Tuesday, March 6

Reviewing Accell’s USB 3.0 Full Function Docking Station

There was a time when I resisted technology. I thought waiting in line for a product was silly. I didn't care to upgrade to the newest device. I thought Bluetooth was some sort of dog jeans hybrid gone horribly wrong.


Fortunately, I'm a lot more invested in cool new gadgets and devices, since I know tech makes my life easier (for the most part). And something that fits the bill is Accell's USB 3.0 Full Function Docking Station.

I'll let the diagram below demonstrate just how versatile this thing is – it features DisplayPort, HDMI 1.3, 3.5mm combo jack (audio/microphone), Gigabit Ethernet (RJ45), and 3 USB-A 3.0 connections. The dock is compatible with devices running Windows 7 and newer or Mac OS 10.6 through 10.11.


Just look at all that! I'm at a point in my life where I now have an uncomfortable amount of devices, but this docking station helps keep everything in line. I can charge my iPod (old school!) while listening to a far more current song while also digesting a music video from my youth via the HDMI port. Of course, that would just be a wall of sound (and not the good, Phil Spector kind), but the ability to take care of a handful of things at once is super useful.

It's also far more compact than I would have expected. Look at my hand – admittedly probably slightly larger than the average human hand – envelop it pretty easily. It has a solid weight and appears quite durable, which is terrific for all the klutzes out there, myself included.

 
Keep this little guy by your normal computer setup and you'll be good to go. For the most basic setups, you can keep your keyboard and mouse all in one place while charging your phone – and most importantly, you don't have to worry about all kinds of cords flailing about. Pretty clutch.

One thing I would strongly recommend is to actually install the driver on your computer (you can grab the latest ones here). Though it's fun to be stubborn and try to use a device right out of the box without looking at the manual or installing any peripheral equipment, you won't get the full experience with this product if you go sans driver. Luckily, installation is a breeze, and you'll be docking before you know it. Give Accell's USB 3.0 Full Function Docking Station a whirl – it'll help you keep on top of all the devices in your life. And in our connected world, that's never a bad thing.

Full product info and specs below:

Product Features:
  • DisplayPort output
  • HDMI 1.3 output
  • 3 USB-A 3.0 ports, including 1 port with BC 1.2 (USB-IF Battery Charging Standard)
  • Gigabit Ethernet (RJ45) port
  • 3.5mm audio/microphone port
  • Powered by the DisplayLink™ DL-5900 USB video processor
Specifications:
  • Dimensions: 6in x 3.1in x 1in
  • Weight: 9.7oz (275g)
  • USB-A to USB-B 3.0 cable length: 27.5in (0.7m)
  • DisplayPort single display resolutions up to 4K@30Hz (3840x2160)
  • HDMI 1.3 single display resolutions up to WQHD@50Hz (2560x1440)
  • Dual display resolutions up to 2048x1152@60Hz
  • Supports 10Mbps/100Mbps/1Gbps Ethernet
  • USB-A 3.0 charging output up to 900mA
  • The USB-A port with BC 1.2 supports up to 5V@1.5A of charging output
System Requirements:
  • Windows 7 or above (Latest drivers are available here)
  • Mac OS 10.6 through Mac OS 10.11 (Latest drivers are available here)
  • 1 USB-A 3.0 Port
  • 4 GB of RAM
  • Intel HD4000, ATI Radeon HD 5000/AMD Radeon HD 6000, NVIDIA GeForce 400M or better

Sunday, March 4

Let's See a Show! Senses Fail, Reggie and the Full Effect, Have Mercy, and Household

Few things can beat seeing a show in Austin – but getting to PLAY the after party of a killer show? That's even better. My band Burning Years was lucky enough to jam and keep the rock going after the Senses Fail, Reggie and the Full Effect, Have Mercy, and Household show at Barracuda in Austin, and it was glorious. But I'm not here to toot my own horn, so let's take a look at what came before us. 


Household
The opening act of a big ol' show can have a lot of pressure on it. The folks that come out early may have only heard a song or two – or perhaps none at all. The openers have to bring it to set the tone for the entire night.

Luckily, Household delivered. They've got a different sound than the rest of the lineup, opting for more of a minimalist post-punk sound, but I dig it. Sometimes you don't need a lot of glitz and glamour to get the heads bopping and the toes tapping.


Have Mercy
Another new addition to my ear waves, Have Mercy may have been the hardest rockers of the night. The Baltimore band felt right at home in the pleasant outdoor scene, playing banger after banger. Admittedly I did not catch the names of any songs, but I'll definitely be adding these guys to my rotation. Great job, team.

Reggie and the Full Effect
My RatFE experience is primarily limited to "Congratulations Smack and Katy" and its delightful music video, but these fellas know how to put on a synthesizin' good time. They had a lot of banter with the crowd which helped keep the good times rolling throughout. Also anytime keys are involved in a set, it just feels right. Bam.


Senses Fail
The main act of the evening, these boys did not disappoint. Lead singer Buddy Nielsen did a fabulous job of keeping the crowd engaged, swinging his mic stand out with amazing precision so the audience could sing along. He also suggested the incredible idea of handing out roasted chickens to fans at shows as a little added bonus for coming out. I fully support this plan and will do whatever it takes to make it happen.

Earlier this year, Senses Fail dropped If There Is Light, It Will Find You, their seventh full length album. I first heard about them back in 2004 or so, when their jam "Buried a Lie" was all over Fuse TV (shout out to the former MuchMusic!). It's so cool to see a CD that harkens back to the old days while having plenty of modern themes and relevant lyrics. Excellent work all around.

All of the fog machines make for a great adventure.
If you get a chance to see this tour, definitely take advantage and see all these folks rock out like crazy. It was a blast. Now check out "Gold Jacket, Green Jacket" off of Senses Fail's new album:

Saturday, February 17

The Healthy-Finds Gift Card Giveaway




It's been a hot minute since we've done a giveaway! Let's get right back on that horse with this cool deal from Healthy-Finds, a site dedicated to...well, finding healthy products for people all across the world. Not too shabby.

Right now, Healthy-Finds is doing a lil' deal: for just $7 a month, you'll get up to $60 in free gifts from brands like Keto Zone, Zego Snacks, Shea Organics, and Sun Warrior. You'll also snag free materials from a physician, and a free phone consultation with a wellness team. The more you shop, the more cash back you'll get, too. I'm all about that rebate life, which is pretty nice.

The available brands are all curated on the website, taking the hard work out of searching for good stuff. How about that convenience?

But hey, you don't even have to pay $7 right now, because I've got coupon codes to give away to try Healthy-Finds for no cost at all. All you have to do is leave a comment on this post – has a giveaway ever been so simple? The answer is no, it has not been. You know what you have to do: enter this contest with a simple comment and you can score a free gift card to check out some cool brands. Comment below for your chance to win!

Sunday, February 4

Eagles Run Trick Play to Perfection Moments After the Patriots Failed At It


The Philadelphia Eagles are your Super Bowl champions after a 41-33 victory over the New England Patriots. One of the key plays for the Eagles was a trick play that resulted in quarterback Nick Foles catching a touchdown. It was a really well-designed call – and what made it even more impressive was that the Patriots tried a very similar play on an earlier possession. In an ultimate troll move, the Eagles saw the Patriots and raised them one score. WELL DONE.


Friday, February 2

Taco Bell Released a Fake Movie Trailer for Why They Didn't Sell Fries


At long last, Taco Bell has finally added fries to its menu. Naturally, people asked what took the bell so long. Their response is perfect: a full 90-second movie trailer called "Web of Fries," starring Josh Duhamel. Enjoy!

Sunday, January 14

Stefon Diggs Sends the Minnesota Vikings to the NFC Championship Game With An Insane Catch


Holy. Moly. A wild Sunday of NFL football was capped with an absolutely crazy finish. I can't even imagine having a rooting interest in the Minnesota Vikings and New Orleans Saints game...I might not have survived if I did.

The Vikes jumped out to a 17-0 lead, but the Saints eventually went up 21-20 after a furious comeback in the second half. Minnesota nabbed a field goal to retake the lead, but they left far too much time on the clock for Drew Brees, who promptly marched the Saints down the field for another field goal.

That set the stage for the Vikings. 25 seconds left, one timeout. After a 14-yard completion, Case Keenum threw a pair of shaky passes that probably didn't inspire much hope for Vikings fans. Luckily, he had time for one last play.

With 10 seconds left, Keenum threw a pass down the sideline to Stefon Diggs, who caught the ball and...didn't get tackled. Rookie Marcus Williams tried to undercut Diggs' legs and just missed completely. That allowed Diggs to turn around and scamper down the sideline for the game-winning touchdown with no time left on the clock. Diggs hurled his helmet across the field after scoring, an incredibly fitting reaction to one of the most absurd finishes in NFL history.

Saturday, January 13

SNL's "My Drunk Boyfriend" Is Spot On


Saturday Night Live returned for the first time in the new year with host Sam Rockwell, and man, did this episode deliver. All the sketches had laughs, but the most fantastic was the "My Drunk Boyfriend" commercial. Rockwell and Kyle Mooney both serve as the drunken boyfriend models, spouting phrases like "Cops. I want to watch Cops." and sobbing about deceased relatives you didn't know previously existed. It's a spot on take of drunk cliches and an absolute delight.

SNL has been wildly inconsistent all season, but if this is an indication of what's to come, 2018 is gonna be a good year. 




Thursday, January 11

Rise Against Once Again Deliver a Terrific Video with "House On Fire"


Rise Against just dropped "House on Fire," the second single from their 2017 album Wolves, and man, is it a catchy jam. While it sounds like it could be about a love lost, lead singer Tim McIlrath recently revealed that it's actually about his 13-year-old daughter, and how it's sometimes difficult for a parent to connect with a child, particularly when that parent is trying to be strict despite having a general anti-authority message in a ton of songs. ROUGH LIFE.

Anyway, the music video for "House of Fire" is an emotional tale between grandfather and granddaughter. The Rise Against fellas make a cameo, but as has been the case with a lot of their recent videos, the main characters of the story take center stage, not the band. And that's A-OK in my book, especially when the storylines are as engrossing as this one.

Sunday, January 7

Marcus Mariota Throws Touchdown Pass...to Marcus Mariota


Sometimes, you just have to do everything by yourself.

Tennessee Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota found his team down 21-3 early in the third quarter of the AFC Wild Card matchup against the Kansas City Chiefs. On third and goal from the six-yard line, Mariota rolled out to his left, looking like he was going to try and scramble for a touchdown. At the last second, he attempted a pass, only to have it batted away...

...or so everyone in the stadium thought, except for Mariota. The ball caromed right to him, and he dove into the end zone for the score. 

It ended up being a huge play, as the Titans went on to win 22-21. They'll advance to play either the New England Patriots or the Pittsburgh Steelers in the divisional round. And Mariota will likely need to produce some more magic to record an upset for the second straight week.

Enjoy the miraculous play below: