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Joe Ekaitis "gray-haired geek" RSS Feed (Southern California)

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DREIER-SERIE,VOL.1
DREIER-SERIE,VOL.1
2 used & new from $19.23

5.0 out of 5 stars When it's done right, animation is a universal language., December 2, 2015
This review is from: DREIER-SERIE,VOL.1 (DVD)
Just as the Soviet era cartoon series "Cheburashka" has become a cult classic even among fans who don't speak or understand Russian, "Dreier-Serie" could be next to conquer the world. Your Yankee critic isn't fluent in German but with animation this good and a talented voice cast backed up by a mood-setting musical score, the plot and story come through loud and clear.

"Dreier-Serie" is the collective name of a series of stop-motion puppet cartoons with titles that all begin with the word "Drei" ("Three") as in "Drei bauen sich ein Haus" ("Three Build a House"), "Drei graben einen Brunnen" ("Three Dig a Well"), and so forth. The cartoons were produced in the German Democratic Republic from 1978 to 1990 and for one more year after reunification. The "Drei" are Tatz the bear, Wulli the badger and Schnapp the fox. Tatz is the rock: big, wise, strong, patient and a talented concertina player. The velvet-voiced Wulli, innocent, curious and a fireball of enthusiasm, bridges the gap between noble industrious Tatz and sometimes lazy, sometimes scheming Schnapp whose only ambition in life seems to be escaping from the other two to go fishing, especially when there's work to be done. Their forest home is populated with all manner of species including the obligatory troublemakers, a wolf and a jackal.

Maybe someday I'll try to learn enough German to understand the dialog but for now, as with all masterpieces of animation, language doesn't matter at all.

Oh, and to my fellow Americans and curious Canadians, this is a Region 2 DVD. If you don't have a multi-region DVD player you'll need VLC Player to play it on a computer. I played it on a MacBook Pro and piped the picture and sound to the TV with a Monoprice Thunderbolt-to-HDMI adapter and an HDMI cable. Your mileage, of course, may vary. Note also that if you order directly from amazon.de your price will be lower because you don't have to pay the Value Added Tax (VAT).
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Slime 40025 Wall Plug-In 120-Volt Tire Inflator
Slime 40025 Wall Plug-In 120-Volt Tire Inflator
Offered by My Quick Buy
Price: $57.99
3 used & new from $57.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Got TPMS? All the more reason to get an inflator., October 26, 2015
That TPMS (Tire Pressure Monitoring System) light on the dashboard is a mixed blessing. While the driver's door jamb label might advise 32psi, the TPMS light doesn't wink on until at least one tire has dropped to about 26psi. By then, the damage to your fuel economy and your wallet has already been done. TPMS is more of an indication of a leaky tire than optimum tire pressure.

TPMS or not, home is the best place to check and fatten your tires every week after a night of cooling off. A tire is considered "cold" enough for an accurate pressure reading if it's been stationary for at least 8 hours or has been driven less than a mile at moderate speed. After that, heat buildup can throw off the reading. You could inadvertently bleed a hot tire to a dangerously low pressure if you check it at a gas station after a 5 mile drive above 45 miles an hour.

Your humble motorist bought this identical inflator under a different brand name from that bull's-eye store years ago and I'm certain it's already paid for itself. I also adhere to the fleet-managers' 40psi doctrine: a stiffer ride with slightly better road-sense through the steering wheel means a few extra miles per tankful (but don't exceed a lower maximum pressure molded into the tire's sidewall). The electricity to fatten up 8 tires at our house (a Subaru and a Honda) can probably be measured in nano-cents.


Victor M8840 1 1/4" Metal Valve Extension
Victor M8840 1 1/4" Metal Valve Extension
Offered by Prime SuperStore
Price: $7.94
4 used & new from $3.35

5.0 out of 5 stars Have a Frustration-Free Fat Tire Day!, October 25, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
When I drove a fleet vehicle, we were instructed to maintain the cold inflation tire pressure at 40psi, regardless of the pressure on the driver's door jamb label. It yields better fuel economy at the expense of a softer ride with no impact on tread wear. I did the same thing on my car and, yes, it consistently squeezed out fuel economy slightly better than the EPA ratings. Over time, you get used to the ride and come to appreciate the enhanced road-sense through the steering wheel. Do it every week and your fatter tires can mean a fatter wallet.

That's easier said than done if the valve stems on your tires are so short and nubby that you scrape your knuckles on the hubcap when you try to unscrew the valve cap and attach the inflator hose, as on our 2004 Honda Civic. These extensions, screwed on, then removed when not needed, come to the rescue. Every Fat Tire Day (a/k/a Saturday morning), fattening the tires is now a pleasure instead of a pain.


Microsoft Office Home and Business 2016 for Mac | Mac Download
Microsoft Office Home and Business 2016 for Mac | Mac Download
Price: $181.77

5 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Smooth as silk, slick as ice (if you're running OS X El Capitan with the latest updates), October 24, 2015
For the first time ever, Office comes to Mac and PC at the same time, and the resemblance is uncanny, not to mention the overall improvements in performance. You'll see what I mean when you play a complex media-heavy PowerPoint presentation. Apparently, Office 2016 makes full use of Metal, the enhanced video and graphics technology in OS X El Capitan. What was once a tad stuttery here and there is now equally smooth on both the presenter's view and the audience display. Like sliding behind the wheel of a new car, it took a little while to find tools here and there, but I was back up to authoring and editing speed in fairly short order.

Your humble church projectionist's rig is a mid-2012 15" MacBook Pro with NVIDIA GeForce GT 650M graphics. I had already installed the latest OS X El Capitan update (10.11.1) so I was spared the woes of many reviewers. Your performance may vary.

Oh, and, if you want to save a significant chunk of change, look into Microsoft's Home Use Program. Depending on where you work, you might be able to buy Microsoft Office Home and Business 2016 for Mac or Office Professional Plus 2016 for Windows for a nickel shy of a single Hamilton.


Monoprice USB Wireless LAN 802.11N High Power Adapter with 2 Antenna (108076)
Monoprice USB Wireless LAN 802.11N High Power Adapter with 2 Antenna (108076)
Offered by VirVentures
Price: $32.87
4 used & new from $26.20

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Quick, painless Windows installations anywhere there's Wi-Fi., October 7, 2015
When you perform a clean installation of Windows 7, 8 or 10, you might not be able to install device drivers until after you've connected to the Internet, and sometimes the missing drivers are the LAN port, the Wi-Fi or both. Then you have to find another computer and a flash drive and it's off to the hunt, hoping you can get those drivers.

If there's a Wi-Fi signal available, this USB wireless adapter will snatch it from the air if you plug it in before the installation begins. Turns out all recent Windows installation DVDs already have a USB Wi-Fi driver, but not enough generic LAN and Wi-Fi drivers for every computer on the market. Once you install the computer's drivers with Windows Update or from the manufacturer's website, you can unplug the USB Wi-Fi and continue without that extra hunting expedition.


niceeshop(TM) Black Bumper with Ultra Clear Hard Back Case Cover for the iPhone 5 5S + Screen Protector
niceeshop(TM) Black Bumper with Ultra Clear Hard Back Case Cover for the iPhone 5 5S + Screen Protector
Offered by niceeshop.
Price: $3.59
2 used & new from $3.59

5.0 out of 5 stars From slippery to grippery, September 15, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Since the iPhone 5s was already in transit and I didn't want to wait for the boat from China, I ordered this case/cover from OnSaleCases in California and had it in just a couple days. The iPhone spent its first day in public naked, but now it's safely shrouded, back and sides, in a stylish cover. The biggest advantage: the bumper material provides a comfortable, confident grip in contrast to the slippery feel of an iPhone in the nude. As to screen protectors: I tossed 'em out. Never needed them because a. the iPhone's screen is made of Corning Gorilla Glass, b. the case surrounds the screen with a raised rim a few millimeters high and c. the iPhone goes into its own pocket in my khakis with the screen facing inward (toward the hip). Keys, which might scratch the screen, are in the opposite pocket.

Oh, and if a chunkier aftermarket Lightning connector doesn't want to go in, just give it an extra push. Over time, the case material will adapt.


Monoprice Wi-Fi High-Gain Omni Directional RP-SMA Antenna (-9dBi) (108748)
Monoprice Wi-Fi High-Gain Omni Directional RP-SMA Antenna (-9dBi) (108748)

5.0 out of 5 stars "My, what big (rabbit) ears you have!", August 29, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Monoprice sent one of these to replace a broken antenna on a Monoprice USB Wireless LAN 802.11N Adapter (108076). Impressed with the improvement, I bought another to complete the pair. The adapter now pulls in a Wi-Fi signal with enough signal strength and stability that I don't have to use a LAN cable when I'm grabbing a massive download like an operating system upgrade. I can also tune up or reinstall the operating system on a desktop computer without lugging it into the room where the gateway is located.

We use these at work to improve reception on wireless thin clients in our warehouse and production area where metal shelving and machinery shreds the access point signals. We jokingly tell the users to be careful if they need to reboot the thin client and make sure they don't connect to a public Wi-Fi hot spot at Starbucks . . . in Anchorage.


Frigidaire 131763202 Washer Door Lock Assembly
Frigidaire 131763202 Washer Door Lock Assembly
Offered by PartAdvicecom
Price: $40.00
16 used & new from $29.99

5.0 out of 5 stars $83.00 locally? You do the math., July 30, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
And if you're even moderately mechanically inclined, you'll be ready to fix your own washer after watching a few YouTube videos. Ours isn't part of a stack or under a counter so I took out one screw from the back, slid and lifted the top panel, removed a couple screws and fished out the part using its wiring connections. Plugged in the new one, maneuvered it into place, replaced the screws, replaced the top panel and fired it up on the first try.

Easily saved a Benjamin or two.


Samsung Ultra-Slim Black Optical Drive, M-Disc Support, MAC OS X compatible (TSST SE-208GB/RSBD)
Samsung Ultra-Slim Black Optical Drive, M-Disc Support, MAC OS X compatible (TSST SE-208GB/RSBD)
Price: $21.99
45 used & new from $14.09

5.0 out of 5 stars We leave no man behind! (not to mention Windows DVDs), April 29, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
One of the services at my monthly Computer Clinic church fund-raiser is a clean install of Windows. I've already lost a Windows 7 bench tech DVD by forgetting to pop it out of the laptop's internal drive when the installation was finished. After burning a new one, I can plug in this puppy and know I'll get the DVD back.

I haven't encountered a modern Windows Vista or later PC that doesn't say "Hey, good to see you!" when I plug it in while the OS is running or that ignores it as a boot device in the BIOS. Overall, it's cheaper than amassing a collection of bootable flash drives with all the various flavors of Windows and just marginally slower than most internal drives.

Nicest feature of all: that big top-mounted easy to press EJECT button right next to the bright status LED.

RECENTLY DISCOVERED BONUS FEATURE: On a Mac running OS X El Capitan, this drive functions as a region-free DVD player with the OS X DVD Player app even though it has the latest region-checking firmware.


Amdro Ant Block, 1lb 8 Ounce
Amdro Ant Block, 1lb 8 Ounce
Offered by Bay 15
Price: $24.60
12 used & new from $15.21

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A two-foot wide dry moat., April 3, 2015
Amdro Ant Block is part of our one-two punch for sending ants to The Great (well, Tiny) Beyond. When ants show up inside the house, we set out a few Terro Ant Baits to get things going. Outside, I lay down a two-foot wide path of Amdro right against the exterior of the house. I do it while the dog's inside so he doesn't think it's food, and he's avoided it so it's apparently formulated to be unappetizing to pets.

Within days, both products have worked their deadly magic and we stock up on more, ready for the next inevitable invasion. It's cheaper than keeping an exterminator on-call.


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