Tree New Bee® Laptop Cooling Pad

It seems anymore we’re having to supplement the build of the gadgets we buy because manufacturers cut corners or put just the bare minimum needed to get by. Such is the case, frequently, with laptops and their cooling fans. But a whole niche market has popped up to fill the need, and I’m now quite fond of my Tree New Bee Laptop Cooling Pad.

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It wasn’t easy to get me to move away from my adjustable desk with it’s fans, but there are times where my desk wasn’t going to fit where I needed it to go, adjustable or not. So I was thrilled to find the Tree New Bee cooling pad was small and light enough to fit almost anywhere, and go almost anywhere. It has little legs in the back to prop the keyboard area up to more comfortable and ergonomic angle, and little arms in the front to keep your laptop from gradually sliding off the pad. The pad is lightweight plastic and some metal, and if I had one complaint it’s that there’s a great deal of flex in the panels, causing it to impact the fan. I also don’t understand the purpose of the LED lights. The fan plugs in to and standard-sized USB port on your laptop, so these lights just serve to drain the battery a little more. I did like that the plug is a pass -through design, so you don’t even lose a USB port while you use the cooling pad. That’s putting some thought into the design, and I appreciate it. I may disassemble the unit and disconnect them, but the do look shiny and bright, if that’s what your going for. The Tree New Bee laptop pad is also whisper quiet. You absolutely cannot hear it at all over ambient noise, which is a major plus from my old adjustable desk fans. You can really feel the temperature difference on the bottom of the laptop.

At only $13.99, it’s a great value to protect the (sometimes very significant) investment made into your laptop. Extreme heat is the mortal enemy of all the most important components, and the Tree New Bee Cooling Pad is the mortal enemy of heat. It will extend the life of your laptop and you’ll wonder how you got along with it before! With a full 1-year warranty, it’s definitely worth a look-see and find out if a laptop cooling pad is just what the computer doctor ordered!

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I received the above product(s) free of charge from Tree New Bee. I am not obligated to provide a positive or favorable review, just my honest opinion. My review is based on my experience with the product and/or brand, which may differ from yours.

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PulseAudio Vitality Wireless Bluetooth Stereo Headphones

Every once in a while you come across a product that you didn’t know much about and didn’t see much use for, until you try it, and suddenly understand what all the hub-bub is about. That’s exactly what happened to me with these PulseAudio Vitality bluetooth headphones. I now don’t know how I ever got along without them. Come with me as we explore why.

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Let’s be honest, there’s few things on this earth more annoying than having your earbuds ripped out of your ears. It’s somewhere between “nails on a chalkboard” and ” loud high-pitched whine”.  And we mostly do it ourselves because our earphone cord hangs down and gets caught on whatever (Or whoever) is nearest. I’m here to tell you that with PulseAudio’s Vitality bluetooth earbuds, that’s a thing of the past. And it doesn’t mean sacrificing every drop of sound quality either. Because the sound? It’s quality. It’s not like it’s reference quality, but I’ve paid more and gotten less when it comes to the sound, and they weren’t bluetooth either. And lest you think that means some giant ungainly boxes over your ears like the old FM radio headphones of yesteryear (Full disclosure, I actually owned some of those. Not to date myself here or anything!). No, these are fairly small, fairly light, but set securely in your ear and have plenty more to offer still. They are BlueTooth 4.1 compliant, and also offer NFC wireless capabilities, so all your latest devices are guaranteed to work. They come complete with a nifty little travel pouch, a charging cable, and multiple sizes of silicone buds/stabilizers for all ear sizes and types!

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See, these also have controls for volume, and can double as a hands-free headset for your smartphone! Honestly, I’m shocked they managed to cram so much in such a small package. Powered by lithium-polymer batteries, they have plenty of power (Up to 8 hours!) to last you pretty much all day. If I had a nit to pick, it would be that a couple of the buttons were hard, if not nearly impossible to get to easily by our resident sausage-finger, aka, Hubby. The price is pretty steep too, considering that rival bluetooth earbuds could be had for less than half the cost, but without knowing the quality of the sound of these rivals, I can’t say, dollar for dollar, if they are truly a value. Also, at $59.99, they could have included a wall charger instead of piggy backing on one you already own, or your handy USB charging hub. But they do include a 1-year warranty, so that’s a major plus as well. So overall the positives far outweigh the few minor negatives, and I’m very happy with these PulseAudio Vitality headphones.

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I received the above product(s) free of charge from PulseAudio.  I am not obligated to provide a positive or favorable review, just my honest opinion.  My review is based on my experience with the product and/or brand, which may differ from yours.

Fusion 4K High-Speed 4K HDMI Cable Review

Ever since the introduction of high-definition television sets, there has been a glut of misinformation and confusion in the marketplace, most often fostered, if not outright encouraged, by the very people purporting to help you make heads or tails of all of it. One of the biggest upsells that people got stuck with was HDMI cables. A certain marketplace “monster” made a killing selling grossly overpriced HDMI (and a plethora of other) cables to the unwitting consumer, and retailers were only too happy to play along, because there was an unbelievable amount of markup and profit to be made. The same goes for “calibrating” your new TV, but that’s a post for another day. Today we get to go over Fusion4K’s high-speed HDMI cable.

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To start, most of us do not have a 4K TV.  4K is considered “Ultra High Definition”, which is a horizontal resolution on the order of 4,000 pixels. Far in excess of what the current high definition standard is, and far beyond the capabilities of most affordable consumer electronics. There is also precious little 4K content out there either, so rushing out and getting the “bleeding edge” of technology is not advised. Likewise, we’re pushing past the boundaries of what the human eye can even distinguish as far as resolution. I say all that to tell you that while this cable is capable of transmitting 4K resolution, 3D, x.v.Color, sYCC601, Adobe RGB, and has all the bells and whistles of gold-plated connectors, heavy duty braided shielding, and what feels like heavy gauge (the don’t state the wire gauge on the package or the Amazon listing) 100% copper cores, there’s absolutely no reason to spend 5 times the money of a Monoprice or Amazon Basics cable. It’s a digital cable. It conforms to the HDMI 2.0 standard, so it works, or it doesn’t. Everything else is smoke and mirrors. What’s worse is the warranty. Monoprice, for example, will warranty their cables for life. And I know this because they’ve replaced, at no cost, a cable that failed me. It was 8 years old, covered in shmutz and they didn’t care. 3 days later, brand new cable. Fusion 4K warranties theirs for just 1 year.

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The picture from Fusion4K’s cable was identical to the Monoprice cable I have installed normally. It was also identical to the cheap no-name cable that was  included years ago in some package or another that we keep around as a spare. So between the $35 3ft Fusion4K cable, the $5 6ft. Monoprice cable, and the free 6ft. no-name cable, there was not a single visual or aural difference, no performance issues, no connection issues, no signal issues. I can not see a single reason to pay such an absurd markup for a cable that performs exactly the same as every other cable I’ve tested. The plusses are that it transmits ethernet signal for your connected smart TV, it’s HDMI 2.0 compliant, it feels like a heavy-gauge cable, and has similar braided shielding as those that are rated for in-wall installation, though it doesn’t specifically state that it is safe for an in-wall installation. But it’s major negative is the price. So yes, it works, but I don’t see why you’d need to pay nearly $40 for a 3ft. cable (and let’s be honest, most of us need a 6ft or longer cable, which bumps the price up to $49.99) when the cheap basic ones perform exactly the same, spec for spec. The choice is yours.

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I received the above product(s) free of charge from Fusion4K.  I am not obligated to provide a positive or favorable review, just my honest opinion.  My review is based on my experience with the product and/or brand, which may differ from yours.

Finally, a true, wireless All-in-One wonder!

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I’ve been doing a lot of crafting lately. Aside from the staples needed to be “crafty”, what has become indispensable is a good printer. I’ve had and used quite a few over the years, some good, some bad, one or two truly awesome. But when I got a chance to try a honest to goodness “All-in-One” printer, I was giddy. One that prints, copies, scan, and prints pictures. And, as a cherry on top, it will do it wirelessly. HP’s Envy 4500 boasts all these features and more. And while it does most everything you ask of it quickly, painlessly, and with quality, there were some hiccups I would be remiss if I didn’t highlight as well.

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This HP Envy 4500 is prints quickly,up to 21ppm speed, and has sharp, crisp blacks. And the bright, vivid colors, pops on all types of papers, especially genuine HP photo paper. But, this HP Envy also wants to save you time by offering 2-sided printing! Oh, huzzah! No more waiting for a document to reinsert and then hope and pray you guessed the correct orientation. I’m also loving the photo printing, because there’s nothing worse than sorting through page after page of clip art, finding that one gem, and seeing it printed like it’s a lousy dot-matrix printer from the 80’s and all the detail is LOST. That isn’t how the HP Envy 4500 rolls. And I haven’t even got to the best part. Wireless printing. Be it from your laptop, your tablet, or your smartphone, everything you need to print, you can in a snap. Once you connect the printer to your home network, you’re golden. Your 100 page tray is you’re only limitation, because the work can be printed from your fingertips. And with a one-year warranty, and 24/7 tech support just a phone call away, but it’s sometimes hit or miss if you get someone who will help, or asks you if the printer is plugged in.

DSC_0007 (2)Now, I must mention the hiccups. This is my third HP printer. Every HP product I’ve ever owned has been rock solid in their build, and this one is really no exception. The chink in the armor with HP’s software. It’s always been a little buggy, for as long as I’ve owned HP products (I’ve beta tested for them in the past too), and this software is no exception. And, most frustratingly, is the constant “pop-up” asking me to sign up to HP’s ink cartridge subscription program. No means no, people. But once you get past that, you get to the quick printing, the colors that pop, and the privilege of not having to drag your devices across the house to print anything and everything. To scan documents and upload them from three rooms away. There’s a lot to like about this printer, and I’m happy I got to try it.

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**An addendum to this review previously posted, on Amazon, on July 22nd, is that the software seems to be somewhat corrupted, or very faulty. It loses it’s connection almost every day and jams fairly frequently now too. It’s also quite the ink hog, as I’m already being told to replace the black ink cartridge. I recant my previous recommendation because really, it isn’t doing any of the things it’s supposed to do very well. When it does print, it’s gorgeous. But no one wants a crap shoot when they click “print”. You want to know it’s going to work the first time, every time. **
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I received the above product(s) free of charge for the purposes of review . I am not obligated to provide a positive or favorable review, just my honest opinion. My review is based on my experience with the product and/or brand, which may differ from yours.

Amazon Kindle Fire HD6 Review

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I am no stranger to tech. Even though it isn’t featured much on my blog, tech tools have been invaluable to me in almost every facet of what you see on here. So when I was offered a chance to review an Amazon Fire HD6 tablet from Third Voice Marketing, I said “You betcha!”. I’m always on the lookout for things to make my life a little easier, and a multi-tasker like a tablet is a sure fire way to get many things done, even on the go.

I may have been spoiled by hubby’s Nexus devices. While only sporting 7″ screens, they make the most of the real estate and have fabulous visuals and specs to boot. Sadly, the Fire HD6 fails to meet my lofty expectations. From the start, it feels thicker, clunkier and heavier (though it is lighter!) than the larger Nexus 7. The screen almost looks to be set further into the device. It’s resolution is 1280 x 800 (252ppi), which is a far cry from the 1920 x 1200 (323ppi) I’m used to. For a stand alone reader that would be fine. When a major selling point is full access to Amazon Prime features like the HD VOD service, that isn’t so fine. More on that later. Both sport Corning Gorilla Glass, both have front and rear cameras, both have quad-core processors,wi-fi, bluetooth and access to a wide array of apps. So, since one is more expensive than the other, you’d be inclined to forgive the screen issues and focus on what Amazon got right. Right?
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What amazon got right was the price. Sold for as low as $84 recently, you’d be hard-pressed to find a quad-core device of equal build quality for less. and with 1GB of RAM, it should handle light mobile games, email and some light web browsing with aplomb. But when you get to the software, that’s where things go off the rails for me. Amazon skinned over the lovely Android Kit Kat OS with their own proprietary features, much to the detriment of the user experience. Perhaps it’s because I’m used to a pure Android experience, but the devices seems seriously hamstrung by the Fire OS. You lose access to the Google Play store, you lose access to a synced Chrome (and all it’s bookmarks with no way to import them), you lose access to the device synchronicity you’re accustomed to, and you’re forced into an ecosystem that is geared towards Amazon consumption at the cost of being truly user friendly.
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I found myself constantly frustrated by trying to do what I’ve been doing with my Android devices for years now, only have to try to learn Amazon’s way of doing it instead. Yuck. What’s worse is when you get into heavy web browsing, downloading, or typing, you get so much lag you want to fling the thing into the nearest wall. All the ports are at the top of the device, the single rear speaker is absolutely awful, and the camera, at 2MP, is positively anemic. Though it does sport an HDR mode and a wide array of editing tools, the pictures will never be anything to write home about, especially in low ligIMAG2381ht conditions. The screen size is frustrating for me tapping and touching with normal sized fingers, and Hubby couldn’t do squat with his much bigger Hubby paws. Amazon does sport it’s own app store, but more than a few of the versions of the apps available, while seemingly identical to their Google App and Apple App Store cousins, are usually a few versions behind. Because, let’s face it, there are two big dogsIMAG2382 on the app block, and it doesn’t make sense to spend a bundle on development for the two little dogs with very little market penetration, Amazon and Windows. Amazon has also locked the bootloader, which means no third party development is available, which is another huge upside for normal Android devices, and a liability for Kindles.
I like having access to my Amazon Prime benefits. I like being able to stream my free video and audio benefits seamIMAG2380lessly. I like the Kindle features that go above and beyond the Kindle apps available for all my other devices. I like that it is small enough to drop in my purse and not know it’s there. It seems to be very sturdily built with unobtrusive buttons that don’t get hit accidentally. And I like the price. Aside from that, there is also plenty to make me say that I doubt I’d buy a Kindle on my own any time soon. The proprietary, frustrating nature of the OS. The ads on the lock screen. The focus on the “Amazon experience” and not the customer experience. The lack of synchronicity. The screen. And some personal experience. The memory on my first device was corrupted, and the charging port was borked. Amazon sent a replacement next-day air. But after several rounds with their “customer service” chat to figure out how to connect the device to my TV for a true HD video experience (6 different chats got me 6 different failed methods), I eventually gave up and resigned myself to a 6″ sub-HD screen for the foreseeable future. I also don’t know how I only have 3.5 GB of space on a 8GB device when it arrives. Too small to download a movie, and very little space for apps, media, or really, anything.
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I’ve used Samsung Galaxy Devices, LG devices, Asus devices, and Nexus devices. Kindle is dead last in my user experience.I wanted to like my Kindle. I wanted one for some time. Amazon shot for the moon with their Kindle devices and instead, for me, shot themselves in the foot. Perhaps I expected too much. As I stated, for a reader, it’s awesome. If you don’t mind the screen or speaker, the access to Amazon’s Instant Video and Music is phenomenal. And Amazon gives a you a 30-day, 100% satisfaction guarantee, but return shipping is at your cost. If it’s for youngsters, you have a relatively well built, relatively inexpensive device that they can stream the occasional video, play a few games, and read a few books. For a grown up, you’re better off buying a grown up device.
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I received the above product(s) free of charge from Third Voice Marketing.  I am not obligated to provide a positive or favorable review, just my honest opinion.  My review is based on my experience with the product and/or brand, which may differ from yours.

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