Category Archives: Tech

Articles about software and technology

Firefox Add-Ons Puzzle

Firefox/Mozilla-Based Browser Tech

Firefox Configuration Guide for Privacy Freaks and Performance Buffs

Firefox Configuration Guide for Privacy Freaks and Performance Buffs
Want to configure Firefox and other Gecko-based browsers for better performance and security?

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Firefox Search Engine Cautions, Recommendations

Firefox Search Engine Cautions, Recommendations
This tutorial will cover how to sanitize and add search engine plugins for Mozilla Firefox...

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Firefox Tweaks and Fixes and Things

Firefox Tweaks and Fixes and Things
Customize the appearance of the Firefox web browser and its derivatives without using add-ons.

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Firefox Extensions – My Picks

Firefox Extensions – My Picks
Mozilla Firefox is a popular web browser that is easily extended with add-ons, of which...

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Firefox: Troubleshooting Add-On Issues

Firefox: Troubleshooting Add-On Issues
How to troubleshoot add-on related problems in the Mozilla Firefox web browser.

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Android Apps

Article Update: Cool Android Apps

My personal list of Cool Android Apps has been updated to include some new additions. The newly listed apps include a barcode scanner, a call recorder, a sensor readout app and the Yalp Store app which offers an alternate and somewhat more anonymous way of accessing the Google Play Store without having to create an account.

Why you shouldn’t shop at Banggood, GearBest, or any other China-based wholesaler

If you buy stuff from on-line stores such as Banggood, GearBest, or any other of a laundry list of China-based wholesalers, you may be surprised at what is going on behind the scenes with many of these businesses. I wasn’t aware of the scale of this problem until recently when i came across a video about electric motors for the remote-controlled hobby industry while researching parts for a build-it-yourself multi-rotor/drone aircraft. But first, a little of the back-story.

Remember when the big-box stores such as Sears, Grants, and later, Walmart, actually sold quality products? Unless you’re in your 50s or older, probably not, but i happen to have been around long enough to be able to observe the massive decline in the quality of the products they sell. You see, it used to be that when you bought a refrigerator, a washer, or a lawn mower from a store like Sears, your kids might have inherited it because it was built to last. I remember seeing refrigerators and other appliances that were far older than i was and some of them are probably still in operation. Today however, in our “consumer” driven society, it is common to have to replace our appliances, tools and electronics every few years because we live in a world of planned obsolescence where products are specifically designed to fail. Worse, it seems the public at large doesn’t even mind spending their cash on the same gadget over and over again, as though it is the new normal. Of course planned obsolescence makes perfect monetary sense from an economic point of view because it is obviously far more profitable to sell consumers the same product multiple times than it is to design products they never have to replace.

Ignoring the ethical problem of planned obsolescence for a moment, we can realize a much bigger problem and that is the fact that we live and depend upon a precious little planet which holds a finite amount of resources such as coal and oil, both of which are critical in the manufacturing of the widgets we buy, and yet our economic systems are based on an infinite growth model. Obviously this cannot continue because it is simply not possible and yet manufactures and wholesalers, like Banggood and so many others, continue to add to the problem by designing and marketing junk which is largely manufactured by cheap Chinese labor. And it gets worse. It isn’t just that they sell a lot of junk, they also sell a lot of fake junk that is marketed as the real junk. Apparently what is happening is that these Chinese wholesalers are taking products which are in high demand and hiring China-based companies to clone them using sub-par components and then sell the copies on their international websites for the same price as the originals. Like myself, you may have known that the Chinese are great at replicating things, but what you may not have known, and i certainly didn’t, is that these copies are showing up en masse among some of the largest on-line retailers on the web and it gets even funnier, or sadder, depending on how you look at it.

As i wrote earlier, i learned about these shenanigans whilst watching a video of a guy talking about the electric motors that are used in the hobby industry, specifically the multi-rotor faction of it (so-called “drones” or “quad copters”), but in no way whatsoever is this problem limited to the hobby industry. In the video, he discloses information that was obtained directly from various engineers regarding these Chinese wholesalers, some who live and work in China. The video picks up at the 26:50 mark where he begins discussing the topic, but if you happen to be an RC enthusiast who has a deep interest in electric motor design, you might want to watch it in its entirety.

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