Monday, April 30, 2012

Reviewers to trust, or to avoid

When you are looking at cookbooks on Amazon, look for reviews by either "Gramma" or "Lucy Ditty."  I've noticed each lady tends to give fair, unbiased reviews featuring her own honest opinion  Both ladies have apparently been cooking a long time, and review a LOT of cookbooks.  Gramma's profile says she owns something like 600 hardcopy cookbooks, and who knows how many digital.   Even though the vast majority of books I "buy" are free for my Kindle, I have begun to look for a review by either lady before I'll bother getting the cookbook.

On the other hand, "Harriet Klausner" reviews other books, fiction mostly.  She reviews so many every day, I cannot imagine how she has time to read, much less the two books a day her profile states.  Very few of her reviews show less than four-star ratings, and I'd take her opinion with a large grain of salt.  I've noticed that she's started posting reviews as "A Customer" and then signing her name at the bottom of the review.  I see her name and I just don't even bother reading.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Blockbuster DVDs at home for Dummies (well, this one, anyway)

Had a free two-month deal with Blockbuster for DVDs at home, with unlimited exchange in-store.  It ends tomorrow.
The first week, I got DVDs three times - one day turnarounds.  Keep in mind I live in Dallas, where there is most assuredly a Blockbuster warehouse for this service.  Nonetheless, I was impressed by that.  After that first week, I was lucky to get DVDs once a week.  It would take two days to get to them from me, then another day to check in and sometimes another day to mail out whatever was next in my queue, and sometimes two days to get to me after they said it was mailed.  
In addition, after experiencing the selection wonderland that is Netflix (granted, more than four years ago), I was sorely underwhelmed by Blockbuster's DVD selection.  At least half a dozen times, I searched for something that was fairly recent, and they didn't have it.  Online, I'm talking, not in-store.  
There is no Blockbuster anywhere near me, so those unlimited in-store exchanges were worthless to me.  Totally wish I could have taken advantage of that, because that would definitely have added to the value.  
The queue interface is not as intuitive as I remember Netflix being, and it's really easy to get the queue disordered accidentally, and have to spend an hour fixing it back to the right order.  It's a three step process to add TV seasons to the queue, and to make certain that each series comes in order, one series at a time.  How to do that is nowhere in the help information - I had to chat with a customer service rep to learn how to do it, and then only after I'd gotten Season One, DVD 1 and Season Two, DVD 1, of the same series, both at the same time.  The reasoning behind that particular thing is both irritating and ridiculous.
Bottom line for me:  slightly more expensive than Netflix for poorer service and a lackluster selection.  Not worth my money.  Cancelled.  Cancelling took me to ELEVEN screens, wherein Blockbuster asked me three separate times if I was sure I didn't want to pick another plan instead of cancelling.  
Maybe someday, if I live next door to a Blockbuster, this might be worth it.  But by the time that happens, there probably won't be any Blockbuster stores left in the state.