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Profile for Leif Sheppard > Reviews


Leif Sheppard's Profile

Customer Reviews: 139
Top Reviewer Ranking: 70,143
Helpful Votes: 2805

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Seagate 2TB Desktop Gaming SSHD(Solid State Hybrid Drive) SATA 6Gb/s 64MB Cache 3.5-Inch Internal Bare Drive (ST2000DX001)
Seagate 2TB Desktop Gaming SSHD(Solid State Hybrid Drive) SATA 6Gb/s 64MB Cache 3.5-Inch Internal Bare Drive (ST2000DX001)
Price: $89.99
114 used & new from $62.00

0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic Hard Drive, October 17, 2013
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
As far as hard drives go, a solid state drive is the standard to shoot for. I've been wanting to upgrade for some time now to try one out and I couldn't be more pleased. It's quite fast, a massive 2TB size, and it's at a good price point. I use this as a secondary drive and perhaps would be more effective in tandem with another solid state drive, but performs admirably on its own.

Jabra VOX Corded Stereo Headphones
Jabra VOX Corded Stereo Headphones
Offered by gogreendeals
Price: $59.98
4 used & new from $59.98

4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Jabra Vox Headphones, March 27, 2013
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Let me first state I am not a fan of earbuds, I've previously tossed them out from any product that came with them and used more traditional outer-ear headphones. I've found earbuds often have inferior sound quality, tend to fall out of the ear, and just generally feel uncomfortable nestled within the ear canal. But the outer-ear variety are often large, clunky pieces and the felt speaker coverings tend to itch the ears after a time. So lately I've been itching (see what I did there) to give the earbuds another go and this attractive offering from Jabra seemed a perfect opportunity.

First of all, I found the fit within the ear tight enough to remain firmly entrenched in its place but contoured enough to feel relatively comfortable. It comes with three different sizes of gel earbuds to find the perfect fit as well. The earbuds also come with the unique ability to integrate with the iPhone to receive calls through them, as well as operate the music using a multi-function button on the cord. This is an outstanding feature if you're jogging or otherwise exercising. Another nice bonus is an included code for the Jabra app, which promises the "full Dolby experience tailored to your Jabra headphones." The app imports your music and corrects the single greatest grievance I've had against earbuds - the fact that they're often weak on deep, bassy sounds.

To run the gamut of sounds I chose a diverse selection of songs and tested them with and without the app. I'm pleased to say these earbuds have a rich deep sound on the bassy ends as well as crisp clarity on the high ends, particularly when your music is filtered through the Jabra app. To be clear, music sounds just fine without the app, it simply adds an extra kick and clarity to what is already there. The color scheme is an attractive yellow/grey and it has an equalizer for fine tuning your sounds. I also like the browsing screen which has your songs/albums appear as if they're CDs on a shelf.

To top it all off, the product ships with a nice protective bag for the earbuds. Going forward these are the headphones to beat. They're compact, sound great, fit within the ear comfortably, and the added iPhone functionality and Jabra app are just great bonuses. The price point is a bit steep, but very often good quality costs good money, and I can without fear of hyperbole say these are the greatest earbuds I've ever had the pleasure of using. Recommended.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Apr 4, 2013 4:09 PM PDT

Coast HP3 LED Universal Focusing 105 Lumen Penlight
Coast HP3 LED Universal Focusing 105 Lumen Penlight
Price: $27.58
14 used & new from $27.57

4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent flashlight with a few caveats, March 6, 2013
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
In my capacity as an appliance technician, a small and powerful flashlight is a necessity. Prior to receiving this Coast HP3 flashlight, I've exclusively used Streamlight products. I was initially attracted to the 80 lumens the HP3 offers, as opposed to the 48 the Streamlight Stylus Pro offers, but I found the HP3 really doesn't feel nearly twice as bright. I'd rather stick with 48, because the Stylus Pro offers roughly six hours of battery time as compared to the mere two the HP3 receives. As far as lumen power, I feel the Stylus Pro can go head to head with the HP3 at full battery power. I just couldn't see a discernible difference.

What also interested me in this Coast model was the ability to change from a wide beam to a focused beam with a twist of the tip. The wide beam is a wonderful feature and the best reason to consider a Coast light, but it's also slightly larger and less balanced than the Stylus Pro - not to mention considerably more expensive. It does, however, appear to be more durable. I broke one Stylus Pro by dropping it a few feet onto an asphalt surface, so since I received this model for free, I did a bit of amateur durability testing and dropped the HP3 onto a concrete surface several times. I concede this sort of exercise is largely pointless, as your mileage will always vary, but I'm pleased to report that in my experience the light still works fine. Ultimately, the Coast HP3 is a fine product, but I'm not completely sold on it. There are comparable lights that cost considerably less and feel just as bright. It's only worth the plunge if you feel 80 lumens and a wide/narrow beam focus feature is worth the extra expense.

Oster BCCG08-C 6-Cup 8-Speed Blender
Oster BCCG08-C 6-Cup 8-Speed Blender

3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A fine entry level blender, March 6, 2013
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This budget priced Oster blender is perfect for casual home use, particularly to mix the occasional drink, and though it struggles occasionally with frozen items thus far it's tackled every task I've given it. The blender is an attractive brushed nickel finish with a glass jar, and the motor is rated at 450 watts. The box proclaims the controls are "ergonomic" but, yeah, they're just buttons. I'm pretty sure whatever advances in button ergonomics there were to be made were mastered hundreds of years ago. The blender features eight settings: Pulse, Ice Crush, Mix, Chop, Puree, Smoothie, Milkshake, and Liquefy, in addition to Low and High settings. In summation, this is a fine budget priced blender that takes up little counter space and offers admirable performance. Recommended.

The Master
The Master
DVD ~ Philip Seymour Hoffman
Offered by twilightmedia
Price: $8.33
70 used & new from $0.01

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A rare misfire from P.T. Anderson, March 6, 2013
This review is from: The Master (DVD)
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
In a nutshell, THE MASTER tells the story of Freddie Quell (Joaquin Phoenix), a strange alcoholic so consumed with sexual desire it borders on deviancy, who hobbles through his rather miserable existence with all the grace of a hunchback. A World War II veteran of the Pacific conflict, Quell ruins two post-war jobs because of his penchant for alcohol before stumbling aboard a ship while, you guessed it, inebriated. This ship happens to be owned (or, perhaps, commandeered) by Lancaster Dodd (Phillip Seymour Hoffman), a man every bit as odd as Quell, but significantly more charismatic and self-aware. I hesitate to use the term "intelligent", because that all becomes somewhat relative when you consider Dodd is the leader and mastermind behind a nutty cult he's dubbed "The Cause". Dodd sees an opportunity in Quell, to both treat the troubled man with his unorthodox methods and simultaneously reap the benefits of Quell's habit of making rotgut beverages.

This isn't a film I would recommend for the narrative, because apart from an excellent first act, the film devolves into something meandering and frustratingly obtuse. Lengthy explorations of Dodd's 'therapy' for Quell are broken by the occasional assault Quell carries out on Dodd's critics, and apart from that the narrative is threadbare, choosing to focus on Dodd's Cause movement and the exploits of his collective, or lack thereof. Because by exploits, I mean squatting at the homes of people taken in by Dodd's charlatanism. There are some truly fantastic scenes, including a particularly articulate critic who confronts Dodd at a social gathering, but as the film moves along these become fewer until the last half hour is a bit of a slog. There are flashes of interesting characters, including one of Dodd's obsequious followers who begins to question The Cause, but this is never really explored. The film instead remains entrenched in detailing the odd relationship between Dodd and Quell to the very end.

This is a film to watch solely for the performances by the cast as they are uniformly excellent. The cinematography is beautiful and the production design is superlative, but I found the score grating and often intrusive. The film would have been better served by nixing the score and leaving the wonderfully selected licensed music tracks. THE MASTER succeeds in that it's a challenging arthouse film, but unfortunately it's also weightless and largely forgettable, and a rare misfire from director P.T. Anderson. But a misfire from Anderson is still superior to most. Worth a rental.

Risen 2: Dark Waters - Complete Package - Playstation 3 (Special Edition)
Risen 2: Dark Waters - Complete Package - Playstation 3 (Special Edition)
69 used & new from $15.48

4 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Risen 2: Dark Waters, August 19, 2012
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I've never played the first Risen title, nor any title from Piranha Bytes (perhaps best known for the Gothic franchise), but I did read extensively the mediocre to negative reviews about the PC version of Risen 2, released several months prior to the console versions. Still, the promise of a pirate-themed RPG proved too alluring to pass up, so I placed my PS3 pre-order without hesitation. Risen 2 is certainly flawed at times, rough around the edges and occasionally frustrating, but I can unreservedly say it was worth every penny nonetheless.

The bones of the game follows the structure of almost any RPG, apart from the fact you cannot customize your character. You explore the islands, fighting men and monster alike, earning gold and accumulating items to use or sell. Talking to everyone you meet is important, and picking up anything not nailed down is always the best policy. The game rewards you for exploration, with loot and items hidden away in the nooks and crannies of the world. The interface where you access your inventory, quest log, and skills is very attractive and well laid out. Completing quests or slaying foes rewards glory points, which you use to upgrade your characters skills, which can also be upgraded by paying trainers. The graphics are mostly beautiful and nicely evoke the scenery of sunny tropical islands.

The voice acting is nothing to write home about, but it's serviceable and certainly not the worst I've heard. And while the writing won't win any awards either, it has a strong sense of humor pervading the proceedings which is highly entertaining. The game is not for the young, however, as it features strong language throughout. But rough and tumble pirates should have a colorful vocabulary, right? Companions will follow you from time to time, assisting with combat and sometimes even performing tasks for you. Fortunately they cannot die, they merely fall unconscious once their health is depleted and rise again once all the enemies are dealt with.

Still, as attractive as the graphics are, they could've been so much better with a bit more polish. Texture pop-in rears its head every now and then, especially during cutscenes, and overall the textures should look a bit sharper. Combat, however, is the major sticking point of the title. I still found it to be fun, but the clumsy manner in which many features were implemented can be quite frustrating. Your parry skill works well against humans wielding melee weapons, but is useless against creatures. Swordplay essentially amounts to a button-mashing exercise, with only a handful of alternate moves at your disposal. The camera can also be unwieldy during combat, as it must be manually moved instead of staying on your back and proves distracting. Thankfully the game includes three difficulty levels which reduces the amount of frustration. And not for nothing, but while your character looks fine when walking or sprinting, the animation for running is hilariously awful.

All of this didn't particularly bother me, I still found the game beautiful and the combat mostly fun, but I point these things out because gamers should realize this is not Skyrim or Dragon Age. This title is on the level of Game of Thrones or Two Worlds II (both of which I also happen to love). Personally, I found the most frustrating aspect of the game to be the traps scattered about the world. They are impossible to detect and mean instant death if you miss the split-second quicktime event. It wouldn't be as irritating if they were relegated to caves and tombs, as you expect to meet such traps in those places, but instead they're also scattered about the gameworld at random. Thankfully, however, traps are somewhat rare.

So yes, Risen 2 delivers on its promise of a pirate-themed RPG, but gamers need realize this will not have the polish of a Bioware or Bethesda title. Regardless, I had just as much fun with this one. It's a blast to explore the islands, the interface is user-friendly and easy to navigate, the graphics are pretty, and it never gets old to unearth a chest brimming at the seams with treasure. Personally I even found the combat fun, despite its issues. The Special Edition PS3 version also ships with two DLC packs, a poster with a promotional image on one side and a map on the other, and a helpful 40-page manual. As always, your mileage will vary, but I for one hope this isn't the last PS3 release we see from Pirahna Bytes.
Comment Comments (5) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 7, 2013 4:30 PM PST

Tide PODS HE Laundry Detergent - Spring Meadow - 40 ct
Tide PODS HE Laundry Detergent - Spring Meadow - 40 ct
Offered by Kimeco
Price: $17.88
7 used & new from $12.95

5.0 out of 5 stars Tide Detergent Pods, March 31, 2012
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
After washing roughly a dozen loads with Tide Pods, I've been quite impressed with their performance, to the extent that going forward these are probably going to replace the liquid detergent I've been using for years. For starters, the pricing works out roughly the same. I get about the same amount of laundry loads with the pods as I did with liquid detergent and the cost difference is negligible. It is important, however, for first time users to follow the (extremely simple) directions, which basically consist of tossing in the pod first before loading. The first load I washed I merely glanced at the directions, loaded the washer and then tossed in the pod. Apparently the pod rested on a pants leg and dissolved there, causing a stiff slightly-miscolored spot (that washed away entirely in the next cycle). I reversed the method with every subsequent wash and haven't had any problems since. The pod dissolves completely as it should and the clothes are left with as nice a scent as any other conventional detergent. Definitely recommended.

How Your House Works: A Visual Guide to Understanding and Maintaining Your Home, Updated and Expanded
How Your House Works: A Visual Guide to Understanding and Maintaining Your Home, Updated and Expanded
by Charles Wing
Edition: Paperback
Price: $15.23
74 used & new from $10.67

100 of 116 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars How Your House Works: A Visual Guide, March 31, 2012
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
What's problematic about DIY guides is that they're either much too technical for the laymen it purports to be written for, or the text leans to the other end of the spectrum and ends up an overly-simplified outline of the subject, never quite diving deep enough into the material. "How Your House Works" falls into the latter category, as the text covers a wide range of material but never rests long enough on one topic to be of much use. The subtitle "A visual guide to understanding and maintaining your home" is also somewhat misleading because the book offers much more in the way of 'understanding' and precious little in the way of 'maintaining'. However, the book is wonderfully packed with illustrations detailing how several dozen devices within your home operate. The maintenance and troubleshooting suggestions are relegated to a box on the side of the page. The material within those boxes range from utterly useless to reasonably helpful.

While I can understand how a dishwasher works, that still leaves me far from knowing how to maintain one. The brief tips on troubleshooting and maintenance are often helpful only to a small degree. The text recommends dishwasher owners periodically "Remove the spray arms and clean the spray holes" without offering help as to exactly how to clean them. There are a myriad of ways to do this, with some methods being significantly more effective than others, and the text often lacks clear detail in these areas. Other tips are even less helpful, such as "Make sure you are using dishwasher detergent, not dishwashing detergent". If that's your problem, toss the book in the trash and leave your home maintenance/repair to your local repair shops. In fact, perhaps you should hand wash your dishes.

Those buying this book expecting a "how it works" overview of a range of household items will be well pleased. But those buying this book based on the subtitle expecting detailed and extensive help in home maintenance are bound to be disappointed. That said, the book is still a good starting point for those interested in DIY home maintenance, as the text does give the reader a solid idea of how many things within the home operate. It just could have been so much more.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: May 31, 2015 10:33 AM PDT

Swingline Auto Feed Paper Shredder, 80 Sheets, Cross-Cut, 1 User, Personal, Stack-and-Shred 80X (1757574)
Swingline Auto Feed Paper Shredder, 80 Sheets, Cross-Cut, 1 User, Personal, Stack-and-Shred 80X (1757574)
Price: $174.99
31 used & new from $157.49

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Swingline 80x Shredder, February 22, 2012
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I selected this shredder for home use, as I've often considered obtaining one to shred junk mail and assorted personal documents. The auto-feed feature is a nice one and more often than not it works quite well. It's as easy as inserting your papers, closing the lid, and the shredder does the rest while you perform another task. It occasionally struggles with mail, particularly credit card documents (which tend to be much longer than the standard 8.5" X 11" paper size). Tearing oversized paper into smaller portions often works, though still the machine occasionally attempts to pull too many sheets into the shredder and jams. With that in mind, manual feeding is the way to go for oversized papers, though naturally it takes a bit longer to do so.

Folded papers, such as those from envelopes, can cause jams if not properly flattened prior to feeding. Envelopes themselves are best discarded separately. I've used shredders which could manage an entire letter, unopened envelope and all, but this unit chokes on even quite thin letters - though it shreds credit cards without issue. I'm happy to report that, at the very least, every jam I managed to inflict on the shredder was easily resolved by the reverse switch.

The manual claims the machine can run for 8-9 minutes straight before overheating, though I don't feel compelled to test this. Speaking of the manual, it's a 22 page combination English/French/Spanish manual, though there are only about 7 pages of relevant material that covers some solid troubleshooting suggestions, general use tips, and safety rules. It indicates oil sheets inserted in the manual feed slot are the only method to lubricate the machine. A separate included piece of paper functions as a quick-use guide and recommends using the auto-feed bin for most everyday jobs, while the manual feed is intended for heavily folded or crumpled paper, glossy sheets, thicker paper, and legal size documents. Also included is a single, sealable recyclable paper waste bag, though I find it easier to simply dump the bin myself.

Overall this is an excellent shredder and performs as advertised. For its current price point I expected the shredder to be a bit more powerful, but with a little extra effort on the users part the machine will most often perform wonderfully. For those curious about the size of the unit, this should provide a good idea:

Length when facing unit: 11.3"
Width unit side: 17"
Height of unit: 15.5"

Bowflex BodyTower
Bowflex BodyTower
Price: $240.52
13 used & new from $239.16

10 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bowflex Bodytower, February 9, 2012
This review is from: Bowflex BodyTower (Sports)
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Having become accustomed to the simplistic but effective Iron Gym pull-up bar, this Bowflex Bodytower arrived as a welcome replacement. Assembly of the unit was relatively easy and took about an hour, but it could be possibly shorter with two people. The tools needed to assemble are included and only a box knife is needed to open the box and extract the nuts and bolts from their plastic-covered cardboard backing. The box includes both an Assembly Manual and an Owner's Manual in English, separate manuals in French, and the option to view the Spanish manuals at the company's website. The Owner's Manual includes safety information, a few pages of general workout tips, a muscle chart, and nine pages of suggested exercises (most of which include illustrative images). Exercises include push-ups at various elevations, chin-ups, supine rows, and the triceps dip.

Though the Bodytower is primarily interested in upper body workouts, the unit does allow for assistance with crunches and calf raises. As others have mentioned here, the unit will most likely feel slightly undersized for those over six feet all. I'm 6'3" and the unit is entirely functional though I imagine I'd be a bit more comfortable with a slightly larger unit. Regardless, the Bodytower is an excellent home gym addition for those interested in increasing upper body strength. It's well constructed for the low price point and offers a myriad of different exercises. I've used the Bodytower for several hours and have yet to find an outright negative. Definitely recommended.

Unit Specifications:
Front of Unit Length: 49.7"
Side of Unit Length: 51.2"
Unit Height: 76.9"
Max User Weight: 300 lbs.

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