About Scott

I'm a computer guy with a new house and a love of DIY projects. I like ranting, and long drives on your lawn. I don't post everything I do, but when I do, I post it here. Maybe.

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.

One of the Problems with Smart Thermostats – ecobee3 Extra

Check out the video for a more in-depth description of the problem, but the short of it is that most smart thermostats (and a lot of smarthome devices) rely on someone else’s servers in order for them to be accessed remotely. And because of this, “remotely” doesn’t just mean when you’re out of the house, but inside the house as well. If the “smart” device company ever goes out of business or decides to stop supporting whatever you own, then you effectively will no longer have an internet-enabled thing.

This isn’t true for all devices. Some do not require servers-that-are-elsewhere (or “the cloud” as it’s known) so that they can operate. But a surprising amount do, and that’s something to consider when buying an appliance, thermostat, Echo, or full home automation system. Will the company running those servers still be around in 5 years? In 10 or 20 years? And even if they’re in business, will they support it? With something like the Amazon Echo, that’s not much of a concern. But with a $250 thermostat from a “new” company it could be a factor.

ecobee3 Smart Thermostat Install & Review

My old style programmable thermostat died last weekend, and so I rushed over to Home Depot to get a replacement. I wanted a smart thermostat mainly for its wifi connectivity, but also wanted to try out the truly “smart” aspect of it: Optimizing heating and cooling cycles to suit my needs.

They did an excellent job with the user interface, making setup really easy. And their app, though slow to connect at times, is overall well-designed and easy to use. So far I like the ecobee3, but my main concern is with reliability/longevity, and that of course remains to be seen.

Crazy USB Cable Packaging – Anker Powerline+ USB-C Cable

I decided to start another YouTube channel. Not because my main channel was getting out of hand, but because I want to bang out a bunch of quick videos just to get practice. And also there’s stuff that I cut out of some of my main videos that I wanted to share.

Annywhoo.. This video is about an Anker Powerline+ USB cable that came in a needlessly elaborate package.

NiMH Battery Roundup – Eneloop, EBL, Sunlabz, Amazon, and Other AA Cells Tested

This video goes ridiculously in-depth on the subject of 10 particular models and brands of popular NiMH cells. It covers my recommendations, as well as an extensive dive into my testing methodology.

Downloads

As promised, here’s the spreadsheet that I mentioned in the video. Both links are to the same document, just in two different formats.

Google Docs: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B1fu729GXZJybWR0VWNHeDFTWHc/view

Excel File: NiMH_Capacity_Analysis-Scott_Dotdot.xlsx

My Recommendation

Not to spoil the video, but if you’re here for a recommendation: At the current price of $21.99 for a sixteen pack, the EBL 2300mAh cells are the way to go. However, I’d also recommend the high capacity cells by Amazon and Sunlabz.

I own a bunch of Panasonic Eneloop cells, and they are reliable, well made, and meet or exceed their advertised capacity. I’d absolutely recommend Eneloops or Eneloop Pros, at the right price. They can be catastrophically expensive, which is the only reason they aren’t my first recommendation. The EBL and Sunlabz cells give much better value for money.

Amazon’s Customer Service and a Toilet Go Hand-in-Hand

Amazon Toilet Racer Man

Here’s the thing: I don’t need to contact Amazon’s customer service often, but when I do they’ve always been responsive and extremely helpful. So I’m not going to lambaste Amazon in this post, but I do want to tell a story of a horrible customer service experience that’s not just a result of a bad rep but is indicative of a deeper problem. The Toilet In an incident that was far less dramatic than you’d hope, my toilet tank cracked and was leaking slowly onto the floor. Obviously the ideal solution would be a new tank, but I had an Eljer triangle toilet that’s discontinued, and there aren’t a ton of options for a triangular corner toilet. Needing to have … Continue reading

Razer DeathAdder Button Swap (Left- to Right-Handed Mouse)

Razer DeathAdder Button Swap

I’m a leftie, but all my life I’ve used right-handed mouse in my left hand. I needed to replace my old Microsoft Optical Mouse, and found the DeathAdder Left-Handed Edition. It’s the perfect size and shape for me, but they did the weird thing of switching the left- and right-click buttons. It’s easy enough in most any operating system to swap the buttons in the settings. However — at least with Windows — the buttons are only changed locally. So when connecting to other hosts via Remote Desktop the buttons revert to their hardware configuration. That’s a no-go for me, but I liked the mouse so much that I decided to mod the hardware instead. Fortunately, it’s very easy to … Continue reading