Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Technical difficulties

I installed a new D-Link AC1900 Wifi router to evaluate for the Amazon Vine Program this morning, which necessitated updating all of the Wifi connections in the house and acquainting them with the new password. I also checked the LaCrosse temperature and humidity sensor that I use to keep tabs on the freezer. I was relieved to see that it's working but was alarmed to see the freezer interior temperature being reported at 68°F!

Then I noticed the probe had somehow found its way to the outside of the freezer where the temperature is, indeed, 68°.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016


My review copy of the Bang & Olufsen H6 headphones arrived this morning and I am absolutely stunned.

I thought I had the best possible headphones last year when the Amazon Vine Program sent me a set of Bang & Olufsen H8 Bluetooth headphones with Active Noise Cancellation.

They were my all-time favorite headphones. Until this morning.

I hate being tethered to my iPhone by a cable, but that's a minor inconvenience compared with the stellar performance of the H6s.

Thursday, August 18, 2016


Garmin pushed out updates for my Zumo 550 and Nuvi 1350 LMT GPS units today so, not one to put off such things, I hooked them up to my desktop and let Garmin Express have its way with them.

The database still doesn't know about the two closest gas stations to our house, or about the Mexican restaurant that's also about a mile away.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Hacking a dead guy

I have an email this morning from wwharris - Welton Winans "Art" Harris that proves hackers have no respect for the dead.

My old Indianapolis News compadre Art died on March 11 of a heart attack and I don't think he's emailing me from his vase in a Zionsville columbarium about some investment opportunity.

Here's a photo of Art and his black Lab Jake that I shot in front of his log home. He used the photo in his campaign for a seat on the Zionsville Town Board and won. I always contended that people thought they were voting for Jake.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Why do I need another pair of headphones?

If you've followed my blog very long, you know I'm a sucker for good headphones.

I decided years ago that headphones are the absolute best way to experience music. I've never heard speakers that can come anywhere near the listening experience of a good set of headphones for clarity, tonal range, imaging, all the stuff you want in music.

I was ecstatic last year when the Amazon Vine Program offered me a set of Bang & Olufsen H8 Bluetooth headphones to audition and review. They are by far the best set of headphones I have ever used and I was in anguish earlier this year when the Bluetooth function died. Happily, Bang & Olufsen's product support folks are first rate and they sent me a replacement set after determining they couldn't repair the original H8s.

Everytime the Vine program offers me decent headphones, I jump on them. A few weeks after the H8s arrived, I received a pair of ZIK Parrot 2.0 Bluetooth headphones. They're good, but I like the H8s better for comfort and sound.

Then I accepted an offer of 3M WorkTunes Wireless Hearing Protector with Bluetooth Technology and AM/FM Digital Radio headphones. They turned out to be perfect for mowing the lawn and protecting my hearing at the shooting range.

And a few weeks ago, I auditioned a set of Bang & Olufsen Form 2i headphones - relatively inexpensive corded on-ear heaphones that work great with my Kindle Fire tablet.

So when I woke up this morning and discovered I was being offered a pair of Bang & Olufsen H6 (second generation) wired headphones, I almost passed on them thinking nothing could ever compare to the B&O H8s. But the headphone junkie in me couldn't help clicking on the "Send me this item" button. After all, $299 Bang & Olufsen headphones for only the gift tax impact? Why not.

Since then, I've read some reviews of the new iteration of the H6 and am excited to get my hands on them. Most notably, a reviewer named Marco Amament, who has an extensive comparison of 29 sets of headphones on his web site, raves about the new H6s and singles them out as the best he's ever heard. You can read his reviews at:

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Testing Belkin's product support

The Amazon Vine Program sent me a Belkin Power Rockstar Battery Pack to review this week. It works perfectly with one exception: The included 3¾" lightning cable won't work with my iPhone 6. It is an alarmingly tight fit and generates an error message on the phone warning that "this device may not be compatible." And it isnt. Won't charge with the Belkin cable, but works fine with my OEM Apple lightning cable. I wrote a review for reflecting that shortcoming.

I decided to test Belkin's product support this morning. I spent about 15 minutes on an online chat with someone named Saranya that resulted in being assigned a Belkin case number and being referred to their 800 number. There, I encountered a young man who said his name is Hero who searched high and low for a replacement cable, but the best he could do was a 6" cable that would not fit into the receptacle on the battery pack like the original cable and would, therefore, be useless to me. The other option was to replace the whole package, which required sending them a photograph of the battery pack and its two cables in exchange for a shipping label for the return. I went with the second option.

An incidental observation is that Belkin, like most other companies whose product support I've called, has hideously distorted music on hold. I think it's intentionally distorted in the hope that it will discourage people from staying on the line.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

O'Reilly's loss, my gain

Our 2002 Subaru Forester uses oil, but I have no idea where it goes. There's no blue smoke from the exhaust and no drips under the engine.

Maria reported the oil warning light came on during her drive home from work last evening, so I fired up my BMW K75S and rode in to town to buy some Castrol 10W-30W high mileage synthetic oil. I stopped at O'Reilly auto parts first because it was the first store I came to. Unfortunately for them, and fortunately for me, their charge card equipment was on the fritz, so I had to ride another half-mile down U.S. 40 to the Auto Zone store.

The 5-gallon jug of oil that was $30 and change at O'Reilly was about $7 cheaper at Auto Zone.