Are you using Amazon Smile?

If you answered anything other than “Yes,” read on.  If you answered “No,” that’s something other than “Yes” so please read on.  Come on, keep up.

Amazon Smile is a program where 0.5% of each eligible purchase you make on Amazon is donated to the charity of your choice.  It doesn’t cost you anything.  Literally nothing.  Prices aren’t higher because of this.  If you’re a Prime member you still get free 2-day shipping.  The ONLY reason not to use this service is if you’re a terrible, hate-filled shell of a human being.  Seriously.  If you don’t do this because you’re lazy, I get it.  That makes sense to me.  I have a solution for you down below.  If you don’t do it because you don’t care, then SHAME!

shame

Seriously though, I know you’re going to take advantage of this wonderful feature.  Read on…

This is super complicated, so you might want to take notes.  You know how when you shop online at Amazon you go to Amazon.com?  Instead of doing that, now you’re going to type “smile.amazon.com” into your web browser.  That’s basically it.  The first time they’ll ask you what charity you want to support.  There, that’s it.  I’m not joking.  After you do this, nearly everything you buy will go to support the charity you chose.  Going forward Amazon will tell you exactly how much money you’ve sent to the charity.  It’s awesome.

Here’s the one challenge you’re going to run into, but don’t worry, I have a solution for you as well.  Anytime you google a product or something sends you to amazon, it’s going to send you to the regular site.  YOU, being “woke”, as the kids say, want to go to smile.amazon.com.  Fortunately, a computer genius made a chrome extension which will automatically redirect you!  WHAT?  THAT’S CRAZY!  I know, but it’s try nonetheless.  Computer geniuses are awesome.  It’s called “Smile Always.”

smile always

I assume you know what a Chrome extension is, just as I assume you’re browsing the internet by using Chrome.  If not, you’re somebody else’s problem.  No, I shouldn’t be a negative nancy.  I’m fairly sure that Firefox has a similar extension you can download.

If you’re using Chrome, click any of the “Smile Always” links peppered throughout this post (there are two, I guess that’s not a lot of pepper).  It will take you to the chrome store where you can download the extension.  Once installed you’ll see a little box with “SA” to the right of you search bar.  It just rides along in the background.  Anytime anything tries to take you to Amazon.com, it redirects you to Smile.Amazon.com.  It’s totally seamless and effortless.

barking-lot-logo

It’s been a while since I set this up and I’m pretty sure I’m remembering this part correctly.  I THINK when you choose the charity they offer you a list of 4 or 5 to choose from.  You can actually type whatever charity you want into a box and if it’s available you’re good to go!  I am currently donating to “The Barking Lot,” the shelter where we rescued our pup, Cody.  If you can’t think of someplace you want to support, I recommend them! They rescue dogs from high-kill shelters, the streets of Tijuana, and the dog meat trade in Asia.  Seriously, they’re awesome.

Okay, so now you’ve been properly introduced to Smile.Amazon.com you can shop and justify it by saying you’re donating money to charity!  Hooray for everyone!

As always, you’re welcome. 🙂

Living the Dream,
Humble Dave

 

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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.

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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.

Mopo Wireless External Battery Charger (12,000 mAh)

Have you EVER heard of an external battery charger that had Qi Wireless Charging capability?  Because before this, I definitely had not.  Didn’t even know such a thing EXISTED.  Finding this is like accidentally stumbling upon the hidden city of Shangri-La while looking for the restroom at a ballpark: Unexpected, and delightful!

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Welcome! 🙂

On the off change you don’t know what these are: They’re spare batteries for your phone, tablet, etc.  Anything that can be charged off USB, basically.  They come in a variety of shapes and sizes, and the batteries store different amounts of mAh (mili-amp-hours) of power.  For example, the Mopo I’m talking about here holds 12,000 mAh of power.  My Galaxy S7 Edge phone has a 3500 mAh battery.  I can charge my phone about 3 times with this battery.

Listen, we all have external batteries lying around.  And if you don’t, what’s wrong with you?  I have on in my night-table, one behind the couch, two in the coffee table, one in my car, one on my dresser, one in the kitchen, and a few more in random boxes and bags throughout the house.  You never know when you’re going to need an extra charge, and it’s better to have one (or 10) and not need it, than need it and not have it.

Most of my external battery chargers are 10,000 mAh.  This, as I said, is 12,000.  So that’s good!  It has two 2 Amp USB outputs so you can charge two devices at a time. “But Dave,” you say, “what’s so special about it?”  I’m glad you asked!

Wireless charging.  If you know anything about me it’s that I have a huge fetish for51t-xmy6eql-_sl1000_
wireless charging.  Plug my phone into something?  Not me.  I place my phone on a charger and like magic, it charges.  THAT’S MY BAG, BABY!  And this is literally the only external battery I’ve ever seen that offers it. I’m sure there are more, but never once have I come across them.  I only heard about this when the Amazon seller “Maxpower Intelligence” contacted me and asked if I wanted a free one in exchange for testing and reviewing it.  I did a double and triple-take before I realized what it was.  So… happy.
So anyway, it works great!  There’s 4 lights on the side that indicate the charge of the battery (3000 mAh each), the two 2 Amp USB ports for wired charging, and the Qi charging coil on the top (represented by the white circle) for your wireless charging.  I freaking love it.  Enjoy!

Living the Dream,

-Humble Dave

Mopo 12000 mAh Wireless Power Bank

 

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

Wireless Smartphone Chargers

Wireless chargers.  You’ve probably never used one.  Your phone probably isn’t even compatible without an additional accessory.  No matter.  All of the new phones are coming “Qi Wireless Charging” enabled, so you’re better off learning about it now.

As you may know, in April I bought the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge.  This is the first phone I’ve owned that was wireless charging capable.  Over the past 5 months I’ve slowly replaced all of my charging stations with wireless chargers: Bedside table?  Check.  End table by sofa?  Check.  Desk at work?  Check.  In fact, the only place I’m still plugging in my phone is in the car…  believe me, I’m working on that.

Wireless charging is great.  It uses inductive charging to charge the phone.  Depending on 6171enibx4l-_sl1000_the strength of the charger it may even charge directly through your case (as long as it isn’t one of those crazy extra thick otterbox cases!).  Here’s how it works: You plug the charger into the wall using any 2 amp wall charger.  Then you put your phone down on the charger.  Hooray, it’s charging!

Yup, the phone will charge a bit slower than it does when you plug it in (see “Fast Charging” below for the solution to this).  There’s some energy loss with this method.  I like it for overnight charging, and just the ease of keeping it charged.

What?  That’s it?  Pretty much.  Oh, it’s possible you’ll have to try it a few times to find that “sweet spot.”  And there’s certainly a bunch of cheap chargers out there that’ll break.  On the plus side, there’s also a bunch of inexpensive (relatively) wireless chargers you can buy from companies like Pleson and Anker (and others) that work great and won’t break the bank.  You’re going to spend about $20 or so, which is MUCH more expensive than a $5 plug, but, hey… they’re kinda awesome!

If you can buy one with  multiple coils then I recommend that.  It’s save you the stress of trying to place your phone “just right” on the charger.

One other thing I should mention.  If your phone is Qualcomm quick charge capable you can buy a “Fast Charger” that will dramatically increase the charge rate.

Are there any side effects?  Hmmm… I’ve noticed that my phone gets a bit warmer when charging wirelessly.  It’s also difficult to use it while it’s on the charger.  If you’re using one of the magnetic car mounts I’ve reviewed in the past, the metal plate you have in yor case will block the wireless charging coils.  You can fix this by moving the plate down to the lowest point on your case so it doesn’t block them.  That’s how I do it and it works fine.

There’s also  two basic shapes: 1) Round and flat that lay on the desk, and 2) Vertical stand up chargers.  I LOVE the vertical chargers.

That’s it!  If your phone is wireless capable go out and buy yourself a charger.  If you can’t justify the price, ask for one as a holiday gift!  It’s exactly the kind of frivolous item people love giving as presents.

Live the dream!

-Humble Dave

Wireless Chargers I’ve tested (and liked) – Amazon

Pleson Fast Wireless Charger

GooDee 2 Coil Fast Wireless Charging Stand

iVoler 3 Coil Fast Wireless Charging Stand

 

Disclosure: I received these products at a discount in exchange for testing and reviewing it.  All opinions are my own.

Morzzor Gaming Mouse via Werleo

Mice.  Nope, not the squeaking, eaten by cats kind.  The kind you use to move the little arrowy thing on your computer.  Unless you’re all touchscreen.  Hmmm… that’s actually kind of an interesting digression: With how ubiquitous touchscreens are becoming, how many years left does the mouse really have?  Not too many, I’ll bet.  So, if you’re going to use one, you should probably use one that works great, makes computing easier, is super comfortable, and looks AWESOME.  See?

Well, you’re welcome.  I found it.  Also, at around $18.99 (for now, anyway) it doesn’t break the bank.  Let’s tackle this in the categories I listed above, shall we?

It works great.  How great?  SO GREAT!  I mean, this one’s kinda subjective depending on your needs.  My needs are simple.  I don’t need programmable buttons or anything like that, and if you do I’d bet you need a mouse that costs WAY more than $19.  Here’s what I need.  When I move the mouse, the cursor moves.  No skipping or nonsense.  Smoooooooth.  I get that here.  When I click a button, I expect an action to take place.  With this mouse it does.  Good.

But what about all these buttons?  I’ll break them down for you: You have your normal 20161004_083030left/right click buttons.  Cool.  A mouse missing those is not a mouse.  It also has your often-standard scroll wheel which is also a button.  You know what that does.  It scrolls and scroll-locks.  “But Dave, what are the two other buttons in the middle?”  I’ll tell you.  The uppermost button is a triple click.  For gaming you can use it to fire multiple shots.  At work (and yes, I use this at work.  More on this later) I use it to conveniently open files I’d normally double-click.  Why?  Because I can.  The bottom-middle button controls sensitivity.  How fast does the cursor move when you move the mouse (really it’s dots/inch, but it amounts to the same thing).  There are 4 settings from “slow and steady” to “fast and furious”.  I generally keep it on the second slowest.  I call that “nice and smooth.”  The two buttons on the side, you ask?  Forward and backward.  I’m not going to lie, they take a bit of getting used to.  But it’s all about convenience, isn’t it?  No more clicking the back button in Chrome because I’ve got it right on my mouse.  BOOM.

Since I obviously covered “makes computing easier” along with “works great,” let’s move on to super comfortable.  It’s super comfortable.  The thumb rest is awesome, and on the other side is a nice indent for your ring finger giving you great grip and control.  Your fingers lay gently on the long L/R buttons.  Comfort.

Did I mention it looks awesome?  It does.  IT’S ORANGE!  I HAVE AN AWESOME ORANGE MOUSE!  You don’t.  But you could.  Remember that.  Sure, it comes in black too.  But… why?  ORANGE!  STAND OUT! I’m using it in my office.  Black monitor, black varidesk, black keyboard, black speakers… boring.  ORANGE MOUSE!  BOOM!

Oh, it lights up.  Did I mention that?  I might have forgotten.  It lights up under the main buttons and the Morzzor branding.  You can change the color using a button combo listed in the instructions.  In fact, you can see me do it here in my video:

So there you have it.  I’ve literally found nothing about this that I don’t like.  It’s comfy, works great, looks awesome, and has all the functionality I need.  Also, it’s relatively inexpensive.  Enjoy!

Live the Dream!
-Humble Dave

Amazon Link:
Morzzor Gaming Mouse sold by Werleo – $18.99 (as of 10-5-16)

Disclosure: I received this mouse at a discount from Werleo in exchange for testing and reviewing it.  I received no other compensation of any kind.  All my reviews are my own Humble opinion.