Z-Car

Apple Bumper a rip-off – Best Cheap iPhone bumper/case

Apple Bumper is expensive rip-offLike most new iPhone 4 buyers, I knew that I had to purchase a bumper to insure no antenna issues, and I wanted something to protect my fancy new purchase, especially since I have a tendency to drop small expensive items.  So, I told the sales guy to ring up a black bumper and I would be on my way. Imagine my surprise when I got home and realized I paid $29 for a shockingly small amount of rubber stretched around my iPhone!

At least I was happy with my new phone, and the bumper did perform as advertised, it kept my phone safe, provided a grippy handle, and masked any antenna problems.  However, after six months it finally started to fall apart.

Being cheap, I just found it very difficult to accept that I would need to budget $30 every six months to the gods at Cupertino.  So, while placing an order for live crickets or some such on Amazon, I decided to buy a couple different cases and try and figure out which I liked better.  And, as a bonus I would have the opportunity to share my findings  with the two other folks who read this blog.

The first up was the Apple iPhone 4 Semi-Hard Polymer Crystal Case – Smokey for a cool $3.49.  This one was a bit of surprise, as I was expecting a softer (semi-hard?) feel.  In fact, this was the sturdiest of the three I tested.  While I am confident that it would do a good job protecting the phone, and it feels solid when gripping, it was a bit too industrial for my tastes.  But, I would use this as a back-up in a pinch if needed, no doubt.


The Yellow and Black Premium Bumper Case for the Apple iPhone 4 for AT&T was a tasty $2.99.  Really, how could you go wrong at this price?  The bumper slipped on with no problems, all teh buttons worked perfectly.  But, it had a fatal flaw for me.  The iPhone connecter in my car would not fit through the opening in the bottom.  The newer iPhone cable fitted fine.  I am tempted to do some minor surgery to fix this over-sight.  When completed, I will post an update.  If you only use the standard iPhone cable, this bumper will do the job for you, and it is an order of magnitude cheaper than the Apple original.


The last case I tried as the most expensive (if you can call it that), and the one going into the test that I expected to win.  That case is the Incipio NGP for iPhone 4/4S in Matte Black at a still very affordable $12.55.  This case is solid all the way around.  It is actually a case rather then just a bumper, it features an enclosed back.  The unit is made out of a very tough plastic that still has a bit of a rubber feel.  I am really enjoying this case, and again, the price is right.

As always, I am a huge fan of Amazon Prime.  The fact that I can buy a quality bumper for under $3 and have it shipped to my door in two days is really a pretty amazing thing.  Each of these cases/bumpers is a good value, I think most folks would be happy with any one of them, and at the rock bottom prices, but one of each like I did and pick your favorite.  You can then use the other two as backups, or switch it up every now and then to give your phone a new feel.

Wrap your iPhone in a rubber bumper


USA Spec PA15 – INFI iPhone/iPod interface for Infiniti G35x

Pretty girl next to her Infiniti G35x AWDI have a 2005 Infiniti G35x and have been wishing for years that the car had come with an AUX plug, or iPhone/iPod interface for almost the whole six years that I have owned it.  Several years back when looking for a solution, I found an interface that claimed to work, however it required the removal of the dash.  This was not an exercise that I was interested in undertaking, nor paying for. Removing the dash did not look like an easy task, not as simple as in many cars.

Fast forward a couple years…  A couple weeks ago I get my yearly XM radio renewal (another topic I will discuss in future post) and decided I needed to get my iPhone talking to my Infiniti pronto.   I quickly found out that several vendors now sold Infiniti/Nissan to iPhone/iPod interfaces.  Interestingly, USA-Spec was touting an interface that connected between the cars existing XM Radio and the in-dash stereo.  And, on the G35x sedan, the XM Radio was conveniently mounted in the trunk.  This unit also works with many other Nissan and Infiniti cars, but please take a look at the manual here to insure compatibility with your auto.

So, I purchased the unit from Amazon, and got it two days later (thank you Mr Prime).   In preparation, I cleaned out my trunk and did some searching for the XM tuner.  After popping the trunk, you will find a trim panel across the top of trunk.  Carefully remove several of the plastic pop-rivets using a blunt knife and lower the trim panel, it will still be attached to the piece that covers the rear-seats.  On the upper right-hand side you will find the XM tuner mounted in a rack on the bottom with the connecter located on the right side.  This connecter is removed and the connecter from the PA 15 – INFI is mounted in-between the two.

I simply snaked the control unit cable under the rear seats and up along the drive tunnel.  You can be ultra-clean and run under the carpets, or go ghetto and just thread it out the ski pole opening.  Once everything is connected, connect your iPhone and run through the simple setup instructions in the manual.  This will allow you to choose via playlist, artist, or song.  In addition you can run in direct mode, the cool part of this is it allows you to access any audio application on your iPhone, including Pandora!  Lastly, there is also an Aux interface that allows you to plug in any device that can connect via a 3.5mm AUX jack.

While the manual does a pretty good job walking through all the options, walking through playlists/artist/songs can be a bit tedious if you have large song collection, but a little bit of practice will help.   The audio quality is very good, the integration is surprisingly good considering USA Spec has basically just hacked the system to make your iThing look like a XM tuner or CD Changer.

In the end, USA Spec has a real winner.  As mentioned, I found the sound quality to be excellent, and installation was a breeze.  If you run into any issues, just leave me a message here and I will try to help out.

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NetFlix – How to find that hidden gem of a movie to watch

I recently signed up for Netflix online. I have been pretty happy with the service so far, for $7.99 they have a huge selection of TV shows and movies.  I use a Tivo Premiere to view shows on my TV that are streamed directly from NetFlix.  However they also have the ability to stream to game consoles, iPhone, and of course your computer.  Unfortunately, the challenge is to find shows that are worth watching. With thousands available, it can be hard to find that hidden gem. Because NetFlix does not have a lot of recent Block Buster releases, you mostly have the choice between older movies, or that hidden gem of a show or movie that was not super popular when released, yet is actually worth watching. I have a few favorites, and will post more in the future. Some quality TV Shows and Movies currently available are listed below in no particular order.

TV Shows

 

Vulcan T'Pol - Jolene Blalock

The Beautiful Jolene Blalock as Vulcan T’Pol

Star Trek Enterprise – Add to Your Instant Queue

Set prior to the events depicted in the original 1960s program, this series follows Capt. Archer (Scott Bakula) and the crew of the Enterprise as they explore space and discover the technology taken for granted in previous Star Trek installments.  This show was not very popular when it originally aired, mainly due to the story line flowing across multiple episodes.  As a TV show, this was difficult to follow, but when you can now watch them back to back at your leisure, it is an enjoyable show.  Jolene Blalock is also quite the hidden gem, beautiful and shows her ability to act as the role of the original Vulcan Second in Command.

Louie – Add to Your Instant Queue

Although Louie is currently in Season Two on the FX Channel, many people have missed Season One.  This is a classic comedy, Louis C.K. does his take of a comedy sitcom, but this is no Seinfeld.   Louie is raw and unapologetic.  He has the ability to make you groan, and then say to your self, well, he does have a point.   Well worth watching if you like edgy comedy that will make you laugh, and think.

 

 

Lana almost nude and naked

Archer – Add to Your Instant Queue

Archer is an adult themed,politically incorrect animated TV Show. The basic plot revolves around Archer, an over-the-top portrayal of the classic womanizing secret agent with a dose of bumbling Inspector Clouseau. It is raunchy, full of one-liners that you have to listen carefully for as they explode across the screen, and generally always good for 19 minutes of entertainment. You will find yourself having to rewind a lot, you may find yourself laughing so hard you miss the next joke.

 

 

 

Movies

Shutter Island – Add to Your Instant Queue
Wow, where was this movie when released to the theaters?  US Marshall Teddy Daniels investigates the disappearance of a patient from an insane asylum located on an isolated island. Throw in creepy inmates, a storm, and Teddy’s own personal demons, and you have the recipe for a thriller that will keep you glued to the screen. This movie will keep you thinking about what happened for the next week. Leonardo DiCaprio delights with his typical strong performance, it was if this movie was made with him in mind.

Letters from Iwo Jima – Add to Your Instant Queue
This is Clint Eastwood’s companion to Flags of Our Fathers (unfortunately not available on NetFlix).  This is the story of Iwo Jima from the Japanese perspective, often told through letters sent back home from the doomed soldiers sent to defend Iwo.  A strong performance by the main characters, not 100% historically accurate, but enjoyable none the less.  It will help if you are a history buff, however it is a good enough story to keep the average viewer engaged.

Red State – Add to Your Instant Queue
Another movie that was released into theaters and never heard from again.  However, this is a quality movie by Kevin Smith.  It is a little heavy on anti-religion and anti-government themes, yet is still a good movie with some chilling scenes.  I found myself keep saying, no, they would not do that, but yet they did.  Does not follow the standard script for a thriller/horror movie.  It is short at an hour and twenty minutes, so is a good movie to catch when you are short on time.