No Headphone Jack? No Problem. Turn any headphones into Bluetooth headphones.

Griffin iTrip ClipThere’s a lot of conversations about Apple removing the headphone jack in the iPhone 7 and for good reason. There’s a lot of good corded headphones out there and a good set of Bluetooth headphones can be expensive. The good news is that you can turn your corded headphones into Bluetooth headphones with an inexpensive adapter.

Jumbl™ and Griffin have Bluetooth adapters that come with a headphone jack. Just clip the little devices to your clothes, plug-in your corded headphones, and enjoy your music. Better yet, they both have Bluetooth 4 which can connect to multiple devices at once.

I haven’t tried either of these but I’m very interested in Griffin’s iTrip Clip. I have purchased cheap Bluetooth headphones, and they’re not too bad, but I really like Apple’s headphones, I just hate always being tethered to my MacBook.

Griffin’s iTrip Clip is not quite out yet (sometime this month?) but Jumbl’s Bluetooth adapter is available now on Amazon and it has pretty good reviews. Both are about $20.

More

Say Hello to Marshmallow

Lily and Marshmallow

We now have a new dog in our home. His name is Marshmallow and he’s a Bichon Frise. What’s really nice is that he’s a hypoallergenic dog so no allergies!

Marshmallow is an active dog and we think he’s 2-3 years old. He’s pretty house trained but doesn’t know how to sit or anything like that. We’re working on it. The nice thing though is if he’s not listening, I can just pick him up as he’s only 11 pounds!

Marshmallow was a stray so we don’t have any history on him. My sister-in-law found it and was unable to find the owner so we took him in and gave him a good home.

Unfortunately his initial vet visit didn’t go so well. He has hookworm and heartworms. We’re not as worried about the hookworm, but the heartworm is a bad deal. It’ll cost more than $1000 to treat it right, it’ll take more than six months to work through the treatment, and he’d need to be kenneled or kept quiet the whole time. We love the little guy, but even if we did the treatment, there isn’t any guarantee.

For now, he’s a very happy little dog and he’s really happy here. He’s gotten use to the cats, sleeps through the night, and is more than willing to go on walks and play.

We’ll give him a good life and hopefully we can find a less expensive treatment for his heartworms.

Marshmallow

More

Minnesota State Fair 2016!


Another great time at the Minnesota State Fair! This year we went in the afternoon so Lily could see the midway lights at night and she thought they were awesome.

It’s always a great time at the fair!

Thomas

More

South Fork Crow River Flooding in Watertown, MN

The recent heavy rains in the area has forced the South Fork Crow river in and around Watertown, MN to spill out of its banks. It’s only minor flooding at this time and shouldn’t get too much worse.

The shelter will soon be under water too.

The shelter will soon be under water too.

There should be a parking lot there.

There should be a parking lot there.

So much water.

So much water.

Water the trees.

Water the trees.

See the orange thing? That's a bench.

See the orange thing? That’s a bench.

No Access

No Access

The good news is that so far, all areas under water aren’t that important. The city has planned pretty well around the river. Things underwater are walking paths, grassy areas, and parking lots for enjoying those things.

More

My first week with the Xiaomi Mi Band.

Xiaomi Mi Band

After I killed my FitBit, I decided try out the Xiaomi Mi Band. I’ve only had it for a week, but my first impressions are that it’s a great tracker at an extremely cheap price.

The setup of the Mi Band was pretty simple. Granted, it did arrive with a dead battery so I charged it overnight. Then the instructions were all in a different language, but the images are universal. I had some issues pairing the band with my iPhone, but I looked online and it told me to turn off Bluetooth and turn it back on again which worked. After that, pretty smooth.

The iOS app has some pretty bad reviews, but it seems to be working fine for me. The band and my iPhone talk to each other and my band alerts me of phone calls. I have low expectations, but everything seems to be working as advertised. Like many other apps, it does have some odd UX, but it works.

The first day I had my band, I synced all my data with Apple’s health app, something the FitBit doesn’t do, and the numbers were odd. Apple recorded more steps than the Mi Band; way more. It’s like Apple was adding their numbers and the Mi Band’s numbers. Maybe this is normal? I’m guessing syncing the two isn’t a great idea.

Thinking something funny was up, I decided not to sync steps to Apple’s health app on day 2.

Day 2 and Apple’s Health app and the Mi Band have close to the same steps, but it’s about 1000 off. I don’t expect them to be exactly the same, but they’re far apart; actually a little farther than I’d like. The iPhone seems to be tracking higher which I find odd since the phone isn’t on me at all times. However, if you think about it, the iPhone should track better than a $13 activity band. It’s also good to note that I never really compared my FitBit to Apple’s numbers so maybe this is normal.

Day 3 and I attached my band to my keys and carried it around in my pocket just like I do with my iPhone. This time tracking is the same on phone and band. They are almost exactly the same. This makes me believe it’s accurate but tracking on my wrist isn’t as good as in my pocket. However, then I don’t get phone notifications which I really like and it makes sleep tracking harder.

Day 4 I put it back on my wrist and it’s back to tracking like day 2.

Day 5 I decided to test it against the Up2 and it only made me realized that accuracy is subjective. The Up2 and my iPhone both track better numbers. I even made my 10,000 step goal! However, the Mi Band didn’t hit 10,000. We were at like 9,700. Who’s right? Who’s wrong? Should I really care?!

Day 6 and now the Mi Band is tracking higher than the Up2. I really need to give up on trying to figure out tracking accuracy. They all do things differently. End of story.

From what I can tell, the sleep information looks good too. It’s tracking my sleep and breaks down deep sleep vs light sleep and its fun to see the stats. Again, I’m not looking for perfection here.

Also, after a week of wearing it my battery is at 80% and that’s with me opening it all the time to check data. No longer do I have to worry about charging it often.

Overall, for the $13 I paid for my Xiaomi Mi Band (I got it on sale) I’m pretty happy. As far as I can tell, it’s accurate, but accuracy is subjective as each tracker has their own algorithm for figuring out steps. I’m hoping my Mi Band lasts as it sure beats spending $100+ on one of those big brand trackers.

More

Unfortunately, Archie had to go back.

Archie DogThere were a lot of discussions and tears on Friday as we had to make the hard decision to return Archie to where we came from. It wasn’t that we didn’t want him, in fact he was a great dog. The issue was that whatever he was mixed with was causing my wife to have some pretty bad allergic reactions. Every time he licked her, for example, she’d break out in a rash. She was miserable.

We had no idea when we got Archie that my wife’s allergies would be so bad. In fact, her parent’s dog is a lab mix, same as Archie, and we’ve watched him for weeks without any issues like this. We’ve taken care of many other dogs too and never has it been this bad. The unknown mix in Archie was just too much. Unfortunately, we don’t know what that mix was either.

We’re still considering other dogs, but definitely don’t want to get ourselves into this situation again. Maybe a hypoallergenic dog or maybe a dog with a better known background.

We all loved Archie and we hope he finds a good home.

More