Category Archives: #gadgets

WOW Cable’s Dark Side

WOW Cable's Dark Side

The Issue

WOW Cable’s TV and internet services are better than decent. Their prices are fair. However, their billing policies are absolutely atrocious. That is, they SUCK. Like those of many other corporate behemoths, their billing practices create an undue burden on working folks. This must change.


I signed up for WOW (Wide Open West) cable a year ago, because I was fed up with Comcast’s constant price increases and other monopolistic behavior. The installation of my new WOW cable and internet service went well. Since I hate sending checks to any vendor on a monthly basis, and absolutely refuse to pay utility bills in person, I signed up for their automatic payment (auto-pay) option, and submitted a form with information that would allow WOW to withdraw the monthly payments from my checking account. Pretty standard stuff. I’ve done this for years with practically every vendor I deal with.

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Will It Explode? (Part 2)

In Part 1, I explained that my daughter Nadiyah and I were going to power up my very first personal computer, a machine that I built from a kit way back in 1983.  It hasn’t been turned on since the late eighties, so the object of our little lab session is to answer the question: will it still work after all these years, or will it explode? In this episode, Part 2, we finally plug the little monster in and find out.  Wish us luck!

Please forgive the video framing, which chops off about half of my big head!

Will It Explode? (Part 1)

In early 1983, thirty-four years ago, I got my first “serious” personal computer, a Heathkit H-89 all-in-one machine. I built it from scratch, which means that I soldered all the components on the circuit boards and assembled all of the subsystems into the completed unit. I bought the computer to help with the business I intended to start – Telecom Analysis Systems, Inc. (TAS).  It was the tool I used to write and edit our business plan, and to develop and test the hardware and firmware of our product prototypes. In those days, the H-89 worked like a charm, and never gave me or my co-founders, Steve Moore and Charles Simmons, a bit of trouble.

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Unexpected Reunion with a Mentor

Jim Spaniola and me at French Laundry Fenton, more than 45 years after our time in the Ceramic Circuits Lab.

More than forty-five years ago, I began my college education at General Motors Institute (now Kettering University) in Flint, Michigan. This was back in Flint’s glory days, when world-class industrial production as well as ground-breaking research took place right in the midst of the city. My co-op sponsor was the AC Spark Plug Division of General Motors. My first assignment at AC was in the Engineering Research Center, which was located at the corner of Averill Avenue and Davison Road. I felt lucky and excited to have what seemed like a plum first assignment.

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Seller Beware: The Response from eBay

A victory of sorts, but the issue remains.


It has now been more than a month since I was scammed out of my iPhone 6, as described in my earlier post on the subject.  I’ve had several calls and email exchanges with eBay “customer service” agents and supervisors who have done absolutely nothing but say that nothing can or would be done.  Well, just this morning, as I was spreading the last of my blackberry jam on my English muffin top at a local restaurant, I received a call from an 801 exchange – UTAH!  A real, live eBay exec by the name of Danny Faust was on the other end of the line.  He said that as a result of my blog post and the subsequent article on the eCommerceBytes blog, executives at eBay had taken a look at my case, and that as a result, they determined the following:

  1. The address provided by my “buyer” was actually a freight forwarder, which should  have prima facia voided the eBay “Money Back Guarantee.”
  2. The “buyer” should have provided the picture of the device and shipping box that I requested after the “buyer” submitted their claim.
  3. The fact that the return item (the piece of crap credit-card scanner, remember?)  was drop-shipped from Texas rather than from the address my phone was shipped to should have raised flags.

The result of the above, per Mr. Faust, was that eBay was refunding the $328.00 payment that they froze and subsequently removed from my PayPal account. 

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Seller Beware! EBay Policies Facilitate THEFT of Your Property

I found out the hard way that EBay is facilitating the theft of items people post for sale on their site.

I just had an experience with EBay that I find extremely discouraging, and the result is that I will no longer be posting any items for sale on EBay. EBay’s “Money Back Guarantee program” protects unscrupulous, scam “buyers” by returning their money even if they falsely claim that they received a damaged item, or even that they didn’t receive the item. The seller is left holding the bag, or in my own case, holding a bogus piece of junk.  Something must be done to address this outrageous situation, before many, many more occasional EBay sellers are scammed. In the meantime, my recommendation is that you do not post anything for sale on EBay that you are not willing to give away!


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Renaissance Queen!

L-R Parents Priscilla and Otis Reid, WDT, Lailah Reid, counselor George Duncan, teacher Charlene Highsaw.

L-R Parents Priscilla and Otis Reid, WDT, Lailah Reid, counselor George Duncan, teacher Charlene Highsaw.

On March 26, 2014, I spoke to nearly 200 Detroit high school students at the Detroit Public Library. I spoke about my own entrepreneurship journey, and I challenged the students to use entrepreneurship to solve problems in their community. Each of the students was asked to identify a problem that they experienced or witnessed in the community, and to describe the problem and the approach they might take to solve it. I indicated that the student who provided the clearest description of an important problem would receive an Apple Mac Mini computer, which my daughter, Nike executive Stacy Tarver, had been kind enough to donate. Continue reading

Dave’s Faves: Sennheiser MM400 Bluetooth “Cans”


My featured gadget this week: the Sennheiser MM400 Bluetooth Headphones. When I bought these headphones more than three years ago, most folks didn’t know what Bluetooth was, and still fewer were using headphones that incorporated the technology. Well, now most folks know that Bluetooth is a wireless standard that allows short-range communication between electronic devices. Continue reading

Dave’s Faves: Casio G-SHOCK GW-A1000

My featured gadget this week: the Casio G-SHOCK GW-A1000 watch. I have owned this aviation-themed watch for about a year, and from the moment I strapped it on it has been my go-to everyday timepiece. Even though this watch looks like a standard analog chronograph, it is bristling with high tech features.


  • it is solar-powered, so no need to periodically wind it or change a battery
  • it receives its time signal by radio from one of several beacons around the world, so no need to set it
  • automatically adjusts for Daylight Savings Time
  • functions include world time, stopwatch, timer, alarm, and temperature, all indicated by watch hands! You must see it function to believe it.
  • most functions easily accessible via watch crown
  • rugged G-SHOCK look and legendary toughness

All-in-all, a very cool watch. It’s not cheap, though — last I looked, Amazon was selling it for $400, and I paid more than that. Worth every penny, though, IMHO. I have a few of the expensive “designer” watches, but they do much less and cost much more. Call me a nerd (albeit a stylish one) — this Casio is my overall favorite watch.

Casio GW-A1000 - a modern micro electro mechanical marvel.

Casio GW-A1000 – a modern micro electro mechanical marvel.

Note that I receive no compensation of any kind for my Dave’s Faves reviews. I buy the products with my own money, and the opinions I express about them are my own. I do this because I derive joy from cool and innovative gadgets, and I want to share that joy with you.