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Ali Julia RSS Feed (boston, mass)
(#1 Hall OF FAME REVIEWER)    (#1 REVIEWER)   

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DongCoh® 500GB Slim 2.5in Portable External Hard Disk Drive with Mobile Device Backup USB 2.0 for Notebook, Desktop and MAC (Black)
DongCoh® 500GB Slim 2.5in Portable External Hard Disk Drive with Mobile Device Backup USB 2.0 for Notebook, Desktop and MAC (Black)
Offered by Dongcoh Electronics
Price: $42.99

3.0 out of 5 stars Does not support SMART standard, September 2, 2015
I reviewed three different DongCoh 500GB portable drives. They may appear similar from the description, but in fact are quite different in my tests and I rated them differently based on their performance. Of the three drives I like this drive the least. In terms of speed it is similar to ASIN B00YR2ODE6 DongCoh® 500GB Slim Portable External Hard Drive (Silver) but unlike the B00YR2ODE6 this drive does not support SMART data, so it is not possible to easily check it status, model, and other details that are reported with the SMART standard. I am an engineer so hardware that does not follow common standards is a red flag to me.

Before using any hard drive I always put it through a number of test to make sure that the drives have no bad segments. It is best to find problems before I put any of my data on it. To do the tests I use a utility called sys_basher that checks every byte of the drive to make sure there are no bad segments and this drive passed the tests without problems.

I also ran several sets of benchmarks on USB 2.0 and USB 3.0 ports to test the speed of the drive.

USB 2.0
~~~~~~~
Average read 38.7 MB/s
Average write 35.6 MB/s
Average access time 21.60 msec

USB 2.0 is 60 MB/s, however with overhead the practical maximum rate is around 40MB per second
and this is what we see here.

USB 3.0
~~~~~~~
Average read 32.0 MB/s
Average write 26.0 MB/s
Average access time 20.99 msec

USB 3.0 limit is 640 MB/s so the drive itself is the limiting factor.

The drive comes with a USB 2.0 USB Cable.

This a regular hard drive (meaning it rotates, it is not solid state) and it best to handle it with care as all hard drives are not as durable as solid state storage. I would not carry it around in my pocket, for example, as I might do with an SD card or flash memory. The drive can be transported but with care as the down side of a crash is data loss. I use this drive for backups of critical data that I want to keep off line. I got a couple of them so I can rotate my backups and the fact that they are small lets me keep them in a draw without giving up much space.

It is a relatively slow drive but its small size makes it a reasonable choice for overnight backups and other applications when speed is not critical. The same vendor offers a drive that is twice as fast and supports SMART standard ASIN B00Y0P83PA DongCoh® 500GB Slim Portable External Hard Drive Disk (Black). The price difference the drives is very small, so I rank ASIN B00Y0P83PA as a better deal.

This drive is provided by DongCoh for testing and review.

Ali Julia review
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DongCoh® 500GB Slim Portable External Hard Drive HDD plus Mobile Device Backup USB 3.0 for Notebook, Desktop and MAC(Silver)
DongCoh® 500GB Slim Portable External Hard Drive HDD plus Mobile Device Backup USB 3.0 for Notebook, Desktop and MAC(Silver)
Offered by Dongcoh Electronics
Price: $43.98

4.0 out of 5 stars This drive is made by Seagate - Seagate drive ST500VT0, September 2, 2015
I reviewed three different DongCoh 500GB portable drives. They may appear similar from the description, but in fact are quite different in my tests and I rated them differently based on their performance. This drive falls in the middle of the pack.

Before using any hard drive I always put it through a number of test to make sure that the drives have no bad segments. It is best to find problems before I put any of my data on it. To do the tests I use a utility called sys_basher that checks every byte of the drive to make sure there are no bad segments and this drive passed the tests without problems.

I also ran several sets of benchmarks on USB 2.0 and USB 3.0 ports to test the speed of the drive. It is relatively slow but its small size makes it a reasonable size for overnight backups and other applications when speed is not critical.

USB 2.0
~~~~~~~
Average read 38.9 MB/s
Average write 36.7 MB/s
Average access time 19.97 msec

USB 2.0 is 60 MB/s, however with overhead the practical maximum rate is around 40MB per second
and this is what we see here.

USB 3.0
~~~~~~~
Average read 29.6 MB/s
Average write 26.4 MB/s
Average access time 19.4 msec

USB 3.0 limit is 640 MB/s so the drive itself is the limiting factor.

The drive comes with a USB 2.0 USB Cable.

By looking at the drive SMART status I was able to identify this drive as Seagate drive ST500VT0.
Seagate website targets these drives for use in DVRs.

This a regular hard drive (meaning it rotates, it is not solid state) and it best to handle it with care as all hard drives are not as durable as solid state storage. I would not carry it around in my pocket, for example, as I might do with an SD card or flash memory. The drive can be transported but with care as the down side of a crash is data loss. I use this drive for backups of critical data that I want to keep off line. I got a couple of them so I can rotate my backups and the fact that they are small lets me keep them in a draw without giving up much space. It is not a fast drive, but works fine for overnight backups. This vendor offers a similar drive which is twice as fast ASIN B00Y0P83PA DongCoh® 500GB Slim Portable External Hard Drive Disk and the price for both drives at this time is practically the same.

This drive is provided by DongCoh.

Ali Julia review


DongCoh® 500GB Slim Portable External Hard Drive Disk with Mobile Device Backup USB 3.0 for Notebook, Desktop and MAC (Black)
DongCoh® 500GB Slim Portable External Hard Drive Disk with Mobile Device Backup USB 3.0 for Notebook, Desktop and MAC (Black)
Offered by Dongcoh Electronics
Price: $43.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Under the hood this is Seagate drive ST500VT0, September 2, 2015
I reviewed three different DongCoh 500GB portable drives. They may appear similar from the description, but in fact are quite different in my tests and I rated them differently based on their performance. This drive performed best in my tests.

By looking at the drive SMART status I was able to identify this drive as Seagate drive ST500VT0.
Seagate website targets these drives for use in DVRs.

This a regular hard drive (meaning it rotates, it is not solid state) and it best to handle it with care as all hard drives are not as durable as solid state storage. I would not carry it around in my pocket, for example, as I might do with an SD card or flash memory. The drive can be transported but with care as the down side of a crash is data loss. I use this drive for backups of critical data that I want to keep off line. I got a couple of them so I can rotate my backups and the fact that they are small lets me keep them in a draw without giving up much space.

Before using any hard drive I always put it through a number of test to make sure that the drives have no bad segments. It is best to find problems before I put any of my data on it. To do the tests I use a utility called sys_basher that checks every byte of the drive to make sure there are no bad segments and this drive passed the tests without problems.

I also ran several sets of benchmarks on USB 2.0 and USB 3.0 ports to test the speed of the drive.

USB 2.0
~~~~~~~
Average read 39.0 MB/s
Average write 26.8 MB/s
Average access time 20.96 msec

USB 2.0 is 60 MB/s, however with the protocol overhead the practical maximum rate is around 40MB per second
and this is what we see here. The limiting factor in this test is USB 2.0 not the drive.

USB 3.0
~~~~~~~
Average read 71.2 MB/s
Average write 99.6 MB/s
Average access time 21.15 msec

USB 3.0 limit is 640 MB/s so the drive itself is the limiting factor.

The drive comes with a USB 3.0 Type A to Micro-B Cable.

It is not a super speedy but reasonable and adequate for a portable drive.

This drive is provided by DongCoh.

Ali Julia review
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TalentCell Quick Charge 2.0 (18W / 5V/9V/12V) Dual USB Port Portable External Battery 10400mAh Power Bank Fast Charger for Google Nexus 6, Samsung Galaxy S6 / S6 Edge, Motorola Droid Turbo, Moto X (2014) Samsung Galaxy Note 4/Note Edge, HTC One M8/M9, Sony Xperia Z3, Z2 Tablet And More(Quick Input and Output)
TalentCell Quick Charge 2.0 (18W / 5V/9V/12V) Dual USB Port Portable External Battery 10400mAh Power Bank Fast Charger for Google Nexus 6, Samsung Galaxy S6 / S6 Edge, Motorola Droid Turbo, Moto X (2014) Samsung Galaxy Note 4/Note Edge, HTC One M8/M9, Sony Xperia Z3, Z2 Tablet And More(Quick Input and Output)
Offered by Talentcell Technology
Price: $28.99

3.0 out of 5 stars Excellent for Apple but a slow charger for Android, September 1, 2015
We own a number of mobile devices from different manufactures, we have Android devices, Apple devices, Samsung devices. I prefer external batteries that work well with all of our devices. Unfortunately this external battery is not one of them. It works excellently with my iPadMini charging it to close to an optimal rate, but it only charged my Andorid phone at a slow USB rate not AC rate. If you only own Apple devices you will be very happy with battery because it has a nice shape and an excellent charge level indicator. However, if you are an Android user or have devices from different manufacturers like us this battery may not be the best choice if the speed of charging is important to you.

I tested this battery with a current monitor, and I am including the readings for those who are interested in the details. I always use the same two devices and I do my tests with the devices charged to the same level and running the same applications. These test show me the amount of current the battery is delivering to the device and also allow me to do a relative comparison of different batteries to each other. This helps me identify the batteries that do not perform well. Note that these tests are not testing for the maximum current each device can draw on each port as neither of my devices can max out the port.

iPad Mini
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Port 1 - 1.35A / 5.07V (very good)
Port 2 - 1.36A / 5.06V (very good)

iPad Mini was charged at good rate on every port. Charging iPad Mini with 4 other devices charging at the same time produced very similar results. This is excellent!

Nexus phone
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Port 1 - 0.41A / 5.05V (USB rate, for comparison other ex batteries produce 1.00A/5.05V)
Port 2 - 0.41A / 5.04V (USB rate, for comparison other ex batteries produce 1.00A/5.05V)

Overall, excellent charger for Apple devices, not so excellent for Android.

This charger is provided by TalentCell

Ali Julia review
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The New Kosher
The New Kosher
by Kim Kushner
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $19.25
40 used & new from $15.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Simple and delicious recipes, September 1, 2015
This review is from: The New Kosher (Hardcover)
Length:: 0:45 Mins

I was interested in this book because I used and liked just about every recipe in Kim Kushner's previous book "The modern menu". The author taste palette and cooking style lined up well with mine and even though I am not cooking kosher I am still interested in Kim's recipes and ideas.

I was not disappointed! Some of my favorite simple recipes are Caramelized red onions frittata with smoked salmon, chicken and dill stew, mini meatballs in cinnamon-tomato sauce. The book has practical and delicious recipes, they are easy to make, and the cookbook is well organized with a lot of photos. It is a nice cookbook to learn from and to be inspired by. She even makes a humble mac and cheese feel an up scale dish!

A few words about the book organization: each recipe is on its own page. Many recipes have a picture right next to the recipe. I don't like flipping pages while I cook and I want to see the photo as I look at the recipe. This cookbook is organized just the way I like it.

Like The modern menu I can tell this cookbook will become my favorite and I'll be be making all the recipes over time. This book has 198 pages and a lot of pictures. In attached video I flip through the pages to give you an idea of what the books is like in person.

I received a copy of this book for review.

Contents
Introduction
KiM's essentials
Butter & brunch
Soups & dips
More than salad
From the sea
All about chicken
Beet & brawn
Grains, vegetables & sides
Favorite sweets
Index

Ali Julia review


SKYNDI® A19 E26 Dimmable 9W LED Bulbs - 60W Equivalent - 800 Lumens - Soft White 3000K (Pack of 6)
SKYNDI® A19 E26 Dimmable 9W LED Bulbs - 60W Equivalent - 800 Lumens - Soft White 3000K (Pack of 6)
Offered by BlazeCo
Price: $29.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Side by side comparison with 60W fluorescent bulb, September 1, 2015
LED bulbs came a long way! This bulb is shaped as an incandescent bulb, has the same size as an incandescent bulb,
and casts omni directional light similar to an incandescent bulb.

The rating says that it replaces a 60 watt bulb. In attached photos I show the my desk with the 60 watt fluorescent bulb and then this 9W LED bulb with the desk lamp in the same position. I also measured the intensity of the light with a lux meter to give me an unbiased numeric comparison of the brightness between two bulbs.

The lux meter shows that the LED light produced a little more intensity (1376 lux vs 1005 lux). In the photo that shows my entire desk you see that the 60 watt bulb has slightly lighter shadows at the edges and slightly warmer light, but overall the two bulbs felt very similar.

This bulb comes on instantly. The length of the bulb is 4" so it does not poke out of the light fixture like some larger LED bulbs.

This is a nice set of bulb! The bulbs are quite bright and looks very similar to the good ol' incandescent.

These LED bulbs are provided by Skundi for testing and review.

Ali Julia review
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TIAMALL Silicone Pot Holder Trivet Mat Baking Gadget Kitchen Table Mat Waterproof Heat Insulation Non-Slip Trivet Tableware Pad Coasters(9" x 12") (Coffee)
TIAMALL Silicone Pot Holder Trivet Mat Baking Gadget Kitchen Table Mat Waterproof Heat Insulation Non-Slip Trivet Tableware Pad Coasters(9" x 12") (Coffee)
Offered by TIAMALL
Price: $8.99

0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Nice size and easy to clean, August 31, 2015
The mat is 11.5" long x 8.875" wide made out of food grade silicone. Its size is large enough to hold my large pots and skillets, it is easy to clean. The mat is not stiff, it is easy to roll up which is useful for storage. The surface is textured so nothing slides on it. The stock photo color is accurate. It is a nice rich brown color and goes well the earth colors of my kitchen. This is a very handy mat!

The mat is provided by Tiamall with a request to try it out and share my experience with other potential buyers.

Ali Julia review
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Sanming 1 Piece Stainless Steel Wash Basket Colanders (12.4 Inch (31.5cm))
Sanming 1 Piece Stainless Steel Wash Basket Colanders (12.4 Inch (31.5cm))
2 used & new from $21.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Large bowl, August 31, 2015
I got the large bowl, it is 12" wide (note a little smaller than Amazon description). It is very versatile. It works well from draining small pasta to washing large vegetables. Because it is so large I also use to collect fresh veggies from my garden and take it straight to the sink to wash.

The bowl is easy to clean, it is not a mesh but thin stainless steel with fine holes. The bowl is also dishwasher safe.

This bowl is provided by Sanming for review as part of the new product launch. Getting a review product does not influence what I say, I leave critical reviews as well as positive reviews like this one.

Ali Julia review
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BUREI Women's BL-3005-03AR "Master II" Analog Display Stainless Steel Watch with Brown Leather Band
BUREI Women's BL-3005-03AR "Master II" Analog Display Stainless Steel Watch with Brown Leather Band
Offered by BUREI Watch
Price: $75.99

5.0 out of 5 stars A classy looking watch, August 31, 2015
Length:: 0:56 Mins

This watch has an understated clean and classy design. It looks elegant. It has a stainless steel body and genuine leather band. The band maximum width 7.5" (last hole), if needed additional holes could be made to make it as wide as 8".

The face of the watch is 1 3/16" wide and the watch is 1/4" thick. The back of the watch states it has Japanese quartz movement. The watch is water resistant to rain and splashing but cannot be submerged into water.

This watch is made in China but includes an English manual. The manual covers several watches so it is a somewhat confusing as it refers to self-winding watches as well as quartz watches like this one. The third page in the manual can be used as a guide to the watch adjustment method. I found the controls to be simple, everything is controlled by the position of the crown. It can be pulled out into two position, the first position allows change the day of the month, the second position moves the arms.

Overall, this is a very attractive classy looking watch. It comes in attractive package, the box has a pillow and include a gift bag.

This watch is provided by BUREI for review. Getting a review product does not influence what I say, I leave critical reviews as well as positive reviews like this one.

Ali Julia review


KINGLAKE®3Pcs Ergonomic Garden Tools Set Trowel Cultivator Transplanter for Light Digging Weeding Loosening Soil Transplanting with Softouch Handles
KINGLAKE®3Pcs Ergonomic Garden Tools Set Trowel Cultivator Transplanter for Light Digging Weeding Loosening Soil Transplanting with Softouch Handles
Offered by Kltech Store
Price: $14.99
2 used & new from $14.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Sturdy construction, August 30, 2015
This is a nice sturdy garden tools set. What I like is that the handles are made out of plastic, so I can leave them outside without worrying that the wood handles will get damaged in the rain. The handles are ergonomically shaped and fit my hand very well well. Big holes on the handles let me hang the tools on the hooks on my trellis where I use keep them when they are not in use.

Total length of each tool is 11.5"
Handle is 5.25"

Super nice set, I like these tools better than my old ones by a lot.

These garden tools are provided by Kinglake free of cost for testing and review.

Ali Julia review
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