COOKING CONCEPTS DIGITAL TIMER
|Need a basic timer? This is a handy little thing for the price.|
Even though Taylor’s aren’t very expensive, I had heard good things about the digital timers at Dollar Tree, and decided to give one a shot. After all, it’s not like they require a large investment, so if it was terrible, I could just pitch it, and spend a couple more dollars and get a name brand one.
Right out of the package, there was some frustration: The minute key didn’t work very well. Over one year later, and it still doesn’t. I was going to get another one to see if it had the same problem, but I’ve gotten used to working around it, as it just requires a little extra force to get it moving. Thankfully, the second button works with minimal effort, so it very well might be limited to mine.
Working it is simple: Press the minute button to advance the minute, and the second button to advance the seconds. To reset, simply press both the minute and second buttons at the same time. Pressing the “Start” button after time expires recalls the last minute entered, which is a feature that I’m glad was included, as I often use the same time over and over. The beep when time expires is suitably loud (but not too loud) and easily audible even when I’m on a different floor.
Even though I would recommend these to anyone with a use for them, and yes, even though I realize these are only a dollar and I shouldn’t expect much for so little, I do still have a couple minor quibbles: 1.) The screen is rather small, so if you want to read the countdown, you will have to get very close to it, and 2.) There are no additional features. Again, that is not an issue for me, but others that might need their timer to, say, count up, will definitely be at a loss. There is also no way to turn it off, which can be kind of annoying. It's still held up for over two years, so it's not that big of a deal, but it'd be nice to have the option of stretching its life out even more by being able to shut it off when not in use.
Overall: 7/10. The screen is pretty small and special features are pretty much non-existent (except for a memory function that remembers the last time entered), but for a no-frills timer, you really can’t go wrong. My minute key does require some excessive force to get it going, so I’m not sure if that’s just limited to mine, or a constant occurrence, but either way, this functions about as admirably as you could expect from a dollar timer. I’ve also had it for going on two years now, and it’s still functioning, so chalk a point up for longevity. Well worth looking into.
JOT PERMANENT MARKERS
|8 markers for a buck?! Best of all, they even work!|
Well I did, on a trip to Dollar Tree, where I discovered an 8-pack of Jot’s Permanent Markers. Not surprisingly, I had never heard of the brand, but considering a single name-brand marker is upwards of a dollar by itself, I figured they would be worth a shot…even if I only could label a handful of CDs with each one, that would get me through at least 100, which would last me well over a year.
I can’t say how long they’ll last me, as I’ve only had them about three months, long enough to only label about ten CDs, but I figured I would post some early thoughts, then adjust the score as the months wear on, and the markers wear out. Do I have enough dedication to remember to do this? Probably not, but it’s worth a shot.
The cool thing are the range of colors that come with these markers. For a dollar, you don’t just get 8 blacks, or 8 of a single color; you get an entire rainbow, ranging from red, to black, and just about every main color in between. The markers themselves look very vibrant and inviting…but how do they look when used?
The main difference I noticed is that, at least on the face of a disc, the colors are much lighter than they appear, and don‘t have much “pop“, at least compared to the national brand. This didn’t bother me much whatsoever, but instead of a crisp, dark blue, the blue is rather bland, and much lighter than the outside color would suggest. This isn’t just limited to blue--this is a problem across the board. I will say that this could simply be due to the glossiness of the disc, as they did seem to perform much better on paper, but the national brands also seem to work much better on disc surfaces.
I’ve seen online reviews of this where people have complained one (or more) of the colors are dry upon opening. I have to say that all of mine worked perfectly right out of the package, but it’s worth tossing out there that there may be some quality control issues (which shouldn’t be too surprising given the price point). Still, even if half of them didn’t work, you’ve only ended up paying a quarter per marker, which still isn’t a bad deal at all.
Overall: 8/10. This review is subject to updates, given the markers’ long-term performances, but right out of the package, color me impressed; all eight of the markers worked, and are perfect for labeling discs. The colors are a bit weaker when used on a CD, but perform much better on paper, so it might just be on glossy surfaces. The ink dries quickly and doesn’t smear, two required characteristics of a “permanent” marker. For $1, this is an outstanding deal. I wish they would be available in fine-tip, but given the price point, I won’t complain much about that.