Tag Archives: Favorite Product

Top 3 MacBook Pro Retina Accessories

Today I spilled some coffee over my fairly new MacBook Pro (MBP). The liquid rolled over the corner of my trackpad, over the arrow keys and shift key, over 1/3 of the speaker, and by then, a friend had picked up the MBP and forced the coffee to roll over the right edge, successfully avoiding it from running into the SD and HDMI port.

Thank God he was there to react while I was still grasping the situation.

That said, luckily I also had a keyboard cover over my keys, which means those were all protected. That little accessory is what prompted this post.

1. Moshi ClearGuard MB / $24.95

This very thin keyboard cover fits perfectly over the MBP Retina. While it takes some time getting used to in terms of typing on it, mostly because the keys are now softer, it’s definitely worth the while if something spills over your keyboard. In addition, it keeps your keys protected from every day use.

2. RadTech ScreenSavrz / $17.95

This cloth lays on top of your keyboard. It’s useful because often your keyboard is dirty and when you close the lid, that dirt transfers on to the screen. In addition, if you get the ClearGuard mentioned above, that rubber could potentially leave some scuff marks on the screen as well. While it’s not super convenient to constantly place the cloth on the keyboard, you get used to it. Lastly, if you ever need to wipe the screen, you always have a cloth ready.

3. Logitech Portable Lapdesk N315 / $29.99

I’ve had my fair share of portable trays for laptops, but this one takes the cake. The sad part is that Logitech doesn’t officially sell it anymore, but you can still find it online at places like Staples.

What’s awesome about is that the surface is rubberized, which means the MBP doesn’t slip. It also has a slide-out mouse tray, which you can use for anything, really. In addition, I don’t like the cooling trays, because they often require power, and that’s not very convenient at all. Since the MBP blows out heat on the sides, the bottom doesn’t get hot, so you don’t need a fan. Lastly, because it’s so thin and portable, you can take it anywhere. I use it all the time, whether it sits on the table or my lap.

That’s it. If there’s something I’m missing or you have questions, feel free to leave it in the comments.

Backup Solutions: CrashPlan

When I first started backing up my data, I simply copied and pasted my files from one folder to another. The problem is that if the hard drive crashes, all that data will still be lost.

After that, I invested in an external hard drive, but eventually got tired of maintaining those backups, because it requires time and work on my end. Plus, I never kept the hard drive connected, as I didn’t want anything accessing or erasing it by accident, so that added to the hassle.

Eventually I upgraded to imaging my hard drive with Acronis True Image. The software basically creates a file that is an identical, compressed copy of everything on your hard drive. The plus side is that if your hard drive crashes, you not only get all your data back, but you get the operating system and its applications in perfect condition.

You might think that there’s no down side, but I had several problems with the software, so I eventually stopped backing up. Furthermore, it does not protect your data from physical damage, as everything is still in one location. Lastly, I never turned to restoring my hard drive from an image, because I always felt the need of starting over with a clean machine.

For a while I went back to maintaining copies of my data on an external drive, until a friend of mine pointed out CrashPlan.

Now, this software has multiple things going for it.

Why I chose it

  • Backs up all your data to a remote location
  • All your data is encrypted before it leaves the computer
  • Data is backed up in real-time
  • Retains different versions of your files
  • Unlimited storage for only $3/mo (one computer)
  • Reputable company with a good track record
  • Option to get your data shipped to you on a hard drive

What I like about it

  • I don’t have to do anything — I choose what I want to back up, then set it and forget it
  • I can browse through my backups via their interface
  • There are multiple options on how to encrypt your data

What I don’t like about it

  • This is not the company’s fault, but keep in mind that backing up to the cloud can initially take a very long time, depending on how much data you have and your Internet connection speed.

What I learned after I got it

  • You can actually backup to your own or a friend’s computer (or both) for free using their software


I have used products like Dropbox, SkyDrive, Pogoplug, etc, but those are not real backup solutions. I can’t say I’ve used any other cloud backup service before, but according to my friend’s recommendation and my own research, this service and company is solid.

I’ve used them for a month now and really, really enjoy it. If you leave here with anything, keep in mind that backing up to the cloud is cheap and hassle-free, so you should consider using one of these available solutions.

Official Product Website

Bluetooth Headset: Plantronics Discovery 975

The first Bluetooth headset I’ve owned was the Motorola H550. The reason I picked it was primarily because of the ear hook. It just made sense that this would be the best way to mount it securely on your ear — or so thought. The headset was actually a gift I picked last minute, so it wasn’t as well researched as it would have been normally.

After using it for about a year, I decided to research other options. After looking at the top-rated devices at that time, I concluded that the best Bluetooth headset was going to be the Plantronics Discovery 975.

The only concern I had was that it was an in-the-ear Bluetooth. I always assumed that those couldn’t be very stable and would easily fall out, but surprisingly, they don’t. That device has never fallen out, not even when I was running with it. It also doesn’t hurt your ear as the over-the-ear device, the Motorola H550, did after wearing it for a few hours.

Why I chose it

  • It’s very small and light
  • Looks modern
  • Said that it lasts 5 hours for talking and 1 week on stand-by
  • Charges via micro USB, which is universal
  • Comes with a charging case
  • Received an average of 4/5 stars online

What I like about it

  • The charging case is awesome; protects the device and keeps it fully charged
  • Against all odds, the device fits snug and doesn’t fall out
  • Battery life is very reasonable and has never died unexpectedly
  • I can hear people clearly and they can hear me clearly in the car, inside and outside
  • Never had an issue with background noise, although I’m considerate e.g. turn down the stereo when I get a call

What I don’t like about it

  • I can honestly say that I have no complaints about it

What I learned after I got it

  • It comes with three different in-the-ear piece sizes
  • When in the case, there are two battery status indicators: one for the ear piece and one for the case


I really love this Bluetooth headset and I’d buy it again. If you have any questions about this product to which you can’t find the answer to, feel free to ask in the comments.

Official Product Website | View on Amazon

Navigation System: Garmin Nuvi 3490LMT

My first navigation system was a HP iPAQ rx1950 with Destinator PN installed and a USGlobalSat BT-821 GPS receiver. I still have that bundle and it’s fully functional, but the maps are now obsolete.

Up until just a few months ago, I got around town using the Telenav Navigator on my HTC Hero and then later my Samsung Galaxy SII Android phone. While this is convenient because you always have your phone with you, it’s also inconvenient because it drains your battery life and you’re unable to easily take phone calls.

If you perform a Google search for “navigation systems” today, you’ll undoubtedly see millions of results. While you’ll find hundreds of devices and thousands of reviews, let me just save you all the trouble.

After diligently reviewing all the best options, I’ve crowned my personal winner: the Garmin Nuvi 3490LMT.

Why I chose it

  • Uses some of the latest technology available
  • Includes lifetime traffic and map updates
  • Comes with voice recognition
  • Tells you what lane you need to be in prior to switching
  • Works in landscape and portrait mode
  • Received an average of 4/5 stars online

What I like about it

  • Connects to satellites very quickly
  • Calculates routes in a matter of seconds
  • Recognizes and understands my voice 4/5 times
  • Charges via a cable connected to the mount, not the device
  • Has a built-in speaker in the mount for higher volume
  • Tracks (optionally) everywhere I’ve been so I can review it later

What I don’t like about it

  • Unable to control traffic information via voice
  • Must have the device connected to the mount to receive traffic information
  • Website, where updates can be downloaded, isn’t user-friendly

What I learned after I got it

  • Additional software is available to manage the device i.e. add points of interest and view the routes you drove


I’m very happy with the navigation system and I’d buy it again. If you have any questions about this product to which you can’t find the answer to, feel free to ask in the comments.

Official Product Website | View on Amazon