Archive for the ‘Product Reviews’ Category.

Door Stoppers / Pinch Guards for Your Classroom

Problem: At my school, I often want to keep my heavy, automatically-locking door open just a crack so I and the kids can get back in. Using a traditional wedge door-stop works but it often gets stepped on, kicked or misplaced. Now I use these pinch guards. When not in use, I use Velcro (AKA hook and loop fasteners) on the wall to keep them close-by. All-in, they cost around $3 per door and they work very well!

Pinch-guard

Self Adhesive Hook and Loop Tape (Velcro)

Some tips:

  • Use long pieces of Velcro on both the pinch-guard and the doorway, it makes it easier to stick them to the wall quickly.
  • For the Velcro, remember to put the “soft on the surface“. It makes it easier to feel the rough part on the pinch guard and it’s good to establish that as the norm in your room, you can stick objects onto fabric (a good stand-in for soft Velcro).
  • If the glue on the velcro doesn’t hold, try stapling it.
  • I had tried similar, popular horseshoe-shaped pinch guards but they didn’t work well on my thick door with a strong closer.
  • It’s easy to see this white pinch guard on the door from a distance. Regular doorstops can be hard to see.

 

Update 10-29-19: These pinch guards are standing up to normal use but not rough abuse in my classrooms. A student doesn’t have to be strong to tear it apart. I’ve come across a very sturdy rubber-plastic door pinch-guard but I don’t know where to buy more! Where can I buy more of these? They were apparently provided for all the classrooms when one of my schools was renovated in ~2007. See the photo to the right.

 

Why I love SeatGuru.com

Here’s a flying tip, I always check my airline seats on SeatGuru.com before picking them. It lets me avoid bad seats and often get better seats at no extra cost. I just booked a flight to Nashville for my cousin’s wedding and got extra legroom seats on all 4 legs! My last flight, I avoided one of those dreaded limited recline seats!

Here I am booking my flight tonight :-)

Conair Weight Watchers Bathroom Scale

We got this bathroom scale. It measures body fat, water percentage, and bone mass.

I did some research about all the different scales, in the under-$10,000 category, they are all pretty much the same, fairly inaccurate but fairly precise. That’s to say it might measure your body fat percentage incorrectly but if it goes up or down, it will track it well. This one cost $30 and works just fine.

Here’s the manual: Conair Weight Watchers scale

Super Useful App: ClickmonitorDDC

ClickmonitorDDC lets you set up keyboard macros to change the brightness and volume on your computer. I initially got this freeware it to set the brightness on my new portable monitor that had no buttons, the AOC I1659FWUX 15.6″ USB-Powered Portable Monitor. I’m very happy with having this extra monitor too!

My favorite thing about using ClickmonitorDDC is that now my work computer and home computer now have the same controls for changing brightness and volume. It’s a little thing, but it makes me happy enough to send a donation to the author!

 

I set my hotkeys like so:

 

Update 11-19-18: I told the author about this blog post and he pointed out a typo I had made on my hotkey choice above. I have since fixed the typo. Thanks Martin!

He also pointed out “…monitorname should not contain spaces or use ” “. Theoretically you do not need to write full monitorname, normally a few chars will do, for instance B156X would work too.  There is a new version 5.5 on my homepage: https://clickmonitorddc.bplaced.net

Cricket Wireless and Google Voice

If you use Cricket Wireless, you may have found, like me, that Cricket Visual Voicemail sucks. Here’s how to change to using Google Voice voicemail.

Step 1: Get free a Google Voice account with a new phone number

Step 2: Set up conditional call forwarding like so:

**004*[your google voice number]#

Step 3: Have someone call you and the call should be answered by your google voice. Rejoice in the non-suckyness!

You can disable this forwarding with #004#

You can read more about conditional call forwarding for GSM phones here

 

Update 11-6-19: On the Google Pixel 2, I was unable to use the **004* code. It threw an error. So I did what a few websites recommended: Put the SIM card into another phone, type in the code above, put the SIM card back in your phone. Done!

 

Why do I say the Cricket Visual Voicemail Android app sucks?

  • I have to push most buttons twice for it to work (sounds crazy? it is!)
  • When I start playing a voicemail, the first 3 seconds play and then it stops. Hitting play (twice) restarts it as long as I’ve waited the magically determined amount of time. It’s crazymaking like having a big piece of lint under one of my keys!
  • It often doesn’t transcribe my messages
  • I’ve had these exact same problems for 3 years and 2 phones

 

Don’t Buy Huel

I signed up for this meal replacement drink called Huel. In brief, it disagrees with my tummy just like LOTS of other people. I called them several times asking for help and got no response. I’m now in dispute resolution with Paypal. Don’t buy Huel. It might work for you but if it doesn’t, you’ll have to pull teeth to return it.

Try googling “huel farts” or “huel stomach ache”. Or don’t and just trust me that this is a problem.