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. I do not collect information on my readers. If cookies or other tracking stuff is used on my blogs it is due to BLOGGER not ME. Apparently the European Union's new rules state I need to inform you if cookies are being use. If they are it isn't byu me, consider yourself INFORMED.
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!



Please check out my other blogs
Pick of the Literate 
or Azure Dwarf’s Horde
or visit my web site

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Digital Photo Viewer

A technophobic friend of mine was expressing frustration over his inability to find a slide projector. From the old school, he is going to do some sales training and has 95 slides he wants to use. Trouble is, nobody has a slide projector and his son told him the young guys would laugh at him for using it, even if he could find one. He does not have a computer, let alone a laptop so PowerPoint is out of the question. He is very good at what he does and sees no reason to change the way he does it. I suggested that he could meet somewhere in the middle of the techno-divide and do what he wanted without a big expense. Used slide projectors abound on eBay but they are bulky and truly dated.

My suggestion was the SanDisk SDV-1A Digital Photo Viewer. SanDisk has a newer model but since I own the old one, I am familiar with it and from what I can glean on the web, the older model appears to do a better job. The viewer is about the size of a paperback book. It plugs into the s-video port on a TV and allows you to view digital photos. Simple to use and very versatile it is also inexpensive at $39.99 with free shipping at Amazon. All he needs to do is get his slides converted, burnt to a disc for backup and put on a flash memory card for use. A local photo shop will convert the slides for $80.00 which is more expensive than the web but remember he is a technophobe. A 1gb SD card for $14.00 and he is ready to go. This is a simple but elegant solution for a guy who wants nothing to do with technology.

Technical Details
View and share digital photos with family and friends on the TV Compatible with all popular digital camera media formats, including CompactFlash Type I and II, SmartMedia, Memory Stick, SD, and MultiMediaCard View multiple pictures in preview mode, delete, rotate and zoom with remote control.Supports JPEG files (the most common form of file format used by digital still cameras) at resolutions up to 6 megapixels
Batteries: 2 AAA batteries required.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Free Books

Free Books

Once upon a time an employee of mine was showing some emotional distress. She told me that her live in boyfriend had left her because she couldn’t deal with her having a child. (Kid was 3 so it wasn’t like he was a surprise) She felt she could deal with the problem but she just didn’t know what to tell her child who wanted to know what happen to the boyfriend. I wrote “Mommy’s Friend Goes Away” and gave it to her.
I was discussing the story with a volunteer at a local agency who suggested writing about spousal abuse. This snowballed into other suggested topics.

If you want to see the topics feel free to click on the link to the right under favorite sites. The stories are free to download for non-profit use. They are stored in a .pdf format. They can be saved to your computer and printed out. They are directed toward pre-school and younger children. They deal with topics that are often ignored or unseen. If you know a child that can benefit from having one of these stories read to them, please read it or print it out and give it to someone who will read it to them. If you have any resources that could help to get these stories published or improved please email me. If you are an illustrator looking to donate your talent to re-illustrate these works, I am aware that my graphics are not exactly top notch, please contact me. Our children are our legacy and our future, my hope is that these stories may help them reach their future.

Friday, March 28, 2008


Validation is a strange thing. Sometimes it gets you free parking. Other times it means you discover that what your doing means something to someone else. One of my blogs was to question who reads what I write, why do they read it and what would they like to see. I got zip, zero, butkus responses, comments or notice. It makes you wonder if your counter is being bumped by google just to make you think someone is looking at your blog. I guess that controversial stuff gets more comments. Does that make my blog vanilla pudding?

My level of insecurity hasn’t risen to the heights where I will stop talking just because no one is listening. If you are alone in the forest talking to yourself, does a tree still fall on you? Homilies have never been my strong point.

Anyway, when you do get a comment, it is a treat even if it is to remind you that you aren’t the brightest bulb on the tree. It means that what you wrote, someone read.

Perhaps the folks I admire the most are authors. When I read a novel that makes me think, cry, ponder life or whatever, I am awed by the ability of the author to promote those feelings. When I diligently search for an authors work, usually on the web, I do so because they entertained me, they enlightened me or they made me reconsider something that I thought I concretely believed. For whatever reason, I often find that by the time I “discover” an author, the bulk of their work is out of print. So I get the thrill of the hunt as well as the satisfaction of a good book when I track their work down.

Perhaps that is why I blog, that rare occasion, when someone responds to

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Recycle that Rascal!

Recycle that Pentium

Besides boat anchor there are some good uses for old computers. Set up a dedicated screen saver machine. You load up your photos and set a screen saver to run continuously. Since you already own everything it is way cheaper than even the cheapest digital photo frame.

If you are feeling philanthropic, there are many lesser known local charities that provide computers for those who can’t afford them. Even a classic Pentium can run word processing but realistically if you have a Pentium 3 it is probably going to be of value for someone. I let my old clients know I will take their outdated computers and if they are over burdened with them, they will often deliver them to me. I always caution them that they should insure there is nothing on the hard drive that they value. It is a lot easier getting rid of the machines if there is an OS on them but even without an OS there are homes for these abandon machines.

I clean up the computers, often cannibalizing several to get enough memory and hard drive space to be of current use. If liability is of concern to you, it may make sense to clean off the hard drives yourself.

From PC World Archives author Lincoln Spector suggests to clean up specific files and the drive's free space, rely on Summit Computer's free Hard Disk Scrubber 2. To be extra cautious, check Heavy Scrub to write over the disk three times A more powerful option is Jetico's $40 BCWipe 3, which adds 5220.22-M support and cleans up unused space in the swap file.

To wipe the entire drive, Lincoln Spector of PC World, recommends LSoft Technologies' free Active@ KillDisk. The free version does a basic wipe, covering the drive with zeroes in one pass. Wiping takes lots and lots of time though. You can download the freeware version from http://www.killdisk.com/downloadfree.htm

I have cleaned and donated a couple of hundred computers over the years and have not had any issues yet. Note yet, so please cover your fanny if you are not sure of the disposition of the computer donor.

Use any hard drive erasing program with care, back in DOS days the plaintive wail of “you mean format c: lost all my stuff?” was heard way too frequently. These disk scrubbing programs do a much better job of getting rid of data.

If you have time on your hands and are relatively computer literate, you may find cleaning and donating computers to worthwhile causes, very satisfying. I know I do.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Cheap & Good Phone, How Unique!

I had a 25 year old trimline phone die recently. I searched and found that it is still made. I found it at Kmart for $9.99. It isn’t as heavy as the old one and doesn’t feel as durable but it works just fine and at that price if it doesn’t I can just pitch it. They had it in bisque and black. I like to have some corded phones around for when the power is out. Cordless is great the rest of the time. Features and description of the phone are:
AT&T Trimline Desk/Wall Phone - Bisque
Kmart item# 9990000018120011 Mfr. model# 18120011
Single line corded phone from AT&T may be used on desktop or wall-mounted.
Fully illuminated dial buttons
12-number speed dial memory
3 one-touch memory keys
Backlit keypad
Handset volume control
Flash/ Mute
Last number redial

Monday, March 10, 2008

Emergency Night Light

I am a believer in night lights. Perhaps innate clumsiness feeds that belief but when the kids were little and I jumped up at the slightest nighttime provocation, it was reassuring to be able to see the nefarious hot wheels prior to stepping on them rather than pulling the impalement out of my foot after the fact.

This has led to a long line of plug in nightlights. One of my periodic, paranoid Christmas stocking stuffers is the nightlight that plugs in but doesn’t turn on unless you lose power. Loss of power in the burbs occurs more often than you think. Usually a tree or branch coming down on the line. Anyway my last one died and I found this one on Amazon. Surprisingly enough it is about half the cost of my last one and has a significant warranty. Interestingly enough it is only $8.99 at http://www.buyzillion.com/ and you check out through Amazon. It appears that a $25 order will get free shipping.

Technical Details
3-in-1 (3-way) emergency power failure light provides safety, security and convenience
Light automatically turns on when the power goes out
Plugs into any polarized indoor wall socket; unique receptacle for additional lamp or appliance
Can also be used as night light or rechargeable flashlight
6-year limited warranty

Amazon.com Product Description
The Intermatic three-way emergency power failure light provides safety, security and convenience. This light automatically turns on when the power goes out. It can also be used as a night light or handy rechargeable flashlight. Compatible with any polarized indoor wall socket, the light also features a unique receptacle for plugging in an additional lamp or appliance. It comes with a 6-year limited warranty.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Smoke Detectors, Don’t Procrastinate!

Get off your duff and check your smoke detectors. If they are part of an overall alarm system, take the time to alert your alarm company and test them. Death overall kind of sucks but death by fire strikes me as too gruesome to even think about. So to avoid being a statistic check your smoke detectors. If you need new ones Consumer Search rates the First Alert Ultimate Series Battery-Powered Smoke Alarm #SA302CN at the best all-around smoke detector.

Excerpt from Consumer Search at www.consumersearch.com
“In reviews, experts consistently point to the First Alert Dual Sensor as the best smoke detector. It runs on a replaceable 9-volt battery and features a combination ionization and photoelectric sensor that is by far the most accurate and effective detection method available. The SA302CN has extra features that many detectors do not, such as remote-controlled alarm silence and test, Intelligent Sensing, which differentiates non-threatening conditions (i.e. kitchen smoke) from real emergencies, and an automatic daily self-check test. This model has a 10-year warranty. One downside is that some owners say you can accidentally trigger the test function with your TV's remote control, so it may take some trial and error to get the right placement.”

I don’t know that I need them but I am ordering two from http://www.amazon.com/ anyway. Amazon has them at $22.00 each and that puts me over the $25 minimum to get free shipping. Quite a deal for peace of mind.

Details from Amazon web site.
“Technical Details
Dual sensing ionization and photoelectric battery-operated smoke alarm
Intelligent sensing technology reduces nuisance alarms
Patented remote-controlled technology for hassle-free silencing and testing
Low battery warning with remote-controlled silence feature; tamper resistant
9-volt battery included; 10-year limited warranty

Product Description
Amazon.com Product Description
The First Alert Ultimate Series smoke alarms incorporate all of the patented features that make First Alert the leader in home safety products. The SA302C comes with both photoelectric and ionization sensors to detect flame or smoke in one powerful alarm. The rear mounted sensor is the most efficient design in the industry. With intelligent sensing technology, this alarm is designed to recognize the difference between non-threatening conditions and real emergencies. It is effective at detecting both slow, smoldering fires and fast, flaming fires. A loud 85-decibel alarm alerts you to smoke or fire.
The alarm's microprocessor technology automatically runs daily self-check tests on every smoke alarm function (does not test horn) to assure you that it's working properly. Silencing and testing functions can be run by most household remote controls such as the ones used for the television, stereo, and VHS or DVD players, eliminating the need to reach the ceiling. It features a low battery alert to remind you when to change the battery and has a missing battery guard to ensure that a battery is placed inside the alarm. The alarm automatically quiets the low battery alert without affecting the alarm's functionality. The side battery drawer slides open for easy battery replacement.

This unit comes with a 9-volt battery and a 10-year limited warranty. UL listed for safety. “
 Money Saving Tech Tips