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Northeaster's Profile

Customer Reviews: 24
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Helpful Votes: 118

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Northeaster RSS Feed (Boston, MA)

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Quickmill Anita Espresso Machine
Quickmill Anita Espresso Machine
Offered by Batch Coffee
Price: $1,558.01
3 used & new from $1,558.01

5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding espresso, June 19, 2016
I bought one of the earliest Anita machines more than 10 years ago and found it to be a remarkable improvement over the Coffee Gaggia model it replaced. In our home, it has undergone cycles of greater and lesser use from daily (two or three triple espresso's) to a few times a week.

Functionally, its most important attribute is the E61 grouphead that provides the thermal stability that's required to reproducibly make good espresso. It’s a 50 year old design that Faema clearly got right the first time, consisting of roughly five pounds of chrome plated brass (which takes 20-30 minutes to head up from a cold start) that gets and stays quite hot in use.

Practically, it’s a pretty large machine that claims a goodly amount of counter space, so carefully consider that before going this direction instead of, say, a Rancilio Silvia. Also, it weighs roughly 45 lb. That means if you need to place it under a kitchen cabinet, you’ll need to find a way of shuffling it around on the countertop to pour in water every few days. Fortunately, stick-on Teflon “feet” from the Home Depot are perfect in allowing it to slide back and forth without “walking” during use.

Reliability has been very good but not perfect. The only serious issue has been the copper boiler tank that developed a pinhole leak after about 8 years of usage. Given the amount of information about this machine at web sites like, I was able to replace it myself but I wouldn't recommend that to the less mechanically inclined among us.

Aesthetically, I like the machine a great deal. It's pretty much all stainless steel except for the copper boiler inside and has aged very gracefully: it looks pretty much exactly the same after 10+ years of use.

The bottom line, though, is the espresso, which is reproducibly great as long as you use a grinder of equal quality (I personally wouldn’t go a lot lower than a Rancilio Rocky but have not tried newer, lower priced models that might be as good) and beans that match. It’s still a great source of pleasure on a weekend morning to have a cup of espresso that equals or bests what I’ve had in any coffee bar without having to leave home for it.

Sena 826001 Wallet Slim Leather Case for iPhone 5 & 5s - 1 Pack - Retail Packaging - Black
Sena 826001 Wallet Slim Leather Case for iPhone 5 & 5s - 1 Pack - Retail Packaging - Black
Offered by outfitYOURS
Price: $44.95
2 used & new from $44.95

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not so nice as previous versions, June 11, 2013
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I have added to my previous review below after six months of using this case; my original review is below the dotted line.

As suspected from the first, this case is simply not as good as previous Sema versions. Unfortunately, the new leather is so much thinner that even half a year of wear in my hands exposes the rather cheap looking white plastic beneath.

There are simply better cases that add similarly little bulk to the phone for about the same price: I replaced this one with a Knomo leather folio which seems much more substantial but similarly convenient. Unless there is new evidence that Sema is making better cases again, this will be my last from them.

A major reason I purchased this case was previous experience with a very similar version (for the iPhone 3gs). While I find this one
somewhat less satisfactory than the earlier model, I am reasonably pleased.

Positives: The major draws are the simple form and apparent quality of (black) leather and stitching, which look similar to the earlier model. That one lasted for 4 years, with an appearance not so different from new after occasional Meltonian shoe cream treatments to keep the leather soft and pliable. The new phone, for me, fits perfectly. I would not anticipate using this case with more than one credit card/driver's license, as it is more or less form fitting.

Neutral to mild negatives: First, the photo and description of the item provided here do not completely correspond to what I received. The version I got lacks any lining and is nicely finished leather, similar to the outside of the case. Be aware that, if you keep it in your pocket, dust gets between the back of the phone and the inside of the case: if not removed and cleaned daily, you will find scratches fairly quickly unless the phone is also protected with a thin film (like those sold by Bodyguardz).

Second, the long sides of the phone are not completely enclosed as in the photo, but rather there is coverage only of the side of the phone, with the junction of the glass screen and the aluminum case exposed (different from my previous version). That gives less protection than plastic bumper cases, so if you need more go elsewhere.

Summary: I am between 4 and 3 stars for this case; it would to me definitely be a 4 with better coverage of the sides and some liner material that reduced possible scratches. To me, its major attractions are fairly elegant appearance and construction from quality leather, which suggests good durability and allows you to hold the phone more securely than with simple body films. To most, I think it wouldn't be out of place at a board meeting or a brew pub. Overall, I'd buy again.

Archive of World War Two - Victory at Sea - Parts 1 to 4
Archive of World War Two - Victory at Sea - Parts 1 to 4
Price: $7.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Informative in several ways, June 8, 2013
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
The first four episodes of Victory at Sea are now a part of history as much as a summary of it. To me, they're very interesting to watch for both how they present the history of WW2 and (somewhat less) as a source of real information.

Start with historical accuracy. A huge amount of information is compressed into a what's basically a short feature length movie, so a lot of detail ends up somewhat distorted. Still, the outline is generally consistent what has come down over decades.

For example, the description of the Battle of Midway was probably inspiring in 1952, but falls short of reality as shown by documents that have been unearthed in following years. The narrator doesn't say (for security reasons, not released then?) the US cryptography people read a noticeable fraction of the Japanese battle plan and deeply affected Nimitz's fielding a force in the first place. That misses a huge point about why the whole thing happened the way it did. But, yes, the battle marked a turning point in who was on offense and who on defense in the Pacific.

Though the detail at times falls short, the original footage of figures like Roosevelt, the bombing of London and Pearl Harbor, and submarines in the Atlantic is very moving. (It's certainly a lot more compelling than the spliced-in Godzilla-like special effects that separate glimpses of the real goods.)

And, as others have noted, the Rodgers score is an outstanding example of how a movie sound track can add to the feel of the whole. If only that happened more often today...

ASUS (USB-N10) wireless-N USB Adapter (150Mbps Transmit / 150Mbps Receive) with fast USB2.0 Interface, software WPS Button Support
ASUS (USB-N10) wireless-N USB Adapter (150Mbps Transmit / 150Mbps Receive) with fast USB2.0 Interface, software WPS Button Support

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Fail for my OS/hardware, March 29, 2013
I am writing to summarize how this adapter worked as a replacement for the internal wireless card for my Macintosh laptop. I would pass on it for the reasons detailed below, though it might be fine for other combinations of software and hardware.

More specifically, my old 1st generation Intel MacBook Pro runs Snow Leopard. After its internal wireless card failed several months ago, I bought a new USB-N10 from a reputable national vendor. It failed to function and I exchanged it for a new unit. After several attempts to install the included driver software, the adapter finally worked perfectly well for email and web browsing for two months. It then stopped functioning for unclear reasons.

I went to lengths most people would not to fix it, culminating in a Snow Leopard reinstall. Despite that, every possible current version of driver software that could be downloaded from Asus failed to run. I then went to the Realtek (manufacturer of the chip inside, apparently an RTL 8188SU) site and tried three versions of their software, too. Same result: without a working driver, the hardware won't work.

I then bought a Panda adapter of similar specifications (uses a Ralink chip, instead) from Amazon and downloaded appropriate software from the Panda web site. It worked the first time with no drama and I'm submitting this review with it.

Alden 4507P Micro Grabit Broken Bolt Extractor 4 Piece Kit
Alden 4507P Micro Grabit Broken Bolt Extractor 4 Piece Kit
Offered by a-tools [theGrabitStore]
Price: $22.29
18 used & new from $22.29

3.0 out of 5 stars Gave its life to remove one screw, January 15, 2013
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I fall into the camp whose experience was mixed with this item, which was purchased specifically to remove a stripped 4 mm steel screw holding one of the burrs of an espresso grinder into its brass carrier.

Using a 3/8" electric drill at low speed with the #2 bit included in the set, I found creating a good pilot hole very easy. Reversing to use the "easy out" end of the bit, I was able to loosen the drilled screw with absolutely no difficulty. However, the extractor bit snapped immediately (less than a second) after it started to very slowly move. I was then able to remove the stripped screw completely, using a pair of needle nose pliers to grab the somewhat irregular top of the extractor shaft.

I suspect the problem I (and most people whose Grabit's broke) had was minor runout in the drill chuck I used or not being perfectly square on top of the fastener being removed. All of what I did fell within the bounds of the included instructions, so I don't believe I was abusing the tool. However, these are small bits that are hardened to the point of some brittleness, so the slightest lateral pressure will tend to snap them. Also, removing uncorroded steel from brass is probably not the greatest challenge a user will face, so I'm unable to say what this tool would do in a more difficult situation.

On balance, I would probably buy again. But only after balancing the worth of what I was saving with the cost of the bit (a replacement #2 is about $9.50 here on amazon) and then taking great care to stop immediately after you break loose the offending fastener.

3M 08693 Auto Glass Urethane Windshield Adhesive Cartridge - 10.5 fl. oz.
3M 08693 Auto Glass Urethane Windshield Adhesive Cartridge - 10.5 fl. oz.
Price: $15.78
17 used & new from $10.79

11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars good product, bad samples, August 19, 2012
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I am writing to express my irritation at the condition of the product I have received from amazon twice within the last week.

The item, 3M 08693 urethane windshield adhesive, is one I have used before. I have found it, when purchased locally, to be easy to apply and durable: it's simply excellent for its intended purpose.

However, the two tubes (separate orders) I have recently received arrived already hardened and unusable. I am not waiting around for a third and will be obtaining it elsewhere.

A-LINE-IT Basic kit
A-LINE-IT Basic kit
Offered by Peachtree Woodworking Supply Inc
Price: $79.95
3 used & new from $70.99

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Simple, but effective, March 9, 2012
This review is from: A-LINE-IT Basic kit (Misc.)
I have owned my basic A-Line-It for approximately 1 year, purchasing only after the somewhat eccentric maker of a very nice competing device (the TS-aligner jr.) lapsed into silence, though his web site remains up at this writing. You can actually find a considered, critical review of this item there, as well.

I am generally well satisfied by the basic A-Line-It, which I have used to test blade to miter slot alignment, miter slot to rip fence alignment, and blade face runout on my table saw. I would add a couple of neutral observations, too.

Among the positives is build quality. This is a nicely machined, drilled, and anodized pair of aluminum bars which can be adjusted to ride with very little/no play in a standard miter slot and basically serve as a simple stick to hold the included dial indicator. Reproducibility of the measurements I have made using it is, by woodworking standards, quite good. Using my own dial indicator (a Fowler that reads in 0.0005" increments), I find that a series of measurements at 12 separate points over the 360 degree rotation of my blade were reproducible over three repeats to +/- 0.0005". The results were similarly consistent when measuring miter slot to fence or miter slot to blade parallelism. At this point, it's fairly easy for me to check the fence every couple of weeks and keep it to within 0.003" of parallel, front to back.

Functions are, less fortunately, a little limited. For example, to get arbor runout, I have to angle the dial indicator rather than use it perfectly perpendicular to the shaft. To me, that's less than optimal for what is basically an $65 stick holding a $15 measuring device.

All in all, the A-Line-It is a very useful jig. You might well be able to make a wooden holder that does about as much about as accurately, but the premium for convenience and reproducibility will probably strike quite a number of people as worth it.

Moshi PalmGuard and Trackpad Protector for 13" Unibody MacBook Pro - 99MO012205 (Not for 13" Retina MacBook Pro)
Moshi PalmGuard and Trackpad Protector for 13" Unibody MacBook Pro - 99MO012205 (Not for 13" Retina MacBook Pro)
3 used & new from $19.89

5.0 out of 5 stars Very positive initial impression, February 24, 2012
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I am writing after only a few days using this item because of a strongly favorable impression; obviously, I'm not commenting in an informed way about durability, which others have done already.

I was initially drawn to this product by positive reviews and my own experience in buying computers new, then keeping them a long time. In 6 years of using my first generation MacBook Pro several hours a day, I fairly quickly wore through the layer of light aluminum colored anodization to the darker aluminum alloy on the wrist support surface: eventually, the case was ugly but still perfectly functional. Even with that much use, though, the trackpad was like new. Therefore, to me it made sense to cover the wrist support surface only on my new MBP, so I will not be commenting on the trackpad cover.

I considered both BodyGuardz clear film (which I have previously used on iPhones and generally like well) and this Moshi product. More or less arbitrarily, I picked the Moshi cover and am glad I did for the following reasons:

1) ease of application: for me, it was trivially easy to put down perfectly. Following the instructions to push it into place gently, then with greater pressure, I installed it quite precisely (much less than a millimeter off at all the edges) the first time. Just start by sticking it down in the middle and working out to either edge. By contrast, BodyGuardz film requires a good deal more fussing to get down perfectly. Also, the liquid necessary to stick it down has the potential to short out a trackpad, though this seems not to be a frequent problem.

2) appearance: as several other reviewers noted, the Moshi product is a very good match for the anodized aluminum surface of an MBP and has none of the plastic shine of BodyGuardz film. I actually prefer the Moshi's matte, slightly grainy feeling surface which is very close in texture to the rest of the computer. Given the precision with which this protector has been cut, my MBP looks very, very close to stock out-of the-box.

Overall, this seems like a very good product that is a good buy and likely to do its intended job for a long time. My only qualifiers are unknowns: I can't say how long it will last or how difficult it would be to remove, so please look to other reviews for that info.

The Shadow Dragons (Chronicles of the Imaginarium Geographica, The Book 4)
The Shadow Dragons (Chronicles of the Imaginarium Geographica, The Book 4)

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars eBook carelessness detracts from fine writing, January 29, 2012
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Owen's outstanding writing is deeply marred by more careless eBook editing: what follows includes separate comments on the text itself, then on the eBook edition of 1/2012.

This 4th book chronicling the caretakers of the Imaginarium Geographica is, to me, part of a preeminent series for adolescent (and beyond) readers: I find these stories even more compelling than Rowling's "Harry Potter" volumes. Both create rich imaginary worlds with complex plots, anchored by familiar characters which become more nuanced with time. In addition, the "Dragon" books also draw in other characters and events from throughout history. By doing this, they provide a starting point for young readers to explore other diverse works. Certainly, my 12 year old son has been rapt with attention to them and has been stimulated to pursue a variety of new subjects as a consequence. To me, "The Shadow Dragons" is on the same order of accomplishment as the previous three books.

However, direct comparison of the paperback and Kindle publications astonished me. When our paperback version met an untimely demise in a snowbank, I downloaded the Kindle eBook. I was amazed to find that the download contains no table of contents, making its reading entirely reliant on "location numbers," percentage of text, or bookmarks rather than being informed by the author's intended chapter outline. I don't think I am wrong in assuming this is an error of omission rather than intent, since the 3 earlier hard copy books in the series were published with contents. As was the subsequent volume ("The Dragon's Apprentice") in eBook form.

I find it impossible to believe that a fastidious writer would be pleased by the publication of a hardbound book completely missing a major section (and, yes, I do consider a table of contents a major part of most books) due to either careless or bad editing. If my reasoning is correct, I hope it comes to the attention of the publisher and author as quickly as possible.

Powerbuilt 640905 Heavy Duty 4-Ton Bottle Jack
Powerbuilt 640905 Heavy Duty 4-Ton Bottle Jack
Price: $19.89
9 used & new from $19.31

9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars adequate, December 30, 2011
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This is a generic Chinese-made bottle jack, which I have so far used to lift the corner of a modest size porch during the course of repairs.

The good: action is fairly smooth, lifts several hundred pounds without complication. No leak of pump oil on first uses and no air purge needed.

The not so good: breathtakingly bad finish gives little confidence in long term prospects for this jack. Most likely, a load of these sat in a wet warehouse before painting. The incredibly grainy base and small to moderate amount of rust that fell out of the pump handle yolk when I inverted the jack don't do anything to dispel this idea. Also, the pressure relief valve was solidly painted shut in position, but could be broken loose with a little effort and now moves fairly easily. The piston shaft, at least, looks reasonably well polished.

Bottom line: you get what you pay for.

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