Archive | December, 2009

Nice Kits for the Tool-Loving Kids

December 8, 2009

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All my kids love tools. One of the first “big kid” gifts I gave my daughter (years ago now!) was a hammer. She was SO happy! lol! I know the feeling– your very first HAMMER! Remember yours? Oooo the feel of that icy cold metal and the spunky rubber grip that fit so well in your hand; and remember the melodic clang of the hammer head as it hits your thumb the nail? Yes!! Brings back such memories!

I intend on getting all my kids their own tool kits when they are old enough. I still have two more to go! Here’s a really, really nice one– it’s the Trailworthy 25 Piece Tool Kit with Flashlight. Very nice! It’s on sale right now at Buy.com, 79% off for $10, with free shipping. It’s a perfect gift for a kid! They can fix their own bike, make their own birdhouse, take the set camping– and before you know it, they MAY even be renovating that horrible kitchen with the ikky orange laminate countertops!

The Trailworthy is nice– it has those small precision screwdrivers (that we are ALWAYS losing around here) and a very nice and sturdy plastic case. The flashlight takes 4 AA batteries. I love the pistol grip ratchet drive. The price is definitely right.

There’s more to be found at Buy.com! I love them. I’ve ordered quite a few things from them, and the shipping is incredible! Good service, good prices– Buy.com is a great place to shop. Right now they have some good deals going on for the holidays. You can shop by price, by item, by sale.

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Jeeves Hits the Magic Jackpot

December 8, 2009

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We’ve been puttering around the idea of getting a Magic Jack device for the home. The landline is just TOO expensive. And we really don’t use the telephone a whole lot. I have a hard time seeing why we should be shelling out $60 a month so telemarketers can bombard us with their calls. :-p

Some people I know have recently got the Magic Jack device. It’s a little piece of hardware that you plug into your computer (in the USB port) and it will allow you to send and receive telephone calls. It’s called Voice over Internet Protocol (VOIP), and works a lot like Skype (but cheaper and more reliable). The gadget sells for about $40, and all calls are free the first year. After that, it’s just $20 a YEAR. It sounds so good. I’ve done some reading up about it; some folks have given me their opinions about it; and I actually saw and handled the device at a friend’s home the other day. I’m THIS CLOSE to getting it.

Leave it to the kids to want to make a cute video about the gadget. They are getting very good with videos! They create funny characters and even have a few running gags and serials in the works. This is their latest. Ladies and gentlemen, meet Jeeves and Madeline, discussing the amazing Magic Jack gadget!

We made the video with Roxio Creator 2010. We love that software!

So what do you think of Magic Jack? If you have it, please leave a comment and tell us what you think about it.

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Staying Ahead of the Curve: Networking the Home

December 4, 2009

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I am finding technology extremely difficult to stay on top of. I’m in the process of planning a centralized networking system for the home- we have problems with Internet wireless here- and I prefer to use ethernet cabling as much as possible. This means wiring the entire house with it. I’m slowly learning how to create a central networking hub where I can manage all connections from one station (preferably a built-in closet downstairs) and from one router (or an additional hub). But just when I think I’ve got a handle on the latest and easiest techniques and tools, technology changes everything all over again! I guess I am going to have to draw the line somewhere…

…but it is so neat to explore the possibilities! I’m checking out something called “POE” which is “Power Over Ethernet.” The technology is amazing. Basically, POE allows you to connect to ethernet Internet through the power system in your home. There are adapters that allow this.

And then there’s more! Buy.com has a bunch of equipment with informative videos about POE devices. The latest one, the D-Link DWL-P200 Power over Ethernet Power Injector, allows even more flexibility. Let’s say you want to create an access point from a room that has no electricity (hello, that’s us) or has no electrical outlet where you want to have your access point (such as, a ceiling or wall with no outlet). This handy dandy little gadget connects via network cable, providing power for an access point AND the connection power to create your own little Local Area Network.

I don’t know about you, but I find all this stuff both fascinating, complicated, and a little overwhelming! I think it’s great that Buy.com has the equipment AND some excellent videos that explain the products. The D-Link POE Power Injector is very affordable, too– only $38 with free shipping. That’s dirt cheap! Buy.com has loads and loads of things on sale, and not just in networking equipment. They have much more for the electronics geek! 😀 I love Buy.com. They have excellent customer service, speedy (and oftentimes, free) shipping, and their prices are amazing. The selection grows and grows more all the time. I am definitely going to Buy.com for all our networking needs– plus they have electrical supplies and equipment, too. Not to mention stuff like cookware, apparel, housewares, tools, books, computers, and more.

I’m not quite sure I’ll choose the POE system. It could definitely be useful for places such as an exterior patio or porch, or in place where I don’t have adequate outlets. But I still like the idea of a centralized wired system via cabling. Still… I may get one of those POE gadgets just to try it out, though. 🙂 And it may cure our wireless problems upstairs until I can gut the rooms and add more wiring!

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Find the Kitty 12/4

December 4, 2009

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I don’t know about you, but I just CANNOT BELIEVE it is December already!! We haven’t had any snow yet, so it doesn’t really seem like December. This year just flew by!

Here’s Livvy, up to her old antics again. This is an easy one: can you Find the Kitty?

FTK2

She did this on a cold day. She just loves to curl up under the blankies. It’s sometimes difficult to know exactly where she is; we don’t want to sit on her and squish her! Doesn’t she look so cozy?

SweetBlanky

That’s my daughter’s room, by the way. And NO we did NOT paint it pink! The folks before us did. They painted pink paint over 2 layers of old wallpaper, and it’s all peeling off now. :-p I haven’t redecorated the room because I have yet to gut the room and insulate it. I did manage to install totally new wiring in the room, when we gutted the living room below. I snaked wires up through the downstairs ceiling, into the wall cavities of the bedroom. I am so proud of the electricity in this room! When I gut the walls, I also want to install ethernet cabling here, too. The girls rely on wireless Internet to connect their computers, and it’s such a hassle– something environmental interferes with the wireless signal. It drives me nuts! I’ll probably rig up a separate system, with a Linksys router, hub, and control panel up here. I love ethernet wiring, and it’s very easy to install. I am SO Looking forward to gutting this house!

Have a great weekend everyone!

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