Anker Soundcore

My previous experience with Anker's MP141 Cube bluetooth speaker was so great that I decided to check out what else they offered. I was looking for a dedicated speaker to use with my Mac Pro and was debating on whether it should be wired or bluetooth. I decided to go Bluetooth. Anker had just released this new Soundcore bluetooth speaker and I was able to buy it for $30 on Amazon. It is a dual 3 Watt (6 watt total) that sounds very good and has great battery life, 24 hours on a single charge and a range of 66 feet. It uses Bluetooth 4.0 and charges by micro-USB port and has an 18-month warranty.

Now I was skeptical of the battery life and range but turns out to be true in my experience. I was at my Mac Pro working and listening to music, got up to take a break and took the speaker with me. Went into the kitchen to fix something to eat and the music continued to play with no loss of signal,
some 30 feet away from the Mac Pro. Took my food and the speaker into the living room, some 50 feet away and still no loss of signal or quality in the music playing. I have been using it 3-4 hours a day and this Anker Soundcore goes 6-7 days before needing to recharge, so that 24 hour claim is realistic.

There are bluetooth speakers that sound better than the Soundcore and cost twice as much but do they last 24 hours and have 66 foot range? The Anker Souncore is a great bargain and Anker is a great company. I must have 5 or 6 of their products now.

SteelSeries Nimbus


I love the 4th generation Apple TV but using the Siri remote to play games with is not very enjoyable. Besides if you are playing a multiple player game it is good to have other controllers anyway, so I looked at what SteelSeries had to offer. This Nimbus game controller was hyped for the Apple TV and it seemed to be priced right and so I bought one. I was not disappointed. It is a great controller, the battery life is very good and it recharges by the use of the same Lightning cable that you use for your iPhone or iPad. They claim over 40+ hours on a single charge and that seems to be accurate. It is wireless and uses Bluetooth. They have an iOS app for the Nimbus so that you can install the latest updates. It is very solid, has good weight to it, nice construction and is very similar to what you would find in an Xbox or Playstation controller.

PCI-e based SSD

I had multiple SSDs and when it came time to find the fastest solution for my newer Mac Pro I came across this item from OWC. They are an outfit that I have bought Mac products from for over 15 years now. This OWC Accelsior S is a PCI card that an SSD drive plugs into to get faster speeds. Prior to this I was using the NewerTech AdaptaDrives so that the SSDs could be plugged into the same SATA bays as a normal hard drive. But by using this PCI card, the SSD is able to get faster speeds by using the PCI 2.0 bus. So, I have this PCI-e 240 GB SSD as my boot volume and another 240 GB SSD and a regular 1 TB hard drive plugged into the SATA drive bays.

New Mac Pro (sort of)...


No, no, you are not seeing double. Since I was not having any luck getting my Mac Pro 2006 (1,1) past Mac OS X 10.9.5, I decided to buy a new Mac Pro. If you remember a previous post I described how I had hacked the 2006 Mac Pro so that I could get around the
32-bit EFI limitation and install the new OS upgrades. I went from Mac OS X 10.7.5 to 10.9.5 but just couldn't get any further than that with any sort of stability. It is solid and stable stuck at 10.9.5 and I will continue to use it as a secondary machine but I needed a newer machine to run the latest OS and the latest graphic software.

When I looked at the latest offering from Apple, I thought well you could go for a retina iMac or go for the entry level cylindrical Mac Pro. Both just seemed well out of my budget and I must admit that I was intrigued at all of the older Mac Pro's from 2008-2012 that were on Ebay. I went and looked at some of the Geekbench benchmarks to see how those newer Macs compared to those Mac Pros from 2008-2012.

The retina iMac 4.0GHz had a Multi-Core 64-bit score of around
16,000, and the 4-core 3.7 GHz cylindrical Mac Pro (2013) had a score of 14,000. But the older Mac Pros from 2008-2012 were in the 12,000 to 27,000 range. The more recent Mac Pros are more expensive to buy on Ebay but it still seemed like a good avenue to pursue.

So, what I ended up doing was buying a Mac Pro from 2008, an
8 core Xeon, 3.0 GHz. It does not have Hyper-Threading but still 8 physical cores is respectable, even 7 years later. When I ran GeekBench on this Mac Pro it had a Multi-Core 64-Bit score of 12,500. Also of equal importance is that this 2008 machine had more options for graphics cards, the 2006 (1,1) model was really handicapped in this regard.

This Mac Pro (3,1) from 2008 has a
64-Bit EFI so upgrading to Yosemite and later to El Capitan won't be a problem. I was able to boost the rest of the system by putting in a PCI-e based SSD hard drive as the boot volume, installing a Broadcom WiFi/Bluetooth 4 module in the mini-PCI slot on the motherboard, and replacing the old Nvidia 8800 512 MB card with a Nvidia GTX 680. It had 8 slots for RAM and I filled them up with 4 GB Dimms, so 32 GB of RAM. Even with all of the upgrades it still came in at one-third the cost of a new iMac and one-fourth the cost of that entry level 2013 Mac Pro.

I did not mind all of the tinkering under the hood so to speak with this "newer" Mac Pro. I had upgraded the old '06 Mac Pro constantly over the years, from Hard Drives to multiple SSDs, RAM and 3 different graphics cards. But it was that damn 32-Bit EFI limitation that really necessitated getting a newer machine or at least one without that EFI affliction.

Do I wish I had a new iMac or Mac Pro? Sure, but this '08 Mac Pro can make do for another 3 years I figure and then maybe I will take the plunge.


Wasn't expecting to come home with a kitten or to get a new cat at all so soon after losing Yasmine. She was a tortoise shell cat that I had for almost 17 years. I loved that cat, she was with me as I moved from state to state, with me as I moved from apartment to apartment and she was big. She was over 20 pounds and at one point 24 pounds, but she was not fat, just a big solid cat, or "sturdy" as my cousin Tony once told me. I knew that I probably wanted to get another Tortoise Shell cat but thought I would take some time and wait until the summer.

So much for that idea! I was up to Indiana, PA having lunch with a friend and stopped by the local Walmart before hitting the road to come back to Pittsburgh. Noticed a pet store right next door and bopped in for a look around. An elderly woman was cleaning some cages and we got to talking and she said I should visit the new Humane Society out near the
Jimmy Stewart Airport. For those that don't know, the actor Jimmy Stewart grew up in Indiana, PA, his folks had a hardware store, but I digress…

Anyway, I thought what the hell, would be nice to see the new facility, the old one used to be on the outskirts of IUP, the college campus. So, I go there and check it out. I tour the place and then come across this one kitten who comes up to the glass and then proceeds to sneeze all over it. Snot everywhere. She was a small thing, maybe 3 pounds and she was a tortoise shell.

I am asked if I want to take her into the playroom, and I say sure. Then this kitten proceeds to sneeze on my glasses.
Snot everywhere. I always have lens wipes on me so I clean my glasses and then play with her for about 10 minutes.

Then the next 4 hours I am filling out an application, the Indiana County Humane Society is calling my references, my landlord, doing a check of my previous vets. They were very thorough and you would think I was adopting a child, a human being not a kitten.

I knew I could provide a great home for this kitten and I knew that she just needed somebody to take a chance on her. Seems there were two other Tortoise shell kittens and she was probably passed over because she did look sickly and was sneezing. I got her home and subsequent trips to the vet got her coughing and sneezing fixed.

Named her Lorelei, a name for a water nymph, which is fitting because she loves to play with water. Can't just have a bowl of water because she will tip it over every time. No, I had to get a
Pet Fountain because she likes to drink from a stream of water. I have to put lids on cups and glasses because she will dunk her paws in them. When I do dishes at the kitchen sink she is there playing with the stream of water. Just fearless with water.

Also a bit of a
Magpie, likes to steal things and hide them. My toothbrush went missing and I thought to myself did you throw it out? Dish sponge goes missing. A Shell gas gift card. A crumpled up movie ticket stub. A kneaded eraser. Not very valuable items, well the Shell gift card was, but she hordes them and has these stashes that I eventually find. Just a great personality and a wonderful cat.