Forced Etsy Payments – Is this a good thing or bad?

As many of you know I have been an avid Etsy seller for over 10 years. Making cool up-cycled crafts out of obsolete and retired bits of technology. I think Etsy was only a year old when I started selling. The first five years were great as sales increased year over year and my hobby was making me some extra cash. However as the website became saturated with more vendors, sales have steadily declined. I’m fine with the reduced sales, as it is just a hobby to begin with.

I think its safe to say that the handmade craft market has gone the way of Ebay. The site has matured and there are so many people and companies selling (54 Million Members) that it is incredibly difficult to make a sale, yet a profitable one. It is possible that growth has slowed at Etsy? Since they are now a public company (IPO 4/16/2015) they have pressure to turn a profit for their share holders.

Need a revenue boost = Forced Etsy Payments

It would appear that Etsy would like to have a larger piece of the payment processing pie. Recently they announced to all sellers that they MUST begin to accept “Etsy Payments” or have their selling privileges suspended on May 18th.  I’m not sure how many sellers already use Etsy Payments, but at between 3-4% fee on each transaction it will be a considerable uptick in revenue for the company. Continue reading “Forced Etsy Payments – Is this a good thing or bad?”

Quick Fix – My bottom freezer door is not sealing on one side.

I have a typical KitchenAid French door refrigerator with a bottom pull out freezer. Its about 10 years old and has been very good at keeping our food fresh. My wife would say that the freezer is on the small side, and I think it could have been a little bigger myself. Fast forward 10 years and it would appear that this exact model is still being made and sold under many different brand names. Unfortunately we are having a freezer door issue.

Freezer Door Issue

Last night I opened the freezer and there was frost building up on the left side. After a quick inspection I noticed the door was not fully closing on the left. There was about 1/8″ gap at the top of the door and the seal.

After an exhausting Google/Youtube  search I kept coming up empty. Search results had shown fixes for some bottom draw freezers, mostly GE models. These units had set screws and adjusters to help align the door, my unit has no such adjustment.

I then started trolling the appliance fix-it sites and message boards and read old posts stating that the freezer draw may need new rails, or the device at the back of the rail that pulls the door firmly closed cold be broken. On my unit when the draw has about 2″ to go mechanisms on the end of the rails pull the door tightly closed.

My Troubleshooting Steps

Continue reading “Quick Fix – My bottom freezer door is not sealing on one side.”

Weekend Project – Keep your lawnmower humming with some basic maintenance.

Its that time of year again, the trees are budding, the flowers blooming and the grass is getting tall. If your like most you will probably roll the lawnmower out of the garage, top off the fuel and begin cutting.

Wait, not so fast. There are a few easy maintenance items you can  do yourself to keep your lawnmower humming like new all season long.

Change the oil

This is probably one of the most important maintenance items you can perform at each season. Lawnmowers run in a hostile dusty environment, and the oil can be easily contaminated.  Your lawnmower manufacture will recommend the frequency of oil changes you should preform. I like to do it every spring before the first cut.

My lawnmower is a  Honda walk behind. This unit uses a common fill / drain hole.  The first step is to wipe any dirt off the dipstick, then unscrew and place the dipstick cap on the side.

Continue reading “Weekend Project – Keep your lawnmower humming with some basic maintenance.”

Top 10 Unique Gifts for Mom this Mother’s Day 2017

Is your Mom into technology? Maybe a little on the geeky side? Well I tried to put together a list of 10 unique Mother’s day gifts that maybe your mom would enjoy. Scroll down and take a look. Don’t forget to check out the bonus gift.  (I made it!)

Fitbit Alta Fitness Tracker

For the health conscience or Mom on the go, the Fitbit Alta makes a great gift. Starting at $129, its a gift Mom will surely enjoy. My wife picked one of these up last year and wears it every day.

Don’t forget the extra bands!

 


Robot Vacuum Cleaner

Give Mom a break and let the robot do the cleaning  for her. Roomba has been around for quite a while and is my favorite robot vacuum. However so many other brands and styles have entered the market at various price ranges. The Roomba 650 pictured to the left is about $325.  If you click through this LINK you will see robot cleaners from $60 on up. Just read the reviews before you make a purchase. Especially if you have pets.


Continue reading “Top 10 Unique Gifts for Mom this Mother’s Day 2017”

How to make a Nintendo NES controller USB flash drive.

This is a fun project that takes an old Nintendo NES controller and converts it into a cool USB drive that your friends will envy.

Time to build: 1 hours
Skill Level: Easy

Supplies:

A classic NES controller. Can be found on EBAY or at the bottom of your closet or in the basement.

 

Any USB drive extracted from its case. I used a 16gb drive for this project.

 

A USB extension cable. I found this one laying around the shop.

 


Continue reading “How to make a Nintendo NES controller USB flash drive.”

Shining light on the Deep Dark Web! How Tor can keep your online identity private.

Last week I wrote a post about Internet privacy. Basically I covered how the repeal of the Internet privacy act was simply allowing your ISP to continue to collect information regarding your Internet usage. The law was never enacted so its still business as usual for the service providers. I had suggested the use of a VPN to help protect you from prying eyes.

Previous Post: Internet Privacy Should I Care?

Today I am going to give you one more weapon to protect your surfing life style. You may have heard the term “Dark Web” or “Deep Web” on TV. Silly prime time network dramas make it sound like a hang out for hacker gangs and hit men for higher but for the most part its not. The Tor project as it is officially know is your answer to Internet privacy.

  What exactly is the Tor project?

Continue reading “Shining light on the Deep Dark Web! How Tor can keep your online identity private.”

Take a trip down memory lane with the Internet Archive and a working MacOS System 7.0.1

I remember joining the school news paper publication and was introduced to the Macintosh and MacOS  for the first time. Up until that point I had used my Commodore 64 and IBM Compatible 386 for all my computing and gaming needs. To a teenager that loved computers the whole 90’s era felt like the Wild West.

Back to the future with emulation:

The Internet Archive has been around quite a long time with their Wayback Machine. This Internet marvel has been saving copies of web pages to be archived for all time. Who knows maybe some day this blog will be archived for future generations to enjoy.

One thing I didn’t realize was they were also archiving entire operating systems that could be launched and run in a browser.I found this beauty while rummaging through the archive the other day. Its a fully operational MacOS_7.0.1

Continue reading “Take a trip down memory lane with the Internet Archive and a working MacOS System 7.0.1”

Weekend Project – Clean You Central Air Conditioner Condenser Coils

My blog has mainly focused on computers, networking, electronics and an occasional “How To” small project. Today we are going to work on something a bit larger. Every Spring I dismantle my outside central air conditioner condenser units and give the condenser coils a good cleaning. This will help keep the unit running as efficient as possible keeping my house ice cold during the summer months. Also reducing wear and tear on the unit as well as lower my electrical cost too.

Tools you can use:

I completed the entire job with just a few basic tools.

A can of coil cleaner  Nu-Calgon 4171-75 $14.12 at Amazon

I used this specific coil cleaner on my units and it works as designed. The thick foam lifted the dirt and grime for easy removal. The label said its a “self-rinsing” formula using the coils own condensation to wash away the dirt. I still used my hose to wash away the grime. One can was NOT enough for my 2 units.


A good cordless drill similar to this one from DeWalt

Any cordless drill with a decent amount of torque will do just fine.

 


Magnetic socket nut driver, I used a 5/16″ driver like this

The screws on my unit had a 5/16″ head and using the cordless drill saved me a ton of time. You can use a hand driver or a flat edge regular screwdriver as well. The screws on your unit may vary so take a look before you buy any new tools.


Time to get started Continue reading “Weekend Project – Clean You Central Air Conditioner Condenser Coils”

Internet Privacy – Should you care? Is VPN the answer?

There is no simple answer to the Internet privacy solution, but lately the news media has been kicking up a storm regarding the repeal of the Obama era privacy laws.

Lets take a look at what is going on in the realm of Internet privacy and I will give you some good options to protect yourself if you deem it necessary.

How many people did you say?

You are just 1 of 3,200,000,000. Yes you read that correctly there are over 3.2 billion people on the Internet across the entire world. You are just one bit in the world of terabytes upon terabytes of people. Does any one marketer care about you specifically, not exactly.  Most of the time your ISP and other Internet companies are compiling data in batches to analyze trends. Maybe count the number of Netflix subscribers, or the number of YouTube videos watched. However more recently we have been seeing increasingly targeted  campaigns at specific groups users. Is this a breach of your privacy?

Was the Obama law repealed?

Yes and no. The new FCC rules would have given consumers greater control over what their internet service provider can do with their data by requiring them to get permission from customers before using their information to create targeted advertisements. However, the rules were never in effect. So basically we repealed a law that never happened anyway. Its business as usual. The controversy of the law stems from different standards for the ISP (like Verizon, Comcast, Cox, Spectrum etc) and other websites like Google and Facebook. In other words the law would force the Verizon and others to obtain consumer permissions to track and sites like Google would not need consent giving them an unfair advantage. Continue reading “Internet Privacy – Should you care? Is VPN the answer?”

Apple rumor mill churning out new iPhone for 10th Anniversary.

The iPhone will be celebrating its 10th birthday in June. Awe double digits already! It feels like only yesterday we were looking at the world through your 2.0 megapixel camera and gazing at your 320×480 display. If we were lucky an upgrade from the standard 4GB model to a mind blowing 16GB.

All joking aside, in my opinion the iPhone is one of the most revolutionary devices in modern times. The amount of computing power in such a small device would have been incomprehensible just a few decades ago.   Just think about it, roughly two-thirds of Americans are walking around with access to all the knowledge of the entire human race in their pockets.

What does Apple have in store for its 10th anniversary?

According to Bloomberg, Apple is preparing three phones for launch this fall, two will be the upgraded models of the current generation. (I would guess 7s & 7s Plus??) However the third is going to be something special, a so called best of the best iPhone and of course it will come with an alleged  higher price point.

Whats so special about the new phone?

According to Bloomberg’s sources, the new phone will be stainless-steel and will be about the same size of the current iPhone 7. However a new curved glass screen will have a minimal 4mm bezel and be almost as large as the 7 Plus.

If you can trust the tech drawing to the left it would appear that the front camera, sensors and ear piece are under the display. Also the home button /finger print scanner is hidden as well..

 

Speculated Features:

  • Front-facing Touch ID beneath the display.
  • 4mm bezels around the entire edge of the device.
  • 2.5D contoured glass on the front and back of the device surrounded by a metal frame.
  • Wireless charging.
  • Same dimensions as the iPhone 7.
  • 5.8″ OLED display.
  • “Invisible” front-facing camera hidden underneath the display.
  • Large power button featuring two points of contact.
  • New camera options including a dual camera system and different placements.

 What can we actually expect?

We can most likely expect more of the usual from Apple, they will announce issues implementing the new features and supply delays with the new phones at launch.  We will see a small group of die hard Apple fans waiting online to be the first with an iPhone 8 “10th Anniversary Edition” and the rest of us will just wait until they are back in stock. Don’t forget this iPhone will have the fastest processor yet with iOS 11.

Personally I hope Apple releases a “cool”  new device, it doesn’t have to be revolutionary like the original iPhone, but I do hope there is some new technology that will at least make the iPhone fun again.

Thanks for reading my blog
-Joe