Thursday, May 22, 2014

Product review: Nature's Immunity Nuts

Product review: Nature's Immunity Nuts snack
How did I get it: This is a bi-weekly subscription by me.
Review background: Not solicited.

Again, about a 1oz portion. This is simply cashews, pistachios, and Brazil nuts. No spices, no salt, not even roasted or toasted.

So, um, what can I say about nuts? I like nuts. This is probably a Like, simply because there's no ... umph ... to it.

Product review: My Thai snack

Product review: My Thai snack
How did I get it: This is a bi-weekly subscription by me.
Review background: Not solicited.

I'm pretty wimpy when it comes to spice and heat in my food. I really didn't think I'd care for this very much. Boy was I wrong!

This snack has tiny little rice cakes, that are sweet-and-slightly-spiced on their own. By themselves, they're really nice. The dipping sauce is a clear, slightly-spiced one. By itself, it's also pretty nice. Put them together and it's an omnomnom fest!

I was very pleasantly surprised that this snack gets a Love from me.

Friday, May 9, 2014

Product Review: Twist of black peppercorn popcorn

Product review: Twist of black peppercorn popcorn
How did I get it: This is a bi-weekly subscription by me.
Review background: Not solicited.

Graze’s snacks are generally about 1oz, so they’re great for portion control. They’re attractively packaged and easily taken with me anywhere.

I love popcorn – it’s filling and low on calories compared to many snacks. I don’t, however, like a lot of pepper. I think it gets overused way too often in restaurants.

This is a tiny, tiny bag. The outer wrapper says it can be ready in as little as 40 seconds. I let this go for 60, and there was only the slightest trace of burning in a few kernels, so you could probably split the difference and do about 50 seconds.

The pepper taste takes a few pieces to sneak up at you, but it continues to get stronger as you eat. It isn’t too overwhelming, but I definitely wouldn’t eat this without something to drink.

Overall, out of Graze’s ratings of Trash, Try, Like, and Love, I give this a Like. I would be happy to get this occasionally in my Graze Box.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Why is a finished cross-stitch piece so expensive?

If you look to buy a finished cross-stitch piece (well, a fully-stitched piece let’s say – no framing), you just might have sticker shock. Why is it so expensive? Well, let’s take a look.

I’m doing a piece as a gift at the moment. Let’s look at a capital “B.” It’s made up of 131 ‘x’es, each of which is made up of 2 stitches (a left-leaning \ and a right-leaning /). Model stitchers, and mind you this is probably 15, 20, 25 year old information, can generally expect 1 cent per stitch. I priced mine (when I was selling on at 1.5 cents per stitch. But let’s go with 1 cent – it’s what a COMPANY would pay someone to stitch a model for photographing.

131 x 2 = 262 stitches. At 1 cent per, that’s $2.62. For that one letter. The whole piece sits in an area of 130 x 44 squares (at 18 square per inch, it’s about 7.5 inches x 2.5 inches). IF that whole area was fully stitched (and that’s not a large piece), it would be 130 x 44 = 5720 squares x 2 = 11440 stitches, or $114.40! But let’s estimate this piece only uses about half those stitches, so it could be priced at $57.20.

Ooooh, you say, but you’re making a nice chunk of change.

Uh-huh, right.

I do (very roughly) about 1 stitch every 10 seconds, so about 6 stitches a second. That’s 3 ‘x’es. That “B” probably took me 130/3 = 44 minutes. Yes, ONE LETTER took nearly 3/4ths of an hour. And this piece has 11 capital and 10 lower case letters. I’m guesstimating that this will take a total of 15 man hours. $57.20/15 = $3.81 per hour. The reason I can do 6 stitches an hour is that this is just single-color text. Start throwing in color changes, blends, specialty stitches and that number goes down Real Fast.

Would YOU work for less than $4.00 an hour? Or if I sold pieces at 1.5 cent/stitch, under $6.00 and hour? Yeah, didn’t think so. This is why I stopped selling stitched pieces. I make them to give to people because I love to do both the stitching and the giving.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Random Spring thought

Husband has a lot of friends in the Orlando area. One of the early events there I went with him to was an art festival in Downtown Disney. I'd like to go back again, but I'd have to either go without them or be prepared to not stay with the group (sorry guys). I felt, and still feel, that while I enjoyed being with the group, I never enjoyed the festival. Why? Because they were all interested in the hand-drawn art and, except for the sidewalk chalk art, I was interested in everything BUT. They stopped at every print, paint, and drawing booth, which I'm sorry to say bored me, and skipped the metal, jewelry, wood, ceramics, and textiles that I wanted to stop at. Oh well. I'll go again.

Friday, February 8, 2013

…and cue the stereotyping! is moving a little bit from just mobility and into all tech, so I’m like, hey, I should look at technology aimed at women, since I’m the female writer of the crew. How depressing/hard can it be, right?

*facepalm* I goo Bing “technology aimed at Women” and get mostly crap, but I did get a 2008 article about Yahoo!’s Shine site for women. Okay, cool. So I head out to and look at the categories: Today, Style, Well-being, Love+Sex, Food, Home Design, Parenting, Animals, Horoscope, My Shine.

I sense a disturbance in the Force. No. Technology. Nada. Nyet. Nein.

THIS should have been expected, I suppose, but I’m very disappointed.

As my grandmother used to say, though: Corn’s not shucked - drive on. Let’s see what I can find.

Monday, December 31, 2012

So long, farewell, auf wiedersehen, goodbye 2012!

So it's the end of 2012. A little look back, shall we?

I turned 41, Husband turned 40, Son turned 8.
9 years of marriage. 8 years in this house. ("The average family moves every 7 years." Yeah, who can afford THAT?)
I spent all of 2012 in a part-time, no benefits job. That has its pros & cons, but I'm still hunting for something full-time & permanent. Though, of course, nothing is really permanent, especially in a right-to-work state.
I buried a long-time acquaintance from my RPG playing days. It was nice to see some of the others who also came to the service, and we had a nice time chatting and catching up over dinner.
I buried my best friend of 30 years. The service was small, but it was nice to see her co-workers thought very well of her. It really brought home that I need to lose some weight.
Mom spent her first semester (of three) away from the family, working on Masters #2. I'm so glad that she's enjoying herself.
The Jaguars have sucked. We'll just leave it there.
FSU football hasn't been much better.
The Sharks, however, are doing well. Keep up the good job, chums!
We cut the satellite cord this year, and got Roku boxes. No problems there.
Son brought germs home after Thanksgiving, & he and I are still sick. Kids...
I joined a tech blog, and guest posted a couple of times on another.

So 2012 wasn't great, and it wasn't horrible. Life is, and will probably continue to be, daily.
Here's to 2013. May it not suck, too.


Well, I'm actually looking at the ads I've let Google insert, and filtering is a pain in the tushie. I haven't made much, so I'm going to see if I can disable the bloody thing completely for a while. I see it's screwing up the formatting of the second post. If G can't get it together, why should I use it?

{Edit: Hmm, okay, removed some categories, found out that Google thought I was a male which is why I was seeing mail-order-bride ads. It seems to be formatting fine now. But Google: why ads in the DASHBOARD??}

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Who's your momma now?

(This is a copy of a post from Glance and Go Radio in October 2012)

Women now make up nearly 60% of players of games on mobile devices. BOOYAH!

Now, I’m not advocating for more “Hello, Kitty” or (FSM forbid) PINK in mobility, but I AM pointing this out to say to the developers, “You cannot afford to continue to think that games, particularly mobile games, are for men.” In fact, with social multi-player games, women are even a BIGGER percentage. As a woman, I can give my opinion on why I think that’s an obvious, no-brainer conclusion: as a whole (and there are always exceptions), I have found that we are more cooperative, more social, than men. So, duh! Of COURSE we’re going to be a bigger consumer of social, and even casual, games.

And here’s pro tip number 2: you want to get your claws into the toddlers? Infants? Pre-teens? Teens? Guess who you’re going to have to go through: Mom, not Dad. So not only have women become the majority consumer of mobile games, but they have a huge influence over the rest of the family. According to EEDAR, a California research firm that specializes in researching video games, women are more likely to play these games with family members and send (and I’d assume accept) those annoying Facebook game invitations. (Remember I said there are exceptions? Yeah, my husband is more likely to play on the Playstation 3 with our son. I tend not to be able to stay with console games for long. But then, I didn’t grow up with a console and my husband did.)

Now before you start feeling threatened, according to EEDAR men still are in the majority in PC and console gaming, but that lead has shrunk from 72% in 2002 to only 53% in 2012.

Even stranger still, according to the USA Today article, Big Fish Games (a game publisher on the PC, iOS, and Android platforms) says that their Big Fish Casino game, which you would think would lean male, actually gets 65% of their revenue from women. (Disclaimer: I have been a BFG member since 2009. I generally play hidden object games, although I have some time management style games too. And yes, I have bought games for my son as well.)

I’m sending this out specifically to Windows 8 and Windows Phone developers. Apple’s App Store is too big now to shift quickly, Google Play has so little oversight it’s nuts, but the Windows Store is young, new, and growing. So you developers are in a unique position to grab these game-playing, socially-connected women NOW. Let’s get more Xbox and Windows Phone cross-over. Tie in all of the social networks so we can go from desktop to laptop to tablet to phone effortlessly, easily, and anywhere. Make the cloud seamless and easy to reach, so we can manage our family’s schedule, finances, and leisure time.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a city to QONQR. Level 79 and FINALLY people are playing in the area. Woohoo! Sign up, and use “Panda” as a referral. {Edit: Also available on iPhones. Not available yet on Android, but "comming."}

Source: USA Today

The dark side of being seen as "the best"

(This is a copy of a blog post I did on Mobility Digest in October 2012)

Ever since the first iPhone came out, The Masses have been slavishly lining up to pick up the Next New iThing. Whether iPhones are or are not The Best is debatable, and probably at least somewhat subjective. Other sites and articles have benchmarked mobile devices to death, so I’ll let that go. What I want to discuss is perception.

Yes, I have become largely a Microsoft fangirl. That almost wasn’t the case: I was flashing the ROM on my Fuze/TouchPro every month (occasionally twice a month), the applications didn’t really send me, and I could afford to upgrade when the time came. I could never drink the Apple-flavored kool-aid and I had no desire at all for a Crackberry, so I was just about resigned to go All In with Android and give my digital self over to Google. Then I heard it: Windows Phone 7. It would be clean, beautiful, and it would “just work.” Hmm. Windows, the behemoth, to match my PC, or Android, fractured, ugly, and tied to Google, who was becoming the Evil they swore not to be. Windows it was. And I haven’t regretted a single moment.

Apple, however, is still largely touted as The Best by both media (those tech and non-tech) and The Masses. My sister-in-law and her family are All In with Apple. The sisters-of-my-heart, two of my closest friends, went from Blackberries to iPhones, mostly because they got a massively good deal from the younger’s work.

Where am I going with this? What with Antennagate, Scuffgate, Wifigate, and Purple Haze, Apple seems to be caught up in “we’re on top, we can’t do any wrong” syndrome. Yes, The Masses have still cued up before opening to get their grubby mitts on the new iPhone 5. Yes, pre-orders were massively high. However, the level of anticipation is not as high as it seems to have been for the iPhone 3, the iPhone 4, or even the iPhone 4S. The 4S disappointed because it wasn’t seen to be much more than a slightly incremental improvement – there was no “wow” factor. The iPhone 5 is suffering from the same problem. Sales have been high, but not as high as expected. Are people coming back down to earth after suffering from iThing High?

Here’s what triggered this line of wondering: I was taking the elder of my heart-sisters around on errands today. (She has epilepsy, and cannot legally drive in the State of Florida.) As I said earlier, they have iPhones 4Ses. Last week, iOS6 got pushed to them (and they couldn’t say “No” to it - that’s another beef they’re having with Apple). It has been a stream of cursing at their devices all week! And, being the resident Mobility Person, boy am I getting an ear full.

Maps isn’t a big deal to them. They don’t have the Purple Haze problem because that seems to be a iPhone 5 issue. They’re on Sprint, so hopefully they haven’t been hit with the on-WiFi-but-getting-charged-cell-data issue. No, it’s the battery (which I hope isn’t a symptom of the WiFi problem. We’re going to be checking that when their usage comes in). As we were driving around, my friend told me that before the iOS6 update, she could go a whole day without charging. Now, it can go from 100% to 50% after an hour of just talking on the phone and texting. If she plays some games, the battery can loose 15% in 10-15 minutes!

And she’s an Apple fan! She’s owned Macs in the past, and loves them; prefers them, in fact. But here’s the point: SHE ISN’T LOYAL. She has sworn to NEVER buy a Mac again, because of Apple’s attitude!

It seems that when she bought her last Mac, she bought a warranty. But for some reason, whether it was Apple policy, or a quirk of Florida law, since she was neither an educator nor a student, she could not register her warranty with Apple. (This is long before Apple stores.) Within months of owning the Mac, she saw smoke coming from the power supply, and the thing died. It wasn’t until after that warranty period expired that she learned there had been a recall for that model for exactly the power supply problem she had. No attempt was made from Apple to inform her, as an owner, nor did she ever see any announcement on Apple’s homepage. How did she know the latter fact? Evidently, the Apple homepage was the default when opening Safari, and she NEVER changed it. So she saw that page constantly. I’ve had recalls on my vehicles: the maker and/or the dealerships send me notices when there are recalls. But because Apple displayed Absolutely No Concern over letting consumers know about this problem with their $1500 device, she has sworn to never buy an Apple PC ever again.

THIS is the disaster that Apple is courting by shrugging off antenna problems, camera issues, Maps errors: customers saying, “Screw it!” and going on to Something Else. In contrast, when Nokia’s Lumia 900 had issues at launch, they refunded $100 to anyone who bought one in the first month. So guess who got goodwill from their customers? Sure, Lumia 900 owners complained, but when Nokia said, “You’re right. Here – we’ll try to make it right,” they accepted it. By saying, “Well, YOU’RE holding it wrong,” Apple is not accepting responsibility for its product.

If The Masses begin to think something “just isn’t working,” look out: they WILL move on.

I can agree that we’re all harping a lot on Apple lately, but that’s because it’s their game to loose. Steve held Apple together with the force of his personality, his Vision. And agree with him or not, it was a good and a powerful one. And, with very few exceptions, it worked incredibly well. With him gone, it seems that Apple is becoming just like every other corporation. It remains to be seen if they can keep their perch on top of the heap. It may not be pretty to watch them fall off their pedestal, but maybe that will wake them up, and make them the customer-centric company they once were.