Monday, July 6, 2015

Mr. Beams MB360 Wireless LED Spotlight

The Good:
Gives enough light
Easy to install
Works with QUALITY rechargeable batteries
Sensor works well

The Bad: 
Plastic could be thicker
Swivel neck is a weak point
Could be brighter

I needed a light for my garage because I have a freezer and fridge there and wanted an automatic light when I opened the door into the garage. 

The instructions were easy enough to follow. With the two D cell batteries, the light is not light. It would not hold up with drywall anchors, I had to drill into a stud in order for it to stay in position.

Be very careful when changing the batteries. I recommend taking the screw out where you adjust the angle and take the whole light head off to change the batteries. If you try to change the batteries while it is attached, I could see the part where the neck is attached snapping.

This is a single LED that is magnified. It is as bright as a really bright night LED night light. The motion sensor is good enough. If it is bright area the sensor won't trip but they why would you need a light? It trips on cue when it is dark.

I've been using high quality 9000mAh rechargeable NiCad D cells. It has lasted over 3 months of average use.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Halo Screen Protector for the Samsung Galaxy S5

This is a review for the Halo brand screen protector for the Samsung Galaxy S5.

        I've had other screen protectors for other phones and tablets. The protector is a glossy screen protector so it will show finger prints but I have noticed that the prints do not show as much as other clear screen protectors. I've used the "fingerprintless" or matte but they take away from the clarity of the screen.

          I liked that this came with several things that most companies don't provide. It included several sticky tabs to remove dust and an alcohol prep pad. They provide simple instructions and a url to watch a tutorial which is a nice touch however, nothing beats experience when applying a screen protector.
           The screen has to be COMPLETELY dust free. I curled the protector from the sides and put it down on the middle of the phone and worked my way out to the sides.
The pack comes with three screen protectors and they say it has a lifetime warranty. I will be testing that as I have a small scratch on mine right now. When I applied it, I messed up on the first and used the second. I still have one more but would like to save that.

           The package on the front says, "Premium Japanese Protectors". I'm not sure what that means other then the company tried to convey they are "Japanese" quality. They are made in China.

Nyrius Songo Link Wireless Bluetooth Receiver

This is a review for the Nyrius Songo Link Wireless Bluetooth Receiver.

             I switched to a Samsung Galaxy S5 from an iPhone 3GS. I know, I know, a really old phone. My 2009 Infiniti had the 30 pin connector that worked as an ipod for my phone so when I changed phones I needed a new solution.

         I tried a 30 pin to USB connector. That did not work. I read one Amazon review that said it this Bluetooth Receiver worked with his M35 which has the same connector. This unit requires a powered source for it to work AND to change the battery inside the receiver.

         Unfortunately, it did not work on my 2009 Infiniti. It is a powered source but I think the Infiniti needs the feedback software telling the car that it is connected to an ipod. I tried the receiver on my Altec ipod player and it worked fine. It had good range and played well. I just wish it worked with my car.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Corolla NC Beach Realty Seabreeze 4 unit 572

The Good:
Close to the beach (two blocks)
Good price (off season)
Air conditioner
Wifi (once I got it working)
Relatively quiet
Outdoor second floor porch
Programmable thermostat

The Bad:
Not that clean
Dated furniture and decor
Dirty utensils
Dangerous Stairwell
Customer support
Broken fixtures and furniture
Bad ceiling fans
No backyard
Tetanus BBQ

We decided to try renting a house on Long Beach Island in North Carolina since so many people make the trek. The house we stayed at was located in near Corolla (Cor ale a according to the locals). It was our first time renting a house. Definitely try to rent during the off season because the prices are half. If you can, try to arrive on the island in the morning, because traffic is terrible since there is only one bridge onto the island.

What you need to bring:
Soap (dish washing, handsoap for each sink, laundry detergent, dishwasher soap)
Paper towels
Toilet paper

What they provide:
Wifi router
Some pots and pans
Some utensils

The house has a nice garage that is covered. Most of the houses don't have a covered garage. It is really nice since it will rain at least once when you are here toward the end of August.

You have walk up a set of stairs to the first floor which has all the bedrooms.

Bedrooms have that lovely 70s wood paneling decor which meant they didn't want to upgrade to something this decade or they went with a cheap durable option. I'm thinking the owner just never got out of the 70s. 

This bedroom in the corner of the house had the wifi router which was behind the TV. It is a plus that they offered a wifi router but it was a negative that it was really hard to work. The router had to be reset to the original specs in order for any of us to log in. It's a good thing I knew how to do a hard reset  on this router. I was temped to flash DDWRT on the router but I didn't want to waste my time on something I would only use for month. 

I am always concerned when a place has wood paneling. You never know what's underneath. I guess that is the same for dry wall but at least you know it was updated within the last 20 years.

I should have brought my lava lamp. It would gone really well with the paneling.

You do have to navigate a winding staircase going up to the main floor that has the kitchen and living area. It was scary to do and even scarier going down but there was plenty of wood paneling to cushion your fall.

I did fall once or twice and then I got use to it. Oh look, more wood paneling. 

Try to go down or up when you're a little tipsy.

We put in a service call to fix the outside light because there are no street lights and it's pitch black at night. When they came, we were not in the house and they locked a deadbolt to the house which we didn't have a key for. When we called, the woman at the desk didn't "have" a car and we had to drive to the place to pick up the key. Annoying and the staff was not friendly.

There was minor things that were broken like this bathroom lamp and the vinyl blinds and missing and broken pieces. Nothing too major but it made the place look run down. 

The owner really does love the 70s. This was either his old receiver or he picked this up on Craig's List for free. This model came out in 1974. It was actually a very good receiver when it came out and didn't sound too bad. It does with the 70s decor.  

They did offer a moder dvd player. And by modern I mean 1990s dvd player. It worked. 

They actually did have a flat screen tv and really nice B&W speakers. If they had a better receiver it would sounded even better. You really don't come down here to watch tv so I thought it was a nice addition. 

This was the most modern item in the entire house. It was builder's grade thermostat which was nice and worked well. 

The kitchen had some appliances. Everything needed to be clean though. None of it was really ready to use clean. Be prepared to do cleaning for the first hour when you are there.

The living area next to the kitchen. 

This house had two decks. One off the top floor and one off of one of the bedrooms on the second floor. 

It had a wash off area outside. It really needed to be cleaned. It had a bumper crop of green algae and moss growing.

The bathrooms were, you guessed it, 70s themed. Everything worked well. I wish it was cleaner though. 

This is what they called a ceiling fan which looked like it was built in the 50s. It was tiny and spun very slowly so there wasn't much air movement from the fan. 

This is what they called a backyard.

This was their "picnic" area.

This was the grill they had you could use. Tetanus anyone?

Overall it was a good experience but I'm not renting this house. I wouldn't recommend it to anyone else either unless you get it really, really cheap. I can't imagine paying double of what we did to stay there.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Honeywell Wi-Fi Smart Thermostat

The Good:
Internet connected.
Bargain compared to other Internet smart thermostats.
View and make changes on any smart phone or tablet.
Shows indoor and outdoor conditions.
Change face colors.
Different levels of security to make changes.
Good instructions.

The Bad:
Bit complicated to set up.
Have to create a Honeywell account.
Can't change the color of frame of the thermostat.
Can't set holds for periods of days.

Standard thermostats that comes with houses (even new houses with "energy" efficient rating) comes with pretty basic thermostats. I had a touch screen one from Honeywell in my old house that was the latest and greatest back in 2008. I needed a new one since the thermostat that came with my current house was a 2 day, 4 event and I needed at least a 5 day one. The number of days indicates how many types of days you can have, a workday, weekend, home early day, leave early day, etc.
I decided to stay with Honeywell because they are a very well known brand that I've never had a issue with. Some of these newer ones like NEST are unproven to me. I wanted something that I could rely on with a great history.

I do admit the NEST thermostat does look "cooler" than the tradition rectangle shape. I was going for function and reliability rather than fashion. 

This does look pretty cool.

Installation was really easy. If you have never done one before, don't worry. They provide pictures and step by step instructions. They even give you stickers to mark the wires so you know how to connect them. It is really simple. 
What is not as simple is connecting it to your wifi and registering it with Honeywell so it works properly. You do have to create a Honeywell account in order to access the thermostat over the internet or cellular signal. Another username and password to remember. Ug. It's the standard register, send confirmation through email, verify the email and then you'll be able to use over wifi.

The menus for setup and pretty straight forward and self explanatory. I do notice a lag sometimes when connecting over 3G. It will say that unable to connect but then you try it again and then it connects. It could that my phone is 6 years and is just slow. I connected on an iphone and there is an app in Google play store that I can use with my tablet. 

I like the feature that it shows you what the outside conditions are as well. You do have to give your location a name. Most people would probably choose home but I wanted something different. 

You can set each day to be different, so this can be a 7 day, 4 event thermostat. If you know all the menus you can do it manually or it will guide through each step.

You can control and set features for the system, fan and schedule. I do wish you could put a certain temperature on hold for a certain amount of days. This was a feature on my old thermostat that I really liked. If I was going away for a weekend or was on vacation, I would use this feature. Of course, since I can access it over my phone I can change the temperature any time I want but I'll likely forget it and come home to a really hot or cold house. 

This thermostat is about $190 on Amazon. It is almost double of a none wifi thermostat with the same features but cheaper that the NEST by about $60. You can change the color of the face which is a really nice feature. They have some pretty nice coordinated color schemes or you can create your own. It probably has 16 total colors so you can't go too crazy but you can change it to suit your mood or wall color. I do wish you could change the dull grey color of the outside of the unit. You can create a password so that only you can change the thermostat or you can partially lock it so you have to go into the advanced menu in order to change the temp. This is a great feature to ensure no one else is messing with the temperature.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

How to Train Your Dragons Action Figures


The Good:
Looks like the actual figures in the movie
Movable parts
Came with fish

The Bad:

These toys were from Toy's R Us and they were quite expensive in my opinion. They had good color and were generally constructed well. They had a lot of moving parts which added to the "playability" of the action figures and were more entertaining than plain figures.

The wings swept back and came forward.

Toothless was very detailed with the saddle and his wings swept back as well.

What the six year really liked was the fact it came with fish for them to eat an another larger fish.

Review by 6 year old:

I think that the fish are colorful. I think that Toothless is awesome. I think that the red dragon looks awful and the biggest fish looks awful.