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Sunday, September 30, 2012

Book review: The Ultimate Book of Optical Illusions by Al Seckel

This is a type of the book that can fascinate one for hours. I spent a long time on most of the images first trying to figure out what the image is, then how my brain perceived, and then how the artist managed to accomplish the illusion. Some of the images were familiar to me prior to reading this book, but most were not.

This book contains 349 images. One image per page with a title and a short caption/explanation. I am posting a sample of a typical page  photos to give you a better idea of what you are getting. The short caption leads you to more exploring of the image on your own, and I enjoyed the experience very much. Some images have multiple images, some straight lines appear to be bent, some images appear to be moving, some things that are equal in length do not appear to be equal. It is pretty amazing to see how our brains can be fooled!

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. This book is sitting on my coffee table and most of my guests enjoy looking through the images as well. I recommend it!

You can find this book on Amazon by following this link.



Ali Julia review ★★★★★

Friday, September 28, 2012

Product review: CrazyOnDigital Dual Car Charger DC Adapter with dual USB Cable

We travel with a lot gadgets so having a car charger that comes with 4 connections seemed like a useful thing to replace a set of extensions we currently use. However this plug is a good idea with a bad implementation. The plug had trouble staying plugged in while we were driving, and then after several weeks of use it just died.

I am attaching a photo of the plug in use. You can see two USB plugs on the top of the connector (labeled 1A and 2A), and a cord which has the two additional connectors: micro and mini USB. The blue light from 2A/1A labels became a useful feature as it told us when the plug became unplugged.

I LIKED:
--------
1. When it would stay plugged in it worked with Nexus 7 Tab and Galaxy Nexus Phone.
2. It can charge multiple devices without needing separate extensions (up to four devices if you have the right set of plugs)

I DID NOT LIKE
--------------
1. The plug fit loosely into cigarette lighter connection: it always was a little wobbly, and would totally disengage over the course of driving due to bumps in the road. On our weekend long drives the person who was not driving had to keep an eye on the light of the plug to make sure it was still connected.
2. It died after 3 weeks - when you plug it in the light does not go on and nothing is charging.
3. It could not charge Galaxy 7.7 Tab while it was working (battery app showed discharging)

This was not a good car charger even when it worked for the first 3 weeks. I cannot recommend it.

You can find it on Amazon by following this link.



Ali Julia review ★☆☆☆☆

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Product review: Bose® QuietComfort® 15 Acoustic Noise Cancelling® Headphones

We purchased Bose® QuietComfort Acoustic Noise Cancelling® Headphones in Bose store in (no-sales-tax) New Hampshire so we can try them out. The prices for Bose headphones we looked at are exactly the same in the store as they are on Amazon. For the bargain hunters the store also sells returned models at a $40 discount. The sales clerk told us that they are inspected and tested to perform as new.


We compared two models Bose QuietComfort 15 and Bose QuietComfort 3. The two models were displayed together (Bose QuietComfort 3 is $50 more expensive). The displayed made us think that they might be similar. Bose QuietComfort 3 are lighter and do not cup the ears as well. As the result they did not perform as well.

The headphones felt very comfortable to both of us, both of us got a nice fit without any adjustments. I did not feel my head was squeezed like with some other headphones. Headset cord is detachable if you want just noise cancellation you can remove the cord. The headphones come with a case to protect headphones while you travel.

WHITE NOISE
-----------
The store has a set up that allows you to test the headphone in a noise that simulates the airplane noise as well as when it plays music or human voice.

Bose QuietComfort 15 - fantastic, totally blocks the sound
Bose QuietComfort 3 - could still hear it somewhat

VOICE
-----------
I have tried Bose QuietComfort five-six years ago to see if I can cut out human voices for a noisy cube farm environment at work. But back then the I could hear the voices better with the headphones on then with the headphone off as the white noise cancelation made them more clear. This time when I put them on and asked my husband to speak to me I heard nothing just saw his lips moving. I actually thought he was playing a practical joke on me, and quickly lifted the headphone to catch him in his prank. But no, he was actually speaking. I ask the sales clerk about this dramatic improvement, and she said that human voices are much harder to block as their range is less predictable but they have made some improvements in the technology. But they still don't advertise the headphones as voice canceling headphones as some voices may not be canceled as well.

Bose QuietComfort 15 - excellent, some voices cannot hear at all, others are very muffled
Bose QuietComfort 3 - could still hear voice

MUSIC
-----------
Bose QuietComfort 15 - phenomenal at all ranges, best sound I ever heard in headphones
Bose QuietComfort 3 - ok, the sound not as rich

BATTERY:
-----------
Bose QuietComfort 15 - standard AAA battery, 35 hours on play on one charge
Bose QuietComfort 3 - rechargeable Li-ion battery, 25 hours of play on one charge

Bose QuietComfort 15 headphones were a clear winner in each category. When I recently asked my husband if he has been using his new headphones a lot, he said he loves them but does not use them while he works as he cannot hear the phone. Funny, the phenomenal sound isolation at work!

You can find it on Amazon by following this link.



Ali Julia review ★★★★★

Monday, September 24, 2012

Book review: Lifting the Wheel of Karma by Paul H. Magid

I felt a special connection with this book. About a dozen years ago a close friend of mine fell off the roof while doing some repairs and spent several months in a coma. When my friend woke up from his coma he had brain and muscle damage, which left him confined to a wheelchair.  Similar to my friend Joseph, the main character of Lifting the Wheel of Karma Joseph, was young and athletic when an accident left him in a coma and and upon waking in a wheelchair.  Paul Magid describes the despair and helplessness of Joseph so vividly that I was in tears from the his words and my own memories. 


My friend, like Joseph, pushed himself to do thing which were sometimes beyond his physical abilities as in each of their minds they both thought they could still do it, only their bodies were not always cooperating.  Joseph makes a journey to India to find a miracle cure, and he finds it although probably not a way he imagined it. My friend did not make a trip to India, but to me the story was an allegory for the things one can do when they have a strong mind that can overcome physical shortcoming.

I was also touched by Billy, Joseph's brother, who in my mind represented all family members who also suffer when a loved one becomes handicapped. And how the hero, while going through his suffering, perhaps does not fully realize how people around him suffer as well.  The loved ones encounter conflicts in the relationship, an like Billy, but they don't give up in the long run.

The book leaves you uplifted because the hero was able to find the energy within him to overcome physical difficulties and find a way to be happy despite them. Karma is the final output of all our decisions and choices and each of us can influence the final result.

You can find this book on Amazon by following this link.



Ali Julia review ★★★★★

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Product review: Luna Premium Hypoallergenic 100% Waterproof Mattress Protector

I always read reviews before my purchases and was a little concerned that a waterproof cover will make me hot when I sleep by reflecting the heat of the bodies back up rather than absorbing them into the mattress itself like the old cover. I am happy to report, however, that I don't feel any warmer using this mattress cover than when I used the old cover.

I am attaching a collage of five photos number 1 through 5 that I will be referencing in this review.

Photo #1 is a picture of the mattress off the mattress (loose on my table for the photo session) to shows the texture of the top side of the mattress cover. The top side of the mattress cover is made out of terry-cloth material.

Photo #2 is a picture of the mattress off the mattress to show the texture of the bottom side of the mattress cover. It has a shiny vinyl membrane. I tested it by pouring some water on it before putting on my bed and it held the water for several hours without leaking. The recommendation on cleaning is to use low or medium heat in the dryer to protect this membrane. After the initial washing and drying on medium heat I tested for leaks again and it remained waterproof. The mattress cover comes with a 10 year warranty for being leak proof.

Photo #3 is a picture of the mattress off the mattress to show the sheer sides of the mattress cover. You can see my hand through the sheer portion of the mattress cover, this part goes over the sides and under the mattress.

Photo #4 shows the cover on my 10" thick Queen size mattress a corner of the mattress lifted, so you can see how it fits. The cover is designed to fit mattresses from 7 inches to 18 inches high, the downside for a 10" Queen mattress that there is a lot of that gets fold under the mattress. The problem with this fit is that the cover does not fit on my mattress as tightly as I like.

Photo #5 this is how the mattress with the cover looks after I worked on tightening it as much as I can. The terry cloth cover is aligned with the sides of my mattress, the sheer sides of the cover go over the sides of the mattress (you can see the seam of the mattress through the sheer cover). You see that the sides of the mattress cover pucker due to lack of tightness.

The loose fit is the only thing I don't like about this mattress cover. With a tight sheet over it the puckers are minimized and I can live with it.

Update: I normally don't comment on the seller, but in this case I think it relevant to point out an outstanding attention to possible manufacturing defects shown by the seller. The manufacture of the Luna mattress pads contacted me about the loose fit and we spent about 40 minutes on the phone to make sure there was no manufacturing defect in the cover. We determined that the size of the mattress and the cover are within spec, and that the looseness is caused by the elastic band not contracting enough on my mattress to create a tighter fit. The representative suggested a possible solution: lifting one entire side of the mattress rather than each corner one at a time. The mattress is too heavy for me to lift the entire side, but perhaps this suggestion will help someone else.

You can find it on Amazon by following this link.


Ali Julia review ★★★★☆

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Product review: Midwest-CBK cast Iron Turtle Stepping Stone - comparison of three different stepping stones


This year I decided to decorate my garden with turtle stepping stones. So far my collection consists of three different turtles. I am posting a review of each of them, along with comparison between the three.



I am including a collage of 5 photos number 1 through 5 that I will be referencing in this review.

Midwest-CBK Turtle stepping stone consists of 11 small turtles connected together to form one stepping stone. Photo #1 shows the stepping stone top, photo #2 shows the underbelly of the stepping stone. The turtles looks authentic looking, and the stepping stone solidly made out of cast iron. It is 12 inches long and 12 inches wide. It weights 4.5 pounds and due to its weight a nice construction it does not warble when you put it down.

Photo #3 shows a close of a small imperfection on the stepping stone I received. It some sort of stain that did not come off when I rubbed it. When it is on the ground it is not noticeable all that much.

Photo #4 shows the stepping stone in my garden. As it is made out of multiple smaller turtles with open spaces between them so soil and water come through the open spaces and the stepping gets a bit dirty and slippery. I rank it second in my favorite list.

Photo #5 show all three stepping stones. My favorite turtle stepping stone is Sunset Vista Designs Cast Iron Turtle Garden stepping stone. I think it is the prettiest of them all. In addition it is a very substantial stepping stone weighting in over 5 pounds. Due it its weight and a nice construction it does not warble on the ground no matter where you put it.

The third turtle in my collection is Iron Verdigris Garden Turtle stepping stone. It is lighter and not as solidly built. It tends to warble in the spot where Sunset Vista Designs turtle sits like a solid rock. So I have it placed on the flattest least challenging location on path. I also like its black color less than the other two stepping stones. This is my least favorite stepping stone (still ok, just third in the pecking order).

I love my turtle stepping stones path. It makes me smile when I putter in my garden.

10/20/2012 update: I am downgrading the rating from 5 stars to 4 stars. After the summer in the elements this turtle discovered and became sort of beige in color. The color of my other two turtle stepping stones were not effected by the weather.

You can find it on Amazon by following this link.



Ali Julia review

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Product review: Iron Verdigris Garden Turtle Stepping Stone - comparison of three stepping stones


This year I decided to decorate my garden with turtle stepping stones. So far my collection consists of three different turtles. I am posting a review of each of them, along with comparison between the three.



I am including a collage of 5 photos number 1 through 5 that I will be referencing in this review.

Iron Verdigris Garden Turtle stepping stones
is the third favorite in my collection. Photo #1 shows the underbelly of the stepping stone. Photo #2 shows the stepping stone top. The turtle shell has a stylized design and is black in color. It is 3.9 pounds and is the lightest of my stepping stones. It tends to warble due the shallow shape of the bottom and light weight. I also like its black color less than the other two turtle stepping stones. This is my least favorite stepping stone (still ok, just third in the pecking order).

Photo #3 shows the stepping stone in my garden. It tends to warble in the spot where Sunset Vista Designs turtle sits like a solid rock. So I have it placed on the flattest least challenging location on the path.

Photo #4 shows the stepping stone on the digital scale, coming in at 3.9 pounds ( a little heavier than the official description, but not as heavy as my other cast iron stepping stones).

Photo #5 show all three stepping stones. My favorite turtle stepping stone is Sunset Vista Designs Cast Iron Turtle Garden Stepping Stone. I think it is the prettiest of them all. In addition it is a very substantial stepping stone weighting in over 5 pounds. Due it its weight and a nice construction it does not warble on the ground no matter where you put it.

My third stepping stone is Midwest-CBK Turtle stepping stones
. Rather than being one solid piece of cast iron it is made out of multiple smaller turtles with open spaces between them. It is a pretty design and is solidly built but when soil and water come through the open spaces it gets a bit dirty and slippery. I rank it second in my favorite list.

I love my turtle stepping stones path. It makes me smile when I putter in my garden.

You can find it on Amazon by following this link.


Ali Julia review ★★★★☆

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Product review: Zeta Disc - Hot / Cold Pack



In a typical day I spend more than 12 hours a day at the computer for work and play and often my right hand hurts at the end of the day from repetitive use of the mouse. I am always looking for things that can help my hand feel better. When I was offered a chance to evaluate Zeta disc I thought my wrist would make a good subject and I agreed to provide honest review of the product. You will find both pluses and minuses I encountered in my 3 week evaluation.

I am attaching a collage of two photos numbered 1 through 2:

Photo #1 shows Zeta disk next to a ruler for size reference
Photo #2 shows Zeta disk in the palm of my hand

The Zeta disc is 7/8 inches in diameter, 1/8 of inch in thickness, weights 0.02 oz, and is made of resin. The resin absorbs heat and cold well, so it can be used to transfer these temperatures to the skin. To keep it in place on a skin you can use tape or a bandage. If you have an area larger than 7/8 of an inch to treat, you can use multiple discs. For example, to treat a knee the manufacture suggests using 4 discs placed around the knee.

I tested Zeta disk on a sore area on wrist and taping it to the top of my hand while I continued to work. It felt good when the disk was cold! The disc absorbs temperature heat/cold very quickly. The plus of this that you can bring the disc to the desired temperature quickly. The down side of this is that it does not stay at the desired temperature for a long time.

After three weeks of use for several hours a day I cannot say that the condition of my wrist has improved permanently, but while the cool disk rests on my wrist it does feel better. I suppose any cold object might have done the same thing, but the it is much more convenient to have a small disk taped to my wrist that an ice cube or a cold bandage.

Overall, I am somewhat skeptical about some of the claimed effects of Zeta technology but I believe in the benefits of cold therapy. It works particularly well where a cold compress would get in the way, such as my wrist while continuing to work.

You can find it on Amazon by following this link.



Ali Julia review ★★★★☆

Friday, September 14, 2012

Product review: Sunset Vista Designs Cast Iron Turtle Garden Stepping Stone - comparison of three different turtle stepping stones

This year I decided to decorate my garden with turtle stepping stones. So far my collection consists of three different turtles. I am posting a review of each of them, along with comparison between the three.



I am including a collage of 5 photos number 1 through 5 that I will be referencing in this review.

13 inch Sunset Vista Designs Cast Iron Turtle Garden Stepping Stone is my favorite of the three stepping stones.

Photo #1 shows a close up of the turtle shell, photo #2 shows the underbelly of the stepping stone. The turtle is authentic looking, has a good looking shell, and is very solidly made out of cast iron. It is 13 inches long and 10 inches wide.

Photo #3 shows this stepping stone on a digital scale, and it weight in over 5 pounds. It is a substantial stepping stone. Due it its weight and a nice construction it does not warble on the ground no matter where you put it.

Photo #4 shows the stepping stone in my garden. It is positioned on a slight incline yet it sits solidly on the ground and when you step on it it does not warble. The turtle shell design also provides good friction and holds my shoe sole well even when it is wet, it is not slippery at all.


Photo #5 show all three stepping stones. My second stepping stone is Midwest-CBK Turtle stepping stone. Rather than being one solid piece of cast iron it is made out of multiple smaller turtles with open spaces between them. It is a pretty design and is solidly built but when soil and water come through the open spaces it gets a bit dirty and slippery. I rank it second in my favorite list.

The third turtle in my collection is Iron Verdigris Garden Turtle stepping stone. It is lighter and not as solidly built. It tends to warble in the spot where Sunset Vista Designs turtle sits like a solid rock. So I have it placed on the flattest least challenging location on path. I also like its black color less than the other two stepping stones. This is my least favorite stepping stone (still ok, just third in the pecking order).

I love my turtle stepping stones path. It makes me smile when I putter in my garden.


You can find it on Amazon by following this link.


Ali Julia review ★★★★★

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Food review: Japanese Ginger dressing by Tonton


I love the ginger dressing you get at some Japanese restaurants. Tonton ginger dressing tastes just like what you get at the restaurants! I found many uses for it - salads, of course, but it is also good as marinade. I used it on shrimp and chicken with excellent results.

I am attaching a collage of two photos. Photo #1 is the testament to how good this dressing is. I was going to take some pictures of the dressing on a spoon for this review, I figured I would have a few weeks to do it... but soon the bottle was completely empty! When I went back to the little gourmet shop where I bought they were all out! The second photo is the Nutritional facts and ingredients.

Highlights from nutritional facts:
----------------------------------
The bottle contains 18 tablespoons of dressing
Each table spoon is 20 calories
Total Fat 1.5 g
Saturated Fat 0 g
Sugar 1 g

Ingredients:
------------
Onion
Tomato
Celery
Soy Sauce
Canola Oil
Corn Syrup
Vinegar
Ginger
Garlic
Sesame oil
Lemon juice
Black pepper
Secret blend of spices

The ginger flavor is pleasant, yet not overwhelming. I am not big fan of celery flavor and even though it is high on ingredient list I don't taste it. The flavor is tangy, just a little bit sweet, a little bit spicy. It does not feel oily. I will be buying more - this is really good stuff!

You can find it on Amazon by following this link.



Ali Julia review ★★★★★

Monday, September 10, 2012

Product review: side by side comparison of laundry mesh bags



I like using 4 compartment mesh bags when I do laundry. They keep pesky bra straps to themselves rather than getting tangles and snagging other delicate items. They are also handy for keeping socks together!  They protect all sort of dedicate undergarments well.  I recently purchased two more of these mesh bags made by different manufactures to compare. I compared Whitmor 6154-988 Laundry Mesh Bag and Honey-Can-Do LBG-01146 Hosiery Wash Bag

Turns out there is a difference that makes me like this Whitmor mesh bags better. I am attaching a collage of 4 photos number 1 through 4 under customer photos that I will be referencing in this review.

Photo #1 shows that the bags are about the same length 17.5"  Blue label is the Whitmor wash bag, and the white/orange label is the Honey-can-do wash bag.  Honey-can-do bag is 7 inches wide, Whitmor bag is 7.5 " wide.  Honey-can-do bag is 7 inch deep, Whitmor is 8 inches deep.

Photo #2, #3  and #3, #4 show the construction of the pockets.  This is where the major difference between the two bags exists.  The Whitmor bag dividers end 6/8 of an inch from the top, Honey-can-do dividers end  2 1/4 inches from the top.  Why is this significant?  Because during the laundry content of one compartment migrates to another compartment in Honey-can-do bags much more than it does in Whitmor bags because their dividers leave large gaps at the top.

The Whitmor bag is made out of softer nylon mesh, honey-can-do bag is made out of stiffer nylon mesh.  This makes no difference in washing, but the soft bag is slightly more pleasant to touch.

Overall, I like Whitmor mesh bags better because they keep the content in each compartment through the entire laundry much more consistently.


You can find it on Amazon by following this link.


Ali Julia review ★★★★★

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Product review: Black & Decker AF-100-3ZP 30-Feet 0.065-Inch Line String Trimmer Replacement Spool

The automatic feed spool on GrassHog advances the string without needing to bump on the ground. The benefit of this system is that cutting is easier as it constantly replaces worn out string, the down side that the usage of the string is faster than when done manually.

I have tried wounding the string by hand and found it a bit cumbersome and a bit time consuming, so I figured less than $5 per spool is not to bad to save me 5 minutes of time wounding and dealing with jammed string. Each spool contains 30 feet of 0.065 inch diameter round line. It is factory spooled and is wound tighter than when I wound the spool by hand.

At the time I purchased these replacement spools the official Amazon description listed only GrassHog NST2018 as compatible model. I can confirm that it works with the new Black & Decker NST2118 Cordless Electric GrassHog String Trimmer/Edger.

To replace the spool:
1. Remove battery
2. Squeeze the tabs on the spool cap to release it
3. Pull the empty spool out by pulling directly away from the housing
4. Clean out the housing from debris
5. Make sure that the level that controls the spooling is aligned with the edge of the housing
6. Take a string from the new spool and feed it through the eyelet in the housing
7. Push the spool into the housing and rotate it until it feels seated and the tabs of the spool align with the holes in the housing
8. Put the cap back on
9. The string outside the housing should be 5 3/8 inches, if it is longer than this length use scissors to trim it

Overall, I am pleased with the spools - they should take me through the next couple of summers!

You can find "Replacement Spools" on Amazon by following this link.


Ali Julia review ★★★★★

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Product review: CrazyOnDigital Bluetooth Keyboard Tablet Stand Leather Case for Google Nexus 7 Tablet

This keyboard was purchased for Google Nexus 7 Tablet. I also used it with Samsung Galaxy 7.7 tablet. The keyboard works, but has not become a popular item in our house. In this review I will detail the pluses and minuses of this keyboard case.

I am attaching a collage of 4 photos numbered 1 through 4 that I will be referencing in this review.



I LIKED:
------------

1. The keyboard works and the keys have a nice feedback when you type. I have small hands and found it comfortable to use. My husband with his bigger fingers found it somewhat less comfortable.

2. The keyboard worked with both Nexus 7 Tab and Samsung Galaxy 7.7 tablet. Galaxy 7.7 tab is a bit wider than Nexus 7 and I used it in its own case sitting on top of the keyboard case, as shown in photo #4.

I DID NOT LIKE:
-------------------------

1. Usability
-----> I hoped that when I use the blue-tooth keyboard I would have the entire screen of the tablet as usable area. However, the on-screen keyboard is still displayed when I use the blue-tooth keyboard. So I did not gain any screen real estate, only the convenience of the physical keyboard. Photo #4 show what you see when you use this keyboard: you see two keyboards.

2. The keyboard case has a number of issues.
-----> The tab that holds the tablet in the case has Velcro (see photo #1), which makes it difficult to open and close the case. My other leather case has just a leather tab (no Velcro), it holds the tablet well and is easy to open and close. Using this case the Velcro grabs in the position you don't want it to be in and it takes some fussing to position it correctly.

-----> The case closes by inserting a tab into a loop on the outside of the case. The loop is tight and closing is not easy to do. Because it takes some work to get the tab into the loop it is likely not to last for long a time. My other leather case closes by having magnets built into the cover. It is a much better mechanism - quick and easy to use, and it will not wear out. Photo #3 shows the case closure.

-----> The case stand mechanism is rather warbly and works only in horizontal orientation. This is ok when you use the keyboard, but I often use the vertical orientation without the keyboard and I lose this capability when I use this cover. Photo #3 shows the stand mechanism. You can see that the stand forms a loop when it is opened and that loop gives the mechanism a lot of slack, which causes wobbliness.

----> The case is very thick. Photo #2 shows a measuring tape next to the case, you see that it is 2" thick. The keyboard itself is pretty thin, and the tablet is very thin, it feels like the entire case could have been thinner without giving up protection for the content.

----> The empty case on the digital scale weight in at 11.9 oz. Pretty hefty. By comparison the tablet itself is 12 oz. So the case with keyboard doubles its weight.

We purchased this keyboard case for keeping up with business email when we travel, but because of its thickness and bulk it turned out not to be very portable. My husband totally dislikes it and does not use it with his Nexus 7. I use it occasionally with my Galaxy 7.7, keeping Galaxy tab in its own case using just the keyboard. This keyboard case turned out to be less useful than we hoped.


You can find it on Amazon by following this link.


Ali Julia review ★★☆☆☆

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Product review: Cyberpower CP685AVR UPS - 685VA/390W AVR 8-Outlet RJ11/RJ45 Compact Design EMI/RFI USB

I am attaching a collage of 3 photos number 1 through 3, which I will be referencing in this review.
 
This is a fairly small unit and I use it for my electronics other than the main computer: nettop that serves as my home-made DVR, a TV, and a sewing machine. The battery powered outlets are used for the nettop and for the TV. The sewing machine is on the surge protected outlet (not battery powered).

I call this battery a fairly small unit based on how much run time it provides when it runs on battery. How long the unit can run on backup power depends on the device's usage of power. Here are battery backup runtime estimates for this 685va backup battery. Also, keep in mind that as the battery grows old45 you will get less run time from the fully charged battery.

1. All-in-one-computer (i.e. a fairly weak computer with a screen) is estimated to use 50 watts an hour and will run 45 minutes
I expect my nettop and TV to be somewhere in this category.
2. Basic desktop with LCD screen is estimated to consume 100 watts and will run 20 minutes
3. Powerful desktop (such as a gaming system or a development system where you do compiling and linking) is estimated to consume 200 watts and will run 5 minutes

685va unit has 4 full-time battery powered outlets and 4 surge protected outlets (2 of which are spaced far away from each to accommodate 2 transformer sized plugs).
The unit is surprising light and relatively small. Photo #2 shows the view from the top with a pen placed on top of the unit for size reference. The unit can be used flat or upright.

CyberPower has a USB port (see photo #2) so it can commute with the computer to do a graceful shutdown before shutting down. The battery is compatible with Windows and Linux. I have not tried it with a Mac. I am running Linux on the nettop so I did not have to install any software, the support for this functionality is built into Linux. PowerPlanet software is provided for Windows and be downloaded from CPSwww com web site.

CyberPower also has a cable to connect to a phone, FAX, or other network equipment.

If you are wondering why the sewing machine is protected, let me share my expensive lesson with you. Two years ago I was painfully reminded that a modern sewing machine is a computer and its main board can be fried by a power surge. After a power glitch my sewing machine stopped working. When I took it to a repair shop they told me that the main board in the sewing machine was fried and needed replacement. To replace the mother board my sewing machine had to be sent back to the factory, and not only was it expensive I also lost the use of my sewing machine for over a month. My sewing machine was plugged into surge protected power strip but it did not protect it. The surge protector of the battery backup provides more protection that the power strip so when my sewing machine came back from repairs it was immediately placed on a power backup just like the rest of my computers.

Photo #3 contains a schematic for battery.
1. Battery and Surge protected outlets
2. Surge protected outlets
3. Power switch
4. Power on indicator
5. Electrical wiring fault indicator (e.g. bad ground) if this light is on, you need to disconnect the unit
6. Communication ports (fax, phone, etc)
7. Circuit breaker (can be used to reset after overload)
8. USB port to PC
9. Widely spaced outlets that can be used for recharges and other wide plugs

This battery backup replaced an older unit: it is lighter, smaller in size, has more features, and fairly inexpensive. If used for devices that don't consume a lot of watts it provides a reasonable amount of backup power. I am quite pleased with it so far.

I purchased CyperPower battery Backup 685va at a local CostCo as the price there was better by a considerable amount.

You can find it on Amazon by following this link.



Ali Julia review ★★★★★

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Food review: So Delicious Creamy Cultured Coconut Milk Yougurt

I love yogurt, I love coconut, I love trying unusual foods - when I saw this on the shelve of a local supermarket I had to try it. I was surprised that I did not like the taste all that much. It did not have much of coconut flavor, it was a bit sweeter than I expected, it did not taste creamy. The yogurt is light peach in color. It was not terrible, but did not taste great to my palate. I am not planning to buy it again.

Nutritional Facts:

1 container size is 179 g
Calories 140, fat calories 60
Total fat 6g 9%
Saturated fat 6g 30%
Trans dat 0g
Sodium 5mg 0%
Total Carb 22g
Dietary Fiber 2g
Sugars 19g
Protein 1g

If you have medical reason such as lactose intolerant or allergies, I can see how it might be a reasonable substitute for the milk-based yogurt. But without those extra reasons I don't think I will be buying coconut milk yogurt again after my curiosity about it has been satisfied.

You can find it on Amazon by following this link.


Ali Julia review ★★★☆☆