Saturday, September 28, 2013

Jersey the Kelpie Needs A Home

I was sought out to connect with some folks I know to see if we can  help rehome a 5-yr-old Kelpie.

This is the story that I know:

About Jersey:

1. Wagaroo profile and more photos:

2. Video of her in action w/clicker training:

3. People can also share her profile and photo via our Facebook page. We posted about her a couple times this week. We're at

Here's an excerpt of the original letter Jersey's family wrote us in May. They've wrestled with this decision for a long time and really want what's best for Jersey in the long run. 

---My wife and I are expecting a baby in a few weeks and, after months of discussion, we have come to the conclusion that we just won't be able to provide Jersey with the lifestyle she needs.  She is a very active working dog who needs daily exercise.  With both of us working and raising a newborn, we don't think we can give her this life and want to find a forever home for her where she can run and be happy.

Jersey was a stray before we adopted her in 2010 but my wife and I have put her through obedience training.  She successfully passed Obedience 1 and Obedience 2 and graduated at the top of her class in both.  She knows all of her basic commands (sit, down, stay, wait, leave it, roll over, relax exc.)  You can literally place a dog treat on her paw and she will leave it until you tell her she can have it.  She can sit from a distance and hold her position until her owner returns. Jersey is highly food motivated and learns very quickly.  She does not have perfect leash manners, but with practice she would be a great leash dog.  Jersey is amazingly agile and would be a great companion for anyone who wanted to pursue agility training or have a dog to go running with.

Jersey has an odd habit of suddenly grabbing people's shoes.  It is an unpredictable behavior that we're told is a result of her herding instincts.  She has never hurt anyone from this behavior, but it does frighten some folks.  Because Jersey was a stray she does have resource guarding tendencies and should be an only dog.  Because of her high energy, and her resource guarding, we don't feel that she would fit well with a family that has young kids or toddlers. 
My wife and I would love an opportunity to work with you and find a happy home for our baby girl.  Jersey is a loving dog who, once bonded, will be a loyal companion to any family.  She loves to play catch with a tennis ball and loves tummy rubs.  She's a kisser and will lick your face forever if you let her.  Giving her up is one of the hardest decisions we've had to make.  

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Follow Consumer Bits on Facebook or Twitter.

Recalls: Growing Spiders, Blenders and Travel Trunks

Hey gang...  below are some toys made of water absorbent material that can be swallowed and once that happens, becomes an issue.  We have breaking blenders and kids travel trunks with sharp handles.  That's never good.

And remember, if you think anything here impacts you, check out the recall website (link at bottom of piece) and search for the products and titles provided.


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"Eco-Novelty Recalls Jumbo Size and Jumbo Multipurpose Cosmo Beads Toys Due to Serious Ingestion Hazard"


"Be Amazing! Toys Recalls Monster Science Growing Spiders Due to Serious Ingestion Hazard"

Hey, if you or anyone you know might have bought their kids some of these toys, they're being recalled because they can be mistaken for candy.  And if eaten, they expand and can cause internal obstructions.


"Frigidaire Recalls Professional Blenders Due to Laceration Hazard"

The blade shaft can break... that ain't good.  The recall involves Frigidaire Professional© brand blender model FPJB56B7MS with a serial number between FFP 49 1203 0001 and FFP 49 1237 00974.



"Toys R Us Recalls Journey Girl Travel Trunks Due to Laceration Hazard"

It seems that the handles are too sharp and can cut little ones.


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Follow Consumer Bits on Facebook or Twitter.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Leery of Online Reviews? I'm Guessing You Should Be...

Online Reviews can be Sneaky!

I came across a fascinating tidbit that sort of justifies my small factor of paranoia about online reviews:  That the NY AG went after and found a bunch of companies paying for faked, good reviews of their companies or clients.

Those companies that found themselves busted by the New York Attorney General's office were:

    A&E Wig Fashions, Inc. d/b/a A&E and NYS Surgery Center

    A.H. Dental P.C. d/b/a Platinum Dental

    Body Laser Spa Inc.

    The Block Group, LLC, d/b/a Laser Cosmetica and LC MedSpa, LLC

    Bread and Butter NY, LLC d/b/a La Pomme Nightclub and Events Space

    Envision MT Corp.


    Medical Message Clinic and

    Metamorphosis Day Spa, Inc.

    Outer Beauty, P.C., Lite Touch Plastic Surgery, P.C., Staten Island Special Surgery, P.C., Sans Pareil Surgical, PLLC

    Stillwater Media Group

    Swan Media Group, Inc. and Scores Media Group, LLC

    US Coachways Limousine, Inc. and US Coachways, Inc.

    Utilities International, Inc. d/b/a Main Street Host

    The Web Empire, LLC

    Webtools, LLC and Webtools Internet Solutions Ltd.

    West Village Teeth Whitening Service, LLC; Magic Smile, Inc., aka Magic Smile

    XVIO, Inc.

    Zamdel, Inc. d/b/a eBoxed


Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Facebook Ads Going Too Far?

Here's a great example of an ad that was obviously paid for by someone to have Facebook promote it.

But this seems to more than likely be false advertising, isn't it?  Supposedly this was someone "I might know!"

Last time I checked, I don't know this woman.  Trust me, I'd know!!!  LOL.

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Monday, September 23, 2013

THE USPS Is In Trouble... Gee, I Wonder Why

Sept 23, 2013: The other day I overheard a news report saying that the USPS was considering an emergency rate hike to save its languishing financial ass.

Is anyone surprised?

In case you're wondering how the Postal Service lasted this long, it's simple when you are one of only a few options when it came to carrying the mail.

But over the last ten to fifteen years, the USPS has been behind the curve in adapting to the new landscape that is the electronic age.  While we're shuffling PDF files and what not back and forth on the web, they've still got grunts delivering JUNK MAIL to your mailbox.

Seriously, junk mail?  When's the last time you got a bill in the mail?  (OK, I know some folks stick with the tried and true methods, but these days, more and folks are leaning towards this e-lifestyle.)

When everyone else is sending emails, they haven't thought of branching out and starting an email server service.  I mean they deliver mail, why don't they deliver email?  POBOX dot com does it!

But then again, the USPS has had its issues.

Now granted, they've been an easy target over the years since they were one of few carrier providers and when they make a mistake, well, it's hard to miss.

But then over the years, there's the crap that consumers have had to put up with that seem fixable.

For example,

Having problems with a route carrier, and then having the supervisor giving you their contact info to deal with them.

Recently we mailed something to my niece.  Someone in the postal system actually tore open the envelope and stole the bracelet that was in it.

My latest fun is a "" service that apprises me of the location of a package.

My package was scanned,
September 19, 2013     15:03:00     01106     Electronic Notification

The note at the bottom of the page says "Shipment status is updated every evening."

My last update the first scan on the 19th.  Today is the 23rd.

Yes... USPS, there's a reason you're floundering.  Grab a mirror and take a look.  You've been sitting on your laurels and over-charging the world.  Now that you're not the only game in town, things don't seem to great, do they?

OK, thank you for reading this vent.  Now back to our regularly scheduled email checks!

UPDATE #1, 9/24/13:

My package was dropped off on 9/19.

On 9/23 the drop off was "accepted."

on 9/24 it left the "sort facility."

Seriously?  I could leave a package with UPS and it's on the road that night.  My package is dropped off with the USPS and is on the road in FIVE DAYS?

UPDATE #2: 9/25/13:

According to the website, my package has been delivered today.  That's six days.

That took six days to deliver, and from what I can tell, it spent almost five of those days in Massachusetts for heading out in transit.

If this weren't an entrenched business, I feel it would have gone under long ago.  My vote... is for no emergency funding.  Force them to figure out better ways and make them work.

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Friday, September 13, 2013

Wearing A Bicycle Helmet Is A Choice. Do You Make the Right One?

Do you wear your bike helmet when you're out on a ride?  Do you have your kids wear bike helmets while you ride alongside them, not wearing one? (Great example to set by the way.)

Bicycle Helmet Safety - Is it worth it?

It's always a bit worrisome to see so many people on their bikes without helmets.  I want to make sure I keep my readers around!  Well, that and if I help at least one person not get seriously injured, then my job here is done!

Most days I ride my bicycle to work except on Friday’s in which I walk the long walk. And every day, most everyone I see on their bikes, don’t have helmets on and I ponder if worrying about this is even worth it.

I Admit It

I’m a helmet snoot. I won’t acknowledge someone else on a bike who’s not wearing a helmet. Sure, a helmet is not comfortable, but neither is brain surgery.  Bicycle safety isn’t about being forced to do something.  It’s about being prepared if someone else is behind the wheel and texting and not looking up when you cross the street.

It's about that car coming out of the church driveway, not looking as they barrel out of there as fast as they can.

It's about that car that runs the red light, or drives you up into the curb as they make a right turn while you're next to them.

It’s as simple as that.

Beyond that, it bothers me more to see adults riding their kids around and setting stupid examples to the kids. Yo: For a few bucks, you can take precautions that don’t put you in the statistics category.

Check it out:

Of the roughly 540,000 REPORTED bicycle accident related emergency room visits every year,
  • 67,000 are head injuries.
  • 7,000 of those are serious enough to be admitted to the hospital.
  • 12% of those result in brain injuries.
  • 85% of these are preventable with a helmet.
Bicycle helmets just don’t seem that pesky after looking at those numbers. 

IMPORTANT Gree Dehumidifier Recall + A Few More

I see recalls every day, and pick and choose when to say something.  I usually trigger off of recalls that threaten children.  Or recalls that impact many consumers.  The first recall noted triggers a few categories all at once.  Millions have bought these units, there have been dangerous incidents and property damage involved.

Here's an important and critical recall of Gree Dehumidifiers!

Some of the Dehumidifier models that Gree is recalling have had issues overheating, and leading to smoke and catching fire.  The faulty models have generated 165 incidents, 46 of which include fires that amount to over $2 million in property damage.

The units impacted: 20, 25, 30, 40, 45, 50, 65 and 70-pint dehumidifiers,

The units are white, beige, gray or black plastic.

They measure between 19 and 24 inches tall, 13 and 15 inches wide, and 9 and 11 inches deep.

The brand names the affected units were sold under are Danby, De’Longhi, Fedders, Fellini, Frigidaire, Gree, Kenmore, Norpole, Premiere, Seabreeze, SoleusAir and SuperClima.

They were sold at places like AAFES, HH Gregg, Home Depot, Kmart, Lowe’s, Menards, Mills Fleet Farm, Sam’s Club, Sears and other stores nationwide and in Canada, and online at and

The time frame that they were sold was from January 2005 through August 2013 for between $110 and $400.

Consumers should immediately turn off and unplug the dehumidifiers, if you think you are impacted by this recall.  If so, contact Gree to receive a full refund.

You can toll-free at (866) 853-2802 from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. ET Monday through Friday, and on Saturday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. ET, or online at and click on Recall for more information.

OR visit and search for the item in question for a huge list of model numbers.


Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Instagram Thumbs Their Nose at Non Smartphone Users

The other day I was looking to sign up for an Instagram account for my website.  I hit it up and started looking around, but nowhere could I find a signup link.

Not even a "if you want to sign up" link.

I had to leave the site and use a search engine to figure out that Instagram will only let you create an account if you have a smartphone that can download their app.

That's because the only way to create an account is through the app.

Well that's not very neighborly, that's for sure.


In my travels on the web I also encountered an interesting aspect, in that if you don't use your account in some pre-determined amount of time, the service will shut your account down.  And I've seen plenty of bulletin board entries where folks one day just could not get on their account, because, it was shut down.

I was curious about the time frame, but unlike Twitter that spells it outright that inactive accounts are those that sit idle for six months, nowhere, does Instagram tell you how long this magic number is.


I even started digging around in their terms of service section to see if, like other businesses, this magic time frame is annotated there.  It's not.

But I did come across an interesting tidbit, where they say do not send them ideas or suggestions, because they don't accept ideas or suggestions.  But then they say, if they use your idea or suggestion, you will not be owed any monies.


The terms aren't evil.  They're just like what most service terms are like, and that's self-protective.

So to you folks who don't have a cell phone, or don't have a smartphone, it seems that Instagram says screw you, we don't need your business!

Curious, indeed!

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Monday, September 9, 2013

Lightroom: No Photos Found To Import (A Fix That Worked for Me)

There I was, looking at a folder in Lightroom (4.x) and when I went to import the files in this folder, I got the error message, "No Photos Found to Import."  What???  Here's the story behind this self-induced snag.

The other day I had about 1800 pictures in a folder, and I had split up the files into multiple folders.  After I did that, I synced my files.

Then, there were a select set of images I wanted to work on.  Rather than trying to find them in the mix of eight hundred images that I had in one folder, I moved them (In a different application) from the top-folder to a sub-folder.

I then went back to Lightroom and went to the sub-folder and tried to import and synchronize the images in there.

But I kept getting the "No Photos Found to Import" message from Lightroom.


Now maybe I did this to myself by stepping out of Lightroom and using a different application to move the images.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Stupid Facebook: Page Photo Albums Not Showing Up and The Fix I Use

I run a Facebook page for my dog Vader, and it's a fun thing to do.  Though I must admit, it's hard to come up with new and supposedly entertaining pics from events that he performs in or trains for.

But of late, I've been having problems creating and publishing photo albums.

facebook album posting fail and how I fix it

For one, ordering the images is just crazy.  Good luck getting them the way you want them while you're at the whim of Facebook's ordering process.

But what I've been experiencing consistently is that I can upload images to a new album, but when all is said and done, the button to publish the album stays grayed out and I can't hit it to publish the album and I can't find any way to get around this new fail from Facebook.

So I end up closing the browser tab or page I was uploading in (it's locked and useless) and opening a new one.  When I get back to the FB Page I was uploading to, but could not publish, I see that the pics are there but there's no update saying that the page created an album.

So far, that's one Facebook fail that leads to a second one right away.  An album that doesn't let you publish despite images being uploaded and the album actually existing, despite the apparent fail.  And yet, no notification the album just became created.

For me, the last few times I've experienced this issue, I've had 12 to 15 images.

Some suggested fixes out there say to add a date to the album and the pictures. (Didn't work for me)

Others say to create a single pic album, and then add more pics once it's been created.  (I tried that with about 12 pics and when I added a new one, nothing happened for me.  But I did not try it as it's exactly suggested to do, so there's this idea to consider.)

Others suggest that this is how Facebook is getting users to pay for services... (see those "promote page" buttons on side of page.)  But I'm not totally on board with that idea.


As I was tinkering around, I thought that maybe because I'm the admin, I no longer see what it is other non-admins (fans) might see.  So I opened up a different browser and went to the page.

The first time I did this, the new album was not there under my page.

I was just starting to ponder tinkering around with the one-pic premise (I was going to delete everything and start over) but then (about 15 to 30 minutes later) my neutral web browser indicated that the new photo album was now posted on the time line of the page.

One other fix, one that I've successfully used in the past because this keeps happening every time I create a multi-image album on this page is to use the 'share' button on the album.  (See below for details)

This time around (it's so sad that I've had to say, "this time around"), I'm waiting overnight to see if it ends up getting published without me trying some tricky FB-BS to make it work like it should.  (Or as we presume it should, I should say.)

OK, the waiting game failed.


My Workaround for Publishing Facebook Photo Albums on Pages

Pillsbury Cinnamon Roll RECALL + One More

Hey folks, General Mills is recalling some of their Pillsbury Cinnamon Roll product for the possible issue of plastic fragments in their snack.

GM sent out a press release describing which of their products might contain the plastic pieces.

This unique situation came about because a production line was discovered to have a broken plastic part and they're distributing this precautionary alert.

The products possibly affected are

Pillsbury Cinnamon Rolls with Icing,

8-count single packages;

Have a "better if used" dates of October 30, 2013 and October 31, 2013.


Pillsbury Cinnamon Rolls with Icing 2-pack;

With dates October 18, 2013, October 26, 2013 and October 31, 2013.

Keep your eyes peeled folks!


One other recall, non-food related, that I have in my inbox is for Crosman Air Pistols.

It seems that the Crosman semi-automatic style air pistols with model numbers C21, C31 and 9-C31BRM with serial numbers beginning with 12J, 12K, 12L, 12M, 13A, 13B or 13C have a potential of exploding.

See for more details on this recall.

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Thursday, September 5, 2013

Hey SamTrans, Tell Your Drivers to Not Run Red Lights!!!

So there I was, last Friday, August 30th, sitting on the NE side of the El Camino Real and Sand Hill Rd. intersection.

Myself and two other bicyclists were waiting for our green light, to cross El Camino Real and head south-west on Sand Hill Rd..

Our light turned green, the traffic stragglers had finished running the yellow/red light and we were good to go.

The three of us were getting ready to crank it over, when a double-long SamTrans bus rockets through the red light, his foot, obviously put to the metal, so to speak, as he gunned it through the intersection.  Not sure what the hurry was, but that was a close call!

a SamTran bus ran the red light, almost hitting three bikers

Yes, a SamTrans bus outright ran the red light and scared the crap out of all three of us.

Scared because it was a few seconds after the intersection had cleared that this bus barreled through, obviously with our names on his (or her) front bumper.

It's one thing when the yellow/red light runners scamper through.  You know the ones.  The same folks that complain about red light cameras at intersections.

But these folk have become the norm that society and our law enforcement seem to readily accept these days.  (It's obvious when laws were rewritten to incorporate the phrase, "when it's safe to go" on a green light.)

But city services should not be out to smite the innocent pedestrians out there.

If there was a fourth bicyclist who might have been coasting up to the intersection from behind us and decided to trust in the system and pedal out past us to cross as the light turned green, we would have had a fatality on our hands.

I say that because this SamTrans bus went through at a pretty good clip... at or maybe above the posted speed limit.

The bus was a double length bus, headed NW on El Camino Real, on Friday, August 30th, at 12:09 P.M., local time.

There were four ID digits on the upper right of the back of the bus, that started with either 13 or 31 (I think).

But to be honest, I was so stunned, I didn't quite catch that ID number because I had to stop short to keep from getting hit and was trying to catch myself from falling.

Yea... that close folks.

Shame on your SamTrans.

The moral of this story, in case you don't already, is to not trust the system.  Watch it when you cross streets and just because it's a city vehicle, don't necessarily think it's a safe bet to walk out in front of them.  They're human too and obviously, sometimes, in a very big hurry.  At least this time, I did not become a newspaper headline.

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Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Help, My Arrow Keys Don't Move my Excel Active Cell!!!

The other day I had cranked out my Excel installation to do some quick math.  But when I opened up the program, I noticed that when I used my arrow keys to move my active cell, instead, my page/screen slid around.

I was pretty miffed.

But for me, I have one of those keyboards that does not have lights to tell you when Caps Lock or Num Lock or Scroll Lock buttons have been pressed and hence, the function turned on.

And when I picked up my wireless keyboard, I must have pressed the Scroll Lock button up near the top-right of the keyboard.

Hit that Scroll Lock button once and see if that fixes your page-scrolling issues and you may have control over moving your active cell location once again!

Yea.. this new trend of no lights on a keyboard is killing me.  I WANT to see when my Caps Lock or Num Lock or Scroll Lock keys are pressed.  Ug.

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Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Gerber, Toysmith, Baby Jogger, Vitamix and Build-A-Bear RECALLS

All recalls are pretty serious issues but every now and then, you run into something that makes your eyes cross...

"Gerber Recalls Uppercut Knife and Sheath Sets Due to Laceration Hazard"

Gerber the baby food???  They're selling knives?  And wait, aren't all knives a potential laceration hazard?

OK, that's out of the way.  Here's the actual recall details:

Name of Product: Gerber Uppercut(tm) Fixed Blade Knife and Sheath Set

Hazard: The Uppercut sheath does not hold the knife securely, allowing the knife to come out of the sheath unexpectedly, posing a laceration hazard.



There's a choking hazard recall by Toysmith for their Toy Light-Up Frogs and Ducks.

A part can come loose.


Baby Jogger Seat Adaptors for Strollers are being recalled due to Fall Hazard.

Baby Jogger has received 47 reports of the car seat adaptor supports bars failing and car seats falling to the floor. Reports include two injured infants with bruises to the head and toes.


Vitamix is recalling their 64-ounce blender because the blades can break.


And Build-A-Bear is recalling some stuffed animals due to choking hazards.

As always, check on the recall site and use their search function to look up any more details on any issue that is important to you.  Also, if you have any of these products, ALWAYS, stop using them immediately until you ascertain what's up!

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Need That Winning Game Piece For McDonald's 2013 Monopoly Game?

OK, so McDonald's had another Monopoly game, where you buy more of the junk food by super-sizing or ordering things you don't normally order, or even by going to the franchise that you may not normally frequent. 

All in the hopes of maybe winning something good.

The temptations are pretty good.  They said there was a 1-in-4 chance of winning, and some of the fare, though not particularly healthy for anyone standing upright, is still pretty tempting, like a good apple fritter. (My weakness)

Well, I for one destroyed their sales pitch about 1-in-4 odds.  I have 17 playing pieces and only had 1 winner.  So to speak.  (Free fries... win instantly, get heavier later!)

But hey, so I didn't win anything.  But I have all these tickets laying around and I got to wondering.

What if, even though I didn't win, I might have that final playing piece someone else needs to win?  I didn't go to McDonald's all that often, so I didn't get that many tickets in the long run.

So here's my spin on this... and maybe, we can be winners together.

I have the following tickets... and if between you and me, we have a winner, we can sort out the details between us.  Sound fair?

Here's my list of losing 2013 Monopoly Game pieces, by ticket number:

#436, #437

#443, #444
#445, #447.
#448, #449
#453, #454

That's all I got.  Let's see what happens.

--  Bruce
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