Monday, December 10, 2018

Why You Should Use a Double Edge Safety Razor


I have been using Dollar Shave Club for a while now and definitely saved a lot of money on blades compared to store brands, you may remember my post about them. I can't remember if I was Googling something or if I ran across it on Facebook or YouTube, but I saw or read about someone using a double edge razor.  I then searched YouTube about double edge razors and some of the YouTubers mentioned how close of a shave you can get without irritation.  I've always had issues with razors giving me irritation, usually on my neck, sometimes it would be worse than others. Because of this I typically would only shave about twice a week, sometimes I would go even longer between shaves.  I was under the impression, like most people, that safety razors were dangerous. But they are not, that's why they're called safety razors.  It was a safer alternative to the straight razor.

You typically get skin irritation due to the amount of blades raking across your skin on a razor cartridge.  Razors cartridges now days have 3, 4, or even 5 blades on them. A double edge safety razor only has 1 blade with 2 sides. I can usually get 3 to 4 shaves from a blade and shave every other day. I had to replace the Dollar Shave Club cartridges once a week.

I bought my first double edge razor kit from Amazon, it's called the Gentleman Jon complete shave kit. It includes a razor, 5 blades, a badger hair brush, a shave soap puck, and a stainless steel bowl. You get all that for $55. I know what your thinking, "That's a lot of money!" The thing is, you only buy most of this stuff once. The only 2 things you need to replace are the soap pucks and razors, but not very often. You can get 100 razors for around $10 and soap pucks for under $10.  The Gentleman Jon razor wasn't too bad, but seemed a little abrasive to me.

A few weeks later I purchased an old 1950s Gillette black tip and red tip razor.  From what I read on the internet, the red tip was suppose to be a little more aggressive.  To me the black and the red tips have a similar feel when you shave. You can purchase these razors for around the $20 mark on eBay, which is outstanding.  Once you purchase a couple razors you should be set for a long time.

There are also different types of aggressiveness for the blades. I purchased the Astra Superior Premium Platinum Double Edge blades on Amazon.com for $10.99. That's right at 11 cents a blade.  So not only do you get a better shave and less irritation, you save a ton of money.  The next set of blades I'd like to try are the Personna Double Edge Razor Blades, 100 for $12.45 on Amazon.com.  If you're not sure which blades you'd like to get, you can buy variety sampler pack and try different ones.

Now lets talk about soaps.  Again this is going to be another area of personal preference, there are tons of soaps out there. I don't really have a favorite because I like to use different ones at different times.  You'll also need a shaving bowl to place some of the soaps in, others come in a container that you can directly shave out of. Here's a list of some of the soaps I have:

What the Puck - Blue Barbershop - Link
Men's Soap Company - Rockies Sandalwood - Link
Col. Conk Shave Soap - Variety 4 Pack - Amber, Lime, Bayrum, Almond - Link
Formula T Barbershop - Shea Butter & Tallow - Link
Sir Hare - Barbershop Fragrance - Link
The Blade Grim - Smolder - Link

There are different types of brushes as well.  There's badger, boar, horse, and synthetic for you PETA fans.  Boar is the most aggressive and the most popular is badger, which is less aggressive.  I haven't seen much talk about horse hair, but purchased one from Target from a company called Cremo  (You may have seen me mention them in a past post).   The horse hair brush is by far the softest one I have, but I only have a badger and horse hair brush.

Now that we have all the products sorted, lets talk about the preparation and order.

1. The first thing you'll want to do is run some warm water into your shaving bowl and place your brush in the bowl.  You should wait a minimum 5 minutes before you start shaving, this allows time for the brush to soften up.  You can also let it soak while you take a shower (this is what I typically do).

2. Once you're out of the shower you can start making the shaving foam. What I do is squeeze some of the water out of the brush and start swirling it around on the soap in the soap bowl or container.  You'll want to do this until you get a good foam lather.  If you can't figure this out there's a lot of good YouTube videos on how, it doesn't take long at all.

3. Now you'll want to lather up your face. I will usually splash my face with warm water first, then brush the foamed shaving soap on. Be sure to cover everywhere you want to shave.

4. Now start the shaving process. You'll want the weight of the brush to do most of the work, so don't go pressing the razor hard against your face, gently pull it down. You'll want to go with the grain of your facial hair if you have sensitive skin (like me).  Remember that you have 2 sides of the razor to use, and you can rinse the soap off the razor while shaving.  Once I complete a full pass on all of the hair on my face I will soap up my face again and make a second pass.  If your face isn't as sensitive as mine you can even make a third pass against the grain for a buttery smooth shave.

5. Now that your done you can rinse your razor and brush off in the water. I then place mine on the stand I purchased on Amazon.  This allows the brush to dry out and not have any fowl odors.

I know what your thinking, this sounds like it's a task and it takes a long time to shave  (this was my assumption as well). I assure you that's not the case.  You can complete the steps above in under 5 minutes.  You'll be surprised how smooth the shave is and how you have less irritation.  I was like "Why didn't I find out about this sooner?"  I am now hooked.


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Monday, December 3, 2018

Watches, Watches, and More Watches - Beginners Guide

The watch that got me started, my Bulova. That's St. Maarten in the background.
I just recently started collecting watches after buying a Bulova when I was on my honeymoon cruise in St. Maarten. I never would have thought buying one automatic watch would lead me to collecting. I'll have to admit, I've had a few watches over the years. Some cheap, the more expensive one's were the Fitbit's and smart watches (still cheap in the watch world).  I thought I'd share my knowledge that I learned about watches in the short time that I've started collecting.

11 watches later I think I have a problem, lol. I know what your thinking, a watch just tells time. But there's more to it than that.  It's kind of like owning a car, a watch can show your personality and tell a lot about you.  Let me start off by going back to what got me into wanting to collect watches. Like I said earlier, I bought my first "expensive" watch in St. Maarten.  It was a quick decision and I didn't have much time to look for anything super specific. I just knew I wanted to get a decent automatic watch since it was my honeymoon. At the time I didn't know anything about watches and didn't know anything about the brand Bulova.  Luckily, Bulova is a great brand with some great history. They are currently owned by Citizen, another great Japanese watch brand. Luckily I didn't fall for any fashion watches or Invicta (we'll get into that later).

So after I came back home from my honeymoon I started doing some more research about some of the different watch brands, what makes a good watch, and what not to buy.  So basically you have two different types of watches, fashion watches and luxury watches.  Luxury watches can even be broken down into several different price points, budget $20-$100, low $100-$500, mid $500-$1000, mid-high $1000-$3000 and high $3000 and up.

Luxury watch prices really depend on several factors. The movement, crystal, and type of watch.  For movements (the part that actually keeps time, in other words the internals) you have quartz (battery and solar), automatic (your wrist movement keeps the spring wound), and mechanical (you have to manually wind them) watches.  For the crystal (the glass portion of the watch) you have acrylic (fancy word for plastic), mineral (more scratch resistant than acrylic, and sapphire (almost as hard as diamonds but they can still scratch).  For the types of watches you have dive, dress, racing, aviation, and field watches. Each of those served a purpose at one point or another, but many people just purchase the specific style they like.

Now I'll break down a few brands that fall in each of the luxury price points (note that each of these brands may have watches above or below these price points).  From $20-$100 we have the Timex and Casio brands. $100-$500 we have Seiko, Orient, Citizens, and Bulova. In the $500-$1000 we have Hamilton, and Glycine. $1000-3000 we have Oris, Longines, and Maurice Lacroix. $3000 and up we have Tudor, Breitling, Omega, and Rolex's.  If you want really expensive just search for some Phillipe Patek watches.

I almost forgot to mention micro brands. Micro brands are small startups that typically use Swiss or Seiko movements.  Many times they will be made in China with the headquarters being outside of China.  Their quality control is usually better than your fashion watches. Some micro brands include Jack Mason, Spinnaker, Dan Henry and many many more. This is one of the quickest watch growing segments. Sometimes you'll see micro brands in crowdfunding campaigns or kick starters.  There's nothing at all wrong with owning a micro brand watch.

The other great part about luxury watches is that most brands have great horology history and have been innovative throughout the years with different features. For example, Rolex was the first to have a waterproof watch in 1926, the first watch with auto changing date in 1945, and the first to show 2 time zones.  The Bulova Accutron watch was the first to use a tuning fork instead of a balance wheel as the timekeeping element in 1960. The Omega Speedmaster was the first watch to go to the moon in 1969.  Seiko was the first to create a quartz watch in 1969 (which almost took out the mechanical and automatic watch industry).  Casio introduced a rugged watch called the G-Shock in 1983.  Timex patented a technology used to light up the watch dial with the touch of a button called Indiglo in 1992. Oh, did I mention luxury watches hold their value?

Fashion watches have many price points as well, the really big difference is price and only price. Fashion watch brands are more about making the most money they can for themselves.  They typically have poor quality control, cheap movements, and are made in China (there are a few decent Chinese watch companies).  A few fashion or designer brands include DW (Daniel Wellington), Guess, Fossil, Diesel, MVMT, Gucci, and Movado and so many more. I'd recommend staying away from these brands. So you wonder how they sell so many you ask? They have a great marketing campaign and are really good at social media.  They get big name persons to promote their products.

Oh, you thought I forgot about the Invicta watches. So what gives Invicta such a bad name? They do have a great history. Well for starters, they really markup their MSRP.  Just go to Amazon.com and search for a Invicta watch. You'll see MSRPs for $1200 and the watch selling for $200.  Don't get me wrong, the $200 watches are probably worth $200.  They also produce some of the largest and gaudiest watches around. Some people are into those types of watches, which is why they don't have a problem selling them.  I think some of their dive watches are pretty good. I did get a good deal on a Invicta Lupah watch on Ebay, what can I say, I like the looks of them. I still think Invicta watches are better than fashion watches.

For me, I buy watches I like.  You have some people that are really into dive watches or dress watches... etc. I've already purchased a couple Citizens, a Seiko, a Hamilton, a Dan Henry, and Jack Mason just to name a few.  Some watches that are on my future list include Oris, Omega, and possibly a Rolex (pretty far out at this point). Each watch has it's own personality.  I have 2 beater watches that I wear most of the time, these are watches that I'm OK with getting a little beat up. One's a Citizen and the other is a Spinnaker.  So get out there and buy you a quartz, automatic, or mechanical watch.  I'll possibly be doing some watch reviews in the near future, so stay tuned.


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Monday, November 19, 2018

Azulle Access3 Computer Stick Review

Rating:

Specs
OS: Windows 10 Pro
Processor: 64-bit Intel Gemini Lake N4100 1.1Ghz Quad-core
Memory: 4 GB DDR4 RAM
Storage: 32 or 64 GB (Micro SD Card Slot Support up to 256 GB
Ethernet: Dual Band 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz, 1 Gigabit Ethernet Jack
Bluetooth: Bluetooth 4.0
Video: Up to 4K @30fps

In The Box
The unit itself
Power cable
12" HDMI Extender Cable
Quick Start Guide


Pros:
Small
Fast
Can expand the storage
No fan
Windows 10
Portable

Cons:
No way to control it out of the box
32 gigs isn't much space for a PC (See the Pros for the expandable storage)
No microphone for Cortana

A rep from Azulle asked me if I'd like to review a new computer stick that is coming to the market.  I've came so close to buying one more than once, so I jumped at the opportunity for the review.  The whole idea behind Azulle is to replace those big-ol clunky towers with smaller,m palm size PCs that work just as good, if not better.  Not only can you use them on a computer monitor, you can plug them up to your TV as well and they are super portable.  It is larger than a typical USB stick, but it's still way smaller than a typical PC.

So the version I tested was the Azulle Access3 Windows 10 Fanless Mini PC Stick that features the Gemini Lake N4100 processor, which make this thing fast. I tested it connected to a 55" Vizio TV in the bedroom.  The only accessory that you'll need to buy is a keyboard with built in mouse so that you can type and navigate.  It would be nice if they offered a version that included a way to interact with PC. I purchased the Logitech K400 keyboard at my local Walmart for $20, it has a built in touch mouse. The other advantage of the Logitech keyboard is that you do have the option to put the Azulle computer to sleep with the touch of a button.

This can be a fun little stick PC.  It's not going to play the latest and fastest PC games, but it can handle some smaller Steam and Windows Store games. I loaded up Atari Vault on Steam and it was able to play just fine, I even connected my Steam controller to the Azulle stick without any issues.  If you have an Ethernet cable close to your TV you'd be able to stream your PC Steam games to this little stick. Along with games, you can browse the internet, watch YouTube videos, Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Video, and Windows Movies.  Unlike a Roku, Amazon Fire TV device, or Apple TV, you can multitask with the Azulle PC stick. You can finally work on your Word or Excel documents from your couch! Did I mention this little stick supports 4k? Well it does! Unlike other PC sticks, you get 2 USB ports with this one. This means you can add a microphone to use Cortana, or a camera with built in microphone to use Skype or other services such as Facebook Messenger.  I used the USB port for the keyboard and Steam controller, you can use Bluetooth devices as well.

If you're looking to add a second computer or need a computer stick for your TV, I'd definitely take a look at the Azulle Computer stick. You can find the 32 GB and 64 GB version of the computer stick at Amazon.com.  They also sell other variations at Walmart, Best Buy, B&H Photo, and Adorama. This would also make a great gift for the holiday season, a little birdy told me these will be on sale on Black Friday.

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Monday, May 14, 2018

Home Tech Dad Break Until I Finish School

Like the title says, I'm going to take a little break from Home Tech Dad until I finish school, which will be at the end of August.  It's a lot of work to do school and plan for a wedding in September.  I may post a few things here and there, but don't expect too much.

Thanks for understanding.

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Monday, April 30, 2018

Please Help Donate to Dollars for Dale


So who is Dale Beatty you ask? He is a veteran and co-founder of Purple Heart Homes, which is an organization that helps disabled veterans with housing. He himself lost both legs in combat. He passed away back in February leaving behind a wife and 3 kids.

I'll just pull a quote from there webpage to explain a little more about Dale Beatty and Purple Heart Homes. "We are Veterans… We are also the sons, daughters, brothers, sisters, spouses, and those who are proud to have a connection to our nation’s military. Join the family, and help us provide much-needed assistance to Veterans of all eras.

Purple Heart Homes is a 501(c)3 public charity that was founded in 2008 by John Gallina and Dale Beatty, two combat wounded Veterans. After being injured in Iraq in 2004, they returned to their community and received a warm welcome and grateful appreciation for their service. They began to question why all Veterans didn’t get the same levels of support and assistance from society.

The answer isn’t easy, but Purple Heart Homes fills the gaps in housing through the Veterans’ Aging In Place and Veterans Home Ownership Programs. From building a ramp for a Veteran of World War II, to providing homeownership opportunities to younger Veterans, our programs are designed out of necessity and fit the specific needs of the Veteran population.

OUR MISSION
Purple Heart Homes is dedicated to providing housing for Service Connected Disabled Veterans that is substantial in function, design, and quality fit to welcome home the fighting men and women of America."

There's a donation page set up to help raise money for his family in this time of need. He's done so much to help disabled veterans. So if you have a few bucks, consider donating it to the Dollars for Dale donation.

Links
www.dollarsfordale.com
https://purplehearthomesusa.org/

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