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Customer Reviews: 411
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Man in the Middle "strasma" RSS Feed (Irvine, CA)

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One Silent Night
One Silent Night
Offered by SONY Music Entertainment Downloads LLC.
Price: $9.90

4.0 out of 5 stars Varied and enjoyable family-friendly Christmas album, December 25, 2014
This review is from: One Silent Night (MP3 Music)
We are new members of Journey Christian Church in Irvine, CA, where Jeremy and Jennifer Deibler of FFH lead worship, having arrived shortly before us. Any FFH fans out this way are invited to worship any Sunday at 9:15 or 11AM. We marvel at the quality of the team's music, despite Journey being smaller than a previous megachurch. (There are at least 3 megachurches here, but Journey is within walking distance.

For yesterday's Christmas eve service, we heard and thoroughly enjoyed part of this album live. Then as we left, each family was given a copy of this album. Much appreciated!

This album is a mix of old favorites and new compositions, some sacred and some secular. Although I appreciate the fresh approach to old favorites, I already have dozens of other Christmas albums, so appreciate the new songs even more. Although I've not usually been a country music fan, I've become more of one recently. (Our previous pastor was a Randy Travis fan.) My wife particularly appreciates that she no longer has to wear earplugs to church.

Our favorites on this CD are new: Glorious Impossible, The Birthday of the King, and One Silent Night, along with their fresh version of a personal favorite: O Come O Come Emmanuel. (When folks where I served as a pastor used to ask for more "old hymns", I sometimes scheduled this one - written in Latin in the 12th century, and always loved by me for being one of the few hymns written in a minor key.)

For some reason, saucy Baby, It's Cold Outside wasn't part of the service last night. But it's very well done, and a fun other side of Jeremy and Jennifer (also hinted at by the album cover.)


GreatCall Touch3 Simple and Easy to Use Senior Cell Phone with 1-Touch Medical Alert SOS Button, Large Display
GreatCall Touch3 Simple and Easy to Use Senior Cell Phone with 1-Touch Medical Alert SOS Button, Large Display
Price: $149.00
2 used & new from $126.33

4.0 out of 5 stars Much more than I expected from a Senior phone, December 23, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I'm a new senior at 65, but with lessening eyesight eager to try a cell phone that's easy to see and use. I'd been looking into ones that lack smartphone features, but this one includes nearly all of them, running its senior-friendly features as a shell over standard Android version 4.3 on a Samsung mini SM-G310R5.

I already have a Samsung S4, and my wife already has an iPhone 4S, but this phone is more pocket-able than either, so is more likely to actually be with me when needed. That really changed my mind, as I'd expected to get an iPhone 6+ next summer, or whatever follows it next fall, thinking my eyes will need all the screen they can get.

On the other hand, we already also have an iPad Mini Retina with a still-bigger screen, so it now seems I've had it all backwards. Rather than the biggest phone I can manage, I should seek the smallest one I can see and use well. This GreatCall Touch3 meets that need.

My next big discovery was that GreatCall's key senior-oriented applications (5Star, Urgent Care, and MedCoach) are all available for free download to all Android and iOS phones. You have to set up an account with Great Call ($15+ a month), but that's a handy option if you already have a phone you like. I've tried all three apps, and they do work, giving fast access to medical info, an emergency dispatcher, an RN or even an MD.

My biggest problem was that no major supplier has good signal in our town. Both this phone and my S4 use CDMA for service, and both work just a bit better than my wife's GSM service, with the S4's 4G service a bit more reliable than the Touch3's 3G. On the other hand, this phone and our others all happily link to our house WiFi, so data access and speed is no problem.

Much as I like the standard shell software GreatCall supplies on the Touch3, I'm glad they also left a simple way to return to a standard advanced Android appearance. My Touch3 now looks exactly like my S4, with the same apps in the same locations. It even runs Amazon Prime Video and Music.

I've also tested the GreatCall Link feature mentioned at the GreatCall Web site. It allows approved others to track me. (Google Maps, of course, also works.)

Testing all this turned up a couple of problems, which led to a few contacts with customer and tech support. Support hours are wide, but not middle-of-the-night, and Emails were answered well, though not immediately. One error message is still with tech support - but can likely be avoided by retrying with a stronger cell signal.

The special apps could also communicate among themselves more effectively. I had to re-enter into the GreatCall Web site info I'd already entered into the MedCoach app, and then give some of the same info again when speaking to the RN via the UrgentCare app. For some seniors, it may be helpful for someone else to pre-enter all that data.

Overall, I expect most Seniors will find all this easier than I did, as I pushed the limits of what's possible in every way I could. That said, even I am quite impressed with what all this little phone does easily.

GreatCall service is very reasonable in cost, especially compared to what I already pay Verizon for less.

I have another couple of months to test the Touch3, and look forward to doing so very much. As I discover anything more, I'll update this review.

Meanwhile, this is my new standard of what my next phone should do and look like next summer.

Honeywell HUL535W Cool Mist Humidifier, White
Honeywell HUL535W Cool Mist Humidifier, White
Offered by Sylvane
Price: $54.95
2 used & new from $39.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lasting relief for a stuffy nose or over-dry room, December 20, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
We've really enjoyed a tiny PureGuardian H920BL Ultrasonic Table Top Humidifier with Beaker cool mist humidifier for when any of us have a stuffy nose, except that a quart of water doesn't last long in a dry room.

This Honeywell cool mist humidifier is similar, but better in two important ways. First, capacity is a full gallon, so no need to refill in the middle of the night. Second, output is widely-variable, allowing as much or as little added humidity as needed.

I also like that the Honeywell plugs into the wall, rather than using a power brick, as we somehow misplaced the Pure Guardian's during a move this year, rendering it useless until we find it again.

Both humidifiers are filter-free, which we love, although it also means they can add particles to the air in a room if there were any in the water originally. If that were ever a concern, we also have a water distiller, so could start with known-pure water.

Set to low, the Honeywell is barely audible (1 Sone). On high, water can be heard dripping within the mechanism, almost like a very slow fountain. Personally, I prefer the lowest setting, so as to refill less often. There's no condensation on nearby surfaces even at the highest setting in our home, but we live in a dry climate, so that might vary in a more humid climate.

Compared to all the many types of standalone humidifiers we've used over the decades, this is definitely my personal favorite. The only one we've ever liked better was an Aprilaire permanently mounted on the furnace in a previous home, and that was only because we only had to touch it once a year for a new filter. On the other hand, that one also once flooded a circuit board on that furnace, causing it to fail in winter, so perhaps this one is still better.

Definitely recommended!

Retrospec Bicycles Floor Pump (Silver)
Retrospec Bicycles Floor Pump (Silver)
Price: $16.99

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My new favorite tire pump is also a real bargain, December 17, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
After working in a bike shop for 3 years, I consider myself an expert on bike pumps, with our favorite at the shop being the Topeak Joe Blow Sport II Floor Pump. We always also had lots of others to sell, but the Joe Blow II was what stood up best to our daily abuse.

Even so, I was glad to review this Retrospec pump, as my new (Retrospec Bicycles Speck Folding Single-Speed Bicycle) has been a delight. Also, the one weakness of the Joe Blow II is that its double-head for Presta andSchraeder valves can sometime be difficult or impossible to fit in a tight space, such as on a small wheel, leaving a use for a pump with a single Presta/Scjraeder head, as on the Retrospec.

On arrival, I immediately put this pump to use on my three most difficult challenges: a 12" stroller wheel, a 20" wheel containing a large BionX electric motor in its hub, and a 115 PSI Presta valve 700C wheel. Amazingly, the Retrospec aced all three - doing all its tasks better than any other pump I've ever used, including $100+ models.

The single most amazing feature is that this Retrospec pump did not leak any air at all as I clamped it on any of the three wheels' inflation valves. I've never had a pump fail to leak during initial connection before, so really appreciated this. That also eased filling, as I didn't have to make up for any lost air, allowing each tire to be filled to full pressure in just a few pumps, rather than the usual 30.

Feature-wise, this pump has everything I'd expect, including clamps to store its hose, a 160 PSI gauge with a settable indicator for desired pressure, and 3 included special attachments for filling various types of balls.

After deciding this is the best tire pump I've ever used, I was then amazed to check its Amazon price and discover it is also the least expensive tire pump I've ever used.

Highly recommended!

GE Lighting 14203 Energy-Smart LED 11-watt, 800-Lumen A19 Bulb with Medium Base, Soft White, 1-Pack
GE Lighting 14203 Energy-Smart LED 11-watt, 800-Lumen A19 Bulb with Medium Base, Soft White, 1-Pack
Offered by MLBSKI
Price: $13.64
7 used & new from $9.99

4.0 out of 5 stars LED lights are definitely improving, December 17, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
My pet peeve with LED lights has been that they still get hot, just like incandescent and halogen bulbs. Over the years, this has been improving.

This new GE 10.5 watt soft white 800 lumen bulb almost solves the problem. It still gets hot on its base, but no longer quite enough to burn me as I screw it in or out. Also, its base is painted white, rather than bare metal, which lets the bulb look a lot more like an ordinary one than most LED bulbs.

At 800 lumens for 10.5 watts, this bulb is nicely bright, though not painful to view. Its color temperature is 2700 degrees Kelvin, which to my eyes is just right. It dims well via a simple rheostat.

So why only four stars? That's because I recently found a similar LED bulb I like even better: the new Philips 433227 10.5-watt Slim Style Dimmable A19 LED Light Bulb, Soft White 800 lumen flat bulb, which shares the same color temperature and fits in the same medium sockets, but is physically easier to install and remove due to a flattened shape. Plus it never gets uncomfortably hot. That one I like well enough to have bought 17 in the past month. But anyone worried about a strange-looking flat bulb might prefer this one. Prices vary over time, but the Phillip was also a lot less costly when I bought it.

I've posted a photo of three LED bulbs together. This is the one on the left. The flattened Phillips is in the middle, and a 6 watt (in my opinion overly-) "warm white" bulb from Ikea is on the right.

GROHE 30213000  Parkfield Single-Handle Pull-Down Kitchen Faucet
GROHE 30213000 Parkfield Single-Handle Pull-Down Kitchen Faucet
Price: $211.94
11 used & new from $161.22

5.0 out of 5 stars Not only good, but also recommended by our plumber, December 17, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Reading the installation instructions made this look like a really-easy install. Looking at the mess under our kitchen sink, on the other hand, suggested it might be wise to involve our neighbor the plumber in this install.

That turned out to be a great decision, as the installation took him 4 hours, including a trip to the hardware store for longer metric bolts. However, our plumber assured us this is not the fault of the faucet, but just the consequence of tight quarters under the sink and its granite countertop.

The only thing lacking in the kit (other than extra-long bolts) was a coupld of blind covers for the two no-longer-used holes as our new single-hole sink replaced an old 3-hole one. Fortunately, those, and the bolts were easily available to the nearest hardware store.

Once installed, everything works just as we hoped it would. The faucet arches high enough to easily clear our largest pan. The hose pulled out easily and far enough to reach any corner of our double sink. The single faucet works easily to adjust both temperature and flow, plus easily converting from spray to stream. Ours was installed for right-handers, and we're both lefties, but it looks like it could have been installed for either, and is still easy for us to use. It comes with a tool for cleaning the aerator, but is designed to do so by just rubbing a finger across it without any tool needed. The surface is polished chrome, and the finished appearance is both high quality and current in fashion..

Our plumber has installed lots of these, and considers them better than most - more brass and less plastic, as he put it. He reports they usually sell for well above the current Amazon price.

The faucet and finish have a limited lifetime warranty, and the cartridge is replaceable.

Overall, we are very happy. Definitely recommended.

Fire HD 6, 6" HD Display, Wi-Fi, 16 GB, Magenta
Fire HD 6, 6" HD Display, Wi-Fi, 16 GB, Magenta

3.0 out of 5 stars Bought for acess to family library and for its text-to-speech., December 13, 2014
The recent Kindle software update that lets my wife and I have two separate Amazon accounts, yet share access to any Ebook either of us purchases is wonderful. Sadly, however, it isn't available for my wife's original Paperwhite. We were also still lamenting my recently having broken my Kindle Keyboard, as only that Kindle had text-to-speech.

To solve both these problems, we bought this Fire 6. It solves both of those problems very well at minimum cost, especially at its "Black Friday" sale price that also offered a discount on Amazon Prime.

Prime has been wonderful. We were already on another Prime account for free fast shipping, so our goal in getting our own Prime was for the videos and music. We've used both, and are surprised to be using the music more - to try out lots of artists I wasn't previously willing to pay for.

As for the Fire, we bought it for my wife to use, but after trying it, she prefers to continue reading on her lighter Paperwhite and iPhone 4S (with Kindle app.) She also briefly tried our Apple iPad Mini, but also found it too heavy. That brought the Fire back to my use, which I've enjoyed. I bought the game Plants vs Zombies for it, as my grandson and I both love playing that on the iPad. The game is also fun on the Fire.

Beyond that, for me the killer app on the Fire is text to speech, which now sounds a lot better than on the Kindle Keyboard. I'm sure I'll also use it in other ways, but our iPad can also do those.

One other huge advantage of the Fire is cost. The iPad cost almost ten times as much, so when traveling I expect I'll use the Fire instead, unless I need GPS or cellular data to work, as only the iPad has those. I also like that the Fire is smaller than the iPad.

Knowing what we do now, would we buy our Fire 6 again? Probably, but mostly for the text to speech. Lacking that almost kept me from replacing our broken Kindle with a Voyage, and I'd still love to have that feature in a future Kindle.

Update: Changing the registration of the Fire from my wife to me and then back resulted in no longer being easily able to start some family-shared apps by clicking on an icon, though I could still do so by finding them in the Amazon App Store and clicking Open there. At this point, I decided I'd had enough, and returned the Fire, which Amazon did very graciously and for full credit. In the end text-to-speech alone wasn't worth managing yet another device, and I really wasn't looking forward to trying to work through the other issue with tech support, even though they are very nice and helpful when I do call. I'm guessing the family features just need to mature through another update or two before I try again. Dropping one star, as it seems odd to "like" something I returned.

TODDLER PILLOW CASE Cover - 100% Natural PREMIUM Cotton Percale 400 Thread Count Sateen Weave - Machine Washable,Tumble Dry Protector for little pillows for Kids Sleeping in Cars,Travel in Airplanes - Fits 13x18,12x16 Sizes by Angel Baby - Best LIFETIME GUARANTEE
TODDLER PILLOW CASE Cover - 100% Natural PREMIUM Cotton Percale 400 Thread Count Sateen Weave - Machine Washable,Tumble Dry Protector for little pillows for Kids Sleeping in Cars,Travel in Airplanes - Fits 13x18,12x16 Sizes by Angel Baby - Best LIFETIME GUARANTEE
Offered by Angel Direct Products
Price: $16.95

5.0 out of 5 stars Fits perfectly on our Japanese size buckwheat pillows, and ..., December 10, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Fits perfectly on our Organic Buckwheat Pillow - Japanese Size (14" x 20") (great for side-sleeping adults), and half the cost of another suggested option. Seems very high quality. Only thing missing that my wife asked about is a zipper for the open end.

Timeline American History Game
Timeline American History Game
Offered by The Game Addict
Price: $12.55
15 used & new from $8.90

5.0 out of 5 stars Huge hit with our 7 year old grandson, December 8, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I expected this to be popular with our seven year old grandson, because he's spent the last two years memorizing the details of his U.S. Presidents placemat at every meal, and is now on his second volume of a world history series for afternoon and bedtime reading over the past two years.

As soon as he got home today, we sat down for a game, and ended up playing ten times. Amzingly, he won two games without us taking any extra handicap cards, even though his gramma was a history major in college, and has lived through a lot of the recent events listed.

This is a wonderful way to help both kids and parents or grandparents keep track of when important events happened. Game play is amazingly easy to learn, and the small cards don't take much space. The only downside is that when skilled players play, a dining room table can quickly be filled from one end to the other with a developing timeline before there's finally a winner.

Highly recommended!

FACTOP LED Bulb Lamp Light R7S 5W 24 5050 SMD 430-440lm 78mm 85-265V AC replacement for Halogen Flood Lamp Warm Wthie
FACTOP LED Bulb Lamp Light R7S 5W 24 5050 SMD 430-440lm 78mm 85-265V AC replacement for Halogen Flood Lamp Warm Wthie
Offered by DealPe
Price: $7.99
7 used & new from $6.20

2.0 out of 5 stars No longer the best option, December 8, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
When I bought this bulb last summer, I liked it, as the best available at the time. That's no longer true. Now a much better 6 watt equivalent Ecloud Shopus R7s 60 3014 SMD Warm White LED Light Lamp Bulb 6w 78mm Ac 100-240v is available, and is much more satisfactory for my intended uses as a kitchen and bathroom ceiling light in a 100 watt halogen fixture. The 6 watt version is a warmer white, has more than twice as many individual LED elements, and appear to be about twice as bright as this bulb, but fits easily wherever this one does.

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