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Belkin Road Rockstar with 4 USB Ports for Front and Backseat Charging, 2 Front Seat USB Ports with Shared 2.4 Amp and 1 Backseat Dual-Port Hub with 2.4 Amp / Port
Belkin Road Rockstar with 4 USB Ports for Front and Backseat Charging, 2 Front Seat USB Ports with Shared 2.4 Amp and 1 Backseat Dual-Port Hub with 2.4 Amp / Port
Offered by DealsWire
Price: $26.45
15 used & new from $21.71

4.0 out of 5 stars A simple way to provide USB power for EVERYONE in the car, June 26, 2015
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
The Belkin Road Rockstar is a 4-port USB power center that provides two ports for the driver and front passenger, and two ports on an extended cable for the rear passengers. The front row uses typically involve cellphone, GPS unit, or carcam that draw less electrical current, so the two ports share 2.4A of current. The rear row uses may include large tablets and gaming consoles, so each rear port can provide 2.4A of current.

This is a great product because it provides USB power for up to 4 devices front and rear using just one 12V jack.

Some cars continue to supply power to the jack even when the car engine is not running (VW?), and this may drain out the car's battery. It would be better if Belkin can design a switch so that the USB power center can be turned off when desired.


Sony DSCWX500/B Digital Camera with 3-Inch LCD (Black)
Sony DSCWX500/B Digital Camera with 3-Inch LCD (Black)
Offered by Cameta Camera
Price: Click here to see our price
7 used & new from $319.89

17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent compact travel zoom camera value, June 24, 2015
I saw this camera (WX500) and its sibling (HX90V) in Japan recently. They look almost identical even though the model names are completely different. I tried both of them and bought the HX90V, because the price difference between the two is just $70, instead of $100 in the States. The two differences between them is the addition of GPS and a pop-up electronic viewfinder in the HX90V. The electronic viewfinder is useful when you are shooting in the bright outdoors where the camera's LCD screen becomes very difficult to see. And the GPS is used to tag your photos so that "where on Earth they were taken" can be recorded. I rarely use these two functions, but since each extra feature costs $35, I chose the HX90V.

Other than the two extra features aforementioned, the two cameras are identical. The WX500 does not have a hand grip, whereas the HX90V does. Nonetheless, I deem both cameras easy to hold and operate. IMO, without the hand grip, the WX500 looks better aesthetically, like Sony's RX100 series cameras.

In Japan, the WX500 is available in three colors: black, white, and red. Amazon has black and white models. The black model has black lens barrel, whereas the white model has bright chrome lens barrel.

The reason why Sony is able to cram in a 30X zoom lens in the WX500/HX90V cameras is that the image sensor size is small. It's just 1/2.3 inch (0.4348 inch) diagonal, like most digital cameras on the market today. Sony's RX100 III has a 1 inch diagonal sensor, and its zoom lens magnification range drops to a paltry 2.9X.

A 1 inch sensor has an area more than 4 times greater than a 1/2.3 inch sensor. Given a fixed camera body size, there must be a trade-off between image sensor size and zoom lens magnification range. The RX100 cameras emphasize sensor size/image quality, whereas the WX500/HX90V cameras emphasize zoom lens versatility. It should also be noted that the RX100 III costs almost $800, while the WX500 can be bought for less than $330. If you don't make large prints (>8X10), the difference in image quality is not that noticeable.

The HX90V and WX500 cameras have hinged LCD screens so that they can be flipped up 180 degrees for selfies.

The Sony WX500 camera is very responsive and takes excellent pictures (supports 4K stills) and videos (supports XAVC S Full HD 60p @50Mbps). Choose this camera and save $100 if you don't need to use the pop-up electronic viewfinder or the GPS geo-tagging feature.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 25, 2015 4:03 PM PDT


Sony DSCHX90V/B Digital Camera with 3-Inch LCD (Black)
Sony DSCHX90V/B Digital Camera with 3-Inch LCD (Black)
Price: Click here to see our price
12 used & new from $384.00

29 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent compact and light travel zoom camera, June 24, 2015
I was able to buy this camera in Japan recently and have been using it for a few weeks.

The Sony DSC-HX90V is designed to mimic the appearance and funcitonality of Sony's RX100 line of cameras, with one difference: the image sensor size is 1/2.3 inch, instead of RX100's 1 inch. A 1 inch sensor has a surface area more than 4 times greater than a 1/2.3 inch sensor. A larger sensor translates to better image quality, but the trade-off is zoom lens magnification range. If you need a compact travel zoom camera, the HX90V is more suitable, as it has a 30X zoom (24 - 720 mm), compared to RX100 III's 2.9X (24 - 70 mm)! The two cameras are nearly identical in physical dimensions. The HX90V is lighter than RX 100 III (245 g vs. 287 g), and costs less than half the RX100 III's price. If you do not need the pop-up electronic viewfinder and the GPS function of the HX90V, you can save yourself $100 by selecting the Sony WX500 instead. The HX90V has a small hand grip while the WX500 does not, but, IMO, both cameras are easy to hold.

The HX90V and WX500 cameras have single-hinged LCD screens so that they can be flipped up 180 degrees for selfies. The RX100 III has double-hinged screen, so it can tilt up for selfies AND also tilt down to enable composition while shooting in an above crowd situation.

For video, in addition to AVCHD and MP4 formats, Sony also includes the high quality XAVC S option which runs at full HD (1920X1080), 60p@50 Mbps. There is also support for 4K still image output.

I like to carry the HX90V in its $40 LCJ-HWA jacket (ever-ready) case because the camera can be protected with the least amount of bulk. The camera can be taken out of the case (actually uncovering the top half of the case and leaving it hanging, still attached to the bottom half) in literally seconds, so it is very convenient. The case probably won't shield the camera from damage in the event of a drop to the ground, but it will serve its purpose in everyday bump and scrape situations. The case also helps you to hold the camera more securely; both hand strap and neck strap are provided.

I prefer the HX90V over the RX100 III because it offers me far greater reach in its zoom lens in the nearly same compact body. When I had the RX100 III with me as a daily camera, there were plenty of occasions that I wished I had more zoom power than 2.9X. I seldom need to print pictures larger than 8X10, so the differerence in image quality is of a lessor priority than camera lens versatility.

Having a 30X compact zoom camera in such a small (but not too small) package spells the ultimate in portability and convenience. As a consequence, my much larger HX400V 50X superzoom camera spends more time sitting on the shelf. The HX90V is now the camera that I carry with me all of the time. It is very responsive and takes excellent pictures and videos.

update 7-1-15

For users annoyed by the HX90V powering off when the electronic viewfinder is pushed down into the body, there is an option in the Menu (rightmost Menu tab, #3 page, #1 item) to disable it.

The 30X power zoom lens can be smoothly operated using the zoom lever around the shutter release button. The zoom speed is set at normal by default, and you can change speed to fast if you need it (#2 Menu tab from left, #3 page, #1 item).

You can set in the Menu (#2 Menu tab from left, #3 page, #3 item) that when the electronic viewfinder is poped up, the LCD will turn off, and the active view will be the EVF. This is preferrable when shooting outdoors for an extended amount of time. It not only saves battery power, you do not need to align your viewing eye each time you look into the EVF, just so that the auto view switch will work, as it quickly becomes a hassle after a few shots.

For taking selfies, you can set in the Menu for a 2-second delayed shutter release, so that you and other parties can better pose for the shot. Additionally, you can quickly re-position your left index finger to hold the camera more securely after the shutter button is pressed to begin the count down. (#2 Menu tab from left, #3 page, #5 item)
Comment Comments (10) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 29, 2015 5:04 PM PDT


JOOLA iPong Seamless Poly Pro 40+ Table Tennis Training Balls, 80-Pack
JOOLA iPong Seamless Poly Pro 40+ Table Tennis Training Balls, 80-Pack
Price: $37.20
2 used & new from $37.20

5.0 out of 5 stars New material for a new era, June 24, 2015
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
The new Joola iPong Poly Pro 40+ table tennis ball is different because it is made from a new material (polyethylene instead of celluloid) which makes the ball harder and its bounce higher. The 40+ specification means the ball is ever so slightly larger than the 40 mm ball that superceded the 38 mm ball 15 years ago. The intent of changing to a larger ball is to make the sport more viewer-friendly, as the 38 mm ball was deemed too fast to watch, especially on TV. As to the ball material, polyethylene (poly) does not have the flammable and unstable properties of celluloid, and there seems to be more spin that can be applied to the balll on contact with the rubber surface of the racket. There is a more curved flight path created by a spinning ball.

After using the Joola ball for a few weeks, I found that the ball does bounce higher, which means there is a higher chance that a drop shot by an opponent can be saved, and that there is more opportunity to hit the ball offensively. As to spin that can be put onto the ball, there is definitely a noticeble increase that I initially missed shots that I could easily hit using the old 40 mm ball. Be ready to adjust to the new size and ball material.

The Joola ball is well-made and has lasted three weeks of daily hour-long play without any problem.


Summer Infant Baby Secure Pan/Scan/Zoom Video Baby Monitor
Summer Infant Baby Secure Pan/Scan/Zoom Video Baby Monitor
Price: $114.99
4 used & new from $114.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Summer Infant has 20+ baby monitors to choose from ..., June 9, 2015
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Summer Infant has a large line of more than 20 baby monitors with various combinations of monitor display size and resolution, number of included cameras, and camera quality. With so many to choose from, you are most likely to find one that suits your need and budget.

Summer Infant's website does not have a comparison chart of its baby monitors, which makes making a choice difficult. I was comparing Baby Secure Pan/Scan/Zoom with Ultra Sight Pan/Scan/Zoom, and it seems the only difference is that Ultra Sight has adjustable volume and screen brightness! It just amazes me that Summer Infant would make two products with very differnt names and differ in a small, almost trivial software feature. They are also priced the same at a SRP of $169.99.

The Baby Secure Pan/Scan/Zoom video monitor generally works well. I like the remotely controllable camera head so that I can see the baby as well as other parts of the room. "Pan" means rotating the camera horizontally, while "Scan" means rotating vertically (upward and downward). "Zoom" will magnify the center part of display to 2 times.

I also like the "Sound lights" feature on the monitor unit. It consists of 5 color LEDs which will light up depending of the sound level. Low noises will light up one or two lights, and if the baby is crying, 4 or all 5 lights will light up.

The Baby Secure baby monitor is a fine unit.


Huawei P8 lite - 5" Unlocked Android 4G LTE Smartphone (Octa Core 1.5GHz, Dual SIM, Gorilla Glass, 13MP Camera) (White)
Huawei P8 lite - 5" Unlocked Android 4G LTE Smartphone (Octa Core 1.5GHz, Dual SIM, Gorilla Glass, 13MP Camera) (White)
Price: $249.99
4 used & new from $245.31

6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent smartphone value, June 8, 2015
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
The Huawei P8 Lite is a mid range 5-inch 4G LTE smartphone that has many useful and interesting features. It has two SIM slots so that you can have a phone with two numbers (work/personal, domestic/international, etc.). Or you can use the second SIM slot as a memory slot by inserting a Micro SD memory card up to 32 Gb capacity.

The 5-inch screen is 720p with a pixel density of 294 ppi. The display is sharp and text is easy to read.

The non-removable battery (like all Apple iPhones but unlike most Samsung smartphones) has a capacity of 2200 mAh. I am able to use it all day without any concern for running out of power.

The rear camera has 13 megapixel resolution while the front camera has 5 megapixel resolution.

The camera has a huge number of capture modes: Beauty, Panorama, HDR, All-focus, Best photo, Watermark, Audio note, Timer, Touch to capture, Capture smiles, Object tracking, and Ultra snapshot.

Of particular interest is All-focus which simulates a light field camera's "change focus after a picture is taken" effect. This is more noticeable when there is a large distance between the foreground subject and the background. The All-focus mode must be enabled first, so that pictures taken will have this effect.

Another capture mode called Ultra snapshot allows picture-taking even when the phone is locked or when the screen is turned off; you only need to pickup the phone and press "volume down" button TWICE to take a picture (good for taking photos of fleeting moments and situations that require more discrete photography). Take extra care not to do this with too much force and motion in order to reduce possible camera shake.

For $250 unlocked/without contract, the Huawei P8 Lite is a good value with useful features.


URBAN ARMOR GEAR Microsoft Surface 3 Composite Case, Black
URBAN ARMOR GEAR Microsoft Surface 3 Composite Case, Black
Price: $64.95
7 used & new from $55.21

5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent armor case for the Microsoft Surface 3 (NOT Surface Pro 3), June 8, 2015
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
You need an armor case like the UAG if you regularly move the tablet, like between work and home, or you are out in the field often. It provides a strong and rugged outer shell to cushion shocks and bumps so that the delicate Surface 3 tablet isn't damaged.

While this armor case doesn't add much weight to the combined tablet plus case combination, it does feel bulkier. Fortunately, UAG makes access to the buttons and ports along the edges of the tablet unhampered, so you get the protection without sacrificing convenience. The built-in metallic viewing stand is strong and sturdy; it can be angled in 3 positions.

The UAG case that meets military drop-test MIL STD 810G 516.6 means it can sustain 26 drops from 4 feet height onto plywood over concrete. Although few purchasers of the UAG will actually test this capability with their own Surface 3 tablet inside the case, it is reassuring to know that if you accidentally drop it in a similar fashion, the tablet's chance of survival is good. Nonetheless, it is never a good idea to throw around the case with a tablet inside just because it is an armor case.


The WikiLeaks Files: The World According to US Empire
The WikiLeaks Files: The World According to US Empire
by WikiLeaks
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $18.47

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Wikileaks interpretation of the State Department cables, June 8, 2015
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Wikileaks is an international, not-for-profit organization founded by Australian Internet activist Julian Assange in 2006. Its main goal is to publish original source material of governments of countries that are deemed important for the public to know. The result of exposing this information range from embarrassment to irreparable damage in trust between or among countries and parties involved. The leaked information could come in the form of documents, pictures, video files, and are freely available on the wikileaks.org website.

In late November of 2010, Wikileaks began releasing the contents of the United States classified diplomatic cables that were sent to the U.S. State Department from 274 U.S. embassies, consulates, and diplomatic missions around the world. The total number of cables in this revelation (Cablegate) is 251,287 and the full content is text searchable on the Wikileaks website. The total number of documents in Wikileaks "library" is 2,325,961, which include files from Cablegate, Carter Cables, and Kissinger Cables. The sum of these cables are called Wikileaks Public Library of United States Diplomacy (Wikileaks PLUS D). Since the Carter and Kissinger cables are de-classified, only the Cablegate documents are considered "leaked".

The Wikileaks Files: The world according to US empire, even in a 600+ page book, cannot cover every cable. The 17 Wikileaks contributors, some well-known and some not, have put together a book that presents their interpretation and opinions of some of the cable contents that they consider more important than others. The book is an interesting read and gives a glimpse of the complicated international politics scene where friend and foe may not seem all that apparent, and relations could change overnight.


The Influence Machine: The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the Corporate Capture of American Life
The Influence Machine: The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the Corporate Capture of American Life
by Alyssa Katz
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $16.41
45 used & new from $11.33

5.0 out of 5 stars The lobbying influence machine that may be too big to fail, June 1, 2015
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Author Alyssa Katz chronicles the United States Chamber of Commerce (USCC) in her book "The Influence Machine" as a powerful business trade organization that is primarily backed by American big business to lobby for their interests and policies on both the domestic and increasingly the international scene.

The result of this influence during the last decade come in the form of decreased consumer protection, reduced environmental regulation and protection for unions and workers, obstructed health care legislation and financial reform, as well as affecting public opinion through highly focused ads and "astroturfing" propaganda, and lobbying strongly against government over-regulation.


Linksys AC1200 Amplify Dual Band High-Power Wi-Fi Range Extender with Intelligent Spot Finder Technology and AC Pass Thru (RE6700)
Linksys AC1200 Amplify Dual Band High-Power Wi-Fi Range Extender with Intelligent Spot Finder Technology and AC Pass Thru (RE6700)
Price: $101.99
31 used & new from $79.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Spot Finder makes setup super easy, range and speed are very good, May 31, 2015
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
The Linksys AC1200 amplify Dual Band Wi-Fi Range Extender (Up to 300 Mbps (2.4) + Up to 867 Mbps (5 GHz)) RE6700 is functionally similar to the more conventional looking Linksys RE6500. It costs about $40 more and has a space-saving design that plugs into a wall outlet. You can connect up to 32 clients with RE6700, and up to 24 clients with RE6500. While you may not have that many, these numbers mean that the RE6700 is a little more powerful.

The RE6700 has an App called Spot Finder that helps you to find the best distance away from the source Wi-Fi router, so that the extended range is the greatest. This takes the guesswork out of finding the optimal range extender placement, although you will not need to use the App again once the setup is completed.

It has a single Gigabit Ethernet port for wired clients, compared to RE6500's four ports, but since my need is just to extend my Wi-Fi range so that my phones and tablets can connect well to the Internet, the number of available Ethernet port is a non issue.

You need to pay attention to how the two antennas are angled to get the best Wi-Fi signal amplification. For single-story home, both antennas should point down; for multi-story home, one antenna should point down, while the other antenna should be adjusted to 45 degrees. The angle may need to be adjusted to between 50 and 55 degrees, depending on the location of the extender within the home and where Wi-Fi is needed.

The Wi-Fi range extender works best in a mostly wood-constructed home. If the floor or wall is made out of concrete, you should have a Wi-Fi router/access point in every room.


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