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

Friday, December 30, 2011

Epson EX5210 MultiMedia Projector

It is probably overstating that I am in love but this is onesweet projector. I pulled it out of thebox, read the quick start guide and in a matter of minutes had my laptop screenup to big screen size! Not only thatbut within that initial 15 minutes I had YouTube videos running on my wall, ina very well light (sunlight bright) room. Within the first 30 minutes I was running Ice Age and feeling prettydarn chipper about the ease of use of this very portable projector.

I’m retired so I don’t need this for business. I will use it for presentations now andagain but I am more excited about using it as a big screen TV on the occasionalshore trip where there are just little tube type TVs. I’m also looking forward to running anoutside film fest for the grandkids on the side of the house.

The sound is adequate on the projector but you probably willwant to put something beefier on the source to give you better sound. The on screen menu and source selection wasself evident and easy to use. Focus andorientation were also a piece of cake. Is it clear I really liked this little fellow? Admittedly I haven’t played with one latelybut his puppy beats the bejabbers out of the ones I have used previously. Clarity is amazing on a flat white wall, Ihave to assume a screen would be even better.

It comes with a nice padded case. My only suggestion would be to have anotherpocket on the case for the cables. Itcame with VGA and USB, I added to it an SVHS and component, with the powercable you have a bunch of wire, an extra pocket on the case would behandy. If you are actually traveling with this, I’msure you have a spare pocket on your laptop case for the projector cables.

To summarize, this was extremely easy to setup and getworking in a astoundingly short time. Iam really going to enjoy using it.

I was provided this projector for review.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Backups Revisited

I’m an ex-computer geek, I can’t help myself but mygrandson’s computer crapped out recently and he was devastated. As much as I preach backup he had nobackup.

Then I got an email from a fellow blogger who said she hadlost over 30 unpublished posts when her hard drive died.

So in spite of obvious redundancies I am going to repeatmyself.

I I hate losing stuff. I use a bunch of different ways to back up but here are a couple ofideas besides having multiple computers and hard drives.

2nd copy at http://www.centered.com/ is a inexpensive backup type software thatyou can tell to just copy stuff on a schedule. Like every night. It is easy touse and inexpensive.

Thumb drives are now down to about a $1.00 a gb and a 8gbthumb drive will save a lot of posts. (Amazon had a 16gb flash drive for $17.72 and free supersaver shipping.)

Online or cloud storage is available for free. 50gb at http://www.adrive.com/ This is also good for archiving things youdon’t want to lose. DropBox is anotherplace to off site backup.

If you are worried about putting stuff in the cloud forstorage, http://www.axantum.com/axcrypt/is a free encryption program that is easy to use.

Google and Microsoft have 2gb of free online storage too.

I’m bald already but if you hope to avoid pulling out allyour hair, some type of backup strategy MUST be implemented.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Case Logic ECC-101 Point and Shoot Camera Case (Black)

This precisely sized case protects your point and shoot camera inside and out with a ribbed exterior and scratch-resistant interior. Features: Fits most popular point and shoot cameras / Durable molded EVA exterior protects your camera / Compact design allows this case to fit easily into any bag / Soft, nylex-lined interior protects LCD screen from scratches / Internal mesh pocket for an SD card or cable / Two zipper pulls and elastic side gussets eliminate fumbling when accessing the camera / Removable lanyard included for an additional carry option

External Dimensions: 3.4 x 1.3 x 5" / Internal Dimensions: 2.3 x .9 x 3.8"

This is a sweet little camera case. It has a pocket for the camera and a second pocket that can hold the USB cable or a spare set batteries or SD card. I like the semi-hard shell as well. It seems like it should provide excellent protection for the camera. I was provided this case at no charge for review purposes. Please know that if it was crapola I would say so.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

House Party Money Saving Tips for Christmas and New Years (A Guest Post)

Planning ahead for the end of year parties is the key to saving money. Marquee hire and event hire companies are going to be busy. If you don’t have patios, pergolas or carports to use as your staging ground, you had better get on with booking now! Here are some more tips to saving money and party like a Rock star this year

If you live in the Southern Hemisphere or near the equator, now is the time to start partying! The warmer months are now. Here in Colombia, there is an excuse for a ‘fiesta’ everywhere. Australian’s love to drink beer, and party the day and night away this time of the year. If you are lucky enough to have access to patios or pergolas for a backyard party, now is your time to get cracking. If you are stuck in the Northern Hemisphere, you should still make plans for house parties. It is the silly season after all.

· What you need out the back. Out-door structures, carports and any other part of your home with some cover, make the best place to set up your bar and food serving stations. If you are in the cold, don’t let it stop you. Why not go with marquee hire? There are models that come with a central heater, and you will have the warmest party in town. If you are hiring, see if you can do a deal to keep that party tent for a week or more. It is a busy time for event hire companies everywhere, so now is the time to start organising! You can do both Christmas and New Year, and all the days in between.

· Brew your own. Not everyone is obsessed with beer, but let’s face it, there will be a lot of consumption in most places around the world. Have you thought about preparing your own special brews for that week of fun and silliness? Home brewing can save you a lot of money. Add fruity flavours to your brews so that everyone can drink what you create.

· Entertainment. Lots of people think they need to set up some expensive sound system to keep the guests entertained. There are plenty more ways you can do it. Have you thought about games and contests that will keep everyone occupied? Social games can get hilarious. Why not do something different to just playing music and letting everyone chatter away? Keep them active!

· Gift giving. Gift giving and sharing can get hectic. An excellent way to create more fun, and have something that will keep everyone very entertained is to make a lucky dip. Everyone should bring one present per person. This way, you will have enough gifts for everyone. Run your lucky dip and make it a focus of your entertainment. A microphone, and something of stage for focus, will help to set the stage for laughter. Everyone will be bartering and bargaining after all prizes are dished out anyway.

· Everything else. Cleaning up can be costly. It is worth looking at what you can buy in bulk, use to eat and drink, and ultimately, throw it away. There are plenty of eco-friendly serving options available on the market, and because this is the time of year they are all competing for your business, prices are as good as they will get. Don’t forget to shop online. That way, you can get it all delivered. The other way to use online shopping is to push the price down on your traditional retailer. Show them the price you can get online with your smartphone

Invite your neighbours so you won’t have trouble with the police. At least give them a warning, and don’t forget to walk around the street. It is not only the houses left and right of you.

This is a guest post by a company called Article Exchange. They write articles that have links within advertising their clients. I accept the articles as long as the links appear to be legitimate businesses. I am not endorsing the businesses or recommending them.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Marcy Recumbent Mag Cycle ME709

In an effort to maintain some semblance of health once it is too cold to swim, I ride an exercise bike. My old upright bike was beating up my knees. I got this bike after discussing my concerns with two of my bridge playing doc friends.

The bike needs assembly when it arrives. That was not arduous but it was not a 5 minute job either. The instructions were clear and amazingly enough all the parts were there. The bike adjusts easily after assembly. 

The computer on mine was not working correctly and I called customer service at Marcy. Imagine my surprise when I got a delightful young woman who seemed genuinely glad to get my call and to provide me with superior customer service. She was eager to help and promised a new computer would be on the way that day. I told her that I was truly impressed with how easy it was to rectify my problem and how happy I was with my service. I got the new computer in less than a week from the west coast and over a holiday! Totally impressive!

If you are considering an exercise bike this one works well for me but in my opinion, even more importantly, it is imperative then we all support companies that offer exceptional customer support.

Addendum 4/19/12. Bike works great. Timer, even after easy, cheerful replacement stick stinks or sticks your choice. Getting the timer to reset is annoying, doesn't not reset easily. With that said, it is still an excellent exercise bike, well constructed and smooth working. The "computer" is worthless though. 

Monday, December 5, 2011

Making Money From Books Online: A Guest Post

Saving money is one thing, making it is the other side of the same coin. Here is my top tip for making a little money from home, and maybe saving some too. It is something I have tried myself, as a young mum struggling to make ends meet, and found it worked. My friends have made money this way too, so pass the advice on to any hard up young graduates you know. It is surprising how few of them realize what an asset they have on their bookshelves. They might not make a million, but it may just keep the wolf from the door, and at the same time be helping out other students who may be struggling financially too.

It may seem obvious advice, but it is surprising how few people take advantage of the superb system Amazon have for selling second-hand books. It really is simplicity itself, and there is none of the time-consuming photographing, description and uploading work to be done, as on ebay. I found that the books that could be sold for the most were academic textbooks. Since I had finished my college courses I had piles of books from my studies just cluttering up the shelves. Some were close to my heart, but others I was quite happy to pass on to another student. Luckily I am not a book scribbler, so they were in good condition. Since academic books can cost $60 or sometimes much more, buying one for a third of that is a great option for hard-up students.

Making an account

Setting up a seller account is simple, as it is just tagged onto your buyers account. The interface is really clear too. Simply search for the book you want to sell, click on the ‘Sell one like this’ link, and follow the simple instructions from there. You are asked to describe the condition of the book, and I suggest you be honest here to avoid complaint. Students don’t seem to mind ‘some pencil marks’ or ‘in reasonable used condition’. You decide on the price, so assess how much others are selling for, how widely used the text book may be, and set your price at a level that is right for you. I needed money quickly, so tended to simply undercut everyone else, gaining the ‘Low Price’ label for my book, which gives a psychological advantage for those wanting a quick sale.

One thing I particularly liked about the Amazon book selling option is the fact that they contribute towards the postage of the item, which can be a big proportion of the price you get otherwise. The rate is not at all bad either, although it is different in each country, obviously. One pitfall is when you have very heavy book, so just be careful not to advertise a book which will cost you $8 to post, if you only get $4 for postage, unless the price is sufficiently high for it not to matter. If it’s a slim paperback you can actually make money on the postage!

Fiction - a penny a piece

Fiction books are not really worth selling on Amazon, as there is virtually no money to be made. Commercial sellers will advertise the book for one cent to get the sale and make money on the postage, and probably post out in bulk with a business rate. It is seldom worth selling your ordinary fiction books, which will actually fetch a better price (if any) on Ebay. If you go down this route it is best to fix a price for a book rather that put it onto an Ebay auction. Ebay favours more unusual and niche books, although you can sell these on Amazon too by taking and submitting a picture. Collectors will hunt it out either way, and I managed to sell a rare wartime Denis Wheatley book this way to a collector, for around $50. I have no idea it was worth a cent, but took some advice, on a hunch, and worked out a guide price.

Payments from Amazon have always been quick, and they take a comparatively small amount of the sale price in my experience. Once you have listed your title it is like fishing. You just wait. I used to package up my books in advance if I knew they would sell, to save time when the email arrived telling me to post out. It’s great to post within two days if at all possible, so that you get a good rating from your buyer.

Easier than it sounds

And that is all there is to it. It’s simple and effective, and you will not only be recycling, but helping out poorer students too, whilst helping yourself – because everyone needs a helping hand from time to time. I passed this tip on to a friend recently, who rang me to say he had earned over $600 in two months just selling his old university college books, which is why I thought I would write about it here. He was thrilled, and it helped him out of a financial hole. So why not pass the tip on to your kids and their friends, and start checking out your bookshelves today.


Izzy Woods is a freelance writer and self confessed bookworm. She writes for online publications including a 0 credit cards specialist, but can otherwise be found knee-deep in a meaty hardback.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Save Money On A Great E-Book!

Win-Win Christmas Gift

Whit Gentry wrote an excellent psycho thriller. I reviewed it on Pick of the Literate. This fall Whit’s grandson died suddenly. As a grandparent I can not imagine the pain that ensued from that sad event.

Whit has put his book on Smashwords.com which is a website that presents Ebook formats that can be downloaded to all ebook readers, PCs, laptops, and Ipads. Smashwords is a user friendly web-site, they will not be contacting you to buy items. He put the price of his book in ebook format at $0.99 (less than a dollar).

Whatever sales yield between now and Christmas will be donated to St Jude in the name of his grandson Cager Neal Gentry. He will post the money order that he will send to St Jude's for all to see what was achieved.

If you're interested, this will take you to the purchase page -- www.smashwords.com/books/view/109205

I am posting this wherever I can to promote both Whit’s excellent book but also to help honor the memory of his grandson.

Whit is one of the good guys which proves that adage that sometimes bad things happen to good people. Rather than bitterness he is trying to help other families and their children through his donation to St. Judes.

It’s less than a buck, do what you can!

Please pass this along if you are so moved. I certainly was.


Friday, December 2, 2011

Assassin's Creed Revelations Best Price 12/2/11

Just a heads up for you XBox fans, New Egg has it for $49.99 including shipping. They are the least expensive I have found anywhere that is known to be legitimate. There are some sites that have it for less but they got slammed on reviews. Best Buy was advertising it but only as a loss leader to get you into the stores, they would not ship it. Some how it escapes them that many of us won't be caught dead fighting the holiday crowds. If I can't buy it locally, I'm certainly not getting into my car to drive to some big entity that has no interest in customer service.

I was not impressed with Cyber Monday. I noticed that several things I had looked at the previous week were actually more expensive on Cyber Monday. Ahhh the adage buyer beware holds true now and forever!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Custom T-Shirts from ooshirts Reviewed

I got an email from a custom T-shirt company recently. Company name is ooshirts. I had never heard of them and was truly surprised they heard of me. They asked if I would be willing to review their T-shirts. I told them that was pretty tough considering I had never seen one of their shirts. They then asked if they sent me a couple of shirts would I review them. I cautioned them that “I calls them as I sees them”. I was assured that they wanted an honest and objective review. I agreed to do it.

I went to their site and designed a shirt. I got the shirt promptly and was quite pleased with the quality. I washed one a couple of times to see how the design would hold up after repeated washings. The design was crisp and bright after washing. The 2xx was a real double x, both longer and taller. I get grumpy when clothiers dictate that 2xx is just wider not taller. Frankly I am way taller than I am wide. The quality was good, the service was good and the shirt looks good so I am more than satisfied. So ooshirts, your strategy was solid, you garnered a future customer and I really like the shirts you sent me. Thanks!

 Money Saving Tech Tips