Consumer Electronics For Home

Power Tools 101: Spend The Money

You Get What You Pay For

Sometimes you can truly spend less and get a deal. Most of the time this is not the case. When you elect to go for a cheaper product, you will either get less of the product or a much lower quality of a product. Whether you need an everyday product for work or just something to do small projects around the house, cheap power tools should be left to those not fortunate enough to have read this article.

In this case, I am referring to the Genesis GCD18BK 18 volt cordless drill. When the drill is fresh off a full charger it works well for a quick job, it comes with the necessary accessories and feels great, looks professional. The problem is, the next time you need to drill a hole and screw in a few screws, the drill will probably not be ready, unless you charge it right before you get started.

I bought the drill way back in 2016 and I doubt that I have used it more than 50 times. I am pretty sure that I have not overcharged and killed the battery. For the $40 I spent, I am not complaining, just saying that this is something you should look out for.

If I were to start a large renovation project, I would probably buy a new drill. Something with a higher capacity battery, maybe even two batteries. I would also invest in a system with a better battery charger as well.

With all said, I’ve lived and learned a valuable lesson. Hopefully, after reading this article, I can save you some time and heartache too. Even if you are only a hobbyist, spend a little money so you can actually enjoy your hobby.


Consumer Electronics

Big Sur: New Life for the Late 2014 Mac Mini

What The Hell Is A Mac Mini?

When people ask me what a Mac Mini is, I say it’s an iMac you can use on any monitor. To be honest, I never really thought about a Mac until the late 2014 Mac Mini came out. While you won’t play top-notch games on it, you can get some work done on it.

When the 2018 Mac Mini’s came out, I went to my local Apple store to see if they had one I could play around with. When I asked, the young lady acted as if she had never heard of such a thing. I am going to give her the benefit of the doubt and assume they where just instructed not to promote is as they did not have one on display at the store.

Subsequent macOS updates have rendered this particularly underpowered Mac desktop almost useless. Updates designed for more powerful computers frequently bogged down the Mac Mini as well as other entry level Mac desktop and laptop computers.

Big Sur Is A Beast

Enter 2020 and Apple’s decision to introduce its own CPUs. While this CPU is being regarded by Apple Fanboys as an Intel killer, Apple’s OS upgrade is simultaneously its most aggressive push towards its iOS mobile platform ever. Apparently within that push is less hardware hungry software. As I am writing this article on the dusty late 2014 Mac Mini running Big Sur, this is the best experience I’ve had on this computer since I first got it back in 2015.

There are plenty of youtube videos and blog posts that slobber over the new features of the new Big Sur OS and the three new Apple Silicon computers. That is not what this is about. I am talking about new like for your existing hardware. I am talking about people who have never had the opportunity to experience the true power of the Mac ecosystem having an opportunity. Having a lower barrier of entry with older lower-powered computers being viable again.

No this is not perfect, just better. It is crazy that in 2020 functionality is celebrated. Thank you, Apple for giving new life to a computer that was purposely underpowered in the first place. Hopefully, my experience continues to be good.

If you have one of the underwhelming Macs that came out between 2014 and 2018 feel free to leave a commit about your experiences.

Consumer Electronics

Can A Tablet Replace A Computer

  What Are You Trying To Do

If you are one of the millions of people looking to downsize your life, or looking to update to a more modern system, a tablet may be a viable option. Tablets are very popular nowadays for many different reasons, one of which is availability.

The short answer to the question is yes or no depending on which tablet you purchase and what you use your computer for. If you only use your computer to browse the internet and check emails, tablets are great. If you play graphically intense games, audio production, video production, etc. a tablet may be underpowered for your workflow.

I have personally never been a fan of tablets as they are nothing more than large smartphones. After actually getting my hands on one for extended use, I now see it as something between a large smartphone and a small laptop. Tablets have become much more powerful of the last 10 or so years. I am actually using a tablet to write this particular article. In the future I will be using the tablet to help in the creation process. You can listen to music or watch youtube while doing real work as I am doing. I can definitely say I have a whole new respect for what a tablet can do.

There is a definitive difference between the tablets that connect to a mobile network and tablets that only work over wifi. While your mobile service provider is more than willing to make a tablet affordable, it may not be a good option. While they let you pay for the device in payments, you’ll have to keep a service plan active during the payback process.


For me, a tablet is a great companion to my desktop. Much lighter than most laptops. Not quite powerful enough for my entire workflow but good enough to keep me working in between time.  It is also an essential for mobile workers.


Water For People That Hate Water

The idea that adult people will open their mouths and say things like “I hate water,” is ridiculous but true. For those of you who openly or secretly fall into this category, I have listed a few drinks of water to try. The water on this list is ph balanced and has electrolytes added. What I have not included in this list are items like flavored water, sparkling water, or water enhancers. They are not helpful in hydration. While there are plenty of water offerings out there, these are just a few of my personal favorites. All of the waters on this list are also relatively easy to find at a convenience store, grocery store, or order online.

Core water was my favorite until I found Waiakea. Supposedly the Waiakea water comes from a well under a volcano in Hawaii and maybe that is where the great taste comes from. Maybe it is the blue container. I can’t say exactly why, but it is great to have on a hot summer day.

If for some reason you can not find any of the waters on this list to try for yourself, look for these things:


pH: 7.4 or higher


These particular waters are also quite expensive, generally retailing for over $2 per bottle. They also are not easily found in multi-bottle packs outside of the price clubs or online.

Note: Product links are affiliate links. Affiliate links are a way for abvm to make money when the customer buys products by being redirected to a retailer.  Affiliate links do not cost customers extra money.

Waiakea Water

Essentia Water
Core Water
Icelandic Glacial Water


5 Tips To Change Your Diet Forever

Things to consider before changing your diet

About 50 to 60 years ago the United States government came up with a nutritional plan to ease people off of fatty meats and onto carbohydrates as so many Americans were suffering from heart disease. Most of the rest of the world adopted the same or similar plans and now most people are extremely out of shape. Here I offer a few tips to help anyone wanting to get their diet together.


  1. You need to be tired of your condition

Some people can change their diet just because it the right thing to do. But that is not the case for the vast majority of us. If you are not tired of one or more of these:

  • being out of shape
  • taking medication for high blood pressure, insulin, etc.
  • not being able to keep up with friends, family, children, grandchildren
  • Other issues related to poor diet

This list may not be for you.

  1. You need to plan your meals

Trying to “wing it” when changing the eating habits that you’ve form over the past 20, 30, 40, or more years of your life is a certain disaster. Trying to figure out what you are going to eat moments before you are going to eat every day requires too much brainpower. I would suggest taking one day out of the week to search for interesting meal ideas that fit your diet plan and prepare a week’s worth on that day. There are quite a few low carb recipes right here on ABVM that work great for just about any diet and do not require lots of preparation.

  1. You need to eat until you are full

Being hungry unnecessarily is a sure-fire way to end up back where you started. Any diet that leaves you hungry is not for you. You may have to try four or five diets before you find one to fit your lifestyle and that is ok.

  1. There is no such thing as a magic pill

You did not end up where you are right now overnight and you should not expect to get to where you want to be overnight either. Drugs like metformin do more harm than good and should be avoided at all costs.

  1. You have to stop emotional eating

Emotional eating is probably the hardest thing for people to quit. Emotional eating is not just when you are sad and depressed but also when you are happy and celebrating. Birthdays, anniversaries, graduations, and other gatherings centered around food are bad for your new diet unless you are in control of the planning or have the strength to stay on course. More importantly, the good feelings you associate with these good times are what triggers depression eating.

If you enjoyed this post feel free to leave a comment below. Also, subscribe by e-mail for more updates from ABVM.


The Number One Reason To Use Bing Search Engine

On ABVM we love rewards points. While some may argue about privacy, they are going to use your information in nefarious ways regardless. You might as well get something out of the deal.

When is the last time you heard someone say “Bing It,” ” Alexa It” or “Siri It?” Google has definitely cornered the market with searches but it doesn’t really matter which engine you use as long as you can find an answer to your inquiry.

Microsoft rewards is a cool reason to use the Bing search engine. Microsoft will give you points for using Bing to do searches. They also have games and quizzes that reward you with points as well as useless knowledge that you can impress your friends and family with.

You can use the points to do useful things like, make donations to your favorite charity, enter into raffles, and purchase Microsoft products.

There are new point-earning tasks to do every day aside from gaining points from just doing searches. The raffles are the coolest part in my opinion as for just a few hundred points you can win Xbox’s and Surface Pro tablets and Laptops. I’ve even seen the $2000+ Surface Studio in the raffle as well.

You can also use the points to purchase Mircosoft software and hardware directly. While you will not have enough points today or tomorrow, if you are hardcore enough you may be able to get there after a year or two.

The best thing about the whole situation is that you do not have to use Internet Explorer or Edge to participate. You can use any browser that allows you to have Bing as a search engine. The sign in or create a  Microsoft account and you can start collecting points and collecting freebies!

If you enjoyed this article leave a comment below and consider subscribing by email.



Ginger Beer aka The Mule, Refreshment With A Kick

Ginger Beer?

When it comes to spring and summer cocktails, lite and refreshing is the key. As the temperature begins to rise, and clothes become skimpy, adults tend to enjoy socializing with an alcoholic beverage. While most mixers are just cheap fillers, ginger beer adds a surprisingly refreshing kick that you are sure to enjoy.

One of my personal favorites over the last few years has become “The Mule.” The Moscow Mule (vodka), the Mexican Mule (tequila) or the American Mule (bourbon) added to a few ounces of ginger beer and a dash of lime juice creates a lite drink with a surprising kick.

While you may find recipes that substitute ginger beer with ginger ale, it will not nearly be the same drink. Ginger ale, like most sodas, is overly sweet and syrupy. Even the driest ginger ales don’t have half the kick that ginger beer does.

With all of that said, here I present to you a few unique takes on “the Mule.”

The Mexican Mule

1 oz El Mayor Tequila Blanco

4 oz ginger beer or diet ginger beer (less kick, no carbs)

1/2 oz of Santa Cruz Lime Juice

2 blackberries (garnish)

Served over ice in an old fashioned, double old fashioned or collins glass

The American Mule or Kentucky Mule

1 oz Bulleit Bourbon

4 oz ginger beer or diet ginger beer (less kick, no carbs)

1/2 oz of Santa Cruz Lime Juice

1 Lime Wedge (garnish)

Served in a mug or mason jar

Note: Product links are affiliate links. Affiliate links are a way for abvm to make money when the customer buys products by being redirected to a retailer.  Affiliate links do not cost customers extra money.

Gosling Diet Ginger Beer $5.98

Santa Cruz Organic Pure lime Juice, 16 Fl Oz, 1 Ct $5.28

Feel free to leave a comment about your experiences being kicked by the mule!!!

Health Travel Vacations

Changing Cancellation Policies – Hotels

With the current situation involving the COVID-19/ coronavirus. Most major hotels and travel brands have changed their cancellation policy. These policy chances are temporary but with the situation not improving, I suspect that they will be updated continuously for the foreseeable future.

Since people are not traveling and rates are dropping, it may be tempting to travel at this time. I would definitely call and check as there may be hotels available in hot travel destinations where attractions are closed.

If you booked through an agent or a third party such as, or, you should use them as your first point of contact when canceling.

Below are compiled some of the biggest worldwide brands and their current cancellation policy. This will stay as up-to-date as possible.

Best Western

Best Western brands include SureStay, SureStay Plus, SureStay Collection, Aiden by Best Western, Sadie, BW Premier Collection, BW Signature Collection, Executive Residency by Best Western, GLo, Vib, Best Western Premier, Best Western Plus and Best Western.

  • The policy applies to any reservation for any future arrival date.
  • The policy applies to the U.S., Canada and the Caribbean.
  • Guests may cancel at any time, as long as cancellation occurs least 24 hours before arrival, and the reservation is canceled on or before June 30, 2020.
  • Hotels will waive all fees associated with the cancellation of the booking.
  • Applies to all booking channels.
  • A more restrictive cancellation policy may apply to a limited number of high-demand dates at individual hotels.
  • Find out more here.


Choice Brands include Ascend, Cambria, Comfort Suites, Comfort Inn, Sleep Inn, Quality Inn, Clarion, Clarion Pointe, Mainstay Suites, WoodSpring Suites, Suburban, EconoLodge and Rodeway Inn.

  • For guests with existing individual reservations, including reservations with non-cancellable, pre-paid rates made directly with Choice Hotels, we will allow changes or cancellation without a charge up to 24 hours prior to arrival as long as the change or cancellation is made by June 30, 2020 and is compliant with hotel country regulations. You can cancel or modify your reservation here. If you are experiencing difficulties canceling your reservation, you may use this online form.
  • For a limited time, guests making new individual reservations directly with Choice Hotels, we will allow those reservations to be changed or canceled at no charge up to 24 hours before a guest’s scheduled arrival date. Modifications can be made here.
  • Guests who booked via online travel agents or other third parties are advised to contact their booking provider for information on their policies and for assistance.


IHG Brands include Regent Hotels and Resorts, InterContinental Hotels and Resorts, Kimpton Hotels and Restaurants, Hualuxe Hotels and Resorts, Crown Plaza Hotels and Resorts, voco, Hotel Indigo, Even Hotels, avid hotels, Holiday Inn, Holiday Inn Express, Holiday Inn Resorts, Holiday Inn Club Vacations, Staybridge Suites and Candlewood Suites.

  • Existing bookings (bookings made through April 6, 2020) at all IHG hotels* can be changed or canceled for stays up to June 30, 2020.
  • Hotels are subject to local law in the market in which they operate. Therefore, government legislation and regulations may supersede this policy in specific circumstances. (including the type and timing of the refund).
  • If you cancel a rate that required a deposit or payment in advance, we will do everything we can to process your refund as quickly as possible. Refunds (which may be vouchers where required by local law) may take up to 90 days for hotels to process from the date of cancellation. Reservations may be changed without a fee but may result in different pricing.
  • Exclusions may apply for time periods with special event restrictions or peak demand weeks.
  • Bookings via a third-party: For bookings made through an online booking platform (e.g., Expedia) or third-party travel professionals, please contact them directly – we have advised these companies of our cancellation policy and you should refer to their terms and conditions.
  • Groups & Meetings Bookings: We will work with customers to manage any changes needed to Group & Meeting bookings on a case by case basis. Our hotels are actively supporting groups and meetings organizers to address the needs of each group, including moving event dates to another time, in line with terms and conditions of that booking. Please contact the hotel the booking was made with to discuss further.

For more information check out IHG


Hilton Brands include Waldorf Astoria Hotels and Resorts, LXR Hotels and Resorts, Conrad Hotels and Resorts, Canopy by Hilton, Hilton Hotels and Resorts, Curio Collection by Hilton, DoubleTree by Hilton, Tapestry Collection by Hilton, Embassy Suites, Tempo by Hilton, Motto by Hilton, Hilton Garden Inn, Hampton by Hilton, Tru by Hilton, Homewood Suites, Home2 Suites by Hilton and Hilton Grand Vacations.

We have made additional adjustments to our modification and cancellation policies to provide you with maximum flexibility while travel remains restricted in many parts of the world.
Existing Reservations. All individual reservations—even those described as “non-cancellable” (“Advanced Purchase”)—that is scheduled for arrival on or before June 30, 2020 can be changed or canceled at no charge, up to 24 hours before your scheduled arrival day.
New Reservations. Any individual reservations you make—even those described as “non-cancellable” (“Advanced Purchase”)—that are booked between today and June 30, 2020 for any future arrival date can be changed or canceled at no charge, up to 24 hours before your scheduled arrival day.

For full details click here.


Marriott brands include Edition, The Ritz-Carlton, The Luxury Collection, St. Regis, W Hotels, JW Marriott, Marriott, Sheraton, Marriott Vacation Club, Delta Hotels, Westin, LeMeridien, Renaissance Hotels, Autograph Collection, Tribute Portfolio, Design Hotels, Gaylord Hotels, Courtyard, Four Points, Springhill Suites, Fairfield, Protea Hotels, AC Hotels, A loft Hotels, Moxy Hotels, Homes & Villas by Marriott, Residence Inn, Townplace Suites, Marriott Executive Apartments, Element

  • For guests with existing reservations for any future arrival date, including reservations with pre-paid rates that are typically more restrictive, we will allow full changes or cancellation without a charge up to 24 hours prior to arrival, as long as the change or cancellation is made by June 30, 2020. Please note that any changes to existing reservations will be subject to availability and any rate differences.
  • For guests making new reservations for any future arrival date, including reservations with pre-paid rates, between today and June 30, 2020, we will allow the reservation to be changed or canceled at no charge up to 24 hours before your scheduled arrival date. Please note that changes to the reservation will be subject to availability and any rate differences.

Guests who booked via online travel agents or other third-party travel professionals are advised to contact their booking provider for information on their policies.

*Important Information:

  • Some exclusions may apply. May exclude periods with special event restrictions or peak demand weeks. Please refer to individual property rate rules for details.
  • Design Hotels and Homes & Villas by Marriott International (HVMI) are excluded from this policy.
  • Marriott Vacations Worldwide (MVW) is included in this policy for transient reservations only. For owner-occupancy reservations, please contact MVW Owner Services at 800-845-4226 or
  • Individual reservations booked into a pre-existing group block, please refer to cancellation terms quoted at the time of reservation. For more information, please contact the group organizer or the hotel.
  • Group organizer questions on terms and conditions of group contracts, please contact the hotel.
  • For full details click here


Radisson brands include Radisson Collection, Radisson Blu, Radisson, Red, Park Plaza, Park Inn, Country Inns and Suites and Art’otel.

Individual reservations:

– We allow free modifications or free cancellations for all existing and new reservations (in all countries and all RHG hotels worldwide) for stays until June 30, 2020
– Please note that any modification to existing reservations will be subject to availability and any rate difference
– If a deposit has been paid for an existing reservation, we will credit you the full amount for you to redeem on your next reservation, at the same property, until March 31, 2021
– New reservations made between April 1 and June 30, 2020, for any future arrival date (all countries and all RHG hotels worldwide) can be changed or canceled at no charge, up to 24 hours before the arrival date. This includes reservations with the advanced purchase rates described as noncancelable
– Guests who made reservations via online travel agents or third-party travel professionals are advised to contact them directly for information on their policies
– For reservations after June 30, 2020, our normal cancellation policy will apply

Leisure Groups, Business Groups and Meeting & Events:
– Free cancellations on existing and new reservations and/or meetings & events until June 30, 2020, (in all countries and all RHG hotels worldwide) if the meeting/event cannot be rebooked to a later date. Any modifications to any existing reservation are subject to availability and any rate difference
– If a deposit has been paid for an existing reservation, we will credit you the full amount (less already incurred costs) for the customer to redeem on their next reservation, at the same property, until March 31, 2021
– Groups who made reservations via third-party meeting organizers are advised to contact them directly for any adjustments
– Arrivals/meetings & events after June 30, 2020, our normal cancellation policy will apply

For more information click here.


Wyndham brands include AmericInn, Baymont, Days Inn Dazzler, Dolce, Esplendor, Hawthorn, Howard Johnson, LaQuinta, Microtel, Ramada, Super 8, Trademark Collection by Wyndham, Travelodge, Tryp, Wingate, Wyndham, Wyndham Garden and Wyndham Grand.

Guests traveling with new or existing direct bookings for stays in any of our hotels through May 31, 2020 will have their cancellation or change penalties waived if the request is received at least 24 hours (or less if permitted by the hotel’s policy) prior to arrival.
Guests who are prohibited from traveling to their booked hotel under applicable law will have their cancellation or change penalties waived on direct bookings.
For new or existing direct bookings with arrivals after May 31, 2020, all of our properties are required to accommodate non-cancellable rate reservation changes if the request is received at least 48 hours prior to arrival and the same number of room nights or more are booked for a future stay.
We are pausing the expiration of any Wyndham Rewards points scheduled to expire between now and May 31, 2020 and have extended current Wyndham Rewards Member Levels (status) for all members in the Greater China and Southeast Asia Pacific Rim regions through the end of 2021.
We are committed to, and actively exploring, additional steps that we can take to help all Wyndham Rewards members globally, which will include relaxed Member Level earning requirements, among other options. Due to rapidly evolving circumstances, it’s too soon to share specifics, however, we will do so as soon as possible.

If your favorite brand is not included, please leave a comment below so it can be added. Thanks for visiting Hopefully, you are inspired to leave your email so that you can be updated about all of the great information that we are researching.


Why I Don’t Fast

Fasting works for many people, so I am not saying fasting doesn’t work. I have never deemed fasting necessary for my diet. I am not saying that I will never fast either. At this point, I do not see a reason not to eat with all this food available.

As I evolve in my journey to understand my body, I have contemplated fasting from time to time. I have watched other people fast with great success, but eventually, get frustrated when their results slow down. Since I am not a doctor, I can only speak from a distant observation based on limited knowledge, but I see two reasons why they failed at fasting in the long term.

  1. Fasting in place of eating. When you are changing your diet, it can be difficult to figure out what to eat. As appose to falling off a low carb diet like keto altogether, many people resort to fasting. This can actually backfire on you if you begin to fast more than you eat.
  2. Fasting for too long. I have seen people go on fasts for a week or more. I guess when I was younger, I never imagined that it was healthy to go that long without eating. Fasting for long periods can help detox your body but it will also create a new normal for your body. Now eating is abnormal and will have a negative effect, at least until you get back into eating normally.

If fasting works for you, I implore you to continue with your journey. But if you are struggling with your diet and are looking for an easy way out, fasting is probably not the answer. It is just as addictive as eating and if unchecked can cause health issues just like any other extreme. If you like, love, hate or don’t know how to feel about fasting, drop a comment below. Let’s start a conversation about the controversial topic.


Affiliate Marketing Explained For Consumers

A Quick Rundown Of How It Works

Throughout my time as a blogger/vlogger, I’ve noticed somewhat of a backlash against affiliate marketing from consumers and I feel like it needs to be explained. As a consumer, affiliate marketing has no negative impact as the money your favorite blogger/vlogger receives does not cost you any extra coin. With that being said, I would like to explain the entire process in how the things you love to buy go from individual ingredients or parts to something you can pick up off the shelf or order online.


The manufacturer is the beginning of the process. The manufacturer general receives ingredients or parts from other manufacturers, puts them together, packages the items and packs them for shipping. Manufacturers generally profit from increased efficiency and safety practices as well as sourcing the cheapest ingredients or parts. The manufacturer normally sells the finished goods to a distributor after a small mark-up. Some larger retailers buy direct from some manufacturers.


A distributor is a middle man between manufacturers and retailers. Distributors often handle transportation as well as housing of the goods until the retail outlet can accommodate them. Distributors often operate locally or regionally. This allows them to keep up with trends and tailor their selection to accommodate retailers and consumers. The distributor adds a small markup to their cost for profit.

Brands and Retailers

The retailer is the entity in which you purchase. Amazon, Walmart, Target and Best Buy are some of the largest. Many brands such as Old Navy, H & M, Cotton On, and Express design and sell on their own. Many others such as Polo, Nautica, and Nike have their own brick and mortar locations and sell to other retailers. Retailers normally make the highest markup. Retail markups go from in the negative to plus 1000s of a percent over what they pay.

Affiliate Marketing and Influencers

Affiliate Marketers, influencers and other online marketers generally have deals with retailers and brands. Since the retailers and brands take the highest mark-up they normally do the most advertising. Affiliate marketers and influencers are just a modern way of advertising from the standpoint of the business. As a consumer, you should feel the same way. Sometimes marketers and influencers reach out to who they want to work with and sometimes the brands reach out. Either way, the other party has to accept. The terms are generally set by the larger entity which is normally the brand. If you would like more information about how it works, check out: Rakuten Advertising CJ Affiliates Impact