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

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Playskool Sesame Street Love2Learn Elmo

This is a very cool toy.   The ability of Elmo to talk to the child by name is going to be a huge hit.  There are games and chores that can be referred to by Elmo.  Out of the box, Elmo is cute and does things by clapping his hands, putting his hands on his belly or squeezing his nose.   My suggestion would be to free Elmo from his box prior to giving it to a child.  It took brute strength, scissors  and wire cutters to get Elmo out.   Plus you have to get him out to get batteries in him.   That is not obvious and the instructions don't say insert batteries in his derriere but that is where you put them.  Once Elmo is powered up you can then download the application from Google Playstore.  The app is Love2learn Elmo.  Again the instructions tell you to go to Hasbro's website but even there you have to do some searching to get to the point where you are told to go to the playstore to download the app.  Once the application is on your phone you can customize the Elmo.
The good news is with prior programming and freeing Elmo from the confines of his annoyingly complicated packaging this toy should be a huge hit.  I particularly like Elmo telling the child by name, nice job on brushing your teeth.   You will need a smart phone or a tablet for the application and I strongly advise you to do all of the above prior to handing the child a box with Elmo in it.  Proper preparation will save the parent and the child loads of frustration.   Hasbro should design less frustrating packaging,  provide better documentation and clearer instruction as to how to get the application.  In spite of that, I really liked this toy.  

·                        Elmo will refer to a child by name when parents select it in the Love2Learn Elmo app
·                        Customize toy play with the app! 350+ responses
·                        Sings 10 songs, laughs, and plays games and music
·                        Elmo interacts with the app's games to play with children
·                        Includes Elmo toy and instructions
·                        Powered by 4x 1.5 AA Alkaline Batteries. Not included.

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

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Fisher-Price Thomas the Train Steam Rattle & Roll Thomas

This is too darn cute.  The singing voice is clear and the tunes are catchy.   The sounds and lights are going to be captivating for the little ones.  The slightly older kids are going to love the remote control.   This will be a great gift for any little Thomas fan and a great introduction for any child that is not already a Thomas fan. 

  • Includes battery-powered motorized Thomas toy train and remote control
  • Guitar-shaped remote control features 4 buttons: activate music, activate sound effects, move forward, reverse & spin
  • Includes 6 original upbeat songs inspired by different musical genres
  • Thomas delivers cool sounds and unique phrases related to a musical performance
  • Steam clouds on the side of Thomas light up brightly in a rainbow of colors that flash in time to the music

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

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

3Doodler Start Super Mega Pen Set

3Doodler Start Super Mega Pen Set 

Great Gift Idea!

Ok, I admit I am a sucker for tech gadgets.  This is a take off of the 3D printer which I have raved about in past reviews.  This allows you to draw, mold and experiment in a non-toxic plastic.  It certainly doesn't have the precision of a 3D printer but at $99.00 it doesn't have the price tag either.   This set comes with a full complement of different color Eco-Plastic rods that are made entirely from food grade materials, so it’s completely biodegradable, non-toxic and BPA-free.  This is going to be a major hit with kids and grandkids.

From the creators:

How did you come up with the idea for this product?
Our 3D printer had almost completed a 14-hour print when it missed a line, leaving an unplanned gap in the print. A small error had ruined hours of work, and we were going to have to start again. Then inspiration hit: “what if we just took the head of the printer off and filled in the gap?” A day later the 3Doodler was born. The first 3Doodler was a clumsy-looking, hand-assembled, device, with the words “3Doodler” etched onto its side in green and red in felt tip pen. The 3Doodler Start was a natural progression for us, creating a kid-safe and friendly device specifically for young creators!
What makes your product special?
The 3Doodler Start was specifically designed for young creators who love to express themselves through the things they make. The 3Doodler Start is also the first 3D printing pen on the market to be truly kid-safe and friendly. There are no hot parts, and the plastics used are non-toxic and biodegradable! Designed to be as simple to use as possible, kids can can pick up the 3Doodler Start and get creating within minutes. The 3Doodler Start works wirelessly for up to an hour, and can also be used with a range of 3Doodler accessories, including our themed DoodleBlocksTM - simple templates for super Doodles!
What has been the best part of your startup experience?
The best part has been building a vibrant and creative community! Starting with our first Kickstarter campaign, we have always put community front and center. Hundreds of thousands of units later, it's thrilling to see what our community has been doing with the 3Doodler, and how they have shared with and inspired each other (and us!). Their creations are all over social media sites and on our website, and extend from craft and design, through to innovative hacks and fixes, and into a never ending array of educational uses. With 3Doodler Start, that creativity and community will now embrace a whole new generation!

My creation!  I'm not intending
on quitting my day job.

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

Friday, November 18, 2016

K'NEX Infinite Journey Roller Coaster Building Set

This is a nice set. It doesn't say it is part of the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) series but it certainly could be.  Good concepts and very clear instructions.  Of course once it is built and played with the whole set will be folded in with the rest of the K'NEX for even more play.  This is a Pennsylvania company that is very innovative and produces a quality product.  Much like the ubiquitous more well known brand of building toy, you can never have too many K'NEX.  As an aside, the set comes with three rubber bands that seem like they were an afterthought as they were just loose in the box and frankly they look like they were used.  Kind of surprised to see that in this normally high quality set.

From the vendor:
Go back in time with the Infinite Journey Roller Coaster Building Set, from K'NEX. The slingshot launcher sends the coaster car up the hill and spiraling through the track! This set comes with 353 parts, primarily rods & connectors, to build a K'NEX thrill ride! And if you collect the Clock Work Roller Coaster Building Set and Revolution Ferris Wheel Building Set (sold separately), you can have a working amusement park right in your home! Recommended for builders ages 7+.

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

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

glialplay. com and Melekpdf .online are Stealing.

Piracy isn't just grabbing hostages off the coast of Africa or the plot for a Disney movie.  Piracy is also literary theft.

This morning I got another Google alert that informed me that once again another site is ripping off my books.   They are offering free downloads of  my books and many, many others without getting author permission.   Several of my books are on the site and I have not given them permission to give them away.   Somehow related is Melekpdf . online which is also coming up as giving away my books.   It is one thing for me to offer my books to my readers for free and it is an entirely different thing to find some website charging a fee for unlimited book, game and movie downloads and "giving" away my books.  This is theft, plain and simple.   Every dime I earn goes into producing more books.   My hope is my books help someone in some way.   These thieves are depriving me of income that could produce another book.   

Please DO NOT patronize these or any other pirate sites. 

Monday, November 14, 2016

Fisher-Price Laugh & Learn Greetings Globe

This is pretty nifty.  It is a simplistic globe that turns and shows the continents.  Each continent has an interactive button.   Pushing the buttons elicits different responses dependent on which of the three learning stages you have selected.  This toy should keep a toddler entertained for hours.  It is sturdy and should provide both fun and learning.   The cheery little voice may drive Mom and Dad crazy with it's engaging upbeat manner which makes it an  ideal gift from grandparents.
 From the vendor:
  • Interactive globe helps teach global greetings, animals, colors, modes of transportation, music and continents
  • Includes Smart Stages technology-with 3 levels of play, learning content changes as toddlers grow
  • "Ni-hao!" Press the 7 animal buttons to learn about animals, music and greetings from around the world
  • Flip the book pages to learn how Pup & Sis get around when they travel the world
  • Spin the globe for fun phrases & sing-along songs about exploring new places
If reviewing a product, it may have been received free of charge. That will NEVER have a bearing on my recommendations.

See a guest post by L.E. Modesitt, Jr. at Azure Dwarf today.

 See a guest post by L.E. Modesitt, Jr. at Azure Dwarf today.

Friday, November 11, 2016

Logmeonce: A Tedious Flawed Solution

Once again proving "you get what you pay for", this product failed miserably in ease of use. 

Logmeonce seemed like a good solution for the necessary password protection problem.  Seems and does are two different things.  The software initially seemed to provide the necessary protection and robust ability ratings of my passwords.  Then  about a week ago, I tried to log in and it said I had an incorrect login.   I had changed nothing but I shrugged and created a new password.   Problem solved!  WRONG!!  On the successive following days, each morning I was told the login password was incorrect and I had to create a new password.  Today was the last day I put up with their software malfunction.   I was going to go to support but there is none.  I was going to go to their community forum and it "is coming soon."   How this software ever became a tech magazine choice is beyond comprehension.   Oh to punish you for leaving,  you have to manually export your changed passwords as the software has no discoverable export of passwords function. 

Day after this post I tried to get this frustrating software off of my phone and found I couldn't uninstall it.  To get it off, here is a LINK to a Tech Republic post that will walk you through removal. I still find it inexplicable how this software with such poor support ever got good ratings. 

Despite the positive sharing aspect of the cloud storage this software failed a reasonable usage test. 

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Zycom Zing Scooter

This is a cute scooter and the pink and purple will be a hit with the grand daughter.  I particularly like the adjustable handle bar.  You have three adjustments that allow you to start at a very low 20" and go up to a 26". The brake seems effective.  The wheels and body are soft enough that this could be used in the house by little ones.   Self righting seems a bit of a stretch but it does seem responsive.   This should make a very nice gift.

·                        Designed For Ages 3 to 5 Years Old
·                        Fun 3 Wheeled Scooter With Pivot Steering & Patented Self Righting Technology
·                        Removable Handle Bar
·                        Three Stage Height Adjustable Bar: Low 20" Mid 23" Max 26"
·                        Max Weight: 66LBS
·                        Smooth Polyurethane Wheels with Quick Stop Rear Brake
·                        4" Strong Plastic Non Slip Deck

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

Monday, November 7, 2016

DII Non Woven, Convenient Storage For Gift Wrap, Stores up to 8 Rolls of Wrapping Paper -Snowflake

I wasn't sure what non-woven meant and I still am not.  This feels durable and will certainly hold a lot of wrapping paper, see photo.   It seems like it should hold up and was reasonably priced at $13.99.


  Non woven
·                        Imported
·                        Non-Woven Storage Bin is 41 x 14 x 4.5" with zip lid, dividers for materials and clear pockets for supplies on the inside
·                        Gift wrap storage box holds up to 8 rolls of wrapping paper and has ample room to store tape, sissors, ribbion, and more for wrapping the perfect gift
·                        Easy clean up-shake briskly to clean or use a damp sponge to clean soiled areas
·                        Wrapping Paper storage is available in two colors: Holiday Stripe & Snowflake
·                        To view more of our products visit our brand page at amazon.com/dii or search for DII Storage

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

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Stanley 32304 Auto LED Night Light, White, 4-Pack

I don't hate the dark, I just hate stumbling around in it.  These are LED which means you can use them with out feeling guilty over power usage.   They also have a built in light sensor which turns them off when the sun rises or you turn on another light source.  They seem sturdy and the light is enough to illuminate for safety without blazing or glaring.  The price is certainly good too, under $10.00 at Amazon.

I wrote this review in July when I got the lights.  Since then one died after 3 months of use. It was on a surge suppressor and nothing else is damaged on the same strip so I have to assume a defective light. One out of four is a 25% failure rate which seems rather high so I had to question the quality. 

  • Built-in light sensor turns nightlight on and off automatically
  • Built-in LED bulb
  • Polarized 2-Blade Plug

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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