Progressive Alarm Clock

300x0w_003I read “somewhere” that being jolted awake isn’t good for your health.

I’ve noticed that it does make my heart rate spike, so there’s something to that.

I’d heard of gradual alarm clocks being a better way to wake up.  The alarm goes off quietly, and the alarm volume increases over time.

So I looked around and couldn’t find a alarm clock which did this.

“What about an app?”, I thought.

Progressive Alarm Clock was the first iPhone app I found. 

So I’ve tried it for a week, and I’ve found that it is relaxing to be woken up each morning with the ringing of a Tibetan Singing Bowl.  My only dislike is that the user interface looks dated.

mophie wireless charging base

I like my mophie wireless charger.  I guess the main reason is that it’s (mostly) well designed.


mophie charger plug

The power-plug is angled.  This means that it needs two power board spaces for it to be plugged in.  In other words, I had to remove the plug next to the mophie power-plug.

Sad smile

The first few days of carrying the Griffin Survivor + Catalyst Waterproof Case for the iPhone 5.

GSC_Boxed I’ve never owned a phone case/cover with an "Owner’s Guide", so the Griffin Survivor + Catalyst Waterproof (GSC) case is a first for me.  The folks over at MobileZap were kind enough to send me one for review.

I’d buy one as the review case saved my iPhone 5 from damage.  Worth the investment at $88.49.

The GSC brings back memories of Panasonic Toughbooks, and how rugged they were.  Griffin have rated the drop performance of the case at 2 meters, and my own experience backs that up.  The case allows you to submerse the iPhone and use it as an underwater camera.  Down to 3 metres.


(five o-rings)

Setting the case up.
The case ships was an ALERT! warning placard inside it.  Directing you to look at the 72 page "Owner’s Guide":

"Failure to follow all installation, maintenance and operating instructions while using the case may destroy your device."


One of the first things the Owners Guide tells you to go, is to test your case by soaking it for 30 minutes.  I did, and no water got managed to get into the case.  I’m not surprised as the case really is sealed that well.

GSC_30 minute soakAfter I dried the case off, I opened the case up to place my iPhone 5s into it.  (yes, the Owners Guide has instructions on that too).  The large o-ring detached itself when I opened the case.  After having a flip though the Owners Guide, I found out how to reposition the o-ring.  I don’t see that being a major problem, as I don’t plan on removing the iPhone from the GSC.

Carrying and using the GSC.
GSC_Headphone socket It doesn’t feel any different to carrying an iPhone 5.  If you have an iPhone 5s, the fingerprint recognition won’t work.  You might think enclosing the iPhone in a polycarbonate case would affect the sound quality.  I didn’t notice any difference.  Griffin supplies a waterproof headphone jack/socket plug, for those times when you want some privacy by plugging in your earphones.

I’ve dropped the GSC once so far.  I occasionally inspect fire stairwells.  I take my iPhone along to photograph any problems I find.  I dropped the GSC, and it bounced down several concrete steps.  My iPhone 5s survived undamaged.  So did the Griffin case.

If you have a number of older iPhone compatible devices (speaker systems, clock radios etc), and have one of those Lightning adapters, you’re going to be disappointed.  The charge point is only wide enough to fit a standard Lightning USB cable.  Not a big issue for me, just something to be aware of.  (the Apple Lightning “Cord” adapter would be a workaround for this problem)

In conclusion.
Having destroyed a previous smart phone, a Palm Treo, by leaving it unprotected in my computer briefcase, I know the importance of protecting your smart phone.  Having dropped my Griffin Survivor + Catalyst protected phone, just reinforces that for me.
I’d strongly recommend the Griffin Survivor + Catalyst Waterproof iPhone 5 case.

Light weight, only 100 grams
The Griffin website, which has instructional videos.
It saved my iPhone 5s from an actual drop.

O-ring pops out when opening case.
The Apple Lightning to 30-pin adapter doesn’t fit.

The Nixon Carded iPhone 5 case.

C2034-307-view1 It was time to replace my iPhone 4s, with the newer iPhone 5s.  The sales chap at Telstra had a Nixon Carded case.

The beauty of the Carded case is that you can store up to 4 credit card sized cards in it.  The case is moulded out of polycarbonate.  It has a matt finish.  And it costs $29.95.

What I like about it is that I can store my commonly used cards in it.  It provides some drop protection.  When you load cards into it, the case warps a smidgen.  I can live with that.

Nixon Carded iPhone caseTelstra don’t sell Nixon products.  I had to go to the Nixon shop to get one.  Or I could have brought online from Nixon or from (the slightly cheaper) Amazon site.

If your replace your iPhone device, you can say goodbye to Google Sync.

My iPhone had a dying battery, so the iPhone was replaced under warranty.

Then I restored the iPhone setting from backup, and all seemed to work ok.

Except for email, wasn’t getting any.

I checked the email settings, and the iPhone verified they were correct, and I could connect to the Google Mail servers:
Google Sync Broken

After much Googling, I worked out what was going wrong.

  • The “Exchange” email account setting uses Google Sync.
  • Google Sync was discontinued as a “free” feature on 30th January 2013.
    ”Starting January 30, 2013, consumers won’t be able to set up new devices using Google Sync.”
  • “new devices”, includes my replacement iPhone.

There are alternatives; what I did was on my iPhone was:

  • Created new Gmail accounts to replace the Exchange account on my iPhone.
          Gmail account setting
  • Setup CardDAV.

It works.  But I wasn’t happy with having to do it Google.