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
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Sunday, March 30, 2014

Matchbox Mission: Croc Escape Playset

This is another play set using the Matchbox size cars.   It works fine with the included car.   I currently do not have any Hotwheel or other competing cars in the Matchbox size to test with the set.  I will have more availability in a month or so and if I find any incompatibility I will come back and add to this post.   I am aware that due to the configuration some vehicles won't work but I think compatibility is important in these toys.

The set is reasonably sturdy.   As in any toy, the exuberance of the child will have a major bearing on durability.   I think the addition of some of the other sets to increase the complexity and play value would be a good idea.   Overall this seems like a fun toy.

$20.00 at Amazon

From the vendor:
It's a big beast in the big city! The giant croc has swallowed a vehicle, and only you can save it! Rumble over the rocky bridge, climb the "stone" staircase and zoom down the ramp to the rescue. But be careful! One false move, and you're croc bait! Play set features working croc jaws, rocking bridge and moving staircase. Includes one Matchbox construction vehicle; additional vehicles sold separately. The play set connects to other sets (sold separately) to expand the world and the fun! Ages 3 and over.

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

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Hack Proofing Tips

The Naples Daily News ran an article recently that offered some tips to curb email hacking.   Having spent 25 years in the computer business I didn't hear anything new but it never hurts to be redundant.  

NEVER open an attachment from someone you don't know.  If you are expecting an attachment from a friend that is normally safe but.... keep in mind if it looks squirrely even from a friend, don't open it.   Email or call your friend to determine if  they have sent you an attachment.

ALWAYS use a good quality anti-virus software.   There are plenty of commercially available programs but there are also good free programs.   AVG, Trend Micro and Avast come to mind.  

The Steve Gibson website, www.grc.com has a link to his Shields Up program.  This is a free probing (stop snickering) of your computer for security faults.   Gibson has been around for ever and this is a well known, free tool.   If it tells you that you are at risk, do something about it.   This is NOT one of those bogus computer scans that finds 435,000 problems and for merely $29.98, you can download their fix for these issues.   Avoid those programs at all costs.   Some of  them will actually hijack your computer and demand a ransom to get your computer functioning again.

BE AWARE than not all official looking communications are actually from whom they claim to be.   A pretty computer savvy teen called me in a panic recently to tell me he got a bright red screen claiming that Homeland Security had found child porn on his computer and unless he immediately paid a $300.00 fine online, he would be arrested.  Not only that, it locked up his computer so he could not use it.   I explained to him that it was a scam and I found the fix online for him.  It took him two days but he finally got his computer  back from these scheming  creeps who troll the Internet.  His only crime was he assumed the site he was downloading music from was legitimate.  

Passwords should never be stuff you have put on social media, like your high school, your dog, your wife (no reason those are listed together, honest!) or names of your kids.   It is a major pain in the tush but keep your passwords random and long, use upper and lower case and when the site will allow, throw in a symbol.   None of this will deter the true hacker but the malicious malcontents who are not truly talented, just vandals, will be deterred.  

Consider encryption software such as AxCrypt   Take note, very carefully note of what you set up as your password for your encrypted data because once it is encrypted by a good software package, even the vendor can't get it open.

Lastly if you are  passwording or encrypting something that is important to your spouse or business partner, provide  them with the means of getting to the data.   A friend dropped dead at age 40 while mowing his lawn.  He had passworded his accounting software for his small business.   His wife did NOT have the password and could not pay the bills or determine who owed her money.   It took me a couple of hours to find a hack for the program online and then an hour or so to break the password.   I am in no way a computer savant,  the tools for destruction are readily available on the web and sometimes they can be used for benign purposes.

Wrapping it up, if you are targeted by one of the nefarious commercial hacking groups, you will probably be hacked.   These strategies will work for 90% of  us who really have very little important computer data to grab.   Very little being relative to a major corp with deep pockets, it is still an enormous  inconvenience and financial hit to anyone who is hacked.

The Internet is a jungle (why else the browser named Safari)  but  you can protect yourself with a few very easy precautions.   DO THEM TODAY!

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Rubber Band Ball

I guess I find it hard to love rubber bands. This came today and it is just as advertised, a ball of colored rubber bands. I checked the elasticity of the bands and that is fine. I bounced the ball which really isn't part of its product description but it seemed reasonable. It bounces funny due to the variances in circumference. At the priceof $3.88 at Amazon, it is not out of line compared to a plain old box of rubber bands and this is at least a desk conversation piece.

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

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Fisher-Price Imaginext Alpha Explorer

I'm prone to space toys.  This toy appears to be durable.  I will revise that opinion if need be when I have done a true test with a four year old.  It has the requisite flashing light and voices.   The space man has two spots that he can control different features.  Imagination will be crucial to maximize the play time with this toy.  I may be living in the past but it seems like pricing could be about 20% less for the value I perceived.   It should provide some fun times but I would surmise the 3-8 year old age spread should be decreased to perhaps 3-5 year old.  The repetitive phrases may drive the parent bonkers though. 

·                          Turn space figure on lower activation disk to open and release space shuttle
·                          Press button on front of shuttle to hear cool sound effects and phrases
·                          Press button to fire "laser" projectile from moveable launcher
·                          Includes space station, space figure, space shuttle with two projectiles, and a removable projectile launcher with an additional projectile
·                          Turn space figure on upper activation disk to activate spinning ring jail-Press button to fire ?laser? projectile from moveable launcher

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

Friday, March 14, 2014

Philips Norelco CC5059/60 Kids Hair Clipper

This clipper cuts just fine.  I think with kids the main selling feature would be how quiet it is.  I have seen toddlers freak out over the noise of the beauty salon clippers.  The height adjustment seems a bit flimsy.   The cordless aspect is another good feature.  It is priced in the same arena as corder clippers, SRP is $35.00.

·                          Ultra quiet to help the child feel at ease
·                          Skin-friendly contour-following comb for speed and comfort
·                          Two adjustable combs offer 15 length settings from 1/8" to 1 3/4" (3-42mm)
·                          Lithium-ion battery for powerful corded and cordless use; charges in 8 hours for 45 minutes of cordless use
·                          Compact and lightweight for easy maneuverability

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

Monday, March 10, 2014

ADX FL-MICRO Micro LED Flantern (Flashlight and Lantern) with Clip

Some people have an affinity for surf boards others for antique cars,  I like and generally can afford flashlights.   I like the brightness of the current collection of LED flashlights.   This little fellow fits in the palm of your hand but yet provides a nice bright light.   One sets it off in its own category is that it turns into a micro lantern.     Note the micro part as it truly is small but the lantern feature does give it more flexibility than the other flashlights in this size category.  The only down side is the use of the CR2 button batteries.  They are easily available online but you may have to hunt to find them locally.   Otherwise this is a good value at the $5.95 price tag at Amazon.  

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

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Waterpik Aquarius Professional Water Flosser, White Satin Base with Crystal Clear Reservoir

I start with I like the appliance.  It does a very nice job and has good water pressure.  I
like the three year warranty because I seem to be tough on Waterpiks.
  I quote my wife on the pik storage, "that's dumb!"  There are two little holes that are accessible by lifting the lid to get to them and tiny fingers are definitely better at getting them out. 

Inserting and removing the piks works smoothly.   The timer alert to tell you how long you are doing what you are doing seems silly.  I fill the unit with water and use it until the water is gone.   The LED setting light is cool but of limited utility, my guess it was used so the Pik would look cool.  The On/Off button on the handle works just fine but when you turn off the WaterPik while water is running, the water stops but the noise of the Pik rises to the level of a 55 Chevy with a heavy engine knock.  I almost dropped the handle as the loudness of the blocked water flow and motor noise was at such a startling volume.  

With all that said, it is a good appliance.  It has some unnecessary bells and whistles and "dumb" pik storage but overall a very good waterpik. 

From the vendor:
The Waterpik Aquarius Water Flosser includes 7 tips
Enjoy the variety of flosser tips: (3) Classic, and (1) each of the Pik Pocket, Plaque Seeker, Orthodontic, and Toothbrush tips.
The Waterpik Aquarius Water Flosser provides 90-seconds of water capacity use.
The Waterpik Aquarius Water Flosser provides 10 levels of water pressure settings, for optimum control.
Enjoy the convenient on/off water control in the handle of the Waterpik Aquarius Water Flosser.
The Waterpik Aquarius features an LED display
Easily see the flossing mode and other operation details with the LED information panel.
The Waterpik Aquarius Water Flosser features a new 1-minute timer with 30-second 
If reviewing a product, it may have been received free of charge. That will NEVER have a bearing on my recommendations.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

OtterBox Defender Series Case and Holster for Samsung Galaxy S4

Ok, maybe it is age related but I'm reasonably technical.  I found the pictograph Welcome to Planet Otterbox quick start guide grossly inadequate.   I would recommend actual photos as opposed to drawings and close ups as to where to push, pull or stick your knife blade to get the darn thing open.   If it offers as much protection as it takes to get the thing on your phone it will be super.   I was able to get it open and as I mentioned, my trusty pocket knife was invaluable getting the darn thing open.  Once it was open it was easy to get my phone into it.   It does seem that it is well constructed but it is very bulky with the belt clip.  It isn't too bad without the belt clip.  I'm not overly fond of belt or  pocket clips.  With all of the publicity of nut jobs grabbing peoples phones, I feel better having it in my jeans pocket.  I have trouble getting it out so a thief would have to a very attractive female and overly friendly to get it out of my pocket.

This does seem to offer a great deal of protection.   If you are a belt or pocket clip person, I suspect you would love it.  I do like the flaps that protect the ports but it was a bit of a push to get the power port open wide enough for my charger. 

Product Features

·                       Enjoy complete functionality of the device through the Defender Series case, including microphones, speakers, cameras and flash
·                       Port plugs keep dust and debris from entering the main openings of the device
·                       Multi-layered case includes a polycarbonate inner layer, built-in screen protector, outer slipcover and a holster/ kickstand
·                                 Size (LWH): 8 inches, 2 inches, 4 inches
·                                 Weight: 4.48 ouncesIf reviewing a product, it may have been received free of charge. That will NEVER have a bearing on my recommendations.
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