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Jawbone JAMBOX Wireless Bluetooth Speaker - Red Dot (Discontinued by Manufacturer)
Jawbone JAMBOX Wireless Bluetooth Speaker - Red Dot (Discontinued by Manufacturer)
Offered by THE SHOP
Price: $129.00
24 used & new from $51.01

2.0 out of 5 stars Out of warranty? Out of luck., September 17, 2013
My JAMBOX served me well. I was realistic about what to expect (sound-wise) and the JAMBOX fit my needs. Understand that it won't be great for a party (with many bodies and voices), but it is great for the beach, poolside or hotel room--I travel for work and love to have music with me, the JAMBOX was compact and had plenty of sound for this controlled environment. I also often used it as an external speaker for my laptop--since I could control placement and speaker direction and it sounded better/fuller than my laptop's built-in speakers. Mostly used with Bluetooth which would lose connectivity occasionally.

Move forward a year-ish. Something has happened to my JAMBOX that prevents it from charging. Obviously did the requisite troubleshooting--tried different USB sources: computer, wall, etc. Checked other USB powered devices to make sure USB ports were all good. Nothing is visibly damaged and cable still fits in the JAMBOX itself. The only thing I can guess is that the connection between the Micro-USB cable and the JAMBOX itself has become faulty. At this point, I contacted Jawbone customer support. They ran me through a bit more troubleshooting but to no avail. Next step was to look into a "warranty exchange." Warranty exchange requires a receipt. I actually do hold on to a lot of receipts but couldn't seem to find this one. I asked support if they could track it by serial number--this actually made things worse since the date of manufacture on my JAMBOX was like 3 years ago. So not sure if the vendor was just sitting on a lot of stock or what but I needed to find a receipt to show that it wasn't purchased that long ago! Long story short, I was never able to find the receipt. I told customer support that it wasn't that big of a deal (re: a warranty exchange) and that I would be fine covering whatever the repair would run--JAMBOX is under $200, figure what would worst-case scenario be? $50? Better than buying a new one. Customer support informed me that they don't offer any parts or repair services. That's it. No other options. Warranty exchange or nothing. BE WARNED THAT YOU HAVE ZERO OPTIONS FOR ANY PROBLEM THAT ARISES THE MINUTE YOU ARE OUT OF WARRANTY! Again, no harm or damage came to this unit--this JAMBOX stopped being functional simply from normal usage. I simply can no longer charge it.

There are probably a couple different ways you can interpret this customer support approach. Maybe not having a repair center keeps their overhead low. Maybe parts are so cheap that replacing the whole unit is just as cheap or faster (or both) than looking into problematic units. Regardless, this company is pumping out a cheap product that they don't really stand by (clearly with a one-year warranty and no repair facility or options, they see this product as disposable) and has a business model with no interest in long-term customer loyalty.

I guess I was shocked since, outside of my home stereo, most of my small and/or portable needs are met by Bose. Bose has incredible customer service which even well outside of warranty still always seems to have some affordable option to get the product you purchased back up and running. I guess every once in a while we all fall for the "cool" toy of the moment only to shortly thereafter realize that we should have just stuck with the companies that we know. I actually voiced a lot of this to Jawbone's customer support ultimately explaining that now that this JAMBOX is not functioning it has become nothing more than a paper weight and I don't really feel the urge to spend more money on a replacement Jawbone product to which they nonchalantly replied "Please let me know if I can assist you with anything else." Well, you haven't really assisted me with anything... Ironically, Jawbone's customer support is attentive and responds to your messages fairly promptly and without canned responses. If only they could actually do anything.

There are a lot of options out there. Do your research and spend your money on companies/brands that take care of their customers (or at least give their customers options to get a little more longevity out of their products).

[...]
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 28, 2016 8:24 AM PST


Kaputt
Kaputt
Price: $11.99
53 used & new from $1.70

3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Hall & Oates x Pet Shop Boys, December 24, 2011
This review is from: Kaputt (Audio CD)
But in a good way. Sure this falls into the current trend of '80s-revival dream pop but the songs, vocals, arrangements and art are all spot on. You can either criticize it or submit to it. Buy the vinyl.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 28, 2016 9:19 AM PST


Pusher Trilogy
Pusher Trilogy
DVD ~ Nicolas Winding Refn
Price: $21.99
19 used & new from $13.81

7 of 11 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Manufacturer disc flaw!!!, October 25, 2011
This review is from: Pusher Trilogy (DVD)
Just received these movies--The Pusher Trilogy, 3 disc set. Disc one, "Pusher," won't play (won't load in my Blu-Ray player, my computer was able to play previews but not the movie...). Have now tried the disc in a total of four different players with no success. Are the single disc copies of "Pusher" OK? How are people watching this?

Magnolia Home Entertainment needs to recall these...
Comment Comments (4) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Feb 2, 2013 12:07 PM PST


Panasonic DMP-BDT210 Integrated-Wi-Fi 3D Blu-ray DVD Player
Panasonic DMP-BDT210 Integrated-Wi-Fi 3D Blu-ray DVD Player
3 used & new from $68.01

32 of 33 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Great player but huge con for Skype users!!!, October 20, 2011
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Totally agree with all the other reviews praising the DMP-BDT210's speed and array of features. I upgraded from a DMP-BD55 and this player is light years faster--both in load time as well as with menu navigation. Network setup was a breeze--setup wirelessly through my home network. Firmware updates are also easier with network connectivity (no need to burn a disc, etc.). All good. Just for reference, my player is hooked up to a Panasonic monitor so that as well was effortless. The DMP-BDT210 is also physically small, which doesn't seem like a huge feature but with the BD55 I was maxing out the space in my entertainment cabinet which of course meant components weren't getting the air circulation one would hope for--now I have the same functionality (well, actually much more...) in a much more compact package. More space, more air circulation=happy electronics and less fire hazard.

Network. Current applications that come up on the network broken into categories (as of this review date)...
Video & Movie: Amazon Video, Bild.de, Break Comedy, CinemaNow, Dailymotion, hulu PLUS, NETFLIX, Ustream.TV, Viewster, VUDU, YouTube
Music: napster, PANDORA, SHOUTcast
Sports: FOX Sports, NHL GameCenter, MLB.TV, MLS MatchDay Live
Games: Blackjack, Chess Challenge, Dracula's Coffin, Free Throw, Gem Reversi, Hangman, Illustration Logic, Mahjong Fruits, Mine Sweeper, Number Place, Penalty Shoot-Out, Poker, Rockswap, Solitaire
Social Networking: Picasa Web Albums, Skype, Twitter
News & Lifestyle: AccuWeather.com, AP, Local Weather, tagesschau, WealthTV 24/7

I've used a few of the applications, not sure how many I'll end up using, but there were definitely a few I was happy to have. Going into this purchase knowing I could stream Netflix straight into my TV, pump Pandora through my entertainment center speakers and Skype from the living room while looking at people on the other side on my TV were all huge attractions.

[Insert needle dragging across the record sound] Skype functionality is not simple (nor cheap)! Again, one of the big attractions to this player for me so to discover this rip-off scheme was a harsh blow. Firstly, they want Skype to be attractive to you--it has a coveted logo spot on the BDT210's packaging, there's even a Skype button on the remote! They know that Skype is part of our lives now and the potential to gather everyone on the sofa while communicating with friends/family from whatever distant locale on a big TV, rather than a computer screen, is a huge draw. The hitch is that only 2 cameras are compatible with the DMP-BDT210 and neither comes with it. From Panasonic's website: "SKYPE - Can I use my Web Camera as a communication camera for Skype? Only the Panasonic Camera Model # TY-CC10W and the Freetalk Camera Model # 7181 certified for Panasonic can be used with a Panasonic Blu-ray player for Skype." Do a quick Amazon or Google search on those two models. You're looking at (again, at the time of this review) $120 or higher. For a Skype camera!!! No, a webcam made for Skype usage will not work even though you are connecting through a standard USB port. To add insult to injury, you cannot use the Skype application at all unless you have one of these two cameras--you cannot log into your account and at least see your friends/family on the big screen even if they can't see you. You CANNOT use the Skype application unless you buy one of these two cameras that cost as much as this player does. Huge disappointment for me. Takes my rating from 5 stars to a 3--granted a fantastic Blu-Ray player, I just don't feel it's fair to advertise Skype functionality, put a prominent logo on the box and then charge $100+ for a necessary accessory to an item that itself is just over $100. If Skype isn't a big attraction for you or a feature you will rarely use then I highly recommend this player. If Skype on the big screen is a huge draw to you, please understand that to have that functionality you are looking at closer to $300 to get it (again, at current prices).
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Nov 25, 2015 8:46 AM PST


Terry Riley: Music For The Gift; Bird of Paradise; Mescalin Mix
Terry Riley: Music For The Gift; Bird of Paradise; Mescalin Mix
12 used & new from $11.00

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A "Gift" for us--several seminal pre-"In C" pieces from Terry Riley, May 13, 2011
"Mescalin Mix" (1960-1962) and "Bird of Paradise" (1965) are both tape collage/assemblage/manipulation pieces firmly rooted in the conceptual traditions of Musique Concrète but pushed in new directions due to conscious decisions on Riley's part. For "Mescalin Mix," rather than just simply assembling gathered sounds, Riley had a plan for the sounds he desired--whether it be a girl's laughter or a blues piano riff (which he would play himself). When it came time to cut tape though the lengths were estimated using crude measuring techniques which retained a sense of arbitrariness in the piece. Another noteworthy technique used was the hand-manipulation of tape speed which Riley found interesting when used on spoken words. "Bird of Paradise" differs in that it plays with some pre-existing recorded (commercial?--I couldn't make out any specifics) music which makes it seem more rhythmic (initially at least, compared to "Mescalin Mix") and immediately brings to mind contemporary sampling (plunderphonics, mashups...). In addition to the occasional audible splice, both pieces suffer from the to-be-expected degradation/noise that is customary to several generations of tape manipulations (cutting, copying, looping, etc.) on, Riley's admittedly, low-tech equipment. Riley credits these experimental textures, the inherent low-fi nature of the piece and his tactile approach to cutting and measuring in giving Mescalin Mix a more "folk art," even relaxing, dreamy quality rather than the sterile, mechanical studio work one might expect.

The highlight on this CD though is "Music for the Gift" (1963). It seems that a bit of luck, timing and serendipity made possible the collaboration between Riley, Chet Baker and a playwright named Ken Dewey. At a La Monte Young suggestion, Dewey tracked down Riley which in this instance happened to be in Paris 1963. A chance meeting between Riley and Baker in a poolhall the same week set the stage for the project. Dewey had been commissioned to present a program at the Theater of Nations; Baker had recently returned to Paris after being detained in an Italian Jail and was looking for "work"--Riley made the introductions and Dewey was able to convince Baker to come on board. "The Gift" ended up being a highly improvisational piece featuring both actors, dancers and a live band performing along with a pre-recorded "soundtrack." "Music for the Gift" is the recorded music that was used for the performances in July 1963. Riley recorded the musicians (featuring Baker on trumpet along with Luis Fuentes on trombone, George Solano on drums and Luigi Trussardi on bass) in both a group setting as well as individually having them improvise solos in both instances. After mixing, cutting and re-orchestrating the recordings, Riley described to the engineer what he had done (and tried to do) on "Mescalin Mix" and asked him for essentially a "long, repeated loop"--what they came up with was the formulation of an "accumulation technique" utilizing a tape looped between two tape recorders which enabled them to play with feedback and tape delay and made it possible to fragment, attenuate and return time. "Music for the Gift" is divided into 5 parts on the CD (roughly 20 min. total), beginning with a lean three piece (trumpet, bass, drums) blues number and building to include all performers (including the repetitive usage of a vocal sample by one of the show's dancers) all the while varying the feedback effect range from non-existant (a single sound image, the band as recorded) to a heavily effected "dense chaotic kind of sound." The result has a hypnotic, euphoric feel which, for me at least, seems as much akin to "electric" Miles and DJ Krush's first album as it does to Riley's minimalist classical milestones that are just around the corner. The performance in '63 sounds like it would have been an experience as "Music for the Gift" and the live performers were mixed live for the shows (in addition, there was a prop tape recorder playing some of the recorded pieces which players could stop/start). Riley admits to becoming obsessed with "time-lag accumulation feed-back" after this experience. A treat to hear Riley work within this jazz framework.

The final piece on the CD is "Two Pianos and Five Tape Recorders" (1961) which features Riley on piano and tape assemblage and La Monte Young on piano. A noisy, discordant exercise whose thunder is stolen by a humorous play-by-play commentary from announcer Glen Glasow who can't quite seem to determine when the actual piece has begun. I wouldn't say an essential track for insight into Riley, Young or The Theatre of Eternal Music/Dream Syndicate but a mildly entertaining track nonetheless.

Overall, a very nice collection of early Riley work (albeit a bit of a departure from the minimalist classical most know him for) especially the Mescalin Mix/Music for the Gift pairing. The liner notes include an interview with Riley from 1995 (as well as some Bruce Conner artwork) where he reflects on the impact the "Gift" had on him, inspiring him to conceptualize larger, grander pieces for many instruments utilizing these new techniques and rooted in modal jazz. Although this was ultimately abandoned, shortly after the idea for "In C" "came as an inspiration." Seems as though whatever way Riley was choosing to occupy his thoughts paid off.

This review is of the organ of Corti 2000 CD release.


Pig (Limited Edition)
Pig (Limited Edition)
DVD ~ Rozz Williams
9 used & new from $25.00

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars An interesting concept with amateur execution (pun intended), November 3, 2010
This review is from: Pig (Limited Edition) (DVD)
I'll start by admitting that I was not familiar with Rozz Williams, his music or any of his endeavors outside of this film prior to watching "PIG," so this review is more of a cinematic critique. Furthermore, since others have adequately summarized the plot of the film (essentially a poetic exploration of the relationship between a killer and his victim--there are also further details on Wikipedia), I will focus on technical aspects.

Although all of the DVD features total 40+ minutes, the film itself runs 23 minutes. It was shot on b&w film (a combination of super-8 and 16mm, I believe) with no dialogue but features a soundtrack by lead actor, Rozz Williams. Cinematography, a mixture of hand-held and tripod shots, is amateurish--composition is simplistic, exposure shot to shot is uneven, and neither zooms nor pans are smooth. Along with significant film grain, dirt and scratches are evident on the transfer. There are numerous "jump cuts" in the editing and screen continuity doesn't seem a priority --one scene features a shot of the killer leading the victim towards an abandoned house, the victim walking freely, in the next shot the killer is pulling/leading the victim now with bound hands and some sort of leash. S&M "gore" torture effects are actually minimal, marginally effective and again, amateurish.

I'm sure an argument could be made that some or all of the above mentioned details were intentional and that the viewers attention should be primarily focused on the imagery and its symbolism (not sure if more knowledge of Williams history would help here) but I'll admit it was a little difficult to fully submit to the artistic vision when hindered by these flaws that burden the film with a "film school" quality. Rozz Williams lore aside, this film is not a cinematic treat and doesn't break any new ground (seriously--keep in mind this was made in 1998). Richard Kern and Nick Zedd were entertaining and shocking, utilizing a similar aesthetic to better effect, nearly 20 years earlier with their "Cinema Of Transgression." And if you are seeking, specifically, heavily symbolic, lo-fi, b&w horror (and you have this kind of money to throw around), I would recommend Merhige's "Begotten"--expertly crafted with mind-numbing, high-contrast b&w cinematography (in the first few minutes there are even some shots that are startlingly similar to a couple in "PIG," close-up of an eye in gauze, empty abandoned house--"Begotten" pre-dates "PIG" by 9 years!) AND a feature length running time.

Included in the extra features, are some audio interviews with Rozz Williams (apparently his last?) that give a bit more conceptual insight into the film and his mindset at the time (specifically involving the films imagery and getting inside "killer" thought processes) which are fascinating, albeit brief, and prevent me from rating this DVD lower than 2 stars. The photo gallery contains a few behind-the-scenes shots of the bare bones production crew as well as the DVD artwork photos. There is also a decent memorial video that "PIG" director Nico B made for Rozz Williams' services.

Be aware that this film features, along with the general S&M type torture mentioned above, some full frontal male nudity including close up shots of male genital torture.

As far as the different pressings or "editions," it seems that there was an initial run of 1334 DVDs as well as a secondary run that brought the total number of DVDs to 2000 (cleverly making the second run a press of 666). Apparently, any copies that are hand numbered are not legit, all copies from Cult Epics were print numbered. There are a significant number of the DVDs that are signed by director Nico B (Cult Epics website says 250 of the initial run, no mention of signed copies from second). Copies of "PIG" on eBay from "cultdiscount" are actually direct from Cult Epics (which is Nico B's DVD distribution company)--seems that the director schemed that he could sign and hoard the last run and get more than the $29.95 list price...

In summary, a bit of a heavy price to pay if you are not a hardcore Rozz Williams fan/follower. I think both independent cinema and horror fiends will be equally disappointed. A better place to begin exploring these lo-fi, DIY type cinematic explorations can be found here:

Begotten
Hardcore Collection


Clint Eastwood: 35 Films 35 Years at Warner Bros.
Clint Eastwood: 35 Films 35 Years at Warner Bros.
DVD ~ Clint Eastwood
6 used & new from $62.36

7 of 13 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Why is this not Blu-ray?!?, June 10, 2010
Seriously. It's 2010. You want us to fork out for this monumental studio/career retrospective but you won't put in the effort and money to high-res scan the last dozen or so films that aren't available on Blu-ray yet. Not very forward thinking...
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 24, 2011 5:35 PM PST


Soviet Funk Vol. 2 (Red/Black Split Color Vinyl)
Soviet Funk Vol. 2 (Red/Black Split Color Vinyl)

6 of 9 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Terribly deceptive marketing., April 28, 2010
A far cry from any standard definition of "funk" and hardly any noticeable "Soviet" influence or stylings. Simply put this is a soul jazz album--think post-Bitches Brew (Big Fun or Jack Johnson era) Miles Davis minus any recognizable name talent or any remarkable standout tracks--from Soviet Russia circa 1971-1976. The music isn't bad nor the compositions or instrumentation, in fact it's slightly above tolerable, thus the 2 stars but this packaging and marketing is extremely deceptive. The history surrounding the recordings is interesting but the music contained is disappointing given the expectations based off of the title and packaging--I was hoping for some early-70s hard funk as interpreted by Soviet trained virtuosos, just not the case. If you want to hear the Soviet take on early 70s soul jazz, you might want to buy this (listen to whatever samples you can find first), if you are hoping for recently discovered, previously buried Soviet funk treasures on wax to spin at your next party to get people moving and asking "what is that?," you'd better keep looking.


Fish Tank [Region 2]
Fish Tank [Region 2]
DVD ~ Katie Jarvis
4 used & new from $21.11

3 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Review for Artificial Eye Blu-Ray, April 22, 2010
This review is from: Fish Tank [Region 2] (DVD)
Of course comparisons can be drawn, content-wise, to "Precious" and "An Education," all released 2009, and I'm convinced that because of the successes of those two films this gem got somewhat lost in the shuffle. "Fish Tank" deserves to be seen (won the BAFTA for Outstanding British Film, was nominated for the Palm D'or and won the Jury Prize at Cannes) and can fully stand on its own two feet--it is a great film with great performances and cinematography. There are a couple reviews on here and more on IMDb.com that can do the film more justice than I can. I would however like to take the opportunity to share my experience with the Blu-Ray version of this film.

There is currently no Blu-ray version of "Fish Tank" available on amazon.com but I did find it available on amazon.co.uk. The Blu-ray I received was the Artificial Eye release (011BD). I have had good results with Artificial Eye in the past when I ordered an international version of "Hidden" (Caché)--the difference though, "Hidden" was region-free, it had A, B & C on the case. "Fish Tank" on the other hand is clearly region coded "B." I'll admit I was a bit worried about it working in my Blu-ray player, but I am excited to announce that it did indeed work (I am using a Panasonic DMP-BD55). Movie played fine and looked great--curiously though in 4:3 (the old standard TV frame rather than the current 16:9 or any other cinematic aspect ratio) which is stated as the Director's Approved Ratio. Special features on this version include: Andrea Arnold's Oscar winning short film "Wasp"; trailers for "Fish Tank" & "Red Road"; and a photo gallery of Holly Horner's stills from the set of "Fish Tank." Despite the film playing perfectly, a few of the special features did not. Neither the trailers nor the short film played correctly--no image, I did hear the audio. I have to attribute this to some sort of post-authoring. It's safe to say that although this version of "Fish Tank" originated in the UK they didn't block its playability in other regions. I am guessing that the short and the trailers were not authored to disc in the same way or from similar source materials that the film was, thus the standard PAL playback issues. Sad. After "Fish Tank" I was very curious to see more of Andrea Arnold's work, especially an early short--I will do some web-searching... The photo gallery did work. The final plus to this purchase was that I ended up paying £14.12 (under $22) which included shipping!

Be adventurous and track down the films that you miss in the theater.


Council Estate of the Mind
Council Estate of the Mind
14 used & new from $7.98

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars If I make it 'til tomorrow I'll be surprised., March 28, 2006
This is a solid Brit-hop release. Production leans more towards the simplistic in terms of beats while depending heavily on old soul and R&B samples (in regards to samples think Moby's "Play" or "Enter the Wu-Tang: 36 Chambers"). Skinnyman's flow is more than adequate yet nothing strikes me as spectacular. In all honesty I don't know his story or history, he does however have the requisite attitude and the braggadocio of a weathered MC, "been around ever since the days of boogie down/you can check my resume the evidence can be found."

If you're already familiar with British hip-hop (more specifically British hip-hop derived from the American model rather than something like The Streets whick is closer to UK garage) you will most likely enjoy this album. If this will be your first foray I would recommend Roots Manuva's "Brand New Second Hand" or "Run Come Save Me" first. You might also want to check out The Creators' "The Weight." I'm not trying to take away from "Council Estate of Mind" like I said it is a solid album. I personally think "I'll Be Surprised" is one of the best hip-hop tracks I've heard in a long time. "F' the Hook" and "No Big Ting" are other stand-outs.


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