Let’s Open: Creation Crate’s 1st Monthly Project (an Electronics Project Subscription Service)

The folks over at Creation Crate got in touch and asked me to do a review of their monthly electronics project subscription service. I like the whole “crate” concept, and I like electronics, so figured I’d go for it.

This is an unboxing, review, and assembly of the whole thing, cut down to an unusually-short 16 minutes or so.

Overall, I like the Creation Crate, though there are a couple of minor points with which I took issue. But if you’re looking for a gift that’s educational and fun (for those that find electronics to be fun, at any rate), then you could do a lot worse. I’m kinda basing this on my own childhood, but this seems like it would be perfectly suited to pre-teens and early teens, but would be good for anyone just starting out with basic electronics and programming.

If you’re interested, they can be found at mycreationcrate.com.

And in full disclosure: The kit was provided to me for free by Creation Crate, but this is not a promotional video.

I would have made the very same video and said the same things if I’d paid for the kit, and at a value of ~$30 bucks it’s not exactly enough for me to sell myself. On the other hand, if anyone from Tesla ever reads this, I will guarantee you a good review if I get to keep the car.

Let’s Open: Cheap “Smart” Watches from AliExpress: Ken Xin Da W1 and U Watch U80

This is a quick very long video about two “smart” watches, one which isn’t all that smart and another which is more of a phone than a smartwatch.

In case you want one for some reason, here’s where I got ‘em:

Bluetooth U80 Smart Watch (AliExpress)

KEN XIN DA W1 Smart Watch Phone (AliExpress)

Don’t take those links as an endorsement, though I do kinda enjoy the Ken Xin Da watch for music and emergencies on the go.

Let’s [Quickly] Open: Crappy NiMH Cells from AliExpress vs. Panasonic Eneloop Cells

A look at some possibly-fake random “NiMH” AA cells from AliExpress, comparing them to Panasonic Eneloop cells.

From my somewhat limited testing, these little green guys had an actual capacity of about 342mAh, which is less than 10% of their claimed specification of 3800mAh (which is probably impossible anyhow for AA-sized NiMH cells.

The part about them perhaps not being real NiMH cells? That’s not the weirdest thing. Unlike most of my AliExpress purchases, these shipped from The Netherlands, despite the seller being called Shenzhen DeKang International Trade.

Random Green Chinese Cells - Packaging Label

Let’s [Quickly] Open: ORICO 4-Port USB Charger + Teardown

I had been looking for a cheap and cheerful USB power supply for general charging of phones, tablets, and plenty of etcetera. Hence I ordered this ORICO 4-Port USB Charger with high hopes!

I never have too much optimism when it comes to crap from AliExpress, but not only did this ship from California, it also seems to be a really good buy.

Some of the testing I did on this was inspired by Clive at bigclive.com who does an absolutely obsessive number of teardowns on his YouTube channel. If you haven’t heard of him and you like that sort of this, give it a look! (Plus he has a much better accent than I do.)

And finally, as promised in the video, here are some full-size macro shots of the PCB:

_MG_2245_MG_2256_MG_2257_MG_2260_MG_2253_MG_2252_MG_2250_MG_2249_MG_2248

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

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.)

Home Depot: Another Review Rejected (Defiant 6-Outlet Metal Surge Protector)

Home Depot Power Strip - Review Rejected

They’ve Rejected Another of My Fine Reviews As regular readers of s.co.tt already know (basically just me), Home Depot had previously rejected my valiant attempt to warn other consumers about the fire hazard posed by one of their crap lamps. Now, I’m publicly complaining about it being done yet again. This time they’ve rejected my upstanding and surely excellent review of their "Defiant Metal Surge with 4 ft. Cord". Two Days Ago… Before I present my review, let me take you back to a special and turbulent period of time in my life: Two days ago. I went to my local Home Depot to pick up a couple of power strips. Rather than go for the cheaply-made five dollar plastic … Continue reading