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

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Suncast Hose Hideaway Review

I recently purchased a Suncast Hose Hideaway that claimed to hold a 100 foot hose.   I can only assume that 100’ hose was a really, really skinny hose.   I could not get my 100’ 5/8” hose into the box.   The box would be suitable for a 75’ or 50’ hose but 100’ of quality hose does not fit.  

Oddly enough my son purchased the same hose box from another store and had the same difficulty.   Extrapolating, I suspect it is the box and not us.   I have had good experience with Suncast products in the past.   I have no complaints about the build quality.  Although I am concerned about the all plastic fitting where you connect your hose, I haven’t used it long enough to determine if that will be an issue.   

I also want to point out that in their instructions (which is nice since so many vendors have done away with instructions) they put in bold print, “and keep hands free from the range of the rotating crank handle”.   This is a good admonishment as I know have scraped the skin off of the back of multiple fingers on several occasions.   If you are right handed, the natural inclination is to hold the box down on the right side when pulling out the hose.   There is a handy dandy foot hold for your right foot that is supposed to keep the box still with your weight on it.   My weight is considerable it was not enough to keep the box from moving as I pulled out the hose, thus the scraped knuckles and more disgruntlement with the purchase.   It seems like a slightly longer shaft on the crank handle would have allowed enough room for fingers but I didn’t design the darn thing.  

At this point I don’t know what to do with the box, perhaps put all my electric cords on it.   I don’t have a hose short enough to use it.   If your hose is 100’, I do not recommend this hose box.   If your hose is 75’ or shorter, the build quality is satisfactory as is the price.   Just keep your knuckles out of the way.  

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Protect Against The Droid Destroyers

In spite of what we have seen the “Force” is capable of, we can’t just wave our hands in front of Storm Troopers or miscreants and state that “These aren’t the droids you are looking for.”  There are cyberthugs out there just waiting to corrupt your phone.  

Protect Me!  Please!
Sadly the modern vandal or electronic thief is alive and flourishing.   This article from PCWorldgives some good information on what is coming down the road and targeting our beloved Droid.   Note the mention of Lookout Mobile Security.  This is the same software ap for your phone that I wrote about a few weeks ago.   It may keep your Droid and your peace of mind secure.   If you don’t want to click these links, Google Lookout Mobile Security and install it on your phone.   You can never be too safe in today’s hacker prone society. 

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Oral-B CrossAction Power Toothbrush

 If you haven't tried an electric toothbrush, you should. This toothbrush brand was recommended by my dentist. I got one and loved it so I got my wife one. We have both noticed a definite improvement in the appearance of our teeth. They feel cleaner too. I have to wonder if these things existed when I was a kid if I would have so much metal in my mouth.  This is a good price too.  Make sure you buy a set of replacement heads too.  I have been impressed with how long of use I get out of a single AA battery.  You can tell when to change because instead of an angry hornet it sounds like a weary bumble bee.   This does a nice job. 

Saturday, July 16, 2011

The Sordid Saga Of The Soleless Etonic Golf Shoes--Pleasantly Updated

I posted this on July 10th.  On October 15th I received an email from the CEO of Etonic World Wide.  He expressed his dismay over my experience with his company's shoes and asked for my phone number so he could call me to discuss it.  On Monday October 17th Tom Elwell and I conversed for 45 minutes and were on a first name basis at the end of the call.  Tom Elwell is a CEO who truly believes in his company.  One of my complaints was there was no phone number for customer support on the web site.  There is one now.  Tom also told me he had contacted an employee, who was on vacation, to find out why there had never been any response to my emails.  Here is a CEO who is working for his paycheck.  He didn't hand off handling a concern to an underling, he communicated to me himself.  Tom believes in his product and  now I know he also believes in customer support.  I think everyone can accept that a defective product can slip through quality control.  What incenses me and perhaps many of you is not being heard.  I can accept an apology, I can accept an excuse but I can't accept not being heard.  Tom Elwell heard me, responded and has regained a customer due to his assurance that his company not only wants to provide good products, they want to provide good customer service as well.   So Tom, you heard me and I heard you loud and clear.  Etonic you have a good hand on your helm.   Thank you for reaching out!

My sordid saga of Etonic golf shoe failure started with the purchase of a pair of Etonic golf shoes in Florida several years ago. I have four pair of golf shoes and play golf twice a week.  Considering the 6 weeks spent in Florida each year, that means the individual pairs of shoes are worn 3 to four times a year.   Where I stay has a humidistat and air conditioning that runs year around so it doesn't get overly hot in at any time. 

After one season of wear (maximum of 4 times of use) the shoes spent the ensuing summer and fall with shoe trees in them and the shoes in the original shoe box.  Imagine my dismay when I pulled them out and there were cracks in the leather on the toes.   The cracks in the leather were where the toes bend.   I wondered if heat, humidity or the ghost of Christmas past had assaulted my shoes.  (see photo E)

I immediately checked the pair of Foot Joys I had purchased at the same time the year before and they had no cracks.  I was mystified but since I was so happy to be in the warm and to play golf I continued to wear the shoes. 

I brought them home with me. I wore them once on my home course and the sole on the left shoe peeled off from the heel to the mid-sole.  (photo C as an example)

My first assumption was I must walk funny, not ha ha funny but shoe damaging funny.   Regardless, I was not happy.   I took the shoe home and used epoxy to glue the sole back on.   (photo A)

The next time I wore the shoes the sole peeled off on the right shoe. The second sole peeling was soul trying.   It strained the limits of my credibility that having massive wardrobe malfunction on two shoes was a coincidence.    (photo B)

I reached out to Etonic for advice.   I didn’t demand new shoes, I didn’t use any explicative’s in my email, I merely asked what I could do with what appeared to be defective shoes.   (photo D)

My response from Etonic was zilch, zero, no response whatsoever.   I spent 35 years in business and if I had a customer complaint, regardless of its merit, I addressed it.   Sadly Etonic doesn’t seem to share my need to see that customers are satisfied.

There is no phone number on the Etonic contact page to try and get a human being involved.  That too is telling in regards to Etonic’s interest in reaching out to their customers.   They have a phone number on their warranty page but make special note that the warranty is 90 days.  

In summary, my post is cathartic.   I feel better having expressed my concerns regardless of Etonic’s interest in those concerns. 

It is certainly a measure of my pique that I have taken the time to photo the shoes and create this post.   Oddly enough not because of the defective Etonic golf shoes but due to Etonic’s indifference to customer support.   Every time we as consumers ignore poor customer support, we through our indifference, reinforce the idea that poor or lousy customer support is acceptable.   Etonic, I don’t know how to make it any clearer, POOR CUSTOMER SUPPORT IS NOT TO BE TOLERATED! 

My Money Saving Tech Tips advice is to avoid Etonic golf shoes at all costs and perhaps all Etonic products if you hope to have any customer support.  (BTW I have waited weeks for any reply from my emails to Etonic, not a peep!)

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

CoTZ Sunscreen SPF 35, 20% Zinc Oxcide Formula

This product seems to do exactly what it claims but somewhat better.   Noting that it was 20% Zinc Oxide, I expected it to be a stark white when applied.   It actually rubbed in better and the whiteness disappeared more thoroughly than some better known brands I have used.   Zinc Oxide has always been the gold standard for protection, thus the stereotypical white nosed lifeguards.  

This is touted as acceptable for ultra sensitive skin.   I do not normally react negatively to sunscreen but I do use aftershave for sensitive skin.   This cream did not cause any itching and was not greasy.  I liked the fact that it really did vanish when rubbed into the skin.  

I was provided this sunscreen at no charge by Amazon and have posted this review on their site as well.   There was no attempt by Amazon to suggest or imply that I should right a favorable review.   If you read my blogs you probably have noticed (hopefully) that I call them as I see them.   Thanks for reading. 

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Another Tablet Take

iPuke Why Tablets are toys.  
I just read the article in the above link.   Oddly enough I agree with most of it with the exception that it is OK if your tablet is a toy.   I like toys.   A tablet that really would replace my laptop would be great.  On the other hand, I do find my DroidX is useful for things well beyond what I expected and it fits in my pocket.   I carry around a couple of spreadsheets, I can text, I dictate my emails so am not forced to use the teeny tiny on screen keyboard invented for pixie size hands.   I read books on it and exercise my intellect with Words with Friends and DropWords.   I even occasionally make phone calls.   Does it replace my laptop?  Heck no, but it is a wonderful, wonderful toy!

Friday, July 8, 2011

Activision Shame On Your for Call of Duty: World AT War

                                    I don’t play computer games beyond bridge and scrabble.   I do not do first person shooter games howevActivision Shame On Your for Call of Duty: World AT Warer I have a friend who loves them.   He got Call of Duty:World At War for Christmas.  He wasn’t able to get it going on his computer.  I upgraded his video card to a 256mb video card to meet the specs of the game.  He exceeds all other specifications.

Game still wouldn’t run.   I looked at myriad you-tube videos complaining about the game and offering suggestions as well as too many forums to count.   After tweaking and prodding and patching I got the game to run adequately.   Adequately compared to how well it runs on the X-Box.  

I spent 25 years in the computer business and it still was a pain in the tush to get the game to run.  Activision’s website was nothing but promo for the ensuing games and zip support.  Treyarch the actual developer of the game was no better.    In this day and age of technology the distributor and developer of a game should be embarrassed if it doesn’t run straight out of the box.   In fact they should be acutely ashamed.   If a game can be popped into a game box and run smoothly, it should be that easy to do it with a PC that meets the game specifications. 

Frankly I would have demanded my money back but that wasn’t my call.   This whole incident explains why game boxes sell so well.  People just don’t want to be bothered becoming a technician just to play a X#$**@@ game.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Tablet Despair

I just read an article on Zd net about the new hp tablet.  Since I am dictating this blog I have not yet figured out  how to put long internet addresses in verbally.  If you google z d net .com and mobile gadgeteer. You should be able to find the post "Should we now expect to pay 500 dollars to be tablet beta testers."  Sadly the author has concluded the HP tablet is not a competitor to the apple ipad 2.  Check out his blog post it is very informative. 
This post was made by dictating to my droid x. 

Perhaps sometime in the future it will actually be quicker than typing.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Universal Orlando, A Failed Disney Want-to-be.

Giving credit where due, this was awesome!

I’m a Harry Potter fan so I wanted to go to Universal Orlando to see the Harry Potter setup. The castle was very cool and the ride gave a taste of each of the movies. A disappointing aspect was the wait was over an hour and the first announcement of a single rider line was well after we waited in line for over 30 minutes. The entire Harry Potter section was dramatically overcrowded on a Monday in January with no known school holiday.(see photo) I wanted to buy a Potter theme shirt for my grandson and it was not possible to get into any of the stores. As a matter of fact, there was an hour wait to just get into two of the stores so they could take your money. In addition, the prices were even more exorbitant than Disney prices which are obscene themselves. I did enjoy the dragon duel ride which was a very good pseudo coaster type ride. I’ve been told that if you go late in the day, it is less crowded. I was also told I was not properly prepared to experience it. Since I wasn’t willing to dress in robes or costumes that is possible but regardless it was too crowded to enjoy.

The Crowd

The Harry Potter stuff was well done but far too crowded to enjoy. The rest of the park was primarily store and carnival concession style games and there wasn’t a great deal to see of interest to me. It wasn’t overly crowded anyplace but the Harry Potter area. We did ride the Spiderman 3D ride which was ok. Parking was more expensive than Disney parking. After spending 4 days at Disney and not feeling like I had seen everything I hoped to see, we left Universal after 5 hours feeling like that was all we could stand. I have been to Disney more often than I can count and still enjoy it. I will not be returning to Universal Orlando, in spite of having enjoyed Universal California.

 Money Saving Tech Tips