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Maek RSS Feed (Phoenix, AZ United States)
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Epson WorkForce WF-2660 All-In-One Wireless Color Printer with Scanner, Copier and Fax
Epson WorkForce WF-2660 All-In-One Wireless Color Printer with Scanner, Copier and Fax
Price: $149.99
2 used & new from $149.95

4.0 out of 5 stars Prints great, works well, but some drawbacks..., October 16, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Out of the box, I have to say...without a doubt....this is probably one of the easiest printers that I have had the pleasure to install. The Quick Setup Guide is well-written and is easy to follow.

It also features some fairly well laid out menus on the a very responsive touchscreen and the software will find the printer readily and enable it for use as a printer, scanner, and fax machine.

It does all this in pretty good stride and the prints look great. Speed is pretty good too, but I think that you'd be hard pressed to find a slow printer these days so it hardly amounts as a differentiator. Scans are also fairly decent without exhibiting much in the way of chromatic aberrations or ghosting of text outlines; it looks really crisp and the PDF capability is a nice added feature. I didn't use the fax since we no longer use a landline and most companies that I deal would rather receive a PDF anyway, but it is an additional feature and I would find it doubtful that it is incapable of producing a decent fax based on its scanning capability.

However, there are some cons:

1. One of my gripes is that NO CABLES ARE INCLUDED. For a $149 printer, it's sad that a $2-$3 USB-A to USB-B cable could not be included. While many households have gone towards a WiFi setup, some have not and having to purchase an additional cable just to hook it up to a PC is disappointing.

2. Build is a little flimsy. While the top opens and closes with ease, there is a little side-to-side play on this thing. It is definitely recommended that you grab both edges when you open and close the lid...I'm not saying that it'll break, per se, but the sidesway doesn't lend a lot to comfort.

3. Ink usage. While not as bad as the venerable Epson 777 (which is what turned me off from Epson in the first place - felt like every 3rd print job needed a suspicious amount of ink cartridge cleaning), the ink usage can still be high. I would recommend leaving the printer on to minimize unnecessary ink cartridge cleanings.

4. Paper tray. It feels hard to use compared to my HP and the slide bar for varying paper sizes didn't feel as smooth to operate at first until I realized it needed more of a firm hand to get it motivated...be prepared to get a "feel" for moving it. If you primarily printer on 8.5 x 11, this may not be a concern. However, the lack of paper size options may make this printer seem like a chore for some.

That said, the cons aren't too bad in my opinion and for the price, you're getting a pretty solid 3-feature printer.


Black and Decker CM5000B 12-Cup Mill and Brew Coffeemaker
Black and Decker CM5000B 12-Cup Mill and Brew Coffeemaker
Price: $89.99

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Makes good coffee, but there are some annoying design features, October 12, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I always love a great mill-and-brew coffeemaker and have owned a Cuisinart a long time ago.

First and foremost, I'll say that this coffeemaker does brew a good cup of coffee, especially for its price point. Also, I find the programmable feature of the coffee maker quite easy to use and adjusting the time on the clock doesn't involve some convoluted process of hitting menu or setup buttons; you merely hit "MIN" or "HR" and you're good to go on adjusting the clock and programming it is simply an extra step of hitting the program button.

Filling water on the coffeemaker is also quite easy and has a relatively low profile, so it can accommodate about 5-6 inches of clearance below your cabinet if this is a concern.

That said, there were some design features that I was NOT enamored with...but you may have no qualms about them, so please read and decide accordingly:

1. The mill/filter. At first, I was intrigued by the design decision to incorporate the mill WITH the filter. This minimizes the amount of upkeep on the coffee maker since coffee makers with a separate mill chamber often require maintenance in terms of cleaning out the chute where the coffee grounds exit because they tend to "gum up" over time. However, I found several problems with this:

a. Cleaning the filter is...challenging. The rotating blade the bottom of the filter makes it a little difficult to scrub and I was apprehensive about getting my fingers close to it...definitely recommend a slender brush to get those hard to reach areas.
b. This filter requires you to fill it with beans (or grounds) EVERY MORNING. You won't have the luxury of storing your beans and refilling occasionally. This adds an extra step to the ritual of prepping your coffee maker for coffee the next morning.

2. Grind adjustment. This one still has me scratching my head. Considering that you have to measure your beans each morning, why on earth would you incorporate a feature that adjusts the grind according to how many beans you have in there? I know that sounds like a silly argument, but my first 2 runs resulted in beans that were not ground up (but I wanted them to be) and I'm not keen on seeing if I can "regrind them" after they've been flushed with hot water. On my 3rd attempt, I just set the grind setting for something much higher to avoid having beans wasted in my brew.

3. Carafe. My biggest pet peeve with any coffee maker is having an integral lid. I like to be able to remove mine to clean it properly since integral lids tend to make cleaning a little more problematic. I'll be the first to admit it...I'm a clumsy ox and this might not bother you. However, it makes me nervous as I like to clean everything properly.

Beyond those issues (and if they don't bother you), this is a fairly decent coffeemaker...just not my cup of tea. ;)

Please let me know if you have any questions and I'll do my best to answer them.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 13, 2014 9:21 PM PDT


TP-LINK Archer C8 AC1750 Dual Band Wireless AC Gigabit Router, 2.4GHz 450Mbps+5Ghz 1350Mbps, 1 USB 2.0 Port & 1 USB 3.0 Port, IPv6, Guest Network
TP-LINK Archer C8 AC1750 Dual Band Wireless AC Gigabit Router, 2.4GHz 450Mbps+5Ghz 1350Mbps, 1 USB 2.0 Port & 1 USB 3.0 Port, IPv6, Guest Network
Price: $139.99
24 used & new from $133.54

4.0 out of 5 stars Easy to set up, lackluster in range, October 4, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I've set up several routers in the past and this has probably the easiest by far. The quick setup guide is well illustrated and easily points you in the right direction. What's even better is that the setup routine includes an auto-detect feature to ease in transitioning your internet setup for the router's subsequent use.

Speedwise, I don't have anything that utilizes the AC bandwidth, but my n- and g-enabled devices find it quite readily and transmitting data around our home network seems quite responsive without any perceptible degradation of what would normally be wired responsiveness.

The router itself is quite large and takes up a little more real estate than my older Netgear N900, but the built-in stand (not adjustable, sadly) holds it up quite well and the white aesthetic of the router makes it quite easy to make out the status of your internet connection, broadcast, etc., at a glance with fairly intuitive green LED icons.

Enabling security through the router is also fairly simple through a web interface (local-based web control) that allows you to set up both home and guest networks. Guest networks can also be configured to separately screen other devices of your network from view, which is a nice feature if you want to secure your home network a little further.

One demerit, however, is range. My N900 was able to boost the signal quite well. I was hoping that the Archer C8, with 3 external antennae, would at least equal or surpass it. My current experience is that it has not. We have an 1,800 square foot home and sometimes our bedroom is a little bit of a "dead zone." Much older routers had trouble with it, but the N900 took care of our issue. While the Archer C8 is weaker, it still provides a reliable enough signal that I'm not worried in having our signal dropped. The WiFi Analyzer app showed anywhere from a 5-10 dB loss in strength in the same placement as the N900. While that seems like a bit, it was still strong enough to work. However, with the real estate of 3 external antennae, I was hoping for better; I was disappointed.

Is that a reason not to get it? I would say no...individual routers may perform differently and I suspect--given the quality found in the router's construction and setup--that this router may find a good home in yours; I have a feeling that this router may perform better in our household away from monitors or other EM interference that may be impacting its performance differently than our venerable N900. At $150, however, you may wish to consider other options and also ask if you really need an AC router to get the most bang for your buck.


TWININGS Assorted Tea, Herbal, 20-Count (Pack of 6)
TWININGS Assorted Tea, Herbal, 20-Count (Pack of 6)
Price: $20.34
14 used & new from $16.00

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Nice variety!, October 2, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
My wife is a pretty big tea drinker to the point that she makes use of what is now a really well-seasoned cast-iron teapot from Teavana with the occasional indulgence of some of the finer teas from the same store.

Most of the time, however, she likes to unwind after a pretty hectic day with something relaxing and without caffeine to take the edge off a day. It seems like this assorted herbal tea package is pretty much the answer to what she is looking for. The assorted teas include:

- Pomegranate & Raspberry Herbal Tea
- Bedtime Blend Herbal Tea
- Orange & Cinnamon Spice Herbal Tea
- Camomile Herbal Tea

The nice thing about each is that they are all caffeine free so she has the benefit of enjoying a variety of teas for an extremely decent price. All of them are pleasant to taste without being overpowering and she loves all 4; they all taste as good as they read. She highly recommends them!


InterDesign Classico Over Cabinet Hair Care Station, Chrome
InterDesign Classico Over Cabinet Hair Care Station, Chrome
Price: $22.99
2 used & new from $22.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Check your cabinet door thickness, September 25, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
If your cabinet door is more than 1/2" thick, you may wish to reconsider this item. I wished that the hangers themselves were adjustable themselves, but unfortunately they are not. Our cabinet door is definitely thicker than most, so it's a little unfair to attribute the product's fault to our unusual situation. It will hold a hair dryer quiet securely and away from the door if you have something that will accommodate its needs in the hanger department, however.

That said, we did find an alternative use for this item. It turns out that functions fairly well as a shower hanger, provided that you can get a couple of suction cups to shield the glass from the metal (which we had - 2 3M suction cups did the trick). It actually holds 3 smaller shampoo items at the base if you lean them out and also can hold 3 more in the areas intended for other hair care products.

If your cabinet door is less than 1/2" thick, you'll be well-served. If not, you can definitely find other uses for this item as we have.


ASUS 17.3-Inch Quad Core Laptop, 1TB Hard Drive and 8GB RAM
ASUS 17.3-Inch Quad Core Laptop, 1TB Hard Drive and 8GB RAM
Offered by PCNation
Price: $524.95
45 used & new from $413.83

4.0 out of 5 stars Decent for menial tasks...don't expect more, September 23, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Prior to reviewing the laptop, I went through all the other reviews given it relatively low review rating. One of the most consistent themes that struck me right away was the issue with touchpad. For many people, it didn't work.

Let's get one thing out of the gate...my touchpad worked. Hopefully Asus has learned from many of the reviews where it didn't. In my case, however, it worked.

Set up was relatively straightforward through Windows 8 and it took about 15 minutes to run through the whole process of inputting information and then prepping the computer for first use. I won't discuss the merits of Windows 8.1, but rather the laptop itself (I loathe Windows 8 - but that's not the fault of the laptop itself).

This is not a high-powered laptop by any means. It's great for browsing, sending e-mails, using Skype, using Office, and fairly standard tasks. The processor (Intel Quad-Core Baytrail-M N2930 1.83 GHz (turbo up to 2.16 GHz), with 8 GB of RAM) is enough to handle these menial tasks. Do not expect, however, to play games on this platform. For kicks and giggles, I tried installing Skyrim since it does a fairly good job of detecting your computer hardware and making graphic selections based off of it. Skyrim set everything to "low"...and even then, it was a choppy-filled experience in the opening sequence where very little action was taking place. I wasn't expecting this laptop to perform well in that department, and that pretty much confirmed it. This laptop is built for minimal office productivity; for video-intensive applications like gaming or video editing, look elsewhere.

Although the touchpad worked well, the spacebar (and they keyboard in general) felt a little "soft" to me. I type at about 80-90 wpm so I tend to utilize "feathery" strokes in my typing...and this keyboard definitely needs a little more "push" for the keys to respond. They work, but the keys are softer than others that I have used in the past. It could be better.

Per the features, this isn't a touchscreen (which Windows 8 seems to thrive on), but with 2-finger gestures on the touch pad, you can swipe the icon screens to your left/right, etc., to your heart's content. That worked pretty well.

One other curious design decision...lack of a Blu-Ray drive. One might argue that it's more expensive, but these days one can get something that will burn DVDs and read Blu-rays for only about $20 more. It would have been a little more lucrative to have something that could arguably be used to watch movies in a hotel or on a road trip for a laptop like this, but it's only DVD-friendly. Granted, the resolution is 1600 x 900, but at 17", the image was pretty crisp and clear. The high gloss might somewhat detract from the screen given how reflective it is. Some like it, some don't, but be aware that this screen is about as glossy as it gets.

One big minus for me is the lack of any restoration disc. It's not included. When I opened the box, I was greeted with very sparse contents: laptop, power cord, and a very short "turn it on and follow the instructions guide" that had a schematic of which port was which. That's it. It also comes pre-installed with software that you're not likely going to use and it also has McAfee Virus protection on it (not a personal favorite of mine as I prefer Norton).

Apart from that, it's a fairly solid laptop...just don't expect much from it.


George Foreman GRP360R 360 Grill
George Foreman GRP360R 360 Grill
Price: $42.84
2 used & new from $42.84

3.0 out of 5 stars Great improvements...but still room for improvement, September 23, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
My wife and I used to own a George Foreman grill. It was hard to clean and, worse still, it was too small to practically cook 2 burgers at once.

The GRP360R model has made great strides in both departments. It's nearly 8" wide and can cook 2 fairly large hamburger patties at the same time, or a steak, or about 5 sausages at once. As for cleaning? No longer a huge concern. Both top and bottom plates are easy to detach with metal clips on the side (once it cools down!!) and they are both dishwasher safe. The drip tray that collects all the greasy, fatty run off is similarly dishwasher safe as well (but top rack only).

However, there are some curious minuses:

1. The feet. Oh, the feet. The feet for this unit are made of plastic and man, this sucker glides on a formica countertop with as much ease as a hockey puck on ice. I wish that I was joking, but it really feels like this thing was made for slot car racing...why no one in the design department thought of putting rubber feet on this thing to stop something that is extremely hot and potentially splattering hot fatty deposits if it careened off a countertop if beyond me.
2. The plug. Ok, I'm not expecting a 6' long cord, but this sucker has got to be only 8", if that. With our counter space already at a premium, an extra 6" would have gone a long way to make this unit a little more practical to place on a countertop in some households.

While the unit has great features, a longer cord for better placement and better non-slip features for safety would have knocked this one out of the park. You can always find a solution to the slip issue (like a slip-resistance placemat, perhaps), but you shouldn't have to pay extra for something that should come with the unit, as-is.


Benson Mills Prego Waffleweave Fabric Tablecloth, White, 60-Inch-by-84-Inch
Benson Mills Prego Waffleweave Fabric Tablecloth, White, 60-Inch-by-84-Inch
Price: $21.99
2 used & new from $16.23

4.0 out of 5 stars Great tablecloth for a nicer dinner party with friends, September 18, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This is a sharp looking table-top cover. The weave fabric is very well-constructed and has some heft to it; no one will mistake this tablecloth for an $8.99 purchase at Target.

That said, I find it funny that it's marketed as an "Italian weave" with "Prego" in the title when one glance one the tablecloth reveals that it's made in China. :)

Despite that, it does look sharp for those nights where you want to host a fancier dinner party and the best part is that it's machine-washable (60% cotton, 40% polyester). There are better tablecloths out there to be sure, but the price is definitely right for this one.


Dick Van Patten's Natural Balance Immunity Support Duck Jerky Treat for Dogs
Dick Van Patten's Natural Balance Immunity Support Duck Jerky Treat for Dogs
Price: $11.89
8 used & new from $6.90

5.0 out of 5 stars Our dog LOVES them..., September 14, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Our dog, Skippy, is a Jack Russel/West Highland terrier mix which makes him extremely intelligent and energetic. In the treats department, however, he is decidedly choosy. He'll eat the occasional Milk-Bone, but he won't eat it at the time he gets one. We have purchased duck treats for him at Costco which he's normally receptive to, but again, he'll take his sweet time eating one.

These treats, however, are gone in 5 seconds flat. Packed with nutrients and being touted as natural, this is one of the very few treats that I've seen him get excited over. Top marks for getting a pick dog to eat something and look forward to it! That, and I feel good about the nutrients contained within each snack.


AmazonBasics 4.0 Amp Dual USB Car Charger for Apple and Android Devices (High Output)
AmazonBasics 4.0 Amp Dual USB Car Charger for Apple and Android Devices (High Output)
Price: $9.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Oh, finally!, September 12, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
The problem that I've had with dual-chargers in the past is that although it's handy to have a 2.0 amp charger on top, the use of the 1.0 amp charger is limited to charging phones at a slower rate...and some devices won't charge at all (like the Playstation Vita which requires 1.5 amps).

The fight for the 2.0 amp charger in our car is finally over, however! With dual 2.0 amp charging available, it's nice to have the full range of options available without having to fiddle around and try to remember which USB port is for which amperage. Works great and it's nice to finally have both charging rates available and at a really good price ($9.99!!!!).


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