Friday, February 10, 2012

The latest thing

Are you one of those people who almost always likes or even needs to be the first in your circle of friends to try a new product or service?  Or are you one who waits to see if it's a passing fad?

I'm kind of in the middle on this subject.  For instance, we were a little slow to move from VHS tapes to DVDs, largely because we had such a substantial number of them.  Then we were just a touch slow to move into Blu-Ray high-definition discs, but in that case I was waiting to see if that format, or the now-dead HD DVD would "win" the competition to be the primary high definition format out there (if this doesn't make sense, think about the VHS-vs.-Beta debate in the 80s).

We still don't have caller ID on our home phone, and, in fact, since we HAVE a home phone, I suppose that indicates something about my rate of adaptability.

So, with all of that in mind, there are a few newer products and services that we've tried recently, and here's a small sample:

BRITA FILTER WATER BOTTLE

Great concept, a water bottle with a built-in filter.  They even have a clever commercial showing an Eskimo, one presumes, drinking highly pure glacial runoff when he is approached by a stereotypical middle-aged woman.  She presents the bottle, says that it's water from the drinking fountain at the mall or some such, and he drinks, smiling approvingly.

The commercial does not adequately depict what I call the "hernia effect" of this bottle.  Damned near impossible to drink from it without drawing hard on the bottle, and that really takes some effort.  Takes all of the pleasure out of taking a drink, too, in my opinion.  That bad boy will be in our next garage sale.

KEURIG COFFEE MAKERS

Both of our kids have these, have had for a year or more, but we finally acquired our first one before Christmas.  Amazingly convenient, almost no cleanup, which is nice (our "regular" coffee maker was a grind-and-brew setup that required a lot of cleanup for each use), and most of the coffees we've tried taste extremely good.  The maker of these machines is also in the coffee business, naturally, and some of their brands of coffee have been quite tasty.  We can also brew tea (drink it hot or iced) and other hot drinks.  We liked this concept so much that we bought a nicer machine with more features about a month into our experiment, and will gift our original, smaller-capacity machine to my wife's mother, who currently uses a single serve machine for which she has trouble finding the coffee to fit.  This should be easier.

NETFLIX

I know, this isn't new, but it's new to us, since we've just now decided to give this a whirl.  Decided to try this out largely because I was hell-bent on discontinuing cable TV service (more on that another time) but relented.  So we're about halfway through a month's free trial and we're using the streaming service only.  Available content isn't bad, quality is better than many cable channels that claim HD service.  We've reconnected with a few older gems from years ago, like "Ally McBeal," which my wife and I both liked very much.  It's $7.99 per month to continue, so we may or may not stick with this.

JET'S PIZZA

We love pizza at our house, and Jet's is the newest carryout/delivery pizza brand to reach our area.  Best out there among their ilk.  Great crust, good toppings generously applied, and fast.  Not exactly cheap, but I'll pay a little more for good food and service.  They're definitely a winner.

BLACKBERRY CURVE

No, this is far from new, but when my work-issued Blackberry Tour began showing some signs of age and wear, it was replaced with the afore-mentioned Curve.  Not a bad phone, but not really great, either.  Seems to get confused occasionally and halt whatever it's doing (except for phone calls, thank goodness).  Keyboard is way below the standard set by my Tour, if that means anything.  But I didn't have to pay for it, so there's that.

APPLE iPHONE 4S

Not mine, it's my wife's.  We got her first smartphone about eighteen months ago, and it's been kind of love-hate since then.  However, I can happily report that the iPhone 4S has been a real hit with her, ease of use, simplicity and dependability of operation, etc.  She visited a store that carries phones from all major carriers and the rep there was trying to convince her that she would be better off with the latest Android 4G phone, but I kept telling her that she's been wanting an iPhone ever since we decided to get her a smartphone (at the time, our carrier didn't offer them).  So this one is a definite hit.


So, if you're from a company that makes electronics, business accessories or other consumer goods, odds are we'll take a look at your product at some point soon.  And if you want to provide evaluation models for us to try out, well.........

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