S2E18: Black Friday Bonanza - Tech Gifts 2021

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This is a podcast episode titled, S2E18: Black Friday Bonanza - Tech Gifts 2021. The summary for this episode is: <p>We polled our colleagues at Moser to see what tech gifts had them really excited this year. But, the poll was a clever ruse! The prize for answering was an invitation to appear on this week's episode of ASCII Anything to discuss the item they contributed to the discussion. (Cue "Womp-Womp" SFX from Let's Make A Deal)</p><p><br></p><p>From power banks, eye massagers, and even fully loaded electric vehicles, this gift-giving episode has options for all of your lists, so get in touch with your inner Grinch or Scrooge and let them know it's time to act like the end of their stories.</p>

Speaker 1: (singing)

Angel Leon: Hello, everyone. Welcome to another edition of ASCII Anything presented by Moser Consulting. I'm your host, Angel Leon, Moser's HR advisor. This week, we're bringing you Black Friday Bonanza. For those of you who might still need ideas for this holiday season, we're bringing you our hottest tech gifts for 2021. Our marketing team surveyed our consultants on what they thought were the hottest tech gifts for this year. We're bringing you this episode right before Black Friday, so you can still find those gifts for your loved ones. We have several guests today with gifts ranging from very simple ideas to over the top ones that I think you'll enjoy. So without further ado, let's start with our first guest, Matt, who's going to talk to us about a power bank. Now, what's neat about this specific one is the things it comes with. So Matt, what else can you tell us about this power bank?

Matt: First off, I got to admit my wife got this for me. And I said it was the worst gift ever. And so, I got to inaudible this because I'm definitely eating crow on it. But the best part about it has pretty much any attachment you want. If you're on the road and you need to charge your laptop, so I have a Mac, I'm able to charge it on there. And if I forget my iPhone charger, it has an iPhone extension and then also has a mini USB, too. The multiple ways that you can use it is so handy. And then also, a lot of these times, when you have these battery packs, you got to have an external cord, then have something else to plug it in the wall. This already has the adapter to plug it in the wall, so it makes it so much easier.

Angel Leon: You provided a link, and I was looking at it, and it's very slim first of all. It's super, super tiny. But the fact that it already comes built in with that wall outlet mount, I mean, it just works perfectly because then you can just put it on the wall if you need to charge it and then just charge right off of it, your phone, your laptop. So it's very, very neat.

Matt: Yeah, especially, too, if you're driving down the road and you have another cord, like a USBC cord, if I'm using the right term, maybe wrong, but you can plug that in and it'll charge right there, too. So you don't have to actually plug into the wall. So sometimes, like in your car, if you do have a plug in your car, it won't fit. I mean, it's about the size of an iPhone 13 or 12 plus. So it'll actually let you put your iPhone or Android or whatever size phone on there. It looks basically about the same size. So it looks like it's all in one.

Angel Leon: Oh cool. So then you can just-

Brian: crosstalk devices at once. If you hook up two devices at once, will it charge them both at the same time? Like one with USB and one with micro?

Matt: We can try it right now. Let's use your phone.

Brian: Oh, man. Live testing, ladies and gentlemen.

Angel Leon: We're testing this live, ladies and gentlemen, on this recording of ASCII Anything.

Matt: inaudible.

Brian: It's charging.

Matt: That's charging.

Brian: Charging the case.

Matt: Let's see what's going to happen.

Angel Leon: We're charging one. Let's see number two.

Brian: Yep. Nope. Charging both.

Matt: Charging both?

Angel Leon: Wow.

Brian: Charging at the same time.

Matt: Does anybody else have a-

Brian: We need a micro USB.

Matt: Give me your dongler thing.

Angel Leon: Two devices charging at the same time, ladies and gentlemen.

Brian: Hold on. We're going to see if we can get three.

Angel Leon: Oh, we're going for three.

Matt: Crazy.

Brian: This is the hard hitting journalism that ASCII Anything has been known for over the almost a year that we've been broadcasting.

Angel Leon: While they're getting that third item hooked up, this is great because this isn't a very expensive item. It only costs 34 bucks. It's actually a 10, 000 mAh portable charger. It's a Brand Q, literally Brand Q. That's the name.

Matt: Yeah. And you can actually, I know if you watch it closely, one of our office managers, she was able to get it for 20 bucks.

Angel Leon: Ooh, there you go. We're going for device number three, ladies and gentlemen.

Brian: That's on, which means it's charging.

Angel Leon: We have-

Brian: Three devices at the same time, ladies and gentlemen. You heard it here.

Matt: Heard it first.

Brian: We're going to guess first.

Matt: Wow.

Angel Leon: I don't think this product ever made it to another podcast, so you heard it here first.

Matt: But no, it really is the ease of use of it. And for people that travel to have it with you and be able to plug it in wherever you go, I'll give it a 10 out of 10.

Brian: Very cool.

Matt: inaudible.

Angel Leon: Very nice product. Thank you very much, Matt, for sharing that with us today.

Matt: Yes. Thank you guys.

Angel Leon: And now we have Melinda, who is bringing in an item that I had honestly never heard of. So Melinda, what can you tell us about this heated eye massager?

Melinda: I was at my eye doctor's appointment, and for like the fifth year in a row, she told me I had really dry eyes. I'm not really into using eyedrops because I don't like something coming that close to my eye, kind of freaks me out. So she said," Well, you can try to take a hot rag and lay it over your eyes." I tried it a couple times. It's wet and soggy and it gets your hair wet. And it's not very pleasant. So I went and said, there must be a technology solution to this problem. I was on Amazon and came across an eye massager. This thing is really, really cool. It looks like you're wearing an Oculus headset. You've seen those? Yeah. It looks like you're wearing that. It's just like a blinder. It straps around your head, goes over your eyes. It has like five or six different modes. Mine does. It has heat, heat and massage. It has little airbags that inflate and deflate all around your eyes and your head and your forehead. It also has a vibration that kind of goes along with it. And there's different combinations of those things you can do. So you just put it on your eyes, turn it on. It goes through a cycle, little airbags pushing and pulling on your eyes and the heat, which is the best part because that's what the eye doctor wanted me to get on there was heat. She says it kind of melts the waxy covering that's naturally on your eyes and kind of keeps it fluid. It has really helped with my whole dry eye situation.

Angel Leon: Yeah. I'm looking at it right now online, and it's very impressive. I mean, it provides compression to your eyes. The heat, it goes up to 107 degrees Fahrenheit. It's got music built in into it. Obviously, it's got a timer, so you don't overdo it, right? And it's got-

Melinda: Yeah. You just set it on a cycle, and it runs through it. I don't have headaches, but I think it helps people who also have headaches. I was having a lot of eye strain like a couple of weeks ago. I'd kind of forgot about it, stopped using it a little bit for a few weeks. I started having a lot of eye strain and my eyes were hurting and I started to get a twitch right below one of my eyes. And I'm like, oh yeah, I stopped using my eye massager and my body wants it back. I started using it again just a few times and all of that went away. My little eye stopped twitching. I've never used the Bluetooth component. Now, they say you can hook it to your phone with Bluetooth and you can play music from your phone on it while you're using it. I haven't done that. On its own, it plays this little relaxing music while it's massaging your eyes.

Angel Leon: But it's very impressive. I mean, just by looking at the pictures here on the website that I'm looking at. Everything it does and everything it says it helps with. I mean, over stimulation, any reading strains that you might have, just general exhaustion for the reason why you're using of course, I mean, I didn't even know this existed.

Melinda: I mean, it says it helps with dark eye circles. I guess I've noticed that as well, but it definitely helps with relaxation when I put it on and just let it go through a cycle. I sometimes have trouble sleeping. And honestly, once I do that, I go right to sleep. It's so relaxing. When you're done with it, you can just lay right down. It's a whole relaxing experience. It just takes a few minutes. And I just can't say enough. I mean, I don't even know, like you said, if people even know these exist, but for no more than$ 70,$80 that most of the brands are, completely worth the investment.

Angel Leon: Thank you very much, Melinda, for joining us on this episode.

Melinda: Awesome. Thanks.

Angel Leon: And with us now we have Jeff, who's going to talk to us about an item that I think it's as popular as anything these days, and that is the Oculus Quest 2, a VR headset. Jeff, how are you?

Jeff: I'm doing good. How are you?

Angel Leon: I'm doing excellent. What can you tell us about this item? I know that it's very popular. I mean, it's on the top of many, many holiday wishlists out there. So what can you tell us about it?

Jeff: Well, actually, I picked up one today.

Angel Leon: Oh, wow.

Jeff: I went and got one. I've been dying to play with it. The only turnoff really for me was the requirement for a Facebook account. I'm not anti- Facebook per se. I have a Facebook account, so I figured what am I waiting for? I had the Gear VR years ago, and you would plug your phone into it. It was pretty good, but it would get real hot and it would drain your battery real quick. And it wasn't as great as the Oculus Quest. I got the Oculus Quest 2. There's two models, 128 gigs and a 256 gig model. They didn't have the 256 gig model, which I'm having trouble finding really anywhere. So I went and grabbed it even though I'm sure that there's going to be some Black Friday sales for it. I've seen some rumors of a$ 50 gift card from Target or other stores that when you buy it. It runs 300 for the 128 gig model and 400 for the 256 gig model. I, like I said, had a Gear VR before. It didn't have controllers. That's one of the cool things. The controllers work in a free space around you and the head track thing is really cool. You can move your head forward and backwards instead of just swiveling it. That's really cool. There's a lot of really cool games that I think look interesting. And then just a lot of other activities that you can do. I've been really into playing Ring Fit Adventure on my Switch, so I've been looking for more ways to work out. And I know Beat Saber is a good game to kind of work out while you're in VR. I think VR's really cool. I feel a little antisocial when I do it. I'm kind of closing myself off from the world, but it's just a really cool experience. So far, I've played with it on my lunch about 10 minutes, and I'm impressed. It's really polished. I really like it. And I would recommend getting it. I don't know if getting the bigger model matters. And there are a couple of accessories that I think might be nice. There's a case you can get. And then there's a link cable, which I think is just a fancy USBC cable that basically will let you connect to your computer and then play things like inaudible VR on a computer instead of playing it on the headset. That's one of the big pros of the headset is a lot of VR headsets, you have to basically connect to a computer and then the computer does all the rendering. The Oculus Quest will do all the rendering on the headset. So all you need is the headset, and that's it. So far, I recommend it. I haven't hit any road bumps. I'm having a pretty fun time. I haven't even really done anything besides play with the stock apps that it comes with, but it's pretty cool.

Angel Leon: Well, that's good. And it comes with some games, but there's also some games that you can purchase yourself right outside of the platform or inside the platform, just games that don't come preloaded, if you will. I noticed that there's one, for those of you who are Star Wars fans out there, the Vader Immortal game, which looks to be very, very cool. So I cannot imagine what that would feel like because I don't own one of those. So I mean, if you do get it, please let me know.

Jeff: Yeah, yeah.

Angel Leon: inaudible.

Jeff: If you get it, you can get a$ 30 referral credit if someone else gets it and you give them the code. So that's nice so you can get some games for free. And then it's built off of Android, I think. So you can side load apps. If there's things that aren't officially in the app store that you'd like to play around with, you you can install those also. So it's not too shabby. Coming from Facebook, you would think it'd be pretty locked down. It's a pretty good experience.

Angel Leon: I mean, it looks very good. It sounds very good. We definitely want to hear more about your experiences later on. So Jeff, thank you very much for joining us today.

Jeff: Yeah. Thank you.

Angel Leon: And of course, what holiday shopping list does not include a TV? Chris is with us to talk about an OLED TV that was one of the best purchases he's ever made. So Chris, tell me all about it.

Chris: Originally, I came from just an old 47 inch LED TV, which I loved for a long time, but I'd been wanting an OLED for a while, just because of how the back lighting works with the old school LEDs. For those who aren't aware of OLEDs, each individual pixel is its own LED. Every pixel can turn on or off rather than old school ones, old school as in like five, 10 years ago, they have a back light that actually lights up individual areas. So that's why you can get glowing effects on some of your darker scenes. The blacks won't be completely black. They'll be a more gray. I finally found a good deal on a 65 inch OLED from LG. It's been two years now that we've had it, but it's been amazing. Just the fact that the blacks are completely black because the pixels are completely turned off is, I think what makes everything look so good. Plus, it's my first TV with HDR, which I think helps, too, so that makes the colors pop a lot more. The contrast ratio is great on it.

Angel Leon: Do you have a specific model? Because I got to say I actually went to a certain store yesterday, and I bought two, they weren't OLEDs, but I bought two TVs. And I was feeling very good about this until right now.

Chris: I have a little bit older one, it's the LG C9. I think the CX is their budget one. They have a B series, which I think is their more budget one. And then they have a CX. And I think the newer one is... I can't remember the one that I linked to you guys. I think it's a C2 or C1.

Angel Leon: C1. Yeah, the C1.

Chris: C1, okay. Yeah, that one, I believe is the step up from the C9 that I have. I don't actually know what the difference is. I think from what I read online, it's slightly better with gaming. I don't know if it's the refresh rate or the colors, but I don't think the refresh rate's all that different. So you'd have to check out an actual TV review to compare them. But from what I saw, they're barely any different. Samsung has a competitor to LG's, they call it QLED. There's still uses a back light. So it still does have zoning, but I think the back light zones are much smaller, so it's still supposed to look way better. But I think the QLEDs are still in the same price range as the OLEDs, but in my opinion, the picture difference is way different. The OLEDs, they're night and day better. I don't know. It's hard to explain without seeing them. You also have the benefit of with OLEDs, since everything's on a single sheet, they are incredibly thin. Most of the ones you get, they have a big fat bottom part where all the electronics live, but the actual glass screen itself is literally the thickness of the metal, the LEDs, and then the glass in the front. It's about three credit cards thick, maybe two credit cards is the entire TV's thickness. If you want to go fancy, they do make OLEDs that all the electronics are on a separate soundbar basically. Then your TV is literally a sheet of glass that you can stick on the wall. And then they have a little cable that can run down either through the wall or down the wall to a separate thing.

Brian: Sounds like something my kids could shatter almost immediately.

Chris: Oh, for sure. Yeah. I mean, it's literally just a pane of glass with an LED thing and then aluminum. They're very easily to break, and they're very heavy, surprisingly, because it's just a solid pane of glass essentially.

Angel Leon: Yeah. I'm looking at the pictures of the C1, the one that we're talking about, and it is literally just super thin at the top. I'm wondering because it's got a 60: 40 ratio where it's 60% really thin and then that 40%, it's got something in the back, which is what you were talking about, all the components and everything. But it is really, really thin. I mean, it literally is just a pane of glass. That's it.

Chris: Yep. They do have a little stand that it comes with. We don't have ours wall mounted. You can wall mount them. But the stand, I think that's where most of the weight comes from is the stand I think weighs like 40 or 50 pounds on its own. And that's just to keep the massive pane of glass from falling over. I think the TV itself, most of the electronics are in the bottom, and I think that's where it mounts as well. I don't know. I don't know how to explain it. People should just go look at it in store and see the difference, but it just looks really good.

Angel Leon: Oh, yeah. And just in time for the rest of the year, obviously football season, which is big. It's big when people are gathering together. TVs are huge. So no, thanks very much for the tips, Chris. We really appreciate it.

Chris: Oh yeah, of course.

Angel Leon: Up next, we have Tim, who's tipping his hand when it comes to music in his house. He's given us an excellent option for those of us who love to hear music when nobody else is around.

Tim: For those of you out there, I recommended a Denon AVR- A110. It's the 110th anniversary of the company. It is a massive AV receiver with 15 channels of sound that you can pump out, 13. 2 with Dolby and everything else. What I like is I'm an audiophile myself, so I do already own a Denon receiver. This one is about two times better than what I own today. And I love to get that family out of the house and use it as loud and as proud as it'll go. My problem would be I need another five sets of speakers to go with all those channels that it can do. I got the nine, I don't have the 15. Looking forward to something like that in my future. I would love to be able to wire everything up and do it double duty with everything I got. Also, a Polk Audio fan, so I have a bunch of Polk speakers also. I can tell you they work great. And two 16 inch subwoofers. It's just about the right amount of bass that you need in your house, too. If any of you out there are looking for a receiver that'll never quit, I highly recommend the AVR-110.

Brian: I'm looking just really quick on the website for it. It's got two WLAN Bluetooth antennas, FM/ AM.

Tim: Yep. You can download an app to your phone and run it off your phone, which I thought was great because mine does not do that.

Brian: Yeah. 150 watts per channel, 13 channel amplifier. It can handle IMAX enhanced soundtracks, analog to HDMI video conversion. It pumps audio for that.

Tim: It's 8K, two 4K displays inaudible.

Brian: How many states away do you suppose someone would be able to hear something played on this from full volume?

Tim: I think three states would be right on par.

Brian: Yeah, possibly five, if you're in the Keystone area in the Northeast.

Tim: That's right.

Brian: Smaller states, perhaps counties if you're in Texas. But yeah man, this thing really pumps. I'm reading numbers and smiling. And then I get to the price tag, which I cannot lie is hefty.

Tim: Yes.

Brian: But there's a lot in the box to warrant the price tag. The site I'm currently looking at, it is temporarily out of stock. So clearly not a lack of demand for it, even at its current price point.

Tim: And for those of you that don't have the 13.2 channels that you want to do in one room, you can take the two extra and do two more rooms with it also instead, and run 9. 2 surround sound one room and then power two more rooms.

Brian: It weighs a hefty 51 and a half pounds. I mean, when I say there's a lot in the box, that is both figurative and literal. The thing weighs almost 52 pounds. It's 17 and an eighth inch wide, seven and three quarters inches tall, and 18 and five eighths inches deep. That's wall to wall. To get to 52 pounds in those dimensions, that's stacked wall to wall.

Tim: It's a lot of amp and a lot of sync. If you go to the website and look at it, it's impressive how many inputs and outputs there are available on it. It does ship with a microphone, so you can tune it to your room, too. And I can tell you that works great for the surround sound setup. It moves through all of them and adjusts based on where you are to make it sound perfect in your seat, not everyone else's but the one you pick for you. So it's for you.

Brian: Yeah. I just flipped to the rear view, and I'm looking at the back and the input panel. I haven't found the button that lets you destroy Alderaan yet, but it has to be there. And instead of focusing a beam of energy through a kyber crystal, clearly this is just going to do it sonically.

Tim: Yep.

Brian: Now I'm looking inside at the amp. I 100% believe that that weighs more than 50 pounds.

Tim: Yeah. There is a lot of heat sinking there with those amps.

Brian: Yeah. Is there a cooling fan or is that something you have to get later?

Tim: I don't remember it saying cooling fan on it. I can tell you the current one, I just have four inches of clearance on every side and it's never gotten hot.

Brian: Oh, okay. All right. Yeah, yeah. Yeah, proper clearance, definitely. For anybody buying an amp or any electronics, read the book at least deep enough for minimum clearance on all sides because heat is your enemy and you definitely want to give it the space it tells you is required to remain at a proper operating temperature. If you crowd your electronics, your electronics will fail eventually faster than they would otherwise, if you don't let them properly cool themselves. There is a dual 12 volt trigger output for sending power commands to external gear, like a power amplifier or a cooling fan. I didn't see anything before that that mentioned one that-

Tim: Is on board.

Brian: Yeah, is on board. But yeah, keep your minimum distance around and you should be fine. But apparently you can plug an external aftermarket one in to help out if you so choose.

Tim: And I would say for you luddites out there, you don't have to worry. It has component in and component out if you're still running that. The only thing that's missing is I guess, S- video.

Brian: I'm sure there's an adapter that you can downgrade HDMI to S- video if you want. Let's see, I'm going to bookmark this page but only as a red herring so that I can use it as something I'm interested in to then bargain for something that is significantly cheaper that I really, really do want for my wife. And since I produce this podcast, I will, of course, hopefully remember to delete this part before we release it for broadcast. So be sure and check out the links to those if you want to take a tour of some of the tech that we have talked about. That was a lot of Ts in a very short amount of time. Thank you very much for joining us. We appreciate it.

Tim: Thank you, and happy audiophiling to everyone out there.

Angel Leon: And now Tia is here to talk to us about reMarkable. I have to say after seeing this today and a couple days ago, I am definitely on board with getting one. So Tia, you are the expert. You have one of these things, you use it often, I've seen you in the office with them. Tell me about this thing because I just watched a video and on the first 15 seconds, I was already sold putting my credit card in the company.

Tia: Oh, yeah. Oh, yeah. I have the reMarkable 2, which is the newer version. It is better according to the website, so that's why I bought it. I primarily bought it because I would go through all of my planners, I would go through notebooks, and then I'd have just piles of notebooks sitting around that I would either have to go through and shred things out of, depending on where I worked, or I would just leave them and they'd just sit and collect dust. So reMarkable was a better way for me to kind of get into all of my notebooks and not have to pay$ 20 to$ 30 for a planner every year that I'd only use halfway through the year and all that stuff. So it's very nice. I made sure I got all the upgrades, so I do have it as a bookfolio. And then I have the pen with the eraser on it. There are some upgrades that are really nice on it, but I use it for everything for my day- to- day. I only have to carry around my laptop and my reMarkable. I don't have to carry around a planner, a notebook, a notebook for a different call, that type of thing. You can create all sorts of folders. You can create separate notebooks. I have notebooks for every division or practice that we have here at Moser. Set a calendar schedule and a checklist for every week, have markers. You can even highlight in it. It's all gray scale, but there's a highlighter features, so you can actually go through and highlight anything you want, change the pencil type, marker type, all that stuff.

Angel Leon: In just the little bit of time that I spent actually researching this after I saw your post, it's got all sorts of great things that you can build into it. It even makes the noise when you're writing as if you're using a pencil.

Tia: Yep. Yeah. It's just like writing on paper. It's kind of weird. If you're used to iPads or anything like that, you get that feeling of the glass. And some people do have the screen protectors, but this, you can go out in the sun, write your notes. I can't even see my laptop half the time if I go out in the sun, so I can take my notes on my reMarkable. It's great. And then they also have the features that let you do written text to typed text. So it converts it. My handwriting is a little crazy, but it still picks it up really well. And then there's also they have the connect option. I had ordered it so early on in the process that I had gotten it for free.

Angel Leon: Oh, wow.

Tia: Some people were asking me if I added it on, I was like, oh, I didn't even know this was a thing, but yeah, I have it. The conversions are nice. And then they also did Dropbox and Google Drive. I haven't gotten into that as much just because it was, I think a newer feature or just a feature I didn't know about recently, but there are integrations with Google Drive and Dropbox now, too.

Angel Leon: Yeah, I saw that. In the little research that I did, I saw that the write to text is amazing, I have to say, because I like you, I have what I refer to as the doctor's signatures, the doctor's writing. So let's call it that. I definitely would love to see if it'll pick my handwriting because it's a little bit shoddy sometimes I got to say. I'm not the most a gifted cursive writer.

Tia: Nope. Oh, yeah. I mean it picks up some weird looking writing that I have, too. I mean, it's pretty decent for what it actually does. They even have a thing where you can share your screen with people now, too. So if you wanted to share your notes onto a TV screen or something, I think you can do that now. I'm kind of curious to see how that's going to work. I might eventually try it here at Moser.

Angel Leon: Well, I'm very interested to know if, whatever you do, if you do use it with any other cloud features because that to me is very interesting because as you were mentioning, I'm still old school. I walk around in my backpack with my laptop, my planner, and my notebook that I use to take notes. And unfortunately, there's no way that I can divide my notebooks for each and everything that I have in HR, but this would definitely come in handy because it'll allow me to actually divide things up in a more organized way.

Tia: Oh, yeah. And then they even have, when you have your individual notebooks, you can kind of look at it at a high level of view, too. So you can see all the pages that are in each notebook, and you can go to that page instead of trying to swipe through all of your pages that you have. I've done that several times, and I've even pulled pieces of one notebook out and pulled it into and made another notebook because I was like, there's way too many notes in here, this is more specific, and altered it so that it worked with how I was organizing my notes. It's handwritten, but it's also digital, so it's really nice. I don't have to kill 80 trees just to write my notes for a one- hour meeting.

Angel Leon: Yeah, it's eco- friendly, too, obviously, so it helps the planet. Tia, thank you very much for joining us today.

Tia: Thank you.

Angel Leon: Isaiah joins us next to talk about two hot items that have been hard to get over the last year since they came out. It should be on anyone's holiday list if they're a gamer, and of course I'm referring to the PlayStation 5 and the new Xbox Series X. So Isaiah, welcome to ASCII Anything. I got to say, I am probably one of the few lucky people out there that has not one but both of the consoles. So I consider myself very lucky. We got an Xbox first. I was perusing a big box website, and I just happened to see that they were advertising. So I clicked on it, and there it was. It said add to cart, I was able to add it to cart. I got all the way in into the pay wall. I paid, and next thing I know I was able to snatch one. And then two weeks later, same deal. I was perusing websites. I don't know how I came upon the link to the PlayStation 5, the digital or no, not the digital. I'm sorry, the one that you can actually put the hard disc on. And I was able to snag one too. So consider me lucky. If anyone's out there looking for them, hey, I'll be more than happy to peruse websites and see if I can get one for you.

Isaiah: Yeah, well, Angel, you're definitely one of the lucky ones there. They've been really hard to come by due to the chip shortage, not producing quite enough. And then you have people setting up programs or bots as they're called to add to cart and instantly purchase them for them. So I have a couple tips today for how you can finally get your hands on them, whether it be for you or a loved one. The first is to actually use Twitter. How I was able to get mine was I follow Xbox Series X and PS5 stock up alerts. There's multiple accounts, but you'll be able to find one pretty easily based on follower account. And they'll post just the instant they see it go up on any website.

Angel Leon: I got to say, when I was looking for them, I did follow this guy. I think he's the editor of a tech magazine. I can't remember what it was. But he was actually one of the ones that I followed very closely, and they gave a lot of good information right away. I remember, I had his account on notification for my tweets. I hate notifications from Twitter, but his, I had on speed dial. And every time he did, I got close a couple times where I got to the website after he said, hey, there's a drop at XYZ store. I got to the website. I was able to put it in my cart, but then I got the circle of death when I went to pay. They are very accurate, those people. So follow them. Yeah, that's a good advice, Isaiah.

Isaiah: Yeah. And that's definitely something I had as well. Getting them to your cart it's usually a pretty good sign that you're able to get one, but every now and then you'll throw it in the cart, try to check out, and they're already gone. Some websites are nice enough to give you a little window to buy that. And that comes to my next piece of advice. This is for PlayStation only. But PlayStation themselves or Sony actually does something called PlayStation Direct. This is a website where you enter into a queue, and eventually once the queue pops, it's fair game for everyone. So if you're in the queue, you're randomly drawn, and this helps you get away from those bots buying them up before you're able to. That's how I was able to get mine. And it can take you even up to an hour that I had to wait after the queue popped, but they still had them in stock, and I was able to. So if you see about an hour expected, wait time, I would stick around. Just keep it open and see. You might get lucky. For that way specifically with PlayStation Direct, you can also open multiple tabs through different web browsers, and it increases your odds. It's like throwing in another raffle ticket.

Angel Leon: I didn't know that they did that. That's news to me.

Isaiah: Yeah. I think it was my third time around on a PlayStation Direct that I got lucky.

Angel Leon: Okay. That's a good ratio. That's one out of three. That's great. I can tell you when they came out initially, I had set all these reminders of my phone and just make sure that I was on the websites at the time. On my very first try, when the PS5 first came out, I actually was able to put one in my cart at a certain big box store that starts with a W. I got in, put it in my cart, and then I had already logged in, so I had my payment information in, I had everything ready to go. But then once I hit pay, it just gave me the circle of death. It just gave me just circle, circle, circle, and then eventually it just timed out. And I lost obviously, the spot, if you will. That happened to me a couple more times after that. So then I stopped trying. I literally just stopped trying for, I mean, I don't know, until July of this year. That's July, August. That's when I finally got those, and I was lucky enough to get two back to back and back to back weeks. For those of you who listen to this podcast regularly, you know that I have an 18- year- old son, so he was the beneficiary of one of those. I gave him Xbox, and I kept the PlayStation.

Isaiah: Yeah. Lucky him.

Angel Leon: Exactly. He didn't even have to do a lot of hard lifting, so good for him.

Isaiah: Definitely. I think that's all I have for you, Angel. Thank you for your time.

Angel Leon: No, thank you very much, Isaiah. It was great talking to you. Thanks for being on ASCII Anything today. And finally, Nathan is joining us to talk about something that I am particularly interested in. We're going to get techie with cars. So Nathan, let's talk about the new Ford F- 150 Lightning.

Nathan: Well, I think it's maybe the most functional electric vehicle on the market, or that's going to be on the market. I'm currently interested in a truck specifically. It seems like historically most of the electronic cars have been kind of small commuter type vehicles. This one's got pretty good range. It seems like every year they get better in that category, but also you have the functionality of a truck. So yeah, it's exciting.

Angel Leon: Yeah. No, this particular vehicle, as I mentioned at the beginning, I'm particularly interested in myself because I may or may not have already a reservation for it. I'm not going to accept or deny that fact. Don't tell my wife. But just in general, I mean, I agree with you. I've always been interested in electric cars in general. I am a big guy, so I'd rather have something that is proportionate to my size. And I've tried, for example, a Ford also has the electric Mustang, the Mustang Mach- E. I've tried that. I really like it. I think it's a very fun car to drive. Electric cars in general are just very fun to drive because of the instant torque that you get. I cannot imagine how great it's going to be on a 6, 000 pound truck. I think it's actually even heavier than that because of the battery packs, but from videos that I've seen, from previews that I've seen, I subscribe to all these YouTube channels on electric cars, it looks like it's very fun to drive. As you mentioned, the functionality of it being a truck, it just baffles me. And on top of that, you were talking about range. So I believe that if you are interested in this pickup truck, I do believe that they have an extended battery that'll give you close to, if not above 300 miles per electric tank. I don't know.

Isaiah: Yeah.

Brian: Angel, do you have information on towing capacity and how towing or load affects battery life?

Angel Leon: Yes. I don't have specific numbers on towing because Ford has not released those. However, one of the videos that I saw pointed out something very particular in that Ford estimates that the 300 mile range on that extended battery pack is with 1, 000 pound payload in the bed. That's not counting individual bodies inside of the pickup truck. But if you take that 1, 000 pounds away, there were some interesting math being done in YouTube. And for those of you who are YouTubers, you can go find this video. It's one of those guys that does YouTube videos on everything. But he actually does present a nice idea that if you take that 1, 000 pound payload away, that range should go up to about 400 to 450 miles because the vehicle he was driving for his test drive, they flew him out to Michigan to drive one of those, the one he was driving had about 80% battery left on it, and it was showing about 400 miles left of range. That one had the extended range battery pack. Interesting math, interesting scenario. Nobody knows what the real world numbers are going to be or look like until it comes out. But that's an interesting conundrum because basically, if you're just going to drive the truck back and forth from your house to your work and you're not going to have any payload in the bed, then I could see that being true being 400 miles of range. That beats basically a lot of gas powered vehicles, too.

Brian: Yeah. That's basically what I get in my midsize sedan that gets good gas mileage. That's what I get out of a tank is somewhere between, depending on how hard I'm driving or how aggressively I'm driving, somewhere between 380 to 450 miles per full tank.

Nathan: You bring up a good point with the towing. That'll be interesting to see the instant torque when you're towing something and what effect that has on your ability to tow. I'm thinking specifically animals. If you're pulling a horse trailer or something, the launch off the line, if that's a little snappy crosstalk.

Brian: You're going to have to find the break point of how to gently accelerate because yeah, I have family members, friends, whoever who do haul livestock. An electric farm truck, you're going to be pulling the right off its feet in the trailer. Or Even the hitches and that, generally there's the lock, but there's a little bit of play. And as you accelerate, it tightens and pulls, but with that instant, are they going to have to look at the different hitch styles to accommodate that?

Angel Leon: Yeah. My understanding is that they're basically leaving everything from your standard gas powered truck, and they're just going to put it on the electric one because they believe that with the power of the motors that they have, that they're going to be as good, if not better than a gas powered one. It obviously remains to be seen if this is all going to be good or not. The previews that I've watched, the truck just performs excellently, and you wouldn't believe it was an electric truck if nobody told you that it had that Lightning badge. It's interesting to see because you have a lot of application that you can use in a truck. Nathan, as you were mentioning, the animals, if you're thinking about maybe hauling big trailer, if you're moving, all that stuff needs to be taken into consideration obviously. And then there's weather, too. We're in cold weather climate for some months of the year here in Indiana. So that affects battery life, too, as it does with any device that has any battery. The colder weather affects that. So how does that affect those big battery packs on a vehicle?

Nathan: I think that's another thing that's exciting. For those families that are maybe a little more environmentally conscious, this gives an option. Even if you just want to pick up to go get the Christmas tree every year, you just want to use the bed once a year but still have a nice environmentally friendly vehicle, kind of opens that door for you, too.

Brian: Yeah. You get the range of opportunity for use of a truck, but it doesn't sound like you're sacrificing necessarily the miles per gallon that you generally do with a truck that is gasoline powered. You're sacrificing 10, 15 miles per gallon a lot of times with the larger ones, especially, or if you go diesel on it, where you can get a little better at performance out of a diesel and the additional power. But if with full electric, get the mileage out of the charge that you get, I don't know how that compares.

Angel Leon: You're bringing up a lot of great points, Brian. I did find something and I was going to say real quick about towing capability. According to Ford's website, they're targeting 10,000 pounds of maximum towing capability basically by using the extended range version of it. I also found that they're targeting 2, 000 pounds of maximum payload capability. That's just on the bed, on the truck. That's a lot. That's a lot of-

Nathan: I think that's a pretty typical half ton crosstalk.

Brian: I don't know it off the top of my head, but that sounds very comparable, which I mean, I would have to assume was their goal.

Angel Leon: Yeah, exactly. And I mean, you talk about 563 horsepower with the extended battery range and 770 pound feet of torque with that extended range battery. Those numbers are outstanding. And you're talking about an electric truck. Of course, it's going to be phenomenal. Nathan, do you have anything else to add here? This is a wonderful conversation. I could actually go on for hours talking about this, because this is stuff that I really, really like. The first ones are coming out, I believe, in spring of 2022, for those who had the early reservations. I was actually talking to somebody from Ford yesterday from a dealership near my house. And they were saying that Ford unfortunately had to scale back on the production because they weren't expecting as many people to put in a reservation as they did. I believe they were up to like 200, 000, and they can only make for this year, for the initial launch, about 15, 000 of those. If you were on the fence about buying a truck, and if you were on the fence about buying electric, these two basically just marry each other. It's a perfect marriage.

Nathan: Yeah, especially being first to market.

Angel Leon: Exactly, yeah.

Nathan: crosstalk. This is a personal perspective here, but the only thing I have wrong with the electric market in general is they've changed the rims on all the electric vehicles. They're not like a stock version of the rim. They're more aerodynamic and everything. You definitely know it's an electronic vehicle, but I haven't warmed to up to them yet.

Angel Leon: Yeah. A lot of electric cars do change the way they look, but it's for that aerodynamic feel so that you can get the best electric mileage with that. But just looking at some of the rims that the F- 150 has, they definitely don't look aerodynamic at all. Plus, I mean, if you think about it, this is the same truck as a gas powered truck. It just has a Lightning badge and that light bar across the hood, basically, that kind of signifies that it's an electric truck. But it is the same truck. It's basically the same truck on the outside. But Nathan, we really appreciate our conversation today. We can definitely have more of a in depth talk on electric cars later on in season three of ASCII Anything. Thanks again for joining us.

Nathan: Yeah, absolutely. Thank you.

Angel Leon: Thank you for listening into this week's edition of ASCII Anything presented by Moser Consulting. We hope you enjoyed listening to our Black Friday Bonanza episode. Join us next week when we will have our recap episode for season two of ASCII Anything. And remember, if you have an idea or a topic you'd like us to explore, please reach out to us throughout social media channels. In the meantime, please remember to give us a rating and subscribe to our feed wherever you get your podcast. Until then, be aware of turkey coma. And so long everybody.

Speaker 1: (singing)


We polled our colleagues at Moser to see what tech gifts had them really excited this year. But, the poll was a clever ruse! The prize for answering was an invitation to appear on this week's episode of ASCII Anything to discuss the item they contributed to the discussion. (Cue "Womp-Womp" SFX from Let's Make A Deal)

From power banks, eye massagers, and even fully loaded electric vehicles, this gift-giving episode has options for all of your lists, so get in touch with your inner Grinch or Scrooge and let them know it's time to act like the end of their stories.