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Pioneer SP-BS22-LR Andrew Jones Designed Bookshelf Loudspeakers
Pioneer SP-BS22-LR Andrew Jones Designed Bookshelf Loudspeakers
Price: $86.99
20 used & new from $64.99

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars BS22 are Superb as Near Field Speakers - Better than the Classic Rogers BBC mini-monitors, May 9, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I have 3 good sets of bookshelf speakers - Ascend Acoustics CBM 170 SE, Hsu Labs HB-1 (not the Mk II's), and these Pioneers.

Initially I set these up to run with our TV off a Class D amp, audio sourced from an Apple TV or Amazon Fire TV. I was not satisfied with the sound. They seemed "clean" enough but bass thin. A friend who is an audiophile assured me these Pioneers have good bass so I decided to switch out the Ascends from my computer to the TV, and bring these to the computer. At the computer I take the audio off my Mac Mini (playing mostly iTunes Match current quality compressed audio) fed through a Topping TP60 Class D amp. Not high end, but nice to my ears.

The Ascends were previously set up firing straight forward, near-field past my ears. Away from the back wall and side walls. Pretty good range, good imaging, solid bass.

Much to my surprise, when I replaced the Ascends with the Pioneers, the Pioneers were even better. Same great dynamic range and good bass, equal to the Ascends, but MUCH better soundstage (and the Ascends image well). The only change in setup was angling the smaller Pioneers towards my ears.

SO ... all three of these speakers sound great. The Pioneers sound best. The Pioneers cost me 1/3 of each of the other two pair. Do the math!
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 8, 2014 11:15 AM PDT


Griffin GB02353 Reveal Case for iPad 2 -Black
Griffin GB02353 Reveal Case for iPad 2 -Black
Offered by Gadzooks.
Price: $14.28
17 used & new from $3.97

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars No Cutouts for Smart Cover Attachment, Otherwise One of the Best, The Rubberized Edge is Especially Useful, April 24, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I started out with these two non-Griffin cases for my iPad 2 and later iPad 3:

1. "Smart Cover Partner Snap On Slim-Fit Case for Apple iPad 2 - Crystal Clear" sold on Amazon for $4.86 under their "Add On" shipping plan (must be a part of a larger order) Smart Cover Partner Snap On Slim-Fit Case for Apple iPad 2 - Crystal Clear; and

2. The very similar "PoeticBasic Smart Cover Slim-Fit Case for the iPad 3rd Gen, Crystal Clear" at a similar $4.95 on Amazon under their "Add On" shipping plan PoeticBasic Smart Cover Slim-Fit Case for the iPad 3rd Gen, Crystal Clear.

One of these is probably what you need if you plan on using an Apple Smart Cover with your iPad 2 (or 3/4, but not Air), or the thinner and lighter (but more expensive, although it might currently be on close-out for the iPad 2) Belkin Snap Shield Belkin Snap Shield Case for the Apple iPad 3rd and 4th Generation (Black). All of these have the cut-outs for the Smart Cover hinge.

What they DON'T have is the rubber edge protector on the Griffin Reveal, which "wraps over" the screen edge on all four sides with no breaks, with the ridge raised slightly so the screen won't pick up dirt, smudges, or scratches from a hard counter or nightstand. By placing the screen face down, you protect it from dust, eliminate the risk of keys dropped on top cracking the screen, and protect the back of the cover from picking up scratches and abrasions from being set down on a hard surface.

So:

+ Griffin Reveal is thinner and lighter. Easily fits in slide-in slip covers designed for the iPad 2 (or 3 or 4).
+ Raised edges around the screen allow putting it down screen-first.
+ The rubber on all four edges allows you (most of the time) to prop the iPad up on a kitchen counter without a stand, without it sliding down.
+ Since the rubber wraps over the front of the iPad (unlike all the rear clamshells listed above), the case can't accidentally twist off.

Couple of negatives:

- The rubber front edge deforms if your hands slide against it - this doesn't put the case at risk of popping off, but you should know about it.
- As mentioned above, you can't mount a Smart Cover.

This will also fit on an iPad 3 and 4, one is mounted on a 4 right now.

Overall I like this case a lot, it has been reduced in price to around $10 as of the date of this review from its release price of about $30. At $10 it is well worth the extra money, if you don't need to mount a Smart Cover and don't mind the edges deforming slightly if your brush the edges from the top (there is no such problem from back or edge contact).

Finally, the Amzer Silicone Skin Jelly Case for Apple iPad 2 remains best, imho, for toddlers, but it is much heavier and thicker and still doesn't provide screen protection. It did protect my kids iPad 2 from a couple of drops onto the carpet, though.


Amazon Fire TV
Amazon Fire TV
Price: $84.00

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very Promising, Needs 16gb of Memory to Store More Games, April 9, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Amazon Fire TV (Electronics)
This is Amazon's first effort in the Roku/Apple TV market - a "single serving pizza box" that delivers Netflix, Amazon Instant Video, and most of the other "usual lists of suspects" with the notable exception of iTunes (which is no surprised, that's Apple's tight fist not Amazon's competitive instincts).

As a streamer for Amazon content, the Amazon TV is SUPERB. We also have access to Amazon content on Roku, but the interface on Roku is not nearly as inviting. Also, Amazon TV _seems_ to buffer better, there hasn't been any "adaptive downgrading" of the stream quality (from HD to SD) to compensate for "slow internet" or "internet bumps." Image quality has been superb.

In terms of design, the "box" is high quality in appearance and feel - the bottom is "soft touch" coated to reduce slip. Same with the remote control. The remote is "modern compact" which is to say, tiny, feels good in my medium sized hand (maybe tiny is good for kid's hands when used for game play), but I would have preferred a large enough device to accept AA instead of AAA batteries to reduce e-waste - AAA have a much shorter lifespan than AA's. But that's a niggle.

A more curious choice is the use of an old-tech "tip" connector for the power supply, which looks a lot like the Kindle Fire tablet charger (a 10 watt charger, which should be plenty for this device) instead of a "micro USB" connector to power the device.

Since the Amazon TV is essentially an "Android tablet without a screen" there is no reason why a normal USB charger couldn't have been provided, instead of a "dedicated" "tip style" power supply. With a normal micro USB connector instead of a tip style connector, we would be able to use this charger for other devices when the Amazon TV has reached the end of its useful life, or breaks. With a non-universal "tip connector" the power supply goes into our junk drawer along with all the others of its ilk from past laptops and other devices.

Why $99 instead of $49, the cost of a budget Roku, still more than Chromecast?

Because this is, finally, what a lot of us have been waiting for - a tablet in a box, optimized for media streaming, instead of a media streaming box with limited RAM, storage, and processor power.

Like the Kindle Fire HDX, the Amazon TV has a superb, powerful processing chip with advanced graphics, and a whopping 2gb of RAM. It doesn't run "pure" Android, but it is close enough to move Android games over to the Amazon TV.

And THAT is Amazon TV's single best feature - game potential - and it's achilles heel, the reason this is rated 4 stars not 5. It simply doesn't have enough storage space to hold very many games. All mid to high grade tablets come with 16gb. This comes with 8gb. You may be viewing this with "streaming box" rose-colored spectacles, in which case 8gb sounds like a lot, relatively speaking, but keep in mind even to access YouTube you have to download an "app," just like on an Android tablet, each streaming service is "app based" not built in or with functions hosted on the providers servers.

Have you checked how much storage space is consumed by Android itself (Fire OS in the case of Amazon TV), even before downloading apps?

My kid has a ton of games on his iPad. 16gb isn't enough and he has to cull games then re-download them (for free) if he wants to revisit them again. But at least he has 16gb, not 8gb.

I wish Amazon had offered upgrade options to 16gb and 32gb, but I feel they wanted to hit that magic "$99" mark with no qualifiers.

Within one year Amazon will offer 16gb either stock or as an option, and as these things become the modern replacement for Nintendos, even 32gb will look attractive.

I can't recommend waiting for increased storage options since "tv box as gamer" is a new concept and tech watchers have been waiting for this from Apple for 3 years. The idea of having the chip and os in a box that is much cheaper than a full tablet or gaming console has been appealing for years, but so far no one has executed on it, or executed well (Ouya). Amazon is poised to change that, but for now they are really selling the ease of streaming Amazon Instant Video, while flying under the radar (slightly under) about the huge potential of gaming with the hardware in this device.

But 8gb simply isn't enough!


Nokia Lumia 520 GoPhone (AT&T)
Nokia Lumia 520 GoPhone (AT&T)
Price: $48.93
117 used & new from $38.99

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Uh oh its CARRIER LOCKED what do I do with it!, April 7, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
If you made the mistake of purchasing this phone thinking to use it overseas, or on TMobile over here, and just discovered it is "locked" to AT&T (even though you own it and thought "no contract" meant "unlocked"), there are still a lot of useful things to do with, apart from fuming:

1. Out of the box, insert battery, power it up, and go to Settings.
2. Set "Airplane Mode".
3. Power off, remove battery, insert the provided GoPhone SIM.
- The SIM is essential for downloading Nokia Here Maps, which are GREAT.
4. Go to Settings, turn on WiFi mode. Don't turn off Airplane Mode! Leave it the way you set it in step 2.
- Airplane Mode keeps the phone from searching for a cellular carrier and forcing you to activate the phone.
5. There are some advantages to having a Microsoft Outlook free email account. Go to outlook <dot> com and get a free account if you don't already have one.
6. Go to Settings and add some Accounts:
- Microsoft (your new or existing Outlook account).
- Nokia (for free and purchased apps from the Store).
- Google, FaceBook, Yahoo! Mail, Twitter, LinkedIn, IBM Notes Traveler, and generic POP and IMAP accounts are your other choices.
7. While in Settings use the "left arrow" a permanent below-the-screen left arrow to move back to the main Settings menu and set Brightness to High with no automatic control. This works best except in dim settings like on an airplane with lights out, where I use Low for Kindle reading.
8. On the same first page of Settings, scroll down to Phone Update and check for system updates. You should already have the "Black" update set, 8.1 will come out in a couple of months. Check about once a week.
9. Apps will update too, a number will appear on the Live Tile for Store. Sometimes important updates like FaceBook are announced but the Store won't auto update right away - you can force an update by searching for that app, then clicking on it, and clicking manually on the update bar that appears.
10. Download these apps (my favorites, YMMV):
- WhatsApp, Line, Viber. Or your favorite message/free phone call solution.
- Most of these require an active phone number to work. If you use your other phone's number, that will erase your account on that other phone, when you use the text supplied PIN to activate on the Lumia 520. That might change someday, but for now linkage to phone numbers is a limitation.
- Skype. Works REALLY well on the Lumia 520.
- Kindle. Works so-so. I read a couple of books inflight so it isn't screen sharpness that is the problem. The problem is a little Amazon software funkiness that occasionally cuts off a line or two of text between pages. To fix, rotate from book orientation to landscape to read your text then rotate back. The rotation seems to fix the problem.
- Facebook. Fine for consumption, not so fine for editing your posts or comments. Much improved over last year.
- Facebook MESSENGER. Yes, it is a separate app, and more and more people use it, is a good substitutes for WhatsApp, Line, Viber, and Facebook doesn't care how many devices you have it on. A mature product on Lumia 520. Be sure to pay attention to the little delta wing that rats out your location - default is on, so you WILL be tracked by friends and frenemies. Well tracked when you answer a message.
11. From the home screen - press the Home soft button on the bottom of the screen - flick the screen to the left to see the list of apps, all the apps, and open HERE Maps.
- Choose your state and download your map.
- Going to Dublin? etc? download that map. The maps don't take up a lot of space.
- Yes, GPS works without cellular service, so long as you downloaded the map. Remember, the maps won't download if you didn't put your SIM card in (you can remove it later, but why bother?).
12. Some good exercise apps that work well with the LOUD speaker on this tiny phone:
- 7 Minute Scientific.
- Tabatas.
13. For music:
- Because it has the necessary licenses from MicroSoft, 64gb and even 128gb micro SD's fit and work fine. I use a 64gb to hold almost all my music.
- It will play current iTunes tracks fine (everything except the early DRM digital rights management copy protected tunes), mp3. it will not play Ogg Vorbis.
- The player is called Music & Videos and comes stock; until updates, it might appear as Nokia Music or as xBox, Nokia Mix Radio is a separate app which provides free streaming music from Nokia. Very cool!

REMEMBER, all this is WITHOUT cellular phone service!

You have a camera, music player, GPS unit, e-reader, and minimalist web browser, all in a $60 or so package! And the option of using it to back up your AT&T and AT&T driven phone service, if you need it.

SHORTCOMINGS:

1. Due to the 512mb memory limitation, app switching is painfully slow. NOT unusably slow, but by modern standards PITA slow.

2. A few games and rare apps won't run in a 512mb footprint. Before you go ballistic on this memory limitation, keep in mind the iPad 2 and original Mini are both 512mb. Like Apple, though, MicroSoft uses compiled code for its apps - more efficient - than Android, which "compiles code" on the fly via an interpreter - hence Android needs faster processors and more RAM (but in current editions and with modern hardware, Android is plenty fast).

3. This is DVD resolution, not HD. It is 800x480, not one of the higher resolutions. The type looks crisp, not pixelated, but you don't get as much information per screen on websites or Kindle, and the screen - for resolution AND quality reasons - isn't good for serious video watching.

4. No front camera. This is a BIGGIE for many selfie fans. On the rear, no FLASH but the camera DOES autofocus. I don't like flash, I prefer natural light even if the picture goes grainy etc. so I'm ok with this.

UNEXPECTED SURPRISE:

1. The battery life is absolutely incredible, with cellular radio turned off via the Airplane Mode switch.

2. Nokia continues to roll out major software updates for this amazing little helper - even Win Phone 8.1 is coming to the 520, which means being able to run apps from the uSD card and, finally, being able to set ringer and music volumes separately (saves ears, that).

So I've found plenty of uses for my Lumia 520, even if it isn't good for travel or TMob. I wish it were unlocked, and would have paid more for an unlocked one from Nokia (if they sold unlocked phones direct, like Google and Motorola and Apple do), but my buyer's mistake hasn't turned into buyer's remorse.

You will be blown away by the design, looks, and quality of this little bargain.
Comment Comments (8) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jul 28, 2014 11:58 PM PDT


The Best of the Equinox, Sex Magick: Volume III
The Best of the Equinox, Sex Magick: Volume III
Price: $9.99

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars All the important texts without actually discussing the art of magic, December 30, 2013
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
While not nearly as obscure as medieval alchemical texts with their red dragons and white dragons and mortars and pestles, this collection seemingly intentionally omits any discussion of the classic, clearly written art of magic which makes things so perfectly clear.

Other than that, the essay on the Gnostic Mass alone is worth the price of admission, and all other texts are invaluable, in one place, with their meaning clearly laid out.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 22, 2014 11:56 AM PST


Tarot of Ceremonial Magick: Babalon Edition
Tarot of Ceremonial Magick: Babalon Edition
by Lon Milo DuQuette
Edition: Cards
Price: $28.46
11 used & new from $28.46

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Simply the best tarot ever made, December 30, 2013
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
There is a more inspirational deck (Thoth Tarot) and a more popular deck (Rider Waite) and of course nowadays there are so many other decks as well, to appeal to individual tastes (which is a wonderful phenomenon).

BUT for bestest ever deck to satisfy the "3x5 index card requirement", there is no finer deck.

What is the "3x5 index card requirement"?

The Tarot - apart from being a living, (quietly) breathing other-worldy entity, is supposed to include a complete course in the theory and practice of magic (or magick if you prefer). What is magic you ask? Simply wisdom (the three "Magii" or three "wise" men of the Bible are perfect exemplars). Worldly beings seek knowledge, and work wonders (imagine a world without Instagram!), while inward looking beings seek wisdom and find peace, sometimes, yea, inscrutability (imagine a world without Alice or Pooh!).

So the Tarot is like a set of 3x5 index cards with all the good stuff written down on them. Since a picture is worth a thousand words, and space is limited on a 3x5 index cards, good Tarot cards have wonderfully detailed, symbolic pictures - and the Tarot of Ceremonial Magick does not fail to please. Colors are right, images are detailed and heavily symbolic, correspondences are great.

In addition, as Prof. DuQuette notes, Enochian AND Goetic correspondences are included as well, in glyphs, a first for any Tarot. From the highest of the high, to the lowest of the higher, it's all there.

So for those simple reasons - densest information content of any Tarot set ever - this deck wins hands down, and belongs in your collection.


Amzer AMZ95686 Dual Tone TPU Hybrid Skin Fit Case Cover for Nokia Lumia 520 - 1 Pack - Retail Packaging - Black
Amzer AMZ95686 Dual Tone TPU Hybrid Skin Fit Case Cover for Nokia Lumia 520 - 1 Pack - Retail Packaging - Black
Price: $6.95
7 used & new from $5.56

6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Turns something as simple as a case into a work of art!, December 5, 2013
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This is a TPU (thermoplastic urethane) case; TPU is a semi-hard plastic which is firmer (holds its shape better) than a gummy case, but isn't a true "hard shell" case. TPU can be thinner than gummy (because it holds onto the phone better) but of necessity is thicker than the thin, hard shell, plastic cases - in terms of drop protection, it is inbetween gummy, which absorbs heavier impacts, and hard shells, which absorb none.

The TPU also forms a raised ridge around both the front screen and insets the camera lens into a "well". The front raised ridge lets you place the phone screen-side down on a nightstand without fear or scratching (eventually scratching?) the glass front, and the rear depression helps keep your fingers from brushing against, and smearing, the camera lens.

The phone is still ultra-compact in absolute terms (because it is ultra-compact to begin with) but it's a lot fatter with the case on. A bystander would probably say "that's a really small phone, how big is the screen?" (3.8", halfway between the original iPhone and the iPhone 5 and later) BUT if they saw it without this case, they'd say "that's beautiful and incredibly flat". Yes, the beautiful, clean design of the Lumia 520 gets lost in the case, but that isn't to say the case is ugly. Truth is simpler than that - almost all well designed phones these days look like works of art before we swaddle them in protective gear.

In terms of openings and controls, the openings for earphone, lens, speaker are all well-shaped, not overly big, and centered. The side toggles are covered, which is good for keeping dust and lint out of them, and the plastic in those areas is thinned out and/or more flexible to allow easy operation. There are raised ridges to index the camera switch, on-off switch, and volume rocker. What I REALLY like are the tiny tactile dots around the rim, which make it feel more grippy and holdable than any other phone cover on any other phone I've had - not that the cases on my other phones felt slippery, it's just that this particular Amzer is especially and pleasantly "tactile."

The shiny and frosted design, visible in the pictures, is pleasant but not not elegant like the phone itself is. Looks much better than most cases.

At sub -$7, this is a bargain.

Mine fit perfectly, not too tight or too lose. Maybe the early shipments were based on inaccurate prototypes. Usually the tolerances on mass-produced cases are very consistent from case to case, so if one fits, they all fit, and if one doesn't fit, none of them do. Since mine fits perfectly, I assume Amzer changed the dimensions slightly after the initial production run.

In terms of sheer looks, the naked 520 is stunningly well designed and every case will detract from that Museum of Modern Art-style elegant simplicity. If you have to get a case - and I got tired of smearing the camera lens and having to fuss to keep any glass from touching a counter (usually by wrapping this in a microfiber cloth), this is probably the best - I have a two piece, hard shell case, that is not nearly as good looking or as easy to put on and take off.

NOTE to 521 (Tmobile) owners: dimensions on the 521 are slightly different (to acommodate the Tmobile logo at the bottom, of all things) and this will NOT fit a 521. Similarly, cases for a 521 will NOT fit this. That is another possible reason some reviewers complain of fit.

In terms of slide in cases, I bought two in Asia - one to fit a smaller phone like the 520, and one large enough for my Nexus 4. With this case on, the Lumia 520 becomes a snug fit into the original slide-in case I bought, but fits the medium sized case perfectly. So don't get the smallest slide in pouch if you take this cover into account.

BTW, while the Lumia 520 is a work of art without the case, among cases this is a work of art - I'm sorry if the title of this review gives the impression that this case is as good looking as the phone by itself (it isn't) or if the body of this review gives the impression that the case itself is ugly (it isn't, it looks great).


No Title Available

1 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My experience with EMLA, Vasocaine spray, and Topicaine 5% gel, November 2, 2013
Very effective during tattooing. The morning of my two tattoos, I applied EMLA cream (2.5% lidocaine/2.5% prilocaine) to the tattoo areas. My artist had recommended Topicaine 5%, which is 5% lidocaine, and told me it works faster (EMLA requires at least a 2 hour or more soak period to work, at which point it is remarkable, with effects lasting 1 hour). So I put the EMLA on an hour before my appointment, then she switched me to Topicaine on one side, I went to lunch for 45 minutes, then she started the work.

The pain level was much higher than before with EMLA alone (but soaking for a longer period) and I had to interrupt the tattoo to ask her to replace the Topicaine on the other area with the EMLA I brought along.

Recognizing my discomfort, she sprayed the current work with Vasocaine spray and let it settle in a minute or two (really short). WOW what a difference. All the pain was gone! This stuff really works.

I drew three conclusions from this: (1) if you layer up thick with EMLA and give it 2-3 hours to settle in (on skin prepped with an alcohol scrub to remove oils) it WORKS; (2) lidocaine by itself on unbroken skin is almost useless - no benefits from the Topicaine at all; the only other conclusion is the Topicaine did not really contain lidocaine, or in a very weak concentration; (3) Vasocaine - also lidocaine but in a spray from a different maker - works great on "work in progress" it seems to numb the adjacent skin not just the skin just tattooed. AND it is quick!

I had no negative effects on the tattoos from either product and the artist was much more comfortable proceeding without me clenching my teeth and holding my breath.


Buck 759 Paperstone Metro Blue Key Chain Pocket Knife (Blue)
Buck 759 Paperstone Metro Blue Key Chain Pocket Knife (Blue)
Offered by Mountain Gear
Price: $23.95
2 used & new from $18.97

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good for Bottles and Packages, Good Steel, Well Fitted, October 31, 2013
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Don't laugh, I bought this mainly to open beer bottles overseas. Which is funny, because I almost never drink beer, but I was overseas a couple of months ago, shopping in a local supermarket, bought a beer, and couldn't open it in my room because the bottle caps aren't twist-off like they are here. Surprisingly enough, the next day in the supermarket I couldn't find any of our classic old cheap and simple "church key" bottle openers, only some horribly dangerous and expensive things that looked like they belonged as part of Freddy Krueger's collection from Nightmare on Elm Street. Being the gadget hound that I am, I resolved to find something simple and cheap when I got home so I wouldn't have this problem in the future. Gadgets exist for travelers, or vice versa.

Oh woe is me. Simple and elegant at REI, yes; simple and cheap, no. The Columbia River Knife and Tool 9110C Eat N' Tool Silver Multi Tool, X-Large was certainly the most McGyver-esque of the lot that I saw over there, then I remembered my old, fairly useless (as a knife), Buck Metro, which unfortunately I had lost over the years. It can't be as bad as I remember, since it is still in production. An upcoming trip facing me, Amazon to the rescue in the form of a replacement for my previously pooh-poohed Metro, now appreciated more, not for the miserably tiny little blade attached to it, but for the bottle opener it is built into. Thank you, eCop, an Amazon vendor, for getting this right out to me for free shipping.

All this for the love of a single beer, perhaps never to be repeated, that amazing conjunction of tropic air, greasy bbq chicken, and an unopenable beer bottle. Well actually I opened it in the latch of the door, spilling smelly beer onto the floor. Bad guest!

This is made in the USA! And pretty well made at that, everything well-fitted and precise, except for slightly rough rivets on one side. No wobble at all in the blade, a solid linerlock lockup. The Paperstone (literally thin paper layers soaked in resin) side plates are much nicer than than the aluminum panels on my old Metro. The steel is Buck's usual mid to high carbon steel, stainless but a good edge holder, tough and durable, and is sharp out of the box, with Buck's Edge2X edge angle, nary bit of wobble in the knife blade, typically Buck sharp out of the box. Conceivably very handy, and sheeple friendly, for opening open potato chip bags, boxes from Amazon, and those ever-so-popular frustration maximized plastic blister packs all our goodies seem to come in. Not, however, big enough to slice up street food or pare most fruit, although handy for some hard shelled, small fruits like rambutan. So fails most, but not all, of my minimum requirements for a Junior Woodchucks all-in-one folding knife, but let's face it, we all encounter many more boxes that need opening, blister packs that need conquest, and potato chip bags that are made of Adamantine in thin sheet form - and not too many Smaugs and goblins. It feels good to play with, and satisfies the kid if not the warrior in me.

I think next time I will win, not the beer bottle. In fact, I just opened a cello bag of mini marshmallows for my son!


AmazonBasics Bluetooth Keyboard for iPad, New iPad Mini, iPhone (Black)
AmazonBasics Bluetooth Keyboard for iPad, New iPad Mini, iPhone (Black)
Price: $25.99
8 used & new from $22.69

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars GREAT iPad STAND - and so is the KEYBOARD, October 31, 2013
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Dang I was mad at this at first, because every other Bluetooth keyboard has been so easy and intuitive to set up out of the box (3 Microsoft and one Apple).

Who would have thought the AAA batteries that shipped with this would be duds, the cause of the apparent pairing failure?

Well when you've eliminated the likely (is it turned on? did I push the activate button? are the batteries both in the right way?) - then it has to be the nearly impossible, FACTORY DEAD BATTERIES, from that most impeccable of retailers, Amazon no less.

Fortunately I've wrangled almost every conceivable gizmo crash and difficulty, including setting up way too many netbooks, and any bad mood quickly evaporated once it was up and running.

This little key board is great! The keys are easy to "read" with my touch-typing fingers - right amount of resistance, feel, movement - very little clickety-clack.

I was shocked how quickly, immediately, this changed my whole impression of my iPad 2 (iOS 7.0.3 installed). I was planning on taking a netbook along for typing updates and doing online banking, but after seeing how easy this keyboard was to use with the iPad, I think the iPad will be more than enough:

* With this external keyboard, no on-screen space is gobbled up by the "soft" keyboard.

* This Amazon has a "home" key (upper left) that saves wear and tear on the "Home" button on the iPad itself (the "Home" button is about the only hardware on iPads that has a high failure rate). Hit the Home key on the keyboard once and you are home. Hit it twice and you are in the "multi-tasking" view which shows open apps where you can select a different one quickly, or swipe them away to clean up the memory - not that I've ever noticed degradation from having too many apps open at once).

* My ham hands have no problem with this reduced size key board. Keys have adequate spacing. The size is a tad less than the stock Apple keyboard that comes with iMacs and that some of us use with iPads as well. But a lot cheaper and lighter.

* Not too heavy for lightweight travel, unlike the Microsoft Wedge Mobile Keyboard and Microsoft Bluetooth Mobile Keyboard 5000 which I both own and have travelled with. Even the more compact Wedge weighs alarmingly close to what a very light netbook/MacBook Air weighs. With the Amazon, iPad + keyboard < netbook. With a much better screen of course.

But what seals the deal for me despite my steenkin' dead batteries:

* The wonderful little stand that comes as a free accessory. It's real solid in landscape view, and doesn't obscure any of the screen. Simple, light, elegant in its functionality and minimalism.

How happy am I? I'm as happy as the passenger going through TSA-security on my next flight, who doesn't have to remove a laptop (even a tiny one like a netbook or Air) from his or her luggage for inspection can be (besides eliminating one more item to unpack or disrobe, the risk of theft through security is GREATLY reduced).

Oh yeah save the plastic wrappers the keyboard and stand come in. They are great for protecting the keyboard from dust and minor spills during travel. They are about the same thickness and type of plastic as you find in freezer Ziplocs. Be sure to turn the little slider switch on the keyboard base to "off" for travel (you don't have to do this if you use the keyboard every day at home, it has an automatic, battery-saving sleep mode, but it's a good ideal for travel where jostling will probably depress a key or two and wake up the keyboard unnecessarily).


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