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Customer Reviews: 492
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Helpful Votes: 2727




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Nature's Bounty Your Life Multi Prenatal, 60 Softgels
Nature's Bounty Your Life Multi Prenatal, 60 Softgels
Offered by Pharmapacks
Price: $12.13
9 used & new from $8.82

3.0 out of 5 stars Under-Impressed, December 16, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I should start by saying I am not pregnant and am not planning to be so perhaps that’s the difference. But a few weeks ago, a friend had the idea that maybe multi-vitamins for pregnant women are better for you because companies will take more care for stuff that’s for pregnant women. As a result, and following her successful example (she’s not pregnant either), I thought I’d give these a try.

The first thing I noticed was the smell. I really hated it. If I didn’t get quite enough sleep it made me a little nauseous. I did notice that I felt better about it if I took these with food. The other thing I noticed right away is how big these are. They’re really quite big—maybe even an inch long and pretty wide so you definitely want to have a liquid on hand to swallow these quickly. More troubling, I didn’t really feel any effect from them. I normally take Trader Joe’s multi-vitamins and (and I especially notice this after I hadn’t taken them for a while) I feel better overall after a couple of days. I didn’t feel like that with these.

So, on the whole these left me under-impressed. But again, I am not pregnant so maybe that’s the difference.


Dragons at Crumbling Castle: And Other Tales
Dragons at Crumbling Castle: And Other Tales
by Terry Pratchett
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $12.15

4.0 out of 5 stars Fun Stories, December 15, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I am a huge fan of Terry Pratchett’s and thoroughly enjoyed these stories. They are not Ankh Morpokh but the themes are there as advertised. (And so are the footnotes—and I have to say I love Pratchett’s use of footnotes.) The stories are funny and the humor is usually aimed at both grown-ups and adults but sometimes it is perhaps more suitable for adults. Reading these, I had a hard time believing Pratchett wrote these as a teenager.

Are they of the caliber that you would expect of the grown-up Terry Pratchett? No, but then they were after all written by a teenager. And even the mature-beyond-his-years teenager that Terry seems to have been is not an adult for the simple reason that most teenagers have generally lived and seen less than most adults. But these stories are funny and I, an adult, thoroughly enjoyed them. I should imagine that a precocious child ill as well though I am not sure about the illustrations and the funky text. I suspect they might cause at least a few kids to tune out for being too “kiddy” or not “cool enough”.

That aside, these are good fun stories that both children and adults will enjoy. I recommend them to Terry Pratchett fans (obviously) and also to people who want an interesting set of stories to read with their kids.


Isabella: The Warrior Queen
Isabella: The Warrior Queen
by Kirstin Downey
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $25.82
66 used & new from $19.12

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting Story Marred by Bad Argument, December 15, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Kristin Downey wrote an interesting and well-written story of Isabella. And it’s worth reading for that though there are some glaring errors scattered throughout the book—like the assertion that Isabella’s line was wholly noble (not only did they come to power via regicide but Isabella, like Ferdinand and like over a quarter of Spaniards today was of Jewish descent) or like the claim that after Isabella’s death Ferdinand took no interest in the Indies (again false). Still, these and similar factual errors—made because the author is (in my opinion) too devoted to her argument to write accurate history—aside, this makes for interesting reading. It is the only reason I am giving it three stars. It simply is a good way to begin (I emphasize begin) learning about a very controversial ruler who, it is quite true, created or at least played a major role in creating the first truly global superpower.

Having said that, the story Downey tells is riddles with problems. To make her argument: which is (in a nutshell) Isabella is the only ruler in Ferdinand-Isabella alliance worth paying attention, all good things stemming from her reign are to her credit and all bad things are largely if not wholly Ferdinand’s fault she bends history more than a little and, just to make sure we get it, uses pop psychology to make her case. So here is Isabella terrified by the Ottomans taking over all of Christendom; here is the new mother with storms gathering around her; here is (by contrast) the master and completely calm-under-pressure strategist who drove the Muslims out of Spain. You would never know the two people are the same person existing at the same time, would you? But of course the first “explanation” is so we can excuse at least somewhat the Inquisition. (Or put it in context as Downey says—and never mind that the Inquisition was not only condemned by a Borgia for its brutality which was quite a feat but ended up costing Spain everything it gained overseas). The latter explanation is of course to make us believe that Isabella governed while Ferdinand slept around.

The problem is, history is not that neat. And both Ferdinand and Isabella (and their time) could do with a more balanced and less argumentative treatment. Still, this is a good read and if you’re interested in Isabella or the period you could do far worse. Just don’t let this be the only thing you read about her and her reign.


Stayfree Maxi Pads Super, 66 Count
Stayfree Maxi Pads Super, 66 Count
Price: $11.49
8 used & new from $11.49

4.0 out of 5 stars As Advertised, December 11, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I grew up sing Stayfree but then switched to Always. But still this is what I grew up with so when given the chance, I decided to try them. These are soft and comfortable and shaped to fit your body. And they do keep you dry as advertised. If you are used to thinner pads you will, at first, notice they’re there but will likely soon get used to them.

All in all, a good product and the price is pretty reasonable.


Taylor Glass Digital Bath Scale, Black
Taylor Glass Digital Bath Scale, Black
Price: $24.99
28 used & new from $17.93

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Recommended, December 9, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
We got this scale to replace the older scale that we kept in the bedroom. There are several versions with different designs; we have the all black one.

The scale is a nice minimalist low profile design with a decent size digital display and a little larger footprint than our old one. It’s only a couple of inches tall, but good for big feet.

The readings are consistent even on the slightly uneven hardwood floor we have. It is also fairly quick to go through its routine and calculate weight. There are no fancy functions; the whole thing is nice and simple. A single button underneath can be used to adjust the units of measurement to kilograms, pounds or stones. My husband, a British expat, appreciated the stone setting.

Another nice thing is that batteries are included with the scale—always a nice touch.


Pinnacle Studio 18 Plus
Pinnacle Studio 18 Plus
Price: $99.95
19 used & new from $95.07

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Will Suit Most People's Needs, December 5, 2014
This review is from: Pinnacle Studio 18 Plus (CD-ROM)
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Pinnacle Studio is a great piece of software that far exceeded my expectations for the price. Pinnacle Studio 18 plus comes in a simple box containing the DVD in a paper sleeve with a printed label with the serial number on. Some rudimentary instruction pamphlet and a couple of loose sheets of paper and that is it.

Installation on Windows 8.1 is straight forward. Just stick it into your DVD hard drive and let it auto boot. Follow on screen prompts and in a couple of minutes the software and a lot of extras are installed. Installation time will vary depending on the type of computer, storage and ram you have. If you’re using a notebook you will need a decent multimedia notebook to get the most from this package.

In use, the software lacks instruction but if you are familiar with basic tools, even Microsoft movie maker that used to ship with windows XP, Vista and 7 you will have no trouble picking up the basics. The graphite grey UI is nicely laid out with your media in the top left separated by labeled tabs. The final output is top right. And the whole bottom of the screen contains horizontal tracks for video, audio and mixing tracks.

An extensive sample video project loads by default to help you quickly figure out what’s what and how it works. You basically drag and drop your media into a track and it becomes populated. If you need to mix or make transitions then you stack your separate tracks, overlapping where you want to mix and make transitions and can pull effects down from the toolbar menus.

The software runs great on a 64bit system. Pinnacle Studio supports CUDA for faster processing using both the video cards graphics processor and multi core cpus to render your video. To get the most from the software it is best to have a fast HD and a fairly large amount of RAM (in my case 16 gigabytes).

On my system the video editing works very well. I can drag the timeline and watch the video being rendered in real-time including transitions. You can shuffle through it at faster than real-time without problem. So overall I am very impressed. Documentation is a bit sparse but in my case, having used several editing applications previously, this one follows a lot of industry standard conventions that make it very easy to pick up if you have used anything previously.

The Plus version is their intermediate editing suite which is more than adequate for most people as it allows editing in all the most common HD resolutions. The ultimate version does allow editing in 4k resolution which is probably beyond most people’s needs since not many consumer cameras operate at such high resolution today.


Linksys Wireless Access Point N300 Dual Band (WAP300N)
Linksys Wireless Access Point N300 Dual Band (WAP300N)
Price: $87.00
36 used & new from $70.10

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Highly Recommended, December 4, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
At home I have U-Verse internet with a bulky 2Wire HG3600 router. It is both ugly and big enough to be a VHS tape player. Unfortunately, it is also proprietory and essential hardware for our Internet service.

I’ve been looking for something to replace or extend the wireless connectivity around the house while relegating the AT&T router to a drawer out of the way as this huge and ugly piece of hardware needs to be in a prominent location to provide wifi to various mobile devices around the house.

This is where the Linksys WAP300N comes in. Its fairly compact low profile black design makes it unassuming and easy to hide somewhere prominent in the room. It has several modes it can run in:

Access Point
Wireless Media Connector
Wireless Range extender
Wireless Bridge

I settled with Access Point. It basically gives you another wifi signal to link to instead of your router.

Set-up is pretty simple. You hook up your N300 to your existing router via the Ethernet cable. Run the setup CD and follow the simple instructions to get up and running. The only information you need to provide is a name for your Wifi signal and your router’s existing password. That’s usually printed on a label underneath the router (unless you change it manually). You also get to choose whether you want a 2.5Ghz or 5Ghz channel. The 2.5Ghz is the generic standard that everyone uses and everyone shares the same 14 possible channels (usually the first 11) which can cause interference and degrade your wifi performance slightly. I went with the newer 5Ghz standard which uses separate channels. Both notebooks, Android tablet, Android and Apple phones worked perfectly.

I did have some trouble finding the router after setting it up. I wanted to upgrade the firmware but the IP in the manual did not work. The WAP300N did initially show up under network devices in Window Explorer after first install. But the following day it had disappeared while still operating properly. In the end, I had to go to my router settings to find the device and its IP. Once I had the correct IP I could just enter it into the browser address bar to access the Linksys and change setup options.

I upgraded the firmware which was still at 1.0.00 while the current version is 1.0.02 (The changelog mentions upgraded security, so it’s worth doing).

After that, the Linksys has been working perfectly as a wifi point. The old router is in a drawer and out of the way. I have more space for other things on the corner table in the study which is a real plus.

I did speed tests and compared against my AT&T router using Wifi Analyser on my phone. The Linksys signal is stronger, on its own 5Ghz channel there is no interference from neighbors and it has between 30 and 40 decibel vs a much noisier 70ish on AT&T. The 2.5Ghz is used by about 11 wifi connections close to our house, most of which also share the same channel.

Actual bandwidth through the connection remained about the same; roughly 6mb down and 2mb up. But the Linksys had a slightly higher ping of 29ms (useful for fast paced multiplayer gaming).

Conclusion:

Judging by the firmware release dates the hardware in the Linksys is 2012 tech. It’s not cutting edge, but does offer you some isolation and a cleaner signal on 5Ghz. There are better and faster 600mb dual band devices now but for people like me who don’t have a premium internet service and just want a more efficient and compact alternative to the bulky hardware they are forced to use by their provider, this device is great.

It has a simple setup and straightforward options that someone with minimal knowledge can set up quickly and easily. For me it has a nice isolated clean signal with high ping and secure wifi access that is available throughout our 7000 square foot lot, including the garage and studio out back.

I highly recommend it.


Dove Men+Care Dry Spray Antiperspirant, Clean Comfort 3.8 Oz
Dove Men+Care Dry Spray Antiperspirant, Clean Comfort 3.8 Oz
Price: $6.47
2 used & new from $6.47

4.0 out of 5 stars Pleasant Surprise, December 1, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I’m not really that fond of spray deodorants and was initially reluctant to give this one a try but I’m pleased I did. My biggest gripe about spray deodrants is the chilly wet spray that comes out. It’s not at all pleasant.

This Dove dry spray is different. When you spray there is no sudden chill and it doesn’t feel wet. It feels slightly cool—almost room temperature. It still feels slightly damp but that disappears almost instantly leaving no discomfort at all.

I found that the scent is strongest for the first hour and then starts to ease off over about 4 hours but is subtly present even after 8 hours. I didn’t really want to test the claims of 48 hours. But with this on, your co-workers will have no occasion to wrinkle their noses through the working day (unless they don’t like the scent). The scent to me seems like spicy flowers and isn’t bad at all.

The spray container fits comfortably in your hand and should fit almost any toiletry or gym bag. It has a rounded cap under which you have a similarly shaped nozzle with a soft rubber surface.

I recommend it.


Crimes against Humanity: Birth of a Concept
Crimes against Humanity: Birth of a Concept
by Norman Geras
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $71.43
14 used & new from $60.45

5.0 out of 5 stars I would have liked to have discussed his book with him, November 29, 2014
Disclaimer: Although I never met Norman Geras in real life, we corresponded for a number of years, discussing (or debating) many subjects, human rights very much included. I miss his weekly (or more frequent) e-mails in my InBox and very much wish I had written this review while he was still with us. I would have liked to have discussed his book with him.

At 149 pages, this is a short book. But, if you are interested in the subject, this is not an easy book to get through. I say get through rather than read because you may want to take a little time to consider each chapter—and occasionally each section of each chapter. It truly is that dense.

The subject is deceptively simple. What is human rights? The concept originated at Nuremberg when it was blatantly obvious that the human rights of millions have been (to put it very mildly) been horrifically violated. But “obvious” aside—what does it mean? If you live in a gang-infested neighborhood or country, are your human rights violated? What about if you are a civilian caught in the middle of a civil war? If the answer is “yes”, then is there a duty to intervene to protect your human rights? Again, if the answer is “yes” whose duty is it? Is it the duty of other states? The duty of the international community? And how does that work in practice?

Norman Geras explores these questions (and many more besides) by looking at what has been written about human rights since the birth of the concept, by interjecting his own critique of the writings he is examining and (when you, the reader, are getting lost and depressed by a kind of sense that we can’t really do anything) by reminding us just how far we’ve come in enforcing people’s human rights and thereby making this world a more.. livable place for so many more people.

It is not a book for the faint of heart and I strongly encourage you to read not just this short treatise but also at least some of the articles listed in the (quite lengthy) Bibliography but if you’re interested in human rights it is a book very much worth reading. I recommend it.


Swissmar SBB8703 3-Piece Mini Cheese Knife Block Set
Swissmar SBB8703 3-Piece Mini Cheese Knife Block Set
Price: $34.25
2 used & new from $16.53

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Love It, November 27, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I love this little set. The wedge knife, cheese knife and serving fork can certainly (and should) be used for their intended purposes at parties. Your friends will love the attractive and clever little cheese knife set. But you can also use it every day to make your life way easier.

For example, I often make a salad that requires me to crumble feta cheese and this set makes that so, so much easier. Instead of using a traditional knife, I used the wedge knife first and then the cheese knife. Both fit my hand perfectly and cut the cheese in no time flat.

Cleaning the set was dead easy. The cheese just seemed to get away from the knives—it was way, way easier to clean this set than it is the traditional knives. And putting the knives away on the magnets afterwards is not just easy but a little fun.

At just over $30, the price is right.

So whether you are planning to use this to impress at parties or for every day—or both—this is a great little set.


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