FTC Disclosure

Life is complicated enough without getting into hotwater with federal agencies so: TAKE NOTE Many things I review I got at no charge in exchange for an honest review. Consider this as informing you that ALL things I review may have been gotten at no charge. Realistically about 60% but in order to keep things above board just assume that I got the stuff free. Words like, “sponsored,” “promotion,” “paid ad” or even just “ad” are clear ways to disclose that you’re being paid to share information and links so BE AWARE that some of what I write can be described as an AD by the government. BTW I will NEVER say a product is great, super or even acceptable if it isn't whether I got it free or NOT!

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Please check out my other blogs
Pick of the Literate 
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Saturday, May 19, 2018

Joeys Garden Expandable Garden Hose - 50 Feet Green - Extra Strong Stretch Material with Brass Connectors - Bonus 8 Way Spray Nozzle, Carrying Bag and Hanger


               

This is a great product.  I was hesitant to trust one of these expandable hoses but I was pleasantly surprised.  It worked well for both general plant watering and on my power washer.

·                         
·                        From the vendor:
·                         
·                        HEAVY DUTY: The pipe, brass connectors, valve, nozzle and spray are made with durable premium materials and fabric. They will not rust, leak, tear, rip or crack, and are designed to be long lasting.
·                        EASY TO USE: Simply turn on your faucet and watch this hose expand to a length of 50 feet to reach the far corners of your garden. When water is turned off, the hose shrinks back to its original size.
·                        A MULTIPURPOSE HOSE: Use your hose to release a steady stream of water with unprecedented ease! Water your lawn, clean your car, wash your pet dog, and more. The possibilities are endless!
·                        DURABLE DESIGN: Our sturdy hose is built to work with a minimum water pressure of 4 bars (60PSI) and a maximum of 8 bars (115 PSI), with 6 bars (85 PSI) optimum. It works with any water supply.
·                        LIGHTWEIGHT AND PORTABLE: At 3 lbs., this hose is easy to hoist and maneuver. The bonus carrying sack makes transport even easier, and the included hanger allows it to be easily mounted.


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

Monday, May 14, 2018

Windows 10 Upgrade 5/14/18 Trashes Excel


Windows 10 asked to do an extensive upgrade this morning and I agreed.  About one hour later it was done.  During the day using Chrome browser I had no issues.  However I lost over an hour of work in PagePlus X9 inexplicably.   I then tried to use an open Excel spreadsheet and it locked up multiple times.  Reloaded sheet from a backup thinking it was a corrupt file and the backup copy locked up. Google the issue and saw many complaints of Excel locking up after a Windows 10 upgrade.  I looked at several of the Microsoft "Fixes" and they were grossly complicated.  

What was EASY?

Downloading LibreOffice.   I researched free Office alternatives and it was widely complimented.  It opened the Excel file, I was able to edit it and then to save and re-open it.  

So thank you LibreOffice!  If it runs well for a month, I will return and make the requested donation. 


Microsoft, 
what are you thinking?  


  

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Melnor 4-Outlet Digital Water Timer with Advanced Functions, Each Valve with 4 Independent Cycles and Can Water Individual Days of Week


              

This works really well.  DO NOT lose the instructions though.  It isn’t hard to program but it is not intuitive.  Once it is setup it works really well.   It was probably me but I had to reset it multiple times because there did not appear to be a way to shorten the water delivery without reprogramming.  Once it was programmed it works great and it is very flexible.  You can set it for multiple cycles in one day or set it for alternate days.  It should serve many needs.
·                         
·                         
·                        Flexible programming - set up to 4 cycles per day, each with it's own start time on specific days of the week. Easy Manual watering by simply using the "Manual" button
·                        The new larger Rectangular screen is 25% bigger to better display Information for the simplest set up and programming that can easily be seen at a glance
·                        Rain delay - if there's rain in the forecast, the rain delay mode will stop all watering for up to 7 days. The watering program will begin running automatically after the delay period
·                        Low Battery consumption. A new set of batteries lasts up to 6 months. The water program remains when batteries are changed or between seasons. Two x AA alkaline batteries are required (not included)
·                        Backed by a Melnor 7-Year Limited Warranty. Melnor stands behind its products. Leave a question/feedback below. We value your experience with us.


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


Friday, May 4, 2018

Which VPN was Right for Me


Choosing a VPN
My last post explained why I decided to use a VPN.   Now here is how I choose the one I finally settled on.   I tried a couple of free VPNs and found issues with them all.  I Googled best VPN and got a variety of ratings from a bunch of different magazines and tech blogs.   I tried TunnelBear first as it seems very friendly.   It was friendly and worked okay but if I turned it off on my desktop, it required a reboot to get back to   I checked out the FAQs and emailed tech support but really got no satisfaction.
the Internet.

Next I read reviews until my eyes bled.   I decided to try NordVPN and it ranks as number one on many of the review sites.  It also had a 3 day trial run.  Frankly they should all have a free trial run but that is another can of worms.   It installed easily.   I attached easily and then ran a speed test.   My connection speed dropped 90% on the download side and 80% on the upload side.   Again went to FAQ’s and found nothing working.  I got a very pleasant young man on Chat who, if his profile pic was accurate is in my 14 year old granddaughters tech class.   Regardless of how disturbingly young he looked, he provided me with a few scenarios.   After adding some new dns numbers to my settings I was able to run a speed test and my connection speeds were only down 50%.   He suggested some more tweaks and I thanked him, asked for a transcript and went to bed.  I don’t know where he was but I know it was way past my bed time. 

I tried his tweaks the next day and got no better speed.  More importantly my tablet connection suffered the same level of degradation.   After looking at their suggestions for tweaking my tablet I concluded that NordVPN was not for me.    

Next Time:  PureVPN May 9th

Sunday, April 29, 2018

VPN or Not to VPN


I’ve been familiar with VPN’s for maybe 20 years.  My business at one point was to set up networks for companies.   I make an effort to not use my WIFI devices on public WIFI but traveling makes that an issue.   So then I tried not doing anything of importance on my devices when traveling.   However the more I read the more I became paranoid.   I decided, for my own personal data protection, I wanted to start using a VPN.   Virtual Private Network or VPN allows connection to the Internet through an anonymous server.   The IP address that shows is not your home IP address and it makes it very difficult for someone snooping to get back to your devices.  

Theoretically if you are in a WIFI hot spot in LA and log onto the Internet through an unprotected WIFI server you are leaving yourself open for a variety of problems.   There may not be anyone on that network that is trying to steal your data but you don’t really know.   Perhaps more problematic is your stay at a Motel 5.5 with free WIFI.   You open up your device and see FREEmotel5.5 and log on.   Meanwhile Motel 5.5’s free WIFI is really Motel 5.5 WIFI.   So you are hanging your data out in the wind.  

The concept of the VPN is you have a tunnel from your device through whatever method you using to access the web to your VPN providers server.   When you pop out of that tunnel you may be hundreds or even thousands of miles away and you are anonymous.  Thus hacking you for your data becomes far more difficult.  Sadly I am convinced that if someone sufficiently talented is determined to get to your data, they will.   The key, in my mind, is the harder you make your personal fortress to breach, the more likely some data pervert will pass over you and go to an easier target. 

Next:May 5th Which VPN was right for me.

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

tzumi Magnamount Qi Charger & Phone Mount


$15.00 on Amazon when I got it.  A bargain as
far as I am concerned
tzumi Magnamount Qi Charger & Phone Mount for Car Air Vents – Wireless Fast Charging for iPhone X, 8, 8 Plus, Samsung Galaxy S8, S8 Edge S7 S6 Note 8 5 & Any Qi Enabled Smartphone

I had another brand of wireless charger for air vents and it has since died.  It was a bit of a kludge.  This clamped on just fine but I don’t want my vents blocked.  I particularly liked the fact that the vent clamp comes off cleanly and leaves a flat surface.   The magnetic part was then very convenient as I have a spot that is next to a power port and I can just lay the charger in there.  The addition of the metal template on the back of my case allows the phone to stay securely on the charger.   It appears that they want it on the inside of the case.  I would prefer it on the outside of my case which is where I put it.  I suppose it will eventually come off but meanwhile it works great.

From the vendor:

·                        Seamless, Universal Fit: The Magnamount is a powerfully magnetic smartphone holder and Qi-compatible wireless charger that will clip to any air vent of your choice for hands-free driving convenience. It will hold any smartphone, including all iOS and Android devices (such as the iPhone X, 8/8 Plus, 7, 7 Plus, 6s Plus, 6s, 6 SE, Samsung Galaxy S8, Plus S8 Edge, S7, S6, and Note 8 5). There are no bracket arms to adjust, and smartphones of any size and weight will dock and charge seamlessly.
·                        Fast Qi Wireless Charging: The Magnamount Auto Air Vent Charger has an impressive charging capacity for Qi-compatible smartphones, which, when paired with a Qualcomm QC 3.0 car adapter, can provide a fast wireless charge with its 10-watt power output capacity. We provide a Micro-USB charging cable to use with Android devices, and an AC adapter unit must be purchased separately.
·                        Safe, Low-Key Design: At only 2.5” inches on all sides, the Magnamount base is completely hidden from sight while holding a device. This prevents distractions and even empowers you as a safer driver by enabling better GPS usage, enabling easier message viewing and media listening from a safe hands-free position. It includes adhesive magnetic plates which can be used to secure your smartphone to the mount, and its unique rubber magnetic ring and matching plate design provides shock resistance.
·                        Fast, Easy Application: The Magnamount is perfect for anyone who wants a quick dock from a safe distance in seconds. Its charging head swivels on a ball joint which provides 320° degrees of rotation and uses a vent clip fixture that can be used with any vertical or horizontal air vent. The sturdy clip features rubber padding for extra stability and to absorb vibrations from the road, so your view remains steady and unchanging.
·                        The tzumi Promise: At tzumi, we are committed to providing you with the very best in consumer electronics products. We're convinced you will be more than happy with your Magnamount Auto Air Vent Charger, but if you are unsatisfied for any reason, please contact us directly so that we can be of assistance.

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

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Fossil Q Women's Jacqueline Gold-Tone Stainless Steel Hybrid Smartwatch FTW5020


This is a very pretty watch.  I tested the music and the photo capabilities.   It is convenient not to have to dig your phone out if you want to change the music.  The photo capabilities are pretty slick.  You can place your phone on a table leaning up against a cup and get yourself or your group in place and take the photo by pressing the button on your phone. The watch is both functional and pretty.


·                        Smartphone notifications; Charging not required/ 6 mo battery life; Customizable buttons- control your music, take a photo; Activity & Custom goal tracking
·                        Band Material: Stainless Steel; Band Color: Gold-tone; Case Size: 36 mm x 43 mm; Case Thickness: 12 mm; Water Resistance: 5 ATM; Connectivity: Bluetooth Smart Enabled / 4.1 Low Energy
·                        Quartz Movement
·                        Case Diameter: 43mm
·                        Water resistant to 50m (165ft: in general, suitable for short periods of recreational swimming, but not diving or snorkeling

I got the watch as an income taxable item in exchange for an honest review. 

This book may have been received free of charge from a publisher or a publicist. That will NEVER have a bearing on my recommendations.



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