Thursday, August 2, 2012

Vizio Sound Bar

This sleek little sound bar from Vizio is packed with sound - and for a great price (about $99), too. However, it has some drawbacks that may or may not affect your purchase.

First, the box states it's ready to set up with any Vizio TV. It is not. The correct cable is not included. Instructions for workarounds don't work, either. You may be forced to purchase an additional cable if you want a direct hookup from TV to sound bar.

It can still be set up, however, with this little tip:

Plug the cable from the sound bar directly into a DVD player or recorder. The DVD player will channel sound just fine with one drawback. When you turn the TV off, the sound is still going until you also turn the DVD player/recorder off. For some, that might be an advantage. In the ideal world of a direct hookup to the TV, you’d have to deactivate the TV’s sound components. This way, you can leave the TV speakers intact as a little extra filler to the sound bar. And when those who are hard of hearing leave the room, just turn off the sound bar.

That’s another hitch, however.

The sensors sit in one tiny corner at the bottom of the right end, as shown with a yellow arrow in the photo above. They're hard to locate with the miniaturized remote and require a precise aim. That means you can't just make adjustments from anywhere in the room - straight on is best.

Price: 5 stars
Appearance: 4 stars (downgraded for the really shiny Vizio emblem front and center)
Sound: 5 stars (sounds even better at a distance)
Compatibility: 2 stars (for not including a connector)
Remote control: 2 stars (hard to access)
Setup with workaround: 1 star

G&G rating: Thumbs at half-mast

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Go ahead and make pizza baking and serving even easier - with a peel! The Epicurean has many advantages over aluminum and all-wood models. First, it's a composite of resin and wood fibers. That makes it both dishwasher and knife friendly (if desired, although it’s always better to avoid both). The size holds larger pies and the shorter handle makes even a loaded down board easy to maneuver. The front lip features a beveled edge and it's recommended to add a little cornmeal on the surface before sliding fresh dough on. Going in or coming out, it makes access a breeze!

It'll make you look like a pro when you're prepping and serving.

G&G rating: Thumbs Up

Monday, February 13, 2012

Attention K-Mart Shoppers - Faulty Glassware in Dept. 11

Looking for some nice glassware that's cost-friendly? Skip the Essential Home brand at K-Mart. Old-fashioned glasses are difficult to find if you're wanting a set under $10. No surprise there, but if you entertain frequently, don't you want to save those $140 (each) special occasion pieces for something besides everyday use?

This K-Mart six-pack of double old-fashioned glasses fail the grade. Three out of the six featured serious flaws in the bases. You can see in the photo that one side slopes noticeably upward. While you might get away with a clear beverage, any colored drinks will exacerbate the profile. Pass.

G&G rating: Thumbs down - naturally.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Temperature Readings the Old-Fashioned Way: a Galileo Thermometer

Designed to be enjoyed by all ages, the Galileo thermometer is a colorful addition for homes and offices. You'll find multiple brands and designs out there and they make unique gifts that also work! Glass cylinders should be placed in a safe location where it's not too hot or too cold. (Too hot and all the floats sink; too cold and they all rise.) Best for use with older children as breakage is always a danger.

The float closest to the middle (from the top) is the telltale sign. Just read its dangly gold charm to find the room's temperature Fahrenheit or Celsius temperature.

G&G Rating: Thumbs Up (for the concept)

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Visa Potty 268 - Portability "On the Go"

On a more "delicate" subject, if you need to visit the Head where there is none, the Visa Potty 268 is a recommended portable. The best thing about it is the height - it's low, but not so you'll feel like you're squatting, then trying to rise from an awkward angle. It's fairly easy to set up, although instructions are somewhat lacking. The front handle pulls out to "flush" and the two-way water swirl in the bowl is a nice, effective touch. With two separate compartments that latch snugly together, it's easy to load even when full, although it will be heavy.

It's also an excellent fit (In the G&G's case) for party and fishing pontoons that have "changing" rooms. (What's up with a "changing" room on a boat, anyway?) With a little modification to remove the existing bench, it slides right in with plenty of room to maneuver as needed.

Special toilet paper is best and you'll want to add sanitation cubes to break down solid materials while controlling odor.

G&G rating: Thumbs up

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Sassafras Baking Stone - A Hot Choice for Pizza

While baking stones are plentiful, the Sassafras brand offers a large rectangular at 15x 13 inches that's also 3/8-inch thick. It's a solid chunk of clay that won't disappoint. While it has a few poor reviews based on cracking, the stone pictured here has been through many heatings without any problems. While cornmeal helps keep the dough from sticking, the first time in use, the cornmeal burned; but, no problems after that.

Compared to many other affordable pizza stones for the home kitchen, this one offers a better thickness and it can accommodate a large (rectangular) pizza. You'll find this brand at a variety of on-line stores.

G&G rating: 5 out of 5 stars (that's a thumbs up!)

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Make a Quick Change with Light Bulb Changers

Expendable pole light bulb changes can save life and limb when you're dealing with high ceilings. Even with the sturdiest ladders, there is always the danger of a fall. At any age. The Gadget Imp has discovered a time-saver that will change the way you work around the house. It's the Bayco light bulb changer kit, complete with multiple bulb size grabbers and an extendable 11-foot pole. It even comes with two sizes of extractors for broken bulbs.

This is a must-have item for seniors and those who have trouble climbing ladders. Time is another factor - just a flick of the grabber and the bad bulb is out. Then, new goes in, twist it into place, and you're done.

G&G Imp Rating: Thumbs Up

The Bayco Changer is available at Home Depot, but you get a pole and one changer. At Amazon, you can get an entire kit for $27.99 and you never know when you'll need the extras. Think about front entries, inside and out - floodlights, standard bulbs and recessed lighting. The extractors can handle standard and candelabra bulbs.

The Gadgets and Gifts Imp is here to cause chaos with product reviews - good and bad. Praise, complaints, thumbs up, thumbs down - you'll find favorite and obscure products to rave or rage about. Before you buy, check back here - the Imp has you covered! After all, the devil's in the details.