Brands to avoid and Brands to use

The purpose of this post is to share that some brands fail in their experience of how they treat the customer, employee or earth. I have a list of companies that I will no longer do business with due to their poor business practices. I wanted to share to see if I could help others avoid the cost and frustration I faced. I will never buy any of the brands below again or recommend them to others.

In Alphabetical order.

Belkin – Same as Netgear. Problems and poor quality control. Buy anything else but this.

Cell phones – Problems with Sprint Kyocera, Sony-Erricson, Motorola phones. No problems with Nokia, and some problems with iPhone which Apple fixed.

Chocolate companies: Cargill, Archer Daniels Midland Mars, Hershey’s, Nestlé, Barry Callebaut, Saf-Cacao. You can read more in this post but they use or have used child labor. That is not acceptable. So Hershey’s is doing something about this. I can support a company that recognizes its part in the problem.

Computer companies: Compaq/Gateway/Dell/HP/MSI – Lots of problems with these brands. Much more reliable are IBM/Lenovo/Apple/Toshiba. MSI doesn’t offer rebates as promised.

Cordless phones – Terrible experience with anything from Radio Shack, Bearcat phones. Great experience with Uniden phones.

Disney – For creating unrealistic expectations for children, for treatment of its workers, for killing lemmings during a film to make it more dramatic, for hiding greed behind “family values”.

Epson/Lexmark/Brother – Poor equipment. It works for a while, but not a good long-term value. HP/Canon I have had great experiences with and very good values.

Farberware – I bought a kitchen tool at the store that cost $5 and it didn’t work at all. Normally I like to buy Oxo, I just didn’t want to go to BBB. Avoid.

GM – 13 deaths due to a cover up for a part that cost 57 cents to replace. This is worse than Ford with the Pinto.

Hallmark – How silly it is to take the word gay out of christmas gear and put in “fun”. For catering to people who care too much about others private business.

Headphones – Problems with Apple earbuds, Monster iCar Play FM modulators to connect an iPhone to an FM station, Sony/Phillips headphones. Good experience with wireless Dr. Dre Beats/Bose headphones.

Lenscrafters – I bought a six dollar glass cleaning cloth and it fell apart and didn’t clean. Great experience with Pearl Vision who not only gave me a cleaning cloth for free but also adjusted my glasses.

LG - LG crossed the line when its smart tvs collected private information and sold it to advertisers and scanned and transmitted the file names of connected usb devices.

Logitech - I bought a Logitech Harmony remote for $80 and it never worked right. I followed their instructions and reprogrammed it three times but it never was reliable. I finally had to go back to using the regular tv remote and game remote. Logitech used to be reliable. What happened?

Micheal Kors - I bought a cleaning mop/bucket and it broke from MK. Also a brush that broke as well. Everything I have ever bought from this brand has broken. Avoid.

Music/Apps purchasing – I avoid the iTunes/Apps store because of their terrible practice of handling Apple ID’s and when you switch email names, it causes lots of issues. In addition when i closed my old @mac email name, I closed my account and I could not download any of the thousands of dollars that I had spent on music. A month later they allowed you to download music. Unfortunately since I had closed my account, I could not take advantage of that. I buy music/apps at Amazon which is often cheaper. Now I use MOG and love it.

Nathan Water Bottles – I bought one and so did a friend and they both broke within a month of very light usage. They were the most expensive water bottle in the store. The store took it back and refunded the money but its silly. How hard is is to made a reliable water bottle?

NECIncompatibilities with Mac OS 10.8, and high failure rate in the past.

Netgear – All of their networking equipment I have bought have had issues and failures. I like Apple and Cisco instead.

Otterbox - I had a friend who bought this and it broke in the first month. She bought another one and that broke. She bought it from the Apple store so it probably wasn’t a counterfeit.

Radio Shack – I used to shop there because there wasn’t any other place to get the stuff where I used to live. I don’t shop there anymore. I will not do business with a company that forces you to give personal information when you don’t wish to.

Rent-to-own /payday loan places – I will never do business with any of these places. First, they were found to spy on their users. But even more fundamentally, if you can’t afford to get something through conventional means, it might mean that you need to change your life. I have been poor, and probably many people still might consider me poor, but I have never had to do that. I understand that things happen, but you also have to make hard choices in your life. If that means that you skip the Lexus this year to have a better financial future, then so be it.

Samsung – They were found using child labor in their factories. No cheap products are worth that price.

TellTale Games – I bought The Walking Dead game and it ran terribly and didn’t function correctly on the mac. They didn’t have a fix for it, and I couldn’t get a refund. I will never buy anything from this company again.

The Salvation Army – Their anti-LGBT position is historic. Use Goodwill instead. Here is a list of companies that you should boycott.

Quaker Oats – I don’t like their racist advertising and I wrote a letter to them and received a canned response. I don’t support any company that promotes stereotypes.

Verizon - Really? You have to spy on your customers in order to squeeze the last penny from them?

Volvo/Mercedes/Ford/Lincoln/Hyundai/Kia – Bought an 850 which was just one problem after another. I couldn’t afford to keep the car running. Turned it in and bought a Camry. Excellent experience with Toyota vehicles. Mercedes also has arrogant dealers and turn people away with great credit. Avoiding luxury brands in general has been a helpful financial decision. I liked the MKZ but now it can catch on fire with a ton of other Ford cars. Didn’t learn from the Pinto lawsuit did you? Hyundai/Kia were found guilty of lying about mpg just like Ford was.

Whirlpool – Bought an Air Conditioner that you put in a window. It broke just out of warranty and the repair cost as much as a new unit. Are you crazy? Who would do that? I bought an LG that worked perfectly. Avoid LG see entry above.

WordPress hosting – Problems with Fatcow, Bluehost, Godaddy, 1and1, iPage. Excellent service and reliability with inMotion hosting(great value), Rackspace(great service).

Ultimately, what brands you do business with shape the marketplace for goods and services. I want to exercise the only power that a consumer has, and that is in how I spend my money.


Pinterest referrals growing

It was a month ago that I received my first Pinterest referral. I have been steadily getting more referrals since then. One of the neat things that happen when you have one referral is that it shows all referrals from your domain.

So the organic or natural traffic from Google has been slowly decreasing the last year, but referrals from social networks has increased. It is fascinating to see the statistics that slowly change each day. People are becoming more discriminating and seeking information in more places than just Google. I think is something that should make google very worried. When you can find information easier on other networks then what is the future of a stand alone search engine?

If I had to guess, I would say that people are getting tired of the commercialization of google search results. It has always favored larger sites, even at the cost of content. I know when I have searched for information major websites come up first and when I look at the suggested link it’s not correct. I think that Google tries to find the value in content by algorithms, but you can’t do that. It certainly has some value, but eventually a human needs to judge and curate content. That is why social network searching is coming up. I think this is the value and popularity of StumbleUpon, Facebook and so on.

Of course there is plenty of garbage on StumbleUpon and other social networks, but it is more interesting than a random Google search for information. Perhaps if Google had an artificial intelligence helper that the end-user could customize, like “Microsoft Bob” it would help give a more human face on searching. How about “Google Sergey”?


OSX 10.8 broke network access: Apple Support Communities

Interesting isn’t it? Every version of the OS Apple seeks to enforce settings even more strictly. This is probably for the best but it can be annoying for people.

Fixed it! It seems there was some old proxy settings for the WiFi and Ethernet interface that never caused me any issues in the past but when I removed the settings from both of the interfaces the issue was gone. even through 3 reboots.

via OSX 10.8 broke network access: Apple Support Communities.


“Do you want iTunes to accept incoming network connections?”

iTunes CPU Usage, Again...

This was an annoying issue. Every time that I launched iTunes after turning on my Firewall in Lion 10.7.4, it would ask me the title above. PortableGenius from this thread figured it out. Thanks!

PortableGenius Asia

Re: “Do you want iTunes to accept incoming network connections?”

Nov 16, 2011 2:59 PM (in response to Glenn Carter)

I think I have solved the problem using these steps:

SITUATION: I was using Mac OS X 10.6.8 Snow Leopard and I upgraded it to Mac OS X 10.7 Lion and I start experiencing the “iTunes network connection” issue. I updated it to Mac OS X 10.7.1 (the issue is still there), and then I updated to Mac OS X 10.7.2 (unfortunately, the issue is still there. So here’s what I did.

1 – DELETE iTunes

  • Quit iTunes
  • Navigate to /Applications and locate iTunes app
  • Select iTunes and hit Command+i to “Get Info” on the application
  • Click on the Arrow next to “Sharing & Permissions” to reveal the access panel
  • Click on the lock icon and authenticate with your administrator password
  • Under “Privilege” set both instances of “everyone” to “Read & Write”
  • Close out the Get Info window and drag iTunes to the Trash, and then empty the trash


At this point, I suggest restarting your Mac. You can skip restarting but just to be sure, restart.

2 – INSTALL iTunes

  • Download iTunes (The current latest version 10.5.1 is available
  • Install it

And that’s it. I opened iTunes and the issue is gone.