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 
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Thursday, October 31, 2013

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Battroborg 3-in-1 Battle Arena Disappointing

This toy appears to be the updated version of the old battle bots.   If you have seen the Toy Story movie, you will recall them.   This seems like a good idea however the execution is very weak.  The descriptions say there is an instruction sheet, there were NO instruction sheets nor were the visuals on the box much help.  It was easy to figure out where the eight batteries were to be installed.  The robots need to be charged by connecting them to the remote which holds the batteries.  They claim a 20 minute quick charge for 20 minutes of play.   They did charge in 20 minutes.  Play is a different matter.  I am guessing there is a color code that tells you something based on the changing color led that is on each robot.   Since there were no instructions I have no idea what the led color changes mean.  The one robot stopped working and had to be turned off and then back on to get it to work again.  I don’t know if that is what happens when it takes too many hits to the head or if it is defective.  

After going to the web site things became clearer.   The color codes and battle modes were explained as well as the reset mode.  While the web site is fine and explains all the things that were inexplicable prior to visiting the web site, I don’t feel requiring Internet access to use a toy is a good idea.   The toy should have an instruction sheet and visiting a web site to watch videos on how to use it seems overly complex.   I think the age range of 6 to 15 years is a stretch.  It is going to be too complex for the bottom of the age range and too boring for the top.   My overall impression is that the toy needs to be simplified, there needs to be better quality control to insure there is an instruction sheet in each box and there should be a docking station or wall charger.   I know my grandkids would be frustrated with a 20 minutes on, 20 minutes off toy.  Of course that assumes that it would capture their interest and I think that might be an overly optimistic assumption. 

If reviewing a product, it may have been received free of charge. That will NEVER have a bearing on my recommendations.

Friday, October 25, 2013

GreenWorks G-MAX 40V 16-inch DigiPro Brushless Chainsaw

Not being a chain saw aficionado, I will probably offend those of you who use a chain saw daily.   I use a chain saw infrequently.  Normally no more often than twice a year unless we have had stormy weather and if it is really stormy and I lose six trees simultaneously (3 years ago) then I call my tree guy.  

I do not use a chain saw on a ladder. If I can’t have two feet on the ground I don’t use it.  Now that I have established my credentials, I like this little saw.   It is very well made.  It is replacing an equally small electric chain saw.   I don’t intend to fell forests with it, but when the occasional tree does come down, this appears that it will be able to handle it.  With that said, I am not planning on cutting down one of my trees to merely test it.   It came with very good instructions, a charger and a battery.  

I called the 800 number to verify that there truly is a human being answering the phone and fielding questions.  I asked if I needed to buy expensive bar and chain lubricant and I was assured a good quality, NEW not used, 10w-30 would work just fine.  

For some reason it runs even quieter than my electric chain saw.  It has a nice tension knob that should be a feature on my electric chain saw but isn’t.  Screw driver and two wrenches were needed to change the tension on my old saw.  This has a handy dandy little knob to adjust the tension.

Overall without felling a tree, it cuts better than the old electric chain saw (perhaps the brand new chain could be a factor there), it is quieter and much more user friendly. (the tension knob)   In addition, I was able to get technical support immediately and she was friendly and informative.   As far as I am concerned good customer service should weigh heavily on any purchasing decision.  

This appears it will give me good service and with a lithium battery, it should give me good life.  The battery and charger are warranted for two years and the saw is warranted for four.   That is hard to beat.

4/2/14 UPDATED
After returning from Florida, I had a lot of limbs down, some 10" in diameter.  It has been five months since I tested the chain saw.  I figured I would have to charge the battery but I popped it into the saw and the green light came on so off I went.   I cut for approximately 45 minutes with no hassles whatsoever.  The battery held a charge for five months in the ice cold garage.   That is pretty darn impressive. 

From the Vendor:

Includes 40-volt 4Ah battery plus charger

  • Brushless motor technology offers longer motor life
  • Up to 30 percent more torque, and up to 70 percent less vibration
  • Long-lasting G-MAX 40-volt lithium-ion battery system
  • Cuts up to one cord of wood per charge
  • Interchangeable battery platform offers a complete lawn care solution -- one battery for 10 tools
  • No hazardous fumes or smell while working
  • Less heat exhaustion with lower heat emission during cutting for a better cutting experience
  • Low maintenance, no need to mix oil and gas
If reviewing a product, it may have been received free of charge. That will NEVER have a bearing on my recommendations.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Tech Armor Samsung Galaxy S4 Screen Protectors

 Tech Armor Samsung Galaxy S4 SIV Premium High Definition (HD) Clear Screen Protectors with Lifetime Replacement Warranty [3-Pack] - Retail Packaging

This looks like it will do the trick for screen protection.  After reading the reviews on Gorilla Glass 3, I am pretty sure the screen protector isn’t needed but for $6.95, it’s cheap insurance.  The adhesive was less adhering that I expected.  I thoroughly cleaned the screen as per the instructions but one corner really is resisting its natural role of sticking to the job.   Still it is a 3 pack for $6.95 so it still is a good value and if the corner refuses to stay down, I have two spares.  

From the vendor: 

  • High Definition Transparency Film that ensures maximum resolution for your Galaxy S4
  • TruTouch Sensitivity for a natural feel that provides flawless touch screen accuracy
  • Protects your Samsung AMOLED Display from unwanted scratches
  • Repels dust and will reduce signs of daily wear
  • Made from the highest quality Japanese PET Film with 100% Bubble-Free Adhesives for easy installation and no residue when removed
 If reviewing a product, it may have been received free of charge. That will NEVER have a bearing on my recommendations.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Vantec NexStar TX 2.5-Inch SATA to USB 2.0 External Hard Drive Enclosure

 This enclosure worked as advertised.  It was easy to install the drive and the instructions were very simple.  I think the documentation could be a little more extensive.  I had to go to the web site support section to find out why there was a USB Y cable.  The Y cable is needed if you find your hard drive is not performing properly on a single USB connection.   The Y cable has one thick and one thin leg.  The thick leg is your traditional data/power USB cable.  The thin leg is for additional power only.   You only need to use it if you find your drive is not behaving properly.   That is a bit more subjective than I prefer but since my drive behaved perfectly, I won’t be worrying about it. 

The price of this was $9.99 at Amazon.  The quality is fine and it does just what I expected. 

From the vendor:
·  Aluminum Casing Cools Down Your Hard Drive
·  Easily Add Storage to Any System with USB
·  Hot-Swappable:  Plug & Play Without Rebooting
·  Supports SATA I and II

If reviewing a product, it may have been received free of charge. That will NEVER have a bearing on my recommendations.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Broan 355BR 1200 CFM Roof Mount Powered Attic Ventilator, Brown PVC Dome

This was purchased as a direct replacement of the same model fan installed at least 10 years ago.  The previous model gave very good service and as mentioned did so for at least 10 years.   The Broan tech I spoke to suggested buying the entire fan assembly as opposed to just buying the replacement fan as the entire assembly would be cheaper than just the replacement part.   I did so.  I removed the motor, thermostat switch and fan from the assembly.  I then installed it in the old ventilator.  It fit perfectly and works well.  My only complaint was the ground screw in the thermostat switch was not sized correctly or the hole wasn’t punched large enough.   Using a socket wrench I was actually deforming the metal encasement of the thermostat switch trying to drive the grounding screw.  I drilled out the hole a bit to try and it still did not want to drive and I was unwilling to drill the hole any larger.  I replaced the screw with another sheet metal screw and it worked fine.   So overall, the fan works well, the thermostat turns the fan on and hopefully will last as long as the first model did.   BTW I researched the recommended temperature setting and the suggested setting for the fan was between 100 degrees and 110 degrees.  I had the old one set at 90 degrees which explains why it ran so often.  That also suggests I might have gotten even more life out of it had I set the thermostat correctly.   

From the vendor:

  • 4.3 Amps 1200 CFM for up to 1715 square feet of attic space
  • Precision balanced 14-Inch metal blade for maximum air flow and minimum sound level with PVC plastic dome provides ultraviolet protection and superior durability
  • 23 gage metal flashing - allows for nailing and hot tar application and mesh bird screen
  • Built-in adjustable thermostat - for automatic operation at your chosen temperature level and thermally protected and permanently lubricated motor
  • Mounts easily between rafters - installation template included
If reviewing a product, it may have been received free of charge. That will NEVER have a bearing on my recommendations.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

MicroTouch ONE Razor Review

Déjà Vu, This is the type of razor I started shaving with 50 years ago.  The razor’s literature cautions you on the blades, how sharp they are and how important it is to safely dispose of the blades.  In fact at that time it was common to have a slot in the wall mounted medicine cabinet that opened on the dead space between walls.  When your blade became dull, you slipped the blade into the slot and it dropped between the walls.  Considering 18” centers on the studs and back then 2”x4” studs actually measured 2”x4”, you had a space 18” wide by 4”deep and approximately 60” high.   Think about how many razor blades would fit in that space.  If I still lived there, I could easily keep adding razor blades into the wall.   Enough history.

Day 1
It took a few minutes to get back into the short stroke type of shaving.  With the multi-bladed razor you slowly pull down in long even strokes with the thought that the multiple blades then catch the hairs multiple times.   With a single blade you do short, repetitive strokes.   I considered trying to find shaving soap for my Dad’s antique shaving mug and brush which I still have.   Instead I used normal sensitive skin shaving cream.  

It seemed like it took a lot longer to shave.  The short repetitive strokes seemed more time consuming.  I also felt more pull than I normally feel on a new blade.   Feeling my face several hours after shaving, I don’t feel as if I got as close a shave with the single blade. 

Day 1 conclusions: 
            It seemed to pull more than the multi-blade razor I normally use.
            The shave does not seem as close.
            It took longer to shave.

Day 2:
            It definitely takes longer to shave with this razor.
            It still is not as close a shave even with the increased time shaving.
Day 3:
No change, it is ok but not the revolution that the manufacturer is touting.

Day 4:
I find it hard not to put my finger on the shaft but the instructions are clear on how to hold the razor.   I’m not loving this razor.  It is adequate, better than my electric but not as good as my multi-blade razor.  

Day 5:
Not happy with my shave today. Spent a lot of time and still didn’t get a clean shave.  I will put in a new blade for tomorrow.  I would thing with a double edge you should get a week out of a blade but maybe not.

Day 6:
            Put a new blade in and the shave improved.  Still takes longer to shave.

Day 7:
            Tried shorter strokes, still not a good shave.


The razor build quality is excellent.  The shave quality is not as good as the multi-blade system I have been using.   I got a better shave with this razor than I get with my electric or with the throw away, one use disposable razor.  I did not get as good a shave as I do with my four blade system.  I tried to follow all the recommendations in the instructions regarding softening my beard and how to hold the razor to no avail.  The shave just wasn’t as good as my old razor.  
If reviewing a product, it may have been received free of charge. That will NEVER have a bearing on my recommendations.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Fulcrum 30100-308 MiniGo Motion Sensor LED Light

Light at top, motion sensor at bottom.

This is actually cleverer than I expected.  It does detect motion and it does turn off in 20 seconds if the motion stops.  I can see it would be ideal for travel and strange rooms.  Set it on the night stand pointing away from the bed and if you needed to get it up you would have light.   It also would be good for the elderly or others who might need to take a pill at night, you would have no need to fumble to turn on a light, a simple motion would provide enough light to see what you are doing.  It comes with multiple methods of mounting provide you want to do a semi-permanent mount.   This is an excellent travel accessory.  My only complaint is the ridiculously difficult to open packaging.  The plastic, sealed, clamshell packaging cries out for replacement with a consumer friendly package. 

· Includes both motion activated auto on/off or manual operation for tasks and emergencies
·  Three ways to use/mount: quick release mounting bracket with door strap, magnetic backing, adhesive strip (supplied) or screws (supplied)
·  LED Floodlight Technology provides ultra-bright, glare free illumination making it energy efficient
·  Compact size makes it portable - perfect for travel, tasks and emergencies
·  Perfect for seniors, college students, travelers, home and office

If reviewing a product, it may have been received free of charge. That will NEVER have a bearing on my recommendations.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Educational Insights Nancy B's Science Club MoonScope and Sky Gazers Activity Journal

This is a nice little telescope.  The price at Amazon is $46.00.  The quality of the piece is a bit iffy.  It does everything it claims to do but if you have rambunctious kids, I suspect it will not last very long.  The instructions for assembly were adequate.   The need for two AAA batteries could be larger on the outside packaging.  However since the batteries are not necessary for use of the telescope but just to operate the red LED light, that is not a critical oversight.  The LED is for use in keeping your Sky Gazer’s journal. 

The activity journal is quite good.  It gives decent instructions and provides activities to be used with the MoonScope.  It will provide a positive learning experience. 

The two eyepieces provide a surprising amount of magnification.  This feels like an inexpensive toy but provides a more sophisticated magnification than you would expect.  If it felt a little more durable it would be five star worthy but it is still a good value for the price.
From the Manufacturer:
Experience science with Nancy Balter. Nobody knows science like Nancy. Her brand-new line of scientific tools and real-life journaling activities provide hands-on science experiences that get kids comfortable and excited about science, giving them the confidence to pursue science further in school and in life. Scientific experiences designed for kids ages 8 to 11years. MoonScope and Sky Gazer's Activity Journal includes Moon Scope with 18x to 90x magnification, Moon Filter and tripod with built-in red LED for night viewing. Twenty-page Sky-Gazers Journal includes stories plus tracking, writing, drawing and other activities. Small Parts. Not for children under 3 years.
Product Description
Nancy Balter helps your child to be excited about astronomy and space with the Educational Insights Nancy Bs Science Club Moonscope and Sky Gazers Activity Journal. Designed to give your child a hands-on science experience, helping them to not only be comfortable with science, but to have fun with it as they learn, this set is made for children ages eight to 11. This set features a moon scope with 18x to 90x magnification, a moon filter, and a tripod with built-in red LED for night viewing. The 20 page Sky-Gazer's Journal includes stories plus tracking, writing, drawing, and other activities to keep your child engaged. Small parts makes this set unsuitable for children under three. About Educational Insights Based in Southern California, Educational Insights specializes in the manufacturing and innovation of educational toys and games. Early childhood, math, language, Spanish, science, and social studies are all subjects they tackle in fun and inspiring ways. Teacher resources, classroom products, and games like Jeopardy are all a part of Educational Insights rich inventory designed by experienced educators and parents because they know best! Make learning fun with Educational Insights. Includes a 22-page activity journal, finder scope, and more. Comes with a 4mm and a 20mm all-glass eyepieces. Requires 3 AA batteries (not included). Features a tripod with built-in red LED light. Moonscope measures 15.5L x 3.25W x 7H inches.

If reviewing a product, it may have been received free of charge. That will NEVER have a bearing on my recommendations.
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