My First Month with Internet Ads

I have to admit, trying to deal with Internet ads is a learning experience. At times, dealing with WordPress is like communicating in another language. Of course you have to know a little about HTML to get a few things done on your website. But for the most part, there are apps called plugins that get the job done for you. Most are free, and easy to install. That was one of the first things I had to learn before beginning my first month with Internet ads. One of the first things to learn is how to add plugins.

Not too many people who really know how to use a computer know how to explain step by step details. There are two ways to add a plugins.

The easiest way is to go to your admin website. When you are in the Dash Board, adding a new page or post, or just about anything, there is a column on the left in black. Hover the mouse courser over the PLUGINS. Then click on ADD NEW.

When the new window opens, there will be a number of suggestions below. You can look at those, if you wish. But the best way to find what you are looking for is to go to the little SEARCH window near the top on the right. Enter in whatever you are looking for and suggestions show up.

If you want to add a plugin to display ads on your website, enter AD INSERTER in the search screen. Hit enter and the choices pop up for you to choose from. Look at the ratings and don’t be afraid to try something different. I’m not sure what the other plugins will do. I chose to install Ad Inserter and stick with that plugin.

When you decide to install a new plugin, click on the INSTALL button and the plugin will install for you.

Click the ACTIVATE button and you are done. That’s it. Simple enough.

Now comes the problem. I just installed a new plugin and where is it? You can go to PLUGINS, click on the INSTALLED section, locate the plugin you just added, it opens up, but there is nothing there to do with the plugin. And seldom any instruction. Now what happens

I’m sure a lot of people get that sinking feeling. Look on the black column on the left. Some plugins will add themselves to the side bar. Some won’t. This can be confusing and frustrating. But wait! There is a simple answer.

Hover your mouse courser over SETTINGS in that black column. Look for the new plugin there. If you see it, click on it. A new window opens, and in most cases, the layout is self exploratory.

In this example, I am going to look at Ad Inserter. A new page opens, and you see a window to paste in your ad code. Each ad company is a little different, and I will go through a few later.

There is a set of tabs on top of the screen to paste your ad code. Pick a blank screen, paste in the code. CTRL V will paste. That is Control V, which is a keyboard short cut. Otherwise, right click the mouse button and choose PASTE.

There are a few choices to make on the screen, You can choose which pages and posts to display the ads. Click on the pages you want the ads to appear, and you can also choose which pages, posts, etc to omit ads. You can play around with location your ad will be displayed, look at your website, and see which setting looks best. That is one aspect I have to experiment with more. But so much to do and so little time.

Once you’re done, click on the SAVE ALL SETTINGS, and in a few minutes you’ll see ads on your website. And with a little luck, make some money. Now here is an important announcement.

Don’t click on ads on your own website. The ad companies all know the IP address of your computer and phone and know when you click on your own ads. The ad companies treat everyone like a criminal, and they are sure to let you know when they see you clicking on your ads. The thing is, they do not pay you for clicking on your own ads, they will not pay your IP address for a click, they have computers set to omit that click, but they still don’t like you clicking in your ads.

That really frustrates me to no end. I am in the Real Estate business and I’ve see people ripped off by so called, “Real Estate Investment Websites.” I was advertising with Google for a while. When I saw those ads pop up, I clicked on the site, and when they offered that free video for Real Estate Investment, I went to my Google page and took that ad off my site. A few hours later a similar ad connecting to another website popped up. It had the same exact same pages and videos, but on a website with a different name.

The question I have is, don’t have the right and responsibility to review and weed out harmful and misleading ads? Shouldn’t that be part of the plan? What are those ad companies trying to hide when it is forbidden for the site owner to review ads?

Well now it is time to review a few of the ad companies I’ve worked with in my first month.

Google

So far Google is the king of on line advertising. I must get 20-30 phone calls a week from people trying to put my sites on the top of a Google search, sell me Google ads, so on and so forth. For one thing, I am in both Real Estate and selling Christian books. I cannot hope to compete with the big Real Estate websites, brokers, and businesses for the top spot on a Google search. Those spots are open for bidding. And I am not about to bid against giants. The same is true in Real Estate and the religious world. Churches and preachers bid for the top spots on Google searches. Enough about buying from Google. Let’s look at taking a piece of that pie.

Google offers the best terms, layouts for ads, and is the only ad company that places a sense of control in the hands of the website owner. I can look at ads, not the sites, but the ads, and either accept or reject the ad. To me that is golden.

Google offers the highest pay per click. I was getting from $.40 to over $1 a click. Ads are focused on the viewing habits of the visitor. People have told me, the ad on my site offered a much lower price for the item they were looking for than the sites they were shopping on. That is the cutting edge of marketing.

Go to Google Adsense, create an account, copy the code and use Ad Inserter on WordPress to put the ads into your website. It is as easy as that. Google has no minimum traffic restrictions. Overall, Google is the best I have tried.

There is a page on Adsense to approve or reject ads. That is something I have not seen offered by anyone else. The set up is easy to use on Adsense. The reports are straight forward. But then I wonder why the numbers on Adsense do no match the numbers on Google Analytics on WordPress, nor the numbers on my Inmotion reports page.

Media.net

I wish I could tell you more about this company. It is the ad arm of Bing and Yahoo. The problem is, they require a minimum of 50,000 views a month and I am not close to that. You can look at their website, but they take about a week to reply to a request, and like I said, if you are not over 50,000 views a month, you are wasting your time.

Chitika

I tried Chitika for a few weeks They only put up two ads on my site. Maybe a third from time to time. Not very interesting ads. The ads were easy to add to my site using Ad Inserter. The problem was, I never received a single click.

Infolinks

I thought Infolinks was going to work. Their ad selection is limited. It required a special plugin installed on WordPress, but was easy to work with and the reports were easy to read. The problem was, the only ads they showed were paid based on 1000 views. I was making between $.01 and $.05 a day. Hardly worth the effort. Ads are very limited. They also place ads all over the web pages in the form of different colored words containing a hyperlink. And here is the catch.

I was in the bank talking to the loan officer about putting information about his bank on my website. He clicked on a few ads. Infolinks didn’t credit me with any clicks. How Infolinks pays is a mystery. All of a sudden his screen went blank and a window pops up with a voice telling him his computer system has a virus and call this 800 number to clean it up. Talk about embarrassing. That was the max. Needless to say, within the hour all ads and information from Infolinks was off my website. I will not allow that to happen again.

Clicksor

By far, Clicksor was the worst experience. They hijacked my website taking me all over the Internet no matter what I clicked or did. Stay away from this ad company especially if you are running a Windows system. I run Linux, so they didn’t get on my computer. It did take me over an hour to finally get around the way they rerouted my browser and get into my WordPress account to delete all the Clicksor information. Do a quick search on Clicksor virus before you enter their dark world.

I did check into a few other ad companies. Some do not deal with Real Estate or religion. Others never responded to my on line application. In the long run, try Google. I am sticking with them and I’ll see how that goes. But be careful. Look up company reviews on the Internet, and remember, you really don’t know who wrote those reviews. All you really know for sure is, there is a lot of money behind this ad business. I learned a lot of lessons in my first month with Internet ads. Feel free to share what you have learned. I’m sure we will appreciate it.

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Electric Power Drills

In an effort to keep this as short as I can, I am writing only on electric power drills in this section. As I buy and put more electric power drills through a vigorous trial, I will update this list. Hopefully the search engine will pick up the updates so you can find them. Just in case, you may want to bookmark this post, or leave a comment and choose the option for an email update when other comments are added. Hopefully other people will leave a few reviews. I will add a comment to this post when I add updates. That way everyone can receive an update via email.

Economy power tools have their place. I prefer quality tools over off shoot brands any day. But there is a time and place for less expensive electric power tool models. Do the less expensive models perform and last as long as the name brand models? That all depends on how much you use the electric power drills, how much you depend on each electric power drill, and of course, how well the electric power drills are built. Here we will go over a few different types of electric power drills, and explain how well they perform, and when it is important to purchase quality, and when it may be to your advantage to choose a less expensive electric power drill.

Electric Power Drills

I hope you don’t mind if I group 120 volt drills with cordless drills. Both are electric power drills. Before we get into the actual cordless tools, let’s look at batteries first. Of course you want to get the largest battery size. It has more power and lasts longer. You don’t want your power drill dying in the middle of a job. When shopping for cordless power tools, check out prices on spare batteries. That can be a determining factor. Good batteries are not cheap, and you can expect to pay $50 or more for a good battery. Maybe a little less depending on the brand. There is a lot of competition out there, and prices seem to drop from time to time.

The best batteries I have seen on the market and tried are Lithium batteries. They take a rather quick charge, hold a charge for a long time, even in storage, and recharge to full capacity time after time. You don’t really have to completely discharge a Lithium battery before charging it. I’ve recharged half full batteries plenty of times and have not seen any ill effects. The older NiCd (nickel–cadmium) batteries tend to have a memory, do not last on the job as long, and will refuse to charge over time. There are plenty of good articles on the Internet about battery types you can look at. I just wanted to mention a few basics.

Make sure you always use the original battery charge that can with the electric power drills. Don’t do anything stupid like try to make your own charger. And recycle your batteries. Places like Best Buy, Battery stores, and city drop off sites take in spent batteries. Once again, search the Internet for a place near you.

What to Look for in Electric Power Drills

There are a number of factors to look at in electric power drills. One is power. Some have power ratings like torque. The higher the torque, the more power the drill has. Amperage is another rating on corded drills. Everyday drills may have 2 to 4 amps. More powerful drills will have 5 to maybe 10 amps. They can just about tear your wrist off if you hit something that stops the drill, or you are driving down a screw and the screw stops. Do you need a drill with a lot of power? It helps when you are driving in 100 or so deck screws or drywall screws. Higher amperage drills are designed with better cooling fans and vent systems. Hence they will run cooler and longer before over heating.

Cordless drills usually have a torque rating. Voltage and battery size is also important. You want at least a 16 volt rating on a cordless drill if you are going to use it on projects a few times a year. 20 volts are at the top of the list at this point in time. Batteries come in different sizes, specified by amp/hours. (Ah) They normally range from 1.5-5.0 Ah. The amp/hours are related to how long the battery will last, and how long it will take to charge. For normal jobs around the house, 1.5 to 2,5 Ah should be adequate. No matter which battery size you buy, a back up battery is a good idea.

Hammer Drill Power Ratings

Here is a good article on hammer drill power ratings .  Click the picture on the left. 

Ball bearing construction is important. Cheaper drills use bronze bushings that are supposed to support the chuck. Bronze bushings are okay if all you are going to do is use the drill 2 or 3 times a year, not over heat it, and only use the drill to drill holes and fasten screws. But if you use drills with bronze bushings with a wire brush, you will wear out the bushings and they end of the drill, the chuck will wobble. That is another thing to check in a new drill. Lock the chuck down and see if the chuck wiggles in your hand. If it has any wiggle in a new drill, look at something with more quality.


 

Key-less Chucks

I appreciate key-less chucks on drills. They are quick and you don’t need that little key. As far as I know, you really can’t over tighten a key-less chuck. But I’m sure someone has accomplished that task. Chucks generally come in 2 sizes, 3/8 and ½ inch. That describes the capacity of the chuck and the maximum diameter drill or tool bit you can insert in the drill. Some drill sets come the drills turned down or machined on the end so you can fit drills larger that 3/8 in a 3/8 chuck.

Used Drills

Now here is an idea. Look at second hand stores, rummage sales, and Craigslist for low cost, used drills. If you think the old drills were built better, you are right. The old Skil drills had ball bearing construction and lasted forever. The old Milwaukee drills are still going. At least some of them. Most used drills will have a keyed chuck, but here is the idea. If you want to use a drill for sanding? I don’t know why, but some people do. I guess it is alright to use a drill to sand a rusty part. But not so good for wood, body work, or painted surfaces. Sanding will place a lot of wear on the drill bearing. So why not use a good used $5 drill with a real bearing to support the chuck? A good used drill can also be used for wire brushing. And here is the best idea. Older keyed drills can be used to set one up with one drill size, another with a different drill size, and maybe one with a wire brush. Look for quality if you are buying new or used.


 

As usual, Milwaukee, Dewalt, are the top name brands that get all the attention. I see both Milwaukee and Dewalt competing for the expanding, near top quality market. I have seen a set of Milwaukee electric power drill plus driver kit with 2 batteries and a charger for about $200. Is that really a top quality Milwaukee drill set? Ecclesiastically it is. Of course it does not come with a nice plastic case. The batteries may be on the small side. But it appears you are getting the same quality that goes into every Milwaukee electric power drill. Dewalt is competing for the same market and offers drill/driver combo kits for about $175. Again, look at the battery size, and a kit with 2 batteries. Other not so name brands are also entering the arena, and some websites have some rather interesting tests and comparisons. I can’t stress this fact enough. Look at what is actually included in the kit if you decide to buy one. Some great prices include the tool only. Which means there is no battery or charger. Some off brands include accessories such as drill bits, screw driver bits, and maybe a few other things.

Another Important Consideration

Another important factor to consider is, once you purchase one cordless tool you are pretty committed to that brand. As far as I know batteries are not inter-changeable between name brands. Check the other tools they offer like cordless saws,grinders, flashlights, and other tools you may want to add to your collection. And always work safe. 

Drill Bits

I just want to mention a little about drill bits. I’ve run across this amazing product referred to as a step drill I saw people using them and was surprised how quickly they cut through sheet metal. I saw one at Harbor Freight and decided to try one. When I try a product, I take it to its limit. I tried light gauge sheet metal, 16 ga and lighter. That is about 1/16 inch think. The step drill worked fine. I went up to 1/8 and the 3/16 thick steel. I was amazed at how well it worked. I went back and purchased the set. After hundreds of holes that Harbor Freight step drill is still going strong.


 

My steel drill set is probably as old as many people reading this article. The drill bits are made of high speed steel. I bought a set in a metal case from Sears long ago and they are still working fine. There are a lot of companies selling drill bits and the lowest price is not always the best. Drill bits are made from a precise combination of metals. Leave one ingredient out and the drill bits are too brittle. Cheap drill bits will normally break on the first use. I had a few bit sets that were included in the old cordless drill sets I bought. The drill bits are gone and so are the cheap cordless drills. They were the old NiCd batteries.

When it comes to wood drill bits, I prefer the spade bits with the ears on the side. The ears or spurs will show you just how straight you are holding the drill, and will provide a much cleaner cut with less break out in the other side. I bought a cheap set without the side spurs that works okay and a set from Skil with the side spurs that still works great. Auger drill bits for wood also work fine. Again, you get what you pay for, and cheap bits will break on auger bits. Spade bits may not break, but will not hold an edge as long as a good set of spade bits.


 

Brand names like Milwaukee, Skil, Dewalt, and others mentioned here have copy rights. Of course, if anyone has any complaints or issues, they can contact me through the DCMA web page.

 

I am surprised I found some prices on Amazon that are better than at Harbor Freight. I’ll see how many of these I can add as I find them. 


 


 

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Hey lets talk about auto parts for a minute. Where is the best place to buy auto parts. If you work on your own cars like I do, you want to make sure you put in quality parts at the best price. I’m going to share what I found.

Where I Buy Auto Parts

There are 5 basic sources I use, NAPA, Autozone, Advance Auto, Rock Auto and Amazon. These are listed in the order I have shopped with them. Things have changed, and I will get into those changes in greater detail. I don’t want to put one supplier over another, and there are other suppliers such as O’Reilly Auto Parts, and a number of other auto parts stores, many of them independent. I’m sure most of you have your favorite auto parts store, and you are loyal to them. That’s okay. That’s the way I am.

I used to own an auto body shop and I dwelt with independent shops. Wisconsin Auto and Lohman Color were the best places to deal with. The people in those store were experts. They worked at those places for a long time, and always knew the answers, and were able to find what I was looking for. That was back in the days with no computers. Those people were good.

Things have changed, and I will point out some of those changes later. The fact is, you need parts, and where to go to get the best part is an issue.

Advance Auto

I am going to list these companies in alphabetical order. So the order you see them is not an indication of how good or poor they are. Each has good and some have bad points. Advance Auto sells car parts and tools. The local Advance Auto has some people that have been there a long time, and that is important. They know the terminology, and how to find the part you need on their computer. As with all auto parts stores, there are a number of choices with each part. Some parts such as brake pads have different features, and different prices. The people at the local Advance Auto know the choices and are able to make the right recommendation. I like that.

One thing about Advance Auto I have to mention. They have one of the best websites and apps to work with. One reason Advance Auto is on my top choice at the moment is their phone app. They offer BIG discounts. I know people with business accounts at Advance Auto, and they get better deals and discounts using the app. Now don’t you think that is worth looking into? Auto parts stores are competing for your business. Download the Advance Auto app and let them prove it.

I order parts on line from Advance Auto and pick them up at the store. I get some huge discounts. And if the sales person at the store tells me why I should upgrade, or take a step down, I still get a discount at the store. What more can you ask for?

Amazon

Yes Amazon does offer car parts. The only problem is, you can’t really be sure where they come from. You can talk yourself into thinking, “all parts come from China these days.” That is true to an extend, but it is quite an exaggeration. There are of course companies offering American parts on Amazon, and a variety of good auto parts and tools. The things that push Amazon into my short list of auto parts stores is their rating system, the reviews, and free shipping. Amazon has been posing such a threat to the other auto parts supply companies that almost every one offers some form of free shipping. Usually on orders over $25. Think about this for a moment. As long as Amazon is in business, the others are pushing to keep prices low. On the other hand, Amazon does not provide any instant support, or advice. They do have a way of registering your car, and the computer checks the fit for you. But computers are only as accurate as the person inputting the information. And do you really think the computer guy is an avid car guy? Amazon may not be the go to auto parts store for me, but tools are a different subject. We all need tools. And just about every job these days requires a specialty tool or two. I have another page here on hand tools you can look at and get an idea of my thoughts and recommendations on hand tools.

There is another thing to consider with Amazon. What about those warranties? Are they good at a company in another state, or overseas? Then there is the old, order a part only to find out the part is being shipped from China. Wait about a month for the part to arrive. I have worked with some Chinese companies. Most do have US based offices and some have US based supply houses for auto parts and tools. That makes shipping much quicker. But you can’t be sure of the shipping origin until after you place an order. In most cases I have found that Chinese and overseas companies do ship the next day. But we have that long wait for parts to make it to the mail box. Is it worth the money?

Auto Zone

Auto Zone used to be my favorite auto parts store, but now Advance Auto is much closer. I still use Auto Zone because I purchased a number of parts with their life time warranty. How can you go wrong? If you are like me, you drive your car and rebuild it until it dies, those life time warranties are worth it. Of course you are not getting the cheapest part, but a the most reliable part. Doing your own work on your car doesn’t mean you want to work on it every weekend.

Those life time warranties set Auto Zone on top. Other stores now offer similar warranties. When choosing the right part at the right price, look at the range of warranties.

Auto Zone also has a fine website, and phone app. Auto Zone also offers a series of discounts and special sales on their phone app. Use it and you will find yourself saving money on the best parts for your car.

Auto Zone has some good sales people behind the desk. Most of them know cars and the parts that go in them. But I would rate them a notch below Advance Auto.

NAPA

I grew up with NAPA. They always seemed to have knowledgeable people behind the counter who knew little tricks to change parts on cars. I don’t think that has changed. Another feature NAPA has that sets them in the top group of auto parts suppliers is their selection of parts and specialty tools. If you can’t find it at NAPA, you can’t find it anywhere. I do drive older cars, and not everyone stocks every part for them. But NAPA has a way of finding rare parts. If you get stumped on a part you can’t find, call your local NAPA store to see if they can help. I have not looked into any NAPA app. If you used the NAPA app, leave a comment and share your experience with the world. This website gets viewers from all over the world.

Rock Auto

Rock Auto may be the lowest priced auto parts store I have found. I check out prices at Rock Auto and find huge savings. The only thing is, Rock Auto charges shipping, which can quickly cancel out any savings. Their website is far above any auto supply website. But the format has been copied by others. Just go down a list on the side bar and choose your car’s make, year, model, engine size, so on and so forth. Then click on the parts group, and then the actual part. A pop up comes up with a selection of parts. Scroll down. There is an economy list of parts, a group of every day driver parts, and all the way up to performance parts. You can find some really good buys on Rock Auto. That shipping can kill you though. Rock Auto is great for those maintenance items, and things you can stock up on. Look for their sales. You can have Rock Auto specials and sales emailed to yourself. And Rock Auto doesn’t send out spam email everyday like some companies do.

The only problem with Rock Auto is, they think their website is so great, they have no support. Order the wrong part and you get a run around like no one’s business. Call for help, and you get sent back to the Internet site.

I ordered a number of parts from Rock Auto for a project. One part came in wrong. It was not the part for the car. I looked at the part number and guess what. Two digits were in reverse order. It took me two days of calling on the phone and trying to find an email address to get in contact with someone to resolve the problem. Here is a little trick for Rock Auto. The only way to get in touch with someone if you need support is to send an email to the return address on the email confirming your order and shipping.

Someone at Rock Auto, actually their supplier, sent the wrong part. Plain and simple solution. Take the part back and send me the right part. But neither Rock Auto nor their supplier would bat an eye to admit they made a mistake and make good on the mistake. The problem was, it cost $150 to ship the part. Neither one was going to eat that mess. Not even to save their reputation. It took weeks before Rock Auto sent me an email telling me to put the part in the original box, with original Rock Auto packing tape, and call the trucking company for a pick up. They would take the part back, inspect it, and then determine if I was eligible for a refund. Refund the price of the part! What about the shipping? I was out at least $150. I demanded that Rock Auto take the part back and send out the right part. Rock Auto told me to send the wrong part back, and reorder the right part. I looked at their website, and the part I ordered doubled in price. Not only doubled in price, but I would have to shell out another $150 in shipping costs. Needless to say, I was not impressed with the Rock Auto process of handling mistakes. I ordered a part for a Dodge from their drop down computer system, and they sent me a GM part that ain’t gonna fit. I hate it when people think they can increase profits with computer systems and slice out the most important features of a business like customer support.

Other Great Auto Parts Companies

       

There are a number of other great auto part companies I had the pleasure of dealing with. I prefer to stick to a company that provides exceptional service. Original Parts Group is one of them. They have great phone support, and can easily find your order by name. Every time I call, I feel like I am chatting with an old friend, and they always come up with the answers in less than 10 seconds. That is the proper use of computers, to enhance customer service and support.

If you buy car paint, TCP Global is a great store who actually ships paints. Their prices are good, and they have excellent phone support from people who use their products.

Stylin Trucks is another web based auto parts store with great support. Have any doubts, call Stylin Trucks and they know how to ask the right questions to ensure you get the right parts.

Why A Real Estate Agent

You may be asking why a Real Estate Agent is writing stories about tools and car parts. Simple. I produce and maintain my own website. I work on my own cars, and fix just about everything on my house. I look into issues, and find answers. Look on the Internet these days and you can find a video on how to fix or make just about everything. I am more of a blue jean Real Estate Agent. Why is that important? After closing way over 100 sales in Real Estate, I have seen my share of unexpected issues pop up. One of the most irritating things that seems to reoccur is that one little issue that takes 5 minutes to fix, but can hold up a closing on a house for days, and require more paperwork than it is worth. I’ve seen so many little things pop up like a leaky faucet, a dripping faucet, a minor electrical problem, and a list of other issues. They may take 10 minutes to fix, but let’s face it, most of the people involved in closing the deal on a home don’t work on their own homes. I’ve left closings, got in my car, fixed the issue, and sent back pictures, or videos to show the drain is unclogged, the drip fixed, or whatever the problem was, has been resolved.

I guess it’s not a big mystery how people chose a Real Estate Agent these days. They click on the picture that appeals to their taste. A guy wearing a suit and tie, or a woman in a business suit or dress. If a problem comes up, what are they going to do? Crawl under a cabinet to fix the problem? In most cases they will produce more paperwork that requires other people to produce more paperwork, that causes more delays, and cost someone a great deal of money. That is the way of doing business in this day and age. What do you want in a Real Estate Agent? An agent who wants to look smart and impress you with paperwork, or an Agent in blue jeans who gets the job done? Better yet, an Agent who can identify a number of potential issues, and you can fix them yourself before the closing date.

There are other things like gardening, changing door knobs after the purcahse, and helping people when problems rear their ugly head after the sale is complete. When you do your own work around the house, you have a valuable service to offer. A service that sets me apart in this business. As you can see, I admire great service. And I offer service above and beyond what people often expect. That leaves a great impression. It also saves me a ton of money. I don’t have to pay agencies a boat load of money to plaster my picture all over the Internet so people can click on the face they think they can depend on.

Of course Advance Auto, Auto Zone, Amazon, NAPA, Rock Auto, Stylin Trucks, TPC Global, Original Parts Group, and other names mention here are registered trade names. Their images are have copy rights. If any of them have an issue with this, or any of the other posts I’ve written, contact me on the from the DCMA Notice page.

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Discount Tools

 

Some people are afraid to buy discount tools, thinking they are cheap, will not last, and will break at the worst time. I’m sure other people had that experience. Buy a discount tool socket set that looks nice in the case, but the socket shattered the first time you use it. That was a cheap tool. But there are other options, and some of them may surprise you.

I use a lot of tools to do a variety of jobs. I’ve fixed or replaced just about every part on a car, and restored a number of cars. I own a lot of quality tools, and at times, it does not pay to skimp on tools that really matter. I used to custom paint cars and would not give up my Binks spray guns for anything. I’ve used other brands for primer guns, but they were also top quality like Devilbiss. On the other hand, I did buy a cheap $15 touch up, or jam gun that was as good as my Binks Model 115 touch up gun. Then there is always painting under the car, like the frame where a cheaper spray gun would be fine. But to paint a custom car, would you spray a hood with nothing less than a top quality spray gun?

Then there are hand tools like sockets, wrenches, and other associated tools. I’ve been rather lucky with some off brands. One of my favorite places to shop is Harbor Freight. More on them later.

My first set of hand tools was a Craftsman set from Sears. They were good quality tools. I’ve owned them over 30 years. My dad owned Craftsmen tools. My brothers bought Craftsman tools from Sears. They are all still reliable. All together, we have not had to return more than a half dozen tools on their life time warranty. That is pretty good

Although the Craftsman tool set I purchased 30 years ago is a fairly complete set of hand tools, it doesn’t include everything you need when you work on cars like I do. For one thing, it came with no impact sockets. For those I tried out a set of impact sockets form Harbor Freight. I’ve had them for about 20 years, and they are still going. I never had a problem with any of them, and at that low price, I consider it one of the best investments I’ve made.

 Years later pneumatic impact wrenches have gotten a lot more powerful. I bought a 500 ft/lb Earthquake impact wrench from Harbor freight. I’ve tested it against some leading brands, and it holds its own. Those impact sockets from Harbor Freight had not reached their limit with that impact wrench, or the extra long breaker bar I bought from Harbor Freight. Did I mention, hand tools from Harbor Freight come with a life time warranty? I’ve only had to use that once with a Phillips screwdriver that met its match on an old, 1961 car that has seen better days. Just take the tool in for a replacement. No questions asked. The same is true with Sears and their Craftsman tools.

I know a lot of people like to stick to their Snap-on tools. They spend a ton of money for their tools because they depend on them for a living. They have Snap-on everything. The thing about Snap[-on is, when there is a need to a new tool, Snap-on is typically the first one to come out with it. They also have sales people who come to your door, sell out of their truck, and keep you up to date on the new tools.

I want to keep this article rather short, so I will concentrate on hand tools here, and branch out on other types of tools on other articles. I can’t stress the quality of tools enough, and there are a number of companies offering good tools at a fair price. Stanley used to be another dependable name. We already covered sockets, and wrenches. I have not tried the Harbor Freight 12 point sockets, but their 6 point impact sockets are a good buy and have lasted me years. I own 6 point impact sockets in a number of sets. ½ inch drive deep sockets in inch and metric. 3/8 inch drive standard depth inch sockets. I plan on picking up a few other sets from Harbor Freight when they go on sale. I prefer my Craftsman wrenches. I have a set of combination and box wrenches that have went through a lot without a single failure. I also have a set of Craftsman combination wrenches in metric. My socket sets from Craftsman are 12 point standard length inch and metric. Also inch and metric 6 point deep sockets with standard walls. Out of all those sockets, I’ve only had one failure. I mostly use Craftsman socket wrenches. I wore out a few 3/8 inch drive sockets. Either the little ball that holds the sockets in place wears out, or the teeth inside the wrench wear. No problem, just take them back for a replacement. I’ve found out it is a good idea to oil the top and bottom of the wrench head every once in a while. Especially the little ball that holds the sockets in place. Just put on a little drop of oil, let it soak in for a minute, and wipe off the excess.

There are also ratcheting wrenches. I own an old set of Craftsman socketing wrenches. They come in handy when you need them, but that is not too often. Now stores offer offset and swivel head ratcheting head wrenches. I am looking for a set that has one size on one side, and the next size on the other side. That way you get more sizes. And why buy a ratcheting wrench set with an open end on one side and the ratcheting 12 point on the other side?

Locking pliers are another hand tool everyone will eventually need. I prefer the original Vice-Grip brand for short jaws, and will go to a cheaper brand when it comes to other, long reach, or clamping pliers. You will eventually round the corners on a bolt or nut, you will need a good Vice-Grip pliers to save the day. That is when you need a strong, well built pliers to do the job. I’ve compared Vice-Grip pliers to others and found the Vice-Grip pliers have larger rivets, and are typically less sloppy. I have never had problems with Vice-Grip pliers, but the cheaper brands I use for clamping can be a little wobbly, and less secure. I use different clamping pliers to clamp sheet metal and wood. Cheaper brands are good when you don’t need a lot of clamping pressure, but can twist more than a Vice-Grip clamp if you really need to bear down.

Specialty tools are available from all kinds of sources. These days we have the Internet, and some guy out there made a video on just about everything concerning cars and trucks. You can find answers on the Internet for just about every car problem, and videos that show you how to fix pert near everything. And these days, a lot of those repairs require a specialty tool or two. When that situation comes up, I ask around to see if anyone has bought the specialty tool. If they did, I borrow it. Guys know how to network, and share. Or at least they should. Otherwise I search the Internet or Amazon to see who has the best deal. By the best deal I mean, a quality tool at the best price. I just happened to run across an add-on for my Chromium browser called Honey. I thought it was a joke, spam, or some kind of scam. Honey developed a system that is supposed to search the site you are on like Amazon, Walmart, and other sites like that to find the best deal. I’m not sure Honey works. It keeps telling me the products I have on my lists in Amazon are the best price. I’ll have to test it some more and write another article on it.

 

I figure Honey is in the collect and sell information business. They collect your shopping habits so search engines can put ads focusing on what you are shopping for. I’m not sure Honey goes much deeper than that, but you never know. I hope they don’t collect passwords and such. I bank on line.

I have a collection of old tools like a special grip screwdriver for those little distributor screw that hold points in. And other old tools this younger generation has not seen. Those make for an interesting conversation on some days when you are talking tools.

I did buy a few cheaper sets of screwdrivers . Once again, I prefer my Craftsman tools. But Harbor Freight does have some tempting buys. I bought an older set with black handles and magnetic tips screwdrivers I keep in the basement. That saves a lot of running out to the garage for a tool. The black handle set is made to look like Snap-on screwdrivers, but are not as good. The set from Harbor Freight is good for around the house, and car work. They were a little more expensive, but worth the money. The less expensive Harbor Freight screwdriver set has red handles, is under $10, and has good tips. Like I mentioned earlier, I broke a Phillips tip, and Harbor Freight replaced it free. The thing is, we need a good set of tools for the garage, but should consider discount tools that cost less for inside the house, or in the trunk of the car. Or to loan the discount tools to the neighbor who is always over borrowing things. I’ll update this later on a few other hand tools.

When you shop Harbor Freight, look at the on line ads. Check the sales, and look for that 20% and 25% OFF coupon they put out from time to time. You’ll need it. Wait for the extra tools you need to go on sale. I will be adding articles on electric power tools and pneumatic tools I bought and used.

As usual, I have to mention, Sears, Craftsman, Binks, Harbor Freight, Earthquake, Snap-on, Honey, Amazon, Vice-Grip, and all the other names I mentioned here are Registered Trade names. If anyone considers the use of their name or pictures an infringement of their copy rights, contact me through the DCMA Notice page, and I will remove them.

 

Some people are afraid to buy discount tools, thinking they are cheap, will not last, and will break at the worst time. I’m sure other people had that experience. Buy a discount tool socket set that looks nice in the case, but the socket shattered the first time you use it. That was a cheap tool. But there are other options, and some of them may surprise you.

I use a lot of tools to do a variety of jobs. I’ve fixed or replaced just about every part on a car, and restored a number of cars. I own a lot of quality tools, and at times, it does not pay to skimp on tools that really matter. I used to custom paint cars and would not give up my Binks spray guns for anything. I’ve used other brands for primer guns, but they were also top quality like Devilbiss. On the other hand, I did buy a cheap $15 touch up, or jam gun that was as good as my Binks Model 115 touch up gun. Then there is always painting under the car, like the frame where a cheaper spray gun would be fine. But to paint a custom car, would you spray a hood with nothing less than a top quality spray gun?

Then there are hand tools like sockets, wrenches, and other associated tools. I’ve been rather lucky with some off brands. One of my favorite places to shop is Harbor Freight. More on them later.

My first set of hand tools was a Craftsman set from Sears. They were good quality tools. I’ve owned them over 30 years. My dad owned Craftsmen tools. My brothers bought Craftsman tools from Sears. They are all still reliable. All together, we have not had to return more than a half dozen tools on their life time warranty. That is pretty good.

Although the Craftsman tool set I purchased 30 years ago is a fairly complete set of hand tools, it doesn’t include everything you need when you work on cars like I do. For one thing, it came with no impact sockets. For those I tried out a set of impact sockets form Harbor Freight. I’ve had them for about 20 years, and they are still going. I never had a problem with any of them, and at that low price, I consider it one of the best investments I’ve made.

 Years later pneumatic impact wrenches have gotten a lot more powerful. I bought a 500 ft/lb Earthquake impact wrench from Harbor freight. I’ve tested it against some leading brands, and it holds its own. Those impact sockets from Harbor Freight had not reached their limit with that impact wrench, or the extra long breaker bar I bought from Harbor Freight. Did I mention, hand tools from Harbor Freight come with a life time warranty? I’ve only had to use that once with a Phillips screwdriver that met its match on an old, 1961 car that has seen better days. Just take the tool in for a replacement. No questions asked. The same is true with Sears and their Craftsman tools.

I know a lot of people like to stick to their Snap-on tools. They spend a ton of money for their tools because they depend on them for a living. They have Snap-on everything. The thing about Snap[-on is, when there is a need to a new tool, Snap-on is typically the first one to come out with it. They also have sales people who come to your door, sell out of their truck, and keep you up to date on the new tools.

I want to keep this article rather short, so I will concentrate on hand tools here, and branch out on other types of tools on other articles. I can’t stress the quality of tools enough, and there are a number of companies offering good tools at a fair price. Stanley used to be another dependable name. We already covered sockets, and wrenches. I have not tried the Harbor Freight 12 point sockets, but their 6 point impact sockets are a good buy and have lasted me years. I own 6 point impact sockets in a number of sets. ½ inch drive deep sockets in inch and metric. 3/8 inch drive standard depth inch sockets. I plan on picking up a few other sets from Harbor Freight when they go on sale. I prefer my Craftsman wrenches. I have a set of combination and box wrenches that have went through a lot without a single failure. I also have a set of Craftsman combination wrenches in metric. My socket sets from Craftsman are 12 point standard length inch and metric. Also inch and metric 6 point deep sockets with standard walls. Out of all those sockets, I’ve only had one failure. I mostly use Craftsman socket wrenches. I wore out a few 3/8 inch drive sockets. Either the little ball that holds the sockets in place wears out, or the teeth inside the wrench wear. No problem, just take them back for a replacement. I’ve found out it is a good idea to oil the top and bottom of the wrench head every once in a while. Especially the little ball that holds the sockets in place. Just put on a little drop of oil, let it soak in for a minute, and wipe off the excess.

There are also ratcheting wrenches. I own an old set of Craftsman socketing wrenches. They come in handy when you need them, but that is not too often. Now stores offer offset and swivel head ratcheting head wrenches. I am looking for a set that has one size on one side, and the next size on the other side. That way you get more sizes. And why buy a ratcheting wrench set with an open end on one side and the ratcheting 12 point on the other side?

Locking pliers are another hand tool everyone will eventually need. I prefer the original Vice-Grip brand for short jaws, and will go to a cheaper brand when it comes to other, long reach, or clamping pliers. You will eventually round the corners on a bolt or nut, you will need a good Vice-Grip pliers to save the day. That is when you need a strong, well built pliers to do the job. I’ve compared Vice-Grip pliers to others and found the Vice-Grip pliers have larger rivets, and are typically less sloppy. I have never had problems with Vice-Grip pliers, but the cheaper brands I use for clamping can be a little wobbly, and less secure. I use different clamping pliers to clamp sheet metal and wood. Cheaper brands are good when you don’t need a lot of clamping pressure, but can twist more than a Vice-Grip clamp if you really need to bear down.

Specialty tools are available from all kinds of sources. These days we have the Internet, and some guy out there made a video on just about everything concerning cars and trucks. You can find answers on the Internet for just about every car problem, and videos that show you how to fix pert near everything. And these days, a lot of those repairs require a specialty tool or two. When that situation comes up, I ask around to see if anyone has bought the specialty tool. If they did, I borrow it. Guys know how to network, and share. Or at least they should. Otherwise I search the Internet or Amazon to see who has the best deal. By the best deal I mean, a quality tool at the best price. I just happened to run across an add-on for my Chromium browser called Honey. I thought it was a joke, spam, or some kind of scam. Honey developed a system that is supposed to search the site you are on like Amazon, Walmart, and other sites like that to find the best deal. I’m not sure Honey works. It keeps telling me the products I have on my lists in Amazon are the best price. I’ll have to test it some more and write another article on it.

 

I figure Honey is in the collect and sell information business. They collect your shopping habits so search engines can put ads focusing on what you are shopping for. I’m not sure Honey goes much deeper than that, but you never know. I hope they don’t collect passwords and such. I bank on line.

I have a collection of old tools like a special grip screwdriver for those little distributor screw that hold points in. And other old tools this younger generation has not seen. Those make for an interesting conversation on some days when you are talking tools.

I did buy a few cheaper sets of screwdrivers . Once again, I prefer my Craftsman tools. But Harbor Freight does have some tempting buys. I bought an older set with black handles and magnetic tips screwdrivers I keep in the basement. That saves a lot of running out to the garage for a tool. The black handle set is made to look like Snap-on screwdrivers, but are not as good. The set from Harbor Freight is good for around the house, and car work. They were a little more expensive, but worth the money. The less expensive Harbor Freight screwdriver set has red handles, is under $10, and has good tips. Like I mentioned earlier, I broke a Phillips tip, and Harbor Freight replaced it free. The thing is, we need a good set of tools for the garage, but should consider discount tools that cost less for inside the house, or in the trunk of the car. Or to loan the discount tools to the neighbor who is always over borrowing things. I’ll update this later on a few other hand tools.

When you shop Harbor Freight, look at the on line ads. Check the sales, and look for that 20% and 25% OFF coupon they put out from time to time. You’ll need it. Wait for the extra tools you need to go on sale. I will be adding articles on electric power tools and pneumatic tools I bought and used.

As usual, I have to mention, Sears, Craftsman, Binks, Harbor Freight, Earthquake, Snap-on, Honey, Amazon, Vice-Grip, and all the other names I mentioned here are Registered Trade names. If anyone considers the use of their name or pictures an infringement of their copy rights, contact me through the DCMA Notice page, and I will remove them.

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In Real Estate, I use my computer everyday. I look for the best free products that work, are easy to use, and are stable. Not to mention, do not add unwanted features to my computer. The following products I have used, tested, customized, and found they work.

Best Computer Products for Free

I have to start this list with Linux, the Ubuntu system. I’ve been on Windows since the old DOS system, but changes and the agreement on Windows 10 forced me to change. I don’t know about you, but I like to get my computer working the way it should, and leave it that way. We are in the day and age of forced updates. Unfortunately, most of those updates introduce things we don’t want on our computers, better, more efficient spy-ware, passed off as a feature that will enhance your Internet experience. Linux has the only answer I know of for that. No one can add anything to your system without the proper key. You are in control of updates, and you make the decisions. That is not to say Linux is perfectly safe. Watch out for what you add to your computer. Browsers add features that share your browsing experience. Other programs can add other spy-ware features. I hear Apple computers are also rather safe, but I never tried an Apple computer.

Linux is great if you know a few basics about programming. If you can work with simple codes, you are good to go. There is one minor hang up with Linux. Many programmers assume everyone knows programming and the step by step procedure. Some programmers assume you can fill in the blanks, and that can confuse a beginner. Or should I say, a beginner can get lost, confused, and frustrated. It happened to me a few times. On the other side of the coin, with a little searching, you can find an article with the proper code on the screen you can copy and paste, and the step by step procedure to get the code installed.

Linux offers some of the best products over a wide range of programs. To edit pictures, Linux offers a number of choices. Gimp was made to work wit Linux, and is easy to install. And it is one of the most powerful photo editing programs for free.

The Linux installation includes a word processor that is one of the best in the business. Libre Office is powerful, easy to set up, customize, and best all free, and well supported by Internet articles. I love to write, and as you can see, I have a number of books published. Libre Office is very similar to Open Office and a lot better than any Word program from Windows. Libre comes with the Linux, Ubuntu installation and is easy to customize.

Linux has a CAD program I want to work with, but didn’t have the chance to look at it. Other features include Chromium, a web browser much like Chrome that imports your book marks, history, and everything from Chrome and Firefox. Once you are up and running, you won’t notice the difference Firefox also installs with Linux.

One note about Linux. Windows 10 will fight a Linux installation to its last dying breath. But it can be installed along side of Windows 10. At least for the moment. And any Windows 10 update my hide the hard drive partition that has Linux on it. Search the Internet for articles about Installing Linux on the same computer using Windows. There are some good step by step articles about how to partition your hard drive, set up your computer to choose the Linux operating system when it is started, and how to install it for the first time using either a CD or thumb drive. The sad part is, Windows 10 knows the steps and some of the latest updates I have seen try pretty hard to identify the Linux install and block it. Windows claims that is for your safety, but the truth of the matter is, Windows wants a bigger piece of the pie. What pie? The one I refer to as the dark market. The Internet market centered on stealing, and selling every scrap of information they can get from your computer. There ought to be a law against that, but governments are their biggest customers. When you check the tax return box to support election funds, you are supporting the latest technology in spyware. Political parties buy every shred of information on people so they can send them customized ads that are supposed to match the mood you are in at the time. It doesn’t matter what side of an issue a politician in on these days. Remember the old movies showing how a politician takes one side of an issue at one meeting place, and the opposite side of the issue across town on the same day? If you pay attention to the news, you see the same thing. Well now politicians can change sides on an issue at Internet speed. As soon as they find out your view on any issue, a computer customizes a choice selection of ads designed to pop up on every site you visit. If I find some good programs to block them, I’ll let you know. Firefox used to have some good apps to block your on line experience from prying eyes. Check them out and you may be surprised to see how well they work. Just search some like, “block tracking on… the name of the browser you use.”

E-sword, a free Bible program that will work fine after you install Wine, a program that links your Windows hard drive with Linux. Wine will run between your C drive on Windows, and your drive for Linux. The Windows operating system will not be running. Wine will allow Linux to access Windows programs and run them on a Linux system. E-sword, my favorite Bible computer program is free. It is a little quirky running through Wine, but works fine. E-sword is powerful, and has a list of free Bibles and reference material to download. You can download E-Sword here.http://www.e-sword.net/downloads.html

Linux also has accounting programs, games, anti-virus programs, games, and other useful programs. Setting up a printer is not difficult. Most printers will support Linux. Wi-Fi printers require a little tweaking, and Wi-Fi scanning can be a chore. But there are plenty of articles on line. I tried a few accounting programs and I prefer GnuCash. It is easy to figure out and use. Much easier to print reports tham Microsoft Money was.

Gimp is the best photo editing program I have used, and works great on Linux. You can do anything with a picture with Gimp. I use Gimp to create my own book covers. There is a lot more you can do with Gimp. Gimp has great on line support with a long list of You-tube videos showing you exactly what to do. You can download Gimp from their website. https://www.gimp.org/downloads/

My favorite Anti-Spy-ware program is Spy-bot. They are the only anti-virus program I know of that has not gone commercial. In other words, gone over to the dark side of the spy-ware and data collection and sales side of the Internet. Spy-bot is free, easy to use, and you can purchase the full featured option at a much lower price than we see these days for other anti-virus programs. Here is a link to Spybot. https://www.safer-networking.org/dl/

Thunderbird is my favorite E-mail program that is easy to install, set up, and use. Again, there are easy to follow instructions on line. Ad ons include a calendar program that can link to your cell phone using Android and Google calendar. I wish I could go Google free, but it looks like we are stuck with them.

Of course you can listen to music on Linux. You can look at a few of the music programs and choose one that suits your taste.

If you really like Windows 7, there is a program you can install that lets you set up our computer to look just like Windows. It is amazing, and has more set up features than Windows offers. There are a number pf programs you can find by searching the Internet and doing a little research.

Master PDF Editor is a great program offering more features than anything I have seen in any Windows system. You can open PDF files, edit, and save them all for free. Not tricks or gimmicks. Just open the file, do what you want to do, and save it. Programs like this can be added to Linux through their own version of an online app and program store. Most are free and a lot of powerful, stable, user friendly than many of the Windows and Microsoft programs on the market. 

Free websites are another subject and I plan on adding a page to get into greater detail. I’ve been using Word-press for years. You can set up a professional looking website in a few hours. It has some powerful features, and lets you do just about anything. If you are thinking about going to a paid website, master WordPress for free before you spend the money. A paid Word-press site offers more advanced features, and may be a little intimidating. WordPress.com offers free websites. WordPress.org is for paid sites. 

Look for another post on the best Android apps for Real Estate.

I think I have to add, Linux, Libre Office, Gimp, Spybot. Microsoft, Windows, E-sword, Master PDF Editor and all the other names I mentioned are registered trade names. There are copy right laws, and I hope they don’t mind me using their logos. If you have an issue, check out my DCMA notice.

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