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J. Ott "John Ott" RSS Feed (Los Angeles, CA USA)
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E-ON Energy Drink Ginger Crush, 12 Ounce (Pack of 24)
E-ON Energy Drink Ginger Crush, 12 Ounce (Pack of 24)
Price: $60.29

4.0 out of 5 stars Surprisingly good, October 18, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
THE FLAVOR

My first and biggest surprise. With a name like "ginger crush", I was expecting to hate it. It's actually pleasantly tropical, and without the over-poweringly bitter note that drinkmakers like to put in to convince you the drink has "energy". There is a hint of cherry cough syrup, but I like that. I don't really get any strong ginger flavor, but palettes will vary. The pomegranate juice and citric acid come through strongest, and unsuprisingly, these are the first ingredients after water and sugar.

The drink is a little fizzy and medium sweet. (It has 44g of sugar.) I am supposed to get a can of the almond flavor to review soon as well, so I hope to compare them. After a few minutes, I did have an "acid reflux" feeling in my throat, perhaps due to the sugar or acidity.

THE CAFFEINE
It's 142 mg in a tall, skinny 12 oz. can. To compare, this is about the same amount of caffeine you would find in a Starbucks Grande Latte (150mg) or in a home-brewed drip cup. According to a formula in Men's Health Magazine, this would be the recommended minimum for a 185 lb man to consume 60 minutes before a workout to improve athletic performance. (1.3 pounds of bodyweight per miligram of caffeine.)

I weigh more and I didn't wait the full hour and I only had the one can to test... so single anecdotal data point here... I definitely felt energized. (I'm also very sensitive to caffeine. I consume it rarely, maybe once or twice a month, unlike every non-Mormon I know.) About 15 minutes after drinking I felt a very mild headache and increased blood pressure. The headache quickly went away. My wife commented that I was acting energized. I burned out my usual morning workout and definitely could have kept on going. Heart rate did not feel too fast like I sometimes feel after consuming caffeine.

OVERALL
I'm not a regular consumer of energy drinks. As much as I liked the E-ON Ginger Crush experience, I can't say I'm converted. If I happen to be running a race some day, or some other out-of-the-ordinary endurance endeavor, I would definitely consider drinking a can over popping a pure caffeine pill. There's too much sugar for me to advise anyone without supermodel genes to drink it on a regular basis. But, in the world of energy drinks, this seems to me in every way superior to others that I've tried.


iPhone 6 Plus Case, [Armorbox] i-Blason® built in [Screen Protector] [Full body] [Heavy Duty Protection ] Shock Reduction[Bumper Corner] for Apple iPhone 6 Plus (5.5) inch New 2014 Release (Black)
iPhone 6 Plus Case, [Armorbox] i-Blason® built in [Screen Protector] [Full body] [Heavy Duty Protection ] Shock Reduction[Bumper Corner] for Apple iPhone 6 Plus (5.5) inch New 2014 Release (Black)
Offered by i-BLASON
Price: $39.99
9 used & new from $17.99

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Protective screen quickly developed an unsightly scratch, October 10, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Well, I've had this case for about 2 weeks now. I have been treating my phone gently, having heard tell of bendable iPhones. But I should've been worried more about the i-Blason case. Today it developed a big scratch in the corner that looks like hair under the glass, or a crack in the screen. It is, in fact, a scratch in the built-in screen protector. I have no idea what I may have done to create it. I do not ever keep my keys and my phone in the same pocket.

I was already down on the busy styling and bulkiness the i-Blason case adds to an already bulky 6 Plus. If you treat your case with kid gloves and you like the look of it, then I can still recommend it. But I guess I'm back in the market for a case, preferably one that is more dependable and has styling that complements rather than masks the high art of Apple's original design.


Wonderfulsight Circular Polarized Clip on 3D Glasses for RealD Best Performance and fit available
Wonderfulsight Circular Polarized Clip on 3D Glasses for RealD Best Performance and fit available
Offered by 3Dstereo
Price: $6.50

4.0 out of 5 stars Simple, cheap solution for prescription 3D glasses, October 10, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
As a glasses-wearing American, am vaguely annoyed when having to put on 3D glasses over my existing corrective lenses. It's uncomfortable, unsightly and it creates unwanted reflections. I looked into getting prescription 3D glasses made, but the main companies seem to be in the UK and the prices are a bit steep.

Enter Wonderfulsight's clip-ons. They are cheap and I am here to say that they work, not just for the RealD theatrical system but for passive polarized 3D television systems like my own Vizio LCD.

And yes, I am a 3D snob so I try to avoid 3D presentations that are not RealD. RealD's system fixes issues with low light and strobey-ness that other systems don't. I don't want to start any flame wars, but I have yet to use an active or chromatic interference system that I liked.

These Wonderfulsights clip onto all of my own pairs of glasses quite easily. The clips are rubber so there is no damage to lenses or frame. They come with a cleaning cloth that couldn't do much to eliminate the particles and abrasions on the cheap plastic "glass". The good news is that I didn't notice any uncleanable scuffs or particles while watching. The clip-ons basically eliminated the reflections I normally get when putting glasses over glasses. And they easily flip up and down as needed.

Although my TV came with six pairs of glasses, I'm considering buying a few more of these to have for my four-eyed guests. They aren't perfect, but they are a good value.


Alfred Hitchcock: The Masterpiece Collection [Blu-ray] (Region Free)
Alfred Hitchcock: The Masterpiece Collection [Blu-ray] (Region Free)
Offered by Once a Marine Sales
Price: $59.81
11 used & new from $55.81

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best Hitchcock collection going as of 2014, October 2, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This region-free collection of the suspense master's late-period works has more movies for less $$$ than the current Region 1 box set, so you'd be mad not to buy it instead. As near as I can tell, it's the same prints and bonus features from the other set. (With that comes some transfer issues that nerdy cineastes like me care about, but I doubt the average movie fan will mind. In any case, until Criterion sub-licenses these films, this is the best you can get.)

The packaging is attractive. The disc menus, because the set is meant to be sold around the world, are a bit cluttered with language options. But that's easy to overlook.

At the risk of starting a flame war, here's how I would tier the films:

UNDISPUTED MASTERPIECES
Vertigo, Rear Window, Psycho

EXCELLENT FILMS
Saboteur, The Birds, Shadow of a Doubt, The Man Who Knew Too Much (this is the 1956 color version with James Stewart and Doris Day, recommend watching in conjunction with Criterions new disk of the original 1938 British version)

STILL OF INTEREST TO HITCHCOCK FANS
Everything else...

Rope is a great one-take experiment that is still being echoed in films like Birdman.

The Trouble with Harry and Family Plot are rare Hitchcock out-and-out comedies. Harry's comedy is dark, about how the discovery of a dead body upends a peaceful Vermont tow. Plot is lighter, with a breezy script by Ernest Lehman, who also wrote North by Northwest.

Frenzy has one of my favorite of all Hitchcock sequences (you'll know it when you see it). Topaz and Marnie show Hitchcock experimenting with color cinematography. Torn Curtain has one of Hitch's most famous fight scenes, and was the film that a young Stephen Spielberg sneaked onto the set to observe.

ALL IN ALL
You won't really have a complete survey of the master without such indispensable films as North by Northwest, Strangers on a Train, The Lady Vanishes, Rebecca, Spellbound, Foreign Correspondent, The 39 Steps and probably some others that escape me. But given that the rights to these films are spread among many different corporations and carved up by geographic territory, this set is about as good as it gets. For either an introduction to Hitchcock or as part of a completist's collection, this box set is a must-own.


Haggar Men's Fitted Mechanical Stretch Solid Long Sleeve Dress Shirt, White, 16(34/35)
Haggar Men's Fitted Mechanical Stretch Solid Long Sleeve Dress Shirt, White, 16(34/35)
Price: $24.99

5.0 out of 5 stars The wife likes the look, October 2, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This is a simple and functional (stain & wrinkle resistant!) white dress shirt. I was hoping after wearing it a few times I would have much more to say about it, but even a garrulous Gary like me runs up against Haggar Fitted Mechanical Stretch Solid from time to time.

I don't know much about the fit of clothes, but it is tight enough in the shoulders that my picky wife gave it the thumbs up. And, while clinging to the more Botero-friendly aspects of my form, it allows enough room for movement that I can comfortably wear it all day. (Any day before Labor Day!)

I own some expensive luxury brand fitted shirts. I can't articulate what about the quality of this Haggar shirt doesn't live up to them. On the other hand, they lack the stain, wrinkle-resistance and thin-ness that make this a perfect shirt for wearing under a vest or your wedding suit. This certainly has *enough* quality that no one will cast a snooty glance. Or if they do, F em.


Furniture of America Bond 1-Drawer Console/Sofa Table, Black
Furniture of America Bond 1-Drawer Console/Sofa Table, Black
Price: $131.91
2 used & new from $131.91

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Nice, simple table that requires some serious assembly time, October 2, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
ASSEMBLY
The instructions are great. They are a bit optimistic in saying it takes 45 minutes to put together. The instructions are clear but certain aspects of the assembly need serious elbow grease. It took this handy man well over an hour, and I still don't feel like I got the screws in tight enough to prevent it from being wobbly. Maybe I've been spoiled by IKEA furniture, but it seems to me there is room for improvement in this area.

LOOKS
It's a nice looking piece - very simple. The curve of the legs makes it look elegant. If you have (like me) a lot of black / deep brown furniture, it will fit right in.

UTILITY
My wife and I are currently using it as a doorside table and it is handy to put mail, schoolbooks and other items that are coming or going. Don't plan on fitting too much in the drawer. It quickly filled up with pens and envelopes and stamps. The area under the table I've found is perfect for stashing an exercise ball.

OVERALL
Points off for the assembly. Very little complaint otherwise. No one is pretending this is a future Antiques Roadshow piece, but it has an attractive-but-not flashy look that suits modern design schemes.


Boombotix Boombot REX Wireless Ultraportable Weatherproof Bluetooth Speaker for iPods Smartphones Tablets and Laptops - Pitch Black (Newest Version)
Boombotix Boombot REX Wireless Ultraportable Weatherproof Bluetooth Speaker for iPods Smartphones Tablets and Laptops - Pitch Black (Newest Version)
Price: Click here to see our price
15 used & new from $39.98

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Bluetooth speaker with INSANELY GOOD battery life, September 6, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
DESIGN
Really like the style from the get-go, even the efficient, fun packaging. The compact, hexagonal design got lots of praise from the various people I showed it to. I'm not sure about having the mounting screws visible on the top rather than hiding them on the bottom, but I suppose this is part of the "please hack me" ethos of the Boombotix company.

From what I gather, this speaker actually originated out of a Kickstarter to design a Bluetooth speaker suitable for biking and other activities. The documentation includes a booklet showing handlebar mounts and other accessories that are available. (Even waterproof housing for surfing, apparently.) It comes with a clip on the back suitable for most karate belts or piano key suspenders. Seems pretty durable and lightweight compared to other Bluetooth speakers I've seen.

Drawbacks... The buttons on top can seem like they are being pressed when they are not. The charging LED light symbolism is confusing, having either an orange blinking light or a solid orange light. When you turn on the unit, the light is green briefly, then blinks blue. I would like it if the light turns green to indicate being fully charged. Or being on. Blinking blue is good for looking to pair. But otherwise It doesn't seem intuitive.

BLUETOOTH
Had no problem pairing from the get-go with my iPhone. When I had my non-tech-savvy mother try to pair, she likewise had no problem. However, trying to get it to pair back to my phone after pairing to my Mom's phone did take some doing. It works great as a "speaker phone," too.

The distance you can go is fairly far, maybe half a block, although I found it was 'line of sight'. If I went from the back yard into the house behind a wall, the connection dropped.

BATTERY LIFE
Insane. They say 8 hours of continuous use. I gave up testing after 20.

SPEAKERS
Turned all the way up, there is definite distortion and hiss. However, it all depends upon what you are comparing it to. It did a good job competing against a very loud air conditioning unit as I sat out on the back porch. The Boombotix is WAY better than trying to play through tiny phone speakers. It's no living room hi-fi, so shouldn't be compared to one.

Their website claims they make the loudest speakers, which is -- first of all -- a dubious distinction. (Cf. [[This is Spinal Tap]].) I'm pretty sure my other portable Bluetooth speaker is a hair louder, but I don't have a dB meter to prove it. In any case, I think unless you bike near loud trucks, you'll find the Boombotix volume plenty loud.

BOTTOM LINE
For people looking for a Bluetooth speaker for cycling or other active uses, this is an excellent choice. It also has a likeminded community dedicated to hacking (in the sense of improving) the product. For uses where the weight, the design or the battery life is less essential, there may be more optimal choices. I have a feeling that the next generation of the REX will also surpass this one, for those willing to wait out a product cycle. A highly impressive start from a young, hungry company.


Now Designs Set of 4 Basic Placemats, Chili
Now Designs Set of 4 Basic Placemats, Chili
Price: $19.99
2 used & new from $19.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Thinking back to the days when placemats were basic..., August 27, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
These 100% cotton, deep orangey red placemats remind me of the placemats my mother kept in a cabinet near the table and would bring out for Christmas or other occasions. I wonder if not much has changed in two decades of placemat design? I wonder if very many people use placemats any more, what with the ubiquity of couch dinners and fast meals.

In any case, these Now Designs mats are simple and attractive. The texture is as you see, imperfectly straight lines of rounded bumps, like a miniaturized field of corn before the seeds are planted. The fabric is soft -- much better than a hard tabletop for resting your elbows as you fondle the stem of a wineglass and peer deeply into the eyes of the person seated across from you.

Buying placemats won't restore the tradition of long conversations over a home-cooked meal or formal dinner parties full of laughter and flirtation. That, my friends, is up to you.


Linksys USB 3.0 Ethernet Adapter, Works with MacBook Air, Chromebook, or Ultrabook (USB3GIG)
Linksys USB 3.0 Ethernet Adapter, Works with MacBook Air, Chromebook, or Ultrabook (USB3GIG)
Price: Click here to see our price
50 used & new from $19.99

5.0 out of 5 stars USB 3 vs Lightning, which adapter is better, August 27, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I am comparing this USB 3.0 ethernet adapter to my current Apple Lightning adapter. Both work great in a plug and play manner. I did not have to switch any network settings to make the Linksys work just the same.

As far as file transfer speeds, the lightning cable appears to be faster. A 20GB file took about 3 minutes on lightning versus 5 minutes over the Linksys USB 3.0. If you are only transferring small documents, I doubt you will notice a difference.

The Linksys adapter has the advantage of a blue light that blinks to show connection (like you might see on a router). It looks pretty durable, and it has a more contoured design which make it easier to unplug the ethernet cable.

For those who have the option of these two new types of connections, I can easily recommend either as a solution to connecting to an ethernet cable / network. If speed is critical, however, the edge goes to a lightning connector.


Fellowes I-Spire Series Pencil & Phone Station, White/Gray (9381301)
Fellowes I-Spire Series Pencil & Phone Station, White/Gray (9381301)
Price: $22.46
2 used & new from $22.46

4.0 out of 5 stars Organize your desk and hold your phone, August 27, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
What improves on the standard cup or coffee mug to keep pens? This little Fellowes desktop item is a good start. It's handy to have a cradle for a smart phone, and it's nice to have some opacity to see what is in the cup, and to have a shallow tray for paper clips and other things that usually get buried at the bottom. The cradle fits an iPhone 5 with a chunky case, and will probably hold most standard cell phones. If you have a larger "phablet" sized phone, then check the dimensions before buying.

Minus one half star for styling. It's subjective, but the leaning angle and the grey and white plastic don't do much for me.

Minus another half star for not solving what to do about the power cord. In the case of the iPhone, there is room to snake a cable up under the cup for charging. But there is no way to hold the cable in place once unplugged, risking it falling back under the desk. I suppose you could tape it to the bottom of the cup or twist-tie it on, but some may prefer a more elegant solution.


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