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Feb 16

Apple Pay on Iphone 6

I love my Fidelity Amex card, its one of the few cards that gives ungazilimited 2% cashback everywhere, all the time and without any annual fee. The cashback is yours as long as you withdraw into a Fidelity finance account.

I was reading an article wherein someone wanted to force FIA Amex to use Apply Pay, now why the hell would you want to do that. Not only is the Iphone not the defacto standard for CC carrying people, its an extra hop and extra money. This money has to come from somewhere. Apple claims that users, developers and merchants don’t need to be worried. So it leads me to believe that banks will be paying the x% extra on each swipe.

Now I am sure Fidelity is not making a lot of money at the 2% cashback they give me, they anticipate future investments into FIA hence they are providing the 2%. The extra estimated .15% makes it a bigger loss making proposition.

So if you love your credit card cashbacks and want to see them continue, lets appeal Apple to drop the fee on Apple Pay, otherwise I for one will not promote Apple Pay and will never use it and I hope you do that too.

Image: Apple Press

Jul 12

Disclaimer : The razor was provided to us by Gillette for testing, the opinions are 100% genuine.

Folks who read our reviews know that I am a Mach 3 Turbo user, I use the disposable razor or the cartridge one occasionally breaking the pattern for my Panasonic electric razor. So when Gillette sent me this bad boy, I was thinking it would be ok but I would continue to use my Mach 3 Turbo.

So lets get to the technology behind the blade, realistically, I don’t think the blades differ that much from the other proglides and there might be a marketing spin there.

They claim it has thinner edges and low resistance coating but to be honest, I have always found my Mach 3 Turbo to also have fairly thin edges and offer very little resistance even with a week old beard.

In terms of comfort, the Proglide did adjust to the contours of my face better than the Mach 3 and much better than the Schick Hydro razor. I got zero nicks and cuts on my neck which is sort of a record for me :) I used it both with the grain and against the grain and it was effortless.

Now depending upon the cost, this has real potential to be my new razor replacing my buddy since school, the Mach 3 Turbo. Also need to see how the blades and the flexball age to confirm if this really is worth it.

[rating:4.5]


Apr 26

If you have not heard of MetroMile, you can be forgiven. Its a new age insurance company with all the glamour of being a silicon valley startup that has started a pay per mile insurance company. You basically pay more if you drive more. Makes sense, doesnt it ?

Before I move onto the gadget itself, a word of caution there. We cannot endorse the insurance company. For some reason, I could not find any review of MetroMile’s insurance products or their claims process. I even scoured their Facebook page, but unlike traditional insurance companies wherein customers are either complaining or praising staff, there was again no mention of peoples’ experiences with this company.

Metronome-device-palm

Now onto the device itself. MetroMile has developed a device which would be used to track vehicle usage. They call it the Metronome. The device fits into the OBD II port of any modern car and is ready for business. Among the things it tracks are the speed of the vehicle at all times, its GPS location and if there are any problems with the engine or not. The device also displays tripwise and average gas consumption. Any other analytics being extracted by MetroMile are not shown to end users.

The device is mandatory to be placed by all their insurance customers. But worry not, even if you are not a customer you can signup to test out their device. They will send a free unit to you and you can have access to a large variety of reports. I received my device within a week of ordering, it took me 10 minutes to install it into my 2014 Toyota Corolla. After collecting data for a few days, here is what we think of the device.

Continue reading »


Apr 04

Viva Vantage Paper Towels

A couple of weeks ago, Crowdtap sent me a few Viva Vantage paper napkins to test out. As always the units were free to test, but the opinions below are genuine.

I have forever been using Costco’s Kirkland Signature brand’s paper towels, the large quantity means I run out very few times and bi-weekly visits ensure I get more paper towels as soon as I am about to run out.

The Viva Vantage paper towels made a good first impression, the packaging certainly seems to suggest that they are a premium product, but do I care about the packaging on my paper towels, the proof of the pudding is in the eating or cleaning in this case.

I replaced the use of my normal paper towels for a week in the kitchen and also kept the Viva Vantage side by side with the Kirkland signature for a 1:1 comparison and to see if my brother too would use the Viva Vantage over the other brand.

Well here is the comparison :

1. Stretchiness – I found the claim of stretchiness a bit exaggerated. I found almost no difference in the Kirkland Signature model and Viva Vantage

2. Absorbing Power – Viva Vantage kicked some serious butt here, while the Kirkland Signature towels start dripping as soon as they encounter any non-trivial wetness, the Viva Vantages are much absorbier :)

3. Brittleness – Again the Viva Vantage here hold their own much more than the Kirkland Signatures.

4. Cleaning ability – This is again a place where the Viva Vantage wins hands down, the towels actually feel like they are scrubbing something, the other towel feels like its just wiping.

Viva Vantage

The verdict – No doubts Viva Vantage is a premium brand of paper towels and holds its own against the cheapo Kirkland Signature towels (I must confess, I dont have a price comparison ready here). Whether or not you want to go for Viva Vantage depends a lot whether you are really a frugal person or don’t mind a little extra payment for better products. Its the difference between a Dove and a Dial soap :)

I have given a few rolls out to friends and waiting for their feedback on the same.

So go ahead, give it a try and let us know if you are dumping your current brand for Viva Vantage.

[rating:4]


Feb 14

So this month Fiber One sent us a few bars to review for their 2 new flavors : Strawberry Greek Yoghurt and Chocolate Peanut Butter. This was sent via the Bzzagent program  (#GotItFree) which lets one review new and upcoming products and share the stories around them.

As regular readers of the blog know, we only promote and review healthy products. So first and foremost, this has no High Fructose Corn Syrup.

The bars themselves have a lot of whole ingredients and are full of fiber and protein. The manufacturer claims 10gm of protein and 9gm of fiber packed in each bar. Fiber One also claims they have 40-60% less sugar than comparable special K meal bars so they are that much more helpful for sticking to that diet plan.

The taste is also pretty good, you don’t feel like you are eating processed junk, on my bar I could see many whole nuts including almonds. However some of the stuff on the bar is processed.

The chocolate peanut butter flavor has peanuts, choco chips and a rich peanut butter taste, while the strawberry Greek yoghurt flavor has strawberry flavored pieces of fruit and Greek yoghurt. I personally liked the Strawberry Greek Yoghurt flavor better than the chocolate peanut butter, but hey, YMMV !

So the next time you are out these, give these bars a try and let us know what you feel in the comments below.


Dec 25

Those of you who move permanently or semi-permanently to the United States need a SSN for virtually anything in the US. This ranges from opening a bank account, to getting a credit card to getting a car loan to getting a driver’s license in the US. However if you think getting a SSN is a tough job, think again. It really is very easy  and streamlined.

Here are the steps to getting your SSN:

As of the date of publication of this blog post, the following form needs to be filled up in entirety :

http://www.ssa.gov/online/ss-5.pdf

Once you have the form filled up, land up at the nearest SSA office, for my fellow WA-ites who stay on the east side of western Washington it would be the Bellevue office.

Remember it takes homeland security some time to get your data to the SSN office so its recommended to go after around 10 business days of your landing in America.

Do not forget to carry your passport, VISA and I94 to the SSA office. Upon entering the SSA office take a token and await your turn. When you are called upon to a window answer all questions truthfully.

I got my SSN card in 2 days after I completed the process.

All tips provided here are without any guarantee, follow at own risk