My Second TEMU Haul Didn’t Go So Well..

Recently, I received another package from TEMU (affiliate link), an online store known for super cheap stuff including tech gadgets. Although I was excited to explore the contents given our relative success on our first experience, this haul didn’t quite meet my admittedly low expectations. You can see it all in my latest video but here’s a rundown of my experience with the items I received:

1. Key Finder Device ($1.89) The first item I unpacked was a key finder device. Unlike popular key finders that work with Apple’s Find My network or the Samsung and Google equivalents, this one operates with its own app. After downloading the app and pairing the device, I found its functionality to be quite basic. It relies on signal strength to determine proximity, and if the device gets disconnected, it emits a loud alarm. However, I had reservations about the app constantly running in the background and its less-than-stellar reviews on the Google Play Store.

2. Portable Mini Thermal Printer ($16.49) Next up was a portable mini thermal printer. After setting it up and connecting it to its designated app, I took a picture and printed it. The result? A grainy, one-bit image reminiscent of old faxed photos or the Game Boy Color printer. While the print quality wasn’t impressive, the speed at which it printed was pretty good and I could see how this might be a fun gadget for kids. I do wish it printed on stickers vs. the thermal paper it came with, however. That said the consumable cost is quite low, a pack of five replacement paper rolls costs less than $4.

3. X6 Drone ($37.39) The most expensive item in the haul was the X6 drone. While the drone looked promising, it proved to be a challenge both in its configuration and operation. After charging its battery and attempting to fly it, I quickly realized it was nearly uncontrollable. It didn’t stay in place, constantly veered in different directions, and the Wi-Fi connectivity for the camera didn’t work. Ultimately, the drone ended up in the woods, and I decided it wasn’t worth retrieving until the winter when the poison ivy goes away.

This TEMU haul was a mixed bag. While the thermal printer had some potential, the key finder raised privacy concerns, and the drone was a complete miss. Stay tuned for the next one and in the meantime you can visit Temu using my affiliate link here.

Disclosure: TEMU sent the items to review free of charge but did not review or approve the video before it was uploaded.

New Plex Feature: Discover Together

Our monthly sponsored Plex video for June focuses in on a new social sharing feature called Discover Together. This feature, currently in beta, allows users to share their watchlist and viewing history with friends.

The Discover Together feature is currently available to Plex Pass subscribers, but once activated, it extends to all friends connected to your Plex account – even those on the free tier. Upon activation, users are greeted with a landing page explaining the new feature and providing privacy options. By default, all information is set to private, and users can choose to share their watch history, watchlist and ratings with friends.

Your personal profile keeps track of how many movies, shows, and episodes you’ve watched since joining Plex. It also displays your recent watch history, watch list, and ratings. This information is then shared with friends.

The Friends tab displays all your Plex friends, and you can click on each friend to view their profile. The Activity feed shows what everyone is watching in real time, and shows what media is trending among your friends.

One of the fun aspects of Discover Together is the ability to send messages to friends about specific episodes or movies. For instance, if you’re watching an episode of Star Trek Picard and notice a friend has watched it too, you can send them a message to discuss the episode. This is especially helpful if a television show has a huge spoiler and you want to talk about it – you’ll know which of your friends has seen it!

The feature works on TVs, phones, and the web interface and offers a similar interface on each platform.

For those interested in automations, Plex now offers the ability to set up RSS feeds for your watch list and your friends’ watch lists. This can be found in the account settings under the watch list section.

Plex’s Discover Together feature provides an efficient way to share and discover content with friends. It’s a robust tool that extends beyond your Plex server, indexing content from various streaming services. It’s a feature I look forward to exploring more in the coming weeks.

Tailscale is the Easiest Way to Implement a Personal VPN

My latest video takes a look at Tailscale – a personal and enterprise VPN solution that is the easiest solution I’ve come across in quite some time. You’ll see me set it up and demonstrate a few real-world examples of it in use.

I made this video in the hopes that it will get more casual users to lock down their home network security. There are far too many exploits in the wild now that look for devices like Network Attached Storage devices that are exposed to the public Internet. Locking those devices behind a router or firewall keeps them safely hidden and solutions like Tailscale help with accessing them from the outside securely.

Tailscale is based on the open source WireGuard VPN protocol to establish encrypted connections, but it completely eliminates the friction involved with setting up such a secure connection.

It utilizes a mesh networking approach, where devices authenticate with a central server and then establish direct encrypted connections with each other. This allows devices within the mesh network to communicate securely, even across different networks or firewalls.

One of the key advantages of Tailscale is its ease of use. It provides a user-friendly interface and supports a variety of platforms, including Windows, macOS, Linux, iOS, Android and even NAS devices like Synology and QNAP. It integrates with existing identity providers, such as Google, Microsoft or Apple for authentication, making it convenient for organizations to manage access to their networks. Tailscale’s free tier was recently expanded to allow up to 100 devices per account.

It allows users to access resources as if they were on the same local network, even if they are physically located elsewhere. This can be useful for accessing files, services, or applications that are typically restricted to specific networks.

Each device gets its own Tailscale IP address that will only be accessible to other computers in your Tailscale network. It’s also super easy to share devices outside your personal network with others which I demo in the video.

Certainly for those technically inclined running your own VPN server is the ideal solution. But for many a turn-key solution is what’s needed and that’s what I like about Tailscale’s solution.