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, January 30, 2011


Here is another good purchase for your holiday gift money. If you aren’t familiar with a Leatherman multitool, you may live in a cave. It is the current Swiss army knife. I have little ones and big ones and they work equally well. I had need of a Phillips screwdriver and had no tools with me. I used the auger to push holes in the drywall, pushed in the anchors and switched to the pliers to pull out the old anchors. This is an ideal tool for the glove compartment of your car.
Here is a list of the various brands of multitools:
• Gerber
• Kershaw
• Buck
• KutMaster
• Schrade
• Leatherman

This was a good link for an overview of brands.
Be Aware they aren't cheap but a good tool sedom is cheap.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Droid X Beyond Day 2

DroidX Continued

The bloom is still on the rose. I love this phone. A note for those of you who travel, when arriving at my vacation destination in Florida I had 3G service for a few days and then it stopped. The Verizon tech I spoke to had me *228 and update the programming. My 3G returned. He suggested that when ever you travel to a destination beyond your home coverage that you do a *228 to insure that your phone finds the local towers. That may be common knowledge but it wasn’t to me so if your 3G suddenly disappears while you are traveling, you may want to try the reprogramming rather than wait on hold for 24 minutes to get a tech.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Another Comcast Gotcha

Once again Comcast has truncated my ability to surf the net. Upon arriving at my vacation destination I discovered the cable modem that worked just swell last January no longer worked. After one hour on the phone with Comcast, I was told the modem was not working. Duhhh!

Comcast told me to get a new modem or get theirs for $8/month and since that makes no sense whatsoever being here for less than two months, I went out and bought a new modem. Of course I checked Comcast’s compatibility chart and then even called and spoke to a tech to verify that I had, indeed, chosen an acceptable Comcast certified modem.

I set up the new modem which did not work. The Comcast tech I spoke to this time told me that he wasn’t getting any signal and that the old modem was probably just fine, that it was a Comcast issue. He scheduled a service call. The earliest call was 5 days later and for those of you as addicted to the net as I am, seemed like an eternity.

The Comcast tech arrived within the time parameters specified which in all fairness to Comcast is a MAJOR improvement over the take off the day of work and they don’t show up anyway scenario.

The tech pulled all of the old splitters out of the walls and replaced them. Then he told me the only decent signal he could get was at the opposite end of the condo from where I park my computer. In the interest of saving my marriage I did not run a cable the length of the condo to my computer. I chose to use the wifi feature built into my new modem which, of course, meant I couldn’t return it and use the other 13 month old modem that has no built in wifi, that works but was misdiagnosed.

I asked the tech why the signal had degraded so much since last January when the old modem worked just great. The Comcast tech shrugged and said, “I guess we changed something.”

I now have Internet access again. I put out $84.00 for a new modem which would not have been necessary if Comcast hadn’t made some “change” and if they had not misdiagnosed my problem. I am using wifi which is abysmally slow if you plan on updating your website. I swear I could upload files quicker when I was on a 1200 baud modem.

As an aside, my Internet access cost went from $21.95 to $44.95 because my introductory program was over. Oddly enough I was never told it was an introductory rate but I was offered the ability to severely downgrade my access speed and only see my price increase to $24.95 per month. Considering I can only use wifi anyway I chose to downgrade. One has to wonder if Comcast’s acquisition of TimeWarner’s cable service in this area and the now total lack of competition has anything to do with my “introductory” price being more than doubled.

Oh, well I’m only here for a few weeks what doesn’t make you crazy makes you stronger?

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

The Droid X Diary Day 2

It is actually more like several weeks but what the heck I needed a title. I mentioned lack of documentation for the Droid X. I went to the downloaded manual to find out how to add customized ringtones. The manual had butkus, zip, zero on how to add ringtones. I surfed the web and discovered that if I downloaded music I could then hold the icon down for that song and it would ask me if I wanted to use it for a ringtone. Why that isn’t documented is beyond me.
Of course my son then proceeded to show me an app that allowed me to do ringtones even easier. No download time needed. Arrgghh, I’m supposed to be the family techie.

The apps I have tested and use so far are:

Bubble Burst Free which is an apparent clone of my old favorite Bubble Breaker.

FBReader which is successfully reading the epub format books I have copied from my computer to the phone. Formatting works and reading is seamless.

Adobe Reader which I have used so far on the downloaded manual for the Droid X.

How Far Am I which tells you how far you are from the center of the green on your chosen golf course.

RingTone which had the music I wanted to use for my ringtones.

WordDrop is a word game similar to the famous BookWorm without all the bells and whistles. It still is a good time killing game.

QuickOffice which I did not download, it came preloaded. It handles Word and Excel files quite nicely.

If you become frustrated with your smart phone google your problem with the name of your phone. I have found many forums that have a wealth of information on how to get the most out of your phone.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Protect Your Laptop

Now that I am retired, I’m doing a little more traveling. As much as I love the portability of my smart phone, the screen leaves a bit to desire when surfing the Net.

So I lug my laptop with me when I travel. It isn’t too difficult to find a wifi connection, most of the time a free connection. Back in the day when I was selling laptops, I always advised my clients to purchase a good laptop carrying case. I have a laptop messenger bag that serves me well. I found a good selection of bags at CSN stores.

I particularly enjoyed the ones in the cool messenger bag section. The Ducti bags that feature different caution tapes and the Ed Hardy bags were my favorites. Regardless of what the bag looks like or where you purchase it, I strongly advise a good laptop bag to protect your computer when traveling.

This post was not a paid post but I have gotten things from the CSN stores at no charge to review in the past and hopefully will in the future. I always note if they provided me with the product. They have never made any attempt to influence my reviews nor do they direct me to what products I can get for review. I have purchased things from the CSN stores primarily because I have gotten a good deal and I like the promptness and thoroughness of their purchase process.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Rhetoric Kills

Saturday's shooting in Arizona is a prime example of the enormous decline in civility. Regardless of political affiliation, the message of hate must stop. Sadly the inability of politicians to campaign without negativity seems to have accelerated the last few years.

My earliest recollection of politics is the Goldwater vs. Kennedy race. I was in high school and emotions were high over the race. I have no recollection of even the most rabid supporters suggesting we wipe the opponents off the face of the earth. The despicable and vitriolic verbiage that surrounds today’s political races easily impacts those of fragile psychic.

Honest politicians (if that isn’t an oxymoron) must curb their campaign managers and supporters and insist on a return to civility. The democratic process can work without resorting to character assassination that often results in the inciting of actual assassination.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

The Post Lamp Saga

My 38 year old post lamp died recently. I gave it a decent burial for it’s decades of service and tried to find another locally. I had hoped to get poly carbonate since I never had to paint or do any maintenance whatsoever on the old light. Alas the only lights I could find in poly carbonate were about half the size of my original light.

I also discovered that the people who make post lamps or perhaps just those who sell them locally have the erroneous notion that if you have a post lamp you must be stupid and wealthy. Not one local business had a nice or any black post lamp using an ordinary light bulb for under $100.00.

I prefer to think of my self as financially prudent rather than cheap but I could see no reason to spend $200.00 and more for a post lamp.

After exhausting the local stores and probably annoying them with my don’t you have anything under $100.00 comments I turned to the web.

I found the Kichler - 9956BK - Madison Outdoor Post Lantern in Painted Black for $72.00 several places. Some charged shipping and other charged shipping and handling and some claimed to have free shipping but then added a handling charge once the item was in the shopping cart. CSN Lighting had the light, they had no hidden charges and I have successfully purchased from CSN Stores in the past. I placed the order and I was done. Considering the season, the light arrived timely and installed easily. I received no compensation whatsoever for this post.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

The Droid X Diary

I finally bit the bullet and got a smart phone. I decided on the Droid X due to its 8 megapixel camera, RAM capability and 4.3” screen. I looked at getting it for $119.00 through Amazon but when they wanted my Social Security number I decided to go elsewhere. I ended up at a local wireless store that was a Verizon affiliate. I could have gotten BOGO but I had not one that wanted the second phone with it’s required data plan implementation.

I recommend going to a local provider based on service. You may think it is just a phone, why would I need support? First the documentation that comes with the phone is a fold out overview, no details. I did find the manual on-line and downloaded it both to the phone and my computers. The manual is less than stellar. It appears to written for and by intellectually challenged folks. Second this isn’t just a phone, for all intents and purposes this is a full fledged computer.

It has an Office app on it that successfully opens my Word and Excel documents. It has the ability to download myriad applications for practically any purpose. I downloaded a golf range finder app, an e-reader app and Adobe reader. They all worked! I did download a couple of word games too and an old favorite, Bubble Breaker.

Most importantly I actually get a signal at home. The main reason I returned the Droid Incredible was the inability to get a signal at home. I don’t have an inkling why I get a signal with the X and did not with the Incredible but I do.

The offering of a $15.00 per month data plan was what enticed me to make my decision. I’m hoping to use the phones WIFI feature to avoid going over my monthly data plan limit. I was able to download apps using WIFI and to check email and browse.

I am a convert, more to come.
 Money Saving Tech Tips