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Re: Things purchased that were truly useful
Old 05-08-2004, 11:08 PM   #1
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Re: Things purchased that were truly useful

Hmm, besides dryer sheets....

I bought one of those combination screwdriver kits with a bunch of torx bits, square bits, hex bits, etc. (from Fry's). I've since placed one in just about every room in the house and every car. Very useful.

Get a rechargable maglite or two. Indispensable. Makes a good LART too.

And everybody needs a Roomba, of course.
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Re: Things purchased that were truly useful
Old 05-09-2004, 07:14 AM   #2
 
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Re: Things purchased that were truly useful

I own very few tools beyond hammer, visegrips,
screwdrivers, etc. Being the least handy man in
America, I have little need. So averse am I to doing
any thing remotely mechanical, I routinely talk
stores into selling me their floor samples on anything
requiring asembly. If they refuse, I will not buy.

Two (2) items which are
extremely useful are a battery charger and one of those
tire inflators that plus into your car's lighter. Also,
for us outdoorsy types, a decent chain saw.

John Galt
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Re: Things purchased that were truly useful
Old 05-09-2004, 10:28 AM   #3
 
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Re: Things purchased that were truly useful

Probably the best thing I have bought over the last 5 years have been my digital cameras. They have paid for themselves many times over from the stuff that I photographed and sold on e-bay. Not to mention the film developing costs. I am all done with film!
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Re: Things purchased that were truly useful
Old 05-09-2004, 12:38 PM   #4
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Re: Things purchased that were truly useful

Here are a couple that come to mind:

1) I bought a couple of goose-neck lamps that clip on to the arm of a chair - about $5 each. Put a 25 Watt bulb in each and my wife and I use them to sit outside in a screened in porch to read late at night. That way the porch remains dark - only the books are lit up. Otherwise we'd feel too exposed.

2) My house has a one-car garage with a carport. The carport has a concrete floor and 4X4's hold up the roof. I screened it in about 15 years ago. I bought a picnic table, a large piece of outdoor carpet, and some lawn furniture. All of the lumber is rot resistant and I have a solid wall about 18" high before the screen starts. One end has a removable wall. In the winter I unscrew about 6 screws, slide the wall into the carport, and park my second car in there in the winter (so my snowplow guy can clear the driveway). That is by far the best thing I ever bought. We practically live out there 6 months of the year. I can recall that the total cost for the lumber and screen was about $300. The carpet was $75. In Iowa, the bugs don't allow you to be outdoors most of the time unless you have screens. Most people have decks they almost never use because of this.

I read the original post that started this thread last night, but I don't see it today. I'd be interested in knowing where I can get the trailer the OP mentioned. I would use that.
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Re: Things purchased that were truly useful
Old 05-09-2004, 05:08 PM   #5
 
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Re: Things purchased that were truly useful

Now this is interesting. I agree with Cut-Throat that the
digital camera is a wonderful invention. My wife got a great deal on one about a year ago. I have never used
it, and indeed have no idea how to use it. Nor do I plan to learn. Same with my cell phone. I can make and receive calls. Otherwise, I have no idea how to use all the other features.
This is partly age related, partly impatience, and partly due to being a closet Luddite.

John Galt
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Re: Things purchased that were truly useful
Old 05-09-2004, 05:54 PM   #6
 
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Re: Things purchased that were truly useful

Bob,
I'm the original poster--Dory36 graciously pulled the post at my request due to a mistake I made in writing it (and I'm >>still<< having trouble logging in! I'll get the hang of this soon)

To answer your question--I bought the trailer at Harbor Freight Tools (they are in most mid-to-large towns in U.S.). Made in PRC, but all the holes lines up, everything I needed was there, etc. The bed is 4' by 8,' (get some pressure treated plywood, they don't ship that from the PRC at this price!). It's as handy as a pocket on a shirt. The link is below.

No, I have no connection to this company.

http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/cta...emnumber=90154

Respectfully,
MarkW
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Re: Things purchased that were truly useful
Old 05-09-2004, 10:12 PM   #7
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Re: Things purchased that were truly useful

A handheld GPS unit.
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Re: Things purchased that were truly useful
Old 05-09-2004, 10:32 PM   #8
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Re: Things purchased that were truly useful

Quote:
A handheld GPS unit.
Argh. I've got a pair of Rino 120's. Radio range is awful, and the battery is usually dead by the time I need it. Stick with a sextant.

My most useful electronic gadget: probably a toss up between a danger hiptop and a toshiba libretto with a GPRS card. Heroin for web junkies.
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Re: Things purchased that were truly useful
Old 05-10-2004, 02:09 PM   #9
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Re: Things purchased that were truly useful

The handheld eMap GPS and a car mounted garmin unit, both with the flash chip programmed for everything within a very long days drive of here. Priceless when I moved.

A high capacity two-wheeler hand truck. Not that expensive and being able to move your own appliances and large amounts of heavy stuff like bags of cement is a very good thing. About $35.

DeWalt 18v drill and reciprocating saw with extra batteries. On sale at sears for $180. Worth every penny for plug-in power and versatility without the cord.

Very cheap black and decker kitchen "bag sealer". The vacuum is useless but I actually get to eat all the cereal, crackers and other stuff before it goes stale. Nice for resealing bags of frozen stuff that dont come with built in ziplocks. Paid about $35 on ubid for it.

Electric "littermaid" cat box. Nice to dump the box out twice a week instead of twice a day. Paid about $40 for it on ubid.

Galvanized dog bowl that hooks up to a hose with a float in it. Essential for hot weather and dogs. Twenty bucks, clean it a couple of times a week, endless water.

Tivo. Not cheap. Records all your tv shows by criteria such as name, actors, type of show, etc. Cheap to get from Directv at about $50-100 a unit and $5 a month. I have a couple and got them for my fiancee and my parents. Recently my fiancee quipped that if her house caught fire, she'd save the tivo and then maybe go back for photos if there was time, and my dad earnestly agreed.
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Re: Things purchased that were truly useful
Old 05-11-2004, 04:48 AM   #10
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Re: Things purchased that were truly useful

White fisherman's boots(local Walmart) and at least 350' of heavy duty flexible extension cords(Ace).
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Re: Things purchased that were truly useful
Old 05-11-2004, 05:56 AM   #11
 
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Re: Things purchased that were truly useful

Duct tape.

John Galt
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Re: Things purchased that were truly useful
Old 05-11-2004, 11:52 AM   #12
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Re: Things purchased that were truly useful

Snickers bars- 5/$1
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Re: Things purchased that were truly useful
Old 05-12-2004, 07:46 PM   #13
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Re: Things purchased that were truly useful

Wow, I have NEVER felt so aware that this ER place is a GUY THING!

That said, I'll have to go with the gear-heads and say, my computer, cell phone, and digital camera.

I can't think of anything more feminine at the moment.

Anne
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Re: Things purchased that were truly useful
Old 05-12-2004, 08:15 PM   #14
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Re: Things purchased that were truly useful

Quote:
Wow, I have NEVER felt so aware that this ER place is a GUY THING!

. . .
I want to point out that I only bought my GPS unit after my wife bought her own and I saw how useful it was. (Plus, she wouldn't share it with me -- or even let me use it when she wasn't using it.)

Some other confessions about my relationship with technology: Although I worked in technology for many years, I never really embraced it much in my personal life. I've published technical books and hundreds of articles in technical journals about various aspects of wireless devices. I designed or directed the design of transistors and circuits for cell phones and other wireless products, but have never owned or wanted a cell phone myself. The company used to give me one, but I had a habit of leaving it turned off or in the desk. I still have only a black and white TV. The TV is something that one of my neighbors was throwing out several years ago. He offered it to me since I was an electrical engineer and he thought I might be able to fix it. I was able to do that after several hours in the library. I don't get cable or satellite -- just an antenna in the attic. Last year I bought a microwave oven for the first time. I almost listed that as one of the useful items I recently acquired, but decided that most people probably already took that innovation for granted.
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Re: Things purchased that were truly useful
Old 05-12-2004, 08:22 PM   #15
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Re: Things purchased that were truly useful

Hey, I'm in touch with my feminine side -- I bought a Roomba
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Re: Things purchased that were truly useful
Old 05-13-2004, 06:37 AM   #16
 
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Re: Things purchased that were truly useful

Hello Wabmester! Congrats on the "Roomba".
I don't think I could afford to feed one, and then
there are those pesky vet bills

John Galt
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Re: Things purchased that were truly useful
Old 05-13-2004, 09:02 AM   #17
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Re: Things purchased that were truly useful

JG, Roombas are scavengers, so you don't have to worry about feeding them (we're always leaving them plenty on the floor).

I found out mine has an undocumented "feature." *They have a recessed power button. *It turns out to be at exactly the same level as our door stops (you know, those springy things attached to the baseboard). *The stupid thing keeps managing to shut itself off by rubbing against the door stop. *(Our door stops all have shoes covering them now.)
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Re: Things purchased that were truly useful
Old 05-13-2004, 09:10 AM   #18
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Re: Things purchased that were truly useful

Quote:
JG, Roomba's are scavengers, so you don't have to worry about feeding them (we're always leaving them plenty on the floor).

I found out mine has an undocumented "feature." *They have a recessed power button. *It turns out to be at exactly the same level as our door stops (you know, those springy things attached to the baseboard). *The stupid thing keeps managing to shut itself off by rubbing against the door stop. *(Our door stops all have shoes covering them now.)
If you could shut yourself off and take a nap by rubbing up against a door stop, you would probably be on the floor leaning against the baseboard too. Do you think the Roomba has intelligence and is learning to shut itself off?
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Re: Things purchased that were truly useful
Old 05-13-2004, 08:00 PM   #19
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Re: Things purchased that were truly useful

Oh, I have wanted a Roomba for a long time. But listen! Aside from the rubbing and sleeping thing (sounds very suspicious and somewhat sexual to me), does it work? Do you really get to quit vacuuming?

Inquiring minds LONG to know.

Anne
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Re: Things purchased that were truly useful
Old 05-13-2004, 08:31 PM   #20
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Re: Things purchased that were truly useful

My roomba shuts itself off on the door stoppers too. Duct tape fixed it.

The roomba has good and bad parts. Its quite good on hard floors, picking up about 90-something% of the stuff over 90-something% of the area. Surprisingly good at wiggling into tight spaces and corners. Mine walks all around the table and chair legs.

This is the dumb part about initial roomba ownership. The first three times I used it I walked around after it with a cup of coffee watching it do its thing.

Ok but not terrific with very low pile carpets like stores use on their own floors.

Not so great at deeper carpet. Quite good at picking up hair on it but the vacuum strength isnt good enough to retire the original vacuum. It also eats the tassels on rugs and becomes stuck on them. Any other item like shoestrings, dog or cat toys, yarn, etc, and its similarly doomed. It did impress me by picking up half a pencil and getting it into its trash tray.

I found I had to do so much "floor prep" that I was just as well off taking out the giant vac and just kicking or pushing things aside as I go. I do however throw the roomba in the bathroom, shut the door, and go do something else while it cleans that for me.

The little funeral dirge it beeps when its out of power is also quite amusing.

You can also do funny stuff like put it on the couch and watch it try to walk around and not fall off. Doesnt do a bad job of removing pet hair from the cushions.

The dogs, who mortally fear the regular vacuum, dont like it but wont leave the room unless it comes at them. The cats cautiously stalk it from room to room.
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