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, January 30, 2015

Roku 3 Streaming Media Player

A lot of people seem to want the Roku to enable to cut out their cable provider.   If you are getting your internet access from your cable provider, you are still going to be tied.   I have not explored the Roku thoroughly yet however what I have seen I like, for the most part. 

I am somewhat dismayed that accessing the Slingbox still necessitates use of a computer or portable device in addition to the Roku.   That dismayed was enhanced geometrically when I tried to make the Roku and the Slingbox talk to each other.  Neither Sling or Roku point out the small symbol on the Slingbox Android app that initiates the process.  I was not able to find that on either site but I did find a YouTube video where the user pointed out the appropriate little symbol and Voila! connection.  So thank you to YouTube and no thanks to Roku or Sling for their poor documentation.

Once I was able to connect, the beaming of the Slingbox and resultant content from my TV was relatively easy.   I say relative due to it sometimes necessitates rebooting one or the other to make connection.

Adding channels to the Roku is quite simple.   There are a fair number of free channels and more TV programming that I hope to never ever watch.   There are ties to Vudu, and Hula, Redbox, Netflix and many many more.   With HBO being unbundled, I hope to see HBO on there with out the current restriction that you must have HBO on your cable provider.  

The remote has a headphone port which is very handy!  Neither my TV or my surround sound has a head phone port so watching after others go to bed becomes problematic.  The Roku remote works great for that and if you have a Slingbox you can watch your normal channels through the Roku using the remote for your wireless headphone.  It works pretty darn slickly.

Cat videos will now be easily viewed on my big screen instead of my computer due to the YouTube channel on Roku.  (I have grandkids and thusly grandcats.)

I am sure there will be many more things to do with the Roku but it my principal reason was to use it with the Slingbox and easily access my programming when I am traveling.   It does it, not without some trial and error but it does work.   Sling you and Roku should work out your differences and provide a Sling channel then I won' t have to tie up my tablet to use my Roku with you. 

From The Vendor:

Faster and more powerful. With up to 1080p HD video* and extended-range, dual-band wireless performance for increased speed

Amazing remote with headphone jack. Use the included in-ear headphones to crank up that late-night flick while the kids (or parents) sleep

One-stop search. Find your favorite movies and TV shows all from one place from top

TV and Movie services like Netflix, Amazon Instant Video or Hulu Plus.1500+ channels and growing. The best selection of streaming out there.

Free iOS and Android device app. Use it like a remote. Browse and add new channels.

Even stream your music and photos from your phone or tablet to your HDTV

A Roku account is free. However, payment information is required during setup to provide the convenience of making purchases from the Roku Channel Store on your TV. You will only be charged if you choose to make a purchase.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Cuisinart DCC-750 Coffeemaker

The brand name led us to purchase this coffeemaker.  It was in the $50 range on sale and I see it is now only $31.95 on Amazon.   We have not been happy with this coffeemaker.  I am cognizant that appliances do not have cognition for do they harbor malice but this one might.   Each and every time we have had people over and used the coffeemaker it has overflowed.  Now it also overflows on the timer so we now only turn it on when we are ready to have coffee and we do not leave it unattended.   That is annoying not to be able to come down and have my coffee ready.  

The instructions have been followed, we are not using paper and permanent filter together which is apparently the primary reason given for overflows.   The caveat in the manual is that if your coffee is too fine of a ground you may have an overflow.   We have tried three different blends and brands of coffee and still have had overflows.   I would not be able recommend this coffeemaker even at the reduced price

Thursday, January 22, 2015

BELL 22-1-39000-8 BellAire 9000 Tire Inflator

This is one of those high/low reviews.  I liked the LED work light, having a light on the inflator is simply brilliant.  No trying to hold a flashlight and a tire inflator at the same time. 

I liked the storage for the accessories.   I was not impressed with the air pressure gauge.  I compared it to a digital tire gauge and an old fashion mechanical tire gauge.   I would run the tire pressure up to 40psi and as soon as I released the input button the pressure dropped to 30psi.   I had to hold it consistently on 40psi to get it up to 35psi. 

It is compact which is nice.  The optional 4" air hose isn't really an option.  I was not able to use their suggested method of air input which does not include the 4" hose.   The valves on my tires were not nearly long enough to use their "no hose" method.  

I guess for the money this is ok.   $20.00 ish at Amazon

Quick 5 minute fill-time for standard 195/65 R15 tire
12 Volt with 10 foot power cord
4-inch optional air hose with twist-on nozzle & bleeder valve
Dial pressure gauge and LED work light
Raft adapter and sports ball needle

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

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Verbatim 98779 A19 Warm White 3000K LED Bulb, Replaces 60W, Non-Dimmable

LED bulbs are the wave of the future.  (until something better comes along)  My biggest complaint about LED bulbs has been price.  In fact, that has been my only complaint about LED bulbs.   The astounding lifetime of an LED bulb can be illustrated by the average use in a child's bedroom, install a LED bulb when the child is born and with 3 hours of use, each and every day, that same bulb will still be burning when said child is finishing up their junior year in college.  This makes the LED bulb ideal for those hard to reach places.   Tottering on a ladder once instead of tottering a couple of times a year with an incandescent bulb or every year and a half or so with CFL bulbs vs. over twenty years with and LED bulb is sort of a no brainer. 

Verbatim addresses my only complaint with this 60 watt incandescent replacement which draws 10 watts and is a clear white light that to my unassisted eye seems a smidge brighter than the equivalent CFL bulb.   As mentioned above the cost of twenty plus dollars for an LED bulb has been my only criticism.   This bulb is less than $11.00.   It is not dimmable but most of my applications for a 60 watt equivalent bulb are not dimmable anyway.

Verbatim provided me with a handy dandy spreadsheet that allowed me to calculate savings on replacing bulbs with their bulb.  Amazon won't include a link in their reviews.   I have included a link to the saving calculator here. I liked this bulb.
 60-watt incandescent replacement lamp
Energy efficient, long-lasting LED - over 80% reduction in energy costs compared to incandescent bulbs
 Warm white light - similar to incandescent
Instant-on - full illumination with the flip of a switch
Shatter resistant bulb surface . Environmentally friendly - Contains no mercury
25,000 hour lifetime – 22.8 years!* 
5-year limited warranty

* Based on 3 hours average daily use. 

Specifications Model A19-L810-C30-B220-R 
Lumen Output (lm) 810 lm
Part Number 98779 
Efficacy 81 lm/W 
Wattage 10W 
CRI 80 Voltage 120V
Beam Angle (degrees) 220°
Dimmable No 
Base E26 
Color Temperature 3000K
Design life (hours) 25,000 Hrs. 
Operating Temperature -20°C to 40°C Weight 3.3 oz. 

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

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Jobe's Fertilizer Spikes for Evergreens

I have used these fertilizer spikes on some evergreens for three years.   I have gotten at least 2 feet a year of growth.  Frankly I have no idea if that is normal but my lawn guy was quite impressed with how well they did.  We had a particularly cold winter here in Pennsylvania last year and many evergreens were "browned out".   Mine were no exception but they have bounced back beautifully.  That was also mentioned by my lawn guy that he has seen many that browned out but did not come back very well.   I used these in spring and fall and they really seem to help.   I am not an arborist and this a purely anecdotal review.

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

Sunday, January 11, 2015

OXO Good Grips Professional 6-Inch Utility Knife

This knife is a little larger than a paring knife and smaller than a butcher knife which probably isn't correct knife terminology but it is how I see it.  The handle is a comfortable fit for a large man's hand.  I tested it by cutting and then dicing a couple of apples.  It cut easily and the large handle made it feel very secure in my hand.  It fills in a gap in my knife block and I like it.  

One negative and not on the knife, the packaging is cumbersome and it is very difficult to get into it.   Typical clam shell, military grade plastic which defies your average pocket knife and necessitates either a chain saw or a specialty tool to open.   Since I don't keep a chain saw in the kitchen I used my Zibra ZPCOPEN-OR Open It Universal Package Opener.  Frankly when I got it as a gift I thought it was dumb but since then I have realized what a terrific tool it is.  If fact, I think I will review it next.

From the vendor: 
A multi-purpose knife for slicing and cutting sandwiches, vegetables and more
Soft, comfortable handle ensures a safe grip
Sharp, no-stain blades are hardened to make them strong and durable
Full-tang blades keep knives properly balanced
Hand wash with warm, soapy water and promptly dry.

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

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

NETGEAR 8-Port Gigabit Desktop Switch - Essentials Edition (GS208)

What's to review?  It works, I plugged it into Netgear router, plugged my laptop in and it saw a wireless router (the other Netgear) and a local connection.  The laptop is a bit aged so it does not have gigabit speed but the 100 was obviously quicker than my wireless connection.  A nice little switch to handle some of the many Ethernet add ons that run better hard wired at a low price of $30 on Amazon.

·                        Rigorously tested for reliability, built to last
·                        8 10/100/1000 Mbps Gigabit Ethernet ports, up to 10x faster than Fast Ethernet for maximum performance
·                        Small and silent desktop form factor
·                        Plug-n-Play connectivity easily installs into any network
·                        LED to indicate activity on each port
·                        Energy efficient helps lower power cost

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

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Polaris P13GDGCNA Power P3000iE Portable Gas Powered Digital Inverter Generator, 3000-watt

Note the wheel kit is not installed when you get the generator. 

My initial reaction to this generator was colored by the difficulty in installing the Wheel Kit.  At 130 pounds, I have no interest humping it around so I immediately installed the wheel kit.   Immediately being a major misnomer, primarily due to Polaris's neglecting to mention the bolts are all metric sized. m6x16 must mean metric but I didn't know that.   (so sue me, I don't know everything I should)   This lack of understanding initiated a humorous to someone else I'm sure but not so much to me, series of bleeding knuckles as I failed to find any way of successfully installing the wheels.   Google to the rescue, to find out m preceding a bolt does mean metric and the wheel kit was installed with no more bloody knuckles.  

Now in my defense the wheel kit started me off on the wrong foot or wrench as the case may be.  the quick start guide got buried under the three different socket sets that I had out on the table and I tried setting up the generator using the enclosed manual.   BTW a larger font would be greatly appreciated.   The manual is circumspect at best.   The instructions for opening the maintenance panel are many pages beyond where they tell you to open the panel.   After successfully getting the generator operating I found the quick start guide which was light years better than the manual. 
The oil filler pipe is tucked far enough back in the compartment that you may want to employ a small, strong child with great finger strength.  I was only able to get the dip stick out using two fingers as that is all I could fit into the tiny space.  Connecting the battery was interesting as I had to take it out to connect it, again due to lack of space for what I DO NOT consider freakishly large hands.   I state stoutly they are just normal size large hands and this generator was obviously built by and for someone with elf like fingers.  

By the time I finished this DYI package, I was frustrated with the product.   One call to Polaris led me to be connected to my closest dealer which was in Minnesota and I am in Pennsylvania.  I find that a bit disconcerting but the guy at the dealership in Minnesota was very friendly and helpful.  Once the tedious process was done, the generator started right up.   This is the first generator I have ever owned with an electric start and that was nice.  

To sum up, after all the hassle in getting the thing set  up, it started and it is dramatically quieter than my 7hp current generator.  I am concerned about run time, they only note a 6.25 hour run time on the 3.1 gallon tank.   That seems short.  I would recommend rewriting the manual, preferably by someone who uses a larger font and a more logical progression.   If you are persistent and if you already know that a preceding m on bolts means metric and you are looking for a very, very quiet generator, this may be your best choice.  It is not inexpensive though at $1,799.00 and that may be a deterrent stronger then the decibel level.
·                        Polaris Industries Inc. utilized over 60 years of technical expertise developing the POWER generator product line
·                        120 volt AC output Maximum 3000Watts (25 Amps)- Rated 2800Watts (23.3 Amps) + 12 volt DC output
·                        Fuel efficient gasoline powered 4stoke OHV Engine- 21+ hours of run time at 25% load
·                        Class leading 3 years Parts and Labor Warranty
·                        EPA and CARB Certified Emissions Compliance

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