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How to Scare All of the Kids this Halloween – AtmosFX Scary Digital Special Effects

In Family, General, How To, Review, Technology, Video by Michael SheehanLeave a Comment

I have to admit, Halloween is one of my favorite holidays. I absolutely love putting up decorations and trying to scare the trick or treaters of all ages that are daring enough to come to our front door. Each year I try a different theme using whatever props or inspiration I find in my many boxes of decorations. Last year, it was all about scary clowns, and I have to admit, many little kids were a bit traumatized…sorry little ones (and your parents). This year, I’m reducing the number of physical decorations and instead relying on digital effects, all thanks to some incredible props and digital videos from AtmosFX. This article is a How-to of sorts, as I outline the process for easily setting up a scary environment. (*Disclosure below.)

HighTechDad AtmosFX Halloween Digital Decorations - wall

Also, this year I’m going to make sure that my wife buys candy that I really like because I’m going to guess (hope?) that kids will be just a bit too scared to make their way up to our house. More leftover candy for me, right? But seriously, Halloween can be great for all ages. I remember dressing my girls as ladybugs or princesses and parading around the neighborhood with them. Now they are teens and tend to fly the coop to other neighborhoods. What that means is that I can stick around my home and hand out candy to the kids who come by…and scare them in the process.

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OMG, the Omigo Toilet Seat Cleans Butts While Saving the Environment – Review

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

Ok, it’s time for some potty talk. No, I’m not going to be complaining about my kids or my work or my bills. I’ll save that for another time. Instead, I’m going to talk about butts (or bums, depending on where you’re from). And toilets. And toilet seats. And toilet paper. And conservation. And being sanitary.  And technology. And about the Omigo toilet seat. (*Disclosure below.)

HighTechDad Omigo Toilet Seat Review - lit seat

Toilets, in one form or another, have been around for centuries. And they have evolved considerably from being just behind a bush to a hole in the ground. Many toilets have seats and covers (and I must say that I have encountered “toilets” that are still just holes in the ground). Some cultures, due to lack of infrastructure or other barriers, have not had huge advances the way other cultures have.

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How To Easily Change the iOS iTunes Backup Location to an External Hard Drive & Save Tons of Space

In Apple, Application, Fix It, General, How To, iOS, iPad, iPhone, Software by Michael SheehanLeave a Comment

New iOS devices are starting to come with a ton of storage. Take the new iPhone Xs and Xs Max. You can get a configuration up to 512GBs! That’s a lot of storage! And who doesn’t like having a ton of space for videos, photos, music, or movies? Well, if you do local iTunes backups (which is what I recommend doing) — you are making regular backups, right? — you may suddenly discover that there is not enough space on your Mac to do backups anymore. This can be maddening! Luckily, with a little bit of work, you can change that default location for your iTunes backups to an external USB hard drive. And I’m going to show you how to do this easily.

HighTechDad Change iOS Backup Location in iTunes - title

First off, I would recommend having a dedicated (or really big) hard drive that you can use for your future iTunes backups. There are a ton of options available, but I would recommend having at least 1TB just to play it safe. A quick search on Amazon for 1TB USB hard drives has quite a number of options for around $50. For a 2TB external USB drive, you are looking at about still less than $100 for that peace of mind.

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Bring Your Kids To Work Every Day with the Nixplay Iris WiFi Cloud Digital Frame

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

I remember Bring Your Child To Work Day. When my kids were little, packing up their gear and snacks for an “adventure” at Daddy’s office was always fun. I only did it a few times as it’s often hard to keep them occupied all of the time. Also, an hour-long commute is sometimes hard for little legs, feet, and bladders. But now I bring my teenage girls to work every day. Not physically but digitally with the Nixplay Iris WiFi Cloud Digital Frame. (*Disclosure below)

I have reviewed Nixplay before. And since that review, I have come to expand the number of connected digital frames we have. Now my parents have Nixplay frames in their homes, and my wife actually managed them. This is nice because only “approved” photos appear on the grandparents’ frames.

HighTechDad Nixplay Iris Digital WiFi Frame Review - frame

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How To Set the Default Apps (Email, Browser, RSS) on a Mac the EASIEST Way Possible!

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

Using a Mac is pretty darn easy. The “walled garden” experience, much like with an iPhone or iPad, pretty much guarantees this. Until, of course, it isn’t easy. There is one seemingly simple setting on the Mac which is actually a lot more complicated (or even impossible) – that of setting the default application on the Mac. Want to choose Outlook instead of Apple Mail as your default mail client? I wrote a how-to about that. Back in 2014, I did a how-to on setting the default browser (it’s a bit easier to do that process now). But just recently, I discovered a great little app that solves the default application issue in a much easier way!

HighTechDad - How To set a default application on a Mac

There is often a manual way to set some default applications via the Mac Finder. But it is a bit clunky and doesn’t always work exactly the way you want. And, it’s a bit tricky to figure out how to set the default email app, or chose an RSS reader for site feeds, or define what you want to be your default FTP application to be.

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MyHeritage DNA Lets You Easily Discover Your Ancestral Roots (Giveaway)

In Family, General, Giveaway, Parenting, Sponsored by Michael SheehanLeave a Comment

I don’t know where my parents are from. Let me rephrase that. I don’t know where my birth parents are from. That’s because I’m adopted. I DO know where the parents who raised me are from, and since I was adopted when I was a baby, I’ve always said my heritage was Irish and Russian. Now, thanks to an easy DNA test by MyHeritage DNA, I now know my background according to my DNA ancestry. (*Disclosure below.)

HTD MyHeritage DNA kit - unopened kit

Ever since I can remember, I have known that I was adopted. It wasn’t hidden away from me or not discussed. But I never knew many details. I believe that my biological mother was a nurse and my father was a teacher. And that their heritage was English and Polish. And that they were just too early on in their lives to properly take care of a child. So, they put me up for adoption.

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DIY: How To Build Removable Cafe Lighting Posts that Attach to a Deck

In Fix It, General, How To by Michael SheehanLeave a Comment

There is nothing better than relaxing outside on a deck at night…unless it’s pitch black and you can’t see the person you are talking to. This is one of the main reasons I decided to figure out a way to hang strings of LED cafe lights around our back deck. The problem was, I didn’t have any way to attach the lights. No walls or trees or posts to make my desire for nighttime ambiance to come true. So I decided to figure out how to do it myself. But I had specific requirements.

HTD DIY Deck Lighting Post - lit deck

The final result of my DIY deck lighting post creation!

For starters, I didn’t want whatever my final design was to be something permanent. I wanted to be able to take it down during the winter rainy season to protect the lights. Also, I wanted a way to easily eliminate a bunch of posts sticking into the air when we didn’t have the lights mounted. That was my primary requirement.

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