As I said in my previous post, a lot of things were taking up my time last fall. I'd like to relate three of them right now. Bear with me - there is a test-related payoff.
I bought a new car in October. After a lot of thought and research, I decided on an Escape Hybrid. I've written before about my Prius, it has never given me trouble, so I decided to try the SUV version of a hybrid from Ford. I did a lot of research before I committed to buying it, and so far - four months and 7000 miles later - I'm happy with the results.
My water heater sprung a leak last fall, and I finally bought a new one in November. Again, I did a lot of reading up on water heaters, and for better or worse I know more about them than I ever thought I would.
In October my washing machine went kaput. It just stopped working. I debated the merits of a) paying someone several hundred to fix it or b) spending days of my time fixing it myself. It was more cost-effective to buy a new one. For a third time, I did a lot of reading up on the subject and decided on getting a front loader. It saves water, it saves electricity, and it's a nifty piece of engineering.
I love Consumer Reports. For a small yearly fee I can read articles, view customer ratings, and test reports. The test reports are detailed, comprehensive, and informative. I've had a subscription to their magazine, and then the website, for a decade. Needless to say, I gave their test database a workout last fall on the three items listed above. It truly helped out. I tip my test engineer hat to them.