Thursday, July 30, 2015

Sirius-XM Channels Changing in Early August

Sirius-XM Channels Changing

I thought I'd toss you a heads up in case you did not know, but Sirius-XM is changing up their channel line-up. Again. The change will kick in on August 13th, and I suspect, will dole out slowly over some period of time from user to user.

The change is introducing new channels to the lineup as well as moving some other channels about, Just to keep you guessing! The new channels include:

Velvet Ch. 13

Contemporary Pop vocalists such as Michael Buble, Josh Groban, Diana Krall, Celine Dion, Susan Boyle, Harry Connick, Jr., Il Divo, Adele, and the cast of Glee.

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SiriusXM Fly Ch. 47

Connecting Hip-Hop and R&B from the '90s and 2000s, from Mary J. Blige & Outkast to Aaliyah & Jay-Z.
Road Trip Radio Limited Edition Ch. 18

Now playing on this new home for exclusive limited run channels is Road Trip Radio, featuring a mix of music from The Rolling Stones to Pharrell Williams, Kenny Loggins to Florida Georgia Line, Janet Jackson to The Beach Boys, and many more.

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Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Blogger Specific SEO Tips

Google Blogger SEO Hints

I keep finding myself looking up one thing or another to modify or adjust values in relation to SEO rules in my Blogger (formerly Blogspot) platform. And sometimes I keep having to look something up multiple times.

Therefore, I believe I will start making a list here and updating as I find necessary.

Before we get started, I want to make something perfectly clear... if you are nervous about making changes, then don't. I ain't no expert and if I break my site, I am somewhat capable of restoring it.  Or starting over.

If you're not that nervous, but still, have concerns, you can use the template back up routine to save your good working template while you are ready to make your changes. (Blog - Template - "Backup/Restore" button."

Or, make a fake new test blog, go to settings, and under the "Basic" section select to edit the "Privacy" option, and choose not listed on Blogger and Not Visible to Search engines.

Then below that, under "Blog Readers" set it to "Private -  Only blog authors."

Now you can play to your heart's content, BRAVELY going where you would not go before.

Blogger Modification "Hot To" Tips

Font: Changing your fonts to be more readable. AKA, slightly larger:


Curious Things Happen When You Don't Update Your Phone Apps

Things That Happen When You Don't Update Your Apps

If you follow this site much you may have taken note that I've had issues with my Motorola RAZR M smartphone. The camera on the phone takes 5 to 20 seconds to snap a picture, almost half the time it can't focus, automatic screen brightness is DOG SLOW, etc., etc..

One of my grumblings about my phone is how antiquated it became after a year of owning it. My experience has been so bad with this product that I've sworn off buying anything with the Motorola name on it. Period. I did that with Samsung 10 years ago. I'm lifting my Samsung embargo and swapping it over to Motorola.

But while my poor, old phone gets older every day, one thing that I have started NOT doing is updating my apps.

On my phone, under Google Play, there's an option to turn off automatic updates. And I have turned them off for a number of reasons:

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-Having improved ads served to me is NOT something I want.

-Bigger and faster is NOT better on an older phone.

-Updates have horrible timing sometimes, like right when you go to use an app, it is busy.


A List of Chromebook Shortcuts

A List of Chromebook shortcut keys
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I keep finding myself needing to look up keyboard shortcuts for my Acer Chromebook. So I've decided to start building my list here under Consumer Bits. My ONLY real complaint about this beast is that it won't let you install anything, It has to be a Google app... or "cloud" app or whatever you want to call the internet:

Chromebook Keyboard Shortcuts:

Go to Beginning of Document = Ctrl Search ‘left arrow’

BOOKMARK = Ctrl D
BOOKMARK All Pages = Ctrl Shift D
BOOKMARKS Bar, Focus = ALt Shift B (Use arrows to select)
BOOKMARKS Bar, Toggle = Ctrl Shift B

Turning on CAPS Lock = ALT Search

Open the Chrome Menu (UR corner menu) = Alt E or Alt F
Close Current TAB = Ctrl W
Close Current WINDOW = Ctrl Shift W
Copy = Ctrl C
Cut = Ctrl X

DELETE key emulation = Alt Backspace
DELETE forward = Alt Backspace
Delete Next Letter = Alt Backspace
Delete Previous Word = Ctrl Backspace


Monday, July 27, 2015

2014 Ford Focus Recalls, A Consumer Alert

Ford Focus recall

Last year a friend of mine was looking to buy a car and they ended up with a 2014 Ford Focus. Now, a year later, they are driving on eggshells, worried that their transmission is going to quit/fail on them during any drive they make. And that's no way to live your life!

What they did not know about when searching for cars to buy, is that the 2014, 2013 Ford Focus models have some kind of issue with their transmissions. What I CAN'T believe is that they bought it from a Ford dealership!!!

I started looking around for reports about this transmission issues and sure enough, there they are (all info or quotes can be found at the source links at the bottom of this piece):

"It was fine for the first 7,500 miles but soon after it started to shutter, rumble, and vibrate at stops and jump while going into second gear. I haven't noticed any problems on the highway but in reading the other reviews, I'm scared. "

I love this Edmunds review title: "Found on Road Dead ...Comfy to wait for help in?" This reviewer said their car rolls backward on hills.

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Over on Consumer Affairs, the top complaints are,


Sunday, July 26, 2015

Tracking Runners in the San Francisco Marathon


This is my quickie update on my semi-failed attempt at tracking a few runners in the 2015 San Francisco Marathon. Runner tracking, provided by FitBit! Just saying.

So I had some family members running in the 2015 San Francisco marathon and I wanted to track my runners. Some events have texting updates and the SF Marathon has a live app they've been using for the last few years. The reference is Live Runner Tracking.

When you are not in touch with your runners via any in-person updates, you will be victim to the update process of what ever app or process the run event provides. Last year Wipro was the name sponsor on the tracking app and this year, the tracking is provided by FitBit.

When you find the pitch for the runner tracker on the San Francisco Marathon website, it talks about a live app. I went directly into the Google Play store on my phone to snag it, but my search did not even pretend to find it for my Motorola.

Fine.


Friday, July 24, 2015

Getting Rid Of Mosquito Bite Dark Marks

Mosquito bites and dark spots

For some of us, when you get a mosquito bite, it gets red and itchy. And annoying. For a subset of those who get bitten, we sometimes find our bites turn into this dark spots or skin discoloration that will haunt you for the rest of your life.

It sort of sucks but I think I found out how to prevent these skin dark spots. (The links in this article lead to Amazon product pages. If for nothing else, to show you the product I am talking about.)

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I've recently moved to a place where all mosquitoes spawn from. Or at least it feels like it sometimes. And being one of those folks where you are the only one in a crowd that gets bitten by our blood sucking friends, I start to take this battle with the species personal. As in, 'I want a flame thrower' kind of personal.

But since flaming up for a mere bug is probably illegal, not to mention I live in a dry tinder box zone here in Morgan Hill, CA, I guess I should defer to other, less ubiquitous methods of deterring or dealing with mosquitoes.

One mosquito deterrent I performed was to cut the tallish grass around my house. This stuff was a few inches tall and when I cut it back instead of letting it grow wild, I found the ground at the base of the grass very moist and mosquito rich! Cutting this grass back and letting the CA sun fry the now exposed ground killed off about 90% of the swarm around the house.


Thursday, July 23, 2015

Curious thing about my Motorola Smartphone Data usage.

Smarthphone apps that use up data, whlie not being used

It's bad enough when f*ing streaming ads shove videos down your throat, using up bandwidth that YOU pay for. (They should pay, shouldn't they?). But when apps use up bandwidth when you don't even use them seems, well, to avoid using terrible words, I'm going to say "curious."

I was looking over my smartphone's data usage, and found some interesting and not so interesting stats.

1) Obviously my biggest user is Chrome... I use it often enough.Not often enough for it to rank as #1, but still...

2) Chrome is followed by Facebook. OK, I'm good with that considering how often I am on FB. Though to be honest, I'm on FB more than I am on Chrome.

3) Yahoo Mail is third. WTF is that about? I hardly ever use it, but apparently it's using me.

4) The most curious stat is that Google Play Services is my fourth most busy app. For many folks, this would probably fly under the radar if they use their store app or games in it.  But I NEVER use my Google Play app. I have older apps I never update and don't do games. Man, Google Play store must be buzy!

5) Google Maps is right behind Play, and that makes sense, considering I use it on a weekly basis for most of my drives.

6) Gmail must be super efficient. It is way down here on the list and that's impressive, considering I am on it hourly.


Saturday, July 18, 2015

Facebook: What Is Wrong With Post Previews?

Facebook: Fixing Broken Post Previews

Over the last month of more, I've been finding that when I post article links to my website's Facebook page, Facebook is no longer showing thumbnail previews of the image that is associated with the post.

Now when you paste your link into an update window, the space flickers but shows a blank spot. You have to trust the blank white square that what you want for an image is coming over.

No longer do you have an option to pick an image. No longer do you have a test visual of what's coming. It's just blind faith.

And from what I can tell, this problem has been quietly growing amongst users over the last year or so, now finally hitting my own pages.

After looking around, I've seen multiple suggestions for fixes.

One was adding {   } somewhere on your post's page, but I did not have any success with that.


Thursday, July 16, 2015

FOOD RECALL: Bell & Evans Chicken Breast Nuggets

Food recall of Gluten-Free Chicken Nuggets

News on the street is reporting a product recall of the 12-oz. boxes of Bell & Evans Gluten Free Breaded Chicken Breast Nuggets.

The gluten-free nuggets have tested positive for Staphylococcus bacteria, which can cause food poisoning. And this bacteria, at times, can be a fast-acting evil, causing issues in as little as 30 minutes.

It can be prevented by proper care and preparation of your work space and hygeine, like keeping the kitchen sanitized, keeping foods hotter than 140 degrees or colder than 40 degrees, and crazy, vigorous hand washing (especially under the fingernails) before preparing food.

The 12-oz boxes that have a "best by" date of March 25, 2016 are the boxes of concern.

If you have this product in your possession, take it back to where you bought them.

[ .nbcconnecticut. ]

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Monday, July 13, 2015

My JIFFY LUBE Failed Consumer Experience

My JIFFY LUBE Failed Consumer Experience

My 2014 Ford F-150 has been badgering me (as if I am an idiot who does not remember) about my upcoming 10,000 mile oil change. But that's for another post.  Right now I thought, due to my circumstances, that I would take my truck to a Jiffy Lube!

First I started looking up reviews of any Jiffy Lubes around me, but the reviews I was seeing were making me nervous. The Morgan Hill, CA location had one review and it was a weird review. One San Jose location near me had a 2.1/5 review score.  After 11 reviews, this one in San Jose has a 3.4 rating.

But the location I used to go to all the time had good reviews so I went there a week ago. This Jiffy Lube is located at 4195 El Camino Real in Palo Alto, CA.

One week ago I went there on a Friday around 11:45 and there was no waiting. But I was told that they were short-staffed and that if I wanted to wait around at least 30 minutes for them to take a lunch break, they could take care of me.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Barbara's Snackimals Cookies - A Possible Concern


The following is hearsay, but I felt it is warranted to put this out there for anyone who might see this. IF in doubt, call the company to confirm or deny. This is in no way a report stating such, but rather, a curious observation being passed on by Consumer Bits.

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Today I saw a post on a group on FaceBook about a user's experience with some cookies. It's a good group with great people, so I am giving the concern a warranted bit of attention.

With that said, here's what I saw:

A user typed out to not eat Barbara's Snackimals cookies for a while. According to the posting user, their son ate some and said they did not taste right and started to feel "dizzy." Then the user's mother tried one and had the same experience.


Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Rohnert Park MOTEL 6 Review


I guess the first thing is that it is Motel 6. It's about $80 a night. But I was sort of expecting a few things out of my experience.

BOTTOM LINE, no matter what else I say, is that Motel 6 is probably your best economical option when it comes to hotel stays. It served its purpose good enough and I would probably stay there again. Regardless.

With that said though, below are the shortcomings, or perceived shortcomings, if you have become acclimated to other hotel chains.

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The biggest and BEST aspect of staying at this Motel 6 in Rohnert Park, CA, is that it is located amongst some great services. They share the parking lot with Walgreen's and Black Bear Diner, and wow, was Black Bear Diner GOOD! And you can walk there.

There's also a Starbucks in the lot too, along with a few other things.


Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Product Recalls: Deadly Kids Furniture, Apple Beats Pill, Plus More...


Today's recalls include kids furniture with suffocation worries, Apple recalls a Beats Pill that overheats, plus other recalls from Big Lots, Gerber, Kenmore, PetSmart and others.

Most of the recalls can be further reviewed or resolution actions can be found at either the distributors websites or at CPSC site, ( CPSC Recalls page ) and search for the recall noted below.

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Pali Design Recalls Children's Furniture Due to Tip-Over, Impact, Suffocation Hazards

The plastic restraint strap used to attach armories, combos, dressers and hutches to a wall can break and allow the unit to tip over.  Falling furniture can result in a wide range of injuries to young children, from soft tissue bruising to broken bones, head injuries and death by suffocation when a child is pinned under a heavy piece of furniture.

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Apple Recalls Beats Pill XL

Apple Recalls Beats Pill XL Portable Wireless Speakers Due to Fire Hazard
Name of Product: Beats Pill XL speaker
The battery can overheat, posing a fire hazard.

Remedy: Refund
Consumers should immediately stop using the recalled product and contact Apple for a $325 Apple Store credit or electronic payment. Apple will provide a postage paid box for consumers to send their Pill XL speaker to Apple.

cpsc.gov: Apple Recalls Beats Pill XL

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Big Lots Recalls Hanging Chairs Due to Fall Hazard
The hanging chairs can tip over when they face sideways and swing beyond the base, posing a fall hazard.

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