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, August 28, 2015

Nerf N-Strike Elite SlingStrike Slingshot

I am a Nerf fan.  This is my first Nerf toy.   However I have purchased untold numbers of Nerf toys for grandchildren over the years.   The packaging was easy to get into with no wire ties.   All the tie downs were easily severed by a pocket knife.   The sling shot assembled easily and the instructions were clear.   However I would put in much bolder print that the dart has to be loaded into the slingshot prior to pulling back the launch string.   Those of us who tinker prior to finishing the instructions, will be far happier and less frustrated if we see immediately that the dart must be in the slingshot first!  

The dart shot roughly 40 feet.   I didn't measure but I did pace it off.   This is quite an impressive range.   The build quality is fine.   My only complaint is that two darts?  Really!  Just two darts?   I am beginning to suspect Nerf of the printer/print ink concept of sales.  As easily as the darts get lost, the inclusion of 10 darts would not be out of line.   Granted I did buy 75 packs of darts for the grandkids at Xmas but that's their house and this is mine.   Two darts?  Ten darts would have given this a solid five stars.  Two darts, as nice as this is, that drops it to four stars.   

From the vendor: 
SlingStrike blaster is the first-ever Nerf dart-firing slingshot
Includes 2 Elite darts
Store darts on the blaster's arms
Pull string back to ready, release to fire
Includes SlingStrike blaster, 2 Elite darts, and instructions

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

Thursday, August 27, 2015

TP-LINK AC3200 Tri-Band Wireless Gigabit Wi-Fi Router (Archer C3200)

Update Dateline the Next Day:
I got a prompt reaction to my initial lukewarm review. Due to that prompt positive reaction and assurance I could get local support, I tried setting up the router again today and got dramatically different results. I "swear" I followed the exact same steps but today it was bing, bang and bong. Everything fell into place. I got great wired speed and was able to see all three wireless bands from a tablet, a laptop and a desktop. My wifi analyzer shows the TP-Link in green. It is at the same level as my Fios wireless and much higher than my Netgear wireless router. The photo from my yard did not come out but the green signal was 25% higher at a 150 feet. So ignore what I wrote below, I have to assume I made some elementary error yesterday because today I am very happy with this router.
my apologies to TP-Link

I followed the TP-Link Quick Installation Guide and set it up.  My tablet and my three wireless computers saw it and connected and used the Internet.  I tested the signal and it was strong throughout the house and even out in the yard.   I then followed the instructions which led me to the page to change the user name and password.  After I did that, it would not let me proceed to the management page.  I did a factory reset and tried again to no avail.  I called technical support and got a very pleasant but very hard to understand technician.   I am sure the language barrier impeded our progress.  We finally got through to the management screen and I did the quick start setup.   The only unit I had that would address the new password was my tablet.  My  other three devices would not log on to the wireless signal.  The hardwired unit was just fine but the wireless units would not connect.   I did another factory reset and all my wireless units will connect.  I have no clue why it doesn't accept a change of passwords but it doesn't. 

I tried the USB by hooking up a USB hard drive.  That was not recognized by my network.  This product may be fine but it certainly needs better documentation, a better setup and more English language training for it's support staff.  It works fine and has a strong signal as long as you are willing to run unprotected from someone changing your password as the admin/admin entry that gets you to the setup screen never did accept a change of password.  I'm disappointed in the product, for the price I expected a better implementation.  I'm not even going to bother attaching the screen shots of the wireless signal tests I ran since the unprotected nature certainly precludes the router's use.

From the vendor:
·                        Tri-Band technology creates 3 separate Wi-Fi bands for connecting more devices to your network
·                        Smart Connect helps devices run faster by assigning them to the best available channel
·                        Combined 3200Mbps Wi-Fi for lag-free 4K video streaming and gaming across multiple devices
·                        6 high-performance antennas with Beamforming maximize coverage area and stability
·                        1GHz dual-core CPU and 3 co-processors handle simultaneous connections without interruption
·                        Intuitive interface and Tether app for easy installation and network management
·                        Industry-leading 2-year warranty and unlimited 24/7 technical support

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

Monday, August 24, 2015

Electrolux Ergorapido Lithium Ion Plus 2-in-1 Handheld Vacuum

This is pretty nifty.  It is light and reasonably powerful.  I like the convertibility factor.   It transforms from a stick vacuum to a hand held.   The hand held seems to have substantially more suction than my two existing dust busters.   The steering is a bit tricky, it tends to be a bit of a free spirit when in the stick format.  I found it took a use or two to get familiar with how easily it turns.   I like the fact that the filter is washable.   That is not the case in most of the hand held vacuums I have owned.  The lithium battery should also be a much better power solution than the old ni-cad batteries.  I am a bit dubious about the name, Ergorapido, seems somewhat comic.  

 From the vendor:
·                        High performance 10.8V Lithium turbo power battery for optimal cleaning performance, long run time and fast charge Thoroughly clean the bare floors in your home with the motorized brushroll and cordless convenience
·                        180° EasySteer(TM) Maneuverability for smooth turning and movement
·                        2-in-1 detachable handheld vacuum to clean above the floor
·                        Bagless cyclonic system gives you consistent suction power to thoroughly clean your home
·                        180 Degree EasySteer Maneuverability for smooth turning and movement

If reviewing a product, it may have been received free of charge. That will NEVER have a bearing on my recommendations,however I will get a commission if you click on the Amazon ad and buy one.  Over the years I haven't gotten many commissions on stuff I have reviewed so it certainly doesn't motivate me to "color" my reviews for a commission.  BTW my wife really loves this.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

The Girl Who Loved Dragons

The Girl Who Loved Dragons Link to the Video Trailer for my book.
There are tons of action adventure elementary school age books out there.   I don't see enough of them emphasizing girls as the hero.   We need to make sure that 50% of our population grows up knowing they have an internal hero.   If we can encourage girls' imagination to see themselves as victors not victims we are insuring both their own and our own future as they raise strong children of both genders.

Charlotte showed her love of rocks in The Girl Who Loved Rocks and in The Girl Who Loved Dragons, Igneous (her favorite rock) the dragon is introduced as her sidekick and cohort for future adventure.  My goal is to meld fantasy and science fiction with humanistic adventures suitable for children in elementary school. 

Igneous is a rock or is it?
Dragons are fantasy or are they?
Aliens are science fiction or are they?
Charlotte answers these questions in
The Girl Who Loved Dragons.

ISBN-13: 978-1514634714 
ISBN-10: 1514634716
LCCN: 2015910333 


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

Logitech Keys-To-Go Ultra-Portable Bluetooth Keyboard for Android and Windows

I wondered how hard this would be to type on. There is a surprising amount of play/depression in a keyboard that is thinner than my tablet.    The setup was astoundingly easy.   I paired it with an HP Chrome box and it paired right up.   The keys are small  but not substantially smaller than the hardwired keyboard sitting next to me.   The back space key is in the correct spot as I tend to use it a lot due to my less than stellar typing skills.   This is a very usable keyboard.  It is actually smaller than the key board I got to carry with my tablet. 

From the vendor:
·                        Ultra-portable wireless keyboard for Android and Windows devices: Ultra-slim, light, go-anywhere Bluetooth keyboard fits easily in a coat pocket, purse or briefcase

·                        Durable and spill-resistant: Wipe able Fabric Skin protects the keyboard from spills, dirt and drops

·                        Comfortable typing: Well-spaced, full-size keys with Android/Windows shortcuts for fast, familiar, accurate typing on your tablet

·                        Portable Android/Windows smartphone stand: Attaches to keyboard and holds your smartphone upright for easy typing

·                        Long-life rechargeable battery: Type for up to 3 months between charges (Based on 2 hours average usage per day)

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

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Linksys AC1200 Wi-Fi Range Extender

Linksys AC1200 Amplify Dual Band High-Power Wi-Fi Range Extender with Intelligent Spot Finder Technology and AC Pass Thru (RE6700)

Once again Linksys has impressed me.  The setup on this was truly plug and play.   As overused as that phrase was in the 80's, it finally is true.  The longest thing was having to get up and get the password for my router.  Otherwise the install was purely pleasurable.   I have an AP on my tablet and phone that lets me test signal strength.   I walked down to my pool and tested the signal.  I know can sit at the pool and surf the net.  Thank you Linksys!  I now have a strong and useable signal on the opposite side of my home from the router and approximately 100 feet away from the router.  This is a nice product.

With the AC1200 MAX Wi-Fi Range Extender (RE6700), you can easily expand the range of your existing wireless router. Simply plug the device into a standard wall outlet where you need stronger Internet connectivity--say, an upstairs bedroom or office or another remote area of your home. The RE6700 repeats the signal from the router and redistributes it to reduce wireless dead spots

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

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

3M Fastener TB3526N/TB3527N Hook/Loop Black, 1 in x 10 ft

I am going to assume that velcro is a trademark and that is why this is called hook/loop.  I'm not sure if 3M wants to hear velcro like but that was what came to mind when I opened this.  Regardless of nomenclature, this is good stuff.  It applied easily and is holding my headphones on the front of my computer.  I like having things organized and this should help a great deal.  You get 10 feet for $18.00 at Amazon.   I lightened the hook and loop on the photo so you could see it.  It is holding the cable hoop on the front of my computer. Works great, a little pricey but works great.  

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

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Scotts Outdoor Cleaner Plus OxiClean

I'm disappointed.  I had high hopes for this cleaner.  I have some mildew on my pool deck and this seemed just perfect for the job.   I followed the instructions on the bottle and mixed up a batch of higher concentrate suggested for tough stains.   It tells you to apply the product and wait a few minutes for it to work, then lightly rinse it.  The instructions tell you that you "may" need to scrub the area treated.   Well, after a light rinse I saw no change.  Then I applied a relatively diligent scrub with a push broom.  The product then produced a dirty foam which I had hoped meant the mildew was coming up off of the concrete.   I lightly sprayed again and did not see any appreciable difference.   After four series of vigorous scrubbing with a push broom, I did a final rinse.   The mildew is still there.  It isn't quite as dark looking but it certainly isn't mildew free.   I wish I would have thought to take before and after photos to show the relatively minor change in appearance.   Actually I could take two photos and say they were before and after since the change was so miniscule that it would prove my point.  

I have concluded that the product did not work for me.  A power washer  probably would make a major difference but then I would be hard pressed to determine if the results are due to the cleaning solution or the power washer.   Maybe this works better with a power washer but with hand scrubbing it was a failure.     

 From the vendor

·                           Fast-Foaming action lifts dirt, and wipes out stains caused by moss, mold,                            mildew, and algae
·                           Safe to use around plants, lawns and fabrics
·                           Can be used with Power Washers
·                           Makes up to 10 Gallons - Covers 1,000 to 2,500 sq ft
·                           Chlorine bleach-free

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

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Hitachi DS10DFL2 12V Peak Li-Ion Cordless Driver Drill with 2 Batteries and Quick Charger

This drill is very user friendly.  It is substantially smaller and lighter than my current cordless drill.  It came with two lithium batteries and a charger with a nice carrying case for less than $100.00.  That is a pretty good value.  The lightness of the drill enables you to use the handy hook that accompanies it to hang it on your belt without danger of the infamous plumber's butt. (no offense to any of you plumbers, it is merely part of the tool belt culture's humor.)  

A nice set of assorted screw driver bits accompanies the drill.   There may be a difference in performance between the 12 volts of this unit and the 18 volts of my older drill particularly when comparing lithium to lithium.  The old ni-cad 18 volt battery was easily twice the weight of the new 18 volt lithium.   With that said, the 12 volt Hitachi is still much lighter and easier on the wrist and shoulder, particularly on overhead work,  than the older 18 volt unit.   More power is frequently needed but for general purposes, this Hitachi should meet the needs of most people.   Contractors will probably find uses for both and if you have deep pockets by all means, invest in both 12 volt and 18 volt units. 

From the Vendor:

Powerful 300 in-lbs of torque to handle tough jobs in tight spaces
Two-speed gear setting to match the appropriate speed to the application
21+1 stage clutch delivers 21 torque settings and a drill mode for ultimate precision and control
Responsive variable speed trigger provides complete control during operation
Lifetime Lithium Ion Tool Warranty, 2-Year Lithium Ion Battery 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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