Writings about Macs, music and more by Kirk McElhearn




Hardware Notes: Anker 40W 5-Port USB Charger


You know how, when you have a dozen or so devices to charge, that it gets increasingly complicated to charge them? You only have so many USB ports on your computer to plug them in, and it’s annoying to keep playing musical USB ports with your cables. Here in The Barn, I’ve got lots of […]

Hardware Notes: LG BE14 External CD/DVD/Blu-Ray Drive


I needed a new optical drive to connect to my Mac mini. I have a self-powered Plextor Blu-Ray drive, which I bought several years ago, but it’s not very fast, and its performance has declined with age. It’s also very noisy; I rip a lot of CDs, and it’s annoying to hear how much noise […]

Review: Imperio USB Cable Cuts Printer Toner Usage


I recently reviewed a power cable from Imperio, and was amazed at how much it improved my Mac’s performance. Here’s another item from that company which has made a difference to my wallet. The $149 Imperio USB printer cable (Amazon.com, Amazon UK) is a directional USB cable, designed especially for printers. The directionality comes from […]

Hardware Notes: The Rain Design mStand Laptop Stand


On my desk, I have a 27″ Apple Thunderbolt display, connected to my main computer, a Mac mini. But I often need a second computer in my work – to be able to test software, do screen shots, and more. For this, I have a 13″ MacBook Pro, which sits on an angle to my […]

Choosing a Microphone for Speech Recognition


I’ve been using speech recognition tools a lot recently: Dragon Dictate, and the new Dragon Express (my review of which should be up on Macworld in a few days). As part of this, I looked at the different types of microphones you can use with speech recognition software in my latest Macworld article. If you […]