Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Top 10 Deals for August 2009

The 10 Most Popular Deals on dealnews in August, based on clicks.
  1. Ann Taylor LOFT women's dresses for $5 + $9 s&h, more
  2. Up to 70% off Suncloud sunglasses at REI.com: Deals from $15 + $6 s&h
  3. Lands' End Men's Shoes from $10 + free shipping
  4. 75% off Garden Treasures patio furniture at Lowe's: Deals from $9 + pickup
  5. EMS Semi-Annual Footwear Clearance: The North Face Sandals from $8 + $7 s&h, more
  6. Up to 80% off footwear at Teva.com: Deals from $20 + $6 s&h
  7. Men's athletic apparel roundup: Nike Performance Polo for $16 + $1, more
  8. BuyCostumes.com coupon: 10% off $30 or more
  9. Lands' End women's swimsuits (limited sizes) : 90% off or more + free shipping
  10. App Store Freebies: Golf Etiquette, Evil Goniometer, Alarm Clock Plus, more
BuyCostumes of course had the Star Wars Sexy Princess Leia Adult Costume on sale.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Which laptop feature matters least?

Interesting. I asked this question from Louis, Jeff Somogyi, and Jim:

I'm building an HP laptop to use for our Facebook giveaway, and I'm working within a budget. Which one of these features would you think matters least?
  • 512MB ATI Radeon(TM) HD 4530 Graphics (compared to default graphics)
  • Blu-Ray ROM with SuperMulti DVD+/-R/RW Double Layer (compared to DVD burner)
  • 12 Cell Lithium Ion Battery (compared to 6-cell)
Each person gave me very different answers:
  • Louis: "Hmm, if it's a 16" or bigger [it is], I'd say the battery is least important. Those machines are too clunky too lug around. Esp w/ a video card ... you're gonna want to plug into an AC outlet otherwise battery will wipe out fast."
  • Jeff S.: "Hmm ... looks to me like of each of those choices would benefit from the others, but I'd have to say graphics. Long battery life is a great feature, as is Blu-ray. And the graphics card shouldn't matter TOO much, unless someone wants to do video editing.
  • Jim: "For me, it would be Blu-ray. You can't ever replace the graphics, I give that a high priority. Everything else can be upgraded later."
Wow, three PC users (Jim and Louis also use Macs) who share a lot of interests, and three completely different answers.

I decided to take Jim's advice and dump Blu-ray. The fact of the matter is, I just don't think as many people care about having a laptop play Blu-ray movies compared to having faster graphics (especially for games) and having a longer battery life. But if I'm wrong, a Blu-ray drive can usually be added later.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Meh on Wine.Woot

Over the past year, I've placed eight orders from Wine.Woot.com.

The first order was for a Willamette Valley Vineyards Pinot Noir Trio. I must say, that wine was brilliant.

So, I figured I'd try it again. I ordered a Block 13 Cabernet Sauvignon 4-Pack, about $14/bottle. It was very good, and definitely worth $14/btl.

I concluded that Wine.Woot is a good way to try new wines at discount prices ... a way to learn wines. Wine.Woot had earned my trust. Over the next few months, I placed the following orders (given with my ratings):
  • Colores Del Sol Argentina Malbec Trio ($14/btl) = sux
  • Titus Vineyards 2-Pack ($32/btl) = particularly disappointing
  • Clos La Chance Trio ($18/btl) = 1 good, 1 meh, 1 sux
  • Roessler Winery Pinot Noir Trio ($22/btl) = sux
  • Vino Noceto Sangiovese Trio ($22/btl) = I don't even recall
  • Roessler Bluejay Pinot Noir Trio ($22/btl) = sux (think I'd have learned the 1st time)

1) Don't use Wine.Woot as a way to learn about wine. It's too hit & miss. Recently, there have been few bargains, as they keep selling 3-for-$65 wines that don't save much over street price (fortunately, today has a Zin 4-pack for $55).

2) You're much better off going into any good local wine store and asking the staff for recommendations at $20 or less. I've switched to this, using a nice local wine store that's close by, and its hit rate (defined as "better than meh") is 75%.

3) I waste waaaaay too much money ordering crap online.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Sunday, April 26, 2009

iPhone v. Concrete? Winner: Concrete

Friday night, my wife was coming home from work, and her iPhone 16GB slipped out of her fingers as she was taking it out of her purse. It hit the street, and voila:
What did I do when I saw it? Laughed! I mean, OMG it looks like it took a bullet! So of course I took a photo (with my iPhone, ironically) and emailed it to some friends.

A call to AT&T proved unhelpful, so I suggested she go to an Apple Store. They were helpful, but the replacement cost was $300. Ouch. And apparently, you can't insure an iPhone. I'm so buying her a silicone skin for this one.

Update: The Apple Store could have replaced just the screen for $200, but they didn't have any in stock, so we got the replacement phone (a refurb). A new one would have cost $500.

Update2: Courtesy Daniel H.: You can insure an iPhone, just not through Apple or AT&T. Some people use the floating policy on their home insurance, or you can use SquareTrade. I have 3 years of coverage (including full accidental damage) on mine for like $87 (via one of the hefty 30-40% off coupons they usually have). Better than the cost of replacement, and worth the extra lifetime if I decide to skip a generation before upgrading to the latest iPhone. Only caveat is it has to be within like 30 days or so of the purchase date to get it with SquareTrade.

Update3: Jim found that TechRestore fixes them overnight for $100 + $19 s&h.