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

Monday, May 29, 2017

VonShef Deluxe 12 Hole Electric Mini Donut Maker Snack Machine, Red

This was my favorite Christmas present. I made my first 3.5 dozen donuts the day after Christmas.  I used a cake mix and the cake donut recipe I found online. Take the dry mix, put in one egg, 1/4 cup of veggie or olive oil and one cup of water.  Whisk until smooth.  I sprayed the trays before and after each batch and did not get one stuck donut.  Getting the batter into the donut cups was a bit troublesome.  I finally cut the corner off a gallon baggie and put the batter in it and added it to the cups like I was icing a cake.  My first batch was spice donuts with a maple glaze.  The maple glaze was easy, 1/4 cup butter, 1/2 cup of maple syrup, 1 cup of powered sugar and (to me) the most important part to super charge the maple flavor I added a teaspoon of pure maple extract.  Let the donuts cool and swirl them in the glaze and set on wax paper.  The donuts were a hit with the entire family!

This machine is a great gift for the foodie in your life.

 From the vendor:.
·                        Makes 12 mouth-watering donuts in minutes
·                        Ultra-fast heat up - Get cooking rather than waiting around the kitchen!
·                        Power and ready light indicators so you know when it's time to get baking
·                        Automatic temperature control to ensure perfect donuts every time!
·                        Cool-touch handle

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

Lest We Forget

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Diesel Men's DZ4453 Rasp Chrono Black Watch

Buttons on "Wrong" side. 
My first thought was what a beautiful watch.  Very masculine, like the black on black wheels on the limited edition Ford 150 Raptor.  My next thought was that it was a left hand person’s watch.  The buttons are on the “wrong” side.  I’m not sure what determines wrong but I went back to the selling page and there is no mention that this is a left hand person watch.  As good looking as it is, it is hard to read particularly in low light conditions.  I think a light button would have been a good idea.  A common complaint I have about watches may be, note I say may be, age related.  The tiny little dials are impossible to read.  Of course, the manual is equally hard to read.  It is sub pt 6 font and I had to use a magnifying glass to read it.  Note I have 20/20 vision with my glasses.  Overall I like the looks of the watch, in spite of the slight weirdness of the buttons on the wrong side.  

From the vendor:
  • Band material: stainless steel
  • Quartz Movement
  • Case Diameter: 46mm
  • Water resistant to 50m (165ft: in general, suitable for short periods of recreational swimming, but not diving or snorkeling
 If reviewing a product, it may have been received free of charge. That will NEVER have a bearing on my recommendations.

FindX Find Anything: Track, Locate , and Camera Trigger, Compatible with iOS and Android

Conceptually I like this.  This is a small, 1 5/8" x 3/8" approximately, device that is used to keep track of your stuff.  You install the application on your phone.  The setup and connection is quick and easy, it uses Bluetooth.   Hold the button on the device and it rings your phone.  Press the button on your phone and it sets off a tinny sound from the device.   It is a bi-directional divining rod for your gear.   If you constantly lose your keys, put the device on your key ring and when they are MIA you trigger it via your phone.  This assumes you don't consistently misplace your phone as well.   The vendor hope is you buy a bunch of these and attach them to your stuff.  A feature that appears to be a bonus is you can turn on the camera from the phone application and trigger the photo with the device.  I, frankly am one of those manually anti-dexterous folks who have trouble holding my phone and pressing the shutter.   This allows you to trigger the shutter with the FindX device.  It also would be good for group shots, prop your phone up and get a larger group.

The device also registers the last time a connection was made and apparently stores that info.  So if you have misplaced your tablet and have attached one of these, you can see on your phone via GPS the last place your phone had a connection with the FindX device.  You go to that location and trigger bluetooth to find the tablet.  

The sum total of directions is a tiny fold out with the device.   It says their is a tutorial in the application but it is more like a diagram than a tutorial.   I went to their website to see if there was more information there and nope, there wasn't.   So good gadget with tepid documentation. 

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

Sunday, May 21, 2017

K'NEX Education Maker's Kit Simple Machines

This is a great DIY kit for the young builder.  There are a lot of great parts for building the 22 machines that have plans that are included.  However with the number of parts that are included, the sky is the limit.  This kit will provide your young builder and perhaps his father many hours of fun.   K'NEX makes a very durable, high quality product and even better it is made in the good old USA

 from the vendor:
22 different simple machine models
3 individual instructions books
Build up to 3 models at the same time
Contains 590+ parts
For ages 8+

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

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Western Union: Beware of Hidden Fees

Recently I attempted to pay a book illustrator for her work by using PayPal.   I have used the PayPal service to send my illustrator money for several years.  The December payment went through just fine.  Imagine my surprise when the March payment would not process.  I spent hours, that’s hours, not minutes on the phone with PayPal who never did figure out the problem.  I was forced to find an alternate method of paying my illustrator.

I turned to Western Union whose $34.00 fee was less than the $65.00 bank transfer fee my bank wanted.   Now the hidden fee part comes because if you use a credit card to fund a Western Union transfer, you get charged Cash Advance Fees by your credit card company.  That added an additional $11.99 in fees to the already $34.00 fee from Western Union

Now my illustrator lives in Bosnia.  I don’t know why PayPal could not re-do a transaction they did multiple times over multiple years.   That remains a mystery.

This is under Buyer Beware, there may be fee’s you never considered when you try and pay someone through the Internet. 

Monday, May 1, 2017

Amped Wireless APOLLO PRO, Long Range HD Wi-Fi Camera (LRC200)

Update I did get a call back from tech support today, 18 hours after I left a message.  They left a trouble ticket so I called and after a short wait got a tech.   I was advised to reinstall the software as that might have a bearing on the lock ups.   The tech was not sure if the camera stores photos on your phone as well as the cloud or only on the cloud.   The user manual wasn't clear on that either but their application does save the snapshots to your phone storage.  I can not find any way to dictate that it save if to the flash card rather than the  phone memory itself.  The shots I took yesterday right before the software locked up are nowhere to be found.  I moved the camera away from my desk and my router.  It is now six feet away from a network extender that is showing a strong signal on my meter.  The camera however is showing a weak signal and black and white instead of color.  The tech said that the quality of the picture including color is directly related to the wifi signal strength.  I am not sure why it is not seeing the network extender.   It uses the same set up as the main router.  Overall it was reassuring that someone did return the tech call but the product still doesn't thrill me.  I will keep working at it and if I get some revelation I will report back here. 

My initial reaction to this camera was not positive.  I had followed the instructions to download the application for my Android phone from playstore. It installed and then asked me to set up an account.   My attempt to set a password was immediately thwarted.  It kept telling me to put in 8-20 characters and I was inputting the correct number of characters.  What it did NOT tell you was that you can not use any special characters.  I discovered this after calling their tech support and hanging up after having been on hold for 21 minutes.   I was just shutting the application down on my phone when I had an ah HA moment and tried a password without any special characters.   From that point forward the installation went smoothly.  

The camera is clear and the ability to record or take photos is pretty simple.  It attached to my network with no hassles.   It does have Cloud recording but only 30 days free with the camera purchase.   They do appear to have a reasonable price for cloud storage.   I did try and log in from my desktop and was told that they only support Internet Explorer and Firefox.   I did download the necessary plug in for Firefox and was able to view the camera live.   You could also look at your cloud recordings and manage them from the browser. 

Once again I am surprised that there is no support for Chrome which is my browser of choice.  Firefox is my second choice so it won't be a major hassle to use it when I want to check the camera from my desktop.  

Overall after the initial frustration with account setup, things went smoothly until I shut the application down and then reopened it.  The software would show a live picture but would not change screens or open any menus.   I had taken two snapshots to illustrate the 10X digital zoom but after rebooting the software, I could not get to them.   This appears to be a work in progress.  I am not impressed with their software.  I got the camera at no charge for purposes of review, frankly if I had spent $189.00 on this I would be most unhappy. 

 from the vendor:
See more with a camera that can be installed virtually anywhere in your home or office. Long Range technology means the camera can connect to Wi-Fi from up to 3X further than other cameras.
With the APOLLO App you can talk and listen with 2-way audio, receive instant notifications when the camera detects sound/motion, watch the HD feeds and control settings from your mobile device.
Relive, share and save all of your videos, from anywhere, with Cloud Recordings that are accessible from the app. A free 30-day cloud recording trial is included with your purchase.
You’ll never miss a moment with Advanced Night Vision that provides a clear view in complete darkness. And you’ll see both near and far with 10x zoom capabilities.
Having any trouble? Give Amped Wireless' free, US based, in-house, technical support a call, email or chat - 7 days a week.

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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