Shopping Blog Posts

April 30, 2023

Ziggy School Tools Book

Ziggy School Tools is a classic book that has been helping students learn and create for over 40 years. First published in 1976, Ziggy School Tools is a comprehensive reference book that contains all the tools you need for school, including alphabets, circles, hexagons, angles, rectangles, symbols, French curves, protractors, ovals, and a metric table.

The book is divided into two sections: the first section contains a variety of stencils that can be used for drawing and tracing, while the second section contains a variety of charts and tables that can be used for math and science.

Ziggy School Tools is a great resource for students of all ages. It is perfect for use in the classroom or at home. The book is also a great way to introduce children to the basics of geometry and math.

In addition to its educational value, Ziggy School Tools is also a lot of fun. The book is full of colorful illustrations and fun facts. Children will love using the stencils to create their own drawings and designs.

If you are looking for a classic book that will provide your child with years of learning and enjoyment, then Ziggy School Tools is the perfect choice.

Here are some additional benefits of using Ziggy School Tools:

  • It can help children develop their fine motor skills.
  • It can help children learn about shapes, sizes, and patterns.
  • It can help children develop their creativity and imagination.
  • It can help children learn about math and science.
  • It can be a fun and engaging way for children to learn.
  • If you are looking for a great way to help your child learn and have fun, then I highly recommend Ziggy School Tools.

Here are some fun ideas for using Ziggy School Tools:

  • Use the stencils to create your own bookmarks, posters, or greeting cards.
  • Use the charts and tables to help you with your math and science homework.
  • Use the book to learn about different shapes, sizes, and patterns.
  • Use your imagination to create your own designs and drawings.
  • Ziggy School Tools is a great way to help children learn and have fun. It is a classic book that has been enjoyed by generations of children. If you are looking for a resource that will provide your child with years of learning and enjoyment, then Ziggy School Tools is the perfect choice.
February 5, 2023

Ecobee WiFi Issue

The Ecobee WiFi disconnecting and turning off your smart thermostat is a frustrating issue that many people have experienced. Fortunately, there are some ways that you can help resolve the issue.

We Encountered this Issue!

While we were having a sleepover party this weekend, we arranged some furniture in the living room and accidentally blocked the WiFi router. This resulted in a weak signal from the router. This caused Ecobee thermostats to lose the WiFi connection - and turn off the heat. This happened because the router was unable to send a strong enough signal through the furniture, resulting in a weak signal that was not strong enough to maintain the connection with the Ecobee thermostats.

Some sleepover guests complained about being too cold at 2 a.m. We investigated the issue and discovered that the Ecobee was offline. We fixed the issue by connecting the Ecobee to another working hot spot. As soon as it was hooked up, the house started to warm up. The router was offline because it wasn't communicating with the Ecobee, which was the device responsible for controlling the temperature in the house. By connecting the Ecobee to another working hot spot, we were able to ensure that the device was communicating with the hot spot and was able to adjust the temperature in the house accordingly.

There's no explanation for why Ecobee turns off when the WiFi signal is lost. If the WiFi was down when we were on vacation, I couldn't imagine what we would do.

Ecobee Power

Some Technical Workarounds

First, make sure that your router's firmware is up-to-date. This will ensure that it has all the necessary security features and help prevent any potential connection issues in the future. Furthermore, if possible, try moving your router closer to your Ecobee thermostat. This will improve signal strength and reduce interference from nearby appliances and devices, such as microwaves or cordless phones.

You could also try changing some settings on both sides. On one end, set up a static IP address to improve connectivity; on the other, configure port forwarding rules for specific ports used by ecobee application (443 & 80). You should also check to see if a firewall is blocking access between these devices. Until further troubleshooting steps have been carried out, disable it temporarily. In addition, be sure that each device is connected to the same Wi-Fi network using the same name/password combination - otherwise, they won't recognize each other properly, resulting in eventual disconnections later down the line due to a lack of proper configuration during initial setup.

In conclusion, it's important to remember that regular maintenance of routers and modems should always take place ' including the update of software whenever available ' because these simple tasks often save us a lot of headaches dealing with various types internet-related issues, including those caused by our beloved Smart Thermostats like Ecobees. In the end, I hope the tips mentioned above helped to resolve the current problem of disconnecting from WiFi and turning it off.

September 5, 2021

Packing Cables

Recently I took an overnight trip and had to bring various cables with me for a video project. I needed to make sure that I had enough cables to charge all my various camera devices.

Electronic Storage Bag

I purchased a small electronic storage bag to help organize my cables. My thought was to get something small so that I wouldn't overpack and bring a lot of cables that I wouldn't use

Cable Bag Trip

Six Things I Learned

This particular unit has ably 9 cable compartments and it seemed to be the right number of cables that I needed.

When packing, I discovered that I have too many cables that look alike. I thought that it would be a problem when it came time to find a cable, as I would be confused about picking the right one. I ended up selecting different color cables to make my life easier later.

I packed some MicroUSB adapters for lightning cables and USB-C. I didn't end up using these but thought they would be handy to have - just in case I needed them.

I think for future trips it would be better to actually label the cables. That way I know what cable is for what. It would help figure out if I actually have enough cables. I thought I wouldn't need to do that, but looking back it would make it easier to certify that I have a cable for a particular device - instead of thinking I do.

The storage bag has sockets to keep the cables organized. I don't really need twist ties to keep the cable together.

I am considering buying another electronic storage bag just for audio cables. I think it would help find particular cables. The bag comes in black and green. Having two colors will make it easy to find the cable category I need.

Great Investment

A electronic storage bag is very useful to have when traveling with various cable types. It makes it easy to find a particular cable instead of searching for the bottom of the bag.

August 29, 2021

Amazon Deals

You should know that Amazon doesn't always have the best deals. They certainly have the beat select but don't expect them to have the best deals.

You should shop around.

Screwdriver Example

This past weekend I was in a local hardware store buying some motor oil for my lawn motor. As I was browsing around the store, I was checking some of the screwdrivers. I was thinking that I should pick up a Phillips and a slotted screwdriver. You can never have too many screwdrivers.

I saw that they were under $3 each and decided to get them.

When I got home, I pulled out my Amazon app, and scanned the barcode. I was surprised that the exact same screwdriver is selling for $11.90.


Amazon Price

Screw Driver Amazon
Wow. So Expensive!

Local Store Price

Local Screwdiver
Receipt From Local Store

Other Products Too

I have seen this with other products, such as USB Wall Chargers and Lightning cable. I have seen these at "Five Below" for around $5 each. They go for about $8+ on

Shop Smart on

No question that is a very convenient place to shop. I would recommend checking local stores for smaller items as they may be cheaper.

Just because offers "free shipping" doesn't mean that you're getting the best deal in town.

February 21, 2021

Wonido Indoor TV Antenna

Last month we realized that we needed a digital HDTV Antenna for our Living Room TV. We recently cut the cord - again - the story behind that is a blog post for another day.

The digital HDTV Antenna that we had in the room was needed in the home office. We wanted something different than a typical flat antenna that would go in a window.

Wonido Desktop
Wonido Mobile

Wonido Antenna

We found the Wonido Digital HDTV Antenna. It seems to be the perfect device. It's a small antenna that could be put on a shelf and not look bad. It has a range of 150 miles - which is pretty impressive for a small device. (I remember seeing large TV antennas in the attic that didn't have that range.)

Installation was simple. Simply plug in the antenna into the TV and then plug in the USB for power. We plugged the USB into the TV instead of a power jack because it was easier to use the TV.

Once connected we told the TV to scan for available "Over The Air" channels. The Wonido device is currently sitting behind the TV.

We got 44 channels via the DTC air. Which is pretty good because the FTC website says that we should be getting only 20 channels. The weakest signal being 63 miles away.

Wonido Channel Scan Desktop
Wonido Channel Scan Mobile

Samsung TV Scan

The above screenshot is from a Samsung TV.

The "Air" category will always be zero since the FCC removed that category in July of 2020. All broadcasts are now over the "DTV Air."

TV Plus is content from Samsung and not something that is from the Wonido Antenna. This is a free ad-supported Smart TV video service. We get instant access to news, sports, entertainment, and more. Samsung provides a list of all the available channels on their website.

Misc Notes

I think if we move the antenna we may get a better signal range. The TV might be blocking the signal strength.

The TV signal is a bit weak on stormy days. We see some delays while watching the news during a snowstorm. It isn't that bad and maybe moving the device will minimize the distraction.

I noticed during the Super Bowl this year that the audio wasn't aligned to the video. I noticed this more during the halftime show.

The Wonido Antenna is highly recommend and for $27.99 it is worth the price. You can find the Wonido device on

October 4, 2020

Clip-on Microphone

Sometimes you need a quality microphone for your iPhone. That's why every iPhone videographer should have a clip-on microphone in their utility bag.

Getting quality audio is critical to any videographer game plan. The clip-on microphone can help get the best possible audio when the standard camera audio just won't work.

Last month I purchased the Ultimate Lavalier Microphone for Bloggers and Vloggers Lapel Mic Clip-on Omnidirectional Condenser for iPhone on Amazon. This has come in handy several times when filming.

Five Things I Learned

  1. Super cheap $10 for 2 microphones. No excuse to get one for those just in case moments.
  2. This microphone has the TRRS audio jack which is supported in every iPhone that Apple has made. It also works on an iMac audio port.
  3. This means you can use an old iPhone as an alternative audio source for your videos. Have an old iPhone 5s? Why not put it to use?
  4. Sound quality is good. I tested against various audio clips and found it to be good.
  5. The nice thing is that you can put the microphone in places where the iPhone may not fit. This gives the videographer the flexibility to record audio from a speaker when the iPhone can't easily be placed.
August 9, 2020

Magic Arm with Clamp

One of the cool camera accessories that I recently purchased was the Fomito 11 inch Inch Articulating Magic Arm + Super Clamp for Camera, LCD Monitor, LED Video Light. (Otherwise known as a Magic Arm) I have found this to be a really cool camera tool.

A magic arm is basically a tool that has a clamp on one end. and a tripod mounts on the other end.

I have found it serves two useful services:

  1. It gives you the power to extend your tripod by having having a second camera on the tripod.
  2. Mount a camera and then angle the camera any way that you want.

Tripod Extension

Magic Arm Church Desktop
Magic Arm on a tripod at Church
Magic Arm Church Mobile
Magic Arm on a tripod at Church

This camera tool allows me to control two cameras on a tripod.

Previously I had two cameras set up to record a church event on two tripods. This was a problem because it involved managing both tripods, it also means that at some point I would have to move two tripods so they wouldn't get in the way. It was also difficult to manage the content between the two tripods.

Now with the Magic Arm, I can better manage two cameras. One camera controls the wide shot and the other controls the close-up shots. Now it happens on one tripod.

Production Tip: Having a second camera is great for filler shots or with audio as some camera handle audio better than others.

Mount Anywhere

Magic Arm Tree Desktop
Watching a birds nest with the Magic Arm
Magic Arm Tree Mobile
Watching a birds nest with the Magic Arm

The nice thing about the magic arm is that you can mount it anyplace. Even in a tree. The grip is very strong and can hold an iPhone or a GoPro for hours. ( I wouldn't put a DSLR on it. )

However, the magic arm isn't safe for wet conditions as I suspect over time it could get rusty or the joint may not work well. If you are doing this for a rainy, damp environment. You'll probably better off with a Joby GorillaPod.

Magic Arm is Great to Have

I highly recommend getting one of these for your photography toolkit. It can come in handy for a variety of reasons.

There are different manufactors for the magic arm, I found the Fomito 11 inch Inch Articulating Magic Arm + Super Clamp for Camera, LCD Monitor, LED Video Light best for my needs. The Pluto Magic Arm with Clamp over at B&H looks good.

You never know when you need to have a second camera mount on a tripod. The magic arm is a great tool to have, just in case you need it.

December 8, 2019

Amazon Pricing

This weekend I was looking around Amazon - checking for deals on Lighting Cables. I wanted to get a couple of cables for my car and backpack.

Amazon Basic are great cables to have as secondary cables. They are cheap and reliable.

However, this weekend I noticed something interesting- check out these screenshots:

Amazon Select Size

Basically, I'll pay $23.99 for a 2-Pack. However, if I buy 2 1-packs it will cost $19.90.

Certainly pays to think about what your ordering - and pay attention to prices when you want multiple items.

I also notice that prices on mobile were a bit cheaper than shopping on desktop - interesting!

January 13, 2019

CShells 2019

Back on October 2006, I blogged about getting CShells storage containers. It was a quick blog of the advantages of getting CShells

Not Familar with CShells?

These are great containers to safely hold CDs or DVDs. They are strong lightweight covers that are more durable than a standard CD case.

They are great when giving someone CDs or DVDs as a gift.

Time to Order Again

I have been running low on my supply at home. As we have been giving CShell’s with CDs/DVDs out for various birthday events.

I was very happy to see that was still in business. I purchased 50 pack of classic clear for $18.60 plus $17.25 for a total of $35.85. That comes out to $1.39 a CShell.

A 100 would have cost $54.69, including ground shipping, which is $.55 a CShell. This would have been a better option - and probably the quantity that I would order for the next time.

Just A Good

I compared the case to the ones that I ordered in 2006 and they are the same quality. It's nice to know that 13-years later that they aren't cheap versions of a classic storage container.

November 4, 2018

Flickr Price Changes

Last Week Flickr announced some major changes with the Flickr service. Basically, the FREE plan is going to get limited. Here's the information from Flickr website:

Free accounts will soon be limited to 1,000 photos or videos. Flickr isn't Flickr without the contributions and participation of our free members, and we remain committed to a vibrant free offering.

If you are a free member with more than 1,000 photos or videos, you will have ample time to upgrade to Pro (for 30% off your first year) or download your photos and videos.*

Free members have until January 3, 2019, to upgrade to the Pro Plan. After that date, if your Free account has more than 1,000 photos you will not be able to add anything. On February 5, 2019, Flickr will start removing files.

Slight Problem For My Account

flickr Account

Currently I have 209,701 images in my Flickr account! This is using about 60% of my 1TB allowance.

I haven't decided if it's worth spending $49.99 to save 208,701 files. I did check out some of the other services such as iCloud and Google Drive and Flickr is at the right price point.

It's possible that I might purchase the Flickr Pro Plan just to buy some additional time to back up the files and find a good long-term solution.

My primary usage on Flickr is sharing daily photos that I take of my daughter. I have albums created each month to highlight her going to school every day.

Cloud Pricing

Some of the current cloud pricing.