Power Outage

We live in a high-tech world, no matter where we reside; and thus we have resources at our beck and call. Take power for example. Electricity is almost universal (and the hallmark of progress), but power can sometimes go out in the most modern places. It is surprising how often it does when there is an overload on the system such as a hot day in New York City, or during a hurricane in Florida. If so, we resort to the latest technology such as a backup generator. It is odd that so few people own them. They are very affordable unless you want a whole-house size and then it can run up to a thousand dollars or more. But if you want ultimate protection during an outage, with all bases covered, this is the way to go. You can buy a generator to run your basic appliances or one that can run the AC as well. It all comes down to comfort level. What can’t you live without? The toaster, the coffeemaker, your hair dryer or electric razor?

I speak from experience having had one or more such outages in the last few years. It can be mighty inconvenient if you are in the middle of something important, like watching your favorite movie on TV. What if you are cooking dinner or snuggled under that cozy electric blanket on a cold winter’s night. Even the best utility company can run into trouble. Then there are the times when the power lines go down because of a windstorm or someone has crashed into a pole. Since you can’t count 100% on uninterrupted power, it is best to be prepared with a good portable generator at the very least.

If I had to select one for you, I would vote for the Ariens 7500 Watt Electric Start Portable Generator w/ Honda GX Engine that runs about $1,000. As emergency generators go, this is a good, reliable choice to back up essentials in a home during an outage. It has a reliable commercial grade engine so you get plenty of power. It has an easy-to use battery operated starting system with recoil backup. You push a button and it is in operational mode in a flash. A nice feature is that it alerts you when oil is running low at an unsafe level. But not to worry, with its 9-gallon metal fuel tank, you get up to 12 hours of run time. Finally, it has a brush-type alternator with auto voltage regulation to prevent damaging voltage spikes that can harm your electronics. I might add that it has easily connect extension cords and a manual transfer switch.

My personal portable backup generator has seen me through some rather hard times and I am sure one of these marvels will do the same for you. If you live in an area vulnerable to outages, by all means have a look at the Honda engine model and others of a similar ilk. You never know when you will need it.

Fair and Unbiased Reviews

As a student at the University of Zagreb studying Information and Communication Technology, I am in the thick of things in this current round of the digital revolution; and it is a pretty exciting place to be. The Internet has changed the world more than we ever predicted, and it keeps moving on, dragging even the most reluctant with it. No generation is untouched by its blessings. Most everyone uses it liberally on a regular basis, saying, “we could never live without it.”

What you can learn goes from the deepest and most profound to the simplest practical matter. Let’s just look at the kitchen sink. If you use a search engine, you will find ample reviews, one more comprehensive than the other. In minutes, you are in the know on any subject on earth—including products with fair and unbiased reviews. To demonstrate how the resources available, let me offer a humble review. You will see that the Internet is the most important tool in your life if you know how to use it properly.

The kitchen sink 

Apart from appliances, the kitchen sink is indeed the heart of the kitchen, adjacent to where most food prep takes place. They come in many sizes and materials from a one basin farm sink to a double stainless steel undermount sink. If quality is there, it comes down to décor and style. Then there is the practical matter of the faucet style and what is best for optimal operation. Let’s review the Moen. Known for great looks, a faucet by this manufacturer is a head-turning centerpiece for the kitchen, combining the latest innovation with design sophistication. This succinctly describes the Nori chrome one-handle high arc pulldown kitchen faucet. You get a plethora of features to accompany its bold modern statement. This beauty is hard to overlook.

  • Highly-reflective chrome finish
  • employs the Reflex™ system for smooth operation, easy movement and secure docking of the pulldown/pullout spray head
  • features Duralock™ quick connect system for easy installation
  • the clever pulldown design offers instant water delivery
  • one–handle lever handles make it easy to adjust the flow
  • aerated stream for everyday cleaning; more powerful rinse for heavy–duty jobs
  • convenient soap/lotion dispenser
  • standard design mounts on the sink or countertop
  • Power Clean™ spray technology provides 50% more spray power versus most pulldown and pullout faucets.

A thorough review of a product isn’t complete without testimonials to help buyers assess real life responses. Here is a sampling for this Nori faucet:

Very stylish and functional. It has all the features we were looking for!!

A beautiful, very functional faucet. This is easy to operate and a huge upgrade for our kitchen.

Was amazed how easy it was to install. Like the soap dispenser.

From this sample, you can see that a typical review includes an overview of a product, basic features and/or specifications, and consumer testimonials. There should be a suggestion of why you would choose this particular product, such as superior design or functionality. Buying online is quick and easy given that most websites use a similar format for easy perusing.

Inspiration Boards

You can find home gym equipment using Pinterest, the world’s catalogue of ideas. Just check out the inspiration boards. I found Bowflex and their Power Rod system in the Xtreme model 2 SE. It’s a good thing I was looking to spend a bundle as this one runs well over $1,000. But you get your money’s worth. You can change exercises quickly and easily with no cable changes. I love that. It has a ton of things to do and has added an ab crunch shoulder harness and ergonomically designed adjustable seat. Once you land on a reputable site like Fitness Select, you learn all the basic features and benefits.

210 lbs. of Power Rod® Resistance Standard
The Bowflex® Power Rod® gives you resistance, or weight, that feels as good as or better than free weights but without the inertia or risk of joint pain usually associated with free weights. The Bowflex Xtreme® 2 SE comes standard with 210 lbs. / 95 kg and is upgradeable up to 310 lbs. / 140 kg or 410 lbs. / 186 kg!

Revolutionary No-Change Cable Pulley System
This feature lets you move from squats to lats to leg workouts without ever changing cables. That means you’ll save time and keep your heart rate up as you progress through your workout. Athletes love this advantage.

Lat Tower with Angled Lat Bar
Build back and shoulder muscles quickly with this integrated tower.

4-Position Lower Pulley/Squat Station
Use this station to do squats and build your glutes, hamstrings and quads.

Leg Extension
Use for exercises to develop strong, muscular legs.

Abdominal Crunch Shoulder Harness
All new ab harness and ab pulley bar help you build strong, defined abs.

Ergonomic Adjustable Seat with Polyurethane Cushion
New design provides added back support for leg exercises and knee support for lat exercises.

Compact Size for Smaller Workout Space
Gym-style vertical workout position. Reinforced “X”-shaped base for maximum stability.

5-Way Hand-Grip/Ankle Cuffs

The unique handgrip is designed to add flexibility and performance to any workout. Functions include a Regular Grip, Non-Grip Cuff, Ankle Cuff, Foot Cuff and a Shoulder Cuff.

Multiple Cable/Pulley Positions
Designed to change your angle of resistance so you can increase the effectiveness of many exercises.

Owner’s Manual/Fitness Guide
Complete with detailed instructions for each exercise.

This Bowflex complete home gym is an all-in-one concept for people like me who want it easy but effective. I kept coming back to it online after searching wildly for hours for home gyms. I like the known brand name and solid reputation. That counts for a lot. When querying people on social media, I didn’t hear anything bad about it. It is nice you can confirm your choices so easily with the public. Ah, the wonders of the digital revolution. You can post photos and get feedback, use Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and YouTube to find out info and more. Thanks to the inspiration boards on Pinterest, I am happily working out on my own time and getting more toned every day. I don’t regret considering some other systems since all is going so well so far.

How-To Help

I am not embarrassed to say that sometimes I feel glued to my laptop screen. It’s not that I play games—I could do that on my cell phone. It’s not that I have 500 Facebook friends and send out 300 Tweets a day. It is that I am a true information junkie. Someone mentions a subject, and I go and look it up. What a great way to get educated! It’s the modern way of life. In a relatively short period of time, you get to know a lot of stuff. For example, recently I wanted to learn how to use a stand up paddle board since I was going out on the water with friends. Where else to go but YouTube for a how-to-help video.

First I searched for paddle boards and got an overview of these devices. I read about the ones for sale and assessed their different features and appearance. Many websites have embedded explainer videos so you can envision yourself using the product. There is a certain amount of fantasy with water sports as with any land sports. Man against nature! It is a kind of alternate existence to be outdoors fighting the elements and winning. It is all about confidence, fun, camaraderie, and cool equipment.

From YouTube I found I like the Jimmy Styks’ Scout Paradise Stand-Up Paddleboard because of its great stability and buoyancy. You get a smooth, comfortable ride in most conditions. Who knew you could learn to ride the waves from a video without placing a toe in the water. The video talked about the materials: the expanded polystyrene blank core with a ¼ inch stringer, a 3-layer fiberglass/epoxy glass schedule applied to the deck for standing support and a lighter 2-layer fiberglass/epoxy glass schedule applied to the bottom for minimized board wait. Wow! And a final clear coat is applied for a polished, lasting luster.

It helps you understand why these boards work the way they do with such finesse. They explain that adequate volume will help you glide more smoothly across the surface of the water. It is all about rider weight and skill level. Then there is something called “rocker” which refers to the shape of the board and the upward bend of the nose and tail when it is lying flat. Boards have varying degrees of rocker: the one in question—the Scout Paradise– has a 5.5 inch nose rocker that keeps the board above the water surface for planning wind-chopped water, and a 3 inch tail rocker that allows for pivoting during turns. As the video states it, even beginners can’t go wrong with this construction for flatwater cruising to ocean paddling.

Apparently, I learned a lot about my preferred paddleboard from the YouTube video, but not so much that I didn’t check out a dozen more. You get hooked on them. No wonder they go viral. Some are compelling. With the paddleboard instructions, I came to respect the sport and can’t wait to get out on the water.

Don’t Believe the Hype

When I need something—I am talking about information or perhaps a new product or service—I rush to my laptop and start searching. The Internet is the great modern font of knowledge, and one that is beyond comprehension. I have never been disappointed with what I have found, perhaps until now. When looking to acquire a pressure washer for the exterior of my home, the garage, and the yard, I started surveying the reviews. On some sites, while doing my due diligence, I suspected false testimonials. They sounded canned and overly positive. Most real reviews of electric pressure washers, or any product for that matter, are mixed. This is especially true when you get into the budget price range, where quality is not always ensured. You get some pros and cons. Everything can’t be just perfect. How does one know if the reviews are fake?

I think it comes down to your sixth sense. Having read hundreds, I have a general feeling when I am conned. I think you have to look at the entire site as a whole: how the product, for example, is presented objectively and if all information is openly given. An inexperienced web content writer can make the mistake of overhyping something, thus generating considerable suspicion. I would hate to buy something online, only later to find that it is defective in some fundamental way. If it is because the reviews did not include caveats, it speaks ill of that vendor. When you read reviews, you want to know the truth—good and bad. You might still buy a product because it is a good price, but you have a warning about possible problems so you can make an informed decision.

When I see words like “the best ever,” “perfect in every way,” or “you can’t go wrong…” my antenna goes up. I want to know what is on the other side of the coin. There has to be something! Maybe there are several positive reviews in a row, but you want to scroll down and find at least one that gives you the heads up on problems. It is really an issue of business ethics to fake product reviews. I know people who write them for a living for money; and they never got near the product in the first place. This is like the fake reviews of books on Amazon. It is time to call attention to the matter and stop this bogus practice. The consumer is the victim, without even knowing it.

If the Internet is to stay the great information machine that it has become, we have to be able to rely on accuracy and veracity. We have to come together as a digital community and demand quality content. Sure, e-commerce is all about making money; and when that happens, standards often go. Most everyone has read one or two of these fake reviews so there are enough of us out there in the know about this problem to band together and take action. Let the bloggers have their say. I am the first in line today.