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, September 27, 2013

Philips Avent Digital Video Baby Monitor with Night Vision

Once again, I am impressed with technology.  I am not impressed with the price, $219.00 but I am impressed with how well it works.  This little setup allows excellent baby monitoring.  You can set it for sound activation.  So if the little one starts to cry, the camera will turn on and you can see his brother poking him with a stick. (I know demented humor has no place in professional reviews, however I’m writing the review and I can use humor where I please.)  The sound activation aspect turns on the camera and you can see into the area where the monitor is pointed, even in the dark.  If there is no more sound the parent screen will darken in 20 seconds when using the sound activation feature.

The screen is very small on the parent unit.  The unit itself is roughly the size of a 10 year old cell phone and so is the screen.  It is very clear though.  There is a lullaby feature which can play three different tunes each about 15 minutes in length.  A continuous loop feature is also useable.  

This is a single purpose unit.  Set up a camera and watch it on your hand held parent unit.  There is no ability to use your cell phone or tablet to monitor the screen.   Recently on Good Morning America there was a segment on how wireless cameras can be picked up by other units than your own.  This can occur with 2.4ghz cameras as well as Wifi.   There was nothing mentioned in the documentation about restricted or encrypt signals so the signal may be available for other units. 

Speaking of documentation, the quick start guide is all pictographs.  I realize this saves cost in translating instructions into various languages but it is too simplistic.  There should have been an instruction sheet as well.  The accompanying CD has the PDF of the instructions and they are fine.   It is entirely possible that a buyer may only have a smart phone or tablet and have no way of accessing a CD. 

If this unit was $99.00 I think it would be a good deal.  Although considering the concerns about privacy I would not want to be using this in a condo or apartment complex.  I reviewed a Motorola Blink camera a few months ago and at $250.00 it did have encryption features based on your Wifi and it had software that could be on your phone or tablet.  That is comparing apples and oranges though.  I personally think it would be worth spending the extra $30.00 for the flexibility of a pan/tilt/zoom unit that is more secure and uses the cell phone we all carry anyway.  Even with that in mind, this is a well behaved, simple unit that is just over priced.  

From the manufacturer:
Philips Digital Video Baby Monitor
The essential connection to your baby
See and hear your baby from anywhere in your home. The SCD603 baby monitor enables you to maintain a secure connection with your baby at all times. In addition to perfect sound quality, you can also see your baby. And, with a range up to 150 meters, this monitor is fully portable and easy to use.
Key Features
Day and Night Video Monitoring
  • 100% Private Connection
  • Hear your baby with clear sound
  • High resolution 2.4" color screen
  • Infra-red night vision automatically switches on in the dark
  • Self-activating screen and volume switches on when your baby starts crying
  • Indoor range up to 30 meters, outdoor range up to 150 meters
Soothes Your Baby
  • Soft nightlight to calm your little one
  • Remotely select your lullabies
Easy to Use
  • Rechargeable parent unit
  • Wall mountable baby unit
  • LED lights show when your unit is linked and in range
  • Backup battery function in case of power failure

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

Monday, September 23, 2013

SanDisk Connect 32GB Wireless Flash Drive (SDWS2-032G-E57)

This actually worked right out the gate.  I first charged it as recommended.  Once it was charged I downloaded the AP to my tablet.  I turned on the drive and my tablet found it.  I was able to move files back and forth wirelessly.  It does automatically disconnect you from the Internet when it connects to the wireless flash drive.  The documentation states there is a work around on that.   I plugged it into my USB port on my non-wireless desktop and could easily move the files.    It was simple to set up, works fine.  A good product I received for free to review. 

From the vendor:
The SanDisk Connect Wireless Flash Drive provides you with an easy and convenient way to wirelessly store, share and stream your content across your smartphones, tablets and computers. SanDisk Wireless Flash Drive is the next-generation wireless storage technology that works just like your flash drive, but better with direct USB connection without wires, and allows you to share data across devices via Wi-Fi, even when no internet access is available. Access your movies, photos, music and documents from around the house or on-the-go with friends/family/co-workers with up to 4 hours of continuous streaming on a single charge. Avoid the common hassles of cables, attachment limits, Internet availability and enjoy the extra storage for your mobile devices.

1) Simultaneously connect & access data stored on up to 8 devices via Wi-Fi
2) No internet connection, cables or router required, works on all Wi-Fi enabled devices
3) Up to 4 hours of video streaming on a single charge
4) Access with free app, compatible with iOS 5.0 or later, Android(tm) 2.3 ot later and Kindle devices
5) Access with internet browser, compatible with all Wi-Fi enabled devices
6) Optional Wi-Fi password protection and 128-bit AES encryption
7) Charging and accessing with USB 2.0 connection interface or higher
If reviewing a product, it may have been received free of charge. That will NEVER have a bearing on my recommendations.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Energizer Power Inverter

Please read the entire review, my opinion changed based on superb customer service.

This looked like a good product.  My first dismay was the astounding difficulty to get into the product.  The plastic clam shell was nearly impervious to my special packaging cutting tool.  Then the liberal application of tape on the pieces that were already carefully sealed in their molded plastic pockets compounded my frustration.  Once I got it open, I read the brief overview and took it to the garage to test.   I attached the leads with the power port (formerly known as a cigarette lighter receptacle)  adapter and then plugged it into the power port in my SUV.  BTW I am a bit concerned about the exposed connections on the back.  I’m not an electrician but they look like it would be entirely too easy to cross those with something conductive and poof! (The vendor assured me that there is no danger in this type of connection.)

Anyway the blue light on the on off switch came on when I turned it on.  It looked like it worked.  I put my Dirt Devil on it to test as I use it to vacuum the SUV.   It didn’t care for the inverter and sounded pathetically wear.  I turned it off, started the car and tried again.  The vac wheezed without actually turning over.  The inverter then went belly up.  It did not recover after one hour.   The literature states that it can accept up to a 1000 watt draw on starting.  I can’t find a site that give me the draw on the Dirt Devil but since the lights don’t dim when I plug it in, I suspect it isn’t drawing 1000 watts.  I tried multiple power ports in two different vehicles with no success.  I liked the idea of an inverter.  This one didn’t respond to any resuscitation so I’m not impressed. 

The day after I posted this review there was a response from Energizer customer support. I made contact and had explained to me that my test device ie. Shark Vacuum, exceeded the rating of the inverter and had blown a fuse. That had occurred to me but I was unable to locate a fuse. The rep, explained where the fuse was and how to change it. Even more, he said that they were adding instructions to the product on the location of the fuse and how to change it. But Wait!,in addition they are adding two spare fuses to avoid future issues like I had. The rep asked me to test the inverter with the alligator clips that go directly on the vehicle battery. I did test it and it worked fine. I am waiting to receive the fuses that the rep has sent. When they arrive I will re-test the inverter with the cigarette lighter adapter. I will be back to add further updates. As a note, I review a lot of products and seldom have I seen such superior customer service,up to and including adding directions to the product based on my review. I commend Power Bright Technologies, the manufacturer of the product for their proactive support.

Final Update: I received the fuses and tested the unit again. This time all went fine. I commend the vendor for good customer support and since my original test was beyond the parameters of the tested unit, I have revised my score based on the corrected test and the superb customer support.

From the vendor:
·   500W continuous / 1000W peak power
·  Ultra Silent (thermal fan)
·  2 x standard North American AC outlets
·  2 x USB charging ports 2.1A (shared)
·  Ipad charging compatible from USB ports
·  Tablet charging compatible from USB ports

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

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Craigslist Going Down Hill

Several years ago I sold multiple items on Craigslist.   It is free, with no fees so what could be the down side.   I had no issues then.   This month I have been trying to sell and iPad Mini for my grandson.   Simple sale, cash only, face to face meeting only were the major caveats in the sale.  

Imagine my surprise when 75% of the responses were sex related.   I’m not sure what kind of idiots out there relate sex and an iPad Mini but nevertheless the responses were interesting to say the least.  
“I found you ad appealing and would love to meet you!”
“I don’t usually do this but would you want to meet for coffee?”
“I got totally turned on reading your ad, could we meet?”

Needless to say, I was glad I was fielding these ludicrous responses rather than my young grandson seeing them.  Although I am sure he would have found them as amusingly disgusting as I did.   I give gmail credit as the bulk of them ended up in my Spam file without me having to look at them.

Then the standard, “I’ll send you more money than you are asking.”  Hmm, too good to be true, sure it is.   I suggested we meet in the parking lot of the local police station to make the transaction and that was the last I heard from that bozo.  It is fascinating and dismaying to see the number of despicable criminals out there.   

It is hard to beat the no fee aspect of Craig’s list but please be cautious in its use.   There have been cases where respondents have turned out to be not only criminal but sometimes violently criminal.  Use prudence and protect yourself when using the service. 

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

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Ransomeware, A Vile Virus

Ransomware viruses are still proliferataing.   A very official pop-up that suggests that you have been (pick more than one):
1.downloading child porn
2.pirating software
3.violating copyright laws
4.indulging in inappropriate Internet activity
5.selling child porn
6.soliciting child porn
7. having inappropriate relations with animals
And ad nauseum
The more popular crapware says it is from the Department of Home Land Security or the Department of Defense or Immigration Authorities and if you don’t submit your “fine” of $300 (varies) within 48 hours, you will be arrested.  

I assured a panic stricken teen that this was a scam.  It still took two days to get the insidious virus that locked his system off of his computer.   I spoke to a Latino who was threatened with deportation if the “fine” was paid immediately.  

With the revelations of what the NSA has been doing, these fraudulent schemes become more believable.  Even if you Google a solution you have to be careful as some of the solutions assure you they can clean off your computer for only $25.00 down and $10.00 a month to keep it clean.  Probably is the company that wrote the virus in the first place.

My advice is to practice safe computing to avoid the situation in the first place.  Avoid places that harbor these miscreants.  Music and movie download sites are a hotbed of computer diseases.   Porn sites are rampantly infected.   Protect your self with a robust anti-virus package from a major company.  Many such as AVG and AVAST are free.  

Here is the link for the Microsoft page that will help you get your computer back when ransomware has hijacked it. Microsoft Malware Protection Center

Good luck and safe computing!

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Eye-Fi Mobi 16 GB SDHC Class 10 Wireless Memory Card

This is a pretty spiffy device.   You pop what appears to be a standard SD card into your camera and it will send the photos you take to whatever device you choose.  The devices seem to be limited to either a tablet or cell phone.  I went to the Eye-Fi site  and checked to see if both my digital cameras were supported.  They both are supported.  I then went to Google Play-Store and downloaded the Eye-Fi ap.   Install was simple,  I put it on a tablet and a smart phone.  I took test photos and they transferred automatically to the tablet and cel phone.  There does not appear to be an option to choose what photos you get as the camera does not seem to have any type of menu on that end.   The photos appear automatically.  This may not be a detriment.  Many consumers prefer magic as opposed to knowledge.  This certainly made the photos appear like magic on my devices.

Installation was easy.  I hope they upgrade the ap and allow some choices for selection and use.  It does not automatically delete the photos on the camera and I think that is a positive rather than a negative.  I prefer to manually delete files. 

My reaction is that this will be a handy little device. 

From the Manufacturer:
Eye-Fi Mobi 16GB SDHC Card The Quality of Your Digital Camera Meets the Power of Your Mobile Apps Thanks to best-in-class technology and built-in WiFi, Mobi delivers photos from your digital camera directly into your iPad, iPhone, Kindle Fire or Android camera roll. Exceptional Class 10 performance captures HD video, low light and fast action shots, while built-in WiFi instantly transfers them to your favorite mobile device. It's as easy as saying "cheese!" Get Set Up in Seconds Put the Eye-Fi Mobi card in your camera.

Your Eye-Fi card is ready to use - just like any SDHC memory card. Install the Eye-Fi app on your mobile device

Download the free Eye-Fi app to your iPhone, iPad or Android mobile device. Launch the app and enter the code found on the back of the SD card case. Take your first photo
Watch the magic as your photo appears on your mobile device, in full resolution. Now your best photos & videos are instantly saved and ready to edit or share. How Does It Work? The Eye-Fi team built WiFi technology right into the Mobi card, giving you the power to wirelessly transfer photos from your digital camera directly into your iPad, iPhone, Kindle Fire or Android camera roll. A simple activation code pairs your mobile devices to your Mobi SD card, ensuring a secure connection and safe transfer of your photos and videos. No need to remove the card from your camera. No need to be on a wireless network. Mobi creates its own wireless network to connect directly to your mobile device, anywhere your camera takes you. Share High Quality Shots Don't settle for less; share your best digital camera shots. All your photos & videos land in your device's photo roll, ready to use with your favorite apps like Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.
Works with Your Camera Mobi works with your existing camera* just like regular SDHC cards. Shoot HD video and fast action shots thanks to Class 10 read and write speeds. Check Eye-Fi's website for compatibility. Eye-Fi Connected Eye-Fi cards are compatible with thousands of cameras, very likely including the one you already own. But, a variety of popular models from Canon, Nikon, Sony and other well-known brands have integrated additional Eye-Fi technology to improve your overall experience. Cameras with the Eye-Fi Connected logo signify an improved user experience and, in some cases, advanced features. Eye-Fi connected cameras can detect when an Eye-Fi card is being used and most of these cameras will stay powered on until the photo & video uploads are complete, have an on screen icon signaling transfer activity and provide the ability to enable or disable Eye-Fi card WiFi via the camera menu. Some camera models will even identify which photos & videos have already been uploaded with an on-screen icon.

System Requirements SDHC compatible camera WiFi enabled smartphone or tablet with either iOS or Android Technical Highlights Class 10 SDHC performance Built-in WiFi for photo & video transfer from camera to mobile device 16GB SDHC Memory (up to 8000 photos or 6 hours of video depending on camera model, file resolution and other factors)

WiFi transfer image support: jpeg WiFi transfer video support (under 2GB per file): .mpg, .mov, .flv, .wmv, .avi, .mp4, .mts, .m4v, .3gp Read/write support: all file types, including RAW Latest security standards (improved WPA2-PSK plus static WEP 64/128 and WPA-PSK) Frequently Asked Questions Can I use the camera I already own? Eye-Fi wireless SD cards are compatible with thousands of cameras from the most popular and well-known brands.

For specific compatibility information, visit Eye-Fi's website. Is Mobi really that easy to set up? Yes. On the back of the Mobi card case is a unique activation code. Simply install the Eye-Fi app on your compatible iPhone, iPad or Android device and enter the code when prompted. Do videos upload wirelessly too? Absolutely. WiFi transfer supports many types of video files (each under 2GB per file), including .mpg, .mov, .flv, .wmv, .avi, .mp4, .mts, .m4v, .3gp Is the WiFi upload secure? Once paired to your device, the wireless network that the Mobi card creates is encrypted with WPA2 security and a unique (to each SD card) password. As long as you don't share that password, the transfer is fully secure. Will Mobi upload content to my computer too? Mobi connects your camera directly to a smartphone or tablet. To transfer photos & videos wirelessly to a desktop, try the Eye-Fi Pro X2 wireless SD card.

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

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Remanufactured Epson 127 (Extra High Capacity) Ink Cartridges

This review is based on the color output not on whether the cartridges work.   The cartridges do work which isn't always the case with the re-manufactured cartridges. My issue with the cartridges is that the output doesn't come even vaguely close to what I see on screen.  With the Epson branded cartridges I got a reasonably similar output on paper comparing to what I saw on the screen.  You get what you pay for in most things.   I paid under $8.00 for the set, which is less than a single branded Epson 127 cartridge.  This is a reasonable purchase if all you care about is black output but if you are looking for color photos I would NOT recommend these cartridges.  No printer setting change resulted in better color output.  It was all washed out out at any setting but high quality and that was very skewed even using high quality paper.

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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