How an eBike (electric scooter) wheel works, colored frogs, and fat fish with small fins. Adventures in China.

On an afternoon stroll in China I saw a few interesting things that I thought would be fun to record on video. It is not everyday that you see the workings of an eBike motor, see colored frogs, or see fish that look like they came straight from a cartoon show.

How to put up a permanent shield while playing "Clash of Clans" and avoid getting disconnected due to inactivity (Android; Llama)

If you are a fan of the popular game "Clash of Clans," you have probably been on marathon raids where you try to raid as much gold and elixir as you possibly can. Every five minutes you tirelessly press the "reload game" button so that you don't get raided. Then you have to go somewhere for just a few minutes and when you come back to your game you find that "you have have been disconnected due to inactivity" and you have just been raided. All of the gold and elixir you have been raiding for the past hour or two is now gone.

If only there was a way "Clash of Clans" would never log you out for inactivity... There is! And it is awesome!

Download Youtube videos, channels, and playlists in bulk using youtube-dl. (Windows and Linux)

If you are looking to download Youtube videos in bulk by playlist or channel then youtube-dl is the way to go. It is open source and runs on Linux. Mac or Windows. It can be downloaded here (or found in Debian/Ubuntu repositories). If typing commands in the terminal is not your favorite thing, then you may wish to download the GUI here.

Continue reading to see what youtube-dl is capable of (the following screenshots will be showing the GUI (youtube-dlg) and will not be showing terminal commands).

Hua Shan (Mount Hua), in Shaanxi China - The mountain mysteriously blurred out/censored in Google maps.

Hua Shan (Mount Hua) is a famous mountain in China. It is one of China's Five Great Mountains. This past weekend I went to Hua Shan and was impressed with how majestic all of the peaks are. It is an amazingly beautiful area like many other areas in China.

In this post, rather than focus on how to get there, how much it costs, what it is like, or talk about the "world's most dangerous hiking trail," I want to ask the question that I can't seem to figure out.

Why on earth is Hua Shan Blurred out in Google Maps? Topographical information does not seem to be available anywhere online.

Shutter vs Hotshots. Which Linux screenshot tool is better?

Not too long ago I did a short post on the Linux screenshot tool Shutter. While I still find Shutter to be a fantastic screenshot tool, I recently found myself wanting for some additional features. This led me to discover some nice alternative screenshot tools for Linux, namely Hotshots and Kaption. While I found Kaption to be rather nice and easy, I find it lacks the functionality and is a bit too dated (last updated in 2011) to be a realistic replacement for Shutter (It is still worth checking out though, you can find out how to install it here).

Hotshots however, very well could be a viable replacement for Shutter. This post will be an attempt for me to determine which screenshot tool I feel is the best option for using on a Linux OS.

How to remember special dates or occasions like a boss.

I just finished celebrating my three year Iloveyouiversary with my wife. It was three years ago today when I first told my wife that I loved her. My wife thought it was soooo sweet that I remembered  this. Here's the thing though. I didn't remember.

This is what I did and what I do for any special or unique occasion I have with my wife. Whenever something significant or special happens with me and my wife, I open up my Google calendar and go back to the day and time that the event happened. For the event I will write what happened (our first date, first kiss, first time we talked, etc) and the day it happened on.

In the description I write details that I am likely to forget but might be useful to remember (like where we ate, how much it cost, impressions I had, etc). 

Important thing #1 - I set the calendar event as reaccuring on a yearly basis.
Important thing #2 - I set an email reminder for two days before the event. I find that two days usually gives me enough time to prepare to have a mini little celebration if I need to.

Once I receive the email, I am able to read it and it can refresh on all the event details. Say for instance it is my firstdateivversary; I will go up to my wife and say something like "Did you know that X years ago we went on our first date together? We went to X place and ate the X. I remember how X I felt and how X you looked, etc.

This has ended up working great for many things. I have been able to celebrate our firsttimetalkingiversary, our firstdateiversary, our firstkissiversary, our firstvacationiversary, and of course, our anniversary.

Pro tip: Keep a good journal. I had no idea I would marry my wife when we went on our first date, but luckily I had a good enough journal so that when I did marry her, I could see the time and date of our first date.

How does a "See 'n Say" work?

If you grew up around the 1960s to the 1990s, chances are pretty good that you grew up with a See 'n Say. This toy from Mattel had the ability to talk, play a song, or make animal sounds when you pulled the cord or pulled down on the lever. Not only would it do this all without batteries or electricity but it would also accurately play the right track according to where it was pointing.

So how exactly does this seemingly magical device work?

One easy way to lower your auto insurance premium.

Photo credit:
Do you feel like you are paying too much for your auto insurance? Have you ever been told that what you are paying is the cheapest you can get? Maybe not. Here is one way you might be able to get it even cheaper.

Why you might not want to upgrade to Kubuntu 15.04 yet; stick with version 14.10 (Problems and solutions)

Kubuntu 15.04 has recently been released with quite a bit of fanfare. It introduces the visually apealing Plasma 5 along with many application upgrades.

While I am a huge fan of Kubuntu, KDE, and the slick look of Plasma 5, I will give a few reasons while you might want to wait just a little longer before you decide to upgrade.

How to change the playback speed of a Youtube video (two methods).

Have you ever wanted to speed up or slow down the videos you watch in Youtube? Fortunately, this is really easy. I will show you a couple of ways to do this.