Three Good Products

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

As with last week, this one is extremely busy and may see me miss a post or two. This is because I am getting ready for a scientific conference which starts around the same time as the deadline for another major project I have undertaken.

On that note, my first two recommendations are for inexpensive things that have really made my life easier lately, and my last (and best) is free.

Belkin USB-to-PS/2 Adapter

I began this busy period with quite a bang: One evening as I was tapping away on the keyboard of my frankenputer, it suddenly died! The next day, I learned that my notion of quick repair wasn't possible. On top of that, my time window for doing such an upgrade -- or even shopping for a new machine -- passed quickly. I've been making do with our laptop since.

The single best way to make life on a laptop bearable is to plug in a mouse -- but the small USB mouse I bought for that purpose last year went belly-up, too. On a later trip to Wal-Mart, I looked around for a replacement, only to find all the cheap mice had sold out. I was about to leave empty-handed -- "I refuse to pay forty bucks for a mouse!" -- when I noticed this little device hanging in the rack nearby.

Beautiful! For fifteen bucks, I got to use my old PS/2 mouse with the laptop -- and the old PS/2 keyboard. I hadn't even thought about also using separate keyboard, but my back and shoulders certainly appreciate having the keyboard in my lap again! And the added bonus is that the two peripherals use only one of the two USB slots.

Cepacol Maximum Numbing Throat Lozenges

As if my computer turning into a pumpkin wasn't enough, I came down with a really nasty cold a week or so later. That knocked me out of commission for the better part of two days. Bad enough, but what I really dread about colds is that for the next several weeks, I get this horrendous residual cough, and often chest or back pains from the resulting muscle strain.

This was going on one day when I was at the barber, so she offered me one of these. I took one just to be polite, but boy! Knocked that cough out! I picked up a pack on the way home, and one in the morning over the next few days all but eliminated the cough. (In my case, I think the forcefulness of the coughs irritates my throat, leading to more coughing. By breaking this vicious circle, the lozenges brought more than just immediate relief.)

There is one caveat: These contain benzocaine, so eating them like candy is a bad idea. In fact, the package has directions for use. Nevertheless, I know what I will be buying the next time I get a cold!

First Life

Okay. This is not really a product recommendation, but after I read this article in the Houston Chronicle about an incredibly time and money-intensive social networking site, my reaction was quite a bit along these lines. Heh, heh!

And yes, best of all, it's free!

-- CAV


Jim May said...

Regarding colds, I use Cold-Eeze. It hits the virus directly, mitigating colds and even knocking them out completely if you use it early enough.

Unfortunately, that's the rub; I remember seeing a graph of "virus load" versus symptom onset for colds, and unfortunately, the virus count is already starting to drop by 24 hours of the first onset of symptoms. That means that once you're starting to sniffle, it's too late. To make best use of Cold-Eeze, you have to be "in tune" with your body and recognize those earliest symptoms for the virus clobber to be useful... often that's a matter of hours.

It also doesn't help as well with colds that get started in the throat, probably because of how it works (free radical zinc ions released into your breath and circulate into your nose).

Until I started using this stuff, my average cold from onset to the last sniffle was about 8 to 10 days (and getting longer with age). Now, unless I miss the window of opportunity -- or it isn't a cold -- I either don't get the cold at all, or it runs its course in 4 days.

Now coughs, on the other hand, I have never found anything that works. At all. My coughs consist almost entirely of "tickles" at the top of the airway,and that's probably why: I'd have to breathe the stuff in to actually "hit" the problem.

I have even tried "Buckely's Mixture" -- a concoction that markets itself on how bad it tastes -- and I only stopped coughing for five minutes... probably due mainly to briefly being shocked by how bad it did taste.

I'll have to try those cough drops you mention.

Gus Van Horn said...

I've used those before, and it seemed to help, but the problem you mention, plus the fact that I never seem to remember them until after I've recovered has kept them out of my medicine cabinet.

Of course, now that you've reminded me, I'll take it down....

LB said...

I know this was a post last week, but that First Life parody is hilarious! I may need to send it to a few people.

Gus Van Horn said...

Yes, and especially if you look at how conformist the "Second Life" world really is.

What? Every Tom, Dick, and Harry is buff and has tatoos? Everybody dresses like a teenager?

That would suck even as a first "life"!