Erin Lawrence with NextBase Dash Cam, Bird Buddy Smart Feeders and the L’OR Coffee System – HGG603

Erin Lawrence from is my guest this week. In this episode, we explore a range of innovative products, from the NextBase 4K iQ Dash Camera’s impressive features to Erin’s candid experiences with the Bird Buddy smart Bird Feeder, offering a cautionary tale about high-priced disappointments. But fear not, as we uncover a worthy contender in Birdfy. Additionally, we discuss the L’OR Barista pod coffee machine and the Moen Smart Sprinkler Controller and Wireless Soil Sensors, providing insightful commentary on their performance and practicality. Join us for an engaging discussion on the pros and cons of these cutting-edge gadgets, as we navigate the ever-evolving landscape of technology. Thanks for listening.

Full show notes, transcriptions (available on request), audio and video at

Join Jim Collison / @jcollison for show #603 of Home Gadget Geeks, brought to you by the Average Guy Network.


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NextBase 4K iQ Dash Camera

One of the few 4K dash cameras out there this kit is fantastic… But most of the best features are locked behind a paywall. Would it be worth the price? If you’ve got teenagers or professional drivers in the house, Erin says this is the only camera to get.

Bird Buddy smart Bird Feeder with camera

Erin asked for this and got it from her husband for Christmas. It’s very expensive. Unfortunately, it was a huge disappointment.

Erin also just finished reviewing a competitor… Called Birdfy I think it’s much better and more cost-effective.

L’OR Barista pod coffee machine

This is essentially a Nespresso clone, but it uses a different brand of pods that are exactly the same format. It’s a French manufacturer that supposedly has better coffee. Erin has some thoughts…

Moen Smart Sprinkler Controller and Wireless Soil Sensors

If you have a built-in sprinkler system this is the only way to go. No more fussing with dials and switches. Control the water from anywhere or enable the weather stop feature. When combined with the soil sensors, the system won’t trigger if your lawn is already too wet.

Post-show discussion about a $20 robot vacuum. Catch the review here:

Show Segments

  • Tech gadgets and news with Jim Collison and Aaron Lawrence.[0:00]
    • Jim Collison and Aaron Lawrence discuss tech gadgets and their reviews.
  • 4K dash cam with 4K resolution and cellular connectivity.[1:34]
    • Erin Lawrence reviewed the Nextbase IQ 4K dash cam, praising its high resolution and detail.
    • Jim Collison joked about Erin being on vacation while studying for the podcast.
    • Erin Lawrence notes that a 4K dash cam provides more detail than a 1080p camera, especially when enlarging a frame to read a license plate or witness an event.
    • Jim Collison asks about file sizes and storage, and Erin Lawrence mentions that the camera comes with an app for cloud storage and a monthly subscription for 24/7 coverage.
  • Dash cam features and cost.[5:58]
    • Erin Lawrence mentions that the dash cam records footage when there is motion detected, such as someone bumping into the car or trying to break in.
    • The dash cam also records footage inside the vehicle if someone gets inside without permission.
    • Erin Lawrence discusses the cost of the dash cam she reviewed, including the initial purchase price and ongoing subscription fees for features like emergency services and witness mode.
    • Lawrence advises viewers to consider whether the camera’s features are worth the monthly fee, and suggests waiting for a cheaper 4K camera if they’re not willing to pay for ongoing costs.
  • Dash cameras and their features.[10:59]
    • Jim Collison and Erin Lawrence discuss the use of dash cameras for safety and security while driving.
    • Jim shares a link to a dash cam he tried, which has a subscription service that automatically turns on when driving.
    • Erin Lawrence had difficulty setting up her dash cam and received great customer service from Nextbase, but ultimately sent it back due to connectivity issues.
    • Erin Lawrence mentions that the device they are discussing can power off a standard 12-volt car battery, but the draw on the battery is not clear.
    • Jim Collison raises concerns about the potential for car OEMs to sell driving data to insurance companies, and questions whether it is acceptable to allow monitoring of driving habits for a cheaper insurance rate.
  • Using a driving app for safety and data collection.[17:21]
    • Erin Lawrence expresses concerns about the data collected by insurance companies through telematics devices, questioning how much data is being collected and where it’s going.
    • Jim Collison shares stories of using the USAA app, which tracks driving habits and provides rewards for safe driving, but also dings drivers for reckless maneuvers.
    • Jim Collison asks Erin Lawrence about the emergency capabilities of the service she tested, including whether it can make a call for emergency services.
    • Erin Lawrence confirms that the service does not have the ability to make a call for emergency services, but does have a witness mode that can beam a user’s feed to two designated contacts in an emergency.
  • Bird cameras and their uses.[21:55]
    • Erin Lawrence discusses the use of a dash cam for safety reasons, but also acknowledges that it may not be worth it for everyone, especially those with short commutes or who work from home.
    • Jim Collison expresses interest in animal cameras that can be strapped to trees and have cell service, with some YouTubers using them to monitor their property or wildlife.
    • Erin Lawrence purchased a smart bird feeder with a camera for Christmas, excited to observe and identify birds in her yard.
  • Bird identification and smart bird feeders.[26:02]
    • Jim and Erin discuss the Ring camera’s ability to identify birds, with Erin sharing her experience with the camera’s bird identification feature.
    • Jim expresses interest in using the camera for hummingbird identification, and Erin mentions there may be add-ons available for this purpose.
    • Erin Lawrence shares her experience with bird buddy’s smart bird feeder, mentioning its high price point and design flaws.
    • Erin also reviews Bird fee’s smart bird feeder cam, praising its design and performance.
  • Bird cameras and DIY options.[31:33]
    • Erin Lawrence discusses the Bird Buddy trail camera, including its features and limitations.
    • Erin Lawrence is considering alternatives to the bird feeder and camera she purchased due to the maintenance required (filling the feeder, changing the battery, etc.).
    • Jim Collison suggests DIY options, such as using a POE (Power over Ethernet) connection to power the camera and a solar panel to keep it charged, which could be more cost-effective in the long run.
  • Coffee pod machines and bird feeders.[35:41]
    • Erin Lawrence is disappointed with the alert system of her bird feeder, Bird Buddy, which keeps sending her notifications of the same bird species.
    • Erin Lawrence has switched to a new pod device for her coffee, but is struggling with the French accent of the device’s name.
    • Philips introduces a two-in-one coffee and espresso pod machine using Nespresso pods.
    • Jim and Erin discuss a new coffee machine that uses Nespresso pods, with Jim expressing skepticism about the machine’s quality and Erin finding it to be “fine” but not ultra premium.
    • Erin mentions that the machine has a large handle that lifts up to load the pods, which she finds inconvenient.
  • Nespresso machines and coffee brewing.[42:45]
    • Erin Lawrence discusses the Nespresso Inissia machine, its features, and whether it’s worth the price.
    • Coffee machines, especially Nespresso and Keurig, have become a cottage industry with special issue pods, roasts, and holiday gift packages.
  • Espresso machines and their convenience.[45:56]
    • Erin Lawrence and Jim Collison discuss the convenience of using espresso pods, with Jim highlighting the time and effort saved compared to manual espresso machines.
    • Both agree that using pods makes coffee preparation quicker and more convenient, with Jim noting the ease of simply throwing a pod in and hitting a button.
    • Jim and Erin discuss the longevity of various coffee makers, with Jim sharing that a Keurig machine he had at work kept going for years despite heavy use.
    • Erin mentions that she has had a Nespresso machine for 8 years and it still works perfectly, while Jim notes that he has seen some Keurig machines break or leak over time.
  • Coffee preferences and smart home technology.[51:14]
    • Erin Lawrence and Jim Collison discuss their coffee preferences and the various coffee-making methods they’ve tried, including Nespresso and drip machines.
    • They also talk about the convenience of Nespresso filters and the ability to compost them, as well as their personal preferences for coffee taste and brewing methods.
    • Erin Lawrence installed the Moen smart sprinkler controller in a friend’s house, finding it easy to set up and program despite initial confusion about how it works.
    • The controller allows for full control over the yard, including scheduling and manual watering, and comes with wireless soil sensors for added smart watering capabilities.
  • Smart lawn irrigation systems and their features.[57:15]
    • Jim Collison is impressed with the design of the sensor, which buries itself in the ground and has a shiny plastic top that doesn’t seem delicate, despite his initial concerns.
    • Erin Lawrence mentions that the sensor doesn’t seem to be worse for wear after being placed in the ground, and she wonders if there’s a way to replace the battery or access the internals in colder climates.
    • Jim Collison and Erin Lawrence discuss the latest advancements in smart lawn irrigation systems, including automation and weather-based watering.
    • They highlight the benefits of using sensors and soil moisture monitoring to optimize water usage and reduce waste.
  • Home assistants, robot vacuums, and mowers.[1:03:09]
    • Jim and Erin discuss new robot vacuums and lawnmowers coming out, with a focus on their potential to creep into people’s lives.
    • Jim Collison and Erin Lawrence discuss the possibility of Amazon releasing a robot vacuum with a screen that plays commercials.
    • They assign homework to listeners to review a $20 robot vacuum and share their thoughts during the post-show.
  • Tech, health, and prostate cancer.[1:07:46]
    • Jim Collison thanks Aaron Lawrence for being on the show and appreciates his time, even while on vacation.
    • Aaron Lawrence thanks Jim and the audience, and passes on messages to Roger, his husband.
    • Jim Collison discusses his recent health issues, including a cold and partial prostate removal surgery, and how he’s feeling better now.
    • Jim will have tests done in a month to check his bladder and will have a new PSA test to check for cancer, with the goal of getting off the hook for a while and monitoring for cancer in the future.
  • Health updates and podcast schedule changes.[1:12:41]
    • Jim shares updates on his health, including regular blood checks and support for a neighbor undergoing chemo.
    • Jim Collison plans to take a break from live streaming in April and May, but will return with a new episode on June 1st.

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