Monday, December 22, 2014

Dirt Devil UD30010 Featherlite Bagged Upright

My initial reaction was this was a DYI vacuum cleaner.   I opened the box and found a snap fit vacuum cleaner.   After reading the documentation I discovered it was really only 4 Phillips head screws to assemble the cleaner.  The assembly was quick and easy although the instructions were a touch confusing as they have multiple languages together for each step.   I prefer keeping the languages separate but realize this version probably saves some trees.

The vac is very light and wouldn't be a burden carrying.  The hose is long and easily removed to use the cleaning wands or brush.   I vacuumed a very dirty carpet in my garage where I assemble stuff like this.  It did a nice job and picked up grass and leaves as well as normal dirt.   I tried the smooth surface selection on the concrete floor and it worked well there too. 

Overall a favorable impression on a very inexpensive unit.   Durability is not known.  If what I consider premature failure occurs I will report back here.

From the vendor:
Lightweight - Less Than 10 Pounds
Full Bag Indicator
10 Foot Hose ; 13 Inch Nozzle

If reviewing a product, it may have been received free of charge. That will NEVER have a bearing on my recommendations.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

AYL Silicone Grill Gloves

These are heavy thick gloves to be used handling hot items.   I tested them by holding a hot skillet after grilling a ham and cheese.   No problem, no skin left on the frying pan which is always a good thing.   I then unloaded the dishwasher during the heated dry cycle.  I don't know about your dishwasher but you do NOT want to grab the dishes out of mine while it is in the heated dry cycle.  Again no problem, no burns and no dropped dishes.   My final test was to put a 200 watt incandescent light bulb in a lamp and let it cook for 30 minutes.   I then removed the bulb using the glove.   I have no way of measuring the temperature of the light bulb but I absolutely would not grab it without protection.  The glove allowed reasonable dexterity with apparently fool proof protection.

My negatives are that they are cumbersome however not nearly as cumbersome as pot holders.   If your hands are damp, you will have a hard time getting the glove to slide on.   After I thoroughly dried my hands, no problem with getting the glove on.  I do use baby powder for rubber gloves when I need to squeeze them on, in this case flour in the kitchen would work just as well.  Again with dry hands it wasn't a problem getting the gloves on.

The vendor suggested you could use the gloves to remove lids, I had no lids to remove but I do feel they would work for that application.

I did received the gloves gratis and was asked to review them.   I received no compensation for the review but I was allowed to keep the gloves.  If you read my work, you are aware that I can on occasion be caustic even with or perhaps especially with free stuff.  This review is my honest opinion.   There are times where I wish I would have had these gloves and I suspect my use of burn ointment will decrease with owning them.  

If reviewing a product, it may have been received free of charge. That will NEVER have a bearing on my recommendations.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Corel PaintShop Pro X7

Preliminary report is mixed and has nothing to do with the performance of the software.  My desktop machine exceeds all specifications for the hardware.  I have RAM, processor and storage in gross excess of all specifications.  I am running Windows 8.1.   The software would not install.  I rebooted my system and still no install.  I disabled my antivirus and spyware protection and still no install.  

I then tried the software on a Windows 8.1 laptop of less capability and was able to get the software to install.   I make every effort to maintain software parity on both machines.  I want to be able to go from one to the other seamlessly and have the same software installed on both machines.  I back up to the laptop multiple times each day so it should be as close as possible to the same installed software with the minute differences in hardware.  

I don't know why the software will not install on my desktop.  There is no support phone number on the software spec sheet that is included.  I suspect most users do not have a stable of computers to try new software installations.   That the software would not install on two machines so closely configured is alarming to me and probably to Corel as well.  Most users would give up after the first five or six attempts, I gave up after multiple reboots and approximately ten attempts.  I will be back with an update if I solve the problem.  I am not bothering to look at the software features as they are moot if it can't be installed easily.   

If reviewing a product, it may have been received free of charge. That will NEVER have a bearing on my recommendations.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

SmartyKat FeatherWhirl Electronic Motion Ball

I laughed out loud LOL when I turned this toy on.  The cats are crazy over it.  The erratic motion and the lack of a loud noise encourages them to play.   They  run into each other going after it.   This is a great cat toy and I may enjoy it as much as the cats do.  This would be a good cat Christmas gift.

If reviewing a product, it may have been received free of charge. That will NEVER have a bearing on my recommendations.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Must Have For the Holiday Season Zibra ZPCOPEN-OR Open It Universal Package Opener.

Frankly when I got this as a gift I thought it was dumb but since then I have realized what a terrific tool it is.  This is the swiss army knife of package openers.  I mostly use the shears to cut those obnoxious military grade clamshell cases that don't deter shop lifters but certainly fund the bandaid consortiums nefarious deeds. 

It has a little snap off box cutter and philips head screwdriver as well as the durable shears.  I have never used the screwdriver but the box cutter does well with the cardboard box sealing tape the usually precedes the frustrating military grade clam shell. 

This is a great tool and every kitchen should have one. 

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Crayola Marker Maker Wacky Tips

Opening this kit I heard the haunting tune of déjà vu'.  It reminded me of my childhood chemistry set.   This is a toy demanding a steady hand and a level of concentration beyond some adults but well within the ability of a talented 10 year old.  Eight might be pushing it but with adult supervision the kit would probably be useable.

The kit is well thought out.   I like the labels for the markers and the boxes for the finished product.   The color chart is simplistically sophisticated.   Most kids I know like markers due to the bright colors and depth of color with minimal effort as opposed to the multiple layers demanded by traditional crayons.   Making there own markers with the ability to create both unique colors and with the wacky tips to create unique styles, I think this kit should be a hit.  I can't wait to share it with my grandkids.   $24.00 at Amazon.

If reviewing a product, it may have been received free of charge. That will NEVER have a bearing on my recommendations.

Friday, November 28, 2014

PLAYMOBIL Great Asian Castle

More than just some assembly required. 

This castle looked perfect for a grandson who already has two castles and this fits right in with the theme.   (BTW he has a 4'x16' foam board castle in my garage with an 8' tower and a original 4'x8' painting of a dragon storming a castle on one wall.)   So it is obvious there is a strong fantasy theme prevailing.

Finished product, more than 60 minutes. 
My initial reaction when I opened the box and discovered it was a DIY was not positive.  However my subsequent thoughts were that for an industrious 5 year old who enjoys puzzles this was actually better.   I would note that the 60 minute time frame suggested for assembly would be for an adult with no oversight by a 5 year old.   Maintaining focus for complete assembly could be problematic. 

The quality is good and typical of my experience with the brand.   I was personally disappointed in the dragon, which I expected to be larger and more ferocious.   Overall my impression is very positive but and this is a pretty large but, I think it is very pricey, at my time of review $137 at Amazon.  If that does not dissuade you, this is a gift that would appear to offer a lot of play time. 

From the vendor: 
·                        The Great Asian Castle is protected by a fierce fire-breathing dragon
·                        The yellow dragon can guard the castle from the attachable landing platform
·                        The functioning portcullis keeps unwanted visitors out, while the hidden trap door catches intruders
·                        In a secret cave, kids can hide the sacred dragon fire, which lights up!
·                        Includes four figures, helmets, shields and additional battle gear, skeleton, torches, flags and other accessories

If reviewing a product, it may have been received free of charge. That will NEVER have a bearing on my recommendations.
 Money Saving Tech Tips