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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Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Kindle Fire


I received the Fire as a gift. I liked the concept but I generally wait until gen2 before purchasing something new. I guess I should have figured that Amazon would have worked out a lot of kinks with their Kindles.

The Fire is a great piece of technology. I have used it continuously since December 25th. I have loaded book, photos, music and applications to it. Words with Friends is much better on the Fire screen than the Droid screen. The screen size is more than adequate for my needs. WiFi is easily acquired although the browser is sluggish.

I like the assigned email address that allows you to send information to your Fire if it is in an acceptable format. I have thusly emailed my self, successfully, quite a few things.

There are far more applications than I ever intend to put on my Fire. I have no iPad envy.

I found the playing lists for music easy to use and after hooking up a pair of computer speakers was delighted with how easy it was to queue music up to play. I have not spent a lot of time headphone listening to music while I read but I have tried it in noisy environments and it is a great way to provide yourself a modicum of sanity in places like airports.

The touch screen is receptive and I have only had the Fire do it’s dreaded lock up once. After googling the problem, I found it occurs and to clear it you hold the on/off button down until the Fire resets. I didn’t get an inkling as to what causes that issue.

I have watched movies on it and for those of you who question movies on a screen that small, put it in perspective. A 40” screen at eight feet distance is not substantially larger than a seven inch screen residing on your chest.

The readability of the Fire is not nearly as good as the Kindles when you are in sunlight. It is still easily read but nearly as good as the Kindle in that aspect.

Hooking the Fire to the computer is a piece of cake and so is the data transfer.

The lack of 3G and a camera are the biggest criticisms I have heard regarding the fire. Frankly considering the price differential between the iPad and the Fire, those criticisms are hardly noticeable. I don’t need either and I suspect the bulk of the world doesn’t’ either.

I did look at the Nook and found it’s browser even more sluggish than the Fire. It’s internal speaker seemed more robust but still would require a head set or powered external speakers for any quality.

I have an Augen “The Book” which was an early iPad/eReder want-to-be. Augen has disappeared but the unit does have a browser but does not have a touch screen. Its color screen is nice but it is sluggish in all aspects and not even close to the Fire in ability. I

I have played with the iPad and it is very nice tech but is it worth four to five times as much as the Fire? Not in my estimation.

The Kindle Fire is a remarkable piece of technology and I highly recommend it.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Comcast’s Digital Conversion Naples Florida Perspective

Comcast is fine when it is working. Comcast does not handle change well and do not get me started on how they put it to you pricing wise when there is minimal competition. This tale of woe is on the seamless (oh year!) conversion to digital format in Naples Florida.

As I am a snow bird (one who only comes to Florida when there is snow at home), I was aware of the conversion through my gated community’s newsletter. However I was unable to address it until I arrived in late December. Upon arrival I went to the local Comcast store to pick up the digital converters, as advised by numerous Comcast missives. Imagine my surprise when I arrived at the store to discover an unruly and unhappy crowd disgruntled over the fact the store was closed on a normal business day and a sign on the door telling people to go to the Comcast website and order their converters.

I came home, called Comcast and ordered two DTAs (digital converters). About a week later I received one converter. I called and was told I had only ordered one. Since it is pointless to disagree, I ordered a 2nd and asked about a HD converter. After getting the info, I ordered an HD converter too. I also upgraded my Internet access. The Internet access upgrade started immediately and I was impressed with the difference.

A week later I got another DTA. I tried to activate both DTA’s and was told that one had an incorrect serial number. After 2 hours of computer chat time and phone conversations I was told to return the faulty serial number unit to the Comcast store.

A week later I received the DTA with the correct serial number with a shipping date of the day I had last spoken to someone who insisted that I couldn’t have a unit with a wrong serial number and who had insisted the one with the correct serial number had been shipped days and days ago. (hmm, I wonder if they realized that the real shipping date would be printed on the shipping label)

Upon receiving the correct serial number unit, I went online and it activated easily. After an additional week, I called to find out where the HD converter might be and was told I had never ordered one. Again, insisting that Comcast made a mistake was futile, I reordered the HD box.

I finally got the HD box, it installed and activated easily. I then discovered that ON Demand was faulty. I could watch an On Demand show, then try and watch another and get error messages. I called Comcast and they have a selection on the phone to reset the cable box. I had the box reset and then was able to watch another show. Of course when it was finished I discovered that I had to call and reset the box to watch another show. After several useless calls I scheduled a service call.

The service guy was supposed to be there between 10-12 and arrived at 12:10. Not too bad considering it is Comcast we are writing about. He basically told me that On Demand is interactive and that communication errors can occur. I should go out of On Demand, change the channel a few times and (cross my fingers) hope that On Demand worked when I got it back. All of this seemed odd as I have On Demand at home and have never had to play games with it to get it to work. After testing my signal and assuring me that the signal was of appropriate strength, the very pleasant young man left. The sum total of my service call was he repeated what I had already heard on the multiple phone calls I had made to Comcast. Thus I have to assume they have no clue why I am getting their error messages and I have to live with it. One can only hope that once the digital conversion process is complete that Comcast in Naples Florida can become as proficient as Comcast in Pennsylvania. Until then, I will continue to stand on my head, pluck chicken feathers, spin three times and hope On Demand works.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Linksys E4200v2 Router, A Disappointment


Atheros wireless network adapter owners beware! You may have an Atheros adapter in your laptop and not even know it. If you do, return this router now since it appears that Linksys routers do not work with the Atheros wireless adapters. There is a work around but it takes the router to the slowest most mundane aspect of the router.

With that being said, after 4 hours of tech support, 97 minutes of my cell phone minutes and 4 chat sessions I was able to get the easy setup to work. At this point I am shell shocked and don’t even want to look at the router let alone test more features. I liked the USB port on the router for sharing storage and wanted to test it with a printer but frankly the 4 hours of my life that went into the basic setup was 3 ¾ hours more than I had hoped to spend.

So it may be a good router if you have some other wireless adapter but you sure don’t want this if you have an Atheros wireless adapter in whatever you are trying to connect. Unless of course you wanted it configured plain vanilla and have 4 hours and 97 cell phone minutes you want to burn.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Laptop Cooling On the Cheap!


Portable Notebook Laptop Foldable USB 2 Fans Cooling Cooler

This is notebook or netbook cooling fan. You can set you device directly on top of this tiny unit and it’s two fans will circulate air to keep your device cool. One of the things I learned in my 25 years in the computer business was that two of the biggest equipment killers were heat and dirt. This obviously does nothing for dirt but it can keep your laptop cool. That cooling will have a measurable impact on it’s longevity.

This unit is so cheap it is almost laughable. It cost $4.05 which included shipping. There are a surprising number of similar solutions on both Amazon and eBay. I didn’t find similar prices at New Egg or Buy.com. This unit had a USB pass through which was the main reason that I purchased it over similar units without a pass through. It seems like you can never have enough USB ports on your equipment. (If you have been into computers long enough, serial ports were once as important.)

The unit is constructed in about the manner you would expect for something so inexpensive. The fans are very quiet though. That was a pleasant supply. Here is an interesting factoid, I have a Cooler Master unit that cost me $24.00 with two fans. The fans are getting noisy after a years use and I wanted to replace them. Cooler Master offers the replacement fans for $6.99 plus $9.98 shipping. So $17.00 vs. $4.00 for two fans seems like a no brainer. I can replace the fans four times for the cost of what Cooler Master charged. I plan on using the fans under the nice, sturdy stand that the Cooler Master fans were affixed to. I am dismayed that Cooler Master used the easily replaceable fans as a selling feature and then charges approximately 75% of the cost of a complete new unit for easily replaceable fans. This type of behavior encourages the “throw it away, don’t fix it” philosophy that has encompassed so much of our industry. Shame on Cooler Master but Kudos to whoever put together such a great MONEY SAVING TECH TIP device as this very portable little cooling stand.

Monday, March 12, 2012

3 Products that Can Save You Some Money around the House--A Guest Post

There are numerous ways that you can save money around the house every day. Of course, things like energy bills and home maintenance can really rack up some expenses throughout the years. There are endless articles out there offering useful tips for saving money on your monthly household bills or on major home repairs. These tips and tricks can absolutely be extremely useful for any individual looking to save some money in the long term. However, there are also several smaller things that we can do around the house to help us save money on managing our household. Little things that often go unnoticed in our day to day lives can actually make a huge impact on our household budget. Try investing in these three products to help save money here and there around the house.

The Roku

This awesome little device is a wonderful way to streamline your entertainment choices in your home and potentially reduce you spending in that area for the future. I am in no way affiliated with the sale of the Roku, but I do think it's an amazing little tool and I've found that it has helped me significantly save money on my entertainment budget for the month. The Roku is a device that hooks up to your television and allows you to access your Netflix account, Hulu, Amazon Instant Video, various other channel subscriptions, several free movies, shows, and music. The Roku is a much cheaper option for accessing all of these things in one place. I was able to cancel my cable plan and use Hulu and the other things the Roku offers to watch everything I like. This cut back on my monthly bills and made accessing various programs and accounts much simpler. While the Roku may not be the best option for everyone, for some it may be the perfect way to save some money on your entertainment spending.

Rechargeable Battery Charger

With so many things running on battery power around the house these days, many of us fail to recognize just how expensive all these batteries can be. With numerous remotes, game controllers, clocks, wireless mice, keyboards, and so much more, finding a way to save money one batteries can make a pretty significant different each month. If you find yourself going through batteries pretty regularly, you might want to look into purchasing rechargeable batteries and a battery charger. While the upfront cost of this may seem a bit pricy, the money you will save in the long run is significant. Furthermore, disposing of batteries is one of the more difficult processes. With batteries being dangerous for our environment, many people fail to dispose of them in an environmentally friendly way. Get a battery charger and special rechargeable batteries so that you always have functioning batteries around the house without having to constantly buy new ones.

Surge Protector

While many of us already use surge protectors for several of our important electrical devices, there are many ways that these surge protectors can save us money. Surge protectors are an essential preventative measure to take for your expensive electronics. Look into getting a surge protector that helps you save money on your electric bill. There are several brands of surge protector that not only protect against threatening power surges, but also recognize when devices are using power unnecessarily. The surge protector can recognize the electrical current being used and determine which devices need to be turned off at that time to save you some money on your electric bill. Buy smart. Get a surge protector for all of your electrical outlets so that you don't risk having to purchase new electronics in the event of a power surge.

By-line:

Jemima Lopez is a freelance blogger and writer who writes for Zen College Life, the directory of higher education, distance learning, and online degrees. She welcomes your comments at her email: lopezjemima562 @ gmail.com.


Thank you for the guest post. Some good ideas and a different perspective than mine.
Bill

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Jabra Journey Bluetooth Speaker Phone



Cell phones are a wonderful piece of technology and I would hate to do without mine. Calls in the car are a pain though. My wife’s car came with Bluetooth which makes life much less complex. Once the phone was synched it worked like a charm. My car, being pre-Bluetooth, doesn’t have that advantage therefore I want an easy to use Bluetooth speaker phone.

Thanks to the Amazon Vine program I now have an easy to use Bluetooth speaker phone. Right out of the box it synched with no problems. The first time pairing was done through voice prompts from the unit itself. The sound is very clear and I’m told I don’t sound like I am in a large can when I speak to people using it.

The buttons work well and work when you push them. That seems like it should be a no brainer but my current unit needs much prodding to get it to want to respond to voice commands.

I particularly like the car charger as it uses a standard male micro USB connector to a male USB connector cable that plugs in to a female USB connector in the cigarette/multipurpose socket in what use to be an ash tray. The benefit here is that I can take out the multiple phone chargers and use one charger to charge all my in car electronics.

This is an excellent unit at an affordable price.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Is Online Dating Right For You? A Guest Post


Author Bio: Tonya Vrba is a passionate writer. Her work has been published in newspapers and blogs. She writes frequently about health, career and dating issues. Tonya currently writes with Online Dating Sites. Learn more about her work at her personal website.

Is Online Dating Right For You?

The days of dating online being taboo are gone. People today may live fast paced lives, but many still hope to fall in love at some point in their life. Don’t let the seemingly simple process fool you. Finding love online is not as simple as ordering a pizza. More often than not, the same traditional dating rules apply. When deciding if online dating is the answer for your love life, first ask yourself these questions.

1. Are you ready to date? Plenty of blogs and television shows love to tell people why they are still single. The truth of the matter is, if you’re not attractive offline, you won’t be online either. Eventually, you will have to take your online romance offline. If you are overly needy or still holding onto grudges of past lovers, a new relationship will not work. If you are not emotionally available, that will come across in the emails you send online. Make sure you are ready and open to love.

2. What do you want out of a relationship? This is very important. Different dating sites offer different relationships. EHarmony, for example, is known for the number of marriages it has created. The site only allows you to view people with whom you have the chance of creating a long relationship with. Match.com allows you to see all its members and explore people who may be a bit different from you. Other niche sites cater to specific types of people. A great example of this is a site called Rainbow Christians, a site for Christians in the LGBT community. If you are just looking for sex or want something more, there is a site out there. There’s no point in browsing through them all. You only need to look at the ones which are specific to your taste.

3. Why are you looking into online dating? The usual excuse is that people are too busy to date. Yet, relationships take time. That excuse is not enough. You need to establish what you want to be different about online dating because the truth is online dating is much the same as any other kind of dating. Here are some good examples:

a. A person who is older or recently divorced may have trouble finding singles in their age group and seek online dating as an easy way to find them.

b. A person may have a specific relationship requirement, like not wanting kids or waiting until marriage to have sex. Online, you don’t have to bother with people who don’t want the same kind of relationship you do.

c. A person may be tired of the bar scene but not know where else to find singles.

d. A person with a full-time job may not have the time or money to stay out late at night.

4. What are you willing to pay? There are free dating sites out there. Plenty of Fish is one of the more popular free dating sites. At the end of the day, dating sites are like any other product. You get what you pay for. Even when you pay for a dating site, it is often cheaper than traditional dating. Imagine you meet someone at a bar. You buy them a few drinks (10$) and invite them to dinner in a few days. Even if you only pay for own meal and drink (15-20$), the numbers add up. In this example, you have spent 25-30$ on the chance the person might like you. If they don’t, it’s on to the next date with someone new. Most dating sites cost less per month than one date. If you are one who has paid for countless dates and is still alone, online dating may save you money. After all, the people who are willing to meet you offline, will already be genuinely interested in a relationship.

5. Have you done your research? Following the above steps, you have probably narrowed it down to a few prospective dating sites. Now, it’s as simple as typing in ________.com reviews. The best information can usually be found in forums, where there is an ongoing conversation. There, you will find people who both approve and disapprove of the dating site. This will help you make a well rounded decision. Also take a look at reviews on blogs and websites that go into detail about the features a dating site offers. This will help you come to final conclusion of which dating site is right for you.

At the end of the day, remember the goal of online dating is to emulate offline dating. Online dating will not solve all problems. Online dating will not make you grow or mature. It’s won’t mend your broken heart or hand you a relationship that involves no work. The goal of online dating and those who take part in it is to have a successful offline relationship.


Thank you Tanya for your excellent post on a topic that many older readers are absolutely clueless about. Your common sense overview and advice are direct and to the point. Nice job!
Bill

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Nice trick Payless Car rental of Orlando FL.


Nice trick Payless Car rental of Orlando FL.

This is quoted from a friend of mine but it could happen to any of us and particularly with those of us having young, possibly tired and or grumpy children in tow.

“We got in late with a tired little kid last weekend and when asked for the extra insurance verbally declined.

Apparently they added it right back in and bet (correctly) that we wouldn’t notice.

After we paid at the end and hurried to catch our plane, they inform me that they won’t take the charge off since we accepted it.

Legally I know we have no leg to stand on but I will say, enjoy the 67 bucks, Payless, it’s the last nickel you will ever see from me and anyone who I can convince to avoid them.”

Frankly this is the kind of underhanded nickel pinching that makes all businesses look bad.

Payless Car Rental of Orlando Florida, shame on you!

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