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Home tools Buyer's Guides from tech enthusiast who loves technology and clever solutions for better living.
Home tools Buyer's Guides from tech enthusiast who loves technology and clever solutions for better living.
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Top Of The Best Magnetic Page Albums Reviewed In 2018Last Updated November 1, 2018
№1 – Woodmin Our Adventure Book DIY Scrapbook Album Wedding Guestbook Anniversary Photo Album (Brown, 80 pages)
№2 – Large Magnetic Page X-Pando Photo Album, Black
№3 – Pioneer Photo Albums Magnetic Self-Stick 3-Ring Photo Album 100 Pages (50 Sheets), Navy Blue
Cheap and fearful
Sometimes you can get a little carried away – especially when looking to purchase your first turntable – but also when you’re looking to upgrade. There are pitfalls for the unwary. This is why it’s useful to read guides such as this and to seek out as much advice as possible. Let’s first tackle the budget arena, which can beckon the innocent with shiny things and objects that glitter.
There are turntable designs out there that may look interesting, have an aura of quality and seem reasonably priced but should, in fact, be treated like a rabid, long-toothed and particularly impolite dog.
I’m talking here about the type of turntable you tend to see advertised in the glossy newspaper supplements, lifestyle magazines and, more disconcertingly, in the windows of trendy clothes stores. The problem with those lavish lifestyle magazines is that everything featured in their pages looks sweet, appealing, nice, cuddly and trustworthy.
These record players are typically (although not exclusively) sold as an ‘all in one’ (with an amplifier and speakers built into the chassis). They scream value for money, but tread carefully – as the often scant build budget for these items may be devoted more to the looks and marketing, leaving audio priorities firmly in third place (or even lower). As you’d probably expect, players of this type offer inferior sound quality to audiophile options. Check also for examples of poor build quality, as it could be damaging to your vinyl.
DJ record players
The other category that ‘consumer’ buyers may wish to steer clear of is turntables aimed at DJs. Manufacturers such as Numark, Vestax and Reloop (although the latter has recently introduced a range of ‘audiophile’ products) are favourites of DJs.
The problem is that the turntables are created as a tool with a DJ specifically in mind, not an audiophile. They exist to be used in a relatively tough working environment, which is great for the club setting, but can have disadvantages for sound quality in audiophile terms. That is, these turntables often add features that are useless to the audiophile, such as pitch adjustments and pop-up lights, with knock/bounce-friendly yet sonically noisy plinths, and arms with shaky bearings.
VERDICT: Buy if necessary, but expect thinner vinyl. If earlier pressings or good reissues exist, research the difference between pressings.
VERDICT: Buyer beware. Besides being thin and flimsy, records from this era often introduced digital remastering to the process. Digital anything, for an analog format, is an oxymoron.
As the 90s rolled around, the vinyl lp seemed obsolete. Production equipment sat unused and experienced staff retired as demand evaporated. Over the next 20 years, digital files and streaming killed the cd as well. By stripping music down to its most basic element, art became intangible.
Jacket- things to look for are ring wear- when the jacket starts to visibly wear around the vinyl inside, mold- usually from being stored in a damp basement for years, seam splits- when the seams, uh, split, and general wear and tear including anything from water damage to writing (usually the original owner’s name). The good news, for the beginning collector, is that a record with clean vinyl and a damaged jacket will often sell for much less than an all around very good to near mint record. Which brings us to…
Grading- if you start buying records you will start to encounter grading. This can be especially important if you are buying online. Since you can’t inspect the record in person, and condition is critical in determining what you will pay for a record, you will have to rely on trusted sellers that adhere to standardized grading. Most sellers follow the Goldmine grading standards which you can find here. In general I would recommend only buying records with a VG+ or better grade for the vinyl and then relying on the pictures and description for the jacket. Still, always assume what you are buying is probably a grade lower than what is listed. VG+ means the vinyl looks and plays well. Not like new but pretty close.
Also, it is important to make sure you are comparing apples to apples in terms of pressing and condition. So on to pressings…
You will spend years collecting vinyl and still have trouble determining a true “first” press. But over time you will build a sense for pressings. If the album is originally from the 60s then the original vinyl was pretty thick, the record label looks nicely dated, might even have a street address, the jacket is thicker cardboard (unless UK/Europe then it will be really thin and glossy), the sleeve will show albums from the same time period (if the sleeve has stuff from the 70s then chances are it’s a re-press from the 70s). If it is mono then it is almost always an original or early pressing. Mono wasn’t regularly pressed except for AM radio after 196or so. One really simple rule of thumb is- vintage pressings (pre late 70s) will NEVER have a bar code on the jacket.
Earlier pressings are generally more valuable for a few reasons. They sound better, they “feel” better (the heavy vinyl, etc) and they often have details to the artwork that later pressings dropped for reasons of expense, etc. For instance, the original pressings of Neil Young’s “Harvest” and “Tonight’s The Night” albums have jackets that are soft and almost furry and have a big inside lyric sheet (as do many of his original vinyl releases). Later pressings are shiny and don’t always have that big lyric sheet. When you compare those two records, visually and sonically, you can really appreciate the original and that’s why it costs more. The further you get from the source, generally speaking, the less authentic the experience.
Behringer MICROPHONO PP400
The Microphono PP400 is a small, entry-level preamp from Behringer that boosts the signal from your turntable to a line level suitable for sending to a receiver, amplifier, speakers, or other equipment. It features dedicated RCA and 1/4″ outputs and RCA inputs, a power indicator and a ground connector. It also comes with a 1Volt DC adapter.
The VP2is a simple, compact and effective phono preamp from Bellari. Its circuitry is designed not only to provide the RIAA equalization curve, but smooth and quiet operation. The preamp features dual RCA phone inputs, ground terminal connection and dual RCA stereo line level outputs. A separate 1/8″ stereo line level output is provided for added flexibility. Although the unit is DC powered (AC adapter included), its compact design make it both unobtrusive and portable.
The TC-750LC is a simple, highly regarded, great sounding budget preamp, an upgraded version of the TC-750. The LC upgrade has an added adjustable output, so the performance for digitizing records is even better, since it allows correct setting of recorded levels. Computer-designed PCB layout and 1% tolerance resistors resulting in extremely accurate RIAA equalization makes this unit an ideal choice for use with high-end audio systems and sound cards.
Music Hall Mini
Music Hall’s Mini is a solid state moving magnet phono preamp for use with moving magnet and high output moving coil cartridges. The Mini amplifies an RIAA equalized phono signal to a line level signal. It includes a 3.5″ mini-jack output as well as standard RCA jacks. The 3.5″ output allows you to connect the Mini directly to an analog input of any powered speakers. It’s an affordble, simple and effective preamp in a compact unit, housed in a steel chassis and built in the USA. A more expensive option from Music Hall is the pa1.phono preamp that accepts both moving magnet and moving coil cartridges.
U-Turn released their own phono preamp called Pluto, a low-noise phono preamp for moving magnet (MM) cartridges. It combines high-quality components and elegant circuit design to accurately boost your turntable’s signal at this crucial stage of amplification. Pluto’s RIAA network consists of WIMA film capacitors and precision resistors for detailed and distortion-free sound. It features a single high-performance gain stage and a subsonic filter to remove low-frequency noise – all housed within a steel enclosure that prevents interference.
Emotiva Audio XPS-1
Emotiva’s XPS-phono preamp is a highly flexible unit, perfect for connecting a turntable to any line stage, preamp, or other audio equipment with line-level RCA inputs. The XPS-takes its cues from Emotiva’s precision line-level equipment, with high-quality components throughout the signal path for accurate RIAA equalization, extremely low noise for even low-output cartridges, and vanishingly low distortion. Special attention was paid to the low-noise power supplies; both the external highly regulated AC supply and the individual switching supplies within the XPS-The circuitry in the XPS-is designed to provide the optimum gain and noise performance for both Moving Magnet (MM) and Moving Coil (MC) cartridges. You can configure the load impedance on the Moving Coil input to achieve the best sound for your particular cartridge. All the controls are on the top of the all-metal case. These include a pair of switches to set the gain for either moving coil (60 dB) or moving magnet (40 dB) cartridges. There are also two rows of DIP switches for selecting the input impedance of your MC cartridge (47Ohm, 100Ohm, 470Ohm, 1kOhm). For MM the input impedance is fixed at the industry standard 4kOhms for a moving magnet cartridge. Its unbalanced gold plated solid brass RCA inputs and outputs are on opposite sides of the case.
Rega Fono Mini A2D
Rega is well known for its award-winning RPbudget turntable so they produced a similarly priced preamp to match. The Fono Mini A2D is a high quality phono preamp for use with any moving magnet cartridge. The addition of USB interface allows you to easily transfer records to a computer. The Fono Mini A2D is designed to amplify the signal from a moving magnet cartridge to a suitable level for all line level inputs of an audio amplifier. The new Fono Mini A2D benefits from an extruded aluminium case and very user friendly front and back panels that make this phono pre-amplifier a very easy product to use. The Fono Mini A2D amplifier offers exceptional performance and incredible value for money and promises to be a valuable addition to any hi-fi set up. The Fono Mini A2D is a cost effective version of the Fono MM and based on the phono amplifier as used in the Brio-R amplifier.
NAD PP 4
Offering superb measured and sonic performance, NAD’s PP Digital Phono/USB preamp makes it easy to add phono to many of today’s stereo amplifiers and AV receivers that have either eliminated the phono input or included a low quality circuit for attaching your turntable. It features inputs for both MM and low noise MC phono cartridges, and there is a line input to allow for the transfer of cassette tapes. The PP also includes VinylStudio Lite Software for ripping LPs and burning audio CDs. The PP Phono-to-USB Preamp offers a complete hardware and software solution with exceptional flexibility to record from LP or tape. As part of NAD’s commitment to the environment, the PP features a more efficient “green” power supply that reduces power consumption. The PP goes one step further with a USB interface, shielded USB cable and recording level control which combine to reduce noise and improve the analogue-to-digital conversion process. The PP 4’s Auto Power Down feature saves energy by automatically powering the PP to OFF when not in use.
Where I Failed
Though my last article did help a lot of people, I got a TON of questions from readers asking how to find a good product to sell. Out of all of the questions I got, 90% of them must have been asking for help with some part of the product selection and buying process.
What this means is that I failed to explain this part of the process well enough in my last post; which is terrible, because that is the most important part!
Bike computers are dead claim Bryton
The cycling GPS market is dominated by similar brands to the automotive GPS industry – Garmin is the key player, but brands such as Wahoo, Polar, Bryton, Suunto, Leyzyne and CatEye also offer GPS options.
A key factor, but one that’s easily overlooked, is how the device attaches (or doesn’t) to the bike.
Most GPS units attach to either the handlebar or the stem of the bike. Others, such as those designed for multisport, may be worn as a wrist watch, but this isn’t an ideal viewing position for cycling.
What mounting options the device has should be considered
Generally speaking, the more common the brand, the more mounting options it will offer.
Garmin is no doubt the leader in this area, with scores of aftermarket mount options allowing you to decide exactly how and where the device sits on your handlebar or stem.
The FFormMount is the neat Garmin mount you’ve been looking for
GPS for performance riders
In the past, performance riders would have had to use a separate heart rate monitor (watch or chest strap), a cycle computer and if really serious, a power measuring device to get this vital training information.
Now, GPS units offer a receiver and display for all of this information and more in a compact device.
Many GPS devices work with ANT+ and/or Bluetooth wireless technology. this allows use of additional accessories such as heart rate straps, cadence sensors and power meters. many devices are available with a ‘bundle option’, including the heart rate strap and cadence/speed sensor as a value package
Heart rate, cadence, distance, speed and power meter compatibility is quite common, with many devices using the ANT+ protocol. Most popular GPS units will be offered as the device alone, or in a value bundle with the heart rate strap and cadence/speed sensor.
GPS for long-distance tourers
Touring GPS units have recently popped onto the market, from both Garmin and Magellan. These offer greater mapping and direction capability along with increased battery capacity.
Some units will also have replaceable batteries, however internal rechargeable lithium-ion batteries are more common because of their lower weight.
Serious touring cyclists may which to use use dynamo hub generators or solar technology to keep the batteries of these units topped up. External battery expanders are another option if you’re seeking directions for an overnight journey.
While digital map coverage is often still limited to developed countries, or at most the large urban areas of developing countries, the vast majority of cyclists will find no flaw in the function of these units.
In any event, in more obscure parts of the world, you may well struggle to get hold of good quality GPS maps just as you would struggle to get hold of good quality paper maps.
GPS for town riders
Touring-based computers offer a range of features that town riders will also find useful, however, a smartphone may prove just as useful for casual riding.
If you’re after basic speed, distance or even navigation, there are endless mobile phone mount options to put your phone on top of your handlebars.
Additional ‘plug-in’ displays such as the BeeLine are also an interesting option that are beginning to pop up.
GPS for multi-sport
Like performance riders, multi-sport riders will likely be after the heart-rate, cadence and even power data. However, if you do more than cycling, you may want to be able to use the device for running or perhaps even swimming, too.
These watch-based devices can usually be unclipped from the wrist strap and clipped straight into a bike mount making for a quick transition.
Best GPS watches for cycling: how to choose the right one for you
GPS device glossary
ANT+: The most common wireless protocol in cycling GPS and electronics. This is used for communication between sensors such as power meters, cadence, speed and heart rate monitors and the head unit device.
Barometric altimeter (barometer): Where some devices will use maps to give an estimate of elevation, the better options use a barometer to accurately measure elevation. In some devices, this is also used to provide more accurate co-ordinate tracking.
Bearing/heading: Bearing is the compass direction to the next waypoint, heading is the actual direction of travel (which is usually expressed in degrees)
Bluetooth: A form of separate wireless receiver/transmitter that is the standard in smart phone technology. Now becoming more popular in GPS units to sync with phones.
Geocaching: The GPS equivalent of a treasure hunt, using given co-ordinates to find the location. Arguably this feature has had its day, but is still given in some devices.
GPX: Also known as GPS Exchange format, this open data format is free to use and is widely accepted as the standard way to share ride, track, waypoint and other GPS based data.
GLONASS: Stands for Global Navigation Satellite System, it provides alternative satellites to GPS (Global Positioning System). Units that offer GLONASS often have more reliable map coverage and recording along with faster start-up.
IPX7: This refers to the water resistance rating. IPXis a standard benchmark of many electronic devices and means the item will withstand incidental exposure to water of up to one meter for up to 30 minutes. This means that use in the rain will be of no concern
Odometer: Measures the distance you’ve travelled since it was last reset
Route: Predetermined points, which are known as waypoints (see below), linked together in the order you intend to travel to them
Strava: Website and mobile app used to track fitness activities via GPS. It offers a ‘cloud’ to upload your ride data and compare your fitness with riders in the same area.
Track: The record the GPS unit makes of your actual course over the ground on any journey that you undertake
Waypoints: Specific locations that are stored in the GPS – usually used to navigate to or linked together to form a route. May also be known as Points of Interest (POI), or by the more traditional term, Landmarks.
Cheat sheets are essentially the same thing as checklists, but they give the user a list of guidelines, or a process that they can follow over and over again to achieve a specific benefit.
Cheat sheets are so irresistible to people because they take away the need to think.
Bloggers want their blog posts to go viral, so this is a very benefit-driven lead magnet for them. It also removes the need to think: no more racking your brain about how to get your blog posts to go viral when you have this cheat sheet!
Swipe files are arguably even more irresistible than templates, because all you have to do is copy them in their entirety.
For example, The Ultimate Social Media Swipe File includes 7headlines for social media posts that you can simply, well, swipe!
Scripts are great lead magnets if your buyer persona needs something to help them speak or write.
For instance, if they need help prepping for a job interview, you could offer a script for pitching themselves to a potential employer.
Another great example is this popular lead magnet created by Marcus Krieg: Persuasive Video Scripts You Can Steal.
A really popular type of lead magnet is the toolkit. Why? Because everyone wants to know what tools the pros use!
The best part about toolkits is that you can usually become an affiliate for those products. So not only does the toolkit provide a really useful resource to your visitors, but it can also generate additional revenue for your business.
A web app is a free tool that lives on your site, and which requires a login to use. Of course, users have to sign up by email to get the login.
For example, Bryan Harris created this web app called ListGoal, which is completely free to use. However, when you sign up for it, Bryan gets your permission to email you.
Outline your expectations for your new turntable ahead of time
Before you think about searching for the best turntables, or even start to think about looking at different vinyl record player reviews, it’s a good idea to break down and outline your expectations ahead of time.
You are going to discover that there is a very broad marketplace filled with different levels of turntables and record players at nearly every price point and for every purpose, and unless you want to spend thousands and thousands of dollars on a piece of equipment that you may never use – or use very sparingly – it’s probably a good idea to understand what you want exactly.
Are you going to go with a modern looking turntable or a vintage one?
You want to determine whether you want to own a record player that looks like aproduct manufactured in the 21st century or one that looks like something that was produced decades ago.
Given the fact how amazing some of them looks, we are not surprised that vintage looking turntables are preferred by so many simply for their look to multi-thousand dollars modern luxury high-end turntables – probably also because not everybody has the bank roll to grab one of those! However, we all are different and honestly, it is just the question of taste whether you prefer vintage turntables or modern looking ones.
What kind of budget are you looking at? record players for sale for everyone, no matter how much you can spend on it.
Like most other things in life you are very much going to get what you pay for, though once you start to get into the thousand dollar and above price points you are paying for a lot more than a vinyl record player. are usually going to be pretty cheap across-the-board, and allow you to get your toe in the water (so to speak) before committing to a more substantial investment. The good thing is that you can pick up brand new vintage turntables for next to nothing contrary to actual old ones which may require extensive repairs and rehabilitation – but of course if that’s your bag you can snap up some pretty cool deals and turn them into amazing pieces. today is pretty much the “consumer wheelhouse”, providing a tremendous amount of bang for the buck without ever threatening to break anyone’s bank account in the process.
You’ll be able to find brand-new quality turntables at this price point without any real difficulty, though you might have to do a little bit of online shopping to find the most substantial deals out there.
Anytime you start to talk about the you are really starting to talk about special pieces of equipment.
We collected the best products in all these price ranges. You can check these sub-pages by clicking on the green links or you can also use the top menu to navigate to them.
Record player components you’ll want to inspect before purchase
It’s going to be valuable for you to understand the major components of a turntable before you head out to purchase one, especially if you are seriously thinking about spending a couple of hundreds of dollars on it.
The plinth of a turntable acts as the base and foundation, and serves an important function by providing stability across the board – especially when your records are spinning. It should be in as good a condition as reasonably possible depending upon out new or old that record player is.
The platter is another key component, and is the area where your record is going to sit and spin. Heavier platters are considered to be higher-quality than lighter weight ones because they offer extra stability and less vibration, and are going to be driven by a belt drive or a direct drive system.
Your tonearm and the cartridge/stylus/needle system should be in fine working order and as effortless to move automatically or manually as possible. The odds are pretty good that you’re going to need to replace a vintage cartridge/stylist/needle, so don’t worry about that too much.
Just make sure that you’ll be able to get your hands on enough replacement in the future to make this purchase worth your while. Otherwise, you can always upgrade most parts of your record player, this way make it better and better over time.
Think about the rest of your sound setup before purchasing a turntable
It is always advantageous to not only look for the best turntable, but also the best sound equipment to go with your investment.
After all, even the very best and most expensive record player is going to sound more than a little flat if it is hooked up to speakers or an amplification/receiver system that isn’t perfectly tuned and as high quality as it should be.
You could really drive yourself crazy looking into all of the speakers, receiver, amplifier, and other sound equipment options available today, but you’ll want to do at least a little bit of research – and commit to invest in quality components across the board – if you want to get the most out of the best turntable. We are going to sacrifice a whole part of our site to the different parts of turntables in order to make your research easier and less time consuming.
Grill Friends Silicone Brush
Silicone brushes are the best thing to happen to barbecue since the charcoal briquet. I long ago relegated my natural and nylon bristle brushes to cleaning computer keyboards. Silicone brushes load up with lots of sauce, deliver it evenly, and are easy to clean and decontaminate. They are dishwasher safe. We have three: One for barbecue, one my wife uses for egg washes and other baking, and one for whatever. There are many brands on the market.
There are pros and cons to using a cover.
Pros. They keep rain, snow, wasps, birds, and other vermin out. If you have a shinyt stainless steel rig, it will keep it shinier. An expensive grill under cover will attract fewer thieves.
Cons. They are a bit of a pain because you have to wait til the grill cools and they gather rain when left off. But they can also trap moisture and humidity underneath and actually encourage rust and mold growth. For these reasons I cover only my grills and smokers that can collect water on the inside like my Weber Smokey Mountain, my Hasty Bake, and my pellet smoker (if the pellets ever melt and then dry out, getting your smoker up and running is an all day sucker).
Cheapo covers last only a year or two. A good cover will last five years or more. All the plastic or vinyl ones I’ve tried cracked and fell apart in two to three years. The canvas covers rotted in a few years. The best were canvas laminated or impregnated with polyurethane or PVC.
Weber’s Grill Pan Sears and Allows Smoke Through
Another favorite grill topper is the Weber Style Grill Pan, and I was pleased to see the folks at Cooks Illustrated agree. It has plenty of slots for smoke to travel through, and plenty of surface to brown things like salmon cakes.
Lodge Logic Pro Cast Iron Griddle Can Put a Gorgeous Sear on Salmon, Steak, or Use It For Pancakes And Eggs
You need a good cast iron griddle. Especially if you like fish, burgers, grilled sandwiches, home fries, or pancakes. Coat the flat side with oil, and you can sear fish so it is golden and crispy on the outside just like that great pan-seared fish you get in restaurants. Throw some dried herbs onto the flame, and you’ll get a whisp of smoke in the meat.
You can even bring it indoors and it will straddle two burners. Use the flat side for pancakes. Flip it over and you get grill marks and conduction cooking from the ridges on steaks, burgers, or asparagus, and the fats and juices drip into the grooves where they vaporize and flavor the meat and cook by radiation.
This is a very handy tool. One word of caution. You may need two. If you use it for fish a lot, the flavor will remain on the surface, even after cleaning, so you won’t be able to use it for pancakes.
I have two of them by Lodge, known for quality cast iron, and I use the ridged sides of both, one on top and one on the bottom, for making paninis. And my spatchcocked (butterflied) Cornish game hens pressed between the flat sides are unbelievably crisp and juicy in only 20 minutes. It is 20″ x 7/16″.
Lodge Cast Iron Panini Press Makes World Class Paninis And Grilled Cheese
These flat weights are great for making grilled cheese sandwiches and other paninis, and even bacon. When I make sandwiches I preheat the press on high on the side burner, and then put the sandwich on the grill grates and the hot press on top so I can cook both sides at once. You can use them for keeping bacon from curling up on the grill with these, too. The Lodge model is preseasoned. Although the handle is supposed to provide heat protection, wear a glove.
Thermoworks Timestick Is The Best Cook’s Stopwatch And Alarm
I keep a cooking diary. In it I write down vital info about every cook so I can learn what works and what doesn’t. OK. So I’m anal. But being anal got me this gig. The two most important variables to track in any cook are time and temp. So I used to wear a stopwatch around my neck when I cooked. Click when I fire up. Click when it is up to temp. Click when the meat goes on. Click when I add more wood or charcoal. Click when I turn. Click when I sauce. Click when I take it off. But have you seen the new digital stopwatches? They are a real pain with faaaar too many features and bells and whistles. My last one sat in my desk between cooks and beeped every hour and the only way I could make it shut up was with a hammer. True story. Now I use the very sinple user friendly Timestick.
It can count down or up and when a count down alarm sounds, the count up timer starts so you can see how much time has elapsed since your alarm. It’s range is 9hours 9minutes and 9seconds, there is a keypad lock so you don’t accidentally screw things up, there’s a lanyard so you can wear it around your neck, it comes in nine colors, it’s splash proof, and it has a magnet on back so I can stick it to my grill, fridge, or oven. Operates between 3and 104°F. Best of all, you won’t need to read the manual. Love it.
Knob Where You Need It Makes Grilling Safer And Easier
You’re supposed to turn off the propane tank between cooks to prevent expensive leaks and more expensive explosions. But many grills don’t have easy access to the tanks, and it sure is easy to forget. Knob Where You Need It makes it easy to turn off the gas and easy ti remember. There are no instructions in the box so you need to go to their website. I suggest printing them. Installation is easy for most people (I made a dumb mistake). Please note: You need to drill a 1/2″ hole in your grill. Watch the video below to see the installation process. –
Most kamado smokers have an airflow control/chimney at the top that is very good at controlling the oven temp. They have one innate flaw: When it rains, water gets into the cooking chamber! If you have a Big Green Egg, Primo, or Kamado Joe, or any other leaky kamado, here’s the solution. Made from aluminum, it is simple and effective.
FoodSaver Vacuum Sealer
The best way to store food more than a week is in the freezer. Foods lose few nutirents and little quality when frozen. But if they are kept for longer than a few weeks, meats can oxidize, fats can get rancid, and the surface can harden from freezer burn. Especially pork and seafood. Oxygen is the enemy. So I pack food for storage is with a vacuum sealer like the FoodSaver Vacuum Sealer. You put the food in a plastic bag, insert it into the machine and it sucks out the air and seals the bag. Make sure you mark the date on the bag. It is a great way to store cooked foods too. Put your pulled pork in the bag, add a little sauce and seal. When it is time to serve, place the bag into a pot of simmering water. It reheats rapidly and tastes almost as good as when it came out of the smoker.
Use a Grill Grabber to lift your hot and dirty grill grates, even if there’s the food still on them. I use mine when I need to add coals, wood, water to water pans, or to rescue food that has dropped through the grates. This may seem like a frivolity, but it is a thoroughly useful tool.
OXO Good Grips Tongs
Dishwasher safe stainless steel with OXO’s popular nonslip rubber handles, they are the winner of the Tylenol/Arthritis Foundation Design Award. They are spring loaded and the ends are scalloped for better gripping. There is a loop for hanging and a mechanism that locks them in closed position for storing (which has failed after several years on all three pairs that I have). Regardless, they are still my faves. I just store them with a cardboard toilet paper core over the ends.
The 18″ tongs don’t have the locking mechanism, but they are necessary if you have a deep pit. But be warned, the longer the tongs, the less leverage you have and the harder it is to get a grip. I also recommend their nylon tipped tongs for use on non-stick cookware.
LamsonSharp Fish Tongs
A jumbo hybrid of tongs and spatulas, this is the proper tool for flipping fish, burgers, and other crumbly foods. Rosewood handle protects you against the heat, and there is a leather loop for hanging. They come with a lifetime warranty. I find them to be indispensable.
Stiff Metal Spatula
Spatulae come in slotted and solid, and I recommend the solid with a good insulated sturdy handle. The solid is best for pressing things down on a griddle, like when you are making Diner Burgers on a griddle or in a frying pan. I like the Weber Style 644Professional-Grade Fish Turner.
I took mine down to the basement and ground the edge very sharp with a grinder. Now it slips easily under food that is stuck to the grates.
Double Pie Iron
Here’s how to make two perfectly toasted panini style grilled sandwiches at once. Use this old fashioned double pie iron, originally designed for filled pies, for everything from Grilled Cheese to Pulled Pork.
Just butter your sandwich on the outside, open up the hinged mold, insert the sandwiches and put it over the coals, campfire, or gas grill. This Old Mountain cast iron double square pie iron is 1/2″ x 1/4″ and is pre-seasoned and ready to use. The long handle allows you to grill in comfort away from a camp fire. – Meathead
My wife hasn’t noticed the burn hole yet. It’s pretty substantial. For the life of me I don’t understand why the deck didn’t go up in flames and take the house with it. Must be some sort of flame retardant in the wood. But a hunk of charcoal somehow jumped from my grill and tried to escape before I caught it. But not before it burned a serious hole. come in a variety of sizes, shapes and logos. I got mine with a Florida Gator logo, my alma mater.
Bayou Classic 8.Quart Cast Iron Dutch Oven
Forget the fancy high end pricey Le Cruset French Oven, this is the one you want for cowboy cooking and camping, and it comes in handy around the house. It’s perfect for whole chickens or slow braising in the oven or in the grill.
You can even sit it on top of coals and shovel more coals on top of the flat lid with a raised rim, and you can cook classic chili, baked beans, cornbread, casseroles, and even cobblers. It is 13″ wide x 7″ high, weighs 2pounds and includes a perforated aluminum basket for steaming, frying, or boiling.
You want good stiff scissors for cutting a chicken apart, for snipping herbs, cutting pizza, butcher string, opening packages, and many other tasks. Get sturdy stainless blades so you can cut through the ribs of chickens. The best models come apart at the hinge so they can go in the dishwasher and you can get them really clean.
When a recipe calls for garlic to be crushed, minced, or pressed, I use a garlic press. A good garlic press releases more oils and flavors than mincing with a knife and pressed garlic coats the food more evenly than mincing.
A good garlic press is an important kitchen tool. Get one that is sturdily built, that is easy to grip, that is easy to clean, and has a large hopper to hold big cloves. Avoid non-stick models. I have a well-used Trudeau Garlic Press
Digital kitchen scale
I don’t know how I lived without a good, accurate digital kitchen scale for so many years. It is so important. Look at salt for example, cup of table salt has almost twice as much salinity as a cup of Morton’s kosher salt because Morton’s kosher salt has more air space between the grains. But a pound of all salts contain exactly the same amount of sodium chloride.
Without a scale, making a brine requires a calculator. Flour and sugar have the same problem. Packed brown sugar or loose brown sugar. Big diff. Ever try to measure a tablespoon of honey? Did you get it all into the bowl or leave a lot of it on the spoon. There are plenty of conversion tables out there that help you convert. My favorite is the OXO Good Grips Stainless Food Scale with Pull-Out Display.
It can weight accurately up to 1pounds as well as fractions of an ounce. Push a button and it converts to metric. Put the bowl on the scale and push a button and it zeros out so the bowl’s weight is not included. The top comes off for easy cleaning. It will significantly improve your cooking.
Now here’s one of those slap your forehead and mumble “why didn’t I think of that” ideas.
Grandma’s Secret Spot Remover
I first heard about this from a competition cook. To say I was skeptical is an understatement. A spot remover that will remove the grease stains on almost all my shirts is something I considered to be as elusive as unicorns and perpetual motion machines. So I bought a ounce bottle and tried it on one of my t-shirts.
The instructions say that all you need is just a drop. Sure. I used three drops. My shirt came out so clean I could not find where the stain had been originally. So I tried it on a dress shirt, but fearful it would ruin it, I used only one drop. Again, the grease was gone! So I hauled out all my saucy and greasy shirt, 1in all, put Grandma to work, tossed them all into one tub, and before long, I had a new wardrobe. Utterly amazing stuff. And just for the record, I have been doing my own laundry since I went away to college, even through 40 years of marriage. May be a contributing factor to our longevity.
Even my wife is impressed with Grandma. She has used it on some of her finery including her Mom’s table cloth with ancient spaghetti stains, stains that Oxi-Clean, her go to remover, couldn’t handle.
The label says it is good for “oil, grease, paint, makeup, grass, inks, blood, baby formula, tar, spaghetti sauce, coffee, rust, beadine, tumeric, fabric bleed, and pet stains”. The only caveat on the label is to “check garment for colorfastness.”
A lot of modern vinyl record players are including a USB feature. This essentially lets you plug in to your computer and record your vinyl in a digital format. People like to do this for a few reasons: it helps to preserve older records, and it lets you enjoy the music in digital forms, like on an MPplayer.
Automatic record players are nice. You essentially just place the record on the turntable, press the button and it aligns itself to start. Usually, when the record is finished, the turntable will automatically raise the arm as well.
If you only measure one dimension, make it width—that’s probably the limiting factor for what will fit in your kitchen.
Depth can be a factor if you have a kitchen island or a galley-style kitchen, where you might need a shallower fridge (or at least a fridge with half-width doors that won’t bonk into a fixture when they open completely).
Height can matter if you need to slide the fridge in beneath cabinets, but usually it’s the least-important dimension.
Paying more for a fridge (up to a point) does get you extra capacity, style, and convenient features like an ice maker or shelving flexibility. As best we can tell, paying more does not guarantee reliability, longevity, quiet operation, or better food preservation.
But you can get all kinds of different features, finishes, and designs if you’re willing to pay for them. It’s up to you to decide if you want to spend extra for, say, a black stainless finish that’ll serve as the centerpiece for your super-modern kitchen, or a hot-water dispenser that can make K-cup coffee, or a door-in-door design.
While you’re shopping, remember that fridge prices can swing by hundreds of dollars in just a few days, particularly if you’re shopping at Sears. Keep your eye out for promotional deals—you shouldn’t have to wait more than a couple of weeks for one.
Use the yellow Energy Guide sticker as your reference. The blue Energy Star badge is awarded to so many big models that it’s practically meaningless, yet isn’t awarded to some super-efficient top-freezer refrigerators.
User reviews and Consumer Reports are your best sources for figuring out if a fridge is loud or grating or otherwise obnoxious. We’ve only recommended models with Very Good or better noise scores at CR that weren’t regularly criticized in user reviews.
That said, it’s tough for anyone to guarantee you’ll personally be comfortable with a given fridge. Compressors all hum and whine at their own unique frequencies, and it’s tough to tell which combinations might drive certain people nuts but be totally cool for others. (We run into this same problem every summer when we review air conditioners.) And you can’t learn much in a showroom because the environment is too loud and the compressors are rarely turned on. If you’re the type with sensitive ears, best of luck to you.
Consumer Reports has found that refrigerators with automatic ice makers are more likely to need maintenance than fridges without ice makers. Based on user feedback, common problems include cracked water lines and dispensers that freeze themselves shut.
Ice and filtered water direct from the fridge is just the best. The downsides are that a dispenser usually adds hundreds to the cost of a fridge, and the ice maker takes up valuable space in the refrigerator, and it’s one more finicky feature that might need to be repaired. But if you think that’s all worth the near-magical level of convenience, go for it.
Climate control and food freshness
Don’t get too worked up about this. Does lettuce wilt faster in some fridges than others? Or do blueberries mold quicker? Or do venison steaks get freezer burn sooner? Sure. But the huge majority of fridges do their job just fine. The small variance in performance makes so little practical difference that it’s not really worth obsessing about or paying extra for.
If you’re shopping at Sears, check out the Kenmore 7041It has a larger capacity than the Whirlpool and a neat control panel. The user reviews can be rough, though, and several cite problems with the cooling system and related customer-service dickery (though ratings at Sears tend to be harsher than at other retailers’ sites, and the quality of your service depends on your local Sears branch).
At this price, you can pick from tons of 36-inch-wide side-by-side fridges. Most of them even have through-the-door water dispensers. The GE GSE25HGHWW and Frigidaire FGHS2631PF are both well-liked. The thing is, though, they’re side-by-sides. If you know that’s what you prefer, great. But if you want to be able to fit giant pizzas in the freezer or big platters in your fridge, this isn’t the style for you. French door fridges outsell side-by-sides about to these days, even though they’re more expensive, so take that for what it’s worth.
Care and maintenance
The first step to a trouble-free fridge is buying it from a dealer with a good reputation that you feel will be responsive if you have any problems during the warranty period. They’re responsible for delivery and installation, and if those are mishandled, it can cause problems with the fridge from the get-go. And if you do end up with a faulty fridge, a good dealer tends to be able to resolve the problem much faster than the manufacturer’s customer service—even if you’re under warranty.
As far as a DIY maintenance schedule, we like the advice the Repair Clinic publishes. Their suggested best practices include cleaning your condenser coils, wiping down (or replacing) the door gaskets, cleaning the drip pan, and replacing the ice or water filter.
If you want tips on how to keep your fridge clean and smelling fresh, listen to cleaning writer Jolie Kerr.
We also like most of the tips in this infographic about the best practices for using your fridge, like where different foods should go in the fridge, and which crisper humidity settings work best with various kinds of produce.
Choosing the Right Mobile Computer
Mobile computing has become a part of every business and even daily life with the common use of smartphones. From tracking inventory to supporting field technicians, mobile computers can empower any business with greater efficiency and increased productivity. Simply put, getting the right mobile computer in the hands of your employees will drastically increase the speed, accuracy, and number of tasks they can complete in a work day.
The real challenge is actually finding the right device. With all of the available types of mobile computers, it can be confusing to understand what the differences are. Selecting the best mobile computer for your application is critical to helping you reap the full benefits of the technology.
The first step in finding the right mobile computer is defining your specific needs. • What are you going to use the mobile computer for? Inventory, asset tracking, field operations? • Where will the mobile computer be used? Is it a rugged environment? • Have you selected software to use on the mobile device? • What kind of barcodes will you be reading? • Will you need real-time connectivity on a wireless network?
Knowing how you’ll be using a mobile computer will help you decide what form factor/style, operating system, and other options you’ll need. Understanding each of these factors will help you find the right mobile computer.
Phone-size mobile computers are designed to provide the mobile user full access to all the information they need in a compact yet rugged device. With these devices you’ll have options for Wi-Fi, WAN, Bluetooth, and even GPS connectivity. Given their size and added durability, these mobile computers are perfect in the hands of field workers, delivery drivers, site managers, or any other application that leaves the 4-walls of your business. A phone-size mobile computer, like the, can fill the role of a laptop, phone, and scanner in a single device to empower your employees with the information and connectivity they need wherever business takes them.
Similar to phone-size devices, these full-size mobile computers offer the full range of wireless connectivity but in an even more rugged design for challenging environments. Full-size mobile computers also provide a full keypad and a variety of scanner types to meet the demands of any application. You’ll find devices like the Honeywell Dolphin 99EX inside a warehouse or distribution center as well as outdoors at construction sites, on FedEx trucks, and even oil rigs. Some of these devices can even operate under water! When you need a device that has all the wireless connectivity you’d ever need in a package that can handle anything you throw at it, a full-size mobile computer will be your most reliable option.
Gun-grip mobile computers are designed for rugged applications that are working within a Wi-Fi network. These devices normally do not have options for cellular capabilities but can always be used as a batch collector when outside the range of a wireless network. Like full-size devices, these mobile computers offer a wide range of scanners including long range readers for scanning up to over 30ft away. Models like the Motorola MC9190-G are perfect for the warehouse worker and forklift driver where ruggedness and ease of use are a must. Beyond the warehouse, these devices are also a great match for retail applications that will put the units to heavy use and don’t want to deal with replacing damaged devices.
Wearable mobile computers provide the same powerful computing and wireless connectivity you find in gun-grip devices while freeing up your hands for other tasks. The computer mounts onto your wrist while the scanner attaches to your finger. This allows you to scan and collect data while still being able to use both hands for picking parts or products. You’ll often find devices like the Honeywell HXin voice driven and pick-and-pack applications where a wearable device helps increase a workers efficiency and productivity. Wearable mobile computers may not be the most common, but for the right application hands-free operation can drastically improve the effectiveness of your operations.
Every mobile computer has an operating system (OS), no different than your desktop PC. The OS is the software framework that connects the hardware of the mobile computer with the applications you run on the device. The functionality and available applications for your mobile computer will completely depend on what OS is on it. There are currently types of operating systems available on mobile computers.
Palm OS is more of a legacy OS that was once the standard on mobile devices. Before the days of Windows-based options and extensive wireless communications, Palm OS was the prevalent option. There are still a few manufacturers that offer Palm based devices and while they can be less expensive, the limited software options will ultimately determine if your can use them. If you have a Palm OS compatible application that will fulfill your needs, then it can be a very cost effective option compared to other operating systems.
Bluetooth is a unique wireless technology because it does not require network hardware to function. Its main purpose is to connect devices to each other like a PC and a printer or scanner without cables. As long as both devices have Bluetooth capabilities they can wirelessly connect to each other. Bluetooth does have a limited range of about 33ft but requires very little set-up to use. With mobile computers, the most common use of Bluetooth is to connect to a printer wirelessly without having to deal with cables.
Global Positioning System (GPS) is not exactly the same as the other wireless options since it is used only to get location information into the mobile computer. This is the same technology found in navigation systems in a car. You do not communicate through GPS but when it is combined with a WAN option it allows you to know where you’re located for functions like turn-by-turn directions, mapping, bread crumbing, and asset location tagging. GPS may be the least critical of wireless options but for businesses that go into the field it can help provide additional conveniences and information to improve the accuracy of your application.
Long Range Laser
These scanners are just like a basic laser but are able to read barcodes up to over 30ft away. The actual range will depend on the size of the barcode and the material it is printed on. The bigger a barcode is and if it is on reflective material you’ll be able to get extended read ranges. Full-size and Gun-grip mobile computers are the most common to have an option for a long range laser. This type of scanner is a great solution warehouse application where product or location barcodes may be on a rack shelf and a worker could read them from the warehouse floor.
Finding the Right Mobile Computer
With all the options available for mobile computers today, it’s important to find the right device for your business needs. Determining how you will use the mobile device and what features you need will make the decision process easier. If you’re still having difficulty or have additional questions, give our mobile computer experts a call. We’re happy to help you out.
Again, people feel comfortable joining the crowd. When you can make a numbers play, I recommend putting social proof to work when asking for a subscription via some form of opt-in, including your email list.
Social Media Examiner doesn’t hesitate to tell you about their gigantic mailing list. Seems like a good idea to read what more than 255K of your peers are reading, right?
Andy Crestodina (Orbit Media) told me (and a roomful of others) how the “join X others” has increased his company’s subscriber conversion rate by 1400%. (Now there’s serious proof of the value of social proof.)
All kinds of website widgets or plugins will enable you to play the numbers game with your social network connections. Here’s an example of HubSpot employing this simple strategy.
Many widgets showcase even more, such as your media likes, follows, and so forth.
The Facebook social plugin used on the Moz blog showcases the “like” count as well as profile pictures of people in my Facebook network (which makes it more compelling to “like along”).
37,739… That’s a lot of pluses. This feature in the sidebar of the Plus Your Business! website makes a compelling case for joining the Google+ community offered here.
Other plugins are often used to display recent posts and updates on the leading social networks, which serve to show the community is active and useful.
First of all thanks for reading my article to the end! I hope you find my reviews listed here useful and that it allows you to make a proper comparison of what is best to fit your needs and budget. Don’t be afraid to try more than one product if your first pick doesn’t do the trick.
Most important, have fun and choose your Magnetic Page Albums wisely! Good luck!
So, TOP3 of Magnetic Page Albums
- №1 — Woodmin Our Adventure Book DIY Scrapbook Album Wedding Guestbook Anniversary Photo Album (Brown, 80 pages)
- №2 — Large Magnetic Page X-Pando Photo Album, Black
- №3 — Pioneer Photo Albums Magnetic Self-Stick 3-Ring Photo Album 100 Pages (50 Sheets), Navy Blue