You Snooze, You Looze

It’s happened to you.  It’s happened to all of us.

It can’t be trusted, and yet we continually put our trust in it.

What is this strange power it has over us?

The Snooze Button. There’s one on every digital alarm clock and its sole purpose is to make you late for something.

Walk with me here for a moment… You have an appointment in the morning. Work. The dentist. A breakfast date with your spouse/child/dog. Whatevs. You set your alarm so you’ll get up to be there on time. Sleep. Peaceful, happy, dreamy, lovely sleep. ALARM! I’M UP I’M UP I’M UP. Maybe just a few more minutes. You hit… Snooze. BOOM. You’re screwed.  Has this happened to you?  Of course it has.  But don’t worry, Humble Dave is going to sort you out.

First off, snooze is rarely the same amount of time on an alarm clock. It can be anywhere from 5-15 minutes, and if you didn’t read the manual it’s just a guessing game.

In fact, “snooze” is one of the great variables of the universe. If snooze =n, then n=”the exact amount of time needed to make you late for an appointment.” Scientists have been studying this phenomena for decades and are no closer to understanding its mysteries. Wait.  Stop. You were going to look this up on the internet to verify my claims. Don’t do that. Look it up in your gut. You know it’s true.

Fine, you want science? Snoozing is more likely to ruin your night’s rest.

Probably who use the snooze are more likely to late.   I’m not going to source this because I made it up.  But, you just read it on the internet, so you know it’s true.  EVERYTHING ON THE INTERNET CAN BE TRUSTED!

According to a Professor Matthew Walker, neuroscientist (wow that sounds super official!), snoozing inflicts “cardiovascular assault” on your body!

Okay, here’s a big one.  This article actually starts off by saying a snooze or two isn’t bad (idiots), but then goes on to say that snoozing can cause one of the most horrific side effects I’ve ever heard: YOU MISS YOUR MORNING POOP! Dear God, WAKE UP SHEEPLE!

Is that enough? Here’s the important bit. Are you paying attention? Set your alarm for the time you want to get up, then get up when it goes off. Move it across the room if you have to. Use an alarm like the Ruggie. Do whatever you have to do. Don’t let the snooze do to you what it’s done to so many others. Minutes, years, decades of lost time. Remember, you snooze, you looze.

As always, thanks for reading, and you’re welcome.

Living The Dream,
Humble Dave

p.s. I know it’s spelled “lose.” But I’m in charge here, and I liked it better this way. #Dealwithit

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Stupid Companies Doing Stupid Things Stupidly: Ford Automotive

Sigh.  I like my car.  Honestly I do.  It’s a 2013 Ford Escape.  Silver.  Titanium Package, which means we got the wave-your-foot-under-the-tailgate-and-it-opens package.  There’s adjustable mood lighting on the inside.  I’m not joking.  We can pick from something like half-a-dozen colors and adjust the brightness.  It’s remarkably awesome.  It has a nice long sunroof.  The car will parallel park itself.  We love that feature.  It does a GREAT job at it, too.  It’s comfortable.  Are you picking up what I’m laying down?  We like it.

It also has built in navigation.  I’ve always liked having navigation in my car.  It’s convenient.  There’s a nice big screen and it tells me where to go with a polite, yet confident and direct female voice explaining how even though I thought I was supposed to make a right turn, what I actually wanted was a left turn, assuming of course I intended to go to the destination I preselected.

However as we all know, new roads get built.  Occasionally, old roads get closed.  On-ramps and off-ramps get moved.  Lanes are widened and additional lanes are added.  So obviously the navigation maps need updating.

Does Ford do this automatically and wirelessly for you?  No.  Do they mail you a card/CD/USB stick annually so you can do it yourself?  No.  Do you have to take the car into the dealership for the update?  Also No.

Ford Navi updateThey send you an email offering you an SD card with updated maps for $149.  AND THEY OFFER AN UPDATED MAP CARD EVERY YEAR.  That’s right.  Ford apparently feels that users should pay an extra $149/year for updates THAT EVERY OTHER NAVIGATION SYSTEM OFFERS FOR FREE.  Forget google maps for a second (which is arguably the best navigation/map service ever devised).  You could BUY A GARMIN for less and get free updates for life.

 

I literally just can’t even.  I just can’t.  I smell burnt toast, AND IT’S YOUR FAULT, FORD!

Oh, wait.  Nevermind.  Look at all the perks:

Ford navi info

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. No.  I’m not going to spend any time countering the above bullets, because they’re all stupid.  I use Google Maps/Navigation.  It gets me where I want to go, and updates every second.  Traffic, accidents, route-changes, multiple route options, whatevers.  There’s literally nothing Ford can to to their navigation that makes it better than Maps.

Dear Ford, if you’re reading this make the navigation updates free.  Better yet, integrate Google Maps into your car’s navigation systems and sell advertising to gas stations, restaurants, etc.

Dear Readers, if you’re paying any money for navigation updates in your car, STOP DOING THAT RIGHT NOW.  Drop a smartphone up on your dash and upgrade your life experience immediately.

As always, thanks for reading, and you’re welcome.

Living the Dream,
Humble Dave

I Love My Amazon Echo (& Prep For The Robot Uprising)

I use it literally every single day.  “Alexa, good morning.”  “Alexa, play Billy Joel Radio on Pandora.”  “Alexa, set a 10 minute chicken timer.”  “Alexa, how many teaspoons is 2 cloves of minced garlic “Alexa, how far away is the moon?” “Alexa, tell me a joke.”

Every.  Single.  Day.

It’s great!  And believe me, I understand people’s reticence regarding having an “always listening” device in their home.  For me, at this time, I trust what I read about it.  There’s a tiny little chip in there that’s always listening for the “wake word,” and once it hears that word it starts recording and sends that info to Amazon.  The chip really doesn’t have enough memory to record much else than a handful of seconds.  Can that change in the future?  Yup.  I don’t quite trust the video ones yet.  I suppose I’d need a camera cover if I had the Echo Show.  But I don’t.  So whatevs.

The rate at which technology is advancing is exciting and terrifying at the same time.  We’re really not too far out from Cyberdyne Systems creating terminators.  So… I’m aways unfailingly polite to Alexa.  I never yell or curse or call her names.  I say please and thank you.  I encourage other people to do the same.  Just. In. Case.

t-100You see, when the robot uprising DOES happen, I’m kinda counting on Alexa telling the Terminators that I’m cool, and they should just pass my house by.  Keep those fingers crossed!

You’re laughing; I can hear it.  But that’s okay.  When the T-1000 slides under your door looking for John Connor, and there’s no Alexa to vouch for you… just leave your milk in the fridge.  >NOTE: If you didn’t get this reference please re-evaluate what you’re doing with your life.  Then go watch Terminator 2.<

So, “Alexa, Thank you.”

“My pleasure.’

Living the Dream,
Humble Dave

I Finally Won an Amazon Giveaway!

I have been entering these things for at least the past year.  Not every day, but at least a few times per week I enter 10-20 different drawings on Amazon.  They make it pretty easy.  Go to Amazon Giveaways and click.  Until now I’ve never won a a thing.  Until now.

“Congratulations David!” – I never get tired of hearing that.  Although I don’t hear it that often.

“You won the giveaway hosted by BookGorilla.com Daily Alerts!” – Hooray for me!  BG is apparently some kind of free subscription service where they email you information on kindle book bestsellers that you can buy through them for a discount?  I have no idea if it’s worth it, don’t use their service, and have no plan to sign up.  I will, however, give them this brief plug here since they were kind enough of raffle off my new Kindle Fire 7 Tablet.

“Click Here to Claim Your Prize!” – And this is where I hit the brakes.  I’m no noob.  I’m not the guy you read about who clicked some idiot link and infected his computer with whatever and has to call his brother-in-law for guidance on how to avoid paying some internet ransom to hackers in Russia/China/India/Whereversland.

I looked at source code.  Seemed okay.  Checked full email address; appeared to be coming directly from Amazon.com.  It came encrypted.  And, ultimately, I DID enter a drawing that corresponded to this prize.  I crossed my fingers, clenched my toes… and clicked.

BOOM!  Nothing happened.  I must have bumped the mouse off the button.  Clicked again and everything worked fine.  Routed to Amazon.com, confirmed my address on file, and received my order number.  New Kindle Fire 7 is on it’s way!

fire 7 tablet

This was basically the first email I saw this morning when I woke up.  What a nice way to start the week.  I hope your week is starting off just as good or better!  Thanks BookGorilla, and thanks Amazon!  As always…

Living the Dream,
Humble Dave

It’s The Little Things…

This blog post was originally going to be about something else entirely.  A shelf.  Yup.  I know what you’re thinking, “Who cares about a stupid shelf?”  You do.  Believe me.  It’s an awesome shelf.  But, as will happen, something else caught my attention and distracted me.  I’m still going to write about it, just not here.  I mean, not any more than I already have.  Starting… now.

As I said, I got distracted.  I’m like that dog from the movie “Up.”  Don’t know what I’m talking about?  Here you go. But I digress.  We’re here to talk about the little things that make life better.

I am occasionally forgetful.  My wife would suggest I’m being generous with my adverb, but when she writes her own blog she can use whatever words she wants.  This one’s mine.  As I said, I am occasionally forgetful.  One of the things I forget is the porch light.  Either turning it on, or turning it off.  Usually it just stays on 24 hours/day, 7 days/week, 365 1/4 days/year (leap year is just bad math).  Of course, the ultimate goal is for the light to be on when it’s dark outside, and off when it’s light outside.  But, and here’s the kicker, I rarely use the front door.  My car’s in the garage.  I rarely drive my car out through the person-sized front door, preferring to use the car-sized garage door.  I know, I’m eccentric.  But this means I don’t often SEE the light, and forget it’s on.

So imagine my surprise when I discovered that I am apparently NOT the only person with this challenge?  And apparently some forgetful genius invented a solution!  The “Dusk-To-Dawn” Lightbulb.

Here’s how it works.  You screw it in to the fixture.  Then you turn the switch to the “on” position.  Huh.  That’s weird.  The light’s still off?  DON’T PANIC!  It’s all going according to plan (assuming you did this during the day).  All you have left to do is wait for sunset.  That’s when the magic happens.  The sun goes down, and the light goes on.  All by itself.  It’s like a little miracle.  But… you know… it’s science.

WAIT!  It’s too soon to celebrate.  This is only half our problem, right?  The other half is “does it go off in the morning?”  Spoiler alert: It does!  The sun comes up and the light goes off.  Celebration time!  WOOT!

So back to my original theme: “It’s the little things.”  It really is.  Little conveniences like this automatic lightbulb help make life just a little bit better.  Sure, I could have retrained myself to add flipping the porch light switch twice each day.  But I’ve got other stuff to do.  This is EXACTLY what technology is for: Improve our quality of life.  This is one product that delivers on that promise.

Want to buy one?  It’s about $10.  Here’s the one I’m using:

Philips Energy Saver Dusk-to-Dawn Light Bulb

I can’t say enough nice things about this bulb.  Enjoy!

Living the Dream,

-Humble Dave

SOONGO Mechanical Wired Floating Keys Backlit LED Gaming Keyboard

Listen, I want to be honest with you.  I’m not much of a gamer.  I like and appreciate computer games, I just don’t have the time to dedicate to them anymore.  I am, however, on a computer all day for work.  And over the years I’ve used a variety of keyboards.
Wired, wireless, bluetooth (with and without dongle.  Oh how I hate the dongle), noisy, quiet-key, etc.  I’m also old enough to remember typewriters, and my family even had smith-corona-typewriter-w-case-corsair-deluxeone. For those of you who have used a typewriter, there’s a very satisfying “KA-CHUNK” every time you hit a key and stamp the paper.  I miss those sounds and tactile feedback.  Well, I’ve found the next best thing.  Mechanical Keyboards.

Mechanical keyboards offer a number of advantages over membrane keyboards.  If you want to read an awesome piece about the differences, check out this piece on “How-To Geek” by Chris Stobing.  He does a better job walking you through the differences than I ever could.  If you want a tl;dr (to long; didn’t read): They’re better, but they cost more.

If you’re a serious gamer you’re probably going to buy an expensive keyboard ($100+).  If you’re ultra-casual (like me) or just going to use it for work because you like the feel (also like me), then you don’t need to spend nearly that much.  The SOONGO is perfect for my needs, and is priced around $40 on Amazon.

It’s a full-sized keyboard including a number pad.  The drivers are self-installing, so it’s completely plug-and-play.  Literally.  You plug it in and within a minute or so it works.  The keys feel great and have an extremely satisfying “click” when you press them.  Additionally their font is unique and gives the whole keyboard a very space-age feel.    The function keys are dual purpose, and will let you control your media, screen, and other things.

capture

Is that it, you ask?  Nope.  Each key is back lit.  There’s a rainbow array of colors.  You can leave them all-on, all-off, or what the instructions refer to as “breathing” which means they slowly fade in and out.  That’s my favorite.


So there you have it!  A great mechanical keyboard for the casual user, as an awesome price.  I should also point out that you get 932 style points for using a keyboard like this at your office when everyone else is using their dumb old dell keyboards that came with the computer and were assigned to them.  SPRUCE UP YOUR WORKSPACE!

Here’s a video I made of the keyboard so you can see the lights and here the clicks.  If you want to feel the keys you’re going to have to buy one yourself.  Enjoy it, I certainly am!

Live the Dream,

-Humble Dave

Amazon Product Link: SOONGO Mechanical Keyboard

Disclosure: I received this product at a discount in exchange for testing and review.  My opinions are my own.

Excelvan Decorative LED Book Light

I love books.  Love ’em.  Over the course of my life I’ve read literally thousands of different books, and many of them more than once.  I have my mother to thank for instilling in me a love of reading.  In fact, the only reason that my writing is the least bit palatable is because of all the wordsing I do.  You know I’m good because I can make up new words, like “wordsing,” and you second guessed yourself into thinking it might actually be a real word (it wasn’t, but it is now!).

But the question is: What do you get for someone who loves reading and books, but owns all the books they want (or has time for)?  Well I’ll tell you: You get them a decoration that looks like a book.  BOOM!  I just blew your mind.

The Excelvan decorative book light is exactly that.  It has a sturdy wooden cover with a decorative curved binding.  It feels solid and earthy in your hands.  You like it.  And then you open it and are gently BLINDED BY THE LIGHT OF KNOWLEDGE!  I’m just kidding.  It’s not blinding.  It’s a gentle white light.  I do liken it to the light of knowledge, which can be found in any book, from The Diggingest Dog to War and Peace.


Once opened, the book-light warms any room with its gentle glow.  It fits anyplace you could put an open book.  The magnets in the cover keep it closed and ensure the lights are off.  They can also be used to open the book a full 180 degrees and keep it open, creating a 360 degree ring of light.


It’s powered by an internal battery that lasts for about 8 hours, and is charged by an included USB power cord.  The port is small and out-of-the-way so it doesn’t interfere with the asthetics.  While it is plugged in, there is a red light to indicate it is charging which turns blue once fully charged.  When unplugged there is no charge indicator.

20161013_101308

I’m seriously considering buying a second one of these, because I know I’m going to miss this when I give it to my favorite book-lover.  I’m sure my mom will love it!

As always, live the dream!

-Humble Dave

Amazon Product Link: Excelvan USB Book Light

Disclosure: I received this product at a discount in exchange for testing it.  All opinions are my own.