Developed in part with a grant from
the National Science Foundation

Member since August 2009

  • Reviews 138
  • First to Review 121
  • Thank Yous 0
  • Fans 68
  • Profile Views 18,747

Review Distribution

5 stars
27
4 stars
97
3 stars
2
2 stars
1
1 star
11

About Me

Chicago's North Shore. Psychologist - love my work, Gym-rat, beach-rat, smile...tennis, dominant chord in my nature...just factual, really good food and fine film.

How I Can Help

Passion? Common-sense & honesty. I have gift of savvy intuition.

Interests

Tennis, gym, music, and film...and on...

138 Reviews by Ron

Sort by: Most helpful

Chintzee

Chintzee

9/18/14
If you shop on Amazon, it's very handy to know when prices of items you've been watching have dropped! Chintzee is an Amazon-based web tool that lets you keep an eye on Amazon price reductions by sending you an alert every time prices drop.

You only need to go to the homepage to try it out. The website shows the top items that have had a price drop on a daily basis. You can also start a specific search by entering product keywords, ASIN, or the Amazon URL.

To monitor the price of a specific product, click the "Watch" button, fill in the necessary details and choose to be alerted either by email or Twitter. You can also view the products' price history illustrated in a graph.

Chintzee helps you save money and time by avoiding the hassle of constantly checking up on item prices. This is especially useful when time-short and shopping to compare prices is more time than you've got.

Features:

* Helps you monitor Amazon price changes.
* Lets you receive alerts when prices go down.
* Allows you to see product price history.
* Alerts through e-mail and Twitter.
* Search for your item using keywords, ASIN, or by URL.
* Watch items.

Similar Tools: Vizzl, Amazon Discount Finder and Amazanian: Better Amazon Search.

Check out Chintzee @ www.chintzee.com
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Woot

Woot

9/11/13
Fiverr features semi and full experts in field's from Writing SEO for your website, or drawing an outstanding characterization from your phone. Everything in between. One will edit your paper, another will create a cover for your E-book. Another, will write it for you. A stunning diversity of talent!

The deal is, and agreed upon work...is $5. Five bucks. Well it starts there. Add an extra (gig as they're called) bit of work: extra pages, additional copies, colour vs b&w, etc., the cost goes up - but only in $5 to $10 increments. Want it in 24 hours...add $10 bucks.

But what you're getting for a terribly reasonable price I have found a treasure trove of possibilities. For $5, plud an extra "gig" fee of $15, an A Capella instance of my singing a tune (which I thought sounded great), was sent to a professional sound engineer on Fiverr, and he added the musical track (and had to alter tempo here and there as I was off), and it was amazing. For $20? That's insane!

Check Fiverr out, it's a playground of opportunities, and, of course, you can sign-up to sell YOUR gig there as well.

CAVEAT! You have the opportunity to message with the pro, prior to agreeing on price and go-ahead. Ask ALL your questions at THAT POINT. Make sure you've all bases covered with expectation. You can ask for samples of seller's work. In the end, If what you receive is BELOW YOUR EXPECTATIONS, you can 1. request the work be improved before you accept, or 2. cancel the gig because it was just that bad. You can't lose.

Enjoy Fiverr.com, and hope everyone is well and prospering.
Warmly,
Ron
ConsumerAffairs

ConsumerAffairs

9/2/13
I have followed ConsumerAffairs for several years. They have excellent writers, do intensive research, and in every newsletter I receive, there's some information I have to pass-along to family & friends.HIGHLY RECOMMENDED for "serious consumers".

"Who We Are: ConsumerAffairs.com is a private, non-governmental entity that empowers consumers by providing a forum for their complaints and a means for them to be contacted by lawyers if their complaints have legal merit. Your complaints and comments may be published, shared with the news media and reviewed by attorneys at no cost to you. See the FAQ for more information.

HAD A BAD TIME, OR A GOOD ONE?
Report Your Experience!
If you've had a bad experience -- or a good one -- with a consumer product or service, we'd like to hear about it. All complaints are reviewed by class action attorneys and are considered for publication on our site. Knowledge is power! Help spread the word. File your consumer report now.
Share:
* consumer
* shopping
* reviews
* reference
* consumer_affairs
* news
* business
* complaints
* activism
* information
* recalls

Here's an idea of the basics you'll find in the CA's newsletter:
* Does It Really Pay To Go Shopping On Black Friday?
* New Home Sales Rise As Mortgage Rates Fall
* Toyota Announces Recall to Fix Runaway Acceleration
* Consumers May Soon See Fewer Scam Ads
* Recall of Drop-Side Cribs Continues 2009 Pattern
* Microsoft May Face Class Action Over Xbox Live Ban
* FDA Seeks Permanent Injunction Against Sharkco Seafood
* Nearly One In Four Homeowners Under Water
* Deadline For Chinese Drywall Claims Looms
* More News ...

SAFETY RECALLS
* Toyota, Lexus Models Recalled to Fix Runaway Acceleration
* Toyota Recalling 110,000 Tundra Pickups
* Electrolux ICON, Kenmore 30 PRO Gas Ranges
* Stork Craft, Fisher-Price Cribs Recalled
* 2010 Volvo XC60
* Evenflo First Choice Car Seats
* Cost Plus World Stainless Steel Cookware
* Bobby Chupete Pacifiers
* Perfect Flame Gas Grills
* Century 21 Hooded Sweats
* Gorilla EXO-Tech Safety Harness
* Three Sisters Baby Hammocks

And so very much more!
_____________________________________________

UPDATE: September 2, 2013

ConsumerAffairs.com. All the angry (and uninformed) mail I've gotten lately?

mike g.
New Reviewer
Level: 0 (1 review, 0 helpful)
6/28/13
"This is an absolute scumbag company! As stated by other reviewers a business is prohibited from posting a reply to a review unless they allow consumeraffairs.com to extort money from the business. Clearly this is an unethical outfit operating on the edge of being illegal."

Leo G.
New Reviewer
Level: 0 (9 reviews, 1 helpful)
"are you promoting ConsumerAffairs.com or are you working for them ?
My advise is read the comment from raven g. about ConsumerAffairs.com his story is the right one. They are charging money to companies and they are living from fake reviews. If your really are interested in consumer affairs you let companies respond throughout there webcare teams on your own website FOR FREE. But ConsumerAffairs.com is not like that.
Most review website like Consumeraffairs are showing a lot of negative issues just to put pressure on companies to pay them money for a better ranking.
Don't use them, just listen to family and friends to make a decision about a website you want to use or You were using."

Janna C. "Thanks for the review, Ron. Can you tell us about a specific example of excellent information you've passed on to friends and family about something you read in the Consumer Affairs newsletter?"

Yeah, believe I can Jenna, hows this:

"What is a college degree worth in today's job market?"
http://tinyurl.com/n6hnj6q
I think this report is terribly relevant today Jenna, how about you?

Same-sex marriages to get equal federal tax treatment
http://tinyurl.com/jwm47pb

Taxpayer reminder: Report 2010 Roth conversions this year
You may need to report half of the resulting taxable income on your 2012 return.
http://tinyurl.com/m7zgb95

Build-A-Bear recalls stuffed animal toy
The stuffed animal's eye can detach, posing a choking hazard.
http://tinyurl.com/kc4gcz6

Fat & fit? Study says it's not impossible
Inflammatory markers may more precisely identify those prone to disease
http://tinyurl.com/l22mrlp

I personally think these reports/reviews are worthwhile. No, I don't work for CA.Given the plethora of other reviews I've left while active here - thought you guys would have figured out I don't own them all?

As for all the mail (almost ten pieces recently) about Consumer Affairs, why not be good little reporters and go to the source?

Jim Hood
Founder and Editor - ConsumerAffairs.com
"Most people are way too trusting, way too polite and not nearly inquisitive enough. If everyone spent a little time reading worthwhile history, science and journalism instead of listening to blowhards and con artists, the American middle class wouldn't be imploding quite so quickly."

A graduate of Southern Illinois University, Jim occasionally studied English literature but spent most of his time as a radio reporter and free lance correspondent covering the social meltdowns of the 1960s.

A serial entrepreneur, Jim founded ConsumerAffairs.com in 1998. A former Associated Press executive, editor and reporter, he has covered just about everything imaginable and a few things that seemed unimaginable until they happened. He is unduly proud of his many enemies.

He lives in the Washington, D.C., area and Sayville, N.Y., with his long-suffering spouse and two dogs, his children having grown up and moved far away.

Email: *****@consumeraffairs.com
Phone: *******221

Note Jim offers E-mail address and phone, in case anyone has issue with ANYTHING he publishes. That's rather rare.

Site Jabber was originally about sites to make our lives easier, help avoid scams, and help save money...obviously. I've followed James R. Hood's CA site for a long time. They are some of the first with some very erudite reporting.

I don't review here very much currently. Simply too busy. The climate here has changed as well. Not so much community spirited, rather new reviewers solely (it seems) interested in discrediting anyone else. Try and focus on reporting something worthwhile...rather than tear another reviewer down?

So there's the long on James Hood & Consumer Affairs. Before anyone thinks of writing to me (Jenna, Mike, & Leo) about my owning CA, or how it's in league with the devil, do your homework. Call Jim and ask some questions. If you find something dark, then tell me and I'll retract my original review of some two years ago. Smile.

New reviewers need to grow-up a bit me-thinks.

Hope everyone is well & Happy,
Ron Kolman
Ghostery

Ghostery

6/18/13
Here's how Ghostery (a consumer Ad Blocking system) describes how they work:

"Be a web detective.

Ghostery is your window into the invisible web tags, web bugs, pixels and beacons that are included on web pages in order to get an idea of your online behavior. Ghostery tracks over 1,400 trackers and gives you a roll-call of the ad networks, behavioral data providers, web publishers, and other companies interested in your activity."

Millions of consumers use ad-blockers hoping to get away from all that flash marketing which can be such an annoyance.
A report today (06-18-13) says that one of the most popular ad-blocking services, Ghostery, is collecting data about your browsing habits all the time it's blocking ads, allowing its parent company, Evidon, to sell that data to advertisers!

"This is not a scheme," MIT quotes Scott Meyer, Evidon's CEO, as saying. It's helpful to give advertisers Ghostery's data because advertisers don't generally want to target people who have opted out of advertising, he says.

B.S. If a company is in bed with advertisers, almost certainly selling results of your browsing habits. better to not be in bed with Ghostery on the consumer side.

Someone related to Evidon or Ghostery is bound to squeal in response to serious allegations.
Best
Ron
**************
UPDATE 05-13-15: Web Security is a serious thing. I've gotten two questions recently about the app "Ghostery", my review of which appears above. I'm not an IT/networking guru. I rely on research I've done, and use common sense. I have LifeHackers spin on Ghostery, AND, a response to LH's thoughts by the company which owns Ghostery. All in all, a fairly comprehensive look at the product, from both sides. I'm going to paste Lifehacker's thoughts, along with Ghostery's response below.

While lengthy, it's all the info you'll need to made a good decision about using the app. Hope this helps. If you disagree with what I've leave, that's fine. No need to write and argue about it. Do as you please:
_____________________________

LIFEHACKER'S SPIN:
Ghostery is owned by Evidon, a company that collects and provides data to advertising companies. It has a feature called GhostRank that you can check to "support" them. The problem is, Ghostery blocks sites from gathering personal information on youbut Ghostrank will take note the ads you encounter and which ones you block, and sends that information back to advertisers so they can better formulate their ads to avoid being blocked. The data is anonymous, and Ghostery still does everything it promises to do to protect your privacy.

You could argue this is a good thing, and that it'll help advertisers create better, less intrusive ads. The other argument is that GhostRank is a tool to build a better mousetrap, as it wereunblockable ads and better tracking cookies. That's not lost on privacy advocates:

A major source of business for Evidon is selling data that helps ad companies ensure their compliance with AdChoices, a self-regulatory program supposed to help people opt out of targeted ads. Some experts say AdChoices is confusing to consumers, and it has been criticized by U.S. and EU policymakers. "Evidon has a financial incentive to encourage the program's adoption and discourage alternatives like Do Not Track and cookie blocking as well as to maintain positive relationships with intrusive advertising companies," says Jonathan Mayer, a Stanford grad student and privacy advocate active in efforts to develop a standard "Do Not Track" feature for web browsers.

EVIDON'S REPLY: : Adam DeMartino, of Ghostery, reached out to offer his side of the story. He says: The data we collect in GhostRank doesn't contain any information about the actual ads that were seen by panel members. Rather, we simply report on the technologies that are used to deliver those ads, the performance characteristics of the URLs those technologies were seen on, and if the user blocked that particular technology company. GhostRank can't see the actual ads or anything about the criteria that were used to target them.

Hit the link below to read the full story at Mashable, and then check out our favorite privacy protection tools if you need more options. Popular Ad Blocker Also Helps the Ad Industry | Mashable

Alan Henry
6/19/13 3:10pm
Well that's irritating. I guess I'll be sure Ghostrank is off.

Alan
6/19/13 3:16pm
I always found Ghostery rather bothersome when I tried it some years ago. Always found it easier to use Trueblock, and to tell Mozilla/Firefox/SeaMonkey to prevent 3rd party cookies & to let me choose which cookies to allow.

Frank
6/19/13 3:15pm
Yeah, this definitely cuts both ways (and I've been tweaking the piece because I don't want it to come off sensational) - it's opt-in, and when we were talking about it, we were both "this is great! The data they get will help them build less crappy ads that everyone doesn't just want to block" and "yeah, but having your privacy extension owned by an ad company is kinda scummy" at the same time. Ultimately, we just wanted to throw up the warning - both about the feature and the company - so people can make an educated decision.

* I still use Ghostery, and have changed my previous rating from ONE star, to FOUR, I feel the app works. There will always be a security risk, even marginally so, when you use security apps like these. Idea is to get significant benefit, while giving the least away.
"Disconnect" is an alternative to Ghostery. Check out a comparison in this forum: http://bit.ly/1bQCS0D
Documentary Heaven

Documentary Heaven

10/5/09
Documentary Heaven was set up early July 2009 to provide the public with a vast collection of documentaries spanning across every genre out there. They intend to continuously update the site, on a daily basis, to bring you nothing but the very best views into, music, history, animation, computers, wars, and whatever else might spark your interest.

This is far more fascinating than you might first consider. There is no hidden agenda here, no politics, just free entertainment and learning something along the way.
OkCupid

OkCupid

3/24/15
OKCupid is notorious for blocking accounts out of the blue. It's typically males, and likely because several women singled your profile out with red flag. Note: This does not happen often. Of 3-4M users, it happens to perhaps a hundred a month. Be cool and you've likely not much to worry about.

Yes, I have been blocked. My profile is fairly blunt, and even rather salacious. My best guess my "bouncing" was for being overly blunt with my "no thanks remarks". Better to not answer mail from someone you've no interest in. In case you get caught up in this, here's a bit of info which might help? I did some research. OK Cupid, like Match.com, is own by parent company IAC *******300). I called, was connected to a friendly voice (who had nothing to do with consumers or Cupid), and explained my situation briefly and with concern. Turns out Cupid is under umbrella of Match.com, Contact is: *******824 or *******352) and look for help there. Don't expect much.

After those negatives, and all the BS aside, what makes Cupid "work", is the search mechanism of premium package: In premium one can take individual questions Cupid throws at every user, and select about five (which REALLY matter), and key them and those who answer in that fashion. For instance: I may feel strongly about a girl who likes her hair pulled during sex (not joking). I select the question "Do you like your hair pulled during sex?", and select the answer I'm hoping a woman will respond with: options to question: A."Not At All', B."Yes But Lightly', or C. "Grab a fistful and pull with all you've got". Well I select C. Now as I click search...those girls who've answered this question with "C", will be singled out and shown to me. Make sense? You get about five of these in premium, and of Cupid's 1k questions, you can truly begin to address what matters to you in every aspect of a relationship.

Hope that helps.

Update: 11-2-16
Same thing, perfectly good PAID A-member account mysteriously suit down for "Violation Of Terms". No questions, no options, no place to take concern expect what I mentioned above. CAREFUL. I'm going to twitter about this, and get anywhere I'll let you know.
Ron

Tip for consumers: I have no idea exactly what initiates a "bump" from the site. But it seems another frustrated member's ability to fabricate wrong-doing on your part (perhaps being rebuffed when writing to you), is a very likely genesis for blocking. With all the time you might put into a genuine search for a partner on OK Cupid, your efforts are as fragile as a whimsical blocking, and you have ZERO opportunity for reinstatement to site.

Service
Value
Quality
DuckDuckGo

DuckDuckGo

5/2/10
Hardly. And Bing works with very respectable algorithms.

But DuckDuckGo is a feature-rich semantic search engine, that gives you countless reasons to leave Google behind. Searches are divided into a classic search, information search, shopping and their own spin-off from Google, "I'm feeling ducky." ::cough::

If you search for a term that has more than one meaning, it will give you the chance to choose what you were originally looking for, with its disambiguation results. For example, searching for the term Apple will give you a long list of the possible meanings including the fruit, the computer company, the bank and many others.

Happy Ducking?
Ron.
OV Guide

OV Guide

9/22/09
OVGUIDE.com (hereafter OVG) is very handy helping you locate a video or TV show of interest. Turns out OVG's search results will steer you to OTHER SITES where you can view your video but generally at a COST, of course. I executed a search: (FOX's "FRINGE" season2/episode 1 - I'd missed), and was really knocked out by what seemed to be free access to some great stuff.

Forty-seven minutes into my program a screen pops up informing me I'd "exceeded my bandwidth". I hate exceeding my bandwidth. Bottom line I could 'come back in about an HOUR and watch more, or,cough-up $59.95 for a years membership' and watch to my heart's content.

So OVG search actually costs $10 for a complete membership (a watered-down free version is available), AND...whatever web site you're routed to will likely charge to see that video.

This is not to say that OVG isn't handy, but ultimately FREE it's not.

Rather than pony-up $60 without checking, I slid over to "fox.com." A quick search found Fringe which I watched in it's entirety, absolutely gratis. FOX is great about that.
RipoffReport

RipoffReport

9/27/09
This is a very serious consumer advocacy web site:

"Helping you, the consumer...
Search the Ripoff Report before you do business with retail stores with bad return policies, checking & credit theft, rebate fraud or other unscrupulous business policies such as phony auto repairs, auto dealer bait-and-switch tactics, restaurants with bad service or food, corrupt government employees & politicians, police corruption, home builders, contractors, unethical doctors & lawyers, online stores that sell non-existent products, dead beat dads & moms, landlords & tenants, fraudulent employment & business opportunities, and individual con artists who scam consumers".

The site makes clear that filed reports CANNOT be removed, even by an attorney's appeal, which means your claim is forever.

If you've been burned and need to voice your ire, this is unquestionably the place to do it. Highly recommended as SAFE & EFFECTIVE. Free web site.
CardPool

CardPool

3/10/10
Cardpool offers the simplest way to save money by buying and selling gift cards.
What is Cardpool?

Cardpool is a service that lets you buy gift cards for up to 30% off or sell unwanted gift cards for cash. All orders and transactions include FREE SHIPPING and are covered by our extensive Purchase Guarantee Program.
How does this work?

Cardpool connects the millions of gift card holders around the world to create a marketplace where customers can buy, sell, or trade their gift cards safely and securely. By gathering all the buyers and sellers in one place, Cardpool helps everyone get exactly what they want, whether its a discounted gift card or simply cash.
Who am I buying from or selling to?

You are always buying directly from us and selling directly to us. Because our customers may live many thousands of miles away from each other, Cardpool actually buys the gift cards directly from customers, verifies the authenticity and balance of each gift card, and holds on to them until a buyer is found. Even though we may never find a buyer for a given gift card, we pay sellers within 24 hours of receiving their gift card.

Why should I use Cardpool?

Cardpool offers the simplest, safest, and fastest way of buying or selling gift cards and we exclusively carry hassle-free gift cards that have NO FEES and NO EXPIRATION. We securely process every gift card transaction with the highest level of encryption commercially available, validate the value of every gift card by hand, and offer an unprecedented and industry leading Purchase Guarantee Program to give our customers the ultimate peace of mind.

We are so confident you'll enjoy our services that if you are unsatisfied for any reason, even if it's because the gift card's merchant leaves your home area, stops accepting gift cards, or goes bankrupt, we will be happy to refund your purchase.

Learn more about our Purchase Guarantee Program
GetHuman

GetHuman

10/12/09
In short, GetHuman.com is a web site compiling phone numbers (so that you can actually Speak to a PERSON regarding your concern) that are typically hard to find.

It does become an extremely handy repository of numbers you might need to use or might want to at some point (eBay, AT&T, Verizon, Facebook, Apple, Ticketmaster, etc.).

If YOU have a "hard-to-find" phone contact, submit it to the data base so someone else can benefit from your nightmarish search.

UPDATE: Sorry I left a period out of URL in Title. SHOULD BE:
www.gethuman.com.
JoinDiaspora

JoinDiaspora

10/2/10
If link above does not get you where you want to go, point your browser here:
http://www.joindiaspora.com/

This is fascinating. Most know the downsides of Facebook, the security flaws and rather ambiguous uses of our personal information. There is a new "Facebook" in town. Open source, and you can decide where your personal data is maintained...on someone's servers who-knows-where, or if you choose, on your own computer. I have a feeling this will be big.

From N.Y. Times:
How angry is the world at Facebook for devouring every morsel of personal information we are willing to feed it?

A few months back, four geeky college students, living on pizza in a computer lab downtown on Mercer Street, decided to build a social network that wouldn't force people to surrender their privacy to a big business. It would take three or four months to write the code, and they would need a few thousand dollars each to live on.

They gave themselves 39 days to raise $10,000, using an online site, Kickstarter, that helps creative people find support. It turned out that just about all they had to do was whisper their plans. "We were shocked," said one of the four, Dan Grippi, 21. "For some strange reason, everyone just agreed with this whole privacy thing."
They announced their project on April 24. They reached their $10,000 goal in 12 days, and the money continues to come in: as of Tuesday afternoon, they had raised $23,676 from 739 backers. "Maybe 2 or 3 percent of the money is from people we know," said Max Salzberg, 22.

Working with Mr. Salzberg and Mr. Grippi are Raphael Sofaer, 19, and Ilya Zhitomirskiy, 20 "four talented young nerds," Mr. Salzberg says all of whom met at New York University's Courant Institute. They have called their project Diaspora* and intend to distribute the software free, and to make the code openly available so that other programmers can build on it. As they describe it, the Diaspora* software will let users set up their own personal servers, called seeds, create their own hubs and fully control the information they share. Mr. Sofaer says that centralized networks like Facebook are not necessary. "In our real lives, we talk to each other," he said. "We don't need to hand our messages to a hub. What Facebook gives you as a user isn't all that hard to do. All the little games, the little walls, the little chat, aren't really rare things. The technology already exists."

The terms of the bargain people make with social networks you swap personal information for convenient access to their sites have been shifting, with the companies that operate the networks collecting ever more information about their users. That information can be sold to marketers. Some younger people are becoming more cautious about what they post. "When you give up that data, you're giving it up forever," Mr. Salzberg said. "The value they give us is negligible in the scale of what they are doing, and what we are giving up is all of our privacy."

The Diaspora* group was inspired to begin their project after hearing a talk by Eben Moglen, a law professor at Columbia University, who described the centralized social networks as "spying for free," Mr. Salzberg said.

The four students met in a computer room at N.Y.U., and have spent nearly every waking minute there for months. They understand the appeal of social networks.
"Certainly, as nerds, we have nowhere else to go," Mr. Salzberg said. "We're big nerds." "My social life has definitely collapsed in favor of maintaining a decent GPA and doing this," Mr. Sofaer said.

A teacher and digital media researcher at N.Y.U., Finn Brunton, said that their project which does not involve giant rounds of venture capital financing before anyone writes a line of code reflected "a return of the classic geek means of production: pizza and ramen and guys sleeping under the desks because it is something that it is really exciting and challenging." The Diaspora* crew has no doubts about the sprawling strengths and attractions of existing social networks, having gotten more than 2,000 followers of "joindiaspora" on Twitter in just a few weeks.

"So many people think it needs to exist," Mr. Salzberg said. "We're making it because we want to use it."
BillShrink

BillShrink

8/14/10
Everyone is interested in saving money. For more reasons than I care to think about, many do little or nothing to pare-down what consumer services cost. For those invested (no pun) in saving as much as possible, refusing to be ripped-off, here's cool site that can potentially help.

_BillShrink has always incorporated wireless service into its features since let's be honest wireless bills one of the worst offenders for paying too much without realizing it. Lots of people currently getting screwed over o wireless plans Pricing plans fluctuate so much between different plans and services, and a lot of the time you're confused as to what you are actually paying for. It is especially tough when you consider that a lot of plans lock you into a 2 year deal.

compare wireless phone services
On BillShrink, just select the Wireless service tab, fill out your information (current carrier, current cost), and hit Go>>. BillShrink will then ask you for your usage information, which in most cases you can sign into your service provider and grant BillShrink access to the statistics.

After BillShrink has all the necessary information, you can begin viewing potential savings. You can enter your email address so the service remembers your settings, also.

_Credit Cards: compare bank services:
For credit cards its the same thing. Just select the information pertaining to your credit usage and hit Go>>. Then you will have to fill out a little more information to narrow down what you're looking to accomplish with the service. Whether you're looking to get a new credit card or are attempting to get your very first one, BillShrink can accommodate you.

_Savings & CDs
BillShrink can also find you the best rates on Savings and CDs. After you fill out how much you could afford to save each month, BillShrink will search through hundreds of savings accounts, finding and matching you with the ones that best fit your saving profile. It also computes the amount you will earn in interest per year, minus fees.

_Gas Stations
Finding the cheapest gas stations is something everyone should be able to take advantage of immediately. Enter in your most frequent destinations (i.e. home, work) and make/model of your car and BillShrink will find and display all of the cheapest gas stations in your area using Google maps.

_Television Service:
The television service feature on BillShrink is listed as beta, but there's really nothing beta about it. To compare cable and satellite bills, enter in your address, current provider, and how much you currently pay to see how much you could be saving with an alternate service. BillShrink makes sure to only list the services available in your area, which I thought was pretty cool.

_Conclusion
If you use BillShrink properly, you can potentially reduce your bills and save yourself a lot of money. It's a pretty straight forward service and is generally very easy to use and navigate. BillShrink is definitely one of the sites I will be incorporating into my money-saving arsenal (along with Mint).

Everyone complains...now do something to stop the constant drip of wasted money.
DigitalRiver

DigitalRiver

10/2/09
Small print. Beware of "terms" and "Privacy Policies". Unless you take the time to read the very, very small print - you'll have your credit card info, IP address, and other bits of personal info flipping in the breeze.

This report on *DIGITAL RIVER* is long, but being well informed can save you time and money and might be worth the read
.
Digital River. DR is the e-commerce arm for THOUSANDS of online business, large and small. Digital River's privacy policy begins as follows:

_"DIGITALRIVER.COM PRIVACY POLICY: _IMPORTANT: PLEASE REVIEW THIS DIGITALRIVER.COM PRIVACY POLICY BEFORE SUBMITTING ANY PERSONAL INFORMATION TO DIGITAL RIVER THROUGH THIS WEB SITE.
_BY SUBMITTING PERSONAL INFORMATION TO DIGITAL RIVER THROUGH THIS WEB SITE, YOU ARE CONSENTING TO THE COLLECTION, USE, TRANSFER, AND DISCLOSURE OF YOUR PERSONAL INFORMATION AS DESCRIBED IN THIS PRIVACY POLICY. This Privacy Policy is effective as of April 4, 2007.

_"...With Whom Do We Share Your Personal Information?
Our Partners."

_"We also pass on to our Partner the privacy preferences you have expressed on our Web site. We provide your credit card information to our Partner if you have purchased a subscription that qualifies for automatic renewal. (You will be automatically re-billed for another course of purchase)."

I love this:
_" There are circumstances in which we may share the personal information in our databases with *unrelated third parties* that may contact you and have access to your personal information shared."

_"For example, we may disclose the personal information we collect on this Site WITHOUT notifying you when *WE*, in good faith, believe disclosure it is appropriate...".

Bottom line: When you buy a product online, and as you move into the payment facet, if *Digital River* is handling the purchase - read ALL the fine print - and if time is not critical, e-mail questions prior to hitting the PURCHASE button.
WhoCallsMe

WhoCallsMe

10/14/09
This is a "user created" database of phone numbers associated with people/businesses that manage to piss-off more than just yourself.

Each time someone has a bad experience with a company, found them RUDE, UNRESPONSIVE, TERRIBLE CUSTOMER SERVICE etc., he/she goes to WhoCallsMe.com,checks the company's phone number to see if others have had similar bad luck. If nothing cames back from your search, you may be the first to comment which might help the next who checks in.

Rather like a BBB by phone number. I ran a couple numbers of businesses I'd had trouble with and two searches came back with others who had upsetting things to report. This will hopefully give you some idea of who you're doing business with - or to check a business BEFORE you use their product/service.

If you miss a call and are curious about who placed it - zap - search the number and see what you find.
Ic3.gov

Ic3.gov

1/4/10
POINT YOUR BROWSER HERE: http://www.ic3.gov/contact/default.aspx
Complaint Referral Form
Internet Crime Complaint Center

_(*This is the information you'll find on the ACTUAL report form. This organization is an alliance between the FBI, Better Business Bureau, and The FTC. Very "heavy" group.

Ron*)

_Thank you for filing a complaint with the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3).
Your complaint has been submitted. Once processed by the IC3, you will be sent an email containing your complaint id and password to be used for future contacts with the IC3. This process can take several hours.

The IC3's mission is to serve as a vehicle to receive, develop, and refer criminal complaints regarding the rapidly expanding arena of cyber crime. The IC3 aims to give the victims of cyber crime a convenient and easy-to-use reporting mechanism. If you have comments or problems related to the IC3 website, please contact us.
Complaint Status

The IC3 receives thousands of complaints each month and does not have the resources to respond to inquiries regarding the status of complaints. It is the IC3's intention to review all complaints and refer them to law enforcement and regulatory agencies having jurisdiction. Ultimately, investigation and prosecution are at the discretion of the receiving agencies.
Evidence

It is important that you maintain any evidence you may have relating to your complaint. Evidence may include canceled checks, credit card receipts, phone bills, mailing envelopes, mail receipts, a printed copy of a website, copies of emails, or similar items. Please keep the items in a safe location, in case you are requested to provide them for investigative purposes.
bit

bit

8/20/11
Review is NOT "Bitly", my apologies..***.rather a superb collection of FREE-WARE rounded-up by Gizmo***. (In shortening the URL, bitly came-up. I'm looking into how to test a URL prior to publishing, what to do with extraordinarily long urls, and how to edit/addendum after publication. Anyone has some answers/insights, let me know
Ron: *****@gmail.com. Thanks!) ACTUAL LINK. http://bit.ly/pNkYLK

This is all great stuff, and in one place. Do consider taking a long look at offerings via Gizmo's Newsletter. See if you can't grab some "Bread&Butter" software absolutely free. Don't forget basic tools like TinEye and Free-OCR while you're shopping.

"Online applications (also known as web applications or web-ware) are getting more popular, particularly when broadband Internet access has become more common and readily available to more users. With online applications and services, you do not need to download and install them into your computer for using themyou just need to open up a browser and access them online.

Not only that you can save hard-disk space as they do not need to be installed, but also you can work with files that are saved online from any computer anywhere, without the need to carry a storage device even a USB stick around with you.

Besides, you don't have to worry about different operating systems as these applications and services are cross-platform, running in your browser as a client. Neither do you need to keep updating your software versions, as you will get any new software updates and bug fixes automatically whenever you access them.

Hope you like.
Ron
Ipl.org

Ipl.org

1/25/10
This is a great tool for high school and college students. It walks one through the essential steps on how to 'ace' a research paper. It's very friendly, does not talk-down to anyone, and helps coalesce the concept of creating such a document - makes it less threatening.

ipl2 is the result of a merger of the Internet Public Library (IPL) and the Librarians' Internet Index (LII).

Do your high school OR college student a favor, and pass this web site along!

Happy research.
Warby Parker

Warby Parker

7/4/10
Point Browser To: http://www.makeuseof.com/dir/warbyparkercom-try-on-glasses-digitally/

Trying on glasses can be a pain. Not every frame and shape works on every face, so the process consists mostly of guessing and testing. How your face is shaped can determine a lot of this, so buying glasses online is a bad idea.

Or is it? If you'd rather get an idea of the sorts of frames that work with your face without spending time in a store, check out Warby Parker's online showroom. Here you can not only browse an online store full of different sorts of glasses, but also upload a picture of yourself to try on glasses digitally.

The idea simply is that you'll like what you see and purchase glasses from Warby Parker, but you're by no means obligated to. If you just want to see if certain shapes look good on your face you're welcome to; there's no registration process for doing so.

There are only 46 glasses to choose from at this time, but it's still a great way to get a feel for the sorts of glasses that could work for you.

Have fun with it.
Ron
MayoClinic

MayoClinic

11/12/09
Point your browser here: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/symptom-checker/DS00671 - for "Symptom Checker" page.

The Mayo Clinic has for a long time established itself as one of the most trusted names, and facilities, for medial care.

This Mayo Clinic web site, allows one to single-out parts of the body and begin to answer questions that help pinpoint POTENTIAL problems.

This kind of "diagnostic" medical tool can be handy in providing insight into areas for further research, and Q&A with your doctor.

CAUTION: I do hope NO ONE will use this diagnostic research tool to SELF DIAGNOSE, and become panicked assured they are dying.

Hope you find this interesting, and that it aids in generalizing avenues for further study.

Good health to you.

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