Sunday, October 23, 2016

AYL's Torch Light is a DUD

It is times like these that I wish I had not received a product for free. Some sellers have a weird way of treating reviewers by not offering customer service.

I received the AYL 900 Lumens CREE XM-L2 LED Tactical Flashlight for free and it never worked. The #AYLFlashlight came with a 2200mAH 18650 rechargeable battery and a case for three AAA batteries if you wanted or needed to use those instead. I charged the battery using the included charger. When I placed the battery in the torch it was not able to power on. I tried the AAA batteries and no dice. The product was a dud.

I emailed the seller and received no response. Because of the way the item was sold amazon said they would refund anything I did pay out. However I have Prime (aka free shipping) and I paid nothing for the light.

I feel kind of bad that I can't get a different unit to review because it looks like a good product. Unfortunately with amazon's policy and an unresponsive seller, there is nothing I can do.

I do like the bright silver color that is all over the torch. It is a wonderful non-working prop for a costume if needed sometime in the future.

Bottom line is I do NOT recommend it because my experience was with a broken flashlight.

RemoMore Needs More Help

RemoMore is an app that is supposed to help #KeepKidsSafe. There are some good aspects to this app but I do not recommend it at this time.

Just a quick reminder that I was given a year long subscription to this service for free in exchange for my review. I was not paid other than with the use of the service.

So there are two main parts to the RemoMore software, the website and the app that is placed on the phone to be tracked. This software could be quite powerful but seems to me it is target audience may not be tech savvy enough to use it correctly. And if you are not tech savvy (I do think I normally am, but some of that is due to ComputerGenius Husband answering my questions. He was not available to help me on this one) then your children need to be young enough to not be able to figure out how to disable the app.

Their customer service, in my experience, is nonexistent. Granted, my time with this app is a bit different than the standard customer because I received a coupon code for the subscription. At first I could not figure out where to insert the code in order to get the subscription going and emailed their tech support. That was at the beginning of August. It is now a week away from Halloween and I have never received any actual response. I did figure out how to get it going, thus I was able to publish this review.

I do like their weekly emails which show information that you want to track on the phone(s)/device(s) upon which you have installed the app. This is the only connection between me and the makers of the software at this point.

I have used other security software on my devices and have also installed other apps that have helped with the device health. To my knowledge this is the first one I have come across that has done a pretty good job of each. This app allows the parent to get alerts, lock the phone, put time locks on it and even access health band (ie. fitbit) information for each person who has one attached to a covered device.

Basically this is a great idea, okay execution and poor customer service in my experience. If they would fix the customer service I would be happy to recommend this!

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Shower Trio

IPShowers has lots of different shower heads that they wanted to send out for reviews. I was tired of the shower head that came with the house when we bought it 16 years ago. The combo sounded like a good match, so I applied for all of the shower heads that interested me. I tend to overapply as a rule so as to make pretty sure that I get one of the products available. When IPShowers decided to approve me for all three I was thrilled. Since then I have applied and been approved for four more, but I think it is just good manners to review the three I have before they send me four more.

What will I do with three shower heads? Well, I take the old one off and put the first new one on. Then I run it to see how well it works. Then I remove the first new one and place the second one on. I run it...see how this works? So, the other nice part of this project is I get to try three different kinds of shower heads.

The first is a PowerSpa 6-Setting Luxury Showerhead. I call it a basic shower head because you can just attach to the pipe coming out of your shower wall. The instructions are simple (see photo) and the kit comes with a plastic "tape" to help with the seal. I, of course, did not read the instructions fully before installing the shower head. I did not read that it only needs to be hand tightened, so I ended up using a hand tool which did mar the plastic connection to the shower wall pipe.

Then there is the PowerSpa 7-Setting Luxury Hand Shower (aka: hand held shower head) with included hose. Yes, I do need to mention that the hose is included. In the recent past I received a hand held shower head for a #ProductReview that I could not use because it was just the head, no hose.

Last of the three is the PowerSpa 6" Rainfall Luxury Showerhead with included extension bar. I was very excited for this one because I am slightly obsessed with rain fall showers and because Husband is tall. The extension bar will allow the shower head to be placed higher than the wall pipe in the shower and, hopefully will be able to be placed directly above Husband's head. I'm short (average, meh) so I have not had the problem of bending over to get under the shower.

Fair warning on the following videos. I was holding my phone with one hand while trying to work with the other hand. The video quality totally sucks and might even be useless, but it is what I was able to do at the moment...especially since I could not find my tripod. Now that I'm writing this post, I'm pretty sure the tripod is in the back of my car.

Placing the plastic "tape"
on the shower wall pipe

Each of the three shower heads came with a plastic tape which is to be used to wrap the shower wall pipe threads before attaching a hose or shower head or extension arm. The plastic tape helps to fill in any gaps that may happen because the threading may not exactly meet up. It also gives something a bit more malleable than metal to the connection thus making a stronger and tighter connection with whatever is attached to it. If this gets old or cut through shower heads being screwed on and off, which could really happen in my house, then remove it and replace the plastic tape with more. You can use steel wool to get any bits and pieces that like to stay behind. You can see in my video (or you should be able to see if the lens was focused on the pipe the entire time) that I wrapped the pipe a few times around with this plastic tape. I also covered the entire area that was threaded and a bit on the smooth part of the pipe. Again, this gives a malleable product to get in between those metal threads and fill in any gaps. It helps to make a stronger seal and keeps from water leaking out of that connection.

Installing the PowerSpa 6-Setting
Luxury Showerhead and part one of
Installing the PowerSpa 7-Setting
Luxury Hand Shower
The next video is also a bit of what not to do when installing the PowerSpa 6-Setting Luxury Showerhead. Specifically, you do not need to use hand tools to tighten because between the plastic tape, the washer and the way this is designed, a hand tightening should work. If you look closely you should be able to see where using the locking pliers (is that what they are called?) actually scratched and marred the surface. Keep watching and you get to see me trying desperately to get the different settings to happen. Unfortunately the 6-Setting shower head ended up being a one setting head. I have emailed IPShowers to see if maybe I received a bad unit and if they would be interested in sending another to replace it. So, I took off the first shower head and right around 1:20 you will see me screwing on the holder for the second shower head. At 1:40 you can see me messing with a larger band which allows you to focus the shower head holder and tighten it to keep it pointing the way you want.

This brings us to shower head number two - aka the PowerSpa 7-Setting Luxury Hand Shower. The first two photos show the included hose and the washers that are placed in each end.

Then I have part two of installing this shower head. In case you missed it, part one is included in the video above and starts around 1:20. I don't know why I recorded it like that, but I also don't really know how to edit the videos to make it make sense. However, if you have made it this far in my blog, you probably are used to me not making total sense.

7-Setting install part 2
The video on the left shows me screwing in the hose to the hand shower holder and then to the hand shower. When I turned this one on I was happy to see that it did, in fact, change to seven different settings quite easily. This made me more sure that the 6-Setting shower head was just a bad unit because, as you can see in the video, changing the settings is very easy to do.

Pause button
Now there is another function on this hand held shower head that I wanted to point out. On the handle there is a pause button. The pause is basically supposed to stop the flow of water out of the shower head without turning off the shower or turning it back to the tub. This is a wonderful option for saving water, for rinsing off children or pets and just for control. Unfortunately as you can see in the next short video clip, the pause button does not completely work. I really wish it did because I would be using it all the time.

Rainfall Showerhead
Extension Bar
Lastly is the PowerSpa 6" Rainfall Showerhead, the one I was most excited to try. Unfortunately there were a few issues which kept me from being able to install this shower head.

Rainfall Showerhead
I played a bit with the extension bar before taking a closer look at the rainfall shower head. The extension bar has the ability to swivel and be tightened on both ends of the bar. This is really nice because you can swivel the bar at the connection to the wall pipe and you can swivel the rainfall showerhead as well. The flexibility afforded by the two joints gives pretty much endless possibilities along that plane.

Here's where the problem comes in. When I went to assemble the parts for the showerhead I noticed the instructions said there should be a curved washer to place inside the showerhead before placing the ball swivel connection on top (which gives you even more movement possibilities) and closing with the coupler. The washer I received was not large enough in diameter to cover the entire area and was flat, not curved. You can see this in the last video. Because I did not want to get water all over the entire bathroom due to the wrong washer, I stopped my installation process right there. I again emailed IPShowers to see if I could get a replacement washer and continue with the installation. You might also be able to see in the video that inside the showerhead is a bit of a silver plastic obstruction. I'm pretty sure it is not supposed to be there and might be another bad unit.

So, to summarize, I was really excited to try out three different types of showerheads from IPShowers. The 6-Setting (standard) Showerhead is probably a bad unit (could not change settings), but was very easy to install. The 7-Setting Hand Held Shower was easy to install and worked very well. Unfortunately the pause button did not fully pause the flow of water. The Rainfall Showerhead was not able to be installed due to the wrong washer being sent to me and a potential obstruction in the head. None of the three showerheads were completely functional, but the PowerSpa 7-Setting Luxury Hand Shower is the closest and is now being used in my shower.

I am waiting to hear back on the emails I sent and will hopefully have an update to post regarding these products. I did just send the emails a few hours ago and it is a Sunday afternoon, so I am not expecting to hear back today. Normally I would say whether I recommend these products or not, but I want to wait to see how the customer service is handled before making that decision.

I received these products at a discount or free in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

I prefer to really get detailed in my reviews, but not for this one

I'm tired, I'm slightly grumpy and I'm feeling kind of harassed by a seller on one of the review sites I use. #RY_GARDENER sent me an expandable garden hose kit that included a hanger (not planning to use because material quality makes me wonder when it will break), a hose that starts at 17 feet and is supposed to expand to 50 and an 8 function spray nozzle. I expected the hose to be able to expand to the full 50 feet without too much struggle on my part. I measured it and it came in at right under 49 feet once I had it expanded. There is a chance I don't know what I'm doing, but it just seemed like a struggle to get it to expand. I do not see this hose replacing the "standard" straight hose I have because what I have not is longer and has worked for me. While the hose hanger is a nice idea, it falls short in the feel of the material. I honestly don't want to put this on my fence or wall because I'm not sure how long it will last. That being said, it is a bonus item and not the main event.
To be as fair as I can be, I am late in getting the review posted in the various agreed upon locations. It is my fault and I take full responsibility. Here is where I'm feeling harassed. The platform that is used on this seller/author site allows sellers to invite authors to apply for their promotions. I was invited by this seller just recently to apply for another promotion. So, I applied. Then I received a message from them saying that they won't approve me until the previous review is done. While I understand that and think it is a good business practice, it should have no bearing upon this situation because the seller was the one who asked me to apply. It just did not seem ethical or a good way to build a customer. And honestly I just want to get this set of reviews for this product over with and not deal with this anymore. It does not inspire me to go above and beyond in my review but to only do the minimum. So, my review is basically this:
The quality of the host is less than expected. The extension of the hose is less than advertised unless I'm doing something wrong. While it isn't a horrible product, it is not something I would purchase again.
I received this product at a discount or free in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Jasmine's New Digs

#whoyoukitten sent this soft Cat Hammock which is lined with what feels like sheepskin, and Jasmine was not really sure what to think at first. I had a difficut time finding a place where it would work because the straps were not that long and the clips were kind of counter productive. Once I did find a spot she still was not sure what to think even as I "helped" her to get in the hammock a few times. So I let the hammock hang and ignored it...the best way to get a cat interested in almost anything. 

This morning I was on my compter and Jasmine decided she needed to get into the hammock, just like it was a normal thing for her to do. She gave me the "why are you making a big deal out of this" face when I started to video her. Take a look for yourself.

So, where exactly did I end up hanging the hammock? I have a stand (I think it was a printer stand before I got it from craigslist) that has the tower server on the bottom and my monitor on top. In between the monitor and the tower is enough room for Jasmine to crouch. She always ends up crouching on top of the fan venting area, so I thought it might be a good place to try the hammock. She felt it was sturdy enough to lay in and to turn around a few times, too. 

So far the hardware is holding but I do worry about the clip/hook pieces as I would not have chosen them. They would work okay if I had something small enough in diameter to clip them to, but I'm not sure anything of that size would hold her weight. I ended up wrapping the nylon strap around the bars of the stand and then attaching the clip to the nylon strip. It was not easy to do and I hope it is secure.

I would totally suggest this cat hammock for kittens (kitten pile in the hammock would be so cute) and smaller cats. If you feel that your cat is a larger one or even overweight, make sure the clips will hold the weight.

As with most items I review, I received this product at a discount or free in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.

Sunday, August 7, 2016

No Electrical Experience? No Problem! But there might be a jellyfish issue

I received an LED Light Bulbs Dimmable CRI90 1000lm UL-listed from #oakleaf for a #ProductReview. This is one of the most simple ways to change the type of bulb that you have to use in a certain socket. The ingenious lighting fixture replaces Halogen 100 W bulbs without even needing to know how to rewire anything. So besides getting the new LED bulb, you don't have to worry about anything electrical. This is an unskilled DIY-er's fixture.

If you look at the picture on the right you'll see the back of the fixture at the bottom of the photo. At the top is the screw in that goes where a halogen lamp used to go. Not only is this simple to do, but it looks clean and professional when done, and it is EASY! Once you screw in the cord, all you do is press the fixture into the ceiling and secure it using the metal tabs on the back. Then you have less energy use (aka cost) and it will take a loooooong time until that light needs to be changed.

I recommend this to anyone who has halogen lamps in their home!

I was also sent a #Jellyfis tank decoration for a #ProductReview. Honestly I was not blown away by this little decoration. It is supposed to be something you place in a fishtank. It has an "invisible" fishing line attached to it from underneath, which seems like it is in the wrong place. Attached to the line is a suction cup so you can anchor it to the glass.

When I first received this I was not happy. The package was mangled and one of the tentacles was even flopping out of the box. The listing for this product comes with 5, but for some reason I only received 1. It is also supposed to be fluorescent (and even glows in the listing images) but as you can see, it is not. Jasmine had to come over and check out what I was doing and even she didn't really like it.

I just can't recommend this product. It is made with cheap materials and poorly packaged. The instructions on the box are in English but have not been edited by a native English speaker.

I received these products at a discount or free in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.

Friday, August 5, 2016

Your Wish Is Granted

I love fantasy stories. Anything paranormal will usually attract my attention. However just because a book is paranormal or fantasy or SciFi does not mean that it will keep my attention.

I also love the young adult genre because it can transport me to a different world for minutes, hours or even days at a time. Reading is what keeps me going sometimes. And I quite frequently use it as a non-food reward for myself. For example, get these three errands done and I get 30 minutes to read my current obsession. I'm not joking about the obsession thing. If I find a good book I really don't want to put it down. I finished a 700 page novel in one day. I did not move off the couch at all that day, but I had fun.

Now that I have spilled one of my secret obsessions with whomever is reading this (HI MOM!) I get to share my newest candidate for said obsession. The fantasy book Granted by Michelle Merrill. A huge thanks to #futurehousepub for providing me with a FREE Advanced Reader copy. (Side note, if you want to get free copies of books, look for an ARC group to join. You might even want to check out Future House Publishing and join their group. Be forewarned that ARC books are not ready to be published and you may find typos and other errors. Sometimes I even send in the goofs I find to make the editing job easier...or more difficult depending on who you ask.)

I was hooked by the first page! I'll be completely honest here and let you know I have yet to finish reading the book. I have been using it, quite successfully in fact, to fuel my chores. So I don't want to give too much away because that is never fun. What I do want to say is this book looks at a side of being a fantasy character that I have never seen before. I can't wait to get my chores done today so I can read my next installment.

This is a book that I would recommend for anyone who likes to be swept away into another life that just might be possible.

I do want to give props to the author and publisher on a book well done. Because I totally suck at writing a synopsis without giving it all away, here is a teaser you can also find on the publisher's website:

About Granted   The existence of genies may be the best-kept secret in the history of the world. After being trapped in the Sahara Desert for her whole life, sixteen-year-old genie Brielle finally gets her first assignment in Tri-Cities, Washington. She eagerly heads out into the human world to grant her first wish so that she can gain her magic. Unfortunately, her assigned human, Addie, stopped believing in wishes years ago and would much rather that everyone just leave her alone. 

I received this ARC ebook for free in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

The Light Light uses Sunlight

This light from #BrightOutdoors is quite thin, less than a cm thick, and very lightweight. This is the perfect emergency light to keep in you car emergency kit because it will not take up very much room and can be quite useful in many situations that might crop up. It is very bright and could easily be used in first aid situations. Thread a paracord (from your emergency paracord bracelet) through the plastic loop at the top of the light and tie it around your neck or waist and you have a simple hands-free work light or hiking light. You can find this LED disc here.

What did not work for me was the placement of the power button. It is on the back of the light which, when hanging using the included plastic strap, works just fine. However when this light is placed on something magnetic, using the two magnets on the back of the light, you need to remove the light in order to turn it on or off. It would have been a better design choice to put the power button on the front in the center of the LEDs, or even on the thin side.

I received this product at a discount or free in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.