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J. Gates' Profile

Customer Reviews: 13
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Helpful Votes: 56

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STICKY HOLSTER Small - Medium Autos up to 3.5" barrel. IWB or Pocket (MD-1)
STICKY HOLSTER Small - Medium Autos up to 3.5" barrel. IWB or Pocket (MD-1)
Offered by Clever Training
Price: $24.95
4 used & new from $24.95

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars exactly the deep-carry system i've been looking for, July 2, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
My Kahr PM9 fits this holster perfect as a glove, and the pistol+holster tucks away very comfortably and securely in my waistband, either behind my hip or in the 2 o'clock "appendix carry" position. I tried a Remora and found the material used too thick and stiff to stay in position for long; this is absolutely perfect.

Timbuk2 Showdown Laptop Backpack, One-Size, Carbon Ripstop/Carbon/Carbon Ripstop
Timbuk2 Showdown Laptop Backpack, One-Size, Carbon Ripstop/Carbon/Carbon Ripstop
Price: Click here to see our price

4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent for light-packing commuters, May 4, 2014
The Showdown has replaced the Timbuk2 Q as my primary everyday-carry/commuting/urban road-warrior pack. It excels in this role, as long as you pack fairly light. I'm able to fit a 15.6" Dell laptop, AC adapter power brick, Kindle e-reader, toiletry kit, several file folders of paperwork, and assorted odds-and-ends (pens, tea bags, sunglasses, Leatherman multi-tool, etc) without difficulty. As advertised, there are numerous pockets, nooks and crannies to organize your smallish gear items. Capacity-wise, I find this bag to be roughly analogous to a small briefcase, just with better carry options.

The Showdown's shoulder straps handle additional weight well, but if you need to carry much else than what I described above in terms of bulk, you'd be better served by a larger pack like Timbuk2's Uptown or The North Face Surge II.

The only negatives I can find are fairly minor. When placed on the floor, the bag will not stand upright without leaning against a wall or chair leg, which is a hassle. Also, the small iPad/e-reader pocket is nestled deep inside the laptop compartment and is a simple fabric and foam divider sewn into the bottom and sides into the compartment wall, creating an open-top pocket. When sliding my laptop into the compartment, the opening of this small pocket tends to pop outward (especially if the main compartment is stuffed full), which impedes my laptop from sliding smoothly in. Adding a zipper or strip of Velcro to securely close the top of this small iPad pocket (and/or redesigning the bag so this pocket is mounted inside the larger main compartment) would rectify this.

Mophie Juice Pack Plus for iPhone 5s/5 - Retail Packaging - Black
Mophie Juice Pack Plus for iPhone 5s/5 - Retail Packaging - Black
Price: $79.99
56 used & new from $32.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Works as advertised, but a few pesky design flaws, November 23, 2013
+ Solid build quality, fit & finish. I couldn't find any errant moulding seams along the outside of the case, and it slides easily and fits snugly on my iPhone 5 without rattles or creaks.
+ The on/off switch for the external battery is very helpful, as it allows me to maximize overall life by only powering the phone when needed.
+ Mophie applied a soft-touch exterior finish to the outside of the case. Combined with the extra bulk, this significantly enhances tactile grip on the device (though I'm kind of a klutz...)
+ I didn't measure this rigorously, but the extra battery life seems to work as advertised (PRO-TIP: Put your iPhone in Airplane Mode while using the Juice Pack to charge the internal battery; your phone will charge about twice as fast)
+ With the case on, the external speaker actually sounds better (to my ears at least)! It seems that the case redirects the sound waves toward the front, instead of out the bottom, and the result is better sound quality. They mentioned it in the user manual, but I thought it was just marketing.

- I frequently tether my iPhone's cellular data connection to my laptop via USB cable, and I was unable get this to work through the case's micro-USB connector. Of course, I could just tether using Bluetooth or remove the bottom of the case and use a standard Lightning-to-USB cable. However, for convenience's sake, it would have been nice if Mophie provided a Lightning pass-through on both sides, especially since Apple has already forced us to invest in Lightning cables for our iPhones and iPads. I'm not sure if this is an Apple licensing issue, technical challenges with the proprietary Lightning connector, and/or the engineers got lazy, but the limited functionality of the bottom connector port is a drag.
- The bottom of the case occludes the headphone port. Mophie's solution was to include an adapter/short extension cable to go between your headphone jack and the iPhone's headphone port. This is functional enough, but is janky and frankly a pain in the rear to use. It would have been much better if they built a headphone port extension into the case itself, much like they did the Lightning connector.
- The aforementioned soft-touch finish collects a ridiculous amount of body oils and fingerprints. This is an aesthetic quibble, not a functional problem, but there you go.

* The case adds about 0.5-inch of height and almost 2x the thickness, compared to the "naked" iPhone 5. I can still carry it in my front pants pocket without issue, but this extra bulk could be a problem if you wear skinny jeans.
* If you charge the Juice Pack case with your iPhone still inside, Mophie claims that both the internal iPhone battery and the external Juice Pack battery will charge simultaneously. However, my experience is that it prioritizes filling up the internal iPhone battery first, then fills up the Juice Pack.

Not perfect, but still highly recommended.

No Title Available

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Order one size BIGGER than your usual, September 27, 2013
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I won't rehash what the vast majority of reviewers have already said about the build quality and style of this jacket. It's a classic, rock-solid Carhartt. Period. Note that the dark brown coloring is much darker in real-life than the pictures might lead you to believe.

However, the sizing on this jacket is more than a little bizarre. I'm a recent Carhartt convert (my only other purchase was a Carhartt Men's Edlin Jacket), so I'm not sure how their sizing corresponds across their various product lines. With that said, because the medium regular-size Edlin jacket fits me perfectly with just enough breathing room (I'm built fairly compact: 5' 8", 165 lbs, wear 34x30 jeans) and all my Columbia Sportswear jackets and coats are mediums, I expected that a medium regular in the Sierra jacket would have a similar fit. WRONG! Zipping up felt like putting on an extremely warm straightjacket. The sleeve and overall lengths were sufficient, but my chest and upper arms just didn't have enough room to move freely. Plus, all I had on underneath was a t-shirt, so layering was out of the question. I've exchanged this for a large regular, updated report to follow; watch this space.

Logitech M510 Wireless Mouse
Logitech M510 Wireless Mouse
Price: $25.17
93 used & new from $15.95

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "Holy Grail" mouse, July 16, 2013
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Over the past three years, I've used the M510 for countless hours of internet browsing, first-person shooter gaming and spreadsheet-crunching, and I've yet to find any other mouse that works better for me. I purchased my first M510 while I was an undergraduate college student, which I still use at home, now augmented by two others (one at work for my laptop docking station, one spare), in addition to the dozen I've ordered for everyone in my office.

The overall shape is fantastic (even in my smallish hands), providing the palm support that so many portable-sized mice lack. The rubberized coating on the sides is just tacky enough to provide good grip during extended use, but doesn't ever get in the way. The gray plastic top shell on my 2009 vintage M510 has a glossy finish that tends to get slippery if your palms sweat; the matte finish on my newer dark blue model is much better. The left- and right-click buttons are a little spongy-feeling but still provide positive aural and tactile feedback. The scroll wheel/middle-click operates exactly how you'd expect (roll the wheel to scroll in detented increments; push down on the wheel for middle-click), which is perfect for me (Logitech's pricier mice have such superfluous nonsense as switchable frictionless scrolling and a discrete middle-click button that is completely separate from the scroll wheel; none of that here!). The Back and Forward buttons (on the left side of the mouse, used by one's thumb) are positioned a smidge too far toward the front of the mouse for my liking, but I imagine it works great for larger-handed folks.

The tiny Unifying USB receiver is ingenious. Not only is it small enough to permanently leave in my laptop's USB port, it lets me seamlessly use the same receiver with different Logitech mice at my home, office and in my travel bag. Once your compatible mice are paired to the receiver (a one-time process using Logitech's Unifying software), just switch on the mouse and you're in business! Also, range is excellent (i've used it as an impromptu wireless presenter at 30+ feet and it worked fine) and I've never encountered interference or reception problems.

The M510 uses a "high performance laser", which I presume is one step below Logitech's flagship Darkfield laser technology. Nevertheless, tracking has been excellent and very accurate for my purposes (though I still use and prefer a mousepad), though the battery-saving autosleep function causes a momentary hesitation in tracking if the mouse has been inactive for a few minutes, which is set up a bit aggressively for my liking. The flipside is that battery life is outstanding; I honestly cannot remember when I replaced the batteries in any of my M510s.

While the M510 is not absolutely perfect for me, it's the closest I've found to mousing perfection thus far. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

elago S5 Glide Case for iPhone 5/5S - eco friendly Retail Packaging (Soft Feeling Jean Indigo)
elago S5 Glide Case for iPhone 5/5S - eco friendly Retail Packaging (Soft Feeling Jean Indigo)
Offered by elago design
Price: $12.99
2 used & new from $12.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not perfect, but pretty good for its intended purpose, February 19, 2013
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I bought the elago breathe before purchasing this. It was a good case overall, but the snap-on design left the top and bottom of the iPhone 5's aluminum bezel exposed, which was then susceptible to unsightly scratches and wear, even with gentle handling (this is a critique of the iPhone design, not the case, and is more a cosmetic niggle than a real functional issue).

I've found that the full wraparound design of the glide case fully covers the aluminum bezel (both concealing scratches already present and protecting against future wear), while retaining the slim profile, understated design, and soft-touch grip that I liked so much about the breathe.

However, the case isn't perfect. The cutout for the headphone port is a bit too small for use with bulkier jacks. There are some raised seams along the sides from the molding process and the bottom piece doesn't fit perfectly flush with the rest of the case. Finally, despite the soft-touch finish, this case is still a bit more slippery in the hand than i'd prefer. However, it is still light years better than trying to operate the naked iPhone.

Like I mentioned in my elago breathe review, these types of cases are not flak jackets for your smartphone. However, if you're careful with your gadgets and need a classy, low-profile case, these are a great option.

elago S5 Breathe Case for iPhone 5/5S - eco friendly Retail Packaging - Soft Feeling Dark Gray
elago S5 Breathe Case for iPhone 5/5S - eco friendly Retail Packaging - Soft Feeling Dark Gray
Offered by elago design
Price: $7.99
3 used & new from $7.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Compact and just grippy enough, just don't expect a tank, February 8, 2013
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
My iPhone case doesn't need to withstand bullets, dust storms, atmospheric re-entry or attacking ninjas sent by an evil genius. I need a case because in my hands, the iPhone's physical design is seriously fumble-prone. Don't get me wrong, from an aesthetic point of view the iPhone is a fantastically minimalist and beautifully sleek piece of industrial art. But in terms of raw ergonomics in the hand, the thing is slicker than fresh deer guts.

That said, this case's "soft feeling" exterior is just tacky enough to give my hands decent purchase, but doesn't stick to my pants pocket or collect lint like those ubiquitous silicone/rubber skins. Additionally, the perforations of the "Breathe" model are both stylistically cool and slightly improve grip. I am also impressed with how little bulk this case adds to the device. Time will tell whether this thin plastic will hold up without chipping or cracking, but for now it's fantastic. In pocket or in hand, it doesn't feel much different than a naked iPhone. Initial fit and finish was excellent; the case readily snapped onto my black iPhone 5 with no wiggle or play in any direction.

This case offers very little protection to the front, top and bottom of the phone (though this is mostly inherent to the snap-on design). Also, the dark gray color depicted on the manufacturer's website and Amazon's product page is different from the color of the case I received. The pictures available online suggest a cooler, almost gunmetal gray, but the case I received is a much warmer and lighter charcoal gray with just a tinge of brown. It's a decent color on its own merits, but it doesn't quite match the black iPhone in the way I'd hoped.

For the iPhone-wielding masses, I would probably recommend the elago Glide or the Otterbox Commuter series over this model (or any of the snap-on types). However, this is an extremely well-designed case that puts compactness ahead of ultimate protection. Just identify your needs for a case and tailor your expectations accordingly.

Kershaw Skyline Knife with Textured Black G-10 Handle
Kershaw Skyline Knife with Textured Black G-10 Handle
Price: $40.72
73 used & new from $32.00

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Skyline: Home-run EDC, April 18, 2011
This is an outstanding EDC knife, and should be perfect for any general purpose task you might throw at it. The blade itself is hollow-ground and of a drop-point design, measuring out at 3-1/8". It cuts like an evil villain's laser beams out of the box (absolutely shaving sharp), and the hollow grind makes the Skyline an outstanding slicer. The blade is fairly thin, which lends itself nicely to precision cutting work, but may not be well-suited to harder-use tasks like a saber-ground Spyderco Delica/Endura 4 might. The blade is made from 14C28N stainless steel, and holds its edge quite well. I've carried this knife continuously for about a month now and used it every day (mostly opening packages and cutting lots of food), and it only once needed a few swipes across the fine stones on my Spyderco sharpmaker to bring it back to paper-slicing, hair-popping sharpness. The blade had some minor cosmetic scuffing and wear near the pivot at delivery, but was otherwise flawless.

Unlike many of Kershaw's offerings, the Skyline is NOT an assisted-opening design. However, it doesn't really need it. A firm push inward on the flipper brings out and locks the blade. There are also dual thumbstuds on the blade, but these are difficult to access because they are situated almost flush to the handles/scales when the knife is closed. The pivot action is buttery smooth and offers just enough resistance (so you won't slice fingers off trying to close the knife one-handed) and the locking liner is rock-solid: absolutely no wiggle in the blade in any direction.

The scales are made of medium-textured G-10, which is grippy enough to inspire confidence. The G-10 material is well-machined, with no sharp points or surfaces along any of the handle contours. The deep finger choil makes controlling the knife quite easy, and adds confidence in handling the knife. The pocket clip is repositionable for tip-up or tip-down carry (right hand only), and is quite rigid and tight (which works fine with great pocket retention in my jeans, but might cause some fabric wear over time with other materials). The knife weighs 2.6 ounces, and is so slim and light that in terms of overall pocketability, I often forget that I am carrying this knife (until I need it).

Kershaw hit a home-run with the Skyline. It is well-constructed, comfortable, and extremely good at its intended purpose. The fact that it is $35 and made in the United States is icing on the cake. If you're in the market for a lightweight ~3" folding blade, and aren't bothered by the flipper opening design, this knife seriously deserves your consideration.

Kershaw Ken Onion Black Blur Folding Knife with Speed Safe
Kershaw Ken Onion Black Blur Folding Knife with Speed Safe
Offered by Outfitter Country
Price: $51.81
80 used & new from $51.81

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Kershaw Blur: Recommended, January 7, 2011
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
+ Comes razor sharp and locks up solidly
+ Confidence-inspiring grippy handle material
+ Versatile blade shape (lots of belly, useful serrations)

- Grippy handle material and robust pocket clip can chew up your pants
- Decidedly NOT a discreet, low-profile knife

VERDICT: A bit too big for an on-person daily carry blade, but still extremely useful. Recommended.

Picking up the Kershaw Blur, the first thing I notice is the outstanding grip afforded by the Trac-Tec (Kershaw marketing-speak for hard textured rubber) handle inserts. This knife is not going to slip out of your hand, no matter what the conditions. The assisted-opening mechanism is smooth as glass, snapping the blade open swiftly with a satisfying "thwack!" as I nudge the thumbstud. The blade locks up solidly, with zero wiggle or movement in any direction, which in my experience is the expected norm for all Kershaw folding knives.

So far, I've used my Blur to cut up chicken, open boxes, and remove an errant thread from my jeans, tasks it accomplished with ease. The edge has a versatile shape with a nice belly and comes absolutely hair-popping sharp out of the box. However, I cannot speak to blade's edge retention characteristics, as I've only owned the knife for three days. It's also worth noting that the stout blade design (both thick and broad from edge to spine) precludes the knife's use in finer, more detailed applications (cutting fruit and peeling vegetables, for instance). This has more to do with the intended purpose of the knife, not a design flaw in any way, but I still found myself reaching for my SOG Flash I or Kershaw Skyline for these tasks.

The combination of an especially tight pocket clip and the aforementioned grippy handle inserts have the tendency of ripping up pants pockets. It retains extremely well when clipped to the pocket, but after just three days of carry, my right front pants pocket seam is starting to disintegrate. Your mileage may vary (perhaps you have better pants than I), but my Blur is destined to live in my backpack as a secondary knife for this and another reason: lack of people-friendliness.

The long, blackened, partially-serrated blade on the Kershaw Blur will not win any popularity contests with non-knife people (NKP). As a university student, I get nervous stares whenever I pull out my daily carry knife (either a SOG Flash I or Kershaw Skyline) to open a package. Not ten seconds later though, one of the same staring NKP will sheepishly ask to borrow my knife to open their own package. No matter how many times I repeat my mantra (knives are tools, not weapons) and how much discretion I employ when using my knife, their collective fear of sharp objects persists. Their fear is illogical in my eyes, but it's not my intent to scare people (and I really don't want them calling the campus police on me), so the Blur will live out of sight. However, because I believe in always having a spare, the Blur will stay in my backpack.

Kershaw Leek Knife with G10 Handle
Kershaw Leek Knife with G10 Handle

20 of 26 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Amazing knife, but it'll tear up your pockets, November 23, 2010
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Standing on its own merits, this is an outstanding knife. The premium S30V blade comes absolutely razor sharp out of the box, the speedsafe assisted opening action is extremely quick, it locks up like a bank vault with NO blade wiggle in any direction, and the ergonomics are excellent; it feels like a natural extension of my hand.

I want to love the Kershaw Leek. I really do. It's like the big brother to the Kershaw Chive, which has been my faithful EDC companion for at least four years now. But I've been through three different Leeks, and there's always been a dealbreaker. I first bought the standard stainless Leek, and the smooth handle was slicker than deer guts. I always felt like it would slip out of my hands and go flying blade-first who-knows-where.

I tried the anodized blue smoked Leek, which was probably the most handsome knife I've ever handled. Problem: The handle texture felt like a chalkboard on my fingers. Ugh.

On this one, the G-10 handles are extremely grippy, which is wonderful for when you're actually using the knife. Problem: the G-10 material plus the tight pocket clip just tore up my jeans pockets after just two days of carrying the knife. On a related note, it took way too much effort (in my opinion) to get the clip reattached to my pocket, also due to the crazy-grippy G-10. I'm a college student; I certainly don't whip out my knife more than three or four times a day for the usual mundane EDC tasks (opening packages, cutting mystery meat at the cafeteria, etc), but my pockets still bear scars of this knife.

Call me picky/difficult/ridiculous, but this Leek just didn't work for me as an everyday carry knife. Many others have been very happy with this knife (as evidenced by all the positive reviews), but it just wasn't my cup of tea. If only Kershaw made the Leek with FRN/zytel handles like they do the that might just make me happy. You might not agree, but for what it's worth...
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Aug 9, 2011 6:44 AM PDT

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