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Profile for Michael J. Edelman > Reviews


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Reviews Written by
Michael J. Edelman RSS Feed (Huntington Woods, MI USA)

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DEWALT DW9196 6-1/2-Inch 40T Precision Framing Saw Blade
DEWALT DW9196 6-1/2-Inch 40T Precision Framing Saw Blade
Price: $14.98
14 used & new from $14.98

5.0 out of 5 stars Smooth cutting, low price, February 5, 2016
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I bought this for making clean cuts in plywood and hardwoods with my DeWalt 18v saw, and I am pleased to report that it does an excellent job in these materials. The stock blade supplied with this saw is fine for cutting dimensional hardware for framing, but it's worthless for plywood, which it splinters terribly, or for trim. This 40 tooth blade makes very smooth and mostly splinter free cuts in every sample I've tried, including hardwood plywood, 1" read oak, and a 2" cherry slab. Given the low price I'd say it's the best value of any saw blade I own.

HMV Tactical Millitary Outdoor MOLLE Cell Phone Case and Pouch
HMV Tactical Millitary Outdoor MOLLE Cell Phone Case and Pouch
Offered by KNG International
Price: $40.00

5.0 out of 5 stars Well made, roomy, useful, February 5, 2016
"Tactical" is a word that gets thrown around a lot, and doesn't mean all that much. Usually it means "looks vaguely like military gear." This little pack is different, though. It is based on Molle-type pack gear and has a number of the same features found in Molle gear, particularly with respect to attachment point. This can actually be attached to Molle gear used standard attachment points.

But it's designed to be worn on the belt, not on a military pack, and I think it would be a very useful tool worn there. It has one outside pocket, and two zippered compartments, both of which have an internal pocket. All the pockets and compartments are big enough to hold one of the new large smart phones, or even a small automatic or revolver- I was able to fit an LCP and an LCR inside with a pocket holster.

You can also fit a small notebook, or several power bars, a small pair of roof prism binoculars, a compact camera, or even a small emergency shelter. It's a great pouch for carrying an emergency hiking kit or for just carrying a camera, snack, map, and nature guide on day hikes, and I think that's what I'll be using mine for. (I received a free review sample)

Panasonic MX-ZX1800 High Speed Blender with Ice Jacket Accessory, Die Cast Aluminum
Panasonic MX-ZX1800 High Speed Blender with Ice Jacket Accessory, Die Cast Aluminum
Price: $430.07
2 used & new from $429.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Powerful and well made with a few annoying flaws, February 1, 2016
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Most blenders aren't powerful enough to do more than make smoothies from soft fruits and vegetables. This one is different. With a 1200 watt motor (that's about one and a half horsepower) it'll not only grind up just about anything edible, it can make short work of turning ice cubes into slushies. Power can be varied from very slow to faster than any blender I've ever used. I used it to make crushed ice, gazpacho- I didn't even cut up the celery, onions and peppers first- as well as squash soup and of course fruit smoothies. This blender can purée anything I put in it. Speed control is a matter of twisting a knob- something Alton Brown would probably approve of.

There are three accessories in the box along with the machine itself. The first turned out to be a special wrench for disassembly. Useful. The second was a tool designed to be inserted through the hole in the top of the blender and used to push food down towards the blades without actually touching the blades. It's well designed and should be useful. The last is a plastic jacket that is chilled in the freezer and then slipped around the jar to keep the contents cold. It's sort of clumsy to use, and I don't see any particular use for it in my kitchen, but I suspect it would be useful for keeping mixed drinks like Margaritas cold, or for making slushies.

This blender is very well built. The container is make of thick polycarbonate, and all exposed metal parts are stainless steel. The base is solid and heavy. A lot of the metal parts are machined, where cheaper units use stampings. Everything looks repairable.

But not all is perfect. First there's the size, take a look at the photo below: This blender is about a half-inch too tall to fit under standard height kitchen counter cabinets, and with the lid on, my cabinet doors won't clear it, either. Then there's the matter of ozone. This blender generates a lot of it. I'm hoping this will decrease as the motor runs in, but for now it's a major annoyance. I can't be within three feet of the machine while it runs.

So while this is a powerful, well-made, and attractive blender, it does have a few flaws that keep me from giving it five stars. If you don't have have ca units over your counter, and the ozone level problem isn't universal to all machines (or if it disappears over time) it might be a five star machine for you.
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Zenith Industries ZN700001 Trim Puller
Zenith Industries ZN700001 Trim Puller
Price: $29.95

5.0 out of 5 stars Great for removing trim without damaging drywall, February 1, 2016
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
A few years ago I was helping a friend do some demolition as part of a major remodel of his 70s-era house, and one of my jobs was removing about 75' of baseboard. Most of my experience had been in older homes, where the walls were wet plaster on lath, and I wasn't used to working against drywall. More than a few times I managed to put a hole in the wall where I was working, which meant more work for the painters to repair. If I'd has this tool, instead of the Wonderbar I was using, I could have save a lot of time and money.

This trim puller combines a thin wedge that's easy to hammer under trim with a wide surface that spreads the load across the wall. There's also a stop that insures you insert the tool just far enough for efficient leverage. It's a great addition to a remodeler's tool kit.

Polaroid Snap Instant Digital Camera (Black) with ZINK Zero Ink Printing Technology
Polaroid Snap Instant Digital Camera (Black) with ZINK Zero Ink Printing Technology
Price: $99.99
15 used & new from $59.72

4.0 out of 5 stars A clever gadget for producing instant printed photos., January 29, 2016
I have been a fan of Polaroid cameras since I was a little kid. I remember the era rot roll film cameras, with their complex loading procedure and the messy coating that had to be applied after each shot. Despite the mess and cost, it was magical. In the late 1960s I used a Polaroid 4x5 back on a view camera to preview shots before exposing film. In the 70s, I converted a Polaroid pack film camera into a pinhole camera. And in the 80s, I had an SX-70 and learned to take advantage of the soft emulsion of a freshly shot photo and push the emulsion around to create artistic effects. So when digital technology made film- including Polaroid film- all but obsolete, I was a little heartbroken. Sure, digital technology could do just about everything film could do (and more) cheaper and more easily, but there was something special about Polaroid. I'm not the only person who felt this way. A group of Polaroid devotees got together to refurbish cameras and make new film under the name of The Impossible Project.

Meanwhile, the original Polaroid company went bankrupt, and the remaining assets changed hands many times. The current owner has used the name for a line of mostly digital imaging products, like the tiny 1" Polaroid Cube video camera (which I own). They've also returned to company roots with cameras that produce instant prints, but using digital, rather than film, technology. One such product is the Snap camera under review. I was offered a free sample to review, and I of course accepted. The original Polaroid company was known for innovative technology and unique design that was unlike anything else on the market, and the current company appears to embrace that philosophy as well. The Snap has a number unique features that differentiate it from my ther cameras on the market, some of them good, some of them not so good.

Opening the package I noticed that the camera didn't come with an instructions, but a little experimentation and reading the product description allowed me to figure it out. The are just four buttons on the camera. Moving from left to right, there is a button that selects between color, sepia, and black and white; a button that selects whether or not the printed images have the traditional Polaroid white border, a time release button, and a big red shutter release. In the middle on the top is a flip-up optical viewfinder that also acts as an on/off switch. On the front of the camera is a removable lens cap that is held on with magnets, and on the back is a door that opens to allow you to insert the special paper that the camera uses.

To take a photo, you first load the camera with the special paper. This comes in packages with two packs of ten shots each, at a cost of about fifty cents per shot. With each pack is a card with a bar code on it (see photos) that must be loaded in first, with the bar code facing down. I think this is to make sure the paper is loaded with the right orientation, but it may be that the code has to be read in, too. Next, you flip up the viewfinder, and when the ready lights go on you're ready to shoot. Look through the viewfinder, rake your shot, and push the shutter release. If this is the first shot with a fresh pack of paper, then the bar coded card will be slowly ejected through a slot on the side after about twelve seconds. [I later learned that the card both cleans the print head and calibrates the color printing system]. On subsequent shots, the photo itself will start to emerge in that amount of time and take another ten seconds or so to emerge.

Photo quality is variable. Shooting in the shade, or with diffuse light, color saturation is good. Black and white photos are of low contrast, with a decidedly cool tint. The sepia tones photos have a pale, washed out look that I assume is meant to look like an old, faded black and white photo. Overall it's a clever system with interesting possibilities, and at fifty cents a shot it's cheap enough to shoot plenty of photos. The photos themselves have a peel-off back that reveals a sticky surface that can be glued down, peeled off, and reglued several times. And it's not just a camera for producing instant prints. It's also a 10mpixel digital camera that can be used with or without a paper pack in place. Images are stored on a micro SD card inserted in a slot on the side, below the USB charging socket.

But it does have a few annoyances, some large, some small. The viewfinder is the single biggest one. If you wear glasses- as I do- it's impossible to get your eye close enough to get a proper view. The flash- actually a high-output LED- washes out closeup images. It's too easy to accidentally activate the camera, or hit the control buttons on top of the camera when aiming. If this were a $250 camera these would be serious flaws, but at this price level they're more like quirks.

So what did I think of the camera overall? It's a fun toy, and in the hands of artists it has the possibility for the same kind of interesting creative and innovative projects that earlier Polaroid cameras had. At the same time, everything that the Snap can do can also be done with an iPhone, with the exception of producing instant images. I suspect it'll mainly be popular with those who like the idea of instant snaps of friends that they can shoot and pass around, and with artists who like the ability to create collages and other projects. I think I'll take mine to a party I'm going to tomorrow and see what kinds of reactions it gets.

Update: I took it to my friends' birthday party for their one year old to see what kind of reaction it got from adults and and children. Adults thought it clever, on the whole, and were surprised by the price, which they thought low, but didn't think it was something they'd buy. The children (aged 3-5) were a different matter. They were amazed by a camera that produced instant prints, just as I was when I was their age. I ended up shooting the entire second film pack and them and giving them the prints.

But I also ran into another problem. In a large family room, well lit by natural light coming in through large windows, the camera made long time exposures instead of using the flash. The result was that half my photos were blurred beyond usability. I'm not sure why this happened, but it was annoying, especially when I'd taken what I thought was a particularly cute shot.

The long processing time also meant that this is not a good camera for trying to capture candid shots of kids playing. Once you kit the shutter release, it'll be a good half minute before you can take your next shot. It's better to use the camera for carefully posed shots.

In summary, this is a very clever camera but one with a lot of quirks. Kids like the results, but I think it would be difficult for children to use by themselves. I think the best use is for producing immediate snapshots for kids at parties and other get together soon that they can share with each other, or paste in scrapbooks,mbut I'm sure others can think of more creative uses as well.
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Periodic Table EasyStudyTools Thick Plastic Elemental Chart Extra Large Placemat/Wall Sign Science Education Reference 11.5 x 17.5 - 35mil Waterproof
Periodic Table EasyStudyTools Thick Plastic Elemental Chart Extra Large Placemat/Wall Sign Science Education Reference 11.5 x 17.5 - 35mil Waterproof
Offered by Merchandise Fulfillment Center
Price: $14.99
2 used & new from $7.49

3.0 out of 5 stars Seriously out of date., January 24, 2016
While attractive, this chart cannot be recommended as a study aid for a number of reasons. First, the type is very small and low contrast, and consequently difficult to read. The type is inconsistent, with several of the names, like Technicium, printed in all caps for no apparant reason. More importantly, it's over a decade out of date. The elements Darmstadtium, Roentgenium, and Copernicium had their names certified by IUPAC in 2003, 2004, and 2010, respectively, but on this chart they still have the placeholder names Ununilium, Unununium, and Ununbium, and for that reason, this chart cannot be recommended as a study guide. (I received a free sample for review)
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Doctor Who: The Husbands of River Song
Doctor Who: The Husbands of River Song
Price: $4.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Maybe the best Christmas episode yet., January 21, 2016
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I suppose I'm preaching to the choir here, as who else but a Doctor Who fan would read a review of a Doctor Who episode... motherless, this is a simply outstanding Chistmas episode that gives us Alex Kingston's marvelous character, the first time River meets the current Doctor, romance, adventure, and a bit of wistfulness as well. Maybe the best Christmas episode yet.

Cambridge CLS9X21SSBC Classic Lantern, 9 x 21", Burnished Copper
Cambridge CLS9X21SSBC Classic Lantern, 9 x 21", Burnished Copper
Price: Click here to see our price
5 used & new from $159.30

4.0 out of 5 stars Attractive, and HUGE (but it's not copper), January 17, 2016
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This is an attractive decorative piece, but there are a few features that aren't apparent unless you read the description closely. First, although it says "burnished copper," it's not made of copper. It's made of steel, with a faux weathered copper finish that doesn't really look like copper unless you're a good distance away. Second, while the photo shows a tall, narrow, lantern, this particular model, the CLS9X21SSBC is closer to a cube- see my photos. The 21" height includes the ring on top.

9" doesn't sound that big, but this really is a very big lantern. It's really far too big for just about any table, or for wall mounting. I'm going to make a wooden stand for mine and use it in warm weather on my rear deck.
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Excellent Red Wine Aerator With Extra Free Filter + Stand By AFL Products. Gift Ideas For Wine Enthusiasts, Housewarming & Hosting. Enhance The Flavor With This Pourer / Decanter. Wine Needs Air!
Excellent Red Wine Aerator With Extra Free Filter + Stand By AFL Products. Gift Ideas For Wine Enthusiasts, Housewarming & Hosting. Enhance The Flavor With This Pourer / Decanter. Wine Needs Air!
Offered by AFL Products
Price: $25.00

5.0 out of 5 stars Attractive- and it works., January 15, 2016
Not long ago I was watching a popular PBS cooking show in which they were testing various devices for resealing wine bottles and keeping air out. The winner, we were told, would keep air out of a bottle for months. I thought, who keeps an open bottle of wine around for months? When I open a bottle a bottle of wine at a dinner party, I expect it will be drunk that night! And once you decide to drink a bottle of wine,mint should be fully exposed to the air. The traditional way of aerating wine, which seems to have disappeared, was to pour it into a decanter prior to serving, and then to serve it from the decanter. Today it's more common to open a bottle an immediately serve it from the bottle- a tradition probably taken from restaurants, where they like to demonstrate they're actually serving you the wine they claim they are.

Regardless, wine tastes better if it's been aerated and allowed to stand before drinking, and this attractive little gadget does a fine job of doing that. It's sort of like a carburetor in reverse: The wine goes through a venturi, and as it does, it draws air in through a small jet. You can here the air bubbling in as the wine passes through. You can use this to aerate to he wine as you pour it into a decanter, or right into the glass. Is it absolutely necessary? No, not absolutely, but it's handy, and it does a fine job, especially if you don't happen to have a cut glass wine decanter handy. I like it. (I received a free review sample.)

Bull Cook and Authentic Historical Recipes and Practices
Bull Cook and Authentic Historical Recipes and Practices
by George Leonard Herter
Edition: Paperback
22 used & new from $15.34

5.0 out of 5 stars An hysterically funny treasury of bad advice and recipes, January 15, 2016
George Leonard Herter was the founder of the greatest mail-order outdoor sporting goods emporium in American history. Until its demise in the 1970s, you could find anything the sportsman needed in Herters' telephone-directory sized catalog. Fly rods, mule packs, tents, canoes, cookstoves, guns, ammunition, reloading equipment, traps... you name it, Herters has it. There was a tremendous amount of useful information in these catalogs, too. I have a friend who taught herself how to tie flies from the pages of her fathers' Herters catalog..

George L. Herter was not only a great entrepreneur, he was a great source of information on food and cooking, and some of it was even accurate. There's actually a fair bit of useful information in here on filleting fish, skinning and dressing game and so forth. But the bulk of the text is taken up with Herters' bizarre and often hysterically funny recipes and presentations of George's revisionist history. Who knew, for example, that famed Bostonian silversmith Paul Revere was a Frenchman, or that the Caesar Salad was invented in Italy? Or that Belgium was the source of so many of the "best recipe(s) in the world", like one presented for broiled wieners?

Reading this book is like an extended session listening to your grandfather hold forth on a variety of culinary topics- if your grandfather happened to be, say, Granpa Simpson- and it's great so see that it was reprinted.

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