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Customer Reviews: 264
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Miracle-Gro Garden Soil for Flower and Vegetable, 1 Cubic Foot
Miracle-Gro Garden Soil for Flower and Vegetable, 1 Cubic Foot
Price: $4.97
2 used & new from $4.97

5.0 out of 5 stars Working fine with tomato seedlings, April 16, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I'm using this in a potting mix I made and comparing it to some commercial growth medium from a local nursery.

Tomato seeds were started in the local nursery medium or in Miracle-Gro Seed Starting Potting Mix. At about an inch-and-a-half tall I put the seedlings in larger containers, half with the local nursery medium and half with the following mixture. On the bottom I put this outdoor mix, since we don't plant tomatoes outside here until June, and it will set the roots in something suitable for outdoors. The top couple inches of soil is a 50/50 mix of the starter mix and Miracle-Gro Moisture Control Potting Mix, which has more fertilizer and adds water retention, since seedlings are so sensitive to drying out. (The fertilizer in this mixture has more nitrogen than they'll get once they're planted outside.)

They're doing great in this mixture, with more than twice as much leaf growth as the ones in the local nursery medium.

This product looks like a rough peat mix, with a few under-one-inch wood pieces. The main ingredient is listed as any or all of peat, processed forest products, coir (coconut husk fibers), and/or compost. The other listed ingredients are sphagnum peat moss, a wetting agent (to help soak in water), and fertilizer: .09 - .05 - .07 NPK, polymer-coated for slow release over three months. (Keep in mind that the NPK composition of growth medium and soil cannot be directly compared to that of fertilizer additives, which are a lot more concentrated so they can be diluted in the soil.)


Miracle-Gro Moisture Control Potting Mix, 8-Quart
Miracle-Gro Moisture Control Potting Mix, 8-Quart
Price: $4.44
2 used & new from $4.44

5.0 out of 5 stars Works great with tomato seedlings, April 16, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I'm using this in a potting mix I made and comparing it to some commercial growth medium from a local nursery.

Tomato seeds were started in the nursery medium or in Miracle-Gro Seed Starting Potting Mix. At about an inch-and-a-half tall I put the seedlings in larger containers. The top couple inches of soil is a 50/50 mix of the starter mix and this potting mix for more fertilizer and extra water retention, since seedlings are so sensitive to drying out. This potting mix has .21 - .11 P - .16 NPK, polymer-coated for slow release over a few months. (The starter mix has very little fertilizer, to keep from burning new roots.) Below that 50/50 mix I put Miracle-Gro Garden Soil for Flower and Vegetable, since we don't plant tomatoes outside here until June, and it will set the roots in something more suitable for outdoors.

They're doing great in that mixture, with more than twice as much leaf growth as seedlings in the local nursery medium in the same size containers. (When they go into the ground outside they'll get less nitrogen in the fertilizer. Keep in mind that the NPK composition of growth medium and soil cannot be directly compared to that of fertilizer additives, which are a lot more concentrated so they can be diluted in the soil.)

This mix looks like slightly dark sphagnum peat moss, the main listed ingredient, with few twigs, and just a bit of perlite. The package says it may also include, as the second listed ingredient, processed forest products, peat and/or compost. It also contains coir (coconut husk fibers) and a wetting agent (to help soak in water), along with the fertilizer listed above.


Miracle-Gro Seed Starting Potting Mix, 8-Quart
Miracle-Gro Seed Starting Potting Mix, 8-Quart
Price: $4.22
4 used & new from $4.22

5.0 out of 5 stars Works fine with tomato seeds, April 16, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I compared this to some commercial growth medium from a local nursery, with tomato seeds planted in each. Worked great, no difference in germination or initial growth I could see.

I'm also using it in a mix I made for the seedlings once they got started. At about an inch-and-a-half tall I put the seedlings in larger containers. There's only very light fertilizer in this starter mix, .03 - .03 - .03 NPK, to avoid burning the new roots, so for more fertilizer I used a 50/50 mix of this and Miracle-Gro Moisture Control Potting Mix (.21 - .11 - .16 NPK). The extra water retention is also helpful, since seedlings are very sensitive to drying out. That 50/50 mix is the top couple inches of soil. Below that I put Miracle-Gro Garden Soil for Flower and Vegetable, since we don't plant tomatoes outside here until June, and it will set the roots in something a little more suitable for outdoors.

The seedlings are doing great in that mixture, with more than twice as much leaf growth as the seedlings that are in the same size containers with the local nursery medium. (When they go into the ground outside they'll get less nitrogen in the fertilizer. Keep in mind that the NPK composition of growth medium and soil cannot be directly compared to that of fertilizer additives, which are a lot more concentrated so they can be diluted in the soil.)

The main ingredient is listed as 85-95% sphagnum peat moss, and my bag appears to be about 95%, with few twigs, and just a bit of perlite. The package says it also includes a wetting agent (to help soak in water), along with the light fertilizer listed above.


Zwipes 669 Pocketed Plush Lint-free Absorbent Large Drying Towel, Blue, 40" x 25" Pocketed Drying Towel
Zwipes 669 Pocketed Plush Lint-free Absorbent Large Drying Towel, Blue, 40" x 25" Pocketed Drying Towel
Price: $14.59
2 used & new from $12.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Zworks zwell zwithout ztreaking or zcratching, March 31, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
That's the main thing. Just shake the initial lint off (or as another reviewer suggests, toss it in the dryer to get it off, but without a dryer sheet, which can leave a residue), keep it reasonably clean, and it works great. The pockets on all four corners make it easy to use both hands at once and stretch it out over the surface, but it works fine the old-fashioned way too.

Mine came with no instructions, but I see the manufacturer says about machine washing, "Avoid fabric softener and other articles that may lint as they can clog the fibers." They claim it's good for hundreds of washes. 80% polyester, 20% nylon.


20 Feet from Stardom
20 Feet from Stardom
DVD ~ Darlene Love
Price: $12.10
12 used & new from $7.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating, with some great music, March 20, 2014
This review is from: 20 Feet from Stardom (DVD)
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
The film focuses on background singers whose careers stretch from the early 1960s to the present day. Among the points of interest is the view of some of the black singers of the racial elements of background singing, especially early on when, as they tell it, white background singers relied on reading music while black singers who learned harmony by singing spontaneously in church relied on musical instincts, with very different results. Tales of often uncredited work for acts from Gene Autrey to the Beach Boys to the Rolling Stones are initially surprising, but it soon becomes clear that this relatively small group of artists has had a much larger and wider role than most of us ever suspected.

The film includes material from many background singers but centers on a few natural stars, particularly Darlene Love, the Waters family, Merry Clayton, Lisa Fischer, Tata Vega, and Judith Hill. In the deleted scenes and other extra features, as interesting as the film itself, we see more about, among others, Jo Lawry, who often appears in the film but whose story didn't make the final cut. All the extra features are worth seeing.


Plato at the Googleplex: Why Philosophy Won't Go Away
Plato at the Googleplex: Why Philosophy Won't Go Away
by Rebecca Goldstein
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $18.26
74 used & new from $12.95

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars From what makes Plato tick to philosophy of the gaps, March 19, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This is an insightful, at times delightful look into the heart of Plato, and through him, the question of the continuing value of philosophy.

If you've felt drawn in by a Platonic dialogue, you should enjoy this, but it doesn't assume any knowledge of Plato. It's pitched at a similar level, comparable to a college course, requiring close attention at times. Goldstein focuses on the issues that drive Plato and draw his diverse interests together. His dialogues are a Rorschach test, people tend to see their own philosophical proclivities in them. Goldstein's Plato is uncertain with views always open to revision. The personal side of his life, and especially his relationship with Socrates, receives special attention. There's a wealth of historical detail setting up the context for Plato in an original, helpful way. Plato is rightly regarded as one of the greatest minds and influences of the ages, so this is no small thing.

The other main thread of the book, why philosophy is still useful, is ultimately less original and less fully realized, ending on a somewhat unsatisfying note, given the promise of the book's earlier treatment of the question. The question is a good one, and it appears for most of the book that Goldstein will argue for a strong view of the need for philosophy, that it treats material science cannot in principle handle. In the end she settles for a less ambitious, less controversial point, that science currently can't displace philosophy in some areas and may not ever fully do so in practice. That doesn't cancel her earlier arguments, but they get left behind and remain unsettled. Rather like many issues in Plato's dialogues.

Plato is not only a teacher here but a model. The dialogues in the book are fun, and some are especially nicely turned. The first, about Plato on book tour at the Googleplex, is especially vivid in its characterizations. I soon found myself imagining the characters from the movie Clueless, 15 years older, which is high praise for the humor. The ebb and flow of argument, the reversals and turning of tables that happens in Plato's dialogues also happens here, with a similarly dramatic effect. Goldstein gives some attention to why Plato wrote in dialogues, and why modern philosophers don't, an interesting question.

Five stars for the material on Plato and his historical context, four for the rest, rounded up. Plato is still on book tour and is tweeting at platobooktour.


Bankers Box R-Kive Heavy-Duty Storage Boxes, Letter/Legal, White/Black, 4-Pack (0072414)
Bankers Box R-Kive Heavy-Duty Storage Boxes, Letter/Legal, White/Black, 4-Pack (0072414)
Price: $23.81
2 used & new from $20.27

5.0 out of 5 stars Well designed and constructed, very sturdy, clean looking, easy to assemble, February 3, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Quality storage box.

- fully double-walled sides and bottom, and lid short sides
- single-walled on lid's long sides and top
- flat on the bottom inside and out (unlike some cheaper ones I've used)
- very stackable even when full of files (I've used these to stack eight high full of files)
- comfortable hand holes for carrying

The assembly for the first box may take a minute to get just right if you haven't done it before, as the diagrams on the boxes are more hints than instructions, but if you make a mistake, you just unfold and try again. I had no trouble, and once you know how to do it, it takes only seconds.

Assembly notes:

On the lid, there are four long tear-out tabs (not tear-off!) at the corners that you need to fold into place (at right angles) before folding the lid ends around them. Don't miss the four very short tabs on the lid to stick in slots at the end of lid assembly.


Bankers Box File Medium-Duty Storage Boxes with Lift-Off Lid, Legal, 4-Pack (0070209)
Bankers Box File Medium-Duty Storage Boxes with Lift-Off Lid, Legal, 4-Pack (0070209)
Price: $26.78

5.0 out of 5 stars Well designed and constructed, sturdy enough, clean looking, easy to assemble, February 3, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Quality storage box.

- fully double-walled on the two short sides (ends), bottom, and lid short sides
- partly double-walled on the two long sides
- single-walled on lid's long sides and top
- flat on the bottom inside and out (unlike some cheaper ones I've used)
- stackable even when full of files. (BUT, if you haven't lifted one of these full of files before, make sure you want to work with boxes that can be pretty heavy to move around. If not, go for the smaller letter/legal-sized boxes.)

The assembly for the first box may take a minute to get just right if you haven't done it before, as the diagrams on the boxes are more hints than instructions, but if you make a mistake, you just unfold and try again. I had no trouble, and once you know how to do it, it takes only seconds.

Assembly notes:

On the lid, there are four long tear-out tabs (not tear-off!) at the corners that you need to fold into place (at right angles) before folding the lid ends around them. Don't miss the four very short tabs on the lid to stick in slots at the end of lid assembly.


Polk Audio Buckle Headphones - Brown/Gold - with 3 button control and microphone
Polk Audio Buckle Headphones - Brown/Gold - with 3 button control and microphone
Price: $249.00
11 used & new from $86.43

4.0 out of 5 stars Stylish, smooth-sounding, efficient, partly isolating, December 31, 2013
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
These have a striking look, with convincing faux-leather and aluminum. The fit and finish are good, with a feel of quality and solidity. They should stand up well to a little tossing around, and come with a soft cloth bag to protect them.

The sound is mellow, lacking harshness even at high volume, good for classical and jazz yet with enough punch and satisfying bass for rock and rap. If anything, it favors the bass and may be a bit rolled off at the top, but that's probably not a bad thing in headphones for casual use, both for the health of your ears and for less listening fatigue. The detail and spaciousness are fairly good, a little boxy-sounding, not what you can get from phones designed to be used with bulkier equipment (like a headphone amp).

The sound isolation is pretty good. At moderate volume you won't hear others talking unless they raise their voice, and they won't hear your music unless they're close in a quiet room.

These are efficient, so you can get plenty of volume from most portable devices.

The phones are comfortable, with soft padding around the ears and under the headband, on the heavy side for phones designed for portable devices but not as heavy as they look. They're a little tight-fitting, which helps with sound isolation but may bother some people. I've used them for hours at a time without significant discomfort.

There's a button on the right side to control the volume, on/off and other stuff on whatever the phones are attached to. It works fine for iTunes, but I haven't tried it for a phone. Haven't tried the built-in mic either.

The cord is four feet long, great for a phone or iPod in a pocket or on a belt but less than ideal for use with a computer you might lean back away from. The cord is detachable, so you can replace it with a longer one, though the odd size at the headphone end (2.5mm?) and the four-conductor design make finding a longer cord difficult. Or you can just add an extension, 3.5mm male/female four-conductor like this one: StarTech.com 2m 4-Position Headset Extension Cable.


Epson C11CD29201 Expression Premium XP-810 Small Wireless Color Photo Printer with Scanner, Copier and Fax
Epson C11CD29201 Expression Premium XP-810 Small Wireless Color Photo Printer with Scanner, Copier and Fax
Price: $149.99
65 used & new from $123.09

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Small and versatile, great for photos, December 30, 2013
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
While I wouldn't call it slim (or "ultra-slim"), this is quite a compact unit for all the functionality.

The printing quality is good, especially for photos. Using the high-quality setting and good paper I get photos that look noticeably better than what I used to get from Wal-Mart.

The speed is fair, but usually below the specs (which are for low settings): 4-12 pages a minute for black-and-white documents, depending on resolution and software, and between a minute and 90 seconds for 4x6 high-quality color photos.

The fully automatic 2-sided printing is very nice.

The wireless connection works well (2.4GHz only), and you can print remotely.

Ink cost is reasonable but not great, about 5 cents for a black-and-white page, and depending on whether you use the high-capacity or regular ink tanks, 13 or 18 cents for a full-color page, or 18 or 23 cents for a full-sized photo (based on Epson's figures). The colors can be replaced individually.

The speed, ink cost, and low-capacity paper trays make this a better choice for light home use than a busy office. It's well constructed for careful use, but some parts feel like they wouldn't stand up well to the kind of abuse you get in a typical office.


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