Giveaway of the Day

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Everybody loves FREE.

 

What if somebody said that you get a new software program every day for FREE?

 

You might jump on that idea, right?

 

However, you may want to reconsider that idea if you belong to the site “Giveaway of the Day (link here).

 

While this site does offer a few decent programs (emphasis on few), the majority of the programs could be considered either junk or just simply crap.  All of the programs are utility type programs (sorry no games here) that range from disc defraggers to uninstallers to video players.  This is what the bulk of programs are in their daily selection.

 

Some of the programs are gems as I have downloaded a few and use them many times.  However, there are some things to keep in mind before downloading any programs from this site along with things to avoid:

  • AVOID crippleware.  These are programs that stop working after 6 months or a year and give no warning that it does until it is too late.  It is bad to get attached to using a program only to find out that it no longer works.
  • AVOID programs from foreign countries.  While “Made in the USA” might be great, many of these programs come from foreign lands and could possibly contain spyware or worse unknown viruses.
  • Read user comments carefully.  Many times they will offer alternatives that are better than what is offered and be 100% free with no strings attached.
  • Only install a program if you REALLY need that kind of program.  While having 50 defraggers may be nice, you don’t really need that many nor should you have that many.
  • AVOID blocked websites.  Trust your antivirus program if it blocks the home page of the program’s creator.  This could be sure sign of trouble.
  • Check system requirements.

 

I recommend this website, but only if proper care is taken.  Consider downloading a program if and only if you have an absolute need for it and not just because you want a new toy as it could cause trouble with other installed programs.

 

I am nor giving a rating to this site as the product changes daily, but everything on this site well organized enough to make an educated decision as to whether to download a program or not.

 

Happy downloading!

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2 Cool Disney Shows to Beat the Heat

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Last week, I took the week off because of the heat.  However that did not mean that there wasn’t some cool entertainment on TV provided by Disney Channel.  In fact, 2 cool shows to be exact.

 

Last weekend started with the premiere of “Teen Beach Movie”.  First off I want to say that this movie actually didn’t suck unlike much of the kinds of movies that both Disney and Nickelodeon have been known for lately.  In fact, I would put this movie in the same sort of category as Disney’s last big movie “High School Musical”.  In fact, I actually enjoyed this one much better than that.

 

On its premiere last Friday night, the film was dedicated to Annette Funicello for her work on beach movies of the past.  Unfortunately, subsequent airings didn’t have this dedication.  This really makes me think that this was a half-hearted dedication.  If you don’t know who she is, go ask your parents or grandparents.  Chances are that they still may have a dusty copy of “Beach Blanket Bingo” lying around somewhere to pop into the VCR.  After watching that, it is easily understood where this movie was coming from. This may be the movie’s biggest strengths and possibly its biggest weakness.  Certainly the Geritol generation will get this movie idea, but the youngsters may be a little confused.  Somebody like me this movie is almost a perfect fit.

 

The main idea behind this movie is that 2 teens go surfing and wind up in some strange wave landing on a beach that seems to be a place where everybody lives on a beach spending their day singing and just hanging around the beach.  The characters on this beach seem to be trapped in a movie life.  Add to this a mad scientist who seems to want to harm the beachgoers and you get a fun movie.  I really didn’t understand the mad scientist plotline, but apparently they needed some sort of plotline.

 

This movie is full of fun songs and dance numbers, which actually were rather enjoyable.  The only downside to this movie was one scene which featured a green screen background of waves behind the main characters.  I am dropping my final score by a ½ point because of this.

 

While Friday night premiered the standard version of the movie, Saturday morning featured a “live chat” edition and Sunday night featured a “Sing Along” edition.  Next Saturday night is scheduled to feature “Learn the Dance Moves” edition.  If most of these sound familiar, these were mostly done with the HSM movies as well.

 

Do I recommend this movie?  Most definitely especially for the parents.

 

Friday night also saw the premiere of the new series “Liv & Maddie”.  This show focuses on 2 teen girls, Liv (a former Hollywood star who just ended a 4 year TV series run) and her twin sister Maddie (a basketball player with her own odd personality).  When Liv comes back home, Maddie seems to live in the shadow of her twin.  Breaking out of her shadow for Maddie seems to be what this show is all about.

 

When I first saw the preview for this show, I thought “real twins” just like the Sprouse twins were on the show “Suite Life of Zack and Cody”.  Surprise!  This show is played by one girl (Dove Cameron) and she actually pulls it off really well.  The scenes between the twins are well-integrated making it seem like this is really 2 girls when it is really one.  While this concept has been overused over the years, it seems to get better with each show and this one it is really convincing.  I still think this is portrayed by 2 actresses, but nowhere does it point in that direction.  It is really that good.  I have high hopes that this show continues the high of this preview episode as compared to the type of junk released by Nickelodeon recently.

 

Summary:

 

“Teen Beach Movie” – A great movie with a 1960’s theme.  This is highly enjoyable by both parents and kids alike.  I see a strong possibility of a sequel or 2 in the future.   The movie is currently running on Disney Channel and is also available on DVD.

 

My Score:  8.5

 

“Liv & Maddie” — Twins reunited with cute premiere episode.  This show is highly promising given that a single actress is playing both of the twins.  Preview episode airing now with series premiere in mid-September..

 

My Score:  9

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nothing This Week…

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Because of the weather, I was unable to do a posting this week.  Hopefully, I can return next week.  Sorry for the inconvenience.

In Search of New Glasses

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Shortly before I had to renew my driver’s license last year, I decided that I needed to get my eyes checked.  Since I had not been to an eye doctor in nearly 10 years, I considered this a start over because the place that I had been going to had long been out of business.

 

The list of eye doctors that I considered was a pretty short list.  I decided on a choice of two: the one my mother went to and the one my father went to.  Since my father had the most recent experience going, I decided to go to that eye doctor.

 

This particular eye doctor advertises in the newspaper as part of the Eyemart Express ads.  Since he advertised that walk-ins were welcome and no appointment was needed, I decided this was the place to go.  On top of that was a coupon for a discount on the eye exam.

 

When I arrived, I spent about 20 minutes filling out the required paperwork.  By the time I was done, the eye doctor was ready to see me.  Since the place had no other waiting customers, I got right in.

 

Mistake #1:  If you see no other customers around, be wary of the business.

 

The entire eye exam took approximately 20 minutes, much shorter that what I was used to for an eye exam.  What the eye doctor told me was that I needed bifocals.  WHAT BIFOCALS?  I AM NOT THAT OLD!!!

 

So he wrote up my prescription for what should be my new glasses.  Skeptical as I was, I went on my way.

 

So now it was all downhill from here:  finding someone to make a new pair of glasses.  My goal was to find a pair of frames similar to the ones I already use.

 

Stop #1 was Classic Eyewear in Scarborough Maine.  This is the company in which I had been getting all of my glasses my entire life.  The company has moved several times over the years from going from downtown Portland to being at the Maine Mall to their current location on Route 1.

 

The afternoon I went there was no other customer there.  Therefore mistake #1 was in play and it was no wonder.  When I explained to the person on duty at this place of my problem of walking up and downstairs, she recommended that I get 2 pairs of glasses instead of getting bifocals.  I was nearly floored when I was told that the price would be nearly $1,000 for 2 pairs of glasses!!!  At this point, I told the clerk that I would think about it and return later should I decided to go with them.  At that price, I never returned.

 

So now I had to decide on 2 pairs of glasses, not the one I originally thought of.

 

Stop #2 was Eyemart Express.  This place was fairly busy and because of that I just looked around and saw that the prices were reasonable (around $30 per pair for the kind I liked, not including lens).  I decided to come back later when it was a little less busy.

Stop #3 was LensCrafters in the mall.  Always be suspicious of any company that always advertises “help wanted with no experience necessary”.  This was quite apparent when the young lady asked if I needed help.  I told her that I was looking for frames similar to what I already had.  She then took my glasses and opened and closed about 25 different drawers under the shelves to find something/anything similar to what I had.  After about 10 minutes of this searching, she asked her supervisor if there was anything that she knew of that was similar and she said no.

 

The salesgirl returned to me with my glasses and stated that there was nothing that they had that was similar to what I wanted.  REALLY?  SERIOUSLY?!?     It is hard to believe that this chain store had nothing at all.  So I left, but not disappointed given the incompetence of this employee.

 

Mistake #2:  Be wary of “No Experience Needed” in a job like this.  Incompetence runs rampart without knowledge.

 

Stop #4 was Maine Mall Eyecare.  This store was located in the food court area of the mall.  Like other stores, there were no other customers in the store so when the salesgirl approached I asked if she had anything similar to what I currently had.  Without even handling them, she said she carried ones similar to them, but they would cost about $400 per pair.  I thanked the girl and quickly left this store as well.

 

I did not stop at Pearle Vision Center as I had bad experiences with them years ago and didn’t bother to ever return.  So it seemed that my only choice was Eyemart Express.

 

So off I went to this place to try to get help.  The store has a procedure of having you sign a sheet of paper in either the initial transaction or pick-up column.  So after about 20 minutes of waiting, I was finally helped by a young salesgirl.  With the exception of Classic Eyewear, I was bothered that all of these salesclerks were under 20 years old (or at least appeared to be).

 

After explaining everything that I wanted and needed, my bill would come to just over $125.  Certainly more than I wanted to pay, but less from what others were going to charge.

 

Now the caveats:

  • The frames you pick are the exact ones that will be made into glasses.  The company has no overstock so if a lot people have tried on the same frames, they could be scratched as was the case with one pair that I wanted.
  • Don’t believe those advertised prices.  I don’t know where they get the prices from but since most of the frames are over $50, chances are your bill will be over $100 as well.
  • Don’t hold them to that one hour service deal.  The store was much too busy and as I will explain it took much, much longer than that.

 

After giving them my order, I was told that I could return later that afternoon to pick up my glasses. This was the only way I could do it as I don’t own a cellphone to contact me.

When I went back later that afternoon, they gave me the bad news that their machine was broken and that I would have to return the next week to get my glasses. Granted they said that the machine should be fixed the next day (on Saturday, no less), but because they was far behind, mine would not be ready until the following week.  So much for that one hour service.

 

When I went back to get my glasses and wait another 20 minutes for pick-up, I decided to start wearing them when I got home.  This is when the problems began.  First, both pairs of glasses were cloudy.  Maybe I just wasn’t used to them yet.  Secondly, one pair had a scratched lens.

 

I decided after a week to return to have the glass replaced.  So after waiting another 20 minutes, I told them of the scratch and after much going back and forth, they decided to replace the lens at no charge.  However, this time it would take about a week to get a new lens as apparently it was not one in stock.

 

So after a week, I got the glasses back after waiting nearly another 20 minutes and all seemed fine except one thing:  I CAN’T SEE OUT OF EITHER PAIR!!

 

The question to this is who is to blame?

 

Is it the eye doctor by not giving me the right prescription or the eyeglass place for getting the wrong lens or was it me not being able to adjust to the new 2 pairs of glasses and expecting to see more than I should?

 

Any way you look at it, I say everyone is to blame in this.  I believe there was way too much incompetence on everyone’s part to nail just one person.  The bottom line is that right now I am not wearing either pair of glasses as I can’t see from either one and have resorted to wearing the pair that is well over 10 years old.  At least I can see somewhat out of that pair.

 

I am writing this more than a year after this happened as I feel that since Eyemart Express has been advertising a lot lately that I wanted to warn people of just how bad they really were.

 

Summary:

 

Eyemart Express, LensCrafters, Maine Mall Eyewear, Classic Eyewear:

 

  • Cheap prices than competition. (Eyemart Express)
  • Don’t believe those advertised prices as most frames are much more than that. (Eyemart Express)
  • Incompetent help except at Classic Eyewear.
  • One-hour service is just an illusion. (Eyemart Express)

 

Final Score:

  • 5  (Eyemart Express)
  • 1  (LensCrafters)
  • 2  (Maine Mall Eyewear)
  • (Classic Eyewear)