SteveO Reviews

they call me mr gadget

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Opera developer edition

When Google Chrome first came out, I was all over it. I loved the speed, features, and pretty much everything else. However, as time went on, it’s become such a dog, causing my Mac to slow to a crawl. I really didn’t want to change browsers, but it’s gotten so bad that I started looking for alternatives. Enter Opera. I used Opera back in the day, but they’ve now started using webkit (same as Chrome) and it’s so much faster and more reliable than Chrome, IMO. There aren’t as many extensions, but they do have the ones I use most.

One feature V16 of Opera (the latest public build) doesn’t have is quick or smart searches. On Chrome, you’re able to set up a quick search with a simple prefix. So for example, I can open a new tab and type “a gopro” to automatically launch the search for “gopro” on amazon.com. The developer’s edition (v18) allows these smart searches so it’s definitely worth trying this version over their generic version.

Go ahead and give it a try. It’s pretty awesome (and fast).

SteveO

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Magnets on your headphone cable

I have a few pairs of Shure earphones which I use daily to listen to podcasts. I usually only use one ear piece (as i don’t need to hear podcasts in stereo plus I like to be able to hear sounds around me). Doing this, the headphone cable tends to pull on the single ear piece and the pressure around my ear isn’t bad, but sometimes it gets annoying. (Just FYI, like Shure recommends, I wrap the cable around my ear and insert the ear piece inverted (so the cable is pointing up)). I had some neodymium magnets laying around and I super-glued one to the headphone cable. Take another pair and place them on your shirt collar, then you can attach the super-glued magnet to the one clamped on your shirt. No more pulling. If the headphone cord snags on something, the magnet will simply pull away from the collar (and possible from your ear) and not damage the cable (think of Apple’s MagSafe connector).

Anyway, thought I’d share this cool little tip.

SteveO

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The MoneyClamp

I received Chris Pirillo’s tweet about replacing, or sending in his Coach wallet, then I thought about all the wallets I went through and how nothing really suited my needs, plus they were all too thick. I want a simple way to carry my money (bills), a few credit cards, and my drivers license. After searching far and wide, I came across the Money Clamp. It kinda looks like a binder clip you’d find at Office Depot, but it’s really slick. You flip down the sides and use the levers as handles to squeeze open the clamp. Take your 4-5 cards and fold your bills around them, then slide them in the clamp. Flip the handles backup and your money is locked in. The picture, courtesy of Beza, shows the bills wrapped around the included leather card holder, but I found it’s easier to just wrap the bills around the cards. I’d say it adds less than 3/16 of an inch to the thickness of your cards and bills (say, 3 quarters thick). They have different colors and two sizes and I’m currently using the black matte, which I purchased after I lost my original silver one.

It looks Beza’s website shows the mini and the regular, but the silver one I have is slightly larger than the black matte one, but my smaller one is not as small as the mini. So it looks like there are at least 3 sizes with the largest one not available anymore on Beza’s site. Comparing the two I have, I like the size and weight of the black, but the only drawback I can see is that since the handles don’t quite reach the end of the bills/cards, it’s just slightly more difficult to grab the handle to open it. I find myself slightly bending the bills/cards so I can stick my finger under the handle to open it. The original is overall larger and the handles extend beyond the edge so grabbing it is easier. All in all, I’d still get the black as I prefer the size and weight.

Here are the weight specs:
Original: 2.1 oz (10-11 quarters)
Mini: 1.5 oz (7 quarters)

SteveO

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GoPed ESR750 Mod

I’ve had an ESR750 electric scooter for several years now and recently starting riding it more due to my cube-sharing (in two different buildings) at work. I GPS’ed it at just over 22MPH and wanted to see if i can get it to go faster. I ordered a new rear sprocket from Dave’s Motors¬†as well as one of GoPed’s new chain tensioners. I ordered the smallest sprocket, the 56 tooth so I can really see how fast these things can go (the stock sprocket is 73 tooth). I just finished installing everything tonight so I’ll clock it at work tomorrow.
Some notes on installation in case you’re wanting to do this mod yourself:

  • You’ll need a chain breaker to remove links from your chain. I have two that I use on my bike chains, but one didn’t work but my CPR9
  • worked to help push the pin out, but the spindle is too large to fit in the link. So, you’ll have to get out your vise-grips, clamp down on the stub, and pull the link out manually (I clamped the chain in my metal vise to help hold the chain). Be careful to not pull the pin completely out or it’ll be impossible to get it back in.
  • To remove the sprocket, you’ll need an allen wrench and a socket wrench. Sorry, forgot the sizes, but basically, put the socket on the nut on one side of the wheel and hold the bolt on the other side with the allen wrench. Loosen all four nuts and slide everything out and remove the sprocket. Put the new sprocket on and set it back on the axle (but don’t put the nut on yet).
  • With the wheel in place, measure how many links you’ll need to remove. Keep the links in a safe place in case you want to put the stock sprocket back on. Remove the links and install the chain. Put some lube on it so it’s nice and smooth (and quieter).
  • Put everything back and you’re done.

That’s about it. Enjoy your new ride.

Steve.

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(no title)

Hi all,
Sorry, not really a review, but I didn’t use my Sony HD camcorder and my plasma. :-)
Anyway, if anyone is interested in MMA, UFC, KickBoxing, etc., there was a great fight on March 29 down in San Jose. It was Cung Le vs. legend Frank Shamrock. It was a grueling and action packed 3 rounds. Check out the video: (sorry, having technical difficulties)

Enjoy!

 

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Amazon tips

i order A LOT of goodies from Amazon and as a Prime member, I always get free 2nd day shipping (which mostly means I get it my goods next day as they ship from Reno). Anyway, I thought I’d pass along some tips to get the most out of Amazon.

  • If you frequently buy online, you should really consider Amazon as your first destination. And if so, sign up for Prime. Many don’t know this, but you can add up to 4 “relatives” to share your Prime account. If you’re considering doing this, ask them to pitch in $15 – $20 each which makes your cost about the same. This will pay itself off in a handful of orders. Warning: with Prime, you may spend more on Amazon that you’d like – yes, it’s just that convenient.
  • Amazon often fluctuates it prices daily. Yes it’s true. And they also provide a 30 day price protection policy. Again, not many people know this. Here’s what I do. When I find an item I’m interested in purchasing, I’ll add it to my cart and if I don’t need it immediately, I’ll wait maybe a week or two to see if the price changes. To do this, just check your cart daily (or frequently) to see if the price does change. When it does, you’ll see a yellow note at the top of your cart stating which items in your cart have either increased or decreased in price. If the item has decreased, great, purchase it now. But wait, you might have added several items to your cart and you certainly don’t want to purchase everything right now. To fix this, click on the “Save for later” buttons for each item you don’t want to purchase right now. This way, they’re still in your cart, but essentially it’s in a backup cart that won’t be used for checkout. If you did end up purchasing the item instead of waiting a couple weeks, make sure you add it back to your cart and use this method to track it’s price for a month. If you notice the price drop, call Amazon at 800.201.7575 and press option #7. Have your order number ready and tell the CSR that the item you just purchased is now selling for a lower price and you’d like to get an adjustment. They’ll do it no questions asked. The 30 days starts once you receive the product, not the date the order is placed. My best price match: I once bought a pair of Nikon binoculars for $149.88, then literally the next day it dropped to $69.88 for a couple hours. I was completely lucky to catch this drop, but ended up saving $80 on the transaction. Sweet.

I currently have a couple hundred items in my backup cart, mostly because I’m too lazy to go and remove something after 30 days, but I like to see the yellow boxes so I leave them in. After awhile, you’ll start to see trends on Amazon’s pricing. Anyway, hope this helps and good luck shopping!

SteveO

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R/C car hobby

So in addition to electronic gadgets, I’m also into R/C cars, buggies, and trucks. I recently purchased a Traxxas Bandit VXL and dropped in a Mamba Max brushless motor. I’m still tweaking it to hit max speed, but I’ve speed-gunned it at 60MPH and next I’ll strap on my Garmin GPS to get the satellite’s to help me out. I’ll post some videos and pics soon. But in the meantime, you can view my Associated RC10t jumping over my 1989 Honda Civic:

And my RC18T with an onboard 5in1 eDVR camera (sorry – it’s a little grainy and bumpy):

Enjoy!

SteveO

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Palm Centro DUN with Asus eee PC

I purchased an Asus eee PC to use when traveling due to its sub 2 pound heft and small footprint. I also have a Palm Centro that can be tethered to the eee via bluetooth or USB and it can be used as a wireless modem to provide EVDO speeds using Sprint’s PCS network. This write up is for a Sprint Centro (but it can also be used with the various Treo’s). First, you’ll need the data plan with Sprint. If you haven’t yet heard about Sprint’s SERO plan, add a comment and I’ll provide more details. Basically, the SERO plan gets you unlimited data, roaming, etc. for about $30 a month. Sweet deal. OK, onto the steps involved:
1) Log into your sprint account at sprint.com. Under the My Sprint tab, click on Settings and Preferences (Note, as of Dec ’07, these are the links on the sprint.com site). Over in the left nav, click on the link “Power Vision Password”. Set up your new password and provide your email address on the second page (you shouldn’t be charged for any of this even though it might appear that way on the page).
2) On your Centro, go to Preferences > Network and click on the “Modify” button. You’ll see your user id (which you’ll need later) and a field for your password. Put your newly created password in there (sprint says the password change might take up to 2 hours, but mine was good in 5 min).
3) Download USB Modem here: http://www.mobile-stream.com/usbmodem.html. Yes, there is a trial, but registering is less than $25.
4) Copy/install the usbmodem.prc file to your Centro. I did this from my Mac, but if you only have an eee, then you might need to connect via bluetooth to get the file copied over. You can always resort to copying to the memory card and transfer it that way.
5) Launch USBModem from the Centro and click on the “Enable” button at the bottom. Then on the eee, click on Network in the Internet tab. Click on the Create… button. Then select Dial-up. After a few seconds, you should see two items listed, an Intel modem and your Centro. Click the Centro and click Next.
6) Continue through the wizard using #777 for the phone number (no prefix needed) and input your user id and password referenced above.
7) On the last step of the wizard, check the box to connect and click on OK. You should be online!

It’s late and I’m not sure if I covered everything correctly (mainly going off memory at this point) so add a comment and I can further investigate. -Happy surfing!

UPDATE: Feb 2, 2008
A reader over at the eeeuser forum found my blog post and liked it, but said he was getting disconnected every couple minutes. I actually had the same problem, but forgot to mention that in my original post. Sorry about that. Here are the details to get that fixed. It involves going into a terminal window and executing some strange commands, but trust me, it’s all good.

Open console (hit Ctrl Alt T) and type:

sudo kwrite /etc/ppp/options

Scroll down and the find the line that says:
lcp-echo-interval 30

and comment it out so it looks like this (basically just add the #)

#lcp-echo-interval 30

save and then exit

Try your Centro connection again and all should work fine now. I haven’t tested it, but this should also work with the latest Treo models like the Treo 755p, Treo 700p, and Treo 650. Happy surfing.

SteveO

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(no title)

I buy a lot of gadgets. Period.
Some work really well and others, well, do not. I figure if someone else can benefit from my blog, either in making a purchasing decision, finding answers to questions they might have about the same gadget they own, or by some fun reading, I’ll try to offer my honest opinion and review of the particular gadget. I’m also open to comments and questions, but soon spammers will find my site so I’ll keep it anonymous for now (meaning you don’t have to register to post a question).
Thanks for visiting and enjoy my reviews!
Steve.

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My reviews

Hi all,
Thanks for visiting my site. I had set up this WordPress blog a while back, but then something happened with the database so I’m copy/pasting posts from the old db into the new db.

My friends (and some family) call me the gadget guy and I’ll admit, I love to buy gadgets. Some of them I really, really like, but others are just OK. When I look to buy something, I often search for reviews but mainly end up reading various user comments on Amazon. I always look for that ONE site that’ll let me make my final purchase decision, but I rarely find that site. What I’m trying to do here is provide that site. I’ll review things with open and honest input on how I use it, what’s good and bad, etc. Anyway, stop reading this and go back to my reviews.

Thanks,
SteveO