Show Notes: Top Three Phone Battery Packs

Having a conversation over on Anchor.fm about what the top battery packs for our phones are. Wanted to post links to my recommendations.

The Jackery Bolt has over 600 reviews on Amazon and sits at 4.5 stars. It’ll charge your  phone a couple times through the day. It’s super legit because it can fuel your iPhone or Android phone as it comes with both Lightening and Micro USB cables built in! At only $27.99 it’s a dang steal. Fits in my hand like one of those fun colored iPods we used to all own.

When I go to conferences or on trips I like to whip out this bigger battery. This is the Anker Powercore 20100. People, it’s amazing. It charges my big phone about five or six times from zero percent to 100%. It can charge my iPad Pro, then charge my phone, each a couple of times. Fantastic deal at only $40. It has nearly 11,000 reviews on Amazon and sits at 4.5 stars.

Top Three Wireless Speaker Setups

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Transcript of The Maven’s Top Three Podcast

  • Hello, howdy, how you doing? What a week, what a week. I’m proud to announce that our little podcast is gaining traction. This is because of you, the fine listeners to this little station that could. The last episode had the most downloads yet, and we’re going to keep on rolling out great information and even better quality podcasts.
  • We’re recording live from the RV of enlightenment, my tiny home on the acreage, and have a great episode lined out for you. What are we talking about? My top three wireless speaker recommendations for whole house listening.
  • Weekly, I put out episode requests for topics you’d like to see me research. Last week Ryan, over on Facebook, what the best way to get music through his house was. Today, we will cover just that. Getting that delicious ear juice though you halls, into your bedrooms, and into your kitchens.
  • I wish I could tell you that there are tons of quality reliable systems that broadcast various streaming sources to recommend for you, but house-wide speaker systems matching that criteria are difficult to find.
  • I’m Rex Barrett with Maven’s Top Three and I do the hard work of gathering what’s best in media, tech, and fun then pass my TOP THREE lists on to you.

Segment One – Sonos Play:1

  • Do you have a Bluetooth speaker? I do, and when I’m listening to music it is constantly being interrupted by the notifications from my phone, like texts, calls, and various bings and dings. See, that’s the issue with Bluetooth, it’s passing on any sound your phone is making to the connected speaker.
  • This is why I’m placing the Sonos Play:1 at the tip-top of today’s Top Three. The Sonos speaker connects to the internet instead of streaming from your phone. Think about what this means, your volume isn’t paired to your phone so each speaker in each room can be at a different level. Big living room, BOOM, cranked. Tiny bathroom, little boom, not cranked. All of this driven through an app on any of your devices.
  • The Sonos also does a unified search through each of the streaming services when you’re looking for music. So, in my case, I have Spotify, Pandora, SiriusXM, iHeartRadio, MLB, Stitcher, Amazon Music, Soundcloud, and Bandcamp. I recently dropped Apple Music, but it does that too. Yeah, I have quite a few services. Guess what, Sonos streams every one of those and many more. You might not recognize the phrase “unified search” so let me explain it in an action you might use already. If you have a Roku or AppleTV, you’ve probably done a direct search for a movie, allowing the little black boxes to find which service the movie streams. Same with the Sonos and your music.
  • You won’t be able to add other speakers into the mix because Sonos keeps their little system locked down to just their speakers. This is not a bad thing, as they sound amazing and come in a handsome setup that will look good placed around your house. Oh, and these speakers won’t be obsolete anytime soon. Sonos keeps pumping out firmware upgrades to ensure that the speaker you buy will last a good long time.
  • The Sonos Play:1 goes for $199 per speaker, but if you’ve priced higher end Bluetooth speakers lately, you’ll immediately recognize that this price ain’t too shabby. I fully recommend you buy a house full of the Play:1.
  • Now, if you have richer tastes, you might want an even more powerful speaker. Let me introduce you to the Sonos Play:5. It’s literally four better. Well, actually it has six amplifiers with six dedicated speaker drivers, so it’s even better than that, actually. This guarantees a room full of rich sound. It’ll set you back $499.
  • You want a wireless soundbar for your home theater? Pick up the Playbase, it brags about giving you full theater sound and contains a 10 speaker array internally. Pair the with the Sonos Sub and a couple of Play:1s and you’ll have full surround sound. You’ll be rocking in under five minutes. Yeah, that’s all the time it takes to set these beauties up.
  • So, sure, these are a bit spendy, but come on, full wireless sound all over your house? Heck yeah.
  • Again, for those of you just looking to place a couple speakers around the house, you have the Play:1s at $199 each.
  • Head to http://Maven.Show to see the full transcript of this episode and I’ve put every link, affiliate, of course, for you to get your speakers on Amazon today.

Segment Two – Google Chromecast Audio Dongle

  • Want a cheaper solution? Well, it’s way less elegant and doesn’t stream the huge number of options that Sonos does, but it’ll get the dang job done.
  • The Chromecast dongle is a little puck that plugs into the minijack that the Bluetooth speakers you have all over your house probably sport on the back of them. At $35 from Walmart, you can pick up a few and use the speakers you probably already have. But, if you want to buy more speakers, just head to Amazon and pick up a few decently rated ones, place the setup around your house, and you’re playing tunes in no time.
  • There isn’t a slick app to do a unified search, instead, you open Spotify, for example, and send it to the Chromecast. Thus, the word “cast”. You’re broadcasting to the little wireless puck and the speakers you’ll connect. Now, remember, you’re casting it there, so you’re still not broadcasting from your phone, you’re streaming from the cloud. You’ll still get the cool benefit of not having your notifications ruining your music experience.
  • If you have an Android phone or use the Chrome browser on your computer, you can mirror your audio. Sorry, iOS.

Segment Three – Amazon Echo Dot

  • Now, this isn’t a house-wide solution, but it’s going to be one day. Hopefully. Maybe. String together five Echo Dots and music will play everywhere, this is the dream, but it is also the future. Echo synchronization is supposed to come sometime in 2017.
  • Until then, what’s a girl to do? Well, let’s connect some Bluetooth speakers TO THE ECHO DOT. Get one $50 Dot and a few JLab House Party Bluetooth speakers and you can add a room for $99, totally controlled by your voice.
  • I’m a huge Texas Rangers baseball fan, so I listen to sports radio out of Dallas, Tx.I just say, “Alexa, play The Ticket radio station” and I have instant sports radio. How about, “Alexa, play Motley Crue.” I’ll immediately hear Kickstart My Heart, much to the chagrin of my wife.

023 Wrap up and how to connect

  • Whew, that was a deep dive into wireless speakers for your whole house. There’s not $20 way out of this thing. If you’re looking for your house to be wonderfully saturated with sweet tunes, you’re going to have to pay a bit. But, this is why we work and earn money, right? We want to have nice things.
  • Again, I’m posting a transcript of this podcast onto my website at http://Maven.Show. There you’ll find the links to every little thing I mentioned today.
  • If this is the first Maven Podcast you’ve listened to, please look up past episodes. We’ve covered how to make cold brew, productivity apps, comic books, several that cover the best in fast food, and one of my recent favorites, top ways to get your caffeine fix.
  • Do you have any thoughts, questions, or comments? It’s easy to reach out…
  • Download the Anchor App in the App Store and call in to tell me about it. I might just publish your thoughts.
  • What to chat on Twitter? Find me @RexBOKC.
  • I’m Rex Barrett and you can Find Maven’s Top Three at Maven.Show or where all fine podcasts are distributed.
  • SEE YA

Goals vs Systems

In theory, I’m a goal setter. 1000 miles running in one year, for example. I went from couch potato to three worn out pairs of shoes. Oh, there’s plenty more goals where that came from too.

I read an interesting post recently and realized I might have been focused on the wrong part of my goal setting. What if it’s less about the goal and more about the system or process of reaching that goal.

Running 1000 miles, for example, didn’t happen because I focused on running 1000 miles. It happened because I had to run about three miles per day. Each day when I got home from work, I pounded out either three, six, or nine miles. Depending on how many days off I took between runs. That was doable and fun.

The difference between goals and systems:

  • If you’re a coach, your goal is to win a championship. Your system is what your team does at practice each day.

  • If you’re a writer, your goal is to write a book. Your system is the writing schedule that you follow each week.

  • If you’re a runner, your goal is to run a marathon. Your system is your training schedule for the month.

  • If you’re an entrepreneur, your goal is to build a million dollar business. Your system is your sales and marketing process.

The question James Clear asks on the post is really great.

If you completely ignored your goals and focused only on your system, would you still get results?

Sure, setting the metrics (goal setting) to build your system is good. But, are you robbing yourself the joy of the journey by focusing on the goals instead of the process? Could be. Are you a bit more aimless because the goal is huge and you’ve never worked out the system to reach it? Let’s fix that.

You Have 168 Hours This Week

Guess what? You only have 168 hours to do everything you need to do this week. No you can’t barter for more hours. You can’t negotiate for more hours. You can’t pretend you have more hours than you actually have.

Every bit of time you spend doing one thing, you’re taking it away from somewhere else. Working late? Time away from family. Answering those emails at midnight? Taking time away from sleep.

99u asked the question, “Where is all your time going?

Jackie Bavaro, Product Manager at Asana, recently shared her insights on how to master one’s time. She outlined a simple way to assess how we’re spending our time. Make two pie charts: one showing how you want to spend your time and another showing how you’re actually spending your time. Open a spreadsheet, and list out your weekly activities until they total 168 hours (the total time allocated to you each week).

Create 3 columns:
1. Activity — Now list the following items under this heading: Sleep, Physical Fitness, Eating/Cooking/Groceries, Work/Career, Watching TV/Internet Surfing/Video Games, Miscellaneous (Errands, House Cleaning, etc.), Family/Friends, Self-Care (Shower, Getting Ready, Daily Routine, etc.), Quiet Time (Reflection, Meditation, Journaling, etc.), Education and Commuting. Feel free to add any other categories not mentioned.
2. # of Hours — Here, list the total estimated hours your spend per week doing each of the corresponding activities.
3. % of time — Each cell should contain a calculation of the # of hours spent on specific activity, divided by the total weekly expenditure of hours, expressed as a percentage.

Begin listing how your time is currently spent each week. Your Total Weekly Expenditure should equal 168 hours and 100% of your allocated time. Now turn this data into a labelled pie chart so that you can visualize your week.

Downtime, You Need It

I took a long break over the holidays. A much longer break than I normally take, but it was needed. After a year of nearly non-stop cranking, it was time to sit back and relax. My family bought an RV and we made our way from freezing cold Oklahoma to sunny and warm Florida.

We stopped frequently at state parks, it was at these forests and rivers I realized I’d not slowed down much over the past several months. I had needed to slow down, to enjoy the fresh air, to sit and think thoughts other than work thoughts.

I recently read an article by Ferris Jabr on Scientific American, and this stood out:

Americans and their brains are preoccupied with work much of the time. Throughout history people have intuited that such puritanical devotion to perpetual busyness does not in fact translate to greater productivity and is not particularly healthy. What if the brain requires substantial downtime to remain industrious and generate its most innovative ideas? “Idleness is not just a vacation, an indulgence or a vice; it is as indispensable to the brain as vitamin D is to the body, and deprived of it we suffer a mental affliction as disfiguring as rickets,” essayist Tim Kreider wrote in The New York Times. “The space and quiet that idleness provides is a necessary condition for standing back from life and seeing it whole, for making unexpected connections and waiting for the wild summer lightning strikes of inspiration—it is, paradoxically, necessary to getting any work done.”

This year, make time to not do anything. Take a retreat to not catch up. Rest, relax, and enjoy God’s great creation. Breathe in and breathe out, be healed, and then come home rested and ready to get real work done. I’m living that out right now and hope you will too.

Email “If – Then” Actions

Tim Ferris in Four Hour Work Week on email:

Email communication should be streamlined to prevent needless back-and-forth. Thus, an email with “Can you meet at 4:00 pm?” would become “Can you meet at 4:00 pm? If not, please advise three other times that work for you.”

Get into the habit of considering what “if … then” actions can be proposed in any e-mail where you ask a question.

Email is Not Your Work

Time Management Ninja:

There are many types of office games. However, in today’s world, the favorite seems to be “Email Ping-Pong.”

(Some offices have official leagues…)

People love to send volleys of emails back and forth. Some like to see how quickly they can do it. Others like to see how far they can send their message.

The problem is that email sport wastes a lot of time. The back-and-forth is counterproductive. Email was intended to help get work done, but it usually gets in the way of productivity.

Follow the link to see what Ping-Pong league you are in.

Never Stop Learning

We’re living in an odd time. We have access to gigantic heaps of information, but tend to live among the trash. If we’re going to keep growing, maturing, and developing in our skills, we need to learn how to self-educate. Not self medicate.

Paul Jun at 99U:

But how do we foster this desire to learn? Don’t we all want to learn? Who ever says, “I really hate learning new things?” Yet, in the midst of searching for security and comfort, I think we often lose sight of what’s important and enter a sort of tunnel vision that can lead to stagnation. After a long day at work, Netflix sounds more seductive than spending one or two hours diving into a book that challenges you to think deeply about what you do and who you are.

That said, complacency does not beget success. In today’s networked age, companies and jobs rise and fall in a matter of months. That thing you do? There’s now an app for that, for free. Or there will be soon. That job title of yours could change next week. When thinking about our careers, no one is safe.

It’s time to self-educate, what are you doing to grow? Check out the linked post to find several ways to sustain a passion for learning. (click the arrow on the title)