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Tuesday, August 30, 2011

My Milk Chocolate Test


This is my personal taste test.

I am a chocolate fan.  Now for the heresy, I don’t particularly like Godiva.  I do like plain old milk chocolate.  I have tried all of the chocolate I have seen, ever!  Ghirardelli Chocolate is excellent but I have not found it in the bite size pieces.  So my simple, unscientific test is base purely on my findings.  Given a choice, my wife, my 13 year old grandson, my 7 year old granddaughter and my 5 year old grandson all prefer the Hershey Nugget over the Bliss and Dove and so do I.   No science, just taste!  Once again, more expensive is not always better or better for you.


One Hershey Nugget 10.25 grams;       50 calories               $0.41/oz
One Dove Promise 8 grams;                 26.25 calories         $0.61/oz
One Bliss 7.1 grams;                            35 calories               $0.62/oz



TV Style Tray Tables



 You just don't want drinks and snacks on the bridge table that is already cluttered with bidding boxes and cards.  These little tables keep the bridge table uncluttered and hopefully the red wind off of your carpet.   Look around though the prices of the same item are all over the place.  The trays came assembled but the stand needed to be assembled.  All the parts were there and assembly was easy.   A good value and good quality for the price purchased at Kmart for $39.99.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Cooler Master Notepal U2 Notebook Cooler with Two Fans R9-NBC-8PBK-GP--A Disappointment


Simple, 25 years in the computer business I saw more machines killed by heat and dirt than any other cause. This little baby has quietly dissipated the heat from my notebook for well over a year with no negative issues. The big three; data protection,power protection and heat protection are not addressed by this unit, just heat and it does it well. If you don't have one, get one!
Model R9-NBC-8PBK-GP(Black) Dimension 343 x 266 x58.6mm
13.5” x 10.5” x2.3”
Material Aluminum andRubber
Weight 582g; 1.3lbs
Compatibility Supportsall 14”-15” laptops and up to 17”
Fan Dimension 80 x 80x 10mm (two fans included)
UPC Code 884102006180(Black)

Addendum 2/5/12:

I still think this unit does a nice job cooling but I am grossly disappointed in Cooler Master’s customer service. Admittedly the unit does a good job but the original fans now groan like Eagle fans watching old Donovan McNabb throw a bullet to TO’s feet.

To me, a major selling feature of the unit was the “easily replaced” fans. They snap out and are readily available. Well they do snap out, they are NOT readily available and Cooler Master parts was the only place I could find them. The price is reasonable, $6.99 for a pair of fans but the shipping of $9.98 simply means that you are putting out $16.97 to replace the now very noisy fans.

What is frustrating is that you can go to Amazon, New Egg, Buy.com or E-Bay and replace the entire unit for as little as $5.00 including shipping. I found a Targus unit that was very similar for $6.99 and free shipping at Amazon. (free shipping with a $25 order) My beef is that I ship things, the shipping and handling should not be $10. Cooler Master obviously wants you to buy a new, complete unit rather than repair the old. Shame on you Cooler Master for contributing to the throw away society.

My solution is to buy the $5.00 dual fan set at Amazon and slide it under the very nice Cooler Master notebook stand that used to be a notebook cooler before the fans died. Stop back to see if the $5.00 including shipping fans work.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Want a Kinky Garden Hose?


Recently I needed two new garden hoses.   I purchased one at Kmart and one at Ace Hardware.   I did not get light duty or medium duty.   I got the heavy duty version that claims not to kink.   I do not know what the advertising copy writers were smoking when they claimed these two hoses from two different manufactures and two different retailers would not kink.    They kinked from unrolling, they kinked when wound up the first time, they kinked on the first use and they kinked after sitting in the warm sun doing nothing.   Sounds pretty kinky to me!  The next time I used the 100' kinkless hose, I counted six (6) kinks each one sufficient to restrict the water flow to the extent that I got nothing, not even a trickle out of the hose until I un-kinked it.  
 
Bottom line, if there is a kinkless garden hose, I haven’t found it.   Therefore my conclusion is that if the Ace Hardware clerk tells you, buy the more expensive one, it doesn’t kink, she doesn’t have a clue on what she is talking about.   Save your money! 

Thursday, August 18, 2011

A Guest Post: Affiliate Marketing- How to Save Time and Money by Finding Good Affiliates


This is a guest post by the folks who have embedded the link entitled computer support.  It is a computer support firm “down under”.   Their ideas and advice are  worth considering.

One of the biggest problems for people looking at affiliate marketing opportunities is trying to tell the good deals from the crocks. That’s easier than it looks, but it has to be said at this point that there are risks. Some affiliates are effectively worthless wastes of time and effort, and their “returns” would be laughable if they weren’t so disappointing. Some use ridiculous software that could have you getting computer support (and/or counseling) on a regular basis; others have excellent software that can run your affiliate shop seamlessly. Some are basically pyramid scams; others are bona fide businesses with extremely good payment schemes.

Affiliates- What to avoid

There are a few telltale signs of an affiliate to avoid:

·         Strong emphasis on getting others to join: The best affiliates just don’t do that. They may have referral schemes as incentives, but that’s about it. The “joiner” affiliates tend to be long on talk and very short on substance.

·         Any affiliate which advertises itself like a “Make a billion in bed” scheme: These absurd things are full of stories about “our fantastic product” that made multi-millionaires out of a group of people that look like an FBI Most Wanted list. Somebody living in a cave in Peru did well out of the affiliate scheme and naturally recommends it to everyone on Earth. To add some extra credibility, there’s no actual indication of what the product is, after reading about 3000 words. Forget it.

·         Vague information about any affiliate’s terms and conditions: Real affiliate schemes are real businesses. They don’t waffle about their terms. They use standardized agreements. If you see anything less than this standard, move on. You can find better business anywhere.

Appealing little collection of options, isn’t it? These things are poison. The best case outcomes in these situations are likely to be memories you’ll be able to wince about for the rest of your life.

Software as a cue to get out of the frying pan

Another good indication of a truly hopeless affiliate scheme is, ironically enough, the software. The best affiliates really do provide a full suite of software which runs well and can help you track your earnings, hits and anything else you need effortlessly. The crocks provide you with software which gives you a great opportunity to spend time talking to your computer repairs people on a regular basis, trying to find out what’s gone wrong this time. It’s strange but true that these guys will spend a fortune on hype, and a few cents setting up decent software which will actually do anything.

If you’re finding that your “software” is about as useful as a flamethrower when your house is burning down, take the hint. All the affiliate deal will do is cost you time and therefore money, and cost you hard cash sorting out the problems.

Research- The key to dodging the crocks

Always check out any information you can get about any affiliate and their products.

If you see a lot of:

·         “We’re not a scam, really we’re not” articles or posts online

·         Complaints about non-payment

·         Complaints about a lot of hassles with the affiliate

·         Complaints about products

·         Better Business Bureau reports


Avoid these guys. The best affiliates do business, not litigation and PR, to make their money. Check and keep checking until you’re sure you’ve found a good deal.

Getting good affiliate deals really isn’t all that difficult. Just play safe and look out for the crocks.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Constant Guard From Xfinity Not So Hot


I got an email from Comcast touting their Constant Guard security package.   It’s free so I thought I would download and try it.   If you are interested just go to www.comcast.net and click on security. 


It downloaded and installed OK.   It asked a lot of questions and then had me reboot.   Interestingly after I rebooted, neither Firefox or ie9 would open.   Now I admit Comcast’s blurb about their wonderful security software sounded interesting but…

If it is so disruptive out of the box, what happens when it is entrenched?  I uninstalled it and will continue to use the variety of protection software  that have served me well.  

Alas, another disappointing experience with Comcast.   

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Rebate Excuses


Rebates are a pain particularly if you don’t redeem them.   Statistics range widely on the number of rebates that remain unclaimed, anywhere from 38% to 68%.   Those statistics are exactly why the vendors use rebates instead of price reductions.   Their fondest hope is that the rebate will provide you with the incentive to buy and that you will never claim the rebate.   For vendors it is a win/win, they get a sale and don’t have to shell out the cash for the rebate.   If you make a purchase involving rebates you must force yourself to be responsible and claim your money.   If you don’t you are falling prey to a retailing trick and you only have yourself to blame.   Here is a link to a site that has the 10 most common excuses why rebates are not submitted.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Weed & Grass Killing Tips


My yard seems to track the most gracious and healthy weeds. The weeds seem  to grow faster and better than anything I plant. The old back isn't what it  used to be. Therefore I resorted to liquid weed killer. Being susceptible  to advertising I started with roundup. It worked but. I wasn't overly impressed.

 I bought the economy size version of roundup in their spray pump which actually works quite well. That's the pump it works quite well the round up not so much.

 I purchased a product called Spectracide weed and grass killer. It seems grossly more effective than the roundup. I don't know why I was shocked but it was also substantially cheaper than roundup. Once again its proven that  the higher price product isn't always the best product for job. In this case Spectracide actually does seem to kill the weeds and they are brown within 24 hours. So if you looking to save some money in killing weeds you may want to look for the product called spectracide I found it at Ace hardware.


Monday, August 1, 2011

Congressional Dead Wood



One can only hope that come election time we all remember that our elected officials thought far more about feathering their nest than they did the well being of our nation.  I suspect since this dismal compromise passed there will be a wealth of broken arms from all the politicians patting them selves on the back for either their support or their rejection of the compromise.

There will also be a great deal of criticism of the President who can only veto, not initiate bills.  Somehow the demagogues will see Satan incarnate and blame the President for whatever occurs.  

We live in a wonderful nation with a population that is renown throughout the world for digging deep in their personal pockets to aid any and all victims of a plethora of disasters.   Where we as a nation fail, is to hold accountable the scoundrels in government who disdain the common man and revel in their special governmental privileges.  These elected officials and their juvenile behavior have embarrassed our nation in front of the world. 

Somehow we must rein in the self serving slugs oozing through the halls of government and elect officials who will live within their means as they expect us to live within ours.  We need elected officials who have no special insurance, no life long pensions and no acceptance of lobbyist, their money or their disdain for the democratic process.   

I wish I had a clear and simple solution.   Sadly the historic context is frightening.   Whenever those who govern are primarily concerned for their own well being instead of their constituents, empires, governments and peoples fail.  

We can only hope that memory does not fail us when elections roll around and we can, regardless of party affiliation, vote ALL of the self centered scoundrels out. 
 Money Saving Tech Tips