Monday, August 28, 2017

Don't stick a key or metal in 12v car outlet - Blown cigarette lighter fuse

The other day I was cleaning my car and I noticed it was dirty inside the cigarette lighter 12v electricity port. Without thinking I took my car key and started scraping the inside to try to clean it up a bit. Immediately there were sparks! I didn't even think about the fact that even though the car was off, there is still power supplied to this port and the metal key managed to trigger an electrical flow.

Luckily the key I was holding had a plastic rubber base so I did not get electrocuted but it still surprised me! I was hoping I did not damage anything serious. The car started up fine and other power features such as the power windows were working fine.

Then the next day I went to plug in my car charger for the phone and it did not work. So apparently the sparks did cause a problem. I did a little research and found out it was most likely a blown fuse. A fuse is a little thing that will break if it is overloaded with electricity which is what happened when I put the key in the outlet.

I looked them up and they are pretty cheap, only a few dollars. Also, it looked like it was easy to replace them which was nice. So I headed over to the auto parts store. I popped the hood to find the fuse box and the blown fuse. Sure enough, the fuse was clearly broken right in the middle.

I was thinking I would have to buy a new one but right in the lid of the fuse box, there were a bunch of spare fuses! The one I needed was there so I was able to swap it out right away without even having to buy a new fuse. I'm not sure if all cars have spare fuses like this, but in case you are going to change a fuse, check the lid in case there are any extras provided with the car.

So I put in the new fuse, plugged in the car charger and it was good as new! It was nice to have an easy car repair that did not cost any money for a change. Lesson learned, don't stick a key or anything metal in the cigarette lighter / 12v port even if the car is off.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Spectrum Walnut Oil Review

I try to incorporate healthy oils into my diet on a daily basis in order to get calories from healthy fats. Not surprisingly, my go-to oil is olive oil which is very common and fairly affordable as well. I usually get extra virgin olive oil in the bold or robust variety for the best flavor.

While olive oil is great and can be added to many dishes, I started to become a bit tired of it so I started to look for some alternatives. There are several olive oil alternatives out there such as peanut oil, canola oil, and safflower oil. I was looking for something that would have a good taste so when I saw there was an option for walnut oil, I decided to give it a try.

I found Spectrum Walnut Oil at Target. It is also available at other retailers. It was about $7 for a 16 oz bottle which is not exactly cheap especially compared to olive oil, but I decided it was worth a try.

Upon trying it out, I found the taste to be quite good! It definitely has a subtle taste of walnut. The oil itself is light in texture and light in color. I found it went very well with things like bread or dishes such as rice or pasta.

The nutrition facts are very similar in comparison to olive oil and it also has omega 3s so I would consider it a good alternative to olive oil. I would probably get it again, but I might try out some of the other oils as well to see how they compare. If you are looking for a good alternative to olive oil, I recommend trying out walnut oil.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Google Maps vs Apple Maps vs Waze – Which is the Best Navigation App?

Recently I started a new job that requires a lot of driving to different locations so I have been trying to find the best navigation app to use. So far I have tried Google Maps, Apple Maps, and Waze. Here I will recap the positives and negatives of each of these navigators to help determine which is the best one to use.

Google Maps
If you have ever looked up directions on the computer, you have probably used Google maps, so it will be a natural transition to use it for navigation. Google Maps is very detailed especially when it comes down to building and structures. It has visual representations of businesses and residences and has most of the stores labeled so you can see exactly what they are.

Google Maps has the power of Google search behind it so it is very good at looking up addresses. In terms of options, I would say it is in the middle of Apple Maps which is more simple and Waze which has a lot of customization and extra features. The map is pretty easy to use but takes a little while to learn what everything does.

Navigation tends to be pretty good for the most part but I did notice some issues, for example in several cases where you would want to make a left to turn into the destination, it will tell you to go up to the next intersection and make a U-turn. It could definitely use some improvement in this area.

Overall it is a solid choice for navigation but could still use a little improvement in some areas.

Apple Maps
If you have an iPhone, Apple Maps comes pre-installed and ready to go. I found it to have the most pleasing look of the 3 options. Also it is the most simplified and easy to use. The buttons are big and there are not a lot of distractions. This can be good if you just want something easy, but for those looking for more options and customization, you may like Google Maps or Waze better.

Although the map is very easy to read, it is not as detailed as Google Maps. For example it does not have the structures of businesses and residences on the map. Navigation is clear and I like that the audio navigation is loud so you can hear it when you are driving without having to turn up the volume. I noticed on Google Maps and Waze, even on the loud setting they can barely be heard in the car.

For accuracy, I found it to be similar to Google Maps in that sometimes it takes you a bit out of the way or tells you to make a U-turn when there is no reason to do so. I did have one issue where a destination was actually not in the right place on the map so I was not able to find it when I got there. I had to open Google Maps to find the correct location in this case.

Overall if you are looking for an occasional navigation and something that is the most simple and easy to use without all the bells and whistles, Apple Maps is the way to go.

Waze takes a bit of a different approach by making the experience more interactive and social. It allows drivers to contribute a lot of information such as where there are police, road hazards, or construction. Waze has a lot of customization settings but because if this, it can seem a little busy with too much going on.

One thing I didn't really like was it has a lot of extra stuff on the map that you don't really need. For example it has icons for restaurants and even advertisements for products. I'm guessing they are getting money for those which helps keep the app free, but personally I don't want ads on my map when I am just trying to get from point A to point B.

One other thing I don't really like is that you have to set the app to use your location “Always” even when you are not using the app. There is a sleep mode you can put it in, but again, you should not have to manually put it in sleep mode when you are not using it.

As for navigation, I actually found it to be a little more accurate than Google Maps and Apple Maps. It took me to the right locations and did not tell me to go out of the way or take unnecessary U-turns. On the other hand, I found it was a little more difficult to get the app to find an address with a search as it would pull up many results and you are not sure which one to pick.

Overall, it has a lot of potential and is a good option if you like the user contribution aspect and are looking for a navigation that is more engaging than just simple directions.

After trying out all 3, really there is no clear winner. There are some things I like for each of them, but at the same time, they each have their flaws as well. I like the look and simplicity of Apple Maps. I like the detailed map and search ability of Google Maps. I like the accuracy and user contribution of Waze.

Which one am I going to use? Right now I will probably use Google Maps because it is very detailed and is pretty reliable at finding an address with a search. I do wish it was a bit easier to use like Apple Maps. Also I wish the voice navigation was louder by default without having to manually increase the volume of the phone just to hear it while driving.

These seem to be the big 3 when it comes to navigation apps, but I may continue to look for other options in case there are any other navigation apps that are better. Do you have a favorite navigation app of these 3 or another not mentioned here? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below.