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, December 27, 2010

Christmas Cash Gifts Burning A Hole in Your Pocket?Smart Phone Rationalization



Smart Phone Rationalization
Hey is all that money you got for gifts burning a hole in your pocket?  If so for those of you who have difficulty justifying the purchase of a smart phone I have a few suggestions.

A GPS with a 4.3” screen is generally at least $100.00 and you usually have to buy updates. Many smart phones have a GPS app built in and you do NOT have to purchase updates.

A tiny 8 megapixel digital camera will cost you at least $75.00. Many smart phones have an 8 megapixel camera today.

An iPod or other digital music player can cost over $200.00. Most smart phones can download and play your music and allow you to download movies too.

You can get an app for reading bar codes on your smart phone and then compare that barcode with online prices and save a bundle on many purchases.

You can check the market and the ball game scores where ever you may be.

I don’t sell smart phones but they do bring new meaning to want vs. need.

Bottom line is if you want one bad enough, you can find some need you need to meet.

Have fun picking it out.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Amazon Wireless,Invitation to Identity Theft, What Are You Thinking?



I looked at Amazon Wireless recently. I considered upgrading my phone through them. The phone was $299.00 with a hundred dollar rebate through Verizon but it was $119.00 through Amazon. I went as far as adding it to my cart, verifying my address and then they asked for my Social Security number.

The Social Security number was never intended to be used as a national identity card but it often is used as such. In today’s world though, it is paramount to asking to have your identity stolen by blithely handing out your social security number.

What, pray tell, are the people at Amazon Wireless thinking when they ask for your social security number?

I did not upgrade my phone there specifically because they asked for my social security#. I do not give that out to anyone and neither should you.


Friday, December 17, 2010

Zwilling JA Henckels International Fine Edge Synergy 13 Piece Block Cutlery Set

Zwilling JA Henckels International Fine Edge Synergy 13 Piece Block Cutlery Set - 15705-000

SKU #: JAH1456 at CNSstores
You can only be married so many years before you need to replace your knives. We have done this piece meal until now. After looking at the mishmash of knives I had to bite the bullet and go for a new set. I researched knives and found this set. It isn’t the cheapest nor is it anywhere near the most expensive. It had good and bad reviews. The biggest complaint seemed to be that it is recommended that you hand wash the knives and they may rust if you don’t dry them. Since I saw that concern on practically every decent knife set, I discounted those factors.

The knives are as advertised. They look good and the block isn’t enormous which is crucial for counter space. They cut the way they are suppose to cut and since I am hand washing and drying after each use I see no other issues. If I see an issue I will do an update 6 months down the road. At this point, I think the set is a very good value for the money.  ($59.95 with free shipping)

Set Includes:

•2.75" Paring Knife
•6" Utility Knife
•5.5" Boning Knife
•8" Bread Knife
•8" Chef's Knife
•Six 4.5" Steak Knives
•9" Steel
•Hardwood Block in Black
Features:
•Traditional 1 piece Hot Drop Forged
•Forged construction
•Stain resistant
•Handwash recommended

CNS Stores provided the knives for this review.  They did not make any attempt to influence the review.    They asked me to order anything on their site within a certain budget and to review it.   I respect a company that is willing to stick their neck out and invite an unbiased review. 

Monday, December 13, 2010

Flame King YSN-212 Propane Cylinder Gas Gauge Meter


How many times have you been in the middle of your grilling when the flames sputter and go out? It usually happens when you have a pool full of people and 20 burgers on the grill, the kids screaming for their food and you are busting your knuckles trying to get the new propane tank hooked up.

I finally broke down and researched propane tank gauges and found this one. It was more expensive them some and less expensive than others. It got some good reviews.

It installed easily and has clear instructions on how to check for leaks. I do use the Teflon tape designed for gas connections. That has worked great. I have yet to have a leak using that tape. The gauge is simplistic but it gives you an idea of how much gas you have available. I have never been good at gauging how much gas by picking up the tank. This is not precise but it will provide you with an early warning. The instructions say you should shelter the gauge from rain fall. I molded an aluminum foil bread pan over the entire assembly and that works fine.

I think this is a good gadget to save some aggravation and would make a great stocking stuffer.  

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Free Book and Free T-Shirt

A New Giveaway Thrall
a new heroic fantasy novel

Inter-Galatic First prize
is a copy of the book, a
poster and Thrall T-Shirt!
(Shipping is restricted to the
known universe and this
dimension only, alternate
worlds and universes
need not enter.)

See Details and Enter At
Azure Dwarf!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Kodak C195 Point and Shoot Digital Camera


As much as I love the swivel screen on my Canon PowerShot A95, the camera is getting a bit long in the tooth. 5 mega pixels was a big deal, once. Now it is so so but I would keep on using it for that delightful swivel screen except that is getting a bit squirrelly. Not good squirrelly either. Sometimes the first picture or so isn’t even seen on screen and it doesn’t come out either.

So I did some research and found a great price and a camera that is just enough smaller that it fits into my jeans or my shirt pocket. Convenience size was my first consideration. The 14 megapixel and the 5X optical were nice bonuses. It has some very nice features that I will seldom use but are nice anyway. It has 22 scene settings for specific types of photos. Realistically I will leave it on auto most of the time but I liked both the scene settings and manual settings. I’ve only taken a couple hundred photos so far but I have been satisfied with the quality. Overall this is a darn good bang for the buck.

Documentation with the camera is succinct to the point of ludicrousness. Download the online manual to get the real skinny. It does suffer from the dreaded digital lag as well. I will continue to play with those extra features. The burst feature may be what I need for my quick moving grandchildren.

New Egg has had a special that gives a reduced price on the camera and includes a case and a 4gb Kingston SD Card. It is a limited time offer but is worth checking out.
Product Features

• 14 megapixels for high-quality pictures

• 5X optical zoom

• 3 in. bright LCD

• One-button upload to e-mail, Kodak Gallery, YouTube, Facebook, ORKUT, and FLICKR sites

• Kodak's Smart Capture feature

Technical Details

• Brand Name: Kodak

• Model: 8721664

• Optical Sensor Resolution: 14 MP

• Optical zoom: 3 x

• Display Size: 3.000 inches

• Width: 1.2 inches

• Height: 2.4 inches

• Weight: 0.4 pounds



Monday, December 6, 2010

Belkin MasterCube F9H120-CW 1-Outlet Wall-Mount Surge Protector

A good stocking stuffer!

I am anal about protecting my electronics from power problems. I always carry a single outlet surge with my laptop. As so many do, on a trip I left my single outlet surge in the wall socket. It was a Tripplite and it was tiny. It took up very little room in my notebook case. I ordered this unit without checking dimensions, primarily because of the low price ($5.88) and Belkin’s reputation.
I have no reason to believe the Belkin isn’t satisfactory as a surge protector. I do take umbrage with the fact that it just doesn’t pack well. My Sanyo battery charger has fold down prongs for the outlet. That enables it to fit quite nicely in the laptop case pocket. The surge however doubles it’s thickness due to the outlet prongs. Since this purchase I have found two that have folding prongs.
One is the  Fellowes 9904701 3-Outlet Surge Suppressor with a convenient little night light for $14.99 at Buy.com and $17.00 at Amazon.

The other is Belkin F9H220-TVL Travel Surge Protector with Hidden Swivel Plug For $9.00 at Amazon.

I will be getting one of those two the next time I leave my surge behind, you may want to get one for your significant others stocking.


Sunday, December 5, 2010

Free Book Alert

A New Giveaway
Thrall
a new heroic fantasy novel
by Steven L. Shrewsbury
Inter-Galatic First prize is a copy of the book, a poster and Thrall T-Shirt!


Go to Azure Dwarf’s Horde of SciFi and Fantasy for details.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Riley Holliday 46" Corner TV Stand #88285 Review

This is a surprisingly nice piece of furniture for the price. $261.25 got this delivered to the door. Dynamic Home Décor offers free shipping and has been running a 5% off sale on orders over $249.00.

The color of this is much more red than the online photos showed. Assembly was astoundingly easy. The entire base comes assembled and is shipped folded. All you need to do is attach the top with the four screws provided and put a knob on the glass door. BTW you may want to put the knob on before you put the top on, in spite of what the directions say. Once the top is on, if you haven’t already put the door pull on the door, you may have difficulty getting the door open to put on the pull knob. It did provide me with a self depreciating laugh as I leaned over the back of the unit and pushed the door open by sticking a yard stick through the cable holes and pushing the door open from the back. I suspect I would not have been as amused at my self if I had missed the door frame and punched out the glass with the yard stick.

The unit looks good assembled and the workmanship is quite nice, again for the price. The joints could be tighter but then again if you are going to ship it folded perhaps you need a certain amount of flexibility in the joints.

Shipping is still a problem with furniture. The box came damaged and I did inspect it. Everything appeared to be fine but when I actually unfolded the unit, one of the joints had been broken. The way the top attaches allowed me to ignore the joint damage. I did need to use a q-tip and some stain to cover the area that had pulled out of the panel. It wasn’t a big area but it was still annoying.

There is a lot of wasted space in this unit. Look at the diagram. If the center space is adequate for your equipment this unit is a good choice. Be aware that you are looking at a lot of wasted space though.

Overall this is a solid piece of furniture to hold your TV for a very reasonable price. Dynamic Home Décor was a good place to buy it.

This was not a paid blog and I did not get any compensation to write it.

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