Monday, July 28, 2008

Groovle - Personalize Google

If you are reading this page, it is not possible for you not to know about GOOGLE. But, did you know that you have your very own personalized google search page? What a groovey idea Personalize Google came up with! With the flood of personal blogs and homepages such as MySpace, Facebook, and Blogspot, it is truely time to have your very own Google search browser. has been a feature on many of the online tech magazines such as TechCruch and KillerStartups. Being on such magazines say a lot about's creativity and usability. With Personalize Google you can upload any picture you like for your web browser, your sweethearts, kids or pets, or you can choose one from their database. Their database of images include animals, athletes, celebrities, nature, space and sports. Usually, my wife would insist that we put our little boy's picture on everyone of our home desk and labtops. Not that my boy is not the most precious thing in the world to me, but sometimes having a change on my computer screen is refreshing. I immediately created a Google search page with my favorite athletes, and guess what my wife used to create hers? .. My son's pictures!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

My Trip to Starbucks

I've been craving for some ice-cream due to the heat the past few days and haven't really felt like eating anything else but watermelon or ice-cream. While at the grocery store, I thought I would get some ice cream since I had one too many water melon already. Haggen-Dazs was on sale for $3.50, but none of the flavors really appealed to me. Being a foodie, I enjoy flavors that have more to offer than just plain strawberry or vanilla bases. I happened to look down and see that Starbucks Java Chip Ice Cream was on sale for $2.29. The flavor sounded great and the price was wonderful, but how would Starbucks Java Chips Ice Cream actually taste?

Starbucks Java Chip Ice Cream Review: Taste

Starbucks Java Chip Ice Cream is the best
coffee ice cream I have ever tasted. The coffee flavor is rich, dark, and perfectly sweetened. The chunks of chocolate enhance the flavor and are the perfect contrast. You can also tell that this brand is made with a cream that has a high butter fat content. Starbucks Java Chip Ice Cream is the creamiest brand I have ever tasted.

Starbucks Java Chip Ice Cream Review: Texture

As I mentioned above,
Starbucks Java Chip Ice Cream seems to be made with cream that has a high butter fat content. What this means, besides great flavor, is that the product is scoopable straight from the freezer. Brands that are made with less butter fat content setup like a rock in the freezer. A perfect example of this is low-fat ice cream. Because Starbucks Java Chip Ice Cream has such a great texture in its base, that the chocolate chunks add a nice crunch and contrast.

Starbucks Java Chip Ice Cream Review: Nutrition Facts

Starbucks Java Chip Ice Cream is not
healthy by any means. But, when you're sick, do you really care? I sure don't. A serving size of Starbucks Java Chip Ice Cream is ½ a cup and contains 250 calories, 120 fat calories, 13 grams of fat, 8 grams of saturated fat, 60mg of cholesterol, 55mg of sodium, 29 grams of carbohydrates, 26 grams of sugar, 4 grams of protein, 10% of your daily Vitamin A, 10% of your daily calcium, and 2% of your daily iron.

Starbucks Java Chip Ice Cream Review: Price
Starbucks Java Chip Ice Cream costs $5.90 for a quart. This is a price I would not pay. But, my local grocery store has decided to stop carrying this product. Thus, it was on sale for $2.29. While this is an amazing product, $5.90 seems outrageous.

Starbucks Java Chip Ice Cream Review: Satisfaction Rating

I would have to give
Starbucks Java Chip Ice Cream 4 stars. The flavor and texture are unbelievable. Truthfully, I would have given this product 5 stars, but the price prevents me from doing that. If you have the extra cash, by all means buy Starbucks Java Chip Ice Cream on a regular basis. But, if you're like me, I suggest waiting until it goes on sale.

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Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Volvo XC90

 I had been eyeing the Volvo XC90 for years. I do like the new XC90. It is so much more roomier than the S60. Since I only have one child it is perfect. It comes with a 3rd row but I don't need it yet so it does have the option of putting it down. It is great because it lays flat. I looked at the new Lexus SUV and their 3rd doesn't lay flat. I thought that was horrible. What a waste of space or should I say lack there of. The Acura MDX has the 3rd row that folds down but I felt that that SUV looked way too much like a minivan which I definitly not my taste. Also the Acura MDX was way more expensive than the Volvo XC90.

gas mileage is ok. But then again it is an SUV and the gas prices are ridiculous right now. I do a lot of commuting to work and I usually fill up the tank one to two times a week for about $45 a pop. The S60 definitely got much better gas mileage than this one. I would say it gets about 18 mph on the highway and a little less on side roads. I noticed that in the summer I would get worse gas mileage than I do now that I am back to work. Definitly better to use on longer car rides.

One complaint that I do have about the XC90 is that the pickup isn't that great. The S60 had Turbo which was wonderful. It should jump on the highway and it took nothing to merge on. The XC90 doesn't come with Turbo (from what I know). So getting on the highway isn't so easy. It takes a lot of foot power to merge on. The SUV is very heavy so that is half the problem. It does come with AWD (All Wheel Drive) which is wonderful. I once owned a Toyota Celica that had rear wheel drive. AWFUL!!!!! I could never get out of my parking spot when it snowed. The wheels would just keep spinning. Stay away from rear wheel. drive. Front wheel, 4 wheel, and all wheel are really the best (IMO).

I think one of my favorite things about the
car is the choice of colors. I like the burgundy/maroon one with black leather interior. It is gorgeous and easy to clean. I also like the light/mint green with a beige leather interior as well. In all the XC90 is a stylish vehicle that comes with a sophisticated look and the room for a small family.

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Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Geico Insurance

It's time for car insurance renewal for us and I heard some good things about Geico Insurance and thought I should share it with my audience here. I am sure everyone has seen the cute little gecko commercial for Geico car insurance. They have another commercial now using a cave man; advertising that it is so easy a cave man can do it. It is easy. My friend had just seen the commercial decided to go online and got a quote. The rate was fantastic, and lower than any insurance company that he had checked that day. He did the transaction online, and faxed in the information they asked for. He was then issued an insurance receipt which he printed off from the computer. It was so easy a cave man could do it!

Last winter my had a little accident. There was ice on the road that he didn't' see and went sliding off the road and down an embankment. He might have been killed, but a tree had broken his fall. The tree wasn't very big, but if it wasn't there, the car would have gone further down the embankment and he would have gone into a stream. It was a good ways down. Anyway, he was rescued by a motorist good Samaritan who saw him go off the road.

He called Geico and the operator was helpful and courteous. Within hours the car was removed from where he went off the road and loaded onto a wrecker truck. He called Geico, and the operator he talked to was very helpful. Within several hours an agent inspected the vehicle and took pictures of the damage. The frame was bent on the minivan, so the vehicle was totaled. Geico handled the claim so quickly that he had a check within a week. He was able to go out and purchase another vehicle.

So, when you see the funny little commercial about Geico. You can believe what it is saying about Geico. My friend saved $200 a year by switching. It is so simple, even I can do it and I am no Cave man!

HSBC Online Banking

When it comes to finding a place to store your savings, you have an amazing amount of options. You can put it in a mattress, take it down to the local bank or credit union, or if you're technically savvy, you can open an online savings account. Many people have become attracted to these high-yield internet based savings accounts because they offer such a great rate of return and give you instant information about your account. Many of the major banks turned their heads after ING Direct found success by offering online savings accounts and soon followed suit. Today we are going to review HSBC's offering in the online savings account world, the HSBC Direct Online Savings Account.

With a lot of online savings accounts, you are dealing with banks that haven't been around that long and don't have a track record of success. HSBC is definitely an exception to this trend. It has been opened since 1850 and has over 400 branches throughout New York. It's headquartered in Wilmington, Delaware and has nearly 43,000 employees. There's no wonder why their slogan is "The World's Largest Bank." We all know that bigger does not necessarily mean better. HSBC has been around for quite some time, but is their online savings account a great place to put your money? Let's find out.

Perhaps the most prominent reason people consider HSBC Direct is its very high interest rate. HSBC Direct is even offering a promotional rate from time to time. In addition, the account has no monthly fees and no minimum balance, which is par for the course in the online savings world.

Another big benefit of choosing the HSBC Direct online savings account is that you can deposit or withdraw money at any HSBC ATM. If you live in the north east, this might be a big benefit to you. All money deposited in HSBC's accounts are FDIC insured up to $100,000.

Monday, July 21, 2008


WaMu. The name itself is already nifty. It takes as little as a dollar and an internet connection to get you a Savings Accounts saving account. Sounds simple enough? They offer three different types of saving accounts to suit your unique needs. The simpliest one is the Statement Savings account. No matter how much you have in this account, they will give you the same interest rate at 0.25%. Keeping $300 in your account will save you the $5 monthly charge. It is best suited for keeping your liquad cash flow since you can withdraw or deposit at anytime. If you are like me, busy busy busy, the Online Savings account could be your best choice. Similar to the Statement Savings account, except that all transactions can be done on-line. Again, you may save the $4 monthly charge if you keep a minimum of $300 in your account. Well, if you do have some money you can set aside for a whole year, then like the name of this account Savings for Success, you surely seem to be heading the right direction despite the current economy. The APY for this account is 5%. No wonder it is saving for SUCCESS!

Now, have you picked the one that best suits your financial needs on Savings Accounts ?

Thursday, July 17, 2008

There is an agent for just about any business in the world now. Like a realty agent for buying houses, Credit Cards is an agent linking you to the credit card that meets your expectations. There is a card for just about any condition. Travel card, gas card, low APR card, bad credit card, prepaid debit card, business credit card, student credit card, you name it, they have it. Once you identify your preference, you can email their customer service and they can guide you to the right card. Since I am not really looking for another credit card, I was more interested in the informational pieces they have on their site. The credit card myth debunker page was definitely worth a read. I just found out having a high credit line may not be a good thing! I also learned what trailing interest is which I was charged before without knowing such a sneaky practice has been around. With gas prices so high now I bet everyone would want to have a 5% cash back on your gas purchases. Credit Cards features Discover Platinum gas card on their site which seems most appropriate especially this summer season. The only drawback is that I don't see a phone number I can call let alone a 1-800 number.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008


What's up with all these "lead-on" websites? Forex is another one that is supposed to educate you (about trading) but hidden under all those external links on the site are links that lead you to Forex trading sites. I have never heard of Forex trading until now but it seems like a popular trade. As someone who has visited Asia twice in the last half year, I would love to have traded more foreign currencies with US dollars. Honestly, I was told that trading foreign currencies involves quite a bit of risk. Maybe that is when traders have to do a lot of research before getting into the real deal. On this site, I noticed many educational-focused articles regarding Forex trading, the few featured are "Charting a course in Forex," "Advantages of Forex Currency Correlations," and "Protecting yourself from Forex Scams." I believe the last article is definitely worth reading with so many tech-savvy criminals out there on the internet. On the flip side, the site basically reads like a total blast of advertisments. Nothing appealing for an average reader like me. Nonetheless, if you are serious about Forex trading, go visit Forex You might find it worth your time.


NY/ IT Consulting obviously operates in and for NY area. As stated, their mission is to deliver "solid, business-driven IT solutions and services and superior customer service to the SMB market in Boston and New York." If you own a small business in New York and Boston area, it is probably worth your time browsing around the services they offer. It highly promotes the idea of out-sourcing your IT department instead of operating one within your business. NY IT Consulting stresses the customization of their services to provide the best match between your business and your infrastructure. Their trademarked slogan, "technology to fit your business" says it all. They also feature on their website some of their clients' case studies as testimonies for their good services. From the appeal of the website, it seems to measure up to its claims. They even provide 24/7 customer service line for their clients which is always a plus in this world that never rests. The only thing that gets to me about this website is that their emphasis on "outsourcing" reminds me of outsourced customer service representatives of some mega mobile phone companies who cannot even speak English right or disguised their names as "Steve" or "Jenny."

Monday, July 14, 2008


There are thousands of health insurance websites nowadays out there claiming to get you the most affordable insurance, but Health Insurance does it with a twist. This website is a simple but informational website which is actually a lead-on to three other websites: eHealthinsurance, InsureMe, and Though nothing flashy, this website could answer a lot of your questions before looking for an affordable insurance. Its "glossary" page uses layman's terms to define many of the terminologies the insiders would use. Terms such as coinsurance, copayment, and deductible have been quite confusing to me at times but the website does a great job differentiating them. One of the best part of the site is the flow charts dissecting the procedure of claim process, which I had no idea what steps were involved until reading it. The site also provides a lot of helpful external links aiding insurance seekers to do their research. Their "Health Insurance News" features topics that are hotly debated nowadays. The latest one talks about the health policy differences between Presidential candidates Barack Obama and John McCain. It is no rocket science to tell which candidate Health Insurance favors. Come read it for yourself!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Jelly Beans - Oh NUTS!

Got a sweet tooth? Have we got a cool site for you! offers 53 assortments of jelly beans with over 30 different flavors. What a selection! Some of the mouth watering flavors include strawberry cheesecake, Tiramisu, lemon meringue and chocolate. If you like extraordinary flavors, they offer hot tamales, Baja Margarita, licorice, and toasted marshmallow. You could buy individual kinds or buy them in a mixture of assortments at mostly $4.99 per lb. It is to me a bit on the pricey side, but as any saavy internet shopper would do, I already found coupon codes for my favorite kinds of jelly beans. As soon as you google "" (the website that sells jelly beans) and "coupon code," BAM! a whole list of sites offering coupons for any product from would pop up.

Honestly, as a parent of a young child, I am not thrilled by the idea of buying candy for children, but jelly beans can be so much more than just candy. There are tons of activities you can do with your children using jelly beans, math, problem solving, story telling. You name it, they got an jelly-bean activity related to it. Finding those activities is just a click of a few buttons on your web browser. Again, go see what they have for both you and your children on Jelly beans.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008


Being bombarded by environmental news daily, at first I thought Aliance-Enviro is just another blog about "going green." Well, once I click on their website, I found out that it is exactly what our house needs! Professional services for air duct cleaning, mold removal, pest control etc. The site provides extensive customer testimonies that offer very positive feedbacks of Alliance Environmental Group's services. It features a "Free Report" zone where property owners or managers may request comprehensive information on different enviornmental subject matters. The most interesting service that they offer is cleaning up trama scene. I didn't know that there are professionals for such services!! In the days of CSI, who knows, someone around your neighborhood might need it. The biggest assurance Alliance Environmental Group's services are the photos that they post on the site. They have photos of their recent big projects including removing asbestos contaminated drywall and joint compounds from a four-star hotel in Anaheim near Disneyland, and elimnating molds from 19 country club homes, and cleaning up after a lime spill in the City of Burbank. Photos speak more than a thousand words indeed. The only drawback of Asbestos Advice and Removal is they only offer services in CA thus far.