Wednesday, July 30, 2014

HTC One Mobile Phone - short review

When I say short, I mean short.
I first worked in the cellular phone business in 1996. Selling hundreds of phones with plans from different providers.
My market was residential as well commercial. In those years you needed to know as much as possible about your phones and your providers and I was a master in learning about phones  and then getting the right phone in the hands of my clients.
Times have changed and phones became more than just that. Over the past 4 years I tried all kinds of phones. All Android software, all smartphones. I liked them all and was satisfied.
Then I bought the HTC One. By far the best piece I owned so far.
Flat, stylish, metal look. This phone simply looks good.
Thew battery life is super. Depending on your usage it might be different to mine. Using all day for work including internet etc I get 24 hours . When using it as a phone only I easily had 2 full days. Naturally I expected the battery life to get shorter and it did. But nothing so significant that it would be worth to write about too long. In all I am satisfied.
I am not a tech geek. But from what I understood at the time of my purchase, the phone had the most current software available as operating system. Thinking about the speed of this phone when working with the apps and programs I have only good things to say. Compared to my old phone the HTC was lightening fast. In regards to what was on my pbone as pre installed applications, I had everything I needed to get my social and business work done. Over time I added applications and with Google Play it was a breeze to do so.
I guess there is authors who go into much more technical details or write lengthy books about the HTC filled with info which only means something to certain people.
For the normal and regular cell phone user I can say the following.
The HTC Smartphone is the best phone I had so far. It is easy to set up and operate, has more than sufficient battery life, looks great and is very durable. Getting it with a contract will bring the price to 99$ or less. That makes it affordable for most of us.
I am positive that if there is no comparable model available when my contract runs out I will get the same phone again.
The HTC One is a great phone for business and social use alike.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Lake Tarpon Resort - Palm Harbor, FL - How good is it?

When travelling for golf tournaments we always look for good looking hotels which offer a pool, a restaurant, maybe breakfast and if possible some view on something nice.

This all helps to have a fun stay and get relaxed before a golf tournament or any other work we would do.

My schedule showed that I play at Innisbrook Resort in Palm Harbor, FL. A Golf Channel Tour event I was looking forward to be part of for years. Palm Harbor is about 1 hour and 20 minutes away from where we live.

Not exactly a long way. However, imagine to have a tee time at 7 38 am. To warm up for such a tee time you need to be there at 6 45 am , which means getting up extremely early.

So for this event we searched for a hotel with the following attributes:

1. Close to the resort, within 1 to 3 miles
2. Pool
3. Restaurant
4. Gym
5. View on the lake or any other water body
6. Price under 100 $
7. Good reviews
8. Free WIFI
9. Breakfast

Amazingly there were not too many hotels in the area and certainly not many who offered what we were looking for.

The good news was that we did find the Lake Tarpon Resort Hotel. By all accounts the exact hotel we were looking for. The hotel seemed to offer all of what we were looking for and for a price which was exactly as we imagined it. Further I read that it was the old Best Western, which made me think that the quality of the building and rooms should be good.

We booked the hotel directly without going through any of the other websites like Expedia and so on. The booking process was easy, fast and friendly.

On 4th of July we arrived in the area at around noon and decided to check out the hotel first and maybe even get into the room ( which usually is not possible until 3 pm). We found it easily.

From the outside it looked nice and interesting. Driving into the parking lot we found a clearly older hotel which was kind of build like a Spanish style building. Parking lot was clean and the entire grounds looked like they were taken care off.

We parked in front and went in. Nice entrance, big entrance hole with seating , computer area and breakfast area. Looked nice. Clean and welcoming. Went to the counter where we were greeted in a friendly tone and asked if we can be helped with anything. I explained everything and we were told that the rooms were not ready yet. That was fine with us. We did not expect that they were ready.

So we said we will be back later this afternoon. On the way out I checked out the breakfast corner. Looked good. Then we walked toward the pool. On the way we saw the gym which looked updated and in good shape as well. Pool was busy. Small pool but being on the canal and with a view on buildings, some green belt and boats I liked it.

The restaurant was empty and closed, which I did not expect. If it would have been open, it would have offered some nice seating with view on water and green belt.

We returned at about 7 pm. The room now was ready and we checked in. Giving a different card than the one we made the reservation with and we were told then that this will not be a problem. The lady told us where to go and that we have a top floor room.

Used the elevator to the 3rd floor but had to walk up one more floor. We entered the room and it was humid and hot. I went to turn on the A/C , but was not, able to get it going. The room otherwise looked nice, clean and had a large balcony with a view.

Called the receptionist and told her about the A/C. She said she will call back and did so about 3 minutes later. She told us that there is no maintenance guy and she will upgrade us. Just pick up a new key. We did so and again had a room on the 4th floor more towards the middle of the building.

Entered the room. Nice and cool. Clean and smelled good. The view as much better. Actually could see the lake and oversee the pool, canal, houses and green belt. We liked it. It came with micron wave, refrigerator, TV ( old one), Table and chairs and plenty of room. The balcony was pretty big but only had two plastic chairs.

Never tried the TV. But used the fridge which worked fine. All lights were working as well. The mattress was newer and of good quality. The bathroom looked clean and had all the supplies. Towels were nicely presented and you could see that they updated a little.

We actually slept well in that room and it was overall quite around us. I mean it was 4th of July.

Next morning we found that the shower was not draining properly, but good enough for us. Coffee machine worked great. WIFI worked as well and was for free.

We had a simple breakfast. Bagel, cream cheese, jelly, coffee. They did have some oatmeal and sweet stuff. I was OK with all that. Not like a Best Western, but not bad as well.

Check out was fast, but they did charge the wrong card, which we did not complain about since I had to move on to the course.

Other notes: From the balcony I saw rooms which were in disorder, beds upside down and so on. Clearly they were working on remodeling. We were told the restaurant will open in November again but no explanation why there is no info on the Internet that it was not there.

Overall I was happy. Lake Tarpon Resort Hotel in Palm Harbor might be a 2 star hotel, but it offers all you need. Customer service was good. Everybody tried to help us and make us happy. Rooms were clean and functional. The location certainly is nice. Close to the lake and parks and to the Innisbrook Resort ( for golfers).

If playing again in the area I would not mind to go back to Lake Tarpon Resort. We later heard that the bank owns it right now and not only would that explain how things work out there right now, but it also gives hope that there will be improvement over the next few months.

We paid 80 $ and if you are not seeking a 4 or 5 start hotel, this place could be the place for you. Have you been there? If so, write a comment and share your experiences about Lake Tarpon Resort.

Keep it clean and I will update if I go there again.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Krazy Lobster Beach Bar Cafe and Restaurante - Costa Maya Mexico

Finally we made it on a cruise again. I did not write much about our cruising yet, but the stop we made on the costa maya in Mexico motivated me to begin.
The Norweign Epic stopped at Costa Maya as part of the 7 day trip we booked this time. While doing my research online I did not find too much about this location. So I decided to just go on land and see what happens.

I will get into the cruise terminal later. We took a cab van to town. 3$ gets you to the little village right on the water. You find a board walk with a ton of on the beach bars which offer food, beer, massages and more.

While walking along you get invited a lot and everybody has great offers. Naturally they all say they have the best deal. That is where Pepe approached me. Very friendly guy. Professional and business like.

He told me about his offer. 5$ for 5 Corona, free WiFi and free tequila when if I would eat. Sounded great and with handshake I told him I will be back for sure. About 30 min later , after walking the beach and some shopping we returned to the Krazy Lobster.

Pepe was pretty happy to see us again. I told I will be back. We got a table in the shade. Beautiful view on the water. The tables were simple plastic tables like the ones you would find in old italian cafes or so. Simple chairs. All right in the sand. Perfect.

We ordered the 5 for 5 deal. Took a while to get it. So be patient. You will get 5 little Coronas. A fair deal. Served cold on ice. We had a regular Corona and a Negra Modelo after that. Fairly priced at 3$. We did not eat but the food I saw commie to other tables looked pretty good.

I was not able to get the WiFi going at the table. However I found out I had the wrong password. We met nice people from our and other ships. It was a nice stay. 17$ for 9 beers was ok with me and for the friendly service our server earned a nice tip.

On the way out I got the free Wi-Fi going and Pepe came personally to thanki us for comingq bac

If you ever make it to Costa Maya in Mexico you need to take the taxi to the village and stop by at the Krazy Lobster. It is a ni e place living up to the promise of Pepe . I for sure will be back there when coming back.

I am sure there is other places whi h are good and. Lean. But there was no second Pepe who just transmitted the right vibe
Krazy Lobster at Costa Maya: I think a cool place

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Behr Deckover Paint - how good is? Is it easy to apply?

We bought a very old porch home some years ago. At that point we thought we will do some work on it but did not have an immediate plan. Thought we just go day by day.

One thing we always wanted to do  or redo was the porch. I am pretty sure the wood on the porch was the original. The wood itself felt fine. It was the paint on it which we did not like.

It was coming of and was used and dirty. So after waiting for a few years we decided to get it done. First step. Research.

What you are looking for is a paint which covers, fills small cracks, is durrable, easy to apply and for a price which is affordable.

After some research online I came up with two different products. 1. Restore, sold at Lowe's and 2. Behr Deckover Paint, a Home Depot product .

It took me only a couple hours of reading reviews to make a decision. Behr Deckover came out ahead on pretty much all aspects. As a Lowes guy I was not too thrilled about it. Behr is sold at Home Depot. However , the reviews were clear.

We picked up a brochure with color chart to see what color we like. It turned out to be a darker green. So we got the paint one day and a cleaning product to wash of the dirt,oil and whatever was on there.

I had the product but was not able to start the project for another 4 weeks. If you plan to do it, make sure you buy the paint the day or so before you want to do it. When I opened the cans I found that the solid part of this special paint settled at the bottom of the can. It took me 10 min each to stir it up good enough to work with it.

But first you need to prepare the surface you want to cover. Sweep it and wash it of with the special cleaner.

The cleaner, which was from Behr as well worked good. Looked like it took a ton of dirt of.

They say it dries fast but it took the entire night. Weather might have been a factor.

I only had a brush and  4 small rollers.  I bought small rollers because the way our old porch looked and I figured it will be easier to apply the product. Which it was.

First I did all the edges with my brush. The paint was very easy to apply with the brush. Next I filled bigger cracks and other uneven spots just as they described on the can. I let it dry for a couple hours. Then I rolled the entire porch pretty thick. Let it dry over night and rolled it again the next day.

It looked very nice and even. I let it dry and cure for another 3 days. Wanted to make sure it is all set to go.

The porch looks great, feels great in my opinion Behr Deckover Paint did exactly what it promised. It covered everything nicely, was very easy to apply, covered more than it said on the can and feels great on you bare feet.

We now put our things like table , chairs and BBQ back on the porch. For the next 6 months or so  we will use it and clean it often. After that I will write a comment on how it worked out.

So far Behr Deckover Paint lived up to my expectations and I would call it a great product to be used to revive your deck or porch. Come back to this blog in 6 months or so and I will write a comment with a short update.

What was your experience with Behr Deckover Paint?

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Mad Onion Steakhouse at Hooters Casino Hotel in Las Vegas

Have you been to Las Vegas? If you are looking to eat out, Las Vegas is the place to be. There is as many restaurants as slot machines. Well maybe not that many butq you get the idea. We love Las Vegas and we love good food. Also we are willing to pay for good food and at the same time are always looking for a good deal. Let us be honest. The majority of us are not eating in to level restaurants where the prices are so high you can get a good hotel room for a few days. Mostly because some famous chef put his name on the front door. One of the good deals for.good food is without a doubt The Mad Onion in the Hooters Casino Hotel. The Hooters Casino Hotel is right next to the Tropicana and across the MGM Grand. The Mad Onion is located on the left side when walking into the Casino. There is a cozy little bar infront of it ,so you can not miss it. You can not make reservations it is first come first serve. We ate there many times and never waited longer than 0 min. But you will have to collect your own experience. The hoste2sses and servers for the most part were all nice. It is a classic eatery. Don't expect modern interior. We knowthe place for years and nothing has changed. I like it. Most important to me is that it is clean. The menu offers steaks, salads, pastas, burgers. A good selection of food. By far the best deal was and as of today is the 9.99$ prime rib dinner. 8 oz of excellent prime rib with a choice of potatoes and veggies. For 5$ more you can make it 14 oz. Made to your liking this is a great deal. The onion rings are a good starter as well is the onion soup. I had other dishes and was never disappointed. As a matter of fact during my wedding week, we took the entire wedding party there two times and everybody was happy with the food. Including salads, chicken and shrimp pasta.
If you like good food for a fair price, don't mind the off strip location and the old fashioned style. The Mad Onion in the Hooters Casino Hotel is one stop you should make for dinner when in Las Vegas.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Fremont Casino Hotel Las Vegas - Paradise Buffet - review of the buffet

When in Vegas we always like to try all kinds of restaurants and places. It is fun to find new spots to eat and drink. Yesterday we decided to show the old Las Vegas to family and friends who where never there before. The experience of the lightshow is a completely new story. After we watched it we were hungry and decided to eat before we go back to the strip. There are plenty of offers. Great deals. Seafood, buffets and so on and so on. We tried to get in to Tony Roma's. But the waiting time was 1 hour and that was too long. This was mainly because of the lobster and steak deal which, for 11.99 is unbelievable. Then we saw, that in the same hotel, The Fremont, they had the Paradise buffet and on that day the Prime Rib offer for 14.99. Sounded like a great deal and we went in. The restaurant is very old but gives you kind of a feeling like being in Vegas in the 60s. No doubt that was a glamorous spot then. First impression was OK. We were seated and placed our drink order. Soft drinks got to our table fast. The beer took 15 min. But it was OK. We had some before. I started right away to check things out. Just do a walk by to see what is available. After all what can you expect for that price if Prime Rib is included? The salad bar looked OK and with a basic selection to mix your own salad as well as some ready salads. I am not a huge salad fan and did not have any. However it all looked fresh and the bar was clean and well kept. I moved on to the little Sushi counter. About 5 different kinds of rolls. They looked OK. Nothing fancy. Taste was OK as well and the ginger was fresh. That was all I had as an appetizer. The Italian corner looked OK as well. Had Spaghetti there as well as some chicken, meatballs and veggies. I tried the spaghetti. Tomato sauce and some meat balls. The noodles were good. The tomato sauce was just that. Not much taste other than tomato. Meat balls did not have much taste but were not bad either. Next I tried the Korean chicken, which was outstanding. As I had some great prime rib before we went there I did not have any this time. It looked good and I am sure it was the best item on the menu. For the price you pay, the food is OK and the selection sufficient. The place itself was old. You can see that they do not much to it. The area we were sitting in was right next to the service station were the servers brought the dishes and so on. So it was busy. The servers however seemed to be in a good mood and that lifted the overall atmosphere. Floor was not clean. Mostly a result of having an old carpet all over the sitting area.
In all I was satisfied and if in the area , I would go there again. When you spend time in Old Vegas, are hungry, find no quick solution and want to watch your dollar. The Paradise Buffet at the Fremont Casino Hotel might be a good option. I certainly liked the 2 $ Coronas. If you have been there, comment if you like. Keep it  objective.