Friday, September 22, 2017

Genius ECO-u821 8000mAh Power Bank Portable Charger Review

I still use my Genius ECO-u10000, as it is one of the better mobile chargers that I own. It has charged my various smart devices countless times since I have had it, but that is all set to change with Genius' new ECO-u821, the company's new 8000mAh Power Bank. As the New Year rolled in, I received a parcel at my front door with the ECO-u821 inside. I didn't think much of it until I looked closer at just how thin it was. It isn't until you take it out of the package that you appreciate what Genius has done here with its ECO-u821 charger.

Before we get into that, we'll take a look around the Genius ECO-u821 charger.

Once the ECO-u821 is out of the box, the fun begins. Looking at it top-down, the only thing we can notice is the Genius branding.

On the bottom of it, we have the details of what we can find inside of it - the battery size, voltages, and of the labeling to what the ports are on the side of it.

To the right side of the Genius ECO-i821, we find a charging cable tucked away. This is a thin charging cable that tucks right into the side of the ECO-u821, which is great.

At the rear of the charger, we have the two USB ports - one 1A port, one 2.1A port - and the micro USB port for input. Now that we're done with the pleasantries, let's get into it. Genius' ECO-u821 is beautiful. I love it, it's sleek, it looks great, and it's thin and light. After testing countless mobile rechargeable batteries, this is one of the best that has come through my lab.

Genius has a thin, light charger (like GOAL ZERO SHERPA 100 KIT ) that packs plenty of juice inside. If you were to lift it and feel the weight of it, you would guess that there's a ~3000mAh battery inside. Somehow, most likely with magic, Genius has slammed 8000mAh into it, all while looking great, too. It is quite a large charger, but the low weight offsets this big time. I used the Genius ECO-u821 on a trip away with my wife and daughter for a few days, where I exclusively used the ECO-u821 charger to keep my Nexus 5 smartphone topped up. I was able to go the entire trip - three days - using just the Genius ECO-u821 charger. For me, this is great, as it means I can sit in my hotel room, anywhere in the hotel room, with a fully charged smartphone. Better yet, when I was packing my bag, the thin profile on the ECO-u821 came into play once again.

I was able to slide it into my bag against my tablet, which is obviously also flat, and they sat together well. Most rechargeable batteries are thick devices, and they have no place next to another device. Genius' decision to go thin, and light, makes this one of the most standout batteries I've tested. Considering you can grab them for well under $45, it has to be one of the best-priced mobile batteries around. I have no hesitations recommending this to anyone who is in the market for a new mobile battery; with 8000mAh of charge, it will charge even the most battery-hungry smartphones a few times over, all while looking sleek.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Are mobile solar chargers worth it?

I think most people would agree that a solar charging back cover for their mobile phone is a good idea. Not only will it bathe you in rays of eco-friendliness and goodwill toward humanity, but a sun-powered backing could also top off an ebbing battery.

That is, of course, if the charger lives up to the hype. The worthiness of a solar boost boils down to how much the charger costs, how quickly it transmits a charge, and how well it soaks in the rays.

The Samsung Replenish for Sprint, for instance, is an environmentally minded handset with an optional $30 Samsung-made solar-slurping back cover. Like most of its ilk, the Replenish's solar cover is high-maintenance. As long as it's snapped onto the phone, it will convert direct sunlight into electronic energy, but it isn't effective through glass. The manual only promises a charge if you hold the phone at a 90-degree angle to the sun, and Sprint estimates that you'll receive 20 minutes more talk time after an hour of sun worship.

That means, in order for the solar backing to pull any charging weight, you'll have to be outdoors for at least 30 minutes on a sunny day, with the case positioned just so. We were able to pull in enough rays to reboot a completely drained phone. When we tried again an hour later, however, holding the Replenish aloft in an extended sun salute only earned us nervous looks from passers-by, but not enough extra juice to once again wake up the dormant phone. (Unfortunately, San Francisco has been so consistently pummeled with clouds, we didn't receive many other opportunities to repeat our tests. We'll stick with it, though.)

The solar cover on Sagem's Puma Phoneoffers more promise, mostly because it's already integrated into the primary back cover. Solar panels aren't cheap, so they could contribute to the price of the phone overall, but it's neat to see this cover as a fixture on a phone that isn't particularly marketed as environmentally aware.

The Puma Phone has the same basic set of limitations as the Replenish, technological restrictions that my colleague Kent German has also detailed in his review of the Revolve XeMini Plus, a free-standing solar charger. Even in Kent's weeks-long tests, he wasn't able to use the Revolve charger to fully power a phone.

In the end, having an extra solar cover (for example: SUNJACK 14W PORTABLE SOLAR CHARGER ) may have some practical and earthly benefits if you're an outdoorsy person who doesn't mind topping off your phone a bit at a time.

Integrated solar chargers are certainly more sensical for those emergency top-ups than a separate cover that you have to remember to bring with you outside, although selling the cover as an accessory may reduce the phone's overall cost. Still, for its modest amount of juice, an aftermarket charging add-on won't adequately return most people's investment.

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Safe Haven seeks Guns-N-Hoses sponsors

They say time flies when you’re having fun, and there will be a lot of fly balls and fun July 11 when Safe Haven holds its seventh annual Guns-N-Hoses charity softball game at the newly renovated historic Calfee Park.

Ellen Mitchell, executive director of Safe Haven Child Visitation Centers of the New River Valley, is seeking sponsors for the event, which is Safe Haven’s only fundraiser of the year. The game is a major funding source for the nonprofit, all-volunteer agency.

Safe Haven provides traumatized and often abused and neglected children with a safe place to visit with estranged parents during court ordered supervised child visitation centers Seattle, without the parents having contact with one another. This alleviates stress and trauma for the child.

The organization is strictly dependent upon donations and grants to operate.

The past six Guns-N-Hoses games “have given the community an opportunity to enjoy an evening of wholesome family fun while supporting a much-needed service to our community,” Mitchell said.

Since the game is Safe Haven’s only fundraiser, she noted sponsorship are important to ensure the agency can continue to provide the same level of service it has in the past. To become a sponsor or obtain additional information, contact Mitchell at 540-808-0096 or

Agencies competing in this year’s softball game will be Pulaski and Dublin police departments, Pulaski County Sheriff’s Office, Virginia State Police, REMSI (Regional Emergency Medical Services Inc.) and members of all seven county fire departments. WDBJ7 in Roanoke, which partners with Safe Haven to offer the annual event, also will have news and weather personalities on hand to play and greet the crowd.

Door prizes donated by area businesses will be given away during the game, and concessions will be available through new Calfee Park owner, Shelor Motor Mile.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Short Essay: How to Start a Small Business

Becoming an entrepreneur is a worthwhile endeavor. The desire to start your own small business is both admirable and terrifying simultaneously. If you don’t know what you are getting yourself into, you could be looking at a lot of disappointment in the future. However, if you are willing to take the risks and steps necessary to learn how to start a small business, there is the potential for great personal satisfaction.

Before you choose to go on this journey you should ensure that your business idea is solid. You cannot start a small business based on what you see everyone else doing. When the market is flooded with people selling baseball caps, opening up another hat shop is not a good idea. Planning a small business takes both knowledge and common sense. You will need to research how viable your idea will be in the marketplace.

Adam Khafif offers some phenomenal advice. He says, “Whatever you choose to pursue, make sure your customers and supporters feel valued at the end of the exchange.” Your business has to add value to the community if you want it to be successful. And, if you are truly serious about this endeavor, you will need to follow these 20 steps to starting a successful small business.

We are not trying to make the list a simple procedure because running your own business is anything but easy. However, we do want you to go at this endeavor as well informed and prepared as possible. Do not skip any of the steps we have laid out for you here:
  • Understand the market. The truth is, the “next big thing” is probably not what you are going to create. Instead, understand the type of job you want to do and then research the market to see if your career desire can fill a need in your area. Don’t try to chase money. Instead, choose to sell the things you love.
  • Write a business plan. These can be elaborate or simple. Just be certain that you answer some invaluable questions when you create the plan. The questions include:
  • What’s your vision?
  • What’s your mission?
  • What are your objectives?
  • What strategies will you employ to reach them?
  • What’s the action plan?

Monday, March 13, 2017

Ignoring Graphic Design Could be Detrimental to Your Business

Unless you’re a professional graphic designer in addition to having your own business, you are strongly advised to find and hire a graphic designer for your business’ web page. The millennial generation reached preadolescence at a time when the Internet was beginning to be used for college classes, games, and businesses. This was the beginning of Internet literacy as a necessity for those living in developed societies. Today, having a web page is commonplace. But having a page alone is not what will help your business grow to any extent. You must find a way to make your page stand out, and stick in consumers’ minds.

Why Ignoring Website Graphic Design Is Bad for Business

Your website is one giant advertisement for your business. Poor site design does not represent your brand well. This leads to lower customer traffic; and, in turn, less business. A mediocre site design will likely require regular revamping every few years. The time and cost of regular redesigning is not worth having a great design in the first place. Plus, it gives the public the impression that your business cannot afford a professional designer. An unfortunate image such as this is difficult to remove. Paying for quality design proves its usefulness many times over. One dynamite professional design will last far longer, and keeping it the same builds familiarity with your brand for your customers.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

3 Must Have Items to Get Funding for a Small Business

Funding a small business is usually the one area most new business owners struggle with. It can be difficult to find investors or secure loans when a business has not even opened its doors. It’s the classic catch-22, though, most lenders or investors want to see the business is successful before giving money but you need the money in order to start your business. Fortunately, you can prove your business is a worthy investment just by having these three things in order.

  1. Business Plan

To begin with, before you ever try to seek funding, you need to have a solid business plan. Your business plan is basically an outline of every detail about your business. It should explain what your business is and what it does. It should outline the financial plan for the first few years of the business. In addition, it should give details about the people running the business, the structure of the business, and its location. The plan should have explanations of the different business aspects, including marketing and human resources.

Anyone reading your plan should have a complete picture of what your business is. The plan should address any possible questions that could come up. They should be left with no questions about anything. You don’t need an MVU Online degree to figure out how to write a plan, but you might benefit from a course in business.

Genius ECO-u821 8000mAh Power Bank Portable Charger Review

I still use my Genius ECO-u10000, as it is one of the better mobile chargers that I own. It has charged my various smart devices count...