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Mike Elgan
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Mike Elgan

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The solar panel that keeps me going

I had an amazing time in Cuba. It wasn't a vacation. I was working the whole time. So I needed to keep all my stuff charged. But the thing about places like Cuba is: So much sunshine; so few outlets to charge my phone, tablet and laptop. They don't have a Starbucks on every corner -- or any corner.

I can't tell you how many times I've found myself in some random country unable to charge my phone. Where do you do it?

Meanwhile, the sun is often beating down -- the sun, of course, is what Elon Musk called "that big fusion power plant in the sky."

The obvious solution is some way to charge using solar power.

Fortunately, I was using an eval unit of a really great product called the Solartab Solar Charger. It's a BAB (big-ass battery -- 9,000 mAh, actually) that can be charged by plugging it into an outlet -- or by exposing its solar panels to the sun.

I can charge anything that plugs in with USB (like my iPhone) or USB-C (like my Nexus 5x).

The truth is that I normally charge it in the wall, not the sun. But because I have the solar option, I never have to worry about running out of juice. And I really have needed it a few times.

Carrying the Solartab is just like carrying a tablet. It's got a cover, which can be used to prop it up to optimize the angle toward the sun. It's also rugged and waterproof, so you don't have to baby it when you're hiking or sailing.

Here's all the gear I use and recommend:

#solar #solarpower #solartab

(Note: The link above is an Amazon Associates link.)
John Riddell's profile photoMarie Loy's profile photoConnor Anderson's profile photoTim Sproule's profile photo
+Connor Anderson it isn't that bad when it is folded up for storage, but it isn't light. I use it as part of my hiking gear and it nearly weighs half a kilogram. Great bit of kit, especially with the 21000mAh battery. I can keep my phone, steripen, GPS going for days as long as there is some sun every now and then.

+Anker​ make a great product at a reasonable price.
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Mike Elgan

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Something just hit my windshield and now I've got this to deal with
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Do you use Google Allo?

If so, why?

If not, why not? 
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I won't go near Allo. Why bother? In 18 months they'll just deprecate it and release a new latest and greatest. They promised us all the same things in Allo would be the reason to use Hangouts when they deprecated gTalk. Then barely delivered.

They have no desktop client, can't even use it across multiple devices. There is no SMS integration. In fact, the only thing is good for us getting access to the Assistant for those of us that can't use Nougat yet. But even that isn't enough of a feature over Google Now to make it worth explicitly loading the app for rather than just long press the home button.

Unless, or until Allo, is at least feature comparable to Hangouts (with SMS included,) it's dead in the water for me.
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Mike Elgan

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Fried chicken chalupa? Somebody make it stop!

Taco Bell plans to introduce what is essentially an American style taco with fried chicken instead of a tortilla shell.

Which raises the obvious question: Why, Taco Bell? Why?
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If Google combined Allo, Duo, Voice, Fi, Hangouts, Messenger and Spaces into a single super app, would you use it?

And do you think it would successfully compete with the WhatsApps of the world?

Would one super app be better than lots of limited-use apps?


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Mike Elgan

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Did you know that Google's anti-spam algorithms suppresses high-quality comments?

Everybody thinks engagement is low on Google+. But one reason is that Google itself is suppressing engagement.

Google's anti-spam algorithms instantly makes invisible a large number of comments to your posts. Some are spam. Some are high-quality comments.

You can see these with the current version of Google+. To see the comments Google is hiding from you, you have to go to the "Classic" version of Google+ (click on the link at the bottom left of your main Google+ screen in the browser version).

Once in classic mode, open a post and click on "Show comments removed as spam."

In my own case, I find that about a quarter to a third of the comments are perfectly good comments from users in good standing. Some of the suppressed comments are amazing.

In every case, the person who commented thinks everybody can see their comment, but nobody is responding. In fact, nobody ever saw their comment.

The screenshot here is from a post I did yesterday. A huge number of comments are awesome. And I would have never known about it if I hadn't gone in to the "Classic" version and checked this out.

I've complained about this several times and Google does nothing about it.

What we need are simple moderation tools in the new version that enable us to restore false positives.
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I don't understand
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Social networks let the rich buy influence

(Read my column: )

Social networking is the Great Equalizer. It enables anyone to gain influence based on the merit of his or her conversations.

Sadly, the quest for sustainable monetization is leading social sites to offer schemes that let people with money buy influence.

It's a disturbing trend, and I'll tell you exactly why at the end. But first, let's check out some examples.

#socialnetworking #youtube #youtubesuperchat
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Je suis très excité
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Mike Elgan

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Android users: Who uses Google Messenger?

Do you use Messenger?

If so, why do you use Messenger for SMS instead of Hangouts or another app?

If you're an Android user who doesn't use Messenger, why not?

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Mike Elgan

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If you don't have a Google Voice phone number and call a regular number from Hangouts, what number is displayed to the other person?

I'm a long-time Google Voice users. When I make a call using Hangouts, the other person sees my Google Voice number on caller ID.

But what about people who don't use Google Voice? What number is displayed? 
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boa noite
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Does Google Chat still exist?

One upon a time, you could use a product called Google Chat from Gmail or Google+.

As far as I can tell, this functionality has been replaced by Hangouts. Or has it?

Is it still possible to use Google Chat? If so, how and where do you use it? 
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+Raul Hernandez​ Espresso + milk

Either cappuccino or latte. Depending on the espresso:milk ratio.
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Mike Elgan

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If you use Google Groups, I need your help!

Do you use Groups?

If so, why?

What do you love about Groups? What do you dislike?

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+Jason ON No problem! 😄
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Mike's Collections
The world's only lovable tech journalist
Who the $#@! is Mike Elgan? 

I write and talk and interview on the subjects technology and innovation. I anchor TWiT's daily Tech News Today netcast ( 

My opinion columns appear all over the place, most frequently Computerworld, PC World, InfoWorld, MacWorld, CIO Magazine, the San Francisco Chronicle, eWeek, Baseline and elsewhere. 

I don't do "access journalism." I am not in the industry, I'm not an investor or entrepreneur, but instead an independent, disinterested observer with strong opinions. (I have nothing against access journalism, it's just not what I do.)

My Thoughts on Google+:

After 10 years of blogging with conventional blogging sites and services, I abandoned that approach a year ago and started blogging on Google+. Why? Because Google+ is by far the best blogging platform. As Tim O'Reily said, it's like Tumblr 2.0, but more social. 

I also cancelled my account with a leading photo-sharing and management site, and now use Google+ for that exclusively. 

I've replaced more than half my email communication with Google+ communication.

I use Google+ to write first drafts of my stories, to crowdsource, to take polls, to get feedback and to drive traffic to the articles I write. It has dramatically improved my work as a writer. 

I even use Google+ for social networking!

Although I'm most active on Google+, you can also follow me here: 

And you can download my top 200 most popular posts as an eBook by clicking here.

I'm ranked #1 on the Google Plus Score list, which is based on user engagement.

I'm the #7 Most Recommended Person to Follow on Google+ (as voted by users). 

I'm one of Mashable's top nine Google+ Power Users.

I'm also a "Curator" on the Google Currents app!! (Please install the free app and "Add" me!)

I've also created and moderate these Google+ communities.

Here's how I do Google+: 

In the meantime, please CIRCLE ME! I'd love to interact with you here on Google+. 
Bragging rights
I'm a digital nomad. I live everywhere.
Map of the places this user has livedMap of the places this user has livedMap of the places this user has lived
Silicon Valley, California
Marseille, France - Aix-en-Provence, France - Santa Barbara, California - Cancun, Mexico - New York, USA - Florence, Italy - Madrid, Spain - Marrakesh, Morocco - Sparta, Greece - Kusadasi, Turkey - Istanbul, Turkey - Nairobi, Kenya - Barcelona, Spain - Valencia, Spain - Havana, Cuba
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News Director, News Anchor, Writer, Author
Writing, broadcasting
Basic Information
Other names
The original Tartine was good; Tartine Manufactory is great. Bread, pastries, sandwiches, coffee and more, it's all as good as food gets. Fantastic place. The Country bread is still the best loaf in the world, literally.
Public - 2 months ago
reviewed 2 months ago
Public - 2 months ago
reviewed 2 months ago
Luma Fitness cost us $232 per class. Here's why. My wife and I signed up for a year at Luma fitness at the beginning of last year. Luma Fitness limits the number of students per class. You have to sign up. If the class is full, you can't take that class. And the classes are usually full. You can see this for yourself. For example, when I wrote this review on Saturday morning, you can see from my screenshot that every Sunday class that takes place at the gym is already full. (The only available classes are a trail running class -- we already trail run every day and don't need to pay a gym for that -- and a second class that's way above our fitness level.) We work during the day, and want to work out after work. Those classes are the most unavailable, especially the ones at our fitness level. We're very busy, and often had a hard time making time for the gym. But when we did find the time, we found that Luma Fitness classes were already full. Because of that, we were able to attend only 10 classes for the year. We paid them $2,148 and used their gym 10 times. The nightmare continued. Our membership ended at the end of January. You have to give 30 days notice in writing to terminate the membership, which we did on January 6. Yet they're charging us for the full month of February. We called and argued with them about it, but they were horrible and nasty and insisted that we pay the full month, rather than honor their own contract of 30 days notice. They KNOW we won't be using their gym for the month of February. They KNOW we paid them thousands of dollars without using their service much. But they are just taking our $179 for the month anyway. I guess the $2,148 we paid for 10 classes wasn't enough, so they took more. So now our grand total is $2,327 for 10 classes. Instead of going to Luma Fitness, just flush $20 bills down the toilet twice a week. You'll save money, and you'll get more exercise.
• • •
Public - 2 years ago
reviewed 2 years ago
This is a really good restaurant. The food is very flavorful without being fatty and heavy. Great service.
Public - 2 years ago
reviewed 2 years ago
33 reviews
Crushcakes is a cafe, but it's also a great place to work. They offer WiFi and a few outlets, and the staff doesn't mind if you spend a few hours working at one of the tables. They also serve bulletproof coffee and some very good food.
Public - 2 months ago
reviewed 2 months ago
Shirley rules!
Public - 2 years ago
reviewed 2 years ago
Everything we tried at this restaurant was incredible. What a gem.
Public - 2 years ago
reviewed 2 years ago