Category Archives: Technology

Review: Ridge Wallet

My wife didn’t realize it at the time… but when the folks at Ridge Wallet sent me one of their Aluminum Gunmetal wallets to review she would end up loving it as much as I do.

You see, my previous wallet was a brown, bulky, leather one that was crammed with cards, receipts, and maybe a little cash. I rarely had it on me mainly because it was too uncomfortable to carry.

If I put it in my back pocket I’d end up sitting awkwardly on a lump situated to one side just like George Costanza in this classic scene from Seinfeld.

Put that bulky, brown wallet in my front jeans pocket and I could sit comfortably but then there’d still be the annoying bulk of an overstuffed wallet.

Most times I’d just keep my wallet in my work backpack… or if I was with my wife I’d ask her to put it in her purse.  She begrudgingly agreed to every time but I could always tell it annoyed her.

That’s initially what drew my attention to the Ridge Wallet.  It’s a minimalist, RFID-blocking wallet made from Aluminum, Titanium, or Carbon Fiber.

When I first got my Ridge Wallet I was impressed with the packaging and presentation of the product.  There was the wallet, of course, but they also included a special screwdriver should I ever want to switch it from having a cash strap to having a money clip.

At first, I was hoping they’d send me the money clip version, but after using it for awhile I really like how slim it is with the cash strap. It has little rubber nubs inside the strap to keep your bills securely in place.

The minimalist design of the Ridge Wallet has you carrying all your cards sandwiched between two RFID plates and bound together with high quality elastic.  

It took me a few days to get used to getting my cards out but now it’s become second nature.

You could carry up to 12 cards but after assessing what I really need I only have 7; my drivers license, debit, Target debit, HSA, Costco, pizza punch card, and health insurance cards.

It’s a lot less than what I had been carrying but it’s all I really need and it takes less space. A lot less space!  All combined it’s just a little bigger than a  package of Tic Tacs that fits comfortably in the front, left pocket of my jeans.

That’s why my wife loves my Ridge Wallet as much as I do.  She no longer has to be responsible for my stuff and she doesn’t have the added bulk in her purse.

It’s not just my wife that loves it. Everyone I’ve shown it to thinks it’s really cool… and I’ve been asked about it more than once by our local grocery store cashiers.

I’ve been using my Ridge Wallet for a few months now and it looks as good as the day I got it. No scratches or anything… but I am careful to keep it by itself in my pocket. I love it’s sleek, clean look and don’t want any keys or change to mess it up.

Whether you’re a guy looking for a minimalist wallet, a wife (like mine) fed up with lugging around your husband’s wallet, or a woman looking to free up space in your purse… the Ridge Wallet is perfect for you.

For the security minded, I should also mention that every Ridge Wallet has RFID-blocking technology.  Not sure what that is and why you should care, watch this video starting at the 9: 00-minute mark. It shows how it easy it is for hackers to access your card info.

Learn more and get your own on the Ridge Wallet website.

*** I was provided with a Ridge Wallet to facilitate this review.  All opinions are mine.

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What I’m Into Right Now – March 2018

Time for another collection of things that have my interest right now.

What I’m Into Right Now – March 2018

anchor.fm – This online site and it’s accompanying app let you easily make and distribute your own podcast.  I recently started one in which I share a Bad Dad Joke Of The Day.  It’s been a fun project.  Check it out now on iTunes.

Cadbury Creme Eggs – This Easter time candy is as polarizing as Peeps.  You either think they’re great or gross. There’s really no in-between. I’m a part of the camp that loves them.Wooden Beard Comb & Beard Butter – Last month I mentioned how I was growing my beard out and started using beard oil.  Well, I’ve upped my beard game a little. My wife got me a sandalwood beard comb for Valentine’s Day and I followed it up with some beard butter. Both help keep my facial hair soft and under control.

Disjointed – This Netflix Original sitcom isn’t for everyone.  It stars Kathy Bates as a marijuana dispensary owner and centers around her relationships with her clientele and employees.  The humor and subject matter is extremely crude… but I enjoy it for a quick twenty-five minute, laugh-filled distraction.

Ozark – This is another Netflix original show that stars Jason Bateman as a financial planner who moves his family to the Ozarks where he launders money for a Mexican drug cartel.  It’s a pretty intense drama.  I’m a little bummed that I’ve burned through season one. Now I need to wait for season two.

Five More Minutes – This is Scotty McCreery’s first number one song.  It’s one he co-wrote and said his Grandpa Bill was the inspiration for it.  There’s a lot in here that I can relate to. Maybe you can as well.

What are you into right now?

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Review: Our Smart Home

This past Black Friday I finally spent the Christmas money I had been saving for nearly a year.  There were some incredible tech deals too good to pass up so I finally made the jump to start turning our house into a “smart home”.

I picked up two Google Home Minis, a Phillips Hue Starter Kit, and two TP-Link Smart Plugs.  All totaled… it added up to around $150, more than half off the original pricing.

Needless to say, I was really excited to get it all home and set up.  I was hoping the rest of my family would share my excitement.

Setting up the Google Minis was easy.  If you have a Google account and can and follow directions I’m confident you could easily set one up too. I chose to put one on our main floor near the dining room and kitchen.  The second found a place downstairs in our living room.

The Phillips Hue bridge and bulbs were also easy to set up.  I put smart bulbs in two of our basement lamps and two in our ceiling fan light in our dining room.  I spent an extra $15 to get another smart bulb to go over our kitchen sink.

One of the smart plugs got used for the lamp next to my wife’s side of the bed while the other initially went to control our Christmas tree.  It’s since been moved to control the lamp next to my side of the bed.

That’s the current set-up in our home.  So how has it worked out?  I’d say 90% success and 10% frustration.

It’s been awesome to be able to be able to ask our Google Home Minis random questions that come up in everyday life that we’d normally just search out online.  “Hey Google, how long will it take me to drive to Oskaloosa High School” not only got me the answer but also sent driving directions to my phone. That’s not only cool… but also convenient.

Having total control over our lights via my smartphone and Chromebook has been cool too.  No more getting in bed, realizing I forgot to shut out the kitchen light, and having to get up to go shut it off. Now, I can turn it off with my phone from bed.

It was great for the holidays to be baking goodies with the family and have Christmas music playing throughout the house on the Google Home Minis.

My youngest daughter spent a couple hours dipping pretzels.  If a song came on she didn’t like she’d just say, “OK, Google… I don’t like this song” and the song would stop and another would start.

Having a Google Home Mini next to the kitchen has been great too.  “Hey, Google… set a timer for _______ minutes” is something I use all the time.

That’s some of what I love about having a smart home… but what are some of the things that I haven’t liked? What’s led to the 10% frustration?

Since everything is controlled via wifi if your internet goes down things don’t work as they’re supposed to… which can be annoying.

My family can tend to be fast-talkers so sometimes Google doesn’t “hear” us and we’ll have to slow down and make our request again.  This can be frustrating when you’re asking it to turn on a light and you’re already in the room wanting light.

I’ll be honest, there have been other times where I just don’t feel like talking… even to an inanimate object and wished I could just use a light switch to turn on the lights.  With our current set-up, it’s all voice.  I’d need to spend some more money on connected light switches.

Speaking of spending more money… I do plan on getting 1 more Google Home Mini to put in our bathroom.  It would be really useful to be able to listen to the news, weather, and music while I get ready in the morning.

I wouldn’t mind getting a smart thermostat too… but I’m holding off until the prices really come down.

The only other annoying thing is I wish there was a way to get the Google Home Mini to not respond after every request but just do what I ask.  For example, if I tell it to turn off the basement lights it will respond with, “OK, turning off the basement lights.”

Don’t tell me, Google! Just do it.  It’s a minor thing but it can be annoying.  I’m hoping this is something that can be controlled via a software update.  I submitted some feedback to Google, so we’ll see.

Oh, and I didn’t need to worry about my family sharing my excitement for having a smart home.  They’re liking it just as much as I do.

Do you have a smart home? What are your favorite things about it and what are your frustrations?

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