The Chronic Consumer

I buy things — all the time!

Selling old DVDs

I don’t buy DVDs that often, but even so, I’ve managed to accumulate a bunch of them over the years. Since I’m not the kind of person that can watch stuff over and over again (well, there are a few exceptions) I’ve decided to try and sell a bunch of the older, non-collector’s editions of movies and TV shows that are just taking up space. There are a couple of things I need to buy right now, such as iguanamed scrubs for my aunt’s birthday and a new floor lamp to replace a broken one in the living room, and selling DVDs would help defray those costs.

Anyway, there’s a CD Replay (used disc) store in town that I plan to check out. However, I think I’ll probably have better luck getting higher prices on eBay, so we’ll see!

Companies in danger of going out of business

With the economy continuing to suck, it’s no wonder that companies once viewed as pretty stable are having a tough go of it these days. I recently read an article on Yahoo Finance (the stories always get pulled after a while, so I’m not going to bother linking) that said these eight companies are in dire straits and might not make it much longer. That means employees working at these places might want to start sending out resumes and being more cautious about spending their money. For example, forget about getting that rv insurance quote or booking tickets to Paris because you’re not going to want to shell out a ton of cash for a motorhome or an overseas vacation if your job isn’t going to be there much longer!

  1. Best Buy
  2. Research in Motion (makers of Blackberry)
  3. Talbots
  4. Hewlett-Packard
  5. U.S. Postal Service
  6. Nintendo (really??? I have a hard time believing this.)
  7. Cisco
  8. Eastman-Kodak

Visiting family

I’m going on vacation next week to visit some relatives I haven’t seen in a long time. Right now I’m just trying to pack and get all my work done before the departure day. I’m also looking for gifts to bring, and have found the perfect thing for my uncle. He loves unwinding with a brandy and cigar most evenings, so I’m going to buy him this glass top cigar humidor for his desk. It looks nice, can keep up to 100 cigars fresh, and would certainly be appreciated. Plus, from my end this humidor is a good choice because it’s neither too cheap nor too expensive. As I said, it’s just perfect!

Mizzou Camelbak

Several months ago, I wrote this review for a Camelbak Better Bottle that I bought. I ended up liking the bottle so much that I bought another one — this time one that features my favorite college team’s logo on it. Yes, this black and white Better Bottle with the word “Mizzou” and the tigerhead logo usually costs about $5 more than a plain Camelbak, but I managed to get it on sale for 25% off, which dropped the price down to its normal level. The Mizzou version is just as good as the original, and allows me to broadcast support for my team. Needless to say, I love it!

Slingbox Pro HD Revew

I heard about Slingbox years ago when it first came out, but I didn’t really understand the technology behind the device. I knew that it had something to do with being able to watch your TV even if you were away from home, but I thought the TV had to be left on in order for this to work. Because that seemed incredibly stupid to me, I never bothered checking out Slingbox more closely.

Well, after finally speaking to someone who actually has the device and learning more about how it works, I decided to buy one for my home. I went with the Slingbox Pro HD, which has iPhone/iPad/Android apps (all sold separately) for mobile viewing. The box cost about $300 because I didn’t bother with auctions, used equipment, or any other types of discounts.

Setup:

My husband set the Slingbox up because I am completely hopeless when it comes to anything with a wire sticking out of it. From what I could gather, it was pretty easy. Instead of connecting the TV and hard disk recorder to each other and the cable box, you instead route everything to the Slingbox. This helps the device capture the digital images from all of your equipment. The Slingbox must then be connected to the Internet modem. This was the biggest pain, as my television is nowhere near the modem, which meant we had to clip the wire to the baseboard and up the wall/ceiling to get it across a doorway.

Connectivity:

Once the physical installation work was done, we had to download and install a small program from the Slingbox website. This took just a few minutes. From there, we set up a Slingbox user account so we can watch stuff on our computer. This part required some specific details, such as the brand name and model of our HDD and modem. My husband found that information with no trouble, but you might want to have those things on hand before getting started.

Playback:

Slingbox works incredibly well! We were surprised by how crisp and clear the picture is, even on the iPhone app (which we also bought, for about $30.). When you choose a program to watch, it takes a little while to start as the video stream buffers. But after that, playback is awesome!

Recommendation:

Slingbox was very easy to set up. The whole thing was as straightforward as one could hope, and took about 40 minutes tops. The device works precisely as advertised, and allows you to watch and control your television, cable box, and hard disk recorder no matter where you are in the world. If you like to watch your own TV shows or sports events even while you travel, then Slingbox Pro HD is a must. Do I wish the iPhone and iPad apps were included in the price of the device? Sure I do. But for a one-time fee of $330 ($300 for Slingbox, $30 for iPhone SlingPlayer app) and no subscription charges ever, this purchase was still worth it! Highly recommended!

Still??

Okay, I am nearly 40 years old, but I’m still getting birth announcements from friends. When will the madness end?! I think I’ll be buying baby shower gifts until I’m old and gray — at which time my friends will still be sending me announcements about their grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Sigh.

Maybe it wouldn’t be so bad if I could think of unique things to buy, but I always end up getting the same gift box of onesies or bibs. I know, pretty boring, right? Oh, well, there are certainly worse things in the world!

Halloween scrubs

I have a friend who is a nurse, and she just showed me the scrubs she’s planning on using for the last couple weeks of October. Isn’t this top just totally adorable? She works in the children’s ward, and said the kids just love these themed nursing uniforms. I can see why! Wouldn’t you at least smile knowing that your nurse had a sense of humor and appreciated the holidays? These scrubs are much better than the dull blue or gray numbers usually seen in hospitals!

Alternatives to iPad?

My mom has been looking at tablets pcs lately, and seems really interested in getting one. The only problem is, she doesn’t want to pay $500-$800 for an iPad. I know there are a few alternatives out there, but which ones are actually worth buying?

Knowing my mom, she would probably only want to use her table to check email and do some light web browsing. I doubt she would get into all the apps or games. So basically, she just wants something smaller, lighter, and more convenient to use than a laptop.

Any suggestions?