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Friday, November 24, 2017

Why I use Linux

Why I use Linux

So, about 13 months ago, I did a post about Windows 10. In that post, I said I use a Chromebook. I still have that Chromebook, and there's nothing wrong with it, but I have since moved my daily computing activities to a Linux distro, Linux Mint 18.2 Cinnamon.

So, why do I use Linux?

Mainly, it just fits my needs.

While I like Chrome OS, it just feels too restrictive for me. While I was using my Chromebook, I was forced to use Google Docs and Pixlr Editor for my blogging needs. They work for what they should, but I need more options. I need dedicated programs, like LibreOffice and GIMP. I also like the fact that these programs come pre-installed with Linux distros, unlike Windows or even Macs.

I also like my privacy. Because there are so many different distros of Linux (Mint, Ubuntu, Arch Linux, Fedora, Elementary OS, Manjaro, etc), there's no set 'owners' of the OS, so there's no one to 'phone home' to. This means MY stuff is MY stuff. MY programs are MY programs. The programmers of Linux Mint have NO clue what is on my system besides what they have included in the base of the OS.

I also like the fact that I can actually CHOOSE what updates I install. I have an issue with the 4.10 kernel and a 'USB Device Descriptor' error on the system this was written on, an ASUS X555YA laptop. Now, with Windows, I'd have to either
a. live with the error and HOPE my system will still boot.
b. hope Microsoft will push a patch that will fix the error.
c. google a fix on my own and hope I don't need to go into Regedit to fix it (because Regedit seriously frightens me)
d. Hope it was just a wonky install of something and do a complete reinstall of Windows.

But with Linux, I'm able to 'roll back' to an earlier kernel version and STAY there. In my case, I rolled back to Version 4.8.0-53 and my system works wonderfully. I don't have to worry about Linux Mint overriding my settings and FORCING me back to 4.10 (or even higher). I'm also able to choose what other updates I get with a simple checkmark, none of this 'You're getting all the updates and if it bricks your system, too bad.' garbage. I'm even able to choose what LEVEL of updates I get:

I have my settings set to 'Let me review sensitive updates,' which is what most users will want. I like this, because *I'M* in control.

I also like that 99% of the programs come from the Software Manager, which means they are safe and won't cause an issue with the system. It also means that the programs are added to the repository, so when I do my updates, I'm going to get updates to those programs as well.

But, the things I love about Linux the most is it's FREE and it's OPEN-SOURCE. I can customize it to my heart's desire and there's no restrictions. I'm not going to have a big conglomerate coming after me if I alter the code of the OS... if anything, it's actually encouraged! And you can't really beat the price tag! (Although, I do encourage all users to donate to the Linux projects... This helps the programmers survive. Man can only survive on so many ramen noodles!)

I've recommended Linux to all my friends; some have switched, some have not. But, with the exception of AAA gamers (and even that is questionable) or those that rely on certain programs, I can't really see a need for someone to stay on Windows.

Linux just works for me and my needs, and that's #WhyIUseLinux.

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Influenster: Marc Jacobs Eye-conic Palette

Influenster: Marc Jacobs Eye-conic Palette

What it is:
A long-wearing eyeshadow palette that features seven shades, including four fashion finishes, velvet, satin, silk, and lamé—to layer and dress your eyes.

What it does:
Empower your inner eye stylist with these ultra-luxe eyeshadow palettes, each featuring four fashion finishes: buttery matte velvet, shimmering satin, sparkling silk, and metallic lamé. Each curated palette includes a covetable mix of chic neutral, wearable shades and provocative pops in a new super-plush shadow formulation to cover lids in lasting, velvety-rich pigment. Available in six different colorways, choose the wardrobe that speaks to you, then layer it on to make the ultimate impression.

This palette contains:
- 7 x 0.003 oz/ 0.08 g Eyeshadows

What it is formulated WITHOUT:
- Parabens
- Sulfates
- Phthalates

What else you need to know:
Beyond his fashion design, Marc Jacobs is also known as “the ultimate stylist” for making last-minute adjustments to perfect every look right before it walks down the runway. The eyeshadows in each Eye-Conic palette are inspired by textiles and layering, and come in four fashion finishes so you can be the ultimate stylist, too. Finish your look and let it stand out by layering a bright color or lamé pop on top.

Read the shade names from left to right for a short poem. The slim, seven-shadow palette was designed to feature the oblong infinity mirror, and was inspired by the rearview mirror of an automobile.

Each palette features its own shade personality:
Glambition (bare and bronze): She was infamous, known for seeking the most over-the-top glamour.
Let me preface this by saying: I don't wear too much makeup.

It's not that I don't WANT to, but two things stop me;
1. I really DON'T know how to apply it so I don't look like Mimi Bobek's little sister. (Only time THAT came in handy was during Choir concerts, since the hot stage lights muted it out a bit)
2. With the lack of saliva I have, any lipstick I have runs right off my lips and then I look like a ventriloquist's puppet, because I have makeup everywhere but my chin.

Personally, I don't think I look good with foundation, powder, and all the other stuff on, but have streaks down my chin, so I RARELY wear it. I will wear it for my videos, but otherwise I am usually just a sheer lipstick/lipgloss/lip balm and clear mascara kind of girl.

So, when I received this palette, I wan't sure what I'd ever do with it. I mean, most of these ARE colors I would wear, with the exception of 'Known For' and 'Glamour.' But again, I don't wear it enough to actively USE the palette.

^^What I received, with colors labeled^^

This palette has 4 different 'Fashion' finishes: Velvet, Satin, Silk & Lamé. But, apparently my camera didn't pick up the colors very well, so I'm going to go over them individually.

SHE WAS - Very beigish in color. I'd say it's the equivalent to a 'tan' foundation or powder shade or a 'Latte Coffee' color.
INFAMOUS - Peachy brownish shade. Much darker than any pictures show. I'd say this is a 'Coffee with Cream' coloring.
KNOWN FOR - The pictures show this as gold, but in person, it's more 'bronzy.' Very shimmery. This is one of the two lamé shades.
SEEKING - Another 'Coffee' shaded eye shadow. The photo shows it as being light, but it's more of a 'Hot Milky Chocolate' or a 'Espresso' shade.
THE MOST - Another lamé eye shadow. This is way more peach-toned than 'Infamous.' Again, very shimmery, but 'Known For' is the more shimmery of the two.
OVER THE TOP - This is more of a 'Dark Hot Chocolate'  or a 'Mocha Coffee' shade. Rich in the brown hues.
GLAMOUR - Very dark, almost BLACK in color. Perfect for the 'Smoky Eye' look that is so popular.

I really don't see disabled people having problems using this. The clasp opens easily and if you can apply eye shadow, this will be no different than other eye shadows.

This palette would make a great Stocking Stuffer for the makeup lover in your life. It is available from Sephora.com for $49.00. 5 other color choices are available through that link.

Great selection of colors, but Just not a palette I'd personally use.

**I AM A MEMBER OF INFLUENSTER. As per FTC guidelines, I received this product in exchange for an honest review. Only compensation I received is the product(s) mentioned above. All opinions are my own and your usage/results may vary.**

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Chewy Blogger - Furminator Shed Control Cloths


We’re dog and cat lovers who want only the best-quality products for our pets. And we’re always on the go. That’s why we created Chewy.com: a specialty pet retailer stocking the very best brands under one roof, with fast delivery right to yours.

Consider us your neighborhood pet store, but better. We’re knowledgeable and always ready to answer your questions. But you won’t have to lug that fifty-pound bag of dog food to your car because we’ll deliver it right to your door.
Usually, I do these in order of the months, but usually Chase has the items left over month to month, so it's easy to just give him the treats again and write the reviews as he eats them.

However, for November, I did not choose edible treats. I chose something that had a limited amount to them, so I want to get the review written before I run out.

Chase is a cheagle (Chihuahua-beagle mix) and he sheds AWFUL. I was honestly surprised how much a small dog with short hair can shed. It's seriously NOTHING for me to be picking dog hair off my keyboard skin multiple times a day!

Mama Melissa and I have tried daily brushings to no avail... seems like that only makes the sheddings worse. Only thing that controls the shedding somewhat is bathing him. But I really don't want to bathe the boy daily. It's a HUGE production getting him into the tub (complete with him hightailing it to Mama Melissa when I try to take him into the bathroom) and daily baths aren't good for his skin, even with oatmeal/moisturizing shampoos.

So, when I saw this cat version for review, I asked if they could also be used for dogs. Chewy offered to send the dog version instead, so I jumped at the offer.

^^what we received ^^

FURminator Dog Shed Control Cloths
The FURminator Dog Shed Control Cloths are a convenient solution to removing loose surface hair and cleaning your pet’s coat.

Key Benefits
~Three dimensional proprietary loop technology catches and keeps loose surface hair
~3x thicker than traditional wipes
~Reusable up to three times before disposing
~Smooth and rough dual sided to clean and collect hair
~Safe to use on furniture and clothes

As it says, the wipes CAN be used 3 times before throwing them out, but the first one we used on Chase was SO loaded with hair, Mama Melissa was NOT about to even try salvage the wipe. It was completely covered.

The cloths are 8" x 6", so they are about the size of a baby wipe. They are thicker than baby wipes, but feel just as soft. They also have a nice scent to them, so not only does the wipe take off the loose hair, but it leaves Chase smelling clean!

Even after just one use, I noticed Chase wasn't scratching as bad as he usually does. This is a huge plus for us, because Chase would sit and scratch himself raw at times.

I really don't see disabled folks having a problem with these wipes. The box and the actual bag are easy open, and as long as one can use a washcloth or baby wipe, there will be NO problem using these wipes.

The FURminator Dog Shed Control Cloths are available at chewy.com for $4.99 a box. There is also a cat version available.

These wipes are the BEST thing for loose hair with dogs. I'm in love with these wipes, and Chase seems to like them as well!

**I AM A BLOGGER FOR CHEWY.COM As per FTC guidelines, I received this product in exchange for an honest review. Only compensation I received is the product(s) mentioned above. All opinions are my own and your usage/results may vary.**

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Kuhn Rikon Ratchet Safety LidLifter

Kuhn Rikon Ratchet Safety LidLifter

Kuhn Rikon of Switzerland - the Ultimate Collection of Openers! A key category within their ever-evolving collection of tools/gadgets, Kuhn Rikon of Switzerland has developed a range of openers to rival anybody! Their portfolio includes multi-purpose gadgets that also open ring-pulls, bottles and jars, as well as devices that are designed specifically for standard cans/tins. Boasting enviable features that maximise simplicity, safety and hygiene, they are guaranteed to enhance even the most well-equipped of kitchens.

The 2-in-1 Ratchet Safety LidLifter Released in 2016, the 2-in-1 Ratchet Safety LidLifter by Kuhn Rikon of Switzerland is a can opener with a difference! The innovative ratchet mechanism is less demanding to operate than its traditional counterparts and is therefore ideal for those with limited strength/mobility in their hands and wrists. Once in place, a series of back and forth movements of the ergonomic handle will remove the lid of standard cans/tins with ease. In addition, the device opens ring-pull cans/tins without fuss courtesy of the beak on the side of the gadget. Simply slide it inside the loop of the lid and lift upwards and forwards whilst holding the can/tin firmly in position. Suitable for both right and left-handed usage, the opener possesses a number of ingenious features that separate it from the competition.

Sharp Edges and Lids - a Thing of the Past! The 2-in-1 Ratchet Safety LidLifter is a member of an exclusive club of devices that do not cut into the metal of the can/tin in order to remove the lid. Instead, it elegantly un-crimps and un-rolls the lip - a process that is an exact reversal of how the lid is attached to the cylinder of the can/tin when it is originally filled. As well as the obvious safety benefit of this mechanism, it also eliminates the possibility of metal shavings/packaging entering the food.

No Cross-Contamination - use it for Everything! The capacity of the 2-in-1 Ratchet Safety LidLifter to remove the lid without cutting into the can/tin means that the device never comes into direct contact with its contents. This ensures that the opener doesn’t harbour unwanted bacteria and prevents any potential cross-contamination between different foods. As a result, it can be used for everything - even pet food! And it doesn’t even need to be washed after usage - an occasional wipe with a damp cloth is more than sufficient.

Hands-Free Lifting! Once opened, the lid can be lifted from the can/tin without physically touching it courtesy of the 2-in-1 Ratchet Safety LidLifter’s ingenious mini-pliers/pincers.
Opening canned food is one of the things that is pretty hard for me to do. Growing up, Mommy always had electric can openers for me to use, which were a godsend when I was a young teenager and was responsible for getting my own dinner while Mommy was at work. In case of power outages, We did have the manual can openers, which doubled as a 'church key'/bottle opener. I could only use the bottle opener on those, because I didn't have the hand dexterity to turn the 'crank' and open the can.

Plus, I was so shaky, no matter how careful I was, I tended to alway get cut on the lids, whether it was trying to get them out of the can or when I was going to throw them out... most of the time, it was trying to fish them out of the can after they were cut. This was another plus of the electric can openers, since they have the magnet on top, and that holds the lid while I take the can away. But then I still ran the risk of getting cut when I had to take the lid off to throw it out.

However, when I moved to New York, all we had were the manual can openers, which meant I was either reliant on Mama Melissa or SOL if Mama Melissa wasn't here and I wanted to open a can for whatever reason.

I did review another can opener a few years back (That post is LONG gone now) specifically designed for disabled people, but the problem was it was STILL manual and STILL hard for me to turn the 'crank' with my right hand and hang on the opener with my left hand.

So, when I saw Barry Lewis' (AKA myvirginkitchen) video on various kitchen gadgets and this was featured, I promptly went to Amazon and bought one for myself.

^^Stock photo of the opener^^

^^what I received^^

It does take me a few tries to get the mechanisms lined up onto the can, which is done by sliding the pieces of the grip apart and then latching it onto the can. But what I LOVE about this opener is the handle. Once the mechanisms are attached to the can, it's a simple back and forth movement, similar to using a ratchet, to move the opener around the can. I also like the fact that I can hold this grip with either hand and still use the handle without feeling like my hands are going to cramp up.

The thing is this opener doesn't actually cut INTO the can; rather it un-crimps the lid from the can. I like that feature, since IF I had to put the lid back on for any reason (like pet foods or a recipe calls for half at a time) the lid will be a perfect fit.

There are also two metal prongs on the side of the opener, to help lift the lid from the can. Personally, I don't really like the prongs, but that's more my fault. I'm very shaky in the hands, so it's more of a pain to use these prongs to lift the lid. It's easier for me just to grab an utensil I'm already using and pry the lid up enough for me to grab it. Because the lid is un-crimped and not cut, I won't cut myself on the sharp lid edges.

This would make the PERFECT gift for anyone with a hand disability (Arthritis, Carpal-Tunnel Syndrome, etc.) or those who love to let their kids help in the kitchen, since the kids won't hurt themselves on the sharp lids.

This is available from Amazon for $16.20.

Absolutely LOVE this can opener. It's the ONLY one I will personally use when I'm cooking.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Logitech G230 Gaming Headset

Logitech G230 Gaming Headset

A pin drop. A bomb blast. Hear it all.
Games aren’t just about graphics. Sound completes the picture. Using 40 mm neodymium drivers, G230 delivers high-quality stereo sound to keep you immersed in your game from start to finish.

A soft touch for hardcore gaming
Marathon gaming sessions mean heat and sweat. We covered the G230 ear cups with carefully selected sports performance cloth for a comfortable, soft touch even after hours of use. And they slip off easily for washing to keep the headset in top shape.

Take a load off
Earpieces have been designed to be slim and light, without skimping on audio quality. A lighter, balanced assembly means you stay focused on the game. You might even forget you’re wearing a headset.

Sometimes silence is the winning move
When you want to be heard, you will be—loudly and clearly. The G230 noise-cancelling mic can be positioned to pick up your voice alone. Don’t feel like talking? Easily fold it up and out of the way.

Sound command, close at hand
Keep the mute switch and volume dial close at hand for quick, precise audio adjustments. All attached to an extra long, 2.3-meter cable.

Free-ranging flexibility
We know even twin gamers are one-of-a-kind. For a personalized fit, the earpieces swivel up to 90 degrees. And because they can turn to lay flat, they’re less prone to breakage from everyday wear and tear.
I don't consider myself a 'audiophile' by any means. When I use a headset, I just want something comfortable. I tend to wear my headsets a lot during the day, whether I'm watching my tech subscriptions on YouTube or I'm using YouTube as my personal radio station. So, I want something that is not going to hurt my ears.

So, when Mama Melissa bought her Alienware last year, she also picked up the Logitech G430 7.1 Dolby Surround Sound Gaming Headset. She really liked them, so when I was in the market for a new headset, she recommended the 'little sister' to her set, the Logitech G230 Gaming Headset.

^^The Headset in the package^^

This seriously the absolute MOST comfortable headset I've ever owned. I can easily wear these for hours and my ears don't hurt at all. Depending on how warm it is outside, my ears may get a little sweaty, but that is expected. These ear cups are noise-cancelling, so they completely surround the ear. I also like the fact that the earcups twist to lay flat. That's a life-saving feature when trying to store them on a flat surface.

My favorite feature of this headset is the volume control right on the wire. Mama Melissa and I like to share music at night and while she likes her music louder, I prefer it at a more comfortable level. The volume control allows me to set my listening level to something lower, without having to tell Mama Melissa to lower the entire volume.

Speaking of the wire, it is WAY longer than I like. It's a 2.3 meter wire, which equals 7.5 feet. I realize that the wire is technically supposed to be that long, so it can reach a console while the player sits on the couch, and it DOES have a Velcro 'cable tie' for easy management. But for someone using this headset on their computer, especially a laptop, that long of a wire is really overkill.

But that's not my main problem with this headset...

^^The headphone plug wire beginning to fray^^

The wire isn't very 'heavy-duty.' About 6-8 months after I bought this headset, I noticed the wire covering has started to 'fray' or 'peel' away from the wiring. Thankfully, it does NOT affect the sound coming through the headset. I still have stereo sound in both ear cups.

Another issue I have is the microphone boom no longer stays up on its own. I'm not sure what happened to the mechanism, but I now have to tie it up with plastic twist ties to keep it up and out of my way. Otherwise it will repeatedly fall down into my face.

The earcups are supposed to me removable for washing purposes. However, I personally haven't figured out how to remove them.

There are 3 things I think most disabled people are going to have trouble with this headset are:
~if anything breaks on them
~the length of the wire
~removing the earcups to wash them
I like to think I have good dexterity in my hands, but I have a very difficult time shortening the wire and securing it with the Velcro 'cable tie.' I also had a tough time getting a plastic twist tie to slide in between the earcup and the actual headset to secure the microphone boom in an upright position. As I said above, I cannot figure out how to remove the earcups, so I think washing them is going to be out of the question for people who have their disabilities in their hands/arms.

This headset would make a great gift for the gaming newbie, who just wants a headset to be able to interact with his or her friends while gaming and doesn't need all the fancy bells and whistles of a $250+ gaming headset.

This is available from Amazon for $29.99 or from Logitech for $34.99.

Great headset for gaming, but not the sturdiest parts.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Sippity Cocoa Mixes

Sippity Cocoa Mixes

If you’re looking for the best hot chocolate mix in America, Sippity hot cocoa mix is that choice. “Simply delicious! Wonderful! Delightful!” and “Oh Wow!” are just some of the expressions people used to describe their feelings after drinking Sippity.
The regular Sippity brand has sugar in the mix, but it really doesn’t taste that sweet. I feel the national brands have a much more sweet taste to them.

^^Sippity Regular Cocoa mixes^^

Going in the order of the unboxing video...

I would be HARD pressed to tell a difference between the Sippity brand and a national brand like Swiss Miss or Land O’Lakes Hot Cocoa mixes. Very creamy and rich.
TASTE: 9/10

Peppermint is one of my favorite flavors. Grandma buys me the Peppermint Mocha coffee creamer when she can find it.
This is what this cocoa reminds me of… or dropping a mini candy cane or Starlight mint into a mug of hot cocoa.
Not overly heavy on either flavor, but strong enough that you can taste both.
TASTE: 10/10

I didn’t taste any real chocolate in this; all I really tasted was Pumpkin Pie Spice and Cinnamon, which floated and sat on top, no matter how many times I stirred the drink.
I did like it, but I wish there was more chocolate taste in this.
TASTE: 8/10

To me, this tasted JUST like I took a cup of plain hot cocoa and let two or three large marshmallows melt into it. It was very creamy.
TASTE: 9/10

Quite a few years ago, Grandma bought a bottle of Chocolate Raspberry coffee creamer for Mama Melissa and I to share. Neither one of us liked it and it ended up going sour in the refrigerator.
So, I was honestly skeptical of trying this flavor, and actually drank it first, ‘just to get it out the way.’
And with the first sip, I was kicking myself.
I think the mistake with the coffee creamer was the fact that it was going into coffee… which was VERY strong perk coffee at the time. But this flavor was delicious. The chocolate and the raspberry flavors played nicely with each other, and the taste was not bitter, like it was with the coffee creamer.
This was SO good… I almost stole the Sippity Lite packet from Mama Melissa’s stash.
TASTE: 10/10

This was apparently a lot better than the Sippity Lite packet Mama Melissa drank. I personally didn’t get nauseated from it, but I did notice the grittiness she was talking about. I would have liked more of a cinnamon taste in this; all I really tasted was the chocolate taste.
TASTE: 8/10

Also available in our six Sippity Lite gourmet flavors, which have the same great taste as our sugar based products but with less than 2 grams of sugar per serving.
Mama Melissa is considered pre-diabetic. Her levels are controlled with pills and diet. Because of this, she likes to keep her sugar intake to less than 3 grams of sugar per item. So, I PURPOSELY requested some Sippity Lite flavors for her, so she didn’t feel left out.

^^Sippity Lite Cocoa mixes^^

Going in the order of the unboxing video...

Mama Melissa agreed with me on this, that it just tasted like a creamier hot cocoa. She thought it tasted good, and being she can’t have marshmallows anymore, she was happy she could have a way to still have the marshmallow taste.
TASTE: 7/10

So, Since Mama Melissa LOVES anything Cinnamon flavored, she chose to try this one first. She made herself a Cinnamon-Sweet Italian Cream-Mocha coffee with this, and she said the drink tasted very gritty.
Sadly, she became nauseous after drinking this mixture, so I don’t think these flavors mixed well together.
TASTE: 3/10

Mama Melissa said this packet tasted JUST like a less-sweet packet of hot cocoa. She really liked this flavor.
TASTE: 9/10

Mama Melissa said this was kind of light on the chocolate taste, having more raspberry taste. She said it was very sweet; She actually thought she accidentally took the regular version, until I told her I drank the full-sugared packet first.
She liked it, but it wasn't her favorite.
TASTE: 8/10

Grandma has recently found the sugar-free version of the Peppermint Mocha creamer, so she’s been buying it for Mama Melissa.
Mama Melissa agrees that the Chocolate Peppermint packet tastes a lot like this creamer, but she wasn’t crazy over it. She felt the chocolate taste overpowered the peppermint flavoring, whereas the Peppermint Mocha creamer is reversed; The peppermint flavor is stronger than the chocolate flavor.
TASTE: 6/10

So, Mama Melissa does NOT do anything Pumpkin Spice. She willingly gave me this one to try.
And just like with the regular packet, I didn’t taste any real chocolate in this; all I really tasted was Pumpkin Pie Spice and Cinnamon, which floated and sat on top, no matter how many times I stirred the drink.
I did like it, but I wish there was more chocolate taste in this. It also tasted grittier than the regular packet.
TASTE: 7/10

They are going to be a CINCH for disabled people to make and enjoy. The mixes come in resealable bags, so they are simple to open. The hardest thing for a disabled person may be actually pouring the hot water into the cup.

Another reason I like Southwest Beverages is their fundraising work. Southwest Beverages has an AMAZING fundraising program, too!  For churches, sports teams, schools, and any other organization that wants to raise money, Sippity® hot cocoa mix and Kemosabe® gourmet flavored coffee are high quality products people LOVE.  The unique fundraising program generates 35 % profit margins and requires no up-front costs. To learn more about their Fundraising fund raising program please visit:  http://southwestbeverages.3dcartstores.com/Program-Features_ep_132.html

To learn more about Southwest Beverages, in general, and to shop for your favorite Kemosabe gourmet coffee flavor please visit their website by visiting that link.

BUT WAIT!!! The founders of Southwest Beverages, Bob and Susan, want to give one of my lucky readers the SAME package I reviewed!

Sippity Cocoa Giveaway

Completely delicious cocoa mixes that I actually like WAY better than the national brands!

**As per FTC guidelines, I received this product in exchange for an honest review. Only compensation I received is the product(s) mentioned above. All opinions are my own and your usage/results may vary.**