I've gotten over $200 in cash back from them at places I would have shopped anyway! Ebay, Staples, more! I put it at the top because they ROCK. Basically, you get a kickback from Ebates when buy.com or whoever pays them. Win-win. If you like throwing money away, don't use them!

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Blonde Moments. Got a teen or blonde or both in your house? Too Funny.

Sunday, May 03, 2015

Use your old iPhone 30 pin Connector Speaker Docks with your iPhone 5 and beyond

How? Easy.

We're going to buy a simple little box about the size of a couple of sugar cubes and plug it in to the dock.

Take that expensive dusty dock out of the closet and enjoy it again.

In this example, I have a JBL Speaker with the Apple 30 pin connection.

Useless with my new iPhone, or Android, right? Nope, sounds great.

Here is what you need:

You will also need a 3.5mm cable with the male plug part on both ends.

It's a headphone jack size on both ends, same as your iPhone headphones for example. Here's an example:

What this does is output sound via that small box when you pair it with your iOS device or any other Bluetooth device to send audio into the auxiliary jack that MOST speakers have.

Obviously, before you buy this, you want to check your dock to see if it has it. But you could also use this to add Bluetooth to a car or headphones.

I use mine with my Samsung Galaxy S4.
The side benefits are:
1. You can now plug headphones into the Smartbean also, or use it to put audio into the AUX jack on your car, or anything else you can plug an input cable into. 
2. Your 'speaker only' headphones you use for jogging now can also be used for calls, since the Smart bean has a mic built in.
4. You have ONE device that's paired that does all this so fewer times you have to change the output preference on your device.
5. You can adjust volume and skip/recall tracks, and pause. My speaker only had volume inputs but now I control my phone's audio player with the Smartbean. 

I hope I've saved you some money. 

Bookmark us and use our Amazon Search box to start your next shopping session. We get a small commission so we can spend our time helping you save and enjoy your tech goodies more fully.

Friday, May 01, 2015

How to take Higher Resolution Photos in OS X using a Blue Eyeball Camera 1.0

I have been using Photo Booth and you get this:

It's a 640x426 (LESS THAN VGA) export. The original file is also low res.

But if you use Skitch, you get this:

Which is 1280x1024

Much better resolution.

I hope this helps you get better photos from your old webcam. Support us by bookmarking this page and shopping with our Amazon searchbox.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Rambo Day Bachelor Party

Epic. Bachelor. Party.

Watch it.

Do not move until you do.

Shout out to gnarlybay from beachfitrob.

*Contains some NSFW language. 

Sunday, April 05, 2015

Mattel Electronics Football II

Look what I got! Still works. Hello 1979! Mattel Football II. I preferred the first game, but this is still cool.

Saturday, April 04, 2015

My Lost 'Pet Shop Boys' Single Found after 25 years

Ok, many of you will say 'DUH!' so first a little background.

In August 1989 I went to Army Basic, and was at Ft. Hood until Feb 1990. I got activated for Desert Storm in November 1990.

So I missed the UK release of this song, and as far as I can tell, promo for the US release didn't start until August 1990.

Back then, popularity took more than a few minutes like it does on the internet today.

I was also in school in a small college town during the summer, and Pet Shop Boys / Electronic was just too mainstream for the college radio station, and too city-fied for the other local stations.

So, somehow I missed it.

If you're a Pet Shop Boys/Smiths/New Order fan, get this.

*CLASSIC* 80's. And that chorus! What a combo : vocalists from Pet Shop Boys and New Order!

Friday, March 06, 2015

Nissan Leaf Winter Heating: Save your battery like so

Disclaimer: Don't do it. There, I told you not to.

This especially applies to the 2011 without heated seats or steering wheel like I have. Here's the items I use:

Heated Seat Cushion:


This goes in and out of stock. If you see it, get it. YMMV on other brands. Has a high and low switch. I use low with the heater below. From Amazon: High setting draws 3.5 amps, Low setting draws 2.7 amps. A customer actually benched it on a power supply (!).

Roadpro Heater


Disclaimer: if you keep it on the floorboard, don't blame me if it makes you wreck or melts something. I have the rubber mats and this thing doesn't get that hot. (Make sure it's far away from your brake pedals!)

A note on this: it blows a little warm air around your feet if you put it there or will defog a portion of your windshield. A tiny hair drier is 1000 watts, this is 180. Manage your expectations. I think it works ok as a foot zone warmer. Don't expect more than that.

Why use it? The Nissan Leaf heater I have seen draw 5000 watts. That's a LOT. 1000 watts for an hour gives me 4.7 miles of rang on average. So if you're heater runs on low at 2000 watts for an hour or 4000 watts for 30 minutes, etc. you can lose almost 10 miles of range. The 2012/2013 IIRC are supposed to be more efficient. Also, if you live in colder climates, get the heated seat and steering wheel options.

Socket Expander


DISCLAIMER: To set this up, you need to replace the fuse in a Socket Expander with a 20A fuse, same as the Leaf has for the socket. Let's just say you will catch something on fire, so you won't do it. I did it and it's fine. The socket in the Leaf has a big piece of ceramic in it for heat dissipation, the Leaf fuse blows at 20A, and I only use 17.7A with the heater on and the seat cushion on low.

So to sum:
Really, you should be able to run the cushion on high along with the heater but I recommend just the low setting if you run both. Obviously, you can run the cushion on high without the heater if your feet don't get cold or you need it to defog the windshield.

Another disclaimer: Don't do it!

Another warning: This MAY have led to me having to repair my socket, but it's also possible it was defective.

How I did that is written up here: http://rcbullock.blogspot.com/2015/03/nissan-leaf-cigarette-lighter-power.html

I hope this helped. Please use my Amazon store:


That's how I get paid to write up all these little repair and informational articles. :)

Nissan Leaf Cigarette Lighter / Power Socket repair

If your Nissan Leaf cigaretter lighter stopped working but the fuse isn't blown, here's how I fixed mine. Probably also works on other Nissan power sockets.

DISCLAIMER: Assume I'm an idiot and any guidance you find here will cause a fire, hairloss, and render you sterile.


Soldering Iron 
I like this little one. I use mine often. It will melt solder on the lowest temp settings, and it's butane so it works everywhere. Cool gadget. Not for fine soldering, but great for wires and ugliness like we're about to do. I aim to misbehave.

And a screwdriver. Longish, with a wide flat blade.


Ok, so I was running a mini heater and the heater seat cushion from my Nissan Leaf power socket (cigarette lighter) and all of a sudden it quit working after I wiggled the plug expander (gives me 3 sockets).

By the way, PLEASE if you want some of these items use our Nissan Leaf store on Amazon to buy it or really, anything you buy on Amazon counts. MOST of the things in the store I've tested, use and own, or have something similar.

Link to my store, Leaf section :  http://astore.amazon.com/roblog02-20?node=3&page=1

This is how I get paid to write the articles fixing the weird issues I can't find solutions to anywhere else.

Ok, so moving on.

The fuse was not blown. By the way, it's a 20Amp fuse so it should be enough to run the mini heater and heated seat pad on Low with a couple of amps to spare. The two together should be under 18 amps according to the info on Amazon and the mini heater specs.

I decided to dig into the dash and see where the problem was.

I took apart the dash to get to the socket using this guide http://www.mynissanleaf.com/viewtopic.php?f=37&t=17004

That's pretty simple. It was a lot easier than I thought.

DON'T think that little panel that holds the socket can be removed by removing the screws at the top. It can't. There's something at the bottom that holds it also. Plus those top screws are a major pain to get in and out without undoing a whole lot more stuff and you'll drop your screw or screwdriver and then you're fishing.

Just don't.

Not that I did. Or anything.

Just do this:

1. Pull the connector off (pic above) and measure the voltage. Should be around 12V. Polarity doesn't matter we just care if it's getting power so just put the voltmeter leads to both lead connectors. May read -12V if you have the leads reversed. Again, doesn't matter. In this case, I was getting power here. If you don't have power, then you have a weird problem somewhere else. Not this weird problem.

2. So, take the socket out. I carefully used a screwdriver so I didn't tear up the plastic. GENTLY, and use a wide blade, unless you like scratches. Maximum area to spread the pressure out. Minimum force, so you don't make gouges. I put my blade across the top and it was wider, this pic is from the guide above.

Notice the socket cover says 180W? That's 15 Amps. The mini heater and pad run how much? Just less than 18. But the fuse is 20. Again, don't blame me if you melt something.

A note on that: the socket has a LOT of open air around it inside the console, so nothing touches it. Also, there's a big ceramic piece inside the socket to help with the heat generated in the socket. Worst case, if you melt it, it's just a power socket. Cheap and pretty easy to replace after you learn your lesson.

I never do, that's one of my problems.

Now, remove this screw off the socket:

Then, take this part

and scuff an area closest to the blade and the side so you can add some solder. This is where my problem was: something in here lost continuity between that blade and the housing part of the socket. My guess is a spot weld or something broke because 240W isn't enough to melt metal and the fuse would blow past that amount.

Make it look prettier than mine:

Reassemble in reverse order.

Now, wasn't that fun?

Pardon my shameless PLUGS to use my Amazon store. PLUGS, get it? See what I did there?

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Nissan Leaf 110V charging: Here's a middle ground cheaper solution than installing a 240V EVSE

I learned this late in the game, and fortunately for me, I had a 30 Amp 240V circuit that I only had to run about 10 feet to my garage, and an electrician friend to do it.

We put in an L6-30 outlet.

Without question 240V is the way to go so see if you have a laundry drier outlet in or close to your garage.

BUT! There's a solution that's way faster than the normal trickle charge 110V that you get from the stock Nissan charger, and a dedicated 240V solution, and you might already have it in your garage.

You might also ask an electrician if the existing wiring in a 110V outlet might be suitable for a single 20A plug. You might get lucky. That's a cheap change: just change the outlet. But ask a professional.

This is what you are looking for:

That funny looking hole on the left with the horizontal slot denotes a 20A 110V circuit.

In short, this will give you about 40% faster charging than a normal 110V 15A circuit. The Leaf 'wastes' about 300W per hour during charging so it's a much smaller percentage wasted on 20A vs 15A.

I recommend using evseupgrade.com to upgrade your stock Leaf EVSE, or get an extra here from our Leaf Store on Amazon if you want one to carry around. (Thank you, your Amazon purchase supports us.)

They will set you up with a 20A 110V adapter so you can use 240V and 110V with any amperage up to 20A by modifying your stock EVSE.

I had this done and it is NICE.

Later, you can get 240V added to your garage since the EVSE is already set up for that. This allows you to upgrade in stages, vs. laying all the money out at once.

Ultimately you will want to charge as fast as possible to minimize the hours spent wasting that 300 watts per hour.

Math: 6 hours a day on 110V = 1.8Kwhr wasted. (6x.3Kw). Around here that's about 18 cents.

But let's say you charge 30 days out of the month, then it's $5.40 per month or almost $65 per year.

If you spend $600 on putting in 240V (not unreasonable for the EVSE upgrade and a short wiring run and socket) then saving $65 per year is over a 10% return on your investment.

Cutting your charge time using a 20A 110V will still save you 40% of .3 kwhr so .12 kwhr or 1.2 cents per hour. But if the outlet is already there, it's free money.

If you carry the EVSE around, there are a lot more 20A 110V circuits on buildings than you think. I have been adding them on Plugshare.com.

Using those should add about 7 miles per hour of charge vs 4-5 on the stock EVSE.

Final thought: Since I have BOTH outlets in my garage, and a measured 122V/244V voltage, I can run 6.8Kwhr of power to two cars: 1.95Kwhr and 5.85Kwhr assuming 80% current on both circuits.

At my average useage on my Leaf, the 122V circuit will give me 7.75 hours of range per hour of charge. That should be plenty for almost anyone. 8 hours (probably easily done overnight) would be 62 miles of range. If you plug in at let's say 7pm and charge until 6AM the next day, that would almost fill any Leaf from a totally empty battery which is probably rarely the case. For me, that would be 85 miles of range.

So if you have TWO electric cars, you can still get great useability out of both without the fuss of adding another 240V circuit.

I hope this helped you save some money and increased the usability of your Leaf.

Friday, January 23, 2015

80's Day

While listening to some 80's music via Rhapsody, this popped up on the scale.

Here's the meta reference: it's so 'Synchronicity' isn't it?

I'm shooting for 190 as my next goal so I guess I'll have to up the playlist by a decade.


Here's what I've been doing:

Click the pic for my P90X 'Afters' and while you're there, my current Body Beast transformation.

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