Monday, June 20, 2011

Old Spice 3 in 1

Shampoo, body wash and shaving cream... all in the same bottle?

What is not to love?

Seriously, its useful for camping trips, vacations, visiting the girlfriend's home and even day to day use.

And it smells nice.

Note: I am a shampoo fiend... part of is just experimenting with finding a shampoo I love, part of it is I can't resist the differently shaped bottles.

Historically my favourite shampoo is St Ives, but sadly that is no longer on the market.

iPad Vs PlayBook

TECHNOLOGY - And its a clear winner! The Blackberry PlayBook has more stuff, more webcams, is smaller, more lightweight and the number of apps available is EXPLODING outwards.

The Apple iPad is yesterday's news... so much so that Apple is scrambling to come out with the iPad 2 so that they can try and take some steam out of the lines of people going to buy the Blackberry Playbook.

But here's a prediction...

I think the iPad 2 will be a flop. People are still getting used to the first iPad and the people that would have bought an iPad 2 will be made up mostly of Apple fans (and already have the 1st iPad...)... so why would they buy the iPad 2 unless they have money to waste?

On the contrary the Blackberry PlayBook is for people who want something which is COMPATIBLE with their smartphones, their computers and so forth.

The Apple iPad isn't compatible with pretty much anything. Its a stand alone. A pain really.

Therefore, and this is purely my speculation based on past experience with computer and cellphone sales, that Apple will continue to be a minority because of their self-segregation and lack of compatibility with software and hardware platforms.

So it won't matter if Apple comes out with the iPad 2, the iPad 3, the iPad 4, etc... they're still going to be a minority for as long as they're only preaching to their own choir.

Speaking for myself I want a product that is compatible with the other things I use. Otherwise its just useless and annoying.

Einstein and Eddington

ENTERTAINMENT - Einstein and Eddington is a short British film (made for TV) about the role Arthur Eddington played in proving Einstein's theories and making the scientist famous.

It stars David Tennant (Dr Who) as Eddington and Andy Serkis (Gollum from Lord of the Rings) as Einstein.

And I totally recommend this film for anyone who loves physics and/or historical dramas.

It was written by British playwright Peter Moffat.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

iRobot + robotic garbage cans

So I am visiting my parents for father's day and apparently since I last visted my parents decided to buy two things:

#1. An iRobot Roomba vacuum cleaner. I've seen them before when I lived in South Korea, and I totally dig the robotic vacuums. They're awesome.

Or as my mother says "They clean the middle areas and miss the corners, so I guess they clean as well as a man cleans."

#2. A robotic motion sensitive garbage can which they bought at the Price Club (where they also got the iRobot). Technically they got 2 of these, they came as a package of two. The large one they put in the kitchen and the smaller is in the downstairs bathroom.

Of these two robotic devices, I definitely prefer the vacuum. It rocks! But the motion sensitive garbage cans are actually annoying. They don't open as quickly as you want them to, and sometimes you walk by and they open even when you don't want them open. Its like they have minds of their own...

In other news, when do the robots rise up and start sending terminators back in time to kill Sarah Connor?

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Coca-Cola... old and sugary

Did you know Coca-Cola is 125 years old?

Of course the original Coca-Cola was a tonic drink containing cocaine... but whatever.

Now it contains approx. 5-6 tablespoons of sugar.

Pepsi isn't any better either. They're both full of sugar, and if you're like the average American (overweight) then you probably shouldn't be drinking either Pepsi or Coca-Cola.

Thankfully they have made more options over time... I personally can't get enough of Vanilla Coke. And then there is Coke Zero which uses sweetener instead of sugar... which I'd argue that if they can replace the cocaine with sugar, maybe its time Coca-Cola switched entirely to sweetener.

Its a risky move however and would hurt Coca-Cola's sales.

Unless they did it slooooooowly... like add sweetener and sugar on a % basis and increase the % of sweetener over time.

Otherwise I will admit that I am pretty much boycotting Coca-Cola and only drinking it on special occassions. Blame my belief that I'd rather drink juice or milk or something healthy.

That and being an adult I can just drink beer now. Why the **** would I drink coke when I can have beer??? :)

Allergy medications

Reactin, Claritin, Allegra... they all seem to do the same thing for so many years, then they start to become less effective (you build up resistance to them) and eventually they seem to stop working.

Apparently nobody can make an allergy medication that consistently works permanently.

Another annoying thing is that they don't make an "extra strength" version for very bad allergy days.

Like today... when I encountered hayfever, dust and apparently I am also allergic to peonies.

Shoppers Drugmart... where's the medications?

Okay I am really pissed off at the direction Shoppers Drugmart has taken...

Seriously, go to a Shoppers Drugmart sometime and just browse the aisles... don't actually buy anything.

While there count the numbers of aisles which are for beauty products, food, drinks, birthday / greeting cards, magazines, children's toys, stationary, protein drinks / supplements, etc.

And then count the number of aisles (or half aisles) that actually have medication in them.

The point I am making is that Shoppers Drugmart has become so much more of a convenience store than an actual drugstore. Annoyingly so. The medications are hidden at the back or in between other things for sale.

The only advantage about Shoppers Drugmart is that there is so many of them... often beside a Price Chopper grocery store (which I affectionately call "The Chopper Shopper").

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Urban Edge Yoga: Yoga + Food, yummy for my tummy!

HEALTH - I give Urban Edge Yoga five stars.

#1. Small yoga classes, decent prices. Expect to pay $5 to $7 per class.

#2. Food is included! True, its vegan food and that might not cut it for everyone, but its still delicious (and I usually hate vegan food).

#3. Convenience: Its located at 324 Bloor Street West, near the Spadina subway in Toronto. Very easy to get to.

#4. Nice people. Both the staff and the other people who visit there are wonderful. Definitely a nice place to go.

#5. They also offer classes in a variety of other topics. Definitely worth checking out. The yoga centre is non-profit and run by the Hare Krishna Temple on Avenue Road, so you may have to get used to them praising Krishna constantly, but otherwise its all good.

#6. They're not uppity like other yoga centres. No need to bust out your lululemon clothing here. Come as you are.

Contact Info for UEY: 647-261-7499 or urbanedgeyoga@gmail.com

Yellow Pages: Completely overrated!

Lets say you're running a business... you want to balance costs with your ROI (return on investment)... why then would you list your company in the Yellow Pages?

True, there was a time when listing your company in the Yellow Pages was all it took to ensure your company had an inflow of customers. Especially if you were a pizza company, a plumber, Toronto accountants or something like that.

But in 2011 the Yellow Pages has become an antiquated piece of garbage. People throw them away when they get them in the mail. They're basically giant pieces of junk mail.

And there is a reason for that...

#1. Only companies who are either stupid or have tonnes of money advertise in the Yellow Pages. Simply because the ROI is so low. Chances are likely you won't get your money back from your investment at all.

#2. These days its all about websites and local SEO. The Yellow Pages is obsolete in comparison.

#3. Price: It costs $$$ to list in the Yellow Pages and they basically try to sell you as much as they can. They're sales staff and I wouldn't be surprised if they're paid on commission.

#4. There are many other services to find a phone number these days... ie. Google Maps, online business listings, apps on your smart phone.

If you go to YellowPages.ca they now offer free listings (because they've realized the hard way that people no longer want to pay to list businesses) and are trying to hit you up to hire them for advertising.

So here's what you do... take the free listing. Skip the other nonsense. Totally not worth your $$$. Yellow Pages is so completely overrated its barely worth your time making the free listing. (Note: You will need a HST # to sign up for a free listing.)

Here's a fun test to do... compare doing Google searchers for things like sunrooms in your local area... then try finding a company which makes sunrooms in the Yellow Pages. Chances are likely you won't find one in the Yellow Pages.

Try the same thing for other stuff like Ottawa windows or IT staffing Toronto... Google will bring in the results, especially if you want to search locally using Google Maps.

But the Yellow Pages? Pfff! Complete waste of time and effort, for bother the person looking and the person wanting to be found.

designSEO: Everything you need!

TECHNOLOGY - Lets say you live in Toronto... and you're starting your own business. Or maybe you already have a business.

And poof, you suddenly realize you need a website for your business (or that your current website sucks).

So you go online looking for a website designer, preferably one who knows how to make a website popular, because after all what is the point of having a website if nobody goes to it?

At which point you learn about something called "Search Engine Optimization" and you start doing Google searches for "Toronto SEO" because you need someone local you can meet in person, shake their hand and know you're not getting ripped off by some guy living who-knows-where in the world who treats you like a number and not a person.

Navigating the maze of websites on the topic (even locally) is a daunting task. Some of the websites are charging outrageous rates. Some of them when you call them refuse to even meet you in person.

That is when you ask around amongst friends / colleagues to see if they know anyone good... and maybe you come up with nothing.

Well here is my recommendation: designSEO.ca is the place to go...

It doesn't matter if you're Googling "Toronto website designer" or are just looking for "free SEO advice", then they're the place to go.

designSEO follows the philosophy that website design and SEO goes hand in hand, that the two are inseparable (to the point that designSEO uses a ying yang symbol for their logo) and must co-exist for a website to work properly and be popular.

And on the plus side, designSEO's rates are reasonable and competitive, they prefer to meet clients in person, they offer personal on-call service, and they can match your needs to your budget.

And best of all, you're a name and not a number.

PlentyofFish.com: Five Stars!

LOVE & SEX - Looking for love in all the wrong places?

Well maybe you haven't tried PlentyofFish.com. As online personals go (and I've tried quite a few over the years) Plenty of Fish has become "Numero Uno" in my book.

#1. For starters Plenty of Fish is free! Completely free! Its advertising supported and the brain child of a Canadian entrepreneur who realized that people needed a free personals website which offered advertising instead of outrageous monthly payments.

#2. When they say "plenty" its meant literally. Plenty of Fish is a global website with over 5 million unique visitors per month, and over 11 million registered users (that suggests 6 million people either found love or stopped looking).

#3. It is the #1 dating website in Canada, #1 in the UK and #2 in the USA.

And frankly why would anyone pay for a service which is inferior on another website when you get better quality service on "POF" for free?

And when I say quality, I really do mean it. I've tried out dozens of dating websites and the only one which comes close to the level of quality is okCupid.com (which is also free).

When using POF or okCupid I find its useful to treat it the same way you might use a Facebook profile, with the difference being that you are there to meet people.

Reputation.com Busted! Its totally bogus man!

TECHNOLOGY - You may have noticed ads online for reputation.com, a website which claims to be able to assess whether a person has a good reputation or not.

I tried searching for my own name and came up with low/mediocre results. Apparently my reputation is perfectly safe.

However to test out whether the website's function actually worked I tried testing the names of known villains... lets see my results:

Adolf Hitler (WWII Dictator)
Possible Negative Content: Average
People with Name: 2
Search Activity: 450,000

Paul Bernardo (Notorious Sex Criminal/Murderer)
Possible Negative Content: Low
People with Name: 91
Search Activity: 9,900

For fun I even tried names of other things...

Jack the Ripper (famed serial killer who was never caught)
Possible Negative Content: Average
People with Name: 0
Search Activity: 135,000

So yeah... if the worst reputations in history only come with "average" then reputation.com's schtick is totally busted. I'd argue such a website is a complete waste of time.

If someone really wanted to learn more about their reputation, just use Google News. If your name isn't in the news then its not worth worrying about.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Guinness Extra Stout

Maybe its because I've had a really long day... I mean I went bicycling TWICE today, did an hour of boxing, launched my new website (which I've been preparing for months)... whatever! After such a long day, the Guinness Extra Stout I am currently drinking tastes like pure ****ing heaven to me.

Cool.

Crisp.

Creamy.

Five stars.

My air conditioning also feels really good today.

Heck, anything cool and relaxing today would feel like five stars. :)

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

A Shot at Photo Books


By Fiona.

I haven't had any of my photos on print since the early 90's, before the popularization of digital cameras.

At the suggestion of a friend, I decided to try photo books from Kwikpix. And I'm glad I did! Their application was very easy to use and intuitive. The customization features made it possible to create a book well suited to the theme of my pictures and personal taste. The book was delivered seamlessly to my parents house in Toronto. And the photo book, looked like, well, a book!

It may be pricey, but its well worth it given how digital cameras are destined to be lost in folders and disappear in computer crashes. I'm glad to have rediscovered the long forgotten pleasure of photos on print!

Terminator Chronicles

Okay I know Terminator Chronicles (aka Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles) has been cancelled for 2 years now. Still for anyone who loves the Terminator movie series, the TV show is an excellent addition to the mythology of the story.

Despite being cancelled the show has been picked up by, as of February 22nd 2011, the SyFy channel announced it had gained the rights to all 31 episodes of the series. They started showing them as of April 7th 2011.

So ta da! Its back, sort of.

As TV shows go I give Terminator Chronicles a solid 5 out of 5 stars. Fantastic plot, good actors, lots of action, and lots of unexpected and interesting goings ons.

IN OTHER NEWS

On April 27th 2011 it was announced that a 5th Terminator movie is on its way, starring former Governor of California Arnold Schwarzenegger. Woot!

Arnold is also hoping to make one last Conan film apparently... something to do with King Conan and having to make difficult decisions as a leader. Of course this might just be a lead up to Arnold wanting to run for the White House. (Assuming he can overturn the law that says people born outside the USA cannot run for the presidency.)

Welcome New Reviewer, Vanessa

Today Product Reviews Canada gets a new reviewer... Vanessa from Montreal (aka Fiona Blue).

If other Canadians wish to join us and review products, please contact us.

All that we ask is that you follow a number of rules.

#1. All reviews must be entertaining and informative.

#2. Photos and videos help. They're not mandatory, but a good idea.

#3. The most important part of a good review is personal opinion.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Damn Expiry Dates!

I got two Cineplex tickets for Christmas 2010, but apparently I didn't notice the expiry dates on the back... March 2011.

Basically the tickets were only good for 3 months after I received them, and the movies during the Winter were all sucky so I didn't bother to use the tickets right away. I was thinking of saving them for the next Harry Potter film...

NOTE TO SELF: Must remember to sneak into 2 Cineplex movies for free sometime. Jerks! Its their own fault for sticking expiry dates on their tickets.

Kudos to Walt Disney World... their tickets NEVER expiry. They're good FOREVER.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Faxe Beer, not so good

Last night I went to a BBQ with friends, and thought it was BYOB. I misread the invitation however and it was only BYOM (Bring Your Own Meat).

But whatever.

En route (and under the impression it was BYOB) I popped by the LCBO at Yonge and Dundas and browsed their impressive selection of beers, trying to decide which beer to try and review.

I chose Faxe Brewery's "Extra Strong Beer", a 10% brute from Denmark which had an "okay" taste, but left me feeling queasy despite a normally cast iron stomach which was full of meat, bread and potato chips.

This leads me to believe Faxe's beer isn't so stellar (I would have been better off buying Stella Artois, from Belgium/UK)... so I give it a dismal 2 stars out of 5.

The queasiness later wore off and I slept like a baby, but my opinion of Danish beers has been significantly hurt.

I like the viking on the logo, but that just goes to prove vikings will drink any crappy beer.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

My Hunt for Summer Sandals & Sunglasses

I HATE SANDALS.

There, I said it...

That done and over with, my reasoning for wanting a pair of sandals may seem flawed.

Its going to be hot this summer. I don't want to be walking around in socks and shoes when I could be barefoot with nothing but sandals between my feet and the sidewalk.

Now as to the reasons why I hate sandals...

#1. I hate plastic shoes. Crocs, flip flops, anything like that is complete crap. The plastic gets too hot and they end up feeling sticky. Any sandal I buy will have to be made of wood and leather.

#2. I hate the straps that go inbetween the toes. They're damn uncomfortable. My goal therefore is to get something more like a Roman sandal, with two strap that goes over the top of the foot and one that goes around the ankle. Anything else will be "pootahed" as absolute garbage.

#3. Sandals get sand and dirt in them too easily. You keep having to remove them to get rid of any grit that has gotten under your foot. I am hoping that whatever sandal I buy its easy to take off when needed.

#4. Sunburned feet... nothing I can do about that except wear sunblock on my feet.

After the sandals the other thing on my agenda is to find sunglasses similar to the blue 'John Lennon' esque sunglasses I had back in 1997-1998. The blue lenses were shiny and tinted in a way that they changed colour slightly depending on the lighting and the angle you were looking at them.

I remember when I first got those sunglasses my friends tried them on and EVERYONE looked good in them. They were the most perfect sunglasses ever. Sadly they were later stolen by an ex-girlfriend (that bitch Kristin Greeniaus, who also stole my favourite bandanna from New Mexico) and I never saw them again.

So my goal is to find sunglasses exactly like them. A challenge I admit, but one worthy of attempting. I did at one point a couple years ago find purple sunglasses similar to the blue pair, but they just didn't look as good. MUST FIND THE HOLY GRAIL OF SUNGLASSES!

Air Conditioners and Keeping Cool

It was so gawd awful hot yesterday I decided to go over to Canadian Tire and buy a new air conditioner.


For $135 (tax included) I think I got a bargain. A Garrison air conditioner with 5,250 BTU. Admittedly 5,250 BTU doesn't seem like a lot when there are other air conditioners on the market that go up to 12,000 BTU, but those are frankly outrageous and overkill.

5,250 BTU doesn't just keep my apartment cool, I don't even have to run it all the time to keep the place cool. It works so efficiently I frequently find myself saying "Its too cold in here!" and I turn it off.

The point I want to make is that you don't need a big expensive air conditioner to get the job done efficiently. Modern ACs are already very energy efficient and assuming you keep it clean and in good working order it will provide years of coolness even in the height of summer.

The beauty of the air conditioner I bought is that it comes with a remote so I can adjust the digital temperature, fan speed, timer, etc from a distance. Sweet!

Now some people out there might be cheapskates and decide they don't want to buy an air conditioner.

In which case you will be looking for a nice fan and other tricks to keep cool.

#1. Buy a fan that is BIG and LOOKS NICE. Speaking for myself I got a stainless steel fan years ago and have loved it ever since. Its fast, does the job and doubles as an object d'art.

#2.Freeze Pops... This is more of a nostalgia thing for me. I remember growing up and eating ice cream, Freeze Pops, sundaes, etc a lot during the summer. Last summer I got the small ones and they made for a nice cool snack, but I found I kept eating more than 1 at a time. This summer I opted for the extra big ones. Each 150 mL Freeze Pop has 100 calories so I don't recommend overconsuming them since they're essentially just flavoured water with sugar.

#3. Run cold water in your bathtub, sinks, etc. This is for the ultra cheapskate who doesn't pay the water/electricity bill.

#4. Add wooden shutters to the outsides of your windows and curtains on the inside. Close them when its super hot out. Some super cheapskates might also block the sunlight out using tin foil on the window.

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