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NC #643 Episode 500 of Chit Chat, Galileo Offline Maps, TechMatte MagGrip Phone Mount, Security Bits

We celebrate the 500th episode of Chit Chat Across the Pond with Bart Busschots so I do a little retrospective on the origin of the show. Steve and I will be in the live chat room during the Apple announcement on September 12th at, so we hope you’ll join us. I’ve got a review of Galileo Offline Maps and one of the TechMatte MagGrip phone car mount.

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New Favorite Phone Car Mount – TechMatte MagGrip

Techmate with phone in car2Ever since smart phones started giving us navigation, we’ve been on the hunt for the best way to mount our phones so we can see them while driving.

There were the window suction cups which totally obscured your view out the windshield and which were against Department of Motor Vehicle regulations. There were the things you had to glue to your dashboard, forever marring the surface. Remember the sticky things to put on the back of your phone so that in theory it wouldn’t slide off the dash?

There was the bayonet-mount that allowed you to clock your phone 90° to lock into place, but you had to use a special case. There was the vent mounts that worked well, except the driver didn’t get any air flow and every time you got a bigger phone you had to buy a new model. Even with the right size, the clamp that held the phone in place took two hands to remove.

Every single solution had problems of either marring the phone, modifying the car, requiring a special case, or was clumsy to use.  Continue reading “New Favorite Phone Car Mount – TechMatte MagGrip”

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A Noob Installs the ecobee3 Thermostat

Ecobee3 finally installedWhen I was in college, my roommate Sandy and I wanted to put up a hanging plant. Remember the 70s when macramé plant hangers were all the rage? If not, go ask your mom. Anyway, she said we should go get a boy to help us. I told her that if we couldn’t do it ourselves, then we weren’t allowed to have it.

A few years later when I was first dating Steve, I wanted a new stereo in my car. Steve said he’d install it for me. That got me to thinking. Maybe it’s ok to have different talents and help each other do stuff. Maybe everyone doesn’t have to be able to do everything themselves. Maybe that’s what helps us all get along. I let him install the stereo and for the past 35 years, Steve has done everything in our lives that required electrical wiring.

But this week I decided to put our marriage to a real test. For my birthday, Steve and Kyle got me the ecobee3 HomeKit-compatible Smart Thermostat with three remote sensors, and I wanted to do the installation and wiring setup myself, instead of having Steve do it. Steve and I discussed whether he could stand it, and he agreed he could survive supervising me. I really wanted to do it myself because I wanted to know whether a reasonably bright girl such as myself, but without experience or education in electrical engineering, could pull it off. Continue reading “A Noob Installs the ecobee3 Thermostat”

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