Monday, August 17, 2015

TSA: how to pass security check if you lost your ID

This just happened to me and when I reached TSA I only had on me 2 only had 2 defunct passports on me and was pre-check through GOES.
Here is what I learned:
In such situation GOES is worth nothing, won't help.
Obsolete passport don't count as ID (makes no sense to me either)
So here is what works according to the TSA supervisor:


  • 3 pieces with your name, one of which should include your photo: obsolete passports, electricity bill, a magazine with your name and address on it, credit card, Costco card
  • Answer some Bank-security type questions like "give me a former address you lived in"
Then you go through pat-down, so if you're not a fan of the body scanner you can skip this box and go to pat down directly.

QLink Ally - shield yourself against EMF

EMF are everywhere, electric cables, cell towers, wifi and they jam body functions - you'd have to be stupid to wear one of these on yourself, right?

Now most people don't care about getting degenerative disease as they take time and are offset by conveniences.

For those who do care and want to keep the benefit, there is the QLink Ally.

It works, trust me.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Parrot Bebop - this is not the drone you are looking for

CONCLUSION: Many brilliant ideas marred by the most amateurish execution. Since a decent range costs you an extra 400$ and that doesn't solve the battery life, poor construction quality or stability, just do yourself a big favor and buy a DJI Phantom 3 Advanced.


  1. Decent recording quality with stable picture and that virtual gimbal is quite clever.
  2. Very very easy to use, just tilt your ipad
  3. Lots of great ideas (in theory) like drone academy.
  4. Light and portable.


  1. Very poor battery life (<10 li="" minutes="">
  2. Terrible range, about 100m in the US, so about half that in Europe (we have 4W wifi transmission, you folks have much less)
  3. NO FPV!! Video breaks up too much.
  4. Very unstable with very little wind. GPS doesn't compensate.
  5. After a minute or so, it starts drifting a lot and that drifting intensifies.
  6. Return home doesn't work.
  7. Drone Academy doesn't work, my path, images etc... don't get shared.
  8. Video advertisement in the app !!!
  9. Cheap construction
  10. A fan for the CPU! WHAT?!
Stricken by the drone bug, I decided to hit my neighborhood's BestBuy and get what they have, Parrot Bebop was the highend. The box is surprisingly light so I ask the sales guy how it acts in windy condition and he assures me that "because it's so light, the motors are very powerful to compensate for wind blows", I pause, see if he's joking and decide to just carry on, he tells me that "anyway you can return it within 15 days, as long as all the parts are in the box".
I pay, resist the temptation to launch it in the parking lot and instead head home. Charge one battery while I kick start the other battery that was strapped to the drone's velcro. Installing is awkward but easy enough, the battery though is barely hanging by a thread, literally, and there is a velcro band around it for extra safety, right.
I press the power button and a fan whirls... to cool the cpu.
I put on the styrofoam guards and start the drone after installing the software on the ipad, pair the wifi with the drone, then "Please update the software". So I unpair the drone, pair back the wifi, download the update which jumps from v1.3 to v2.03... I guess best buy got some old stock. Pair the drone back, the software updates the firmware, the drone reboots. After a few minutes it's ready to fly.
I press Take Off.
It takes off and overs about 1m above the carpetted ground and drifts and drifts. The drone drops, the battery had died, no worry, the other one is ready so I swap the batteries and resume the maiden flight. It takes me a minute or so to figure that the round means place your finger here and tilt the thing. Controls are fast but the video is choppy, I'm just a meter away.
The next day I take it out, switch wifi to outdoor, 2.4 GHZ auto, it finds a freer channel, pair and ready to fly. I try to set up the home location but it doesn't work. It's ok, I press the Take Off button on the ipad and let it hover, it drifts and the drifting accelerate so I take over and control it to a clear are and start to increase altitude, it goes up and drifts, i compensate, up and up and up, video is barely working, mostly still images so I fly by eyeball, no FPV for this puppy.
As I see the bebop struggling with the slight wind and because FPV doesn't work and it's too far to see, I return it and press the land button. I do that a few times, swap battery and continue a little more but because the drone seem to lose stability more and more, and by that point I know I want to return it, I don't want to lose it. Oh and there is no code to access its wifi so I wonder if someone can take over... hmmm...
I head back in, download the video from the onboard memory and they look amazing! If only I could have this fluidity and quality while flying, what an amazing experience that would be. But no, not with the Bebop. I try the social functions which seemed very promising and enjoy looking at other people's path, it requires to be paired to the internet wifi, which means that it's disconnected from the drone. I want to add my drone, press the register button and it's looking for my drone! Which isn't connected because you guys need internet.
At that moment I felt like Asterix in the Twelve Tasks and pack it back up in the box.

Friday, April 10, 2015

The Hamilton Beach 96700 orange juicer (+tip to stabilizing the steel bowl)

We love orange making juice and lately had the desire to speed up the process by getting a machine. We've tried the 14$ chinese made piece of crap you get in the supermarket, broke after 3 days, then the 50$ 40W machine purchased on Amazon, motor would stop and the thing was so poorly designed that it was returned on the same day.
Reading reviews it became clear that under 200$ you can no longer get anything decent, usually the motor fails after a year, or the lack of power makes the sensor stop the motor before it overheats.
So to cut down on the time searching for the ideal machine, I skipped a few models and went pro with the first affordable model which we just received today.

The Hamilton Beach is the anti thesis of all the crap we're used to nowadays. It's sturdy, it's simple and it just works.

It's essentially a big industrial motor shaped to stand on a counter and packaged with a few bare-bone adapters that give it its juicing functionality. It's barebone and functional to the extreme and I love it.
No fancy design, no unnecessary sensor, just one big button covered with soft rubber.

It's huge, surprisingly silent and it's so well powerful that it takes time getting used to it - not that much time mind you, about 5 minutes but the difference with crappy sub 100$ machines is so massive that you will start upgrading your kitchen to meet this standard.

gutted clean

It's so fast that it takes 20 seconds to juice 2 oranges and it's so efficient that 2 oranges are enough for a medium size glass, instead of the 3 that were needed when juicing by hand or with the other machines we tried.

Each part that come with it is superbly finished, even the reamers are heavy, I say reamers because this thing comes with 3, lemon, orange and grapefruit. Yes, it's for the pros or the fans of uncompromising functionality.

The only drawbacks that you will find are it's too high for even a tall glass and the steel bowl will slide and spin due to the huge momentum produced by the motor.

The tall glass issue is easily fixed with whatever box you put under, for the sliding we repurposed some rubber plate lining like so.

It feels so good to own a well made object that I recommend it to anyone, even think it's beyond your budget, and even if you don't like orange juice.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Concise Review: the awful Sony Experia Z3c

-Amazing battery life
-Good non-Phablet size
-Waterproof in soft water
-Fast when it works

-Very fragile (back glass broke on one drop)
-Erratic behavior on calls
-God awful camera
-Awkward inconsistent skin
-Tons of Sony and Google junkware

Buy an iPhone,  unless you like to stick your phone in a heavy duty case and don't take many pictures.