Sunday, December 23, 2018

iPhone Battery Replacement Experience - Is it worth replacing a battery on an old iPhone?

I have an iPhone 6 that is about 4 years old and while it is still in good condition, the battery just does not hold a charge like it used to. For example if I would charge it to 100% before bed, in the morning, it would be down to about 75% without using it. I checked the battery health and it was down to about 78% capacity.

I noticed Apple was running a promotion on battery replacements for $29 down from the regular price of $79, good though the end of 2018, so I decided it would be a good time to get it replaced. I still like the phone and have no reason to upgrade any time soon so I figured it would be a good idea to get the new battery to help extend the life of the device.

I set up an appointment to bring it in to an Apple store. The soonest available was the following Saturday which was further away than I was expecting, but I decided to set the appointment anyway. At the appointment, I checked in and was helped within minutes.

They ran a diagnostic test and confirmed that it could definitely use a new battery. I was hoping they would be able to do it right away while I waited, but they said it would be about a 3 hour wait, so I dropped it off and said I would come back to pick it up when it was ready.

To do the replacement they will ask you to enter your password to turn off the Find My iPhone feature. Also they will ask you if it is backed up just in case anything happens. I made sure to back it up on iCloud and also get an extra back up of the contacts. They gave me a receipt and said it would be ready in a few hours.

After a few hours I came back and checked in and was helped again within minutes. The phone was all set and ready for pickup. I just had to show ID and pay for it and it was ready to go. The phone was in good condition and all the apps and data were the same as before so I didn't have to worry about reloading backups or anything like that. The battery was charged to 100% and the battery health was at 100%.

The evening I got it home I could already tell the battery was much better. Usually it would drain quickly even without using it much, but I was using it and the battery barely drained at all. I tested it overnight to see how much it had improved. Usually it would drain about 25%, but this time it only drained about 3%.

Overall I am pleased with the experience. If you have an older iPhone or one that is not holding a charge very well and you plan on keeping it for a while, I recommend getting the battery replaced. It is a good deal at the promotional rate and even at the regular rate it is still worth it if you are having trouble with the battery and you don't want to buy a new phone.

Friday, December 21, 2018

How to get food out from between teeth when floss does not work?

Have you ever been eating something crunchy and you feel a little piece of food get wedged in between your teeth? If so, you know how annoying it can be. If you are lucky, you may have some floss nearby that can get it out quickly but sometimes it is wedged in there so much that the floss does not even work. You try to floss it out and the floss will not even get in between the teeth because the food is stuck.

So what do you do in this case? One method I have found that works pretty much every time is to drink some water and swish it around in your mouth vigorously for about 10 seconds. Try to focus on the area where it is stuck. For example if the food is stuck between a couple of teeth far back on one side, try to swish the water back and forth through that area of teeth.

Once you have thoroughly rinsed with the water, try the floss again. In most cases the water will have broken it down or dislodged it enough so that you can get the floss in between the teeth to help clear it completely.

If the food is still there and the floss still does not go through, try the water again and swish it for a little bit longer. Then again try with the floss. Usually after another rinse or two, the floss will be able to get through to clean out whatever was stuck in between the teeth. Hope this helps!

Monday, December 17, 2018

Can You Cook Hash Brown Patties In The Microwave?

Quick answer: Yes! 

Recently I picked up some frozen hash brown patties at the store and when I went to cook them, I noticed the only cooking method given was in the oven or toaster oven. This method required preheating the oven, cooking the patty for about 7 minutes on one side, flipping it, and then cooking for another 8 minutes on the other side. I don't mind a little cooking but I'm not going to wait for the oven to preheat and then spend another 15 minutes cooking for one hash brown.

So first I decided to try cooking it in a frying pan. I figured it would be a little more efficient and maybe a bit faster. The frying pan method worked ok but the patty was sticking to the pan and started to fall apart when trying to move it or flip it. I added a little oil which helped a bit but the hash brown already has oil so it didn't seem to make much sense to add even more oil. Overall the result was messy and still took a long time to make.

Finally I decided to see if there were any instructions online for microwaving frozen hash browns. Surprisingly it was difficult to find instructions or recommendations for this. So I decided to just try it out to see what would happen.

I started with 1 patty on a regular plate and put it in the microwave. I wasn't sure how it would react so I started with time increments of 20 seconds.

First 20, so far so good. Not much change. Another 20 seconds, starting to warm up. Another 20 seconds, getting hotter and starting to sizzle a bit. The instructions on the box say it should be heated to at least 165 degrees so I put it in for another 20 seconds just to be safe which came to about 1:20 total.

So what was the result? Pretty good! The hash brown did not stick to the plate thankfully. It also did not splatter or make a mess in the microwave. It heated up just fine in a short amount of time. It was not exactly crispy like it would be if you cooked it in an oven, but it still had some crunch and tasted just fine with the microwave cooking method.

So can you cook hash brown patties in the microwave? The answer is yes! Microwave cooking times can vary so you may have to test out a few different times to get it to how you want it. Just make sure it is hot enough all the way through.

After seeing how easy this method was, I will be cooking them in the microwave from now on. Waiting a little over a minute is a lot better than waiting for an oven to preheat and then cooking for 15 minutes!

Monday, December 10, 2018

Best Youtube Channels for 2018

2018 was a decent year for Youtube with a lot of new channels popping up as well as continued contributions from some of our favorites. This year's list has a mix of funny, informative, and entertaining channels. Here are Connected Isolation's picks for the best Youtube channels in 2018:

1. Steven Schapiro (funny / hidden camera)
Steven Schapiro is a charismatic guy who makes hidden camera style videos where he interacts with people in unconventional ways to see how they react. He has a likable personality and his channel following has grown remarkably quick this year. If you like his videos, check out The Daily Dropout which is another channel he works with that has similar videos.

2. Vlog Creations (funny / vlog)
Ross from Vlog Creations has really done well in 2018 by consistently releasing new videos each week. His videos are vlog style and usually have pranks and goofiness throughout. He and his friends are always entertaining with the shenanigans they get themselves into each week. 

3. Kyde and Eric (travel)
Kyde and Eric are a couple who make long form travel videos often visiting lesser known cities and regions. Unlike other channels that are loaded with fancy editing and music, Kyde and Eric take a more realistic approach showing what the places are really like from the food to the accommodations, to the attractions. Their down to earth personalities shine through as they take us along on their adventures around the worlds.

4. Bad Lip Reading (funny / music)
While this channel does not post as often as some of the others, when they do post a video, it is always a hit. Bad Lip Reading takes video footage of things like news, sports, or tv and replaces the words with different words and voices that are funny. The videos are very well done and even include original songs from time to time.

5. Redline Reviews (car reviews)
If you have been looking up reviews for cars recently, chances are you may have found the Redline Reviews channel. Sofyan the host of this channel does a great job of thoroughly covering new and used cars going over everything from the features to the driving experience. He keeps and unbiased viewpoint which is great when you are looking for a trustworthy review.

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Best Shows of 2018

The way we watch TV continues to change as streaming options become more widespread and popular. For the best shows list this year there are some shows from traditional broadcast channels but also some from Netflix, Youtube, and Freeform. Here are Connected Isolation's picks for the best tv shows of 2018:

1. Castaways

Castaways is a new reality style show that debuted on ABC this year. It took 12 strangers and scattered them out on some deserted islands with few resources available. Their main objective being to survive until a rescue is sent to pick them up. Their experience is documented as they work together to survive. The show was well made and did a good job covering their experience and comparing it to the castaway's real lives at home.

2. Cobra Kai
This Karate Kid spin-off was one of the first big shows to debut on the Youtube platform. I was a fan of the Karate Kid movies so I had to check it out and I was pleasantly surprised with the result. It features some of the main characters from original cast and we get to see what they are up to at this stage in their lives. There is a good amount of nostalgia, drama, action, and even some humor. Fans of the movies as well as the younger generation can both enjoy this series.

3. Alone Together
Alone Together is a new comedy on Freeform featuring 2 friends, Esther and Benji who are trying to make it in a world where they can't seem to catch a break. They don't really like each other but something just keeps them together. The show is funny and stands out in the busy category of ½ hour comedies. Seasons 1 and 2 are available now on Freeform and Hulu.

4. American Ninja Warrior
This is a returning show that continues to be on the list of favorite shows of the year. They made a few changes to the show this year, but overall it is pretty similar to what it has been in previous years. There were a lot of returning veteran ninjas as well as some new faces that did very well. The courses continue to become more difficult as they take out even some of the best ninjas. Overall it is an inspiring show with a lot of positivity behind it.

5. Fastest Car
This was a new show that debut on Netflix this year. It is a documentary style show that features people who build and race “sleeper” cars which are cars that look like ordinary or unimpressive cars, but they go really fast! In this show, they race other sleeper cars and even go up against factory super cars to see how they match up. It's interesting to learn about the background of each of the builders and see what motivates them to do what they do. At the end, they have a final race of the fastest cars!

6. What Would You Do
This is a show that has been on for many seasons and one that I continue to watch each year. It is a hidden camera style show that creates controversial situations to see how everyday people will react. Often they create a situation where someone is doing something wrong and they see if anyone will step in and do something about it. It's great to see people speak up when they see something that is not right. It sets a good example for everyone to follow to helps make the world a better place!

What were some of your favorite shows of 2018? Feel free to comment below.

Also check out the Best Shows of 2017

And the Best Shows of 2019

Monday, December 3, 2018

Song Picks for 2018

In 2018, I did not listen to a lot of new music, but I figured I would continue the yearly "best of" series with song recommendations for 2018.

1. Blake Shelton - I Lived It

This is somewhat of an unusual pick because I normally don't listen to country music, but I heard this one by Blake Shelton and it just struck a chord as they say. It's an autobiographical song that has an easy going feel and enough of a pop sound to appeal to fans who are not really into country music.

2. Carly Rae Jepsen - Cut To The Feeling

This one is technically from 2017 but I found it a bit late and since it was not on the list last year, I decided to include it. Carly continues to pump out the hits and Cut To The Feeling is not exception. Her powerful vocals matched with the up beat music make this one a winner! 
3. Andrew W.K. - Ever Again

AWK came back with a new album this year and it is everything you might expect with layered guitars and a stadium rock sound supporting a positive message. Andrew is one of the most interesting characters in rock and it is great to see he is still doing his thing.

4. Incubus - No Fun

It's been a while since I had heard from Incubus after having followed them pretty closely in the late 90's / early 2000's. I decided to look them up again and was pleased to see they are still releasing new music. Often band run out of steam as the decades go by but this one shows they are still as good as ever.

5. Chvrches - Get Out

Chvrches have been releasing a pretty steady stream of electronic pop music and this one caught my ear enough to make it onto the list of best songs for 2018. Lauren's vocal's sound great and they are supported with a familiar sound we have come to expect from Chvrches.

6. Kate Micucci - You Got A Bike

A surprise late entry to the list just in time for the holidays is a new song by Kate Micucci. Best known for her role in the band Garfunkel and Oats, Kate sings solo and plays the piano on this one. It is a wonderful song that is catchy and can get stuck in your head after just one listen.

What were some of your favorite songs for 2018? Feel free to comment about them below.

Also check out the Best Songs for 2017