Non-GPS Products we LIKE and DON'T LIKE and
by Joe Mehaffey
1) Cisco Routers, Modems, and Networking Equipment:
Products work well, few
software problems, good support, good documentation, high
2) Dell Laptops:
Reliable screens, good
phone support for hardware problems (less so for software
problems), Good reliability with excellent "at home" service when
needed. Overall reliability is good (but not excellent).
3) RCA Televisions: Reliable and good quality at reasonable
4) Cadillac Sedan DeVille:
After the first 10,000
miles (which usually requires 10 trips to the dealer to get the bugs
out), the cars are reliable and comfortable.
5) HI-Solutions, Inc. (http://www.hi-s.com):
These building automation and
control systems are about the
most versatile "high end, distributed around the building" building
automation systems. Reliable, flexible, easy to
program GUIs, and
not too expensive. Used by people like Federated Dept
Schools, Colleges, Large and Small Office Buildings, and at Joe's
6) RF Linx 802.11 amplifiers (http://www.rflinx.com):
High quality, low
cost, good support, have used about 20 of them and never
had a failure. Perform as advertised.
7) Trend Micro AntiVirus:
Finds computer viruses that Norton AV
misses. More expensive, with very frequent updates and good
tech support. Costs a bit more but worth it.
8) TiVo Personal TV Recorder: I don't know how we lived
9) Merak Mail Server Software (http://www.icewarp.com,
US representatives http://www.icewarp.us):
This is a great Mail
Server, virtually bug free in every new update, medium
cost, great tech support, easy setup and maintenance,
built in Anti-Spam, AntiVirus and Instant Messanger
options. Anti-Spam "learns" what is spam for each of your
A bit expensive, but
the neatest toy a grown man can own. Good design, good
reliability. Parts are a bit expensive but you don't need much
11) Ademco Vista 40/Vista 20 Alarm System Controller and
reliable, easy to install, a bit complex to program (get
the modem and software kit makes it easier). Reasonable
12) Maxtor disk drives:
quality, reasonable prices, 3 year warranty (on many
models). Great support when you need it.
13) Netzeye video camera and recorder systems(http://www.netzeye.com/):
Can log up to
64 cameras to hard drive(s) in one computer. The four channel IDE
card is inexpensive (but not expandable). Latest equipment has
proved reliable and the software provides both local and remote viewing
14) Honda Lawn Mowers- I have a 14 year old self propelled
"commercial" walk behind mower. It has been to the shop once in
14 years and that for carbuerator cleaning when I forgot to put naptha
in the last tank of gas before putting it away for the winter.
Still starts and runs like new.
15) John Deere Commercial Lawn Mower model LZ280 (NOT the
Home Depot line). This mower is built strong and has a powered
cuttings vacuum that really works well. Costs over twice as much
as the "home type" mowers but the improved reliability is worth the
We DON'T LIKE:
1) Symantec Software and Hardware systems:
These people seem to buy up excellent
products, curtail product maintenance and updates, gut
technical support and then charge for the (generally poor quality)
technical support they do provide. Examples: Norton
AntiVirus, GoBack, Partition Magic, PC Anywhere, NexLand
Mikrotik Routers and WiFi Hotspot Controllers: Low
cost, full featured, difficult to setup system, poor
(but improving) documentation, extremely unresponsive technical
lots of bugs in released software. But.. It works fine when
you finally get a version with "your" bugs fixed. Mikrotik
hardware has not proved all
that reliable in my applications. Avoid the IDE DOM (disk on
memory) module. *Mikrotik gets my vote for the poorest software
quality control I have ever encountered. They are really close on
the worst Tech Support.
Mowers: The one unit I had was a constant maintenance
trips to the dealer in the first 90 hours of operation. Got rid
at 90 hours of operation and got a WeedEater Brand which, while not
trouble free, is at least 10 times more
reliable than the Cub Cadet costing twice as
much. The CRAFTSMAN (by Weedeater) mowers have proved
pretty good also.
4) RayPak Pool Heaters:
Nominally work well,
but poorly designed for maintenance. VERY difficult to drain to
prevent freezing. VERY difficult to change heat exchanger.
VERY expensive to maintain.
5) Wood trim on home exteriors:
Wood rots and
is a constant maintenance problem as a home ages. PVC boards,
molding, brick mold, and other trim shapes cost a little more but
will last for 50+ years and do not (necessarily) need painting.
Hotel Internet and Telephone policies
7) Sherwin Williams DURATION exterior house paint.
Here in the SouthEast USA, it seems to be a food for mold and
mildew. After 3 years this premium paint was black and extremely
unsightly under porches, under eves, on soffits or anywhere it was not
exposed to direct sunlight. Though SW "guarantees" the paint for
25 years, they don't guarantee it won't mildew and all they would
do was furnish new paint and pay $20 a gallon for installation.
Unfortunately installation is more like $50 to $100 a gallon on complex
wood trim and that does not include the pressure washing with bleach
and TSP it takes to get the mildew off prior to repainting.
Adding two tubes of M1 mildewcide to a gallon seems to make DURATION
8) Mailbank.com sold out their webhosting+email operation several years
ago to NetIdentity.com. The yearly price for a personal domain
name and email address has gone from $5 a year to $30 a year.
This would really be OK except that they now provide a "no human
contact possible by email or otherwise" technical support. There
are better options.
Pentair Intelliflo 3x160 Pumps. Technically, this is a great
pump. But the fact that Pentair offers NO SPARE PARTS WHATSOEVER
for this pump makes it a poor deal. My unit failed in about 18
months and with Pentair's ONE YEAR warranty and no spare parts,
it is now an expensive paperweight. See more details HERE.