Archive for the ‘Goods’ Category

Gimme Back My Netflix

Sunday, July 21st, 2013

About a year ago, I started to get into streaming media for a variety of reasons.   My first and probably biggest driver was the cost and overall quality of my cable package, I mean I can live with paying $80 a month for a decent entertainment package, but not one that is filled with rubbish.  So I started to look online for alternatives in both quality and costs.  My first port of call was the cheapest, downloading stuff on my very fast cable connection from the newsgroups, which believe it or not is entirely possible.  If you want to check out this route then buy yourself a decent NAS (Network attached storage) and download big blocks of stuff – some devices can do this automatically. It kinda works but is very fiddly when you start missing one part of the download and the whole thing won’t play, or a file gets deleted or archived half way through your download.  After a while I looked at the private downloads – the services which mirror news sites and give you a dedicated client to download – stuff like Bintube and Usnext all work very well.

The problem with these is not specifically the service, but just the junk that gets uploaded to Usenet groups. Lots of times the files are not what they say, and often they are encrypted with a password.  To get the passwords you need to go through some crappy spam filled advertising pages, which flood your PC with malware (so the uploader gets paid).  To be honest it’s not worth the hassle although if you filtered to trusted uploaders and did batch downloads it’s an option worth considering.  I did this for about 12 months before getting fed up with the various hassles and incorrect files.

I then moved to a couple of subscription services which were completely legitimate – LoveFilm from Amazon and Netflix from someone else.  Both these give a free months trial to test out.  You can stream direct to your computer or any net enabled device like an Xbox 360, Wii or one of the many dedicated media streamers.  I tested for a month on my laptop and chose Netflix, best value and biggest choice I thought.  I even shelled out on a great little streamer called the Roku which connects to your TV and streams to that directly.  Works like a dream for a few bucks a month as long as you have a decent 5mb+ internet connection.

I was happy, and with technology that’s quite unusual for me.  Until I went abroad, I packed up my laptop and Roku and went to live in London for 12 months.  I had to do some work there , so I figured I could enjoy my Netflix account from there as I had a good internet connection.  That’s when  I discovered that all Netflix accounts are not equal, the American one is the best by far, the UK version of Netflix is hopeless and that’s what you get connecting from London.  Fortunately I discovered how you could get American Netflix outside the US, but it took me a while.  So then I got the best of both worlds – I could access BBC iPlayer without having to use a proxy like this and could use the American versions when I needed.

Anyway hope this post has helped, check the link above if you’re having problems with International versions of rubbish media sites.

Rice Cooker Imports to the U.S.

Wednesday, March 27th, 2013

If you spend the time to search online for rice cookers which are currently on sale throughout the United States, you will find that there are a huge number of different manufacturers in the market. The premium brands are primarily Japanese firms. Zojirushi and Tiger are two which specialize in kitchen equipment. There are other makers such as Sanyo and Panasonic who also make these devices. Although, you may well know them for other sorts of electronics.

Some of the popular Zojirushi models which are in demand are the NS-ZCC10, the NS-YAC10 and the NP-HBC10. Read this article to find out more about the Zojirushi NS-YAC10. These are three of the best 5.5 cup rice cookers. This is the perfect size for family use.

But don’t go thinking that you have to buy Japanese. We all know that rice is their staple food. So in many ways, a Japanese rice cooker is in fact a wise decision. But there are some other brands, manufactured closer to home which may interest you. These include models made by Aroma, Oster and Black & Decker.

As you can see, there are a number of options when it comes to making rice at home. The amount of money you spend can range from close to $20 to well over $200. So there are plenty of decisions to be made should you want to include more rice in your diet.

A Fun Way to Enjoy Wine

Monday, December 10th, 2012

a wine bottle from California’s Napa Valley

We all have that opinion of wine drinkers on some level right? Stuffy.  Old.  White. Pretentious.  Ok, maybe even most of those are true, but did you know there was a fun way to enjoy wine this holiday season.  Joining a couple of local wine clubs will help you learn about wine in a fun environment, while also helping you to feel more comfortable when you have to deal with a Sommelier or anyone else working in the wine trade.

Products Like The E-Cig Don’t Come Around Everyday

Wednesday, October 3rd, 2012

There are new innovative products coming out at an increasingly fast rate, some are great and can change our lives for the better and some are just there to pretty much waste our time. One product that has caught my eye in particular is the electronic cigarette, this is being sold as an alternative to tobacco cigarettes but it could also prove to be a healthier option. The good thing about these devices is that they don’t contain the thousands or carcinogens that are used in tobacco cigs.

There are a number of brands available jostling for that number one position but one that stands out from the crowd is The Safe Cig. It looks similar to the real thing in order to make the transition that bit easier as well as having a good tobacco flavor. They aren’t the cheapest but there is a Safe Cig coupon code available to give an initial discount on your first order. This is one product that comes highly recommended.

Finding Good Wine Online

Tuesday, July 31st, 2012

Wine sold online is both one of the most difficult industries to be involved with, as well as, the most exciting.  We were surprised to hear the other day that the largest online wine store (you can certainly guess what it is, but I won’t mention it here) didn’t turn a profit for well over 25 years after it was founded.

Think about what that means for smaller retailers who are really only struggling to get by!

If you’re looking for the best wine gifts, it makes sense to try and support some of those smaller retailers don’t you think?  Taking a cue from my new neighborhood, Berkeley, buying local and not supporting the largest corporations allows us to have the widest number of choices don’t you think?

Better Wine Gift Baskets

Wednesday, March 14th, 2012

When you’re looking for better wine gift baskets, things can get pretty complicated can’t they?

There is so much marketing going on, that it is hard, if not impossible, to tune all of it out to find something which is going to really work for both your budget and for the person receiving the gift.

So what’s news worth about wine and wine gift baskets? The state of New York is trying to dramatically cut down consumer choices.  Funny, I thought living in 2012 that state governments knew that consumers were sophisticated enough to make good decisions about their own buying habits.

I guess getting the state of New York to mind its own business when it comes to wine shipments is asking too much!