Product Review

Product Review

Three Hours of Cheap HomeJoy House Cleaning Gave Me Back My Self-Respect

Three Hours of Cheap House Cleaning Gave Me Back My Self-Respect

Alternatively you could just get something to cover your dirty windows at

The thought of paying another human being to clean the microscopically small room I call an apartment has seemed, for the entirety of my adult life, utterly beyond the realm of possibility. I don’t make “house cleaning” money; I don’t even make “use a tea bag only once” money. In my mind, house cleaning was […]

Product Review

A Guide to the Cheapest Glasses on the Internet (About $20 or Less)

This guy knows what I'm talking about.

I haven’t worn glasses in years, even though I definitely should, for the simple fact that I couldn’t afford a new prescription. Once my Medi-Cal kicked in, however, you best believe I got myself a script. Since the eye exam was free, I decided it was high time to take the first step toward being […]

Product Review

Why Did I Buy This? With Grant Pardee: Roomba Review


Roombas can be a great addition to your home and make cleaning a more efficient process unless you become emotionally dependent on them. In this video, I give the iRobot Vacuum Cleaning Robot ($400 on Amazon) a spin around the house and enjoy watching the little guy clean up after me, scare the cats, fight with my drone, and then ultimately become a horrible drunk monster before returning to it’s dock. All in all, the Roomba is a great buy as long as you can handle it.

Product Review

Convert Your DVDs to Digital Movies for Free

MacX DVD Ripper Pro

Remember all those DVDs you bought back in the days when watching a movie meant watching a DVD? Now they’re probably collecting dust on a shelf, having been replaced by the likes of Amazon, Netflix, Hulu, HBO Go, and maybe even Vudu. (Ha, ha, I know: good one.)

Yep, those discs are veritable dinosaurs these days, about as practical as vinyl records and VHS cassettes. And yet it’s possible to resurrect your DVDs for a very practical purpose: Watching those movies on your PC, tablet, or smartphone. All you need is the right software.

Specifically, a DVD ripper. Don’t let the name scare you: the process of “ripping” merely means copying the movie files from a disc and converting them to a format that’s compatible with the aforementioned devices.

Product Review

Finally, A Mobile Charger That’s Both Smart And Sexy


Mobile chargers are kind of a hot category these days, which is understandable given the ubiquity of smartphones and their insatiable thirst for power.

To put it another way: your smartphone is always running out of juice, and always at the worst times (like when you need to make a call or you’re about to finally beat that impossible Candy Crush Saga level).

I’ve seen mobile chargers in all shapes and sizes, many of them squeezing their way into card-size frames that can easily slip into a pocket, purse, or even wallet. But as cool as that sounds, they typically have ugly plastic shells and anemic batteries.

That’s why I’m jazzed about the LithiumCard, which combines slick looks and smart design. It’s currently seeking backers on crowd-funding site Indiegogo, but has already blown past its funding goals, meaning it’s just a matter of time before it goes into production.

Product Review

Review: Martian Passport watch not quite smart enough


My recipe for the perfect smartwatch is pretty simple.

First, it should look classy, not clunky, ugly, and tech-y.

Second, it shouldn’t try to do too much. It should be an extension of your phone, providing notifications and information, nothing more.

Third, it should last for at least a week before needing to be recharged.

Finally, it should cost no more than $100.

The Martian Passport is not the perfect smartwatch. It gets a lot of things right, but also misfires in a few key areas — not the least of which is basic wristwatch duty.

At first glance, the Passport looks pretty snazzy, with its analog face and shiny chrome casing. It’s available with a black or white face, though the black one (which I tested) has a decidedly non-snazzy rubber wristband. The white one comes with a leather band.

Product Review

Ematic EGP008 review: A dirt-cheap 8-inch tablet. Is it any good?


When I see the words “8-inch Android tablet” paired with the numbers “$129.99,” I sit up and take notice.

After all, Apple’s new 8-inch (well, 7.9-inch) iPad Mini just debuted with a starting price of $399. A tablet that costs a whopping $270 less must be a hunk of junk, right?
That was my thinking as I approached the Ematic EGP008, a new tablet that, on paper, seems a little too good to be true.
Available in your choice of black, blue, gray, or red, the EGP008 looks like most other tablets in its class. It’s nicely tapered at the rear, and its gently rounded edges make for a comfortable grip. It also feels reasonably light, weighing just a hair over one pound.
The backside also has labels for the various items along the bottom edge, which include the power button, headphone jack, microUSB and microHDMI ports, and microSD slot.
Product Review

Kindle Fire HDX Review: Evolution is Good


To look at the 7-inch Kindle Fire HDX, Amazon’s third-generation tablet to bear the Fire moniker, you wouldn’t know much has changed.

Product Review

Virgin Mobile Supreme review: The no-contract smartphone you’ve been waiting for

If you’ve been looking to buy a smartphone on the cheap, meaning with low monthly rates and without a two-year contract, you know that there are plenty of Android-powered options out there.
The problem is, most of those phones have small screens, old operating systems, slow processors, limited features, 3G-only connectivity, or some other catalog of compromises.
That’s why I’m thoroughly excited by the Virgin Mobile Supreme, a 5-inch powerhouse of a smartphone that’s quite possibly the best deal no-contract I’ve seen yet.
I’ll get to the specifics in a minute.
Product Review

AOC E1659Fwu 16-inch USB-powered monitor review


When it comes to productivity, nothing beats a second monitor. At its most basic, it lets you keep two full-screen windows open simultaneously: browser here, word processor there, and so on.

Indeed, I’ll often run Chrome on one monitor and Outlook on the other. Being able to see both at the same time is a huge benefit, to say nothing of a time-saver.
But second screens are also great in customer-service environments, like when you’re working behind a desk and want a client sitting opposite to be able to see what you’re seeing. And if PowerPoint is your thing, you’ll love being able to show a presentation to everyone at the conference table while still interacting with your laptop.

Product Review

Review: Limeade Blast L180X mobile charger


All mobile chargers are created more or less equal, right?

Wrong. Some lack the juice to charge larger devices like e-readers and tablets. Some make you juggle a bunch of different cords and tips, a huge hassle. And some will barely top off your smartphone more than once.
The Limeade Blast L180X conquers all those problems, and then some. But is it the best mobile charger you can buy?
Regular readers know that I’m a fan of the MyCharge Peak 6000, which features, among other things, built-in connectors for two common ports: Apple 30-pin and microUSB.
Product Review

4 ways to get organized with NeatDesk


Every year, mostly during tax time, you’ll see me hunched over a shoe box with a whole year of piled up receipts. Going through each of those receipts and filing them under dates and categories is a very time consuming job.

I dread every minute of it and it gives me anxiety, especially when I get a call from my tax guy trying to set up an appointment for our yearly tax return. I’m sure many of you, if not all of you can relate to this scenario.

So this year, I have the perfect solution to my dreaded drama, NeatDesk. Just like the name, no more messy desk, no more shoe boxes to hunch over and a road to keeping my sanity and composure on a daily basis. Sounds too good to be true? I feel you and that’s why the team over at NeatDesk sent me one to test to see if it’s really too good to be true.

Product Review

Review: The Braven 850 might be the best Bluetooth speaker ever


I’ve long been a fan of Bluetooth speakers, which pair wirelessly with your smartphone or tablet to provide a kind of self-contained Sonos system: Your music library, plus services like Pandora and Spotify, streamed to any room in the house.

However, with rare exception, these speakers tend to be small and underpowered, which is problem if you want to use one in, say, a large room or at the beach. Or to serve up tunes at a noisy party.
The Braven 850 is a portable Bluetooth speaker that’s surprisingly powerful given its compact size. I’ve been playing with one for the past couple weeks, and it’s a terrific product. In fact, it’s my favorite Bluetooth speaker to date.
The 850 measures 9.5 x 4 x 2.8 inches, roughly the same size as the more celebrated Jawbone Big Jambox.
Product Review

Hula hoop your weight off with Cardio Core & More


If you’re in the midst of searching for an at-home workout program, I’ve got one that will bring back childhood memories. With Cardio Core & More, you can take the weight off with a hula hoop workout program.

While it may sound far-fetched, do you remember your younger years when you went into the backyard and counted how many times you could hula hoop and you would try to one-up your friends? It never did feel like a workout and it was more about having fun.

With that concept in mind, Cardio Core and More takes the fun in hula hooping and integrates it into a  whole body fitness program. You work your core, your arms, your thighs and more. It’s hula hooping to the next level!

Product Review

Roku 3 review: The best streaming box you can buy, period


I don’t mind telling you I have three Roku boxes in my house. That’s not me being boastful; it’s me revealing how much I love Roku boxes.

The new $99.99 Roku 3 takes the place of the Roku 2 XS as the high-end model in the line, and it’s without a doubt the company’s best box yet. But questions remain: Is it worth the extra cash, and does it beat the Apple TV at its own media-streaming game?

For the uninitiated, a Roku box plugs into one of your TV’s HDMI ports, then serves up nearly every video and audio service known to man: Amazon Instant Video, Hulu Plus, HBO Go, Netflix, Pandora, Slacker, Spotify, TuneIn Radio, Vudu, and literally hundreds of others.

An Apple TV does much the same thing, with two key advantages: It lets you stream content (photos, music, games, etc.) straight from your iPhone or iPad, and it has a YouTube channel–something Roku continues to lack.

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