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Rubbermaid Roughneck Trash Can – An Extra Set of Hands & Earthquake-Ready

In General, Opinion, Sponsored by Michael Sheehan

There is something calming when you work in your yard. You become a bit closer to earth. You use a different part of your brain than when you sit at your desk all day. You get outside in fresh air. You get exercise. You get frustrated trying to hold bags open to get your yard clippings cleared up. You brainstorm on new ideas. You discover things you didn’t know. And hopefully the results of your labor make the world a more beautiful place. Wait, what was that? Garbage bags?

HTD Rubbermaid Roughneck - before cleaning

For the past several weekends, I have been excavating my yard. Not in the literal sense, a bit more figuratively as I have been removing layers and layers of leaves, branches and dead vegetation, with the goal of making the yard look nicer again. In the process, I have been uncovering toys from many years before, slug-cover plastic boxes, old soda cans, and slimy layers of packed leaves just starting to decompose. I had to figure out a good way to get rid of all of the junk and debris that had accumulated.

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Becoming a Backyard Archeologist with the Toro UltraPlus Blower Vac

In Consumer Electronics, Gadgets, General, Hardware, Opinion, Review by Michael SheehanLeave a Comment

Over the past few years, my backyard had become a potential archeological dig site. While I love having gardeners to maintain the lawn (now dead due to the California drought) and the other flora, they don’t quite have my same vision for relative cleanliness. I believe their favorite tool is the gas-powered leaf blower that they use to move leaves from one side of the yard to another. What started out as a relatively tidy yard, over the years has become a mound of dry and decaying leaves (which my tiny dog loves hopping around in like a deer in snow). So, I decided to do something about the layers of leaves. Instead of using a blower to just move things, I used the Toro UltraPlus Blower Vac to vacuum up and mulch all of the leaves.

HTD Toro UltraPlus Blower Vac - What's in the box

The Toro UltraPlus isn’t your ordinary blower and vacuum for the yard. This thing has a ton of power to move the yard debris where you want it and then chew it up into fine mulch. I estimate (and these are my own calculations) 1 bag of mulch = approximately 5-7 bags (or more) of leaves. Over 1 weekend, I produced about 8 bags of mulch. That’s a lot of leaves!

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Tip: How To Add Attachments in iOS 9 Email

In Apple, Fix It, General, How To, HTD Tech Tip, iOS, iPad, iPhone, iPod, Software by Michael SheehanLeave a Comment

Now that Apple iOS 9 is here, and there are LOTS of little enhancements to learn about and potentially use, I found one that is a bit hidden but that I feel is critical to know how to use as it is incredibly useful for both work and home emails. It’s the ability to add attachments in iOS 9 email.

iOS 9 Tips

The one-time setup doesn’t take too long to do and once you do set it up, the process of how to add attachments in iOS 9 email is quite easy. So, once you install iOS 9, be sure to set up your attachments. Once you do, you will be able to add attachments from iCloud Drive (by default it should be enabled) but then later with file sharing apps like Dropbox, Google Drive, Microsoft OneDrive, Syncplicity and others.Read More

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Razer BlackWidow & Deathstalker Chroma Gaming Keyboards From a Non-Gamer Perspective

In Consumer Electronics, Gadgets, General, Hardware, Opinion, Review, Technology by Michael SheehanLeave a Comment

I’m not a gamer other than occasionally playing a few racing games on my Xbox or PlayStation or a card game on my iPhone. And the closest my wife gets to gaming is playing some classic Atari games like Missile Command or Millipede on her iPhone. So when I was asked if I wanted to review a couple of high-end gaming keyboards by Razer, I scratched my head a bit as to how to approach the review. But then I realized something. My wife had been searching for a new keyboard for a while, one with some “classic” characteristics. And something that many gamers swear by. The click.

HTD - Razer BlackWidow & Deathstalker gaming keyboards - wave

My wife has a traditional desktop PC, one that you may find in just about any household. It came with a traditional corded keyboard. It wasn’t anything fancy. But one thing that bothered her was something that is common in many consumer-grade/average household computer keyboards. It had a soft-touch. What that means is that when you pressed a key, it was quiet and it didn’t have too much travel (what I call the distance been the key being in a state of rest versus being fully pressed). Personally, I like the soft-touch keyboards and am a big fan of the chiclet style keyboards that don’t have much travel.

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A Surprisingly Good Vacation Van: 2015 Ford Transit Wagon XLT

In Auto, Ford, General, Opinion, Review by Michael Sheehan1 Comment

At the beginning of August, my family headed off on our traditional excursion to Lake Tahoe. Given that we would be gone for a week, I was a bit worried about the amount of luggage we would have to take as well as be able to comfortably accommodate my family of five on the drive as well as throughout our week. And, I wanted the option to be able to potentially take additional passengers in addition to our five. I started looking at SUV and even mini-vans that might be able to handle all of my requirements. Most SUVs can seat anywhere from 5 to 7 passengers and mini-vans about the same. This was great, but when you add an additional row of seating, that comes at the expense of luggage space. Then I received the opportunity to test drive the perfect solution. I got my hands on the 2015 Ford Transit Wagon XLT…and my family and I loved it!

2015 Ford Transit Wagon XLT - Side View

I didn’t take the 2015 Ford Transit Wagon on any extreme track tests, nor skid pads, nor 0-60 time trials. I wanted to look at it from a practicality standpoint from a family of 5+ people and day-to-day activities as well as on longer road trips. Before I go through a few of the highlights of the 2015 Ford Transit Wagon XLT, I think it makes sense to talk about the platform of the Ford Transit. You may have seen versions of these on the road, primarily used as business vans. It is highly-customizable depending on the use case. There is a choice for 3 roof-heights (low, medium and high), 3 lengths (regular, long and extended), 2 wheel bases, 3 engine types and the option of having it as a passenger or cargo van. For the cargo van option, you can get it outfitted with cabinets, divider, drawers and other options. Obviously, I had the passenger van option.

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Corporate Storytelling as a Brand Journalist

In General, Opinion by Michael SheehanLeave a Comment

About two years ago, I started a job at Intel as a Brand Journalist. But, the position in general is not one that is widely known or used within corporations. There are various offshoots of it like Content Marketer, Digital Storyteller and even the Embedded Journalist (which is probably the closest approximation to Brand Journalist). So what is a Brand Journalist exactly?

Newspaper Journalists of the 1900's - brand journalist

First, you need to break it into two words and understand those definitions. “Brand” as defined by Webster is: “a category of products that are all made by a particular company and all have a particular name.” Webster defines “journalist” as: “a person engaged in journalism; especially : a writer or editor for a news medium.” Both of these are a bit vague in my mind and don’t supply enough context.

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NETGEAR Gear Running my Net – Two NETGEAR 802.11 AC WiFi Routers: R8000 & R7500

In Consumer Electronics, Gadgets, General, Hardware, Opinion, Review, Sponsored, Technology by Michael SheehanLeave a Comment

This past weekend at a dinner party, I was asked a question about Wi-Fi routers. Actually quite a few questions. The most obvious one was, what Wi-Fi router do you recommend. And why. That’s a loaded question. And it really depends on the type of features you want to be able to control, how easy it is to configure a router and what type of devices you want to connect. In my current network setup, I have a NETGEAR R8000, otherwise known as the Nighthawk X6 Tri-Band Wi-Fi router as my primary networking device. But perhaps it makes sense to explain more about my home networking environment first.

HTD NETGEAR 802.11 AC WiFi routers - side by side

   NETGEAR Badge
Disclaimer: I am a NETGEAR Ambassador and I received these products in exchange for my honest, unbiased opinion and review.

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How To Fix “Information Store Cannot Be Opened” on Outlook, Windows 10 & iCloud

In Apple, Application, Fix It, General, How To, Microsoft, Software by Michael SheehanLeave a Comment

There is nothing better than upgrading your computer to the latest and greatest operating system. Windows 10 is quite a nice refresh to PCs running Windows 7 or 8 and so when Microsoft announced the free upgrade, I quickly upgraded all of the PCs in my household. The upgrade process went relatively well. I did have to force some upgrades to happen ahead of cycle and do a manual install of Windows 10, but that’s another story. And everything seemed to be working great…until my wife couldn’t access the shared family calendar we had set up in iCloud and in Outlook 2013. Suddenly, kids were missing appointments, outings were being forgotten about, and life as we knew it became completely chaotic.

How To Fix “Information Store Cannot Be Opened” on Outlook, Windows 10 & iCloud - HighTechDad

Well, I’m exaggerating a bit. She was definitely frustrated. When she tried to access the shared iCloud calendar within Microsoft Outlook 2013, she received the following error:Read More