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SUMMARY: They don’t work. Don’t waste your money!

I just pulled down the last one of these that I had up. I had bought a bunch of these things, and placed them is places where I had mouse activity. The mouse activity didn’t change at all. The brand I had was Weitech, but I am guessing they all work the same, which is not at all. Don’t waste your money.

The Federal Trade Commision (FTC) is even going after these guys:
http://www.ftc.gov/opa/2001/05/fyi0128.htm

Roomba Discovery 4210

Roomba Discovery 4210 by iRobot

SUMMARY: Very cool! Does a great job on wood floors. Doesn’t clean carpet as good as vacuum, but more like a sweeper. Still does a good job. Can get stuck under some conditions, but this can be worked around.

I bought this as a Christmas present to my wife and I. So where I bought it weeks ago, I had to wait until Christmas morning to open it. It comes witha rapid charger that will charge the battery in 3 hours, but they recommend charging it for 16 hours the first time. So where I plugged it in at 9am Christmas morning, it wasn’t going to be ready to try till 1am. So yesterday (12/26), I kicked it off. The thing worked great on my wood floors (they are not hard wood, but southern long leaf yellow pine which is technically a soft wood). I managed to go under the stairs where it is difficult to vacuum, and under the cabinet edges. It did a fantastic job on the wood floors! The floor now looks great. It wasn’t very loud. I was talking to my wife on the phone with the Roomba running only five feet away. The dust bin on the unit is kind of small so I had to pause it a few times, and empty the dust bin. But once the floor is clean, subsequent runnings shouldn’t fill the bin as much. I had used the ‘max’ option, so when it was done after a couple hours, it docked itself on the charger. I let it charge again, and after about two and a half hours, it was ready to go again. I let it go into the living room which is carpeted, and the dining room with is vinyl floor. It did pretty good on the carpet, but there were still a few little bits of whatever that it didn’t seem to pick up. But then you will get that with a vacuum. Keep in mind when I am comparing it to our vacuum, our vacuum is a high-end model Hoover with lots of power! It had some difficulty going over the edge of the kitchen floor rugs/mats. It would sometimes roll the edge up as it crossed the rug. And I found it didn’t do a great job around where the rugs were. But on the next run, I removed the rugs from the kitchen, and then it cleaned in there very well. I read that wouldn’t go over a ledge or stairs, but I was real nervous the first time it was heading toward the ledge under the stairs for which if it had gone over would have been a eight foot drop. But it sensed the ledge and backed up. I am still nervous every time it heads that way that there might be a hole in the logic that would allow it to bump into something and then it will back over the ledge, but thus far it has been over there a lot, and has gone over. It tends to get stuck under the corner of my rocking recliner chair. The problem is that it will wedge itself under the corner, and chair will rock back a little, but when it comes forward again, there is enough weight laying on the Roomba, that it can’t quite get out. I think if I recline the chair before kicking it off, it might not get stuck there.
I have only been using the unit for a day now, but thus far it works as well as I imagined. It is fun to watch as well. I was concerned that my dog would bark at it, or chase it, but so far she just stays out of it’s way.
They make a Scheduler unit for it, so that you can program the Roomba to turn on and start cleaning at certain times of the day, or even certain days, but I am not thinking I will find it very useful. My wife works different hours every week, and it will not be much effort to set the Roomba in the middle of the room, turn it on, and let go as I am on the way out the door to work.
Roomba comes with virtual walls, which are small electronic boxes that transmit an infrared beam that the Roomba wont cross. I used these and they work well. Another solution is just to place an obstacle that will block the Roomba. I didn’t want the Roomba to go behind my couch (there are suround sound speaker wires on the floor there), so I simply laid a small rock there.
As far as I can tell, Roobma doesn’t seem to map the room out, but just does a series of random patterns which the hope that if it does these enough, it will eventually hit the whole floor.
I will continue using the unit, but so far I am happy with our Roomba!


The Better Mousetrap by Intruder Inc


ORDERING INFO

SUMMARY: Much better than traditional mouse traps! They cost more but are worth it!

Our house is in a rural area and is surrounded by woods. So in the fall we start seeing signs that mice are finding their way into our house. When we fist moved in, I tried traditional mouse traps. But more often than not, I would find a sprung but empty trap, or I would find the trap still set, but with the bait stolen. I find peanut butter works well as a bait, so imagine that the mouse was free to eat the peanut butter off of the trap trigger without even triggering the trap! I started searching for something that would work better. I didn’t want to use poisons in most areas as we have a dog and I was concerned she might get into it. I found some live traps, but I didn’t want to keep the mouse alive. What the heck would I do with it? Throw it outside so it could find it’s way back in. I didn’t want to particularly drive miles away to just let it go. I came across The Better Mousetrap. I bought a couple of The Better Mousetraps at the local hardware store and tried them out. I have only rarely found the trap sprung without something in it. I have never found the traps with the bait stolen. On a few occasions I have found that the trap has caught the mouse only by the leg, and the mouse is still alive. In these cases I simply dropped the trap and mouse into a bucket of water, and the plastic trap acted like cement shoes. The traps cost a little more than traditional traps but since they actually catch mice where the traditional traps don’t, they are worth it. If you have mice in your house, these will catch em!
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SUMMARY: They were friendly and honest, did a great job, and charged a fair price. I was very happy with their service!

The guys came out and looked at my chimneys. They looked at the first one which is set up as a fireplace, and said it really didn’t need to be cleaned. The other chimney had a wood stove. With some work, they managed to pull out the old Gibraltar wood stove. Man that thing is heavy! They actually had to dismantle part of the stove’s surround to get it off, so they could get back in there. They scrubbed and inspected, and the one guy actually was sitting in the fireplace scrubbing inside the chimney with a hand brush. The guy actually seemed happy doing such a dirty job. My hats to him. I had them leave the old wood stove out as I am getting it replaced in a week and half, and am not going to be using the old stove at all. They charged me about half the fee that they charge for moving a wood stove because they did not need to push it back into place. It was really great dealing with this company, and I plan on calling them next time I need my chimney cleaned!

Uniden 2.4GHz Cordless Phone (EXP4241)

Uniden 2.4GHz Cordless Phone (EXP4241)


ORDERING INFO

SUMMARY: Inexpensive phone. Generally works well, but occasionally gets short bursts of interferance.

I have multiple cordless phones spread throughout the house. I had a VTech cordless phone in my living room, unfortunatly the volume of the phone was very quiet. When I turned it up, it would get louder, but then I would have a background hiss. So I decided to replace it. The best phone in the house is an older Uniden, so I decided to get another Uniden phone.
Not wanting to spend alot of money if I didn’t need I started at the low end of the price scale. The Uniden EXP 4241 only cost $15 (actually $14.99). Always following the directions, I let it charge for 24 hours before using it. The sound quality is pretty good, way better than the VTech. We have been using the Uniden for a while now, and it works well most of the time, but occasionally we will get short bursts (lasting about one second) of noise coming through. They don’t happen very often. I am not sure what causes them, so they might something unique to our house or area. We have a lot of electronics, computers, electric heaters, etc, so it could any one of those things causing it. I have also noticed that there is a slight background noise when we are running the microwave oven as well, but I have heard this is common with the 2.4Ghz phones. Overall I think this is a good phone for the price. I have paid more for worse phones. The EXP 4241 is black, but there is also an Uniden EXP4240 which is the same phone except that it is white.
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