| Cult of Mac

Belkin’s Energy-Use Gadget Will Change How You Live [Review, Earth Day]



This is how much it costs in electricity to run my 13″ MacBook Pro per year, if it were continually left on: $11.20. My 32-inch flat screen TV? That’s a whopping $100/year, if left on; but when it’s off, it’ll only drain to the tune of about 75 cents per year (similarly, my MBP only drains about $2/year in sleep mode).

How do I know this? I’ve been (lame-pun alert) charging around, giddily testing everything in the house with Belkin’s Conserve Insight, a brilliant, $30 tool that measures the energy use of any gadget or appliance that plugs into a wall outlet  — and the results have been (oh, and again) electrifying enough for me to really change my habits.

Solio’s Rocsta Solar Charger is Flexible, But Lean on Juice [Review, Earth Day]



The iPhone is a phenomenal tool for a bit of tromping about in the bush; navigation, stargazing, photographing/filming and even staying alive can all be accomplished with the help of the little gadget. That is, if it’s got any juice left.

Solio’s Rocsta ($80) — a solar panel mated to a thin slab of a battery in a sleek, flat, user-friendly housing — seems to have been created with a nod to minimalist adventurous types who want a rugged, no-fuss solar charger aong on their next Iditarod or photo shoot for National Geographic.

Take Your MacBook Completely Off-Grid, Says Voltaic


voltaic mat

Another sign I should move to San Diego: After playing around with their 15-watt solar panel and a 6oWh HyperMac battery, the folks at Voltaic have found the two perfectly compatible — meaning a MacBook can be taken completely off the grid, and theoretically used without ever needing to be plugged in. Voltaic says you should get about 45 minutes of runtime for every hour in the sun for a 13″ MB/P (much less for more power-hungry units). You can even use the HyperMac to power your MB while it’s charging.

The 60Wh HyperMac battery is $170, and Voltaic’s 15-watt solar charger is $200; that’s just under $400 to create a MacBook that’s perfectly happy out in the boonies (as long as the boonies are bathed in lots of sun).

We’re Amped About These New Charging Bags From Voltaic, Powerbag [CES 2011]


Jeff Crystal, COO of Voltaic, with their new Spark Solar Tablet Case.

If a bag is on display at CES, chances are excellent it’s got some kind of snazzy tech feature. Newcomer Powerbag caught our eye with its line of four handsome bags that all include batteries for charging iDevices (or other peripherals); Voltaic —  we featured their OffGrid backpack in our Holiday Gift Guide — just launched an iPad case with high-efficiency solar cells slathered all over one side.