Tuesday, December 30, 2008

My Review of Edu Science ProLab 1200X Microscope

Seriously I'm sure that I'm not the only person who coveted the science/microscope sets in the Sears catalog while growing up. I'm pretty sure I never asked for one only because I knew my parents would never go for the shocking cost for just one present. My strategy had to be to ask my parents (or 'santa') for multiple presents that were not too expensive...I learned young that my parents went for quantity of presents over quality. Ask for one expensive present without specifying any cheaper ones and you would end up with a bunch of cheap things that your parents liked but you didn't.

Well perhaps all parents are doomed to some point to buy for their children what they would have wanted as a child but never received? I promised myself that when I had children I would buy them cool science kits....and I swear that my eldest pointed to a microscope kit in some catalog at least one time (or is this a false memory I invented to justify my gift choice?) So yesterday we opened her microscope and tried to use it. It seemed to work and I was even able to figure out how to blow the piece of dust off the inside lense that was causing a problem...but we couldn't get the slides to focus. I simple see the white circle - there does seems to be "cells" that we can focus in on but this doesn't seem to be part of the specimen itself...more hidden residue or glue or something on the slide. I have not idea if I am doing something wrong because shockingly enough there is no manual or help included! I guess I just remembered all the microscope kits I looked at as a child included helpful instructions or manuals. This one completely leaves you all on your own! There is no support, website, or troubleshooting. I swear that my child's barbie pool came with more detailed instructions and helpful information than this microscope did! Perhaps mattel should consider a Barbie microscope kit? (Although mattel has a history itself of putting less features on barbie technology products than on their boy's technology products...that pink paint must be real expensive!)

In Summary: My review on the product is below. Overall I think it's a real shame because the microscope itself seems to be fairly sturdy but what good is it if nobody can figure out how to use it? Most parents are not biology teachers or medical researchers. A product like this and at this cost needs a whole lot more support and nice thick, detailed instruction/lab manual included!

Originally submitted at Toys R Us

1200x Total Magnification; 4/10/40x Objective Lens Magnification; 3x Barlow Lens (Triples Objective Power); Laboratory Grade Glass Optical Lens; Die-Cast Body; Dual Power Operation; Includes AC Adaptor

Really only 400x - has no manual!

By from NY on 12/30/2008


1out of 5

Pros: Had all pieces, Durable, Light turns on

Cons: Had dirt speck in lense, 3x lenses doesn't connect, No support, Won't focus on slides, No Detailed Instructions, Poor case design, Poor Design, Very Expensive, No lab book

Describe Yourself: Working Parent, Parent Of Two Or More Children

We're not sure if this toy works yet or not because it comes with no lab manual or instructions on how to use the microscope!(Only has a simple diagram with the briefest info on the product.)It seems to be magnifiying but yet we can not bring into focus any of the included slides no matter how careful we are. Oh and don't be fooled by the 1200x claim - it really only goes up to 400x! It includes some other 3x lense but this other lens does not connect to the microscope at all - what are you supposed to do with the 3x lense? For $70 I expected a whole lot more than what I received! There is no website or support for this product at all.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

The 2008 Sears Wishbook vs. the 1979 Sears Wishbook

Has anyone taken a look on the Sears website at their 2008 wishbook? (You can view the whole thing online.) I ordered one but it hasn't come in the mail yet. Am I the only one that has noticed Sears has lost the catalog focus that made it so wonderful? They really don't seem to remember who their core customer base is that made them a successful company for so many decades.

What's my biggest Christmas gift-giving problem? From looking at the 2008 Sears Wishbook, Sears seems to think my biggest holiday gift problem is deciding what to put in my new home movie theatre/game room! I don't know about you but I don't happen to have a home movie theatre/game room. Now to be fair there are some in America who bought new homes and do have massive, empty spare rooms however by watching the latest news I'm sadly guessing that many of those families were only able to buy huge homes by getting in over their head mortgage-wise. Right now they are probably more concerned about trying to pay their mortgage and avoid foreclosure as opposed to buying pool tables and full size popcorn machines.

My biggest holiday gift dilemma and also shared by almost all Americans is: Buying presents on a budget for old ladies who own everything and various relatives that won't appreciate what you get them anyway! The old Sears wishbooks were chock full of reasonable gift giving solutions for the impossible to buy for....but the new wishbooks seem to only focus on buying things for your own immediate 'nuclear' and rich family. I mean its fun to look at those big ticket items but priorities are priorities....all of us have to buy something for a grumpy Aunt Edna or some other relative that we have absolutely nothing in common with but have to see once a year! Please Sears...give me a gift idea for the relative who always buys me a notepad & pen writing set each year?

Honestly although I know I'll never, ever get anything from my relatives that I could use or enjoy this holiday season...I do get this perverse joy in trying to rise above that knowledge and buy them something they might actually like or find useful. Am I the only poor soul with this affliction to try to do nicer unto others than they would do unto you? I know I don't always succeed but I do keep other people's interests in mind and I do try. It's nice when you get the gift spot on and see that look of surprise and non-fake appreciation...but most of my relatives don't even bother to try. They say I'm so hard to buy for (do you ever hear that?) but what I've really learned is to translate that into: "I know you don't like the things that I like and I think it's just horrible of you to not have the same taste as me. I really don't value our relationship enough to find out what you really like or to go out of my way to shop at one of the stores that carry things you like so I'll just give you this generic body lotion set that I found at Walmart instead." Now I'm sorry if that sounds unappreciative but seriously I do appreciate gifts that might be way off mark but I know the person put even some tiny bit of thought into it and at least tried. I suppose this holiday season I should be grateful that I do have at least a few relatives and friends in my life who care enough to at least try....so at least I have that going for me!

Take a look at the new and an old wishbooks and let me know what you think! Do you have people in your lives that you wish you could order out of the 1979 catalog for their Christmas gift this year?:

Link to the 2008 Sears Wishbook Catalog

Link to the 1979 Sears Wishbook Catalog on Flickr