Category Archives: Miscelaneous

Garmin Forerunner 35 Review

With the loss of the ability to sync with macOS High Sierra and long GPS acquisition times, I figured it was finally time to replace my Garmin Forerunner 305. Since Fitbit is shutting down most Pebble services, I figured I might as well replace my Pebble Time as well. I settled on the Garmin Forerunner 35 as an inexpensive smartwatch and exercise GPS with heart rate monitoring.

After two weeks with the Forerunner 35, I’m satisfied but not thrilled. It’s convenient going to a single device; however, it isn’t as good of a smartwatch or running GPS as the dedicated devices it replaces.


  • Great Battery Life – After 10 days and 3×30 minute runs using GPS, the battery is still reading 25%
  • Fast GPS acquisition – When I step outside it’s usually less than 10 seconds to acquire GPS
  • Easy synchronization – synchronizing activities with a phone over Bluetooth is much more convenient than a USB connection


  • Limited (almost no) customization:
    • Watch Face – The watch face only shows the battery, time and date. It cannot be customized (other than converting it from digital to analog)
    • Widgets – information screens (notifications, steps, weather, etc.) cannot be reordered
    • Notifications – There is no way to filter notifications. Selecting specific apps to show up on my Pebble was one of my favorite features
    • Exercise information – There are 4 screens of 3 fields for each. Fortunately these can be configured; however, they are not labeled. If you don’t have all screens configured, you still have to scroll through blank screens
  • Controls – Everything is controlled through the 4 physical buttons. There is only a down button for scrolling, so you have to scroll through everything if you hit down an extra time
  • Vibrator – I hear the vibration more than I feel it. I think it sounds cheap

Convenient Device Charging

A simple solution to charging multiple devices, keeping cords out of the way, and making everything easily accessible is using a pencil drawer and a multi port charger.

Device Charging Drawer



  1. Drill a 7/8 inch hole in the back of the drawer.
  2. Attach the USB charger to the drawer with the Velcro strips.
  3. Screw the drawer into the underside of your desk.
  4. Attach USB cables and charge.
  5. Purchase Links

MacGyver Season 1 Episode 7 Fact Check

My take on the accuracy and plausibility of MacGyver Season 1 Episode 7: Can Opener aired November 4, 2016 on a scale of (Accurate, Probable, Possible, Unlikely, Bogus).

If there are any other statements or events you would like me to analyze, please add a comment with a brief description and the time in the show.

1:48 Gas truck, Fire hose, and cable lock to create a ring of fire

Unlikely (guess): It's not clear why the gas truck has a nozzle on top. It is unlikely that the cable lock would create a tight enough seal. I think it is unlikely that a bullet would provide enough heat to ignite the gasoline.

10:19 Riley: "They ran a security update and patched the hole in their system I was using as a back door."

Accurate: Calling it a "Back Door" might not be 100% accurate; however having a reliable exploit for a known vulnerability would be just as good.

12:20 An inhaler won't spray, because the pin in the cartridge is missing.

Possible: While using a piece of a fork to temporarily replace the pin could work, it would probably not be that reliable. Additionally, the problem is with the cartridge and not the inhaler, so inserting a new cartridge would have fixed the problem.

17:02 Jack: "'Jail', what an idiot. I just bypassed his password.
Riley: "It was in sleep mode Jack. You literally could have hit any key."

Bogus: Jack hit 9 keys to type 'jail'. Then the screensaver (not sleep mode) turned off when Jack pressed <enter>. It should have turned off when the first key was pressed.

19:58 Mac: "A towel soaked in water can pack a pretty good punch. Add some powered bleach to give it a little bit of a sting. Wrap the whole thing in a sheet for extra range, and you have yourself a weapon from the middle ages called a flail."

Possible (guess): While the towel soaked in water is not an insignificant amount of mass, I doubt it would be hard enough to reliably incapacitate an attacker.

26:42 Hydrogen electrolysis

Unlikely (guess): Mac uses a radio battery, salt from food, and water to create hydrogen. It's hard to tell if the battery contains enough power to produce enough hydrogen and I have no idea how much hydrogen would be necessary to blow the steel door out. I highly doubt they could survive the pressure necessary to blow out the door. Using the wires from the light fixture to ignite the hydrogen appears realistic. He only undoes a wire nut, so he could be fairly confident of not shocking himself.

31:00 Ladder from shelves

Unlikely: Mac's paperclip screwdriver would not be stiff enough to unscrew most shelve. Most shelves use the shelves as the horizontal supports, so it is not possible to use one end as a ladder once the shelves have been removed.

31:53 Chemical embrittlement

Bogus: Fire extinguisher (CO2), Alcohol to create a very cold liquid to embrittle steel bars. Mac does not put enough of his mixture on the bars to possibly do anything.

35:57 Manually flashing a car's taillight

Accurate: Auto electrical systems run on 12V so Mac can safely touch the wires with his bare hands.

37:50 Torture using Nitrogen

Bogus: According to Wikipedia, inert gas asphyxiation does not cause pain, since pain comes from high CO2 levels.

39:08 Pressure vessel rocket

Bogus: Somehow Mac is able to magically kick the valve off of a nitrogen tank, turning it into a projectile that perfectly takes out the bad guys.

MacGyver Season 1 Episode 6 Fact Check

My take on the accuracy and plausibility of MacGyver Season 1 Episode 6: Wrench aired October 28, 2016 on a scale of (Accurate, Probable, Possible, Unlikely, Bogus).

If there are any other statements or events you would like me to analyze, please add a comment with a brief description and the time in the show.

2:15 Airbag to shatter glass and blow a hole though at least 3 feet of loosely packed dirt.

Unlikely (guess): While the airbag should be powerful enough to shatter the glass when placed directly against it, it is unlikely the airbag would have enough power to blow a hole though 3 feet of loosely packed dirt.

9:10 Mac: "3D Printed Polymer Detonator, invisible to X-rays"

Bogus: The packaging could be 3D printed out of plastic so it is invisible to X-Rays, but at 9:22 the internals of the detonator are shown to contain AA size batteries, a 7 segment display, wires, and PCB which contain metal and would show up on an X-ray.


10:19 Using bomb suits, a dumpster, and car to direct the blast of a bomb into the sewer system.

Unlikely (guess): It's hard to tell how much the bomb suits would direct the explosion; however, the manhole cover is probably at least 1" thick steel (most covers that are greater than 24" in diameter are at least 1" thick according to Neenah Foundry) vs. a dumpster that is 1/8" steel. Also, the car is parked on the plastic lid of the dumpster to hold the dumpster down.

13:15 Riley: "GSM SIM chips have a 15 digit serial number"

Bogus: My T-Mobile GSM SIM Start Kit has a 19 digit SIM Card Number.

15:20 Smartphone (can't tell what type) camera on a long ribbon cable

Unlikely: I can't tell what type of smartphone MacGyver uses; however, most modern smartphones keep cables as short as possible:

16:45 A smoking computer with embedded plastic explosives will explode soon...

Bogus: Plastic explosive can burn; however, fire will not cause plastic explosive to explode.

18:00 diesel fuel will dissolve plastic explosive


36:00 Disarming a bomb: a bolt must be unscrewed with a rope

Unknown: This seems highly unlikely to me.

Hotel Coffee Making

Fill Tea Bag

Fill Tea Bag

Just put two tablespoons of coffee in the a tea bag, 12ozs. of water in the coffee maker, and brew.


Single Serve Coffee Maker

Single Serve Coffee Maker

I’m travel regularly for work and always try the coffee in provided in the hotel rooms even though it’s always really bad. I finally decided to do something about this and decided to find a convenient way to make quality coffee in my hotel room.

I started by figuring out that most hotels have a single serve coffee maker that takes special pre-packaged bags of coffee. These filter bags measure approximately 2.75 inches by 3.5 inches. A quick search on showed that No.1 Small Tea Bags measure 3.5 by 2.5 inches. In practice it turnes out that the interior width of the tea bag is only about one inch, and therefore too small to fit two tablespoons of coffee in. The Large Tea Bags appear to be the next size up. Their width is just a little over 3 inches and the height is adjustable based on how the bag is folded. These also have a 2.5 inch interior width, so it isn’t too hard to fill them with coffee.

I took two of these bags, each filled with two tablespoons of coffee on my latest trip only to find my room had a full size coffee maker. Since the coffee maker had a flat bottom, I gave it a try anyway, setting the brew strength to the strongest and putting 12ozs. of water through. It turned out to produce a pretty good cup of coffee.

Original Coffee Filter

Original Coffee Filter

Filled Tea Bag

Filled Tea Bag

Coffee Filter Comparison

Coffee Filter Comparison

New Bag in Tray

New Bag in Tray