Auto login to Windows 10 when the Netplwiz checkbox is missing

I got a new computer recently, and one of my first tasks was to fire up the old auto-login-to-Windows-10 trick that I had implemented on my old machine.

I couldn’t remember how I had done it, of course, but I remember it involving some registry work. However, most of the searches I’d turned up this time around involved running Netplwiz and disabling the login requirement.

That opened up a whole can of worms because I didn’t have the magic checkbox present that would let me log in automatically. Turns out a bunch of other people had the same issue – an issue that seems to stem from using a Microsoft account to log into Windows 10 instead of using a local account.


Here’s how to do it now. And who knows how long this trick will work: Microsoft’s next big update could kill it, but this works as of April, 2021.

Open up the Registry Editor and navigate to the following:

Computer\HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\PasswordLess\Device

Then modify the DevicePasswordLessBuildVersion key’s value data from 2 to 0 and hit OK.

Now open up Netplwiz and you’ll notice you have the stupid checkbox. Uncheck it, hit OK, and enter your password to confirm your recklessness.

The next time you restart your computer, it’ll log you in automagically. Be excellent to each other.

Studless TV mount review: For $20, what could possibly go wrong?

YouTube video

I was recently tasked with mounting an aging, heavy, 42-inch TV on our bedroom wall and the first thing I did, of course, was go try to find the cheapest standard articulating wall mount I could find. Something like this mount, which I’ve used in the past.

Those things are good because they’re cheap and reasonably easy to install but because the mounting arm always sticks out from the wall a bit, the TV ends up looking like it belongs in a hospital.

I wanted to flush-mount the TV, so I moved on to looking at this mount, which I’m using for our big 55-inch TV in the basement. It installed fine but the whole process was a bit clunky, and it’s a big mount for a big TV.

I finally stumbled across this $20 studless TV mount, which I ended up buying. You can see it in the above video. It’s cheap, discrete, and installed faster than any mount I’ve installed before.

The main selling point is that you don’t need a wall stud. The mount is held in place by nails, faith, and some sort of scientific concept I’ll never grasp. One of the Amazon commenters mentioned something about a French cleat, so let’s go with that.

So I see this being ideal for renters who don’t want to put a bunch of big screw-holes in the wall, people who can’t find or don’t have a stud on the wall where they really want to mount a TV, and people like me: lazy, cheap, and looking for the thrill of constantly wondering if their TV’s going to crash to the ground because they don’t understand how a French cleat works.

Long story short, I will absolutely re-buy this mount for the next TV I want to flush-mount. It’s great in every way except for two: a) hammering the nails leaves little nicks in the wall if you’re not careful and b) there’s very little room to work with behind the TV once it’s mounted.

The first thing can probably be solved by not being a sasquatch with a hammer. The second I solved with this right-angle power cord and this right-angle HDMI adapter. I eventually realized that I had a fourth HDMI port on the side of my TV that I hadn’t noticed before, so check your set for one of those to avoid buying the HDMI adapter. You will absolutely need the right-angle power cord, though. That’s how tight it is behind the TV when it’s mounted.

Aside from that, though, I’m sold on these studless TV mounts. They’re cheap, easy, and nearly invisible.

Studless TV wall mount [Amazon]

Finally, a LEGO-compatible wireless router

Honestly. What took so long?

While the rest of you chumps sit there all day parsing speeds and feeds trying to figure out the best router, some of us choose routers based on whether or not we can build LEGOs on top of them.

*Cue LEGO zealots pointing out that it’s LEGO, not LEGOs*

As routers go, it’s got both speeds and feeds. It can be controlled by your phone. It has decent reviews, although a bunch of the good ones read suspiciously alike, so buyer beware.

It’s currently 30% off of its $80 asking price over at Amazon.

LEGO Wi-Fi router [Amazon via The Gadgeteer]

Well, that’s handy: zip-on, condition-specific bike tires

Some people bike everywhere at any time of year. I am not one of those people, but if I was…

Actually, I have a one-speed beach cruiser and I work from home so this isn’t really for me. But – BUT! – I know some bike people.

The concept of the reTyre is that you buy a $35 base tire that can be used for, you know, standard bike stuff.

Then when it snows, you just zip on the ‘ol $68 Winter Traveler skin. And then when that snow turns to ice, you just zip on the ‘ol $89 Ice Racer skin.

And then your bike buddies are like, “Let’s go ride bikes!” and you’re like, “Where?” and they’re like, “On a trail!” you just zip on the ‘ol $46 Trail Rider skin.

You get the idea. One base tire, plus several optional zip-on nubbins or whatever they’re called. The zipping part apparently takes one minute, whereas I assume changing out the tire for an entirely new tire takes longer – and specialty tires cost alot?

I don’t know. Again, I’m not really a bike guy. The last time I tried to pop a wheelie on my beach cruiser – which I assembled myself, mind you – the handlebars came out completely and my son almost lost a lot of respect for me.

Modular Zipper Bicycle Tire [reTyre via TIWIB]

Bears. Beets. Background noise from The Office.

Do you miss the office? Do you miss The Office?

If you answered yes to either, you may be a prime candidate for the website.

It’s a web-based ambient noise generator atop which you can add familiar sounds like Pam saying, “Dunder Mifflin, this is Pam” and every “That’s what she said” that Michael Scott ever blurted out.

Also: Pranks. Creed Thoughts. Various people in the bullpen.

Getting all the sounds going at once results in something of a distracting hullabaloo, but, hey: that’s regional paper sales, baby.

Work at Dunder Mifflin [via Product Hunt]

It’s one burner phone, Michael. What could it cost: $285?

This is the $285 Supreme Blu Burner phone. It costs $285.

Specs include 3G data (throwback!), a 2.4-inch screen (simpler times!), an antenna for FM radio (adorbz!), and a camera.

The phone costs $285, if I haven’t mentioned that already.

For $285 (that’s what the phone costs) the camera could be decent. Who knows? It’s also got 16 gigabytes of storage, which *might* be about 15.9 gigabytes more than it actually needs.

And it’s made of aluminum and can handle dual SIM cards for quick-swapping. So a little bit of old-meets-new here.

It costs $285.

If your burner-phone budget is only $259, then there’s a red version for $259. It’s like the $285 black version but it’s red and costs less, at $259.

If, however, your burner phone budget is $25 or so, then you have a whole lot of more reasonable, similarly-spec’d options.

Supreme Blu Burner Phone [Farfetch via Uncrate]

Finally, a Baby Yoda that barfs toothpaste

Kids don’t like to brush their teeth? Maybe they don’t have enough Star Wars-themed barfing in the bathroom.

This handsome toothpaste topper runs a very-reasonable $10 over on Etsy, fits all major brands of toothpaste and, as far as features go, its main feature is that it barfs out toothpaste.

Mmmm. Minty.

Baby Yoda Toothpaste Topper [Etsy via TIWIB]

Ugh, I can still taste it: I eat Chapstick for a video about a USB razor

Sometimes the less impactful the product you’re reviewing, the bigger you have to go to get people to watch it.

I remember this ShaveTech USB-rechargeable razer being decent if unspectacular. Back in 2012, when this video was shot, I suppose a razor that could be charged via a built-in USB connection was a bit of a novelty, and I’ve always had a soft spot for novelty items.

But the demographic for an item such as this is… small. You need to shave your face, so that cuts out huge swaths of the market. You need to be looking for an electric razor. You need to like gadgets that charge via USB. And you’re probably cheap: this thing still exists today and only costs $20.

So what we’re left with, as far as the video goes, is a sight gag wherein I get buried under a mess of cables for a weekend and resort to eating Chapstick to survive. Mmmm… waxy.

ShaveTech USB Razor [Amazon]

I invent a knife for cutting yourself out of a malfunctioning self-making bed – also, it has a reading light

We’ve reached the end of the road for the ill-fated Mind-Blowing series, friends. Thanks for coming along for the ride.

When we did a writeup of a self-making bed on, a concerned commenter worried that such a miracle of modern ingenuity could malfunction and seriously injure someone. To which I humbly suggested sleeping with a Bed Knife to cut yourself out in case of emergency.

There would be two SKUs available: the Classic Bed Knife, which was basically just a knife, and the Deluxe Bed Knife, which contained a reading light attachment.

I also ate terrible pizza from a vending machine located at the nearby community college.

And with that, The Most Insanely Important, Mind-Blowing Tech News of the Week series met its end. There was no real push behind killing it. It was just a lot of work and it was late June at the time, which meant I had to kill the AC in my office every time I shot it, which meant it was really hot in there and I was wearing fancy clothes.

Oh, and nobody was watching the videos. And news dries up in the summer so I was running out of material. So there’s that. Goodbye, fun series.

I get chased by a taxidermized cat mounted to a drone

In this episode of the ill-fated Mind-Blowing series, I invent what I still believe to be the ultimate exercise equipment: a drone-mounted taxidermized cat that chases you.

I can’t claim all the credit, of course. The Joggobot: Cat Copter Edition is a brilliant amalgamation of two also-brilliant ideas that I didn’t come up with. But sometimes invention is about making existing ideas better.

And bonus: today I learned that the past-tense of taxidermy is taxidermized – not taxidermied.

I inhale two Twinkies in two bites while interviewing myself

In one of the more calorically-dense episodes of the ill-fated Mind-Blowing series, I shotgun two delicious Twinkies in rapid succession. It was a good day.

For you aspiring film-makers out there: a) don’t take advice from me (I’m lazy) and b) this type of interview-yourself shot is largely about timing.

Film your first sequence and try to leave pauses for your other self, then play back the first sequence while recording the second. If the timing gets away from you while you’re editing, go to a full shot of one of yourselves for a bit to get things back on track.

I get in a fight with a talking teenage vacuum cleaner

One of my favorites in the ill-fated Mind-Blowing series, we get to see what life would be like with a sassy talking vacuum and break stuff in a high-tech ghost town.

This vacuum charges until noon, lays around on the couch, demands money, dates a floor buffer, and sneaks booze – just like real teenagers, but a little different.

I also remember thoroughly enjoying shooting the ghost-town sequence and putting together the nonsensical Mother’s Day gifts. You rarely get a good, fun week when you’re in the media and this was a good, fun week.

Downing an entire bottle of Nyquil on Dougie Aamoth’s Day Off

In this episode of the ill-fated Mind-Blowing series, I do my best impression of a sick Cameron Frye from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off: “Let my Dougie goooooo.”

I remember coming home from a one-day visit to TIME HQ in New York and feeling immediately sick.

It could have been the round-trip ride on a dirty Amtrak train. It could have been the shoulder-to-shoulder lifestyle of the city that never sleeps. It could have been that years of working from home have left my immune system about as strong as wet paper.

At any rate, I powered through it. Fun fact: the Nyquil was actually orange Gatorade.

I invent the Retoasterator: a refrigerator-toaster hybrid

Apple has enjoyed great success over the years, but one thing it hasn’t capitalized on is a refrigerator that can make toast.

In this episode of the ill-fated Mind-Blowing series, I chide Apple CEO Tim Cook for himself chiding what would be a wonderful invention.

And despite this video being from 2012, nobody has capitalized on this idea yet – which means there’s still time to capitalize.

I’d do it, but unfortunately I lack the time, skills, resources, drive, gumption, wherewithal, connections, people skills, looks, je ne sais quoi, intangibles, street smarts, book smarts, and general temperament to get it done successfully.

The Retoasterator you see in the above video is NOT real, in other words. Just great special effects.

Wherein I make myself into a hologram in case I die young like Tupac

As we continue our foray into the ill-fated Mind-Blowing series, gird your loins for some next-level special effects.

Now, making a hologram-like effect isn’t rocket science but I remember my overlords and peers at TIME being very impressed by it – so take the wins where you can get them.

If you’d like to try it yourself, set the camera up on a tripod and record your scene without you in it. Then, without moving the camera, get into the scene yourself and do your thing. Then when you’re editing, place both scenes on your timeline with the “you” scene above the blank scene. From there, set the “you” scene’s transparency at 50% or whatever looks good.

Boom: you’ve got yourself a video that, in 2012, would have impressed people at the world’s most influential news magazine.

The time I tried to buy Instagram – also, my wife’s favorite video of mine

My life would have been a lot different had I been able to buy Instagram in 2012 – also, I invented a thing.

And like all inventions, you need good marketing. The thing I invented also had that, and I found out that my wife liked when I showcased my boundless musical talents.

I called it The Foetie. It was a cell phone holder for your shoe. And much like this TMIIMBTNOTW video series you’re watching, it flopped.

Fun fact: me saying stuff like “Consider this my video cover letter” and “Better act quick before someone else hires me” were thinly-veiled cries for help, as I was not enjoying my time at TIME during this time.

Like all hardy Midwesterners, though, I crumpled my feelings into a little ball and stuffed it waaaaay down into my tummy, then spent another two and a half years there before ultimately being laid off.

I’m Douglas B. Douglas from the law firm of Douglas, Douglas, and Douglas

To this day, this is still my favorite video series I ever created. It was also a colossal flop.

I had been watching a LOT of The Daily Show at the time – this was back in 2012 – and came up with the idea of a weekly tech news show that focused almost exclusively on nonsense. I called it The Most Insanely Important, Mind-Blowing Tech News of the Week.

Like I said, it flopped. And it was a fair amount of work. I kept going for probably longer than I should have, but they were fun to make and fun to watch. I remember calling into the Friday morning editorial meetings at TIME and listening to all the editors watch it in the New York conference room while I was in Boston. Good times.

In this, the first episode, I break out my lawyer character: Douglas B. Douglas from the law firm of Douglas, Douglas, and Douglas.

I would make a terrible lawyer but I’d like to think I’d make great lawyer commercials.

The WikiReader was an apocalypse-friendly Wikipedia gadget

Some gadgets just die for no good reason. Such is the case with the WikiReader.

The premise, back in 2010, was to cram all of Wikipedia onto a pocketable square that used two AA batteries and a power-sipping, sunlight-readable screen.

This thing would have been great once we figure how to travel back in time. Imagine having all of Wikipedia in your pocket back in the Dark Ages or whatever. Actually, scratch that: you’d probably be killed by a pitchfork-toting hoard of angry locals for showing off your vast BeyoncĂ© knowledge.

But also imagine having all of Wikipedia in your pocket once the apocalypse hits and we head into our underground bunkers, flush with AA batteries but without access to the World Wide Web.

Alas, the WikiReader was undoubtedly killed off by non-believers and their smartphones. It won’t always be this easy, people!

For the rest of us, we can still download all of Wikipedia. We’ll just need somewhere to put it once the sun burns out.

As far as the backstory for the above video goes, I remember it being a lot of leg-work but I wanted to do a good job for my new overlords at TIME. I also remember it driving very little traffic, which was a tough but good lesson to learn early on.