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Aceto "All Knowledge is Sorrow" RSS Feed (in the High Snoring Desert)
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Wooster Brush Q3211-2 Shortcut Angle Sash Paintbrush, 2-Inch
Wooster Brush Q3211-2 Shortcut Angle Sash Paintbrush, 2-Inch
Price: $5.47
24 used & new from $3.69

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My handy standby, August 16, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I usually do well with Wooster products. But this one has no peer that I can find. It gets me out of more tight places than Spiderman. The nub handle is just enough for control. The durability is good and the bristles are good. There are certainly higher quality brushes out there, but this one makes life so much easier in the clinches.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Aug 20, 2014 6:26 PM PDT


Linksys AC1200 Wi-Fi Wirless Dual-Band+ Router, Smart Wi-Fi App Enabled to Control Your Network from Anywhere (EA6100)
Linksys AC1200 Wi-Fi Wirless Dual-Band+ Router, Smart Wi-Fi App Enabled to Control Your Network from Anywhere (EA6100)
Price: $97.99
5 used & new from $84.99

3.0 out of 5 stars Just okay for wireless. Obsolete for wired., August 16, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
The only reason to buy this router is because you really need a wireless router now and you want to pay as little as you can without sacrificing quality and reliability. That much gets this particular EA6100 model of the AC1200 line.

Wireless, so long as you do not need current specs for AC1300 or N600, is good enough at N300 for 2.4GHz and AC867 for 5 GHz. You can step up for about 50% more money to their AC1900 line.

But wired is a different story. So long as I am paying for a router I want both at current specs. This model has only 10/100. This difference is important to me because I watch HD movies from Amazon and Netflix. For $20 more you can get their model in the same line that gives you 10/100/1000.

And the days of USB 2.0 are winding down. Sure, you still get it on the more current models, but you also get USB 3.0 which is ten times faster. If you do not need it now, you will want it soon, and need it later.

And those are the basics. There are also things like Beam technology for those who love tablets. So do a little looking around the other Linksys before you buy this one.


Scotts 18883 AirShoc Titanium Non-Stick Branch Saw
Scotts 18883 AirShoc Titanium Non-Stick Branch Saw
Price: $28.87

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Hype and flash do not get the wood cut, August 16, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Titanium! Yippee!

No, not really. It is a thin coating. Non-stick? Guess again.

PROS:
The removable blade and the coating make cleaning easy. No towel drying or oil coat needed. Blade is replaceable Scotts 18888 AirShoc Titanium Non-Stick Branch Saw Replacement Blade for Use with Model 18883 AirShoc Branch Saw.

Cut palm fronds well, both wet green and dry brown. Safer than box cutters when cutting fronds and you can get closer to the stalk without worrying about fingers getting caught on the spikes of the branches.

The grip is comfortable for a man or a woman and you can drop it from a ladder onto concrete without damage.

Cuts both directions although not aggressively. Pull is easier to control and start the cut than push.

CONS:
Not nearly so sharp as my Japanese saw that costs 25% more. I have used my Japanese saw several times a year for 20 years without sharpening. The Japanese takes strict maintenance (complete cleaning and oiling) after each use and before storing it back in its wood holster.

Scott's blade is not rigid in the handle, causing poor control for medium size (2") branches. I had to use both arms for larger branches, which is not fun on a ladder.

Unaggressive teeth make it three times the effort of my Japanese saw, even though The Japanese cuts mostly on the pull, giving great control and speed. Greater control means greater safety. The Scotts Blade sticks badly in the wood on elm tree branches, making slow work on medium-large branches.

I am surprised that Clauss builds the blade for Scott. They have some high quality blades, including fine quality titanium coated shears. Most of the problem may be in the loose handle, which wastes a lot of energy. I doubt this is 5x harder than the steel in my saw. I will keep it around for both light jobs and soft, fibrous fronds.

I think the anti-microbial hype is silly unless you intend to spend much time breaking down cows or hogs.


Voices of the Loon
Voices of the Loon
10 used & new from $0.34

3.0 out of 5 stars We Miss you so, Robert, August 14, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Voices of the Loon (Vinyl)
For any who listened to classical music around Boston in the 70s, Lurtsema was the voice. You needed good speakers to hear his basso profundo voce. But we loved him for many years. He was a delightful crank while commenting on morning traffic. He was a precious man of his own mind when he took the morning headlines into his own hands rather than entrust them to some hack somewhere.

Best of all was his appreciation, and a learned one, of music. He was a romantic, which explains this priceless recording. Even if you do not know and love loons, you will love this recording.


Talk: A Novel
Talk: A Novel
by Michael A. Smerconish
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $19.05
55 used & new from $7.94

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Radio as an idiot dog ceaselessly barking in an endless night..., August 14, 2014
This review is from: Talk: A Novel (Hardcover)
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
... to paraphrase Mencken.

Talk is a seriously funny annoying book. Michael Smerconish picked a difficult subject to deliver in both an informative and realistic fashion that is entertaining. It would have been easier to have gone either dry polemic or to slapstick. He has the experience, the discipline and the skill to pull it off in his first attempt at fiction.

The protagonist is a media survivor living by his wits, dressing himself each dark morning in a persona he is tooling into place to get through another sea change, albeit one that actually pays. We sort of wish he (and we) could be left alone in peace doing what we are good at doing, instead of assuming a role that makes reasonable wince. He assumes the wingnut mantle and proceeds to make the world worse for it. A pragmatist, he takes the money and seeks to climb the media dung hill like a good beetle, in a tenuous world that would have asphyxiated Willy Loman halfway through Scene II. More and better than any pundit, Smerconish gives us an easy view into the Big Top and its sideshows; Stan has all the grace of a Carnie Barker. Soapbox slathered in his drivel, he rouses the rabble with the best of them. Most of the characters are thin, undeveloped reminders of so many shades that blow around the stage. Somehow the subject shakes off the deep, the complex and the noble in a sadly natural way. The tip-off that we are in a truly fictitious place is the sitting president walks away from power because the electoral circus distracts from real work on a really bad economy. First, there ain't no such leader, and second, if there were, the rest of the guttersnipes would block any reform anyway. There are other instances where we suspend disbelief to let the plot turn. Still, Smerconish lets us view sausage being made.

Stan is guided by a disembodied voice on a phone (supposedly because he is too obese to leave his chair) from a "consultant" who shows him a Faustian path to the top. Therein lies the tale of radio borne sound and fury. Some readers are bothered by what they say is preaching, others by too much "back story". They are not so much wrong in those feelings, rather, I found it a fun and easy bit of thoughtful entertainment that left a bad taste of reality in my mouth. I do not know you could ever hammer real literature from our self-inflicted wounds.
Comment Comments (5) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Aug 16, 2014 9:56 AM PDT


Serenia Sleep Dunlop Latex 2-Inch Easy Flip Mattress Pad Topper with Cover, Queen
Serenia Sleep Dunlop Latex 2-Inch Easy Flip Mattress Pad Topper with Cover, Queen
Offered by Serenia Sleep Specialty Mattresses
Price: $189.99
2 used & new from $189.99

4.0 out of 5 stars A significant improvement for a good nights sleep, August 13, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
My wife and I tested the Serenia Sleep Dunlop Latex 2-in mattress topper on Classic Brands Expression 10-Inch Memory Foam Mattress, Plush, 25 Yr Warranty, 100-Percent CertipurUS Certified and on an AeroBed Classic Double-High Mattress with Pump, Queen aerobed and found it greatly improved our sleeping comfort and deep sleep on each. We agreed that the dunlop latex mattress pad outperforms a gel memory mattress pad on either of these beds. There is less discomfort from pressure points, the latex offers greater support and hugging on the body's curves including feet and ankles, there is better motion isolation from partner's movements, and no odor from off gassing. As a side sleeper, I notice significantly less pressure on hips and shoulders. My wife is a back sleeper who appreciated the comfort of greater neck and back support. The dunlop topper suits heavy and light body frames. It is not too soft or too hard for the more mature frame who wants a bit more soft support. It suits my bed-reading laying on my stomach where I too often find my elbows tire from pressure.

The con is that the ends of the topper are not reinforced and firm. They are a continuation of the soft body mold so without care, one might easily topple out of bed when rolling near the side of the bed.

I admit, my research directed me to the Dunlop Latex process rather than Talalay for durability, strength and purity. I wanted a topper that was all natural latex with no blend. I was better assured to see that this topper was Dunlop latex foam from Sri Lanka. I may have a blend in the foam, but Sri Lanka is where many major manufacturers of organic latex originate. Manufacturers are not transparent about their blends or processes.

I really wanted a 3" topper but found none on Amazon and the price difference between the 2" and 3" on other sites was discouraging. At this price and with a cotton blend cover included, we decided to try the Serenia Sleep Dunlop topper for the Classic Expressions mattress we sleep on at our daughter's house. Now that we've made this significant improvement, it looks like our daughter and son-in-law will commandeer this bed combination for their own nightly use. And I am comfortable with this because they'll be sleeping next to natural latex and not a chemical mixture with unknown side effects.

I recommend this topper. I'll be buying a second for our own guest room. It is an inexpensive solution for those who have been thinking about upgrading to a latex bed or who want an organic mattress without the heavy cost. It also works well for those who need to occasionally sleep on a too hard, too wiggly air bed.


DII 100% Cotton Rag Rug for Entry Way, Kitchen Bathroom 20" x 31.5" Nautical Blue
DII 100% Cotton Rag Rug for Entry Way, Kitchen Bathroom 20" x 31.5" Nautical Blue
Price: $10.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Rags have never looked so good, August 13, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Pleasantly informal family of darker blues align for the stronger and more durable run along the short side of this rug. Less chance of separating from daily wear and periodic washing. Thick enough to be easy on bare feet means also that it is absorbant enough for sopping boots. Indian cottton is good stuff, so there is no sense that this is rug is in anyway "cheap". No disappointments here, it is just not exciting enough for 5 stars.


CoverTop Universal 15.6-Inch Laptop Shock Protection 100% Pure Silicone Cover (LCBLACK156)
CoverTop Universal 15.6-Inch Laptop Shock Protection 100% Pure Silicone Cover (LCBLACK156)
Price: $23.26

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good Enough, July 26, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I have an old laptop that will not take enough additional memory to run the latest Windows and chew gum. I decided it would sacrifice itself in the cause of consumer disclosure. I gave it a last meal and removed the charger. I could have removed the plug on COVERTOP that covers the socket, but I figured that would wait for one of my newer laptops.

My desk top is 28” from a polished concrete floor. I could not do a ceremonial “walk the plank” because COVERTOP would not budge. I have also been the cause of friendly fire, having slid my newest laptop over the edge just last month. It now closes its jaw something like my Uncle Harry does, who was once Golden Gloves of Hackensack.

I did check to see that the laptop itself worked, including the drives, even though it cannot be upgraded to a useful digital citizen. I dropped it from desk top height, edge on. Nothing happened. I checked out the screen, drive and connection ports. No damage.

The Governor stepped in and granted clemency. My traveling laptop now wears this vest. I did not see any improvement in cooling on a hard surface, but it does a little good on a softer, more padded one, but for those not too thick.

The non-slamming claim also defeats latches. So I had to make sure that the lid latch would still activate. This latch was defeated and therefore required full shutdown. A mixed bag, but one that helps me.

Thank you for your patience.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jul 30, 2014 9:21 AM PDT


Sony UDA1/B Hi-Res USB DAC System for PC Audio
Sony UDA1/B Hi-Res USB DAC System for PC Audio
Price: $798.00
6 used & new from $639.92

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Empire Strikes Back, July 25, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
SONY is back after years of wandering in Mediocre-ville. Thankfully reentering the high end quality market, this is their entry level to the domain of high resolution, lossless, studio master audio files. Goodbye MP3 at last! For audiophiles, the rating drops to a 4. Entry level means you do not need to be a geek; EASY to plug and play right out of the box so long as you have some speakers to connect.

Pros:
Top tier sound quality in nearly all cases
Improves sound from CDs and some lower grade file types
One of the few DACs that has built in amplification (optional) -- big space saver
Accepted file types -- including native DSD AND double DSD
Top notch Burr-Brown PCM 1795 for the DAC
The build quality is tops.
Speaker terminals accept banana plugs! (as well as bare wire)
Accepts optical cable
USB A and B
Headphone socket

Cons:
Some harshness on the high end for some lower file types
You might be an audiophile that does not prefer Class A/B amplifiers
23 Watts per Channel may not be enough for you, so it would not be a cost saver
Only one Burr-Brown instead of one for each channel
No USB 3.0
No WiFi

So this is a happy component in several ways. The desktop footprint is deeper than it is wide (one span of my hand). It brings the musicality from the computer world in a solid way. And it is easy for the novice while providing some depth for us geeks. DSD is a good example. Please note that DSD to do native needs a driver on MAC, which is a simple download. This SONY can take us there with just a little work of downloading. (95% of us will not bother). The point is that we can access the hi-res files that bring us music in a realistic fashion again.

There is an optical input that goes a long way to making up for the USB 2. You may hear trouble when using a mass storage device into your computer and an output to a DAC, using USB on both sides. Dual USB can fight the computer's clock, and it makes itself audible. Not only is the optical pipe faster in itself, using it also removes the contention.

If you are a Class A purist, you can easily bypass the on-board amp. But 23 wpc is enough to fill a small room nicely, say 14x16 or so. The speakers need to be either small, as in bookshelf, or high efficiency. Linn Kan IIs do a fine job. The amp starts clipping somewhere about high noon on the dial if you are stressing them. Within these specs, it is your typical A/B class amp. In any case, replace your old computer speakers. Alternatively, try good headphones for your music. The Sennheiser 700s were particularly splendid and airy, perhaps the best wey to hear a full symphony or opera.

Or is it? It sounds too good sometimes to be the tried and tired A/B of decades past. I will not say it is driving and thumping -- fast as fast can be, but it is better than it has a right to be with all the right things in place. Why? This is new design components that make a difference: the dual mono transformers (why oh why did they not do this with the lovely Brown and Burr?). Oh, wait, are those the super capacitors -- Nippon Chomi Con? Baby, old style caps break down with idle time. These are signal tigers. The fastest transients from those hi-def files are handled with aplomb. Even the volume control is on its own circuit. No bleeding here. There is more...there is the USB C Media C66 32A processor for high performance and low distortion. Perhaps the one most important is the ADSP-21488 DSP that does a best-we-can-hope-for to restore compressed signals. Max effort for SONY for the first time in a dog's age. Good file restitution from the DSD64 is a happy end to a nightmare of bad sound, at a price we can handle.

For those of you with other requirements and more money, SONY has more. But this is an easy way back to true music from all those hi-res sources of quality audio files, with a small desk top footprint and no fuss. It even turns itself off.
Comment Comments (6) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jul 28, 2014 11:03 AM PDT


The Odyssey
The Odyssey
by Barry B. Powell
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $22.19
53 used & new from $9.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars No Simpson Here, July 24, 2014
This review is from: The Odyssey (Hardcover)
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Countless lives have been wasted on Homer, in whole or in part, when they may have been on the stock market, political ideology or crystal meth, or Sudoku. We can never fully penetrate Homer; we know not what and when was Homer. The closest I ever got was listening to an obscure recording forty years ago that was already twenty years old of a bunch of Greeks, sitting around a bonfire while one chanted hundreds of lines of The Odyssey. Of course it was impossible for me to understand, but the flavor of the ancient oral tradition was tangy, sweaty and gritty. The driving meter of the poetry gave voice to how well memory works in this tradition.

Now, Barry B. Powell has me at a new perigee in my Homeric orbit. This one hundred thirty something-ish translation into English is best appreciated by reading all the introductory material first (we all know how it ends). The supplemental scholarship is well written and well organized. History of course, but some valuable poetics and linguistics as well. Plenty of maps for those who love them.

If these epics are the oldest surviving written poems, then how long were they already around purely from spoken memory, like my campfire Greeks? Powell treats the oral tradition, too.

As soon as we sail away from The Iliad, we leave behind the smoke, the dead soldiers and most of those petulant gods – only three pesky Olympians persist. So we sail toward life again, to fire that once again cooks food rather than rages destruction. And Powell, after 400 years of just the English attempts, keeps the beat but in a voice for our time. Authenticity is but a Platonic dream, but in Powell’s Odyssey, we have perhaps our best attempt to clasp the knees of the unknowable. He sings with a clear and resonant voice right from the start. Some chestnut this is, packed with joy and fierce adventure. No dusty old moldy here. Poseidon is again the grandiose jerk, spumous, spitting seaweed everywhere. Athena is forever flashing-eyed as we could only hope. Even if I do miss some of the old signposts of prior poetry versions, those lines will always remain on the shelf while here a new view appears as if a dirty window is thrown open to a sea breeze.
His footnotes keep to an essential minimum, as are the illustrations of pottery and the like. So, if Polyphemos asks, “Who has made a better translation in every way?” We may answer like Cyclops, “NBDY!”
Comment Comments (8) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Aug 19, 2014 7:47 PM PDT


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