Monday, July 30, 2012

Product review: Adjustable Small Base Quad Cane

I purchased a small base quad cane after back surgery to help me walk up the stairs. If you need a cane for walking up the stairs it is very important to get the cane with a small base so all four legs will fit onto a step.

I was taught how to use this cane in a rehabilitation facility. The cane is unstable if you use it the wrong way. The four leg base is not symmetrical. On one side two legs are spaced a little closer together, on the other side a little more wide apart. It is very important to have the wide part AWAY from the body. The base can be switched based on whether you want to use right handed or left handed. This positioning makes a huge difference.

When the cane came from the factory it was set for the wrong hand, and if I did not have my lesson on stability I probably would have used it as is and would have been unhappy with stability of the cane. I hope this helps someone else!

You can find it on Amazon by following this link.

Ali Julia review ★★★★★

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Product review: Non-OEM Laser Toner Refill, Compatible for Toner Cartridge for Samsung ML 2010, 2510, 2570, 2571N - ML2010D3

In March of 2012 I purchased a compatible toner cartridge for my Samsung ML laser printer. It was the first time I purchased a compatible toner rather then the OEM cartridge. I received the replacement toner cartridge in different box than the stock photo shows. It was extremely well packaged in good bubble wrap. It was packaged more securely than the OEM replacement toner cartridges that I have purchased in the past. Please see photo labeled #1.

The cartridge was clean with no toner residue in the bag. It looked very similar to the original OEM cartridge just did not have the Samsung logo on the cartridge itself. See photo labeled #2, the original cartridge is on the left, this compatible cartridge is on the right.

The installation instruction were a little confusing. The image in photo labeled #3 shows the confusing step. The instruction calls to remove the seal from the cartridge and the image shows like you have to remove some small part on the right hand side of the toner. In fact what they mean is to slide out a large piece of paper laying in a crease of the toner.

The cartridge easily inserted into the printer, and printed flawlessly. The ink was dark and even. There were no streaks on the front or the back of the paper. I rubbed my finger over it and it did not smudge. So far so good.

I had my Samsung ML2010 for a number of years, I have purchased two OEM laser cartridges during its life time in addition to the starter cartridge that came with the printer. I keep track of my laser cartridges in a spreadsheet. I paid $70 and $74 respectively for each cartridge and got a total 46 months of use out of the two cartridges. The average cost of use for the OEM Samsung laser cartridges has been $3.13 per month.

I paid $15.25 for this compatible cartridge, if it lasts more than 5 months I will be saving money. So far, after 4.5 months of use, it is still going strong: the color is dark and even.

So far so good! A 5 star rating. Time will tell how long it will last and how much of a bargain this toner is. I will update this review to indicate how it is doing in 5 months.

Updated 12/12/2012 (9 months later): The toner is still working, dark print, no streaks.  This was a good purchase!

You can find it on Amazon by following this link.

Ali Julia review ★★★★★

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Product review: Korky 818BP Korky QuietFill Fill Valve, Installation tips

I have a Korky Fill Valve in my house that operated smoothly for 12 years, so when my elderly mother called me to complain about her constantly running toilet I had no hesitation of what fill valve to buy to fix her toilet. I normally prefer to buy things on Amazon but with a toilet emergency there is no time to waste and I headed to my local home improvement store. To my surprise a price there was actually a few dollars cheaper.

I am not a very handy person, yet Korky valve was fairly easy to replace. There was only step that took a bit of effort. I including a collage of two photos  which I will be referencing in this review.

1. Started by turning off the water supply (turning the valve clockwise).

2. I put a small plastic bin under the toilet to catch water coming out of supply hose

3. I disconnected the supply hose, it held about a cup of water that spilled into the bin

4. I flushed the toilet and using some old rags mopped up the water that still remained in the tank

5. The next step was to remove the old valve: I removed the overflow tube for the valve and the flapper. The final step in removing the old valve was to remove the nut holding the valve to the tank from below. This was the most difficult step of the entire process. I used large wise grips and turn the nut clockwise. This took quite a bit of effort. The nut is plastic so I had to be careful not to strip it.

6. The next step was to set the new valve to the right height. This is the most important step for proper operation of the valve. I inserted the valve in the tank, unlocked it by turn counter-clock wise, lined up the bottom of the white cap of the valve with the top of the overflow pipe, and then locked it by turning clock-wise. Then I carefully removed the valved from the tank and inserted a provided plastic pin to hold the valve at the proper height for my tank. The trick to having the pin stay in place is aligning the bumps on the stem of the valve with the holes on the pin. You can see the bumps and the holes in photo#1 (I put red squares over the hole and bumps in the photo so you can find them easily).

Note: The first time I turned on the water for the test, the clip holding the right height for the valve got dislodged and this would have caused the continuously running toilet. After I disassembled the valve and made sure that bumps on the stem went into the holes on the clip, the clip held the valve securely.

7. Once the height of the valve was set correctly, I inserted the valve, but did not tighten it fully yet.

8. The next step was to position and shorten the overflow tube. This black tube is long so it would fit different toilets. It should be just long enough to empty into the overflow pipe. I changed the angle of the valve in such a way that the black tube was aimed into the overflow pipe and had no kinks. I shortened it to end just above the overflow pipe and then used the provided pin to attach it to the overflow pipe. You can see the pipe position in Photo #2.

9. At this point I was almost done and hand-tightened the nut that holds the valve to the toilet. I used a rag to get a good grip on the nut, and turned it as far by hand as I could.

10. Next it was time for a test. I turned on the water just a little bit to see if anything leaks and works properly. When everything worked well, I turned on the water at full force.

If you also changed the overflow pipe in the toilet make sure that the level of the flush lever opening is above the overfill pipe in the the tank. Otherwise the tank will fill to level opening and will leak through that opening to the floor. The top of overflow pipe should be 3/4" or more below flush lever opening.

The installation took me about 30 minutes. Everything has been working smoothly and quietly. Both my mother and I are very pleased! I hope she gets as many as years out of her Korky as I got from mine.

You can find it on Amazon by following this link.

Ali Julia review ★★★★★

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Kindle book review: Quilts Their Story and How to Make Them

I am an experienced quilter, who enjoys creating quilts and is interested in the history of quilt making. This book contains no illustrations or instructions on making quilts. However, it contains a very detailed and interesting history of quilts and quilt making. I learned a lot of small new details that I did not know before and enjoyed reading this book very much.

The book was written n 1915 and starts with a brief explanation of quilt making. Then it starts its journey into the history of quilt making. The roots of quilting and weaving are dated back by their appearance in ancient art work. For example, the images of a loom appear in 2650 B.C. The old piece of patchwork can be found in a Museum of cairo and dates to 960 B.C.

The book traces the appearance of patchwork during Trojan War, Middle Ages, Renaissance. Appliqué makes it appearance in Florence (described as cut work). There a very lengthy chapter on history of quilts in America, which I found very interesting. There is an interesting chapter on quilt block names. I never gave the block names much thought but the author organized them by themes such as political, religion, sky. and it gave me a fresh new way to think about the blocks I know and love.

I found the book educational and enjoyable. Great trip into history!

You can find "Quilts : Their Story and How to Make Them" on Amazon by following this link

Ali Julia review ★★★★★

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Product review: Instapark® Cervical Neck Traction.

I have a variety of spinal issues, and my neck often hurts when I work long hours in front of the computer. Cervical Neck traction provides a way to stretch your neck and that offers some temporary relief. I found it to be fairly comfortable and it fit me well. I am attaching a collage of 4 photo that I will be referencing in this review.

Cervical Neck Traction has three air chambers that are be filled with air with a provided bulb pump. The chambers go all around your neck. The front of the traction has 2 strong Velcro straps to tighten the device around your neck. It has a lot of flexibility to fit necks of different sizes. Photo #1 and Photo #2 show the closure. The traction device I received is black (not blue like the stock photo) and I prefer the black color.

It is made out of soft velour material that feels nice against your neck. However, as you can see in the photos it attracts a lot of dust. I took the photos after two weeks of using the Instapark neck traction, leaving it in my room without a baggy when not in use. From now on I will be keeping it in a plastic bag. I noticed that some reviews mention bad smell. Luckily, my traction device does not have this problem.

The height of the traction depends on how much air you put in the air chambers. It took me 150 pumps to inflate it to 6" height shown in the photos (Photo#2 and photo#4 have the pillow next to a ruler). This is a fairly low level of stretching. Once you inflate the chambers you need to lock the knob on the pump turning it clockwise. The first time I inflated the device I forgot to do it, and it slowly deflated. Since it takes quite a few pumps to get it to the right inflation level, I do the initial inflation while it is not on my neck (about 150 pumps to the inflation level shown in the photo), then put it on, adjust the Velcro closures, and then pump up more air in switching hands when they get tired from pumping. Neck problems are commonly associated with tingling in the hands/fingers, so consider the need to pump a lot as your determine if this device will work well for your use.

I found Instapack traction device quite comfortable. I am planning to take it on my upcoming air travel. I think it will be much more comfortable than a travel pillow. For use in the airplane I would pump it up less than I do for stretching, but it would provide support in all directions, not just in the back like a travel pillow.

You can find it on Amazon by following this link.

Ali Julia review ★★★★☆

Friday, July 20, 2012

Product review: Soundfly SD WMA/MP3 Player Car Fm Transmitter for SD Card, USB Stick, Mp3 Players. Audio books in the car

My main use for Soundfly FM Transmitter is to listen to audio books while I drive. Other than the quality of the sound the feature that is most important to me is the ability to restart listening where I left off. This player does an excellent job in this respect with the feature called "bookmark". Soundfly fit my car (Honda CRV) perfectly. The sound quality is excellent.

I am attaching a collage of four photos that I will be referencing in this review.

Soundfly has three options for audio input: USB stick, SD card, and stereo headphone jack to which any device such as phone or MP3 player can be connected. The USB port is located at the bottom of the device, SD card slot and stereo jack ports are located on the sides. In my photos you see the usage of USB stick. Photos #1, #2, #3 show the transmitter working in the side console compartment. Photo #4 show the transmitter in the outlet below the dash. Both positions generated equally good sound. I found the side console more convenient for several reasons: (1) I don't see the USB stick flashing out of the corner of my eye (2) it is out of sight (3) it is always out of the direct sun light.

The remote control is small and thin. I mostly use it to bookmark my place in the book before I turn off the car. Photo #3 shows the screen displaying "SAV" when you hit the bookmark button on the remote. I keep the remote in the cup holder in the central console. I can easily control the transmitter from the sitting position where the transmitter is slightly behind me in the side compartment.

Inserting the plug into the outlet requires a bit of fussing mostly due to the position of the outlets in my car. For that reason I keep the unit plugged in most of the time. It starts playing as soon as I start the car even if I turned off the unit with the remote during the previous ride. When you turn the unit off without unplugging the speakers generate an unpleasant hiss, so I normally switch the radio to another station before I turn off the receiver via remote.

To find vacant FM stations in my area I used a web site "radio-locator (dot) com/cgi-bin/vacant" where you can enter your zip code and get a list of stations to try. This web site ranks vacant stations as "best", "great" and "good". Their suggestions worked well for me, the third station on their best list gave me the best sound quality. You can save vacant stations in the transmitter's memory, and change stations if needed using the remote.

The only minor issue I have with the transmitter is that when I set the volume to its max on the transmitter it is still a bit too low at my regular volume setting on the radio. I need to turn up the sound on the radio to get it to my normal listening range. This means I need to remember to turn the volume down before I switch to the radio options otherwise my ears get blasted.

Overall I am very pleased. This is my second FM transmitter. Years ago I bought a really cheap FM transmitter that would disconnect and start generating hiss on bumps in the road. It was so annoying that dismissed the FM transmitter as a good option for the car. Well, I guess you get what you paid for. This transmitter has not lost the transmission on the same ride that the old transmitter could not handle. I wish this was the unit I tried a few years ago, I would have been enjoying audio books in the car all these years.

You can find it on Amazon by following this link.

Ali Julia review ★★★★★

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Product review: Sensodyne Toothpaste for Sensitive Teeth / prevent hot and cold sensativity

I never had any issues with my teeth until about 2 months ago I developed sensitivity to hot and cold foods. The teeth on one side of my mouth would hurt when I ate something that was cold or hot. I could not pin point any particular tooth that caused the pain. The pain stopped when I stopped eating. When this sensitivity did not go away in a few weeks I went to see my dentist who probed my teeth with various torture devices and told me that I have no cavities, cracks, or exposed gums. He said that the problem is likely caused by teeth grinding and is often helped by Sensodyne toothpaste. He gave me a sample toothpaste to see if it will help.

My dentist explained that the toothpaste works by filling in dentinal tubules that communicate with nerves in the teeth. When the tubules are exposed they conduct cold or hot temperatures to the nerves and it is perceived as pain by the tooth nerves. The toothpaste temporary fills the tubules and prevents the sensitivity. This process is not immediate, he said it will take approximately 1 to 2 weeks. It is not permanent so if the toothpaste helps one needs to use it every day once a day (he recommended to use before going to sleep at night).

I noticed the sensitivity to hot and cold significantly diminished in about 4 days and ordered this order of Sensodyne toothpaste.

This toothpaste contains Fluoride and tooth whitening. Unfortunately for me it has a strong minty flavor. I don't like mint flavor and has been using a non-mint toothpaste Tom's of Maine Orange Mango but because it really help the sensitivity I now use Sensodyne in the evening, and Orange Mango in the morning. The toothpaste generates a nice foam (not too much and not too little) and has a pleasant feel to it. And if you like mint flavor you will like how it taste, not only what it does.

The price on Amazon is very good, I compared it to Costco for the size price packaging and Amazon price is better. I am attaching the photo which shows the packaging and toothpaste itself on a toothbrush.

You can find it on Amazon by following this link.

Ali Julia review ★★★★★

Monday, July 16, 2012

Product review: Replacement battery Black & Decker PS120 Fire Storm 9.6-Volt Hour NiCad Pod Style Battery

The battery on my 15 year old Black and Decker cordless drill (bought in 1997) stopped holding a charge. I still use this drill when I need to use 1/2 inch drill bit because my newer lighter drill does not take the 3/8 chuck needed for 1/2 inch drill. So instead of buying a new big drill I decided to try a new battery. I was not sure if the replacement battery will work in such an old drill, but it did.

The new battery is slightly larger than the old drill (see photos of the two batteries side by side under customer photos) but it fit my old drill just fine. So good to have the old power back!

I was pleased that I was able to save some money by replacing a battery rather than the entire drill. Under customer photos I am including a photo which shows the old drill as well as both batteries side by side.

You can find it on Amazon by following this link.

Ali Julia review ★★★★★

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Product review: Side by side comparison of SONY and Wasabi NPFW50 battery pack for Sony NEX-5N

Sony NEX-5N loves batteries, it drains them pretty fast. It uses the battery very quickly when it is plugged into the computer for file transfer. On a typical shooting day for me I use two batteries, on a good shooting day I use three. So I have a large collection of batteries that I travel with, as well as both car and AC recharger.

I found that the best battery (and by that I mean price/performance ratio) is Wasabi pack Sony NPFW50 Rechargeable Battery Pack. I charged both batteries side by side they took approximately the same amount of time to charge. When I use them they both work for approximately the same amount of time. I have used both types of batteries for 7 months now on rotational basis and I am equally satisfied with them. However, Wasabi battery pack is a great deal by comparison to an OEM battery. For less money that one OEM battery Wasabi pack includes two batteries, a recharger, a car charger and European plug converter.

Note: Sony has a special chip in every battery. When a new SONY camera comes out older batteries labeled NP-FW50 (from SONY or third party) they are chipped for different versions and do not work. The older version of NP-FW50 compatible batteries do not work in SONY NEX-5N. When buying any SONY battery one has to check that the offering lists SONY NEX-5N on the compatibility list (i.e. we cannot rely on the battery number alone). I learned this from personal experience and talking (well, complaining) to the manufacturer.

You can find Wasabi battery on Amazon by following this link.

You can find SONY battery on Amazon by following this link.

Star evaluation is based on price/performance

Ali Julia review ★★★★★ (for Wasabi)
Ali Julia review ★★★☆☆ (for SONY)

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Book review: Holiday Boutique Knitting by Mary Jean Daigneault

I have been knitting since I was 5 years old. One of the joys of the holidays for me has always been to create gifts for my loved ones that are not store-bought but are uniquely mine. I made sweaters, socks, hats and scarves each year - this book gave me a bunch of new ideas! This book is great for generating unique ideas for holiday gifts and decorations that are knit.

The project I decided to start with is Vine runner, which looks like a long branch with flowers and leaves. My plan for it to hang holiday cards from it by hanging them from the vine using ribbons. I always like to display Christmas cards I receive and coming up with a new way to display them is going to be a lot of fun. The instructions were clear, detailed, and easy to follow. At the end of the book there were templates for the leaves.

The next project I just started making is a knitted wreath. The book contains 4 versions of different wreaths. The instruction look pretty easy and all four wreath look very nice and unique. I think they are going to make excellent presents.

On my wish list is the project that the book starts with: the cutest fuzzy snowman and snowwoman. They are adorable and I want to make them to sit in a window in the winter.

Below I am including the complete table of content so you can see if there are other projects that might be of interest beside the three I have highlighted above.

Christmas Decor
1.Mr. & Mrs. Snow
2.Vine Runner Decor
3.Design Tip: Decorating the Christmas Tree
5.Tree Skirt
6.Advent Calendar/Card Holder
7.Ball Decor: Sizes 2"-5"
8.Design Tip: Displays

1.Designer Tip: Stockings
2.Vine Stocking
3.Ribbed Stocking
4.Designer Tip: Balance and Composition
5.Designer Tip: Texture and Balance

Home Decor
1.Dot Pillow
2.Towel Buddy
3.Rose Candle Decor
4.Pompom Wreath
5.Squiggle Wreath
6.Cable Wreath
7.Fuzzy Wreath

Evergreen Trees
1.Ruffle Tree
2.Winged Bough Tree
3.Bobble Tree

2.Elegant Wrap
3.Furry Wrap
4.Evening Bag

Beanie and Stocking Cap
1.Stocking Cap

I received a copy of this book for review purposes and really enjoyed it. I would say that the book is aimed at intermediate level knitter, with several project being easily done by a beginning knitter. Making holiday decor is a good way to start knitting, even if you make a mistake it is not critical, the items will still look good.

YOu can find "Holiday Boutique Knitting" on Amazon by following this link

Ali Julia review ★★★★★

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Product review: Cure for blisters - Bodyglide Anti-chafe Balm

For years I suffered with blisters on my pinky toes when I walk for more than 30 minutes. I tried various remedies which did not work until I found Glide. Even orthopedic shoes did not fully cure the issue. But Glide did. I put a little bit between my toes, smooth it out with a finger, and I can walk all day without any ill effects.

Glide does not feel greasy or slippery, it just works. My skin feels softer too. My blister covered pinkie toes now look smooth and pretty like baby toes! One large bottle lasts a long time (more than a year of daily use).
I use the smaller 0.45 oz bottle when I travel. I don't leave the house without applying bodyglide to my toes, it is now part of the routine like applying deodorant.

If you have a problem with blisters on your feet, I highly recommend it!

You can find travel size Bodyglide Anti-chafe Balm on Amazon by following this link

Tiy can find "Bodyglide" full size on Amazon by following this link

Ali Julia review ★★★★★

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Food review: Thursday Cottage Lemon Marmalade

I love lemon marmalade. Lemon marmalade is pretty hard to find on the store shelves in USA, so I was excited when I saw two different lemon marmalade in gourmet store in Rockport, Mass. Thursday Cottage Marmalade was one of them. It comes in a fairly large bottle (16 oz) and has a nice deep golden color. Lemon marmalade is pretty common in UK, and this one is made and imported from England.

Thursday Cottage Lemon Marmalade is a true marmalade not a jello, it has a medium cut lemon rind and has a pleasant texture. I am attaching a photo under customers photo in which you can see the content rather then the label. About a year ago when I purchased a "lemon marmalade" Fruitfield Little Chip Lemon Marmalade on Amazon, I received a jello which had no strips of fruit. I was disappointed as I don't like jellos. The texture was not obvious from the description or the stock photo as the photo showed just the label. Hopefully my photo will make the texture of the content more clear: Thursday Cottage is not a thick jam all through out but has a good amount of fruit especially at the top.

The marmalade is rather sweet (I prefer my lemon marmalade a little tarter) and has a bit of tang of bitterness from the rind (in a nice way). Overall I liked it fine, although it was not the best I ever tried. I use lemon jam when cooking as well straight out of the jar with my tea.

List of ingredients:

Raw cane sugar
Gelling agent
Citrus Pectin
Prepared with 35g of fruit per 100g sugar content
Total sugar content 60g per 100g

Nutrition Facts for serving size of 1 tablespoon (20g):

Calories 50
Total fat 0
Sodium 0
Total Carb 12g (4%)
Protein 0g

You can find "Thursday Cottage Lemon Marmalade" on Amazon by following this link

Ali Julia review ★★★★☆

Friday, July 6, 2012

Product review: G&F Long Cuff Oven Gloves-made of Dupont Nomex & Kevlar

I am a bit of klutz and these gloves do a great job protecting me! I am attaching a collage of two photos that I will referencing in this review to help me illustrate some points.


1. These gloves are long (see photo #1). They cover enough of my hand that I can stick my hands in the oven to pull out a pie sitting in the middle of the oven without worrying that I will burn my hands on the sides of the oven. I used the gloves to move a pie dish in and out of 450 degree oven and felt no heat at all. Much better than my old gloves.

2. I love having gloves rather than mittens. For example, I was able to cover the edges of the pie with foil in the middle of the pie baking while using these gloves. Before I was always uncomfortable from the heat and fear of touching the pan itself. Since I did not have to be super careful the procedure to cover to edges took half of the time it took me before I had these gloves.

3. The threads (the light part) used to weave the glove are made out of Nomex & Kevlar, so the entire glove is made out of this material, it is not a coating. The green parts of the gloves are silicone to provide a non-slippery surface. These gloves have multi-layer construction.


1. I think it they came in various sizes rather than one size it would be better.


I have fairly small hands, I normally wear small gloves. Photo #1 shows my hand on top of the glove so you can see the fit. It fits fairly comfortable in width (both fingers and the palm of my hand), however the fingers are quite a fir longer than my fingers. Photo #2 shows me pressing my fingered hand against a surface so you can see the access material. In practice this fit works fine, I was able to do even somewhat delicate task of wrapping aluminum foil around the edge of the pie pan. However, if you have big hands these gloves might be too tight/small.

Overall, I am very pleased with these gloves! I never felt so comfortable around a hot oven before.

You can find these gloves on Amazon by following this link

Ali Julia review ★★★★★

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Mobile App Review: Woot Check , Free App (7.7 Samsung Galaxy Tablet, Android)

Woot is aimed a bargain shopper. The site offers one item in each of five categories: home, kids, shirts, wine, sellout. Sometimes they have Woot plus items, which means one or two additional items will appear in a category for limited time.

You need to shop at Woot with a totally different mindset. You cannot look for a good price of an item you want, when you use Woot you are just looking for anything they have at a discount. There is no search, you need to look under each category.

Today's sellout deal is Topsy Tomato Planter for $3.99 and $5 shipping. At first, I thought it was a good deal although the shipping charge made me wonder if I can do better on Amazon. Amazon offers for Topsy Tomato Planter for $5.68 and it is eligible for free shipping. So Woot deal is not such a good bargain after all. So even using Woot doing a bit of research is always wise.

The app works very similar to the main site. You need to look at each category, there is no search added in the app. So I am not that crazy about Woot shopping experience but the apps works reasonably well, although I wish there was a search function.
This app works well on my Samsung Galaxy 7.7 Tablet (my Galaxy 7.7 review) running Android HoneyComb 3.2. I had no technical problems and the app scales to my screen size very nicely.

This app is free from Amazon Android Store and
You can find it on Amazon by following this link.

Ali Julia review ★★★★☆

You can find reviews of other mobile apps I use under Blog Label "Galaxy 7.7 Tablet" on the left navigation pane of the blog.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Product Review: Griot's Garage 11146 Speed Shine

I purchased Griot's garage Speed shine / glass clay / paint clay on a recommendation of a auto enthusiasts forum I follow. I have been using paint clay on my car for a number of years (using Mother's products), but this was my first experience with glass clay. I used it with Griots shine and the combination worked very well. The deposits on the glass were removed without cleaving streaks.

Speed shine has almost no scent, provides good cleaning and and a good surface for the clay to glide on. I enjoyed working with it.

I am attaching a collage of 2 photos that I will be referencing in this review.

The 35 oz bottle is fairly larger, photo #1 has it next to a ruler for relative size. The sprayer worked well - a nice generous even spray. Photo #2 shows how much I used during one cleaning during which I only used it for claying the windows, I did not use it on the body of the car. I was a bit surprised how much I used in one application.

You can find Speed Shine on Amazon by following this link.

Thumbs up overall!

Ali Julia review ★★★★★

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Mobile App Review: iTranslate - Machine translation software , Free App (7.7 Samsung Galaxy Tablet, Android)

I am fluent in several languages and was pretty impressed with this app. I tested with a realistic tourist phrase which was fairly complex "I would like to visit your best art museum. Can you give me a recommendation and how to get there."

I selected English from the left drop down list, typed in a phrase in English, selected the second language from a drop down list on the right. I was impressed with the translation, the grammar was perfectly correct. Next to the text there was a button which pronounced the translation. The pronunciation was excellent and sounded like a native speaker. The intonations sounded "computer generated" but completely understandable. I tested Russian and Spanish. I am attaching a screen shot with the phrase and the translation in one of the languages I tested. This was the first random sentence that came to mind, I did not try to find a phrase that would be translated well. I was quite impressed with the results.

The words that are not understood for the purposes of the translation are displayed in English. When I made a typo in one of the words (the word recommendation) in English, the word was displayed in English in the translated section, but when the entire phrase was pronounced the correct word was used in both Russian and Spanish. I know a little about how Google translation logic works, and the fact my typo was handled so well made me think that this app is using Google translate. I experimented some using several translation engines in the browser and was able to see the same results using Google translate, and much worse results using two other machine translation packages.

The only slight negative of the app is that the advertising at the bottom of page is animated and never goes away. I found the flashing from animation a bit distracting. However, given the high quality of the application itself I am willing to live with it.

Supported languages:
Afrikaans, Albanian, Arabic, Belarusian, Bulgarian, Catalan, Chinese Simplified, Chinese Traditional, Croatian, Czech, Danish, Dutch, English, Estonian, Finnish, French, Galician, German, Greek, Hebrew, Hindi, Hungarian, Icelandic, Indonesian, Italian, Irish, Japanese, Korean, Latvian, Lithuanian, Macedonian, Malay, Maltese, Norwegian, Persian, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, Serbian, Slovak, Slovenian, Spanish, Swahili, Swedish, Tagalog, Thai, Turkish, Ukrainian, Vietnamese, Welsh, Yiddish

This app works well on my Samsung Galaxy 7.7 Tablet (my Galaxy 7.7 review) running Android HoneyComb 3.2. I had no technical problems and the app scales to my screen size very nicely.

I am quite impressed with this application and it will be very helpful during foreign travel.

This app is free from Amazon Android Store and
You can find it on Amazon by following this link.

Ali Julia review ★★★★★

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Mobile App Review: TRARIS Deluxe (Tetris like game) , Free App (7.7 Samsung Galaxy Tablet, Android)

I am a big fan Tetris-like games and found that I am really enjoying this one.  Traris has a much larger variety of blocks than a traditional Tetris game, they are clever and uniquely shaped. In addition, you have a variety of options to melt and reshape the pieces, so it gives you a lot more options to consider and I am finding it re-freshening and challenging.  The graphics are intricate, the controls are well designed.

I found the music a bit repetitive but you can turn it off while still keeping the sound effects. I like playing with just the sound effects, no background music.  You can control the blocks either by using gestures on the screen or by using the buttons at the bottom of the display.  I found that I prefer the buttons.  I posted a screen capture which show the clever shapes and the buttons, which include a "drop" button which allows you to speed through the easy portions of the game and the "melt" button which gives you many additional options to consider.

This app works well on my Samsung Galaxy 7.7 Tablet (my Galaxy 7.7 review) running Android HoneyComb 3.2. I had no technical problems and the app scales to my screen size very nicely.

Overall, highly entertaining!

Ali Julia review ★★★★★

You can find reviews of other mobile apps I use under Blog Label "Galaxy 7.7 Tablet" on the left navigation pane of the blog.