Amazon

October 2014 Is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month

Domestic violence has generated enormous press with the NFL the last few weeks. However domestic violence is not limited to over paid athletes. Domestic violence plagues ordinary people, every single day. I am offering the Kindle version of Mommy's Black Eye FREE from October 1st to October 5th to promote awareness of domestic violence.

Spanish Version El ojo morado de Mama


Thursday, October 23, 2014

HP Chromebox CB1-020 Desktop



 
This is my first exposure to a Chrome Box.   I'm impressed.  It was easy to setup.  It functioned out of the box and since I already had a google account, things progressed nicely.  I was able to access the Internet with no problem via the WIFI.   Basically without an Internet connection the unit is pretty much useless.  I opened up Picasa files, document files and played music from YouTube.   Both the flash memory card and the USB flash drive were recognized and accessible.   It walked me through setting up Google cloud printing and I was able to print to my local printer.   You are advised that you can not hook up a printer directly to the unit.  Overall I found the box quite functional and would find it a very useful auxiliary computer.
 
The lack of any cables but a power cable was annoying.  I just went over the description again to see if it mentioned that you will need cables, keyboard and monitor.   It seems self evident that a mouse and keyboard will be needed but I wonder how many other people have extra HDMI cables lying around unused.  The unit also has a display port which if you have been living under a rock like I have been, you may want to find out exactly what that is and how it might be worth using.  Good article on it here.

So my only beef was the lack of any included cables.   Considering the minimal cost of an HDMI cable,  including one would be a good feature.   I did not find any support for a Slingbox in the Chrome Store.   Slingbox does not address a Chrome computer either.   Chrome computers do not appear to work with Slingbox.  According to Sling, Chromestore should have Slingplayer as a download plugin.  Chromestore does not have that plugin.  With that exception so far I am quite impressed with the Chrome OS.  Google did not turn up a reference either except for one optimistic post in March 2014 that said that Sling was considering adding Chrome machines to their mix.  I'm sure if they do it will be another $14.99 fee for the ap as Sling charges for both the tablet and the phone software.  That is another review and it's own annoying limitations.   

Specifications

Operating system
Chrome OS
Processor
Intel Celeron 2955U
Memory
2GB PC3-12800 DDR3L SDRAM 1X2GB

(expandable to 4GB)
Storage
16GB solid-state drive
Available finishes
Snow White, Smoke Silver, Ocean Turquoise
Video graphics
Intel HD Graphics
I/O
2 USB 3.0 (front), 2 USB 3.0 (back), SD Card reader, 1 HDMI, 1 Display port (full size), Combo Mic/Headphone Jack, 1 RJ-45
Network interface
Ethernet (10/100/1000 Base-T)
Connectivity
Wireless LAN 802.11a/b/g/n featuring Dual-band (2.4GHz and 5GHz) 2x2 MIMO technology and integrated Bluetooth® 4.0
Weight
1.39 lb.
Dimensions (L x W x H)
4.88"L x 4.96"W x 1.53"H


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

Sunday, October 19, 2014

LeapFrog LeapBand




I'm not sure an activity tracker for a kid this age makes sense but it is darn cute.   I guess with the parents obsessing about fitness or hopefully so, it isn't a stretch to think a kid would enjoy emulating the parent.  The screen is very clear, the sound could be a touch louder but that may be old ears vs. young ears that haven't been corrupted by 50 years of Rock.   The activities are good and seem very appealing to an age appropriate kid.   The fact that it can be set for the time when the kid is in school so that the little voice doesn't come popping out during class is a necessary feature.   I think it will provide enjoyment and fun.  My experience with this age is that physical activity is hardly an issue but I guess with the epidemic of obesity there will be concerned parents who see this as a requisite.  Since it doubles as a watch,  I think it will have both utilitarian aspects and fun ones from the activities.  I will report back here if that doesn't hold true after the serious test by my in house 5 year old.   

To set this up, you will need to connect to an Internet connected computer with an available USB port.

·                        Experience the first activity tracker made for kids?LeapBand is fit made fun!
·                        Preload LeapBand with 50 active challenges that get kids moving, like ?Pounce like a lion!"
·                        Parent controls on LeapFrog Connect make it easy to set play times, challenges and more.
·                        Encourages active play, nurturing and healthy choices.
·                        Ages 4-7 years.

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

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Dragonwing Girlgear


Dragonwing girlgear Chill Weight Long Sleeve Athletic T-Shirt

Not being an aficionado of female attire, I turned to my bride for help on this review.   Her conclusions are as follows.   The top has a good durable feel.  It appears to be well made, the seams are tight and the hem is secure.  It stretches in the appropriate places.  Sizing could be an issue.  The shirt is most definitely sized for a young figure but a slight or petite adult female could wear this clothing.   If it doesn't match up to the performance accolades I will be back here to note that.  The $25 ish price at Amazon is regarded as a good price by my wedded consultant.
 


Made of high performance UV50, moisture wicking, 4-way stretch and odor absorbent material with brushed inner for extra softness

Mock neck designed and sized just for girls with flat seams and tag-free to eliminate chafing

Wrist sweat wipe, thumb hole sleeve and extra long style stays tucked in

Great for Soccer, Lacrosse, Softball, Baseball, Basketball, Running, Skiing, Yoga and a variety of Sports

Tween and Teen Girls ages 8-17, See Size Chart on the left for correct sizing
Made of high performance UV50, moisture wicking, 4-way stretch, odor absorbent material with brushed inner for extra softness


 
Dragonwing girlgear Girl's Chill Weight Workout Capri

This is almost a repeat of the review of the same company's shirt.  Not being an aficionado of female attire, I turned to my bride for help on this review.   Her conclusions are as follows.   The pants have a good durable feel.  They appears to be well made, the seams are tight and the hems are secure.  The pants stretchin the appropriate places.  Sizing could be an issue.  The large size is close to a woman's petite size 8 and  is most definitely sized for a young figure but a slight or petite adult female could wear this clothing.   If it doesn't match up to the performance accolades I will be back here to note that. The panel on the bottom of the legs is an excellent color match for the blue top.  Together they make a nice set. $28 ish at Amazon.
combined as an outfit.
 

Made of high performance UV50, moisture wicking, 4-way stretch,odor absorbent material with brushed inner for extra softness
Midrise waist for comfort
Hidden front, inside pocket to carry small valuables
Great for Soccer, Lacrosse, Softball, Baseball, Basketball, Running, Skiing, Yoga and variety of sports
Flat seams and tag-free to eliminate chafing


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

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Rockwell RK2863K 20V Sonicrafter, 27-Piece



I was not familiar with this type of tool until we had some work done on our home.  I watched our contractor use this type of tool for so many different applications that I was stunned that I didn't have one let alone I was unfamiliar with it.  Then I visited a long time friend who ambitiously installed two dozen new windows and said he wouldn't have been so successful if he hadn't had this type of tool. With those two examples I purchased one for each of my grown sons as birthday gifts.   When the opportunity arose to review this Rockwell I jumped on it.

First impression was very positive.  It comes in a heavy nylon/canvas storage bag.  Upon opening the bag you discover there is a sturdy plastic box to hold the accessories.   Now being a bit OCD, I delight in organization of things.  I was very pleased to see someone at Rockwell also likes to keep things organized. 

I read the instructions and was a bit uncertain as to the extension of the flange to hold the various tools.  I, sadly, have broken things trying to make them do what I think they should do.  I called customer support and got a knowledgeable person who politely pointed out that I should be using the release handle from the 3 o'clock position rather than then 12 o'clock position.   Simple problem solved and perhaps a note in the documentation to positioning would be in order.   Regardless, I got a human being who seemed interested in my problem, was knowledgeable enough to solve the issue and who was very easy to understand.   Customer service that is good deserves to be lauded and this woman was very good.

The unit comes with a variety of tools and is accompanied by a diagram telling what utilization is assigned to each tool. I picked out a narrow saw blade, installed and tested it.   This tool allows precision work well beyond any other tool except for perhaps my Dremel which isn't really useful for anything but hobby type work.   The saw worked perfectly and I was able to precisely cut a 1/4" notch in a board with very little effort.   I really like the dual headlight LEDs that project onto the work surface.   I like being able to see what I am doing.  The tool is battery operated with a 20 volt lithium battery.  The portability is great and with a battery that strong, I expect I will have good usage.   The warranty is three years on the tool and there is a lifetime replacement warranty on the battery.   This is an impressive tool.  If I have any feelings to the contrary after further use, I will report back here. 


·                        Universal Fit System accepts other brand accessories
·                        Hyper lock Tool-Less Blade Change - 1TON clamping force prevents blade slippage
·                        Battery Technology for high capacity, no self-discharge, & no memory effect. FREE BATTERIES FOR LIFE
·                        LED Light for improved visibility
·                        Metal Gear Housing for extreme durability

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

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Air Travel Drives Increase Use of Cars


I have a conspiracy theory.   Big Oil and the car manufacturers are paying the airlines to make air travel as inconvenient and uncomfortable as possible.   This drives consumers to get in their car and drive to their destination rather than suffering the indignities of airline cattle chutes, micro seats and air fare roulette. 

Admittedly at 6' 2" I am a hair bigger than average.   That fact does not predispose me to paying more than three times the average fare to fly "first class" in order to actually get some leg room.   Face it, who wouldn't want to suck on their own knees for hours to get to destinations too far to drive their car. 

While cattle prods are not used (yet) to organize the lines at the airport, the attitude of the TSA folks and airline employees indicate that the paying customer is an annoyance rather than the reason they have jobs.

Air fare roulette is not as fun as it sounds.   Exploring air fares from Pennsylvania to Florida was an interesting exercise of the proverbial shell game. Not only did I find different fares on different websites, I found different fares on different days and I actually found different fares on the same websites with only minutes difference in my exploration.   The "only three seats left at this fare" type of admonishment appeared on multiple days for the same flights which leads one to never believe what the airlines are claiming.  What adds to the fun is that some web sites show fares with all the taxes and some don't increasing the intentional confusion.  Then there is the luggage game.   This airline says luggage flies free, the next one says our rates are lower so even though we charge for luggage you save money.   If you pay more you can get an aisle seat or a seat on the escape row or a bulkhead or even a free pass to the restroom!  

The most frustrating thing about this entire air travel debacle is THAT WE PUT UP WITH IT!  If we the consumers just decided, we will skip flying to grandma's for Christmas this year to make a statement to the airlines.  If we refuse to pony up big bucks to be treated as second
class citizens for a third world experience crowded cheek to jowl in tight rows with grumpy flight attendants, perhaps the lack of customers would make the airlines take notice.   Of course as long as they are being subsidized by the Great Airline Conspiracy of Big Oil and car manufacturers they will continue to pound the round consumer into their square little seats.

Me, I'm driving my car on my next trip with my seat back as far as it goes and my legs stretched out and saving money as I do it.


Friday, October 3, 2014

U.S. Divers Malibu Silicone Free Diving


Just a FYI for those of you who wonder how seriously things like this are reviewed.   I have no recollection of having been in my pool in October, ever!  I was in this afternoon to test this mask and snorkel.  The water temperature was in the 60 degree area.   I suppose I could have fired up the heater but a couple of hundred dollars of propane to test this didn't make sense.   Of course I had a family member suggest it made no sense being in the pool on October 1, regardless of my reasons.
I have never had a nicer mask or snorkel.   It adjusted easily and the adjustments held.   I have had cheaper masks that after a few minutes in the water the adjustments re-adjusted on their own.  Ten laps in the pool and everything remained stable.   I dove down and the valve on the snorkel closed as it claimed.   I did a fair amount of kicking to increase turbulence to see if the valve on the snorkel let in water that way, it did not.  I am not a professional diver so I don't know how this compares to professional grade gear but I was impressed with the quality and the functionality.   I was not impressed with how darn cold my pool is in October in Pennsylvania.

·                        Low profile frameless design mask for maximum visibility
·                        Silicone skirt and easy to adjust buckle for maximum comfort
·                        Submersible, dry top snorkel with Pivot Dry Technology - Designed to keep water out of the breathing tube above and below the surface of the water
·                        Soft silicone mouth piece and full flex section for maximum comfort
·                        Mesh bag included


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

Monday, September 29, 2014

Case Logic Samsung Galaxy S4 EXTREME 2-Piece Case




This phone case looks as if it will provide more than adequate protection.  I am not adventuresome enough to try dropping the phone to make sure.   It is kind of a reverse Otter Box.  The hard shell is on the outside and the soft shell is inside.  I don't see why it wouldn't offer a good level of protection. It has a nice selection  of colors as well and at half the price of the Otter Box it is worth trying. I have had very good experience with Caselogic products.


·                      





  Slim fitted protection for Samsung Galaxy S4
·                        Design provides full access to all buttons and ports
·                        Deep frame construction prevents screen scratching and impact damage
·                        2 piece case includes rubber silicone base and rigid, interlaced shell for ultimate protection and style
·                        1 year warranty


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