Oscar Best Picturathon, Part 2

Posted: 2012-02-26 by ilmozart in Movies
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Having not been scared off after the 4-in-a-row movie marathon as part of the AMC Best Picture Showcase, yesterday I completed said marathon with a five-in-a-row movie viewing.

I am happy to report, I have survived,  and am  even looking forward to sitting in a movie theater again.

Last week was a lot of fun, what with the free posters, stress balls and t-shirts. This time around, I was slightly better prepared and brought not only a slew of snacks, but a tote for all my swag. And I gotta say, having a hearty breakfast earlier in the morning didn’t hurt either.

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Oscars Best Pictureathon, Part 1

Posted: 2012-02-22 by ilmozart in Movies
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I am addicted to the Academy Awards.  I haven’t missed watching the Oscars in…well, as far back as my memory goes. Even when I lived in Israel for the year, I managed to sneak off to a friend’s house and watch.  It is my Superball (or is it Superbowl?) It is the pinnacle of my pop culture year.

And, because of that, every year I make it a point to see all the Best Picture nominated films. It used to be easy when there were only 5. Even if one of those 5 was that godawful piece of cinematic garbage Crash, I always managed. Then two years ago, they changed it to 10. But then the Academy realized that the chances of there actually being 10 nomination worthy films a year was a slim bet (hello, The Blind Side), so this year they used some bizarre algorithm/mystical incantation and voila! Only 9 films to watch this year! What a relief. Read the rest of this entry »

Logitech’s M515 Couch Mouse

Posted: 2012-01-25 by Liv in Good, Tech
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Logitech’s M515 couch mouse works on uneven surfaces such your couch, bedspread, thigh, etc. That’s pretty cool especially for “those of you” who are inclined toward sybaritic-ness. But, the feature that best impresses is that this mouse is designed to be activated by touch. What this means is the batteries (two AAs) last a long, long time. For instance, as of now, the battery gage, which is in the mouse settings window) indicates 719 days remain! That’s almost two years. Click on the gage and it changes from days to percent remaining.It still shows 100%. How green is that! How convenient!
Thank you Logitech – you did it again. Love this mouse!

If you liked Uncharted 1 and 2, you will like Uncharted 3. Most of the game plays the same. The story follows a similar structure. You will start by going after some mythical city of treasure. An endless supply of peons will constantly know where you are, and try to stop you on the way out of whatever cave/castle/ruin you just finished solving puzzles in. The mythical city will not be what you thought it was.

This time, however, we learn how Sully and Nathan Drake first met. We also learn more about the ring that Nate has worn around his neck throughout the series. The big baddie this time around is a woman who is the head of some massive, clandestine organization with large, hidden lairs underground. And lots and lots of zealous peons who would like nothing better than to shoot at you from behind cover. …or from a burning building. …or from a sinking ship. These gunmen are a bit overachieving. Read the rest of this entry »

14.4V Cordless Hand Vac CHV1410B

Black and Decker’s Dustbusters have always been and important and handy household tool. The 14.4 volt Cordless Hand Vac is just so awesome it is worth a mention here.

It is more than powerful enough for the pickups – quick or extensive – around the house.  It has a brush that can be flipped down for use or flipped up when you don’t need it. The brush is attached to the unit so it’s there when you need and you don’t have to look for it. The unit has a pull-out wand, which is great for tight spots. The wand is also attached.   Maintaining the unit is so simple. It can be dis-assembled and re-assembled in a few seconds. The clear canister lets us see when it’s time to remove the dirt and dust, which we do with our larger Meile canister vacuum. This way the dust  does not get re-admitted into our home!   The battery lasts and lasts.  We’ve been using this B&D hand vac daily for more than a year and there has been no sign of  weakening.  Not only is it practical and efficient, its design is attractive.

Black And Decker lists it at $72 but places like Target, Bed Bath and Beyond, Amazon have it available less than $40.


Posted: 2011-10-05 by Liv in Good
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Ambient Design’s ArtRage is, well… it’s artrageous!

We were at a press event where Artrage was available to try and where professional painters domonstrated what can be created with this truly remarkable – and inexpensive for what it can do – high end digital painting software. It is windows and Mac compatible and likely (we hope!) to come out with ArtRage for the Android as well. You can paint using your mouse pointing device or, if you have a touch sensitive monitor – you can use your fingers. we tried our hand at some water color simulation on an HP Touchscreen PC. Awesome! If you have an inclination toward painting but don’t want the painters’ supplies expense or to mess with cleaning brushes and stretching canvases, etc., Ambient’s Artrage is the way to go. At this writing you can get ArtRage Studio for U.S. $40 and ArtRage Studo Pro for U.S. $80.

Here is a link to a very nice detailed hands-on review:
ArtRage: quality digital painting on the cheap.

Cell Phone and Land Line in One Unit

Posted: 2011-09-26 by Liv in Good
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Landline and Cellphone All In One – It’s called the Vtech DS6421-3

You can answer your cell phone and your land line from one handset. You can also make calls via this handset from your cell phone number or your land line number. And it really works. I’m doing that very thing with the vtech DS6421-3 phone system. It comes with three handsets and two bluetooth connections. Pairing the Vtech and the cell phone was a snap. You can add another bluetooth device — for instance a hands free headset or another cell phone. This means you can answer your cell phone or your land line from anywhere in the house. Just rest the cell phones near the Vtech’s phone base and you’re good to go.

If not for Verizon Wireless’ arrogant, dismissive and, in general, bad customer service I would not be enjoying Virgin Mobile now. I would still be paying three times more to Verizon.

About two years ago, I noticed that my Verizon Wireless Motorola smartphone was not getting reliable signal at home – that there were more dead zones in my apartment than live ones. A self described troubleshooter, I began – well troubleshooting. Never expecting anything but a satisfactory resolution, Read the rest of this entry »

By Rachel Stine…

A huge rug, with a couple of deliberately-sewn imperfections, hangs on the wall of the UN lobby “to remind us that nothing is perfect.”

The sleek Playbook by Blackberry might be hung next to that rug.

It is a beautiful machine, weighing in at a comfortable .9 lbs (425g) with the clearest display I have ever seen.

In short, it is so perfect that I have to wonder about a couple of imperfections: deliberately built in? Read the rest of this entry »