Cheap Camping Projectors – Worth It?

I bought a “Mini Outdoor HD LED Projector & Screen” – $59 AU a few months ago because I was interested in finding out if this device had any real world use – particularly if the image quality was watchable. Here’s what I found:

I ordered this from Aussie Traveller, and going back now it’s price really is back up to $199AU so appears that it was a legitimate discount at the time. It’s listed in other places with other generic sounding titles such as “Portable HD LED Projector with Soft Screen White”
This even comes with a “screen” (more on this later) with the description:

The Xtend Outdoors Mini Outdoor HD LED Projector is perfect for movie nights with the family while camping. Easy to use, simply connect to your laptop or phone via USB/HDMI and stream your favourite movies & shows.

The projector has built in speakers, as well as a built-in battery with a wireless run time of 90 mins, a projection distance of up 250cm and enables manual image focusing to ensure you get a crisp image. The included white projector screen features 6 eyelets to safely hang screen at your campsite.

  • HD Resolution: Up to 1920 × 1080px
  • Light: LED
  • Focus Mode: Manual toggle
  • Projection Distance: 90cm to 250cm (40-60” wide)
  • Projection Ratio: 1.5:1
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9 and 4:3
  • Colour: 16770K
  • Power: Built in lithium battery (1600mAh)
  • Charge time: 180min
  • Runtime: 90min
  • Inputs: HDMI, USB 2.0, microSD, AV
  • Outputs: Built-in speaker or 3.5mm Audio Jack
  • Screen: Soft fabric 1.3m x 0.7m

Although we don’t have a lumens reference to know how bright it is, it does claim actual HD resolution, and even has a built in batter to run 90 minutes without being plugged in. Plus, a built in speaker – so if you plugged something like a Google Chromecast into it, does it become quite a nifty portable/put a screen on any wall TV?

Receiving the box in the mail, it appears the brand is ‘XTEND OUTDOORS’ and I found their official page here with the projector. I’m not going to review all aspects of this device, but more talk about the practicality of a device like this and some considerations on what situations this might be useable.

  • Starting up the device, it is running a fan to cool it down so there’s a small amount of noise, probably similar to a laptop running when it’s working hard. Noise importance: Low
  • The tripod style of this makes it useful for putting outside on uneven ground, but may limit where you can sit the device inside as you’ll need a wide enough spot to cover the 3 legs (maybe 10-15cm). Also if you try to angle the device too much while plugged in, it loses it’s centre of balance and tips. Unit shape importance: Medium
  • There is no keystone correction of any sort. unless you have the projector placed adjacent and at the height of the middle of the screen you’re projecting, it’s not going to be a square. Keystone feature importance: High
  • The included screen is just a thin white sheet with some eyelets. Really, you can project onto anything fairly plain coloured, so it does give projecting locations a lot of options, almost any light wall works fine. Surface/Screen importance: Low
  • The image size is set by the distance of the projector from the surface. No resizing, so projector placement is critical, along with the lack of keystone correction. Roughly, a 2m distance gives a 32″ display size. Size adjustment importance: Medium
  • Focus is manual, but that’s quite easy to adjust and should be set and forget and it’s just a physical slider to change. On this particular device, easy to adjust but hard to make micro changes, so you’ll probably settle on ‘close enough’ Manual focus importance: Low/Medium (as long as it’s easy to do, accurate, and can take tiny adjustments easily)
  • Inbuilt this can support a MicroSD card and a bunch of video formats, but these days I’m not sure people care about this too much. The HDMI port means you can plug anything in, and I tried the Google TV with Chromecast and it worked fine. Inbuilt USB port didn’t have enough power to run it, so I had to use external power. I’m sure a Firestick would be similar. Inbuilt player importance: Low (fixed with cheap addon device)

Here’s the best I could do putting an image on the wall from about 4m away, in a reasonably dark room with the lights off.

It’s watchable in an occasional camping type scenario, but I wouldn’t want this set up as standard.

You can probably tell at this point, I wouldn’t really recommend a projector like this unless it really IS for a camping type scenario, even at this price.

You’d be better off finding a cheap ‘normal’ projector that covers as many of the features in the dot points above, and you’re going to have a better time. There are cheap options out there, and if I find one myself I’ll share my findings.

Eufy Smart Lock – I Installed It Myself!

Home repair and upgrade jobs don’t usually go well for me, so I tend to pay someone who knows what they’re actually doing for anything that’s not incredibly straight forward. Yes I’ll change lightbulbs and put together furniture, but changing a leaking cistern? Last time I tried that, the knob broke clean off the tap that fed water to the toilet right as I turned it off, leaving us without running water to the only toilet we have (I’ve since moved to a house with more than 1 toilet, redundancy helps you sleep at night).

Several instances like this, which I claim are not due to any mechanical errors I am at fault on, leave me reluctant to take on these sort of tasks I can sense that will go wrong. This brings us to the Eufy Smart Lock – more specifically the Eufy Security Wi-Fi Smart Lock E110 T8502T11 which I picked up from JB Hi-Fi for $249AU. I did my research and settled on this brand and model, partly due to already being in the Eufy ecosystem with a doorbell and some wireless cameras (and not ignoring the elephant in the room around Ankler, they’ve had some questionable business practises around security), reviews being overall good (although hard to differentiate between the several models Eufy has in some), and at a price point I was OK with.

Promises of ‘Easy installation, set up the Smart Lock on your door in 15 minutes with a screwdriver’ and watching a YouTube video of someone showing a very easy install – although later finding out it was a different model to mine as ‘Eufy Security Smart Lock Touch & Wi-Fi’ is different to ‘Eufy Security Wi-Fi Smart Lock’. I also worked out there were several measurements to check on whether the device would fit my existing deadbolt: everything seemed to match perfectly with the given measurements which gave me a bit of confidence.

After buying the smart lock, I left it in the box for a few days, having future visions of taking the existing deadlock off, that falling apart, not being able to secure the smart lock, and being left without any working lock at all. A locksmith friend assured me it would be easy, so I waited for the weekend to try.

As you can see from the picture above, I managed to take the old lock off and install the new smart lock. It went quite well and I would say the 15 minutes was about how long it took, most of it working out what to actually do, with about 5 minutes of actual work.

Once installed, I had to use the Eufy Security app to sync and finish setup. This must be done with the door closed, so the device can align itself – which appears to just be working out how far to push the latch out. Next was a firmware update:

Once the firmware was upgraded, the device was ready to go. I had to add a 4-8 digit pin and that was it, it was ready to use.

I’ll cover some of the reasons why I picked this lock, and considerations that will hopefully help you choose what device you want.

This uses 4xAA batteries, claimed to last for a year. Hopefully this is accurate, but it’s very easy to swap them over from the internal side of the door, and a bit less hassle than having to charge the device and put it back like I do with my Eufy doorbell every few months. If the batteries happened to go 100% flat while nobody was home, you can put power into the device from the front using a cable and battery (sidenote – now the iPhone 15 series has USB-C and can push a charge out, I expect that’d be a nice way to cover this scenario).

You can set multiple profiles with 4-8 digit PINs, and configure them for anytime, or set times. Good if you want to keep a track of who went through a door for some reason, but I don’t see myself caring about this. The best benefit is making sure each person only knows their own PIN, so if something changes you can remove that person’s access along with the PIN, rather than having a single PIN that you don’t know who has, and then need to change/remember a new one.

There is no fingerprint reader on this device, and retrospectively, yes it probably would have been nicer to scan a print rather than type an 8 digit code. It’s still pretty quick to get in via PIN though.

This came with a keyhole and 2 pretty standard looking keys. I’ve seen reviews on other models that had rather unique key styles that a locksmith probably doesn’t have, but also does this make it easier to lockpick? Probably, but now that I’ve seen what the inside of a lock looks like, I can’t imagine it’d be that hard to smash the entire device off the door and get it unlocked. So that’s a positive on having a key that’s easy to replicate.

No camera on this either, but I already have a camera based doorbell, and a wireless camera pointed at the whole front door area. Also the smart lock is behind a flyscreen door, so it won’t see much unless the door is opened. Other use cases may want a camera, or even a camera/doorbell built in – but nobody would even know the doorbell was there unless they opened the flyscreen first.

For me, not having yet another application to worry about was a big plus. The Eufy Security app is actually well rated in both stores:
Quite easy to set up and use, plus the ability to remotely lock or unlock the door is nice as the device has Wi-Fi connectivity (some don’t).

Other points I’d already covered above – such as the device matching my door configuration and fitting perfectly, letting someone like me be able to install it myself, and the price point being one I was happy with.

Overall the device does what it says on the box, and leads me to not carrying keys around anymore! I do have ONE key for the flyscreen in case it gets locked, but that sits in my wallet. I will no longer have my phone lightly scratched from keys being pressed against it in my pocket, which in itself was worth the price of going doing the smart lock path.

Why I bought a Tesla

Somehow I convinced my wife, so it’s time to justify what I did to the rest of you.

This will be more relevant to Australians, but hopefully still interesting for anyone. About 3 weeks ago, I received my new Model Y Tesla. 6 months beforehand, I would not have thought I’d even be considering a Tesla due to the price, so I thought I’d share the journey on how I landed on it and what I learnt along the way. This is by no means trying to convince YOU to buy a Tesla, or another EV, but hopefully gives you some balanced considerations to help you decide what works best for you.

I’ll start off by saying I would not buy a Tesla outright in my situation. It’s a large amount of money to put into a car, and although I think EVs are the future, it’s still reasonably early with a risk of the cars dropping in value if battery capacity improves drastically (which looks possible), or Elon Musk does something stupid (also quite possible). If that was all I could do, I’d probably be buying a car about half the price.

Novated Leasing

In Australia, we have something called a Novated Lease. This is where your employer lets you engage a third party to finance a car, but use your income pre-tax to pay it off over a certain number of years (usually 1-5), and then buy the car outright after that. This also includes running costs of the car such as petrol, new tyres, servicing etc – all pre-tax, so although the % rate of the lease itself isn’t great, you potentially save overall. There’s a bunch of calculators online you can use to see how much it would take out of your pay each cycle. You also don’t have to pay GST on a car under Novated Lease, so that reduces the cost by ~10%.

I’d had 3 Novated Leases so far, and the last I’d only done for 1 year as I wasn’t sure if I wanted to keep the car I’d bought – a 7-seater 2022 Mazda CX-8 Touring. It cost about $51k brand new but was the ‘best’ 7-seater I could find at a non-ridiculous price (in my opinion) and not a proper people mover; and after 1 year the buyout figure was about $34k. I could have organised another novated lease on the car and continued; that’s always an option, but I was mostly using it for work and it’s a big car to drive back and forth to the city, and a little bit of a pain to park with only a rear camera, and sensors. I managed to get a trade in price of $40k so that was a nice $6k profit that I also didn’t have to pay tax on; I can’t give official advice but because it’s private and I’m not selling cars as a business, it’s like selling any other private asset I might have.

The car I had before was a Nissan X-Trail ST-L 2015 – really liked this car, which is why after it’s 3 year lease, I bought it out and kept it for another 4 years. It did the job and I ended up selling for a good price when the used car market went a bit crazy due to a lack of new cars available, although the replacement CX-8 only took a few weeks.

When looking at the CX-8 and subsequently what might replace it, I had my eye on a Toyota Rav4. A best of both worlds hybrid that would be cheaper to run, but not a proper EV. A trip to the Toyota dealer and seeing an empty lot and being told the wait time would be maybe 2 years put me off that idea pretty quickly. My other consideration was a new X-Trail, I really liked that car so I couldn’t go too wrong getting the new model that came out in 2023.

Choosing a Telsa

I went through the novated leasing company to get a quote and got a figure back that I felt was a bit high each pay – X-Trails like most other new cars had gone up and was close to $50k. I was still deciding when a colleague at work told me they’d just received their new Tesla and said how cheap it was under a Novated Lease, even though we’re talking a ~$70k car. After getting a few details off them (thanks Dwayne!) I started researching.

I started by just getting another quote from my Novated Leasing company, and it came back a little bit cheaper than the X-Trail. I was already a bit confused, how does a $70k car cost me less than a $50k car?

The main factor was that on 1st July 2022, the Australian Government brought in an exception on the Fringe Benefit Tax on EVs. This applied to employers, but also extends through Novated Leases that employees could use. For a personal car, that’s 20% of the base cost of the vehicle – so that’s already ~$14k off a ~$70k car. Once you start factoring in the lack of petrol required, the no servicing costs because Teslas don’t need servicing (but you will need to rotate/replace tyres), it starts looking pretty good.

On top of this, different states in Australia have subsidies for people that buy an EV. In South Australia where I am, as long as the EV is less than $68,750, you can claim $3k from the government, and 3 years of registration exemption (I think this is a few hundred each year). This is claimable as soon as you receive the car, and it doesn’t matter that it’s under a Novated Lease.

All this led to a cheaper out of pay price I could get the Tesla for, compared to the X-Trail. There will be a bigger buyout figure at the end of the lease, but I should also have a car that’s worth more. Factors around the value of Teslas in 3 years, and if petrol cars drop due to more people wanting to go EV by then are of course unknowns – the buyout price is set as a % of the initial car value at the time of the agreement starting.

I did take one for a test drive – started with the Tesla Model 3 because it’s somewhat cheaper than the Model Y, but ended up going the Y for more family room/boot space.

So, this is how I got to the point of putting my $400 deposit down to order a Tesla. I used a referral code which at the time was going to give me a few ‘Tesla points’, but 1st July 2023 that changed to an actual discount of $750AU off the car, which was yet another point that added to the price reduction to me. If you are going to order a Tesla, make sure you use someone’s referral link. The referrer gets some Tesla points, but for you the price off the car is great! If you don’t know anyone with a Tesla that can generate a code from the app for you, feel free to use mine:

Getting the Tesla

There is a lot that’s different in owning an EV, and even moreso a Tesla. It does feel like having to learn new systems and how they work; this is one of the reasons I think that techies and people who like gadgets get drawn to a Tesla. A lot of it is intuitive but does require learning and playing.

As much as I don’t like Facebook, there are groups dedicated to Teslas with a lot of people asking questions and getting answered (a long with a lot of ridicule), and it’s a good place to learn a bunch of things you may not have considered before getting the car. Anything from what charging options you should choose, to how certain functions work, or what style of hubcaps you should put on your Tesla.

A Tesla (3 or Y) does not come with any charging cable whatsoever; so, you’ll probably need to buy something. Whether that’s a mobile connector that plugs into a normal power point or 15a point, a type 2 to type 2 EV cable that may be needed for some public chargers that don’t have their own cable (Tesla’s own Superchargers have a cable attached), or a Tesla Wall Connector to have your own mini charging station at home (and will need an electrician to install), there’s a lot to consider just on that point.

I went the Tesla Wall Connector option for the fastest charging. You can go other brands, but this is one space that Tesla’s option is about the cheapest and should have good support.

I won’t go on about all the differences in the car itself, beyond saying things like regenerative breaking, shifting gears on a stick, using the touchscreen to adjust the air conditioner and even open the glovebox, autodrive etc are all systems that are rather different to anything I’ve ever used before. They still generally fall under the intuitive umbrella but you also won’t work it all out without a bit of guidance.

So Many Accessories

You’ll also probably want to buy a bunch of accessories. These are all optional of course, but there’s a heck of a lot that are actually good ideas, and in some cases a bit annoying the car doesn’t come with them.

I’ve bought most of mine via Temu (referral link) which can be cheaper and quicker than AliExpress (referral link), but worth checking both for a price comparison on the day. I’ll explain the reasoning behind buying all these bits and pieces:

For Tesla Model 3/y Dedicated Ventilated Seat Cushion
The ‘vegan leather’ of the seats doesn’t breathe too well, and in winter I can feel myself getting a warm back, so this will hopefully help (the only item I haven’t received yet).

Rockyland Screen Protector Compatible With Tesla Model 3 Model Y 38.1cm Center Control Touch Screen Car Navigation Tempered Glass
Just like any other screen, I’d rather this didn’t get scratched. Small cost to protect an expensive part.

For Tesla Model 3 Y Round Cup Slot Cover, Center Control Card Slot Fixed Limiter, Car Water Cup Holder Car Accessories
It was cheap and could probably do without this, unless you really want a tighter cup holder. I more bought it in case something spills, it’s an easier clean up. Fits really well.

4pcs Carbon Fiber Door Silicone Sticker – Scratch Resistant Matte Black – Door Handles Wrap For Tesla Model 3 Y – Car Door Decoration Modification

2pcs Carbon Fiber Pattern Side Turn Signal Lamp Camera Protection Cover For Tesla Model 3/Y/S/X(Not Fit Hardware 4 Camera) – Glossy / Matte
Purely cosmetic but cheap and I like how it looks.

1pc Exclusive Kick Pad FOR Tesla 3/Y
My youngest quickly proved I needed something to protect the back of the back seat, and this does the job well. Only needed with small kids in the back.

For Tesla Model Y/3 Rear Vent Cover 2019-2023, Universal Rear Seat Airflow Grille Protector, Mesh Seat Under Air Conditioner Outlet Protector, 2pcs
This one is a necessity, many styles but there’s quite a big air vent opening under the front two seats that a card or set of keys could fairly easily get lost in. Muist have.

3PCS Center Console Organizer Tray Fit For Tesla Model, Tesla Storage Boxes, 3 Y Center Console Organizer
Tesla sell these officially too, and two of the three items are a must have because the centre consoles are giant and you’d be fishing stuff out for ages. These add a higher layer than can be easily slid out the way. The hidden spot under the armrest isn’t really necessary unless you have something you’d particularly want there, but it’s not very accessible.

Car Suede Steering Wheel Cover, Anti-slip Breathable Car Steering Wheel Protector Universal For 14.5-15 Inch Car Accessories
I don’t want any car’s steering wheel to wear, so I always get a cover. This is fine.

For Tesla Model Y Roof Sunshade – Upgrade 2.0 Top Window Sun Shades For 2019-2023 Tesla Y Accessories, Effectively Heat Insulation Sun Blocking
Tesla officially sell these also, a lot of people say they aren’t necessary due to the tinying on the sunroof and pre-climate options for the car, but I like things cool.

Protect Your Tesla Model 3/Y with Our Silicone Rubber Screen Frame Protector – Fits 2016-2023 Model 3 and 2020-2023 Model Y
I quite like this one, fits well around the screen and would stop it getting knocked/damaged around the edges, once it’s on you don’t really notice it.

Upgrade Your Tesla Model Y with Original Factory Front & Rear Mudflaps – TPE Splash Guards for Maximum Protection!
Yep, mudflaps are an optional extra also sold officially by Tesla. Very easy to install and should stop some rocks flicking up and chipping your paint a bit. Not that expensive for what they are.

For 2021 22 23 Tesla Model Y Boot Loaded With Sash Protector, Rubber Rear Bumper Cap + ABS Sides Bar Fender Accessories
I like this one because if I load anything into the back, I don’t have to worry about scuffing the boot lip and it fits quite well.

Carbon Fiber Exterior Accessories Door Handle Protector For Tesla Model 3 Model Y 4pcs/set
Just like the camera protectors, not overly necessary but I like the look and hopefully they provide a bit of protection to the door handles. Plus they’re very cheap.

I’ve never bought so many accessories for a car, but there’s a lot out there and most of it quite useful. I found it quite fun going through all these things and customising the car how I wanted it, for not that much money.


I am enjoying my Tesla, it’s a fun car. Learning about EVs generally takes some study time, and Tesla’s uniqueness on top takes even more – but I see why people get passionate about them. I generally don’t bring up talking about it unless it’s a ‘I bought a Tesla’ but most people I talk to have so many questions and I’m happy to answer them.

Other EV options are finally getting to Australia, but they’re either lesser-known brands such as BYD, or they’re so pricey they make the Teslas look cheap. Look at the bestselling EV cars yourself and that’ll give you a good list to work through.

More and more charging stations are popping up around the country and we’re getting a lot closer to a point where you don’t really care where they are, and you can just find one like a petrol station. Yes, it might take a bit longer to ‘fill’ but it’s also a lot cheaper than petrol and better for the environment (not that EVs are zero emission in their creation, nor the problem with what you do with dead batteries after…).

I’ll be keeping my Tesla Model Y for three years due to the Novated Lease, and see how things sit then on whether I keep, upgrade, or do something different brand/model wise, but I can’t see my self ever going back to a petrol only car now.

WordPress Wrote This Post With The Single Prompt ‘write an engaging article about the website microsoft’ Using It’s AI Assistant

How do I correct AI data to tell it I’m not a Microsoft MVP anymore? There’s also no forum or community section here, or newsletter, but it’s still said some very nice things about the site :) This is really a good example of how you leverage AI to do content, but also need someone who knows the topic well to sanity check the material, rather than expecting it to do everything for you. It’s still not bad for 10 seconds of work – this paragraph took a lot longer! Analytics

I thought it might be interesting to share some stats/trends around which currently uses Google Analytics. Most sites have a commercial aspect and don’t like to share this data, but as it’s purely community and no financial gain, let’s check out some stats:

Last 7 days from 31st May (Monday):

Last 28 days from 10th May:

Last 12 months:

All time – from October 2021 to June 2023.

Unsurprisingly, there is a constant peak/trough for weekdays and weekends. I’m not sure why it’s more evident over the ‘all time’ stats vs ‘last 12 months’, but ’28 days’ and ‘7 days’ show a good reflection of this. Those giant peaks on the ‘all time’ are from either a news article posting about the site, or someone having a very successful social media post bringing attention to

There is also a pretty steady user count between 1500 and 2000 a day, excluding weekends.

Where are users coming from? (last 90 days)

Another unsurprising statistic is that most users are coming from the US – UK is next, and probably more surprising is Australia being third – maybe because I have a wider audience and more connections here?

US is the first most common US city in 7th place, while London is 1st, which I’m sure matches the expected stats due to population distribution.

Which pages are most hit? (last 90 days)

Still more unsurprising stats, the main page accounts for the most hits, which contains the standard Microsoft Admin portals. Next up is the Government portals, which is only US Gov – so there is obviously fairly high usage of those; double the stats of the user page which I did think would be a bit more widespread – but I expect the waffle from serves most users quite well.

How do users get to (last 90 days)

Most have the site bookmarked, or are typing the URL directly into their browser. The next most common is via search engine – testing via private browser mode, searching for ‘Microsoft Portals’ brings up as the first result on both Bing and Google, but I can’t see any stats on what search terms refer people to my site the most.

Average Engagement Time (last 90 days)

If someone visits the main site, the average engagement time is 36 seconds (based on the last 90 days). Most sites will want higher engagement times, but the point of this site is to get people to where they want to get to as quickly as possible, so I’m pretty happy with 36 seconds as an average. Other pages have similar times, although I have no idea how language conversion is happening, or why what I assume is the French language ‘Portails adminitraeur | Portails Microsoft’ has more than 2 minutes engagement time despite France not being in the top 7 countries (I’ll blame Canada – sorry).

Tech – Device, Platform (last 90 days)

These stats I find quite interesting. No surprise that Windows is vastly the main OS used to access, with similar numbers of Macs vs iOS users, and slightly behind that, Android. There’s 90% desktop users vs 10% mobile users – rounding to nearest number and ignoring the 0.3% of tablet users.

Very similar browser stats on Edge vs Chrome (which compared to the stats for the sites’ entire life, Chrome has been used slightly over 2x as much as Edge, which shows Edge’s usage drastically increasing for at least my sites’ user base), and fair way behind are similar usage stats for Safari vs Firefox (and again comparing since the site launched, that’s been similar the whole way along with a tiny bit more Safari).

Screen resolutions I am happy to see the standard 1920 x 1080 being far ahead. Quad HD is second, with a bit of ultrawide 5th on the list. Again, historically 1920 x 1080 has always been far ahead, but 1366 x 768 makes up second place with half the amount of 1920 x 1080 hits – yet in the last 90 days, it’s not even top 7 so there must be a lot of monitor or laptop upgrades recently :)

I hope those stats gave you some insights into both what sees, and also very easily what any site can learn about it’s visitors – this is using Google Analytics, without any costs involved.