An Open Letter to Dr. Dre — and His Beats Headphones


beats by dre review

To the Beats Support Team and Dr. Dre by extension,

I’m writing you to express my extreme disappointment in your company and for the efforts you’ve made to permeate through society this idea that your products, the Beats headphones and earbuds specifically, were items made with care and with high quality parts. I’m disappointed that I bought into this idea that because your product looks so “cool” with their token red wires, oversized earpieces and sky-high price tags that they would be something worth buying. You see, you fooled me by putting your product into the hands of well known celebrities and making the names “Beats” and “Dr.Dre” so ubiquitous in the music listening world that I actually thought that you had a quality product on your hands. Of course, it wasn’t just your paid advertising and branding that sucked me in; you targeted the hipsters and self-proclaimed “DJs” and “music junkies” who strut the streets of cities like New York, Chicago, LA and Miami and who might shop at thrift stores to stock their wardrobe but are never without their beloved Beats headphones forever hanging off of their necks. You’ve brainwashed music listeners into thinking that the brands of Dr. Dre, Monster and Beats were reputable and credible so much so that we should dish out hundreds upon hundreds of dollars to invest into a product that would change the music listening experience forever.

I’m extremely disappointed because all of this has been a big, fat lie.

You see, I’d heard of the amazing sound quality that Beats headphones and earbuds provided. I pined after a set myself for while. Living in New York City, I relied on my Mp3 player to get me through my commutes everyday. But the constant noise of the city meant that I had to listen to my music increasingly louder if I even wanted to hear it at all. I wanted to buy a set of Beats earbuds that I’d heard so much about — the crystal clear sound quality, the deep bass booster, the overall awesome quality! But alas, how could I afford even the most inexpensive pair when they ranged into the hundreds of dollars? I have crazy bills to pay first. But my eardrums were paying for the constant ambient racket that they were being subjected to on a daily basis.

Then, my luck broke, and I was able to buy a new open box item during a sale. I got a set of the Beats Tour Earbuds for a steal about 4 months ago. I wasn’t a huge fan of the bulky fit, but the sound quality did meet my expectations. I could block out the noise and hear my music 10 times better, even at lower volumes. I was a happy camper.

Then all of a sudden, they stopped working. The left ear just stopped playing music. A move of the wire, and I heard static. Then the right ear stopped playing, and then they both stopped working. Oh, then I heard sound for about a second before I went through the whole process again. So, I contacted customer support. I had all the information, and my earbuds were supposed be under warranty.

Your customer service told me that I should just buy new headphones or get mine fixed because they couldn’t help me. Your warranty “didn’t support unauthorized vendors.” Sorry, we’re not sorry — that’s what I really heard.

Okay. So, maybe there was something wrong with the product when I bought it.

But then I started doing some research, and I found that this was a common problem. Your product gets an average of two stars on Apple.com, two and half stars (by users) on Cnet.com. Why is that? It turns out that people losing sound and your product breaking is a pretty common occurrence. What’s also a common occurrence is being told that “there’s nothing to be done” about it. What is your warranty for? Why is your product so expensive, and why do you have an entire Beats Support Twitter account that is spewing off the same crap to everyone who is complaining about the same thing. Aren’t you ashamed of ripping off and duping people with your flashy name only to sell them a shitty product that is almost guaranteed to break down within a matter of time?

Obviously not because you’re still doing it. Your prices are getting more and more ridiculous, and with your tactical and smart branding you’re convincing a younger and younger consumer base that they just have to have the cool headphones toted around by Dr. Dre himself. You’ve created a status symbol that is a scam.

I’ve now attempted to contact your phone customer service and your Twitter customer service, and I have to tell you that the people on both ends were very polite and seemingly helpful until they quite flatly told me that they were “extremely sorry” that they just couldn’t help. That’s just called good training, so kudos on that too.

I’m happy that I didn’t dish out the hundreds of dollars for your crap of a product, but I am sad because I bought into your brand thinking it was something that I could be proud of — not just because it was “cool” but also because it was a smart investment I’d made on my part. I’m embarrassed to say that it wasn’t, and I hope that anyone who is considering to buy any of your products does their research to get the truth straight from the mouths of people who were duped like me. The reviews are out there, but you’ll never see them from your lofty throne that sits atop an empire of cheaply made products. I just hope they do.

Thanks for nothing,

Foram M.

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The Facebook Detox Diet


Facebook logo

Social media didn’t explode until I was well into high school, and even then it was a new platform that people were still integrating into their everyday lives. By 2007, it was a complete social phenomenon and had completely changed the way people interacted with each other and presented themselves to their friends, family and even people who barely qualified as acquaintances.

At first, Facebook was an unbelievably effective means of staying in touch with family and friends on a daily basis; it was a great way to get to know new friends (or just to “stalk” them); it even doubled as a virtual time capsule for old pictures and other media you posted. Somewhere along the way, though, it became an overbearing monster that constantly bombarded you with news and useless information about everyone around you. The term “friends” came to mean less when one meeting constituted reason enough to be friends on Facebook. Of course, ambiguity of defining “friendship” meant you had to be careful about protecting your privacy. Your family members, neighbors, random people you met on a night out all became “friends” but in reality – how many people did you share (or want to share) your information with? Probably not even half.

Over time, Facebook – for me, anyway – became comparable to a party where I was perpetually stuck. All 600+ people on my list of friends were in attendance, and no matter how little I updated my status or added pictures, I was still witness to what everyone else was saying, who they were talking to and how much, where they were going, in what stage of their lives they were and so on. You could sit in your corner and be quiet, but the whole room was still buzzing with activity giving you mindless gossip to talk about or unhealthy thoughts over which to ponder. Especially during a time when I was transitioning from one stage of my life to another, and when I was still getting my ducks in a row, I finally realized I had to get off Facebook. I was in serious need for a Facebook detox diet and after over two months, I’m happy to say that it has done nothing but good.

If you can relate in any way, and especially if you’ve been considering hitting that deactivate button, I’ll tell you exactly why I think everyone should try this diet and why it’s chock-full of healthy benefits.

  1. I  wonder less about what so-and-so is up to just because it makes good gossip. Let’s face it – everyone has that one person or two on the news feed who you barely talk to but always find a way to talk about. It’s unhealthy and, frankly, unkind. I feel better knowing I’m not tempted to talk for gossiping’s sake; it’s like standing at the checkout counter and not browsing the tabloids because I’m bored – just less pollution in your head and your heart.
  2. I’m not always rushing to post pictures or update my status every time even the most menial thing happens in my life. The point in enjoying a good meal is eating it, not telling everyone about how “just amaze-balls” it is. Granted, it’s nice to be able to share something new and exciting, but sometimes I felt like I was more excited to post something cool that happened rather than enjoying it in that moment. If it’s exciting and cool, I’ll share it with the select few people who I know might actually give a damn, otherwise it’s not that important.
  3. I am less tempted to turn to Facebook to “inconspicuously” spill my life’s problems. I was always pretty good, I think, at keeping my real issues with people or life off of Facebook. But the real problem is that the Facebook status update box is more like the confession booth at church or a shrink’s lounge chair: it’s inviting, and you know it will reach someone. It’s far more satisfying knowing that your words will be heard rather than taking them to a diary, where they’ll only be regurgitated back to you. Of course, therein lies the issue again – it’s too tempting. Facebook is terrifyingly accessible, sometimes more so than a friend, and it’s all too easy to want to say something you don’t really want to share.
  4. I feel a little less bad about myself. Going through a transition when you can’t see the end in sight isn’t easy in itself, but having a virtual newsletter of other people either doing things you’re not or having reached goals you haven’t yet makes the process more difficult. I’m not a resentful person, and I am more than thrilled for the successes of my friends and family; I enjoy hearing good news about others – but when it’s coming directly to me. On your bad days, it just doesn’t help when everyone’s business is in your face, and that’s just the truth.
  5. It has strengthened my relationships with my closest friends and shown me the weaker ones. It makes me sad sometimes when I see how much some of my closest friends relied solely on Facebook to keep our friendships alive after we moved on from school or other phases in our lives. I’ve always been firm that I don’t want to depend on Facebook to be the binding glue, and now I’ve seen where it was and wasn’t. Some of my friendships have survived without needing Facebook to support them. Honestly, it’s not an excuse in this day and age that not having a Facebook account makes it difficult to keep relationships strong. Text messages, emails, video chats, online chats, phone calls and, of course, the age-old practice of meeting in person are still widely accepted means of communicating, you know. Not being on Facebook helped me grow closer to many of my closest friends, and it’s been nice to be more personal than posting something on each other’s walls.

I’m planning on activating my Facebook account eventually, but I kind of dread being sucked into the addiction again. I fully recognize how useful it is and what good it has done for advancing the lines of communication between people; I enjoyed those benefits for years. For now, though, I’m really enjoying my Facebook detox diet, and I think if you will too if you give it a try. In order to be successful, though, you have to stay strong! Try it, and you’ll see why it’s worth it – even for just a bit.

Let me know your experiences!

The Top 4 Bargains You’re Probably Missing


It’s a funny thing about money and spending it — nobody truly enjoys doing it. No matter how wealthy,  everyone wants a great deal on what they buy. Whether it’s a sparkly piece of jewelry or the occasional greeting card, we all glance at the price tag at least once — even if it’s for a millisecond — before heading to the check-out counter.

There are many of you out there, however, who are missing some fabulous deals that are right under your noses! Just because they’re not blasted through advertisements certainly doesn’t mean they’re any less legitimate or unworthy of taking advantage of.

The images of clipping coupons after hours of research and buying discounted deal vouchers may come to mind. But on the contraire, you could be saving boat loads on everything from books, music, jewelry, and even greeting cards without using any newspapers, printers, or scissors!

Here are five places that are hiding some show-stopping bargains, and there’s something good for just about everyone you know!

1. ShopLately.com: Accessories & More

Buying fashion jewelry, bags, and other accessories can really cost an arm and a leg. Sales can come and go, but on ShopLately.com this is never the case. The company Glint & Gleam keeps customers stock full of themed sales every single day and prices for earrings, necklaces, rings, and so much more can often start at only $3.00-$5.00 (like these Tangle-Free Rhinestone Earrings in antique silver that are priced at $5.00). In addition, ShopLately features many more luxury fashions from top name vendors. Stylish tops, outerwear, and other unique accessories are regulars on this site. And with shipping charges always at $2.99, you won’t spend twice the amount just to get your gorgeous goods!

2. Amazon mp3 Store: mp3 Music

Music piracy has been huge since the 90’s, and it’s because everyone hates paying for music. The invention of the portable mp3 player turned listening to music into a Catch-22: the convenience of it makes spending easier to do. Buying your favorite jams through iTunes is simple, and for the most part cheaper than having to go out and buy CDs the old-fashioned way. Even purchasing entire albums this way can cost about $5.00 less on average. But save even more and take your business to Amazon.com’s mp3 store. Chart toppers can start at measly $0.49 a song and $4.99 an album (Buy Coldplay’s latest album “Mylo Xyloto” and David Guetta’s “Nothing But the Beat” for $4.99 right now!) ! Amazon features frequent sales and over 1000 albums for free, including music from rising stars and new artists. Its entire selection comes to over 18 million songs. Once purchased, the Amazon mp3 Downloader transfers your music straight to your iTunes or Windows Media player so you can instantly start jammin’.

3. Dollar Tree: Greeting Cards, Gift Bags & More

Greeting cards are just as enjoyable to gift as they are to get, but sometimes they’re a little pricey. It’s the thought that counts, so spending close to $5.00 for a card to say thank you, sorry, congratulations, or get well soon is a bit steep. That doesn’t mean that the card should be cheap in quality! After all, a card says a lot about your sentiments so it should reflect them accordingly. Dollar Tree is a chain of discount stores that prices every item for only $1.00. While other similar stores have emerged to mimic the idea, Dollar Tree also often sells brand name items. Popular brands of greeting cards like American Greetings and Tender Thoughts are sold at Dollar Tree for $1.00 while stores like Wal-Mart, Target, etc. sell them at their sticker prices. Sounds skeptical, I know. Often such discounts are available because the product is defected, but there’s no such catch here! Pick up beautiful gift bags/boxes, holiday decor, stationary items, even certain discontinued brand name beauty products for much less here. You’ll be surprised at how much you can save without compromising on quality products.

4. SpreadSong Inc. iPhone/iTouch Apps: Free Books & Audiobooks

How many times have you heard people use the excuse, “I’d read more if I had more time.”? This is probably true, but since the emergence of portable books readers like the Nook, Kindle, and the ability to download audio books to mp3 players – it’s not as valid anymore. What’s more, there’s no hassle of lugging around heavy books or even leaving your house to pick it up at the bookstore or library (for the few that even have a library card these days). Now you can read on the go in the passenger seat, riding the bus, while on the plane, in the waiting room at your doctor’s office – pretty much wherever! But you’ll still have to pay for most of the time – or not. SpreadSong Inc. has created two revolutionary apps for the iPhone, iTouch, and iPad that brings you almost 24,000 free books to read or listen to! There is even an option to email your downloaded books, so you can send them to yourself to access on any computer. Titles include classics like Pride and Prejudice, Anne of Green Gables, Grimm’s Fairy Tales, Aesop’s Fables, Great Expectations, and literally thousands more. If you’re a student, don’t waste your money on buying from the bookstore. Teachers and parents can do read-alongs with their kids by playing the audio books out loud to follow along with or just listen to. The options are endless, and it’s truly a great way to reread your favorites or find new titles without spending an extra dime!

Back That Thing Up!


So, it’s the 21st century and even when all of our belongings are about 98% digitized and virtual, we still manage to lose them – because people don’t back up! For some reason we, as people, never learn our lessons until it’s too late and then wallow in our misery when it is. This theory applies to pretty much anything in life, and especially so when it comes to computers.

With thousands of songs, pictures, and other important documents stowed away on our hard drives, it’s no surprise that many of us don’t see the use of toting around hard copies. Print photos are a thing of the past, and what’s even the point in a CD when mp3 players are omnipresent? Although, there might be the little issue of losing EVERYTHING when your computer crashes. And, yes Mac users – it happens to Apple computers too. The theory that they’re invincible is a myth. While viruses are more well known to infect PCs, the Mac generation has changed the rules with viruses specifically created to target a Mac’s motherboard. And there’s always the possibility of another malfunction and the hard drive going defunct. (Happened to me when my power went out and wigged my hard drive up because the power cord was attached. Lost it all.)

So, here I am preaching to a crowd who has already heard it a million times – and yet does nothing about it. Well, you should because it’s super simple, affordable, and very worth it! There were times when zip drives and external hard drives were your only options, but there is another option that’s easier than clunking around a physical hard drive – and it also diminishes the risk losing the back-up drive (literally). Do it virtually and back up ONLINE!

iDrive is a great place to do this and I’ll tell you why:

1. Virtually Impossible to Lose

Like I talked about above, backing up data online makes it much easier to keep track of your stuff. Save yourself the trouble of buying an expensive external drive and then having to keep track of that! The biggest benefit of using iDrive is that you can sync more than one of your electronic devices for back up to the same account. So put your iPhone contacts with your home stuff, or with your office stuff, or whatever combination you come up with! It can all go into one place, and they’ll even provide awesome organization for you so you know where everything is and it can stay separate if you want it that way.

2. Access Everywhere

Another bonus of using online storage like with iDrive is that it’s like having your computer with you anywhere you go. (And if you’ve backed up more than one device, even better!) Want to show off your adorable kids’ pics to your coworkers? No problem! Lost your phone on vacation and need to get your contacts back while you’re still on an island? No problem! Whatever you need, wherever you need it – you have it. All you need is browser with internet connection so you can access your account. Bada-bing, bada-boom!

3. Grows With You

Who doesn’t love free, right? iDrive Basic gives you 5 gb absolutely free. That’s not enough to back up your whole computer, but it will definitely you give you a place to save your phone’s info and even some important documents. From there you can choose a variety of plans with different storage spaces and pricing that can be paid by the month or by the year. Trust me, it’s totally worth it! Just take the free space, and go from there!

Top 5 Google Chrome Apps and Extensions


Google Chrome has shown to be the best new browser to hit the market for a while. Faster than other top contenders, Safari and Firefox, it has the added bonus of being extremely customizable. Personalizing your browser is fun and exciting, but show me the apps and extensions! Oh, Google has a whole Web Store devoted to that, too — how thoughtful!

First, let’s note the difference between an app and an extension (from Google Chrome Web Store):

  • Web apps are advanced interactive websites. They may provide a wide-ranging set of features or focus on a single task like photo-editing or shopping. You can easily access the web apps you install from the Chrome Web Store through shortcuts in Chrome’s New Tab page.
  • Extensions let you add new features to your browser. For example, an email notifier extension can show an email alert in your browser toolbar so you don’t have to log in to your email in a separate window to check if you have new messages. There are also extensions that work silently in the background, such as an extension that automatically formats and displays web pages in your preferred style.

From hundreds to choose from, you could have a field day exploring and downloading. Here, I’ll give you my top 5 free apps/extensions for Google Chrome:

 1. Awesome Screenshot: Capture and Annotate (Extension)

Want to take a picture of a picture you took of yourself? Or maybe you just need to grab that recipe for someone’s grandmother’s special brownie recipe. It could be that you need that coupon and you just can’t find that God forsaken ‘print’ button. Well, you can do all that and so much more with this handy little extension.

With a click, you have the option to capture the entire page you’re viewing, a selected area, or the visible portion of it. Once captured, you’ll be able to annotate with text, shapes and more in a new tab. Save it online temporarily, email it, or download it when you’re done!

2. FB Photo Zoom (Extension)

It’s frustrating when you’re trying to speed-creep on your friends’ latest pictures, and you have to do all that clicking and navigating! Sheesh, it can really be time consuming. If only the thumbnails could enlarge themselves momentarily…!

Luckily, this extension is a mind reader for the part-time Internet creeps and lets you do just that. Hover over a picture and it magically gives you an enlarged view, without any clicking. Ah, it’s like having the ability to stalk 10x faster!

3. Quick Note (App)

Finding a pen and paper together when you suddenly need to jot down the phone number or a confirmation number to your dream vacay booking in the Bahamas is virtually impossible. Even if somehow you’re smart enough to keep them both on the end table, let’s face it — paper may beat rock but digital beats all.

This app is accessible at any moment in a new tab or a drawer on your current page, ready for your mental notes. You have the option to automatically save them online in a virtual notebook or store them in a free Diigo account.

4. Picnik (Extension)

Once you’ve creeped on someone’s Facebook picture with Photo Zoom, snapped the screenshot through Awesome Screenshot, and made some notes on Quick Note on something juicy in their profile you’ve just GOT to pass on to your BFF, it’ll just make sense to edit the picture up so you can make a more professional presentation…

Picnik allows you to upload one picture at a time without registration, and do some basic editing on the color, exposure, contrast, and more. Sign up for a free account and you can do 5 at a time. Once you’re finished, download to your computer or send along. Much easier, and faster (and less incriminating) than adding to your personal photo editing software!

5. Groupon Deals (App)

It’s always fabulous to be offered a bikini wax for a 56% discount  to go with the trip to the Bahamas that’s 87% off right when I open my inbox every morning. But having offers come at me from 10 of these companies spoils my giddy excitement to open “13 new emails” just to find that almost all are worthless to read without my wallet on hand.

Groupon Deals allows you to scan the daily deals in a range of cities — perfect if you want to de-spam your inbox a bit, or if you know you’ll be traveling and want to scan out some hot buys beforehand.

MicroSD card adapter for free!


Free offers are almost always bogus because there is most likely some catch that will have you spending the Benjamin’s. But I really do like to flatter myself on being the Frugal Queen and Bargain Master so if I tell you something is free – it really is!

There is a new company 1SaleADay is a play off of popular Groupon and LivingSocial (and the other 100 daily deal companies running now), except they feature a great sale everyday, one in every category: ‘1 Sale a Day’, ‘Wireless’, ‘Watch’, ‘Family’, ‘Jewelry’  (Sale, you say? Foram is there to investigate!)

Right now, they have an microSD card adapter in their Wireless section for 100% off. That’s right – that means $0.00 + free shipping.  This is the gadget you’ll need to stick your tiny SD card from your phone in so you can put THAT into your computer – no need for a USB cord! Sound sketch? It really doesn’t seem to be! You don’t even have to sign up to receive promotional deals from them everyday; no credit card required; nothing!

All they do ask is that you ‘like’ them on Facebook and on follow them on Twitter and write them a testimonial. Not much work at all for a very useful little thing, plus it’s free! (They won’t even check that you did this; it’s simply a guilt trip tactic.)

Here is your fabulous freebie: MicroSD Adapter 2.0

Hurry, you’ve got only about a day to get your deal!

OS X Lion – Hear Me…Roar?


Some people count down the days until their favorite movies hit the theatre; until they walk down the aisle; until they graduate, and me? I shriek like Oprah made me her protege when I find out that Apple is releasing a new operating system. So, you can imagine how thrilled I was when Apple announced a while back the upcoming release of their newest, all new OS to be named “OS X Lion.”

The anticipation was even more intense when they chose to keep their release date a complete secret, and I practically had a technology-orgasm when I found out it was out TODAY! Over 250+ features, new finger-swipe gesture capability, a complete revamp – ooh la la! And all for only $29.99? Too good to be true!

Having an earlier generation Macbook that’s the age of a pre-schooler now, I was afraid my pale baby wouldn’t meet the requirements to join the big kids’ club. I held my breath, too scared to check. The steps to upgrade were as follows:

  1. Make sure you have Intel Core 2 Duo, Core i3, Core i5, Core i7, or Xeon processor.(Check!)
  2. Make sure your computer has  OS X Snow Leopard. (Check!)
  3. Download OS X Lion from the Apple App Store (Can totally do this – check, check, check!)

Merrily, I navigated myself to the App store seconds away from punching in my dad’s credit card number daydreaming of my happy days to come with the sexy, jungle cat. Just released and over 5000 reviews, all giving Lion 5 stars! So close …!

About to reach my tech-climax…the biggest mood killer imaginable (insert cartoon ‘boing’):

Seriously?!! This is the discrimination I get because I have been loyal to my computer that just HAPPENED to have been amazing and lasted me 4 years?! Why wasn’t this requirement listed in #1 along with the stuff about the processor, Apple? Why, why?!

Be warned Mac enthusiasts – but really just those of us who have had our sweet little Macbooks for at least 3 years. These are built with only 1 GB of memory. Guess our babies won’t be as cool in school…