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Customer Reviews: 85
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Phil Stracchino "technical thug" RSS Feed (Gilford, NH, USA)
(REAL NAME)   

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Duranimals DuraScoop Cat Litter Scoop (colors may vary)
Duranimals DuraScoop Cat Litter Scoop (colors may vary)
Offered by Oliver's Pet Care
Price: $12.99
24 used & new from $9.14

5.0 out of 5 stars The last litter scoop you'll ever need, March 3, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This is the second of these I've bought, after managing to break the first one stupidly. It lasted years before I managed to break it, and I had no hesitation in buying a second one when I stumbled across it again while looking for a replacement. One of these is worth a dozen of the cheap plastic garbage your local pet store or supermarket sells. It gets the job done quickly, easily, and without unnecessary frustration.


I-Rocks Black 104 Key USB Wired Backlit Gaming Keyboard - Orange LED (KR-6820E-BK)
I-Rocks Black 104 Key USB Wired Backlit Gaming Keyboard - Orange LED (KR-6820E-BK)
Price: $25.00
33 used & new from $25.00

5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent compact backlit keyboard, March 3, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This is a perfect keyboard for a videogame console or a server rack. It's compact yet has full-sized keys in a well-thought-out layout, has clear and sufficient but not over-bright key backlighting, and seems well made. The through-backlit keys will never wear blank. Despite its name, this is NOT the keyboard for the power gamer in the house; but as a keyboard to leave plugged into the PlayStation or XBox, it's ideal.


JETBeam RRT26 Raptor Cree XM-L2 LED Flashlight 980 Lumens - Red Green Blue
JETBeam RRT26 Raptor Cree XM-L2 LED Flashlight 980 Lumens - Red Green Blue
Offered by Performance Outdoor Gear
Price: $98.00
3 used & new from $98.00

5.0 out of 5 stars 980 lumens of brilliant white light in your pocket, March 3, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This light is bright when you want it bright, dim when you want it dim, and tells you how much charge is left in your battery. The red setting for the three auxiliary LEDs makes a great low-light pathfinder that won't ruin your night vision, and when you need it, there is a startlingly bright hidden multicolor strobe mode. I bought this one to replace an RRT21 that developed a problem, and I'm very pleased with it. The RRT-21 came in a nicer box, while the RRT-26 ships in a blister pack; but how often are you really going to use the box? And the RRT-26's blister pack includes a well-made ballistic nylon belt holster, which more than compensates for the loss of the fancy box. (The snap on the belt loop is a little undersized, and came off mine on first use, but was easily replaced.)


PS3 Quad Dock
PS3 Quad Dock
Price: $19.99
46 used & new from $14.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Controller storage and charging all in one, March 3, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: PS3 Quad Dock (Video Game)
It's a charger that also stores your controller! No, wait, it's a controller storage dock that also charges them! It's both! Works like a dream, although it sometimes takes a little bit of fiddling getting the controllers lined up with the mini-USB charging connectors. Four LED indicators give clear visual indication at a glance of which controllers are fully charged and which are still charging. It seems solidly made; it looks big and blocky at first, until you see how compactly it holds four controllers and realize that for the job it's doing, it doesn't take up much space at all. Well worth the money.


HR Wireless Motorola Droid 3 XT862 Anti Glare Screen Protector - Retail Packaging
HR Wireless Motorola Droid 3 XT862 Anti Glare Screen Protector - Retail Packaging

1.0 out of 5 stars A mediocre screen protector for a mediocre smartphone, March 3, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This is a thin, poorly made, poorly fitting screen protector with barely coherent installation instructions, that does not even fit the Droid 3 screen properly. It is cut about a millimeter too small, and the two slots are imperfectly aligned. I suspect it is actually for a Milestone 3. You will have difficulty getting it fitted without having to realign it several times, and each realignment runs the risk of getting dust under it. Yes, the instructions say install in a dust-free environment ... but there is no such thing in a typical home or office. Very few people have access to an actually-dust-free cleanroom.

Unfortunately, choice is limited when you're looking for a screen protector for a smartphone so unsuccessful that it was orphaned within six months of going on the market.


TRENDnet 8-Port USB/PS2 Rack Mount KVM Switch, TK-803R
TRENDnet 8-Port USB/PS2 Rack Mount KVM Switch, TK-803R
Price: Click here to see our price
70 used & new from $106.01

4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent KVM at a respectable price, but be aware no cables are included, December 11, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
The only real complaint I have about this KVM is that it doesn't include any cables out-of-the-box. To be fair, for just over $100 for an eight-port rackmount KVM that accepts both PS2 and USB keyboard and mouse, it's really not a show-stopper deal that it doesn't include cables; I do wish the listing was a bit more clear on that point, though, so that I didn't have to wait until it arrived and I unpacked it to realize that I needed to order cables separately. The cables are only about $8 each, which isn't going to break anyone's bank (though it does add up to almost $64 for a full set of eight cables), but it meant I was delayed an unnecessary extra several days installing it.

Once installed, it works extremely well. The required power adapter is included, and has a generous length cable, but the adapter plugs directly into an outlet, so you may have to juggle connections around to make room for it.

I'd have given this five stars if it included at least two cables in the box along with the KVM.


Waking Up
Waking Up
Price: $5.00
75 used & new from $0.30

4.0 out of 5 stars Second release, a lot better than their first, December 11, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Waking Up (Audio CD)
This is One Republic's second release, and it's a lot better than the first. They're finding their way. Dreaming Out Loud only had about two or three songs on it I liked at all; most of the rest were just irritating. Waking Up has only about two or three songs on it I dislike, most of the rest being at least OK, and several songs are actually pretty good.

This trend of improvement continues with their third release, Native.


Swivel Straight Tree Stand 20In
Swivel Straight Tree Stand 20In
Offered by Gatzies
Price: $71.42
6 used & new from $33.00

4.0 out of 5 stars A well thought out design that could stand (ha!) to hold a little more water, December 11, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Four stars so far, on the basis of general design and construction, with the caveat that it's brand new and I have not yet actually used it. I'll expand this review later when I have more experience with it and have actually put a tree into it.

One important thing you need to know: Step 3 in the setup instructions says, "Push down on the foot pedal button at the side of the tree stand to pull out the foot pedal." You will go crazy looking for this "foot pedal button". THERE IS NO BUTTON. Just grab hold of the pedal and pull it out until it stops at the little limit catch. Don't expect the pedal to come all the way out; it won't. And don't try to pull it all the way out past that catch, even though it looks as though it should come out about a half inch further; if you do, it'll just fall out altogether.

Also remember to push the pedal back in once you have your tree set as you want it; pushing the pedal back in is what locks it in place.

Initial impressions:
The water capacity could stand to be a little more.
The four rubber feet shipped with the stand fit fairly loosely into molded holes in the base. The base area is quite large, and it should be pretty stable. But if your tree is heavy enough that stability is an issue, you could easily pop the rubber feet back out and use those holes to screw the base to something like a 4'x4' sheet of plywood or a 3' circular wooden tabletop from your local home improvement store. (You'd want to put a waterproof finish on your chosen base before mounting the stand on it, of course.)


Bowl of Heaven
Bowl of Heaven
by Gregory Benford
Edition: Paperback
19 used & new from $7.90

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Meh. Old themes rewarmed and mixed together., December 11, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Bowl of Heaven (Paperback)
The Wall Street Journal review-bite on the cover says, "The biggest sci-fi saga since — well, since ever." Which pretty much just shows that the Wall Street Journal barely knows epic SF from a hole in the ground.

The fact is, Bowl of Heaven is mostly a rewarmed mish-mash of themes and ideas from Ringworld, Rendezvous with Rama, and Pohl & Williamson's Cuckoo saga, that really doesn't break any new ground. It's not a bad read ... but the honest truth is that if you've read *ANY* of the books it copies its ideas from, it's dull and derivative, and breaks no new ground. And frankly, "The biggest sci-fi saga since — well, since ever"...? Um, I can think of at least a dozen "sci-fi sagas" off the top of my head that DWARF Bowl of Heaven in scale. Just for starters, Iain M. Banks' Culture series, Glen Cook's Starfishers trilogy, Jack L. Chalker's Well of Souls series, Harlan Thomas' Sixth Sun series, and almost anything Steven Baxter has ever written. OK, so Bowl of Heaven is set on *one of* the larger space-travelling artifacts in SF. But really, that's its only claim to grand scale, and it really doesn't make effective or even particularly believable use of it. The vaunted "shipstar" is a mere mcguffin. A *grand* mcguffin, certainly, but still a mcguffin, not used (yet, at least) to anywhere near its full potential.

If you haven't read any of the books or authors I've mentioned above, don't be afraid to read Bowl of Heaven. But if you have, then prepare to be disappointed.


Dreaming Out Loud
Dreaming Out Loud
Price: $4.99
100 used & new from $0.01

3.0 out of 5 stars A rough start, but One Republic improved later, December 11, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Dreaming Out Loud (Audio CD)
It's not that Dreaming Out Loud is ... bad. It's just unpolished. It's early work that hasn't found its direction yet. It's very much mainstream pop, without too much to particularly make it stand out. But I'm giving it three stars anyway, because One Republic foudn their direction later, and it gets better from here.


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