Amazon

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Frigidaire Professional FRCN06K5NS Convection Toaster Oven


First thing I noticed when I got this toaster oven was the size of the box.  When I opened it, I realized the size of the box was so big because the toaster oven is pretty darn big.  
Height  11.81 inches  
Length 14.49 inches
Width  19.38 inches
I didn't realize it was that big.   The good news is that it is an excellent size for a family.   It is a touch large for a twosome but a family will love the size.   It has a nifty little handle that latches on the tray so you don't need a pot holder to get a hot tray out of the oven.   I was surprised that the convection fan was not louder.   It makes a very low hum that I literally had to put my ear  down to the unit to hear it.   The convection aspect will speed cooking and the size makes it ideal for an active family.  This is a nice unit.
 From the vendor:
Convection rapid cooking
Large capacity
Non-Stick interior
6 cooking settings
60-Minute timer with auto shut-off


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

Friday, December 26, 2014

Smart Ones Canadian Style Turkey Bacon English Muffin Sandwich Not Very Smart




I don't usually blog about something in the heat of the moment but for this dreadful sandwich I am willing to make an exception.   Ugghh!  That could suffice for a description.  The turkey bacon patty in this sandwich made the worse jerky I have ever had suddenly much, much better.  I have chewed rubber bands with far less resistance.  The supposed cheese did not melt as much as crumbled.  The "egg" wasn't as chewy as the bacon but it wasn't far off.   I did end up scraping it all off and eating the insipid so called English muffin.  It was, at least, palatable, to be fair the English muffin was ok. 

Note it comes in a two pack.  I followed the instructions on the box precisely and the first one was just as dreadful.  Following the same procedure with the same ingredients led to the same abysmal results. Yuck!  I'm shocked I was even surprised but I thought I must have mis-remembered, it couldn't have been as bad as I thought it was the first time I tried it.  It was!  The minimal calorie count for the sandwich enticed me and the dreadful result has driven me to acerbic heights not often found in my reviews.   If I had more thumbs my experience with this product would get them all pointed down!

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

Monday, December 22, 2014

Dirt Devil UD30010 Featherlite Bagged Upright


My initial reaction was this was a DYI vacuum cleaner.   I opened the box and found a snap fit vacuum cleaner.   After reading the documentation I discovered it was really only 4 Phillips head screws to assemble the cleaner.  The assembly was quick and easy although the instructions were a touch confusing as they have multiple languages together for each step.   I prefer keeping the languages separate but realize this version probably saves some trees.

The vac is very light and wouldn't be a burden carrying.  The hose is long and easily removed to use the cleaning wands or brush.   I vacuumed a very dirty carpet in my garage where I assemble stuff like this.  It did a nice job and picked up grass and leaves as well as normal dirt.   I tried the smooth surface selection on the concrete floor and it worked well there too. 

Overall a favorable impression on a very inexpensive unit.   Durability is not known.  If what I consider premature failure occurs I will report back here.

From the vendor:
Lightweight - Less Than 10 Pounds
Full Bag Indicator
10 Foot Hose ; 13 Inch Nozzle

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

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

AYL Silicone Grill Gloves



These are heavy thick gloves to be used handling hot items.   I tested them by holding a hot skillet after grilling a ham and cheese.   No problem, no skin left on the frying pan which is always a good thing.   I then unloaded the dishwasher during the heated dry cycle.  I don't know about your dishwasher but you do NOT want to grab the dishes out of mine while it is in the heated dry cycle.  Again no problem, no burns and no dropped dishes.   My final test was to put a 200 watt incandescent light bulb in a lamp and let it cook for 30 minutes.   I then removed the bulb using the glove.   I have no way of measuring the temperature of the light bulb but I absolutely would not grab it without protection.  The glove allowed reasonable dexterity with apparently fool proof protection.

My negatives are that they are cumbersome however not nearly as cumbersome as pot holders.   If your hands are damp, you will have a hard time getting the glove to slide on.   After I thoroughly dried my hands, no problem with getting the glove on.  I do use baby powder for rubber gloves when I need to squeeze them on, in this case flour in the kitchen would work just as well.  Again with dry hands it wasn't a problem getting the gloves on.

The vendor suggested you could use the gloves to remove lids, I had no lids to remove but I do feel they would work for that application.

I did received the gloves gratis and was asked to review them.   I received no compensation for the review but I was allowed to keep the gloves.  If you read my work, you are aware that I can on occasion be caustic even with or perhaps especially with free stuff.  This review is my honest opinion.   There are times where I wish I would have had these gloves and I suspect my use of burn ointment will decrease with owning them.  

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

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

SmartyKat FeatherWhirl Electronic Motion Ball


I laughed out loud LOL when I turned this toy on.  The cats are crazy over it.  The erratic motion and the lack of a loud noise encourages them to play.   They  run into each other going after it.   This is a great cat toy and I may enjoy it as much as the cats do.  This would be a good cat Christmas gift.




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

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Must Have For the Holiday Season Zibra ZPCOPEN-OR Open It Universal Package Opener.



Frankly when I got this as a gift I thought it was dumb but since then I have realized what a terrific tool it is.  This is the swiss army knife of package openers.  I mostly use the shears to cut those obnoxious military grade clamshell cases that don't deter shop lifters but certainly fund the bandaid consortiums nefarious deeds. 

It has a little snap off box cutter and philips head screwdriver as well as the durable shears.  I have never used the screwdriver but the box cutter does well with the cardboard box sealing tape the usually precedes the frustrating military grade clam shell. 

This is a great tool and every kitchen should have one. 

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Crayola Marker Maker Wacky Tips



Opening this kit I heard the haunting tune of déjà vu'.  It reminded me of my childhood chemistry set.   This is a toy demanding a steady hand and a level of concentration beyond some adults but well within the ability of a talented 10 year old.  Eight might be pushing it but with adult supervision the kit would probably be useable.

The kit is well thought out.   I like the labels for the markers and the boxes for the finished product.   The color chart is simplistically sophisticated.   Most kids I know like markers due to the bright colors and depth of color with minimal effort as opposed to the multiple layers demanded by traditional crayons.   Making there own markers with the ability to create both unique colors and with the wacky tips to create unique styles, I think this kit should be a hit.  I can't wait to share it with my grandkids.   $24.00 at Amazon.

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

Friday, November 28, 2014

PLAYMOBIL Great Asian Castle


More than just some assembly required. 

This castle looked perfect for a grandson who already has two castles and this fits right in with the theme.   (BTW he has a 4'x16' foam board castle in my garage with an 8' tower and a original 4'x8' painting of a dragon storming a castle on one wall.)   So it is obvious there is a strong fantasy theme prevailing.

Finished product, more than 60 minutes. 
My initial reaction when I opened the box and discovered it was a DIY was not positive.  However my subsequent thoughts were that for an industrious 5 year old who enjoys puzzles this was actually better.   I would note that the 60 minute time frame suggested for assembly would be for an adult with no oversight by a 5 year old.   Maintaining focus for complete assembly could be problematic. 

The quality is good and typical of my experience with the brand.   I was personally disappointed in the dragon, which I expected to be larger and more ferocious.   Overall my impression is very positive but and this is a pretty large but, I think it is very pricey, at my time of review $137 at Amazon.  If that does not dissuade you, this is a gift that would appear to offer a lot of play time. 

From the vendor: 
·                        The Great Asian Castle is protected by a fierce fire-breathing dragon
·                        The yellow dragon can guard the castle from the attachable landing platform
·                        The functioning portcullis keeps unwanted visitors out, while the hidden trap door catches intruders
·                        In a secret cave, kids can hide the sacred dragon fire, which lights up!
·                        Includes four figures, helmets, shields and additional battle gear, skeleton, torches, flags and other accessories



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

Monday, November 24, 2014

Hot Wheels Marvel Avengers Die-Cast Vehicle (5-Pack)




What's not to like about Hot Wheels?  This five pack of Avengers "wheels" will thrill your average three year old to infinity and beyond.   I don't put an upper age limit on Hot Wheels as I clearly recollect running parallel Hot Wheel tracks from our apartment across the foyer and into the apartment across the hall and then having very serious Hot Wheel races.  Since everyone on the floor was in their twenties there may have been adult beverages in play.   Frivolity and competitiveness ran supreme!   So Hot Wheels that appeal to the older player with a movie or TV connection to the Avengers will probably appreciate this set.  

·                        Inspired by Marvel's hit Avengers film
·                        Delivers 5 of the coolest Avenger themed die-cast collectible vehicles
·                        1:64 scale die-cast vehicles with unifying themes in each package
·                        A must have for any Marvel Avengers or Hot Wheels collector
·                        Includes 5 Avengers themed Hot Wheels cars per pack


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

Thursday, November 20, 2014

OXO Good Grips 6-Piece Plastic Measuring Cups, White by OXO


Hmm, reviewing measuring cups. Well they measure.  Their measurements match the measuring cups I already have.  They have a nice feature in that they snap together in a space saving nest.   My other set is willy nilly all over the drawer.  From an organization viewpoint these are superior.   The measuring scraper has a hook that would allow this to be hung (hanged?).   That would be handy if I had a place to hang it.   I may add a hook somewhere to make these more readily accessible.   OXO makes a nice product and this is no exception.


Unique snapping feature keeps Cups together for storage
Scraper can be used to level ingredients and hang Cups for storage
Handles feature permanent measurement markings
Secondary color-coded measurements on sides make it easy to find the right size quickly
Each Cup features a convenient half-measurement line
This dishwasher safe set includes a scraper, 1/4 cup, 1/3 cup, 1/2 cup, 2/3 cup and 1 cup Measuring Cups.

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

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Sling Media Slingbox M1



Sports fans this is a must buy product if you are unable to be at home to watch the game.   Too often it is easy to be away when the game is on and watching a game on DVR after you know the final score is less than exciting.  This product enables you to watch live anywhere you have Internet access.   If you put it on your cable box, you are able to access your DVR and your On-Demand from where ever you may be, with again the caveat that Internet access is necessary.   It can be WIFI or 4G or direct connect but Internet access is crucial.  

I found that computer access is very good.   You can actually use an onscreen remote to change channels or go to DVR or OnDemand just as if you were sitting in front of your TV.   Hooking an HDMI cable to my laptop I got an excellent picture on my flatscreen TV.  I was not as thrilled with the application on my tablet.   The remote was too small to use my fingers and I needed to use a stylus.   It did work and the picture was fine.   A caveat to Sling's claim of never any fees.   If you want an application for your phone or tablet, they charge you $14.99.   The tablet application will not work on your phone.   The phone application will work on your tablet with less resolution.   I was annoyed that they require two applications at $14.99 each to use your mobile devices.   It's not like I will be using both at once.  In fact if you try and log in on your tablet while you are running the Slingbox on your laptop you are given a choice of "too continue" and knock the laptop off or not too continue and continue using the laptop.  So they have the ability to keep you from having simultaneous users on different platforms so why charge you double for two mobile applications. 

Another caveat is that if you are on the road and want to watch the game, anyone at home trying to use the same TV you're accessing through the Slingbox will be thwarted.  The Slingbox grabs the cable box and it is in control.  The local user can not watch another channel while the Slingbox is being accessed.  Well they can but that prevent the use of the Slingbox.  (I tried.)  

Sling claims multiple devices can be used with their box.   I have only tested the Roku and it worked fine.   Much easier than lugging my laptop to the TV every time I want to use it. 

BTW I just thought maybe I should look at my Kindle Fire for the Slingbox and I would have to buy the application again, even though I bought it for my Acer Tablet.   I guess due to Amazon store selling it for the Kindle and Google Play Store where I bought it for my Android tablet.   Needless to say I am not spending $14.99 to put it on all my devices.

Overall this is pretty darn cool technology.   It would be better with out the multiple application fees. It would be better if the home user could watch a different channel while Sling is working.  Hey, you DVR one or sometimes more channels and watch another channel, why that can't be done with the Sling is over my pay grade.   I did try the Belkin TV and was told by their technical support that a laptop is not a mobile device so it would not work with my laptop.  I have since read in some forums that people have made it work with their laptops but I returned it.  If their tech support is not supporting laptops I have no interest in being a beta site.   I worked in computers for 25 years, if someone wants me to beta a product they can pay me.  

So the Slingbox does what I need it to do. 


Watch and control live TV on a tablet*, phone*, PC, or Mac
Play and schedule DVR recordings
WiFi connectivity and Ethernet port
Absolutely no monthly fees

Watch on a second TV anywhere via Apple TV, Chromecast, and Roku , Component and composite in/out ,Easy and quick set-up

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

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Rain-X Glass Treatment Trigger


This product works very well.  I make a 12 hour round trip in the car once a month.  It is dismaying how often part or all of that trip is in the rain.   I diligently replace my wiper blades and clean them often but still I am not satisfied with my vision through a wet windshield.   This product causes the water to bead and even without wipers the windshield has increased clarity, particularly if you are going over 25 or 30mph.   Note that even following the application instructions,  you need to vigorously wipe the post application haze off.  I apparently did not wipe vigorously enough and my windshield looked cloudy.   After doing a more vigorous wiping, I was quite pleased with the results.  It definitely provides more clarity of vision and thus provides a safer ride.

$10.19 at Amazon for a spray bottle

·                        Improve all-weather visibility, safety and driving comfort
·                        Helps easily remove frost, ice, salt, mud and bugs
·                        Apply to exterior glass
·                        In tests conducted by a major university, better visibility improved driving response time up to a full second or moreIf reviewing a product, it may have been received free of charge. That will NEVER have a bearing on my recommendations.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Tomcat Mouse Killer X (Kid Resistant Refillable Mouse Bait Station w/ 32 Bait Blocks, 0.5oz


  
I have used Tomcat products in the past.  The bait blocks have worked well.   I often see a nibbled bait block but rarely see a rodent.  The rodents I do find are dead.   The bait station is far more child proof than the ones my exterminator uses.   I was unable to get it open until I read the instructions.   I realize the average young child is extremely adept at getting into things they shouldn't but this bait station should thwart them.   The mouse bait blocks are half the size of the rat bait blocks and do not have a hole down the center.  I have used that hole to run a screw through and put the rat blocks on the baseboard of the garage or on a plank.   This product is for the smaller rodents and should be as effective as the larger bait blocks.  

Includes: Refillable Bait Station. Includes 32 bait refills. 1 Bait Block kills up to 12 mice Based on no-choice laboratory testing. Weather resistant station; for use both indoors and outdoors. Child and dog resistant station.

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

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Garmin Approach S2 Golf GPS Watch Support Update 5/29/15


This unit works seamlessly.   My wife turns it on when she goes to whatever course she is playing and it finds the course. It is somewhat confusing for the non-technical person.  It provides front, back and middle of the green.   That is all my wife wanted from a golf GPS.   It is much more convenient than the Callaway hand held unit she used previously.   The unit has more features but they add a level of complexity that a non-technical person probably doesn't want to use.  

5/29/15  Garmin came through with bells today when I called for support on my S2 gps.   The charger clip broke and I was dismayed.  Josh in their support department took care of my problem and a new charger clip is on the way at no charge.  So the one year warranty is actually true and the tech support was prompt, understandable and very professional.   BTW you can rubber band the clip to the watch for charging purposes but that is hardly suitable when it is still under warranty.   

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

Friday, October 31, 2014

Importer520 Folding Notebook Cooler Pad w/2 60mm Fans




This little portable fans are a great deal for the price.  After spending 25 years in the computer business, I am aware that heat and dirt are probably the biggest factor in killing computers.  This fan will not do a thing about dirt but it does help to keep a laptop cool.  That is a major factor in extending the life of a laptop at $5.69 on Amazon, you really should grab one and extend the life of your laptop. 

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

Monday, October 27, 2014

Lysol Spray,A Flu Season Staple



As we enter into the flu season, I would like to preface this review with the comment that my anal compulsion for cleanliness and germ free began before any of the current health concerns, which btw I feel are being overblown by the media.  With that in mind, I use Lysol spray extensively when I travel.  I used to keep a can in my carryon but with TSA and today's climate and rules that doesn't fly. (pun intended) 

Upon entering a hotel room, I spray the TV remote, the door knobs, the handles on the microwave, refrigerator, the controls on the air conditioner and the light switches.   If I am going to be there beyond one night I spray the furniture and the carpet.  Paranoid, probably but after seeing some of the hotel room exposes and the disturbing fluids left behind, I think paranoia as far as germs can not be overblown.  This is a good product and provides a modicum of peace of mind.

From the vendor:
·                        Hospital disinfectant/deodorant is highly effective against various viruses
·                        Prevents odors and growth of mold and mildew
·                        Virucidal, fungicidal, bactericidal

This tuberculocidal, virucidal, fungicidal and bactericidal formula kills 99.9% of germs on hard, nonporous surfaces and is effective against over 50 microorganisms including H1N1 (Influenza A virus) MRSA, norovirus, rhinovirus, poliovirus type 1, hepatitis A virus, hepatitis B virus and HIV-1 (AIDS virus). This product eliminates odors and prevents the growth of mold and mildew. Use on showers, sinks, countertops, around toilet areas, toys, telephones, garbage bins, waiting rooms and in laboratories.

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

Thursday, October 23, 2014

HP Chromebox CB1-020 Desktop



 
This is my first exposure to a Chrome Box.   I'm impressed.  It was easy to setup.  It functioned out of the box and since I already had a google account, things progressed nicely.  I was able to access the Internet with no problem via the WIFI.   Basically without an Internet connection the unit is pretty much useless.  I opened up Picasa files, document files and played music from YouTube.   Both the flash memory card and the USB flash drive were recognized and accessible.   It walked me through setting up Google cloud printing and I was able to print to my local printer.   You are advised that you can not hook up a printer directly to the unit.  Overall I found the box quite functional and would find it a very useful auxiliary computer.
 
The lack of any cables but a power cable was annoying.  I just went over the description again to see if it mentioned that you will need cables, keyboard and monitor.   It seems self evident that a mouse and keyboard will be needed but I wonder how many other people have extra HDMI cables lying around unused.  The unit also has a display port which if you have been living under a rock like I have been, you may want to find out exactly what that is and how it might be worth using.  Good article on it here.

So my only beef was the lack of any included cables.   Considering the minimal cost of an HDMI cable,  including one would be a good feature.   I did not find any support for a Slingbox in the Chrome Store.   Slingbox does not address a Chrome computer either.   Chrome computers do not appear to work with Slingbox.  According to Sling, Chromestore should have Slingplayer as a download plugin.  Chromestore does not have that plugin.  With that exception so far I am quite impressed with the Chrome OS.  Google did not turn up a reference either except for one optimistic post in March 2014 that said that Sling was considering adding Chrome machines to their mix.  I'm sure if they do it will be another $14.99 fee for the ap as Sling charges for both the tablet and the phone software.  That is another review and it's own annoying limitations.   

Specifications

Operating system
Chrome OS
Processor
Intel Celeron 2955U
Memory
2GB PC3-12800 DDR3L SDRAM 1X2GB

(expandable to 4GB)
Storage
16GB solid-state drive
Available finishes
Snow White, Smoke Silver, Ocean Turquoise
Video graphics
Intel HD Graphics
I/O
2 USB 3.0 (front), 2 USB 3.0 (back), SD Card reader, 1 HDMI, 1 Display port (full size), Combo Mic/Headphone Jack, 1 RJ-45
Network interface
Ethernet (10/100/1000 Base-T)
Connectivity
Wireless LAN 802.11a/b/g/n featuring Dual-band (2.4GHz and 5GHz) 2x2 MIMO technology and integrated Bluetooth® 4.0
Weight
1.39 lb.
Dimensions (L x W x H)
4.88"L x 4.96"W x 1.53"H


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

Sunday, October 19, 2014

LeapFrog LeapBand




I'm not sure an activity tracker for a kid this age makes sense but it is darn cute.   I guess with the parents obsessing about fitness or hopefully so, it isn't a stretch to think a kid would enjoy emulating the parent.  The screen is very clear, the sound could be a touch louder but that may be old ears vs. young ears that haven't been corrupted by 50 years of Rock.   The activities are good and seem very appealing to an age appropriate kid.   The fact that it can be set for the time when the kid is in school so that the little voice doesn't come popping out during class is a necessary feature.   I think it will provide enjoyment and fun.  My experience with this age is that physical activity is hardly an issue but I guess with the epidemic of obesity there will be concerned parents who see this as a requisite.  Since it doubles as a watch,  I think it will have both utilitarian aspects and fun ones from the activities.  I will report back here if that doesn't hold true after the serious test by my in house 5 year old.   

To set this up, you will need to connect to an Internet connected computer with an available USB port.

·                        Experience the first activity tracker made for kids?LeapBand is fit made fun!
·                        Preload LeapBand with 50 active challenges that get kids moving, like ?Pounce like a lion!"
·                        Parent controls on LeapFrog Connect make it easy to set play times, challenges and more.
·                        Encourages active play, nurturing and healthy choices.
·                        Ages 4-7 years.

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

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Dragonwing Girlgear


Dragonwing girlgear Chill Weight Long Sleeve Athletic T-Shirt

Not being an aficionado of female attire, I turned to my bride for help on this review.   Her conclusions are as follows.   The top has a good durable feel.  It appears to be well made, the seams are tight and the hem is secure.  It stretches in the appropriate places.  Sizing could be an issue.  The shirt is most definitely sized for a young figure but a slight or petite adult female could wear this clothing.   If it doesn't match up to the performance accolades I will be back here to note that.  The $25 ish price at Amazon is regarded as a good price by my wedded consultant.
 


Made of high performance UV50, moisture wicking, 4-way stretch and odor absorbent material with brushed inner for extra softness

Mock neck designed and sized just for girls with flat seams and tag-free to eliminate chafing

Wrist sweat wipe, thumb hole sleeve and extra long style stays tucked in

Great for Soccer, Lacrosse, Softball, Baseball, Basketball, Running, Skiing, Yoga and a variety of Sports

Tween and Teen Girls ages 8-17, See Size Chart on the left for correct sizing
Made of high performance UV50, moisture wicking, 4-way stretch, odor absorbent material with brushed inner for extra softness


 
Dragonwing girlgear Girl's Chill Weight Workout Capri

This is almost a repeat of the review of the same company's shirt.  Not being an aficionado of female attire, I turned to my bride for help on this review.   Her conclusions are as follows.   The pants have a good durable feel.  They appears to be well made, the seams are tight and the hems are secure.  The pants stretchin the appropriate places.  Sizing could be an issue.  The large size is close to a woman's petite size 8 and  is most definitely sized for a young figure but a slight or petite adult female could wear this clothing.   If it doesn't match up to the performance accolades I will be back here to note that. The panel on the bottom of the legs is an excellent color match for the blue top.  Together they make a nice set. $28 ish at Amazon.
combined as an outfit.
 

Made of high performance UV50, moisture wicking, 4-way stretch,odor absorbent material with brushed inner for extra softness
Midrise waist for comfort
Hidden front, inside pocket to carry small valuables
Great for Soccer, Lacrosse, Softball, Baseball, Basketball, Running, Skiing, Yoga and variety of sports
Flat seams and tag-free to eliminate chafing


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

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Rockwell RK2863K 20V Sonicrafter, 27-Piece



I was not familiar with this type of tool until we had some work done on our home.  I watched our contractor use this type of tool for so many different applications that I was stunned that I didn't have one let alone I was unfamiliar with it.  Then I visited a long time friend who ambitiously installed two dozen new windows and said he wouldn't have been so successful if he hadn't had this type of tool. With those two examples I purchased one for each of my grown sons as birthday gifts.   When the opportunity arose to review this Rockwell I jumped on it.

First impression was very positive.  It comes in a heavy nylon/canvas storage bag.  Upon opening the bag you discover there is a sturdy plastic box to hold the accessories.   Now being a bit OCD, I delight in organization of things.  I was very pleased to see someone at Rockwell also likes to keep things organized. 

I read the instructions and was a bit uncertain as to the extension of the flange to hold the various tools.  I, sadly, have broken things trying to make them do what I think they should do.  I called customer support and got a knowledgeable person who politely pointed out that I should be using the release handle from the 3 o'clock position rather than then 12 o'clock position.   Simple problem solved and perhaps a note in the documentation to positioning would be in order.   Regardless, I got a human being who seemed interested in my problem, was knowledgeable enough to solve the issue and who was very easy to understand.   Customer service that is good deserves to be lauded and this woman was very good.

The unit comes with a variety of tools and is accompanied by a diagram telling what utilization is assigned to each tool. I picked out a narrow saw blade, installed and tested it.   This tool allows precision work well beyond any other tool except for perhaps my Dremel which isn't really useful for anything but hobby type work.   The saw worked perfectly and I was able to precisely cut a 1/4" notch in a board with very little effort.   I really like the dual headlight LEDs that project onto the work surface.   I like being able to see what I am doing.  The tool is battery operated with a 20 volt lithium battery.  The portability is great and with a battery that strong, I expect I will have good usage.   The warranty is three years on the tool and there is a lifetime replacement warranty on the battery.   This is an impressive tool.  If I have any feelings to the contrary after further use, I will report back here. 


·                        Universal Fit System accepts other brand accessories
·                        Hyper lock Tool-Less Blade Change - 1TON clamping force prevents blade slippage
·                        Battery Technology for high capacity, no self-discharge, & no memory effect. FREE BATTERIES FOR LIFE
·                        LED Light for improved visibility
·                        Metal Gear Housing for extreme durability

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

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Air Travel Drives Increase Use of Cars


I have a conspiracy theory.   Big Oil and the car manufacturers are paying the airlines to make air travel as inconvenient and uncomfortable as possible.   This drives consumers to get in their car and drive to their destination rather than suffering the indignities of airline cattle chutes, micro seats and air fare roulette. 

Admittedly at 6' 2" I am a hair bigger than average.   That fact does not predispose me to paying more than three times the average fare to fly "first class" in order to actually get some leg room.   Face it, who wouldn't want to suck on their own knees for hours to get to destinations too far to drive their car. 

While cattle prods are not used (yet) to organize the lines at the airport, the attitude of the TSA folks and airline employees indicate that the paying customer is an annoyance rather than the reason they have jobs.

Air fare roulette is not as fun as it sounds.   Exploring air fares from Pennsylvania to Florida was an interesting exercise of the proverbial shell game. Not only did I find different fares on different websites, I found different fares on different days and I actually found different fares on the same websites with only minutes difference in my exploration.   The "only three seats left at this fare" type of admonishment appeared on multiple days for the same flights which leads one to never believe what the airlines are claiming.  What adds to the fun is that some web sites show fares with all the taxes and some don't increasing the intentional confusion.  Then there is the luggage game.   This airline says luggage flies free, the next one says our rates are lower so even though we charge for luggage you save money.   If you pay more you can get an aisle seat or a seat on the escape row or a bulkhead or even a free pass to the restroom!  

The most frustrating thing about this entire air travel debacle is THAT WE PUT UP WITH IT!  If we the consumers just decided, we will skip flying to grandma's for Christmas this year to make a statement to the airlines.  If we refuse to pony up big bucks to be treated as second
class citizens for a third world experience crowded cheek to jowl in tight rows with grumpy flight attendants, perhaps the lack of customers would make the airlines take notice.   Of course as long as they are being subsidized by the Great Airline Conspiracy of Big Oil and car manufacturers they will continue to pound the round consumer into their square little seats.

Me, I'm driving my car on my next trip with my seat back as far as it goes and my legs stretched out and saving money as I do it.


Friday, October 3, 2014

U.S. Divers Malibu Silicone Free Diving


Just a FYI for those of you who wonder how seriously things like this are reviewed.   I have no recollection of having been in my pool in October, ever!  I was in this afternoon to test this mask and snorkel.  The water temperature was in the 60 degree area.   I suppose I could have fired up the heater but a couple of hundred dollars of propane to test this didn't make sense.   Of course I had a family member suggest it made no sense being in the pool on October 1, regardless of my reasons.
I have never had a nicer mask or snorkel.   It adjusted easily and the adjustments held.   I have had cheaper masks that after a few minutes in the water the adjustments re-adjusted on their own.  Ten laps in the pool and everything remained stable.   I dove down and the valve on the snorkel closed as it claimed.   I did a fair amount of kicking to increase turbulence to see if the valve on the snorkel let in water that way, it did not.  I am not a professional diver so I don't know how this compares to professional grade gear but I was impressed with the quality and the functionality.   I was not impressed with how darn cold my pool is in October in Pennsylvania.

·                        Low profile frameless design mask for maximum visibility
·                        Silicone skirt and easy to adjust buckle for maximum comfort
·                        Submersible, dry top snorkel with Pivot Dry Technology - Designed to keep water out of the breathing tube above and below the surface of the water
·                        Soft silicone mouth piece and full flex section for maximum comfort
·                        Mesh bag included


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

Monday, September 29, 2014

Case Logic Samsung Galaxy S4 EXTREME 2-Piece Case




This phone case looks as if it will provide more than adequate protection.  I am not adventuresome enough to try dropping the phone to make sure.   It is kind of a reverse Otter Box.  The hard shell is on the outside and the soft shell is inside.  I don't see why it wouldn't offer a good level of protection. It has a nice selection  of colors as well and at half the price of the Otter Box it is worth trying. I have had very good experience with Caselogic products.


·                      





  Slim fitted protection for Samsung Galaxy S4
·                        Design provides full access to all buttons and ports
·                        Deep frame construction prevents screen scratching and impact damage
·                        2 piece case includes rubber silicone base and rigid, interlaced shell for ultimate protection and style
·                        1 year warranty


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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