ZenniOptical.com Review. Why we bought glasses from ZenniOptical.com Information that may be helpful to know, before placing your order with ZenniOptical.com

The “bottom line” for our family, after receiving the two (2) pairs of glasses we ordered for Pilar and Melissa, on October 21, 2016, is that Pilar said that on a scale of 5, where 5 is perfect, this purchase was a 10. Pilar and Melissa are very happy with the glasses they received from ZenniOptical.com

I now believe that few Optical Laboratories in the world have the extremely high QC (Quality Control) standards that Zenni Optical has.

When you are on the ZenniOptical.com web site, placing your order,  after you specify the Frame you want, and you enter the information about your Prescription, you will see several options for the lenses. I suggest that you select, as we did, the lenses the ZenniOptical system suggests to you, for that combination of Frame and Prescription. We did that and the lenses are excellent.

We placed our order on the ZenniOptical.com web site the afternoon of Friday, October 7, 2016 and paid $2.50 additional, for Priority Shipping, to our Receiver/Forwarder in Miami, Florida, USA. The package from Zenni was Out for Delivery in Miami, 8 days later. The glasses were sent from Miami, to our house in Colombia, in a carton with 2 books for Melissa and was delivered to our house 6 days later. On their web site, Zenni Optical shows 10 – 14 days, for Priority shipments to addresses in the USA. Our package was delivered in Miami in 8 days.

This is the first time we have ordered eyeglasses online and from ZenniOptical.com but it will not be the last time we order from ZenniOptical.com  We had purchased Single Vision glasses for Melissa, 2 years ago, in a local optical store. They have a Plastic frame and they are perfect. Melissa needed a stronger prescription. Approximately 6 months after Melissa’s glasses were purchased, Pilar went to an Optometrist, in that same optical store, for a prescription and then she ordered glasses from the same optical store. They had 2 qualities of Plastic frames. Pilar told the woman she wanted the higher quality frames, which cost approximately USD $10 or $15 more, than the less expensive frame. Pilar’s prescription is for Bifocals.  Pilar has had horrible problems with the Plastic frame, and the lenses scratched, although she tried to be gentle with them, when cleaning them. I suspect the woman in the optical store sold Pilar the lower quality, lower cost frames, although Pilar told her she wanted the higher quality frames. Two purchases, in the same optical store, but with very different results. I wonder if Pilar’s lenses were made in the same optical laboratory where Melissa’s lenses were made.

I now believe that the QC (Quality Control) in the Optical Laboratories that actually make the prescription lenses, and install the lenses into the frames, is frequently very bad.  Also, in the Prescription that Pilar received, the “P.D.” (Pupillary Distance) the Optometrist put on the prescription was apparently far from correct. Before ordering from Zenni, we printed out the measuring tool from the ZenniOptical.com web site and that measurement for “P.D.” is what was submitted to Zenni Optical for Pilar. The measurement with the Zenni tool was correct.

Melissa selected a Rimless Frame ($27.95 glasses) and obviously those are the most fragile style of eyeglasses one can order, so the durability remains to be seen.  They are very nice. Zenni Optical even included a Tool Kit, in case one needs to make adjustments or change the lenses, which they show how to do on their web site. Stainless Steel Spring Hinge Frame with Polarized Magnetic Snap-on Sunlens 348112    The URL is http://www.zennioptical.com/348112-stainless-steel-spring-hinge-frame-with-polarized-magnetic-snap-on-sunlens.html

Melissa has Myopia and Astigmatism, which is Hereditary on my Father’s side of the family. Her Myopia increased and she needed a stronger prescription. The Zenni web site recommended a $9.00 upgrade, which we selected, for “Lens: 1.59 Polycarbonate Single Vision”.Those are the most Impact Resistant lenses Zenni Optical sells and they recommend them for Rimless glasses (which is what Melissa selected) and for glasses for children.  The Optometrist had specified Anti-Reflective coating, and we specified that for Melissa’s glasses and for Pilar’s glasses.  That upgrade was $4.95 for each pair of glasses.  “AR Anti-Reflection Standard anti-reflective Coating”.  The next time we order from ZenniOptical.com I am also going to specify a 10% Amber or Yellow Tint, to reduce glare when  looking at computer displays, etc. That is a $4.95 option on each pair of glasses.

When we began looking at the ZenniOptical.com web site, I wasn’t sure whether Pilar and Melissa would order Metal frames or Plastic frames. Metal frames are the most durable frames. To get a combination of Durability and not risk the possibility of allergy problems, I suggested that if they chose metal frames, they look at the Stainless Steel frames, which is what they selected. If they had chosen Plastic frames, Zenni Optical Customer Service responded to my email question, about which Plastic Frames are the most durable and told me that their frames made from TR90 Plastic are the most durable.

 

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Pilar selected a Half-Rim Frame ($19,00) glasses. Half Rim Stainless Steel with Polarized Magnetic Snap-on Sunlens. 581121
The URL is
http://www.zennioptical.com/581121-half-rim-stainless-steel-with-polarized-magnetic-snap-on-sunlens.html

Before our next order from ZenniOptical.com, we will get a new prescription for Pilar (we used an old prescription for her glasses) and we will get the other number for Melissa, the Optometrist put the CYL numbers down, but she put zero for the Axis and the ZenniOptical.com web site requires both numbers for Astigmatism correction), so they can add correction for Astigmatism. Also, some Zenni Optical frames come in 2 or 3 sizes and it is important to try to get the proper Frame size.

Standard Shipping to addresses in the USA is $4.95. We upgraded to Priority Shipping, which was $2.50 additional.  The shipping charge is for the entire order, if there is more than one pair of glasses.

After applying a discount code, the total cost of our order was USD $82.02.

Pilar uses Bifocal lenses and that was a $17.00 upgrade.  “1.50 Bifocal (with a line)”. In the tracking of the order, Pilar’s glasses had 4 QC (Quality Control) checks and Melissa’s had 2 QC checks. I assume that is because Pilar’s lenses are Bifocals and more complicated. We placed our order on a Friday afternoon and Melissa’s glasses were finished on Saturday. I believe they work 1/2 day on Saturdays. Pilar’s glasses were finished on Monday and 5 days later, on Saturday, the USPS Tracking web site showed them “Out for Delivery” in Miami, FL, USA.

Zenni includes Anti Scratch protection, free, on all of their glasses. And UV protection.

I read a lot of reviews on the Zenni web site and watched some YouTube video reviews.  The next time Pilar and Melissa order glasses, I am going to order a $6.95 pair of glasses and  have them made with non-prescription lenses and tinted Grey, 80% so I can use them for sunglasses.  Among the 86 reviews about those $6.95 glasses, for the half-rim metal frame I chose, about 5 or 6 people compared them to glasses they had paid $300 to $500 for, in the USA.  Also, there seem to be fewer people who had problems with the lenses Zenni made for them, than what they had received from Optical places in the USA.   For the $27.95 Glasses Melissa chose, one person wrote s/he is an Optometrist and had been wearing the rimless glasses from Zenni for 2 years. Now, ordering with a new prescription and reordering from Zenni. Anyone who has had to have glasses remade, because the lenses are incorrect, I suspect will do better, the first time, with Zenni. This is the Frame I will get for my non-prescription sunglasses (I had LASIK surgeries in 1997 and no longer wear prescription lenses). Lightweight Metal Rectangular Eyeglasses 461821  This is the URL: http://www.zennioptical.com/461821-metal-alloy-stainless-steel-half-rim-frame.html#reviewSec

The ZenniOptical.com web site shows how to do many adjustments  and if one breaks the frame and they still have that model available, one can buy the frame without the lenses for 1/2 price and they show how to replace the lenses in different types/styles of frames.   I think they will send replacement nose pieces, screws, etc., if they are needed.

One woman who did a YouTube video review said that she ordered 4 pairs of glasses and after she received them, she realized that the prescription she had submitted to Zenni was her old prescription.  I forget whether or not Zenni made the new lenses for free or charged her.    So, if one has a problem and is in the USA, they can send them back to Zenni for a refund or credit  (partial or full) or have them remade or whatever works best.

I remember the last pair of glasses I had made when I lived in Texas. After I got them, I had problems. I called the office of my Ophthalmologist and was told, “that’s common, try them for a week or so and if you still have problems, call us for an appointment”.  When I went to their office for an appointment, they checked the new glasses and they found that the Optical Centers of the Lenses were not in the Center of the lenses.  When I went back to the Optical store (Texas State Optical) the woman told me, “there are Quality Control checks” and I told her, “well, in this case, the Quality Control was worthless”.  They remade the lenses for me and then they were fine.  I now believe that is an extremely common experience,, especially with high Myopia and Astigmatism, Also, occasionally, Optometrists do not give the patient the correct prescription. An example of that is the incorrect P.D. in the prescription Pilar was given.

Some of the Reviews I read on the ZenniOptical.com web site said the people had more problems with difficult prescriptions they purchased in far more expensive brick and mortar optical places  than they did with the glasses they bought from Zenni Optical. Some mentioned the glasses they bought from ZenniOptical.com cost 90% less than the glasses they had purchased in a brick and mortar Optical store. Quality Control is one key issue. The other is having the correct prescription. 

On the surface, one might assume (incorrectly) that going into an expensive Brick and Mortar Optical store would result in fewer problems, so it seems incongruous that I now believe the truth is that there are probably a higher percentage of Zenni Optical customers who receive trouble-free prescription glasses, than do people who purchase them in expensive brick and mortar stores, as I did before I had LASIK surgeries.  The difference is apparently faulty QC (Quality Control) in many of the laboratories that make prescription glasses for Brick and Mortar Optical stores.

I watched a YouTube video made by a woman whose husband had photochromic lenses. They were outside shoveling snow in 9 F. weather and it was sunny.  After they went back inside their house, his lenses never turned  completely clear. Her lenses did turn completely clear.  She contacted Zenni Customer Service and explained the problem with his lenses.  They gave her an RA (Return Authorization) number and they had her give them the information for his prescription, at that time, so they could begin making replacement glasses for  him, before they got the glasses with the problem lenses back.  She was going to send his glasses back to Zenni later that day or the next day.  

One thing I noticed, when I was waiting with Melissa for her appointment with the Optometrist in the Optical Office on October 6th:   A boy was being helped by the clerk to select a frame for his new glasses.  I think she showed him approximately 6 frames to try on.  I suspect that when one goes into a Brick and Mortar store, to look at frames, the clerks and the patients only have the time and patience for 6 to 12 frames.  After that, there would probably be too much confusion and a lack of time.  On the ZenniOptical.com web site one can look, in a leisurely way, at a huge variety of frames and select the one they like the best. 

Frame Size is a variable I didn’t know about when we placed our order. Melissa had a Plastic Frame that has been trouble free and I suspect that if she had ordered a Plastic Frame from ZenniOptical.com (she didn’t, she ordered a Rimless Stainless Steel Metal Frame from Zenni) that the numbers printed on the Temple would have been helpful in selecting another Plastic frame.  Pilar’s glasses were bad (purchased from the same Optical store 6 months later) and they replaced the Temples, about 6 months ago, or more, so probably the Frame Size numbers for her frame shown on the Temples wouldn’t have been useful. I think from reading Reviews on the Zenni web site it is mostly the width of the frame that matters.  Some frames are available in 2 or 3 sizes.

A childhood friend in the USA wrote me that he has 2 pairs of very expensive metal frames. One frame he’s had for about 20 years and the other frame for about 10 years. Every year or 2, he gets a new Prescription and then he goes to Costco, to have the old lenses replaced with new lenses and new nose pads put in.   From what he wrote, frequently, the new lenses are wrong and must be remade.  I suspect there are a lot of lenses being remade…

Zenni ships to more than 80 countries.

Textbook purchase on Alibris. Paypal payment and Discount Code

Last night, I needed to purchase the 10th grade English textbook for Melissa. I wanted to pay with Paypal and Amazon does not accept Paypal. A childhood friend has purchased some books on AbeBooks, but they do not accept PayPal. Then, I remembered Alibris. Alibris accepted my Paypal payment. Also, before placing my order, I looked on RetailMeNot and I found a coupon code, for a 15% discount on the price of the textbook. The price of the used textbook was $30.00 and the discount was $4.50.

 
Something I have occasionally noticed, when looking at the price of the same textbook on Amazon and on AbeBooks, is that occasionally the same book from the same seller has a different price, sometimes lower, sometimes higher, on AbeBooks. For this textbook, the price, for one seller, on AbeBooks was approximately $20.00 higher than on Amazon. It is important to check prices on more than one marketplace!

April 2016 trip to Orlando, to celebrate Melissa’s 15th birthday. Summer Bay Orlando. Universal Orlando. Walt Disney World.

There were some very traumatic, unanticipated problems, on our trip from Cali, Colombia to Orlando FL, USA,  but all of those problems were overcome. We had a wonderful trip and it was wonderful to have this long delayed trip happen and to see the smiles on Melissa’s face.

The trip almost ended in the Cali, Colombia airport (CLO) at 240 A.M. on Sunday, April 24th, before it began. When it was our turn at the Ticket Counter, to our astonishment, we learned that Melissa could not leave Colombia with us, unless we had a copy of her Colombian Birth Certificate, showing that Pilar and I are her parents. Possibly/Probably, we should have thought about that happening and had a 3 cent photocopy with us. Colombia is very strict about minor children doing international travel, and we were well aware of that, but since both of her parents were with her, we did not anticipate having a problem. The problem was that neither her U.S. Passport or her Colombian Passport have our names in them. A WONDERFUL Avianca ticket agent helped us, when it was our turn to check in (we had 2 bags to check and that was how this began) and I will write a letter to the President of Avianca, praising her. Also, my Stepson and his wife are living with us and Pilar remembered that she had put a copy of the Colombian Birth Certificate in a Photo Album which is in the living room. They took a photo of that and emailed it to us. The lady from Avianca wasn’t able to Print a copy, due to technical  issues, but she gave us the 2nd Boarding Pass, for the flight from Bogota (BOG) to Orlando (MCO) and we paid about USD $3.33 in a Kiosk in the Bogota airport, for Internet access, and printed two copies of the Colombian Birth Certificate. We thank God for the help that Avianca employee gave us and for the fact that my Stepson (Camilo Eduardo) and his wife (Mayerli) came home and answered their cell phones at 3 .A.M., after dropping us off at the airport.

Photo of Melissa at 15 1/2 years old. April 2016

Melissa. 15 1/2 years old. April 2016

 I had a problem, because my Resident Visa was issued in 1994 and is in an old expired U.S. Passport and I hadn’t brought that along. I should have thought about that and brought it along. I was delayed in Immigration, leaving Bogota and also the night after we arrived in Bogota from Orlando. I should have anticipated that and brought the expired Passport, with my Colombian Visa in it. I had been issued a new “Cedula” (National Identity card) in February, so they had updated information in their system. 

 Leaving Bogota, in Immigration, Pilar and Melissa were stuck, because I was not with them, so after I was cleared, they called me to the booth they were at and after a minute or two, we were free to leave Colombia with Melissa.

Our flight from Bogota up to Orlando was about 3 hours 34 minutes and the Avianca computer had assigned us some of the best seats in the Coach cabin. There was a tailwind approximately ¾ of the trip, and then a strong headwind (100+ MPH) as we got closer to Florida.

Totally unexpected, never anticipated, when we went through U.S. Immigration, the man did not permit Pilar to enter the USA with us. She frequently has problems with Fingerprints (Dermatitis or something) and this was the first time she had used her new Colombian Passport and her new U.S. Visa. We were stuck in the Baggage Claim, wondering where she was and what was happening with her She was there for approximately 1 ½ or 2 hours, until it was her turn to be helped. After they cleared the issue in their system, Pilar was asked how long she was going to be in the USA. She told the person, “I’m going back to my country in one week”. She was admitted to the USA for 6 months. We were waived through U.S. Customs, without any inspection.

When we got to the main terminal building in Orlando, where the Dollar Rent a Car office is located, I let them “upsell” us to the Uninsured Motorist Insurance, which cost approximately USD $54 extra for the week, including the taxes. I had requested a Toyota Corolla or similar. We got similar. Had I known that, I would have requested a “Mid Size” car and we would have saved a few dollars. We picked a Silver Chevrolet Sonic (I wanted a light color car, because of the heat). It had a large trunk and we had no problems with the car or Dollar Rent a Car. When we returned the car, the man told us he would give us a ride to the terminal building in the car, so we didn’t need to unload the car and walk to the terminal building with our luggage, which was nice. We were afraid to leave the Rental Papers in the car and Pilar had them in her purse. We went on the River Rapids ride in Animal Kingdom, 3 times, and her purse and the papers were drenched. Fortunately, Dollar Rent a Car did not need the papers, when we returned the car on May 1st.


We rented a 2 Bedroom Timeshare in “The Villas at Summer Bay Orlando”. Those are the smaller 2 Bedroom units in Summer Bay Orlando, that can hold up to 6 people, if 2 of them sleep on the Sofa Bed. I would rate our Unit and our Experience as 9/10. There were several issues, but we would return there in a heartbeat, if we had the money to do so. The Unit we were in was very clean and well equipped. We went to the nearby Publix supermarket, the first night we were there and bought things and Pilar cooked a light Breakfast, 6 of the 7 mornings we were there. That saved us money, but more importantly saved us time, not needing to go to the nearby Denny’s restaurant. The check in was very quick and the people who helped us were very nice and courteous. The first issue was after the Check In, they had a horribly Obnoxious woman show us how to get to our Unit, on a map of Summer Bay Orlando. She put pressure on us to attend a Presentation and we were under no obligation to do that, I told her that if I wanted to buy a Timeshare I would buy one on the Resale market, if someone wouldn’t give their Timeshare to us. She promised me it would only be 45 minutes and that she would put USD$100 into my hand after that. I told her, several times, that we had been up since Saturday morning (this was about 5 P.M. on Sunday) and that Pilar was extremely hungry. We never heard from her again. We ate in the Snack Bar, behind the area where the Check In was, after escaping from her. Two of us had Pizza, which was very good to excellent and 2 had Salads, which didn’t look that great. Melissa said the Wifi was excellent and that was the case, until Wednesday morning. We could connect to their WiFi, but had no Internet access. I think their ISP changed the DNS Servers or something. I called the office and the lady said they could put me in touch with their ISP, but we were getting ready to leave and I didn’t have time for that. I called again, about 30 minutes later, and she said another guest had called, and they were in another building. The only other issue was someones error: Either a previous guest or an employee had closed the “In Room Safe”, rather than leaving it open, so we couldn’t use that. I didn’t call them about that, so they had no opportunity to resolve that. The unit was very clean and well equipped. We were in the 108 building, which is near the entrance to Summer Bay Orlando and behind the Crown Club Inn, which I think is their hotel.

http://www.exploriar…er-bay-orlando/

We were unable to buy a Certificate from Sky Auction.com because their Form for processing Credit Card payments only had Drop Down lists for States/Provinces, etc. for 4 countries, in their list of countries. Colombia was not one of the 4 countries. We ended up buying on eBay, which cost us $80 extra. The PayPal page said the Seller was SkyAuction.com We paid $399.99 for the week, which included everything (taxes, WiFi, parking, service charges, etc.). We did not have time to use any of the wonderful facilities at Summer Bay Orlando, other than eating in the Snack Bar after we checked in. The grounds are beautiful.

Summer Bay Orlando has free shuttle buses going to both Universal Orlando and Walt Disney World. The first day we were there (Monday, April 25th) we took the bus to Universal Orlando. The schedule said they would pick up at 705 A.M. At 705 A.M. I saw the bus enter Summer Bay.Orlando The driver made one stop at another property, on the way to Universal Orlando, and I believe one man ended up standing. On the return, they stopped at 2 other properties and many people were standing. We did not take the free shuttle buses to WDW, because of the schedules and paid $20 each day to park the car.

Before and after photos in Magic Kingdom. Pilar pregnant with Melissa and Melissa with us, at age 15 1/2 in the same location in Magic Kingdom

The photo on the bottom was taken during May 2000, when Pilar was pregnant with Melissa. The photo on the top was taken during April 2016. Melissa is 15 1/2 years old. Magic Kingdom

 We bought one day Park to Park tickets at Universal Orlando. The last night we were in Florida, Pilar said that in retrospect, knowing what we know now, we should have purchased 2 day Park to Park tickets for Universal Orlando and spent Monday and Tuesday there, instead of only Monday. The first thing on the list Melissa had was the “Dragon Challenge”. I had no idea it was a Roller Coaster and it has probably been 10 or more years since I had a Stress EKG. After the ride, Pilar told us she had closed her eyes, thought she was going to die (she has Vertigo, which is one reason she is not an Astronaut) and that she would never ride a Roller Coaster again. She did ride one with us in Magic Kingdom, the next day.

Photo of Melissa and Lanny aboard Expedition Everest Roller Coaster in Animal Kingdom

Melissa and Lanny riding Expedition Everest in Animal Kingdom

Melissa is into Harry Potter and she bought a lot of things (a Cape, a Magic Wand, etc. that she had wanted for a long time). The ticket lady tried to Upsell us to something expensive. I think about $95 for each person for the day. The VIP experience or something. I told Pilar it was for people with a lot more money than we had. She was interested in knowing more. I told her that we didn’t need it. She understood that. Note: When the parks are really full (we were there in “Regular” season, not “Peak season”) if one can afford it, I believe that would be money well spent. I think you can go to the head of the lines, etc.

 CAUTION: DO NOT have only one form of payment or getting cash available. A few days before the trip, Pilar and Melissa called the bank that issued the cards, to tell them we would be in Florida. They were told Melissa’s Debit Card could be used in Florida. She tried, several times, to make purchases with her Debit Card, but there was no success, so we paid. And, for curiosity, she tried to get Cash with it, after that, but as expected, that did not work either. It is a “Maestro” card, which I believe is a trademark of MasterCard. I don’t know what someone would do, if they only had one way to pay for things, or get cash from their bank account, and that one method did not work…

We were planning to buy 4 Day tickets for WDW. The lady who helped us was from Colombia. We let her Upsell us to a Park Hopper ticket. That was great. One day, we were in 2 parks. On Friday, April 29th, we were in all 4 parks. Animal Kingdom, unexpectedly, was our favorite of the 4 WDW parks. Epcot, which Pilar and I had been in, 16 years ago, was a big disappointment and we were hot We left Epcot Friday afternoon and went to the 3 other parks, looking for other things to do, and for something Melissa hadn’t purchased, the first time she saw it. In retrospect, we should have purchased a 3 day Park Hopper ticket for WDW.

Saturday, April 30th, we went to Kennedy Space Center. Pilar and I had toured KSC, with a childhood friend and his (late) wife 16 years ago and then another friend came to Orlando and we had the spectacular experience of seeing the launch of the Space Shuttle “Atlantis”, STS-101, on May 19, 2000, when Pilar was pregnant with Melissa. “Atlantis” is now retired and on display at KSC. For Pilar and me, to see “Atlantis”, up close, was an emotional experience. I can’t explain that, but we have a “connection” with “Atlantis”.

 We did not go to the USA to eat (I doubt that many visitors to the USA consider the food to be an attraction) and we had a low budget for food. The 2 best meals we had were not in the parks. One was Saturday afternoon, in the “Orbit Cafe” restaurant at Kennedy Space Center. Lots of very well cooked food, at low prices. The other was in the Food Court of the Outlet mall on Vineland, where the Croc store is located. Chinese food. We bought 5 pairs of shoes in the Croc store and probably should have purchased several more pairs. Excellent service.

We took the bus tour of Kennedy Space Center and toured the Visitor Complex.

 The ratings for us for the parks (from Melissa’s, viewpoint, this trip was for her 15th birthday, which was last October, but we were not ready in October and I consider April and October to be the best months to visit the USA, because of the weather and the crowds. Universal Orlando, Kennedy Space Center and Animal Kingdom.

 I asked in the Publix supermarket near Summer Bay Orlando, about the Stickers and Transponders that allow one to go through the “SunPass” lanes on the toll roads. The Sticker was $5 and the Transponder was $20.. I didn’t buy one, because I figured we would only use it 2 days. That was fine, until the last toll booth. I had gotten off 528 at exit 8, to buy gas, before we returned the car in the airport. When I got back onto 528, there was another toll booth, a big surprise to me, and it only took quarters (possibly other coins, but I can’t remember what it said).

Recently, we switched our cell phone service to Virgin Mobile Colombia. At this time, they do not have “Roaming” and I avoid “Roaming”, because of the cost. I looked in the Publix market for a SIM card for a couple of minutes, but didn’t find one that caught my eye. We had no cell phone service, we had no Data service. That was a horrible mistake and will not be repeated. For many reasons (emergency calls, locating someone in your party, using Waze and Google Maps If you need directions, or get lost, having service is necessary. That caused us a number of issues and would be worth whatever it costs.

Both of the international flights to/from the USA took approximately 3 ½ hours. After our flight from Bogota (BOG) to Cali (CLO) on May 1st, when the checked hard sided Samsonite suitcase I’d taken arrived in the Baggage Claim (it was about ½ empty when we went to Orlando and full when we returned) it had TSA tape all over it and it was open. They had opened it, for inspection. If they had had Avianca contact me, I had the key and would gladly have opened it for them. I will check to see if the locks work properly and if not will contact the company that issued the Travel Insurance policy, to see if that is covered. I think it covers lost or delayed baggage, among other things, but we bought it in case of medical emergency or accident. Possibly it covers damage to luggage also?

We did not have time to go to the Beach, so that’s for another trip. Ideally, one would have 10-14 days to do what we did and would not need to check into a Spa after their vacation, to recover.

Pilar said that you can tell who is in the parks on their first or second day, by the shoes they are wearing. The first days, people are wearing closed shoes and then changing to Crocs or some kind of clogs. I wore my Crocs or the similar shoes I’d purchased here, every day in the parks.

Book Recommendation: Early in August 2015, I “pre ordered” “The Unofficial Guide Walt Disney World 2016”. The new editions are always published during August. We had previously purchased Print and Kindle editions of the same book, for earlier years.. Thankfully, the book includes information about Universal Orlando. To my surprise, a month or so before our trip, I learned that Melissa’s primary interest was in Universal Orlando, because of “Harry Potter” and other interests she has.

TouringPlans.com is the web site affiliated with the book. I signed up for a Free account and made Personalized Touring Plans, for the Attractions Melissa had on her list, before the trip.

FastPass+ in the Walt Disney World parks allows one to make arrangements for up to 3 attractions in one day. I suggest going to a FastPass+ Kiosk, immediately after entering the parks. Check the “Wait Times” on TouringPlans.com or on the web site of the park, before using FastPass+, so that you do not waste a FastPass+ on an attraction with a short “Wait Time”. If any of the attractions you want to see have short “Wait Times”, ride them immediately, after entering the park, after you get FastPass+ for other attractions.

Possibly something I’ve written will give someone else a hint on what to do, or, what not do do.

We had a WONDERFUL trip!

Lanny

Used textbook purchased from Bookbyte Textbooks and shipped via FedEx SmartPost

On January 8, 2016 at 329 P.M., E.S.T. I ordered a Used Textbook, described as “Used – Very Good”, from Bookbyte, an Amazon Marketplace Seller located in Salem, Oregon.

The textbook was in the condition Bookbyte showed in their listing on Amazon. Possibly it was better than “Very Good”. In the past, we had purchased 2 or 3 other textbooks from Bookbyte. They are the first Seller I noticed using FedEx SmartPost, for Standard $3.99 shipping of textbooks to our Shipping Address in Miami, Florida.

Bookbyte uses “FedEx SmartPost Bound Printed Matter” service.  The approximate road mileage is 3311 miles.

As you can see by looking at the FedEx Tracking information below, Bookbyte shipped the textbook to us that same (Friday) afternoon. The package was delivered by USPS to our Receiver/Forwarder the following Friday, January 15th.

I like Amazon and eBay Sellers who use FedEx SmartPost, because the packages are in the normal FedEx system, until arriving at the FedEx facility in Orlando, Florida. You can see in the Tracking details, the transfer, from the FedEx facility in Orlando, to the FedEx SmartPost facility in Orlando. Orlando is where they Tendered the package to USPS for final delivery in Miami,  on January 13th.

 

 
1/15/2016 – Friday
1:36 pm Delivered MIAMI, FL
Package delivered by U.S. Postal Service to addressee
12:54 pm At U.S. Postal Service facility MIAMI, FL
Accepted by U.S. Postal Service
8:35 am Out for delivery MIAMI, FL
Out for delivery with the U.S. Postal Service
7:29 am At U.S. Postal Service facility MIAMI, FL
Accepted by U.S. Postal Service
1/14/2016 – Thursday
9:36 am In transit MIAMI, FL
In transit to U.S. Postal Service
1/13/2016 – Wednesday
10:00 pm Shipment information sent to U.S. Postal Service
9:50 pm Departed FedEx location FEDEX SMARTPOST ORLANDO, FL
10:10 am Arrived at FedEx location FEDEX SMARTPOST ORLANDO, FL
9:16 am Departed FedEx location ORLANDO, FL
5:20 am Arrived at FedEx location ORLANDO, FL
1/10/2016 – Sunday
9:07 pm In transit ST LOUIS, MO
7:56 am In transit CHAPPELL, NE
1/09/2016 – Saturday
7:56 pm In transit CORINNE, UT
6:47 am Departed FedEx location TROUTDALE, OR
12:58 am Arrived at FedEx location TROUTDALE, OR
1/08/2016 – Friday
8:32 pm Left FedEx origin facility SALEM, OR
5:00 pm Arrived at FedEx location SALEM, OR
3:19 pm Shipment information sent to FedEx

 

 

Installing a “Thin” (7 mm) Hard Disk Drive or Solid State Drive in a Dell Latitude E6410 laptop

This probably also applies to other laptops made by Dell and to laptops made by other manufacturers. I won a Used Dell Latitude E6410 in an eBay auction. It had a 160 GB HDD (Hard Disk Drive) installed in it when I received it. I also purchased a larger Hard  Disk Drive, a Seagate Laptop Thin 500GB 7200RPM SATA 32MB 2.5″ Hard Disk Drive (ST500LM021) from an eBay Seller.

Probably the 160 GB Seagate HDD I removed from the Caddy was a 9.5 mm drive.

In the case of my Dell Latitude E6410, the normal way to install a HDD is to turn the laptop off, turn it over, remove the battery, remove the Caddy with the old HDD, remove the Caddy from the old HDD, put the Caddy onto the new HDD, and then slide the Caddy and HDD back into the laptop and secure the HDD with the 2 screws. Then, install the battery and turn it over so the keyboard is on top.

That did NOT work for me, and apparently has not worked for many other people who participate in the Dell Customer Forum. It has to do with the SIZE of the drive (this is also true of SSD drives apparently) AND GRAVITY… The solution, after removing the battery and the old HDD, which I found on the Dell Customer Forum, is to install the new HDD or SSD (7mm) while the laptop is in the normal operating position (keyboard on top). Then, after the Caddy is installed, turn the laptop over again, install the 2 screws to secure the drive, and install the battery again.

This has to do with the position of the SATA connector in the Dell Latitude E6410 laptop and the size of the 7 mm drives.

How to Reinstall Windows 7 if you do not have a Restore Partition or a Reinstall DVD

The DVD I purchased for this task cost USD $6.99. I have used it to reinstall Windows 7 Professional on 2 laptops and Windows 7 Home Premium on 1 laptop. The Windows 7 Reinstall DVD I purchased in September, on eBay, was purchased from leo81056. On the flap of the sleeve it came in, it shows “Windows 7 32 & 64 bit All versions Install/Reinstall DVD”

This is the URL for that DVD on eBay, on 12 December 2015.. He sent it via First Class Mail, with USPS Tracking.
http://www.ebay.com/itm/Windows-7-32-64-bit-All-versions-install-reinstall-recovery-repair-dvd-/221956067241?hash=item33ad9ccfa9:g:nIAAAOSwDNdVm2zy

Last week, I won another used Dell Latitude E6410 laptop, in an eBay auction and that eBay Seller wipes the hard drives of the computers they sell. Like the first laptop I won in one of their eBay auctions, it does not have a Restore partition on the hard disk drive. After it is delivered to our house, I plan to use this DVD to Reinstall Windows 7 Professional on it. The laptop has a Microsoft COA (Certificate of Authenticiy) with the 25 digit Product Key necessary to activate Windows with Microsoft, so one can obtain the Windows Updates.

Microsoft no longer permits people to Download the files needed to reinstall Windows 7. DO NOT DOWNLOAD Windows 7 files from any other source. There is too much of a chance the file you Download would be corrupted, infected, contain a virus or Trojan, etc. You CANNOT LEGALLY Download those files. That was apparently possible, in the past, but it is not possible now, unless you purchase Windows 7 from Microsoft again. If you have a Desktop/Tower/Laptop with a Microsoft COA (Certificate of Authenticiy) with the 25 digit Product Key, there is no reason for you to purchase Windows 7 again. All you need is a Reinstall DVD like this, which is very inexpensive.

NOTES:

(1) The DVD I received in September was not labeled. If the one you receive is not labeled, immediately, with a Marking Pen, write on the DVD what it is.

(2) Backup your Data files (photos, school work, etc.) BEFORE you reinstall Windows 7.

(3) Shutdown the Laptop and Remove the battery. Carefully write down what the 25 character Product Key is, so you can Activate Windows 7 again, after the reinstall and get the Windows Updates.

(4) in the BIOS, you need to have the Boot Sequence set so that the first option is for the Laptop to boot from is the DVD drive. If it is not set that way, change it, before you try to boot from the DVD.

(5) During the Windows 7 installation sequence, when you come to Partitions and Formatting, you will probably have at least 2 Partitions. Probably, if you are running on the original OEM installation from the factory, there will be 3 or more Partitions. (a Restore partition, etc.). DELETE ALL of those partitions before proceeding. You will receive warnings, that you may be deleting Data, Windows files, the Restore partition, etc. Ignore those warnings and DELETE ALL Partitions you see, so that you can use the entire space on the hard disk drive, which is shown as “Unallocated”, after you DELETE the Partitions.

(6) After the reinstallation of Windows 7, not all of the Hardware may be working. When I installed Windows 7 Professional 64 bit, on the Dell Latitude E6410 we received in September, Windows 7 didn’t find the Driver(s) for the Ethernet chip. So, connected by cable to our Ethernet Switch, the laptop was not on the Internet. I downloaded the correct Driver(s) from support.dell.com on another machine, copied that file to a USB Memory, and then put that USB Memory into the machine that couldn’t access Ethernet and installed the Ethernet Drivers. Then, it was online via Ethernet.

(7) Once the laptop is online via Ethernet, then do “Windows Updates”, several times, until you have all of them. The DVD (and others I looked at) has SP1, which is five years old, so there are approximately 700 MB of Important Updates (for Security and Stability), available from Windows Update for Windows 7 SP1

The three (3) laptops I have reinstalled Windows 7 on, with this DVD, so far, were activated with Microsoft, without any issues and they are working properly.

This is not Rocket Science, but if it should go awry the first time, start over and try again.

Animal Protection: Wear your own skin! Animals need their own skin and fur!

Photo of a young woman participating in an Animal Protection activity to gain publicity for the event. She is nude, but she is holding a sign to promote the event, so none of the intimate parts of her body are visible in this photo.

Animals need their fur. YOU DON’T…

One of my Facebook friends had this photo made and she posted it (“Public”) on her Facebook
page. She got my attention and I hope that I will get your attention with this blog post.

How many lives, just for one coat? Apparently, this is a very large industry in some
European countries. AnimaNaturalis International is a group based in Barcelona, Spain. On
December 6, 2015, there will be an event held in Barcelona to gain publicity for this
cause.

Dare to wear your own skin! Naked and for a cause! AnimaNaturalis invites you to be part of
an impressive campaign to flood the social networks, during the month of November 2015.
It’s a viral action is to draw attention to the cruel and anachronistic use of animal fur
as clothing. On December 6, in Barcelona, AnimaNaturalis International aims to have its
biggest demonstration ever,in favor of the protection of furry animals.

AnimaNaturalis Internacional is also involved in other Animal Protection activities, such
as Abuse, the use of animals in Circuses, Bull Fights, etc.

Pilar watched a video about how they slaughter animals that humans eat (Beef Cattle, Pigs
and Chickens) five months ago and what she saw was so horrible that she converted our
family to Vegetarian meals at that time.

Better World Books and BestWay Parcel


This was our first purchase from Better World Books, which is located in Mishawaka, Indiana, and with an item shipped by Bestway Parcel, a company I’d never heard of.  We purchased a textbook listed as “Used – Very Good” from them, on Amazon, and it is in very good condition. I had been watching listings for that textbook on Amazon for a long time and was extremely happy, when Better World Books listed the textbook, with a rock bottom price, far below the prices of the other Amazon Marketplace Sellers who had that textbook listed.

As I write this post, Better World Books has received 9408 feedback’s on Amazon, during the past 30 days. Of those, 97% are Positive feedbacks. For a company that ships thousands of used books each weekday, that seems to be a phenomenal percentage of satisfied customers.  The company is a member of the BBB (Better Business Bureau) which is “a plus” for me, whenever I consider purchasing from a company, and they have an “A+” BBB rating at the time I am writing this post.

Based on this one purchase, I will be happy to purchase textbooks and other books from Better World Books, if they have them in the condition I want and at a good price.

Bestway Parcel apparently operates a service similar to DHL Global Mail, UPS Mail Innovations and FedEx SmartPost. They take the item near to the destination post office and then turn it over to USPS for delivery to the customer.  With this shipment, I found their tracking not as good as that of USPS or the companies I listed, but they delivered the item to our Receiver/Forwarder in Miami, as the other companies do with other items we purchase. We paid $3.99 to Amazon for Standard Shipping to Miami.
The URL for tracking this package that I was given by Better World Books is
http://myordertracked.com/tracking.php

The tracking information for this shipment is here:
 
Date & Time    Activity    Location
06/17/2015 02:14 PM    Delivered    MIAMI,FL
06/17/2015 12:54 PM    Arrival at Unit    MIAMI,FL
06/17/2015 08:11 AM    Out For Delivery    MIAMI,FL
06/17/2015 08:01 AM    Processing Complete    MIAMI,FL
06/17/2015 06:10 AM    Arrival at Unit    MIAMI,FL
06/12/2015 05:59 AM    Arrived at Location    JACKSONVILLE FL
06/11/2015 05:57 PM    Departed Location    ATLANTA GA
06/11/2015 03:51 PM    Arrived at Location    ATLANTA GA
06/11/2015 05:55 AM    Departed Location    CINCINNATI OH
06/11/2015 03:53 AM    Arrived at Location    CINCINNATI OH
06/09/2015 01:44 PM    File Notification Received    MISHAWAKA IN

Microsoft Natural Ergonomic 4000 keyboards

 

One peripheral that we strongly recommend to you is the Microsoft Natural Ergonomic 4000 keyboard. We had used the  Microsoft Natural Keyboard Elite keyboards, for approximately 16 years, on our PCs with PS/2 ports. . After she began using a  Microsoft Natural Keyboard Elite keyboard, approximately sixteen (16) years ago, it completely eliminated the problems Pilar had with Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. Pilar had been to doctors and the possibility of surgery, which may have eliminated or exacerbated her problems, was discussed.  Our sincere thank you, to the Microsoft Engineers who designed these wonderful Ergonomic keyboards!

 

The Microsoft Natural Keyboard Elite keyboards are PS/2 devices. At least one of ours came with a PS/2 to USB adapter cable in the carton, but when I tried to use it on my Dell Latitude E6400 (Windows 7 Professional) laptop, on a USB port, the keyboard was not recognized.  The Microsoft Natural Ergonomic 4000 is a USB device. I read a review (on CNET?) that said they had tried to use it with a PS/2 to USB adapter on a PS/2 port, but they were not able to get that to work. Update on 23 May 2015: We have four (4) of the Microsoft Natural Keyboard Elite keyboards. Today I got them out of the box they were stored in. One appeared to be brand new, in a Retail box. WIthin the box was a PS/2 to USB adapter cable. I was able to get that keyboard working with my Dell Latitude E6400 laptop (Windows 7 Professional) and Melissa is now using it with her Dell Inspiron 660s micro tower, which is a Windows 7 Home box. I tried the other 3 keyboards, with the other adapter cable we have, but none of them was recognized. Probably those keyboards are an earlier version, or, the adapter cable is an earlier version.

I bought and have been using a Microsoft Natural Ergonomic 4000 for the past week and am very happy to be using it, and not the flat and thin keyboard I was using for the past 4 months. There were no instructions included in the carton for the Microsoft Natural Ergonomic 4000 keyboard, so I will look for information on the Microsoft web site and other places on the Internet, to learn how to use the capabilities it has.    This photo is an Affiliate advertising link for this keyboard.

Hippo Books purchase on Amazon.com

 

On March 18, 2015, I placed an order with hippo_books for a book described as “Used – Very Good”. This was our first order from Hippo Books, a huge seller, based in Toledo, Ohio. The most important thing is that the book they sent to me is in “Very Good” condition, as described in their listing. Because of that, I will be happy to order from them in the future, if they have what I am looking for, in the condition I want it and at a good price.

They shipped the book to our Receiver in Miami, FL, via DHL GlobalMail, which is my second choice (after USPS) for books sent via $3.99 Standard Shipping. They claimed that the package was in the hands of DHL GlobalMail on March 19th. That is what their system showed their Customer Service people, but that was not the case.

As you can see from the information from the DHL GlobalMail tracking web site, DHL GlobalMail did not receive Electronic Notification from Hippo Books until Sunday, March 22, 2015. The package was probably in the hands of DHL GlobalMail on March 23rd or 24th, since it arrived in the DHL GlobalMail facility in Orlando, FL on March 26th.

From:
TOLEDO, OH 43607
UNITED STATES
To:
MIAMI, FL 33122
UNITED STATES

Mar 30, 2015

6:56PM ET

  1. Miami, FL, US

    Arrival at Post Office

    9:50AM ET

  2. Miami, FL, US

    Out for Delivery

    9:40AM ET

  3. Miami, FL, US

    Sorting Complete

    4:07AM ET

  4. Miami, FL, US

    Arrival at Post Office

    2:52AM ET

  5. Miami, FL, US

    Arrived USPS Sort Facility

  6. Mar 28, 2015

    4:34AM ET

  7. Orlando, FL, US

    Tendered to USPS

  8. Mar 26, 2015

    11:03PM ET

  9. Orlando, FL, US

    Processed

    9:56PM ET

  10. Orlando, FL, US

    Arrival DHL eCommerce Facility

  11. Mar 22, 2015

    2:39PM EDT

  12. Electronic Notification Received

I cannot imagine that employees of Hippo Books would lie to me, intentionally, about the date the book was actually shipped from their warehouse. I believe they told me that it went out on the 19th because that was what their system showed them.

On Amazon.com as I write this post, they show that hippo_books has received 14,946 feedback ratings during the past 30 days and that 94% of those ratings are “Positive”. Considering that they probably ship thousands of books from their warehouse, every day, I believe that is excellent.

Their rating with the Better Business Bureau (BBB) is “F”. Normally, I try to purchase from companies with an “A+” BBB rating, but the rating for Hippo Books is only based upon 32 complaints, which is a tiny number, considering the number of sales Hippo Books makes on Amazon and on other marketplaces where they list the books they have available.

I gave hippo_books a “Positive” feedback on Amazon for this transaction.