Tech Tip: Double Your iPhone’s Battery Life With One Setting


Everyone is looking to squeeze more battery life out of their precious iPhone. There is no shortage of posts from every tech outlet with a laundry list of ways to get more battery life out of your iPhone. The problem I’ve found with a lot of them is that you’re also usually sacrificing features that make having a smartphone worthwhile to begin with in the process.

But what if I told you about a setting that is the 80/20 rule on battery life?

We spend roughly 8 hours a day at work or in a home office. We spend another few hours a day using our iPhone at home. And we spend, hopefully, 8 hours sleeping in our bed. What does this have to do with an iPhone’s battery life, you ask?

Well, I’m about to reveal that. What common technology denominator do these places all have in common?

They all, likely, have Wi-Fi.

I can hear you already. Again, what does this have to do with and iPhone’s battery life?

Considering we spend most (but not all) of our time with access to Wi-Fi, who not take advantage of a feature called “Wi-Fi Calling”?

Wi-Fi Calling essentially uses the Wi-Fi network you’re on to make and receive calls and text messages. This is highly advantageous for a few reasons:

  • Better signal on calls*.
  • You can turn off cellular service but still make and receive calls and text messages.
  • You will use less cellular data*
  • You will save a shit ton of battery life in the process.**

I started doing this in December of 2016 after buying my iPhone 7 Plus. I get very poor service in the building I work in, so I turned Wi-Fi Calling on as a way to improve my service. I had the revelation that I may as well turn off the cellular service while I was doing this. If I’m already getting calls on Wi-Fi, what was the point in having it on? Wouldn't that be another service running unnecessarily and draining my battery? Makes sense, right?

Well it does. And I can attest by first hand experience that I have gone three days straight without charging my iPhone by using just Wi-Fi Calling whenever possible, which was a lot.

Anytime I use just the Wi-Fi Calling or even put my phone in Airplane mode, I can usually go at least two days without charging it while giving it regular use.

When I leave cellular data on? Not so much.

I could go into the science behind why its saving you so much battery, but I’ll keep it short for brevity: Your phone is constantly looking for cellular towers and sending signals back and forth between at least two (but usually more) cell towers near you. Unsurprisingly, thats an ongoing service thats eating away at your battery life. Have you ever noticed your battery life tends to drop faster when you have fewer bars? Thats because your phone is working hard to find a cell tower for better signal, thus draining your precious iPhone’s battery life.

Here’s how you do it:

Image from Support

Turn on Wi-Fi calling in Settings > Phone > Wi-Fi Calling.

So, whats the catch? Will this work all of the time?

Not if its a busy weekend and you’re on the go all day. Road trip for the week? Then no. Thats when and why we have cellular service to begin with. To keep us connected, theoretically, wherever we are. But there are many days where the majority of us are at work, home, or even just in one location for several hours. Thats when its beneficial and you can take advantage of it.

Also, your carrier has to support this feature. All four of the major carriers (AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile & Sprint) in the United States currently support it.

I have also noticed that there is a slight delay when getting SMS text messages. If waiting an extra 5–20 minutes for a regular SMS is a dealbreaker, then you may want to reconsider. But for most of us, this works just fine. Not to mention, aren't you supposed to be working at work? And aren't the rest of your friends equally as cool as you and likely sending that text via iMessage anyway?

Henry Rollins’ advice on discipline, self-reliance, and overcoming obstacles

“You will encounter people who never have to pay in full. They get to wreck the room and never have to clean it. They can get all the way through high school and never understand where a dollar comes from, because they just get it given to them. You cannot let these people make you feel that you have in any way been dwarfed or outclassed. You must really go for your own and realize how short life is. You got what you got, so you’ve got to make the most of it. You really can’t spend a whole lot of time worrying about his.”

via That Eric Alper

Why Black Sabbath was Amazing

Joe Banks of The Quietus wrote a great piece on Black Sabbath's Sabotage. People have always asked my why I think Sabbath was such a great, important band. This pretty much sums it up:

"This evocation of horror is only part of the story though. Sabbath were also unafraid to tackle in their lyrics the big issues of the day (and today for that matter), whether it’s the inequities of warfare (‘War Pigs’, of course), impending planetary destruction, both nuclear (‘Electric Funeral’) and ecological (‘Into The Void’), drug addiction (‘Hand Of Doom’), or the yoke of capitalism (‘Killing Yourself To Live’). It might not have been the type of nuanced social commentary that got the critics excited, but as an archetypal “people’s band”, Sabbath showed their audience that they gave a shit about the lives they were leading and the world they were living in. Many of their songs are about the moral choices we have to make, and those being made on our behalf (a view that the initially dismissive Lester Bangs expanded on in this piece for Creem in 1972). And frankly, you don’t get that on Led Zeppelin IV or Machine Head."

Do yourself a favor and read the whole article here

Necessity is the Mother of Invention

I came across this post from Jesse Saunders explaining how he got started with mixing records. The whole story is a great read, but this is what struck me:

"One day while sitting in my living room, I flipped the record over to check out the B-side and found a bootleg mashup. This song used the bassline from Player One’s “Space Invaders,” the “toot toot, heeeeey, beep beep” refrain from Donna Summer’s “Bad Girls,” and the horns from Lipps Inc’s “Funkytown.” It was called “On & On” and I knew right away that it was special. The first time I played it in a set, it created such a frenzy on the dancefloor that I immediately made it my signature record, using it as an intro every time I DJed. Looking back, it was probably the first mashup ever created.

Unfortunately — or fortunately, now that I have the privilege of hindsight — it was among a number of vinyl records stolen from the booth at The Playground. While I was devastated at the time, that record thief gave me all the inspiration I needed to create my own version.

I quickly found myself in my bedroom at 7234 South King Drive, piecing the elements of my prized record back together on a Tascam 4-track cassette recorder. I also began to see this as opportunity to take the original “On & On” and expand upon the things that made it great, fleshing it out into a more fully-formatted song. I banged out new drum programming on my TR-808; my songwriter buddy, Vince Lawrence, wrote the lyrics and the melody"

Sometimes, you're forced to create what you need, and thats a beautiful thing.

Recommended Reading: Khoi Vinh's "How They Got There"

I recently finished Khoi Vinh's "How They Got There". I was so inspired by the first few chapters I wrote this blog post about a passage that really struck me. 

The book is a collection of interviews with renowned designers contrasting their career trajectory on how they started compared to where they are now.

It's a fascinating, inspiring read. While this is design focused, I can't help but feel that anyone in any creative field would deeply benefit from reading it. Musicians, painters, architects, writers, carpenters, product engineers could all draw inspiration from it.

Hell, even if you don't call yourself a designer, maybe it will inspire you to take a course and brush up on your Photoshop skills. I know it did for me. 

You can purchase a digital copy here.

Saul William on Technology

"In terms of hacking in the bigger picture, it’s clear that the virtual world is very much like the New World. We’re in the position of Columbus and all these old-time past explorers in that there’s a lot of freedom to be had and space to be explored. The surface web that most of us use is as limited as the percentage of our brain that most of us use. There’s a lot of information out there and I think that hackers in general have done some fucking amazing things in modern times."

I couldn't agree more. You can read the whole interview here

Some Thoughts on Creativity

I recently started reading Khoi Vinh's "How They Got There", a fantastic book where Khoi sits down and talks with designers on what their career trajectory was like from the outset to present day. Speaking with Alex Cornell, this bit really resonated with me:

"I think that stems from music, because if your aspiration is to be a singer/songwriter/guitar player, the goal is, basically, to become famous, or whatever that actually means anymore. When I was growing up, I always wanted to play a big show at Madison Square Garden. That desire was my nascent understanding of what happened when you become successful in music. The pure feeling, though, is you want to reach as many people as possible, so as many people as possible can experience your work and understand you in a deeper way."

Another lifetime ago, I was pulling double duty working in the receiving department at a pro audio company by day and a recording studio at night. I met an old cat there who became a mentor to me during that brief time. For the sake of the story, let's call him Rob. One day Rob invited me into his office. He sat at his desk, and with a bold face asked, 

"Brian, what do you want to do with your life?"

From the doorway, I shot back my obvious answer from a schmuck like me:

"I want to make records."

Rob let the moment land, then with an annoyed tone said:

"No. What do you REALLY want to do with you life?"

I just stared at him blankly. I thought I made myself pretty clear.

After an awkward silence and a lot of staring, Rob said:

"It's bigger than making records. It's bigger than landing a job at your favorite recording studio. I think there's a lot more you want to do and you're focus is a little too narrow. Sit down soon and really think about what you want to do."

I left his office thinking he was finally going senile. But as time slowly went on, I started to learn more about myself. Then one day I realized he was absolutely right. It wasn't just about making records. It was about creation.

But why do we create thing? Why do we make records? Why do we paint canvas? Why do we carve sculptures? Why do we build statues? Why do we silk screen? Why do we draw? Why do we produce movies?

Because it's fun? Well, sure. But it's not just that. I think really, people that create things are looking to move people. 

Just like watching Trent Reznor destroy his keyboard on stage at Woodstock '94 moved me, and left teenage Brian dreaming of a day where it could be me completely decimating a keyboard on the stage like MSG (I'd still really like to do that), the method in which we want to move people isn't the only way to achieve it.

Here's Why NS10s Are So Popular


I came across a great read for any audio engineers worth their salt. The reason that NS 10's work they way they do is not just because they suck but because well, kind of a mistake.

"The Yamaha NS10 was an accidental inverse of the ISO 226 equal-loudness contours curves and the Fletcher Munson curves. The Yamaha NS10 becomes a successful near-field ‘mixing monitor’ when it is placed sideways with the tweeters opposed and on the outside; and placed in the near-field referenced to a level between 80-100dB. Mixing with a loudspeaker like this causes revealing midrange (harmonics and subtle details) and invites the engineer to emphasize the lower frequencies proportionally; reduce the midrange dominance, and emphasize and adjust high frequencies accordingly. Proper editing and playback on reference grade loudspeakers at levels between 80-100dB will reveal a quality end result. I’m oversimplifying all of this a bit here because this is not only pure science… it’s also art."

Read the whole artcile here. Pretty interesting shit.

Brian Eno on Miles Davis and Context

I came across this amazing piece by Brian Eno where he looks at Miles Davis, his legacy, and how his context and persona may be more to it than the actual music itself.

"I remember seeing a thing on TV years ago. An Indonesian shaman was treating sick people by apparently reaching into their bodies and pulling out bloody rags which he claimed were the cause of their disease. It all took place in dim light, in smoky huts, after intense incantations. A Western team filmed him with infrared cameras and, of course, were able to show that he was performing a conjuring trick. He wasn't taking anything out of their bodies after all. So he was a fake, no? Well, maybe - but his patients kept getting better. He was healing by context - making a psychological space where people somehow got themselves well. The rag was just a prop. Was Miles, with a trumpet as a prop, making a place where we, in our collective imaginations, could somehow have great musical experiences? I think so. Thanks, Miles, and thanks everyone else who took part, too."

It really makes you think, "Aren't there a few otherartists that fit this description too?"

The whole piece is a must read. It was originally published in The Wire in 1993, but I came across it on this site MORE DARK THAN SHARK

Why We (I) Care About Musician's Deaths

Image Credit: Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic

Diffuser's James Stafford posted a great article on Why We Care About Musician's Deaths. Its a worthy read, but this really drives it home:

"When I hear that an artist from my personal soundtrack has passed, I’m taken immediately to the time and place that he or she was important to me. I relive that moment, be it good or bad, music playing in my head as clearly as it was at the time. I feel what I felt, see what I saw, smell what I smelled. Music is that powerful. When people who give us a gift like that are gone, it’s natural for us to grieve regardless of whether we really knew them."

You can read the full article here

Tower Records Founder Russ Solomon on Vinyl


The full article on Billboard is worth a read, but this really stood out to me. The bottom half is very debatable to say the least:

Why are people so romantically attached to vinyl?

I think it's basically the collect-ability of it. There's something today about the CD being somewhat ordinary while an LP is a package. It has artwork and liner notes. It's readable. Some LP collectors are really nutty. The cover is more important sometimes than the record.

What's your take on the people who say vinyl sounds better -- warmer -- than CDs?

This may be heresy, but I think it's more psychological than reality. Technically, you can't get the amount of frequency range at all on an LP that you can get on a CD. It's just impossible. But that doesn't mean vinyl records don't sound good and they don't sound warm and that there's something comforting about the clicks and pops. There's sort of a nostalgic feeling to the whole thing, which is a good thing, not a bad thing.

Music I've Slept On: Brian Eno's 'Another Day on Earth'


I remember quite well when this record first came out. I was still working at the now defunct-but-still-dearly-missed Tower Records on 4th street. I was only just discovering some of his records ('Music For Airports' series, 'Here Come The Warm Jets') and was curious to hear what this record sounded like.

My manager at the time, Jim, laid on the hype pretty thick, recalling that this is the first record Eno had recorded vocals for in (25 years?). We managed to get a few promotional copies on release day. Jim attempted to play it that Tuesday in store, however once it started playing it became pretty much inaudible (maybe that was the point?) over the noise of customers making their selections on New Release Tuesday.

Even as background music, it really struck me. Jim passed me one of the promotional copies and it soon fell into my regular record rotation for a few weeks. Then after that, I kinda forgot about it.

Not long ago I had that unusual nag in the back of my head urging me to listen to this record again. I was devastated when I discovered this record wasn't available on streaming services (well, at least Beats)*. Fustrated, I had to go dig up my iPod Classic (gasps!) and listen to this immediately.

The record has a calming but sometimes jarring feeling hanging over it. It makes you feel comfortable, but sometimes vulnerable all in the same space.

Well worth a listen if you're into Eno, or ambient music in general.

Key Tracks: "This", "And Then So Clear", "Just Another Day", "Under"

*Currently this record is out of print, but can be found on Amazon for a reasonable price.

Nomad ChargeKey [Review]

A few months ago I came across an advertisement somewhere in my travels along the interwebs for the Nomad ChargeKey. Initially I didn't think it was all that good of an idea, until I thought about it a little harder: How many times have I found myself near a computer or USB charger with no cable? The answer made me rethink the genius behind the idea of the ChargeKey. So I decided I was going buy one. As I was poking around the site, I found a tab called "Barter". To my shock, they were open to bartering for ChargeKeys. So I sent a request, offering either my graphic design services or my hand made record clocks (shameless plug: see for more on these!).

A few weeks passed, and I finally found a message in my inbox from Dave Moses saying "WE WANT A CLOCK!”


After working out details, confirming my address and which ChargeKey I want, I asked them what type of clock they wanted. Dave responded back with:

"I trust your judgement on the clock, just a badass rock band."

So I dug through my inventory and it was decided. I was shipping Dave a Led Zeppelin record clock.

I received my ChargeKey in a very timely manner and really cool packaging. I was even more surprised about how resilient it feels.

After a few months now of having it on my keyring, it's bailed me out of hundreds of jams where I really needed to charge my phone but didn't have my lightning cable on me. I’ve found it to be super flexible and really durable. As a former Genius Bar employee, I can tell you I've replaced more defective Apple Lightning cables than anything else.

With all of that said, the moral of my story is that the people at Nomad not only make a turbo awesome product, but they are the coolest people to do business with. I highly advise picking up a ChargeKey of your own, even if you use a silly Android.

You can pre-order one now at

The Key to Success is Being Yourself

I've been reflecting on some of my past efforts that didn't work and I had a breakthrough. They didn't work because I was trying to fit into a mold of what I though was what people wanted. I started a blog a while back that I've now put on hiatus. It's not that I don't like blogging, but I realized that what I was trying to do was mold myself into the archetypes that already existed. If your conforming to what's already out there, you're not going to stand out at all (and probably fail in the process).

What I've come to realize is the key to success is to take things you enjoy or love, even if they don't seem to fit together on paper, and make it your own.

For example, Jerry Seinfeld's "Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee". This is an intrinsically simple idea that revolves around three things Jerry loves:

Exotic Cars (I think the rumor is that he owns 50 cars) Coffee (who doesn't love coffee?) Comedians

All he does is film himself in a fancy car, grabbing a peer and talking about nothing over a cup of coffee.

And you know what? It's fantastic.

The next time you find yourself struggling with a project or an idea, make sure you're being yourself and focusing in on what you love.

Beats Music: My First Week

When Trent Reznor announced he was working with Jimmy Iovine and company on a music streaming / discovery service under the Beats brand, I was highly skeptical. For one, I can't stand Beats headphones or any of their audio products for that matter. I think they sound terrible and are far overpriced all things considered. However, I was able to check my bias at the door and give Beats a shot. Not because I was expecting it to be good, but the truth is no one has gotten this right yet. Pandora, Spotify, iTunes Radio: all of their algorithms suggest things that I would imagine an out of touch radio program manager or a major label marketing coordinator thinks I'm going to like. Just because they fall into the same genre on paper and I like A, does not mean I'm going to like B, even if they are "related".

So with mild hesitation I downloaded the Beats Music app. On first launch, I found the UI clean and refreshing. The intro process was really exciting. It presented me with these floating bubbles and was asking me to pick genres I did like, and hold those floating bubbles for genres I did not like.

After that, it prompted me to start picking artists I like from an interesting group of suggestions based on the genres I had selected in the previous menu. It took me a while to catch that I can choose my level of love for an artists by tapping on them again.

Once it was finished processing my selections it brought me to the main landing page with a shockingly impressive list of albums to check out and curated playlists that completely got me. It even suggested songs from artists I love that I overlooked years ago (see Sneaker Pimps Post Modern Sleaze). As the week has gone on, it hasn't let me down. Its pointed me in new directions and revived my love of curating awesome playlists.

Overall this is a huge win for music lovers. While this doesn't replace walking into Tower Records (am I that old?) and having a conversation with an employee who recommends something slightly left field of what you enjoy, this is about as close as it will get, and I'm ok with that.