Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Anker PowerCore 10000 Power Bank Review

Recently I was looking for an external battery that could be used to recharge a mobile phone on the go or when there is no power outlet available. I was looking for this because I am often in the car and need to recharge the phone.

I started with a car charger that plugs into the car, but found it did not charge very fast and I did not want to draw any power from the car battery. Also, I wanted to have a back up charger for emergencies, for example if the power were to go out.

After doing some research, I decided on the Anker PowerCore 10000. I found this power bank had a good mix of small size and portability as well as a good amount of power storage to charge a phone about 3 times. I found it for about $26 on Amazon.

Upon receiving the battery and opening it up, I found it was packaged very nicely and comes with a padded carrying case. The power bank itself has a good quality feel to it and is smaller than I expected. I would say it is about the size of a deck of cards and not too heavy. It is something that can be carried in a pocket no problem.

It comes with a USB charging cable, but one thing to note, it does not come with an AC adapter plug so you will need one of these to charge it from an outlet. Many phones these days come with this piece included so there is a good chance you may have it already so you do not have to buy anything extra.

Charging it up to full capacity did take quite a bit of time but that is expected considering it holds about 3 full charges. The power bank has a little button on the side and some led lights to show the current power level.

So far I have been using the power bank as needed to recharge my phone on the go. It seems to work pretty well as all you have to do it plug the phone into it with a USB cable and it starts charging. I find it to be a great option to charge the phone while in the car or even on the go.

I will plan to update this article with a long term update after I have used it for an extended period of time.

Thursday, January 25, 2018

The Importance of Tipping, Especially for Repeat Business

The concept of tipping can be confusing as sometimes it is hard to know when to tip or how much to tip in any given situation. In many jobs, the majority of income is derived from tips so it can be very important for those in these types of businesses. For some other jobs it may not be as common and so if someone decides to give a tip, it is appreciated but not always expected.

As someone who has worked in a couple of different jobs that accept tips, I can say that tipping is important. Not only does it show appreciation for the work being done, but also it helps to ensure a high level of service for future interactions.

For example, I used to deliver pizzas which was a job that was heavily dependent on tips. In a job like this, you tend to get many repeat customers and because of this, it soon becomes clear which customers give good tips and which do not tip at all. Of course whenever an order came in for a customer who was known for giving good tips, everyone wanted it, while on the other hand, if an order came in for a customer who never gives a tip, no one wanted to take that order.

I speak for myself when I say, if the customer is known for giving a good tip, you can be sure I will do my best to make sure everything is perfect or as good as it can be. That's not to say other customers get bad service, but when a customer has a history of good tips, it is extra motivation to go above and beyond to make sure they have a good experience.

Tips become important for repeat business because employees remember who tips and who doesn't and often share their experiences with fellow employees. For customers who develop a reputation as a good tipper, they will be a preferred customer and are more likely to get better service compared to other customers who do not tip.

The amount which should be tipped can vary greatly depending on the situation so you may have to do a little research to figure out the recommended amount. When in doubt if you should tip or not, know that even in situations where tips are not common, they are always appreciated.

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Caulk Cracking Around Window Trim – How To Fix

A few years back, I got new windows and while overall they have been pretty good, I noticed the caulking trim around the outside and corners would start to crack during the winter when it would get cold. These cracks were unsightly and allowed cold air to seep in.

The first solution I tried was a squeeze tube of caulk from the local hardware store. I just got one that was cheap for about $1 - $2. One thing to note is that is was an acrylic caulk which I found out later was not the best option. While this was ok for a short term solution, I found that before long, even as soon as a few weeks later, it would start cracking again.

I would try to add more caulk to seal up the new cracks and even tried painting over the caulk to give it an extra seal. Again it would be ok for a while but then as the temperature got cold, it would start to crack again. This was pretty annoying especially since the caulks said they had a multi-year guarantee.

So I did a little research and found it was recommended to use 100% silicone caulk. I looked at the ones I had been using and both were acrylic. One had a silicone blend but it was still acrylic. So I decided to look for the 100% silicone style.

At the hardware store, I found it and it was more expensive than the acrylic caulk, which is probably why I did not try it in the first place. I picked up a small squeeze tube of the 100% silicone caulk which was about $4.

At home, I started to scrape away the old caulk off the window trim. I used a few different tools such as different size flat head screwdrivers, small knife, and small scissors. They are probably not the most efficient tools for the job, but I did not want to buy a specialized tool just for this project.

After removing the old caulk and cleaning it up, I applied the 100% silicone sealant. I was surprised at how the texture was a lot more soft and fluid-like compared to the acrylic caulk which is more thick and has more of a chalky texture. The 100% silicone also seems to take longer to dry which can be helpful in case you make a mistake since it can be easily cleaned up.

So far it seems to be holding up well against the cold weather. I will plan to update this article with a long term review to see how well the 100% silicone holds up over time.

Update 1-25-19:
It has been a year and the weather has gotten cold once again. The silicone caulk held up better than the acrylic but it is starting to crack again because of the cold weather. I was able to apply some more to seal up the new cracks. I still had about half of the tube left but the plastic part around the nozzle broke in 2 places so now I can't really seal it closed properly. I managed to tape it closed so hopefully I can get at least one more use out of it. Overall it seems there is no good long term solution to prevent these cracks when it gets cold. 

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Which Clif Bar Flavors Are The Best?

I recently took up an interest in Clif Bar energy bars and started trying out some of the different flavors. I did a little research to get an idea of what some of the most popular flavors tend to be, but ultimately wanted to try them out first hand to decide which flavors were the best. So far, I have tried most of the flavors I have been able to find in store. There are still a few seasonal flavors and more rare flavors that I have not tried, but here is a recap of my favorites so far.

1. Cool Mint Chocolate
After trying many different flavors, my favorite has to be the Cool Mint Chocolate. It tastes like mint chocolate chip ice cream but in energy bar form. Sometimes when products try to add mint to their flavor, it ends up tasting artificial, but with the Clif Bar, they got it right and it has a refreshing taste that is also sweet and savory. I highly recommend this flavor if you are a fan of mint.

2. Chocolate Brownie
It's hard to go wrong with chocolate flavor and with the Chocolate Brownie Clif Bar, they did a good job getting the flavor to be quite tasty and still have a good level of nutritious qualities. If you like chocolate, this one should be near the top of your list of flavors to try.

3. Peanut Butter Banana With Dark Chocolate
This is a newer flavor and I would have to say it is one of my favorites, coming in at the number 3 spot. It has the banana flavor which makes it kind of unique and different compared to many of the other flavors and energy bars in general. It also has the savoriness of the peanut butter and chocolate which compliment it nicely.

4. Oatmeal Raisin Walnut
This one is another one of my favorites and tastes a lot like oatmeal raisin cookies so if you are a fan of oatmeal raisin, definitely give this one a try.

5. Chocolate Chip
The most classic flavor. Overall good taste and something you can eat often without getting too bored of it, but not as interesting as some of the other flavors.

6. Carrot Cake
The freshest Clif Bar I have tried so far. I liked the sweet frosting-like pieces and overall flavor, but found the carrot pieces to be a little hard to chew.

7. Blueberry Crisp
Another unique flavor and good taste, but this one I would only want to eat once in a while, not necessarily on a daily basis.

Other flavors I have tried which I thought were just ok include Crunchy Peanut Butter, and White Chocolate Macadamia Nut.

In store you can usually find Clif Bars sold individually and sometimes in 6 or 12 packs of individual flavors. It can be hard to find variety packs in store but they can be ordered online as a way to try out many different flavors.

I will update this article in case I try any of the other flavors soon. Which is your favorite Clif Bar flavor? Feel free to leave a comment below.

Update 9-14-18
I have started trying out the nut butter filled Clif bars and I must say I like these even better than the regular Clif bars. The nut butter filled bars are a bit more interesting because they have the filling inside. They usually have peanut butter, almond butter, or a mix of cashew butter depending on which flavor you get.

My favorite is the Coconut Almond Butter flavor. Usually I don't really like coconut, but with these, the coconut flavor is not overwhelming so it works. It has a nice savory taste with the almond butter. It's not overly sweet, but has enough sweetness to give it a good flavor. I highly recommend checking these out if you are looking for a new energy bar to try.


Saturday, January 6, 2018

Xfinity Modem Rental Price Increase

Upon checking my internet bill from Comcast this month, I noticed the price was $1 higher than expected. I thought this was odd considering they advertise a flat rate for the entire year. With the promotion for the first year, it was supposed to be $29.99 per month but this month it was charging $30.99.

I looked into the details and it appears they have increased the price of the modem rental by $1 per month. I contacted support to ask why it went up. Apparently the price of equipment can change even if the monthly service fee stays the same. They offered a $1 credit but said it will probably keep charging the $11 per month for the rental.

In the terms, they do mention that equipment fees are subject to change, but I think if they are promoting a certain price per month for the year, they should honor that price. It seems kind of like false advertisement if they say “it will be $29.99 a month for a year... until we raise the price on the modem rental 6 months into your term.”

This is actually not the first billing discrepancy I have had with Comcast. I was overcharged $5 when the credit for Ecobill was not applied to my account for the first month. These are small charges, but it is more the principle that if they are going to promote a certain rate, it should be honored. $1 a month is not a lot for one person, but if they are charging every customer an extra $1 a month, that is a lot of money.

Overall the Xfinity internet service has been ok and they did give me a free upgrade in the speed this month which was nice, but still I think the pricing could be a bit more straight forward so you don't have situations like this where you are charged more than expected.

Monday, January 1, 2018

Alone Together – New Show with Esther Povitsky and Benji Aflalo off to a good start!

A while back, I discovered a comedian/actress named Esther Povitsky also known as “Little Esther”. After watching a bunch of her videos, I learned she was staring in a new show called Alone Together, beginning January 10th on Freeform. Today, they released the pilot episode for streaming on the Freeform website so I decided to check it out.

It is a half hour comedy that follows Esther and her friend Benji as reluctant friends who are trying to make it out in L.A. The show seems to be very autobiographical from what I can tell, which is a good thing and makes them very relatable as characters.

After watching the pilot episode, I really enjoyed it! It is very funny and the characters are likable. They even had some recognizable guest stars such as Chris D'Elia and Jim O'Heir in the first episode. I like the relationship that has been created between Esther and Benji as they don't really like each other (or at least won't admit it) but are just kind of stuck hanging out with each other by default.

I am looking forward to watching more episodes of this show this year. Interesting fact, upon looking up the credits of the show, it looks like Andy Samberg and The Lonely Island are involved with the show behind the scenes. If you are looking for a new comedy to watch, I recommend checking out Alone Together, officially airing on January 10th on the Freeform network.