Let’s Open: Intel Mini PC G2 (from AliExpress)

This video features a review and teardown of the Intel Mini PC G2 manufactured by — uhhh — Random Chinese Company 5000.

Did it ship with tons of bloatware and malware? Is it too good to be true that it comes with a full copy of Windows 10? Are the specs worth a damn in the real world? Watch me ramble on about it to find out!

If you want to buy this cylindrical masterpiece mediocrity, a link to the original AliExpress listing is below (which may be way out of date by the time you read this). Note that this is not an endorsement and I don’t receive one penny if you do end up buying it.

http://www.aliexpress.com/item/In-stock-High-Quality-Windows-10-MINI-PC-Host-32G-Memory-Bay-Trail-CR-2-4G/32596403800.html

Not every product from China is crap, but in the “Let’s Open” series I’m buying stuff that seems really good on paper, but has a whiff of the toilet about it.

Let’s [Quickly] Open: Outtek Qi Charging Stand

Lets Open - Outtek Qi Charging Stand

What follows is pretty much the script for the video. I mention this in case you have a sickening hatred for the medium of video, my voice, or are at work. Perhaps like you, I bought the Outtek charging stand for my night table. I usually charge overnight, and use my phone as my alarm. A stand like this would give me a much better view of the time and snooze/cancel controls in the morning. In the Amazon listing it looks quite sleek, and in person it doesn’t disappoint… too much. In real life it looks pretty good — though it lacks the luster of the pics in the listing, of course — but it also reminded me of one … Continue reading

LG Nexus 5X for Google’s Project Fi: Unboxing and Initial Setup

Another Nexus Phone?

If you’re interested in Project Fi or the Nexus 6 you might’ve seen my other video on the subject. This new Nexus 5X isn’t for me, but to get my wife off of the dreaded Verizon and onto Fi.

One thing I’d like to note for the historical record: At this time there is no “family plan” or its analogue with Project Fi. Fi is still invite-only (though Missus’ invite came through in about 2 days) and is strictly one subscriber per account.

And in case you’re interested in a cost comparison:

Cost of our Verizon plan w/2 lines: $147 / month (w/subsidized phones)

Combined cost of our Fi plans: $112 / month (includes phone payments)

Our Verizon plan had a shared 2GB/mo. cap, and each of our Fi plans is 1GB/mo. But we never used all of our Verizon data (less than half, actually) and the cost for Fi shown above does not include any refund for unused data. We should be looking at about $10/mo. refunded between us.

Of course, that doesn’t tell the full story: We had a contract with Verizon which allowed us to get subsidized phones every two years. While I’ve included the 24 months of phone financing payments into the Fi cost, the Verizon cost of $147/mo. does not include the roughly $500 spent on both of our previous phones. When you factor that in over a 24 month period the actual cost of Verizon service was $168 per month!

So here’s the complete value proposition, including an estimated unused-data-rebate and the cash portion of the Verizon phones amortized over 24 months:

Verizon: $168 / month

Project Fi: $102 / month

Of course there are probably cheaper and more efficient plans than our previous one with Verizon. In fact, Verizon has recently ditched contracts and is also offering zero percent interest loans for phone hardware just like Fi. Nonetheless, that’s how the economics worked out for me in changing providers.

Bullsh*t Product EXTRA – Boost Oxygen (Reviewing the Reviews)

I get it. At this point you’re probably thinking “What the hell is this guy’s problem? Two videos??

It’s not like I’m obsessed with Boost Oxygen. In fact, I’ve already moved on to my next fecal-laden product. But when I was shooting the Boost video I decided to go over some of the incoherent ramblings of idiots reviews on Amazon and Sports Authority that I found while doing research on this product. (Yes, I did a modicum of actual research believe it or not.)

Bullsh*t Product – Boost Oxygen (Supplemental O2 in a Can)

What is This Thing?

Hopefully you haven’t heard of Boost Oxygen. Hopefully you haven’t been tempted to plunk down your hard-earned cash on a useless tin can containing 95% pure nonsense.

Did I say “nonsense”? Sorry, I meant that’s it’s full of 95% pure oxygen. According to the manufacturer it’s the “source of life”, so you better go out and buy it now!

The manufacturer also loosely implies benefits to sports performance, general health and wellness, hangover recovery, and altitude sickness. That’s all bullsh*t, of course. Watch the video to find out why.

And Another Thing…

The video discusses two main reasons why this product is unadulterated B.S., but one thing I didn’t mention was the Food and Drug Administration.

You see, supplemental oxygen is used in medicine for all sorts of valid and useful reasons. In fact, it can save the life of someone if they’re ill. But medical oxygen requires a prescription, and Boost Oxygen, LLC is more than happy to point out that they can now sell oxygen in a convenient and practical manner — over the counter.

Yet they fail to mention that oxygen can be used to help you if you’re sick.

If they made a claim like that, then they would be selling a medical product and the FDA would be entirely up their ass about it. Instead, they can only make vague and unsubstantiated claims about the product’s benefits. The FDA exists for a good reason, and although they might be poorly funded and their enforcement powers may have been robustly castrated, they prevent companies like Boost Oxygen, LLC from promising life-saving effects that they can’t deliver. And that avoids killing the suckers that might buy it instead of their prescribed O2.

The bottom line here is this: Do your own research into any “health and wellness” product before you buy it. Hopefully that’s why you’re here, reading this post.

Don’t Forget the Links

I referenced some research papers, reviews, and websites in my video. You can find all of them here, which I’ll try to keep up to date when I get more information.

http://plr.io/1rb

And last of all, please let me know if I’ve made any mistakes or left anything out either in the comments below or on my YouTube video.

Bullsh*t Product – Defiant 6-Outlet Metal Surge Protector from Home Depot

Apparently I was so distressed by the non-metal “metal” Defiant power strip from Home Depot that I made a video about it.

If you hate videos but love text, then mosey on over to my previous post about this travesty of a product, and follow my adventures getting pissed off about their HDX Whatever Something Light.

How to Choose the Right “4K” (UHD) Monitor – Featuring the Crossover 404K

If you want to see a man in a basement ramble on about monitors for over an hour, this is the video for you!

I cover a wide variety of monitor specification-related topics, and how they all come together with the Crossover 404K. But don’t worry, even if the 404K is obsolete by the time you find this, it should still be helpful! (Maybe.)

Amazon Dash Button – Review, Rant, and Teardown

The Amazon Dash Button: Stupid or Dumb?

If you’re not an avid Amazon shopper then you may have missed their latest foray into consumer electronics: The Amazon Dash Button. It’s basically less than you can imagine: You press a futuristic garage-door-opener-type-thing and Amazon orders some crap to your door.

I’m not exaggerating. It’s a small device with a single button, and its only purpose is to order a single product of a single brand. My comparison to a garage door opener is quite apt, except that instead of opening a door you’re spending an arbitrary amount of money. Maybe it’s more like a reverse raffle.

And hey! If you did already hear about the Dash Button, then maybe you want to know what makes it tick, eh? Well, here’s your chance because I cracked one open and showed you the gooey, creamy center.

Crossover 404K – Unboxing and First Impressions

Here’s Part 1 in a three two part series of videos covering the Crossover 404K and off-brand Korean monitors in general.

It’s nothing fancy, but somehow I spent 20 minutes unboxing this thing. And yes, I did edit it down. So put on your best tray of popcorn, and hold onto nothing at all for this mildly unexciting voyage into a 40 inch “4K” (actually UHD) monitor.

Thanks in advance for watching, and please subscribe to make me feel better about what I’m doing with my life to catch the next videos in the series!

Making the Opening to the Project Fi Review Video

Hopefully you’ve already checked out my other video: Project Fi – From 1996 to Nexus 6. In that video I discuss Project Fi, the Nexus 6, and the cellular industry in general. It started out with an opening shot of twelve Nexus Sixes (or Nexus 72, if you prefer).

In another blog post and video I showed off my motion control slider project. I’ve been looking for excuses to use it in particularly “motion-controley” ways, and so I decided to composite a bunch of passes of the camera over my one Nexus 6 to make make many of them.

As you can see, it’s done in front of a green screen. That let me isolate the Nexus 6 in each pass, which I then layered on top of each other in Adobe After Effects. I just used a mirror effect in Adobe Premiere to create the left side of the “wall”.

I thought that this was a good use of motion control for compositing because it would have been nearly impossible (or at least very difficult) to make each of the 6 passes of the camera happen at exactly the same speed if I did it by hand.

My green screen and the holder for the phone (just a mini light stand covered in green masking tape) weren’t perfectly uniform, either in texture or lighting, so the matte came out a little rough and you can see some artifacts around the phones.

I’ll admit that I’m a lazy man, so rather than re-light and re-shoot the entire thing I used a garbage matte to get rid of the worst of it. With the footage having been sped up 3x and the white-to-normal dissolve thing, it’s not overly noticeable in the final product. (Or at least I’m hoping that you didn’t notice it.)

If you have any questions about how I put it together, or any advice for me on how to get a better result next time, please let me know in the comments!