Another iPhone screen protector saves the day

These Omoton glass phone screensavers are really doing their job.

Before riding off I thought I put my iPhone 7+ back in the chest pocket of my motorcycle jacket. Half a block later I learned I had missed the pocket and the phone slipped out, hitting the asphalt.

After parking, I picked up my phone and saw that the screen protector had a spider web of cracks in it, but the phone it self was just fine. I rode home, peeled off the broken one and put on a new one.

Got a few months out of that last one. I was heading to Apple for a new screen every 3-4 months, so this has been a wonderful change.

OMOTON 9H Hardness HD Tempered Glass Screen Protector for Apple iPhone 8 Plus / iPhone 7 Plus, 2 Pack via Amazon Read the rest

Thoughts on the Nintendo Switch from a Gameboy aficionado

As an insomniac, I take my gaming seriously. When I get to a point in a cycle of sleeplessness where I’m too tired to work or keep track of where I am in the book I’m reading, I turn to video games to keep me from delving too deeply into the dark thoughts that creep into my skull in the middle of the night.

After waiting for over a year to see if it would prove popular enough with developers and players to make it worth picking up, I finally broke down and bought a Nintendo Switch – that I have an upcoming assignment that involves testing Switch accessories made it easy to pull the trigger, despite its steep price tag here in Canada. The last Nintendo console that I bought was the Gameboy Advance Micro. I still own it, 13 years later, and play it on a regular basis. After tinkering with the Switch for just over a month, I’ve got some thoughts on the major differences between it and my much-loved GBA Micro that I thought might be fun to share.

Cost of Ownership

The GBA Micro wasn’t cheap, back in the day. I remember paying around $200 for it in Vancouver, BC. But aside from the games I’d buy for it, that was it. There was no need to purchase anything else. The Switch? Not so much. After paying $300 for it or, in my case, $400 Canadian, there's still a ton of cash that needs to change hands to ensure a solid experience with the console. Read the rest

I could not put down Tom Miller's 'The Philosopher's Flight'

Magic is barely understood science in Tom Miller's The Philosopher's Flight. A United States engaged in the early days of World War II both eagerly adopts Philosophy as everyday technology, while rejecting the few able to use this magic in as the United States always does. Read the rest

I've been using my $120 Amazon 10" Fire HD Tablet for 5 months and love it

I use my Amazon Fire HD 10 every day. At $120 it is the bargain tablet I wanted.

My bright red Amazon Fire HD 10" tablet is amazingly darn useful. Compared to the Apple equivalent I've saved $100s of dollars on features I didn't want to use. I bought this tablet as soon as it was announced, and it has become a pretty constant companion. Read the rest

Folex is the best stain and spot remover I've found

Years and years of pet ownership have led me to declare Folex as the absolute best for cleaning up messes on a carpet or piece of upholstered furniture. Read the rest

When cleaning slides, film or just my lenses, I use PecPads

When cleaning off slides for scanning, or the lenses on cameras that haven't been made for decades, I use PecPads.

I used to ruin positives when trying to ready them for scanning. Then I was told about PecPads. I have not ruined a slide in years and years. I also use the non-abrasive gauze-like pads to clean the lenses on my treasured Rolleis.

I use microfiber clothes on my glasses, but superstition keeps me using PecPads on photographic equipment.

PEC-PAD Lint Free Wipes 4"x4" 100per/Pkg via Amazon Read the rest

Entertaining science for stoned people

These hand boilers are a hell of a lot of fun, even if you aren't stoned.

Not just fun, this is science! Use your body heat to teach a child about distillation! Every child needs to know how to create the water of life.

Honestly, I love my little hand boiler. I keep it next to an arm chair that friends seem to like to space out in.

Westminster Hand Boilers (Colors May Vary) via Amazon

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I tried Odlum's Irish Brown Soda Bread mix

I tried the popular Irish brand Odlum's Irish Brown Soda Bread mix to see if it was better or easier than my standby recipe. Read the rest

Cheap gaming headset just as nice as my expensive one

This $33 Bengoo stereo gaming headset is every bit as nice as my $100+ one.

Gaming and marijuana do not mix. I break headsets and controllers pretty regularly, every few months something gets dropped hard, or yanked off my head by a dog running past and catching the cable (OUCH!!!) I get tired of replacing them.

This Bengoo headset feels every bit as nice as the expensive SkullCandy set it is replacing. The plastic is just as plastic. The ear cups and padding are plenty comfortable. The sound and volume control seems very much the same.

The headset has a very nice cable that annoyingly has permanently affixed stereo and USB jacks. I have used the velcro cable tender that came with to hold the un-used cable end (USB for me) out of the way. The volume and mute controls are super functional and in a good place on the cable.

The mic works well. Adjust the sensitivity if it is not picking up your clear and cogent call-outs.

There is minor price variation based on the color you pick. The unit is labeled "Kotion" who appears to be the manufacturer. I am not sure what a Bengoo is, a Benji is my brother.

I can direction-ally identify footsteps in Fortnite again.

BENGOO G9000 Stereo Gaming Headset for PS4, PC, Xbox One via Amazon

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'The Unbitten Elbow' by Sigizmund Krzhizhanovsky

Reader recommended, and absolutely delightful, The Unbitten Elbow depicts the fervor and zelotry of the Soviet state as it rots from the brain to the heart.

Sigizmund Krzhizhanovsky is another fantastic Soviet era writer of dystopic fiction. Folks in Russia were already living in the worst dystopia most Westerners could imagine. In The Unbitten Elbow, we see an old Russian proverb, that the elbow is always near but impossible to bite, tested by the strength of an entire nation.

Absurdity abounds in this 10-15 minute read.

The Unbitten Elbow by Sigizmund Krzhizhanovsky via Amazon Read the rest

A self-winding winder will wind your self-winding watch

This automated watch winder automatically winds my favorite watch!

I rarely wear a watch, I just don't remember to put them on any more. My favorite watch is a self-winding one and when I did go to put it on it has always stopped. I never remember to set the watch until I actually tried to use it, and then it is too late.

I decided to try one of these self-winding gadgets, and it works. Once a day the mechanism spins the watch in the correct direction for about 5 minutes. The watch stays wound and my superlative chronometer with a perpetual movement keeps moving.

I use the app Emerald Time to set my watches to an atomic clock.

[Newly Upgraded] Versa Automatic Single Watch Winder with Sliding Cover via Amazon Read the rest

Stormproof survival matches light in awful weather

Matches that will light just about anyplace there is oxygen can come in really handy.

Keep this waterproof case of storm matches in your survival kit. I have one in my camper and another in my emergency bag. As long as there is still phosphorus on the matchstick, these suckers will light and burn.

The plastic case comes with an o-ring and extra striker pads, so you can buy a box of extra matches and refill it.

UCO Stormproof Match Kit with Waterproof Case, 25 Stormproof Matches and 3 Strikers via Amazon

UCO Stormproof Matches, Waterproof and Windproof with 15 Second Burn Time - 50 Matches via Amazon Read the rest

A $16 pad to stop stray cat litter from migrating about the house

This wonderful litter trapping pad keeps litter from being scattered all over my home.

I figured out my cat needed a 2nd litter box, and felt pretty smart. A few days later my home office was full of litter that had escaped the box on his paws and fur, I had forgotten to put a pad under the front of the box. I felt pretty silly. I tried a towel, because towels are pretty useful, but it didn't really help much.

This rubber mat does the trick.

Cat Litter Mat | XL Super Size | 35" x 23" via Amazon

Image via my home office Read the rest

Fantastic $13 set of accessories for using and cleaning your cast iron

These three tools are invaluable when cleaning up, or cooking with, your cast iron skillet.

This threesome of scraper, chainmail scrubber and a silicone hot-handle-holder is pretty great. I use all three of these tools frequently, and certainly paid more for them individually. The pot-handle and hard plastic scraper are wear items and will eventually be tossed, but the chainmail should outlast you.

Chainmail will not hurt your cast iron.

Stainless Steel Chainmail Scrubber XL 8x6, Cast-iron Cleaner + Silicone Hot Handle Holder via Amazon

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A simple cordless handset that sounds good and doesn't record voicemail

I needed a new cordless handset for my home POTS line. I wanted no-frills, just a phone. This works wonderfully.

Every decade or so I need a new phone for my landline. My former AT&T model's reception had degraded so badly, from drops of both the base and handset, that I couldn't move around the house while I talk. I like to pace. Pacing is how I can talk in the phone. I needed something new.

Most of the units I was seeing had VOICEMAIL built-in. I do not want VOICEMAIL built in. I hate VOCIEMAIL and rarely listen to recordings from even my best of friends. My cellphone and phone service both offer highly entertaining, and wildly inaccurate, transcription services! Why the hell would I want to listen to a message? Most messages offer me time-shares or other bullshit. Lately I've been receiving fake threats that the government will be placing me in physical custody. Voicemail is like spam from Internet forums. ANYWAYS... this unit has no recording service.

The handsets are light. The sound is great. The range is as far as I want to go inside my tri-level home, and I can walk around my deck and garden with no problems. I've even gone the 100 fairly obstructed yards or so to my car in the drive way and could hear my Mom the whole time. The rechargeable batteries are absolutely readily replaceable, but should hopefully last a year or two between swapping out.

The phone doesn't have the most awesome set of ring-tones ever, but who cares? Read the rest

Binder clips are incredibly handy

I keep a tin of binder clips in the kitchen, on my desk and in my tool bag. They come in all kinds of handy!

I didn't think I'd be writing a love song to binder clips today, but they just come in so amazingly useful. I clip ziplock bags to the side of my sous vide vessel. I clip bags of chips shut. I can use large size clips to hold shoes together as I'm gluing them -- and small ones on more delicate projects.

Binder clips have been used to hold trim and moulding in place as I glue or hammer it back up, after my dogs ripped it off the walls. Binder clips have held my scuba mask's strap, and acted to guide hoses and hold them in place all over my BCD.

There are 100s if not 1000s of uses, like clipping papers together.

Binder clips.

Staples Binder Clips, Assorted Sizes, Black, 60-Pack via Amazon Read the rest

This water filter is going in my bug out bag

You should have a Sawyer Mini water filter in your emergency supplies.

As a life-long camping gadget freak, the Sawyer Mini may be one of the best tools I've seen yet. Weighing in at only 2oz the Mini will filter 100,000 gallons of water with only minimal maintenance. No awful to use UV lights, no crazy big pump. Just squeeze a bag of water through the filter into your waterbottle.

The base kit comes with one 16oz reusable squeeze pouch. You'll likely want to get a few larger bags, I like the 64oz for fairly easy filling in a river or lake, and also being a decent size of water to process in one quick sitting. If you have running or gravity fed water that needs filtration, you can also splice the Mini in.

The Mini has a .1 micron filter, and Sawyer claims "this filter was tested to 10 million parts of bacteria and one million parts of protozoa without a single breakthrough — the highest testing level for filtration." The water doesn't taste like chemicals. I remember a boy scout Sierra backpacking trip and iodine purification tablets galore. Gah!

For under $20 no emergency survival kit should be without one of these filters.

Sawyer Products Mini Water Filtration System via Amazon

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