Let’s Talk About… Net Neutrality #NetNeutrality

Let’s Talk About NET NEUTRALITY!
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LG V30 Review: First Impressions


LG V30 Initial Impressions:
Neat back, but smudge prone
– Long wait time with simple HDR shots (can’t move)
– Lots of mistaps in Camera app
– Not sure LG’s design modification layer is cohesive
– Not sure every app looks clean with the curved corners
– Inclined to replace Launcher
– Knock code unlock
– Hide software buttons in apps
– Camera has tons of options
– Generally Smoother than iOS
– Very responsive screen
– Lens covered warning in camera app
– Very wide angle lens
– App Trash feature
– Blazing fast internet on T-Mobile
– Not too many redundant apps
– Could customize hardware experience with own software
– Nice audio recorder experience
– Battery charging time left

Razer Phone Thoughts Outright, the Pixelbook Has Arrived!


Google Pixelbook and Pixel Pen Unboxing LIVE! 5:30pm Pacific: https://www.youtube.com/chrispirillo/live

TLDR! The PixelBook and Pen have arrived, we talk about the new Razer Phone, iPhone X reviews, my transition to the Pixel 2XL, and everything else outright!
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What is the Most Fuel Efficient Convertible in America?

What is the Most Fuel Efficient Convertible in America?Legend has it that when spring rolls around, many a young man’s fancy turns to love. Of convertibles. There’s nothing quite like motoring about on a beautiful day in the countryside with the top down. Of course, this strange affliction hits a wide range of women as well. Unfortunately, this spring looks like it might test our patience with skyrocketing fuel prices once again, and the higher the price of gasoline rises, the less we’re apt to go out for a ride, just for the sheer joy of it. What we really need, what we really, really need — thank you, Posh — is a highly fuel efficient convertible.

Thankfully, Volkswagen has listened to our prayers and has brought a remarkably fun, unique, and economical droptop to our shores. A convertible unlike any seen before in America. A convertible that doesn’t use any gasoline at all.

Before you get excited about the possibility of an electric convertible, you’ll have to cool your Jetsons jets. This little critter doesn’t use gasoline, because it uses diesel fuel.

“What’s that,” you say, “a diesel convertible? Surely you jest!”

Say hello to my little friend, the fabulously fuel-efficient 2013 Volkswagen Beetle TDI convertible.

The 2013 VW Beetle TDI’s 2.0-liter turbo-charged inline four-cylinder “clean diesel” engine pumps out lots of torque and uses just a wee bit of fuel. That’s 236 foot pounds and 28 city / 41 highway miles per gallon (MPG) if you’re into numbers. (While the 140 horsepower rating may seem modest, it’s torque that really matters.)

Although the Beetle TDI is not blindingly fast, it will push you back in your seat. With your choice of a six-speed manual or dual-clutch DSG automatic, this little critter bangs out the shifts at a rapid pace.

Oh sure, the little Bug’s MPG ratings might not appear to be high at first glance, but VW TDI drivers are legendary for their ability to exceed the “official” government estimates through their use of proper driving techniques. The TDI loves to drive past service stations by virtue of its generous driving range, which is further enabled by a 14.5 gallon fuel tank.

So now you’re asking, “what’s clean about diesel?”

Today’s modern diesel engines aren’t sooty. They don’t smell. And as VW puts it, “Clean diesel vehicles meet some of the strictest standards in the world.” Walk past an idling TDI and you wouldn’t know it’s a diesel, other than the distinctive engine clatter. Truth be told, TDIs do sound different from their gasoline-powered brothers, but they’re not obnoxiously loud, by any means.

Volkswagen offers the Beetle TDI convertible in three retro trims — ’50s, ’60s, and ’70s — to suit your whims, along with a the standard style. A Fender-branded sound system with all of today’s modern amenities (hands-free Bluetooth, USB input, SiriusXM satellite, and a sub-woofer) is available, along with goodies like three-level heated bucket seats. (Which are fantastic for those days when you should have your head examined for driving around with the top down.)

The Beetle is surely not for everyone, but other convertibles can’t touch it for fuel efficiency. The MINI Cooper and Fiat 500 Cabrio are among the closest.

Perhaps one day we’ll see a fully electric Fiat 500e Cabrio, but until then, the Beetle TDI is the most economical of the lot. For those who would prefer a hybrid convertible, you’re out of luck. There isn’t one available. You’ll just have to take a Sawzall to the roof of your Aunt Edna’s Prius. Never mind the loss of aerodynamics or her ire.

If you want to celebrate the season in style, a ragtop can’t be beat. Pay no attention to what the thermometer says. Ignore today’s wind chill factor. Punxsutawney Phil has spoken (well, sorta). We’re two weeks into a six-week sentence, and spring is just around the corner.

Source: MPG-o-Matic’s 2013 Volkswagen Beetle TDI Review

Image: 2013 Beetle Convertible by Volkswagen

Winter’s Effect on Hybrid Fuel Efficiency

Winter's Effect on the Fuel Efficiency of the Toyota Prius, Ford C-MAX, and Other HybridsIf you live in a part of the country (or world) where it gets cold in the winter, you’re likely to have experienced a drop in your vehicle’s fuel efficiency. The colder it gets, the harder your car or truck works to get up to an optimal operating temperature, and the more gasoline it consumes in the process. This effect is even more pronounced in hybrid vehicles due to the nature of their drive trains. The drop in cold weather mileage can be substantial.

There are a number of reasons why cars get poor gas mileage in colder temperatures:

  • Engines are significantly less efficient when cold. Oil thickens at lower temperatures, increasing friction.
  • Increased idle time, whether at morning warm-up or while sitting in parking lots (in order to keep the cabin heat flowing), wastes gasoline.
  • Gasoline is a cocktail that changes depending on the season. Winter gasoline formulas differ from summer formulas, in that they may contain butane and other chemicals that can effect fuel efficiency.

Popular Mechanics has an excellent article on the differences between summer and winter gasoline. Blame it on the RVP…

The different grades of gas are measured on a system of RVP, or Reid Vapor Pressure, which is measured in pounds per square inch (PSI). The higher the RVP number of a particular gas blend, the easier it is to vaporize and the worse it is for the environment. All gasoline blends have to be below 14.7 PSI, which is normal average atmospheric pressure. Any number higher than that and gasoline would become a gas.

The summer-to-winter MPG difference is even more pronounced with the hybrids.

I recently spent two weeks testing a 2013 Ford C-MAX Hybrid and witnessed the climate-driven drop in fuel economy, first hand. I documented individual commuting segments, taking note of the effects of outside temperatures on mileage. The colder it got, and the shorter the commute distance, the tougher it was to get close to the official specs. (While I have not personally had the opportunity to test the Toyota Prius for winter fuel economy, you’ll find a good number of discussions in the forums about the winter MPG drop.)

So what’s the cause of the drop?

Hybrid vehicles need to fully warm up in order for their electric drive trains to function optimally. Blame it on safety. With advanced hybrid systems, the gasoline engine needs to start up instantly. If the engine is cold, that could present an issue, so the software prevents the system from going into full hybrid mode until the engine is properly warmed up. Better safe than sorry.

The cold weather’s effect is most pronounced in hybrid vehicles that are used for relatively short commuting distances. With a short commute, the engine may not reach operating temperature (and the hybrid system may not be fully functional) until later in the abbreviated driving cycle. With a longer commute, the engine warms up earlier in the cycle. If a warm up takes five minutes and your drive to work is 10 minutes, your hybrid drive train will only be operating at peak efficiency for 50 percent of that time. If your drive to work is 25 minutes, your drive train will be fully functional for 80 percent of that time. I’m not advocating taking the long way to work, but it’s a numbers game.

There are two basic ways to speed up the warmup. If you can keep your hybrid in a garage overnight — tucked away from the cold — it will take less time to warm up to operating temperature. If you have access to an electrical outlet and can have an optional engine block heater installed, you’ll be in even better shape.

I’m not an advocate of either long warm ups or simply slamming the car into drive seconds after the key’s been turned (or the start button’s been pushed, as the case may be). I prefer to let the vehicle have a short warmup to get the juices flowing, so to speak, before taking off. Start the car, put on your seatbelt, adjust the mirror, turn on your tunes, and you’re good to go in half a minute or so. If it’s so cold that you need to deice the windows, that’s a whole ‘nother issue (and all the more reason to keep the car in a garage, if possible). Needless to say, it’s a blessing to have heated seats in the wintertime.

A number of Toyota Prius owners have taken to using grille blockers in colder weather as a way to reduce the amount of freezing air that enters the engine compartment. This practice has been going on for years with cutting-edge Prius owners and it appears that it may be catching on with some new C-MAX owners, as well.

Image: Frozen Car shared by dmvyanks (via Flickr)

Technologies That Irritate Us All

Technologies That Irritate Us AllFrom the time that our smartphones, tablets, and alarm clocks wake us in the morning, most of our daily lives are controlled by technology of some type. For the most part, we have embraced technology and have become dependent on computers, smartphones, tablets, and other devices to complete our daily activities. These activities, whether completed at home or work, consume most of our day and we have come to accept this as being normal. But not all of the technologies that surround us are friendly, and some are just plain annoying. Here are a few that I find irritating and worth mentioning.

Automated Phone Systems

Automated answering phone systems were designed to get you to the right person, but also to save the company that employs such a system money. When the automated answering phone systems were first implemented, the choices were limited to one main menu. By pressing an assigned number, you were directly connected to the right department or person for assistance.

Over time, the automated phone system has been enhanced with further refinements that have added sub-menus to the structure and then more sub-menus — supposedly as a series of improvements. If you accidentally press an incorrect number, you might be directed to another number that will take you back to the original menu, where the insanity begins again.


Voice Recognition

Not being satisfied in tormenting us with an endless list of menus and submenus, the next form of torture added was voice recognition. Normally, a woman’s voice would ask us to spell our name, or provide a membership number, or date of birth, and this usually ended up being slaughtered by the unknown voice. No matter how much we tried to pronounce the spelling or number, or how slowly we spoke, the voice kept getting it wrong. If you’ve encountered any of these systems recently, you’ve probably noticed that they haven’t gotten much better.

Auto Correction

Another technology that annoys me and that has become my enemy is auto correction. In fact, I have sent and received some unintelligible messages because the application overrode what was initially typed and made a correction that was not approved. I must admit that I enjoy the way the program does suggest words for me, and I find this helpful. But please, don’t change what I type without my permission. It is just plain annoying.

Touchscreens (Sometimes)

Touchscreens are perfect for most of us, but for some, a smartphone or tablet is beyond their physical abilities. For folks who suffer from arthritis or other physical abnormalities, owning a touchscreen will not work for many of them. Even for those of us who have no such physical limitation, we recognize how sensitive touchscreens can be. I have one friend who suffers from Parkinson’s disease and even using a stylus is problematic for him. We need some type of a concentrated effort to make touchscreens more user friendly for those who are handicapped.

Obscure Defaults

My last irritant is a rather simple one, and that is making changes to settings and forgetting what I did. It would be highly appreciated if all programs had a reset button to undo any changes — one setting at a time. A return to default factory settings would still be a nice option, but the ability to “undo” a setting or two that was changed in the past would be even better.

So there you have it. My list of pet peeves and annoyances. What about you? What technology is most irritating for you to use?

Comments are welcome.

Source: HubPages

CC licensed Flickr photo above shared by MattHurst

Kickstarter: New Bike Seat That Won’t Bust Your Buns

Kickstarter: New Bike Seat That Won't Bust Your BunsFor anyone who has ever ridden a three-speed or higher-geared bike, it is a well-known fact that the seat is usually uncomfortable and leaves much to be desired. Reflecting on that point, I have heard some male bicycle owners, despite their desire for a bicycle designed for light weight and speed, describe their ride as being a “bun buster” when it comes to comfort. To address this issue, there is one company that is building a new type of bike seat that should provide users with a more enjoyable seating experience.

About six months ago, my wife and I decided that our 12-year-old grandson needed a new bike. Like with all tweens, he had been on a recent growth spurt and was beginning to complain that his knees were hitting the handlebars despite the fact that I had previously adjusted the seat and handlebar heights to their maximum settings. Once we knew that there were no other options, my wife started to do some online shopping to find a used bike. We were fortunate enough to locate one on craigslist from someone living in our area. We purchased it and presented it to our grandson, who was thrilled with its shiny appearance but complained about the seat, which he stated was super hard and uncomfortable on his rump.

In an attempt to find a solution to this problem, I spoke with my son-in-law who lives in Texas and happens to be a bicycle enthusiast. He confirmed that the standard seats that normally come with the higher-end bikes were not made for the comfort of the rider. Being a professional rider, he was also quick to note that the replacement seats were very expensive and still may not provide the comfort level than a non-racing enthusiast may like.

As I am still looking for alternative seats, I was interested when I found a new bicycle seat that was being offered by Kickstarter and appeared to offer comfort, design, and performance. The seat is called BodyFloat and the inventors claim that this is one seat that can “just save your ass.” The inventors also claim that the seat reduces the vibration and jarring that is normally experienced by a rider using the standard seat, thus eliminating most of the fatigue and stress placed on the rider’s joints. Additionally, BodyFloat is said to be easy to install since the seat comes in various sizes and lengths. For flair, it is also available with assorted colored springs and graphics.


However, as we all know, a manufacturer will always claim to be better than its competition. As in this case, there are other bicycle seats on the market that claim to offer equal comfort and performance improvements. So why would anyone consider the BodyFloat seat?

The folks at BodyFloat have addressed this question and believe their newly designed seat is better for some simple reasons. First and foremost, they claim that their bicycle seat will dampen road shock better than any other brand on the market, therefore providing the user with a more comfortable ride. This, in turn, results in the claim that by enjoying a more comfortable ride, the rider will benefit from less fatigue. Finally, less fatigue should transfer over to the rider noticing improved energy levels, which in turn should transfer into better pedaling power and speed.

My son-in-law thought that this seat would be worth a try and, since he owns several racing bikes, I am confident that he knows what he is talking about. However, after taking a look at the bicycle seat specifications, do you think this seat will be more comfortable than the standard seats available?

Share your thoughts with us.

Comments welcome.

Source: Kickstarter

The 35 MPG SUV? There’s a Catch

The 35 MPG SUV? There's a CatchDespite the rise in gasoline prices, many Americans are reluctant to give up their sport utility vehicles (SUV). The comfort and convenience of these vehicles are treasured traits among families with cargo-hauling needs. The automakers have been transitioning their offerings from traditional body-on-frame truck-based SUVs to unibody car-based crossovers, but regardless of the under-body architecture, many folks still refer to the entire class of vehicles as SUVs.

When it comes to fuel efficiency, sport-utes face the triple-whammy of transportation physics: weight, aerodynamics, and drive train. Quite simply, they’re heavier and less aerodynamic than most passenger cars. Just as important, all-wheel-drive (AWD) and four-wheel-drive (4WD) drivetrains are a drain on efficiency, when compared to two-wheel-drive (2WD) setup.

The irony is that while most folks need the cargo capacity of a (gasp) station wagon, they do not need the ground clearance of a 4×4, nor the off-road capabilities. Yet that tall stance and gas-sucking drive train are de rigueur with most current crossovers, even as the class becomes more sleek and rounded than their SUV predecessors.

The manufacturers have responded to the demand for better gas mileage by downsizing conventional engines and with a smattering of hybrid drive trains. The downside to hybrid technology is the added cost and the fact that hybrids are most fuel-efficient in city driving and at lower speeds. Electric motor assist isn’t a big help at highway speeds. If you have a lot of ground to cover on the freeway, your dollars may be better spent elsewhere.

Enter the 2013 Mazda CX-5. With the entry-level Sport version rated at 35 miles per gallon (MPG) highway, the SKYACTIV-MT 6-speed overdrive manual transmission-equipped 2013 CX-5 is the most fuel-efficient crossover sold in America today for open road cruising. While the MPGs are high, there are a handful of things you’ll have to do without, like AWD and a fancy leather interior. But you won’t have to shell out a lot of cash.

Although the CX-5 Sport version is available with either FWD or AWD, only the FWD model is available with a six-speed manual. And that’s the rub. The manual FWD CX-5 is rated at 26 city / 35 highway miles per gallon, the FWD six-speed automatic is rated at 26 / 32, and the AWD automatic is rated at 25 / 31.

Mazda’s suite of SKYACTIV technology encompasses the engine, transmission, and aerodynamics and is designed to wring more miles from every gallon, without sacrificing driveability. If you enjoy changing the gears with a stick shift, the CX-5 is bound to bring a smile to your face. With 155 horsepower (HP) and 150 foot-pounds of torque on tap, the CX-5’s 2.0-liter SKYACTIVE-G engine delivers. It’s not fast, but it’s fun to drive.

On the interior tech side, the CX-5 provides standard USB and audio input ports, along with three 12-volt outlets (see video). Although there are standard steering wheel-mounted audio controls, hands free Bluetooth (for phone and audio) are optional at this trim level. A nine-speaker Bose Centerpoint Surround Sound audio system is only available in the Touring and Grand Touring models. If you’re a true tech/audio geek, this shouldn’t be an issue as you’ll likely be looking at aftermarket head units, anyway.

The CX-5 Sport starts at a very reasonable $20,995 when equipped with the six-speed manual. Opting for the six-speed automatic raises the price to $22,395. The base 2013 FWD Ford Escape S, by comparison, starts at $23,295 and is rated at 22 city / 31 highway. The more fuel-efficient Escape SE and SEL are outfitted with a 1.6-liter EcoBoost engine, rated at 23 city / 33 highway, with a starting price of $25,895. The Escape is only offered with a six-speed automatic.

The bottom line? If you want the highest highway mileage you can get in a crossover, enjoy driving a stick shift and price is a significant factor, the 2013 Mazda CX-5 Sport delivers a compelling package.

Do You Know How to Drive a Manual Transmission?

Do You Know How to Drive a Manual Transmission?I learned how to drive a manual transmission before I learned to drive a car. It was a natural back then, as a much higher percentage of cars sold in America were equipped with manuals. I started out with the lawn tractor and a few motorbikes before tackling the family car. Over the decades, out of a dozen or so vehicles, I’ve only owned two with automatic transmissions. I’ll keep driving manuals until I need to get my hips and knee joints replaced. And I’ll go right back to ’em after I heal up.

The first automatic was an old Pontiac, and it was my first car. It was equipped with a two-speed Powerglide transmission. You read it right. Two speeds: high and low. Old paint would take first gear all the way up to 80 miles an hour if you were on it good. (At least that’s how I remember it.) With the advent of seven- and eight-speed automatic transmissions today, it seems amazing that we got by with just first and second.

I sold the automatic Pontiac to buy the same exact car — same year, same model — with a four-speed manual complete with a Hurst shifter. I got more hoots out of that car than any kid should for $350. In all the manual cars I’ve owned, it was the only one that needed to have the clutch replaced. I freely admit to burning rubber from time-to-time, but burning up clutches is no fun.

The second automatic was a Dodge pickup truck that I bought brand new, about 10 years later. I wanted a manual transmission, but the dealer didn’t have any on the lot and he refused to order one for me. “Why would you want a manual transmission?” he asked. Why, indeed — this guy just didn’t get it. I should’ve walked right out of that dealership, but I was young (and foolish) and ended up with the slushbox. From the time I drove off the lot, I was never happy with the truck, but I learned an important lesson. If you’re the one stuck with making the payments, get what you really want or you’ll regret it.

So, since that time, I’ve always bought manuals.

Manual transmissions connect you with the soul of the car. You’re not just the pilot; you’re part of the machine. Automatics disconnect you from decision-making. Manuals give you full control. Yes, manuals are a lot more work in city driving, in heavy traffic, and on hills. Man up.

Casey Neistat shot my favorite “learn to drive stick” video of all time.

Never tell a first-timer to release the clutch and apply the gas simultaneously. That’s bad teaching; it’s too complicated. Simply apply a small amount of acceleration, then slowly let up the clutch. Just like that, you’ll take off. So easy a 13-year-old can do it.

And that’s just it. The best place to learn how to drive a vehicle with a stick shift is a big, empty parking lot. Face it. You’re going to make mistakes. You didn’t fall out of the womb with the ability to hoon like Ken Block.

Modern automatic transmissions are quite good, but they’re not quite the same as a stick shift. Even with faster shifting mechanisms and slap-stick or paddle shifters that allow you to override the pre-programmed controls, almost all automatics lack the visceral connection of a manual.

The wicked fast dual-clutch automatics found in some BMWs, VWs, and the Mitsubishi Evo and Ralliart are notable exceptions. Continuously Variable Transmissions (CVTs), on the other hand, are widely railed against by purists as being completely soulless. I’ve grown accustomed to driving them, but hey, rail away if you want.

I don’t have any hard statistics to point towards, but it seems like the manual transmission is inching back in both relevance and purchase consideration. As an example, the percentage of manuals to automatics in the tiny Fiat 500 has been higher than expected. While this is common sense with a car of its ilk (small and sporty), it’s been widely reported that Chrysler hadn’t planned on the manual’s popularity.

Rest assured, it’s not just sports cars. You can buy a good number of SUVs with manual transmissions these days, but you have to know where to look. Driving an SUV or Crossover doesn’t mean that you have to give up the clutch pedal. As with the Unicorn Dodge Pickup I bought years ago, your local dealer may still be hesitant to stock models with manuals. The Internet is your friend. If your local dealer doesn’t want to get it for you, the next guy will.

Europeans might make fun of Americas for referring to the manual transmission as a stick shift, but that’s life. They can thank us for all the blue jeans, as long as they don’t expect to buy a pair made in America.

Interested in learning more about SUVs and crossovers with manual transmissions? Here’s a list!

The Toyota Prius C Delivers Bang for the Buck

It’s a common misconception that hybrid cars are too expensive. Many folks believe that the initial added cost of a hybrid drivetrain cannot be recouped over time. While that may be true in some cases, in others it is not. Case in point: the Toyota Prius C. In other countries around the world, the Prius C is marketed as the Yaris Hybrid. Here in America, Toyota chose to play off the greenish glow of the Prius nameplate. But never mind the name. When you get down to it, the Prius C is simply the best Yaris that Toyota has ever sold.

The conventional Yaris is both inexpensive and fuel-efficient. In extensive road testing with two different Yaris (a 2008 Yaris S Sedan and a 2009 Five-Door Liftback), I’ve found that its official fuel economy ratings are conservative. If you drive this little critter with a light foot (and under the right conditions), you’ll be rewarded with gas mileage that will substantially exceed the EPA numbers. When I tested the 2009 model, I was left asking the question, “Is there a conspiracy to hide the fact that the 2009 Toyota Yaris five-door hatch delivers remarkable fuel economy?”

With the Prius C hatchback, the reward is amplified. The true beauty of the most efficient full-hybrid systems (like those used by Toyota and Ford), is that light-footed drivers can exploit their potential to great effect. A little bit of gliding goes a long way.

The 2009 Toyota Yaris Five-Door Liftback is rated at 29 city / 35 highway miles per gallon (MPG), while the 2012 Toyota Prius C is rated at 53 city / 46 highway (with an overall average of 50 MPG). I was able to achieve an average of 43 MPG highway and 38.1 MPG combined in the conventionally powered Yaris, while the Prius C delivered an average of 52.7 MPG on the Interstate highway and 57.8 MPG combined. I flew past the estimates with both vehicles, simply by driving conscientiously. (Note: the 2012 Yaris is rated at 30 city / 38 highway, a bit better than the 2009.)

The hybrid’s advantage in the city is positively huge, but it only begins to tell the whole story. Inspired by Chris Pirillo’s mobile vlogging, I decided to take the Prius C test car out for a small town and back country cruise, while covered with cameras. I wanted to see how high I could push the car’s overall fuel economy numbers without resorting to any dodgy driving techniques.

Can You Really Get 65 MPG from a Prius C?

The resulting split screen video (shown above) clocks in at nearly 27 minutes. If you’ve wondered how hybrid cars work and how to get great gas mileage from them, take the time to sit back and watch (from multiple angles) as I demonstrate a bunch of techniques that can be used to wring more miles out of every gallon — without infuriating other drivers on the road. Once you learn how to back off on the pedal and get your glide on, your fuel economy numbers will climb.

Some things happen automatically — like the stop/start system at traffic lights — but others can take a bit of finesse to fully optimize their potential. Rest assured, it doesn’t take a long time (or much effort) to adopt a fuel-conscious driving style. You don’t have to drive like Grandma or hold up traffic. The Prius C’s LCD dashboard provides you with all the clues you need to thwart those thieves at the gas pump.

The 2012 Toyota Yaris starts at a Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of $14,115, while the Prius C starts at $18,950. (By contrast, the 3rd Gen Prius’ starting MSRP is $24,000.) The added cost of the C buys more than just the Hybrid Synergy Drive System.

The Toyota Prius C Delivers Bang for the Buck

There’s plenty of tech content in the C. All four 2012 Prius C models offer include keyless entry, hands-free Bluetooth, and USB and audio input jacks. Prius C Levels Three and Four feature a six-speaker, 6.1-in. touch-screen Display Audio System with Navigation and Entune and Bing. Entune apps include iHeartRadio, MovieTickets.com, and OpenTable.

Getting great gas mileage is all about when, where, and how you drive, no matter what you drive. The Prius C gives you all the tools you need for optimum fuel efficiency.

As I say in my full review of the Toyota Prius C at MPG-o-Matic: “Whatever you call this pint-size five-door, it’s the most fuel stingy four-passenger vehicle sold in America, when measured dollar-for-dollar. If you have plenty of road to cover, with much of it at lower speeds and in traffic, the Prius C will slash your fuel bill by a considerable amount … even more so if you make the effort to drive it properly.”

Dog Food Delivery?

While there are lots of things that make you run out of the house at the last minute, for a dog owner, dog food has to be at the top of the list.

Think about the number of times you’ve had to make a last minute trip to the market, just to keep Fido fed. How many times has that happened over the last year? How much time did you waste on that trip? How much gasoline did you burn? How many extra impulse items did you throw into the proverbial cart on your way to the checkout line?

Perhaps it only happens two or three times per year. Perhaps it’s not a big deal.

Although our dogs seem to enjoy the occasional bowl of Crunch Berries, I’ve never dared to try Raisin Bran for fear of the potentially disastrous results.

A well-stocked dog food cupboard ensures that Spot will never go hungry. Buying dog food in larger quantities ensures a lower cost per meal. Taking a pragmatic approach saves time and money.

Of course, few folks want to keep fifty pounds of dog food on hand at all times. This is why a systematic dog food delivery system makes sense.

If ten pounds of dog food show up on your front stoop on a pre-determined schedule, you’ll never run out.

If you negotiate a competitive price up-front, you won’t have to spend time clipping coupons. The pooches will be provided for and your budget will be that much easier to keep.

Chevy Cruze ECO: Is America Ready to Shift (Again)?

It’s been said that approximately ten percent of the new cars sold in America today are equipped with manual transmissions, with the numbers slipping dramatically over the years. Have Americans become too lazy to shift gears for themselves?

Enter the 2011 Chevrolet Cruze ECO.

The Cruze ECO uses a tiny turbocharged 1.4-liter four cylinder engine and advanced aerodynamics to achieve superb fuel-efficiency. The difference in mileage ratings between the manual transmission-equipped Cruze ECO and the automatic are dramatic.

When equipped with a six-speed manual transmission, the new Chevy Cruze ECO is rated at 28 miles per gallon (MPG) in the city and 42 MPG on the highway. The MPG numbers drop dramatically to 26 city / 37 highway in the automatic-equipped Cruze ECO.

Gearing makes all the difference.

Tensions in the Middle East are only likely to push gas prices higher. With gasoline prices flirting with the $4 per gallon mark in some parts of the country, will the huge boost in the manual Cruze ECO’s fuel-efficiency convince folks to put aside their lazy automatic ways? Or have we simply become too complacent?

Resource: 2011 Chevy Cruze ECO Review

Do Fuzzy Slippers Impact Productivity?

I’ve been working from home for longer than I want to remember. Things tend to blur from one day to the next, from one week to the other, from month-to-month, and dare I say it, between years. When you have a home office, the daily ritual of getting dressed for work can slip by the wayside.

Never mind those fancy shoes and tie, just slip on the fuzzy slippers.

While a commute from the kitchen to the spare room may seem like an impossible dream for most folks, it’s a reality for millions of home workers around the world.

I can’t remember the last time I had to go to the dry cleaners, but I have gone through a few pairs of fuzzy slippers over the years.

This, as it turns out, is not a good thing.

One of the most important lessons I’ve learned is to get out of the fuzzy slippers and into a pair of real shoes.

The gut test of time has proven the point: I’m far more productive while wearing real shoes. With socks.

I have a theory, based on years of (highly) informal research …

The ritual of finding a pair of socks (even if they’re not matching), putting them on, and slipping on those shoes (rarely with laces, thank you), is a trigger that tells the mind a work day has begun.

Sitting at your desk while wearing a pair of fuzzy slippers sends an internal message that you’re not really at work and encourages a wandering mind.

I may avoid wearing a tie at every opportunity, but I’m happy to save the fuzzy slippers for those times when I’m truly not at work …