It’s Still Working: As of October 2019

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Every now and then I like to add updates to my various blog posts to indicate whether or not an individual product that I purchased, often several years ago, is still working. I think this may be a little helpful to anyone that has recently purchased, or is thinking about purchasing, the same product.

This is not a list of every single item that I’ve purchased. It doesn’t include things that might be sitting in a closet and haven’t been used in a while. This is a list of things that I’ve recently used, or, I know are still working (in a few cases I’ve listed items that I don’t own anymore, but I know they still work). Some I’ve used only once or twice in the past month, while others are items that I use on a daily basis. Items that failed, or I sold for some reason, aren’t here (it doesn’t mean those items were bad, but, I’m not actually now).

In general, I would normally go back and update each post with this information. I may still do this, but today I decided to take the lazy route and simply list the items that I still use (sometimes frequently and other times, infrequently), starting with the oldest items.

Note that there a number of other products that I’ve never created a post about, which are just as worthy of being listed. Perhaps one day, I’ll cover those (for example, the portable battery I’ve been using for several years, my MacBook Air (mid-2013) that’s still kicking or the various Zwave devices I’ve been using for a long time).

Neat and Orderly: The Benefit of Cable Ties

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This post contains Amazon Associate links. If you purchase something through them I may get a small commission, which helps cover the hosting costs for this blog.

Cable ties may not seem like a big deal to many people but any time you’re dealing with a lot of wires I strongly urge that you consider using them. When I first setup a number of devices in a new entertainment center, when we moved into the apartment, I only used cable ties on a few devices and I regretted it ever since.

More recently, when moving to a new entertainment center, I decided that I would use cable-ties on everything, and I’m already glad that I did. Trying to route new cables can quickly become a chore when they get hung up on other cables and you’re having to feel your way through the various problems.

The Velcro Brand One Wrap Thin Ties I had purchased, from Amazon.com, of course, worked perfectly for this job. It has 100 ties rolled together. I used a large number of these on the latest project that involved pulling everything out of one entertainment center and setting those devices up in a new one…

Admittedly, I used them only after being unable to find them, stealing a bunch of cable ties from rolled up cables in storage, and then stumbling upon them later, about two-thirds of the way through finishing this project.

Just do it. Yes, it’s a pain. Yes, it might add a good half-hour or more to setting up your electronics, but… it… is… worth… it. This is a case of where a little bit of extra work on the front-end will save you a significant amount of time and frustration down the road.

But think it through a little. For example, I primarily used the cable ties simply to tidy up excess cable length. There were very few cases where I actually tied different cables together because doing that can actually make it a pain to remove a single cable down the road.

I’m sure you can find better deals with a higher volume of cable ties, but this particular set worked great for my needs.

Using a Kwikset 910 Z-Wave SmartCode Electronic Touchpad Deadbolt without the Keypad

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Normally I would first provide a post with general information about a product like this before diving straight into a tip or modification but I seem to be missing some photos so here it is…

It is possible to use a Kwikset 910 Z-Wave SmartCode Electronic Touchpad Deadbolt without the keypad and provided lock and instead use it with almost any standard deadbolt lock. You will obviously lose the use of the keypad but the lock actuator mechanism and the Z-Wave interface are all located on the part of the lock system that is mounted to the inside part of the door.

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Scheduling Automatic Modem and Router Power Cycling Using a NetReset NR-1000US

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Back at the house the cable modem and router usually operate just fine but every now and then something hangs up and unfortunately it’s not always practical to go by to reset the gear. And asking a friend to do it for me, even when they’re eager to do it, just seems unfair.

So I searched for a device on Amazon.com, as usual, and sure enough someone has a product that is intended for exactly this need. The NetReset NR100US, which cost about $45 $60 $73, can be set to automatically reset the power to both outlets on the device using a set delay between them. It will turn off one outlet for a minute, turn it back on, and then a minute later do the same for the next.

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Easy Replacement Cap for a Blitz 6.5 Gallon Water Can

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A few years ago I purchased a Blitz 6.5 Gallon Water Can just in case we had a major hurrican that would knock out power at the house. Though I did fill it a couple of times we did not end up using it (yet).

But one day I lost a cap to a gas can and was in desperate need to replace it. I discovered that the water can’s cap would fit perfectly and so that’s where it ended up. Of course, once used on a gas can it simply wouldn’t be good to use on the water can again.

This year I decided to bring the can to our apartment to prep for hurricane season but unfortunately it still lacked a cap.

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JBL Portable Bluetooth Speaker

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A couple of months ago I finally decided it might be convenient to have a portable Bluetooth speaker that I could use to play music from my phone or other device. The idea was that it would be something I could use when we’re playing a card game or outside grilling. After scrolling through numerous reviews on Amazon I encountered this little device, which I eventually received as a gift from my wish list.

The JBL Micro Wireless Ultra-Portable Speaker provides amazing sound considering its size. According to the documentation it will run on battery for about five hours, though some reviewers have experienced longer usage times. It’s also possible to use the device while recharging it.

Considering its size and relatively low cost (about $50), I am very impressed by this piece of tech. So was my wife. The first time I tried it out she immediately stated that she wants one. Friends have made similar comments when showing it to them.

There are other very similar JBL models. This particular one has a built-in bass port.

It’s been useful in cases when I didn’t expect it. For example, the turn-by-turn navigation instructions from Google Maps sounded excellent.

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Amazon.com Air Mattress Randomness

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We’re planning to have some friends stay for a night this week so we decided to order an inflatable bed. While combing through various reviews I came across this product photo:

Bad.

So very, very bad.

And then I found a product review in which the first line caught my attention. Ah, if I only I could say the same (and do so without incurring any debt to attain such a milestone):