The Keurig HOT 2.0 K575 Plus is a Disappointment

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First World Problems I gotta start off by saying that I know that this is an extravagant waste of time and resources. I didn’t make this video because the K575 was slightly annoying, but rather because it baffles me that they became worse at designing coffee machines than before. It’s doubly confounding because Keurig has based their marketing on the K575 being a “2.0” brewer. As in a (supposedly) new-and-improved follow-up to their original line. Yes, it has a couple of advantages over the older B70 Platinum that I used for comparison. However, it seems that they increased the features without increasing the cost. That says to me that they designed these new brewers on a budget. A schizophrenic software … Continue reading

Cadiz – Rental Car Rally 2017: Los Angeles to Lake Havasu

Rental Car Rally 2017: Los Angeles to Lake Havasu

You may ask, “What in the shit is this?”

This is a chronicle of my experiences at the Rental Car Rally.

It’s both easy to explain: It’s a costume-party-road-trip-photo-hunt-food-fight.

And it’s rather hard to explain: You form a team, rent a car, buy some eggs, decorate the car, decorate yourselves, and then follow vague clues through random parts of the southwest for 12 to 18 hours. I guess it’s not hard to explain. But it’s hard to put into words why it’s such a damn good idea.

One thing is for certain: It’s nothing like real life.

Anyone can do this. The more people, the more fun it becomes. Sign up now (unless you’re an asshole). If “YOLO” could ever be used for a substantial purpose, it’s this.

(And no, I’m not getting paid to say anything here.)

Ricky Gervais “Yememememeh” Ringtone

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Download It Yemememememeh If it opens in your browser as a sound file, just right-click and hit “Save As..”, or whatever the equivalent might be on your system. Huh? This is a bit unusual for this site, but I decided to create a ringtone from a brief clip of audio on The Ricky Gervais Show. I figured I’d share it, in case anyone else wanted this kind of nonsense in their lives. Why? In the episode, Mr. K. Dilkington argues that every noise as been used at least five times. He then goes on to ask why things can’t be made to make a different noise to the ones they make. Ricky insists that things make a noise because the … Continue reading

Power Strips Whatever Something Something: Furman SS-6B vs. Belkin Surge Protector [G9S12FG9]

Oshkoshbegosh!? Another long ramble about power distribution thingies for the home and/or office?!

Well it’s true. Hopefully my next video will not be about this subject.

This compares the relatively-generically-branded Belkin Advanced Surge Protector (which actually bears the handy model number of BE112230-08, like it came out of some kind of dystopian nightmare) to the easily-spoken Furman SS-6B (which itself sounds shockingly dystopian anyway).

TechnicalPro PS9U Fire Hazard? (Yes, IMO) + Completely Safe Cyberpower CPS-1220RMS

I was searching for an “affordable” power distribution unit for some video-related equipment in a rack. The Technical Pro PS9U looked very appealing with its multiple light-up switches on the front, because they made me all sentimental and wistful for the days of switched under-monitor PDUs.

It took a dark turn when I looked at the negative reviews on Amazon, wherein one person uploaded pictures of a melted-down unit. I still bought the PDU, not because I wanted to use it, but purely because I wanted to take it apart for YouTube.

And indeed the Amazon review turned out to be accurate. I would not feel comfortable using the Technical Pro PDU in my house. In my opinion as a random guy on the internet, it is a fire hazard, is poorly made, and shouldn’t even be on the market.

For my actual use, I also bought a Cyberpower CPS-1220RMS PDU. It’s a bit different than the Technical Pro in that it doesn’t have independently-switched outputs, offers surge protection, and is rated at 20A rather than 15A (though “rated” is a strong word in the case of the PS9U). That’s just on the surface, though. Inside, the Cyberpower shows every mark of quality and clearly supports its 20A rating.

In the video I open up the Cyberpower, just to show you what a quality PDU should look like. The comparison between the two products is day and night, even though I got the Cyberpower unit for a mere $15 more (on sale). It’s absolutely worth the higher price (even when not on sale).

The bottom line here is that when it comes to power distribution — be it rack-mounted or a typical power strip style — you should spend the extra money to get the higher-quality unit. Your fire insurance provider will thank you, as might your family (if it comes to that).

EBL AAA Battery Capacity Comparison

This is a follow-up of sorts to my NiMH Battery Roundup video, except this time I’m looking at triple-As, and only one brand.

I was vexed by the fact that Amazon had EBL AAA cells with an 1100mAh capacity for only 7 cents more per cell than the otherwise-identical 800mAh variety. That didn’t make sense to me, and besides, 1100mAh is rather high for a AAA package size. Hence I bought a bunch of each and tested them.

The Bottom Line

The 1100mAh cells appear to be a big fat lie. The average capacity for those clocked in at 980mAh, with one cell showing as low as 946mAh and the highest at 1005mAh.

The 800mAh cells were respectable at an average of 809mAh, and less of a variance between cells.

Despite the fact that the “1100mAh” units were well under capacity, they are of course the better deal coming in at 852mAh per dollar with the 800mAh cells giving 749mAh per dollar.

I wish I had the time, inclination, or money to pit a whole bunch of AAA brands against each other, but I’m satisfied in imagining that quality scales from my AA cell results.

Tenba DNA 8 Messenger Bag – A Quick Look and Haphazard Review

OK, I confess that I’ve only had this bag for about a day. However, this was a love-at-first-sight-type-thing. Not that I’m capable of loving a messenger bag, but you know what I mean.

I feel like I have to make this disclaimer a lot, if only because I’m naturally skeptical about anything with a whiff of promotion: I did not get paid for this positive review. I wasn’t promised any favors. And I had to pay $60 in Scott Bucks to B&H for this bag (which was apparently a great deal). In other words, this whole video came at a cost to me in time and money. So if it sucked I’d definitely rant extensively about it (and will if it sucks later).

The video pretty much says it all, but I will be updating this post if the bag falls apart or causes some grave mishap. If this sentence hasn’t been struck through, assume all remains well with this thing.

Oh, I should mention that this is frighteningly close to being a murse. Mostly due to its diminutive size and its proportions. Hence if you don’t want to be accused of carrying a man-purse, you might want to stay away.

Solderable LED Xmas Tree Ornament – Christmas the DIY Way

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I got this because it looked like a cool little project, and a neat (if tiny) gift for the missus. So that’s about the extent of my motivations. If you’re trying to put one of these together, I’m hoping that this video might answer a couple of your questions. It’s not really meant to be an educational video, though; More a demonstration of what’s involved in assembly for anyone considering a purchase. Speaking of which, if you want one you can pick one up for about 5 bucks over at banggood.com.

And in case you were wondering, this is not a paid advertisement. I actually paid them for this thing, so it’s pretty much the opposite. (If this kit were complete crap I would tell you.)

2D Version

3D Version

For viewing with Google Cardboard, Samsung Gear VR, Rift, etc.

A couple of people have rightly told me that you can just set a 3D video to 2D viewing mode, and therefore don’t need to upload 2 versions of the same video.

There are a couple of problems with simply uploading one 3D video, however:

  • Because the two sides of the video are compressed horizontally, viewing it in 2D stretches one of the “eyes” to full screen. That means it’s much lower quality with half the horizontal resolution versus a regular 2D version.
  • As far as I can see, YouTube defaults to anaglyph (red/blue) mode when browsing 3D videos on a regular monitor. That’s a potential turn-off for any viewer that doesn’t know about the switch to view it in 2D instead.

If I’m off base here, please let me know. I’m still learning this whole 3D creation process.

Switched Port USB Hub from AliExpress

This one went up on the ol’ Extras channel because, to be completely honest, it’s not a very good video.

I know you might ask, then why bother uploading it at all? Or, why not re-shoot it?

Good questions, and ones I ask myself. But I figure that a) there’s a lot of worse crap on YouTube anyway, and b) it’s not really worth re-shooting because the subject matter is never exactly gonna be thrilling. This is a bit of a tangent, but here’s why I’m making YouTube videos in general: Because I like making videos.

I don’t so much like being on camera, though. I like planning, lighting, camera setups, editing, and all the little stuff in between. So reviewing a random piece of crap from AliExpress is just a vehicle for video production.

I also used to be a big-time perfectionist, and that would stop me from getting anything done. A few years ago I’d never have been able to release this video, and I would have driven myself crazy over it.

So now you get to sit through a sh|tty video in the interest of my self-improvement. And that’s the internet.

3D Rig – Discussion and Assembly (feat. Blackmagic Micro Studio 4K Cameras)

2D Version

3D Version

What??

I had the idea that my videos would be better in 3D. Well, maybe not better. More involved to produce, anyhow. And since I make videos mostly for the love of the process than because I like being on camera (I hate it), more complexity equals more fun! Well, maybe fun is the wrong word. But, you know… something.

There are other reasons, too. I cover all that in the video. :)

I also get into the reasons for choosing Blackmagic Micro Studio Cameras (small, light, 4K, genlock) and why I’m using both a Video Assist 4K and an Atomos Shogun. Which isn’t due to a very good reason at all.

Importantly, the 3D version of this video is purely experimental. This is the first 3D video I’ve ever made (aside from some test shots), so please have pity on me if it gives you a head ache or makes you vomit in a combination of rage and illness. I’m just getting started, so besides the pity I’m open to any and all suggestions to improve things going forward!

$10 Credit Card Sized Cellphone (Matrix Relarded)

Here’s a tiny cellphone from Aiek (your top brand for cheap-ass mini phones, maybe). I got it for $10, and surprisingly it works pretty well!

I forgot to mention in the video, but it’s GSM and definitely compatible with AT&T’s network. (I tested it using H2O Wireless, but they’re just a virtutal provider on AT&T’s system.)

You can pick one up from Banggood, but unfortunately the price has jumped up twice since I bought it, and now it’s at an unfortunate $18.47 (October 8, 2016). I’m sure it’s sold elsewhere, so hopefully you can grab it for ten bucks from another source.

The free delivery option was surprisingly fast to me here in NY at just over a week.

This definitely won’t be replacing your iPhone 7 or Google Pixel, but as a backup/emergency phone to keep in a handbag or backpack it’s pretty cool.

Also, Matrix Something Something Relarded.

Etekcity “Outdoor” Collapsible “Camping” LED Lanterns of Doom

Here are some collapsible LED “camping” lanterns from Etekcity. The reason I put “camping” in quotes is because there is no sign of waterproofing on these things.

I suppose if you’re camping in the desert they’d be fine.

Wait, no they wouldn’t be. Because one out of the four didn’t work, and the soldering was abysmal. If you want to see details, I do a tear down in the video.

Putting a Line Voltage Multimeter in a Receptacle Box (VA4K vs Shogun Test)

I got a Volt/Amp/Watt/Wh Meter from Banggood and wanted to put it to some use. So I decided to stick it in the back of a receptacle box, making some kind of metered extension cord.

This video shows the process of doing that, but is also a test of the Blackmagic Video Assist 4K vs. the Atomos Shogun for a review I’m working on. It’s a literal side-by-side comparison of the two. Though there’s no difference in quality (there shouldn’t be — they were both recording in ProRes HQ via SDI), I recorded about an hour of footage and neither one showed dropped frames or sync issues during that time. So far so good.

More to come on that later..

Coming Soon: Blackmagic Video Assist 4K vs. Atomos Shogun Comparison Review

I’m currently comparing the Blackmagic Video Assist 4K and the Atomos Shogun, and will be doing a review shortly. If you have any questions, comments, or things you’d like to see me cover please let me know in the comments (here or on YouTube).

I know that the VA4K is a current product, and the Shogun is a discontinued previous version. So why compare them? Well, because I’m focused on people like me: Low-budget shooters that want good equipment for their money. The VA4K is priced comparably to a used (but excellent quality) Shogun. So for a particular budget, those seem to be the most compelling options for a 4K recorder.