Sunday, December 31, 2006

What we loved, hated, and wished we loved - 2006.

This is the time of year when we review how products held up for the year. It is super easy to get excited about a new toy - but much less easy to be excited after a year of use. This is how things worked out for us.

First lets start with the things we love.

1. Weaknees. Hands down - the best customer support on the planet.

Way back here I was crying and bitching like a little girl about our Series 3 Tivo. Weaknees had a fix 3 weeks after I made that entry.

We paid to ship the box back to them. Weaknees sent us an email saying it was on its way back to our doorstep before I knew the machine had arrived at their support department. They turned the machine around with the upgrade in 1 day.

The drive is now completely quiet. The fix far surpassed our expectations.

2. The 2006 Pontiac Solstice.

Driving this car is like being one of the prettiest girls at every party. Even the drivers of more expensive exotic sports cars will turn to look when you drive down the road. You get so much attention - it actually freaked me out for a while to drive it.

People are more courteous to you, even while in bumper to bumper traffic. Driving the car is only half of why this was a great purchase. The buying experience is the other half.

Back in the spring these were pretty hard to find. There was about a 10% mark-up because of this. I started calling every Pontiac dealer-ship in Silicon Valley, and happened upon Lehmers Pontiac in Concord Ca. The dealer-ship quoted me a price over the phone. Because they were charging well under the 10% mark-up we went down that night.

They handed us the keys and let us take it for a drive. We were already sold at the point.. we just needed to make sure the car would comfortably fit someone who was tall. A very fun car - but the most impressive part of the experience is when we went to sign all the paperwork - the price was exactly the same as we were quoted. They didn't try to sell us anything extra. It was hands down the best car buying experience I've ever had. Dare I say.. even pleasant. We didn't even walk out with that feeling most people get from buying a car - screwed. The service department is equally impressive.

3. Fisher Paykel "Dish Drawer" dishwasher.

When I first saw these things I hated them. I thought there were a needlessly up-scale product. What caused us to buy one was the idea that you can run a load in each drawer independently. And I can not enphasize enough how useful that feature is.

4. & Amazon Prime

Often Amazon has items at our doorstep within 24 hours. Sometimes I think they ship products to us even before we realize we want them.

5. American Power Conversion UPS.

You can read about our experience here. We were so happy with the product we bought two more of them.

6. Pacific Laser Systems laser meter.

Lets face it.. everything can be made better with lasers - but if you do any remodeling you just have to get one of these.

7. On-Star.

We wound up using the system 3 times this year. Late this summer when a girl wound up rolling her car a couple of cars in front of my husband. When I hit that dog - here. And once for a road hazard.

I never in a million years thought we use ever use the system when he bought it.. but it really is worth the monthly fee to not have to search for emergency numbers in the middle of a crisis.

The feature that makes us even happier is the On-Star/Verizon partnership that enables us to use the hands free car-phone to link with the Verizon service. The car phone never cuts out like our normal Verizon cell phone service. Traveling the same span of road the cell phone will cut out on average 2 times. The car phone - never.

Next up - things we wished we loved.

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