Category: Articles

VIDEO: Where To Sell Your Phone For $

With new smartphones coming out, it may be time to sell your old one. Here are some tips I gave on FOX26 Houston on how and where to get the most $ for your gadgets. Plus a quick overview of the new Samsung Note20 Ultra 5G.


VIDEO: Back-To-School-From-Home Products – Laptops (“Great Day Houston”/CBS)

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to alter our lives and processes, parents will be making choices about homeschooling and what products to buy for their kids to fully utilize distance learning.  Here is a recent segment on Great Day Houston (KHOU-TV, CBS) where I did some show-and-tell on laptop choices.

CLICK TO WATCH

 

VIDEO: Back-To-School-From-Home Products – Laptops (KPRC/NBC)

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to alter our lives and processes, parents will be making choices about homeschooling and what products to buy for their kids to fully utilize distance learning.  Here is a recent appearance on KPRC-TV News (NBC/Houston) where I did some show-and-tell on laptop choices.

CLICK TO WATCH

 

VIDEO: Back-To-School From Home Products – Laptops (Fox26)

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to alter our lives and processes, parents will be making choices about homeschooling and what products to buy for their kids to fully utilize distance learning.  Here is a recent appearance on FOX26 Morning News (Houston) where I did some show-and-tell on laptop choices.

CLICK TO WATCH

 

Time Warping To A Drive-In Theater In The 2020 Nissan Armada

I really didn’t want to see Trolls World Tour, the recent DreamWorks Animation release skewed more to my young cousins than this ornery auto journalist in his 50’s. But I wanted to do something a bit different for my review of the 2020 Nissan Armada. Since we can’t do a lot of road trips due to the COVID-19 quarantine, I decided to take the large SUV to a place I haven’t visited in probably four decades – a drive-in movie theater.

These outdoor screens are making a comeback of sorts due to the coronavirus as it is easy to social distance by sitting in your vehicle to enjoy a movie. Sadly, the Top Gun sequel was pushed back to a December 2020 opening and the only thing playing at the Showboat Drive-in in nearby Hockey, Texas, was this animated gem of a flick featuring a tribe of techno trolls.

I’ll skip the plot so I don’t spoil it for those who have yet to see it, but we did have a pleasant and comfy experience in the Armada.

I have spent time in Nissan’s largest SUV and have rated it near the top of my category list for large passenger vehicles.  The starting price of $47,100 is a good deal for an 8-passenger truck, especially if you tow or occasionally go off-road.

This model was the Platinum 4WD version which topped out just over $71,000.  Sure it is tough to find flaws in a vehicle with so many upgrades – though I found a few – but the Zero Gravity seats made watching Barb, King Peppy, and Poppy trolls a lot more bearable.

Nissan puts these seats in most all their products which can reduce muscle fatigue. Inspired by the weightlessness of space, they are built with 14 difference pressure points to put you in a neutral position. By the start of Act 3 I almost found myself falling asleep. Not sure if it was the comfy seats or the movie.

The last time I remember bring at a drive-in theater I swear my parents made me hide in the back seat so they wouldn’t have to pay for me and my sister to see Jaws. You also had to place a small, tin speaker on the driver’s window to hear the movie’s sound.  Technology caught up with the industry and now you simply tune your vehicle’s radio to an FM station for a low-powered signal to blare through the speakers.

13 Bose Premium speakers in this case. The squeaky voices of the candy-colored characters on screen did not do the Armada’s sound system justice, but the Sirius XM tunes on the drive up there sounded great.

The infotainment system could be larger for such a big SUV but the NissanConnect services and nav system were simple to control via buttons and touchscreen. At some point Nissan needs to add Android and Apple compatibility to fully bring the Armada into the 21st century.

At one point during the movie I wanted to sit in the second row and just pop a DVD into the Family Entertainment System complete with two 8” color displays and wireless headsets.

Passenger space is ample in the first two rows yet a little tight in row three. Cargo room is enormous especially when the third row is lowered. Should you need to haul more gear it can tow up to 8,500 pounds (imagine how many kids I could have snuck into the drive-in).

The strong 5.6-liter, V8 engine felt like a good amount of power transferred to the four wheels via a 7-speed automatic transmission. My ride had optional 22” wheels (a $2,250 upgrade) which made the SUV stand out even more, though I’m not sure they were necessary for a cost-vs-comfort situation.

Safety is not an issue with me when it comes to driving and riding in Nissan vehicles. The Armada comes standard with automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, and a rear-seat reminder system. I usually suggest features like blind-spot monitors and parking sensors which can be added options here.

Nissan says the 2020 Armada can use regular unleaded fuel which is nice to know. The 4WD version gets a moderate 13/15/15 mpg so try to stick with the least-expensive gas.

Four versions are available starting with the SV then escalating up to the SL, Platinum and Platinum Reserve. They all share the same capable engine so if you are looking for value stay towards the lower end.

As the credits began to roll on the movie, I couldn’t tell you much about what happened on the screen other than Trolls World Tour seemed to hit its target audience due the loud laughs of sugared-up kids nearby. But the 2020 Armada made a lasting impression on me and still sits near the top of my favorites in the large SUV category.

Though I won’t be first in line at the next version of Trolls (trust me, there will be many), I do anticipate a longer trip and review opportunity in the comfort of the Armada. Hopefully to an air-conditioned movie theater that is showing the new Top Gun.

LISTEN to my thoughts on the 2020 Nissan Armada from my radio show heard on iHeartRadio:

VIDEO: Keep Flabby Abs Quarantined

From Great Day Houston (CBS): We’re stuck inside our homes which could mean less exercising and activities. Here are some apps to help get you motivated and an interesting device, Stealth Body Fitness, to keep your abs tight. Take a look as I try to melt away the fat and blast away alien invaders.

VIDEO: Make The Most Of Your New Home Office

If your couch and dining room table are strewn with laptops, work and school gear during this COVID-19 era, here are some ideas to make some extra room and dedicated space in your home. As seen on Great Day Houston (CBS).

Desk – sevilleclassics.com

Chair – autonomous.ai 

Foldable Desk –theedgedesk.com

REVIEW: Accell Power Dot Power Station

I am always in need of plugging things into an electrical outlet.  My home office frequently looks like a wiring fiasco around a Christmas tree with extension cords strewn all over the place.  And now that we are in the midst of the COVID19 quarantine, my kids now need to plug their laptops and phones into outlets to juice up their gadgets.

I recently discovered one smart solution by using the Accell Power Dot Office. It is a round power station that currently handles most all of our family’s power needs in our makeshift office/home school (aka the dining room table).

The Dot Office has four surge-protected AC outlets that can swivel, 3 USB Type-A charging ports and 1 USB Type-C charging port. Total output of the ports is 5V and 24W.

The low-profile device measures 8 x 7 x 2.4″ and has an 8′ ($54.99) or 16′ ($64.99) power cord. The center top can pop off to hold gadgets like an Amazon Dot (hence the name), a Google Home Mini, or other small accessories for a neat work space.

It come in stark white or shiny black and can be ordered on Amazon.com or directly though the Accell website.

 

VIDEO: Slow internet speed? The problem may be as near as your couch. (ABC13)

With so many family members using the internet from your home during this COVID19 quarantine time, internet speeds can seem to slow to a crawl.  Do you blame your ISP?  Are there better times of the day or night to watch streaming videos or download items?

I recently spoke with ABC13 (Houston) about this issue and how to maximize your internet speed as best as possible.

How To Properly Disinfect Your Phones

You should have been doing it all along. Regularly cleaning and disinfecting that nasty smart phone of yours. And your laptop, tablet, remote control and every other piece of gadgetry around your home and office. But now with COVID19 spreading you hopefully are more aware of the germs and dangers that can cling to these electronics.  So do it.

It is not just you touching your phone. When you touch a public door handle or grocery cart and then pick up your phone, congrats it is dirty. The first thing you should NOT do is wipe it with rubbing alcohol. STOP, don’t do that. Straight alcohol can strip the protective coatings that keep oil and water from damaging your display and other ports. My first choice has been to use cleaners made specifically for electronics.  Whoosh Screen Shine is safe for all screens as it is alcohol-free, ammonia-free, and an anti-static. Screen Mom and Bryson are similar products also without alcohol, ammonia or phosphates.

Whichever you choose, unplug the device and do not ever spray anything directly onto the screen . Use a microfiber cloth that is often sold with these products. Spray the cleaner onto the cloth and then carefully wipe down all parts of your phone. Make sure to remove the phone cover to get parts such as buttons and crevices.

Other products can be safely used on electronics such as Clorox Wipes.  Just make sure to use disinfectants that contain no more than 70% isopropyl alcohol to clean screens.

Other products to avoid cleaning phones with:

  • window cleaner
  • kitchen cleaners
  • paper towels
  • makeup remover
  • compressed air
  • vinegar
  • dish and hand soap

Here is a recent TV segment from FOX26 (Houston) where I go into more detail: