Order Placed: Ringke FUSION Case for iPhone 7 Plus

My iPhone 7 Plus finally arrived, almost a month after I ordered it through my wireless carrier. I relished the unboxing experience, as one does with Apple products, but held off on activating the phone for the time being.

I remember when I purchased my iPhone 4, I dropped it on the tiled floor in my bathroom that very same day. The unprotected phone suffered a series of scratches, one deep enough to be felt.

Not wanting to repeat the mistakes of the past, I began searching for a suitable case to protect my new phone against accidental drops.

I searched Amazon.com for iPhone 7 Plus cases, ultimately choosing a clear Ringke FUSION Case (MSRP $9.99, Amazon.com) over similar options like the Spigen Ultra Hybrid case (MSRP $24.99, Amazon.com), which leaves the iPhone 7 Plus camera lens unprotected.

The Ringke FUSION Case features a clean design with protection in all the right spots. The single cutout on the back face is amply sized for the iPhone 7 Plus’s camera system. I avoided cases with rear cutouts that were sized just right for the camera and quad-LED flash, fearing interference.

I’m looking forward to receiving the case and retiring my iPhone 6 Plus, which has been running dangerously low on storage space for far too long.

Rachio Smart Sprinkler Controller (2nd Gen) Review

I placed an order for a second-generation Rachio Smart Sprinkler Controller (MSRP $199.99 for 8 zones, $249.99 for 16 zones, Amazon.com) to replace the old sprinkler controller at my parents’ home. I received delivery two days later thanks to Amazon Prime’s shipping benefit.

Installing the Rachio Smart Sprinkler Controller

Installation was relatively straightforward. Prior to pulling the old sprinkler controller out of line, I noted wire colors for each zone. This wasn’t strictly necessary, but I wanted to retain zone numbering for consistency’s sake.

I encountered a minor hiccup while testing wire insertion. To remove wires from the Rachio Smart Sprinkler Controller, simply insert a small flathead screwdriver into the slot at the end of the receptacle to release pressure, and pull out.

Once all sprinkler wires were inserted, I wall-mounted the Rachio Smart Sprinkler Controller, and fed it power.

Basic Configuration

I installed the Rachio app from the iOS App Store, and registered an account from the login screen. The app identifies the Rachio Smart Sprinkler Controller. I configured it to join the same wireless network that my iDevice was on, though it is possible to designate another network.

A minor quirk: the Rachio mobile app and web application both make reference to a blue terminal on the device. There is no blue color-coded terminal on the second generation Rachio Smart Sprinkler Controller! Master/Pump Valve Wire insert into the “M” terminal slot on the second generation Rachio Smart Sprinkler Controller, as per the Quick Start Guide (http://support.rachio.com/article/474-installation-guide-gen-2).

Rachio can obtain weather data from National Weather Service (NWS), part of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA); or from Personal Weather Stations (pwsweather.com)

As luck would have it, it began raining moments after I joined the unit to the wireless network. This came in handy as a litmus test of the PWS station located about half a mile away from the house. I checked to see if the PWS had recorded the precipitation (it had), and selected it as the source.

Zone Configuration

Zone configuration within the Rachio Smart Sprinkler Controller is immensely rich. In order to make the most out of the Rachio Smart Sprinkler Controller, it pays to do some legwork in this department.

Depth of configuration is impressive. Basic zone configuration populates data that can be refined in advanced zone configuration.

Basic Zone Configuration

  • Vegetation
  • Soil
  • Terrain
  • Sunshine/shade
  • Sprinkler type

Advanced Zone Configuration

Advanced Zone settings are primarily used for Rachio’s “Flex” Scheduling

  • Area
  • Available water
  • Crop coefficient
  • Root depth
  • Allowed depletion
  • Efficiency

Additional details can be found at Rachio’s page on advanced zone settings

Watering Schedule

The Rachio Smart Sprinkler Controller offers four schedule types:

  • Fixed Interval – Waters on a set interval or odd/even days
  • Fixed Days – Waters on specific days of the week; i.e. Mondays/Wednesday/Friday
  • Flexible Monthly – Adjusts monthly based on historical climate data; watering duration & interval (frequency) change takes place after the first watering in the following month
  • Flexible Daily – Adjusts daily based on soil moisture; watering schedules dynamically update on a zone by zone basis

Information from support.rachio.com/article/416-creating-a-watering-schedule

These schedules can be used in tandem, and one can designate start and end dates for each schedule.

I started by configuring the Rachio to follow the same watering schedule used by the previous sprinkler controller, a simple fixed schedule that runs on set days of the week.

I want to move the watering schedule over to one of the dynamic schedules, but I need to gather additional data in order to make full use of Rachio’s smart features. Stay tuned: more on this to follow!

Order Placed: Rachio Smart Sprinkler Controller, 2nd Generation

The sprinkler controller at my parent’s home (Rain Bird ESP-6TM) was on the fritz, and I’d been aware of suitable replacements for some time. In an effort to modernize everything and conserve water, I selected an 8-zone Rachio Smart Sprinkler Controller (MSRP $199.99, Amazon.com).

The Rachio Smart Sprinkler Controller meets EPA WaterSense criteria, meaning the controller uses local weather and landscape conditions to tailor watering schedules to actual conditions on the site.

Programming is driven through a mobile app available on the iOS App Store as well as the Google Play Store, and each zone can be customized to account for plant types, soil types, nozzles, and sun exposure. Furthermore, the app can send real-time notifications and report on water usage.

Cloud connectivity means that the sprinkler system can be controlled remotely.

The Rachio Smart Sprinkler Controller is available in 8-zone (Amazon.com) and 16-zone (MSRP $249.99, Amazon.com) models.

The Royal Purple Seat Cushion Review

I was excited to receive shipment of my Royal Purple Seat Cushion (MSRP $79.99, Amazon.com). Neil ordered one from Purple’s official website on July 18, the same day that I ordered mine from Amazon. Mine arrived on July 20 (well before his!) thanks to Prime Two-Day Shipping.
I chose this particular cushion because of its thickness – at 2 inches, it’s as thick as the hyper-elastic polymer layer on the Purple mattress. As such, my seat-time on the Royal Purple Seat Cushion granted me a great sense of how the Purple mattress would perform.

Initial Impressions


I was surprised by how heavy the package was – Purple puts the approximate weight of the Royal Purple Seat Cushion at 5.4 lb. With the cushion cover in place, my postal scale gives a reading of just over 5.5 lb.


The cushion ships in retail packaging, complete with carry handle. A clear window shows off the configuration of the hyper-elastic polymer cushioning material. A small, round cutout invites prospective buyers to touch the gel material.

Box (Front)

Royal Purple Seat Cushion packaging (front)
Front view of the Royal Purple Seat Cushion packaging

Purple company branding appears in the top left of the packaging

The Royal Purple™ Seat Cushion
The World’s First Go Anywhere, No-Pressure Seat Cushion
Washable cover included
1-year warranty.

Box (Rear)

Royal Purple Seat Cushion packaging (rear)
Rear view of the Royal Purple Seat Cushion packaging

The Ultimate Cushioning Experience
Purple™ is the most advanced cushioning material available on Earth. Made from a patented Hyper-Elastic Polymer™, Purple provides comfortable support while eliminating pressure spikes.

As pressure increases on the cushion, Purple columns buckle, distributing weight to neighboring columns and virtually eliminating uncomfortable pressure points – even allowing you to sit on an egg without it breaking (although we’re not sure why you’d want to).

See the video at: www.onpurple.com/egg

The Cushion Cover

Royal Purple Seat Cushion cover
My Royal Purple Seat Cushion cover had a wondergel tag on it

Once unboxed, I noted the wondergel tag on the cushion cover – they must have been getting rid of old stock! I followed the instructions to slip the cushion into its cover, eager to get on it.

The Royal Purple Seat Cushion cover is made of slick black fabric, and has small bumps on the bottom. It features a woven carry handle on the edge facing the seat back.

Impressions from Usage

The buckling columns of hyper-elastic polymer used in the Royal Purple Seat Cushion are remarkably supportive. I have some chairs at home that used to put my legs to sleep every time, but with the Royal Purple Seat Cushion supporting me, I no longer experience that uncomfortable sensation.

With the Royal Purple Seat Cushion on my task chair, my newly elevated seating position meant that I had to make a few minor adjustments to my computer setup. I had to tilt my secondary display upwards in order to view it comfortably.

I became so enamored with Purple that, for a brief time, I shared the Raw Egg Test video with everyone I had the opportunity to speak with. I invited a couple of friends to give the Royal Purple Seat Cushion a try:

  • William F. really liked it. He’s a big man, weighing in at around 300 pounds. He got comfortable with it, and now I make sure to offer him the cushion whenever he drops by for a visit!
  • Edwin C. really liked it as well. He’s worked in human healthcare before, and was impressed when I told him that the same cushioning technology had been licensed by Stryker Medical for use in hospital beds


I highly recommend a Purple seat cushion for anyone who spends a fair amount of time sitting in any given day. It can transform an uncomfortable chair for the better.

Purple says it’s for office heroes, long-haul drivers, authors, artists, and CEOs. I don’t know about all that, but it’s definitely an excellent cushion, and it gave me great confidence in the efficacy of EdiZONE’s cushioning technology. So much, in fact, that I ordered a Purple mattress!

You can buy a Royal Purple Seat Cushion now on Amazon.com and support my website in the process! Try one out for yourself 🙂

Additional Reading
If you’re curious to learn more about the Purple company, check out my collected notes on Purple

Thanks for reading – I welcome your comments and questions below 🙂