Reading List for September 2021

Three quarters of the year is now finished and as I have done for the other months I have compiled the list of books that I have read.

The books I have listened to during September is a lot fewer than I did in August. In fact I only listened to eleven books, three of which were new. One of the reasons that there were so few is because the first four books I listened to totaled 140 hours and 34 minutes. Of course since I listened to them at around 2x, it did not take that long to listen to everything.

Overall, the average length of time per book for the month is approximately 20 hours and 2 minutes in length. With the longest being “The Company” and the shortest being “Blueshift”.

Disclaimer: The links below will provide a bit of a commission if you purchase anything.

Title Author First Listen
Fall of Giants (Century Trilogy Book 1) Ken Follett No
Winter of the World (Century Trilogy Book 2) Ken Follett No
Edge of Eternity (Century Trilogy Book 3) Ken Follett No
The Company: A Novel of the CIA Robert Littell No
The Once and Future Spy Robert Littell No
The Industrial Revolution (Great Courses) Patrick Allitt Yes
The Ultimate History of Video Games: From Pong to Pokemon Steven Kent Yes
Gray Mountain John Grisham No
The Reckoning John Grisham No
Painted House John Grisham No
Blueshift Joshua Dalzelle Yes
Total   11

Reading List for August 2021

It’s hard to believe that it is already September and that summer will be officially coming to a close later this month. For meteorologists though, September 1st marks the start of meteorological fall.

August was a busy reading/listening month for me. You may notice that there are a number of items that appeared on earlier lists. No, this is not an error. I did in fact re-listen to a number of books that I listened to just earlier this year.

The number of the books that I listened to earlier this year is 13. The reason for this is two-fold. First, someone brought up the Bobiverse books, and after they mentioned it, I wanted to listen to them again.

I also re-listened to the Interdependency Trilogy and the Old Man’s War Series, both by John Scalzi. I love the Interdependency series and then once I started listening to the series, I wanted to listen to the Old Man’s War series again, so I did.

I listened to 23 audiobooks total in August and seven of these were first-time listens. If you want something that is completely ridiculous, take a listen to Space Force by Jeremy Robinson, be forewarned that it meant for adults, due to language. It does not contain trigger warnings.

However, if you check out Nameless: A Renegade Star Story, be aware that there is a trigger warning, there are some major adult themes.

Disclaimer: The links below will provide a bit of a commission if you purchase anything.

Title Author First Listen
Project V.E.R.A. Tom Merritt Yes
D-Day: June 6, 1944: The Climactic Battle of World War II Stephen Ambrose Yes
We are Legion (We are Bob) (Bobiverse 1) Dennis E. Taylor No
For We Are Many (Bobiverse 2) Dennis E. Taylor No
All These Worlds (Bobiverse 3) Dennis E. Taylor No
Heaven’s River (Bobiverse 4) Dennis E. Taylor No
Space Force Jeremy Robinson Yes
Stan Lee’s Alliances: A New Reality Stan Lee Yes
Nameless: A Renegade Star Story J. N. Chaney Yes
Foundation Isaac Asimov No
Foundation and Empire Isaac Asimov No
Second Foundation Isaac Asimov No
Invasion (Alien Invasion #1) Sean Platt and Johnny B. Truant Yes
Searching for Extraterrestrial Life (Great Courses) Sarah Rugheimer Yes
Collapsing Empire (Interdependency Book 1) John Scalzi No
Consuming Fire (Interdependency Book 2) John Scalzi No
Last Emperox (Interdependency Book 3) John Scalzi No
Old Man’s War (Old Man’s War Book 1) John Scalzi No
The Ghost Brigades (Old Man’s War Book 2) John Scalzi No
The Last Colony (Old Man’s War Book 3) John Scalzi No
Zoe’s Tale (Old Man’s War Book 4) John Scalzi No
The Human Division (Old Man’s War Book 5) John Scalzi No
The End of All Things (Old Man’s War Book 6) John Scalzi No
Total   23

Review of ElevationLab’s TagVault Keychain and MagBase

ElevationLab is a company that has created a lot of third-party accessories. While many are designed for Apple products, the do have some other accessories for Android and even some general headphone accessories. Specifically for Apple, they have things like iPhone stands and docks. There are two accessories that I have purchased and thought I would review. These two items are the TagVault: Keychain and the MagBase. Let us start with the TagVault.

TagVault: Keychain

One aspect to most of Apple’s product is that most products provide a market for third-party accessories. One of the products that provides the largest variety of options is the AirTag. Apple provides some accessories that you can purchase for the AirTag, however the ones that you can buy from Apple may not be usable in all situations.

The TagVault: Keychain is an AirTag holder that can be put on a keychain, which is very similar to Apple’s AirTag Leather Keychain. One of the possible downsides of Apple’s AirTag holders is that they may not hold up to abuse. That is where the TagVault can shine.

The TagVault: Keychain is an AirTag holder that encloses the entire AirTag in a water proof case. The waterproofing is accomplished by having two hard plastic outer halves, with a waterproof ring between the two halves.

ElevationLab TagVault: Keychain opened up.

The two halves of the case are secured with four screws. When these are tightened down, this will protect the AirTag and with the ring, it will be secure the AirTag. Now, you may think that you would need to have a screwdriver that will fit the screws that come with the TagVault, but that is not the case.

Included with the TagVault is a tool to be able to easily remove the screws and put them back in place. This is quite helpful and a small touch which adds to the overall appeal of the product.

Having an AirTag enclosed in a water proof case will have some effect on the functioning of the AirTag. The biggest impact is that the sound on the AirTag will be reduced. According to ElevationLab it should be two-thirds of the decibel level of the AirTag outside of the TagVault. This is a trade off that has to be made for waterproofing.

Tip

TagVault Keychain included tool

When I was putting an AirTag in the TagVault I realized that many might think that you should completely remove all four screws. This is not necessarily the case. In fact, you may only want to fully remove three of the screws and leave one mostly removed.

Possible Future Improvement

One slight improvement that I would like to see with this product is that I would like to see screws that cannot be removed from case, but would still allow the back half of the case to be removed. This way, the screws would not have a possibility of being lost.

Now that we have covered the TagVault, let us move onto the MagBase.

MagBase

MagBase with extension cable

When Apple introduced the iPhone 12 line of phones, there was a feature that can make life a bit easier. That feature is MagSafe. MagSafe allows you to use the magnets that are in the iPhone 12 line and magnetically attach accessories. There are a number of accessories like the MagSafe Battery Pack, Wallets, and even PopSockets. The benefit of MagSafe is that nothing is permanent, since it is only magnetically attached.

MagSafe is not exclusively used for accessories, but can be used to charge the iPhone as well. Through the aforementioned MagSafe Battery Pack or by using a specially designed Apple accessory called the MagSafe Charger.

The MagSafe charger is a charging puck that will allow you to charge your iPhone through the built-in Qi charging. There are two downsides to MagSafe charger. The first is that it has a completely flat bottom. This can lead to the charging puck moving around when you want to place your phone on it. The second downside is that the cable from the Charging Pad is only 1 meter (3 feet) long. This is often not long enough.

ElevationLab has an accessory specifically designed for the MagSafe Charger called the MagBase. The MagBase solves both of the issues mentioned above. It includes a base for keeping the charging pad in one spot as well as a USB-C extension cable.

The USB-C extension cable is also one meter long, which makes the overall length 2 meters or 6 feet. This makes it much easier to place the MagSafe charger where you need. The extension cable works well and can be used for whatever you need because it is a USB-C to USB-C cable.

The MagBase itself is a medical-grade silicone that uses micro air bubbles to be able to keep the MagBase adhered to the surface that you place it on. When you place the MagBase you need to make sure that it is firmly pressed to the surface. It may sound like you are permanently attaching it, but you are not. You need to press firmly because this is where the micro air bubbles will be able to attach.

After you have placed the MagBase you can then place your MagSafe charger in the base. You are able to easily pick up the phone with the MagSafe charger attached to use it while charging. Alternatively, if you need to remove the iPhone from the MagSafe charger entirely you can slide the phone off of the charger. This is possible because the micro bubbles will keep the MagBase in place.

As mentioned earlier, the MagBase is made of medical-grade silicone. Because of this, your iPhone will not get scratched when you slide it off of the MagSafe charger while it is in the MagBase.

Longevity

The MagBase in itself is useful, however I have encountered an issue which may reduce its overall effectiveness. After about a month of usage the MagBase stopped staying in place on the night stand that I have it on, without me moving it at all. Cleaning off both the bottom of the MagBase and the nightstand allowed the MagBase to stay in place again.

Closing Thoughts

Both of these accessories work well. The TagVault will allow you to have a super sturdy AirTag holder that can stand up to the elements. Even though the sound that is emitted from the AirTag is diminished when in the TagVault, it is still audible.

The MagBase is useful if you want to be able to keep your MagSafe charger in one spot without

Neither of the accessories is expensive. The TagVault is $12.95 for a single item, $39.95 for a four-pack and $74.95 for a pack of eight. There is only one color available, black. This is likely the color that most will want anyway. Similarly, the MagBase is $12.95. It only comes in white.

I hope that ElevationLab is able to come out with additional colors in the future for each of these products. If you need a waterproof AirTag case, definitely take a look at the Tag Vault. If you think the MagBase might work well for your situation, definitely consider it as an option.

Reading List for July 2021

Now that the last full month of summer is upon us, it is time for me to post the list of titles that I read during July of 2021. Unlike my guess when I posted the Reading List for May 2021, I actually listened to more items than I expected.. Here is what I did manage to listen to. I listened to 13 titles. Of these, ten were new. The reason for this is that most of them, seven of the ten, were Great Courses. Great Courses are broken into 30 or 45 minute chapters, so they can be easily listened to in small chunks. Additionally, I can not listen to one for a few days and it will not be a problem to pick it up again.

Out of all of the items I listened to, I would recommend New Arcadia: Stage One by Eric Jason Martin, particularly if you like ’90s video games.

Disclaimer: The links below will provide a bit of a commission if you purchase anything.

Title Author First Listen
The Story of Medieval England: From King Arthur to the Tudor Conquest (Great Courses) Jennifer Paxton No
New Arcadia: Stage One Eric Jason Martin Yes
Powerful Women on the Middle Ages (Audible Original/Great Courses) Dorsey Armstrong Yes
American Monsters (Great Courses) Adam Jortner Yes
The Life and Times of Prince Albert (Great Courses) Patrick Allitt Yes
Firebreak Nicole Kornher-Stace Yes
Medical Mysteries Across History (Great Courses) Roy Benaroch, MD Yes
10 Big Questions of the American Civil War (Great Courses) Caroline Janney Yes
America’s Founding Women (Great Courses) Cassandra Good Yes
Notorious London (Great Courses) Paul Deslandes Yes
The Rise and Fall of Dinosaurs Steve Brusatte No
The Home Front: Life in America During World War II Paul Deslandes No
Exo-Hunter Jeremy Robinson Yes
Total   13

Reading List for June 2021

The first half of 2021 has now concluded, which means it is time for me to post the list of titles that I read during June of 2021. As mentioned in the Reading List of May 2021 post, I did end up listening to fewer items over the course of June than in previous months. Here is what I did manage to listen to. Out of the nine titles that I listened to, there was only one new title, the others I have previously listened to them. The reason for not listening to as many books is due to working on my books about Apple’s new operating systems.

Disclaimer: The links below will provide a bit of a commission if you purchase anything.

Title Author First Listen
No Matter How Loud I Shout: A Year in the life of Juvenile Court Ed Humes No
Invasion of the Body Snatchers Jack Finney No
Caves of Steel Isaac Asimov No
Agent to the Stars John Scalzi No
Kill Decision Daniel Suarez No
The American West: History, Myth, and Legend (Great Courses) Patrick Allitt No
The President’s Daughter Bill Clinton and James Patterson Yes
London: A short History of the Greatest City in the Western World (Great Courses) Robert Bucholz No
Turning Points in Medieval History (Great Courses) Dorsey Armstrong No
Total   9