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McGroarty's Profile

Customer Reviews: 151
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5.0 out of 5 stars Use caution! The originals are good, but many of these are knockoffs., October 7, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
The real replacement parts work every bit as well as the originals. I can tell the difference on my carpet when I put a fresh set of rollers in. For the first few cleanings after a fresh set, the bin is extra full with all the dirt and cat hair that the previous set had begun to miss.

Use caution however: A great many sellers are offering knockoff parts. Signs to watch for: Rollers that aren't cleanly cut on both sides, rollers made of thin plastic that's almost translucent in parts, side brushes with no screws provided, side brushes with no stitching through the rubber arms, and air filters with noticeable different screen mesh spacing. If you notice any of these signs, you should return the set. Using non-OEM parts will void your warranty.

If you elect to go the non-OEM route and you're okay with knockoffs, make sure you're not paying more than $12 for a complete set. Also keep a close eye on the parts after every cleaning. The extractors may begin to shred and peel off at the edges and can hurt your motor, and a failed filter may mean you need to replace your bin if the fan is allowed to fill with debris.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 22, 2015 4:02 AM PDT

Logitech Wireless Touch Keyboard K400 with Built-In Multi-Touch Touchpad, Black
Logitech Wireless Touch Keyboard K400 with Built-In Multi-Touch Touchpad, Black
Offered by Jen & Joe's Tech Business
Price: $38.28
65 used & new from $20.35

3.0 out of 5 stars Worst keyboard since the PC Jr., September 29, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I'm perplexed by all the four and five star reviews on this.

The spacebar on mine doesn't register keypresses in the middle; it's necessary to press firmly on the left or right edge or to give a firm whack if pressing in the center. All of the keys have shallow travel and no tactile indication of when they actually register a keypress. They're just squishy with no secondary resistance at the bottom of their travel. Even if we assume my space bar is defective, it makes touch typing very difficult.

The layout around the right shift key will throw you for a loop every time if you're accustomed to touch typing on a keyboard with a traditional layout.

The touch pad doesn't register small movements without a large movement preceding them. It's necessary to constantly swish a great distance then correct, even if you only wanted to move from one UI element to another that's right next to it.

The wireless isn't Bluetooth, it's something proprietary. That would be fine if it worked as well as Bluetooth, but this is something inferior. If you've got a lot of wifi traffic, a microwave running nearby, or Bluetooth traffic, it interferes with this keyboard. Unlike Bluetooth this doesn't seem to retry until the receiving dongle confirms receipt of a keypress or key lift. Instead of delaying like Bluetooth, this just misses keys or keys get stuck in their down position until you tap the repeating key again to register another press and lift.

I mainly got this to use as a HTPC (Home Theater PC) keyboard, but it's not good enough for that.

For the good: It was easy to set up, no pairing operation was needed with the included dongle. I also liked that it has a hardware on/off switch. That should conserve batteries if it's rarely used. The extra left mouse button in the top left of the keyboard is a nice touch as well. The price is also good for something that tackles mousing and typing operations. But these don't address the bigger issues. Even at three stars, I feel I've been generous.

Doorway Booster Fan RR100
Doorway Booster Fan RR100
Offered by Smarthome
Price: $23.97
12 used & new from $23.97

2.0 out of 5 stars Loud, not enough airflow to justify the noise, July 12, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This only has one speed, and it's loud. Despite the fan moving very rapidly, the tiny plastic blades barely move any air. If you look at the picture, you can see the blade structure. Lots of short, closely-spaced blades at a high speed makes a lot of noise while moving little air.

If you can afford the space and a little more electricity, consider a floor-standing box fan instead. Even on low (40 watts for the floor fan versus 20 watts for this), a floor-standing box fan moves many times the air with a tiny fraction of the noise. This thing is about as loud as a box fan on high (70 watts), but the noise is focussed in a higher pitch that's less soothing. It's tough to describe the characteristic of ambient noise, but imagine a vacuum cleaner just around the corner of an open door, or sitting on a commercial jet with a seat just behind the wing. You don't want to try to think or relax with that anywhere near you.

Antblocker 100% Ant-Free Pet Food Tray - Sandstone
Antblocker 100% Ant-Free Pet Food Tray - Sandstone
Price: $34.95

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Clever and slightly overpriced, a few shortcomings with easy work-arounds, July 10, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
The idea is clever: It's a tray set atop two plastic pillars set in a basin that you fill with water. Ants can't cross the water, so they can't climb the pillars up to the food tray. You can approximate the effect with items you already have if you put a little water on a plate and then put your pet bowl in the middle of the plate.

There are a few caveats. First, standing water attracts ants. Ants enter homes in search of water just as they do for sugars, fats, and proteins. You can have your home absolutely pristine and still have ant invasions. You need to keep countertops dry, keep your dishwasher sealed, and keep your sink dry. You don't need another pool of standing water that ants flock to for a drink. The simple fix is to add a little soap when you add water to the food tray's basin. The same is true of the plate trick above. Avoid anything with a strong scent, such as many hand and dish soaps. You don't want a smell that puts your pets off their food. You should also change out the water at least once a week and give this a good scrub or use a little tea tree oil to avoid any mildew or mold growth.

Second, the top half of this - the tray - is difficult to keep clean. It's too large for most sinks, it has a rough surface that food sticks to, and it's not designed to snap on and off very easily. The snaps that hold the pillars in place stick and break after a few times on and off. Resist the temptation to snap them in place at all. The pillars stay in place without snapping, and it makes it easier to simply lift the top off. If the snaps do break, a little duct tape wrapped around the pillars helps.

I also like to put the food bowls on a separate tray that I set inside the top tray. I found these, and they fit just about perfectly: Any 12 by 16 cafeteria tray should work if you don't like those. As a bonus, I can also put these trays in my dishwasher (no heated drying). No hand-cleaning is involved, no matter how messy my cats get with dragging their wet food out of the bowl. Another added bonus is that the tray covers the fill hole in the middle, so the soap smell doesn't rise up between the food bowls.

Note the size of this as well. It's in the product details. It takes up quite a bit more space than the food bowls that sit on top. Measure and make sure you have a good place to put it before you commit. I was a little surprised at the size once this arrived. The height isn't as much of a worry as I thought. My adult cats can still comfortably eat from a bowl sitting on top, but kittens and puppies might struggle.

Also note that this offers a bit more freedom in food bowl placement. As it does contain food really well, you can put this on carpet. I enjoy having the food bowls in my office where my cats like to spend the day with me, and now I'll be saved from any more steam cleaning since the cats don't drag food onto the carpet.

Overall I'm glad I bought this. The price is a little high for what it offers and it has some design shortcomings. But it's easy to work around all the shortcomings, and I haven't seen a better offering.

EAS 100% Whey Protein, Chocolate, 2 Pound
EAS 100% Whey Protein, Chocolate, 2 Pound
Price: $19.99
5 used & new from $14.69

3.0 out of 5 stars Good protein, but the container isn't airtight, July 6, 2015
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Whey is best just before and after workouts. It's much more bioavailable than proteins like casein, which are better for overnight or sustained satiety.

This is a solid whey protein. It's easy to mix, the taste is decent without any strong aftertaste, and there aren't a bunch of added carbs. The 2g of carbs per serving are mostly from the lactose that comes with all whey proteins without a lot of synthetic treatments. They got all the key things right.

The only thing not to love is the container. It has a rectangular lid that makes it much easier to open and take large scoops from. But the lid doesn't snap on as securely as traditional screw or coffee can-style press-on lids. I can flex the sides of the box or the lids and air easily escapes. I wouldn't trust this to have the shelf life of other proteins once it's open, I'd be careful about tipping it in transit or storage once opened, and I'd be anxious in a kitchen that's prone to ant or other pest invasions. Even if insects can't get through the small opening in the lid, they'll smell this from many meters away and they'll come exploring. Initial shipping and storage isn't a problem however: there's an additional peel-off foil lid guarding the product before it's first opened.

For my own use, I'm using the full container and I'm inclined to buy more. But I've transferred it to a pop-top kitchen storage container so it has a tight seal.

Hellmann's Mayonnaise, Real Squeeze 11.5 oz
Hellmann's Mayonnaise, Real Squeeze 11.5 oz
Price: $2.98
8 used & new from $2.98

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Perfect for an office kitchen or dorm room - quality squeeze mayo with a unique and less-messy cap, July 1, 2015
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Check the size - it's only 11.5 oz, which is less than a pound. That said, we're supposed to review the product and not the price.

The product is good! It's regular Hellmann's mayo, which is more or less the standard by which other mayonnaises are judged. If you buy store brand or something else, usually they're trying to make it as close to this as possible. Hellmann's generally uses higher quality, non-GMO ingredients. That's all a plus.

What's unique about this one is the container. Inverted mayonnaise squeeze jars are nothing new. They help prevent losing too much product stuck to the walls, and they make it really easy to cover a burger or sandwich without extra utensils involved. But this one has a very different top than the usual flip-top mayonnaises.

With most flip tops, there's a bit of mayo squeezed out of the bottom when putting the cap back on, and it mooshes out the sides of the cap. If the container warms and cools a couple times, usually a lot of it works out between contraction and expansion. But this one has a different angled shape to the "nozzle" part. It's more like a cone with just the tip exposed, and then the cap seals all around the cone. It neatly captures and preserves the mayo, while still making it easy to spread it across a food surface. I'd say this is perfect for an office kitchen or a dorm. Basically anywhere where you want a small container and zero mess.

Offered by ar-products
Price: $35.99
6 used & new from $34.82

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It's the Holy Grail for a Protein-Sparing Modified Fast, June 29, 2015
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This fills a big gap for me. There's a ton of protein in this, and the shape is perfect for slipping into a pants or gym bag pocket. It's got about as much bulk as the typical Ford car alarm key fob with a bunch of keys dangling from it. Unlike protein bars, this doesn't melt or get strange if it's kept in the pocket or left in a hot locker.

I'm a big fan of Protein Sparing Modified Fasts for losing weight with little or no muscle loss. I suspect my protein powder buying habits were why Amazon's tools selected me to receive a pack of these for review. For any who haven't tried a PSMF, it means cutting carbs and fat out entirely while keeping protein and vitamin levels up. The goal is to lose weight quickly without sacrificing muscle. A PSMF can be used for rapid weight loss, or for weightlifters to help tone the body after bulk up period.

But one of the challenges of an effective PSMF is in eating lots of small meals all throughout the day. Instead of three meals, it's not uncommon to have anywhere from six to ten at regular intervals. That helps keep the appetite under control even at a big calorie deficit, and it keeps the body burning body fat and consumed protein instead of going after muscle. But missing a single meal is a miserable experience - starvation's low energy and foul mood are always a single meal awya.

With the New Whey vial in my pocket, there's no more worrying about getting back to my car or home for regular meals. At any time I can have all the protein I need in a couple gulps, and get right back to things.

Now, I'm not sold on the flavor. At all. It's a bit like a concentrated fruit punch with artificial sweetener aftertaste. But that's the last of my concerns. I don't want something that tastes like candy and leaves me hungry for more. I just want the protein to keep me going with no fat or carbs added. I won't knock off a star for the flavor just because I'm not convinced something flavorful and rewarding is possible in such a small profile without a toxic sludge of odd chemical garbage.

As a couple others mentioned, this has a pretty high sodium content. Again, for a PSMF or for bulking up, that's ideal. That's a big part of avoiding muscle cramps for PSMFs and post-workout refreshes alike. Don't evaluate it like a standard meal, but see if it fits into any special case uses for you.

I'm excited! While the Amazon Vine program sent this for free in exchange for a review, I'm getting more out of pocket. At a few bucks per "meal," they aren't far off from the much larger protein drinks I'd normally buy.

VONOTO 5 Pairs 50mm 2 Inches Replacement Ear Pad Foam Earbud sponge Cover cushions Foam Pad Ear Cover for Sennheiser PX100, PMX100, PMX60, PX20 ,MAB 25, HD15, HD35, HD36, HD56 / Sony MDR-G57 / Philips / Plantronics Headphones
VONOTO 5 Pairs 50mm 2 Inches Replacement Ear Pad Foam Earbud sponge Cover cushions Foam Pad Ear Cover for Sennheiser PX100, PMX100, PMX60, PX20 ,MAB 25, HD15, HD35, HD36, HD56 / Sony MDR-G57 / Philips / Plantronics Headphones
Offered by VONOTO
Price: $10.00

4.0 out of 5 stars A fraction of the price of Plantronics pads, and nearly as good, June 29, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I bought these to replace the pads on a Plantronics Audio 400 headset. I use the headset daily, and the Plantronics cushions typically wear out every 2-3 years, well before the rest of the headset needs replacement.

The foam isn't as thick and airy as the Plantronics pads. While they feel just as comfortable and prevent fatigue from the headset pressing on ears, they do feel a bit warmer after a while. I suspect the denser material doesn't breathe or wick away body moisture as well as the original pads. For my own use, these are fine. But if you use headsets all day, this subtlety may make a difference.

It takes a bit of stretching and pulling to cover the stated diameter, and at first it seemed like they would never fit. But by the next day they had settled into a new shape in a surprising fashion. Don't fret if they don't fit perfectly at first, just line up the seam with the edges of the headset speaker and wait a while.

There's nothing phenomenal about these, and the original Plantronics pads might be slightly more comfortable for long-term use. But at less than 1/8th of the price per pad, I can't give these fewer than four stars. I got enough pads for 5 replacements for less than the price of replacing both the pads a single time. If these last a couple years, I'm good for a decade. Store Card Store Card

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Random denied payments, painful and slightly creepy phone service, June 22, 2015
The 5% cash back reward is nice, but a couple times a month I have to keep asking whether it's really worth the headache.

The most annoying thing: Charges get declined, seemingly at random despite sufficient credit available. They usually go through if you ask Amazon to resubmit the payment attempt. But if you make several purchases in a row, such as buying a handful of Kindle books, or using Subscribe-and-Save which triggers a burst of orders each month, a slew of charges get declined and you have to call Synchrony Bank to unlock the card.

Calling the bank is frustrating. The automated voice system is designed to keep you from dealing with a human if at all possible, but their fraud department requires human contact of course. So with each call you are forced to wait through balance information, payment information (all the things people routinely call about), where to send payments, etc before it lets you choose to speak to a human... which you already knew you'd need to do.

Note that as a side-effect of the declined charges: If you use no-rush shipping, a week goes by, Amazon begins preparing shipment and the charge gets declined... you end up starting over and waiting ANOTHER week before they attempt the no-rush shipment again. Instead of 1 week, you can end up waiting 2 or 3 weeks to get something.

Unlike typical charge cards, Synchrony also gets a list of all purchases which includes the items purchased. Having an itemized bill is nice. But phone agents get chatty about specific items purchased. This feels a little creepy, and I feel for the person who buys a few bodice ripper novels as a bit of escapism, then has to talk to someone who starts asking about them. Phone agents shouldn't have access to purchase history, or should have to ask customer permission before reviewing the contents. It's not there to be conversation fodder.

Synchrony Bank also blocks third-party sites from downloading transaction data. If you use something like Quicken or Mint to keep a high level view of all your balances and transactions, you're out of luck. According to the makers of Mint, Synchrony Bank blocks them because they regard other financial service companies as competitors. They're fine absorbing your Amazon purchase information, but not with sharing transactions with another party of your own choosing.

I'll probably keep using the card in order to get the 5%, and I'll hope Synchrony shapes up. But I still flip back to my 3% Amazon Rewards Visa card whenever I'm purchasing something where I don't want to risk a delay. And I'm probably just 1-2 more declines away from cancelling the thing completely.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jul 7, 2015 2:20 PM PDT

Oral-B Complete Glide, Floss Picks Plus Scope Outlast, Long Lasting Mint,  75 Pick Pack,  6 Count
Oral-B Complete Glide, Floss Picks Plus Scope Outlast, Long Lasting Mint, 75 Pick Pack, 6 Count
Price: $20.82

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Absurdly fragile, May 25, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
These break or come unthreaded from the pick with the tiniest pull. It's like flossing with paper. Even before they break, bits fray off and get lodged between your teeth which requires a follow up floss to remove the bits left behind.

The fragility is a shame, because the texture and taste are nicer than other floss picks. But see the attached image. I literally went through that pile in a single sitting. Every last one broke or came unthreaded after only a few seconds.

Unless you have abnormally wide gaps between ALL of your teeth, look elsewhere.
Comment Comment | Permalink

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