Flip Ultra Digital Camcorder Review – The Perfect Blogging Tool

I’ve been wanting one of these handy little digital camcorders.  They look like they would be great for posting video on my blog.  When I saw a refurbished 30 minute on Buy.com for 70% less then new, I jumped on it.   It has turned out to be a great way to quickly capture video during every day circumstances.  I can’t wait to take it to my Jiu-Jitsu class and get a few clips for my blog.  It is very easy to use and and comes with its own software built into it.  That is sweet!  Not installing software or trying to get the USB driver on before hand is a big plus in my book.  I just plugged it in and shazam!  It worked!  It even asked me if I wanted to upgrade my software on the Flip.  I let it and the upgrade was smooth and seamless.  It even has all the features you need to e-mail and share your videos.  I thought 30 minutes would be to small an amount of time but for a starter Flip it is great.  There are only two things I’m unsure about with it.  First of all it take two AA batteries.  It would be nicer if it was rechargeable and had more battery life.  Yes, I could put some rechargeable batteries in it but then I’d have to pay more wouldn’t I.  The second thing is that the 2x zoom isn’t enough.  I noticed that when I zoom the video is a little grainy.  I guess I can live with that for now.  Over all for the price it is a great pocket sized digital camcorder for the avid blogger or video amateur.

Insinkerator Evolution Essential Garbage Disposal Review – Do It Yourself

Our Kenmore 6010 garbage disposal died this week.  How do I know it died and wasn’t just jammed?  You unplug the disposal.  On the bottom of the disposal is a hex head or nut.  You stick a hex screw driver or allen wrench in it and you can turn the motor in the garbage disposal from outside.  This way you avoid putting precious finger in it.  When I turned it on it sounded like it was bound up.  I manually turned the motor and something thing dropped inside.  I thought it might be a fork or spoon so I uninstalled or removed the disposal from the sink.  I checked inside with it unplugged.  Nothing was in there.  I think a brush had worn out on the electric motor.

I went shopping for a new garbage disposal at my local Home Depot.  I couldn’t wait for a better deal to ship from online.  If you can wait you can get it for less at Amazon.com – Insinkerator Evolution Essential (click to see it).  I’m getting ahead of my self.  I picked the Insinkerator Evolution Essential.  Why?  There were only two brands offered at Home Depot.  The Badger (click to see it), which had horrible reviews and the Evolution which had great reviews.  Of the models offered I picked the Essential because for the money it had the best features.  To go up to the Excel (click to see it) I didn’t feel I was getting that much more, only the triple grinding (Multi-grind Plus) for $100 more dollars and shiny stainless steel no one would ever see.  The unit I picked has double grinding (Multi-grind) and was far more quite then my old disposal.

How did the install go?  Very smooth!  The instructions were a little hard to follow but I had researched online how to do it ahead of time and that helped. The two things that didn’t come with the disposal where the power cord and plumber putty.  I salvaged the cord from my old Kenmore.  I think it was a good Green idea (reuse, recycle, reduce) to reuse the others power cord.  You can also buy the cord on line, InSinkErator CRD-00 Power Cord Kit (click to see it).  I picked up the plumber putty at Home Depot when I picked up the new garbage disposal. 

Uninstalling the old unit proved difficult.  It hadn’t been installed correctly and had rusted around the locking ring.  The new Insinkerator went on fine when I realized I needed to take the snap ring off so I could disassemble the parts to separate the sink flange for mounting.  I did have to shorten the discharge tube or pipe to get it to fit.  The Evolution has rubber couplings that help keep the vibration down.  I made sure they were free to take the vibrations.

To sum it up my wife and I are very happy with our new garbage disposal and its installation.

Things to remember:

  1. Purchase Plumber Putty.
  2. Salvage from the old unit the power cord or buy the InSinkErator CRD-00 Power Cord Kit (click to see it)
  3. Take the snap ring off to disassemble mounting pieces.
  4. Flip the rubber sink baffle before installation.
  5. Pop out the dishwasher inlet tab if you are hooking it to a dishwasher.

iRobot Roomba Scooba 5999 Remanufactured Robot Floor Washer – Review

I had purchased a iRobot Roomba 560 for my wife for Christmas.  It turned out to be a great hit with my wife and family.  When I saw a chance to get a Scooba for 60% off, I took a chance.  The Scooba 5999 is the remanufactured or refurbished version of the Scooba 5800.  I was a little nervous about it being reworked.  I decided to spend the extra $10 and get a year warrantee with it.  If it does have problems I’m covered.  I purchased mine at NewEgg.com but I notice they are now sold out.   You can also get one at Amazon.com but not for as good a deal.

My wife was pleasantly surprised when it arrived.  Score one for the husband!  She set it up in no time and it was off and cleaning. 

My expectations were:

  1. That it would lessen the amount of work that my wife needed to do in cleaning the floor.
  2. That the floor would stay cleaner.
  3. That I would not have to dance around her Floor Steamer that she would leave out.
  4. That I wouldn’t have to worry about when I shouldn’t walk into the kitchen because the floor was wet.

It meet all my expectations.  With kids there is always something being spilled or dropped.  The Scooba can do a bi-daily cleaning without my wife and I don’t stick to the floor.  I love how it suctions up the water after it mops.  My wife only feels the need now to do her floor cleaning once a week.  I don’t have to worry.

Like the iRobot Roomba 560 it isn’t the end all of floor cleaning.  It does a nice surface job.  You work less to keep things clean.

Body Bugg – What they don’t tell you

Don’t get me wrong.  The bio feed back I have gotten from my Body Bugg has made all the difference in my weight loss.  Its the forced reliance on their website that ticks me off.  I bought the watch too thinking that I would use that after my introductory subscription ended to the website.  At lest then my $350 investment would still be useful and not sitting in a drawer collecting dust.  After my subscription ended I continued to use my Body Bugg just like I’d planned.  I was happy.  After a while I didn’t need to be “Bugged” any more.  I had a good idea what I was eating and how many calories I was burning.  I stopped wearing it.  Time passed and I got slothful.  I noticed I had gained weight and I decided to start using my Bugg again.  But after adding new batteries it wouldn’t synchronize with my watch.  Come to find out when its batteries had died its memory was erased.  I had to sign up for a subscription to get it configured again for use!  I was ticked but once again, paying $9 for one a month subscription was cheaper then buying some other unknown system and finding out its gotchas later.  I’m still “Bugged” and doing great.

Body Bugg to the Rescue

I’m late getting this out I know.  I said I would let my millions of readers know how Body Bugg helped me over the 2008 holidays.  The good news is I lost 2 pounds and I had a good time eating.  I think the key was I was more active over the holidays and I was able to keep a true eye on my activity and calorie in take.  I’ve go to the point now where I don’t need my Body Bugg.  I have a pretty good idea how much I consume and burn now in my daily routine.

iRobot 560 Roomba Vacuuming Robot scores high marks with the Wife

I was trying to think of something the wife would love for Christmas.  Its hard to pick a useful or exciting gift for her.  It is even harder to keep it from her and surprise her with something she wouldn’t think of.  I scored a grand slam with the iRobot 560 Roomba Vacuuming Robot.  (Click on the name to see it at Amazon.com)

It doesn’t do the deep cleaning that a regular vacuum does but it does quick cleanings without my wife having to do any thing.  That is the best!  She programs it to go off while she is gone or kicks it off while she is doing other house work.  If you have kids like we do you are always in need of the floor being vacuumed.

We use it at least twice a day.  It does need some maintenance.  I have to clean the brushes and get the hair out of places.  They have made it so it is easy to do and even provide a great tool for quickly cleaning the brush.

My wife now uses the regular vacuum every Saturday for a deep cleaning and the rest of the week, “Moe” as we call our vacuuming robot, does the work the rest of the week.  This frees my wife up for more important things.

I might note the strange looking whiskers that stick out rotate and flick things out of corners into the path of the iRobot 560 Roomba.

I’m Bugged – My experience with the Bodybugg by Apex

I decided it was time to lose some weight. My wife was doing great. She was just about back to her weight when we were first married. I on the other hand was far from it. I decided I wanted to slim down too. The trouble was I don’t like doing aerobics and I don’t get out much. Its true I’m a computer geek. Hey! Its my job! A fellow co-work had recently got the Bodybugg and had lost 4 pounds a week for 2 weeks straight.  His life style was far more active then mine but what he told me about the Bodybugg was enough to interest me.  After searching high and low for coupon I could find none.  The watch and the armband were $350 on Apex.com.  I found them for $50 cheaper at 24hourfitness.com.  I decided it would be a good idea to get the watch because the web site you use with the armband is subscription based.  Yes!  You get 3 months free and then they want you to pay something like $45 a month after that to use it.  Without the watch the armband is useless if you don’t want to pay the subscription fee.  I bit the bullet and paid the $300.  I figured if it will help me to live healthy now the $300 investment will save me thousands in the future on medical bills.  My Bodybugg arrived and my life changed.  It wasn’t to hard to set up and there was a free coaching session to help me get started logging my calories and understanding the website.  I have had it for 1 month now and lost 9 poundsI always throught I didn’t have the will power to diet.  The truth was I didn’t have the feedback I needed to diet.  Once I could truly see how many calories I was consuming and burning I really could take control.  I’m not saying it was a breeze.  I haven’t changed my activity and I have changed my eating habits.  I don’t eat as much now.  I have never gone hungry for more then a day in my life.  The first two weeks were the hardest.  I felt hungry day and night.  Because I choose not to increase my activity the only other way to lose weight was to cut back on what I was eating.  I did.  It was eye opening.  Over all I love my Bodybugg.  I’ll continue to use it with the watch longer after the subscription expires.  My goal is to reach the weight I’ve set for myself by the new year.  Tune it to see if I make it through the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays.

Apricorn EZ II Hard Drive Upgrade Kit and the Dell 700m

I decided it was time to upgrade my Dell 700m’s hard drive.  It has been a great little computer and its hardware is getting to be a little old.  So I went looking to upgrade the bottle neck I thought would change the performance the most.  The 45,000 RPM hard drive is dirt slow.  I thought I would get a 72,000 RPM drive for cheap now that the hardware is old hat.  Was I surprised!  The hardware for my Dell 700m is becoming obsolete and therefore is either not around any more or cost far more then it should.  I did find a nice 54,000 RPM HD at BestBuy.com that would work but now how to go about the upgrade.  In my searching I came across the Apricorn EZ-UP-UNIVERSAL EZ Upgrade Universal Hard Drive Upgrade Kit. This looked easy enough. I bought it and waited for it to arrive.

The day came and I eagerly set it up according to the instructions. Everything was going smoothly. I watched the included software attempt to lock the partition from with in windows and then ask me to reboot. I rebooted and watched it check and attempt to lock the partition again before Windows had started. It then gave me a error message about the partition being changed and finished booting. I was confused as to what should come next. After letting it sit for a while I started the cloning software again and watched it go through the same process except this time it didn’t error on the reboot. The cloning now had begun. Both the light on the external drive and my drive were humming away. After it finished cloning I quickly switched out the drives as described by doing a Google search on Dell’s website for how to do it. I then booted up my computer expecting to see it all ticky-boo. My computer booted fine until it came to the “Loading PBR for Descriptor 2 . . . Done“. It just sat there and nothing happened. After some research I found that Dell has some secret partitions and for some reason the cloning software hadn’t copied them correctly. After trying it one more time I did it the non-recommended way according to the instructions. I booted from the CD and cloned the drive. Then I did the swap again. This time it came up right off. I was so surprised I thought it was a fluke. I was scared to reboot for fear it wouldn’t come up again. To sum it up everything worked fine after that. Now my 700m has larger and faster HD. I have a 80 Gig external drive and upgrade kit if ever I need it again.