Skip Doctor CD Repair Kit

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Have you ever used one of these devices that is meant to buff out the scratches on your cd’s, dvd’s, blu-rays and game discs? I bought one many years ago, I want to say 2002 maybe, but it might have been 2004, I cannot recall. I didn’t buy the hand crank one because the electric one wasn’t that much more expensive, and I figured if I’m going to spend the money, I might as well buy the electric one. Well, that purchase was a big mistake.

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Here are 2 dvd-r’s that hold important files for my computer. Can you tell which one has been buffed out? I’ll give you a second. Oh, you can spot it immediately you say? As if I can read your mind before I’ve even published the blog post. Yes, the one on the left has been buffed out. You can tell because the spectrum of the DVD is so pronounced.

This is why the skip doctor is a problem. It’s meant to buff out scratches on the plastic of the disc, but what people don’t realize is that, and you probably can’t see this but the scratches are still there, but that’s not what the problem is. I think the buffing makes the disc unreadable, or harder to read.

I had to buy a new computer last month and I have several backup discs with program files that need to be installed on a new computer. I could, and most of the time I do go to the website because those backup installation files are from 2008, and most of those programs have had several updates, but that’s not the point. My new computer with a new DVD drive/burner couldn’t even read one of the discs, and it did read the other disc 20% of the time, and only allowed me to copy files from that disc to my computer 10% of the time. I spent the entire day yesterday ejecting the disc and pushing it back in so it would continue copying files. Not all of the files were program installation files, some of the files were things I created in those programs, or files I had downloaded to use in those programs. Each program folder also had a text file with the serial number for the program copied and pasted from the email from the program’s website.

Luckily I was able to copy all of the files onto my computer, I skipped over the programs that I bought, but never really used or they are no longer useful because they only worked on Windows XP. Like for example Dudebox which is a program I bought for my Dell DJ so I could copy music with the USB cable. It was an awesome program, but eventually there was an update that didn’t allow me to use that program anymore, and I was forced to start using Sony MediaGo, which is fine by me. I don’t care what program I have to use, as long as there’s a program I CAN use.

A program installation disc is one thing, but what if it was a music CD, a DVD or Blu-Ray movie, or a video game disc? If it can cause such a hassle to be able to copy files on my computer, I can only imagine what problems I would have trying to listen to music, or watch a movie, or play a game. It’s not a good scenario, and I am so fortunate that I keep all my other discs in either their cases or a cd book. The only discs that ever get scratched are the discs I use often and then leave on the desk. If any disc deserves to be respected, it’s the discs I use the most.

That disc doctor is in the closet and hasn’t been used in a very long time, and if I ever find it, I think I will toss it in the trash.

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Fitbit Charge HR

Fitbit Charge HRIt finally happened. I was finally able to buy a Fitbit Charge HR. I bought the extra large because I didn’t trust that the large one would fit my fat wrist lol. I also didn’t trust that the band on the large would keep it on. I prefer a regular watch band.

I wanted to buy something like this a couple of years ago, but these are so expensive, and I just didn’t have the money. I bought The Spark from SparkPeople, which is a great product, but it’s glitchy. When I am riding my bike, it logs it as “General exercise” which means if I really burn like say 300 calories, it logs it as 94 or something. I don’t like that. I also didn’t like that it didn’t work with the bluetooth to connect to my phone, and this does.

When I lost 70lbs a couple of years ago, I used the Noom app, and to tell the truth I’ve been using it ever since, I just haven’t lost any weight because once my motivation goes away, I don’t lose weight, so whatever I am using doesn’t do any good. I have a new gadget, and I have some motivation to lose weight again, so I really hope I get my moneys worth with this new watch lol.

Of course I won’t be able to put it to good use for another month. My gym membership is frozen until April 15th, so on that date I will ride my new Schwinn Meridian 3-wheel tricycle to Planet Fitness. The physical therapist said I can use the exercise bike and the elliptical machine and to do some of the exercises I did at Physical Therapy. Until then, I will use the Fitbit watch and the Fitbit app to track my sleep and my steps and log my food. I’ve already walked 3,070 steps since I got it this morning. It wants me to walk 10,000 steps per day, and I’ve already walked a quarter of that so far. The day isn’t over.

I was going to wait until next month to buy it, but I was just dying to have it now. I’m impatient lol.

PS Vita for Christmas

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Most normal people exchange Christmas gifts on or before Christmas day. We’re not normal lol.

My partner bought me a brand new PlayStation Vita Borderlands 2 bundle at GameStop last week, and it arrived yesterday. It arrived at the house at 1:43pm, but there was nothing on the doorstep. I thought he got it, but hid it from me to give to me on Christmas, so later that night when Dominos rang the doorbell, I asked if it was UPS and he said it wasn’t. Long story short, our driver hid the package from us and it took calling them to file a stolen package report for them to reveal to us the location of the box. They’ve never done that before. Grrr! The note on the tracking said it was left on the front door, but it was behind our hose.
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So back to the PS Vita. I thought it would be much smaller from what I’ve seen in videos, but it seems to be thicker and it feels heavier than my PSP Slim. It does feel good in my hands, but I find myself punching characters out and accidentally tossing grenades when I don’t mean to because of the back of the device. I like that it gives you more options, but it’s too sensitive.

Games that are meant for the PSVita play great with the front and back touch screens as well as the 2 analog sticks. I actually like that I’m touching the correct tool or block on the front screen in Minecraft even though I can use the directional buttons. It just seems faster to touch the screen.

Some of my older PSP games don’t access these newer features. Like you can only use the left analog stick to move your character around. I think using 2 analog sticks is easier. My old PSP is temperamental though, so I’ll be running to the right, and my character is either running to the left or in circles. That’s why I love having 2 analog sticks because the one on the left is propelling you forward or backward, and the one on the right is allowing you to run in many directions. I also love that they made the R button your trigger as opposed to the X button to allow you to continue running while shooting.

The guy at Game Stop told us the 8gb memory card that comes with the bundle will be completely used by the game that comes with the PSVITA. Borderlands 2 comes with 6 add-ons and yes it does use most of your card, but you’ll still have a few gigs to add more games.

Anyway, I did buy a 32gb card on Amazon that night when we came home. It’s actually a pain in the ass to have to completely shut the PSVita down when I want to switch from the 8gb card to the 32gb card or vice versa. Why can’t they just give you more than 8gb knowing it will use most of the card? Or why not just sell the hard copy of the game instead of a download?

I was watching someone play the Vita version of Minecraft on YouTube, and there were moments when the game seemed to lag. I haven’t had that issue, but there was a moment when the game froze and I had to close it and I lost all my progress.

One of the reasons I wanted a PSVita was because of the remote play feature. I have a PS4 in my bedroom, but I spend a huge chunk of the morning and afternoon in the living room. I was looking for ways to play Destiny and Star Wars Battlefront in the living room. That feature is only available on Sony phones and PSVita. That was the huge selling point for me. I mentioned earlier that you accidentally throw grenades, I was referring to Star Wars Battlefront. No one said anything, but I kept doing it and I quit playing because of it. I don’t have an issue with Destiny. In fact, I actually love playing Destiny using remote play.

I think if you have a PSP and you bought this as an upgrade for the new games, go ahead and keep your old PSP and the old games. Don’t install your old games on the new system. Just switch back and forth I guess.

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I took 2 pictures of my PSP Slim with the new PSVita, and you can see that they are pretty much the same size, and I looked and they seem to be about the same thickness. The PSP Slim screen is much smaller at 480×272 pixels and 3.8 inch screen, and the PSVita has 960×544 pixels and a 5 inch screen.

The PSN membership gives you 2 free games every month. 2 free PSVita games, 2 PS3 and 2 PS4 games. So if you have all 3 consoles, congratulations, because you get 6 free games. Some of the games work on all 3 consoles. In fact, some of the games I bought for my PS4 have PSVita games, which is how I managed to get these on the Vita. I’m really enjoying the PSVita version of Minecraft and Terraria. This is an awesome gift and thank you to my partner for buying it for me, and thank you even more because I’m able to play with it during my broken leg downtime.
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Induction Cooktop

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Well I did it again. I bought something that isn’t compatible with what we have lol.

We have a normal stove top, but it shorted out 9 years ago, so we’ve been using a portable cooktop. It only has 1500 watts, and the left side uses 1000 watts and the right side uses 500 watts. Naturally the knob broke off the one with the higher watts. Normally it would be fine, but a strange key like wire came out with it. I didn’t know how to get that wire back in, so I had no choice but to buy a new cooktop.

We were going to go to Sears to buy a new cooktop, but I wanted to research prices before doing so, because I would hate to buy something for $100 and then find out we could have gotten the same thing cheaper somewhere else. I found that things are much cheaper on Amazon. I found an induction cooktop and of course did a little research into that by watching YouTube videos. The videos showed that it only takes like a minute for the water to boil, which I found to be very cool and it seemed to me that this type of cooktop would be better than what we had. Our old cooktop took 45 minutes to boil 6 eggs, this thing only took 12 minutes. Here are the eggs boiling after 1 minute. I couldn’t believe how fast it was to start boiling water. I also couldn’t believe that it only took 12 minutes.

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The only problem that I have with this cooktop is that it requires a very specific type of pot/pan; they have to be magnetic. The requirements said that if you can stick a magnet to the pot/pan then it will work, but it also said in the requirements that the pot/pan can be stainless steel. Well, it turns out all of our new pots/pans are stainless steel, but they wouldn’t work on this new cooktop, unfortunately. The pan I used to hard boil eggs just so happened to work. It’s an old pan that we’ve had for at least 20 years, I don’t know if they were mine or my partners when we met, I just know we’ve had it throughout our entire relationship. We also have a matching stock pot.

imageSo I have the choice of 1 pot and 1 stock pot, but that’s it. I don’t want to have to toss our other good pots/pans, so all I can think to do is to buy an adapter. It’s on sale right now on Amazon for $15 and with shipping it came to $22.34, which is a great price considering they are normally $75 and up, and if I were forced to buy all new induction pots/pans, well that would end up getting into the hundreds, and I just can’t do that. I don’t know how long it will take for that to arrive, but I can wait.

We went to Dollar General tonight to buy some dog food and cat food and I wanted some salad stuff, and while my partner was loading the cart with the pet food, I went over to the cookware and I noticed they have one of those electric portable stoves for $25 lol. This induction cooktop was $50. Oh well, I’d rather have this one that cooks fast than something that might take 45 minutes just to hard boil some eggs. I’m happy with what I have.

FreedomPop Debit Card Issue

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Last month I bought a refurbished Samsung Galaxy S3 from Nomorerack (now Choxi) that I thought I could use with Virgin Mobile to upgrade my phone, but unfortunately for me, Virgin Mobile doesn’t allow their customers to buy unlocked phones as upgrades. If you want to upgrade your phone, you have to buy a Virgin Mobile phone or buy it through them.

My new phone is with a company that I’ve never heard of called FreedomPop. I signed up with my debit card as my payment card and everything was fine until the bank decided that my debit card had been compromised and blocked my card and issued me a new one. When my new debit card arrived, I tried changing it on the FreedomPop website so I could be charged for the next month, but unfortunately, it wouldn’t change. I used my phone to try to change it and it didn’t work, so then I went to my Nook HD+ tablet and it didn’t work, so then I went to my computer and again it did not work. I Googled the issue and found nothing that would help me.

Over the last few weeks I’ve been desperately looking for a resolution, I’ve even called them… TWICE! I called them when my account had 7 days left, and they told me they would contact me by email in 48 hours to let me know that it worked, but instead the email I received was a questionnaire on how they did. Yeah, that didn’t work for me, so I called them again and I gave them the ticket number and told them what happened and begged for help since I had 5 days left. They told me to call the bank because it must be my card and I told them that it can’t be because I’ve used my credit card and I’ve also used my PayPal debit card, and neither of them worked. So the person on the other end put me on hold and came back and said that this is an issue on their end because more customers have had to deal with this. Damn Skippy it’s a issue on your end! 24 hours passed and not an email and not a phone call. I decided to just give them another 24 hours, but still nothing.

Today, I checked my account on my phone and it said I had 3 days left, so I opened up Firefox and went to the billing page and added my credit card number, not my debit card number, and it FINALLY worked! YES! So I immediately added $30 to my account.

You know in the movies when the bomb is about to go off and the timer is going and it is 1 minute, then 30 seconds, then 20, then 15, then 10, then 5, then you start counting down 5, 4, 3, 2 and then they cut the correct wire just before it goes to 0 and the bomb doesn’t go off? I feel like that just happened, but I had 3 days left rather than 3 seconds.

The thing about FreedomPop is, if they couldn’t fix this issue, all I had to do was call them and tell them to just put me on their free plan until they could fix it. I mean, it’s not like I really need to pay for my account since I rarely call or text anyone, and I hardly ever use the 4G LTE or even 3G. I’m basically always on the WiFi with this at home. So really, it doesn’t matter, but I just like having the peace of mind knowing that I can have unlimited phone calls and texting just in case I ever come out of my shell and decide that I can’t shut the f up and have to call everyone and their mother. You know, just in case.

Anyway, if you are having an issue like this with FreedomPop, try a new browser and try a new card, if that doesn’t work then call them and keep calling them until they fix it. If they can’t fix it, then just go to their free plan.

The Spark Activity Tracker

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Diet and exercise are very important to me. Since I have Scoliosis, I prefer cycling over any other form of cardio exercise that might hurt my back. I have a mountain bike on a bicycle trainer in our patio and I have a bicycle computer connected to the back wheel. I also use the Noom app on my Barnes & Noble Nook HD+ tablet to log my diet and exercise.

The Noom app added a new feature that allows you to connect your Google Fit account so it can copy all of the cardio information from your Google Fit tracker. I didn’t have a Google Fit tracker, so I went looking for one, however they are very expensive. I went looking for an alternative and found The Spark Activity Tracker from Spark People for only $29.95. It attaches to your shoe or your belt or wherever you want to attach it. It logs your steps and all of your cardio from walking, jogging, running, cycling, elliptical and even when you are just working or shopping. It comes with a USB Wireless Sync Point that allows The Spark to sync when you are in range of your computer where it is plugged in. Once it syncs up with your SparkPeople account, you can then see your progress. It shows daily steps, activity minutes, calories burned and distance covered.

imageUnfortunately The Spark doesn’t connect to the Noom app, but I will be able to use the information from SparkPeople to log my activity to Noom. Perhaps this will be more accurate since it is much newer than my bicycle computer. If The Spark is permanently attached to my shoe, I will never forget it, and the battery will last for a year, so no worries about having to keep it charged. I can also edit the steps in the Noom app so they are the same as in the SparkPeople website.

What I was not expecting was to receive a SparkPeople Exercise DVD that will give me complete weekly workouts for beginners, intermediate and advanced. I am considering buying some weights to go with these workouts. I watched a few of them and they aren’t bad either. I don’t have a lot of space in my bedroom, but I might have just enough to do these workouts.

I was curious to see if The Spark would know the difference between walking and riding my bicycle, and it knew exactly what I was doing because it logged 22 minutes on the bike as “Cycling”. Although, the 2nd day I used it, it logged it as general exercise. I had to reclassify it, and that also affected my steps on the SparkPeople website and app, which gave me more steps. A little strange that I had to do that, but that’s fine.

It’s also interesting how The Spark works. You tap it 5 times and it will show lights to show you how you are doing. If it only has 1 light on the top, you haven’t done anything yet, if it shows half, then you know you’ve still got a ways to go. If all the lights come on, and they blink, then you still have a few minutes of exercise to go. You know you’re finished when all the lights glow and they don’t blink. That’s when you can sigh and say I’m done! And if you meet your goal for the day, the week or the month, you get a trophy. The image at the top of this paragraph is my first trophy which says I met my goal of 6000 steps. I got the same trophy on my 2nd day using it. The trophies are a fun way to encourage you to meet all of your goals. Although, you don’t get an actual trophy, but if you do all of the work and eat right, you get a flat tummy, and isn’t that worth all the trophies in the world?

I was motivated by the Noom and SparkPeople apps, and I was motivated by my bicycle and the bicycle trainer, but even though I had all of those things, I wasn’t 100% motivated. I do feel that this Spark will light a spark under my ass and get me back to work so I can lose this weight. I hope it does.

@Kodak Hero 6.1 Ordered

I have some good news for my printer problems. Thankfully I was able to borrow the money to buy a refurbished Kodak Hero 6.1 All-In-One printer. I went back into a chat text with Kodak and gave them the reference number for my previous conversation and of course they told me that to get this, I had to call the number, so I did.

They are sending me a refurbished Kodak HERO 6.1 Wireless Color Printer with Scanner, Copier & Fax. It was $89.99 plus $7.31 tax and $7.50 shipping, so it was $104.80. Not bad considering this printer is on Amazon for $449.99 (price keeps changing so it may be more or less when you click the link.)

The dimensions are around the same, or near the same as what I have now, so I don’t think I will have to worry about that. The woman I spoke with told me that it doesn’t have a power adapter, but they will ship me one. I asked how much that was going to be and she said nothing. Thank goodness because the email I got said the discount on that was $66.50. YIKES! For an adapter and power cord?

Another email I got from them said that this printer will not come with a print head or any printer ink, which kind of sucks, but I think they didn’t include it because I told them that I bought a printer head and more ink on Amazon. So thank goodness those aren’t going to go to waste, but it sucks because I was hoping to have it as a back up. But, ink has already gone through it from when I tried using it on my other printer, so it’s a good thing I am going to be using that because the ink would have dried out making it useless by the time I would actually need it.

I am very happy that this has a fax machine on it because I can count a dozen times when we had to go to a FedEx Kinko’s to fax something. I’ve been asked at least a dozen times if I could receive a fax and I could never say yes, so now I can.

The email I got said

“You will be receiving a replacement printer in 3 to 8 business days. If the printer replacement order is created after 3:30 P.M. Eastern Time (EST), the order will be placed the following business day.”

The woman I spoke with from Kodak told me that she was placing the order now (or when I was on the phone with her anyway) but didn’t mention that because it was after 3pm on Friday that it wouldn’t be placed until Monday, but that’s okay, I’m sure it won’t take that long to get to me. I am sure I will get a shipping confirmation as soon as they ship it out with a tracking number that I can obsess over and check it 20 times a day to see that it hasn’t been updated in hours. I have OCD lol.

So I look forward to receiving a new refurbished printer. It isn’t the newest model which is the 9.1, but I’m flexible. I am happy with what I have. I am sure we will have many years of fun printing, scanning, copying and faxing. It’ll be fun.