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Tools of the Trade: June 2015

By Michael Castelluccio
June 1, 2015
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1. TESLA POWERWALL

Only a few days after Tesla announced its Powerwall home batteries and the larger capacity Powerpacks for businesses, its entire inventory of 38,000 units was sold out. The next round of production won’t begin until June 2016. The Powerwall stores 10 kWh of power either from your existing home solar power system or from the utility company. The battery stores power during off-peak hours to supply power during the expensive peak hours or during a blackout. If your needs exceed 10 kWh, you can connect two Powerwalls to double the capacity. The batteries are 51.2″ × 33.9″ × 7.1″ and are designed to be hung on a wall inside or outside. They’re available in a number of colors. The rechargeable lithium ion battery has liquid thermal control and doesn’t require maintenance. If you already have a solar power system, you have an inverter that converts the DC current coming off the roof and into your lines, in the house, or out to your utility. If you don’t have an inverter, you’ll need one for the installation. www.teslamotors.com/powerwall

 

2. LG G4

The new LG G4 is a large-screen smartphone whose camera has a number of enhanced features. The 16-megapixel camera has an f/1.8 low-light lens, laser autofocus, manual override, and optical image stabilization. You can take photos as JPEGs or in raw image format, which professional photographers prefer to work with when editing. The G4 comes in stylish metallic, ceramic, or genuine leather in black or brown. Other features include a 3,000 mAh removable battery and a microSD card slot that can provide up to 2TB of storage. On-board memory capacities are 32GB with 3GB of RAM. The 5.5″ screen has a resolution of 2,560 5 1,440 Quad HD that provides 538 pixels per inch. The pro­cessor is a Qualcomm 64-bit, hexa-core Snapdragon 808 running the Android OS v. 5.1 (Lollipop). www.LG.com/g4

 

3. APPLE MACBOOK

Apple’s new MacBook has numerous improvements, including the 12″ Retina display that Apple describes as Retina re-envisioned. It’s the most energy-efficient Retina display ever on the Mac. The resolution is 2,304 5 1,440, with an aspect ratio of 16:10. The new MacBook is also lighter and thinner, shrinking to 0.51″ thick and only 2 lbs. Multi-Touch gestures on the trackpad are enhanced with haptic feedback as vibrations register movement on the screen, and Force Touch allows clicks on any part of the pad. There are a number of new functions that depend on the pressure of your touch. A new USB-C allows charging, USB 3 data transfer, and video output all on the same port. With no fan and the Intel Core M processor running on low power, battery life lasts up to nine hours. www.apple.com/macbook

 

4. LOGITECH BLUETOOTH KEYBOARD

Logitech’s Bluetooth Multi-Device Keyboard K480 is a single keyboard for all of your devices. It’s wired to work with Windows and Mac computers and mobiles as well as Android and iOS devices. The tray at the top accommodates most phones and tablets up to 0.4″ thick and 10″ wide. Perhaps the most convenient feature is the Easy-Switch dial that lets you switch between three connected Bluetooth wireless devices. Available in black or white, the keyboard has a power switch and a battery life indicator light. It requires two AAA batteries, which last for two years. www.logitech.com

 

Michael Castelluccio has been the Technology Editor for Strategic Finance for 21 years. His SF TECHNOTES blog is in its 19th year. You can contact Mike at mcastelluccio@imanet.org.


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