LivingSocial Valentine’s Day Gift Ideas

LivingSocial Valentine’s Day Gift Ideas

 

Romantic Valentine’s Day Gift Ideas

Order now and get your gifts in time for the most romantic day of the year!

 

8″ Memory Foam Mattress – $299 with Free Shipping! Save 78%

Luxury Bamboo Sheet Set – 12 Colors – $29 ($159 List)

Extendable Selfie Stick with Bluetooth Remote – Only $19.99!

Sterling Silver Handmade Script Monogram Necklace – $29.99

 Editor’s Pick: A “World’s Best” Luxury Napa Resort + Spa: Calistoga Ranch, Calistoga, CA

 

10 Groupon Valentine’s Day Gift Ideas

10 Groupon Valentine’s Day Gift Ideas


Best of Groupon 2015

 

Find Unique Valentine’s Day Gift Ideas at Groupon

Here are a few of my favorite Groupon deals for Valentine’s Day gifs, but be sure to check things out for yourself to see them all.

 

1. Cookie Bouquets from Corso’s Cookies (Up to 55% Off)

2. $49.99 for $105 Worth of Custom and Regular Bobbleheads from AllBobbleheads.com

3. One or Two Canvas Photo Prints from CanvasOnSale (Up to 85% Off). Five Options Available.

4. Flowers and Gifts from FTD.com (50% Off). Two Options Available.

5. Valentine’s Seasonal Cigar Samplers from Mike’s Cigars – 78% Off!

6. $69 for 15 Bottles of Wine from Splash Wines ($234 Value)

7. $99 for the 3-Month Beer of the Month Subscription from Clubs of America

8. Charm Bracelets with Swarovski Elements from $15.99

9, $21.99 Chocolate Lover’s Valentine’s Single-Serving Coffee Variety Pack; 40ct.

10. 65% Off – SOL REPUBLIC x Motorola DECK Bluetooth Speaker from $69.99

 

Trend Setter Sling TV Launching Now

Trend Setter Sling TV Launching Now

A new era in cord cutting and streaming media has begun!

Sling TV is sending out its invites to sign-up and a few reviews are already out to show you a bit more about this cutting-edge streaming media service.

The first video covers Sling TV’s basic features and the second one is more in depth.

To Sling Or Not To Sling?

The crazy thing is, I don’t need Sling TV, but I want Sling TV. Why? It’s new, and I’m a geek. That doesn’t mean I’m a millennial, which is who Sling TV is really geared to entice.

I think Sling TV will also appeal to anyone who enjoys the app experience on their Roku 3, Amazon Fire TV, or similar. I liken it to one-stop shopping or fast food. More and more, we’re all looking to streamline our home entertainment and if we can click a simple app – we’re in!

I’ve been very happy with my  Mohu Leaf 50 antenna and streaming media services from Netflix, Amazon and HuluPlus, and I really don’t want to spend an extra $20 a month one media entertainment.

But I’ll be giving Sling TV a try for at least one month and reporting back.

If you can’t find me…I’ll be in front of the TV.

 

Amazon Prime Deal For New Members

Amazon Prime Deal For New Members

New Amazon Prime Customers Only

It’s rarely seen anymore, but the elusive ‘Prime Membership Deal’ is currently available on Amazon!

If you’ve never been a Prime member before I suggest you do this to maximize your benefits on this deal.

 1. Purchase the deal: 1 Year Amazon Prime Membership (New Prime Customers Only) – $72 (Reg. $99) it’s found at the top of the page and while considered a gift card, it’s really a code. Set it up to be delivered to you for activation at any time you like. Immediately or in the future.

2. Opt in for the FREE Trial of Amazon Prime (1 Month I think…) to enjoy it BEFORE ACTIVATING your purchased membership. 

Get your FREE Amazon Prime Trial!
3. Right before the FREE Trial ends, go into your Account and opt out and you won’t be immediately charged the usual $99 yearly fee.

To get there, go to the upper right hand side of any Amazon page once you’re logged in, and go to Your Account in the drop down menu.

In the Orders section go to the column on the far right labeled ‘More Order Options‘ and find ‘Manage Prime Membership‘.

This will take you to the area where you can opt-out; found on the left side of the page.

If you have issues, just contact Amazon Customer Service – they are great about this sort of thing and always aim to please the customer.

Hurry if you want this awesome deal as Amazon may pull the plug on it at any time if the response is too hot and heavy.

Remember, enjoy the freebie before you activate your gift card code!

Amazon Prime Membership – Free Trial

Virtual Private Server VPN Service Worth Having

Virtual Private Server VPN Service Worth Having

Recently I’ve taken my own internet security more seriously.
    
In addition to consistently using good antivirus software (I like Webroot and use this product on my PCs: SecureAnywhere Internet Security Complete 2015 5 Device 1 Year PC …) , doing frequent scans for both virus’ and malware, I’ve signed up for a virtual private server service that gives me access to a Virtual Private Network (VPN) with encrypted internet access.
    
Private Internet Access is inexpensive and provides me with an essential layer of online protection for banking, social media and streaming video on my home network. (Being a cord cutter, this is vital to me!)
    
Check out my book: Simple Guide to Over-the-Air Free TVif you want to learn how to cut the cord too.
    

Why Do I Need A VPN?

In the simplest terms, using a virtual private server means that I keep my IP (internet protocol) address – unique to my location – private. It makes things tougher for hackers and gives me an added layer of online protection.
    
For example, If I choose a VPN server in New Jersey and I live in another state, anyone who sees me online thinks I’m in NJ.
    
As an added bonus, if I want to make my server selection for a country outside my own, I can then access media websites in that country as though I lived there. If I choose a UK server, I can access the BBC iPlayer, while I can’t if I am using a US server.
    

Without a VPN connection from the US, this is what I see.

Without a VPN connection from the US, this is what I see.


    

Private Internet Access: Inexpensive & Works Well

    
After a lot of research I decided to sign-up for a year’s worth of service from Private Internet Access. They’ve consistently impressed me with their virtual private server network’s speed and stability, in addition to their budget pricing.
    

Buy VPN

    
The download and setup was quick and easy, and my plan gives me a year’s worth of protection for up to 5 devices for less than $40 a year! (They have monthly plans too.)
    
As an added perk, I’ve noticed that when I use certain servers I get even faster internet speeds than my internet provider says I’m supposed to get with my internet plan, pushing me into ‘gigabit’ internet speeds. A very sweet deal, with consistently fast, stable connectivity.
    
If you’re interested in checking this service out, click through the banners to read more, and if you sign up, you’ll be buying me a cup of coffee too. (Thanks in advance! 😉 )
    
Buy VPN

New Year’s Resolution #1: Savvy Storage Solutions for the Pantry

New Year’s Resolution #1: Savvy Storage Solutions for the Pantry

pantry organization

Perfect Pantry Organizer

 

The  DecoBros Supreme Stackable Can Rack Organizer, Chrome Finish was a great storage solution for me in my pantry. Each rack holds up to 36 cans of the 12-14 ounce size, but the racks are customizable so that smaller cans and even plastic containers of condiments like mayonnaise can be strategically nestled on the racks.

I used these racks on separate shelves, but you can also stack them if you have a taller space. The rack measures:17-1/4″ W x 13-1/4″ D x 13-1/2″ H and is super easy to put together in about five minutes. Six plastic dividers are included to help you make rows appropriate to the cans you have on hand.

One rack is about $25 and you can get it shipped for free with Prime shipping.

 

 

Check out a bunch of inexpensive, creative Kitchen and Pantry DIY Hacks HERE and get inspired to organize in 2015!

 

 

Amazon Fire TV Stick is Perfect for Cord Cutters

Amazon Fire TV Stick is Perfect for Cord Cutters

I own a lot of streaming media devices. Among them is a  Chromecast, Roku 3, Apple TV, Blu-ray player with apps and a Sharp Smart TV (which lacks the Amazon app…), but the Fire TV Stick really stands out with its speedy ASAP launching of streaming content in HD, mirroring capabilities, game selection and a rock bottom price.

 

The fact that it allows users to enjoy 7.1 surround sound is a huge perk too!

 

Especially when using this device on a TV hooked up to a 7.1 AV receiver with compatible speakers. Enjoying music services like Amazon Prime Music and Pandora becomes a true pleasure using this device.

 

The Fire TV Stick is a super easy way to add Amazon Instant Video services, Netflix, and Hulu Plus to any HDTV or monitor with a HDMI port via a WiFi connection.

 

A wonderful gift idea, it’s one of the easiest ways to access a ton of movies, TV shows, documentaries, music and games, for very little money!

 


 

PERFECT FOR CUTTING THE CORD

 First, full disclosure.

 

I ordered the Fire TV Stick during a special promo for Prime members that offered the device for $19 with a limit of 2.  I jumped at the chance to be one of the first Amazon customers to give this one a go, receiving the Fire TV Stick just yesterday. Currently Amazon is accepting orders, but indicating they won’t be shipped until January 2015. (Not really ideal timing on their part for the Christmas holiday, but something tells me they’ll bump up production and surprise us.)

 

In for two, I anxiously awaited their arrival.

 

Upon unboxing I found all the pieces I needed in working order, and simple instructions on how to set it up.  A nice bonus was the HDMI extender adapter that came with the product. Helpful if you have a HDTV with a HDMI connection that wouldn’t otherwise allow for the Fire TV Stick to be inserted.

 

Currently I have one Fire Stick attached to a bedroom HDTV and the other is connected to my a monitor in my home office.  Both devices are connected to my home network that is powered by a TP-Link wireless router connected to Charter high speed internet at 60 Mbps.

 

I’m a cord cutter.

 

Cord cutting means I don’t have cable or satellite TV, I use the internet and over-the-air TV via a Mohu Leaf 50 HDTV antenna for my entertainment. (I actually wrote a book about how to cut the cord called “Simple Guide to Over-the-Air Free TV”.)

 

I have used many streaming devices, but none have had ASAP (Advanced Streaming And Prediction) as this one does. Whatever it is, it makes a tremendous difference on the speed with which videos start to play. No buffering or waiting for video to load with the Fire TV Stick. A great perk!

 

IT’S NOT COMPLICATED

Even non-techy types will love this device!

 

The Amazon Fire TV Stick is built with high tech hardware inside, but it has a simple user interface that isn’t complicated to setup and use. Take it out of the box, plug it into an available HDMI port on a HDTV or monitor and get started.

 

You need to know your wireless network password and if you’re a subscriber to Netflix, Hulu Plus, Amazon or other subscription service you’ll want to have those passwords handy too when you get started.

 

From unboxing to setup it should take less than 15 minutes to plug it in, setup your network connection, update the device software, watch the intro video and start picking out your apps.

 


 

READY TO HIT THE ROAD

 

 Did you say ‘road trip’?

 

The Fire TV Stick is highly portable and once your apps have been loaded into the memory on the device, you can unplug it and take it with you to a friend’s house, on vacation or off to college. You’ll just have to enter the wireless password for any new networks you want to hook up to at your new location.  Your subscription service information and apps will be retained by the device.

 

Paired with an Amazon Prime subscription the Fire TV Stick is incredible in terms of the amount of content that’s available and readily available at any location in the US.

 

Throw in a Netflix subscription ($8 a month after 1 month free trial) and a Hulu Plus ($8 a month after a free 7 day trial) and you’ve got a plethora of entertainment for very little money.

 

NOT THE SAME AS THE FIRE TV, BUT CLOSE

At only $39, the Amazon Fire TV Stick is a great deal and very much like the more expensive Fire TV.

 

 The Fire TV Stick doesn’t have the voice activation feature installed on the included remote that the Fire TV does, but you can get a free Android app to gain that feature through your smartphone or buy the updated voice remote, on Amazon. (This remote works with the Fire TV too, and is paired with the devices in Settings.)

 

Amazon Fire TV Stick app

Download for FREE in the Amazon Appstore

 

The device is limited in that it has 8 GB of storage space, that is actually 5. 57 GB when you consider the operating system takes up some of it. Not really the 8 gigs promised.  When you start downloading apps and games, that storage space is reduced without a way to gain more without removing installed apps.

 

In future Stick versions I’d expect Amazon to offer different storage size or options.  Although the use of Cloud storage for Amazon Music and Photos is integrated and readily accessible on the device, so maybe not? The device does not have the ability to add more storage space via a microSD card or similar.

 

The dual core processor isn’t as fast as the Fire TV, but for this low price point and features, who really cares?  It’s definitely faster than Chromecast and the Roku Stick, with a lot more features and easier to use.

 

 

——————————————————————–

 

PROS:

 

  • Low Price
  • Ease of Use
  • Highly Portable 
  • Large Number of Apps
  • Types of Apps: Streaming Video (Netflix, Amazon Instant Video), Music (FREE Amazon Prime Music) & Games
  • Android & iOS Remote Apps Available for Voice Input
  • Fast, ASAP Launching of Content
  • 7.1 Dolby Digital Surround Sound (when streaming media supports it).
  • 1GB Memory with 8GB Storage
  • Dual Core Processor
  • With Fire Phone or Tablet you can ‘Fling’ Content to HDTV.
  • Mirroring of Android Tablet or Phone via Fire TV Stick; in Settings. *Miracast certified.
  • View Photo Slideshows on HDTV via Device.
  • Prime Music (for Prime members) Can Be Streamed as can Pandora.
  • Similar functionality to Amazon Fire TV without the big price tag!
  • Ability to use Bluetooth controllers.
  • Parental Controls
  • Game controller is available on Amazon.
  • Cool screensaver feature.
  • Connects to laptops, monitors and HDTVs via HDMI for viewing on the go.

 

 

CONS:

 

  • Remote, if lost, costs $15 to replace.
  • Slide to insert batteries into the remote is very difficult to get open.
  • You cannot thwart the opening video upon setup.
  • Device automatically registered to purchaser; can be changed at setup.
  • Applications are automatically setup to send App Usage Data to Amazon; can be turned off in Settings.
  • 8GB Storage is actually a little over 5GB.
  • Software updates may be slow.
  • Downloading apps takes up space on the device, versus most used apps like Netflix and Amazon Instant being installed prior to shipment.
  • The remote is small and easy to lose.
  • Fire TV Stick gets warm to the touch when in use.
  • Game play is not great with the included TV remote; get the game pad (not included).
  • Uses Wifi, no wired internet option. (Not a real ‘Con’ to me, but it’s worth a mention.)
  • No HBO GO app; not an issue for those without HBO.

 

 

NOTE:  While I did list some Cons, none are significant enough to make me dislike this budget priced streaming device with abounding features and performance.

 

———————————————————————–

 

FAVORITE APPS

 I could go on and on, but these are the apps I immediately added to my Amazon Fire TV Stick and think you might enjoy.

 

You’ve got several genres of apps within the video apps to choose from on the device. Some are free while others require a purchase or a subscription. You have the option to add Video, Game and Music apps on the device.

 

My favorite apps for the Amazon Fire TV Stick:

 

  1. Netflix – 1 month free is awesome, and at only $8 per month it’s totally worth it.
  2. Hulu Plus – 7 days free, and only $8 per month; great option to those who don’t have a DVR.
  3. Pluto.TV – It’s free online and with the app. Gives you tons of fantastic content both for music videos and programming. If you like HGTV programming, comedy programming, cooking shows and sports – get this one.
  4. TuneIn Radio – worldwide radio stations are so fun!
  5. Chicchild Fish Aquarium – turns your TV or monitor into an aquarium, complete with gentle filter and bubble sounds.
  6. Red Bull TV – if you like extreme sports, check it out.
  7. Docurama – Documentaries of all kinds; very educational.
  8. CBS News – Get the highlights of the evening broadcast without commercials.
  9. tubi tv – Fraggle Rock episodes. Need I say more?
  10. All Recipes – It’s food porn. YUM!
Amazon Fire TV Stick Size

Check out how small the Amazon Fire TV Stick and remote really are, using this SD card reader for comparison.

 

 

SO MANY REASONS TO BUY IT

 I can’t think of any reason you wouldn’t want to get this device and try it out. The Amazon Fire TV comes with a 30 Day Money Back Guarantee!

 

The Amazon Fire TV Stick is so much more than the Chromecast (which lacks the Amazon App and access to both Amazon Music and Instant Video) and Roku Stick (only 256MB of flash memory compared to 1GB with the Firet TV Stick) devices which are sold at close to the same price point.

 

The simple user interface, guided setup and fast performance are a pleasure to use, and I’m still shaking my head at how inexpensive this thing is!

 

The Fire TV Stick comes with a 1 year warranty, and a 30-Day Money Back Guarantee. If you don’t ‘love it’, you can return it in new condition for a full refund.  (Trust me. You’re gonna love it!)

 

If you want to, you can buy a Fire TV voice remote and pair it with the device in settings. Alternatively, you can get the FREE Android or iOS apps to use voice commands via your phone or tablet.

 

Assuming its durability is good, it’s going to please many, many consumers.  I’m very impressed with this device and happy to recommend it to cord cutters and non-cord cutters alike.

 

Order the Amazon Fire TV Stick today.  You won’t be disappointed!

 

————————————————————————–

 

SPECIAL NOTE REGARDING TRAVEL PER AMAZON…

 

“If you’re traveling with Fire TV Stick, you can access apps and games you’ve downloaded to your device.

 

With a U.S. address and credit card, you’ll also be able to purchase new apps and games for Fire TV Stick while you are abroad.

 

To access Amazon Instant Video movies and TV shows, you must be physically present in the U.S. and have a U.S. billing address. Many third-party services and media apps are not available outside the U.S.”

 

————————————————————————–

My Favorite Amazon Electronics Gift Ideas

My Favorite Amazon Electronics Gift Ideas

Shopping Amazon Electronics during the holidays means great deals and swift shipping via Amazon Prime.

It’s a wonderful time of year to get amazing deals on Electronics at Amazon.  Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Green Monday, 12 Days of Deals and Gold Box deals are just some of the fantastic ways to save on Amazon during the holiday season.

And if you are looking for software, Kindle books, MP3 music or PC games, be sure to check out the Digital Deals section!

Being a Top 50 Amazon Reviewer I get the privilege of reviewing a lot of cool electronics.

Below are some of my personal favorites. I think all are worthy of mentioning on the Savvy Sleuth because they are fun, useful, work well and are great electronics to give as gifts this holiday season.

 

Dear Santa, May I Please Have Electronics for Christmas…

 

For the Cord Cutter:


TiVo Roamio HD Digital Video Recorder and Streaming Media Player (TCD846500)– Allows for recording over-the-air FREE TV in HD!

Fire TV Stick – HOT NEW ITEM!– Incredible low price for so much entertainment.

 


Mohu Leaf 50 HDTV Antenna – Easy to Setup & Use!–  The ideal antenna to cut the cord with cable. Learn how to setup and use flat HDTV antennas in my book: Simple Guide to Over-the-Air Free TV. 

 

For the Audiophile: 


Creative Aurvana Gold Wired/Wireless Headset with 40mm Drivers, Bluetooth 3.0, NFC and Built-In Microphone– Really impressive sound!

Samsung HW-H450 2.1 Channel 290 Watt Wireless Audio Soundbar– Simple setup and a great audio enhancement to a HDTV without the need for an AV receiver.

 


SONOS PLAY:1 Compact Wireless Speaker for Streaming Music (Black)– Comparible to Bose sound quality, steam music in any room of your home or office.

 

 For the Home Theater Enthusiast: 


Denon AVR-X4000 7.2-Channel 4K Ultra HD Networking Home Theater AV Receiver with AirPlay – Ready for the latest and greatest to be hooked up and enjoyed.

 


Epson PowerLite Home Cinema 3000 1080p Widescreen, HDMI, 3LCD, 2300 Lumens Color Brightness, 2300 Lumens White Brightness, Projector– Blows away the competition with 2D and 3D capabilities.

 


Yamaha NS-SP1800BL 5.1-Channel Home Theater Speaker System– Budget setup, with quality sound.
 

For Computing:


HP Chromebox CB1-014 Desktop (White)– I love this cheap little box for its quick, versatile nature and ability to run dual monitors!

TP-LINK Archer C8 AC1750 Dual Band Wireless AC Gigabit Router, 2.4GHz 450Mbps+5Ghz 1350Mbps, 1 USB 2.0 Port & 1 USB 3.0 Port, IPv6, Guest Network– This is the one I use and it works great for streaming media.

 

Dell Inspiron i5348-8889BLK 23-Inch Touchscreen All-in-One Desktop– Absolutely beautiful screen and super fast!