Shopping blog postings

Shopping Postings

Earliest: December 13, 2003Latest: December 8, 2019Total: 67
December 8, 2019

Amazon Pricing

This weekend I was looking around Amazon - checking for deals on Lighting Cables. I wanted to get a couple of cables for my car and backpack.

Amazon Basic are great cables to have as secondary cables. They are cheap and reliable.

However, this weekend I noticed something interesting- check out these screenshots:

Amazon Select Size

Basically, I'll pay $23.99 for a 2-Pack. However, if I buy 2 1-packs it will cost $19.90.

Certainly pays to think about what your ordering - and pay attention to prices when you want multiple items.

I also notice that prices on mobile were a bit cheaper than shopping on desktop - interesting!

January 13, 2019

CShells 2019

Back on October 2006, I blogged about getting CShells storage containers. It was a quick blog of the advantages of getting CShells

Not Familar with CShells?

These are great containers to safely hold CDs or DVDs. They are strong lightweight covers that are more durable than a standard CD case.

They are great when giving someone CDs or DVDs as a gift.

Time to Order Again

I have been running low on my supply at home. As we have been giving CShell’s with CDs/DVDs out for various birthday events.

I was very happy to see that was still in business. I purchased 50 pack of classic clear for $18.60 plus $17.25 for a total of $35.85. That comes out to $1.39 a CShell.

A 100 would have cost $54.69, including ground shipping, which is $.55 a CShell. This would have been a better option - and probably the quantity that I would order for the next time.

Just A Good

I compared the case to the ones that I ordered in 2006 and they are the same quality. It's nice to know that 13-years later that they aren't cheap versions of a classic storage container.

November 4, 2018

Flickr Price Changes

Last Week Flickr announced some major changes with the Flickr service. Basically, the FREE plan is going to get limited. Here's the information from Flickr website:

Free accounts will soon be limited to 1,000 photos or videos. Flickr isn't Flickr without the contributions and participation of our free members, and we remain committed to a vibrant free offering.

If you are a free member with more than 1,000 photos or videos, you will have ample time to upgrade to Pro (for 30% off your first year) or download your photos and videos.*

Free members have until January 3, 2019, to upgrade to the Pro Plan. After that date, if your Free account has more than 1,000 photos you will not be able to add anything. On February 5, 2019, Flickr will start removing files.

Slight Problem For My Account

flickr Account

Currently I have 209,701 images in my Flickr account! This is using about 60% of my 1TB allowance.

I haven't decided if it's worth spending $49.99 to save 208,701 files. I did check out some of the other services such as iCloud and Google Drive and Flickr is at the right price point.

It's possible that I might purchase the Flickr Pro Plan just to buy some additional time to back up the files and find a good long-term solution.

My primary usage on Flickr is sharing daily photos that I take of my daughter. I have albums created each month to highlight her going to school every day.

Cloud Pricing

Some of the current cloud pricing.
August 6, 2017

Stop and Shop Self Checkout Belt

Today we did our weekly shopping at Stop and Shop in Framingham, and decided to use the self-checkout since the lines were smaller.

As part of the checkout procedure, you ring up the merchandise and then put it on the belt where it gets weighted to verify the item. The item then moves to the bagging area. You are not allowed to touch the product when it's on the verification belt.

We purchased several Kool-Aid small packets, and we noticed that several packets were going under the rollers in the bagging area.

We informed the cashier assistant and they told us that we could go get another one or she would take the item off our order. It seemed weird that she didn't attempt to retrieve the item. We opted to have the item removed from our order.

A few minutes later we were stopped because of a coupon error. While waiting for the self-service cashier, we looked at the checkout belt, and wondered if it could be moved.

Turns out it can be lifted, and it was easy to get the merchandise. I got it, and we rung the item back in.

Loading Area Map
Map of the Loading Area at the Self Checkout. Simply lift the area between the black belt and the loading area to retrieve items that might have fallen in.

Not sure why they don't know about lifting the bagging area belt. There were several other items that fell through, including a Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing envelope.

July 8, 2017

Monopod as a Tripod

One of the nice things about the Arespark Self-portrait Monopod is that it has a tripod mount on the bottom of it. I just happen to have a small tabletop tripod that I thought might be interesting to try out.

I wondered if it would work - would the mini table top stand be strong enough to hold the Arespark Self-portrait Monopod... and it does! Although not 100% stable, but good enough to keep an iPhone Plus camera steady.

Monopod Grass Photo

This is a very handy combination. If you need a tripod to keep a shot steady when you're going to be sitting for a long period of time. For example. I found this handy when filming a gymnastics routine.

The Arespark is at a perfect height when sitting down. I can use the Tripod combination to have a nice steady shot for a long period of time without having my hands tired.


I purchased the "iGadgitz PT310 Mini Lightweight Table Top Stand Tripod and Grip Stabilizer for Digital Camera" for a recent Disney trip. It works great as a table mount tripod and as a camera stabilizer. Currently cost $15.99 on

This worked really well to take videos walking down Main Street USA. Also useful when you want to take night photos and need a stable shot. Travels well as it only weights 180 grams. Works really well with any camera type including DSLRs.

Arespark Self-portrait Monopod

This is an awesome Selfie Stick as it can extend to 50 inches. Perfect for any shot that you need an extended reach. This currently costs $17.99 on Amazon and certainly worth having in your collection.

I like using this when I need to get shots well above my head.

January 8, 2017

Disney/Amazon Shopping Ideas

Here's a quick list of eight things to stock up on for the trip to Disney World. So if you're on and looking for ideas on what to get before your trip, here's some things to think about.

I have found these to be useful things to purchase before a trip:

  • USB External Battery Charger - If you plan on using your phone for taking pictures and video, you'll need to charge up your device at some point during the day. Having a USB External Battery charger will extend your smartphone battery life. Note: many DLSR cameras can also get recharged using a USB device.
  • Microfiber Cleaner - Clean up your phone and DSLR screen. Makes sense to have a nice clean cloth for your trip.
  • SD Card Reader - If you have a DSLR camera, it's a good idea to backup your card at night. You can use a WD My Passport or an RAVPower Filehub. Download and backup the data on the SD card. An RAVPower Filehub useful when you want to post some of your quality photos to your favorite social media.
  • PURELL Hand Sanitizer - Travel Sized Jelly Wrap Portable Sanitizer Bottles are a great thing to add to any travel bag. The Jelly Wrap makes it easy to attach to any bag.
  • Portable Universal Wrap Electronics Accessories Travel Organizer - Keep all your cables and power chargers in one place. Sure you could use a ziplock bag, but with the travel organizer, you can label the cables so you know exactly what your bring. In addition, you'll know if you're missing any cables when you're packing up.
  • Portable Poncho - Buy a nice looking travel poncho just in case you need it.
  • Nylon Laundry Bag - You may have to do some laundry while on vacation. Don't be caught short going to the laundry area without a laundry bag! (Wash the bag with the laundry so you can bring the clean clothes to the room.)

What about a Wide Angle Lens?

One of the things I was considering purchasing was a Wide Angle lens for my iPhone so that I could take nice wide angle photos.

I decided not to get a lens because I found that Affinity Photo does a great job in stitching pictures. I simply take 3 or 4 pictures simultaneously and then stitch them together when I get back home.

In addition, I could always just use a Pano shot if I want to capture more of the photo. (Note: You don?t need to do a full range in a Pano shot. You can stop it at any point. The image won?t end up in the Pano folder on your phone, but you?ll still get a nice picture.

Winter Snow
Example of stitching multiple photos.

Apple iPhone 6s Plus Pano photo size is 11,668 x 3,884. My example created a 11,277 x 2,498, slightly smaller than a Pano, but the quality is very good compare to a typical Pano rendering.

I didn't want to have to carry around the extra lens and connect it whenever I wanted to use it. It's one less thing that I wanted to carry, and one less thing that I could lose.

December 11, 2016

Wrist Information Center.

In the 1980s there was a catalog parody of the LL Bean catalog. It was a book called "Items from Our Catalog" and featured a lot of weird things.

When I was in college, I took interest in one of the things called "Find-the-Function" Wrist Information Center. I photocopied the page and had it on my bulletin board in my dorm.

I don't recall the reason why I picked this item, of everything in the catalog. It was a pretty weird product.

A quick read of the product description, and all I could think about the Apple Watch. Here's a scan copy of the document, complete with tape and all...

Wrist Information Center2

You can find the "Items from Our Catalog" book on eBay and Use Bookstores, it makes for a funny read.

December 4, 2016

Waiting at Limited Supply Sales

Waiting for Toys R Us

I have some practical tips if you're ever in the case of having to wait for a store opening to buy some products. This is most common during Black Friday / Saturday. It can also occur when a store announces that they have stock of items in high demand.

Never know when it's Black Friday

Earlier this week Toys R Us announced that they had limited stock available of Hatchimals and NES Classic Edition. These are two of the hottest toys of the 2016 Shopping season. They would have available limited number of stock on December 4th, 2016.

Social Media spread the word about the new inventory, and everyone got word that Sunday was the day to get the products. Nobody knows if they would be available again in retail stores this Christmas season.

You could get Hatchimals and NES Classic Edition on eBay and Craigslist, but you would be paying a premium for them:

e Bay Deals
People were buying Hatchimals and NES Classic Edition and reselling on eBay and Craigslist at a high mark up.

Get Committed

When I heard of the opportunity of getting a Hatchimal, I really wanted to jump on the opportunity. I knew that there would be a huge line. I figured, that I I was going to go, I would get their super early to ensure that I would get my hands on a Hatchimal. The doors were scheduled to open at 8am.

I arrived at Toys R Us at 3:24 am and I was the 8th person in line. The first person arrived in line at 7:30 pm.

I took notes on what people brought, and what seemed to work while waiting for the doors to open 4 hours later:

Essential Items to Bring

Note, most of these focus on the cold weather because, in New England, that usually when these limited supply sales occur.

  • Folding Chair - Something comfortable to sit on. If you don't have a chair, some people resorted to flipping over a shopping cart and sat on that.
  • Blanket - Keep warm!
  • Umbrella, Hat, Gloves - The Touch Screen Gloves are very useful.
  • USB Charger - Useful if you have any electronic devices.
  • Book or other Entertainment item - Keep yourself busy while waiting. Some people brought books.
  • Smart Phone - One person left his phone at home and really regretted it.

Additional tips

  • Keep Drinks and Food to a minimum. You don't want to leave to go to the bathroom.
  • Bring a Buddy, and you can tag team between waiting in line and warming up in the car.
  • Listen to the information provided by the store employees. You may want to share some information later on.
  • Communicate with Social Media. Find out what the lines are at other locations.
  • Talk to people around you, as you may learn something interesting about the sale or other items for sale.
  • Bring an extra chair or blanket. You may help someone that didn't come prepared.
November 26, 2016

CE Marks

There?s was some conversations this past year over on Reddit about some poor quality products. In particular, some products that were "drop ship" from China and would take a few weeks to arrive.

Someone posted this graphic, and I am re-posting it as a reminder as people are now in full swing for Christmas:

C E Mark

Think twice when you pick up something that looks cheap, you might be buying a knock off from China or another country. The item may not meet local code standards and could cause damages to your products.

Earlier this year, I was excited about some iPhone 6s Plus cables that I purchased on Amazon, only to find out that they didn't last a few weeks and are not completely useless.

You may hate to pay the "full price," but there's a no sense of saving money by purchasing knock-offs only to find they are useless after a couple of times using them.

November 20, 2016

Black Friday 2016 Watch List

Black Friday2016

Every year, I put together a list of software/hardware that I consider "nice to have." During the past year I tried them out but just can't justify the cost of buying the software. During the peak week of "Black Friday" and "Cyber Monday," I'll watch to see if the products go on sale.

This is my 2016 list of product/services that I am watching. This doesn't mean that I'll be buying all of these items. In prior years, I was watching to see if my printer ink was on sale. I was checking DVD-R prices and just overall technology stuff.

Macintosh Software

These are the Big Five Macintosh applications that I am watching

  • LaunchBar - ($29) I can see using this all the time to move between applications, the clipboard history is very cool
  • Path Finder - ($39.95) Great Finder replacement with a lot of power tools I could use on a daily bases.
  • Keyboard Maestro - ($36). I have TextExpander, but there are some functionalities in Keyboard Maestro that I like. It was on sale for $19.99 on Social for a while.
  • Swift Publisher 4 - ($19.99) I like a lot of their features and see it as a good page layout tool.
  • Affinity Photo - ($49.99) A minor update should be available soon. Serif may offer the 20% off which is the discount they offered when Affinity Designer got an upgrade in October.
  • SnagIt - Upgrade ($24.95) I have a license and can upgrade to the latest version. This has been included with some bundles, but the software got a big upgrade this summer so they may not promote it as much.

Both Keyboard Maestro and LaunchBar have clipboard history functionality. Having a clipboard history will make it easy to access previously copied text.

Hardware List

Amazon isn't the only store on the internet. Staples and Target should have good deals on some of the products I am watching.

Last year I stood line to at midnight to get a great deal on a USB drive at Best Buy. Even Walgreen and CVS will have door busters on some flash drives. Simply knowing which are the better ones can help know when a deal is perfect.

  • 128 GB Flash Drive - ($27.99) I can never have enough disk space. 128 GB seems to be a good size for Flash Drives. I can store 27 DVDs on 128GB flash drive. I like the SanDisk Cruzer Flash Drives.
  • Recycle AA Batteries - I could always use a fresh set of batteries.
  • Apple Lightning Cable - I could always use a decent Apple Lightning Cable that actually works.

Cloud List

Where I am watching

I have setup a Google Alert to notify me if the software products are mention in the media. In addition, I'll be checking their Twitter feeds to see if there any announced one-day deals.

I'll be checking store flyers for announcements. Sites like deal news really help educate the public on awesome deals.

Black Friday Reminder

If you're going to a midnight opening, make sure to know the store layout. Visit the store ahead of time so you know where things are.

A quick store visit now will save you frustrations later!