Dogs vs Cats

Which Make Better Pets? Dogs or Cats?

A rather 'cute' kitten
A rather ‘cute’ kitten

Don’t make the mistake of choosing the wrong pet. It might seem a little out of the ordinary to do a comparison pet review, but that is exactly why I decided to do a review on dogs vs cats. There really is nothing too ordinary about Product Review Ratings. I strive to keep things different and to offer, perhaps, a slightly different perspective for consumers and the products they seek. Besides, when someone tells me I can’t do something, I take that as a challenge. So, when I heard, “You can’t put a rating on people’s loving pets!”. My response is, “Oh yeah, watch me do it.” There are other reasons. Over the years, I’ve observed that there is a bias against cats in our society and it is mostly caused by ignorance or lack of experience with cats. Have you ever asked a dog owner if he/she likes cats, then been told, “No. I’m a dog person.” (As if you can’t like them both)..Very illogical reasoning isn’t it? To suggest, “I’m a dog person, therefore I can’t like cats”, is like saying, “I like hamburgers therefore I can’t like Hot Dogs.” Considering many people do have both cats and dogs and enjoy them both equally as pets, you wonder why they still use this, “I’m a Dog Person Excuse.” This argument also seems to suggest that cats and dogs don’t get along.

Dogs and Cats
Dogs and Cats

This is totally untrue. Cats and dogs that are raised together and accustomed to living around each other make very good friends.  I’ve seen my cat hanging out in the neighbor’s driveway with her two dogs quite often. My deceased, Yellow Lab and Cat, Carson (pictured left) were best friends. I think the real reason that non-cat, dog owners say they are a dog person is simply because they never owned a cat. They don’t know cats. I asked this question of my co-worker who told me he was a dog person. His only answer was that he never owned a cat except when he was a small, child and he didn’t remember much of it.  I answered, “If you never owned one or remembered owning one, how do you know you don’t like cats? ” He answered, “well, my wife doesn’t like cats”, to which I asked, “Why doesn’t your wife like Cats”, to which he answered, “Well, she’s a dog person”…..ahh, get the picture? My own wife, who has loved cats for the last 25 years, was also one of these persons who thought she didn’t like cats. She admits that she was afraid of them because she didn’t understand them. I’ve known many other dog owners who changed their mind once they got to know how wonderful these creatures are as pets. I don’t think cat owners without dogs display this same bias and ignorance of dogs. Usually, cat owners love both animals. The only reason that most non-dog-owning cat-owners don’t have a dog is that they don’t have the time or yard-space to give one the attention it needs. Cats are the more independent creature, so naturally, some people who really prefer to have a pet, make their choice a cat. Cats don’t come with many restrictions, which is not to say they aren’t lovable, worthwhile pets. Cats or Dogs? No, it’s not an either-or proposition, but let’s get onto the comparison review, anyway.

Which is Cuter? A Kitten or a Puppy?

There is nothing cuter than either a kitten or a puppy. Puppies are irresistible. They whimper to be held. They have floppy ears and clumsy little bodies and they love to cuddle and sit on your lap. They just beg for affection. Kittens, at a very early age are fully coordinated. They can fly through the house, jump on your bed, climb the drapes and wreak havoc on your household. Their orneriness is what makes them so cuter. When Kittens get tired, they jump on your lap, rub up to your face and purr. This category is just too close to call:
Kittens vs. Puppies Cuteness: Even

Which animal is smarter? A dog or a cat?

I think dogs have more of a human intelligence. They can show shame and embarrassment when they do something bad. Cats just look indifferent when you make them mad, as if to say, “yeah, what of it?”.. Dogs can learn tricks and be taught to obey. There are people who say they can train their cats, but I have yet to witness this miracle first hand, so I remain skeptical. Most cats are not nearly as trainable as dogs. Cats, though they don’t exhibit some of the same train-ability and obedience of dogs are just as intelligent, but in different ways. Cats can survive and hunt on their own. What they don’t show in emotion, they make up for in reasoning. For example, getting just close enough to a fierce looking dog, but calmly staying out of harm’s way as it goes crazy barking. I have a cat who hates shots and knows the vet when he sees her. All she has to do is walk in the house, and he’ll find an immediate place to hide. Our yellow lab, on the other, loved it when the vet came over because it meant extra attention. She would tolerate a shot for some extra human attention any day of the week. My Yellow Lab would also somehow be able to sense several minutes ahead of time when guests were about to arrive. We were amazed by this feat many times. A great deal of a dog’s intelligence is the ability to track your scent. This is another contest that’s too close to call.
Dog vs Cat Intelligence: Even

Which Animal is More Loyal? A Cat or a Dog

A Very Loyal Dog
A Very Loyal Dog

For once, I think we have a clear winner. Dogs get the sizable nod here, but not by as much as you might think. Our loyal, yellow lab once gave up her breakfast and eating all day to sit by my wife’s bed side when she was sick. On the other hand, a cat of ours once spent the entire day by my side comforting me when I laid in bed with a ruptured disc in my neck. Still, there is nothing like a dog when it comes to loyalty. Dogs will give up their life for you. The cat has it’s limits with loyalty.
Loyaly of cats or dogs: Edge to Dogs

Which Animal is More Independent? A Cat or a Dog

Nothing could be easier than taking care of a cat. Kittens, as young as 6-8 weeks old, use the litter box the instant you take them home. Some dogs learn quicker than others, but most of them take several weeks to potty train. You can leave cats at home for a few days on their own, with their litter box, water and dry food and they’ll be fine. Dogs are like your little kids. They need constant care. However, some of this advantage is offset by the fact that Cats don’t like to go places with you when you need them to. You can’t just put them on a leash and walk them around.
Independence: Dog or Cat? Edge: Cat

Comparing Cats vs. Dogs even further

Expense wise, dogs are probably a little more expensive to keep and maintain, especially if you choose a big dog.
Big dogs can protect your house and warn you of danger. Cats are better at just hiding when danger is near. The average life of a dog is 12-16 years. Cats 16-21 years. I used to think that it was much sadder saying good-bye to an old dog than it is a cat. That sentiment changed after I had a couple of cats that lived to a very old age that we had to put down. I’ve had two different cats that made it to age 21. Both cats and dogs are pets that we become equally attached to. We make them part of our lives and they love us back in return – but in different ways.

Cats Vs. Dogs: Final Results

Please rank dogs vs. cats from 1-to-10

Also, you may leave your own comments at the bottom of the page.

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Black and Decker Oven

Black and Decker Oven
black-and-decker-toaster

Black and Decker Toaster Oven Review

This Black and Decker Oven is the replacement for the Europro Appliance that I reviewed a year ago. It may have been a lousy toaster oven, but it sure didn’t last very long. Just as well, I got sick and tired of always having to monitor it like a little toddler to prevent it from either burning my toast, or under-toasting it. The Eurorpro Toaster Oven was complete garbage. One morning, it decided to stop turning on at all. No Power, no toasting. Goodbye, good-riddance, I say. My wife insisted we replace it, so she went to Kohl’s and found something new in the way of a Black and Decker Toaster Oven.

Introducing the Black and Decker

Black & Decker used to be known for making tools, not toaster ovens. Like any other household appliance though, this product is made in China not the Black & Decker Factory that made your father’s electric power drill years ago. This Black and Decker Toaster is the model CTO4300W and cost $59.00 at Kohls. One distinguishing feature on the B&D Toaster is its deep, 12″ Pizza capacity. I like the way the large, 12″ cooking tray slides out as you open the door, whether it’s for toast, pizza or anything else. There are three large knobs :

  • Temperature Settings Knob that goes from 150 – 450 F
  • Bake Function Knob with four settings: Keep Warm, Bake, Broil and Toast
  • Timer Knob which ranges from 0-50 minutes

How well does the Black and Decker Toast Bread?

With the Temp set on high, the function knob on toast, I gave it a whirl. There is a little black toast icon graphic right under the 10 minute mark indicating how dark you want your toast. Just above the off switch is a clear toast graphic indicating how light you want it. I don’t like the guessing here. Why not A digital setting like a microwave for a toaster oven? It would help me make perfect toast every time. Also, I don’t like the way you are forced to turn the knob past the 20 minute mark, then back to the desired setting to get the toasting started. The good news is that it actually works and using the 2-3 minute guess, made perfect light-brown toast the way we like it. I made toast every day for five days and never had the problems I did with the Europro where it wouldn’t shut off, or stay on long enough. The Black & Decker actually does what we paid it to do: Make Toast!

Additional Functions and Features

The Black and Decker oven also comes with four very convenient rack positions. There are only two slots, but by inverting the included racks, you can have a choice of four different positions for toasting, broiling, baking or keeping things warm. This particular Toaster Oven includes a slide-in and out baking rack, as well as a drip pan for catching your pizza grease, cheese and meat drippings. Unlike, the shallow, Europro, the deep, solid Black and Decker Toaster Oven actually gives you the confidence that you really can cook just about anything. You can roast garlic and onions, bake a pizza, chicken and fish or reheat a sandwich, toast hot-dogs and just about anything else you can think of – yes, you can toast bread with the Black and Decker Toaster Oven and it won’t burn it unless you want it to. I was somewhat impressed with the user’s manual which is actually printed in clear, concise English with plenty of instructions and guide for how long to cook vegetables, meats, pizza, toast, etc., etc..

Quality, Materials and Construction

I do think this is a pretty well-made toaster oven. The parts inside are made of solid metal and ceramic and the plastic dials on the outside seem as though they are of good workmanship. I am a little skeptical about having to turn that dial to the right past the 20-minute mark, then to the left again to get toast started. That seems like a lot of wear & tear for a product made in China. We’ll see how that holds up. The trays slide out for easy cleaning. Nothing gets jammed or is difficult to remove or replace. It’s a breeze to use this toaster oven. So far, I’m happy with the black and decker oven that replaced the Europro disaster.

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Starbucks Via

starbucks via
Starbucks Via

Starbucks Instant Review

How does Starbucks VIA compare to the Real Thing?

If you like the taste of bitter, burnt-tasting candle wax with a hint of smoky coffee flavor, you’ll love the new Starbucks Via Ready Brew Coffee.

Describing Starbucks Instant Coffee

Starbucks Via is conveniently packaged and that is probably the nicest thing I can say about it. A single serving comes in a little 3-Inch foil package.  You could easily fit a dozen of these individual packets in your pants pockets and be armed for coffee all day long, wherever and whenever a cup of hot water is available. Just add 8 ounces of boiling water and you have a pretty strong cup of something that almost resembles coffee.

How Does ReadyBrew Taste?

Trust me on this: A cup of Via is about the farthest thing from a real, fresh cup of Starbucks that you can possibly get. Even an inferior Grocery Store Brand of Ground Coffee tastes better than this. If there is one other thing I will say in it’s flavor: The Via Ready Brew does make a very dark, strong 8 ounce cup of coffee and you can feel the jolt from the caffeine just as you would expect from Starbucks ordinary coffee.  I have not tried enough of the other varieties and brands of instant coffee to rate how Via Ready brew compares, but I can say with absolute certainty that it is does not replace my craving for a cup of freshly brewed coffee – and it is not even in the same league as the coffee that Starbucks brews in its stores. It is somewhat surprising, how something in such a small package can be so condensed. When you first add boiling water, the Starbucks Via turns frothy in your cup. When the frothiness dissipates you are left with a coal-black cup of coffee that leaves some sediment on the sides and bottom of the cup.

Flavors

As of this writing, I have tried Via Ready Brew in two flavors: Columbian and Italian. I thought both were similar, but my preference leaned ever so slightly to the Italian flavor. The Columbian tasted like coffee that was left burning in the pot too long. It seemed way too dark for Columbian. The Italian flavor, on the other hand, almost succeeded in resembling the dark, smoky characteristics of a European Roast.

Value and Price of Starbucks Instant Coffee

Starbucks Via Instant Coffee is over-priced. I paid $9.95 for a 12-pack. That averages out to about .83 cents a cup. That is roughly half the price of one of Starbucks fresh-brewed tall for a cup of Coffee that’s not half as good.

Conclusion

I’ll use the remainder of my 12-pack of Via Ready Brew for emergency situations and pass on buying anymore unless someone convinces me that Starbucks has come out with this great new flavor that I have to try.

Give us Your Opinion

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Aspire One Netbook Review

Since I last reviewed netbooks, the number of new choices and models has increased 10-fold while the price has decreased on average $100-$150. Surprisingly, technology and performance have remained roughly the same. The Aspire ZA3 is based on the Z520 Processor, one of Intel’s newest, low-wattage CPU’s made specifically for small form factor PCs.

What to Like about the Acer Aspire One Netbook

  • Battery Life
  • 11.6″ Screen
  • HD 1366-768 Resolution Screen
  • 160GB Hard Drive
  • Full-Size Key keyboard
  • Build Quality
  • Thin, Sleek, Great Looks
  • Sub-$300 Price Tag
  • Web Cam

What Not to Like

  • Windows XP Home OS
  • Slow Processing Speed
  • Low, 1GB Memory
  • Installed Junk Software and Bloatware

Details, Specifications and Performance of the Acer Aspire One Netbook

The ZA3 Aspire One Model was equipped from Costco with a Z520 1.33 Processor, 3-Cell, 6-hour Battery, 160GB Hard Drive, Web-Cam and Windows XP Home. Also included was a 60 day trial of Office Home and Student and a permanent version of Microsoft Works. Out of the box, the Aspire one looks and feels great. The full sized keys on the keyboard are a real asset for a netbook this size, and they feel good and solid when you press them. Unfortunately, the excitement turns into the need for plenty of patients as you wait for Windows XP Home to boot up and go through the initial user-setup for the first time. The Atom 1.33 Z520 Processor is one of Intel’s newer, energy-saving, portable processors. While I appreciate the longer battery life, the speed doesn’t seem to be quite as good as the 1.6 used in the first generation of netbook CPUs. To make matters worse, Acer has preloaded the netbook with a bunch of worthless bloatware in the form of McAfee Virus Scanners and games. No way should a netbook be forced to use a processor, task-intensive virus scanner like McAfee. To further test my patience, Windows XP Updates and McAfee began running at the same time, which brought the poor Aspire One Netbook to its knees. I could not complete a single task until the updates were done. As soon as they were, I uninstalled McAfee, then downloaded and installed my favorite, free AVG Anti Virus. I also removed the 60-Day Office trial and all of the unneeded games. The result was the difference between night and day. The Aspire One Netbook actually became a usable computer and I was able to boot and surf the web much faster. Still, doubling the RAM would really help. Unfortunately, there is only one RAM slot, so the 1GB chip will have to be removed and thrown away, in place of the 2GB one I plan on purchasing for it. Once the unneeded software is removed, the Aspire One provides adequate performance as long as you are not

Conclusions

I am not a fan of XP Home or really any of the Windows-Based OS’s on these netbooks. Having owned an i-Phone, I’ve grown to really appreciate the simplicity of it’s icon-launched interface. A Netbook would be well suited for the same type of Operating System. Putting a bunch of programs on a Netbook cripples the performance and greatly diminishes the reason for owning one. The purpose of an ultra mobile computer is to allow you to be productive on the go, not to replace your more powerful laptop or desktop PC. At the very least, maybe manufacturers like Acer should start encouraging software developers to produce more efficient, mobile-type applications to market with their low-priced netbooks. They should be talking to the Apple I-Phone Apps programmers.

Despite any gripes and complaints, the Acer Aspire One ZA3 Netbook, offers quite a few more pluses than minuses. The larger, high definition, 1366×768 screen really stands out from others as does the look, build, quality, appearance and keyboard. The performance is sufficient once you get rid of the unneeded bloatware. Keep in mind, the Atom Z520 is a single-core processor, so it’s going to feel pretty sluggish if you are performing multiple tasks, such as running software updates at the same time you are using or installing other programs. For surfing the web, checking your email, writing letters and other simple office tasks, the Z520 will suit you just fine, especially with an additional gigabyte of memory.

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