Picking a Security Camera

I don’t like monthly fees so when home security companies offered their services to me, I quickly said no. Instead, I bought a security camera. Now I have 3 brands of security cameras and they all have their pros and cons. If you’re in the market for a security camera, I think any one of the 3 below will do you well.

Nest Cam



  • Offers 24/7 cloud recording with the ability to easily scrub through the timeline
  • When browsing the timeline, you can easily find motion points indicated by markers
  • Ability to create a time lapse
  • Ability to create custom clips up to 1 hour long
  • The 4K models allow for zooming in on subjects
  • Once set up, you can leave it alone. No batteries to charge.
  • 1080p video resolution


  • Expensive
  • Requires a power cable
  • The narrowest part of the power cable is 7/8″ in diameter so if you need to drill holes in walls, they’ll need to be at least 1″ in diameter.
  • Requires a monthly fee of at least $10
  • Some models only support 720p video resolution
Continue reading Picking a Security Camera

Affordable Hi-Fi Audio Headphone Setup

So, I’ve been trying to get more out of my music in terms of sound quality and experience. 6 years ago, I thought $30 Sony in-ear earphones were just as good as $200 earphones. Clearly my ears were not trained to know any better. As time went on, I slowly began to notice the difference between quality speakers and crappy ones. I still wanted earphones for their small size and I eventually settled on the BeatsX (bluetooth) which cost $109. The BeatsX are definitely much better than my $30 Sony earphones. Then, as time went on, I noticed that music played in my car sounded better than my BeatsX. One particular experience is the surround sound feeling you get from music in your car. With 6 separate speakers, the sounds from different instruments would appear to come from different directions in a very harmonious way. Since I wanted that experience at home, my research led me to a sound factor called soundstage. The soundstage is a speaker’s or headphone’s ability to add spatiality to the music you’re listening to. Rtings.com explains soundstage in detail and sorts headphones by soundstage. You can see the explanation and ranking at


With this ranking, I just went down the list and picked the best headphones in my budget. Here are the prices for the top 4 headphones as of this writing:

Continue reading Affordable Hi-Fi Audio Headphone Setup

Recording Clear Audio at Home

Test Equipment

  • Audio Technica ATR2100-USB
  • Pop filter that goes over mic head
  • Brand new DELL Inspiron 13 5000 series laptop
  • Audacity Audio Editor

Note: I tried recording to an old 2013 Lenovo ThinkPad laptop and the sound was crappy.


  1. Open Audacity and use the following settings
    • MME
    • Mic: Audio Technical 2100
    • Microphone Volumne: 80% or max, if you can
  2. Record your voice in Audacity using the mic
  3. There will be some hissing in the beginning and ending of the track. So, select a part of the hissing and hit Effects > Noise Reduction. Then, select the entire track, hit Effects > Repeat Noise Reduction.
  4. Select the entire track and, in the Effects menu, click Amplify
  5. Select the entire track and, in the Effects menu, click Truncate Silence
  6. Select the beginning and end of the track which is before and after the vocal section.
  7. Delete or remove sound from the  beginning and ending of the track


How to Create a Powerpoint Presentation Video with Narration

  1. Create your slides in Powerpoint
  2. Add narration notes for each slide
  3. Narrate each slide by clicking “Start Recording from Current Slide

    When you’re doing recording your voice for the slide, click the Esc key to stop recording for that slide.

  4. When done, Save As .wmv. Unfortunately, this only produces a 720p video and not a 1080p video.
  5. If you want to create an intro video, you can video stock videos at shutterstock.com and stock audio at premiumbeat.com.
  6. Create you intro video using the free OpenShot video editor.
  7. Export your intro video using as a 1080p or 720p mp4

  8. Create a new video in OpenShot that joins your intro video with your Powerpoint video.

If you want to just merge two mp4 videos, use the free MP4Joiner.

If you want to just split your mp4 videos, use the free MP4Splitter.


Fast Data Transfer Between MyCloud NAS and Local Computer

If you need to transfer data quickly between your MyCloud and your local computer, here’s one way I found to work reliably and fast.

  1. Connect MyCloud to your local router via ethernet
  2. Connect your local computer to your router via ethernet
  3. Log in to the MyCloud. For me, it’s at
  4. Under Settings > Network, enable FTP access
  1. Install a FTP application on your computer and create a connection to the MyCloud
  2. Disable wi-fi on your computer and transfer data over FTP

Things to Do BEFORE You Lose / Break Your Android Phone

Link Your Google Account

If you linked your Google Account with your phone, if you lose your phone, you can go to the Google Android Device Manager and 1) lock your phone and 2) locate it on Google Maps so you can get it. If necessary, you can also erase the data on the phone as well.

Enable USB Debugging in Developer Mode

USB debugging allows you to transfer data between a computer and your phone. It’s handy if you broke your phone’s screen or otherwise can’t get into your phone to back up data. Many backup utilities only work with USB debugging enabled.

Back Up All Data including App Data to Google Drive

If you back up all your data such as photos and WhatsApp messages to Google Drive, then if you lose your phone, you’ll still be able to access your data.

Install WheresMyDroid

Install a app like WheresMyDroid to be able to control your phone from other another phone or computer. This can be handy when you want to unlock your phone, make your phone ring, etc.

CloneSpy – Remove / Deduplicate Files on Your Computer

As time goes on, you may find that you have many duplicate files on your computer whether they’re music files, photos, or documents. One program I found that is free and does a great job and finding and giving you various options for handling duplicate files, including deleting them, is CloneSpy. I’m currently using is to deduplicate mp3s and it works great. I set it to ask me what to do for each duplicate file match so I can checking and manually choose which duplicate files to delete. Below is a screenshot.


AT&T U-verse TV/Internet Coaxial Cable Connections

  1. Twister pair phone wires come to the AT&T Telephone Network Interface Device (NID) outside your house
  2. In the NID box is a balun that converts twister pair to a RG6 coaxial cable
  3. The RG6 coaxial cable from the balun connects to the VDSL input of a Holland Electronics DPLS-2AR Diplexer
  4. A RG6 coaxial cable is run from the “Combined’ output of the diplexer to the coaxial input on your AT&T 2Wire 3800HGV-B VDSL Residential Gateway (RG) modem / router
  5. A RG6 coaxial cable is run from the “HPNA/TVRF” output of the diplexer to the input of a Holland Electronics GHPNA splitter
  6. A RG6 coaxial cable is run from each of the outputs of the splitter to your AT&T set top boxes (STB)

Easily Create Panoramic Pictures from a Series of Photos

Recently I wanted to take a picture of one of my bathrooms. Unfortunately, the half bathroom is a bit small and my phone’s camera couldn’t take a shot that could show most of the bathroom. Even though my phone, a Samsung Galaxy Note 3, has a pretty impressive panoramic picture feature, it only creates horizontal panoramas. Fortunately, though, there is a free program called Panorama Plus which can take a series of photos and stitch them all together. Below are the individual pictures I took of the bathroom from different angles and below them is the panorama of all of those pictures stitched together. Not bad!

individual-pics Continue reading Easily Create Panoramic Pictures from a Series of Photos

Improve Internet Download Speeds (AT&T U-Verse)

I have had AT&T U-Verse internet for some time now and my current plan is supposed to allow me to achieve download speeds of up to 24 Mbps. However, when I’d test my speed using SpeedTest, my speed would fluctuated and sometimes be as low as 9 Mbps. I was testing over wi-fi which wouldn’t give you the same speeds as over ethernet cable but still, 9 mbps was a lot less than 24. An AT&T technician came to replace the power supply brick for my modem. I asked him to check my speeds and to fix them to achieve the correct speeds. He had a special device that allowed him to see how many wi-fi networks my laptop was picking up as well as what channel they were one. To improve performance, he suggested we change my modem’s wi-fi channel to one that wasn’t currently being used by neighboring networks, I guess to minimize or eliminate collisions. By logging into your modem from a browser, you can see your current channel and be able to switch to another channel.


I was on channel 11, which no one else was on, but we changed it to channel 3, which no one else was on either, and retested the speed. The speed was better but still not great and although we were sitting right next to the modem, we weren’t getting a strong signal. We then tried channel 5, as shown above, and retested the speed. Now, I’m getting always 21+mbps down, as you can see below.


Conclusion: if you’re not getting the speeds you’re paying for, try changing your wi-fi access point’s channel. There are 11 channels in total. If you don’t know what channels your neighbors are on, you can try changing the channel from 1 to 11 and testing the speed at each channel until you find a speed that is close to what you’re paying. You can also install NetStumbler to see what networks are available and what channels they are on. Even though your access point should auto-select a free channel, that channel may still not give you the speeds you expect. Also, test you connection speeds using a direct ethernet connection as this is what AT&T uses to determine connection speed.