New Power Supply




The benefits of USB-C are now finally realised…. I have switched from having a small USB charger and a PC powerbrick over to a single, powerful power supply to convert mains power to what I need for gadgets…

Tommox Power Center 4:

Small size (a little bit bigger than my laptop “brick”, but with enough power to charge at max speed my laptop, phone, headhones, powerbank and Solis Roam (chained)

Rated power:75W
USB-C PD Output: 5V3A, 9V3A, 15V3A, 18V3A, 20V3A 60W max
USB-C QC 2.0 Output: 5V 2.4A, 9V 2A, 12V 1.5A
USB-A QC3.0 Output: 3.6-6V/3A, 6-9V/2A, 9-12V/1.5A
USB Standard Output: 5V2.4A Max per port
Dimension: 103.44*72.05*27.39mm
Here it is with the cables I normally keep with it. A beefy 1m 60W C-C cable for laptop or sometimes my phone. Short cables for charging headphones or powerbank or phone.
tommox4 own
So far (trips to Japan, Korea, Milan etc. it has worked flawlessly. The blue light is not too bright, and the unit does not get very hot so seems safe to keep on the floor when charging using aircraft power….
Reasons to change?  If it could be even smaller (New Gallium Arsenide power conversion is just round the corner). Maybe if it had an integrated Qi charger that would be nice – but not essential.
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Amazing new headphones

I have just switched to the Sony WX-1000XM3 wireless band style noise cancelling headphones.  They are amazingly good – and meet all my current requirements.

I was very happy with my Bose QC30 collar style headphones and my Samsung Level U Pro which were similar but less rugged and slightly better sound quality. Collar headphones can be worn almost all the time, and noise cancel while sleeping on your side, but the noise cancelling in an office or noisy street or even on the plane was not quite ideal. In addition they both use micro-USB which is away from my ideal of moving to USB-C for everything.

However, a pop-up Sony shop at Haneda (Tokyo) airport gave me a demo – and I was blown away by the improved sound quality, excellent noise cancellation and then the realization that they had USB-C charging.

Having used them now for more than two months – and about 4 long trips including a LHR-SIN-SYD-AKL run – I really love them. Enough to sacrifice the extra space they take in my bag (if not on my head!). They also keep my ears warm in winter when walking and the battery life is easily 24hrs.

Use as a handsfree device for phone: Excellent. Integration with Google Assistant: Good. “Cup hand” gesture control – slightly unreliable….


Reasons to change?  Hard to think of a reason – but if the NC could be even better, if they were waterproof or if they could wirelessly charge … that might be nice!

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Getting ready for a return to business…

After a gap of more than 3 years, its time for a return to activity in 2018.

Lost of changes to document:
* Addition of Rimowa IATA Topas Titanium to the fleet (with rationalization)
* Change of laptop to Dell XPS13
* Switch to Galaxy Note 8
* USB C Charging strategy
* New Powerbank (USB C strategy)
* Bathbag change of strategy (and the 20cm rule for liquid bags …)
* The end of the tablet

coming soon …

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New Rimowa Cabin Bag – Multiwheel Cabin 56cm Salsa

British Airways and many other airlines (but not Ryanair for example) have increased the max dimensions of their carry-on baggage from the IATA standard 50cm x 40cm x 2ocm up to a quite chunky 56cm x 45cm x 25cm (the same as the “USA” 22in x 18in x 10in)

For multi-city trips with no chance to do clothes washing, especially if going from winter to summer in the same trip, the normal Rimowa is the biggest hand luggage possible in the old size, but a bit tight – necessitating good use of the Scott eVest.

The new bag has a lot more capacity, 52litres vs 33litres in the IATA size so I decided to get one and see how it fares in real life. (i.e. will it sometimes be denied boarding?)

cabin-multiwheel-56cm-salsa 810.56.32.4

I got a great deal in the winter sales at–cabin-multiwheel-56cm-salsa–834-56_09–aa.html

Will report on its usage later

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Inventory of gear – 2014 Beginning

rtwI had a 7 day trip (triple red-eye, 4 nights in hotels.  LON-HKG-MNL-TYO-SFO-LON) and therefore had to take quite a bit of stuff. MNL was 30C, Tokyo -3C …

While in Manila thought it would be a good chance to take stock of the current kit – and think though what strategic changes might be possible in 2014.

For example – except for the Laptop, everything is now Micro-Usb powered, including my battery pack. What might happen later this year. Do I need a laptop? What is my main charger?  What about cables, bathkit etc. etc.

Here is what I was carrying (excluding clothes):


A few new items – not yet reported on…

Tablet/Phone spider stand/clamp
Huawei 4G wifi hotspot
MicroUSB to HDMI and full USB adapters for tablet & phone (to use big screens/projectors)
HTC USB charger

Its all looking pretty optimal but I can’t help thinking a phone, a tablet and a laptop might be overkill.  Currently the Galaxy Note tablet would be the one to lose (it does not have UMTS/4G and I need to do powerpoint & excel power tasks).

What else?  Why cant the Anker charge the laptop?  Do I have too many bags?

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Upgrade Headphones – From Bose QuietComfort15 to Parrot Zik

Upgraded my headset from my 3 years with Bose QC15  to the Parrot Zik
Prime reasons for the change (and you might want to read my 2010 post about the need to move away from the Bose):

(1) MicroUSB charging – no more need for batteries / chargers
(2) High quality Bluetooth incl. phone mode fully compatible with Galaxy S4, Galaxy Note and Toshiba Laptop – and car (no need for Bluetooth headset) – cable free
(3) Easy to use touch controls

Other nice features:
– Pause and then drop to standby if you lift from ears
– excellent noise reduction and sound quality
– better comfort than Bose (soft and around ears)
– long battery life
– full control / ANR / equalization / battery monitoring from phone or tablet
– strong and tough (no cable to tangle)

Slight drawback:
size (but tough enough to avoid case)
naughty to use Bluetooth headphones on some flights …

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Anker Astro3 12000mAh External Battery

I have been using an external battery with 2 USB outputs for a year or so. Mainly for charging my phone when on an extended mission away from USB power, e.g. walking around or on planes without seat-power.

I just upgraded from a smaller using to a really nice piece of work – an Anker Astro 12Ah battery with 3 outputs.  The capacity numbers are a bit silly because they don’t say how much energy (e.g. Watt Hours) and you can’s compute that without the voltage they use for the batteries.  Nevertheless this unit will charge a Galaxy Note Tablet twice or a Galaxy S4 or Note 4 times at least – so nice and juicy.

The power INPUT (Charge) is microUSB which means compatibility with the “world standard”.  Use the same cable for charging and powering.



The main reason I went for it was the amazing price on Amazon:


£36 !!!

I have been using it for 1 month now and it works really well – powering a Note 3 and a Note 10.1 (2014), Bluetooth headset, Parrot Zik headphones and various iPhones, iPads etc that friends or colleagues need boosting.

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Candidate for Addition: Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 (2014 edition)

I have started to see if I can use a Galaxy Note tablet to replace paper in my travel gear.

(1) Reduce bulk / hassle / untidyness
(2) Ensure all docs captured are synced to cloud and therefore recoverable on loss
(3) Read in the dark on flights
(4) Need less space on planes
(5) More secure vs printed dead tree
(6) nice to share with others or can add an HDMI lead & project

2 trips so far – and its looking good.

8-10hr battery life is fine – top up with Anker power pack if needed.
Use as quick email device as well – can be used while standing / eating – better than laptop, slightly better than phone.

Will let you know progress – the 12inch Note Pro is also tempting if it brings big productivity gains.

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Upgrade Phone to Samsung Galaxy Note 3

Having played with the Note 3 at a trade show, I was quite impressed, but a few moments using the S-Pen feature suddenly blew me away with the extra functionality:

– Handwrite notes on any screen or image and pass on to colleagues
– choose bits of web pages, maps, mail to collect in a scrapbook
– use the pen to enter text which is amazingly well converted to digital text (from writing)
– draw a rectangle and see an app appear in it as a floating window.

Finally, I just love the bigger screen, and the phone itself is still very pocketable,
yet you can use it “in flight” as a comfortable video viewing or kindle reading device.



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Upgrade to Samsung Galaxy S4

Super happy with my Galaxy S3 – so when the S4 came along with slightly bigger screen, faster and a few more goodies I had to go for it.

Certainly have not regretted that change.  Battery life still over an extended day.


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