Some of my more loyal readers may recall back when I originally “sold out” and started doing product reviews in exchange for free stuff. While I felt a bit under qualified to write that blog, I’m happy to announce I’m back in the review game and this time with the reward of free Wolves tickets. Allow me to explain. Continue Reading
It’s official. I’ve sold out.
(allow this news to soak in…you okay?…no?…ahh, you’ll be fine)
Allow me to explain. Recently I was approached by the company Power USB to review 4 of their power strips on this blog. I agree to write a little something about them, and they send me one each of 4 different types of their power strips for me to keep. Free stuff! I’m in on free stuff. Closed circuit to anyone else who wants to give me stuff in exchange for exposure on my blog: I’m interested! On to the review.
I’ve never owned or even used a product quite like these power strips. They’re so much more than a way to increase the number of outlets available to you. They come with software to allow control of three of the four outlets, including setting each individual outlet on timers with the program installed on your personal computer, which connects to the power strip via USB cable.
The computer watchdog version adds a couple features which can be useful to your PC. It can detect if your computer is hanging or crashes by monitoring the computer’s heartbeat, and you can also schedule shutdown cycles.
With the terminal block on the Digital IO PLC Controller version, you can monitor voltages with all sorts of settings that I won’t get into (because they’re a bit more technical than I care to get into right now), but impressive, nonetheless.
The Smart LCD can be programmed with a computer, but then with the built in display, control tasks can be performed locally without having to hook up to the computer again.
Things I Don’t Like
The outlets don’t support polarized plugs. Not sure why this is, but I think it seriously limits how many appliances you can use with these power strips. I also think that only four total outlets, three of which can be controlled with the software, is a bit lean for the price of these devices. I was told these were worth $400, so around $100 each, and I just think you should get more value for your money.
My Final Say
It all depends on your needs as the consumer. If you’re looking for some power strips that are capable of advanced control features, and you’re not in need of too many outlets, then you should strongly consider these power strips. If you’re the average consumer who wants some simple master/slave control of a few devices, or you need to power more than 4 devices, you shouldn’t waste your time or money with these.
Well, a while back I succumbed to all the hype of the latest fitness craze and decided to invest in the P90X home fitness system. I bought the DVD’s, a set of resistance bands, and a pull-up bar all for about $240 after shipping. It was back in June when I decided I needed to get in better shape over the summer after hearing numerous ringing endorsements from ESPN Radio personalities on my way in to work each morning. Before I list my results and show off my before and after pictures, I should mention that I didn’t exactly follow the instructions of P90X down to every last detail. First of all, I started the program in late June, and got through the first 19 days, before conflicts in my schedule caused me to stop. I then went on a mission trip to Europe, and took my sweet time to get back to the program, but I finally started over at day 1 in October. But only about 10 days into the 90, I got interrupted again since I went on vacation for about a week, and even though I got right back to business, I had one more interruption somewhere around day 65 when I went home for Christmas, but I finally did finish the 90 days just this past Thursday. I should also mention that I chose to rest rather than do the optional stretching on day 7 of each week all but 2 or 3 times, I only did the hard first half and the ab sections of yoga almost every time, and I also never once even looked at the nutrition guide. All of those things combined (and especially the lack of good nutrition) definitely contributed to somewhat disappointing results, in my mind.
I realize that me posting this on my blog could come off as somewhat pretentious, but as you’ll see in my pictures, I don’t think I have anything to be especially proud of (I could use some sun, for starters), but rather I am posting this simply because I think it will be a ploy to get more traffic on my blog. I’ve said it once, and I’ll say it again: I’m the Ricky Davis of blogging.
P90X asks everyone to take a “Fit Test” to make sure they meet their idea of minimum requirements to even begin their program, and also so you can take the test again after the 90 days to see how much you’ve improved. I took the test before I began back in June, but not again before I started in October, so I’ll be comparing before and after on the “Fit Test” from before my first go-around, and after my second time when I completed the 90 days. And strangely enough, I took my “before” pictures only before this second go-around.
The Fit Test
Resting Heart Rate – Before: 59 bpm, After: 58 bpm
Pull Ups (wide front) – Before: 1/2 (pathetic, I know), After: 1 (still pathetic, but just being able to do 1 feels like a big improvement, to me)
Vertical Leap – Before: 21.5″, After: 25.5″ (I’m fairly confident that I didn’t accurately measure this. There’s no way I gained 4″ on my vertical, because then I’d be dunking, and I’m not)
Push-Ups (max reps until fail) – Before: 48, After: 65
Toe Touch (distance reached past toes while sitting with legs straight forward) – Before: 0″, After: 5.5″
Wall Squat – Before: 72 seconds, After: 169 seconds
Bicep Curls – Before: 30 reps at 24 lbs, After: 40 reps at 26 lbs
In & Outs (ab exercise I don’t feel like explaining) – Before: 26 reps, After: 62 reps
So clearly I’m much stronger and even much more flexible. I wish I could have managed more wide front pull-ups, but at least it was an improvement. I also probably should have done some sort of warmup before my “after” fit test, but I didn’t bother. I’m pretty pleased with my improved strength, endurance, and flexibility.
Before and After Pictures
I’ll be honest, my appearance was my best motivation, and so it was really the only result that I cared a great deal about. Unfortunately, I’ve come away somewhat disappointed, but you can be the judge for yourself.
I guess the one thing I failed to mention was my weight before and after, but the trouble is that I don’t own a scale, so I have no idea if I lost weight or not. I know I’m somewhere around 200 pounds, but that’s all I can say. I also didn’t make any waist, biceps, or body fat percentage measurements either, so this results post is pretty weak sauce, and I apologize.
Here’s my final take on P90X: It’s great. I know my results weren’t mind-blowing, but I cut a lot of corners, and I know I’m in better shape. The reason why I was drawn to the program in the first place and why I believe it works is that it’s old fashioned hard work and improved diet. It’s not a goofy machine that you work on for 15 minutes a day, 3 days a week and still promises awesome results. It requires at least an hour a day, for 6 days a week. I don’t know if I’ll actually commit to doing the full 90 days again anytime soon, but I plan to use the individual workouts to come up with my own plan to work out 4 or 5 days a week and maintain what I’ve gained. I might even improve my diet, which could really help me reclaim the body I had when I was 20 (a mere 4 years ago). My recommendation for you if you’re considering P90X versus a gym membership, is to go with P90X not only because it makes financial sense, but it also demands a lot of you if you stick to the program, whereas you’re fighting your own will power to go to the gym, and you typically won’t have any direction once you get there. Finally, if you’re a fan of unintentional comedy, Tony Horton is an absolute gold mine.
Well, that’s all I got for now. Good luck if you’re out there trying to get into better shape.