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, October 31, 2010

Another Dell Gotcha! Very SCARY!

I was asked recently if I would look at a Dell laptop that was not recognizing a new battery. The new battery looked well made, fit perfectly in the Dell but was not recognized. I put the old battery in and got a message stating that the battery is at the end of it’s life cycle and buy a new battery. Here comes the gotcha!

If you buy a Dell brand battery it is three times as expensive as the off brand. Now I didn’t have a new Dell battery to test but my guess is that the Dell brand battery will be recognized by the Dell laptop. The 3rd party vendor insists the battery will work if you follow their instructions which involve updating the bios, the CMOS, yadda yadda.

Dell support simply said it isn’t our battery. Tsk Tsk.

Third party people provided a bunch of busy work that did nothing. I also found it interesting that the Dell bios upgrade could not be done with the third party battery installed. I had to put the old battery in before it would update the bios. Interesting.

Talk about locking in your market, if your end user wants to save more than a few bucks by getting a 3rd party battery, YOU CAN’T EVEN UPDATE YOUR BIOS!

Knowing full well no one at Dell cares but still..SHAME ON YOU!

I’m sure there is some way to make the battery work but I’m only willing to devote so much time to pro bono work. Is it any wonder that Dell and Despicable both start with D.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The Politics of Vilification

I’ve never had much issue with dirt, the soil type anyway. Political dirt is another story. It must work or why would they all use it. I have strong doubts about its efficiency. In my own little straw poll I have determined that 99% of us are sick to our stomach over the attack ads. I say 99% because I am sure some demented soul must love the attack strategy.

It doesn’t matter what your political affiliation might be, as Flower put so succinctly, “if you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all”.

It is a darn shame that so few people running for office have any inkling on how to present them selves. They seem dreadfully adept at vilifying their opponent and have so little to say about their own goals. The demagogues start throwing their lies about and in a downward, self replicating spiral the opponents respond and we have a continuous storm of defecation.

The health care bill is a good example. How many emails have you gotten that assure you with 100% confidence the health care bill is going to be detrimental to you. Odd, since those emails have no idea of your situation. Nazi Germany and Stalinist Russia were both fond of the big lie. Shout it loud enough and with enough frequency and some gullible souls will begin to believe it.

I can’t believe how many friends of mine send me some kind of dire email that says it has been checked against one of the fraud sites and it is 100% TRUE. It takes all of 15 seconds to go to someplace like Snopes to determine that not one of the seemingly intelligent people who have forwarded that email have checked on it’s veracity.

I intend to cast my ballot for those who lie the least.
Is that not a sad commentary on the democratic process?

Monday, October 25, 2010

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Vtech’s V.Reader

A month or so ago I suggested the inevitability of the $29.99 eReader in an eReader discussion at BookBlogs. I said I thought that a price point at that level would entice parents into buying them for their kids. A reader took offense to my suggestion with the inference that I am nuts. The nuts part may or may not be true, opinions on that are mixed. However Vtech has just lowered the bar to $59.99 for an eReader.

Vtech’s offering has animated stories with interactive games and learning tools. Featuring a color touch screen and a full qwerty keyboard their V.Reader also has both a USB port and an SD port. All of this for $59.99!

The down side is that you are going to be limited to what they offer to read which is the case from some of the main stream adult eReaders as well. The stories are $19.99 each which as grotesque as that seems is on a par with some of the best sellers coming out in eBooks. I think the price is too steep but compared to DS or Gameboy offerings they are reasonable.

I haven’t decided yet whether this will be something I want for my grandchildren. The unit’s suggested age range is 3-7 and Vtech’s products have proved to be pretty durable in the past. Anything that entices kids to read is a step in the right direction.

This is not a paid blog but… if you are overwhelmed with buyer fever and click on the Amazon link to purchase a V.Reader,  I will get a commission sufficient to purchase a partial cup of java at my local beanery. 

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Deep See Wet Suit Review

First I am not a diver, have never been a diver and am not even sure that scuba is spelled correctly. Second if you think this is some kind of kinky thing, think again, it is a 3mm wet suit, scuba type, nothing kinky.

If I am not a diver, why you may wonder would I buy a wet suit? Well age plays a part. I am a tad bit older than when I first put in my pool and I am retired. The older part means that my tolerance for ice water has slipped a bit. The retired part means no income. No income means that when my pool heater died, I decided that $3,000.00 for a new heater and $1,500.00/season for propane was an expense I could avoid.

Initially this meant that I wasn’t swimming early or late in the season. Then one of my buddies jokingly suggested that he needed a wet suit for my pool because it was so cold. He has also suggested he has to break through the ice to get in and I vehemently deny that. I questioned him on wet suits and discovered that they can keep you warm. Who knew?

I ordered a Deep See Mens Shorty Front Zip from Austin Kayak. $89.00 and free shipping. It paid for itself big time! I swam on days with wind and cold water that the faint of heart would avoid like the plague. It worked great, was great quality and according to my diving buddy it was a very good price. One of the things I liked most about this wet suit was the zipper up the front. Most of the wet suits I looked at zipped up the back which is really annoying to try and zip when you are by yourself.

In case you ever watched Boston Legal and saw the episode were Shatner and Spader were wearing shorty wet suits, I DO NOT LOOK LIKE THAT!  

Please note that the photo of the wet suit is sans person due to my desire to preserve the myth of my manly physique.  That and I really don’t have the time to answer all the love/hate mail that a photo of me in the wet suit would generate. LOL

Friday, October 15, 2010

Purple Golf Tees

I’m always looking for things to review. This isn’t techy but it is kinda of cool. Someone close to me is a major purple fan. I tracked down purple golf tees on Amazon. They were Wilson brand and priced reasonably. Well, who knew a brand name golf tee would be so worthless. Great color, lousy tee! They broke with one swing. This is on a decent golfer, not a hacker like me. She blew threw two bags and was highly disappointed in the quality, loved the color though.

I found  Golf USA Manhattan and they had purple tees. My initial concern was Manhattan. I’ve had very mixed results buying from NYC companies. (Sorry you good ones but it is what it is.) Turns out the company is in Manhattan Kansas. Who knew there was a Manhattan in Kansas?

Turns out Kansas State’s color is purple and Golf USA Manhattan sells purple tees that do not have Kansas State printed on them. Even more surprising was they were priced $3.99 per bag of 65 tees. It cost $4.95 for shipping and handling. Two bags of tees and shipping were a whopping $12.93. Is that a cheap but very thoughtful gift, or What?

Quality is super and the color is a rich, vibrant, deep purple. What more can you ask, good quality, good price and great color? I’d try them if I thought they would improve my game as is I got a big smooch for an inexpensive but VERY thoughtful gift.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

More Review Items from CSN Stores

I have mentioned before that CSN Stores have provided products to review. They do not dictate what products I chose or what I say in my review. I’m still pretty amazed at a company with that level of confidence in their products and service. I ran across console tables in my browsing of their site. My first thought was they were encouraging shop lifting. You have to click on the link to see what I mean.  
They have an amazing selection of things that seems to increase every time I log on to their site. My plans are to review cordless phones, HDTV antennas, outdoor solar lights, a tire swing, pruning tools, sled, a lego set and an air compressor. Of course that may change if I see something else I would rather review. CSN is providing all of the items to review but the choices are mine and they have made no attempt to influence what I write. I will try and post monthly.   This should be fun!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month

Domestic violence is despicable. It is dismaying to contemplate anyone subjected to violence let alone the horrific aspect of having someone you love and trust hurting you. The Pixel Project is sponsoring a project called Paint it Purple. I’ve recorded a YouTube video as per their program to show support for the end of domestic violence.

If someone you know is abused or abusing, they can find help at NOVA. NOVA stands for the Network of Victim Assistance and although they are local to Bucks County Pennsylvania, they do not limit their toll free help line to local residents. If you are in trouble, afraid for yourself or others, find help. NOVA 24 hours a day hotline #800-675-6900

Monday, October 4, 2010

Clueless George Buys A Plasma TV Part 3

A Serial Saga Of the Horrifying Complexity of Purchasing A Plasma TV
As I leaned back intending to savor one more glass of fine wine, George called the Video and Audio Center to cancel and they were very obliging. They told him they would contact Manna to see if they could get an explanation. They called back and said that they didn’t get a convincing explanation from Manna and had planned to ship George one from California using another shipper but they were out of stock on the LG. They offered to refund the shipping costs if George wanted to cancel but if he agreed to take the TV that was lost somewhere in NJ they would credit his Visa a substantial refund. (He did not divulge that amount no matter how much Cabernet I poured him.) He said the substantial amount made him feel better and he agreed to accept the TV lost in NJ. I immediately smashed the Cabernet box on the table and tried to beat him with the broken box to no avail. (At least I thought about doing that. )

Friday rolled around and the delivery window was waning. We had already started on the vino when George called Manna to find out where the delivery guy was. Manna said they would call back and when they did, they admitted they had no idea where the TV was. I thought George was going to cardiac on the spot. Keep in mind, this was a large box. A box too big to fit into his Camry, a box so big he had planned on renting a van to pick up a local box.

George called the Video and Audio Center and they actually seemed as dismayed as George was. They told him they would call back after their manager called Manna. They called back and said they found an LG and they were shipping it overnight via UPS for Saturday delivery at their expense. George was skeptical but we put up a toast for luck and I staggered, uh, walked home. George called me later that night to say the tracking number indicated the TV was in transit.

Saturday morning I got a call and George said the UPS guy had helped him carry the TV in. It was there and could I come over. We did get the TV set up and it works. (Thank goodness! His words and mine.)

The Video and Audio Center expended a great deal of energy and money to see George got his TV. I’m guessing that their relationship with Manna may be under evaluation. Manna never did explain what part of NJ the TV may have fallen off the truck. The people from Manna were all very personable and polite, they just were unable to find the TV and deliver it.

Even though this eventually had a happy ending, my take on all this is that it would be worth whatever a local guy charged to have the TV delivered and pay the sales tax too. A week of aggravation, a strain on a friendship and a box of Cabernet seems much more expensive than saving a hundred bucks on a TV.

This story is reasonably true, some names are changed to protect the embarrassed. Keep in mind I owned a local computer business for 25 years and have a tendency to be a bit reactionary regarding purchasing local. Otherwise the basic players and situation occurred as noted.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Clueless George Buys A Plasma TV Part 2

A Serial Saga Of the Horrifying Complexity of Purchasing A Plasma TV
Buy local and avoid reading the rest of this tremulous tale of woe!

The next day George got a call from Manna who said they were the white glove delivery service for his TV vendor. (hah!) Turns out the actual seller of the TV was not Amazon but one of their third party vendors, Video and Audio Center in California. Manna scheduled a delivery and George asked me to come over to help set it up. I blocked off the day since I knew we would kill some time setting it up with his new home theater sound system and then drinking some Cabernet to celebrate. (Author’s note, neither George or myself are known to have a drinking disorder, we have no problem whatsoever drinking! Luckily walking between our domiciles can be accomplished with moderate effort.)

Now it gets entertaining! (again my word, not his) Manna calls the Monday night to say they have to reschedule the Tuesday delivery to Wednesday. George says ok and calls me to ask me if I can come over Wednesday. Then I block out the 12-4 window they gave him for delivery. Late Tuesday night Manna called and said they needed to reschedule. They wanted to deliver Thursday; the TV was incorrectly routed to Newark, NJ. (Isn’t that where the Sopranos took place?)

George said Thursday would work but then found out I couldn’t be there Thursday so he rescheduled them for Friday when I could be there. (lucky me) Now George was getting upset. The reason why he couldn’t buy the TV locally was he couldn’t get a free delivery from anyone local. He wanted me to borrow one of my kid’s SUVs and I politely said NO! So he called around and found that HH Gregg and PC Richards carried the LG. PC Richards had the TV but that wasn’t close and the van he was going to rent for picking up the TV cost him per mile. So he called HH Gregg and found out they really do honor their promise to match any of their local competitors. Best of all with the better price he got the van rental and sales tax wasn’t going to be more than $100 more than what he had already charged. So the decision was made and George was going to buy locally. Hah, believe that and I will buy you a box of the finest Cabernet. Tune in for more later.
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