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Helpful Votes: 72




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Kenneth Cole Men's Melton Car Coat
Kenneth Cole Men's Melton Car Coat

18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Warm and sleek, November 15, 2012
I really like this coat. It's fairly stylish and sleek, but does a very good job keeping me warm during New England winters. I generally have a hard time finding coats that fit me well, as I find that coat makers tend to assume that every male has shoulders as broad as a professional wrestler. This fits my thin frame very well and isn't too bulky.

The pseudo-sweater that's stiched on has it's benefits and drawbacks. On the plus side, it helps keep your chest and neck warm and looks fairly good when the coat is buttoned and the "sweater" is zipper. The drawback, in my opinion, is that I don't much care for the look of it when it's unbuttoned and unzipped. Most days it won't matter, but if it's something to consider if the day ends up being warm than expected. I noticed that in the description it says that it's removable. This looks like an updated version of last season's, as mine is most definitely stitched on.

There are two inside pockets at chest height, but I would have preferred a third inside pocket for e.g. my phone but that's a minor complaint.

Overall, the coat is well pull together. The stitching is good, the outside wool is smooth (not itchy), and it fits rather snug.


Total Gym Body Makeover DVD with Dan Isaacson
Total Gym Body Makeover DVD with Dan Isaacson
Price: $24.20
4 used & new from $14.99

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Pretty decent workout, September 7, 2012
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
The workouts from this DVD are pretty good, especially for the upper body. After the first time or two using the DVD, I was pretty sore. The arm pullover exercises in the beginning, which largely workout your abs/core, are pretty intense by the third variation. My biceps and triceps felt pretty good after using the DVD, as do my chest and back. So if you want a good upper body workout, this DVD will be very helpful.

I don't really bother with the lower-body workouts, as I find them to be a bit awkward compared to upper body but your mileage may vary. I think more conventional floor workouts will be better, but that is my opinion only. Additionally, some of the lower body workouts should be avoided. I would skip the 'seated torso twist' or put it at a very low incline. Any type of workout that has you twisting your spine while keeping your hips square ignores biology.

The routine is a sort of a mix between a muscle building one and an endurance one. There are 15 reps per exercise, which really helps the heart rate go up but it's not quite as good as building muscle. If you do want to build some more muscle, I find that it's more effective to use a higher incline (or use resistance bands provided for the Total Body Works 5000) with 10 or fewer reps.

What I particularly liked about this DVD was that Dan demonstrated very well how to do each individual exercise. And to my surprise, I found that I had performed one or two of them improperly when I was trying to mimic what I saw in picture forms. Additionally, Dan helps time each rep for you. Previously I had been going much quicker, but found that I got a much better workout when I followed Dan's timing. I would prefer that he were a more consistent counter, as he tends to ramble on as you work out and you can lose your place and timing if you don't focus.

There are few quick clips about diet and walking at the end of the DVD, but they seem tacked on and a bit useless. I would look elsewhere for diet information (I doubt anyone expected otherwise)

One other negative to consider is that the production value. The music, the editing, and the constant referencing by Dan to 'rewind the tape' make the DVD come off as very old. I'm actually a bit surprised, because it looks like it was originally created in 2002 when DVDs had already made huge inroads in the market. Alas, it's only a minor complaint. The workouts are still pretty demanding for the upper body.


Bowflex EZ Pro Strapless Heart Rate Monitor WR30M
Bowflex EZ Pro Strapless Heart Rate Monitor WR30M
12 used & new from $19.97

19 of 23 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Avoid avoid avoid, July 9, 2012
Update: Downgrading to 1 star. I now find it almost impossible to get a heart rate measurement. Additionally, after having the device for only a few days (and only wearing it for one mild work-out) one of the buttons has fallen off. This makes the watch almost useless, as now I cannot use more of its more basic functions.

Original review: After seeing some negative reviews about the product, I was a little hesitant to buy this device. Still, I found it for very cheap and decided to take a minor gamble with it. I regret it, to say the least.

Another reviewer mentioned that he is able to get a heart rate reading while at rest, but has difficulty during exercise. My problem, on the other hand, is getting a reading at any time. I'm able to get a reading maybe 10-20% of the time. The way this watch works is that hold the 'mode' button for a few seconds until the picture of a heart starts to blink. Then you place your fingers at the metal plates at the top and bottom of the screen and wait for a reading. I have tried all different types of tricks - varying levels of pressure, dry fingers, moist fingers, different fingers and I simply cannot get a reading consistently. Most often the heart icon continues to blink but offers no measurement. It's very frustrating. I was only able to get a reading after my 10th attempt as of this morning

It does occasionally work, and it also functions as a sports watch so it's not entirely useless. But it can be very frustrating. I cannot recommend it if you are looking just for a strapless heart-rate monitor


Hip Pedometer
Hip Pedometer
Offered by KJR Discount Store
Price: $26.95

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very accurate, helpful motivator, March 15, 2012
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Hip Pedometer (Misc.)
This device is surprisingly accurate. It's actually pretty sleek and fits under my shirt pretty well, so it's not incredibly obvious. A few people who did see it at first though it was a insulin pump, though, but most didn't.

The device is very accurate and a nice motivator. I found out that I was already averaging about 8,500-9,000 steps a day. Now I have motivation to walk just a little bit more than I used to. I am aware that the 10,000 step rule is somewhat arbitrary and not based on medical science, but it's still a fairly decent goal.

Some good things to know about this pedometer.

1) It's pretty good at distinguishing random movements with actual steps. I've tried wiggling around in my seat and doing odd movements to see if it had any affect on the count. It didn't.

2) The device won't start adding steps until after a few consecutive steps at counting. I believe this is why it is good at distinguishing random movements/wiggling while you're sitting down and actual steps. If you do walk continuously for more than a few seconds, those first few steps are retroactively added to the total counts. I think for most, this is a good system. However, if you're just constantly starting and stopping throughout the day based on how your job is, it might not be the best device for you.

3) The device actually will tell you how many steps you've taken, how many faster or 'moderate' steps you've taken, the estimated number of miles you've walked, and the estimated number of calories burned (this is calculated on information you enter into the device when first setting up).

4) The pedometers keeps a backlog of 7 days for you and resets every day at midnight.

5) It's very accurate! I decided to count the number of steps I was walking to see if it corresponded with the pedometer's readings. I counted for about 300 to 400 steps on even ground, going up hill, and going down hill and it's always been right or at least within 2 or 3 steps. I even decided trying to walk up and down stairs, and it was still accurate to within 2 steps.

Overall, I really like this little device. It gives me a sense of accomplishment at the end of the day when I see that I've walked more than 10,000 steps.


Armarkat B5301 53-Inch Cat Tree, Ivory
Armarkat B5301 53-Inch Cat Tree, Ivory
Price: $79.99
13 used & new from $67.87

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very good, especially for the price., March 15, 2012
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I perused the internet and many pet stores for a good cat tree that was affordable, relatively tall, and (most importantly) sturdy. This cat tree seems to fit all three categories fairly well. One thing that I particularly like about this tree, when compared to many other cat trees, is that the little cat house is actually large enough for an adult cat to fit inside. My cat loves to take naps inside her little house, and she fits nice and snugly inside. She's 3 years old and about 11 lbs, and her frame is about average size. Cats that are larger probably still wouldn't fit inside, but it was a good size for her.

The tree seems pretty stable. It does wobble slightly - it could probably benefit from a slightly larger base - but it's not especially so. It also could partly be attributed to the fact that my apartment floors aren't particularly flat. When I first put my cat on the tree at the top platform, she was extremely scared and did not feel comfortable up there. She was more than happy to jump down. Since then, however, it's become one of her favorite spots.

She loves the little toy that dangles, and she likes to lie/sit down on all the various surfaces. I would recommend putting the tree in front of a window so that your cat(s) have a good view from various locations on the tree.

I didn't think the topmost scratching post would really make sense, since there isn't a lot of room for the cat to scratch it. Amazingly, my cat will actually stretch from the second highest platform and scratch the post from there. She's become very confident that the tree is very stable.

Overall, I definitely would recommend this tree to someone who wants an affordable but sturdy cat tree. If you have a cat that is 15lbs or heavier, this tree might be a little too small for them. Kittens might have trouble getting to the higher platforms.


Stardust
Stardust
by Neil Gaiman
Edition: Paperback
Price: $5.64
107 used & new from $2.86

3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Somewhat bland, but not terrible., March 14, 2012
This review is from: Stardust (Paperback)
This is my first Gaiman book. I picked up because I had heard such great things about him as an author, and he has received many awards and praise over the last half-decade or so. I was surprised then by how little this book moved me.

The book isn't bad, but rather it's just bland. There weren't many descriptions of the environment (though I understand that this originally was meant as a graphic novel, so I suppose that should account for part of it). The story is just chock-full of two-dimensional characters. Really, though, the parts I found weakest were the relationships between the characters. I found it difficult to believe that Tristan and Yvaine were in love with one another by the end. There wasn't much dialogue between the two of them that would convince me of this, and nothing about their behavior towards one another would give much indication either. Rather, I just feel like I was told by Gaiman near the end that they now are in love with one another rather than being shown in any shape or form. There was just no emotion from any of the characters. When Tristan finally learns that his mother isn't his biological one, we get no reaction from him. When he finally meets his real mother, again no reaction. It's like he's made of wood.

There were a few things I did like. The concept of Fairie land, a magical place not bound by the normal laws of physics that govern our world, is just across a wall from our world. If not for the guards, one could simply cross into one land from the other when he so chose. (The rest of this paragraph contains SPOILERS! - read at your own discretion) I also like how it did not end in a typical fantasy fashion. There is no epic showdown between the hero and the enemy (or enemies). The witch, for example, is defeated in a more ironical fashion - she ends up much older and more frail than how she had started out (End of SPOILERS!)

I will say that although the movie made the ending more hollywood/Tolkien-esque, the film overall was far more enjoyable. It had that 'magical' feeling to it, with memorable characters, believable relationships, and flat-out fun.

I do plan to give Gaiman another shot. I have obtained copies of American Gods and Neverwhere, and will make a firmer judgment then. I understand that this one of his earlier works, and that it was meant to be coupled with some beautiful illustrations. I hope to be more impressed with his other works.


Amazon Kindle Touch Wi-Fi, 6" E Ink Display MiniSuit Book-Style Leather Folio Case Cover with Hand Compartment, Latest Generation (Black)
Amazon Kindle Touch Wi-Fi, 6" E Ink Display MiniSuit Book-Style Leather Folio Case Cover with Hand Compartment, Latest Generation (Black)

5.0 out of 5 stars High quality and comfortable case, January 27, 2012
I actually bought this on ebay. I was looking for a Kindle Touch case with a hand-strap on Amazon, and found that the ones being offered were far too pricey. It's hard for me to justify spending an extra 35% of the price of the device on a case to protect it. I have no idea why anyone would spend some $60 or so on the ones Amazon is offering.

I didn't expect this case to be all that well made or pretty, but it's actually just that. I like how snug the Kindle fits inside the case, and when closed it looks almost business-professional. Very sleek. It's a very sturdy case and it is easy to hold. The hand strap is fantastic. It's pretty easy to read with just one hand. I generally read with my right, but I haven't had any issues using just my left. It does add some weight to the device, unfortunately, but not so much that it's uncomfortable. Overall, it is still light and significantly easier to hold compared to a hardcover, and about on par with a trade paper back.


Kindle Touch, Wi-Fi, 6" E Ink Display - includes Special Offers & Sponsored Screensavers
Kindle Touch, Wi-Fi, 6" E Ink Display - includes Special Offers & Sponsored Screensavers
66 used & new from $43.00

14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Decent, but could be MUCH better (comparisons with Nook Touch), December 7, 2011
I've been interested in getting a Kindle since the year it was first released. However, the expensive price tags have always deterred me, and I've generally been happy with print books. When the Kindle Touch was announced with it's $99 price point, I knew that I would finally grab one. There are, however, some issues with this device that could easily be improved. Overall, I'd say there are actually other better e-readers available based purely on the reading experience. If I were to rate just the hardware and the software of the Kindle, I would probably rate it 3/5 instead of 4, but Amazon has provided some perks that bumps the rating up a bit for me.

GRAPHICAL INTERFACE:
The display has not really been altered in any way, from what I can tell, from the previous non-touch Kindle devices. Barnes and Noble definitely utilized the touch capabilities with their graphical interface. The Kindle still relies solely on text-based lists, rather than e.g. book cover icons like the Nook has. The Nook has a text-based listing of your library as well, but provides nice clear lines above and below the titles to demarcate which areas you need to touch to access one. The Kindle lacks these lines. Settings on the Kindle are also text based (e.g. changing the spacing between lines) while the Nook again uses graphics. As a result of these shortcomings, the new touch capabilities almost seem like they were hastily included.

Additionally, Amazon really did not take advantage of their 'home' button, which only takes you to your library. To access the menu or different settings, you need to touch the top or the bottom of the screen. With that home button on the Nook, you can jump to your library, the store, search options, and social networking - all with one button. It's much simpler and far more intuitive. Again, the Nook does a better job than Kindle here.

The Kindle screen looks a bit grayer than other e-readers as well, particularly when compared to the Nook Simple Touch since the November software update. The Nook's background appears a bit whiter, and the text really pop-out against the background. Some have attributed this to the darker bezel on the Nook, but there's definitely a difference in the screens. The Nook has better contrast

ERGONOMICS:
The ergonomics of the new Kindle Touch aren't bad, but they could be improved. The bezel is a bit thin, and could be a problem for people with larger thumbs/hands. I don't have too much of an issue holding it, but it's not incredibly comfortable and it doesn't 'disappear' in my hand. The back has a nice rubberized feel to it, which helps though. The Nook, on the other hand, is entirely rubberized and the bezel is a bit wider. Additionally, it has a contoured back panel. This makes reading with one hand much more pleasurable, and the Nook really does "disappear" in your hand.

The Kindle Touch lacks page forward/reverse buttons, but I actually don't mind that. The new "easy-reach" function, which allows you to tape on something like 2/3 of the screen to make the page go forward. This makes reading with the left hand very easy. Going back is more difficult, since the area needed to tap is much smaller. I find swiping to be easier to go back a page. The Nook has the buttons, but they are really hard to press and hurt your thumbs if you use them too much.

WEB BROWSING AND MP3 CAPABILITIES:
The Kindle has a web browser, which the Nook does not. The Kindle also has a headphone jack and a speaker for listening to music, audiobooks, or text-to-speech functions. I mention these things because they are nice to have, however they don't really provide that much of a benefit for me personally. I already have an Android, which can do web browsing much better, and it's smaller so better for audiobooks or music (I also have an iPod which could fulfill this function). The text-to-speech is a bit robotic and is limited to certain books. I will also say that mp3 player support is weakened by the fact that there is no expandable memory. MP3s take up quite a bit of space, especially audiobooks.

One nice feature, though, is the forwarding of email to your Kindle. It is a bit nice to be able to read your emails in the e-ink.

CUSTOMER SERVICE:
Amazon is just far superior here compared to B&N. I've never had any problems returning items to Amazon, and they are quick about getting you replacements for defective items. Additionally, you are allowed to return ebooks to Amazon within 7 days of purchasing. You can't return any books to B&N.

KINDLE OWNERS' LIBRARY
Another perk. You can borrow one book a month from Amazon directly for free. Selection isn't fantastic, and leans quite a bit on free public-domain books, but there is still a nice selection of books to choose from. They also seem to be improving the selection already. Amazon Prime's streaming service originally was also very lackluster, but has steadily improved over time. I have a feeling this will be true with the Owners library.

PUBLIC LIBRARY SUPPORT!
Numerous libraries now support the Kindle format. You can also download the books with wireless internet, as opposed to loading books via USB like the Nook requires.

SPECIAL OFFERS:
Now, many people complain about the special offers, but you can actually get some good deals sometimes from Amazon. Often, they appear to be books discounted to 99 cents, but they also offer Amazon coupons for half off (e.g. $5 for a $10 gift card to Amazon) or discounts off of electronic devices on Amazon. Some of the deals are lackluster, but you can find some decent ones.

Based on the hardware and the software/graphical interface alone, I'd say that the Nook Simple Touch has the Kindle beat hands down. It's barely a competition, from my perspective. The Nook has better software with slightly better contrast, double the battery life (both promise 2 months, but the Amazon fudges it by saying "half an hour a day" while the Nook is "1 hour per day" of reading), and a more ergonomic design. However, Amazon offers some benefits to buying a Kindle which are hard to pass up, including the Owners Library, the Special Offers, and their superb customer service. If I could use a Nook Simple Touch through Amazon, I would do so in a heart beat. Still, the Kindle is a solid device. I don't think too many people will be disappointed with it.
Comment Comments (4) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 15, 2012 8:31 AM PDT


Intex Classic Downy Full Airbed
Intex Classic Downy Full Airbed
Price: $19.58
32 used & new from $17.83

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Surprisingly comfortable for the price, April 29, 2011
I bought this for my brother and his girlfriend when they came to visit. I have a guest bed, but it was being used by my other brother and sister-in-law, so decided to buy an air mattress. I was hesitant to buy this one, since it is so cheap and I've mostly had bad experiences with air mattresses. This one, however, was surprisingly comfortable. I'm pretty sure I could sleep on it for a week without too many issues. It actually remained inflated without the need of a refill for several days. I have been on more comfortable air-mattresses, but I'd say this is by far the most comfortable $20 air mattress you'll find.


Hard Protector Skin Cover Cell Phone Case for LG Optimus S LS670 Sprint - BLACK
Hard Protector Skin Cover Cell Phone Case for LG Optimus S LS670 Sprint - BLACK
Offered by SF Planet
Price: $5.99
2 used & new from $3.00

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Pretty good, with minor complaint, March 28, 2011
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is for the LG Optimus V, which is the Virgin Mobile version of the phone. It fits perfectly, with all of the open slots in the correct location. From what I've been told, not all of the Optimus phones are the same between service companies (e.g. Sprint, Virgin Mobile, T-Mobile, etc) in that buttons are in different locations so you may want to be careful. It doesn't jostle around at all - it's a nice, tight fit.

The case feels pretty flimsy when you take it out of the package and I was dubious at first before putting it on the phone. However, once encasing the phone, it had a nice secure and durable feel to it. I was pretty surprised. I also am a big fan of the texture. It has a sort of rubberized feel to it as opposed to hard plastic. Very smooth to the touch, and enough friction to prevent it from sliding around if you put it down. Luckily I have no issues with it getting caught in my pocket or picking up lint, which are problems that often plague silicone cases.

It does add a little bit of bulk, but nothing substantial. Same is true for weight. I barely notice it in my pocket.

One thing I've noticed is that the case has already become a little off its alignment. When you first snap own both pieces to encase the phone, the edges are nice and flush with one another. So you don't feel the edges sticking out. But after a couple weeks of use, I can start feeling the edges when holding it in my hand. It's not terrible in any way and it isn't very uncomfortable, but it's noticeable. My guess is that the plastic bent a little. Also, this sucker is really difficult to take off. This is good in case you ever drop it, but it's a pain if you need to take the battery out or want to clean the phone.


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