Archive for the ‘Product Reviews’ Category.

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.

Lunch at Cal Academy: 1 star

The California Academy of Sciences is a wonderful, magical place, just don’t buy your lunch there. Bring it instead.

I went with Megan and Abigail a few weekends ago. Ordering food is very chaotic, the food is very expensive but not tasty. A 1/2 pint of milk and a somehow banana cost $6. I think we spent $42 and left hungry. The dining room is loud, and jam packed (granted, it was a Saturday at noon) with poor, weird lighting. Bland tuna fish sandwich. Bland chili. Seeing the broken feedback machine really got my goat.

Autohotkey Is So Useful

Autohotkey is mind bogglingly useful! Autohotkey is a free, open source Windows program that lets you do simple and complicated scripting with keyboard commands. I’ve been using it since about 2001. I use it a zillion times a day. I couldn’t imagine not having it.

Some things you can do with it:
– Have a second copy-paste clipboard
– Do a “paste” and strip out the formatting
– type often used strings like addresses, phone numbers, and email signatures with just a few strokes.
– make a window on your computer to be always on top of the other windows
– start a favorite program (Chrome, Word, Calc, whatever) with a single keystroke
– Type today’s date with a single keystroke

I’ve set it up to do about 50 commands. If you want to do things on the computer faster and easier, you might want to use it too. Just download Autohotkey and put some of the scripts I have below in your setting file. There’s a bunch of ways to do that, here is a tutorial.

Here is my settings file. Just look at the first line of each script to see what it does.
Continue reading ‘Autohotkey Is So Useful’ »

Turbotax

Turbotax saved my family $5,000 this week, I’m very happy! If you want to try it, here’s a $10 referral bonus/coupon.

http://share.turbotax.intuit.com/s/lee05

 

I Still Love Boomerang For Gmail

I’ve been using Boomerang for Gmail for the last 5 years (previously) and it is still the most useful part of my email. It’s my auxiliary brain. What do I do with it?

  • It sends me a reminder for messages that don’t get a response within a certain time: “Hey, we were chatting last week and I never heard back from you about…”
  • I can write a message now and deliver it later: Written Saturday 2:16am but delivered Monday 8:55am, “Don’t forget Joe, we’re doing that thing at 11!”

I welcome you to try it. You get 10 free “boomerangs” which will give you a feel for whether you’ll like it or not. Here is a referral link for a small discount for us both. The $50/year is money very well spent. http://www.boomeranggmail.com/referral_download.html?ref=v9hwu

Recommendation for Compact Washer and Dryer

Recommendation for Compact Washer and Dryer.

We may be replacing our compact (24″ wide) stacked washer dryer very soon. We have a vent. Can you recommend any particular models?

I long for when I used to have a tiny apartment washing machine. That was a completely awesome appliance! But no use in looking back, I’m a family man now!

Cards Against Humanity: Donald Trump Bug Out Bag

The Cards Against Humanity folks are the best! They created the Donald Trump Bug Out Bag.

The most wonderful thing is that they actually sold 10,000 Trump bug-out bags. It’s this beautiful money-where-your-mouth-is comedy thing… or is it comedy? Is it?

Here is the compelling invite I found in my inbox:  I love the last line… “are you afraid enough to buy whatever we’re selling?”

Trump invite 2

 

And the actual sales page:

(right-click to open this large image full size)

Trump Bug Out Bag

 

ZAP L-Series Remote Control Electrical Outlet Switch Manual

Megan got me a remote control switch set for Xmas. It works great.

It’s the Etekcity Wireless Remote Control Electrical Outlet Switch for Household Appliances (Learning Code, 5Rx-2Tx)

Instead of trying to hold onto the manual pamphlet, I put it here:

Etekcity Essentials
ZAP L-Series

Uses 1 12V / LR23A battery in the remote control
maximum load of 10 amps
transmit frequency 433.92MHz

Programming the outlets
– Note: the outlets are pre-programmed for immediate use, but the configuration can be customized to meet your needs.

To program a remote control transmitter and outlet switch receiver:
– Plug the outlet switch into a socket and turn it on.
– Press and hold the programming button on the right side of the outlet until the LED indicator begins to flash.
– Release the programming button and then press the desired On or Off button on the remote.
– The pairing is successful when the LED indicator stops flashing.

Resetting an outlet (cancel all pairings)
To cancel all pairings so that no remote control will control it:
– Remove the outlet from the power socket.
– Press and hold the programming button.
– Plug the outlet back into the power socket while continuing to hold the programming button.
– Hold the programming button for approximately 5 seconds until the LED indicator begins to flash.
– When the LED flashes rapidly several times and stops, the outlet has been reset.