Google’s Chromecast Streaming Media Player. See it. Stream it.

It’s time we brought everything together, right? How many times have you seen something on your phone or tablet and wanted to share it with the room on the TV? There’s no reason to be locked to your own screen anymore with Google’s Chromecast. Now when you see it, you can stream it.

All you need is an HDMI port and an Android-capable device and boom. Life, shared. Or, to use Google’s parlance, “casted”. It’s as simple as tapping the “cast” button on any wireless device (the Google Chromecast connects wirelessly to your home network with it’s built-in high speed 802.11ac Wi-Fi) and the Chromecast throws it right on on the big screen. Easy Peasy. Want to share your playlist? Cast it to Chromecast. Want to stream Netflix or HBO Go (or over 2,000 other apps!!!) from your phone? Cast it to Chromecast and be the life of the party. Small, portable, simple to connect, east to use. It’s a simple way to connect your life to the people around you.

 

Hands full? That’s okay, Chromecast is listening and can stream or connect with a simple voice command, since it connects seamlessly to your existing Google Home devices, like: “Ok Google, play Stranger Things from Netflix on my living room TV.”. Aaaaand your done. Yes, it’s now that easy. Feeling a little buyer’s remorse at not having splurged a little for a “smart” TV? Now you can “smarten” up your TV’s for as little as $35. So carry it from TV to TV if you want, but it’s affordable enough to stick one on every TV in the house.

Google’s Chromecats has made sharing and streaming from my phone or Hubby’s tablet so simple there’s no need to carry devices back and forth, just tap, share and enjoy. You can continue using your device like normal, too, and you’ll never miss a thing. So you can start living All Together Now, again.

If you want to experience this for yourself, feel free to try it out for yourself here:

http://bby.me/8mht4

 

I am not obligated to provide a positive or favorable review, just my honest opinion about this product. I received compensation in exchange for my review. My review is based on my experience with the product and/or brand, which may differ from yours.

 

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Sony – WH-1000XM3 Wireless Noise Canceling Over-the-Ear Headphones

Sometimes, you just want the music. Or the movie. Or the video. Nothing else, just tune the world out for a spell.

There’s a lot of headphones out there. In the ear. Over the ear. Tinny. To much bass. Too little clarity, too much noise. From a few dollars to over a thousand, there’s something out there fro every listener, for the casual listener to the most hardcore audiophile. I can tell you I’ve sampled more than a few with lofty promises and just about every one fails to deliver in the long run. There’s a name, though, that usually means “quality”. They’ve been around a while, you may have heard of them: Sony. And they’ve come out with a top-notch set of earphones that provide all the high-end sound you could hope for and more.

Gone are the days of paper cones and hair-thin wires with tinny sound that distorts and buzzes. These fantastic Sony headphones sport 40mm liquid crystal polymer diaphragms for drivers. That means fuller, richer sound reproduction, with no distortion, and tinny highs and drowned out lows, and they can handle the full range of frequencies up to 40 kHz. Made sturdy and strong, you don’t have to worry about them cracking over your head but not so heavy as to feel like a workout. Wired or wireless (with bluetooth or NFC) you’ll get your sound from your laptop, your phone, your tablet, or just about any pairable device. And with up to 30 hours of battery life, you can listen or groove all day and night on a single charge!

With advanced noise-cancelling technology (Sony’s “SENSE ENGINE” with their exclusive HD Noise Canceling Processor QN1), the headphones “sense” your activity and adjust your level of noise-cancelling accordingly. No more having your fingers camped out over the volume rocker! Nice. And with an included mic, you can take that call, and get back to your tunes a s soon as you hit “end”. And seeing as how these Sony WH-1000XM3 headphones are compatible with Google Assistant, you might not take them off all day. And with up to 30 hours of battery life, you can listen or groove all day and night on a single charge! Not to worry, though, you can get a good amount of juice quickly with the quick-charging technology.

 

The controls are intuitive, and well placed. The build quality is top-notch. The sound quality and noise cancelling are fantastic. The padded cups cuddle up right against your ears and sit snugly. If I were forced to find one nitpick, it would be the USB-c connection. Micro USB still rules the day in my house, so I always have a handy supply. I know the future is USB-c, but I’m still holding tightly to my micro-USB’s. And that’s the only single negative I could possibly think of, and that’s a real stretch. Sony has a history of quality, and with the Sony WH-1000XM3, I feel they have another winner on their hands.

If you want to experience these for yourself, feel free to try them out for yourself here:

http://bby.me/3etee

 

I am not obligated to provide a positive or favorable review, just my honest opinion about this product. I received compensation in exchange for my review. My review is based on my experience with the product and/or brand, which may differ from yours.

#BestBuy : LG TWINWash Laundry System and Savings Package #ad

When we purchased our washer and dryer over 13 years ago, we made sure to research everything from reviews, durability and features. Sadly, our washer and dryer set has seen better days and with deals and sales landing at Best Buy right now, there is no better time to buy. Start 2018 with new appliances and laundry package deals that will save you a bundle no matter if you need gas or electric units.

The new LG models offer appliances to fit any budget and needs. Getting your clothes and linens cleaned will be a cinch and you no longer have to worry about waiting to gather enough articles to do one big load. The new LG Twin Wash system offers sidekick pedestal washers able to accommodate smaller loads. The pedestal no longer just hold things, it is a mini system all to itself! Think about it: No need to wait for the cycle to finish to do that small load of delicates or that tiny load of off colors. You can accomplish twice as much in the same time only with LG’s Twin Wash System. For me? That sold me instantly. Need to use steam? LG has you covered. And all LG appliances are energy efficient, so you continue to save even after purchase! You can choose between front or top load, side-by-side or stacked! LG has so many models that you surely will find the one to make your laundering experience no hassle at all! I love the idea of being able to mix and match, so I can have a pedestal just for mini loads and the other one just for storage. Some of the systems come with Wi-Fi connectivity and that means I can multi-task by just using my smart phone and as new and special cycles become available, I can download them using the Smart ThinQ technology by LG.

 

With Best Buy being an LG authorized retailer, you can count on knowledgeable staff when you visit any Best Buy store. It certainly beats buying sight-unseen and one touch and you’ll want to take them home with you. Most importantly is the abundance of savings that is only being offered at Best Buy. Spend a little or if you are creating the laundry suite of your dreams, the savings may be up to $500!! http://bby.me/m3qxa

You have until April 25th to save, so start Spring with a new LG Laundry Package today!

The reviewer has been compensated in the form of a Best Buy Gift Card and/or received the product/service at a reduced price or for free

Home Furnishing’s Network Tool Kit

Nothing is worse than a spaghetti monster of wires all over the house. WiFi is awesome, probably one of the top 3 things that changed my life for the better. And yet, despite the level of convenience it provides, there are times you need to go wired. Except, unlike regular standard phone jacks all over our homes, RJ-45 type cables are not as ubiquitous. What’s a gal (or guy) to do?

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Home Furnishing has a simple all-in-one Network Tool Set that helps make running CAT-5 cables to your high-bandwidth devices so much easier. With a combo plier/crimper, wire stripper, cable tester, network connector, and 100 RJ-45 tips to customize CAT-5 (or 6 or 7) lengths to your specific needs. Now, I will admit the instructions were not written as clearly as I would like, and in some instances were downright confusing. SO, if you’re like me and running wiring isn’t you’re forte, you might have to break out your Google machine and get some pointers. The action on the crimpers/pliers was smooth enough, but the blade for the wire cutter in the handle is in a horrible place and might (probably will) cut the user eventually. Likewise the wire stripper could give problems because it requires you to bend a piece of plastic and as anyone who’s bent plastic over and over knows, that means it will eventually break. The major upside is you get the entire kit for under $15.00, which is what most charge for just the crimper.

It’s a decent value for the home DIY’er looking to crimp a few cables and clean up a mess of wound-up wires and only use it once or twice without breaking the bank. But this isn’t a tool built for longevity or for constant repeated use, so if that’s what you need, you might want to look elsewhere.

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I received the above product(s) free of charge from Home Furnishing. I am not obligated to provide a positive or favorable review, just my honest opinion. I received no other compensation in exchange for my review. My review is based on my experience with the product and/or brand, which may differ from yours.

Soft Digits’ 50-In-1 Accessory Kit for GoPros & Action Cameras

It seems everyone and their brother has some sort of body cam, action cam, or GoPro. And while I finally broke down and got one too, you quickly find out that you need accessories to make the most of your action camera experience. Soft Digits wants to make that happen with their affordably-priced 50-in-one accessory kit.

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There’s a lot to like about this kit, and it has enough goodies to fit, mount or wear your action camera just about anywhere. The high-gloss plastic mounts are a little on the rigid side and I have some concerns about durability with repeated snapping in and out of the mounts, but as I’m not doing any “extreme” sporting with my camera, I’m not too worried. The elastic on a few of the body and wrist mounts have started having issues with retaining their elasticity, but that might be because their meant for smaller bodies that Hubby’s. The 50 pieces are really closer to 30 as well, because the 3M adhesive strips and other adhesive bits amount to nearly 20 of the total pieces. The lens cap/cover doesn’t fit my brand of camera housing (mine isn’t a GoPro), and a couple of the pieces don’t fit together as well as they probably should. In the end, my $30 action camera isn’t going to be a huge loss should any of the accessories in this kit fail, but I would be a little wary about a 3, 4, or 500 dollar camera being lost or damaged because one of the bits in this kit failed.

The way I see it, for my cheapie action camera, these are dynamite. A bunch of mounts to see what works for me and what doesn’t, and a zip-up carry case that hold most of it safely (seriously, don’t try to fit it all back in with your camera, because it won’t zip closed). And all at a price that doesn’t break my bank. But if you do major adventuring or extreme sports with your camera, and invested a good chunk of change into it, you might want to get higher-quality accessories, because these are fine for the occasional casual user like me, but the serious enthusiast will be disappointed in the quality.

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I received the above product(s) free of charge from Soft Digits. I am not obligated to provide a positive or favorable review, just my honest opinion. I received no other compensation in exchange for my review. My review is based on my experience with the product and/or brand, which may differ from yours.

Ozeri 360 Oscillation Tower Fan

We’ve tried a few fans from Ozeri, because let’s face it, in California, it’s not actually “cold” all that often. And this Ozeri 360 Oscillation fan is just phenomenal in almost every regard, and might even be my favorite.

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To start, this fan is whisper-quiet at it’s lowest setting, much more so than the other two Ozeri fans I have tried. There are a ton of functions controlled by either the on-fan control panel or the included IR remote control, like an 8-hour timer and 3 different pre-programmed airflow patterns. There’s almost too many choices! The remote is markedly improved over the last generation, with quick responses to the lightest touch from any angle. The 360 Oscillation Tower Fan from Ozeri also uses cylindrical motion technology with over 200 staggered micro-blades, making the operation quieter than traditional fan blades, and usually reserved for much more expensive brands. The oscillation is (of course) up to 360 degrees, with options for 60, 90, and 120 degrees as well. It’s slim and the oscillation is smooth and quiet as well, so the form factor and obtrusiveness is minimal and not attention-getting.

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However, it’s not all wine and roses. The base is flimsy, and can be terribly unsteady on carpeted floors. It also lacks non-skid or non-marking feet on the base, which can be a concern with softer natural tiles. This is really something that, at $90.79, should absolutely be included. The base needs to be upgraded immediately, because I’d hate for a fan as nice as this to be damaged by toppling over due to a poorly-designed base. Unusual, because the other 2 fans I’ve tested from Ozeri had rock-solid bases. At any rate, the value is undeniable and the operation is smooth. Assuming you can live with or work around the issues with the base of the fan, you’ve got another excellent Ozeri product.

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I received the above product(s) free of charge from Moderna Housewares/Ozeri.  I am not obligated to provide a positive or favorable review, just my honest opinion.  I received no other compensation in exchange for my review. My review is based on my experience with the product and/or brand, which may differ from yours.

Smarson WIFI HD Digital Action Sports Camera

You know a product is a hit when there are countless imitators and knock-offs of your innovation. Sometimes, it’s a product slapped together to cash in on a craze and it’s junk. Sometimes, it’s about making a quality product that comes in at a fraction of the price to open the market to buyers who’d never have thought about, say, an HD action camera before. Smarson isn’t the former, it’s definitely the latter.

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We got a cheap-o HD action cam this summer to play around in the pool with the dog and record the memories. Sadly, though “Bresser” claimed full HD, the picture quality was poor, with washed out color and grainy video. And that was where Smarson’s camera shined. The picture was crystal-clear in outdoor light and there was no judder with quick “action” scenes (As much action as a 12 year-old dog can muster!). And there was a host of accessories included to make mounting your camera on nearly any surface possible. At 12 mp, and full 1080p (1920 x 1080) recording (30fps), you get all the clarity of high definition recording, or you can downgrade your image to 720p and go up to 60fps for great slo-mo. you get mutiple shooting modes, (treble shot function, time lapse, continuous shooting, self-timer, and driving mode), a 170 degree wide angle lens, and a similar user interface to the industry leader, the GoPro series of cameras. And, at this price point, you also get WiFi capabilities via Smarson’s iSmartDV App (for iOS and Android 4.4 and up), which is a real bonus to me, even if the range for the wifi is pretty limited (around 10-15 feet, line of sight). It’s small but rugged, and the build seems solid, unlike the other bargain brand action cam I tried that felt flimsy and the battery cover would constantly fall off. The included lucite case is dust and dirt proof and water-resistant up to 30 meters. My pool is only 9 feet deep, so I can safely say from experience it’s solid up to 9 feet! The included 3.7v 900mAh battery is rated for as much as 90 minutes of continuous recording, Thought I’ve gotten up to three hours of off-and-on recording in one afternoon with juice left after. But never worry, the camera will run off the included micro-USB cable and wall adapter, so you’re never without juice. I also had good success with up to a 32gb micro-SD card, and on that card you could record and store a few hours of full HD videos.

And while there is plenty of bang for your buck here, a couple of things are not particularly great. At the $50 price point, you get a lot of value, and a cheap 4gb micro SD card should really be included like most action cams do at this price point, so you can go right out of the box. And while almost every GoPro accessory should work perfect with this awesome Smarson HD Action Cam, the battery is non-standard and getting a replacement or spare might prove troublesome. Also, the 1.5″ TFT LCD at the rear is soooo tiny, with the screen to bezel ratio being almost 50-50. But, again, the value here is undeniable and the quality for the price is top-notch. I feel the positives far outweigh the negatives enough that this Smarson camera earns a full 5 stars from me.

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I received the above product(s) free of charge from Samrson. I am not obligated to provide a positive or favorable review, just my honest opinion. I received no other compensation in exchange for my review. My review is based on my experience with the product and/or brand, which may differ from yours.

Best Buy Experience BlogHer Summit Booth Visit

We all have our mobile devices attached to our hip, and rarely do we review what we’re paying every month for to make sure what we have meets our needs. Best Buy pointed out a new (to me) feature, their “Mobile Plan and Compare tool”. Does your carrier still cover you well? Do you have access to the 4g LTE bands you need to make the most of your phone? What category and speeds do you get? What speeds and data do you need? Did you know something like 50% of all cell phone users are overpaying for features and data they don’t use? I found out I was! You can head in to any Best Buy store for a free, no-obligation evaluation today, no appointment needed. If you haven’t ever thought about these things, then the Best Buy Mobile Plan and Compare tool is totally for you.

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And I just happened to see a new bauble that really caught my eye, the Samsung Galaxy Note 7. Hubby’s been saying for months we need a new phone, and despite it being much more phone than I would need, it have the power and features that put a lot of those so-called “flagship” phones to shame. I love the camera, quick shutter, excellent low-light photos, the in-camera HDR and high resolution, DSLR quality photos…And that screen! Sharp, crisp, with a pixel density that makes my current phone look downright fuzzy! This is a phone to aspire to!

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I’ m really thankful for these opportunities from BlogHer and Best Buy, because being an LG gal, I might not have looked Samsung’s way, but man am I glad I did.

 

The reviewer has been compensated in the form of a Best Buy Gift Card and/or received the product/service at a reduced price or for free

BU Nail Treatment Laser Device

My husband was a high school athlete who, bless his heart, didn’t understand the first thing about keeping his feet and toenails free from fungus in his locker rooms. Consequently, he ended up with a bad fungus on one toe and nail that he has tried treating with OTC creams, tree oils, prescription creams and pills, all to no avail. So when BU offered their Laser device to treat and eradicate nail fungus, I was thrilled for him.

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The thrill, as the song says, is gone. The laser does not work. The instructions were woefully inadequate and gave you no idea how long, or how many times, to use it daily. There is, thankfully an auto-shutoff. But after treating first once daily for about 7 minutes, then going up to twice, I can say with great confidence and greater disappointment there has been absolutely zero change in my poor Hubby’s nail color, shape or brittleness, or health and the fungus remains, unabated. I tried emailing “BU”, the manufacturer, but got no response to my queries. There are several other identical nail fungus lasers on Amazon that suffer from the same lack of results. But, at prices ranging from $100 to $200 or more, you expect (and are promised) results, and there are none. Save your money for a real doctor or real treatment, this laser does not work.

It’s too bad, because I’ve used lasers for home treatments from very reputable companies like Tria, so I know lasers do work for many, many maladies, but this one simply does not. In fact, a quick look at the circuit board reveals 3 bright blue LED’s, and what looks to be the 905nm wavelength pulsed laser diode, which emits infrared laserlight that is invisible to the naked eye. What’s concerning is that a 905nm laser is supposed to be a class IIIb laser product, and the label on this laser says is either a class I laser, or class 2 depending on which portion of the label you want to believe. Also, a 25w laser (as this is advertised to be) is very powerful and could produce burns, but a 25mW laser, which I believe this to be, would not. So there’s some misleading info all over the packaging, but it’s all window dressing on a product that produced no result. I can’t recommend this product, or the company that didn’t respond to any of my concerns. Sorry.

I received the above product(s) free of charge from BU. I am not obligated to provide a positive or favorable review, just my honest opinion. I received no other compensation in exchange for my review. My review is based on my experience with the product and/or brand, which may differ from yours.

BlazeVideo Wireless WiFi 720P IP/Cloud Camera


Normally, I do long, detailed reviews. I’m in the midst of a small personal issue, so this and other reviews for the immediate future will be brief.

This is a well-made camera. The image sensor is good and the images it produces are sharp and crisp. There is minimal lag in response times for the pan/tilt/zoom features. The app is functional and intuitive, and even if it tends to log you out from time to time. The app will also hang with prolonged viewing and display a static image. This will require a close and restart of the app. One other slight annoyance, that I have not had the time to look if I can correct, is the inversion of the PTZ controls. Up is down, left is right, etc. Counter-intuitive and very annoying. The night vision is very good, and the IR lights give better zero-light illumination than my Amcrest 720p PTZ IP camera, but this comes at a cost, because glare through a window is considerably increased, to the point of obscuring the image if it’s shining straight at the window or door. This is much more than my previously used Amcrest camera.

This is a much better built camera that others I have tested, and I would say the fit and finish surpasses the Amcrest and Foscam cameras I’ve used in the past. The antennae on the back for the wireless is a bit old-fashioned, as most of the wireless IP cameras in this price range have an integrated antennae, but it does increase the wireless range so it’s wash. The signal still drops intermittently though. You can (and I have, successfully on my Lorex IP system) connect this camera to an existing IP security camera setup via CAT5 or CAT6 cables. So if you have an open channel on your home security camera setup, this will plug and play. There is a cloud feature as well as microSD card slot for onboard storage. I feel the price is too high even if the camera is quality, for a 720p camera. if you knock $25-$30 off this, you have a solid contender here with good features and a great build.

I received the above product(s) free of charge from Blaze Video. I am not obligated to provide a positive or favorable review, just my honest opinion. I received no other compensation in exchange for my review. My review is based on my experience with the product and/or brand, which may differ from yours.

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