILening

Hey, kids! Remember FAIL FAIL #1 on this blog?

It’s a joke, son, a joke. And it’s an old one.

Well, the clever folks at FAIL Blog liked it so much they ran it again today!

New FAIL Blog motto: We’re not just slow, we’re also redundant. And we repeat things!

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Just published! Well, three years ago.

I recently learned that my 2001 photograph of the 200-inch Hale Telescope at Palomar Observatory was published as a full-page chapter heading in the 2009 educational book Eyes on the Skies: 400 Years of Telescopic Discovery by Govert Schilling and Lars Lindberg Christensen.


Eyes on the Skies, Chapter 2

The photograph was taken at sunset on Kodak Elite Chrome 200 slide film with my Canonet QL17 GIII. Given that the book used a vertical crop from the horizontal frame, I’m quite satisfied with the quality of the image in print.

The reader may wonder how I just came to realize that my photograph was published three years ago.

Friday, April 20, 2012

2001 Dead Arm

Next week is the eighth anniversary of my engagement to the Now Spousal Unit. I like to celebrate the date with her, because our birthdays, wedding anniversary, and anniversary of our first date all fall in August and September, so it’s nice to have an occasion on the opposite side of the calendar. The actual anniversary will be busy for us, and today was a beautiful warm day, so I picked up some thick New York strip steaks, cut to order, from Froehlich’s and warmed up the grill.


Wednesday, April 18, 2012

This is where I live


(h/t Dad, probably clipped from the Johnstown Tribune-Democrat)

Monday, April 9, 2012

Lenten project wrap-up

Yesterday concluded my 2012 Lenten photographic project, during which I gave up all of my camera lenses except for the smc PENTAX-A 28 mm f/2.8 (hereafter A28). I was able to stick with the lens the whole time, with one important exception, and I did post a photograph every day. Usually several. Now that the project has ended, I wanted to write a bit about the experience.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Easter Moonset | 28 | 2.8 | #47

Easter Moonset | 28 | 2.8 | #47

I concluded my Lenten project with a walk around the Franklin section of Johnstown before sunrise. Tomorrow I’ll post a wrap-up discussing my thoughts on the project.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Opening Day | 28 | 2.8 | #44

Opening Day | 28 | 2.8 | #44

Today was the long-awaited Opening Day of the 2012 Altoona Curve season. Rare bird Katie Sekelsky designed the commemorative T-shirt for Opening Day, and was invited to throw out the ceremonial first pitch of the season. We were privileged to watch the game with her in one of Peoples Natural Gas Field's skyboxes.

Bringing the heat

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Friday, March 30, 2012

Sauternes | 28 | 2.8 | #38

Sauternes | 28 | 2.8 | #38

Sunday is Fat Peppy's 15th birthday. To celebrate, Katie came over for more pitching practice, and then we had potato tacos and this 1997 Suduiraut.


Less than a week until Opening Night!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Irruption | 28 | 2.8 | #36

Irruption | 28 | 2.8 | #36

Or perhaps it's their mating season. Be careful out there.

Meanwhile... sheeps!


Sunday, March 25, 2012

Hanging On | 28 | 2.8 | #33

Hanging On | 28 | 2.8 | #33

Today I walked the nearby Path of the Flood Trail from Ehrenfeld to the Conemaugh Viaduct overlook, and back. It was my first time on these sections of the trail.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Blooming | 28 | 2.8 | #32

I walked around Sandyvale Cemetery, in the Hornerstown section of Johnstown this morning.

Blooming | 28 | 2.8 | #32
Cherry blossoms at Sandyvale. At least I'm pretty sure they're cherry blossoms.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Morning Train | 28 | 2.8 | #31

Morning Train | 28 | 2.8 | #31
A pair of Norfolk Southern locomotives pierce the morning fog at Summerhill.

Captain’s Log: Supplemental

Here are a few photos that I didn’t process quickly enough to include in the blog post on the same day they were taken.