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About this blog

I love gadgets and technology.  This a place where I will share some of the things I come across, buy, or find fascinating.

Entries in this blog


Laminator and Sheets

Get your very own laminator and lamination sheets cheap.  And why not?  The price is right.  I picked this up for a little project.  I won't use it all that often, but the price was cheap enough that it's worth it.  Check it out!


I remember when I was actively playing AD&D and I needed dice.  They were so expensive back then.  $10 for 1 set.  You can now get 7 sets for that.  or 20 full sets for $30.  Crazy. 

I've gotten Wiz dice before.  I have a few sets on all the desks I work at it.  They are great for randomizing things or using the handy roleplaying charts for writing details.  lol.


I definitely recommend these if you are dice obsessed.  Or if you like shiny objects.   Or if you like pretty baubles.  Or if you are looking for your own precious with little numbers on it.



Phillips Hue

What can I say about Hue?  Man, do I love these lights.  They are powerful and handy.  The fact that there are apps you can use to play around just adds to the fun.  They also tied into Alexa easily.  As I mentioned in the post on Echo a few weeks ago, I use Alexa with my Hue lights constantly.  I have programmed different scenes so that if I want to watch a movie, it'll just the lights very low and turn them red so as to not distract from the screen. 

I mentioned playing... here's an app that flashes the lights to the music.  This is in my mancave:


This was made before I filled the rest of the bookshelf.  The posters on the wall have separate blacklights focused on them that are mounted on the back of the movie screen. (The blacklights are controlled from the Wink Home automation)


Nest Protect

One of the things I was interested in for protecting my mancave was a smoke detector that connected to the Smart Home.  Nest Protect is one that does.  It is tied into my Wink Home Automation system, in addition to having the Nest App itself.  If the smoke detector goes off, it triggers alerts to my phone as well as setting off the alarm in the house.  (since my mancave is in the barn, not in the house)

This thing works well and doesn't suffer from issues the first generation of smart smoke detectors did.  (Like alarms you couldn't turn off if they triggered the wrong way).

So, yeah, this is just one more tool in my home automation arsenal.


So, I installed a Nest at my mother's last May.  Let me tell you, this thing has been really good at lowering costs.  It has also solved so many of my tech problems with mom.  Now she just texts me and I can adjust her thermostat from my phone when I'm anywhere.   Since I have to do all of her technical support, this makes my life so much easier.   The funny thing is I have it tied into Alexa as well.  That means I can sit in my living room and adjust the temperature in her house just by telling Alexa to do it.


Oh, if you go this route, power companies often have an energy saving rebate for getting a learning thermostat.  I know mom got back $75 in a rebate for that.


I definitely like the Nest product.


When I started my Home Automation journey two years ago, I did a fair amount of research on what was available and what was compatible with things.  There are a couple of standards out there, but Wink seems to support most of them.  They were the ones I went with when I constructed my mancave.  I have two hubs currently.  A gen 1, which is in the house and a gen 2, which is in the barn.  I have the lights in the barn tied into the system now.  For example, if I want to turn on the big floodlights around the barn, I can just tell Alexa to turn them on and everything lights up like a prison break.  There are also other great things you can get... The garage door opener is tied into the system, so I can use my phone to open the door.  Apparently, Alexa support is coming soon so I can just tell Alexa to open the door.  Alarms, door sensors, motion sensor, dimmer switches, the smoke detector, Alexa, Hue Lights, all sorts of things.  I'm pretty happy with it and will be expanding the amount of compatible switches and dimmers I add.


Echo and Echo Dot


So, I picked these up on sale over the Christmas season this year.  I've really gotten into the habit of using them.  I have Hue lights in my living room and in my mancave and it is so nice to say "Alexa, turn on the lights," when I have my hands full.  Or to turn them off.  Or, since they are Hue, change them to any color as the mood hits.  I'll do a separate post on Hue soon.


I also get my weather now from Alexa, usually a couple times a day.  It's really handy.


She can do other things as well, and is getting better all the time.


As for the devices themselves... if you are planning on using them for streaming stuff like music or audio books, then I'd strongly recommend the Echo.  If you're just asking about weather or interacting with smart home devices, then the echo dot will do.  As it stands at the moment, I have an Echo Dot in my living room, an Echo in the Family room and an Echo Dot in the mancave.  I'm watching sales and I'll be deploying more Echos so most of the house is covered.


Have any of you tried these yet?


These days, so many of our devices are charged and powered by USB chargers.  I've gotten to the point now that pretty much everywhere I sit, has a wireless charger pad or a charge cable.  And I mean everywhere. I have a ton of these things.  Well worth it.  I shopped around with a lot of different options and I'm really hooked on the quality of the Anker stuff. 

Be really careful with the wall chargers out there.  Some of them overheat really easily.  The Anker has been the only one so far that works well.




There are many occasions where I find myself wanting a headset.  Almost always while I'm working on something.  This goes directly against the fact that I hate things on my head, especially things that touch my ears.  So I went trolling over at Best Buy to see if I could find something that felt good on my head while meeting the needs of a good sounding headset.  This thing does the job!  It has microfiber mesh around memory foam for the padding.  They sound great and the mic works as it should as well.  I now have two of these things.  One for at work and one for at home.


The simulated Dolby 7.1 audio sounds great.  The mute button on the left ear works too.  Since this is USB, the whole thing is powered off the pc.  If you like flashing lights, this thing as a lot of them.  You can set the colors to whatever you want.  When you mute the mic, the mic lights up with a red light showing you that you are muted.


I'm very pleased with this headset.


So, as I mentioned yesterday on the blog about the new bed I ordered, my back has been pestering me for the last week or so.  On the suggestions from several friends from work and here, I picked up a Tens unit.  Since I was so in need of relief, I picked it up at Walmart (ick) and paid a lot more than Amazon for the pleasure.  But let me tell you, that little thing really really helps with muscle issues!

There are a lot of them out there and I'll be doing research on them.  For now, this little Omron unit has helped a LOT.




As I mentioned in my blog yesterday, I like stuff.  I like gadgets and I like new technology.  I figured I'd start posting some of this as affiliate links.  If you are buying something off from Amazon here in the United States and you get to the Amazon site after you link from here, then we get a percentage of whatever you buy.  It's a pretty cool Affiliate arrangement.  So, I'm ordering this new memory foam mattress tonight along with accessories.  My current boxspring and mattress have seen better days and are contributing to my irritated back.  So, now is as good a time as any to make the leap.


My coworker bought the queen size version of this mattress last year and both him and his wife love the thing.  I've got a few memory foam pillows that I really like, so this wasn't a hard sell for me.  So, here it goes. 


Remember, the links above are affiliate links.  If you buy the stuff above, we get a cut.  If you click through to Amazon from the links above, we also get a percentage of everything you end up buying.  A great way to support the site is to click to Amazon from one of the links you see on the site.


I'll make a follow-up post to let you know what I think of my new purchase.


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