March 20, 2018

Recall: Sony Notebook Computers Due to Burn Hazard

Name of Product: Certain VAIO TZ-series Notebook Computers

Units: About 73,000

Manufacturer: Sony Electronics Inc., of San Diego, Calif.

Hazard: Irregularly positioned wires near the computer’s hinge and/or a dislodged screw inside the hinge can cause a short circuit and overheating. This poses a burn hazard to consumers.

Incidents/Injuries: Sony has received 15 reports of overheating, including one consumer who suffered a minor burn.

Description: The recalled notebook computer models are the VAIO VGN-TZ100 series, VGN-TZ200 series, VGN-TZ300 series and VGN-TZ2000 series. The computers’ screen size is about 11.1” measured diagonally. Not all units are affected; consumers should contact Sony to determine if their unit is included in the recall.

Sold by: The SonyStyle stores and Web site, authorized electronics retailers, and authorized business-to-business dealers nationwide from July 2007 through August 2008 for between $1,700 and $4,000.

Manufactured in: Japan and United States

Remedy: Consumers should stop using the recalled notebook computers immediately and contact Sony to determine if their notebook is affected. The firm will arrange for an inspection and repair, if needed.

Consumer Contact: For additional information, contact Sony toll-free at (888) 526-6219 anytime, or visit the firm’s Web site at

LG Launches Recycling Program

Once you’ve picked out the perfect new DVD player or television, you need to plan for the disposal of your old ones.  If your outgoing model was made by LG, that task might just have gotten a bit easier. 

 “The LG Electronics Recycling Program provides consumers with a free and convenient way of recycling their used, unwanted, obsolete or damaged LG consumer electronic products by dropping them off at a designated Waste Management eCycling Center. Waste Management currently has 160 designated drop-off sites across the United States and plans to have at least one drop-off site in each State by September 2008; the number of sites will continue to be expanded over time.”


 “Products covered by the LG Electronics Recycling Program include LG, Zenith and GoldStar brands of televisions, monitors, audio equipment, video cassette players and recorders, DVD players and recorders, combination TV/VCR and TV/DVD units, set top boxes and accessories associated with those products. Consumers may drop off up to 5 LG-branded items at a time. There is no fee to consumers for the covered LG-brand products; other brands will be accepted, but a fee may be charged by Waste Management for non-LG brands.”

You can find out more here: or

 Waste Management Customer Service: toll free 1-877-439-2795

LG Customer Service: toll free 1-866-372-2928

Recycle Your Old Monitor and Other Electronics

Best Buy will take and recycle your unwanted appliances free of charge.  One hundred seventeen stores in the Baltimore, San Francisco, and Minnesota areas are welcoming customers to bring in no more than two units per day, per household, for recycling at no charge. Customers can bring in items such as televisions and monitors up to 32-inches, computers, phones, cameras, and other electronics devices and peripherals.

Best Buy said it would work with its stores, recycling partners, and manufacturers to evaluate the success of the test and determine options for scaling it across the United States.

Advice for Buying a High-Def TV

If you are shopping for a high-def TV, you’ll need to decide which type you’d like. Will you go for LCD(liquid crystal display), plasma, or HD rear projection microdisplay? Let us offer some information and advice to make your decision a little easier.


These televisions are thin and lightweight with bright picture contrast. That is good in a room with a lot of light. The largest screens are 46 inches and the picture quality is not quite as good as a plasma TV.


These have the most lifelike picture, with 180 degree viewing angles. They are quite large screens, with nothing smaller than 42 inches.

HD Rear Projection

Cathode ray tube rear projetion sets are being phased out, but new hi-def flat screen have great picture quality. They are not meant hanging on the wall.

Your new TV can be wall hung and all the cable and wires hidden – no TV cabinet necessary. Although it is a job for a do-it-yourselfer, it requires some know how. Sets over 32 inches will be at least a two person installation job. Mounting requires a mounting kit with costs ranging from$100 to $200. Kits that swivel and tilt will cost more.

Before you go shopping, decide how large a screen you’d like, LCD is the best choice for for 42 inches and under. Plasma or rear projection are better for larger sets.

You can get a a high definition television without spending a fortune, or you can really blow a wad on one if you are inclined. For example, there is Samsung’s Slimfit which we found selling for $380. This has CRT technology and is only 16.5 inches deep. A pricier choice could be Sony’s Bravia which is 40″ wide and retails for about $1600. If you have the money, the Pioneer PDP-6010FD has two million pixels on an almost 60 inch screen. It also has four independent HDMI 1.3 inputs and a new room light sensor for adjusting to the viewing surroundings. This one will set you back about $4,000.

High definition televisions have a picture quality that is superior to analog TV and next year, over-the-air TV will be phased out. Analog televisions will require converters. If you are in the market for a new television , a high-def TV might just be the way to go.

Tip: How to Clean Your Computer Keyboard

Computer keyboards are one of the dirtiest, germiest surfaces in the house. (So is the mouse.) Take a few minutes to clean your keyboard using supplies you probably already have around – just unplug it first. Next, turn it over a trash can and lightly shake out any dirt or dust that has accumulated. Clean the keys with a soft cloth lightly moistened with rubbing alcohol. ( You can do this to the mouse as well.) Finally, run a fabric softener sheet over the keys to cut back on dust-attracting static electricity. You’re done! A clean keyboard in under five minutes.

MailMate Paper Shredder

It can hard to find a paper shredder that fits your needs.  Many require a specific size trash can or are too big for household use. 

The MailMate which is available at Staples is so compact it can fit on a countertop, in a cabinet or under a table.  Also, the lightweight bin is easy to empty. 

The heavy duty motor can grind up unopened junk mail, CDs or DVDs (one at a time) and can shred up to ten folded sheets of paper at a time.  It also can handle staples and small paper clips.


  • 10-folded sheets, Heavy Duty Cross-cut, up to 100 uses/day
  • Shreds CDs/DVDs, credit cards, staples & small paper clips
  • 1.5-gallon basket
  • Light weight, pull-out bin and rubberized handle make emptying easy
  • Throat Width: 6″ (152.4 MM)
  • Shred Size: .2″ x 1″ (4 x 25 mm)
  • Finish: Stainless Steel/Black
  • Dimensions: 10.2″L X 11.8″W 11″H
  • Overload Protection with Auto Reverse Feature
  • Digital Control Switches
  • Auto Off Feature: powers down after 30 minutes
  • Non-skid rubber feet
  • Shred Speed: 5.6 Ft/min. (1.7 M/min.)
  • Overheat & Power LEDs
  • Weight: 15.2 lbs
  • 1 year mfr. limited warranty, 10 year mfr. limited cutter warranty

Bright Lights, Bad Headaches?

This may stretch the appliance theme a bit, but since so many of us are switching to compact fluorescent light bulbs to save energy, I think it is worth sharing. According to Dr. Isadore Rosenfeld at Parade Magazine, new research suggests some dangers:

Flickering bulbs have been reported to precipitate migraines or even seizures, though manufacturers say the new models have been improved. Fluorescent light can also aggravate skin rashes in people with lupus, eczema, dermatitis or porphyria.

Perhaps most important, the bulbs contain mercury.  If one breaks, don’t vacuum the debris- that can release toxic dust into the air.  Leave the room for 15 minutes.  Then, wearing gloves, place the fragments into a plastic bag, seal it and take it to a recycling center.

Recall: Glue Guns by Dollar Tree Stores Due to Fire, Burn and Shock Hazards

Name of Product: Crafters Square Hot Melt Mini Glue Guns

Units: About 253,000

Retailer: Dollar Tree Stores Inc., of Chesapeake, Va.

Importer: Greenbrier International Inc., of Chesapeake, Va.

Hazard: The recalled glue guns can short circuit, causing the gun to smoke and catch fire. This poses fire, burn and shock hazards to consumers.

Incidents/Injuries: Dollar Tree is aware of seven incidents in which these glue guns short circuited resulting in two injuries, including electrical shock and burns.

Description: The glue guns dispense hot glue and are intended for craft projects. The recalled glue gun is black with a yellow trigger and is approximately 4 1/2 inches from the back of the gun to the tip. Attached is a 44-inch electrical cord. “Crafters Square” and product number 818261-72 or 818261-75 are located on the guns’ packaging.

Manufactured in: China

Sold at: Dollar Tree, Dollar Bill$, Dollar Express, Greenbacks, Only One $1, and Deal$ stores nationwide from February 2007 through August 2007 for about $1.

Remedy: Consumers should immediately stop using the recalled glue guns and return them to the store where purchased for a full refund.

Consumer Contact: For additional information, contact Dollar Tree Stores Inc. at (800) 876-8077 between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. ET Monday through Friday, or visit the firm’s Web site at

Picture of Recalled Glue Gun