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einszett Cockpit Premium - 16.9 fl. oz.
einszett Cockpit Premium - 16.9 fl. oz.
Price: $10.50
6 used & new from $10.00

5.0 out of 5 stars What's in this, August 24, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
From the back label: 5-15% alcohol, 5-15% glycol, 5% anionic surfactants, colorants and fragrances, limonene, methylsothisazolinone, benzisothiazolinone.

So, no silicone, ammonia or petroleum distillates, which are considered harmful to some plastics including vinyl. There are apparently ingredients that aren't listed, though, such as the sunlight protectant the manufacturer claims.

Alcohol is widely used to clean vinyl and leather, but it's probably the most controversial ingredient in this product, as it's held by some to damage them. The most common claims about damage are from its use in high concentrations. It's doubtful that it's harmful at the low concentration in this product.

Glycol (ethylene glycol), commonly used in antifreeze/coolant, is a solvent, which makes it useful as a cleanser, and it's a humectant, i.e. water attractant, which helps prevent dehydration in leather that might contribute to hardening and cracking.

Anionic surfactants are detergents.

Limonene is the chemical that gives citrus fruit its distinctive scent. Besides providing fragrance, it's used as a solvent in cleansers.

Methylsothisazolinone (MIT) and benzisothiazolinone are preservatives that prevent the growth of bacteria, fungi and algae. Both are in wide use in a range of consumer products, but both, and MIT in particular, are a little controversial in regard to their health effects, specifically in regard to allergies and potential neurotoxicity. Environmental watchdogs generally rate the concern as low for approved uses.

The product cleans well and leaves a pleasant scent, no added shine, residue, or oily feel. The plastic housing on the spray top on the bottle was cracked, probably during shipping, but there was no leakage.

Allen Sports 5W USB Rechargeable Aluminum Light Set, Silver
Allen Sports 5W USB Rechargeable Aluminum Light Set, Silver
Price: $46.74

5.0 out of 5 stars Good quality and features; warranty info, August 19, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Be aware reviews of three very different products are mixed together here. This is a review of the 5-watt light set.

The front light is rated at 280 lumens (22 candlepower), which is enough for me. It's bright enough to spot stuff on a road at night in time to stop or avoid it even at a decent speed, though if you typically go very fast, are often looking towards oncoming headlights that make it hard to see, or ride off-road, a brighter light will probably be worth the extra money, so you won't have to strain to see and/or can use a broader beam and maintain adequate brightness.

The variable focus on the front light allows an easy continuous adjustment between a bright narrow beam and a not-as-bright broad beam, very nice. The beam is round (some are flatter like car headlights). The lens is recessed to protect it from scratching.

The front light swivels from side to side (up and down if mounted sideways).

The front light is easily detachable, so you can use it as a regular flashlight once you arrive at your destination. (This may also make it easy to steal, so you may want to take it with you anyway.) Having it removable also makes it easier to get the battery out to recharge it.

The rear light is plenty bright for others to see from a safe distance.

Both lights attach securely with ease. The whole setup is sturdy, not bothered by bumpy roads.

Both lights are water resistant, fine for rain even in high wind.

Both lights have flasher and half-power modes.


The front light operates on one rechargeable 18650 3.7V Li-ion battery (shaped like but larger than AA). The included one is 1200mAh. It comes with a charger for use with a USB port; the included cord is 12 inches long. It takes over three hours to do a complete charge on the USB port I use, though I've seen a report of two hours.

The rear light uses two included replaceable but not rechargeable 2032 3V batteries (the flat round button kind).

Limited lifetime warranty

No warranty info was included. In response to an email inquiry, which was answered very quickly, within a few hours, the manufacturer said their light sets are covered by the same limited lifetime repair-or-replace warranty as their bike racks and trailers. That warranty is spelled out at their website (allensportsusa dot com). Limited means it doesn't cover normal wear, accidents, neglect or abuse, and doesn't pay for labor.

Superintelligence: Paths, Dangers, Strategies
Superintelligence: Paths, Dangers, Strategies
by Nick Bostrom
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $21.83
30 used & new from $17.95

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Creating God: How to Not Screw It Up, August 15, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Bostrom: "This is quite possibly the most important and most daunting challenge humanity has ever faced. And--whether we succeed or fail--it is probably the last challenge we will ever face."

The challenge Bostrom refers to is properly controlling the creation of superintelligence, which he believes will bring awesome superpowers and corresponding risks not only to human life but the entire portion of the universe that it's physically possible to reach (humanity's "cosmic endowment"). He gives compelling reasons to think it may be a lot harder to control than we might at first suspect. He doesn't get far in outlining solutions to the problems he raises. He's clearing space for and inviting further work.

Prof. Bostrom is well suited to address this. He's widely respected as a scholar and has long been reflecting on issues of cosmic import related to foreseeable trends, particularly ones for which what humans do may have a crucial effect on the result. He's familiar with the relevant technical and philosophical points. He seems to read and write around the clock, having already published over 200 articles and a few books at the age of 41. Among the issues he's worked on over the years is whether we live in a simulation, like a cosmic computer game. May be more likely than you think! Check out his website (nickbostrom dot com) to learn more about him and the concerns in this book.

The target audience, according to Bostrom, is an earlier version of himself, which would presumably be a very bright person interested in but not yet familiar with the material. But he has made it accessible to people not quite as smart as a future Oxford prof, and without a background in the technical or philosophical issues, though some familiarity with those helps.

The urgency Bostrom feels in this book is mainly revealed at the beginning, where the above quote appears, and the end, where he likens humanity to children playing with a bomb, with no grown-up in sight. Those parts of the book have some of the qualities of a manifesto and call to arms, but the bulk of it is a lucid, measured outline of the wealth of issues involved.

Though some of this book reads like science fiction, the tone is generally moderate and careful, leavened with a little mostly dry humor (e.g. the endnote explaining that not all endnotes contain useful information, or the note comparing tenured academics to a sea squirt larva that digests part of its own brain once it's served its purpose.) Much of it is written in a way characteristic of how many philosophers teach philosophy, giving opposing points sometimes to the point of dizziness, but he does show his own views.

The title I've given my review might give the wrong impression in one respect. Bostrom does present the likely superintelligence to come as having godlike powers and effects, and some of the ideas he covers (and some he develops more elsewhere) might make the basis for an interesting if highly speculative natural theology. But he doesn't mention God, and he mostly steers well clear of religion.

He also stays away from partisan politics, but some of the ideas he advocates, or their implications, might stir up quite a hornets' nest in some political/ideological quarters, if those so inclined could be brought to take them seriously.

I'm inclined to take Bostrom's ideas seriously. I may be a couple shades more pessimistic than he is, and he's far from Pollyanna. The additional pessimism is based on points he doesn't focus on in the book, probably with good reason, doubts about the limits of rationality in an existential test that appears to pit basic human motives against each other, and possible negative effects of increased rationality and knowledge on motives, something superintelligence might aggravate.

In his own words from the end of the book, "In this situation, any feeling of gee-wiz exhilaration would be out of place. Consternation and fear would be closer to the mark, but the most appropriate attitude may be a bitter determination to be as competent as we can, much as if we were preparing for a difficult exam that will either realize our dreams or obliterate them." The reward for success would be "a compassionate and jubilant use of humanity's cosmic endowment." A noble goal.

The Good German
The Good German
DVD ~ George Clooney
Offered by Clyde Parks
Price: $9.99
145 used & new from $0.01

4.0 out of 5 stars Hypernoir Casablanca, August 7, 2014
This review is from: The Good German (DVD)
Despite the closing scene, any parallels to Casablanca are loose, but if you imagine that film with grimmer ties to the darkest elements of WWII and its aftermath, with Ilsa having descended to prostitution and terrible crimes while still maintaining commitment to a small and equally morally compromised Laszlo, with far less comedy and redemption, you'll have the flavor of this film.

Clooney is the Bogart in this, and while I'm a big fan, and he's not bad at all here, he doesn't have the same noir gravitas as Bogart, which the material seems to call for.

It's tricky to try to combine the entertainment conventions of a love story and mystery with such morally dark material. I don't think it entirely works here, with each undermining the other. The moral complexity of the character played by Blanchett is interesting and compelling to a degree, but the gravity of how its presented is somewhat at odds with the necessarily manipulative fantasy Hollywood elements.

NETGEAR ReadyNAS 102 2TB (2 x 1TB) 2-Bay Network Attached Storage (RN10221D-100NAS)
NETGEAR ReadyNAS 102 2TB (2 x 1TB) 2-Bay Network Attached Storage (RN10221D-100NAS)
Price: Click here to see our price
52 used & new from $209.95

4.0 out of 5 stars As simple or complicated as you like, works fine with Time Machine, August 5, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I put off setting this system up because in reading the manuals and the reviews it was apparent that there are a lot of details to consider in getting the most out of it, many of which require some knowledge of the technical workings. It's a flexible system with lots of options. For now I just want top use it for backup, but it can do much more.

I finally went with the simplest option to start with, the basic setup with default settings and, for my Mac, a Time Machine backup. Even that had a few wrinkles, such as deciding how much space to allocate for Time Machine. (For those who use Time Machine, ReadyNAS helpfully automatically sets up a portion of the drives of the size the user specifies. By default Time Machine would use all the space available on the drives.)

The setup and Time Machine backup went smoothly, no glitches. I needed to consult the ReadyNAS software manual (available online), and in some cases had to hunt a bit for the right button to click next.

The fan that operates whenever the unit is on has a soft but quite noticeable sound.

The two 1-TB drives that came with this system are Toshiba DT01ACA100 7200 RPM drives (from November and December 2013). User reviews at Amazon and NewEgg suggest these aren't the ultimate in reliability, though they generally perform well. They make the redundancy of the default X-RAID configuration desirable. (In that configuration, the total data that can be stored on the two 1-TB drives is only 1 TB because of the redundant storage. If one drive fails, all the data can be recovered from the other.)

The Toshiba drives are supposed to be energy efficient, which is good, because the ReadyNAS keeps them spinning continually when the unit is on. You can schedule times for the unit to power up and down, and you can remotely shut it down fairly easily. Remotely powering it up is a little trickier, but can be done via Wake on LAN. NetGear says they're working on a disk spindown option for their next software update (6.2.0).

Screws are included to mount 2.5" drives.

The power cord is helpfully long, a little over 11 feet, in two pieces with a power brick in the middle.

The construction is solid.

Philips AJH510/37 Alarm Clock (Grey)
Philips AJH510/37 Alarm Clock (Grey)
Price: $40.36
8 used & new from $8.99

4.0 out of 5 stars funky mood light color looping looks groovy next to my lava lamp, July 26, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
put on your tie-dye clothes and set the mood with the color of your choice or--my favorite--cycle gradually through all the colors on a continuous rainbow loop--what does it mean?

supplement the mood with your choice of 15 sounds, natural or manmade

just turn the clock around for those moments when you want time to disappear

easy to adjust brightness of light and clock display

not as hard to set up as some say, but you may need to look at the full manual, available online

works fine, no glitches

the mood light can be turned off

cord 4 and 1/2 feet long, tether to the real world

Samsung Electronics 32GB EVO SDHC Upto 48MB/s Class 10 Memory Card (MB-SP32D/AM)
Samsung Electronics 32GB EVO SDHC Upto 48MB/s Class 10 Memory Card (MB-SP32D/AM)
Price: $15.49
6 used & new from $14.99

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Actual speed test results and what they mean for cameras and other devices, July 25, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
To answer a frequent question, this card will work in your camera or other device if it accepts SDHC cards (not the same as microSDHC). Just google the model name of your device with "sdhc" to check. Make sure you get a size your device can use.

This is a review of the 32-GB card. Speeds are often different for different sizes of the same card. There are numerous speeds that matter for an SD card. I'll cover how various speeds of this card stack up for use in cameras and other devices too.

Digital cameras: photos

For digital cameras, still or video, the card speed that matters most for shooting is the *sequential write* speed, which is how fast your images can be transferred from the camera to the card. It's usually *not* the first figure cards give for speed, and Samsung doesn't give any specific figure for it for this card.

This card actually tests at from 15 to over 35 MB/s (megabytes per second) for sequential writes. (See below on where I get these numbers.)

That's a lot faster than the 10 MB/s this card's Class 10 and UHS Class 1 speed ratings require, which may be what Samsung means when they say it writes "twice as fast as conventional SD cards." It isn't fast enough to write "up to 360 photos (8 MB) per minute," as Samsung also claims, though. (That would require a 48 MB/s *write* speed, which Samsung doesn't claim for this card.)

Your camera manual, or online camera info, should say what speed you need, probably in terms of a speed class (see more on speed classes below). In theory you can figure out how fast your card needs to be for maximum shooting speed by multiplying how many shots per second your camera can take by the file size (in MB, not MP) of the photos. For example, if your camera can shoot 2.5 8-MB photos per second, you need a card that will write 2.5 x 8 = 20 MB/s to keep up. In practice, the speed that cards write in tests and the speeds they write for a given camera can be very different, so this can only be a rough guide. (In my own camera, a Nikon V1, doubling the tested write speed of the card doesn't even come close to doubling how fast the camera can shoot after the buffer fills.)

There are other cards at similar prices that write up to twice as fast as this one, but there's usually some trade-off. For example the Transcend 32 GB High Speed Card is currently the same price and about twice as fast, but it isn't as rugged (and it lags this one in random-access transfer speeds, important for those who might use the card in something other than a camera--see below).

Digital cameras: video

With a sequential write speed that tests from 15 to over 35 MB/s, this card is plenty fast for anything short of 4K video. It's fine for 1080p HD. (For 4K video you need a consistent 30 MB/s sequential write speed, offered by some Class 10 and all UHS Class 3 cards. Currently, few consumer-level cameras shoot 4K video.)

Transferring photos/video to a computer

The speed that matters when you transfer photos or video from this card to your computer is the *sequential read* speed, usually the first (or only) number cards give for speed. This card claims "up to" 48 MB/s. It tests close to that, mostly in the mid-40s, which for the 32-GB size means it will take about 12 minutes to transfer a full card.

As with the sequential write speed, there are cards with faster read speeds that will transfer photos to your computer faster, some twice as fast or more for a similar price, but usually with a trade-off.

Other devices

For most devices other than cameras, including tablets, the *random-access* read and write speeds are crucial. Most cards that state speeds are giving sequential figures only, and some of the fastest cards for sequential transfers do poorly for random transfers, so if you compare card speeds for use in a computer or mobile device, be sure to include random speeds in your comparison. Random reads and writes are measured for blocks of data of different sizes; only results from the same-size blocks should be compared to each other.

For *random reads* with *512-KB* blocks of data this card is just a little slower than for sequential reads, low 40s MB/s. That's a good speed, though nowhere near the fastest. For *random writes* with *512-KB* blocks this card tests at 23-35 MB/s, a very respectable range, faster than some otherwise very fast cards. For example, the SanDisk Extreme Pro 32GB 95MB/s card, one of the best available for sequential transfers, tests at only 5-9 MB/s for random 512 KB writes.

Small-block read and write speeds are more a measure of how fast a card accesses a location in memory, so they're sometimes expressed in terms of input/output operations per second, IOPS. For *random reads* with *4-KB* (small) blocks, this card tests at 4.6-4.7 MB/s, over 1,100 IOPS, which seems slow compared to the other speeds but is actually quite good. For *random writes* with *4-KB* blocks, this card tests between 1 and 1.7 MB/s, 265-410 IOPS, still pretty good for what's usually the slowest spec for a card, about the same as for the SanDisk Extreme Pro.

There are better cards for random-access transfers, but like the faster cards for sequential reads, there's usually a trade-off, often price. For example, the all-around excellent SanDisk Extreme Plus 32GB card has faster speeds than this card in every category, including the random 4-KB read and write speeds, which are roughly twice as fast (7.4-10.4 and 2.2-3.7 MB/s), but it's currently 75% more expensive. For comparably-priced cards that also have good sequential speeds, this Samsung card is among the best for random read and write performance.

Notes on speed ratings and speed tests

There are two speed class rating systems for sequential writes. The older speed class ratings are symbolized by a C with a number inside, Class 4, Class 6, etc, with the numbers representing the minimum MB/s. Class 10 cards, the fastest under the old speed class ratings, write at a minimum of 10 MB/s. UHS or Ultra High Speed ratings refer primarily to a different speed (bus speed), but for sequential write speeds UHS ratings start where the old speed class ratings leave off: UHS Speed Class 1, symbolized by a U with a 1 in it, writes at 10 MB/s or faster and UHS Class 3 writes at 30 MB/s or faster. (UHS ratings use Roman numerals for bus-speed classes, currently I or II, and Arabic numerals for write-speed classes, currently 1 or 3.)

The test results I give here are from various professional and amateur tests, using several programs for sequential speeds, and mainly CrystalDiskMark for random speeds. You can find such test results in professional reviews and posted online by actual users. For Amazon, there are sometimes screen shots of test results posted in the customer image section of the card's product page, located near the top right of the customer review section. (You have to be sure the results are from the same size card, as reviews of different sizes are often given together.)

In sum

This is a high-quality, well rounded card that should perform well in most cameras and other devices. Not the fastest, but more than fast enough for most uses, with a good reputation for durability, a good deal for the price.

Curel Rough Skin Rescue, 13 Ounce
Curel Rough Skin Rescue, 13 Ounce
Price: $8.49
4 used & new from $3.49

4.0 out of 5 stars What this lotion does, and why there's a sunburn alert, July 8, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
In most respects this is an ordinary, if fairly heavy-duty, moisturizing skin cream, with water, glycerin, and petrolatum (petroleum jelly, the ingredient in Vaseline) as the first three ingredients by weight, along with other common moisturizing ingredients like mineral oil and dimethicone.

It also has an alpha hydroxy acid (AHA), lactic acid (the acid in sour milk) in this case, as the tenth ingredient by weight, which means it's not present in a high concentration. AHAs help remove dead skin cells, which can build up abnormally with certain skin conditions. Dead skin cells form the outermost layer of skin, so removing some of them removes some of the natural protection one has against sunburn. That's why those who use AHAs on skin that may be exposed to sun should also use a sunscreen.

There are also other AHAs, in the form of fruit juices, in this lotion, but they're in such low concentrations as to probably have no significant effect (other than to allow them to be advertised on the front label).

The lotion leaves a waxy, oily feel after it absorbs into the skin, as most moisturizing lotions do. That pretty much goes away after fifteen minutes.

Though fragrance-free, it does have the slight scent of the petrolatum.

The retail price of this 13-ounce size is seven bucks, if you can find it. Walmart currently has it in stock at their website for under the retail price.
Comment Comments (4) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jul 19, 2014 7:30 AM PDT

NIV Essentials Study Bible: Easily Grasp the Fundamentals of Scripture through Lenses from 6 Bestselling NIV Resources
NIV Essentials Study Bible: Easily Grasp the Fundamentals of Scripture through Lenses from 6 Bestselling NIV Resources
by Zondervan
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $35.70
65 used & new from $26.05

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent resource aimed at mainstream Protestants, including those new to Bible study, July 6, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This incorporates what are deemed the "essentials" of some of Zondervan's most popular Bible study aids. Some of the notes are aimed at beginners, both in level of understanding and in creating interest, and the NIV translation is in modern English, so this is well suited to new Bible readers. There are notes for more advanced readers too. The format is busier than an ordinary Bible, but not excessively so.

The orientation of the commentary is broadly Protestant, but aside from not including the deuterocanonical books that the Catholic Bible includes, it's fairly ecumenical. The truth of the Bible is assumed. Controversial topics, e.g. contraception (page 739), the extent of Noah's flood (11), and gender roles (1476), are generally covered from various points of view, though some don't show up at all--the word abortion doesn't appear, for example.

The type size for the main text and commentary is comfortable. Some of the textual notes are pretty tiny, but I can read all of them without reading glasses.

POWERADE Mountain Berry Blast, 8 ct, 20 FL OZ Bottle
POWERADE Mountain Berry Blast, 8 ct, 20 FL OZ Bottle
Price: $4.48

4.0 out of 5 stars Has pleasant, vaguely berry taste, as good as water for hydration, so serves its purpose, July 4, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
On the other hand, according to the experts the value of sports drinks for hydration is no greater than water for most situations, and one of these 20-ounce bottles has as much sugar, in the form of high-fructose corn syrup, as three Krispy Kreme glazed donuts, and 130 calories, about two thirds of a donut's worth, so it's not exactly a health drink or weight loss aid.

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