Category Archives: review

Review: Men Essentials Shaving Gear

Man, I can’t wait until I have a job again, so I can shop for gear and kit again.  I was asked to review some things from MenEssentials a few of weeks back.  I’m a shave geek, so I jumped at the opportunity.  They sent me some stuff to try out in exchange for a review of their products, and I am happy to report my results.

A little about Men Essentials first, though.  They are a supplier of high-quality products for skin, face, and body-care products, fragrances, and accessories geared toward the discerning gentleman.  They carry  wide selection of some of the best-known brands in the market, as well as some interesting-looking up-and-comers.

MenEssentials sent me three shaving products to review.  Pictures and reviews after the jump.

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Calendar Plus: Indispensible!

About two years ago, I picked up a copy of Calendar Plus by Qbix, Inc. It’s a nifty little menu bar application that does one thing, but does it, both literally and figuratively, beautifully. Qbix recently updated it to version 1.9, and I want to tell you why you should spend the money on it. Click on through for my full review. Continue reading


I think I’m in love…

Ok, I’m exaggerating slightly. But the on-line librarians at American Public University System/American Military University are awesome. Get this: I sent them an oddball question about citation in the APA style at 8:30 PM Central on a Saturday night and got a response with information, details, and additional references within an hour. Then, at 7:00 PM on the following Sunday evening, I get even MORE detail and guidance!

Now, you have to understand that I ask really obscure or oddball questions, often because I couldn’t find the answer myself first. In this instance, I was trying to figure out how to cite a PowerPoint presentation with no named author, that was gathered from the Internet for my research and writing class. Between three different librarians, they were able to square me away completely for this question as well as give me resources that will be helpful in the future.

Then, as a follow-on question at 9:00 PM on Sunday night, I asked about citing what I called a tertiary source (citing one source that cited a second source when I want to use the quote from the second source. Did that make sense?) in my paper. The librarian, Neville, gives me  direction to an on-line resource that answers most of the question (see the part about citing indirect sources) which leads me to another question, which I send back.  He goes and feeds my ego (bless him. 😀 ) about asking “[y]et another on-point question” and goes on to clarify the situation that is not exactly clear-cut but is not completely off the wall.

I just want to publicly thank Neville for his patience and help with my questions. And I sent an email to the library director about him, too. 😀


Product review: iStudiez Pro

A couple of years ago, I downloaded the iStudiez Lite app for my iPad in the hopes that I could use it to keep track of my schoolwork. At that time, I was using a Windows computer, and I don’t recall there being a desktop application for the Mac. I could be wrong, but I wasn’t a Mac user at that time. I discovered that the, while the data entry was a little tedious with the virtual keyboard, it worked well enough that I bought the iStudiez Pro app for a couple of bucks. 

iStudiez is geared to real classroom studies, as opposed to the virtual/online courses that I take. You can set up class/lecture meeting times, test/quiz/exam schedules and the entire set of assignments provided in your college syllabus very easily. They set up on a calendar in the application, but those schedules don’t propagate to the main calendar app on either the iPad or on my Mac. This is my biggest complaint about the application: I would like to see my assignments on my default calendar. There are a couple of other, minor things (sorting options, grouping options, “help” improvements, default data entry selections) that I would like to see, but none of these is a deal breaker by a long shot.

What really shines, though, is the iStudiez Pro desktop application. Yes, it’s “just” a desktop version of the iPad application, but it is much easier to navigate around with a mouse and keyboard. I leave it open and sitting in my Dock so that it keeps track of the number of items pending for the upcoming week. This is by far the best thing that I have used it for, since I have a moderately busy life between work, family,  external activities, and school. The iStudiez desktop app calendar can be set to show the events that are in iCal (the Mac desktop calendar app) so that you can see what all is happening on a given day. As I said, I would like to see this all on the iCal listing, but it’s something workable.

Once you set up the class profile with instructor info, assignment info, and test/quiz/exam schedule data, you can set the desktop to sync to the iStudiez cloud, and then with your portable device via Internet connection. This goes both ways, too. You can change data on the portable device and sync it to the cloud and onto the desktop application.

When setting up your classwork information, you can give it a weight and iStudiez can automatically track your score for you. You have to manually enter the weight, of course, but this is very simple to do.

I continue to learn new and more effective ways to use iStudiez as I take more classes. Part of this is because I didn’t read the guide that the creators put up online, and part of that is because several of the components of the application just aren’t quite intended for my online-only education.

All in all, between the desktop app and the portable app, I paid less that $10.00 for the works, and I’ve been well served by the tracking functions. I think that my grades have been improved because I haven’t missed assignments, thanks to the pending count on the Dock icon. iStudiez is not a perfect app, and it needs some more work, but it is VERY serviceable as it is, and I would highly recommend it for any student looking for a way to keep track of their classes, classwork, and grades. 


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