Like Bees, the Yellow Jacket Power Strip (by Coleman Cable) is Terrible

Another sh*tty power strip

Welp, they’ve done it again. Any by “they”, I mean people that make poor quality electrical devices. Specifically Yellow Jacket, which is a Woods brand, which is a Coleman Cable brand, which is probably somehow owned by either Warren Buffet or the Koch Brothers.

I got this for $16.22 during an Amazon lighting deal, and even though that’s not a terrible price, the poor quality construction and the basic lie about the materials is what really angers me.

Join me as I disassemble and then curse at this poor excuse for a power strip, in my newest installment of first world problems.

Enterprise Network Switches for the Home: Ramble feat HP Procurve 5406ZL

The HP Procurve 5406ZL and…

…a whole lot of other crap, vis a vis my opinions on used enterprise-grade networking hardware for the home (or small-ish business).

I purchased an HP Procurve 5406ZL on eBay mainly because I “need” 10GbE on my home network, which is almost recursive because it’s for editing 4K video, which I need for editing this video.

The bottom line for me is that you can’t beat the feature/price ratio when it comes to equipment like this. That is, if you can afford the resultant power bill.

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).

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!

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.

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.

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

Choosing a Disk Drive: HDDs, SSDs, and Then Some

This video covers almost everything you need to know about HDDs and SSDs to make an educated choice before pulling the trigger on a purchase.

Well, almost everything. This video is primarily directed at the home user trying to get some additional storage, whether that be an extra drive in their workstation, a NAS, or a full file server. If you’re trying to choose between SAS drives for a large-scale datacenter installation, then you probably know this stuff already.

As I promised in the video, here’s some links to my HDD TCO worksheet from 2013 (though I may have updated it in the interim with a couple of “new” drives). Please download the Excel version and use this for any drive that you want. If you make any interesting changes or large scale updates, I’d love to see it, so please let me know!

I also added a bunch of notes so you know what I meant with all the field names.

HDD Total Cost of Ownership Worksheet (Google Sheets – View only)

HDD Total Cost of Ownership Worksheet (Excel – View and edit)

JetBlue: Password Encryption is for Suckers

JetBlue: Encryption is for Suckers

The Background The Missus and I flew to Florida a couple of days ago, and as usual we took JetBlue. The only eventful part of the flight was a pleasant arrival 30 minutes ahead of schedule. The flight crew had mentioned that the satellite TV was out of commission, and that all in-flight movies would be free for the duration. I thought that was a good way of handling the issue, and figured that was then end of that. However, the next day we both received emails from JetBlue stating that we’d been signed up for their Travel Bank, and that a $15 credit had been applied to both of our Banks in exchange for the inconvenience of the malfunctioning … Continue reading

Vitality Air Joins the Pile: Selling American Air to China

Jurassic Park - One big pile of sh*t (I mean supplemental O2)

Air in a Can This is a follow-up of sorts to my Bullsh*t Product: Boost Oxygen video. If you don’t know what that is and you’re too lazy to click the link (is that click-baiting or just click-dicking?), Boost O2 sells oxygen in a can for various phony baloney health benefits. I mentioned in the video that Boost wasn’t the only company shilling this sort of thing, and indeed I was right: News stories about Vitality Air have been making the rounds on social media in the last few days. And the stories are on relatively legitimate websites like CNBC, Fortune, and CNN. Fortunately the stories have primarily been about how clever a business model it is to sell cans … Continue reading