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GarageMate Review: Open Garage Door with Phone!

Buy the GarageMate on Amazon

Video Transcript:

What’s up guys? It’s Andy and I am recently a new homeowner. This is actually my new kitchen and that’s my cat right there in the window sill.

Anyway I apologize for the echo. I wanted to do this video about my garage because I’m a new garage owner as well, and this 1980 garage door opener came with the garage. It’s the only one I have and I was like “There’s got to be a better way to open the garage possibly with, you know, your phone.”

So I went online and this is not a sponsored video by the way, but I found this product called the GarageMate, and you can open your garage over Bluetooth with this thing. It’s $50 on Amazon. I’ll leave a link in the description below so you can check it out.

But I just want to do a video over how to install it and how well it works because I don’t see many videos about this GarageMate product so I wanted to do one and let you guys know, if you’re a garage owner yourself, how it works and how you can set it up and how easy it is to install. So let’s go out to the garage and put this thing up and see how it works.

Alright so we’re in the garage now, and we are going to open up this panel here and the GarageMate works with almost any garage door opener but there are some exceptions. I’ll leave a link to their website so you can check it out and see if it works for your garage door opener that you currently have.

The process is pretty simple, I think you just connect the wires to these terminals right here, the red and white ones. So here’s the GarageMate right here. I’m going to go ahead and open it up and plug it in.

Ok so now I got the GarageMate plugged into power up there and the first thing you want to do is actually connect it to your iPhone so this works for iOS and Android devices and you can pair up to eight devices per one GarageMate receiver.

So once it’s powered on hold the blue button down for about 4 to 5 seconds until the LED starts to blink. Ok and then once it starts blinking you can pull out your phone. Make sure Bluetooth is on then go to the GarageMate app. It’s free and then you click on the gear icon here. Click on “My Garages” and then scan for new receivers. It’s going to, should pick it up in a few seconds and it says “Receiver found” and we want to go ahead and click “Pair”. And it’ll pair to your GarageMate receiver and then you also have a PIN on the back of your receiver that you put in right now and there we go. Success, you have successfully paired your GarageMate receiver. Sweet that was pretty easy.

So now once you’ve paired your GarageMate with your phone as long as you’ve got the red and white wires connected depending on however your garage door opener is set up. That’s how mine is set up. Once those are connected the power is plugged in up there. The receiver – there’s the GarageMate receiver. I’m just going to leave mine in this little white thing. You can leave it dangling down however you want to do it but I think Bluetooth is going to go through this no problem. We’ll test it out though.

Make sure Bluetooth is on your phone, open up the GarageMate app and all you have to do is hit this main garage door button. There you go, works like a charm. I want to test this out a little farther away see how far the Bluetooth will work but there it works. I’ll go ahead and leave that closed. We’ll back up in my car and see how far away it will work.

Alright so now we’re about like 20 feet away, I don’t know, I’m not good at guessing the lengths of things but I’m guessing about 20 feet away. Let’s see if it works. Yep worked great. I’m so far, I’m extremely happy with this. I’ve only opened my garage door twice but I think it seems to be working as expected.

So if you never want to deal with garage remotes again, changing out batteries, buying new ones, losing them, and you want to open your garage door wirelessly over Bluetooth then check out the GarageMate. I think it’s an awesome purchase for $50. It should last you for a long time. Thank you for watching. Make sure you subscribe to this channel if you haven’t already and give it a thumbs up if you liked this video. My name is Andy and I will talk to you guys in the next one.

Top 3 Reasons to Buy Apple AirPods!

Apple AirPods are Apple’s new wireless Bluetooth earbuds, and they’re not for everyone. In fact, after owning them for a few days and using them for multiple hours on end, I’ve discovered who the AirPods are meant for so in this video I’ll go over my top 3 reasons to buy the Apple AirPods.

AirPods start at $159 so they’re definitely not cheap. However, they do have some cool features that may justify that price tag. In the box you’ll see a magnetic carrying case that doubles as a charger which most other Bluetooth devices don’t offer. Inside the case are the AirPods themselves. There’s a Lightning port at the bottom the case for charging via the included USB-A cable. Don’t get me started on why it’s not USB-C. Let’s just go ahead and start with reason number one:

Unique Features > Audio Quality

Don’t proceed if you’re an audiophile or obsessed with super high quality audio. AirPods are tiny wireless earbuds. I don’t expect people to think that these have superior audio quality. They have good sounding AAC audio but still not the best when it comes to pure audio quality for the price. It’s very similar audio quality to iPhone 7 EarPods (though the AirPods mids seem slightly clearer).

So audio quality takes backseat to the main features, one of which is a processor inside each AirPod called the W1 chip which makes them “smarter” than most Bluetooth headphones. It has instant pairing when you open the case near a compatible iPhone with Bluetooth enabled. A window pops up asking to pair and gives battery percentages. The W1 chip makes AirPods more power efficient leading to long battery life. Apple claims 5 hours on single charge (my first 2 hours used 35%). The case also has its own re-chargeable battery built-in. That means if the case is charged, you can insert your AirPods into the case and it will charge your AirPods. Apple says the case adds an extra 24 hours of use. W1 chip works with small infrared sensors in each AirPod that can detect when you’ve put them in your ears so music will automatically play when you put the AirPods in and music will automatically pause when you take one or both out. The chip also tells your iPhone if you’re only wearing one AirPod at a time. Each AirPod has a built in microphone which is not the greatest mic in the world, but if you want those main features more than having the best audio quality, AirPods are a good choice.

Current Apple User

You can actually pair AirPods with non-Apple devices with the button on the back of the case, but I wouldn’t buy AirPods unless I owned at least 2 of the following: iPhone or iPad running iOS 10 or later, Mac with MacOS Sierra or later, or Apple Watch with watchOS 3 or later. The fit is identical to the latest EarPods so if you know the EarPods fit your ears well then AirPods should too. The same can be said if the EarPods don’t fit you well, then the AirPods most likely won’t fit you well either. As for me, the AirPods fit well and it’s a pretty comfortable fit. They’re snug and secure. They don’t seem to come loose even when running at full speed. Great for working out and running. AirPods sync across all your Apple devices through iCloud after initial pairing. If you want to switch over from listening on your iPhone to your Mac, you just select the AirPods from the task bar at the top of your screen. So if you are invested in the Apple ecosystem like me, then the AirPods are a good choice.

Minimalist as Possible

This is where the AirPods are really polarizing. They go full out minimalist which will appeal to some people but cause hatred from others. My current Bluetooth headphones are each under $50 so they’re much cheaper than the AirPods and they have actual buttons for play, pause, and skip. AirPods are completely different.
Obviously there are no cords which means no more messy tangled wires which makes it very simple to manage and a good enough reason in itself to get AirPods if you don’t currently own Bluetooth headphones. I hate wires. However this does mean that it will be easier to lose one of the AirPods since they aren’t connected to each other. If you lose one, Apple will sell you a replacement at a “special discounted rate” of $69 so try not to lose one. AirPods have zero buttons. This means you control everything through Siri which you can activate by double tapping near the top of the AirPods. I’m so used to tapping previous earbuds for the purpose of getting them to settle into my ears, but with AirPods this double-tapping gesture activates Siri where you can tell it to lower your volume or play or pause the music and many other commands. Of course the double tap gesture can be customized in your Bluetooth settings or even turned off completely. I found that voicing commands through Siri works well for the times when I can actually get it to activate. Sometimes it takes many attempts because the AirPods don’t actually have a touch capacitive surface. The double-tapping is detected by the built-in accelerometers so it takes a little more force than with a normal touch surface which can become quite annoying if you’re constantly banging your ear drum. I still prefer to use the controls from my device. So if you want to go on full-on minimalist, the AirPods are a good choice.

I honestly think $99 would be the perfect price for the AirPods. $159 is just a bit too high even with the included battery case and the new W1 chip, but if those 3 reasons I gave resonate with you then you should look into getting them!

Google Wifi Review & Setup!

Google Wifi is not your typical wireless router. It’s a sleek, easy-to-use device that’s designed to be the simplest and most future proof way of filling your home with WiFi. It comes in a 1-pack for $129 or a 3-pack for $299. So you can get just one if you want to replace your current WiFi router in an area up to 1500 sq ft. But one of the main features of Google Wifi is the expandable mesh network which lets you have multiple Google Wifi points that work seamlessly together to fill up an area up to 4500 sq ft with no dead spots. It has a quad-core ARM CPU, blazing fast AC1200 Wi-Fi standard, simultaneous dual-band Wi-Fi (2.4/5 GHz) with Network Assist Technology, and it’s backwards-compatible with your current devices (supporting 802.11a/b/g/n/ac)

In the box you have the Google Wifi point with two gigabit Ethernet ports, a quick start guide, a 6.5 ft Ethernet cable, and the power cable. To set up Google Wifi you’ll need: a free Google account, an Android or iOS device, high speed internet, and a modem. First connect your power cable to the Google Wifi point then connect the Ethernet cable from your modem into the globe icon port on the Wifi point, then connect the power adapter to an outlet. Next, install the free Google Wifi app on your smartphone or tablet and make sure Bluetooth is turned on as well.

When the app finds your Wifi point it will ask you to scan the QR code that’s on the base of the device or you can type the code manually. Select the location of your Wifi point so you can identify it later. The next steps will ask you to name your Wifi network and create a Wifi password. Google Wifi uses WPA2-PSK security if you were wondering. The app will proceed to create and finalize your network. Tell it how many Wifi points you have then click next and it most likely will start to install available updates. That’s another good thing about Google Wifi, it has automatic security updates. When you see that your Wifi is ready you can go to your WiFi settings and connect to the new Wifi network that you just created.

One of the best features of Google Wifi is the app which not only walks you through the entire setup like we just did, but it’s also the one-stop shop to easily manage your wifi network. Some of the things you can do include network checks which tests your internet download and upload speeds and keeps a history of the speeds for you to compare. You can also test the speed of the Wifi to your device to make sure you have a good base connection.

You can set up Guest Wifi that creates a totally separate wifi network for guests with its own separate name and password. You can enable a feature called Family WiFi Pause which is good for parents who want to turn off Wifi access to their kids devices at certain times. You can also see all the devices that are currently connected to your network along with a list of devices that have connected in the past. You can give priority to a device for a certain period of time. You can see your network data usage. In the settings area you can change various settings of your wifi point, reset it, do some advanced tasks like setting IP reservations, UPnP, port forwarding, or changing DNS servers.

One of the biggest concerns of owning a router made by Google is wondering if Google is spying on your data. Well here’s the clause from the Wifi app. It states in bold: “Google Wifi app and your Wifi points do not track the websites you visit or collect the content of any traffic on your network.”

So I’m not too worried about Google spying on my data traffic. However some of the things I don’t particularly like about Google Wifi is the lack of ethernet ports. Most routers have at least 4 ethernet ports while Google Wifi only has 2. And for $129, it seems like it should definitely have 4 ports. I also wish they offered a 2-pack, instead of just a 1 and 3 pack.

Having said that, I still think Google Wifi is one of the best wireless routers you can get right now because of the automatic updates, the simplicity of setup and management using the free app, the sleek white design, and especially the super fast expandable mesh network for future proofing. I bought it to replace my old wireless router and i’m definitely keeping it.

My question for you is: what router do you have right now and will you be replacing it with Google Wifi? Leave a comment and let me know!

Best $10 iPhone 7 Case? Spigen Ultra Hybrid Review

As much as I’d love to keep my iPhone 7 naked, it’s just not a smart thing to do. Since I want to keep my iPhone in mint condition to sell later, I need a case.

The Spigen Ultra Hybrid has been my primary case for the past four iPhone models because it’s everything I want in a case: good protection, low price, minimal, and clear.

I got it for about $10 on Amazon. This is the Crystal Clear version, but it also comes in other bumper colors. It’s made of thermoplastic polyurethane so it’s not a hard plastic, but instead it’s firm and flexible. It covers the back, the top and bottom, and the sides of the iPhone 7. It has all the precise cutouts for the lightning port, speakers, new grill, and new camera.

It’s very easy to put on, just insert the iPhone 7 top first and then snap it in at all four corners. One of the good things about the Spigen Ultra Hybrid is that it has a slightly raised lip on the front to protect the iPhone 7 display when it lays face-down on a surface. It also has the same type of small lips on the back of the case at each four corners so that the case doesn’t get easily scratched when it’s moved around.

The iPhone 7 power and volume buttons have protection with this case and I’ve always appreciated the Ultra Hybrid’s ease of pushing the buttons and the tactile feedback that it gives.

The Air Cushion technology on all 4 corners of the case absorbs most of the impact during small-to-medium drops. I’ve never experienced any damage to my iPhones during the past 3 years when using this case. I do try to be very careful with my phone so it starts there, but I do drop it from time to time when getting out of my car or when I’m pulling my iPhone out of my pocket so it does handle drops up to 4 feet very well.

The biggest question that comes up is “Does the case turn yellow over time?”

Well, this is my old Spigen Ultra Hybrid iPhone 6s case on the left compared to the new Ultra Hybrid iPhone 7 case on the right. You can see that, yes, the case did change color ever so slightly over time. The change mostly occurred on the bumper part of the case.

The 6s case on the left was used for a year and that’s what you can expect the color to look like after a year’s worth of use without any washing or cleaning. It’s not extremely discolored. The slight yellowing over time never really bothered me because as you can see when it’s on the phone it’s not a huge problem, at least for me anyway.

I think for $10 the Spigen Ultra Hybrid iPhone 7 case is great, and if you’re looking for an affordable minimal clear case that offers decent protection I think you’ll love it.

Anova Precision WiFi Cooker Review

I don’t like to waste time cooking because frankly I’m not that great at it and cooking takes away my valuable productivity time.

That’s why the Anova Precision Cooker seems to be the perfect solution for the typical millennial geek like myself. When I first saw this I did not think twice about getting it. I bought it, and I love it.

The Anova Precision Cooker is a tool for a cooking method called sous vide which uses a water bath to evenly cook food at a controlled temperature to retain moisture without overcooking. So it literally gets the perfect cook every time. Sous vide is popular among professional chefs, but the Anova is super simple for us regular people, and it even has a free app for Android and iOS that lets you cook from anywhere over WiFi. Magic? Well, here’s how it works.

First you need some type of pot. I actually bought this 12-quart container on Amazon for $16 and it works really well.

Fill your container up with water (or ice water if you plan to remotely start your cooking later in the day via WiFi)

Clamp the Anova cooker to the side of the container and plug it in. Use the Anova app to find out what temperature you need to set for the type of food you’re cooking. You can cook all kinds of stuff sous vide (chicken, pork chops, ribs, vegetables, hamburger, steak, and more).

f you’re using WiFi to start the cooker remotely, open the Anova app and pair your Anova to your WiFi connection then set the temperature and timer and proceed to the next step to place your food in the ice water and start the timer later in the day. To cook it right now like I’ll be doing, you can use the scroll wheel on the cooker itself to set the temperature, then click the Red button to start heating the water.

Next, get your food ready. I have a steak with some salt and pepper, along with some butter and rosemary. Put your food in a vacuum sealed bag or just use a regular Zip-lock plastic bag. Once your desired temperature has been met, slowly lower your plastic bags into the container until the food has been fully immersed, making sure it’s not blocking the Anova intake, then clip the top of the bags to the side of the container.

Let your food cook for the allotted time. You can see all the temperatures and times for the most popular types of food using the free Anova Culinary app which has a ton of recipes on it that you can follow.

Once the timer is up, remove the food. If it’s a piece of meat like this steak you can choose to sear it and add a dark and crispy outer layer to give it the ultimate finish. I usually sear it on high heat for about 90 seconds on each side.

When you’re done you will be left with the perfect cook every time. This steak was cooked medium-rare, but of course you can adjust the temperature for medium or medium well or however you like it. Just use the app and it will tell you exactly what temperature to cook it at for your desired doneness.

Bottom line, the Anova Precision Cooker is an awesome gadget. It’s made cooking more fun and less stressful. The cleanup is a breeze because there’s practically none at all. Just dump out the water. What will you be cooking with your new Anova Precision Cooker? Leave a comment and let me know!

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