⓱lifehacks – 6 Bizzare Amazon Dash Buttons (and 17 Incredibly Useful Ones)


The Dream: You notice there’s just enough coffee for a few more cups so you press the Dash Button attached to your Keurig. Two days later the K-cups are on your doorstep. Caffeine withdrawals are averted. You are living in the future.

The Reality: The Amazon Dash Button is a WiFi connected dongle that reorders your favorite product with the press of a button. Once Dash Button is pressed, the indicator light will turn green and a notification is sent to your smartphone. You’ll never run out of your essentials again.

Dash Button comes with a reusable adhesive and a removable hook to hang or stick the button right where you need it.

They are effectively free as the $5 cost is credited to your account upon your first button press. They are exclusive to Amazon Prime Members and arrive without shipping charges. There’s no excuse not to grab a handful and give them a try.

You can start a FREE 30-Day Amazon Prime Membership here.

The Ridiculous…

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It’s hard to believe that some of these items exist and even harder to imagine the scenario where they would be useful. These make more sense as promotional novelties rather than a saleable good. Many LOL’s were had in the marketing meetings that conjured up these oddities. I gave a few of these as gag gifts but now wonder if they’ve been put to use.

  1. Trojan Condoms – exactly where do you hang this button?
  2. Dude Male Wipes – man has survived 200,000 years without these
  3. Kraft Macaroni and Cheese – because there’s always a healthier alternative
  4. Nerf Gun Ammo – you should outgrow these before they need replenishment
  5. Doritos Chips. Slim Jim [tied] – Cannot technically be classified as junk food because there is no actual food in the ingredient list
  6. Play-Doh – if you keep running out of this stuff I’m worried your kid is eating it. I used the same can my entire childhood

 

The Incredibly Specific…


This is not a jab at any listed product or their loyal users. I’m just questioning if there’s a big enough market to justify the existence of a dash button. Even the narrow demographic that uses these would only rarely need to place an repeat order.

  1. 3-Ring Binders – Wilson Jones. You don’t lose them, they don’t go out of style and they last forever
  2. Dry Erase Markers & Art Pencils – Derwent. Quartet.
  3. Poop Relief Pills – Digestive Advantage. Culturelle
  4. Snot Relief – Mucinex. Surprised they didn’t co-market this with the facial tissues button
  5. Guitar Strings – d’Addario. Going to the music store is more fun
  6. Sunflower Seeds – David. One box is already a lifetime supply
  7. Septic Tank Treatment – RidX. Call the plumber or try the constipation stuff above
  8. Cocktail Mix – Amoretti. You still have to go to the liquor store so you’re not saving a trip
  9. Candles – Jolie. I’ve never burned an entire candle to the end. Because electricity

 

The Truly Useful…

Household goods make perfect sense. These items are nearly universal in use and consumed at high volume. At any given time you are likely to be low on at least one of these. Despite the inconvenience of running out most of them don’t warrant a separate drive to the market (toilet paper being the obvious exception).

  1. Laundry & Dishwasher Detergent – Tide. All. Gain. Cascade. Downy. Finish. Clorox. Snuggle. Persil. OxiClean. Affresh. Wisk. Dropps
  2. Toilet Paper – Charmin. Angel Soft. Quilted Northern. You can’t live without it
  3. Paper Goods – Bounty. Brawny. Dixie. Puffs. Seventh Generation. Hammermill Copier Paper. Vanity Fair Napkins. As long as you recycle
  4. Drinking Water – SmartWater. Fiji. Dasani. VitaminWater. ONE Coconut Water. Zico Pure Coconut Water. This stuff is too heavy to lug home from the store. Let them bring it to you instead
  5. Razors & Blades – Gillette. Schick Men’s. Schick Silk Ladies. Throw them out before they get dull and rusty
  6. Batteries – Energizer. Rayovac. So may electronics
  7. Feminine Hygiene – Carefree. Playtex. For her
  8. Coffee & K Cups – Maxwell House. Starbucks. Brooklyn BeanPeet’s. illy. illy Bottled. Honest Tea. Pure Leaf Tea. The best part of waking up
  9. Pet Food – Purina. Wellness Natural. Greenies. Solid Gold. It’s bulky and smells up the trunk of your car. Leave it to UPS
  10. Baby Food – Gerber. Honest Kids. Plum Organics . Kids gotta eat
  11. Baby Wipes – Elements. Milk Baby. Aquaphor Baby. Kids gotta poop
  12. Hand & Bath Soap – Dial Bath & Shower. Dial Liquid Hand SoapOlay. Cleanliness counts
  13. Adult Diapers – Depend. Very discrete to buy online. You don’t want to stand in line at Walgreen’s with a cart full of these
  14. Kitty Litter – Arm & Hammer. Litter Genie. If you could just teach the cat to press the button. But no thumbs
  15. Toner Cartridges – True Image. The ‘Low Toner’ light comes on and the order goes in
  16. Garbage Bags – Hefty. Glad. SimpleHuman. Ziploc. These things seem to run out quicker towards the end of the box.
  17. Vitamins and Supplements – Vega Protein. MegaRed Fish Oils. VitaFusion Adult Gummies. L’il Critters Kids Gummies. SmartyPants GummyEstroven Menopause Relief. Azo Bladder Health. Azo Bladder Control. Osteo BiFlex. Schiff Glucosamine. Move Free Joint HealthNew Chapter Multivitamin. New Chapter Fish Oil. New Chapter Zyflamend Whole Body. New Chapter Bone Health. Nutiva Hemp Protein. Optimum Whey Protein. Something for everybody…


The Missing in Action…

Domino’s Pizza – I would use this one every week. Please make this

You can probably figure several of these that would make your life easier. I’ve been pleasantly surprised with how seamlessly they fit into my shopping habits. When Amazon offers 1 hour drone delivery on the condoms I’ll move it to the ‘Useful’ list. Long live “the internet of things”.

 

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⓱deals – Amazon Prime Adds New Member Benefits



Take advantage of the FREE 30-Day Trial Membership here.
Now it includes Audible Audio books too! 

For a one-time fee of $99 members get a year of access to an impressive and growing list of benefits:

Free 2-Day Shipping – on millions of items. No minimum order necessary

Free Amazon Instant Video – movies, TV shows and original content. Unlimited HD streaming to your smart phone, tablet, browser, set top box or console

Free Amazon Music – millions of songs. Unlimited, ad-free streaming. Downloadable for offline playback

Free Same-Day Shipping – delivery to available zip codes by 9 p.m. on the day of order. Minimum order of $35

One-Hour Delivery –  get the Amazon Now app for select metro areas. Deliveries from local stores and restaurants

Free Prime Early Access – get exclusive Lightning Deals and coupons first

Amazon Prime Day – day-long deal events for Prime members that rival those on Black Friday

*New* Free Audible Audio Books – stream from a rotating group of more than 50 audiobooks. You can also listen to ad-free content including podcasts on Audible’s new on-demand service channels

Free Kindle e-Books – download one selection per month at no charge from the Kindle Lending Library

Free Streaming Partners Program – add additional streaming video services at a discount (Showtime, Starz, etc)

Free Unlimited Photo Storage – keep all your photos safe and accessable in the cloud

Free Online Storage –  Amazon Cloud Drive can hold 5GB for your own data, music, photos, etc.

Discounted Video Games – a 20% discount off the price of new physical games

Free Amazon Family  Membership – a discount on diaper subscriptions and 15 percent off eligible items in your baby registry

Free Amazon Elements Membership – full access to Amazon’s very own line of everyday items

Membership Sharing – invite family members to share the free shipping and digital content benefits of your Prime membership at no additional cost

Grocery Delivery – flat fee of $6 for food and household goods from local markets with Amazon Pantry

Subscribe & Save – set up regularly scheduled deliveries and earn extra savings. Choose your own frequency. Skip deliveries or unsubscribe at any time

Free Amazon Mobile Apps – Amazon Shopping, Amazon Instant Video, Amazon Music, Amazon Prime Now, Amazon Cloud Drive, Kindle, Audible Audio Books

Amazon Dash Buttons – reorders your favorite product with the press of a button.

Take advantage of the FREE 30-Day Trial Membership here.

⓱diy – Build a Super Fast 27 inch iMac for $520

Why $1800 on a new 27 inch iMac when you can build an capable one for yourself for just $520? Besides, the Apple Store’s iMacs aren’t so new — they were last updated in October 2015 – and they’re still selling at the original price.

You need only spend $350 on a used iMac from Craigslist then $170 in easy to find parts. It’ll take just 1-2 hours of your time and it’s lots of fun. You might even learn something useful.

Your “new” computer will boot in seconds, run macOS Sierra and open applications in a blink. I used a mid-2010 iMac 27 and I’m thrilled with the results [model A1312, EMC2390]. It’s six years old and faster than the day it left the Apple Store!

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I bought all my parts from Amazon (all items are free 2-day Prime shipping with a 30-day FREE trial and 4+ star reviews). The installation videos are available online [links below].

 YOU WILL NEED:

1. A late-2009 (or newer) iMac 27” – Craigslist = $350–450

2. Four 4GB Patriot memory sticks to max out the RAM at 16GB = $76

3. A 250 GB Samsung SSD drive = $70. I chose to remove the DVD drive and replace it with the SSD . I use the smaller SSD for the operating system and applications. I kept the slow but larger spinning HDD for data (documents, music and photos). The DVD drive was placed in an inexpensive enclosure for external and portable use (see below).

4. An internal SSD Mounting Bracket  = $19

5. Suction Cups to remove iMac screen = $11

6. [Optional] Use the original optical/DVD drive externally with a USB Super Drive Enclosure = $18

7. [Optional] Use the SSD externally to clone the entire system prior to drive installation with a 3.5” external SSD drive enclosure = $8

8. [Optional] Computer Tool Kit = $12  —  it’s awesome btw

HARDWARE STEPS:

1. Swap DVD drive for SSD (45 minutes)

2. Add RAM (10 minutes)

SOFTWARE STEPS:

1. Format the SSD using macOS Disk Utility . Format as Mac OS Extended Journaled with a GUID partition map

2. Clone the original hard drive contents to new SSD drive. Use the free version of Carbon Copy Cloner)

3. Optional: wipe the old 1TB hard drive clean once everything is on the new SSD (use Disk Utility again)

TIPS:

1. Don’t be tempted by cheaper off-brand RAM or SSD drives. I chose Apple-quality components for reliability and speed. Compromising your build with cheap components is not worth the cost savings in the long run.

2. Get the iMac from Craigslist (rather than eBay) so you can inspect a local machine firsthand before purchase

3. You don’t need to transfer your entire old hard drive to the new SSD (it may not fit). Just install the operating system to the SSD and then add the programs you use most often. Keep data, documents, music and photos on the slower original HDD. You can transfer large data files to the larger 1TB original drive (ex. iTunes Music Library and iPhoto picture library)

4. If you don’t want to delete your DVD drive you can instead get a bigger SSD and clone the entire original spinning drive. That’s a little easier but big SSD’s get expensive rapdily with higher capacities.

5. The Amazon and video links are specifically for the mid-2010 model but you can easily search for yours using the links below.

USEFUL LINKS:

EveryMac detailed specs on every Mac

iFixIt install videos

MacSales install videos

⓱This Years #1 Christmas Gift – Inexpensive Bluetooth Headphones

Lack of an audio jack in the iPhone 7 has everybody talking about Bluetooth audio. The AirPods $159 price tag has turned the discussion towards cost. As a result interest in inexpensive wireless headphones is through the roof.

This is Amazon’s best selling pair (4.5 star rated with 148 reviews):

For under $25 they provide 7-hour battery life (2 hours better the AirPods). They are sweat-proof and allow phone calls with a built-in microphone. The flexible strap insures proper position and comfort. And best of all the ear loops prevent loss – unlike the untethered EarPods.

While not in the same audio realm as EarPods these are a good first pair to see how you like wireless listening. They’re also a good backup in situations where it’s too risky to take a more expensive pair.

Get free 2-day shipping with a FREE 30-day trial of Amazon Prime.

I use mine every day. Once you go cordless – you’ll never go back.

⓱hardware – Ditch Your Old Spinning Disk Drive for SSD Lightning Speed


It’s time to swap your computers old hard disk drive (HDD) for a solid state drive (SSD). It’s an easy upgrade for your aging desktop or laptop. SSD’s are much quicker and more reliable than their spinning HDD predecessors.

Once you’ve experience the lightning fast startup and load times there’s no turning back. Machines that are 5+ years old can run quicker than when they were first unboxed. With RAM prices at an all time low and your machine opened up it’s a great time to max out your memory too.

I’ve been using these Samsung SSD in all my upgrades for the last few years. There is an abundance of bargain brand alternatives but there’s not enough savings to justify the risk.

Choose a SSD size that will fit your operating system and applications. Your data, music and photos can stay on the old hard drive or an external drive

Samsung Evo 750 Series SSD – 120 GB

Samsung Evo 850 Series SSD – 250 GB

Samsung Evo 850 Series SSD – 500 GB

Samsung Evo 850 Series SSD – 1 TB

Samsung Evo 850 Series SSD – 2 TB

Samsung Evo 850 Series SSSD – 4 TB

Get free 2-day shipping with a FREE 30-day trial of Amazon Prime.

 

⓱Survival Guide – iPhone Life Without a 3.5mm Audio Jack

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It’s still straightforward and inexpensive to get great sound without an audio jack in your new iPhone 7. The key is choosing the right gear for the job at hand. These particular accessories were chosen from personal experience to handle each of the commonly encountered situations.

Best of all they are backwards compatible with your iPhone 6 and earlier. After using each of these products I think Apple was right to forge ahead with the wireless approach.

Your ‘Key to Survival’ is wireless audio via Bluetoth or AirPlay:

Home Speaker (Bluetooth – wall powered): Sonos famous room-filling sound

Portable Speaker (Bluetooth – rechargeable): great sound on the go from JBL

Audio Transmitter for Car Radio (Bluetooth to FM): listen in the car without wires. Pairs automatically. Full review available here

Audio Transmitter for Car Radio (Bluetooth to Cassette): wireless for older vehicles

Home Theater Receiver (Bluetooth and AirPlay): great versatility and awesound sound fidelity. The center piece of your living room sound system

Audio Transmitter for Receiver (Bluetooth): use your exising amp and speakers for the best wireless sound

Sport Headphones (Bluetooth): sweat resistant and secure fit

Economy Headphones (Bluetooth): great sound on a budget

Over the Ear Headphones (Bluetooth): best overall deal for the price and sound quality

⓱food – Cowboy Beans. Football Food and More


Football season is here and barbecue season has a few months yet to go. This recipe is a guaranteed crowd-pleaser. It’s a side dish that’s a meal all by its self. And beans are a healthy food choice if eaten in moderation.

Don’t be intimidated by the long-ish ingredient list. They’re all inexpensive and readily available. Just throw everything in a crock pot and give it some time.

Tip #1: If it gets too thick – add beer. Too thin – add flour.

Tip #2: Keep it vegetarian or add your meat of choice. Flank steak, hickory smoked bacon, cubed ham, chunk chicken and shredded pork all work fine

I’ve been using this slow cooker / crock pot as recommended by The WireCutter.

This is a personal recipe I’ve modified over the years. Feel free to e-mail me with your reviews

⓱hardware – Increase Internet Speeds & Save Money 

When your internet access was setup up the installer gave you an low-end modem to lower their cost. By now that modem is a few generations out of date and you’re still paying for it every month. To make matters worse cable companies periodically raise their leasing fees without any fanfare. Monthly fees currently average $9 per month. A one time purchase of your own cable modem can save $470 over the course of 5 years (math below*).

This $70 Motorola Arris modem is top rated and compatible with most providers. Installation is as simple as swapping out your old modem and a phone call for activation. It will improve your connection speed and pay for its self in less than 8 months (more math below**).

Your internet experience will improve and your wallet will thank you – easy decision.

Get free 2-day shipping with a FREE 30-day trial of Amazon Prime.

Maths:

($9/mo × 12mos/yr × 5yr) – $70 = $470*

$70 ÷ $9/mo = 7.8 mos**

⓱gear – Why You Want a Dash Cam

iuHaving a recording from the driver’s point of view can be invaluable in an accident, insurance scam or criminal assault. This dashcam continuously captures video in an endless loop without any effort on your part.

It automatically turns on/off with your car’s ignition. Records video at high-definition 1080p resolution. Night vision and motion-sensing modes. HDMI output to review recordings on your TV or computer.

The memory card never fills because it erases older unlocked files. This one even includes a 32GB microSD card. It comes with free Amazon Prime shipping and peace of mind.

⓱gear – Streaming Music in Your Car WITHOUT a Headphone Jack (iPhone 7)


The Problem: You like to stream music (or podcasts) to your car audio system but there’s no headphone jack on your iPhone 7 (thanks, Apple).

Or you have an iPhone 4/5/6 but there’s no Aux input on your car radio for an audio patch cord.

Or your much older car only has a cassette player.

Or your fancy new car sports a CD slot but no Bluetooth (thanks, Audi).

The Solution: Thankfully there is a single inexpensive device that addresses all of these scenarios. This stylish transceiver gets the bluetooth audio stream from your phone and then transmits it over a FM signal to your car radio. So there is no wire attached to the phone or to the car radio. Once paired it automatically links to your phone when the car radio is turned on. It just works…

The Lumsing Bluetooth 4.0 Car Audio Adapter

Remarkably the sound quality and volume are preserved and there’s no lag or interference noise. There’s a dual 12-volt adapter included so you can charge your phone when in use. The only wire is for USB power. The display magnetically mounts to the dash. Once tuned to an open FM station you can stash it out of site if your prefer. The display unit has some controls but in a year of use I’ve never needed to touch mine. It has a microphone for Siri integration and hands-free phone calls. I recently added one to the other 3 family cars and everybody is equally as thrilled.

Get 2-day shipping with your FREE 30-day trial of Amazon Prime.

Best of all you don’t have to use one of Apple’s many dongles for an awkward fix.

If you enjoy listening to music wirelessly from your iPhone look no further than this audio streaming roundup