Friday, September 30, 2016

Where to buy Leather Conditioner in Toronto?

Leather Conditioner is used for all sorts of leather products, from old boots, purses, baseball gloves, clothing, leather furniture, and a wide assortment of leather goods. As leather gets old it starts to crack from loss of moisture and the conditioner helps to reinvigorate the leather, trap moisture inside, and helps keep your old leather products from falling apart, cracking, etc.


At present we are not going to pass judgement on which leather conditioner is "best", although we would certainly be willing to try samples if various manufacturers wanted to ask us for a review.

BUT WHERE DO YOU BUY IT?

Unfortunately not a lot of stores actually sell Leather Conditioner. Here is a list of places I found which sell it:

#1. Northbound Leather on Yonge Street / 7 St Nicholas Street.

A 500 mL bottle is $26.

#2. Bootmaster at 609 Yonge Street.

An approx. 500 mL bottle is $19.95

#3. Tandy Leather, two locations: 5562 Tomken Rd, Mississauga; or 158 Anderson Avenue Unit 12, Markham

A 16 ounce spray bottle (Dr. Jackson's Leather Conditioner Pump 16 oz.) is $14.99

Note that this is not a complete list of stores in Toronto which sell leather conditioner. If you know of other stores which sell leather conditioner please post in the comments below, along with the size of the bottle lists in mL or ounces and the price at that store.

So if you are looking for the best price and the most convenience, traveling to Tandy Leather might be an option if you happen to be in Markham or Mississauga. But if you want convenience and are in downtown Toronto, then Bootmaster has the better price. Northbound Leather is clearly gouging on price (although they did have the best service of all three stores).

If you do manage to stop at Tandy Leather, we always recommend browsing their store and checking out their broad range of leather and fur products. Also for people who are into homemade leatherworking, there is no better place to buy everything they need.


Wednesday, September 14, 2016

How to deal with Debt Collection Agencies

And Why You Should Never Respond to Letters or Phone Calls from Debt Collectors

Disclaimer - This is not legal advice. We are not lawyers. If you have serious concerns consult a Consumer Protection lawyer.

#1. Never answer someone calling from a 1-877 number. They are usually scammers or debt collectors (or both). If you do answer and they identify themselves as a debt collector, immediately accuse them of running a scam and hang up the phone. If you have the option, immediately block all calls from that phone number.

#2. Avoid confirming your identity. If they ask if you are "John Smith", deny it and say they have the wrong number. Then hang up immediately.

#3. Never give anyone your date of birth or your social insurance number over the phone. They will try to trick you out of that by asking you to confirm your identity. Refuse. Say you don't give out that information over the phone due to privacy reasons. Even if they pretend to be from the government, accuse them of running a scam and hang up the phone.

#4. Debt collectors will often even try to collect on fake debt - debt that isn't even real and they are just making up. It is a scam they do.

#5. Debt collectors will also try to collect on old zombie debt - debt that has already passed the statute of limitations and is not real debt any more.

#6. If they try serve you with (bogus) legal papers, you should avoid service. You are under no legal requirement to answer the door or receive it.

#7. Do not sign any registered mail from an unknown source. If they try to serve you via registered mail or courier, refuse to sign and the mail will be returned to the sender.

#8. Even if they do manage to serve you, do not respond to any of their requests for you to mail them back and acknowledge the debt. You are under no legal requirement to answer their mail.

#9. If you do end up in court with a lawsuit somehow, demand proof that the debt is real. Repeatedly accuse them of trying to sue you using FAKE DEBT. Demand proof that the debt is real, that the person suing you actually owns the debt, the amount of the debt, the date of the debt, and when the statute of limitations wears off. And demand that they prove that you are the person they are looking for. If they are suing John Smith, how do we know they are not suing the wrong John Smith?

It all comes down to the following issues...

When debt collectors buy a debt all they are really buying is a spreadsheet document with the names, addresses, phone numbers, and amounts owed by hundreds or even thousands of people. They know very little about the actual person. They probably don't even have your social insurance number unless you make the mistake of giving it to them. Or the date of the debt. Or your birthday. Chances are they likely they don't even know your middle name.

And even if they do have your social insurance number, that doesn't matter. Because it still doesn't prove that the debt is real. If you demand full documentation and proof that the debt is real, they cannot do it because they don't any such documents.

All they have is a spreadsheet with your name and number on it.

They don't have a signed contract from you. Only the credit card company has that. Your contract was with the bank or credit card company. The debt collector is simply some hoser who buys and sells debt. They probably are not even Canadian. They are probably American.

Debt collectors will also try to threaten you with a lawsuit, but that is all it is. Empty threats. They will even go to lengths to make up fake lawyers who don't exist, fake law firm websites, try to serve you with bogus legal documents that aren't even filled out correctly / are not real, etc.

And you are under no legal obligation to answer any of it.

And even if you do end up in court, demand proof that the debt is real and refer to it as fake debt.

Because frankly they cannot prove the debt is real. Especially if they just made it up.

Below is a lovely video on this topic worth watching.



Thursday, September 8, 2016

The iPhone 7 - A Review of Useless Techno Gadgetry

The new Apple iPhone 7 is out... on September 16th in Canada.

And really the question you should be asking is "Why would I even want this?"

Let me elaborate.

#1. The Idiotic Audio Jack

The new Apple iPhone 7 is ditching the normal (standard, universal) audio jack in favour of its own Apple audio jack. This doesn't offer any improvement in sound quality, it is really just an excuse to sell you more Apple products for a lot more money than they are actually worth.

They are also including an adapter (shown below), so that people with old audio jacks can still use normal headphones. Basically you either have to use the Apple headphones (which will be expensive) or you have to remember to carry around the idiotic adapter all the time, and if you lose it and need to replace it, it will also be expensive.

From this point onwards the charging port will double as the audiojack, and users will be encouraged to also use wireless headphones instead (which require separate batteries, huzzah).


Oh and one more thing!

Using the charging port as the audio jack also comes with another problem. You cannot charge your phone while listening to the headphones at the same time (unless you have the AidPods mentioned further below).

Anyone who likes charging their phone while they are driving in the car often wants to be able to listen to music too. The audio jack/charging port takes away a lot of that convenience that people are used to.

Instead you have to buy an extra $40 USD adapter (shown right) just so you can listen on your headphones while charging your phone.

Which is a fancy way for Apple to fleece you one more time for an extra $40.

Oh and the adapter only supports 48 kHz / 24-bit audio output, so that you basically have no choice but to use Apple headphones. Which implies that if you like attaching your iPhone to your car stereo so you can use the cars speakers you might run into some compatibility problems. (Next thing you know Apple will come out with the Apple iCar Stereo, which is only compatible with other Apple products. It could happen...)

The adapter is also one more thing for you to lose or break or for the cat to chew on.

#2. The Usual Incremental Improvements

As is the norm whenever a company comes out with a new phone, they offer some small incremental improvements compared to the old phone, things like
  • faster processor
  • better battery life
  • more storage
  • nicer camera
  • slightly more water resistant
  • slightly more dustproof
  • yada yada
All such changes are basically the norm and is all part of the one-up-man-ship rivalry between various manufacturers. However if you already have an amazing phone in your pocket, the tiny incremental changes will seem pretty minor.

#3. More Zoom for your Camera

To elaborate on one of the incremental improvements mentioned above, lets look at the cameras for the iPhone 7 Plus. The back of the 7 Plus now has the regular wide-angle camera, and a second zoom optical camera just for zooming in more, up to 10 times. Having two cameras on the back also technically makes it possible for a person to make 3D videos, but only of objects that are very close to you / tiny - using it for anything else will give you an headache because the distance between the two camera lenses is too small.

Note that the regular Iphone 7 doesn't get the two cameras on the back. Only the 7 Plus gets that.

#4. Hints of 3D / Virtual Reality

Apple keeps hinting that they want to make their phones to become more like virtual reality headsets (selling you more gadgets), and it is basically implied that they are trying to get closer to making it a reality...

But the problem is the technology just isn't there yet, and neither is the demand.

The goal essentially is for people to be able to communicate (and play virtual reality games) with other people who are really far away, using one person's camera as interface to send the other person images of what they are seeing. Essentially a livestream 3D image of a real reality, transferred via the internet to another person who can then see it as a virtual reality.

However there is several problems...

A. Bandwidth speed is too slow to do what Apple wants it to do. The video ends up being really choppy, horrible, and sloooooow.

B. You look like a complete dork with an Apple iPhone strapped to your head. I don't care how much you manscape that beard, you still look like a dork.

Apple Virtual Reality Dork
Thus buying an iPhone 7 for its failed attempts at a level of technology that just isn't ready yet - and frankly will never be helpful to the dorks who cannot find a girlfriend.

Maybe that is really what Apple needs to invent. The "iGirlfriend", for dorks who cannot meet real women. She could be a virtual reality version of Siri.

This past Wednesday Apple held a press event in San Francisco and there is a complete lack of 3D / Virtual Reality demos during the event, perhaps suggesting that Apple knows they are not ready to be plunging into the dorky-ness foray of VR... At least not publicly.

#5. Be prepared to charge your Wireless Headphones Batteries

As mentioned further above, the Apple iPhone 7 is also pushing wireless headphones. Which means the headphones need their own batteries and have to be recharged regularly. If you ever feel we are actually going BACKWARDS with user-friendliness / ease of use, now is one of those moments.


The iPhone 7s come with charging port connectable wired earbuds, but Apple will also be selling wireless "AirPods" at a price of $219 in Canada. Yep, you heard correctly. $219 CDN for a pair of headphones you will quickly lose/break and it will cost you another $219 to replace them.

The AirPods have a very tiny battery life, 5 hours, and can only be recharged about 200 times before their battery life will be significantly decreased. So expect to have to buy a new set every 7 months or so as the batteries start dying all the time.

The Airpods also look pretty silly - like tiny miniature hair dryers. The "handle of the hair dryer" is to accomodate the battery, because apparently anything smaller would have such a short battery life span that it would make them useless and super annoying. So instead you get an unfashionable gadget that costs you $219 CDN... which you will frankly eventually want to lose on purpose just so you can stop wearing the damn things and use something more convenient.

We are not the only ones saying they look silly and are impractical either.

"Say what you will about focus groups, but the earbuds Apple introduced would have been laughed off and shortcomings identified in [five minutes]," says Kaan Yigit, president of Toronto-based analysis firm Solutions Research Group, on Twitter.

Apple executives meanwhile claim that what they are doing takes "courage" to ignore what people want. Their goal apparently is to instead charge the sheep more money while the shepherds continue to fleece them for every cent.

Some people like to claim headphones and many devices are now trending towards wirelessness, but they seem to forgetting a key component of the idea of "wireless + convenient". If it isn't more convenient to go wireless, then why bother going wireless? The market trends usually head towards whatever is the most CONVENIENT, regardless of what new tech ideas people come up with.

CONCLUSIONS

So...

The new Audiojack is idiotic, annoying and overpriced.
The AirPods are overpriced, annoying and will be useless after approx. 200 charges. Plus dorky.
The camera and other hardware has been incrementally improved. Nothing new there.
Apple is trying to go towards more 3D and VR tech, but can't get it to work properly yet. And even if they do someday, you look like a dork.

And the company is blatantly trying to rip people off. Remember that moron who jacked up the prices of an HIV drug by over 5000%, and those other morons who did the same thing for EpiPens and other medications? Well, Apple is basically doing the same thing, but at least your life doesn't depend on owning a phone that is more known for being a fashion accessory for idiots.

Idiotic, Annoying, Overpriced, Technology Not Ready Yet.

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