Saturday, December 29, 2007

Watch This, Thief!

Neighborhood watch signs aren't quite perfected for the benefit of the thief. They're mass-produced and if you're on foot, you can read them from a short distance of about 5-6 feet. The graphic is a bit indeterminable at any distance outside of that, too. I'm not sure how a burglar is going to take the time to slow down - pause, even - to snag all that copy. He or she surely has other things going on that requires greater attention.

These signs may make your neighbors feel more secure, knowing that a warning is posted stating someone will call the local law. Would this make you feel safe?

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Maybe They DO Want a Gift Card

In years past, it was rather "not done" to give gift cards or cash. Etiquette mavens squashed anyone who even so much as passed that thought through their heads. Today, things are different. It's no longer a stigma to spend 10 minutes on-line or dashing into a store to snag a card. No matter what you buy, if someone wants to find how much it cost, they will. So, keeping that little secret has gone right out the door with the Internet and probably Amazon in particular.

So, whether you're stuck or just want to make it quick, it's OK. Go ahead and pick out that gift card. Teens in particular like cash, but a debit card from a credit card company might also be useful. Just be sure and read the fine print - it's not easy wading through all the charges - not to mention the ones they don't exactly tell you about. There are other sites that do that.

If you live away, shipping costs are also an issue - so that's another great reason to spend more money for the gift card and not put the extra cash into getting it there.

You have my blessing.

Who's giving gift cards this year? And where are they coming from?

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

New LCD TV in a Blur?

You just got home with a new LCD TV. Turn it on and - oh, my! - the picture's all blurry! You start fiddling with all the adjustments: contrast, brightness, color, etc. Nothing seems to work - it's still fuzzy.

Ready to take it back for an upgrade? Not so fast. Read the manual, first. On some of the lower end models, it can take about 30 minutes for warmup and getting past the "newness." Some instruction manuals state to wait that long before you even start messing with the controls. In most cases, you'll soon have a clear, sharp picture.

If you haven't brought that special new LCD or plasma TV home, yet, here's a basic buying guide.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

GE Fridge Water Woes

Apparently, you're supposed to change the water filter every six months. If you don't, sooner or later, the water widget in the door will stop working. Don't be alarmed unless the entire panel goes out. We've covered that already - here. If the icemaker button is still working, then you simply need to replace the filter in the fridge side. It's going to cost about $30-$40. Buy in bulk if you can - they don't go bad.

Read the instructions - on some GEs, you need to fill the filter with tap water first. Give it a little while to cycle through. The water button may not work immediately, especially if air is trapped in the line. In an hour or so, a bit of water will spurt out and you're good to go.

One last thing - there are some issues, it seems, with the water line in the freezer side actually freezing inside the door. This is a flaw that GE has not yet officially addressed. If you think it's frozen, leave the door open, clean out the freezer (good a time as any, right?) and see if that helps.