How I replaced the aux jack in my Gen 2 Prius and added Bluetooth sound in two minutes using only one tool

I own a 2008 Prius, generation 2 model, and it’s a great car except that it has long suffered from a common issue, which is that the car stopped sensing when something was plugged into the auxiliary jack. Pushing the aux button on the radio did nothing, and the option to switch to auxiliary sound did not even appear on the audio screen, because it’s programmed to appear only when a sound source is plugged in. There’s a technical reason why this part wears out, and it is apparently something you can repair if you have the time and initiative and the ability to solder small parts, but that was beyond my ambition at this time, so I came up with a simpler solution: buy a new, cheap audio jack (much less than the $130+ for the OEM model, part number 86190-06010, from the dealer–it also works with many other vehicles; see list at the end) and install it myself.

Watching videos on YouTube and reading instructions meant that I was still going to have to take apart the center console (or so I thought at the time), and I started that process, removing eight different screws before realizing that there were some recessed bolts (hidden in the bottom of the console under a piece of fabric lining) that would require a ratchet to remove. But then I looked at the replacement aux port itself and realized that it should be removable without taking the entire console apart. And I was right. I grabbed an awl and had the thing out in less than a minute, and it conveniently pulled the attached cord along with it.

To do this, you can use a sharp tool like an awl or any thin tool (a small knife or a slim screwdriver would also work), insert it along the top edge above the audio jack (look at the replacement part if you need to check the dimensions or see what the edge looks like), and just press it down slightly and then pull it out. It worked for me quite easily on my very first try.

Once you pull out the old, broken jack, you can’t simply pull off the sound cable. There is a very thin clip at the bottom that serves to make sure the cable never falls off, which makes sense because this is a part that is not meant to ever need replacing. To see what I mean, turn the jack sideways and there is a flat flange on the bottom of the sound cable that hooks into the back of the aux jack. Push that lightly and the cable will pop right off. Be careful that the cable doesn’t disappear back into the hole, though! Mine was under some tension and it was almost pulled back through and under the console out of easy reach.

Once that was off, it was as simple as pushing it onto the new aux port and then feeding the cable back into the hole in the console, followed by the rear of the replacement audio jack, and snapping it gently into place. The sound worked again immediately without any problem as soon as I started the car–no need to reprogram the radio or anything like that!

To add Bluetooth audio capability, I bought a bluetooth audio receiver that plugs into the cigarette lighter hidden inside the console, and then attaches to the auxiliary audio port. I made sure to get one with a ground loop noise isolator, because my car has always had the issue of a buzzing noise in the background if I am charging the phone and using the aux jack for audio at the same time. The ground loop will prevent that buzzing noise. As a bonus, the bluetooth receiver comes with a magnetic button to allow easy hands-free Bluetooth phone conversations.

Additional info from Amazon, not verified by me: This same audio jack was used in many different Toyota models and it says that this will also work to replace the same part on the following vehicles (the location of the original audio aux jack may vary for the rest of these, so I can’t say whether the replacement will be as easy as it was for me, just that the manufacturer claims the part will work with these vehicles): 2005-2009 Toyota 4Runner, 2006-2008 Toyota RAV4, 2007-2010 Toyota FJ Cruiser, 2005-2009 Toyota Prius, 2007-2010 Toyota Camry, 2007-2010 Lexus ES350, 2008-2009 Toyota Yaris, 2007-2012 Lexus LS460

My Favorite of the Cheap Modern Sewing Machines

Brother Sewing Machine

You can spend truly large sums of money buying fancy machines like Bernina, but most people don’t need all the functions of those machines (which really are incredible, but that’s another post). Most people who want to do some quilting or sewing for fun or as a hobby, or even as a small home-based business, are fine with a cheaper machine that still has some of the nicer functions. My favorite of the cheap machines is a discontinued model from Brother. I purchased it on Amazon as a “renewed” product, which means it was returned, but it was obvious that this had never been used. The plastic and tape was still . . . → Read More: My Favorite of the Cheap Modern Sewing Machines

Equifax does not Owe You $125—Understanding the Data Breach Settlement

Many reputable news organizations have been freely informing people that Equifax has agreed to pay $125 to everyone affected by the scandalous data breach that they attempted to ignore/cover up back in July 2017 (when they delayed alerting the public for almost two months after discovering the breach). The fact is that the settlement does not include anything close to $125 for every affected person.

What Equifax has actually agreed to do is to pay “up to” $125 to each person who files a valid claim…but no more than $31 million in total. $31 million dollars divided by 147 million people (the number of people whose data was exposed) leaves…21 cents . . . → Read More: Equifax does not Owe You $125—Understanding the Data Breach Settlement

A (Seemingly Quite) Large Mystery Left Unexplained in Game of Thrones; or, What is up with Grey Worm’s Crotch?

The finale of Game of Thrones left many unanswered questions, but the one that has been occupying my thoughts is the obvious and distracting bulge in Grey Worm actor Jacob Anderson’s pants. Quite impressive for a eunuch.

Grey Worm’s unmissable bulge

Although it was never revealed if the unsullied were fully “emasculated” (by removal of both penis and testes), that is exactly what happened to Lord Varys, as revealed during a scene when he describes his castration to Tyrion: “With a hooked blade, he sliced me, root and stem…”. There is no reason to believe the slavers who created the Unsullied would have been more gentle.

Unsullied crotch

Perhaps actor Jacob Anderson just has . . . → Read More: A (Seemingly Quite) Large Mystery Left Unexplained in Game of Thrones; or, What is up with Grey Worm’s Crotch?

Craigslist shuts down personals section, not just in US, but WORLDWIDE

While planning a trip to another country, I was happy to see that Craigslist still had personals ads in other countries. They had shut down the personals section in the United States around six weeks ago, in response to legislation here. Five days ago, I took a look and contacted a few guys in anticipation of meeting them when I arrived in town, but when I looked this morning, the entire section had disappeared.

After doing some research, I was unable to find personals sections in any country. Every country I checked in Europe and in Central American and South America had the same disappointing result…no more personals ads. I tried to . . . → Read More: Craigslist shuts down personals section, not just in US, but WORLDWIDE

How I Combat Winter Depression, Even in Sunny Texas

I originally moved to Austin, Texas, in 2000 in an attempt to escape from SAD, or seasonal affective disorder. I had been living for almost 9 years in Olympia, Washington, and the seasonal depression grew worse for me every year. Even in sunny Texas, though, the combination of the overcast weather and staying indoors during the colder months can still lead to the winter blues. I have finally found something that works very well for me…I would say perfectly. And it is much easier and cheaper than the crazy bright, expensive, 4 foot long full-spectrum fluorescent lamp that I used in the 90s.

Philips GoLITE BLU

I use the Philips GoLITE . . . → Read More: How I Combat Winter Depression, Even in Sunny Texas

Chase Freedom Card Disappoints with Its Most Recent 5% Bonus Categories–No Costco!

I carry and use the Chase Freedom card for occasional purchases, because I am an avid bonus points collector. In the past year, I have traveled from Chicago to: Mexico (four times); Oklahoma City (twice); Dallas; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (twice); and New Orleans (twice) ALL FOR FREE due to bonus points that I got from purchases or from signup bonuses (those signup bonuses were earned on three different CHASE cards). I still have over a thousand dollars in my point bank toward future travel. Each quarter, the Chase Freedom card offers a 5X bonus offer for purchases from certain types of stores. Last quarter was restaurants and movie theaters. The . . . → Read More: Chase Freedom Card Disappoints with Its Most Recent 5% Bonus Categories–No Costco!

I Got a Refund from Airbnb for a Cancellation in Austin Due to Hurricane Harvey

About a month ago I made reservations on Airbnb to stay in a cute little apartment in Austin, Texas, over the weekend of Gay Pride, which was scheduled for August 26th and 27th. I was planning to drive down from Dallas on Friday the 25th after work and drive home on Sunday. As that Friday approached the ominous forecast about Hurricane Harvey looked like it might put a damper on things.

When I woke up on Friday morning, it was to news stories about the imminent threat of the hurricane as it approached the coast. People were evacuating Houston, and Austin was under alert for heavy rains, flooding, and loss of electricity, . . . → Read More: I Got a Refund from Airbnb for a Cancellation in Austin Due to Hurricane Harvey

Do I Need to Buy a Pass to Enjoy Southern Decadence?

Put simply: NO

The first thing I would tell you is that you DO NOT NEED TO BUY ONE OF THE PASSES—especially as a first-time visitor. The first time I was planning to attend, I worried about this and wondered if I should spring for one of the VIP packages at the Bourbon Pub, but please rest assured: you do not need a pass. Each venue has its own calendar of events for that weekend, and they each try to make it seem like you need a pass (guaranteed admission! No waiting in line!), but you can have a great time without ever attending any of those events. There are several websites . . . → Read More: Do I Need to Buy a Pass to Enjoy Southern Decadence?

What to pack for a trip to New Orleans

I love New Orleans! It is honestly my favorite city to visit in the United States. The culture, the food, the architecture, and the feel of the place make it a wonderful place to spend a few days or a week, absorbing a culture that is unique to this awesome city. But there are some things you might want to know, and some things that you can take with you that will make your trip that much more enjoyable. I will put a list of items at the end of this article, but I first wanted to point out a few things you might not think of.

The first thing to know . . . → Read More: What to pack for a trip to New Orleans

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