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 
or Azure Dwarf’s Horde
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Monday, June 28, 2010

Looking For A Little Nookie? Maybe The nook Wi-Fi is for you!


Don’t you just love teaser headlines? In this case, the nookie I am referring to is not what you are thinking. Of course I may be wrong, you could have immediately realized I was referring to the price drop on the Barnes and Nobel Nook.

In spite of some of my luddite leaning rants lately, I am still a technut. I can’t help myself, in spite of some of the demoralizing experiences I’ve had lately. I still prefer a book whose pages I can turn. The price drop of the Nook and the realize of the WiFi version is making me sit up and take notice. If I ever get a smart phone that has good reception without forcing me to buy a cellular repeater, I will probably load it with some books. My old Dell xv51 is still limping along and I do still read books on it. The Nook is so much nicer though and the screen size is infinitely better than on my PDA or future to be named smart phone.

The Nook pricing is going to provide some serious impetus for Amazon and Sony to look at their pricing. Note the price drop on the Kindle followed the B&N price drop rather quickly.  Nobody is buying an iPad just to read books so I doubt that B&N’s aggressive move will impact iPad at all. Check it out at the Nook Site. The specifications are pretty sweet. It has a color touch screen you can use to surf and check email. It also has a microSD slot for memory expansion. At the moment it only has two games, chess and sudoku but I suspect more will be available. This is definitely worth looking at.

Barnes and Noble is looking to find the price point that is your sweet spot. This may be it. Unless someone gives it to me though, I am waiting for the $99.00 price point. There is nothing wrong with a belated Father’s Day gift though. (hint, hint)



This was not a paid blog.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

CSN Stores Discovered

One of the most interesting aspects of the Internet are the things you stumble across or who stumbles across you. CSN Stores found this blog and approached me about doing a review. No specific item, just go to their 200 stores and look around until I saw something I wanted to review. No pressure to write a positive review, just write a review. Talk about letting a kid loose in a candy store, a really, really big candy store.

I initially got hung up in the lights store. I found solar powered street addresses which I really like for making sure first responders can find your address. I also liked the solar powered spotlights. One which I hadn’t seen and called my name was the solar powered shed light. That would have come in handy the night the power went out and I groped my way back to my shed to find my generator. Flashlights are great but sometimes you need both hands for a task, the solar shed light looked pretty darn cool.
I spent the whole darn day looking over the CSN site. Believe it or not it took quite awhile to decide what to review. There were so many things from which to choose. Considering my eclectic interests, you can see the problem. (I like eclectic better than scatterbrain, it seems so much more professional.)

I finally decided to stick to things I am most familiar with and that, of course, are tech items. Considering the abysmal weather we have had that has provide us with myriad power outages, I decided on power protection. I’ve requested a UPS (battery backup/uninterruptible power supply). I am a firm believer in power protection so this seems like the best choice for a near future review.

I will test it and review it here.

BTW I am impressed with an operation that is looking for independent opinions on their service and products. It goes with out saying that I am impressed with their astute choice of bloggers to write a product review. LOL Seriously though I like the fact they are proactive and courageous enough to say pick anything (within a price range) and review it. That shows a confidence in both their product line and their service. I look forward to reviewing the product.

This was not a paid blog.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Verizon’s Droid Dismay

I finally bit the financial bullet and ordered a smart phone. I got the Droid Incredible. When I ordered it I specifically asked if it was really available and was assured it was and that I would have it in 3 to 5 days. A week later I tried to find out where the phone might be and the first 4 Verizon folks I spoke to could not find my order. Finally someone found my order on the fifth call and they told me that the phone wasn’t available and wouldn’t be for another week. He apologized for my trouble. I have noted that the Verizon people have been well trained, they were all polite and pleasant but somewhat clue less as to why I had been told the phone was immediately available.

Finally the phone arrived and I followed the instructions to activate it. Imagine my frustration when I couldn’t get it to activate. The onscreen message told me to call customer support. Apparently 5 is a magic number for Verizon because I had to call five times before I could get through their voice mail system and find a human being. She too was exceedingly polite and very pleasant to a, by this time, rather grumpy customer. She had me pull the battery while the phone was turned on, in spite of the fact that you are cautioned never to do that in the accompanying literature. She got the phone to activate and I thought I was home free.

Wrong, Verizon’s claim to have the best coverage is totally bogus or the other wireless companies are abysmally worse because I can’t get a reliable connection in my own home, nor my front yard, back yard or jumping up and down like a crazed lunatic in the cul-de-sac. Even though Verizon’s coverage map shows my area as “thoroughly” covered, I beg to disagree. If I wasn’t tapping into my own WiFi I wouldn’t have any useable feature whatsoever on the phone.

The battery life is by far the worst I have ever had with any of my phones, ever. It doesn’t last through the day and I am not watching videos or playing lots of games.

Frankly I am still trying to decide whether to wade in and attempt to return it due to the abysmal reception or tough it out. I have had it 6 days and I’m not very happy. The phone has a lot of interesting features and as long as I have access to my own Comcast Wifi I can access some of those features but as far as Verizon’s vaunted 3G network, balderdash!

I’ll be following up on my Droid experience.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

File Sharing Won’t Work? Remove Norton Security Suite

I’ve detailed my frustration with Windows 7 and then with my new Acer Aspire hard drive crash ad nauseum. I’m still fighting to get back to where I was prior to “upgrading” to new computers and a new problem fraught OS. Let’s just say if I wasn’t bald before I would be now.

Latest issues after I got my Aspire back from Acer with it’s new hard drive and a newly installed Windows 7. My wonderful IO Gear GUB211 auto switch, that allowed me to share my printer with my XP and Vista machines and my miserably unfriendly Windows 7 machine, has stopped working. I am in the midst of troubleshooting that with IO gear via email. Not the best support but better than no support.

Secondly when I got my machine back I reinstalled Norton Security Suite, free from Comcast. I had it on one of my XP machines as well. Lo and behold my file sharing no longer works between my machines. My XP m

achines running Avast free talk to each other but won’t talk to either machine running Norton. My Vista machine which doesn’t really enjoy talkin

g to anyone would still see the XP machines without Norton but will not see the XP machine running Nor

ton.

I removed the Comcast Free Norton Security Suite from the Windows 7 machine and the XP machine and now all file sharing is back to normal.

I still can’t print from my Windows 7 machine but that will be another post. Someone please remind me why I ever liked computers.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Troy-Bilt 2700 PSI 2.3 GPM Gas Pressure Washer Review

Troy-Bilt 2700 PSI 2.3 GPM Gas Pressure Washer Review
Item #: 75140 | Model #: 20414

When I started this blog, I assumed I would be only talking tech. Well that led to philosophic musing and then comments on other stuff. I’m not sure where a pressure washer fits but regardless I am writing about it.

I was power washing the mildew off the siding and thought the odor was the detergent I was using. When I looked over my shoulder and saw the grey smoke pouring out of the pressure washer, I realized what the odor really was. Considering the age of my venerable electric power washer, I concluded that discretion being the better part of safety and how water and electricity don’t play well, I trashed my old power washer.

After much research, I found the Troy-Bilt 20414 was the best bang for the buck I could find. Keep in mind I am a consumer, not some testing house, so I make my purchases based on research and price point. I wanted electric but my boys who participated in the purchase, wanted more power. The only way to get more power was to go to a gas engine powered washer. The Troy-Bilt was the sweet spot between more power and higher prices.

The basic specs are: 2700 PSI 2.3 GPM Gas Pressure Washer Powered by a Briggs & Stratton Professional Series™ OHV 7.75 ft-lbs gross torque engine with ReadyStart® System & a Fresh Start® fuel cap that runs cooler, longer, and delivers more power with reduced sound levels Fold-down handle design for compact and convenient storage 4 Project Precision Spray Tips (0 , 15 , 40 and low pressure) offer preset pressure and flow settings that are right for each project 10" never go flat wheels for all-terrain mobility Maintenance-free axial cam pump with Easy Start™ pump technology

More detailed specs can be found at: Link

Assembly went well. All the parts were really there. The pressure washer worked well and more power was nice. It came with 4 different tips with clear instructions on which tip to use when. I liked that the handle storage also marked what the uses are for the tips. The folding handle is necessary if you want to load it in the back of most SUVs. You can get the box home in the back seat of a sedan but once it is assembled and has gas in it, you must keep it upright. The extension tip holder was iffy. If you want it secured you will wrap a bungee cord around it. I was impressed with how easily it started. I stopped it periodically and it restarted with very little effort. The detergent chamber was easily accessible and adequately large.

My only complaint was the torn knuckle I got when attaching the hose input and the pressure line. The spacing of the two connectors is inadequate for turning without bashing knuckles. I put a brass quick release on the hose coupler. The unit’s coupling is plastic and that seems like a fitting that should be some more durable material.

Overall it did a good job and it seems like a good purchase for the money. It does have a two year warranty. Oddly the electric units only had a one year warranty and I would have thought their reliability would have been greater than a gas unit.

 If you are looking for a good, mid-range, inexpensive pressure washer this unit should be considered. To get any significant increase in power you more than doubled the price.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Second Copy from Centered Systems

A common thread in my blogs recently has been paranoia due to the hard drive failure in my brand new Acer Aspire. One of the ways I have catered to my paranoia is purchasing a new copy of Second Copy. I have been using a version of Second Copy for years and years. However the version I had did not move from my XP machine to my Win7 machine. I had to get the latest version.

From Second Copy’s site, Second Copy® is the perfect automatic backup software designed for all versions of Windows, including Windows 7 (32-bit & 64-bit), you have been looking for. It makes a backup of your data files to another directory, disk or computer across the network. It then monitors the source files and keeps the backup updated with new or changed files. It runs in the background with no user interaction. So, once it is set up you always have a backup of your data somewhere else.

This is a simple to use and very versatile software package. It is also CHEAP! $29.95 gets you a darn good piece of software. Go to Second Copy and check it out. You can download it and try it. This was not a paid blog, I just like the software.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

RoundUp Kills Grass Too

For those of you who also half listen to commercials, a word of warning, Roundup kills weeds, not grass may not be entirely accurate. In my case, I have several totally brown spots on my otherwise green lawn. I treated the lawn with a dandelion killer that did a good job. I had a few strays and spot treated them with the RoundUp. It killed the dandelions and a 2.5’ circle around them. I then read the bottle and discovered that I was not using it right. Arrgghh!

On a happier note, the spray jug the RoundUp came in had a squirt gun type of applicator that broke on the first attempt to use it. I emailed RoundUp and they send me coupons to replace the jug. So Kudos to customer service at RoundUp.

This was not a paid blog.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Kingston 16gb Flash Drive Is a Bargain

Paranoia is an ugly thing. After my new Acer Aspire had a hard drive crash I am wallowing in paranoia. Not only was in a major pain in the neck to reinstall all my programs, I am now the king of backup.

BTW, Windows Easy Transfer does work. That is a program that comes with Win7 that allows you to easily move your data from your old computer to your new computer. Doesn’t do squat for your programs but it is better than nothing. Of course you have to get Easy Transfer on your old computer and Windows 7’s incompatibility with anything that is more than 48 hours old made that a challenge. After I got it on my laptop I was able to use it though.

Back to paranoia, after I am sure that my new Acer Aspire hard drive is working I will do an IMAGE backup to an external USB drive. Windows 7 backup will do an image backup. An image backup is supposed to get programs and data. Boy I hope never again to need it but I will be doing it. Finally I am getting to the title of the blog. I got the Kingston flash drive because it was the biggest bang for the buck, $33.00 including shipping at Buy.com. If you go to 32gb the price way more than doubles.

I have been buying Kingston memory in some form or another for as long as Kingston has existed. Kingston’s customer support has never, ever failed to take care of any problems I had. (Darn few too.) I am not only backing up my data on multiple computers and hard drives, I am backing it up to the flash drive as well.

Paranoia my name is Bill.

This was not a paid blog, I just like Kingston.
 Money Saving Tech Tips