Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Initial Review: Durabrand 7" Portable DVD Player (DUR-7)

Background: I bought the 7" Durabrand Portable DVD Player from Wal-mart at the end of May 2006 since I was planning on going on a trip with my children and wanted to have a little peace and quiet occasionally. I bought this unit from the store since I wanted to have time to return it for another one if I needed to. (Note: I don't know what the reliability of these units is, I just know many cheap portable dvd players have quality issues.) I will add more to this review after I've used it more.


First Impressions: It looks like a dvd player. It seems cheaply made. It is wide screen. The speaker volume at max is LOUD (at least to me), I turned it down to about half way. The screen seems bright and clear to me. My husband said the screen quality is passable, but I don't really notice things like that. To put a DVD in, you lift the cover and snap the DVD in place.

  • Plays DVD+R, DVD-R, DVD-RW, CDs (both regular and mp3), and picture disks (jpg). (It might do more, this is what I tested)
  • It has component video out (no video in). It also has a switch to switch between widescreen and normal format.
  • The buttons on the player are: volume (up/down), play, pause, stop, skip (forward/back). There is also a brightness knob.
  • I can do everything with this portable player that I can with my full-sized dvd player, skip, repeat, memory.
  • Hacks (haven't tried them personally): Region free and also one to let you play VCDs
  • Car adaptor
  • You can't control the volume or brightness from the remote.
  • This is more related to the case I bought to hook it up in my car, but the remote sensor is hidden under the edge of case so I can't use the remote. Putting a cd case under the player so that it sat higher seemed to fix the problem
  • You can't select from a DVD's menu with the buttons on the player, so don't loose the remote. You can hit play and most DVDs will play.
  • Battery won't charge unless player is turned off.
  • Max of 254 pictures/songs in a folder on a cd.
Still to Test
  • Battery life
  • Playing a full length movie
  • Screen brightness in a car
  • Longevity
Rating so Far
This player is exactly what I expected. It's a good price and seems to do everything I want it to. Assuming it holds up, I would recommend it.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Re: Why are Some Mormons Afraid of an LDS Presidential Candidate?

I occasionally read the blog Reach Upward , since I enjoy the political commentary. Today he asked "Why are some Mormons Afraid of an LDS President?" (Note: below I'm speaking hypothetically, I'm not implying anything about Mitt Romney.)

I'm not worried about what the news outlets might say about the LDS church during the campaign. The church is in the spotlight a lot and I don't think this will do any lasting harm. I'm just a little worried that after a campaign where religion ends up playing a big part, the candidate will be accused of something illegal (bribery, improper use of funds....) or obviously against the teaching of the church (has an affair with an aide...) and that this will reflect poorly on the church. Or that people might confuse the candidate's political stances with the stances of the church.

I'm all for good, honest people running for office and hope that if a member of the church runs, he or she falls into that category.

Review: Alpine Roofing Specialists

Company: Alpine Roofing Specialists
Phone: (801) 361-2301
Job: Reroof my house
Rating: Good (provisionally since I haven't had my roof very long)

We recently got our roof replaced. At first we considered doing it ourselves, but since we have a second story, being near the edge of the roof there held no appeal for either of us.

After the events described here, we finally found a roofer. We just wanted to go over the existing layer of shingles since they were still in good condition. I got estimates from a few companies I found in the phone book and also Home Depot. (Home Depot, by the way, was $2000 more than any other bid.) Then I called a roofing supply company that advertised that they did referrals and they referred Alpine Roofing Specialists. Jared gave me a bid that included redoing the flashing on the roof, installing flashing around the swamp cooler, installing vents, and moving the swamp cooler to roof around it (and installing the shingles of course). I also got a release of lien and saw the proof of insurance.

I found out they had done my neighbor's roof, so I called and she said she hadn't had any leaks.

Now I can't give a full review since I've only had my roof for a week, but I can say they did a good job. They arrived when they said they would. They worked quickly and cleaned up after themselves. The roof looks really good. The city inspector found no problems with what they were doing. They also worked longer than I expected since rain was expected the next day and they wanted the roof covered. My swamp cooler was hard to move, but they worked on it until it was done.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Nielsens grove park

Yesterday we took our kids to Nielsen's grove park. It is on Sandhill Road out past the Wal-mart in Orem. It is one really cool park. There is a huge field area perfect for flying kites or launching rockets (that's what the boy scouts were doing.) They have a pond and a fountain. Plus a really nice garden of tulips.

The coolest thing is a merry-go-round-style set of swings. The swings go around in a big circle (I've seen similar things at amusement parks), but it is human powered. I wanted to swing on it so bad, but there were too many children wanting a turn. But sometime soon I'm going there in the morning so I can have fun.

There is also a playground, but it is small and for ages 5-12. I hope they are planning on adding a play area for smaller children because the smaller children play on that playset and get pushed over by older children.