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Chris O.

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About Me

I last made serious contributions here in 2010 - please note the dates before commenting on anything I wrote back then.

654 Reviews by Chris


PLEASE DO NOTE that this and every site with a similar name has been posted here by spammers. Don't even waste your time with the reviews, but DO send a complaint to the site admins asking them to please develop an anti-spam policy which will either remove this stuff immediately or prevent it from being posted at all.

Under no circumstances should you do any business with dubious weight-loss sites, sites purporting to offer cheap medications and/or quack cures, and indeed any site offering health products that you know you should be getting from the genuine sources even if they do cost a lot more.

Second rule of thumb - avoid any website with multiple words separated by dashes in the title. Maybe one or two are genuine, but it really isn't worth the risk. And almost every website with the name of a medication actually in the URL will be one you want to avoid. You might get the product, you might get something that only looks like the product, and you'll have no way of telling which one you've got. And that's assuming you get anything at all for your money.

Be careful out there.


This is one of the sites I bookmark for reading over my morning coffee. Frankly you either love Engrish to bits or you just don't get it. Those who don't get it probably consider it racist and insulting to the Japanese specifically and Asians in general. And they might be right if the presentation were different. We're not saying "oh look at what the stupid Japanese have done now", but if that's what you want to infer, you won't find anything to laugh at here.

For the rest of us, the concept of "Engrish" has been around for a long time now and might be defined as the various, usually unsuccessful, attempts by the Japanese to make their products either understandable by western tourists, or attractive to young Japanese who want to emulate Western ideas, or both. Prepare yourself for entirely meaningless T-shirt slogans, unintelligible supermarket labels, hilariously inappropriate restaurant menus and more, as the entrepreneurs of Asia open their Webster's at a random page and pick more or less any words that look interesting for their next T-shirt range.

By the bye, this site comes just a little second to my fave Engrish destination at www.engrishfunny.com. Visit both, you can never have too much Engrish.


This address is not a website at all, it's just a parked domain name which redirects you to a completely different site at www.complaintsbbb.com. So in fact it isn't a blog at all. Not sure what the target site is for either, looks thrown together, doesn't seem to be going anywhere, links to yet another site called DoshDosh for no apparent reason... yep. Enough said. Sorry. But just the redirect on its own would be caution enough, bad practice if you want search engine traffic. Move along folks, nothing to see here.


Around ten years ago, when Paypal was yet young, I did hit some minor problems associated with their as-yet unsophisticated security system. I recall that they would have problems recognizing users or would sometimes get confused about the true state of a transaction. But this was ten years ago, and since then I've had no problems with the service at all. Nobody I know has had the kind of problems rumored in forums around the web either. Which is not to say these experiences are untrue or exaggerated, but I can only review my own experience, not someone else's, and it's been fine for many years.

I use Paypal regularly and just as regularly forget my login and have to reset it, which is always done immediately and without undue hassle. My funds always pass swiftly from my credit card or bank account to the sellers, as is clear from my 100% positive rating with Ebay traders. My most common feedback is in praise of the speed of payment, and since that's always through Paypal I guess that says it all.

I've never had a problem adding or removing or updating a credit card or other source of payment, I've never lost any funds, nor found any discrepancies in Paypal's accounting records. But because of that, I've also never had to deal with their customer service department, so I can't confirm any of the rumors of poor treatment at their hands. Doubtless others have met with worse experience than mine.

I can't think of a better or even equivalent service to suggest if you regularly trade on the web. Given the thousands - maybe hundreds of thousands - of transactions going on every day through Ebay and the many other independents which use Paypal, it isn't entirely surprising that some people hit problems. But whatever flaws have been discovered in the system by other users, it has to work for the vast majority of transactions or sellers would simply refuse to use it. I'm truly sorry for anyone who has big trouble getting satisfaction, but show me any company - online or otherwise - that claims 100% satisfactory customer service and I'll wager they're being economical with the truth.


I took a look at this site on the strength of other folks' comments. Yes, it's a neat idea. But where are the promised blog postings freely and honestly declaring the amounts earned and their ultimate destinations? The last blog entry was back in June, and the site has been running since last November. So that's (supposedly) ten months of affiliate earnings, all undisclosed. Judging from the rareness of blog updates - only four in ten months - I would definitely not send this site any income at all until it meets its commitment to freedom of information. Hopefully it will get its act together, because it has potential, but in these days of almost commonplace internet scams we expect solid proof that an organization is doing what it promises to do before we send money its way.

[UPDATE] ******************************************************

Still convinced there's something odd, here. The author is associated with an entirely different site, not a very well designed one at that, the purpose of which is clearly affiliate earnings from amazon.com and which contains only text copied from other sources on the web (Childsafetyexperts.com).

And there is another site also by the same person, also poorly designed, apparently aimed at selling movies as another affiliate of Amazon.com (jurassicpunk.com).

And then there's forzamotorsport.com, same guy, another Amazon affiliate page; not to forget patapon2.com, and guitarhero3.com, another Amazon affiliate.

I think this is a scam. Again, no blog postings, none of the promised revelations about how and where the money is being spent, no proof at all that the money you're sending this guy isn't going straight into his pocket (or another shady affiliate scheme). Please, don't use this site until we know it's safe and reliable, which frankly I doubt very much.


Only one review of Mozilla.com? Maybe it goes without saying but in any case, this is the home site of the Firefox web browser and Thunderbird email client. The latter doesn't get that much attention these days, as many web users are moving toward online email accounts, but nevertheless it's a solid competitor for Microsoft offerings if you use POP3 email on your home computer.

As for Firefox, it's currently the most popular of the non-Microsoft offerings, largely due to the endless range of free third-party extensions which allow you to build pretty much any kind of browsing experience. Professionals like it as they can customize it for work, and the rest of us can easily add ad-blockers, flash downloaders, download managers, custom scripts, etc etc etc.

This is not a review of third-party extensions, that wouldn't be possible given the wide selection available, but I'll mention a few that I use myself and recommend.

Adblock plus - say bye bye to almost every ad, everywhere.

Autopager - turns many multiple paged sites (think Google) into one long page, no need to keep clicking "next".

W. O. T - Web Of Trust - be alerted to dangerous sites, recommended to especially useful ones.

TooManyTabs - endless rows of extra tabs for those sites you wish you could fit on the standard bookmark bar, and none of them use any memory until you load the page.

And lastly Greasemonkey, which in itself does nothing but provide a facility to run user scripts in the browser. These scripts mainly alter the look and/or functionality of web pages. Most useful for me: being able to have auto-signing in on Yahoo, which otherwise prompts me for my login every time. And there are many scripts which modify and improve on the experience of using Google pages, too.

There are hundreds of ready-made scripts and hundreds (if not thousands - yet) of tried and tested extensions. But even without a single one of these, Firefox unmodified remains the best alternative browser around. It's fast, reliable and constantly evolving, and it draws little criticism even from die-hard Internet Explorer users.

Even if you love IE8, you can still run as many web browsers as you like on the same machine. Given the widespread appreciation and support that Firefox enjoys, it makes sense to install it and at least play around with it for a while - even if for some reason you still prefer to stick with IE or boldly go with Chrome.


This is one of those websites you'd visit if you were looking for a remote controlled zombie or an alarm clock in the shape of a giant... well, you know what I mean. There are hundreds of them. This one is less tacky than most and surprisingly has some products on show that you might actually want to buy. Some of the tees have genuinely amusing comment, and there are well-known gifts like the Felix The Cat clock or the CIA Factbook alongside less conservative ideas such as the lounging aliens or the Nose Shower Dispenser. Worth a look if you're in the market for harmless fun gifts or unusual slogan tees.

They also have a loyalty scheme called Club WOE (sad choice of acronym there) which customers may join for $30. In return they get about double that amount in special deals or freebies. Should be good value if you're going to be using the site for regular or seasonal gift shopping.


This is a huge and ever-growing database of fun and occasionally serious projects. There are some really capable crafts people, electronics fans and assorted hobbyists here, and the chances are that you won't be able to emulate most of the devices that result from their incredible, dare I say geeky, skills. However, for many people I don't think that will be a major concern as it's also incredibly good fun to just surf around the site looking at what smarter, richer and more talented people seem to be able to find the spare time for. But if you want to roll up your sleeves and have a go at one of the projects, they're well illustrated and broken down into clear steps which aren't difficult to follow, and the sheer range of ideas - from a paper airplane to a "cacophonous event" makes this site hard to leave once you've got into it.

Lastly, this definitely isn't a site exclusively for adult male nerds - there's something for everyone in the many categories. Even kids will get something from looking at the videos of weird and wonderful devices, even if you do have to discourage them from borrowing your office laser pointer to make a music and light show.


Yes, it doesn't look like a scam at first sight, but it displays a BBB (Better Business Bureau) icon which, if you follow it through, refers to a completely different - and presumably legitimate - company with a similar name. Also look at the testimonials, many of which refer to a company called Leader Post which doesn't have a Google listing at all. At the very least, be careful of this one and If this is a service you really need, it looks like you should shop around. Thanks to the original reviewer who found this, I just expanded on the review a bit.


This is a personal experience of this company - others may well have had great experiences and no problems whatsoever, so don't necessarily be guided by my comments, just be careful and be informed.

We applied to this company for a wheelchair for an elderly relative whose insurance is Medicare. The company told us to arrange a "face to face" with the doctor, who would then write up a report indicating whether he felt the patient needed a chair or not. We were told that Medicare would then approve the chair, or not, and we'd be informed.

After the face-to-face, everything went quiet for a few weeks. There was no contact from Hoveround at all. Then suddenly we got a phone call telling us that they needed to make a couple of adjustments to the chair and that they would be delivering it the next day. Well OK then, that was great but we would have preferred to have been kept informed in the meantime. Never mind though, because we did have the chair. I just had one comment for Hoveround, while they were apparently setting the chair up for my relative's specific needs: I pointed out that a major problem was with hand-eye co-ordination, due to a slow but progressive condition which left his hands unsteady. That was apparently noted.

The following day, the chair arrived with a guy who explained it's workings to our relative and allowed him to try it out. I was not expecting the chair to be so difficult to steer, which the basic model is; the steering wheels are on the back, rather than the front, so steering it and even keeping it in a straight line is not immediately intuitive. It's more like steering a boat than a car. And my relative found it to be difficult too, unsurprisingly, but he did give it a good try and overall we felt he would likely get the hang of it, though his hand control of the joystick and his co-ordination were poor to begin with.

While he was there I commented to the delivery guy/ rep about being told the previous day that they were "adjusting the seat" especially for the user. He was surprised and observed that the seat was fixed and no such adjustment was possible. He said he'd look into it and get back to me. And that was the last we ever saw of him.

It soon became apparent that although my relative was slightly able to control the chair, the very sensitive joystick combined with having the steering wheels at the back combined to make it a difficult experience. Also the seat (allegedly made for him) was so uncomfortable that his back was hurting after about 20 minutes.

LIE #1:

Hoveround state that: "Your doctor and our Mobility Specialists will recommend a motorized wheel chair or electric mobility scooter that supports your lifestyle and physical needs."

FACT: The doctor hadn't dealt with Hoveround before and didn't know what they wanted from him. He hadn't seen their products and wasn't in any position to recommend a particular model. Their "mobility specialists" had no part whatsoever in choosing the chair - Medicare tells them which model to supply, i. E. generally the cheapest one. They have no say in the process, or so they later admitted to me.

LIE #2: Hoveround state that "A motorized wheel chair comes with a variety of options that allow you to recline, automatically adjust your height and more."

TRUTH: Nope. The chair had no automatic adjustments for height. It did have the option to alter the angle of recline of the back, but only in big steps and that required using a special tool - it was not possible to adjust the seat while the user was in it, and the users themselves would be unlikely to have the strength to do the job anyway.

LIE #3: Hoveround state: "You will be spending a lot of time in your new electric wheelchair and you want to make sure it fits properly, so that it can be as supportive and comfortable as possible. Our Mobility Specialist measures your torso, hips, arms and legs to create the perfect seat height and distance between where the small of your back meets the back of the chair. We also measure your home's doorways and hallways so that you can maneuver easily through your home."

TRUTH: Nope. None of that. Though we were shown how to adjust the arm to alter the distance of the joystick from the body.

Well we did give it a try. We went outside in it a total of three times, and got it a way up the street and back. About half a block was enough, before the backache and tiredness set in, and it still wasn't easy to keep the chair moving in a straight line, but there was a little progress. We couldn't use the chair in the home, because although it would just about fit through the doorways, my relative didn't have the fine control needed to carry out that manuever. Even I had trouble getting it through a doorway because the steering control was so touchy and unintuitive.

So what happened was that the chair went into a corner and was never used again. Months passed.

Then out of the blue, we got a letter telling us that Medicare had denied the claim. Pardon? We'd been told that the chair was ours, it had obviously been approved. No? NO. Everything on the Hoveround website is designed to give the impression that the steps needed are these, in order:

1. Get a doctor's approval in a face-to-face assessment;

2. Do the insurance paperwork and see it through;

3. Deliver the chair.

In fact the sequence is:

1. Get a doctor's approval in a face-to-face assessment;

2. Deliver the chair, without revealing that it hasn't been approved by anyone;

3. Bill Medicare for it;

4. Hope Medicare approves it. If so, fine, if not, tough. Recover the chair.

I have to say that at (4) I assume there is the possibility of appeal, because the rejection letter comes from the appeals department at Hoveround. But when I contacted them, very annoyed that they had misled us into assuming the chair was ours, I wasn't offered the chance of an appeal. I didn't even think, I was that upset. So I said, oh well, I guess you'd better come and collect the chair then, and the person at the other end just said, fine, I'll put it out for collection. No "well hang on a moment, you do have the right of appeal".

The reason cited for the denial was that in the face-to-face, the doctor had failed to correctly document the conversation. This isn't too surprising given that he didn't have any guidelines from Hoveround or Medicare to work with. So it wasn't our fault at all. But all Hoveround would say was that we would have to go back to the doctor and start the process over again.

There are other layers to this story as well.

During the time we had the chair I contacted Hoveround and spoke to someone in their technical support department about the difficulties we were having steering the chair. I'd done a little research and found that other chairs in their range steered from the front, which looked more appropriate. This person tried their best to be helpful but ultimately said that any issues with the suitability of the chair had to be taken up with the sales department, and that it was unlikely that they'd be keen on offering us a different model even if it were better.

Before I got round to doing anything else I got a customer satisfaction survey through the mail. I made several comments about our disappointments with the chair and the lack of customer service, and mailed it back. Nobody ever contacted me about this.

Also, I got a phone call from someone at Hoveround doing another customer service survey, and I explained at some length that the chair wasn't being used and why not, and how we really wanted the opportunity to try another type of chair. This girl then told me that there were no such chairs in the product range and what chairs there were, weren't suitable for my relative's weight. I then told her, as I was sitting at the PC looking at the site at the time, that she was completely wrong about everything she'd said about Hoveround's product range. She then admitted that she'd probably been given old information to work from. Did she actually work for Hoveround? Oh yes. But the sales people hadn't given her up-to-date material. So she promised to pass on my request for attention to her supervisor and that was that. Literally, that was indeed that - I heard nothing whatsoever from Hoveround again, until the letter telling us that the chair had been denied by Medicare.

Bottom Line: Terrible customer service with no after-care and no communications. No opportunity to ask for a specific model of chair or try out different models in the range. Misleading information everywhere about the Medicare process. No interest shown in trying to get the best model for the patient's needs.

I suspect that if you go to this company with money to buy your chair, everything improves enormously. And if you get a savvy doctor who knows how to manipulate Medicare, that's going to be a big help too. So you may well get much better service than we did. BUT... even so, our experience shows what this company is capable of, even if it doesn't happen to you.

And remember, Hoveround don't bill Medicare until AFTER you've got the chair and become attached to using it. If you think their website intentionally implies otherwise, then you may draw your own conclusions.


Web Of Trust.

(Please note that I use Firefox exclusively, so the extension for Internet Explorer is not reviewed here. The service does however provide extensions for both browsers.)

"WOT is a free Internet security addon for your browser. It will keep you safe from online scams, identity theft, spyware, spam, viruses and unreliable shopping sites. WOT warns you before you interact with a risky website. It's easy and it's free. "

That's the official blurb. Is it true, does it really work? Surprisingly, yes it does and pretty well, too. After installation (free) you will be presented with an icon attached to every URL in search engines plus every URL in your email, if you use web-based HTML mail such as Yahoo! In your browser. If the icon is green, it's been recommended as safe by other WOT users. If it's red, you really don't want to go there. If you do go there, WOT will not allow you to enter the site without giving you a full-page warning that the site can't be trusted, so it's your call whether you want to go through with it or not. Sites that have less recommendations but which are still deemed safe, get a paler green icon, and highly recommended sites get a special shiny icon too.

The inclusion of email links also provides a good first line of defense against phishing sites that try to trick you into going somewhere other than you expect. If others have been caught before you, chances are that the link(s) in the email will show up as red warnings.

If sites haven't yet been scored by other WOT users, you're still informed, as a "we don't know yet" icon will be there. Then it really is your call. But if a link purports to be from, say, Bank of America but it has a "don't know" icon, chances are it's fake.

You can contribute to the rating system via an icon in your Firefox toolbar (and presumably IE too, as there is a version for that browser though I don't use it). So if you have a bad experience, or feel that the site is not safe for kids, or won't keep your personal information safe, you can add your warning to the WOT database. On the other hand, you can also praise a great site.

I've been using this for quite a while and it hasn't failed me yet. In fact I clicked through from the sitejabber site to a page described in another reviewer's comments as an internet scam - and WOT immediately warned me not to go there. If the reviewer had installed WOT, chances are that they too wouldn't have taken the risk and been cheated. So, yes, worth the install for sure, and worth contributing to the WOT community.

WOT is sponsored by a variety of web-related businesses and sites which are themselves worth exploring. Best known of them at present is Panda Security, the cloud-based (spot the Web 2.0 jargon? Web 1.0 users read "online") antivirus website. I used the online computer scan once and they've been junk mailing me ever since, so you might want to give this one a miss, but most of the others were new to me and worth bookmarking.

It seems unlikely that a free service that relies entirely on surfers being honest and reliable would work at all. But it does. The price is right and I can't see a reason for not installing it in your favorite browser.


I looked first at MP3 players - 130 items which I could not filter by price, only by manufacturer. I'd most likely want to see all the products in a certain price range though. I moved on to look at an Olympus digital camera, the price here was between around $80 - $40 more expensive than anything I found much faster on Google. These days I think you have to be more impressive than this to hold a potential customer's attention, frankly.


As others have said, this is an excellent entertainment portal and one worth recommending for its sheer range of choices. Just one consideration to bear in mind, it also provides easy access to a very wide range of porn sites. Which is not to say that porn isn't easy for anyone to find anyway, but if you've given this link to your kids based on all the positive reviews, they're going to spot the Adult link straight away.

On the other hand of course, if you're an adult looking for an extensive selection of user-rated porn links in one place, I guess this is a recommendation. It all depends how you look at it, so to speak.


I placed an order with this site for around $1000 worth of disability and living aids for my 91 year old father. The site appeared to be provided by a large and reputable supplier of equipment and I was keen to obtain some safety devices as he'd had a few falls recently and I was worried for his safety. I wanted to get the goods as quickly as possible, so I agreed to pay extra for rush processing and 3-day expedited delivery.

After a week with no goods, I phoned them only to find that the order hadn't been processed at all. I was initially told that because it was a big order, it had been delayed on suspicion of fraud, regardless of my having paid for rush processing and fast shipping. This is allegedly their normal response to being given a valuable order, would you believe.

Then it transpired that the person allegedly dealing with the order wasn't even in the office until the next week, and the customer service person had no idea why the order wasn't being dealt with. But she would phone this person up and try to find out. Later. And indeed I did get a call back to say that this person had been contacted and had now released my order for processing, a week late. And it went downhill from here on.

When placing my order, there was no suggestion that any product wasn't normally held in stock. However, to my amazement I was now told that in fact only a few of the smaller items were stocked, with half the unstocked items coming all the way from suppliers on the other side of the country. So in fact 3-day shipping wouldn't be possible.

Well then, could they just send what they had and have the rest shipped to me directly from their suppliers? Nope, everything would have to be collected in one place before being dispatched, as otherwise they "wouldn't be able to calculate the shipping".

However, I was offered 3-day expedited shipping calculated from the day they had the goods in stock, which wouldn't be that week, a laughable offer under the circumstances and clearly just a way to hang on to the extra fee I'd agreed to pay for shipping.

Oh and contrary to information on the website, I had allegedly ordered three "oversized" items and would have to pay up to another $60+ in shipping for just one of them, on top of the $70 I had already arranged to pay for the expedited shipping and the "rush processing". The customer service rep apologized and told me she had emailed the webmaster to point out their error. As if I cared, by this time.

And to add insult to injury, they didn't even offer to refund the fee I'd paid for the so-called same-day "rush processing".

I canceled the whole order and would strongly advise anyone fooled into thinking this is a large and reputable supplier to place their order by phone, and confirm all the details, costs, and delivery dates before agreeing to pay this company anything. Make sure they can actually deliver the goods and get a firm shipping cost before committing yourself to a purchase.

Finally I took the opportunity to respond to their invitation to send feedback. I wrote at length about my awful experience and my disappointment with their terrible customer service, and dispatched the feedback by form from the website with at least some small hope of getting a response, if not an apology. But I got nothing in reply and for all I know they didn't even bother to read the feedback anyway. Worst experience I've had at an online store, ever.

UPDATE 9/14/09: These people have the cheek to be sending me spam emails now, even though I never bought anything from them and don't ever intend to.

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