Review of My (Almost) New Google Pixel XL 2

My previous phone an LG G4 took a bit of a tumble and it cracked the corner of the screen.   Although it was still usable it did seem to heat up a lot more and the battery life appeared to be affected.  The phone would not last through an entire day often having to be charged towards the end of the day in order to last through the evening.  Over the Christmas holiday, my provider Koodo,  offered a number of phones including the Pixel XL at a discounted price with a Large Tab which I took advantage of.

Continue reading “Review of My (Almost) New Google Pixel XL 2”

Fire TV Devices on Sale Now

Those who saw my post on IPTV know that I use an older generation Fire TV as my media player for IPTV, Plex, Acorn TV and Amazon Prime movies and video.  I love the way it performs and even have Kodi running on it.  I have just seen that the latest generation is now on sale for $49.99 US from  A price that matches the Black Friday pricing.  The Fire TV is not available through yet but I have no issues using my device in Canada.  I will likely order one just to see the comparison.  It does not have an Ethernet port so would have to see how well it works wirelessly or purchase the optional adapter for an additional $14.99.

Also, the Amazon Fire TV stick is available for only $29.99 USD which is also an incredible price.

For those of you who have a Target nearby, the Element 55″ 4K UHD Smart TV – Amazon Fire TV Edition is on sale for only $399.99 but is not available for delivery.  I would have to take a bit of a hike to get to the nearest Target in upstate Michigan.

Credit goes to AFTVNews for keeping me informed of these sales.

Google Pixel 2 XL – Bluetooth Not Great

There are a lot of good things to say about the Google pixel XL 2 but their implementation of Bluetooth is not amongst them. I have VERY sporadic connections to all of my blue tooth devices. My Fitbit Ionic device rarely connects. I have to wrestle with connecting to blue tooth speakers. Even the OBDII device in my vehicle rarely shows up. For a high-end phone that got rid of the speaker jack in favour of blue tooth this is very unacceptable. No matter how many times I reboot, forget and reconnect, the problem still persists. Hoping that this gets fixed soon.

Cutting the Cable – IPTV

Many people are getting tired of the $200+ per month bills from the cable companies and are looking to try  to reduce that cost.  Using Kodi and its streaming services is great for catching up on TV episodes or movies but it is often spotty when trying to stream sporting events, news or things like award shows.  This is where IPTV services can help!  For $170 per YEAR you can subscribe to hundreds of channels through a service like For a single fee you can enjoy all the network channels, specialty channels like History or A&E and many, many others.  Pretty much any channel you can think of is available.  And many you won’t.  How about Willow TV for watching cricket?  Then there are channels dedicate to specific shows or movies.  All day Seinfeld.  All day James Bond.  IPTV could be the item that helps people finally cut the cord to Cable TV.

Continue reading “Cutting the Cable – IPTV”

Five in One Jar and Bottle Opener

I saw this jar opener advertised over and over again on my Facebook timeline and in Google ads.  Holly often has me opening jars for her and this item intrigued me as it seemed to work well not only on jars but on bottles as well.  Bottles with twist off tops like wine 0r  ketchup bottles.  Also opens pull tab lids like on cans of tuna, tough twist off beer bottle caps and if you don’t want to break your nails, pop cans with tabs.   For only $6.99 from Amazon with free prime shipping it was a pretty simple decision to purchase as an add-on to other gadgets.   I am happy to report that this gadget works as advertised.   It really does make an easy job of opening the toughest bottles and prying up jar lids to break the vacuum makes an easy job of those tough pickle jars.  Not all gadgets purchased on a whimsy work out but happy to report this one works as advertised!

Amazon Echo Dot

Although I loved my Amazon Echo Plus for controlling my lights in the living room and hallway, the lights in my back bedroom (called the gun room as that is where I do all my reloading and store my gun safes) proved to be a bit challenging.  When in the room, the Echo plus in the living room had a hard time hearing my commands unless shouted out quite loud.  So with a bit of investigation, I determined that adding an Echo Dot to my setup could solve the problem.  The Dot was on sale for $29.99 US from (currently $49.99) so placed the order and waited for it to arrive.  Two days later it showed up at the post office and brought it home for installation.

Continue reading “Amazon Echo Dot”

10,000 Year Clock

What do you spend your money on when you have as much money as Jeff Bezos, the CEO of Amazon?  Well, when he is not building spacecraft through his company Blue Origin, he is busy constructing a clock inside a mountain that he hopes will run for 10,000 years.  To put that in perspective, the first stone egyptian pyramid was built in 2700 B.C. or only 4700 years ago.  He expects this clock to keep running more than twice that length of time.  Civilization as we know it will no longer exist.  But the clock will keep running.  And the clock’s chime generator will create a different bell ringing sequence each day for the 10,000 years.

If you are curious enough to learn more about this very cool project you can go to the official home page at   or check out the article I discovered it on at Wired Magazine.

I Like My Amazon Echo Plus!

This past Christmas, I took advantage of the sales Amazon was having on their Echo devices and purchased an Echo Plus which came paired with a Philips Hue LED light bulb.  I chose the Echo plus over the standard Echo as the plus comes with a built-in hub that can connect to ZigBee enabled devices without having to purchase a separate hub.  The Philips Hue lightbulbs and other items that support the ZigBee standard.

First impressions were great.  It came in a beautiful silver finish and has a good solid heft to it.  Just feels very well made.  Installation was a snap.  Plugged it in, installed the app on my phone and followed the simple instructions to connect it to my network hub and my Amazon account.  I was immediately able to start speaking with my new assistant, Alexa.

Continue reading “I Like My Amazon Echo Plus!”

Six Port USB Charger

We have started to get a good number of devices lately that need to be charged using a USB connector.  Two phones, a tablet, two fitbits, a portable clock, portable bluetooth speaker, a battery backup and a few others that I am sure am forgetting.  With not enough outlets and in some cases, proprietary connectors I needed a solution to help me charge a number of devices at the same time.  The AUKEY 60W USB Charger with 6-Port USB Charging Station seemed to fit the bill nicely.  And at the price I paid of $34.99 Cdn it was, what I considered, a good deal.  It has two quick charge 3.0 ports for the devices that support it and an additional four ports.  It can charge all 6 devices at full speed.  It also has built-in safeguards protect your devices against excessive current, overheating, and overcharging.  I have used all ports simultaneously and am very pleased with how it performs.

Continue reading “Six Port USB Charger”

Lovepop Cards

Advertisements for Lovepop cards popped up many times in my Facebook and other feeds over the last little while and when I saw Valentines Day approaching I took a chance and purchased a card for Holly and a few extra for the grand kids.   They seemed a little expensive at $10 US apiece (when purchasing 5 at a time) but I am happy to say they were very much worth it.  Although shipped from the U.S. to my Canadian address Lovepop sent it via DHL and it arrived within 5 days.   The envelope even had a personal thank you written on it which I thought was a nice touch.

The card I ordered for Holly was the Winter Willow Scene pop up card as shown below.  Holly absolutely loved it.  I also ordered the unicorn and shark cards for the grandchildren.   If you want a card that will absolutely impress, check out the cards at Lovepop.