Simmering Hope

Hope is the expectation that something outside of ourselves, something or someone external, is going to come to our rescue and we will live happily ever after. – Dr. Robert Anthony

Archive for the ‘Shopping’ Category

Nov 18, 2007

New gadgets for Christmas

The Canadian dollar is still strong. With that in mind we should start making our Christmas list.
What gadgets are cool on the market and for what price?

HDTV

Time to move on to high definition television. Compared to standard definition television which displays images at 480 lines of resolution, HDTV is capable of showing 1, 080 lines, or talking in pixels, HDTV offers up to 1920 x 1080 pixels on the screen.
Hence a much clear image.
Another asset: HDTV is wider, offering 16:9 aspect ratio, compared to 4:3 offered by standard television.
Plasma
Pros: the most accurate color reproduction and better contrast; handle motion smoothly- important for watching sports or playing video games; wide viewing angles
Cons: Reflective glass, making them suitable for rooms with less ambient light; it starts at 42 inches; energy consuming
LCD (liquid crystal display)
Pros: thinner, lighter, more energy efficient than plasma; wide range of sizes, from 13 to 108 inches; anti glare screen; long life span of about 60,000 hours; better motion control than years ago
Cons: contrast is not as good as on plasma; price is comparable to plasma
Rear-projection television
Pros: price is a third of the price for plasma TV
Cons: good for big size rooms and it needs about 45 seconds to warm-up

Audio-video receiver
Now that you have HDTV, you need a good AV receiver. It is one of the most important pieces of equipment that will bring you the movie-theatre sound to your home.
Along with the receiver it comes the cables. Good quality cables, different from the old RCA type. Think High Definition Multimedia Interface (HDMI) cable. More on these components later on.

iPod docking stations
Offers small speaker systems that can be placed anywhere you want to enjoy your music, without earbuds.
For $99.99 you can get the iHome iPod Dual Alarm Clock Radio It lets you dock your iPod in a cradle on top of the unit.
Looking for something fancier?
For 229.95 you can get a
JBL Radial
Cool design. Features as listed at JBL site:

“JBL RADIAL MICRO (Black)
JBL Radial™ Micro Blk – Performance Loudspeaker Dock for iPod

It’s an iPod party machine with legendary JBL® sound. It’s a space-saving, all-in-one computer sound system and iPod docking station. Connected to a TV, it’s an iPod slideshow and video player. JBL Radial Micro is one of the smallest and most-versatile multimedia speaker systems ever developed. And wherever and however you use it, it’s among the best-sounding systems out there. Experience clean, accurate full-frequency sound, and tight, distortion-free bass, from a compact device that looks great anywhere”

Kodak EasyShare Digital Picture Frame
You are at work and want to feel closer to your family? Why not buy the new gizmo from Kodak? You can have hundreds of pictures loaded onto the digital frame, or play music and videos.
All you have to do is plug it to your Windows PC or Mac’s USB port, drag and drop selected pictures onto the frame, then unplug and place the frame on a table or mount it on the wall.
Many digital frames come with a memory card slot that will take the most popular photo card types.
Pop the memory card out of the digital camera and place it into the frame.
For $249.95 US, you get the top-of-the-line EX1011 model (www.kodak.com)


Nov 5, 2007

Organic food on a budget

Is there any way to buy organic food without going into bankruptcy?

Yes, if you select carefully what you buy.

Some things labeled ‘organic’ might not be that organic after all. Products like cleaners, cosmetics, even seafood does not face the same requirements as meat and vegetables.

 

What is worth buying organic:

– Fruits: Apples, cherries, grapes, pears, berries, peaches, nectarines, plums

– Vegetables: Celery, potatoes, spinach, bell peppers, lettuce, tomatoes, green beans

– Meat: Beef, pork, poultry

– Eggs and dairy

– Baby food

 

What is not worth it:

– Fruits: Bananas, kiwis, mangoes, papayas, pineapples, oranges

– Vegetables: Asparagus, avocados, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower, sweet corn, onions, sweet peas

– Meat: seafood

– Processed food (including pasta!!), cleaning products, cosmetics

 

The price on organic meat and eggs very often is 100% more than regular one; the reason is the expensive organic feed for animals.

Alternative: consider antibiotic and/or hormone free meat

 

Long time I thought that free-range eggs were coming closer to the organic version. Actually I was wrong. Free-range means that the chickens are not living in cages, but allow roam freely within the farm and they are going to feed on greens and insects. But that does not mean they are going to be fed organic food.

The good part is that eggs from free-range chickens have higher nutritional value, more Omega 3, Vitamins A and E and lower levels of total fat.

From my shopping experience I can say that the price difference between free-range eggs and organic eggs is not that big, but if you buy on a budget it can be taken into account.

 Another way to budget your organic shopping: look for what’s on sale. Also, buy fruits and veggies that are in season when pricing becomes much more competitive.

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