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digerati "digerati" RSS Feed (San Francisco, CA United States)
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Metrokane 6127 Rabbit Super Aerator, Clear
Metrokane 6127 Rabbit Super Aerator, Clear
Price: $14.40
3 used & new from $14.40

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Simple and effective, November 30, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I was somewhat skeptical of wine aerators when they first appeared, but a friend gave me one was a gift since she knew I was a bit of a wine-o. We did a taste test and I was a convert: they really do accelerate the opening up of the wine, especially for wines designed to age that come out of the bottle very "tight". All aerators work by blending in air with the wine as it pours via small tubes in the funnel (the venturi effect), oxygenating the wine and helping it open up more quickly. I have the kind of aerator designed to be used with a decanter, which is great with a full bottle of wine, but not so much when you just want a glass or two, and you must use a decanter, of course.

The Rabbit Super Aerator is simpler to use because you just jam it into the wine bottle and pour. I was a little apprehensive about it falling out, but it has a strong "rubber-like" grip and it worked like a charm on my test bottle, even with the bottle fully inverted. I tried it out at Thanksgiving dinner with several bottles and it worked perfectly and was simpler than constantly re-filling the decanter. I cannot tell the difference between the Rabbit and the decanter-style in terms of the effect on the wine, which makes sense since they both work using exactly the same aeration process.

This is a great product that works for a full bottle or just a glass, hence 5 stars.


Hoover FloorMate SteamScrub Touch Hard Floor Steamer, WH20420PC
Hoover FloorMate SteamScrub Touch Hard Floor Steamer, WH20420PC
Price: $124.89
4 used & new from $88.98

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great hardwood floor steam cleaner, November 16, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Length:: 1:27 Mins

This is a great steam cleaner for hardwood floors. The video shows you how simple it is to use -- installing the floor pad, the tank (with water and solution chambers), cleaning the floor, the tile / grout scrubbing head.

A lot of thought has gone into making this simple to use. Assembly was very easy: just slot the base into the head, and the handle into the top. You put water in the main tank, solution in the second tank to the fill line, then top it up with water. Just push the steam head down onto the cleaning pad, and you're ready to go. Pull the trigger on the handle to release steam and cleaning fluid onto the floor. Push the cleaning head back and forth to clean, and that's it. You can remove the hardwood floor head to expose the tile/grout scrubber, and to go back to hardwood floor just slot that back into the main cleaning head.

All in all, a great option for tile, lino and wood floors.


A Spy Among Friends: Kim Philby and the Great Betrayal
A Spy Among Friends: Kim Philby and the Great Betrayal
Offered by Random House LLC
Price: $11.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Well researched and brilliantly written, November 1, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Well researched and brilliantly written, telling the true story Kim Philby's 25+ year betrayal and eventual escape to Soviet Russia. Philby had been recruited by the Soviets 8 years before joining the British security services but sailed straight into a job there and on to MI6 because he was the "right sort" of chap from a "good family".

Macintyre explores the 30-year relationship between Philby and Nicholas Elliott, fellow spy from a similar privileged background, which gives the book a lot of depth. It is Elliott who helps Philby become successful, defends him when MI5 is sure he's a spy but lacks proof, and (unforgivably, in my opinion) ensures Philby can return to MI6 to drink and dine lavishly, and also betray and kill, at the taxpayer's expense in 1950s Lebanon. Finally, even Elliott is forced to confront the fact that Philby has made a fool of him and the entire establishment and betrayed a life-long friendship right from the very start -- something that seems to be more painful to Elliott than the thousands Philby has killed.

An afterword by John Le Carre rounds out a thoroughly absorbing and interesting read. I loved every minute.


DII Oceanique Machine Washable 100% Cotton Chenille Pop Corn Luxury Spa Bath Rug, 17 x 24", Stone Blue
DII Oceanique Machine Washable 100% Cotton Chenille Pop Corn Luxury Spa Bath Rug, 17 x 24", Stone Blue
Price: $11.99

5.0 out of 5 stars This is a good bathmat: it feels good under my feet, November 1, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This is a good bathmat: it feels good under my feet, soft and textured with "bobbles". Keeps the floor dry, absorbs water and is a "slate blue" color. It's a bit on the small side, but does the job!


Miracle-Gro 18982 Titanium 8-Inch Detachable Shear with Sheath
Miracle-Gro 18982 Titanium 8-Inch Detachable Shear with Sheath
Price: $10.32

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very strong, sturdy scissors, September 18, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This is a pair of super-sturdy, strong scissors. The blades are titanium, very sharp, and very thick so they do not bend or "splay" when you're cutting woody stems in the garden. You can also separate the blades into two parts by opening up the scissors as wide as possible, and slipping the top blade over the central pivot, which is handy for opening boxes and other knife-like slicing tasks. The green handles are made of recycled plastic, and have just enough give to make them comfortable while ensuring you have a solid grip.


Corsair Voyager Air 2 Wireless Mobile Storage (1 TB), iOS and Android, Black (CMFAIR-VA2-1000-NA)
Corsair Voyager Air 2 Wireless Mobile Storage (1 TB), iOS and Android, Black (CMFAIR-VA2-1000-NA)
Price: $179.99

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Solid streaming let down by flaky software and poor out-of-the-box experience, August 9, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
The Voyager Air 2 is a great concept somewhat undermined by poorly written software. The device is a combination of hard drive, large battery and a streaming capability all wrapped into a case not much larger than a standard USB hard drive. You copy movies, music etc. to the drive and can then stream to up to 5 devices (for movies) when you're on the road while running off battery.

The device supports DLNA and I was able to watch HD movies on TV using my network-connected Blu-Ray player. Everything worked perfectly -- when you have the device correctly set up, it works like a dream. I gave it 3 stars because the software you use to configure it is pretty flaky and doesn't always work, and operating the drive to get it into a mode where you can stream movies etc. is requires patience.

Inside the cardboard box are the drive itself, the instructions and a short USB 3.0 cable for both charging and connecting to your computer. It comes formatted as NTFS for PCs, and I easily reformatted it to MacOS Journaled on my Mac. The "out of box" experience isn't great as the device isn't intuitive to use and the instructions are sparse. If you plug it into your computer, it doesn't automatically come on like any other hard drive -- it just starts charging. You have to unplug the USB cord, hold down the power button until the battery symbol flashes (you can't just hit the power button once to turn it on), then connect it to your computer. Now it shows up as a drive and you can copy movies, music, photos etc. to the drive. I had a bunch of DVDs and Blu-Rays converted to MP4 files and just copied them across.

The next step is configuring the Voyager using the smartphone app (I used iPhone 5). First you have to turn on the Voyager's Wifi capability by holding down the wifi button until the wifi symbol lights up, then connect to the "VoyagerAir" Wifi network from your phone. The manual warns you that the VoyagerAir network may not show up for 2 minutes after you have turned on Wifi, and sure enough it took a minute or two before the network appeared on my iPhone and I could connect. The first couple of times the iPhone refused to connect with "Unable to connect" messages. I left it alone for 5 minutes or so, then tried again and was finally able to connect to the Voyager's Wifi.

I started the mobile app, and immediately got a flurry of "SQLite3::exec(): database is locked" errors on the screen. I cancelled out of all of those, went back to the iPhone home screen, and re-started the app. Now it showed me the VoyagerAir2 device IP address, I could tap it and start the next phase of configuration. Immediately, it told me there was a firmware update available, and that I should upgrade. OK... but it didn't try to do the upgrade automatically, and left me wondering what to do next. I went into settings and tapped on "Check" (for upgrade) and it said Wireless Passthrough must be enabled first. I went to configure that, but couldn't get the settings to "stick" -- it would connect to my regular Wifi network but not save the settings. When I did it for the third time, the settings seemed to stick. Now when I clicked on Check for upgrade, it said there wasn't an upgrade available!

I gave up on that and turned on the DLNA server feature, and tapped the button to rebuild the catalog (no idea why that doesn't just happen automatically). Then I went to my Blu-Ray player and was able to find the Voyager Air on my network and start streaming a movie. Finally, I had something that was working! Streaming worked really well, very consistent with no network issues -- when you get it working, this device is really good at what it does.

Eventually I was able to get the upgrade to work (third try), set up a Wifi password and get everything set up the way I wanted it.

One last quirk: the Voyager Air won't let you charge the device via USB when Wifi is turned on. As soon as you plug in the USB cable, it turns off the Wifi and all streaming stops, and you can't turn Wifi back on. So I can't plug this device in to the USB port on my receiver and keep the battery charged while I stream movies via my Blu-Ray player. You *must* run down the battery in order to stream. Seems very odd. There is a port for a 5V battery charger, but that's an extra cost item.

The net is that the Corsair is unfortunately let down by poor software for managing the device, and quirky operation. It seems to be a super solid streaming device when it's correctly configured and all the buttons are pushed in the right way. Improve the software and this could be a 5-star device.


Epson WorkForce WF-7620 Wireless Color All-in-One Inkjet Printer with Scanner and Copier
Epson WorkForce WF-7620 Wireless Color All-in-One Inkjet Printer with Scanner and Copier
Price: $199.99
49 used & new from $194.00

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great printer for office work, July 13, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This is a large printer, but the out-of-the-box experience is good. This is the first printer I've used that is designed to be picked up easily -- it has smooth indentations on the bottom edges at either side where your fingers go that makes it very easy to lift out of the box and position where you want it. Nice touch. It comes with a full set of ink cartridges of normal size, unlike every HP I've ever owned which comes with "you better buy $75 of ink if you really want to print something" starter cartridges. Bravo!

There's a getting started guide, which is mercifully short: plug it into power, connect it to the network. There is a USB port, but I haven't used it. It was simple to connect to my Wifi network using the touch screen panel on the front. There's also a phone jack for faxing, but I don't have a landline so can't comment on that.

This printer is designed to produce mixed text and graphics jobs quickly, as used in a typical office. It prints very quickly, spitting out typical Word document pages in just a few seconds in standard mode. Text and graphics are very sharp, with good color reproduction. In "best" mode it does a pretty good job with photos, but you can still see some banding in the black areas. As an office printer, that's fine; it isn't designed to be a dedicated photo printer, and the advantage is that it prints a whole lot faster and is far more economical with ink.

It also copies very well: the copy was sharp, with a little scanning noise but overall very good. If I had tinkered with the scan settings I'm sure I could have made it even better, but it was good enough as-is to just keep using the color copy button on the front without fiddling with settings.

This model has a 500-sheet capacity, and you can load different paper sizes. The paper load tray can take wide paper and is easily adjusted. One minor nit: if you have the same paper in both trays and one is empty, and the print job is for the empty tray, it won't use the other tray automatically. I also haven't figured out how to tell the printer to use the other tray for a waiting job -- you just have to load more paper.

Other nits: it comes with a Driver CD for Windows and Mac... except there are no Mac drivers on the CD. It just gives you a link to the Epson website where you can download the 250GB installer (!) for Mac OSX. It's a very slow download vs. other sites, for some reason. And, as seems inevitable these days, most of that 250GB is a bunch of utilities and stuff you won't use -- only 50GB is the driver itself. I also found that if I gave the printer a fixed IP address, Bonjour (auto printer discovery for Macs and IOS devices) doesn't work any more. In fact, I couldn't print at all when it had a fixed IP, so went back to dynamically assigned, which has caused many a "my computer won't print" complaint when using HPs in the past. So far so good, though: Apple devices immediately find the Epson and haven't gotten stuck trying to print.

Overall, this is a great printer for everyday office print jobs, as the nits really are minor inconveniences. I like that is is very fast, produces sharp output, and just works as a network printer without a lot of fiddling. As a result, I like it a lot more than my last HP Officejet. Highly recommended.


Seattle Sports Seawhisper Carbon Kayak Paddle, 230/240cm
Seattle Sports Seawhisper Carbon Kayak Paddle, 230/240cm
Price: $95.25
8 used & new from $92.95

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great paddle for lake kayaking, June 29, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I ordered two of these for myself and my better half -- we kayak on lakes and reservoirs in California. The two paddles are not quite the same, though: one paddle is an extremely snug fit. It's very hard to slide the smaller section into the larger tube. I slackened off the locking mechanism as far as it will go, and it's slightly better but still a real struggle. After one paddling session we had a "tug of war" to get it apart again. The other paddle is much better: the pieces fit together snugly but not too tight, and it's easy to get the right length and angle, then snap the lock shut.

I like that the paddle breaks down into two sections for easy transportation, and because the angle and length is adjustable. On the water, they're sturdy and work well for the lake kayaking that we do, and the drip rings are an octagonal shape which makes them more effective than the round drip-rings I have on another paddle. They're a good price for carbon fiber shaft, and the lighter weight helps. They're also very visible, which is good for lakes with more traffic and motor boats.


Blu-Ray Player External USB DVD RW Laptop Burner Drive
Blu-Ray Player External USB DVD RW Laptop Burner Drive
Offered by DAZZLEWER LLC
Price: $42.98
7 used & new from $37.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Works great -- out of box experience could be better, June 29, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I ordered this to connect to my Mac. The drive is a Matshita BD-MLT UJ-220S Blu-Ray/DVD/CD with a maximum 1.6x Blu-Ray read speed, housed inside an ATA->USB 2.0 drive casing. It can also write DVD and CD media. I was able to use MakeAVS, VLC and Handbrake with Blu-Ray and DVD discs with 100% success rate. So functionally, it's great: it does exactly what I wanted. I didn't try burning any discs. It's not the fastest drive out there, but the price is right for what it does and I'm very happy with my purchase. A little more attention to quality control around final finish and packaging, and I'd have given five stars.

The "out of box" experience wasn't the best: it arrived in a plastic bag, and the front panel of the drive tray was not properly attached on the left-hand side. Plugging it into the Mac, I was able to eject the tray using the button on the front and a small black screw fell out. I checked the underside of the tray and the casing for missing screws, and it looks like this is just a spare that ended up stuck inside. I was also able to figure out how to fully attach the tray front panel by gently flexing it to align all the tabs, until it snapped into place. At that point the tray would close properly, and I was able to load my first disk.

It comes with two USB cables. On my Macbook Pro, I have a high power USB port so can connect the drive to the standard USB cable and it just works. If you don't have a high power USB port, you'll also need to use the other cable to provide power from a second USB port.


Star brite Car Bomb MDG Odor Control System
Star brite Car Bomb MDG Odor Control System
Price: $16.99

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Chemically neutralizes odors, June 1, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This product works by generating chlorine dioxide gas, which is a bleaching agent, and is also used in water treatment. It works with odors because it is a highly reactive gas that breaks down the odor-causing chemicals directly through oxidation. Chlorine Dioxide gas was used to disinfect buildings after the 2001 Anthrax attacks on the United States, so the gas is very effective!

This package is very simple to use. You run the enclosed sponge under a stream of water, then squeeze it out. Open the sealed foil pouch to reveal the inner white pouch, and insert one end of that into the sponge. You close the plastic packaging back up (it has holes in it) and leave it in the middle of the car. In my case, I put it on the back of an SUV with the rear seats folded down. The water dampens the white pouch very slowly, reacting with the chemical powder inside it, generating the gas slowly over at least 6 hours. I left it overnight inside the SUV -- about 10 hours total.

It was completely effective in eliminating the odors in our SUV -- a mixture of spilled milk and a strange funky smell we got after a bottle of wine broke in the trunk. We'd had the carpets shampooed at the local car detailing shop, but that didn't get the smell out. This product totally delivered: the smells are gone. When I opened up the car after leaving this in it overnight, there was a smell of chlorine. I opened up all the doors and ran the AC for ten minutes. Since then, the car just doesn't smell of anything. Result!


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