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!

Thursday, January 08, 2015

Hotel Wifi: Improve, secure, and use your Chromecast

I got this so I could use my Chromecast at hotels, but it also improves your connection and makes it more secure.


What I use this for is to plug it in to the wired Ethernet port you usually find in a hotel, so you'll need a network cable of course. Many hotels provide it but I just bring my own.

This turns your LAN port in your room into a secure WiFi hotspot vs. being on the WiFi with everyone else.

This provides MANY benefits:

  • It's small. About the size of a pack of cigarettes.
  • More secure because you have control of the hotspot, so only you know the Wifi encryption key
  • Signal is improved because the hotspot is right in your room
  • Has a USB port so many devices will charge from it at a slower rate but you're there overnight so a cellphone should be full in the morning. Carry this vs. a charger. 
  • You are isolated from other WiFi users: some hotels do not isolate clients, which is why sometimes you can see other peoples' computer on the network
  • Your devices can see each other now like Chromecast. If the hotel isolates clients, Chromecast sticks won't work. With this, they will, at a better speed.
  • Your network speed may be better: most people probably use WiFi instead of the wired LAN so traffic may be less, and with more clients, more of the bandwidth is wasted. This device should also auto switch to a less congested channel if you are in an area with multiple WiFi access points in the area such as a downtown hotel.
  • MAY save you from having to log in multiple devices if the hotel does not enforce access via MAC key. Some do some don't.  
  • Become popular with people who want to use your hotspot: if you are stuck in that back corner of the hotel with traveling companions in nearby rooms, your hotspot may have the best signal. Just give them the Wifi password.
  • Has a file sharing function if you plug in a USB device if that is something you'd use. Example: put the kids' movies on a USB stick for travel and they can access it here.
  • If you have a Macbook Air, video game device (PS Vita), etc. with no LAN port, now you can use a wired LAN if that's all there is.

Possible Downsides:
  • I have seen one hotel that had slower peak speed internet this way, because it was an older wiring standard, but it was still plenty for even HD video and ping response should be better for things like video chat and games. WiFi was faster. 'Feel' of speed may be improved though because of faster response time but slower overall stream speed. In this case, decide if you want more security or more speed.
  • If the hotel enforces security via MAC address, your Chromecast or WiFi stick may or may not work, I haven't tried it in all situations but this box solves the major Chromecast issue: puts it on YOUR network so your devices can see it.
At $30, shipped free via Prime, I think it's worth it. I use mine quite often.

The Chromecast of course is a dirt cheap HDMI stick you can use with your laptop, tablet, phone, and many more devices. Info from Google here



Side note: The Sony Playstation Vita is getting cheap. Amazon has them for $75 used last time I checked. They are getting under $100 and this is a STRONG system for that price. Especially if you have Playstation plus that gets you free games and big discounts. Netflix, an email client, Facebook, and Skype are available on it as well so it's a handy travel companion. Your phone doesn't have dual analog sticks and let you stream your PS4 game from home among many other things. The games have gotten cheap too.

I just got one for under $100 and an 8 gig memory card for under $15. Look under the other seller lists after using our widget for better prices:




Monday, January 05, 2015

Amazon Subscribe and Save Ideas to get 15% off: These are mine

These are the ones I have. Food, toilet paper and supplements.

For this post we will use 'S&S' for short instead of 'Subscribe and Save'.

Using the links below to purchase helps us earn money so we can do the work for you. :)

Scroll to the end of this post for tips.



Tips:

  • Try to find 5 items to arrive in the same month. That's 15% off vs. 5% for a single items. I almost always just get Amazon Prime items so the shipping is free. Click here to try Amazon Prime for free. You don't have to have a delivery EVERY month, just 5 items in the SAME month. For example, I get the creatine delivered only every 3 months. You can have 1-6 months between deliveries so once you get enough set up, your cheap stuff comes to your house: how much is your time and gas worth doing this vs. going to a store? Plus many items are actually cheaper and all are cost competitive.
  • Try Amazon Mom for Free You get 20% off diapers with S&S plus free two day shipping, streaming video, streaming music and more. You can be a Dad too. 
  • If you are a student, get Amazon Prime FREE for 6 months here, then it's 50% off after that. Join Amazon Student FREE Two-Day Shipping for College Students
  • Once you are set up, you can skip deliveries if you don't use all of the item. And of course you can cancel them at any time and make a new one on a different schedule too.
 
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