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Customer Reviews: 31
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James Sabo RSS Feed (Shadow Hills, CA United States)
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Coleman 13 x 13 Instant Canopy
Coleman 13 x 13 Instant Canopy
Price: $132.43
24 used & new from $112.57

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Keep the bottom latches out of the sand as much as possible, August 3, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Coleman Instant Canopy (Sports)
The first time we set this up was at the beach.

In the 5 minutes it took to spread out the frame and attach the canopy, the bottom latches became so completely jammed with sand that they would no longer operate- we wound up using the included stakes to keep the legs fully extended, then taped them in place so that it wouldn't collapse on us.

This seems like a major design flaw-- did they not expect this to be used at a beach? If they couldn't have designed this to keep sand out, could they at least have made it so that you could clear the latches? It took a half hour the next day with a can of compressed air to get the latches operable again-- not "cleared," just "operable"-- you can tell that sand is still jammed in there, but at least now they work.

Aside from that issue, this has been great so far-- it really does set up in a few minutes when all the parts are working, it provides a lot of shade underneath (we had about a dozen people playing CaH under it at one point), and was very stable all on its own in a low breeze.

If you're using this in an area where you don't have to worry about junk getting into the bottom latches, you should have no issues.

If you are using this at the beach, I'd recommend putting plastic bags around the latches until you've completed setting everything up, or if you have enough people, hold the whole thing out of the sand until you've spread it out and raised it.


VOIA Air Shield Bumper Carrying Case Cover for LG G4 - Retail Packaging - Blue
VOIA Air Shield Bumper Carrying Case Cover for LG G4 - Retail Packaging - Blue
Offered by Cellstore USA
Price: $26.99
2 used & new from $26.99

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Pretty much your only option right now if you want to show off your leather back, July 21, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Like another reviewer, I ordered black and received blue. It doesn't look horrible, and given the backlog on the product, I'm not going to go to the trouble of trying to exchange it.

I didn't have an issue getting the case over the leather back, but the first time I installed it, the two parts didn't line up evenly, so the left side of the device had more blue showing than the right. Re-installing corrected that.

The bumper itself doesn't really feel like it's going to provide a heck of a lot of protection in the event of a fall-- yes, that's the nature of a bumper case, but when you tap the corner on a hard surface, it doesn't feel like there's a lot of shock absorption going on.

If you're hoping that this case will allow you to show off your leather back without worrying about it slipping out of your hand, this probably isn't for you.

I'm planning on keeping this, but it won't be my daily driver-- when I'm going out and getting dressed up, I'll probably swap to this, but for day-to-day use, I'm going to stick with a Diztronic case, and probably pick up a cheaper back as well to preserve the leather one-- in the 2.5 hours this has been in my back pocket, I've already picked up a pair of nicks.


Amazon Echo
Amazon Echo
Price: $179.99

5.0 out of 5 stars The perfect wireless music device, June 19, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Amazon Echo (Electronics)
TL;DR: I love this so much that I already have three.

For years, I've been trying to find the perfect wireless music solution-- one that I can use in the kitchen, while working out at home, washing the car, or out back in the yard.

Bluetooth was just ok-- it would cut out half the time as my body got between me and the speaker. And it was worthless for music at a party unless I wanted to leave my phone sitting in front of the speaker.

Chromecast got a step closer-- for the rooms that already had an amp in them, it worked most of the time. Dropouts weren't uncommon, particularly again if I was moving from room to room during a party. But for situations where there wasn't an amp, it wasn't great-- I ran the HDMI-to-VGA-with-Audio-Out hack to be able to play back through an old iPod dock, but it certainly wasn't something that my roommates would wind up grabbing when they wanted to spend an afternoon in the yard.

Then came the Echo.

This device is the pinnacle of "it just works." Setup takes all of 5 minutes, and you're rolling. No voice training, no manuals, no weird commands. Download the app, put in your Wifi password, sync the remote, enjoy your device.

With most voice recognition, you're amazed it works. Echo works so well, even from across a room, that you're more surprised when it *doesn't* hear you correctly.

The music selection is great-- I've been buying all my MP3s from Amazon since they started selling them, so a lot of my music was already in the cloud. I uploaded a bunch more to round out some playlists, and that's my only real quibble with the service-- Google Music lets me have 50K files, Amazon caps that at a paltry 250. But I love the Echo so much that I'll probably shell out for the subscription service.

As a Prime subscriber, you also get access to the entire Prime music library- you can either add Prime songs to your playlists, play specific Prime playlists or Prime radio stations, or (my roommate's favorite), have Echo search for specific artists in Prime and create an on-the-fly playback.

Pandora? It's there. iHeartRadio? You must know someone who works there, but also there. And as a last resort, you can always use it as a Bluetooth speaker.

This is where the real genius of the Echo comes in-- with Bluetooth or Chromecast, you'd have to start the app, connect to the speaker, then pick a playlist or artist from your device.

With the Echo, you say "Alexa, shuffle my workout playlist." and a couple seconds later, you've got music playing. You can adjust the volume, skip ahead or back, hear the artist, title, and album of the song all just by asking. This is particularly useful when cooking and your hands are covered with goop-- don't like the song? Just say "Alexa, next" and you've moved on.

It reminds me of back when I had a radio in the kitchen-- with a single command, I've got music playing. Except it's now exactly the music that I want, without commercials, and I didn't actually have to touch the device for it to work.

I've obsessed about music in this review, because that's what I mostly use it for, but as they say "But wait, there's more!"

Tell it where you work, and "Alexa, traffic" will not only give you an idea of how long it will take to get there, but also the route to take. You can get today's weather or the weather forecast for the next day. Sports scores and schedules with a simple command. News stories from a variety of sources. Got a question? Echo will search the web and get you surprisingly detailed answers. And if you're really on the bleeding edge, you can control your wireless lights with a command.

And then there are the Easter eggs. I want to work for Amazon just so I can try to think of crazy answers to all the crazy questions that people ask it.

Want to know what kind of sense of humor these programmers have? Let's just say that the Echo goes to 11. Be prepared to turn it down.

And those programmers are busy-- ever couple weeks, an update comes out that adds new features

So then, what's wrong with the thing? Not much.

It's a single speaker, not stereo. This is not the device I would use for the first time I listen to a new album. But the volume is good-- it's loud enough to be heard when washing the car, or as the background music for a party, without distorting. (unless you go to 11. But come on, 11! Don't even point.)

If you are blasting it at a party, it's probably not going to hear you shouting commands at it. But you can use the enclosed remote to get around that- just hold down the mic button on the remote, speak your command, and your wish is granted.

Because it works so well, I want to hook it up to my amps so I can play through the good speakers-- hopefully version 2.0 will have an audio out jack to make that happen.

All those are quibbles. As I started at the beginning of this review, I've already got my hands on three of these, and will doubtless be getting more in the future. Because after years of sub-par solutions, I've finally found my perfect wireless music device.


The Space Hero's Guide to Glory: How to Get Off Your Podunk Planet and Master the Final Frontier
The Space Hero's Guide to Glory: How to Get Off Your Podunk Planet and Master the Final Frontier
by Phil Hornshaw
Edition: Paperback
Price: $9.63
47 used & new from $1.78

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superbly done- the authors are clearly as into sci-fi as you are., April 5, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
What you'll like best about this book is that no matter what your particular sci-fi fandom is, at some point, they'll almost certainly reference it.

And it's clear that these guys didn't just flip through a couple web pages to some up with a clever way to fit in some popular series, they *know* the show, book, or movie they're talking about. You will continually find yourself impressed with how they easily reference some obscure show that barely lasted the whole season on Fox (no, the other show) in a way that not only makes you say "hey! I loved that show," but also a way that *fits*.

It's also satisfying to see how the authors effectively treat all of sci-fi-dom as a single, connected universe-- every time the Galactic Empire gets compared to the Padishah Empire, I would get a little grin on my face.

This is a fast read that can easily be picked up and put down as time allows, so you can either cruise through it in a days, or leave it on your desk for when you've got ten minutes to kill.


Anker 2nd Gen Astro E4 13000mAh 3A High Capacity Fast Portable Charger  External Battery Power Bank with PowerIQ Technology for iPhone 6 Plus 5S 5C 5 4S, iPad Air 2 Mini 3, Samsung Galaxy S6 S5 S4 Note Tab, Nexus, HTC, Motorola, Nokia, PS Vita, Gopro, more Phones and Tablets and More (Black)
Anker 2nd Gen Astro E4 13000mAh 3A High Capacity Fast Portable Charger External Battery Power Bank with PowerIQ Technology for iPhone 6 Plus 5S 5C 5 4S, iPad Air 2 Mini 3, Samsung Galaxy S6 S5 S4 Note Tab, Nexus, HTC, Motorola, Nokia, PS Vita, Gopro, more Phones and Tablets and More (Black)
Offered by AnkerDirect
Price: $89.99

5.0 out of 5 stars One of those "how did I live without this?" gadgets, January 29, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
The high capacity on this is wonderful- I can charge it up, then leave it sitting in the glove box for days until it's needed.

It definitely charges as fast as the stock wall charger, and because of the high capacity, I can get multiple top-offs or full charges without having to recharge the battery itself.

This has saved me more than once when my phone's gone haywire and unexpectedly drained itself-- I just pull this out and plug in, and I've quickly got enough charge to get me through the rest of the day.


Yes4All Ultra Light Hammocks - Purple color - ²CM8HZ
Yes4All Ultra Light Hammocks - Purple color - ²CM8HZ
Offered by idzo
Price: $20.00
3 used & new from $16.49

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must-have for anyone going camping, January 29, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
When I told my friends that I grabbed this for our upcoming camping trip, they all started laughing at the idea that I was going to set up a hammock at the camp site. But by the end of the trip, I had to fight to get in it because it was so comfortable- everyone wanted a turn. Someone even wound up sleeping in it for half the night.

This has just the right amount of support- stretchy enough to feel like you're settling in, but not so firm that it digs into you, and I didn't feel like it was trying to close over me and trap me like some hammocks.

Unless you're doing some hardcore backpacking, this is small and light enough to throw in with your gear and not think about it until you're ready to relax at the end of the day. Or mid afternoon. Or while you wait for someone else to make you breakfast.

I did grab some tree straps, which made this super-easy to set up, and didn't significantly add to the weight, and the carry sack had enough space to hold those as well.

Typing this up makes me wish that I could be lying in it right now!


JEBSENS - Super Bright Under Cabinet Lighting 14 LED - Motion Activated Automatic Light Up, Battery Operated, Cool White
JEBSENS - Super Bright Under Cabinet Lighting 14 LED - Motion Activated Automatic Light Up, Battery Operated, Cool White
Offered by JebsensDirect
Price: $49.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Not really super bright, but pretty good., January 29, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I bought this to go inside a bar cabinet. It was easy to install, and the auto-detection works perfectly-- we open the door, and the light comes on.

The fact that it's got a hinged connector is great, as it allows us to point the light downwards at the wine rack. This also becomes important, as the light is not as bright as I hoped, and when it was just flush with the surface, it wasn't bright enough to be able to read the labels on the bottles.


Plex
Plex
Price: $0.00

3.0 out of 5 stars Needs to get surround sound working, January 25, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Plex (App)
I'm not sure why FireTV Stick and Chromecast make it so difficult to play surround sound, but that's what is holding this app back.

The good: The UI is amazing, just like you expect. It's super easy to find what you want to watch.

With the FireTV stick, it also seems to deal with the server running on my Synology DS412+-- I guess the FireTV stick has different video support than my Chromecast, as video on the Chromecast thrashes the CPU, but with the FireTV stick, it was able to ply without too much issue. No issues at all when using my Alienware as the server.

The bad: No surround. I know the file has it, and my BluRay player deals with it just fine. When they get that working, 5 stars. Until then, I'm sticking with the BluRay player.


Twitch
Twitch
Price: $0.00

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars How is this usable?, January 25, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Twitch (App)
Can't log into your account to see saved channels. Can't search for a specific channel. Can't use the Android app to start a stream on the FireTV stick.

I guess if you have small children who are happy watching whatever the featured channel of the day is, you'll keep them entertained for a while, but unless what you want to watch happens to be on the home screen, this app is useless.


Weber Battery Electronic Igniter Kit Genesis Ceramic Collector Box 67847
Weber Battery Electronic Igniter Kit Genesis Ceramic Collector Box 67847
Offered by Hard to Find Items
Price: $27.99
4 used & new from $24.99

5.0 out of 5 stars You'll be kicking yourself for waiting, January 25, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
It was inevitable-- the original lighter built up corrosion in the battery compartment, and wouldn't throw a spark.

I spend a fair amount of time trying to clear it out, and brought it back form the dead twice, but last summer, I just couldn't get it clean enough, and started using a match.

On a whim, I looked this up, and when I saw the price, I pulled the trigger immediately.

Why did I wait!?

It took all of 3 minutes to remove the old one and install the new one, and now I once again can light my grill in a second without thinking about it.

So stop thinking about it-- grab this and get your grill working again!


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