Author Archives: John Hagensieker

Wyze Cam V2

Wyze Cam V2

This is the latest toy I’ve been messing with.  This is the Wyze Cam V2 indoor camera.  I typically link things like this to Amazon but you can pick these up at HomeDepot for about $25 which makes them a bargain.

Much like every other smart device they are controlled by their own app.  Before you know it you have an app for the doorbell, one for lights, and another for cameras, among a multitude of other devices. Apps, apps, apps.

 

When I buy smart devices I like to make sure they are compatible with my home automation system which is Home Assistant.  Well the Wyze camera can be pulled in however you have to use what is called a Real Time Streaming Protocol or RTSP stream.

Here’s the bad news.  Right out of the box the Wyze V2 does not support RTSP however, Wyze does offer a beta firmware that enables RTSP.

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Indoor Home Security Cameras

Today it is my pleasure to teach you a little about indoor home security cameras.  I have several outside cameras, which is an entirely different subject.   The best outdoor cam in my opinion are Reolink RLC-410-5MP .  I have a lot of reasons why I love these but today we are talking about indoor cameras.

Oddly enough you are more likely to find an indoor security camera called a “Video Baby Monitor” if you go to the store looking for them so keep that in mind if the electronics section doesn’t seem to have what you want.

There is no shortage of cameras out there from all manner of companies.  They range from “pretty darn cheap” to “pretty darn expensive”.   I don’t think I’m going to hone in on any particular BEST brand as much as I just want to discuss features to look for and things to think about.

Primarily, with an indoor home camera SECURITY needs to be the thing you are thinking about the most.   I just bought a couple of cheap cams from a company called Wyze. Cool cameras and very cheap and they do some of the things I like. BUT I was just at my girl friends house and showing her my new cams and I could reach them from an app on my phone.  The bad news here is that if I can do that, potentially so can someone else.

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Jackery 300 Hands On Review

Jackery 300

Just got the latest in the Jackery product line, the Jackery 300. I have SEVERAL other Jackery devices and you may wonder why in the world I would buy a Jackery 300 watt power station when I already owned the 1000 watt, the 500 watt, and a Honda by Jackery 290 watt.  Oh yeah I have the 160 watt too.

To answer…….I’ve not a clue.  It would seem that I have enough……..but I ACTUALLY USE THESE THINGS.

 

I wouldn’t say I’m a prepper or trying to go off grid but I do find that if I have these things positioned around the house I will use them.  Case in point:  Just the other day I was trying to plug something in near my entertainment center to test it.  but there was a problem.  No outlets left.  Enter the Jackery.

I also make every attempt to charge all my USB type devices (phones, tablets, transistor radios, bluetooth speakers, etc.) with Jackery power stations.  I also make every attempt to charge them up only with Solar power.  I recognize that charging things off power stations doesn’t really affect the electric bill much but hey, a couple of bucks is a couple of bucks.  You’ll never recoup your investment though.

Every review you will read about a Jackery will tell you how many times you can charge something.  And in reviews people will ask all manner of questions about how many times you can charge things or how long it will run a CPAP or something.   Then there will be the “It’s Never Enough” crowd.   I cannot believe nobody ever says “GET TWO OF THEM”.   Yeah, they’re expensive but hey, if that’s your problem, that’s your solution.  I use a 500 by my bed.  When the charge starts getting low, I replace it with the 1000 while I set the 500 in the sun.  End result: There is always a charged Jackery by the bed.

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SiliconeDust HDHomerun HDHR5-4US Connect Quatro 4 Channel Tuner Review

HDHomerun Quatro

For years I had a SiliconDust HDHomerun Connect Duo HDHR4-2US.  The HDHomerun devices are network TV Tuners that can turn any device on the network into a television.

In short you can install an antenna, hook it to the HDHomerun, then plug in the ethernet cord to your home router or switch.

Rather than run wires all through the house you can then watch on just about any smart TV device (Firestick, Kodi on Raspberry Pi, or Roku, but only on Apple TV with 3rd party media servers).  Or you can watch on your iPhone, Android, or Tablet.

In short, it is an amazing device that any cord cutter should have.  Yep you can install an antenna directly to your TV without a $100 box in the middle but then that TV is the only place you can see it.  A network tuner really expands your ability to connect. Not only that but I can VPN into my network and watch local TV from ANYWHERE.  It isn’t something I do a lot but every once in a while I might want to see the weather or local news.

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Over The Air Television Antennas

Mohu 60 Antenna

I am a cord cutter.  In fact, since returning to the US in 2015 I never once bought cable.

Having previously lived in Japan I used the Armed Forces Network (AFN) satellite and had Netflix and Hulu.

So when I came back I stuck an antenna (Mohu 60) in the attic and got internet in the house and called it good.  After much fumbling around pointing the antenna and purchasing a high gain preamplifier  I was able to get ABC, NBC, CBS, Fox, and PBS at my location.

When I go camping I watch Over The Air (OTA) television too. Usually internet connections are not that reliable at the campground and I don’t want to use all my hotspot data on Netflix or whatever.  I’m perfectly content to watch broadcast TV when I’m just sitting around between adventures or if it is raining or something.  Besides, I’m a MeTV mark.  I love watching all those old shows from my youth.

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Over The Air Television

Some time back I did the math and decided that full blown cable or satellite TV just wasn’t worth it. High speed internet, Hulu, Netflix, and Sling are still way cheaper per year than cable TV. Also if there is that one or two shows that you can’t live without in this day and age you can buy them on Amazon Prime or Apple TV and it is still cheaper than a year of cable TV.

Of course now that broadcast, over the air television is transmitted in digital you can improve your content simply by sticking an antenna up. I’ve run the gamut of indoor amplified antennas and suffice to say I’m in a poor region for broadcast TV. I can typically get 7 or so channels at my home, 6 of which are mostly worthless. So I opted to get a Mohu Sky 60 Antenna to stick in my attic.

Right away I got a slew of channels including the two major players I needed. Fox and CBS (FOOTBALL!)

Although they claim the Mohu Sky 60 is omni-directional it is very much a directional antenna. and unfortunately for me positioning it to get great reception on CBS screws up Fox. Still I’m convinced there is a magic location that will pull it all in with ease. I know it is there, because I’ve found it several times however when I mount the antenna the magic spot loses its magic. The Mohu Sky 60 also comes with a preamplifier WHICH IS WORTHLESS. The antenna performs better in every respect without it (in my application).

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Adventure Lights – Tactical Lights

Adventure Lights Guardian LED

Once upon a time I was introduced to Adventure Lights the hard way.  I had just come out of Iraq and I don’t think I even got home when they told me to fly to our HeadQuarters in Lakehurst New Jersey and pick up an assault pack of Adventure Lights that our Engineers were testing for use in Helicopter Landing Zones and VTOL Pads.  I was then to proceed to the Philippines with them. This was sometime in late 2006 or early 2007.

They weren’t authorized for fleet use at that time.  However, the 1st Marine Air Wing was tasked with a humanitarian mission in Bicol Province in the Philippines.  Three typhoons hit back to back to back which caused a mudslide which destroyed an entire village.  A field hospital was set up and a farmers field was utilized for helicopter landings.   Because it was supposed to be multinational the Marines requested the Adventure Lights (VIPIR model) to make a NATO “Y” marking for the landing zone.

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DJI Osmo Action Camera

DJI Osmo Action Camera

Just was in the big city and picked up a DJI Osmo Action camera at BestBuy.  Even though they have been released for a while there seems to be a lag time between ordering and receiving at least on most of the sites I’ve seen.  This may be because there was a large price drop recently which is probably an indicator that a newer camera is coming out soon or this camera is End Of Life.

 

FIRST IMPRESSIONS BEFORE REALLY USING THE CAMERA

  1. The camera must be activated online prior to use.  I find this very bizarre and somewhat annoying.  If you read forums or reviews for the DJI Osmo Action they are full of “I can’t activate my camera and therefore I can’t use it” posts.  A bit scary.  All I can say to those people is that they obviously can’t follow instructions.  I activated mine on the first go around.
  2. Firmware updates:  DJI seems to be actively fixing all the quirks via firmware updates and the most recent update is from June 2020.  Their competitor, GoPro, seldom releases firmware upgrades which is a frustration in that community.
  3. Having a front screen is awesome and seems to be the new standard for action/vlog cameras.
  4. The camera is WELL BUILT.  Feels more robust than my GoPro Hero Series.  And it seems to be a bit more compact.
  5. There is no external microphone jack.  To be fair there isn’t one on the GoPro Hero 8 Black either.  Adapters must be used on both cameras.
  6. Screen layout and navigation seems to be more intuitive.
  7. There is no GPS on the DJI Osmo Action.  That is a bummer.  The ability to overlay GPS tracks and have speedometers visible is cool, however in my opinion once you’ve done it  and then shown it to people everybody will say “that’s cool” and then it really isn’t that cool anymore.   It also ties you to software and apps and to be honest I just want GOOD QUALITY video and I’ll just dump it in software like iMovie.  I don’t even want an app to control the camera.

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Fixing Household Appliances – Revisited

One of my neighbors sat out a washing machine that looked pretty doggone viable for the Friday “Big Trash” city pickup.   I got a hold of him and asked what was wrong with it and if he minded if I took it.   Before I get into this story I did tell him that if it was a simple fix I’d give it back to him and after I fixed it I did indeed offer it back to him.  He declined, and stated he had already replaced it and of course he had set it out to dispose of.

I just don’t want anyone to think I would take advantage of a neighbor.

Anyway it was a General Electric WDSR2080D5WW.  The serial number indicates that it was made in September of 2005.

GE Washing Machine

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