Review of Omnicharge 20 USB-C Power Bank

This USB-C power bank by Omnicharge is the answer to your charging needs when the most basic of power banks aren’t going to cut it. Omnicharge, originally an Indiegogo project has grown and blossomed through a few changes, and it’s pretty amazing.

If you are on the go, and are going to be somewhere an outlet is not, this 5 x 4.8 x 1.1 inch device that weighs slightly over a pound is a great travel companion. It will charge anything from  Macbooks, handheld gaming devices, speakers, tablets, phones, etc. It has two USB C and two USB A ports, and has a 20,100 mAh capacity.

Not only does it charge your devices, you also can actually see on the OLED display (seen next to the power button in the above picture) exactly how much of a charge you have left (percentage and time), what capacity you’ve been using the electricity in the Omnicharge, the temperature of the battery, and more. If you need to give your power bank more battery life, you can plug it in while it’s charging other things because of it’s capability for pass-through charging.

This item contains a smart DC output that can be programmed to your device’s particular output needs. There is an overcharge protection, and we think that is really beneficial. No one likes damaged batteries from items being charged too much.

Besides being able to charge to USB C devices, you can also use the 2nd USB C port and two USB-A ports to transfer data from a smartphone, flash drive, camera, or other standard USB device.

There is a similar device by Omnicharge- the Omni 20 which has a place to plug in actual AC/DC cords. That one is officially on the market- being sold at Amazon.com for $299. This particular device that we are reviewing is still in the Indiegogo phase. Shipping already started in December of 2017, but at the time that this article is being written, you can still get in on the Indiegogo price of $179 plus shipping.

You could also get one with the protective case for $209. We were not sent one with the case, however. You should get in on the low price soon. It will regularly retail for $249 when it leaves Indiegogo. If we were in the market for a high-end Power Bank, we would suggest this one.

Disclaimer- Omnicharge sent us this model to review free of charge in exchange for an unbiased and fair review.

The BACtrack Scout Breathalyzer Will Help you Drink Responsibly

Techno_Mark and I don’t do a lot of drinking, but we strongly encourage those who do to do so responsibly, and that includes knowing when you’ve had too much to drink before driving.

We’ve reviewed other BACtrack items in the past, but this one is a bit different from others we’ve reviewed.  The other ones have worked with your cell phones, but this one is its own device. It’s of high quality, though. “Police-grade accuracy” is the touted claim, using XtendⓇ Fuel Cell Technology.

The BACtrack Scout is easy to use- ready to be blown into after a touch of the button. It’s small and lightweight, and would fit in a pocket easily. It does have a carrying pouch that comes with it, so you can store it with a mouthpiece in your pocket or purse. It comes with six mouthpieces so other people can use it if needed as well.

This device does meet DOT/NHTSA Standards, but it cannot determine the exact blood alcohol concentration (BAC). You also want to make sure to get it calibrated every once in a while to make sure it stays precise.

The small print does say that you shouldn’t rely on results to determine your level of intoxication or how safe it is to drive or operate heavy machines. So even if the estimate comes up in the safety zone, it’s really up to you to determine how inebriated you are. Also make sure not to eat, drink or smoke 20 minutes before using it, as that can throw off results or damage sensors.

In conclusion, we would suggest that you can use this device, but know your limits, call a cab (Uber, Lyft, or whatever mode of transportation you have available to you these days) or have a designated driver with you. Remember, buzzed driving is drunk driving. Stay safe everyone!

Oh, if you want to purchase the BACtrack Scout, go to the company website and buy it for about $84.99, which is an apparent (and possibly temporary) markdown from a $99.99 price.

BewellConnect MyThermo

So, let’s talk about thermometers. As someone who grew up in the 70s, I remember those mercury ones that you had to uncomfortably stick under your tongue. Remember how you had to shake them to reset them, and they were really fricking hard to read? There was like this silver thread that…how in the world did they ever figure out that this is we detect sickness?

I bring this up because progress has been made in the world of thermometers, and I am not talking about the kinds of numbers. This is the MyThermo from Bewell Connect, and it is a smart and connected non-contact thermometer that can take a temperature of a body without even making contact with him or her.

That’s right, even the thermometers are wireless these days. I may have no idea how the mercury thermometers work, but this MyThermo, I am completely clueless. Let’s just say that it runs on magic, which is defined as any technology that can be understood in its present culture.

Apparently, the MyThermo uses infrared technology, which is good for those situations for when you are not wanting to spread germs with your thermometer.

Now, the issue that I have with this is that I am not certain how accurate the results are. I mean, you have to hold it up to a forehead, and then push the button. I held it up to my son’s head and got an incredibly low value of seventy something. The next one was about 88, and I tried it on myself and got a low 90 rating.

Below is a picture of where to hold it in relation to the forehead, and I have to admit that when I first used it, I held it backwards. Now, the instructions say that you should measure the temperature elsewhere to confirm it, and you just should do that anyway. Apparently, you can use this thing on a bathtub or drink as well.

I’m not certain if I can really recommend this product, but honestly, if this works as good as it says, then you should have no problem seeing it in many hospitals. You can purchase the MyThermo on the Bewell Connect site for about $99.

Hands on with the OOMI Starter Kit

One of the many things that I was able to witness at CES was how it seems that everyone wants a “connected home”. It is very apparent that certain homes that are being built in the present are being prepared for the future, so that all of the electronics can be taken control via smartphone/tablet.

I can’t remember at what CES I saw this at, but OOMI was there. This was when they were just getting started, so it must have been a few years ago. They must have truly bloomed, as I had a chance to try out their OOMI Home Lighting Starter Kit.

This thing came with just about everything. It came with a tablet, which at first seemed odd to me. After all, there are lots of tablets available with iPad from Apple, many from Android, and probably a lot of Windows and others that I don’t know about.

Now before I forget later, I’m going to tell you that OOMI does have an app. Granted, it wasn’t rated high on the Android store, but I’m just going to assume that it can do everything that the included tablet can do.

So, the moment that I turned on the tablet, it told me what to do after hooking up to my wireless network. The OOMI tablet told me to plug in the security camera, and said that it would turn green or blue when it was hooked up. Then all I had to do is join a dot on the back of the tablet with the one on the back of the camera. In less than a minute, I was looking at myself on the screen of the tablet.

I honestly don’t know how it could have joined so quickly, so I am going to guess some kind of NFC tech. There was a lot of other quick instructions that the tablet gave, but I’m not certain what I quickly passed over. I did find that it was user-friendly, so much so that I decided to connect one of the smartbulbs and just join its spot with the tablet’s.

Needless to say, I was able to take command of the bulb, provided it was given power. Oh, this is required for set-up as well. so with one touch on the screen, the light is on or off, and from there, I can take control of its color with 12 standby shades. I can even make rainbow or pattern or even random shades to create a very interesting mood of the room.

Then it doesn’t stop there, as there is an OOMI plug, which looks as if it can give you control of an appliance, as well as seeing how much energy is being used.

I’m told that it still doesn’t stop there as you can use other Z-wave appliances as well. I’m going to just guess that OOMI designed this Lighting Starter Kit as a good method for those who want a connected home to have a connected home, without the experience. To that, I say it is a good investment, and it is available for purchase on the OOMI shop for $499.00.

Chilipad Cube for the Queen Size Bed

I have been wanting to review the Chilipad for a long time now, as it was a device that I saw at CES 2018. Generally, I don’t get a chance to review anything like this, so I’ll try and just summarize it, in case the picture doesn’t make it obvious.

If you share a bed with someone, then you might have an issue with one feeling too hot, while the other feels too cold. In all honesty, I don’t know if my wife and I have ever had this problem, but we have been in a car where I was too cold and she was too hot.

Well, you can see where this is going, can’t you? The Chilipad is a way of regulating two zones of climate control on your mattress, so the hot stays hot and the cool stays cool. Think of it as the McDLT for the bed, and honestly, I am not certain what age group wouldn’t understand that reference.

Now, when this thing came to me, the box was huge. I wanted to do an unboxing video, but it didn’t really work out on this occasion. Needless to say, I opened the box to find the pad itself folded on top, and this particular product isn’t like an electrical blanket or cooling. No, this is a pad that lays atop the mattress itself, and I will explain how it works later.

Once I opened the product and took out the Chilipad itself, I saw two boxes within the big box. Each of them said this: “Inside this box is your solution. No more sweating, tossing, and turning. Only Sleep Nirvana.” Within these two boxes are a cube, cord, and a remote control.

Now, these cubes are the key to how the Chilipad works. The Chilipad itself doesn’t work with the power of electricity, like an electric blanket, but water power. Yes, there is water being pumped through the Chilipad, and the cube allows that water to be either hot or cold, depending on what side of the bed that you are on. So there is now plumbing going through your mattress, but not near as much water as a waterbed. I didn’t really want to test how strong these pipes were, but you need to attach a weird pipe to the cube. I don’t know if you should let a dog or cat on the Chilipad due to their claws.

Yes, there is a Single and Dual Zone option on this, but I have said this before. I don’t know if I need to say this, but the cubes have to be filled with water into order to work. What was funny was how I couldn’t figure out how to fill them at first. There is thing that unscrews that I actually thought was a dial.

Of course, a dial is not needed, as the heat and cooling function are controls by buttons on the cube. Of course, they can also be controlled by the remote controls, which require batteries, as I found out. Honestly, I am not certain why the remotes are needed, for you are going to have to sleep with these remotes to work them. I think it might just be better to just have the burden of leaning over and playing with the switches rather than stashing the remotes under your pillows or something.

So, is the Chilipad worth it? I don’t know, as it really depends how much comfort means to you. I used to love sleeping with an electric blanket, but I had settled for sleeping near a fan or a space-heater, depending on the weather. However, I can’t guarantee a temperature of 55 or 110 F. Not only that, it uses less power.

Yes, I agree that getting a good night’s sleep is important, and if this is of paramount importance to you, then the Chilipad is for you. Still, I need to let you know that it costs a pretty penny at $999.00 on the Chilipad site. At this point, you are going to have to ask yourself how much comfort is worth to you. It certainly is quite a product, and I would not be surprised to see more from Chilipad in the future.

Our Review of the Makeblock Neuron Inventor Kit

We have had the opportunity to review a lot of great products related to STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) technology before, and the Makeblock Neuron Inventor Kit is up there with stuff from UBTECH as well as LEGO MINDSTORMS EV3. Those are some plugs for my books, by the way, but I wish I had more time to write about the Makeblock Neuron Inventor Kit.

It is difficult to talk about the Makeblock Neuron Inventor Kit, but for those of you who are familiar with the aforementioned STEM toys, it might seem run-of-the-mill. Please don’t think that comment as this is a bad review, but the fact remains, it would probably take me a proper month to review the Makeblock Neuron Inventor Kit. As it is, I really only afford a long day to review this.

I’ll try by describing what is in the box, or at least on top of the box. There are these blocks, one of them is for power, and even has the international power symbol on it. There are other blocks labelled “Buzzer”, “Gyro Sensor”, “Servo Driver”, “Bluetooth”, and “Funny Touch”. There are others here that I won’t go into for now, but needless to say, connecting certain blocks together allows different things to occur. You can see what the individual blocks look like here:

For example, I found that I could connect the Power to the Gyro Sensor and that to a Buzzer. What did I get? I device that, if moved, will buzz. This is essentially what programming is, linking together all the individual tasks until they can successfully perform one big old task.

So yes, the Makeblock Neuron Inventor Kit is made so you can link blocks together and download code into them. Yes, there are other kits that can do the very same thing, but I have to admit the this is the first kit that I have seen that comes with these paper things for some series hard paper crafting. Like most of these kits, it comes with an app, and I was able to see instructions for making an excited rabbit that can make faces.

Of course, you can build a lot more, that’s for dang sure. Of course, the possibilities are infinite, and this is helped as its pieces are compatible with LEGO. Oh yes, so anything that you can make with Technic and MINDSTORMS is good to go for the Makeblock Neuron Inventor Kit.

So yes, I am going to recommend the Makeblock Neuron Inventor Kit, particularly if you are into STEM projects. Even if you aren’t this could be the thing that really gets you into it. It can be purchased on the Makeblock store for $119.99.

Simplehuman 8-inch Round Sensor Mirror

I’m going to have to say that I believe that Simplehuman is one of those companies that really can make a home a home. You know how some people have IKEA furniture all over their place, and it makes their home a little less classy as a result? If there was a house with Simplehuman products all over, I believe it would make a home more classy.

After all, I think we all need products like the Foam Cartridge Sensor Pump, another great Simplehuman product that we had the opportunity to review. I believe that there would be many a bathroom that would benefit from this 8-inch Round Sensor Mirror, which we also had the opportunity to review.

The Sensor is for what happens when you get close to it, as the ring of light around it will illuminate. If it is somehow too bright, you can turn down the brightness by tracing your finger around the side, and it will adjust.

Believe me, that light is helpful. It can go from 100 to 800 lux, and the mirror itself is 5x magnification. I’m not one for doing make-up in the mirror, but something like this could really help out if you need to put your “face on”. Just a word of warning, the circle of light that the sensor mirror makes creates this odd ring effect on the eyes. It kind of reminds me of the way the replicant eyes would kind of glow in Blade Runner.

In case you are wondering where the light comes from, it is rechargeable via micro USB cord. I am told that one charge is good for five weeks, which means that you can use this for quite a while before you have to plug it in again.

So, yes, I would recommend this product from the get-go. It is available for purchase without any shipping for about $200.00 on the Simplehuman site.

Review of Jabra Elite 65t

As always, it is difficult to give a negative review to Jabra, and we have another opportunity to bring a Jabra true wireless earbud review (the last one was of the Jabra Elite Sport). This review will be of the Jabra Elite 65t, one of several that they unveiled at CES 2018.

photo credit: Jabra

If you like to listen to music, and be able to take calls without being connected to pesky wires, these earbuds could be perfect for you.

The great news is you can listen even longer than with the Jabra Elite Sport. There is now up to 5 hours of battery life, and the sleek case that it comes in holds an extra 15 hours of charge.

These earbuds don’t drop wireless connection like others do, which is another great reason to go with these. The sound quality is good, and it has 4- microphone enhanced sound, so when you are taking a call and it’s windy outside, the noise of the wind is reduced. At 1:51- this YouTuber shows what it sounds like with wind blowing from different directions.

To get the full benefit of these earbuds, you should download the Jabra Sound + app. It allows you to adjust what you are hearing in your earbuds for both calls and music, activate your desired voice engine (Siri, Amazon, and Alexa), and more. You can also register your earbuds to get the 2 year dust and water-resistance warranty in effect.

If you want to buy these earbuds, they are sold at Best Buy for $169.99.

Disclaimer: As with most products we review, Jabra sent us these free earbuds in exchange for a fair and unbiased review.

Our Review of Quantum Storey’s Operation YOU: Morning Nightmare, the “World’s First VR Book Series”

Okay, if you have been to Wal-Mart’s book section, you might notice this particular book/package. This would be a book/VR program from publisher Quantum Storey known as Operation YOU: Morning Nightmare. It is apparently the first VR (Virtual Reality, but you probably already knew that) book series, and it is only available from Wal-Mart.

I’m going to say that their claim is correct, and this book comes with a pair of fold up VR googles so you can connect it to your smartphone. Yes, there is an app that you use for this, and I am very pleased to say that it was very simple to set up.

Personally, I used my own pair of VR goggles with the Powis ViewR 2.0, and I found that this program allows me to step into another world. This is something that I really can’t describe, but hey, this is the lure of VR.

Unfortunately, I am going to say that I wasn’t too impressed by the experience. Now, in case you think I am going to give this a bad review, I’m not. This would be like me reviewing Veggie Tales and saying that it is terrible because it is too juvenile.

Yes, I, a middle-aged man, am not the audience designed for this. This book has the big print of a Dr. Seuss book, and even is told with rhyme.

What is interesting is that while the virtual program was running, it was reading the words in the book. So in all honesty, the book portion of this…program is rather superfluous. Seriously, the program reads the book to me.

Another thing that is not interesting is the book’s subject matter. The title of Morning Nightmare refers to the main character’s experience on a bus, and dealing with bullies.

Yes, this is an anti-bullying story. In fact, I will spoil it and say that the book explains how to deal with bullying. For those that remember the 1980’s, there were constant after-school specials and books that had an anti-drug preaching slant to them. These days, the youth of today are constantly told not bully, as my 15-year-old daughter will attest to from the numerous pep assemblies that she has been to.

I will have to say that the bullies of this book are creepy. One of them has a pet snake that will attack you, or something? Trust me when I say that you do not want to be trapped in a virtual world with them. Heck, I would rather be a powerless Neo with an Agent Smith than be stuck with these bullies.

Fortunately, this virtual program allows you to do certain actions over again should the bullies overtake you. By the way, these bullies took me out at least twice. When this happens, you end up being with this lady named Ray, or I will assume is a lady. It doesn’t matter, but my point is that this book feels like it is trying to be one of those Choose Your Own Adventure books.

However, I love the interface of this book, and how I could just look at something in order to interact with it. It ends with me playing frisbee with a dog, but it wasn’t as active as actually tossing the plastic WHAM-O discus with a hyperactive Labrador.

Geez, this sounds negative. I’m going to let you know that I believe that the technology for a VR series is there. The idea of a book that you can walk into is great, but I’m guessing that the programming of that is very complex. Morning Nightmare, the first book in this series, is really more of a proof of concept that this VR series works.

What I want to see is a more developed story that would be much longer. Perhaps the book and story could work together and not just have the program read to you. The issue is that this tech is still in its infancy, kind of like watching those old computer generated videos from the late eighties and early nineties, and then Toy Story changed everything.

I have a message for Quantum Storey. I’m going to come up with a way that this can really work, so you’ll be hearing from me soon.

In the meantime, you can purchase Operation You: Morning Nightmare on the Wal-Mart site for $17.49.

Oh, there is more! Operation You has three books known as The New Kid, The Kings Birds, and A Soldier’s Son. I have no idea what they are about, or even if the same characters will appear.

D-Link Covr AC3900 Whole Home Wi-Fi System

It has been about two years since I reviewed D-Link’s AC3150, and I found it to be quite a router for my home. I first saw it at a CES, and I think the four antennae really just attracted me to it. I’m just going to assume that those four antennae help the coverage.

As you can see, the Covr AC3900 Whole Home Wi-Fi System has those four antennae, and I am guessing that they really help the coverage. Unlike the aforementioned AC3150, there is a router (Covr AC2600 Seamless Wi-Fi Router or COVR-2600R) and an extender (Covr AC1300 Seamless Wi-Fi Range Extender or COVR-1300E). It should be good for 6,000 square feet, and it seems good enough for my home.

According to the website, it can support 4 simultaneous data streams, which is good for “steaming 4K video and games”. Uh, I think you mean “streaming”, right?

Now, the set up works with a D-Link Wi-Fi app, but I didn’t really use it. I had some issues when I set it up with my computer, which was connected via wire. At first I couldn’t get it to work, so I decided to set it up with the extension, which I wasn’t really planning on using in the first place. Then it turned out I didn’t need that extension after all. What was really strange is that nothing was working, so I just turned off my modem and this router and it worked fine.

There are some features that are available like Parental Control as well as the possibility of a guest network as well. Oh yes, there is also DLNA devices for gaming consoles, smartphones, tablets, and much more.

Well, as we have been saying before, this was sent to us for an unbiased review, so here’s what I have to say: if you need a router, and you have a huge space, get the Covr AC3900 Whole Home Wi-Fi System. You can get it on the D-Link site for $299.99.