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Winter Tire Ratings and Reviews for 2012 – 2013

Well, I am not in the market for winter tires this year again, but my summary of others’ ratings last year was a bit of a hit so I thought I would do it again. Once again I will be gathering reviews from Canadian online tire retailers and consolidating their results here. I hope you find it helpful.

PMC Tire

PMC Tire, a tire retailer based Quebec, is again offering Winter Tire Ratings and Reviews for 2012 – 2013 in several categories. The ratings are out of 10 points.

Passenger / Touring

  1. Nokian ‐  Hakkapeliitta 7 Studded – 9.3
  2. Nokian ‐  Hakkapeliitta 7 – 9.2
  3. Nokian – Hakkapeliitta R – 9.1
  4. Michelin ‐ X‐Ice Xi3 – 9.0
  5. Vredestein ‐ Snowtrac 3 – 9.0
  6. Vredestein ‐ Arctrac – 9.0
  7. Bridgestone ‐ WS‐70 – 9.0
  8. Continental ‐ ExtremeWinterContact – 8.9
  9. Yokohama ‐ Iceguard IG20 – 8.9
  10. Toyo ‐ Observe GSi‐5 – 8.9

SUV & Small Truck

  1. Nokian ‐  Hakkapeliitta 7 SUV Studded – 9.3
  2. Nokian ‐  Hakkapeliitta 7 SUV – 9.2
  3. Nokian ‐  Hakkapeliitta R SUV – 9.1
  4. Vredestein ‐ Arctrac SUV – 9.1
  5. Michelin ‐ Latitude X‐Ice Xi2 – 9.1
  6. Yokohama ‐ Geolandar G072 – 9.1
  7. Bridgestone ‐ DM‐V1 – 8.9
  8. Goodyear ‐ Ultra Grip Ice WRT – 8.9
  9. Toyo ‐ Observe GSi‐5 – 8.9
  10. Dunlop ‐   Grandtrek SJ6 – 8.9

Performance Passenger / Touring

  1. Vredestein ‐ Wintrac Xtreme – 8.9
  2. Michelin ‐ Pilot Alpin PA4 – 8.9
  3. Bridgestone ‐ LM‐60 – 8.9
  4. Michelin ‐ Primacy Alpin PA3 – 8.8
  5. Dunlop ‐   Winter Sport M3 – 8.6

Performance SUV & Small Truck

  1. Vredestein ‐ Wintrac 4 Xtreme – 8.9
  2. Bridgestone ‐ LM‐60 – 8.9
  3. Michelin ‐ Latitude Alpin HP – 8.9
  4. Michelin ‐ Latitude Alpin – 8.9
  5. Goodyear ‐ UltraGrip SUV – 8.7

Commercial Vehicles

  1. Nokian ‐  Hakkapeliitta LT – 8.9
  2. Nokian ‐  Hakkapeliitta C – 8.9
  3. Michelin ‐ LTX Winter – 8.9
  4. Continental ‐ ExtremeWinterContact – 8.9
  5. Goodyear ‐ Ultra Grip Ice WRT LT – 8.8

1010Tires.com

As I mentioned last year, 1010Tires is probably the largest Canadian online tire retailer if you exclude Canadian Tire and Costco. I think it is the Canadian equivalent of TireRack.com in the US.

One of the things I like most about the 1010Tires.com is the fact that they provide a place for consumers to review the tires they have used based on a number of criteria. That feature is used frequently enough by 1010Tires customers and others to make the reviews useful in decision making. Although consumer rankings and reviews can be easily faked by someone who wants to waste their time, I thought it would still be worthwhile to include the top reviewed winter tires from 1010Tires.com in this article.

I will list the top 10 tires in each winter tire category as they were in November, 2012. The ratings in these lists are out of 5. I have excluded any tires that did not have at least 10 ratings at the time.

It should be noted that the ratings are only for tires that 1010Tires.com sells – which is a lot of tires. For the most up to date list, go to the Tire Reviews section at 1010Tires.com.

Passenger Cars – Winter

  1. Nokian Hakkapeliitta 5 – 4.4
  2. Pirelli Winter 210 Sottozero – 4.4
  3. General Altimax Arctic – 4.3
  4. Hankook W409 Winter i-Pike – 4.3
  5. Pirelli Winter Carving – 4.3
  6. Pirelli Winter 210 Snowsport – 4.3
  7. BFGoodrich Winter Slalom KSI – 4.2
  8. Bridgestone Blizzak WS-60 – 4.2
  9. Michelin Primacy Alpin PA3 – 4.2
  10. Goodyear Eagle Ultra Grip GW-3 – 4.2

Light Trucks and SUVs – Winter

  1. Toyo Observe GSi-5 – 4.5
  2. Yokohama Geolandar I-T G072 – 4.4
  3. Hankook RW11 i-Pike – 4.4
  4. Bridgestone Blizzak DM-Z3 – 4.3
  5. Bridgestone Blizzak W965 – 4.2
  6. Bridgestone Blizzak DM-V1 – 4.2
  7. Pirelli Scorpion Ice – Snow – 4.1
  8. Dunlop Grandtrek SJ6 – 4.1
  9. Toyo Open Country G-02 plus – 4.1
  10. Dunlop Grandtrek SJ5 – 3.9
 
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Posted by on November 8, 2012 in Automotive

 

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Disney Orlando Vacation – Lodging Options

My wife and I recently took our kids to Orlando, Florida for a family vacation which included their (and my wife’s) first visit to the Walt Disney World Resort. If you have never been on a Disney vacation before, I can assure you that when you make the decision to go, the amount of information you will have to absorb is a bit mind-bending. I thought I would share some of what we learned on our Disney vacation experience in an effort to ease the confusion for others. In this post, the first in a series, I will talk about lodging options for large families.

How can I make sense of all the options?

My wife and I have four kids, so when we go on any vacation, finding suitable lodging is often a frustrating and expensive undertaking. Luckily Orlando is probably the number one family vacation destination in the world so there are plenty of options available at a variety of price points. If I were to make a short list of the lodging options we looked at, I would group them as follows:

  • Disney World Resort Lodging Options
  • “On-Site” Hotels on the Disney Property
  • Off-Disney Hotel / Resort / Timeshare Properties
  • House and Condo Rentals including those in Resort Communities

I know there are plenty of other types of lodging, but for this post I will concentrate on the ones we considered.

Disney World Resort Lodging Options

Disney World Resort offers the following lodging options in ascending order of price:

  • Disney Campgrounds
  • Disney Value Resort Hotels
  • Disney Moderate Resort Hotels
  • Disney Deluxe Resort Hotels
  • Disney Deluxe Villas

The level of amenities and cost grow as you move down that list. Regardless of the level you choose, you can be assured you will pay significantly more to stay at a Disney Resort than you will to stay at any comparable resort hotel outside the Disney property. For the breakdown of much of Disney’s 2012 rate structure go to http://www.wdwinfo.com/wdwinfo/disney-rates-2012.htm.

For a family of six, the options to stay together in one room are more limited, and like at most hotels, suites are often more costly than getting two rooms. If you decide you want to stay on the Disney Resort and don’t want to deal with the hassle of two rooms for your family of 5 or more, here are the options available to you:

Value Resort Hotels

  • Disney’s All-Star Music Resort – Family suites sleep 6 – $195 to $375 per night
  • Disney’s Art of Animation Resort – Opens Summer 2012 – Family suites sleep 6 – $248 to $425 per night

Moderate Resort Hotels and Cabins

  • The Cabins at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort – Moderate Resort – Cabins sleep 6 – $285 to $455 per night
  • Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort – Moderate Resort – 3 levels of suites that all sleep 6 – $365 to $1330 per night

Deluxe Resort Hotels

  • Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge – 5 levels of suites that sleep 6 to 8 – $780 to $3030 per night
  • Disney’s Beach Club Resort – 8 levels of rooms and suites that sleep 5 to 8 – $335 to $2730 per night
  • Disney’s BoardWalk Resort – 7 levels of rooms and suites that sleep 5 to 9 – $345 to $2905 per night
  • Disney’s Contemporary Resort – 11 levels of rooms and suites that sleep 5 to 8 – $315 to $3730 per night
  • Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa – 14 levels of rooms and suites that sleep 5 to 8 – $460 to $2900 per night
  • Disney’s Polynesian Resort – 10 levels of rooms and suites that sleep 5 to 9 – $405 to $3140 per night
  • Disney’s Wilderness Lodge – 1 room type that sleeps 6 (Deluxe Room) – $580 to $880 per night
  • Disney’s Yacht Club Resort – 10 levels of rooms and suites that sleep 5 to 8 – $335 to $2915 per night

Deluxe Villas

  • Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge – Jambo House – 3 levels of villas that sleep 5 to 12 – $500 to $2345 per night
  • Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge – Kidani Village – 7 levels of villas that sleep 5 to 12 – $515 to $2345 per night
  • Bay Lake Tower at Disney’s Contemporary Resort – 11 levels of villas that sleep 5 to 12 – $515 to $2605 per night
  • Disney’s Beach Club Villas – 1 villa type (Two Bedroom Villa) that sleeps 8 – $700 to $1265 per night
  • Disney’s Boardwalk Villas – 2 levels of villas that sleep 8 to 12 – $500 to $1725 per night
  • Disney’s Old Key West Resort – 4 levels of villas that sleep 5 to 12 – $435 to $1795 per night
  • Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort – 4 levels of villas that sleep 8 to 12 – $595 to $1795 per night
  • The Villas at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge – 2 levels of villas that sleep 8 – $710 to $1260 per night

If that all seems pretty pricey… IT IS. Don’t forget though, none of these prices include the mandatory 12.5% (or more) resort tax that will be added to the bill. Even with a discount (I have seen 30% off signs near my office recently), staying on that Disney property is never cheap. That said, the occupancy rates for these properties are very high, so Disney is able to convince many people that these rates are worth paying.

Deluxe Villas with Disney Vacation Club Points

If you have your heart set on staying at a Disney Deluxe Villa but can’t stomach the insane pricing, another option to consider is renting Disney Vacation Club Points and applying them to a stay at a Deluxe Villa. Disney Vacation Club (DVC) is Disney’s version of the timeshare concept. It is a points-driven system, but the points are essentially a cash equivalent. Most of the Deluxe Villa options mentioned above are also available for sale as timeshares via DVC including:

  • Bay Lake Tower at Disney’s Contemporary Resort
  • Disney’s Animal Kingdom Villas at Jambo House
  • Disney’s Animal Kingdom Villas at Kidani Village
  • Disney’s Beach Club Villas
  • Disney’s BoardWalk Villas
  • Disney’s Old Key West Resort
  • The Villas at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge

If a timeshare owner has points they don’t wish to use, they can “rent” (sell seems more accurate to me) those points to someone who wants to use them. A transaction like that can be done directly with the timeshare owner via Kijiji or some other way, but that would seem to leave the buyer a lot of risk if the seller is not honest. I would not do this myself unless I knew the person personally.

A gentleman in London, Ontario has figured out a way to make the DVC Rental thing work with less risk. David’s Vacation Club Rentals is essentially a matchmaker that brokers people wanting to sell Disney Vacation Club points and those wanting to buy them. Someone wishing to buy points pays $13 to David and he in turn pays $10 per point to the person selling those same points. Just the fact that there is someone in the middle brokering many transactions means that more options are available to the buyer, more renters are available to the seller, and the risk to both parties would seem to be lessened.  I have not used this service myself, but I have heard good things about it from others and I like the concept in general. More information about the service can be found at David’s FAQ page.

The major advantage of the DVC Rental over renting a similar room directly from Disney is the potential cost savings, which I understand can be substantial. That said, even with a DVC points rental savings, staying off the Disney Resort is still likely to save you a considerable amount of money.

“On-Site” Hotels on the Disney Property

There are several hotels on the Disney property that are not operated by Disney. These “on-site” hotels may not offer all of the benefits of a Disney resort, but they often offer some additional benefits over and above “off-site” properties.

Dolphin and Swan

These two properties are not owned by Disney but enjoy the privilege of being listed as a lodging option on the Disney website under the category of “Other Select Deluxe Hotels” – a privilege I am sure they pay handsomely for. The Dolphin and Swan are within walking distance of Epcot and Hollywood Studios, and guests are able to make use of the Disney transportation system.

  • Walt Disney World Dolphin Resort  – 3 levels of rooms and suites that sleep up to 5 – $219 to $319 per night
  • Walt Disney World Swan Resort (the maximum number of guests per room at this property is 4)

Downtown Disney Hotels

These properties are not owned by Disney but are on the Disney property. Unlike Dolphin and Sawn, they do not enjoy the privilege of being listed as a lodging option on the Disney website. As you might expect some of the Downtown Disney hotels are within walking distance of Downtown Disney, where guests can pick up the Disney Transportation system. In addition, the seven hotels have teamed up to run their own bus system to the Disney resorts. The Hilton is able to offer their guests the privilege of Extra Magic Hours at the resorts

  • The Best Western Lake Buena Vista Resort Hotel can accommodate up to 5 guests per room
  • The Buena Vista Palace Resot & Spa can accommodate up to 6 guests per room
  • The Doubletree Guest Suite Resort can accommodate up to 8 guests per room
  • The Hilton Walt Disney World can accommodate up to 8 guests per room
  • The Holiday Inn in the Walt Disney World Resort (the maximum number of guests per room at this property is 4)
  • The Royal Plaza can accommodate up to 5 guests per room
  • The Wyndham Lake Buena Vista (the maximum number of guests per room at this property is 4)

Off-Disney Hotel / Resort / Timeshare Properties

As you can imagine, there are many choices when considering a Hotel, Resort, or Timeshare that is near, but not on Walt Disney World Resort property. There are literally hundreds of options in Orlando in this category. Given the sheer volume of choices, unless you have close friends with a positive personal experience at one of them, websites like Expedia, Travelocity, and Trip TripAdvisor are probably the best bets to narrow the field.

Another site that might help you with your lodging choice is MouseSavers.com, which has a great deal of information about Disney vacations, including a list of “preferred” Non-Disney lodging options.

House and Condo Rentals including those in Resort Communities

The option of renting a house or condo is certainly a viable option, especially for large groups. A lot of these properties are located in resort communities that have community pools, movie theatre’s and other amenities. Many of the houses come with their own private pools and hot tubs as well.

There are thousands of options to choose from in this category, so picking the one for you may not be an easy task. There are plenty of people advertising their vacation properties for rent on Kijji, VRBO, Homeaway, and other sites. Properties are rented this way all the time, but that arrangement certainly comes with some risks. The most prominent in my mind would be, “What if this person gets foreclosed on before I get there?”. Since you usually have to put a lot of money down to reserve the property, and foreclosures in Florida are a common occurrence, I don’t think this is an unreasonable concern.

I think if I went with an option like this I would probably do it through some kind of broker. There are many groups in the Orlando area that offer property management services and also broker rentals. One of the ones I see that advertises all over the web is an company called All Star Vacation Homes. I haven’t used that company’s services, but I think the extra cost of going through someone like them might be worth it in the long run. If something goes wrong, you are dealing a large organization with a reputation to uphold rather than one person you met on Kijiji.

Wrap Up

So there is my quick summary of some of the lodging choices in the Orlando area. I hope you found it helpful. In my next post, I will let you know the type of lodging option we chose for our vacation in December of 2011, the property we stayed at, and what our experience was like there.

 
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Posted by on March 11, 2012 in Travel

 

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Winter Tire Ratings and Reviews for 2011 – 2012

Last year around this time I did a lot of research on winter tires for my two vehicles and shared my research and my decisions in the following articles: Purchase Decision – Winter Tires – Part 1 and Purchase Decision – Winter Tires – Part 2. Based on the number of page views and comments I have received on each, it seems that research has been useful to others.

Although I won’t be in the market for winter tires again for a few years, I thought it might be helpful to give an update on winter tire choices for the winter of 2011 – 2012. I won’t be calling around looking for options this year so I thought instead I would piggyback on work that others have done and consolidate that information here for you. Below I will show you Winter Tire ratings from a few different websites which along with my articles from last year should help you in your decision making.

APA Winter Tire Ratings 2011 – 2012

You may remember last year I mentioned videos from the Automobile Protection Association which seems to be an automotive consumer protection group. APA has produced winter tire review lists for the past several years. Their rating methodology for this year is described as follows:

This year’s APA winter tire reviews are the most usable and comprehensive available in Canada. We surveyed tire experts and tire dealers for their ratings of winter tires. We then cross-checked the results against APA’s test results archive from previous winters for tires that have not changed. This hybrid system offered several benefits, including the opportunity to rate over 50 tires — a much larger selection that we could normally evaluate in a conventional tire test. The APA places a higher  priority on  performance on uncleared roads over handling on dry payment, which accounts for differences between the APA’s recommendations and published reports from some other sources. The tires listed here include most of the highly rated models on the market.

I am not sure I am loving the methodology they used this year but I still think it is worthwhile to include their rankings here. APA ranks winter tires in tiers rather than sequentially. I will show their top two tiers in each category. For a complete list, go to the APA website.

Passenger Car Winter Tires

Top Rated

  • Bridgestone Blizzak WS-70
  • Michelin X-Ice Xi2
  • Toyo OBSERVE G-02 plus

Very Good

  • BF Goodrich Winter Slalom KSI,
  • Continental ExtremeWinterContact
  • Continental ContiIceContact
  • Dunlop Graspic DS-3
  • General Altimax Arctic
  • Gislaved Nord*Frost 5
  • Yokohama Ice Guard IG20

SUV Winter Tires

Top Rated

  • Bridgestone Blizzak DM-V1
  • Dunlop Grandtrek SJ6
  • Michelin X-Ice Xi2
  • Toyo OPEN COUNTRY G-02 plus
  • Yokohama Geolander I/T G072

Very Good

  • BF Goodrich Winter Slalom KSI
  • Continental Extreme Winter Contact
  • Dunlop Grandtrek SJ4 and SJ5
  • General Altimax Arctic

Performance Winter Tires

Top Rated

  • Bridgestone Blizzak LM-60
  • Dunlop SP Winter Sport 3D
  • Pirelli Winter Sottozero Series II
  • Toyo OBSERVE GARIT KX

Very Good

  • Goodyear Ultra Grip GW3
  • Michelin Pilot Alpin PA3
  • Michelin Primacy Alpin

Auto123.com and PMCTire.com Winter Tire Ratings 2011 – 2012

Auto123.com is a website based out of Quebec that offers automotive information and reviews. Working in conjunction with PMC Tire, a tire and wheel dealer also based in Quebec, to rate 129 different winter tire models. It is significant that two Quebec-based organizations got together to produce this list since it was only a few years ago that Quebec passed a law requiring winter tires on vehicles from December 15th until March 15th – they know winter tires in La Belle Province.

Auto123 / PMC rates the tires on their extensive list based on…

several information sources, including personal and professional road tests, feedback from customers, articles by renowned auto journalists, and a number of consumer reviews from various North American websites and message boards.

The tire rankings are categorized into the four categories listed below. I will include the top 10 tires in each category in the lists below. For more details and complete lists go to the 2011 Winter Tire Review article at Auto123.com.

Winter Tires for Cars

  1. Nokian Hakkapeliitta 7 Studded
  2. Nokian Hakkapeliitta 5 Studded
  3. Nokian Hakkapeliitta 7
  4. Nokian Hakkapeliitta 5
  5. Nokian Hakkapeliitta R
  6. Michelin X-Ice Xi2
  7. Vredestein Snowtrac3
  8. Vredestein Arctrac
  9. Bridgestone Blizzak WS-70
  10. Continental ExtremeWinterContact

Winter Performance Tires for Cars

  1. Vredestein Wintrac Xtreme
  2. Michelin Pilot Alpin PA3
  3. Bridgestone Blizzak LM-60
  4. Michelin Primacy Alpin PA3
  5. Michelin Pilot Alpin PA2 RunFlat
  6. Toyo SNOWPROX 952
  7. Dunlop SP Winter Sport M3
  8. Dunlop SP Winter Sport 3D
  9. Dunlop SP Winter Sport 3D ROF
  10. Dunlop SP Winter Sport M3 DSST

Winter Tires for Light-Duty Trucks / SUV’s

  1. Nokian Hakkapeliitta 7 SUV Studded
  2. Nokian Hakkapeliitta 5 SUV Studded
  3. Nokian Hakkapeliitta 7 SUV
  4. Nokian Hakkapeliitta R
  5. Nokian Hakkapeliitta 5 SUV
  6. Vredestein Arctrac
  7. Michelin Latitude X-Ice Xi2
  8. Yokohama Geolander I/T G072
  9. Bridgestone Blizzak DM-V1
  10. Goodyear Ultra Grip Ice WRT

Winter Performance Tires for Light-Duty Trucks / SUV’s

  1. Vredestein Wintrac 4 Xtreme
  2. Bridgestone Blizzak LM-60
  3. Michelin Latitude Alpin HP
  4. Michelin Latitude Alpin
  5. Goodyear Ultra Grip SUV
  6. Continental ContiCrossContact Winter
  7. Dunlop Grandtrek WT M2
  8. Dunlop SP Winter Sport
  9. Dunlop SP Winter Sport 3D
  10. Dunlop SP Winter Sport 3D ROF

Winter Tire Reviews at 1010Tires.com (as of November, 2011)

You may remember that the winter tire articles I published in the fall of 2010 provided links to consumer reviews posted at 1010Tires.com. 1010Tires is probably the largest Canadian online tire retailer if you exclude Canadian Tire and Costco (I am not sure if those two should be really be considered online retailers anyway). In my opinion 1010Tires.com is the Canadian equivalent of TireRack.com in the US.

One of the things I like most about the 1010Tires.com is the fact that they provide a place for consumers to review the tires they have used based on a number of criteria. That feature is used frequently enough by 1010Tires customers and others to make the reviews useful in decision making. Although consumer rankings and reviews can be easily faked by someone who wants to waste their time, I thought it would still be worthwhile to include the top reviewed winter tires from 1010Tires.com in this article.

I will list the top 10 tires in each category as they were in November, 2011. For the most up to date list, go to the Tire Reviews section at 1010Tires.com.

Light Trucks and SUV’s – Winter

  1. Toyo OBSERVE GSi-5
  2. Goodyear Ultra Grip Ice WRT
  3. Yokohama Geolander I/T G072
  4. Hankook RW-11 i-Pike
  5. Bridgestone Blizzak DM-Z3
  6. Bridgestone Blizzak W965
  7. Bridgestone Blizzak DM-V1
  8. Toyo OPEN COUNTRY G-02 plus
  9. Michelin Latitude Alpin
  10. Goodyear Ultra Grip SUV

Passenger Cars – Winter

  1. Nokian Hakkapeliitta R
  2. Toyo SNOWPROX 952
  3. Nokian Hakkapeliitta 5
  4. Hankook W409 Winter i-Pike
  5. Pirelli Winter 210 Sottozero
  6. Pirelli Winter Carving
  7. General Altimax Arctic
  8. Pirelli Winter Carving Edge
  9. Continental ExtremeWinterContact
  10. Pirelli Winter 210 Snowsport
 
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Posted by on November 26, 2011 in Automotive

 

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Website Review – ViewPoint.ca

Those of you who have been following my blog for a while, or know me personally, are likely aware that I am an information junkie. I love to do research. Usually that research is on practical things, like research on a new product or service I want to purchase. Although it is fair to say that I sometimes go overboard on the quantity of research I do, the reason for doing the research is usually based on a need, rather than a desire to simply do research.

Yes, usually my research activities are pretty logical exercises, but not always. In certain areas, I do research just because I am interested in the topic and want to stay informed. For example, my family owns two vehicles right now – one is a 2008 and one is a 2011. Although we are not likely to trade either one of them in on something new for a few years, I still look at car ads on Autotrader.ca, Kijiji.ca, and various dealer and manufacturer sites fairly often. That might seem like a waste of time to some people, but I enjoy it. Some people do needle point for fun, some play video games, I sometimes like to do endless research on things I have no intention of doing anything about for some time.

In addition to cars, the other topic I never tire of researching is real estate. We have lived in the same house now for 11 years. During that entire time I probably haven’t gone more than a couple of weeks without researching homes and/or land in my immediate area, the Halifax area as a whole, or other areas of Nova Scotia and Canada. Stop shaking your head and rolling your eyes – it’s fun…really.

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Posted by on November 13, 2011 in Web Site Reviews

 

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Canadian Black Book Announces 2011 Retained Value Awards

Canadian Black Book, the company that publishes the Canadian automotive industry’s used car value “bible”, announced their 2011 retained value awards recently. These awards recognize the 2007 vehicles in 17 categories that experienced the lowest average depreciation in the first four years of ownership. Black Book indicates in their press release that past performance is not a guarantee of future results, but it is generally a very good guideline.

Last year, Asian brands dominated the winners circle with European brands a distant second. This year, things have tightened up considerably.

Asia, specifically Japan, had 8 winners this year, but was closely followed by Europe with 7. The remaining two winners were from North American brands.

The Toyota group had the most winners with six between the Toyota and Lexus brands. Volkswagen was next with three winners, while the Chrysler group and Volvo both had with two winners.

Here are the winners and runner’s up by category…

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Posted by on June 5, 2011 in Automotive

 

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Product Review – Media Player – WDTV Live

You may remember that a while back I posted an article where I discussed the options I considered for a media player. I looked at a lot of possibilities and in the end I decided to purchase the Western Digital WD TV Live HD Media Player.I have had the device for several months now so I thought it was time for a review.

The WD TV Live is a device which is a little smaller than a desktop hard-drive. The retail box contains the device itself, a small and very simple remote control, batteries for the remote, an AC adapter, a special component video cable, a special analog stereo cable, and an installation guide.

In case you are not sure what this device and others like it do, the concept is pretty simple. These media players have several inputs which allow you to read files on your computer, network, or a portable storage device, the software (codecs) required to read/play them properly, a small operating system to allow you to navigate and consume your media, and the outputs necessary to send the audio and video to a Home Theater system or directly to a TV.

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Posted by on January 24, 2011 in Consumer Electronics

 

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Purchase Decision – Winter Tires – Part 2

I recently posted an article titled Purchase Decision – Winter Tires – Part 1. In that post I discussed the fact that I was looking for winter tires for both of my vehicles. The stock sizes I was looking for were 205/55 R16 and 235/60 R17 (for the second vehicle I was also considering tires in 225/65 R17 to give me more options to choose from). I have now made both of my purchases and I thought I should update you on what I bought, why I made that selection, and what the cost was. As I mentioned in my previous post, the prices I will quote do not include the mandatory tire recycling fee of $3 the Nova Scotia government requires on each new tire purchase, the installation and balancing charges of approximately $10 to $20 depending on the shop, or Nova Scotia’s Harmonized Sales Tax of 15%. Yeah…I shake my head every time I write all of that down.

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Posted by on November 20, 2010 in Automotive

 

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