Saturday, July 24, 2021

Make Good Use of Warranties. You can save a lot of money by claiming warranties!

Product warranties are pretty common place these days. Usually products will have a warranty of a year or more that guarantees they will be good throughout that time. If it breaks or does not meet expectations, you can usually make a claim and get reimbursed or get a replacement item.

While warranties are common, it seems many people do not claim them even in situations where they could. This could be because they forget the product is covered under warranty so they just buy a new item. Or they may want to claim a warranty but they do not have the paperwork needed to do it. Or they are just lazy and don't want to do the work it takes to make the claim.

For most warranty claims, you usually have to have your original receipt that shows when and where you purchased the item. This is why it is important to save paperwork and receipts especially for larger purchases. The receipts often have the warranty details, but sometimes you may have to look them up on a company website to see how to make a claim.

It can take some work if you do decide to make a claim. You might have to fill out a form or mail something in. Despite the work involved, it is usually worth it if it means being able to save money either by getting a free replacement or by getting a discount on an identical item.

I have a couple examples recently where I was able to claim warranties and save quite a bit of money:

Years ago my car was hit by another car so I had taken it into a collision repair shop to have the body work fixed and painted. Then recently I noticed that the paint was starting to peel off. Just for the heck of it I looked up the receipt and saw it had a warranty that covered the paint for as long as you own the vehicle. So I made a few calls to the collision center and brought my car in to get checked out.

They looked it over and agreed to cover it under the warranty so I ended up getting my car repainted for free! This normally would cost a lot of money. I was able to claim this warranty because I saved the paperwork and followed through on the steps to make the claim.

Another car related warranty that I recently dealt with was for my tires. I purchased a set that had a tread wear warranty of 50,000 miles. Well after about 20,000 miles a couple of the tires were worn down to the bottom. I looked up the details of the warranty and saw that they should be eligible since they were rotated as recommended and I had the paperwork. So I was able to get a big discount on replacement tires based on the mileage that had yet to be fulfilled.

In situations like these, you could imagine that many people don't even think about the possibility of a warranty and they end up just paying full price to have a service done or have a product replaced when in many cases the warranty would cover it.

Next time you have a product that breaks or does not last very long, make sure to see if it is still under warranty and make sure to save your receipts so you can make those claims!

Sunday, July 18, 2021

Loud Car Horns Should Be Illegal - Ban the use of train horns on vehicles

As the title states, loud car horns also known as train horns should be illegal. Chances are you have heard one of these horns out on the roads. They are extremely loud and startling. Given the fact that loud noises can cause serious damage to your ears, it does not make sense that a product such as a train horn that produces dangerous levels of sound is allowed to be sold and installed on passenger vehicles.

These kinds of horns are known to produce honks at 150 decibels. An impulse noise at that level can cause injury and pain to the ear and is unsafe to be exposed to it for any duration of time. So how is it legal that something like this is being sold to consumers to put on their vehicles?

Laws can be different depending on the location but most areas have a law prohibiting the use of an excessively loud warning device such as these horns. So if a police officer were to hear someone use a horn like this, they could very well pull them over and give them a ticket.

But this does not stop people from installing them on their vehicles and using them maliciously. Often there are warnings from the manufacturers stating that hearing protection must be worn when using these horns. Do you think anyone is following that warning? Unsuspecting people outside or out on the road certainly do not have that warning before they are assaulted by a horn like this.

A ticket or a fine is not enough for something that could cause permanent hearing damage to an innocent bystander who happens to be nearby one of these horns. Personally I have been lucky not to have this happen to me, but I have been exposed to other loud noises in the past which did have a lasting negative affect on my hearing so I take this topic very seriously.

Once your hearing is damaged, it is irreversible. So knowing that these kinds of horns are being freely sold to anyone who wants to put them on their car and go around blasting it at people is very troubling. Anyone doing this should understand these repercussions and know they could get themselves in additional legal trouble should any victim of their recklessness decide to press charges.  

I'm guessing this will be a very polarizing topic between those who are against loud horns like this, and those who think they should be free put them on their vehicles. Feel free to share your thoughts on this issue in the comments.

To everyone out there, please be careful with your hearing. If you are someone who has one of these horns, please be responsible and reconsider what you are doing.

Saturday, July 17, 2021

Show Recommendation - Born This Way


I recently found a great series to watch so I wanted to share it here. It's called Born This Way and it is a documentary style show that follows the lives of several young adults who have Down Syndrome. The series originally aired on A&E and is available now streaming online on the Roku channel.

The show is centered around a main group of of about 7 individuals who are friends. It explores who each of them are, what their life is like, what their interests are, how they deal with relationships, what their family life is like etc.

As with most reality style shows, there is plenty of drama mostly when it comes to relationships. As each episode goes by we learn more an more about the cast members and see the challenges they face with their disabilities. All of them are wonderful and interesting people which makes the show a delight to watch.

One of the main themes is showing how individuals with Down Syndrome have the same kinds of feelings and dreams as those without disabilities. We see how they set goals and work to achieve them with the help and support around them. They are able to accomplish dreams such as starting a business, giving motivational speeches, being successful at a job, and even getting married.

The show spans 4 seasons and having watched the whole series, I highly recommend it! If you like feel good shows in a documentary style, you are sure to enjoy Born This Way.

Sunday, June 13, 2021

Don't Ignore Caution Signs. They Are There For A Reason.

I'll admit, I don't always take warning or caution signs seriously. I think it is because often these kinds of signs are over used or not actually relevant in the situation. For example how many times have you seen a wet floor sign posted and the floor was perfectly dry? How many times have you seen a street sign saying a lane would be closed ahead only to find out that the lane was actually open?  

It's true sometimes the signs are not always accurate, but you should still take them seriously because they are usually there for a reason even if it doesn't seem apparent at the time. For example a floor might appear dry but maybe there was a spill around there recently and it is still slick even if it doesn't look like it. For that sign that said the lane would be closed, it is likely the lane was just opened or it will be closed shortly so they don't want traffic in that lane.

Twice recently I ignored warning signs that were posted and I ended up paying the price. The first was a sign on an emergency exit door that said an alarm will sound if it is opened. I was pretty sure I had seen this door opened before and no alarm went off so I figured the sign was just there for show and that it would be fine to open the door. So I open it and guess what? An alarm went off! So I had to explain to the management that it was just me and apologize for the inconvenience of setting off the alarm.

The other example happened when a section of stairs was blocked off because the carpeting was being redone. Again I ignored the warning and thought it would be ok to go on the stairs even though the carpeting was taken up. Little did I know a soapy substance had been applied to it to get the adhesive off and it was very slippery! Well sure enough I did not expect that and as soon as I took my first step, I went right down on by butt. I ended up getting some scratches and also messed up my clothes for the day.

Both of these situations could have been avoided if I had actually taken the warning signs seriously. Sometimes you have to learn the hard way, which unfortunately tends to be the best way to learn. I will try to pay more attention to caution signs from now on as I realize now, they are usually put in place for good reason.

Tuesday, May 25, 2021

iPhone unused for many years won't start up - Fixed. My experience fixing a new iPhone that was in the box for years and would not work.

I have had an iPhone 6 for many years and it has been very reliable even up to today. The only thing it needed was a battery replacement a while back which I wrote about in a previous article here. The phone still works great but recently some of the apps I use for work started requiring iOS 13 or later and unfortunately the iPhone 6 only supports up to iOS 12.

About 4-5 years ago I got an iPhone 7 through my work but since my iPhone 6 was still good, I decided to just keep the 7 in the box as a backup and wait until I actually needed to upgrade. I figured now was a good time to make the switch considering the apps require the newer iOS versions which are able to run on the 7.  

So I opened the box and plugged in the phone to charge. I knew the battery would be dead since it had been in the box for years. The phone flashed the Apple logo on and off repeatedly. I let it charge for a couple hours and then tried to turn it on. Unfortunately when pressing the power button, I could not get it to turn on. Even trying every solution such as doing a full restart did not work.

I figured the battery was probably completely dead and needed to be replaced. This is normal for phones that are many years old so I was not surprised by this. So I made an appointment to bring it in to the Apple store.

At the store I explained the situation to them about how it was a new phone that had been unused for many years and would not start up. They tested it out and were not able to detect a current. I asked if we should replace the battery but they said even with a new battery it still probably won't work. This was pretty disappointing to hear.

They said there really is not anything they can do at this point to fix it and wanted to know if I was interested in buying a new phone and giving them my phone to recycle. Considering it was a brand new phone I just unboxed, I told them I better hold on to it and that I was not ready to buy a new one since my old phone still worked.

So I took the phone home and decided to do some more research. There were some suggestions about trying to heat up the phone to bring it back to life. Apparently with the lithium batteries if the power drains too low, they sort of disconnect or something as a safety feature. I tried warming it up as suggested but unfortunately it did not work.

I thought about bringing it back to Apple again for a 2nd opinion and just asking them to do a battery replacement. Then just for the heck of it, I started looking up how much replacement batteries cost. They go for about $20 and this is including a full tool kit. Apple charges $50 for the replacement.

The tutorials online didn't look to hard so I figured I would give it a try since I didn't really have anything to lose. It would be a fun project and a good experience trying to change an iPhone battery.

So I ordered the battery with the kit. When it arrived I got to work. Honestly, replacing the battery turned out to be more difficult than I expected. The screws are extremely tiny and there are 3 different kinds. Just prying the screen away from the base was incredibly difficult since it is sealed on there with and adhesive. Still I was determined to get it done.

I followed the steps and managed to get through it in about 2 hours. Keep in mind, with all of this, there was still no guarantee it would work even if I did everything right. 

Then came the moment of truth. I plugged it in to the charger and after a second, the Apple logo came on. That's a good sign! Then after a few moments the start up screen appeared. It worked!

So it was just the battery after all just as I had suspected. Right away I was pretty annoyed by my experience at the Apple store since they told me nothing could be done to save it and that a new battery would not help. They wanted me to recycle the phone and spend hundreds of dollars on a new one, when all it needed was a $20 battery.

So if you have a new phone that has been in the box or unused for many years and it does not turn on, chances are it may just need a new battery.

Wednesday, May 19, 2021

Dreams and Creativity - Our brains may be more capable than we realize

The other day I had a dream where I attended a play. The play was about viral videos and it had a mix of live acting as well as videos. In the dream I distinctly remember how each idea presented was original as in not something I had seen or thought about in real life.

I remember each scene was very detailed like a movie that was fully thought out. As I began waking up this concept stuck with me. I thought how could these events in the dream be so well executed considering they were not things I had seen or experienced in my real life.

If I were to create it in real life, it would be incredibly difficult and time consuming. What I mean by this is that it would be like trying to make a movie from scratch. You would have to come up with the ideas, write out a plan or a script, do the acting, and then edit it. This would be very difficult and would take a lot of time to do. But in the dream, this all happened within minutes. The ideas were fully developed and executed in the dream as if they had been planned out and worked on for weeks.  

It got me thinking that maybe our brains are a lot more capable and powerful than we think. In real life, making a movie is very difficult, even just coming up with the ideas for it, but in a dream, it can all be done spontaneously in the moment.

If we could tap into that ability that we have in dreams, we might be able to be a lot more creative or more efficient in coming up with ideas in real life. It's just a thought and maybe it is not possible. I know that often dreams can be deceiving in a way that they seem to make perfect sense in dream world, but when you wake up and think about them in reality, they don't make any sense.

But sometimes dreams do make sense and they can be very enlightening. Like many things in this world, there is a lot we don't know. Who knows what we may learn about dreams in the future? They might be more important that we think.

Sunday, May 16, 2021

Pet Peeve - Car Alarms that go off when they are not supposed to

If you live or work near a parking lot with a lot of cars, chances are you probably hear a car alarm going off now and again. Car alarms are supposed to help protect the car by alerting if someone is trying to break into the car, but I find that usually when you hear a car alarm going off, there is not even anyone near the car. These false alarms can be very annoying especially if it is a loud honking alarm that keeps going off repeatedly.

After doing a little research it seems there are quite a few things that can set a car alarm off such a low battery in the car or the key fob. Sensors on the car may also get triggered mistakenly causing it to go off. And of course there is the issue of people unknowingly pressing the alarm button on their key fob. Whatever the case, it is very annoying when this happens and everyone around has to put up with an alarm going off for no reason.

Car alarms are another one of those things like foldable stop signs that seem to cause more harm than good. The idea seems to make sense at the time, but in the long run, it just ends up being more problematic than actually being helpful.  If your car alarm has a tendency to go off when it is not supposed to, please get it checked out so it can be fixed as soon as possible.

Wednesday, March 24, 2021

The System of Reporting Issues to Police Needs to be Improved

The other day I witnessed someone littering by throwing bags of garbage out of their car into a parking lot. If you follow this blog you know that I take littering very seriously and I also believe in taking action when you see something that is not right.

So as soon as it happened I got my phone camera out and managed to get a picture of the license plate and make and model of the car. I thought about calling in a police report right then but I needed some time to review the evidence and put together all the details so I decided to wait until I got home to send it in.

Once home, I emailed the picture and all the information I had to the local police. I thought for sure they would be able to identify the person and maybe even issue a ticket for a fine, but instead I got a reply saying they cannot accept police reports by email so if I wanted to report it, I had to call 911.

I have called 911 in the past so I kind of know what to expect, but I don't really like calling it unless it is an emergency. But for this case I really wanted to see if something could be done if enough steps were taken. So the next morning I called and placed the report by giving them all the information they asked for.

I thought that was pretty good and maybe they will be able to issue a ticket or at least put it on their record or something. Then a short while later I get a call from a police officer who was following up on it so I explained all the details to him.

Unfortunately the officer said there was not much they could do. He recommended calling it in as soon as it happened, but really I don't think that would have made any difference. I was able to give more information by taking the time to assemble all the details of the case.

He said they would need video evidence, but I got the evidence in the picture with the identifying information and the garbage next to their car with the lights illuminated on the car showing they were about to drive away. So really it seems like they could have done something about it if they wanted to but just didn't want to bother with it.  

Something I found surprising was that he seemed to be more interested in my information than the person who committed the crime. He was asking details like my birth date and even middle initial. I should have asked why but I didn't want him to think I was trying to hide anything. I'm sure he just wanted to look me up in the system to get more of an idea of who he was talking to.

Anyway, I came away from the experience being pretty disappointed with the police service. I caught someone in the act committing a crime and got enough evidence to identify them and still justice was not served.

Crimes need to be able to be reported by email, not just by phone. These days many people do not even like talking on the phone anymore. In a case like mine where there is picture evidence to submit, it needs to be done by email. Reporting by phone is good for an emergency, but for other issues, they should be submitted using an online form. Hopefully changes can be made in the near future to improve this system.

Monday, March 8, 2021

Ben and Jerrys Mint Chocoloate Cookie Non-Dairy Ice Cream Review

My favorite ice cream flavor for a long time has Ben & Jerry's Mint Chocolate Cookie, so when I saw it was offered in a non-dairy version, I had to try it out. I have tried other non-dairy ice creams in the past and usually they are ok but not nearly as good as the original dairy versions. 

Upon trying this one out, I was surprised at how similar it tastes compared to the original Mint Chocolate Cookie. The main mint and cookie flavors are identical. The ice cream itself seems to be nearly identical but I would describe it as slightly more icy as if it were made with a slightly lower fat milk. 

How do they manage to get it to taste so similar without dairy? For the ingredients it uses sunflower milk instead of cream. There are a few other differences in the ingredients but this seems to be the main change. 

For the nutrition it is a little lower in fat but still has a surprisingly high amount of saturated fat considering it is non-dairy. I guess this is needed to keep the creamy texture like the original. It does have 0 cholesterol which is much lower than the original. It is still pretty high in sugar at 26g. It does have about 1/3 the amount of protein compared to the dairy version. I noticed they added pea protein to the ingredients to help get some protein in there. 

Overall I am very impressed with the Ben & Jerry's non-dairy Mint Chocolate Cookie. They did a fantastic job replicating the original flavor and texture while adhering to the change in the ingredients. If you like the original flavor and are interested in trying the non-dairy version, I highly recommend it!

Sunday, February 21, 2021

Spam and Advertisements Infiltrating Google Maps

I use Google Maps a lot and for the most part it is pretty good, but one issue I have with it lately is the amount of spam that is popping up on the maps. Often when you zoom in you will see what looks like the name of a business but if you look closer you will notice it is placed on a residential house. Dig into the details more and you will often find that the business is not actually located there and may not even have a location at all.

It seems many people are just using Google Maps as a free way to advertise their business. They will put a link to their website in some random place hoping to get more traffic and attention for their business. This is a problem because these links are cluttering the maps with useless information. Businesses that have no physical store location should not be posting on Google Maps. It is not a free advertising service.

You can report these posts but in my experience reporting them does not do much and I still see the same listings on the maps long after they have been reported. Google really needs to do something about this issue.

It seems anyone with a Google account and put whatever they want on the map. Google needs to start verifying this stuff better before publishing it to the world. They need to find a way to distinguish businesses from houses and areas on the map where nothing even exists.

I know some people may have a home based business and for those, I might give an exception if they use their home address as their business address. For the other cases where people are just posting links to their business in places that have nothing to do with their business it is not ok and these listings should be removed.

People at Google, please look into this before Google Maps becomes just a mess of random spam and advertisements.

Saturday, February 13, 2021

People who take shopping carts off the property and abandon them

One of my pet peeves is when people take shopping carts far beyond the store property limits and then abandon them wherever they feel like it. You may see this sometimes in the nearby areas around grocery stores.

It seems as though some people who do not have a car will load their groceries into a cart and then wheel it over to where they live so they do not have to carry all the groceries by hand. While I don't really think this is acceptable and there are probably other better solutions available, I would excuse this under one condition and that is that they return the cart when they are done with it!

It is bad enough people are taking carts off the property away from stores, but then to just abandon the cart in the middle of nowhere is completely unacceptable. Who do they think is going to collect the cart from there? It is going to stay wherever it was left for weeks, maybe even months until someone decides to do something about it.

Maybe a good samaritan will take the time to wheel it back or maybe eventually someone from store management will arrange to have the cart picked up and brought back to the store. But really the person who originally took it should bring it back.

What are your thoughts on this issue? Feel free to leave a comment below.

Sunday, January 31, 2021

Life After Death - Topic and Questions

Recently I started researching the topic of life after death and found there are many convincing reports of kids who remember a past life. They are able to give specific details about a person of the past who they would have no way of knowing anything about. The cases have been researched and the details seem to check out.

There are also many reports of near death experiences where someone dies and their consciousness goes on, but then they are brought back and come back to life. They are then able to recall what they experienced when they died.

There have also been many reports of ghosts or unexplained occurrences especially in places that have a long history such as old homes and buildings where people used to live or work.

Cases like the ones above seem to infer that consciousness goes on after physical death. The idea of reincarnation may exist. When one dies, transition to another life may not happen instantly but can take weeks, months, or even years.

There is certainly a lot we still do not know about life and what happens after we die. Here are some questions that can be discussed in relation to life after death. Feel free to reply with any thoughts, ideas, or experiences.

What happens after we die?

Where does the consciousness go between physical lives?

Does one get to choose where they go next after death? If not, how is it decided?

Does one's actions in life have an affect on what happens after death such as in the idea of karma?

Does one's beliefs have any affect on what happens after death?

When does consciousness begin in a living thing? At conception? At birth? Shortly after birth?

What about location? Can one be reincarnated anywhere on Earth? What about other planets or places in the universe?

Can one be reincarnated into other living things such as animals?

Why does one's knowledge and memory not carry over in most cases of reincarnation?

We have rules here on Earth that we live by, but what are the rules of the universe?

Does our consciousness have a name or identity since it would be different depending on which living thing it inhabits?

Are dreams related in some way? Could dreams be more like our consciousness when it is between physical lives?

Could people with dissociative identity disorder or gender non-conforming people be remembering their past life which is making their current identity confusing?

Why is physical life so detailed with so many things that don't seem to make sense for them to exist at all?

Are there certain things a person must accomplish in their physical life to move on to another stage?

Does dying early or in an unexpected way have an affect on what happens next with the consciousness?

How does time play into it? Is time as consciousness the same as time in the physical world?

How significant is the act of having children since it is a way to create a new physical being that will have a consciousness? 

Can those who have died still see and observe the living world which they came from? If so, do they have the ability to affect the physical world?

Can different consciousness's interact with each other while they are in between physical lives?

What about the time before the Earth existed and eventually if life on Earth comes to an end, would consciousness's have to exist somewhere else or find another physical world to inhabit?

We tend to take death very seriously here on Earth, treating it as though when it happens everything is over, but if life goes on after death than it may not be such a big deal at all but instead simply a transition to the next life.

Saturday, January 23, 2021

The use of the name Karen as a derogatory word needs to stop

I will start by saying, no my name is not Karen, but I believe the recent trend of calling people “Karen” as an insult is wrong and needs to stop. Calling someone a bad name based on an identity characteristic they have no control over is not ok.

Usually in situations like this, the person being described is not actually named Karen, but the person saying it is still using the name of other people as an insult.

There are a lot of people who have this name and unfortunately it happened to catch on as a way to describe a certain type of person. The people with this name should not be subjected to a negative association just because of their name.

It's very simple to see how this is wrong, you just have to put yourself in their shoes and ask yourself, “How would you like it if all of a sudden everyone started using your name as an insult?” You probably would not like it one bit. So if you are someone who has been using the name “Karen” like this, you may want to reconsider what you are doing and realize how it is affecting other people with that name.

Friday, January 8, 2021

Hinge App Review - First Impressions of the Dating App

I have tried several dating sites and apps over the years without much success. Recently took some time off from them which actually felt good, but one of my goals for the new year is to give it another go, I decided to sign up for one of the newer apps I have not tried yet.

The Hinge app seems to be one of the more popular options at the moment and has decent ratings so I figured I would try it out. The sign up was pretty easy, you just enter in some basic information, answer a few questions, and upload some pictures.

They let you pick 3 prompts to answer and that is about all you get in terms of giving the other person an idea of who you are. Personally I do not think this is enough especially when many of the questions seem kind of irrelevant. I tried to pick the ones that allow you to explain a bit about who you are and what you like.

For the pictures, they want you to add at least 6 pictures. I actually found this to be hard because I don't tend to take a lot of pictures of myself and I don't have many pictures with others on my phone. So I ended up having to dig through pictures on my computer to try to find some to transfer over to the phone to upload.

Upon trying out the app itself, it is pretty straight forward but they don't really give you much guidance or instruction on the features. It shows you one profile at a time and you pretty much have to make a decision if you like or dislike them based on the pictures and a few statements they filled out. It also gives you some basic information such as age and location. A lot of the basics are optional though so you may or may not see them.

One big issue I found was the location. It has you select your location on a map, but for some reason it does not go by the town, but instead somehow goes by neighborhood names. So for example, I was not even able to select the name of the town where I live. It would only give these odd neighborhood names that no one would even know. I mean I live here and I have not even heard of half these names. I ended up selecting the next town over since at least it was a recognizable town which was near by. They really need to fix this issue.

Also they have another option to enter your hometown but it is not clear if that is where you live now or where you grew up, so the whole location thing is very confusing in this app.

Another thing I don''t really like is they want you to add captions to your pictures, but you can't add your own caption, instead you have to pick from their list of preset captions. So when you are going through the profiles you keep seeing the same repetitive captions on all the pictures. It doesn't really make sense.

The app lets you choose a few parameters to help narrow down the search for example age range and distance, but I found that these don't seem to work very well. For example I had an age range set but it kept sending me profiles outside the range. Same for the distance, I had a distance of 20 miles set but it kept sending me matches that were definitely further away than that.

When you are shown a profile, you have the option to “like” a picture or statement, or you can “X” it to pass. Personally I don't like the concrete “Yes or No” method. I wish there was a “Maybe” option or at least an option to save or skip without having to commit to a like or pass. They also have an option to give a “rose” which is more special since it is limited to 1 per week.

So far I am still new to the app so I'm still testing it out and learning it, but for first impression, honestly I don't like it too much. I think it does not really give you enough opportunity to explain who you are in your profile since you pretty much just get your pictures and 3 statements. Also it is buggy as some of the features do not seem to work like they should.

I will give it a little time and try to use if for a while to see if anything materializes but honestly I do not have high expectations for this one. They describe this app as being designed to be deleted, like they want you to find a match and then delete the app, but I have a feeling I may end up just deleting the app.