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Mark Fellows "Gadget Guy" RSS Feed (Baltimore, MD)

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Seeeduino Lotus - ATMega328 Board with Grove Interface
Seeeduino Lotus - ATMega328 Board with Grove Interface
Offered by NKC Electronics
Price: $17.50
4 used & new from $16.99

1.0 out of 5 stars Great idea, but mine was a dud..., May 28, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
While this is an excellent idea, and I have bought a couple sensors from Grove directly in the past with no issue, this board was a dud, so I had to return it.

I have two other Arduino Uno boards. One of which is by Vilros( the better of the two), and a Sunfounder board I use quite frequently.

This Seeeduino does not communicate with the PC via the USB interface. It was DOA. Even after installing the drivers from the sight the Seeed Wiki linked to.

The LED marked "L" next to R12 just sits there blinking very rapidly, and when you plug it into the pc USB port and you get no chime notification that the PC notices any device plugged into USB. Even if the driver install failed, you should still get a notification.

I have a Seeed base shield I am using on my Vilros Uno on another project right now, and it works perfectly, as to both the HCHO and Airquality sensors I bought directly from SeeedStudio.

It is a shame, because I would have really liked to eliminate one board by buying one with the base shield built right in..

The Grove idea is a good one. Especially for people who can solder, but don't wish to...


SunFounder 2 pcs Ultrasonic Module HC-SR04 Distance Sensor for Arduino UNO MEGA R3 Mega2560 Duemilanove Nano Robot XBee ZigBee
SunFounder 2 pcs Ultrasonic Module HC-SR04 Distance Sensor for Arduino UNO MEGA R3 Mega2560 Duemilanove Nano Robot XBee ZigBee
Offered by SunFounderUS
Price: $8.99
2 used & new from $8.00

5.0 out of 5 stars but with the "New Ping" library you can do some useful things like rough proximity sensing, May 22, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
These devices really aren't that accurate, but they do work. You can't use an ultrasonic sensor for precision distance measurement, but with the "New Ping" library you can do some useful things like rough proximity sensing. These devices are definitly cheap enough that it doesn't break the bank to buy a few


microtivity IM162 LCD Module 1602, Black on Green with Backlight
microtivity IM162 LCD Module 1602, Black on Green with Backlight
Offered by microtivity
Price: $16.50

5.0 out of 5 stars Works perfectly, May 22, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I have used several brands of these, and they all work flawelessly


Ryobi RY40220 40V Cordless Lithium-Ion 13 in. Expand-It X String Trimmer
Ryobi RY40220 40V Cordless Lithium-Ion 13 in. Expand-It X String Trimmer
Offered by Scott's National Product Source
Price: $239.47
8 used & new from $162.99

4.0 out of 5 stars It works well enough, and seems to have plenty of reserve battery power, May 22, 2015
The 4 stars is as compared to a regular gas trimmer, and an electric, corded trimmer. If you are mechanically inclined, it is not big deal to run a gas trimmer. However, I get tired of smelling like two stroke oil all day, after only 15 minutes of weed wacking!

Ease of use:

The device probably couldn't be easier to use. You slide the battery in the trimmer, and you are ready to go.

Functionality:
The device works well enough, although different from both a gas trimmer, and a regular corded trimmer. Both of the previous have more torque that is available from the push of a button. This device is a little different. You hold the trigger, and let it spool up, and then use it. For this trimmer, you spool it up and use it continuously. For a gas, and corded trimmer, you hit the throttle only when you want to cut something. For a gas trimmer, it is idle, gas, idle gas, etc. For a corded trimmer, it is just off, and on.

Battery power: I did my entire small yard one day after a week vacation to get it down to a lenthg that my fiskars reel mower wouldn't just push the stalks of grass over, and I still had 3/4 worth of battery left.

Neat features:

It is dual string, and it has a smart battery that has a built in voltage meter that you can use to check the level of charge.

Quality:
It has a nice quality feel, but I haven't had it long enough to rate the device on durability..

I made a video review that shows me trimming the entire back yard below

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F8LDlnIWFVo


Intex Comfort Plush Mid Rise Dura-Beam Airbed with Built-in Electric Pump, Bed Height 13", Full
Intex Comfort Plush Mid Rise Dura-Beam Airbed with Built-in Electric Pump, Bed Height 13", Full
Offered by Windy City SuperStore
Price: $86.99
4 used & new from $57.95

5.0 out of 5 stars Super low cost convenience, comfort, and quality, May 17, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I used this mattress for a 400 mile car camping trip down the Blue Ridge Parkway. In my mind, the mattress is excellent! I used a Black and Decker Electromate to inflate/deflate the device, and my wife and I found this very comfortable.

Convenience:

Are you kidding me? This couldn't be easier! It makes setting up and tearing down camp go much smoother. I was really impressed with how easy this device is to unpack, inflate, use, deflate, and store.

Comfort:

We find this bed very comfortable. We blow it up to full inflation when setting it up, and then end up letting air out by turning the inflation/deflation knob until it softens to the right level while we are sleeping. My wife says it looses some air overnight, so she finds the bed gets MORE comfortable as the night goes on. Neither one of us woke up with a sore back, or arms and legs tingling from the circulation being cut off...

Quality:

When this bed is fully inflated, it is rock solid(too solid). It feels like a regular, firm innerspring mattress. It stays perfectly rectangle.

Cost:

This mattress is CHEAP with reference to how easy it is to operate, how comfortable it is, and how easy it inflates, and tucks away.

I tested it. It works. It works well.

For me, this is a must have! The wife likes it way better than our 360.00 cots!

See the video review below
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JBZXG8JMwLM


John Dies at the End
John Dies at the End
DVD
Price: $2.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Definitly worth watching, if you can just sit back and let it unfold, and not judge it., April 9, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I thought this was great!

It is bizarre, cheesy, and there is some genuine funny parts.

Even though it is pretty cheesy, there actually is a good story here that really keeps your eye brows knitted in between the laughs.

What kind of movie is this?

The first scene with the young woman, was startlingly scarey, and a scene are two after that, it was surprisingly funny. The whole movie is like that.

How original is the story?

This is one of the most imaginative movies I have seen in a long time.

Is this worth your time?

It is worth watching if you an sit back and just enjoy the ride! However, if you are looking for a "legitimate sci fi" you will be dissapointed. Think along the lines of "The Mask" with Jim Carey. I hated that movie the first time I saw it.


Natrol Cinnamon Extract 1000mg, 80 Tablets (Pack of 4)
Natrol Cinnamon Extract 1000mg, 80 Tablets (Pack of 4)
Price: $22.36
11 used & new from $19.61

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars These are the ones that work. Plain and simple, April 3, 2015
These tablets work, plain and simple...

I take just two pills(1000 milligrams) per day.

Okay folks, I have been taking these for over a month, and my average blood sugar is 118. If I eat a good bit of carbs, my blood sugar can go up to as high as 131 two hours post meal.

If I don't eat many carbs, I will be around 100 to 77. I am tracking my numbers with an excell spreadsheet.

My average fasting blood glucose is 105.

I have tried, Natures Bounty Cassia, and Cinnamon Shops, Ceylon cinnamon capsules and neither one works for me, BECAUSE I CAN'T TAKE THEM. THEY BOTH UPSET MY STOMACH!! Stomach cramps, stomach pain, acidy burps...

I tried dropping back to just one tablet a day, and my blood sugar went up...

Today, I ran out, and my blood sugar sky rocketed. My 2 hour post meal was 168 without them. While on these caplets, My post meal never goes up past 131, and is usually MUCH lower.

Dietary restrictions:

I eat nothing made with wheat flower. That means no bread AT ALL...I eat no grains what so ever.

I also try not to eat sugar at all. That means none in my tea, or added to anything else. If I eat something made with sugar, it is because a little was added. Hummas for example. The Sabra Hummas I eat with my veggies, has sugar in it. I am looking for another brand!

I strength train twice per week, walk, and hike.

If I want more carbs, I eat potatoes.

These work so well for me, and don't upset my stomach that I wanted to share!


Interstellar
Interstellar
DVD
Price: $14.99

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Incredible SciFi, March 31, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Let me start by saying this was an excellent sci fi worth watching! I bet you won't guess the ending!

There is a lot of negative comments on this movie. I will address some of the negative critique

A. In the whiniest voice you can imagine "this is physically impossible!" IT IS A MOVIE PEOPLE, NOT A MANUAL ON SPACE TRAVEL! Relax, and watch the movie!

B. In the most pompous voice you can imagine"This is just not believable..." Oh really? What have you seen that's better in the last 10 years?

See I love scifi and the well has been drying up lately.. Sure there is lots of CGI, with no plot, but there haven't been many scifis you could sink your teeth into..

The review:

The Story Telling:

This is a good story, that unfolds at the speed that it should. Could they have summed it up, maybe made it more concise? Sure, but it would loose something in the telling...

The Acting:
Top notch, by top notch actors.

The Special Effects:
Not over the top, so they are believable. This movie is not eye candy, but there is enough to let you immerse yourself in the story.

The Message:
The main point of the movie. It is right on. I believe this is this eras "Animal Farm", but with an entirely different message, about a different subject. The message is right on. We are so stuck in our little lives, satiated with are Iphones, and Iwatches, that we are starting to miss the big picture of what is important.

Oh the backdrop in the movie of a Dust Bowl like era is different, but humanity is the same. The characters in the movie are stuck in their little lives just trying to survive, so they don't look toward the horizon.

We, are stuck in a high tech prison of our own making, so we are starting to think more about convenience and safety, than freedom and adventure.

The Ending:
I thought it was great! I don't want to give anything away.

Notes:

I. I thought the robot design was pretty stupid and clunky.

II. The scene with Matt Damon was ridiculous... "Oh I will just lay here and let this happen, like I don't know what is coming"...

III. There are some things Murph just couldn't have known about Brand in the very end of the movie. In the last scene with her father..

I waited until the DVD was released, and the streaming price came down to 5 dollars, but wouldn't have been dissapointed if I had paid 14 to watch it.


Smart Weigh SMS500 Digital Bathroom Scale, High Accuracy, Dual Color Weight Change Detection and Smart Step-On Auto Recognition for 8 Users, Silver
Smart Weigh SMS500 Digital Bathroom Scale, High Accuracy, Dual Color Weight Change Detection and Smart Step-On Auto Recognition for 8 Users, Silver
Price: $34.99
5 used & new from $34.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I really do try NOT to give a device 5 stars....., March 26, 2015
I was sent this scale for review:

As the title says, I do try not to give any product 5 stars. I personally tend to give more credence to 2, 3, and 4 star reviews than I give to 1 star, nor 5 star reviews.

I try to be more strict if I was sent a product for review. I try not to be a "yes man"

Now having said that, I was so impressed with this device that I give it a full 5 stars. Right from the start, the scale has a quality feel, with good firmware programing.

I really like the way it looks, the weight of it, and how the device is put together.

The Look and Feel:
The look is fantastic in my opinion. It looks very elegant. It has a mirrored finish that looks like a combination of stainless steel, and glass. The scale is thin, and elegant looking, with a nice solid weight that will keep it from sliding around on your floor. I even like how the door on the battery compartment operates. The future will tell how well that battery door stays in place though, which is the purpose of a battery door...

Accuracy:
I do not have calibrated medical weights to test it to, so I tested it to our old trusted Tanita, Body fat measuring scale that we have had for 10 years. The numbers were within point two to point five pounds.

Functionality(firmware):
This device shines in ease of use. It is much simpler to use than our old tanita that you had to hit the button on, weight until the scale reads zero, and then step on.

The first time you step on the scale after calibrating, the display is blue, and it stores your weight profile in memory. When you step on again(as long as you are within 4.4lbs of your previous weight, it correctly identifies you, and if you have stayed the same, or lost weight, the display turns green. If you have gained weight, the display turns red.

When the next user steps on, it will first be blue, and put that persons user profile in another memory slot.

Conclusion:
I am not sure I could like a bath scale more than I like this one. If in the future, something changes, and I change my mind, or the scale does not perform as well, I will be sure to come back and update this review.

NOTE:
If two users are within 4.4 pounds, the users have to manually enter their profiles. The manual has directions on that.

The Manual:
The manual is concise, well written in English, and informative.

Video Review
I also did a video review of this scale on Youtube. IF you want to see, it click the link below
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wmwcTp1BitE&feature=youtu.be


Fitbit Charge Wireless Activity Wristband, Black, Large
Fitbit Charge Wireless Activity Wristband, Black, Large
Price: $123.79
27 used & new from $116.59

1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars I wonder if people stop to think just how much information about themselves they are sharing with the internet?, March 22, 2015
Just because you may disagree with what I have said, does not make my points invalid....

These are cool. A cool way to keep active.

However, you are uploading your information to the internet, which is NOT secure. I found out that these apparently have an ESN(which means it is linked to you, and it doesn't have to be so anonymous).

In court "So miss Smith, if you weren't involved in this hit and run, why does your fitbit show your pulse was elevated at exactly....."

Here is an Ohio State University Study suggesting ,10,000 people may have been wrongly convicted in the United states
http://researchnews.osu.edu/archive/ronhuff.htm

Here is a study from MIT on how secure these fitness devices are....
https://courses.csail.mit.edu/6.857/2014/files/17-cyrbritt-webbhorn-specter-dmiao-hacking-fitbit.pdf

Don't hate me, just food for thought.

I can see very clear benefits for this. I can also see a GREAT potential for misuse....


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