Archive for the 'Product Reviews' Category

23 SepTroybilt Chainsaw Update

Original Post on bradsblog earlier this year:

Last month I purchased the 20″ Troy bilt chainsaw, which I found as I was browsing through my Tool Crib catalog. I ordered it from Amazon.com and received a $25 promotional discount, plus no shipping charges or tax. The sale prce itself was under MSRP so I felt good about the price.(about 205 bucks) After I received it, I was impressed with how easy it started and powerful 49cc engine. I would strongly recommend this chainsaw for anyone in the market.

Update:
Well, I thought I would update on my Troybilt Chainsaw. After an entire season of use, I have decided that this was the best purchase I made this year. I have put this chainsaw through some rugged use, and after I winterized it, I am still impressed with it. There are a couple of things I did have problems with and thought I would share. It’s one of the best chainsaws I’ve had since my old husqvarna chainsaw.

There is a small piece of auminum on the underside of the chainsaw, near the sprocket assemply. The purpose of this is unclear to me, and has been all bent up and mangled due to the chain coming off (for reasons caused by me).

Another problem I encountered was there is a metal tube-like piece that is mounted inside the intake manifold. This piece somehow broke loose and caused an interesting rattling sound during operation. I ended up taking it apart and removing the piece altogether. This piece seemed to serve no purpose.

I have been so impressed with the Troybilt chainsaw, I am considering purchasing a 4 cycle Troybilt weed eater next year. If I do, I will be sure to post about it.

5/26/07
OK, time for another update. Several months ago, I was ripping through some skids with my chainsaw, and hit a nail. The chain came off, and soon thereafter I noticed a fuel leak. I’ve been quite busy until recently I was able to pinpoint the leak.

The fuel tank is comprised of two sections that are bonded together. WHere this bonding agent is, is where the gas is leaking. I have taken pictures to illustrate. I was pondering what I could do to fill in and stop the leak, so I decided to contact Troybilt via their website. I sent a few pictures, and expect a reply in a few days.

troybilt chainsaw1Troybilt Chainsaw UpdateTroybilt Chainsaw Update2
Since I contacted support, I figured I might as well continue to post on the gas tank leak issue. Here is a summary of the exchange between me and Troy Bilt technical support.

Customer (Brad) 05/25/2007 08:25 PM
It seems I am leaking fuel from the bonding agent that keeps the tank together. What can I use to reinforce this caulk like material?
Response (Jeff M.) 05/30/2007 09:28 AM
Fuel delivery systems require that a local authorized service center evaluate the failure and determine the best course of repair. Fuel tanks should not be repaired but replaced. For further assistance with this issue, please contact one of our authorized service centers in your area.
Customer (Brad) 05/30/2007 09:45 AM
If the tank is replaced, the entire housing needs to be replaced. I intend to fix this myself and would like to know a suitable compound to use and not just referred to a service center. Thanks.
Response (Jeff M.) 05/30/2007 10:32 AM
Liabilities exist with repairing a fuel tank. There is no technical information available for repair methods/compounds of fuel tanks.

So, since i have no desire to take the chainsaw in for repair, I plan to look into different compounds that might work. I’ll post what I find out here.

UPDATE 1/17/08
Last month I decided to break down and take it in for repair. I tried a couple different compounds in an effort to patch the leak around the tank. Arts repair called me back yesterday, they said it will cost $115 to repair it with a new part. That’s cheaper than buying a new chainsaw, and I have been otherwise pleased with the chainsaw so I told them to go ahead and repair it. I also plan to buy a new chain for it when I get it back.

9/24/08
After I dropped the chainsaw off at Arts, they took several months to finally get it back. Their lack of mechanics resulted in extremely long repair times, and lost a customer because of it.

Anyway, I decided to hold off on getting a new chain, I just sharpened it up really good. Last wee, when Hurricane Ike came through there were trees down everywhere. My freshly repaired chainsaw worked many hours this week, and the only problems I had with it were the connector for the stop switch came disconnected, so I had to shut off the chainsaw by choking the engine.

Now that all my wood cutting is done, I will be dismantling it and giving it a thorough cleaning.

6/20/09
Well for some reason I can’t keep the chain tight and it is now coming off so frequently I am ready to throw the thing away. I probably need a new chain and bar but really don’t want to spend the money on anything like that. Right now I am very disgusted and really could use a chainsaw that will last.

09 MarChoosing Order of Service for Wedding

It is plain to see that the past ten years have played host to an explosion of creativity and ideas involving weddings. Couples are often opting for weddings that are more reflective of their personal interests and style, as opposed to standard, traditional one-size-fits-all events. Elements such as wedding stationery, wedding order of service guides and even the bride and groom dance have recently been renovated and spiced up to reflect the interest and styles of modern generations. Everybody knows that weddings are special events that should be cherished and remembered forever, and this can be done by providing yourself and your guests with physical, long-lasting mementos.

If you’re in the market for order of service for wedding designs, look no further than brideandgroomdirect.co.uk. The site has what is quite possibly the internet’s best selection of wedding order of service options, ranging from the incredibly exquisite and formal to more relaxed and casual texts. In short, the site gives brides and grooms the chance to put a personal touch on an item that guests will be keeping for a very longtime.

Featuring an easy-to-use interface and a straightforward and informative menu on the left hand side, the site is a perfect fit for anyone with selective tastes and specific requests. Brideandgroomdirect.co.uk has obviously been in the wedding business long enough to get a thorough grasp on what the public wants, and well over three dozen different types of wedding stationary designs and styles are readily available to view and choose from.

Clearly laying out the order of services for your guests will also give them a mental picture of how things are going to unfold. Audiences are typically more captivated and attentive if they are made aware of the basics of what to expect, including prayers, songs, dances, etc. Having a clear order to follow can also put the wedding party at ease, a value that is not to be underestimated.

27 FebShopping for New Door Handles?

Buying a new door handle for your home.Fixing up your home is an endless process of purchasing new items that make your home look fancier and cleaner. One age-old product that has been around and lasting is the door handle. This is one of the forgotten upgrades that is usually eclipsed by things like new cabinets or new shutters, but replacing your door handles is not only much cheaper, but can also have a great effect on the look of your home.

Finding the Right Door Knob

When fixing up your home, or creating a new one, it’s important to consider the overall look and feel you want – especially when picking out door handles for your home. If you’re looking for a modern look, you want a shiny, new door knob. If you’re looking for an old fashioned look, then you may want a simpler, rustic looking doro handle for your home. I recommend trying different types of door handles by holding them up to the door in your house and seeing how you like the look. Then purchase the one that looks the best.

27 FebWindow Cleaning Supplies – Reach 2 Clean System

Finding window cleaning supplies can be a difficult venture, especially if you have some tough cleaning to do. I’m not talking about a regular, inside window that you can throw some window on – I’m talking about outdoor windows that are tough to get clean.

Any building or house owner knows the frustration of trying to clean the windows. So it’s good to know there is now a convenient Reach 2 Clean System – which is one of the best window cleaning supplies around.

The Reach 2 Clean site has tons of products for helping you clean windows thoroughly, safely, and quickly. Which in my opinion are the most important factors to consider when cleaning your windows and picking your window cleaning supplies.

17 DecSteve Madden Shoe Review

shoes

shoes

Perfect for a night on the town or your next holiday party, the ultra high heel Moskoww pumps from the Steve Madden collection are the epitome of fabulous while being just over the top enough to make you feel younger, sexier and more confident. This shoe was definitely not made for walking but they will get you around your next event with an air of confidence and a feeling of superiority.

Peep toe heels covered in silver glitter with flecks of reds, gold and other rich colors, these 5 ¾ inch heels have a festive bow on the toe strap and a mirrored heel with a 2 inch mirrored platform to boot. These Steve Madden heels are so fabulous they will work with just about any party ensemble. Pair them with a little black dress and a silver clutch for an evening event or with a vibrant red dress made for celebrating the holidays.

While most women prefer to wear flats on a regular uneventful day, throwing on some Steve Madden heels for a special night compliments any kind of dress. These heels are made for fabulous legs to do yourself a favor and pair them with a short hemline to make the most of what you’ve got. If a dress isn’t in the cards with these gorgeous heels, pair them with your darkest skinny jeans, a black tank and a black blazer. Pile on the jewelry with necklaces and bracelets and let these heels add glitter and excitement to your outfit.

The soles are man-made and the women’s shoes are imported. The glittery upper portion of the Steve Madden Moskoww heels is made of leather and the heels are comfortable and easy to wear. Not for the office, or even for your first meeting with the people you hope will one day become your in-laws, these heels were made for fun and playtime. Be the envy of every woman in the room in these Steve Madden shoes at your next event.

23 NovTime Warner Internet and Cable Products

Time Warner internet is affordable and incredibly easy to setup. Simply plug the modem into the back of your computer and you are instantly connected to the Internet. You can access your e-mail directly through the Web or by using a mail application such as Outlook or Outlook Express. Mail applications allow you to setup filter options and folders to better organize your e-mail. Time Warner internet keeps you connected to the Web all of the time, so your e-mail arrives as it is sent.

Bundled with other cable products, you can save a lot of money every month. Time Warner internet with other cable products can be had for under $100.00 per month in most areas. It’s important to get the best wire cable products from a good cable manufacturer. Most operating systems come with free e-mail and browser applications.Time Warner internet, bundled with Time Warner’s other cable products, allows you to remain connected to the Web all of the time while still saving money. Access e-mail and other services online, or use applications on your desktop to stay connected with friends and family.

19 DecMr. Roof 1-800-4MR-ROOF

This review of Mr. Roof is an honest review. Mr. Roof in no way encouraged, influenced, or had any knowledge of my review.

Last year, when Hurricane Ike came rolling through Ohio and blew the shingles off of every house in the county, I decided that I only had about a dozen shingles missing and I would just make the roof repairs myself. That was fine until two weeks ago, when a wind storm came through again and know a bunch more off. Enough is enough.Mr. Roof logo

I decided to call a roofer and get his opinion. After a couple of first-hand testimonials, I went to the Mr. Roof website and requested a free quote. The next business day, I was called and the appointment was made.

At the appointment, Daniel came out, and he could tell immediately that I had real damage and that I needed a new roof. He explained in detail how the process worked, dealing with insurance, etc. No deductibles are due until the work was done. He would handle everything, and all we needed to do was pick out what color shingle we wanted.

He also mentioned that our old shingles would be replaced with a higher quality, 30 year dimensional shingle.

12-18-2009
A day after meeting with Daniel, I contacted my insurer and explained the situation, and that I need to file a claim. He was friendly about it and said that an adjuster would soon be in contact with me.

12-23-2009
Over the last couple of days, I have had a series of phone calls with State Farm, and an adjuster will be coming out to inspect the roof next week. Right now there is snow covering the roof and the holidays are this week. I gave my Mr. Roof guy a call yesterday keeping him in the loop.

4-9-2010
Now that the weather has broken, I called State Farm and left a message that we get this process moving. Today when I got home from work, my wife said the State Farm guy was here today expecting the Mr. Roof guy and he wasn’t here. I guess there was some behind the scenes communication between the insurance and roofer. An appointment was set up for the adjuster and roofer for Tuesday.

4-13-2010
Today was the day for the inspection. The insurance adjuster came out, the Mr. Roof guy didn’t show up. I called him, and he said he had lost his phone and was apologetic about it. The insurance adjuster said that he will only pay for the back half of the roof. I told him I’d like the roofer to get back up there and give his opinion. Here are some pictures I took while up there.

5-19-2010
I left a message with the State Farm adjuster a week or so ago, never heard back from him. I learn he is on vacation so I get ahold of the claims office and spoke with another adjuster. I explained I wish to dispute the finding of the other adjuster. He and Mr. Roof will be back out here this Friday for another look.

5-21-2010
Well I rushed home from work today so I could beat Mr. Roof and the State Farm adjuster there. It was raining a little bit and they were supposed to be here between 3:30 and 4:00. At 4:30 since neither one of them showed up I called the State Farm insurance adjuster and he said Mr. Roof called and had to reschedule for next week due to not wanting to be on the roof when it’s raining. This is all well and good, but I really would have appreciated a phone call.

5-24-2010
I called Daniel to find out why he didn’t call me on Friday. I was a bit pissed because I had no clue what was going on. I have to work on Tuesday, when the new appointment is scheduled. When I called, I got the voice mail that he couldn’t answer any calls and to leave a voicemail and he’ll get back with me. I left him one, and also asked if I needed to be present for the appointment. About ten minutes later he text messaged me and explained briefly that I did not need to be present for the appointment with the new insurance adjuster and he would call me after the meeting at 1:30 and bring me up to speed.

5-25-2010
Well the meeting was today on the roof at 1:30. I know it happened because my wife was home and saw then go up there. However, I didn’t get my phone call. Something has to give here.

5-26-2010
I called Daniel on my way home from work. I explained that the communication problem we are having is not working. I am the customer and need to know what’s going on all the time. He said he apologized but the State Farm adjuster had not made a decision yet and will probably be next week before he did. He didn’t want to call me without anything definitive. I told him he needs to call me and let me know he doesn’t have anything definitive. He is supposed to call me next week when he hears from the insurance guy.

6/5/2010
After not hearing from anyone, I received a check in the mail from the insurance adjuster. The check came with an itemized quote for what they will repair, which is both rear slopes.

After several more days I waited for Mr. Room to call, and the call never came. I was frustrated, ready to look for another roofer. I looked over our service agreement and the contract for a roof replacement was pending insurance approval. I called Daniel, again, and this time I told him that I received a check from State Farm and that I just wanted my roof fixed and was tired of playing games. I asked him to give me a quote for a roof replacement, as well as a rear slopes only replacement. He asked me if I wanted it emailed or mailed – I told him an email would be just fine.

Sticking to form, he never provided the quote for the work. In the end, I went with Weller Roofing. I was very pleased with the level of professionalism and quality work I received from Weller.

In this process, I learned that there are two different type of roofing contractors. There are those who are interested in earning your work, and there are those who are only interested in screwing the insurance companies and going for the fast easy money. I believe strongly that Mr. Roof is of the latter group.

16 JulPinhole Glasses Review

Earlier in the month, I was contacted and asked to give an honest review of a pair of Pinhole Glasses. I never heard of these, and since they would ship them to me I figured it couldn’t hurt.
Pinhole Glasses Review
In preparation for this review, I took a look around thepinhole eyeglasses website to get some general background on the product. They claim these pinhole eyeglasses will strengthen your eyes, and may even correct certain vision ailments including Myopia, Hyperopia, Astigmatism, Cataract, Presbyopia and Computer Vision Syndrome. I don’t suffer from any of these, so I probably don’t really need these glasses.

Once I opened my package, I chuckled a little bit. I’ve never seen sunglasses with holes punched through the lenses. I put them on, walked around a little bit and decided they were too small for my head. After walking around for about 5 minutes with these on, my eyes started to ache. I remember this similar sensation when I first got reading glasses, years ago. I is probably my eyes straining, or getting a good workout.
pinhole_glasses_09.JPG
The plastic frames are clear, and the dark part of the lenses you cannot see through, only the holes. Maybe you need to wear them more to get used to it, but I didn’t like it. I asked Samantha to try them on, she did for just a minute and didn’t much care for them. She said they were too small for her too, and didn’t like how it made her eyes feel.

In my opinion, the problem with these is that you feel like you can’t see everything you should be seeing. I had to move my head around to see things that were right in front of me. I’m sure there are people who really need these pinhole glasses, but I’m not one of them.

13 MayThe Gilkey Window Experience

2/3/07
First of all, this review is based on my own personal opinion and was not solicited by anyone. I received no compensation from Gilkey or any other entity.

For a couple of years now, I have known that our windows were seriously in need of an upgrade. We have been dealing with our standard aluminum framed, double pane windows since we purchased this house nearly six years ago. This has been an expense I have put off time and time again.

This year, it finally came to a head and we decided to bite the bullet and go ahead with it. Who to choose?

Last year, we invited a rep from Airtite Windows into our home, only to get hammered with high pressure sales tactics, that resulted in broken promises and no new windows. This year, at the recommendation of my parents I decided to give Gilkey Windows a shot. I went the the website and requested an appointment.
gilkey windows referral
The next day, we were called and an appointment was set up for today with Brian Schamel (Highly recommended for southwest Ohio 1-800-878-7771). He is the same guy that sold windows to my parents, as well as my Aunt and Uncle. Brian came as scheduled and showed us about Gilkey’s windows, and was very friendly and professional. He was not overbearing and seemed to truly have our needs in mind. We were impressed enough that we decided to also have him quote us for a back patio door, as well as a new front entry door system.

After two hours, we had ironed out all details of our purchase. We settled on a total of 11 new windows, a sliding patio door, and a front entry system (A steel door with the side window, and all the fixin’s). Total purchase price – about $9200. This price is well below retail, and well below what any kind of discount a coupon could give. This was “cut to the chase” sales and I like it. We financed a portion of this easy enough and we were told that they would be coming back out to take precision measurements, and that our new home upgrades will be ready for installation in 4-6 weeks. The front door may take a little bit longer because the factory is not local.

2/17/07
We were called this week to schedule the guy to come out and take accurate measurements of our existing windows and doors. The appointment was scheduled for the following day, but we had a major snow storm come through. Nobody showed up to take measurements nor were we called. However, we did get a call the following day and rescheduled the visit for Monday, February 19th.

5/14/07
With every major purchase in my life, there is always at least one thing that keeps everything from going perfectly. In this case, it has been the long delay in actually having the windows and doors installed. 6-8 weeks has turned into a matter of months, not weeks. Fortunately, the windows will be installed this Thursday (May 18th).

We are very excited, the house needs a face lift badly. I am dreading the fact that I will be taking down all of our blinds and curtains, including the mounting hardware. All this only to re-install everything later in the week.

Here are some images of our existing windows. I took the pictures this winter. Click on images to make them larger.
frosted over windowsaluminum frosted windows

5/21/07
The day the windows were installed, I didn’t have to leave for work until 2pm. I normally sleep in a little bit on days I go in late. Today, my wife woke me up at 7:30am “The window people are here!”. They were right on time. I threw some clothes on and met the window installers.

The first crew to arrive were there to install my Gilkey front entry system. There were two of them. The other guys that showed shortly thereafter were to install the windows, and the patio sliding glass door.

Both crews were very friendly, and professional. My three year old son made a friend of one of them, and followed him around from room to room with his plastic tools asking him lots of questions.

By the time I left for work, all windows were installed and trim finished. The front door was also hung and very nice looking. Several days later, the only imperfection I can tell is where my son stuck his fingers in some caulk after the installers left.

I am confident that we made a good decision by choosing Gilkey. Only time will tell if the product is what they claim, but so far I am impressed.

2/18/2009
Two years has gone by since we made our purchase, and I am still very happy with my windows and doors. However I thought I’d post about my recent experience with Gilkey Service Department.

A few weeks ago, the locking mechanism on our new patio door broke. I called the service department, and made an appointment. When the service man came out, not only did he replace the lock on the patio door but he also made some adjustments on the front entry door. Very fast work, and professional. Thanks!

Here are more pictures of the installation:
gilkey_windows3gilkey_windows2gilkey_windows1
If you are serious about making a Gilkey purchase, and call Brian, please let him know about this site!

8/24/09
A couple of weeks ago, our dog saw a bird, or a rabbit in the back yard and decided he couldn’t wait to be let out. He plowed right through the screen door and ripped the screen mesh out. I called Gilkey service, and they said to bring it in to the show room and they would replace it free of charge.

I took the screen to the showroom, dropped it off (took about three minutes) and a couple days later they called and it was ready.

After a few years since my Gilkey purchase, I am still pleased.

04 SepReview of Olympus Voice Recorder

I recently purchased the Olympus Digital Voice Recorder WS-100. I bought it at Best Buy for $89.99. I’m sure I could have bought it for a lot cheaper at Amazon.com or other online outlet, but I had a hair in my ass to get it so I paid full price.
voice recorder
I wanted to buy this for a couple of reasons. First, I was itching pretty bad to record my first podcast, and didn’t want to deal wth microphones, etc.

Second, my son needs to record himself reading, so he will now be able to play back his recording, to help him read better.

Ok, so on with the review!

The recorder came with a single AAA battery, which is all it needs. I was up and recorded my podcast before I even got out of the car. I like te quality of sounds it records!

You are able to store audio files in five different folders. This helps me keep things organized.

This recorder also serves as a mass storage device and can record up to 27 hours!

Once I am ready to pull my recordings off, the bottom of this recorder pulls off to reveal the USB connection, and plugs straight into my computer.(a cable is also provided)

Recrded files are automatically exported as .wma type files, so will be ready to go with Windows media player.

So far, I am very pleased with this recorder and would recommend it to anyone.