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Profile for Ann in Dallas > Reviews


Ann in Dallas' Profile

Customer Reviews: 22
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Korean War Stories
Korean War Stories
DVD ~ Walter Cronkite
Price: $12.94
30 used & new from $4.46

3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars, June 5, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Korean War Stories (DVD)

Vimtag VT-361 Super HD WiFi Video Monitoring Surveillance Security Camera, Plug/Play, Pan/Tilt with Two-Way Audio & Night Vision
Vimtag VT-361 Super HD WiFi Video Monitoring Surveillance Security Camera, Plug/Play, Pan/Tilt with Two-Way Audio & Night Vision
Price: $99.99
15 used & new from $68.99

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good for live streaming, March 23, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
We've had this camera up-and-running for a month now as a nanny cam to keep an eye on an aging parent. It's a mixed bag compared to our existing system.

For the past three years we've used VueZone (VGA cameras running at 4fps), so the Fujikam represented a step up. Had everything gone well, we would have purchased more to replace our existing system. As it is, it's limitations relegate it to a supplemental role within the house.

The camera has good image quality, pan & tilt speed, audio, and Wi-Fi range, but the recording functions are all but worthless.

It's nice the camera can accommodate up to a 64Gb microSD card to store recorded videos, but management is rudimentary at best:
- You can only play the videos. No ability to stop, restart, or skip-to a starting point.
- You cannot delete a video through the company's web site or cell phone app. Instead, you must remove the memory card and stick it in a PC like a thumb drive.
- Even after deleting a video the online library does not reflect the update. The reason for this is the camera uses the first frame from each video as an icon in the directory display, and all still images are stored in the camera's internal memory chip, which cannot be deleted. So, even though you delete a video the still image remains.
- No time-lapse option for scheduled recordings.

Did not experiment with the motion-activated feature. With the video library tools being so limited, saw little reason to try it. Tech Support tells me the company plans to beef up the library management functions but did not elaborate as to what and when.

Final Thoughts
The camera represents an exceptional value for its price point. You are getting a high-definition, full frame-rate, camera with good image quality. But its lack of so many recording features makes it unsuitable for anything other than live-streaming with sound.

I have searched for third-party IP camera management software compatible with this model but to no avail. So, for now we will park the Fujikam F1-361 next to one of our VueZone cameras and use it just when we want to stream live at 30fps and listen to what's going on. Our VueZone system, however, will continue as the main tool we use monitor our aging parent.

Isotoner Women's Classic Satin Ballerina Slipper (XX-Large, Black)
Isotoner Women's Classic Satin Ballerina Slipper (XX-Large, Black)
Offered by With You in Mind, inc.
Price: $18.75
4 used & new from $13.77

5.0 out of 5 stars Perfect, September 10, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Just what I was looking for and in XXL.

D-Link DCS-5020L Pan & Tilt Wi-Fi Camera (White)
D-Link DCS-5020L Pan & Tilt Wi-Fi Camera (White)
Price: Click here to see our price
74 used & new from $72.99

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Disappointment, July 5, 2014
Purchased one of these from a big-box store after considerable research comparing it to Dropcam, Foscam, and TRENDNet. For the past two years we've been using a VueZone system, but recently upgraded to a 10Mb Internet connection so wanted to try a full frame-rate IP camera with pan, tilt, and zoom capabilities. The results were disappointing across the board:

1. Poor depth-of-field.
2. Smeared look to movement.
3. Weak Wi-Fi reception.
4. Slow response to pan, tilt, and zoom controls.
5. Non-existent Tech Support
6. Java requirement.

The image looked fuzzy at certain distances, so I placed it at the end of a 20' hallway and systematically adjusted the lens to find a focal point that would work for all distances near and far. Never could. Interestingly, our VueZone camera whose lens is non-adjustable has no difficulty keeping everything in focus.

Smeared Movement
Compared to YouTube examples--and an understanding of how 30fps should look--our results disappointed. They were certainly an improvement over the 4fps of our VueZone cameras, but not what 30fps should look like IMHO. Looked somewhere between those two numbers.

Weak Wi-Fi
One of the big selling points of today's IP cameras is their use of Wi-Fi. Surprisingly, this camera would not connect much beyond 15' and passing through one wall. Found this surprising because our VueZone cameras sit 20' feet away and pass through two walls without problem. One camera is 30' away and passes through three walls one of which is brick. All the more surprising when you consider the DCS-5020L can act as a wireless extender.

Slow Response
Pan, tilt, and zoom controls had a 2-4 second delay. That's not horrible but borders on it. Again, does not match what people post in YouTube reviews.

Tech Support
DLink has enjoyed a strong reputation for consumer tech products ever since its early success in routers. So, I was surprised to learn their technical support consisted of FAQ pages on their web site.

And, if you click on Contact Us you are taken to a content-management system where you type in your question and it does it's best to find an answer other owners have rated as "helpful" in the past.

Pretty lame. Again, using VueZone as our point of reference, at least with them you can call and talk to a person.

Java Requirement
Simply put, if you use the myDlink web site to access your camera you gotta have Java enabled. And, since 2011 Java is known to be one of the biggest malware vectors on the Net. Apple quit shipping products with it pre-installed right after that announcement.

On the plus side, the camera is attractively designed, quiet when tilted or panned, and incorporates an IR-cut filter. Unfortunately it fails in the critical areas of providing a clear image with reasonable Wi-Fi range. For that and the reasons outlined above, it will be returned for a refund.

NETGEAR VueZone Home Video Monitoring System - 2 Camera Kit (VZSM2700)
NETGEAR VueZone Home Video Monitoring System - 2 Camera Kit (VZSM2700)
Offered by Rainbow Tech Inc.
Price: $299.90
9 used & new from $119.85

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Value, March 8, 2014
Purchased a two-camera system a couple years ago for family members to keep an eye on an aging parent with dementia. Not a perfect system, but it has more than met our needs. Offers easy installation and remote access at a reasonable price.

Most home systems fall into one of three categories--a nanny cam, full-blown surveillance system, or the latest crop of wireless IP cameras. VueZone is a nanny cam, which means you get VGA cameras (640 x 480 pixels) running at 4fps powered by batteries with a company-provided web site for remote viewing at $4/month.

Some people take issue with these features, but we don't. Here's why:

VGA resolution at 4fps - Sounds small and slow by today's standards--and it is--but it's big enough and fast enough to see what's going on.

Battery powered - Batteries mean super-easy installation. You can place the cameras anywhere, reposition them at will, all without drilling holes or concern about the location of the nearest AC outlet. Batteries cost $7 each and last about six months.

Although the cameras don't have pan, tilt, zoom, or sound, they are the same industry specifications you find in most brands when it comes to f-stop, field of view, color saturation, and light sensitivity. They are also small--you could fit two into the palm of your hand--and feature an ingenious magnetic mounting system.

Web Access
When it comes to remote viewing and storing recorded videos, most systems require you to either use your own PC as a web server and storage device, or provide you space on their servers for a fee or free. VueZone does the latter for a nominal fee of $4 a month. Setup is super-easy, can be viewed from any Flash-enabled browser, and free mobile apps are available for the iPhone and Android. Our family loves the mobile apps. The VGA cameras--even on today's high-end smart phones--look fantastic.

The web account allows you to define settings for the cameras, set up sub-accounts so others can view them, schedule recordings, and send email notifications for motion-activated cameras.

Although some companies offer their web service for free, seems the industry is split with half like VueZone charging a nominal fee.

We discovered one of the most convenient ways to use the system is to schedule recordings using time-lapse photography (1 frame per minute). Doesn't sound like much, but we schedule 1-hour recordings on cameras in both the kitchen and family room, which tells us everything we need to know about how our aging parent is doing. And, because they are time-lapse, play back in 20-seconds and take up a miniscule amount of disk space on the server.

The system offers other recording options (live streaming and longer time-lapse rates). This just happens to be the one we like best. Recordings can be downloaded to your PC, uploaded directly to YouTube, or deleted after viewing.

We started out with a two-camera system for evaluation and quickly added three more because we were so pleased. By placing the motion-activated cameras at the front and rear doors, we now have full coverage for everything that goes on at the house.

Are there times we wish the cameras were high-definition and ran at 30fps with pan, tilt, and zoom? Sure, but the system does the job we ask of it and for half the price. It's a well-thought-out package that looks great marrying ease-of-use with function and design.

Shake Away 5006258 Fox Urine Granules, 5-Pound
Shake Away 5006258 Fox Urine Granules, 5-Pound
Offered by Life and Home
Price: $27.99
14 used & new from $22.26

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding, February 4, 2014
Bought some from a local pest-control store to rid both an apt and single-family suburban residence attic of squirrels. Placed a couple tablespoons in a dress sock and tossed into the attic. Squirrels disappeared from day 1 and have not returned. And, that was over a year ago.

Nest Learning Thermostat, 2nd Generation, Works with Alexa
Nest Learning Thermostat, 2nd Generation, Works with Alexa
48 used & new from $155.00

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars 3-Month Evaluation, January 12, 2014
Purchased this unit three months ago directly from NEST for an aging parent who had begun erratically fiddling with household temperatures. My goals were to a) lock down min/max temperatures, and b) monitor and adjust thermostat settings remotely. The device delivered on both plus a lot more:

Kudos to NEST for:
- The coolness factor
- Easy DIY installation
- Useful home and mobile web apps
- An adjustable fan

Recently joined the NEST Community forum web site, so am aware of the technical difficulties affecting some users. Thankfully, we are not in that group. Installed the unit in a single-family, single-story, residence with single-stage heat and AC, and it has delivered rock-solid reliability in both managing temperatures and maintaining Wi-Fi connectivity.

My only nitpick with the NEST--other than price--is the Auto-Away feature. It activates after two hours of perceived non-activity and lowers the temp setting. Our thermostat is located in a main hallway where my mother may not walk for hours. When the temp would go down, she would call asking why it's so cold. I just turned this feature off. Even though it contributes significantly to energy savings, we are still realizing a 10-15% reduction in energy usage, probably because of my last point.

My mother fiddles less with temperature settings. Believe the old unit had a 2- or 3-degree temperature swing above and below the set point. She has always been finicky about room temperature and would routinely adjust the thermostat by a degree up or down to suit her needs. With the NEST, she rarely touches it--no more constant fiddling with the temperature.

It would be nice to have greater control over tweaking various settings, but for now we are highly pleased with the purchase.

ZyXEL PLA401v4 HomePlug AV 200 Mbps Powerline Wall-plug Adapter (Starter Kit - 2 units)
ZyXEL PLA401v4 HomePlug AV 200 Mbps Powerline Wall-plug Adapter (Starter Kit - 2 units)
Offered by Galactics
Price: $49.99
4 used & new from $49.99

4.0 out of 5 stars First Week, December 4, 2013
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Just installed these units. Here are the highlights:

- Poorly written manuals
- Poorly designed web site
- Poorly designed Tools/Configuration CD

The confusion mainly centered around the sequence of how things need to be plugged in, and how to upgrade the firmware. I'm a techie so navigated my way through the confusion using the time-tested technique of trial-and-error.

- Works as advertised in easily establishing a network.
- Only reduced transmission rate on my wireless AP from 64 to 54mbps.
- Low Power mode has a noticeable lag upon reactivation.

Both the powerline adapters and my wireless AP use Green technology that puts them into low-power mode after a few minutes of no data transmission. Sounds good on paper, but in initial tests it takes a page refresh (two requests for a page download) to get the connection up to full speed compared to the AP being directly plugged into my router. Will test more to determine why this happens.

These are bigger than imaged (should have read the specs). Although plugging the unit into the lower half of a standard AC outlet leaves room for a standard extension cord, it does not leave room for adapters such as those that convert a three- to two-prong plug.

Also, the blades are rather thin and the same size (no polarity pin). That's convenient if you want to turn the unit upside down and plug into the top outlet, but because the prongs are thinner the device tends to hang out a ways. Still works; just a nit.

Cool product. Even though the connection lag associated with power-mode shift is disappointing, this product has served its purpose--enabled me to test optimal locations for my wireless AP.

It's true what the experts say. A few inches up/down/sideways really does make a difference.

Edimax EW-7228APn 150Mbps 11n Wireless Range Extender/Access Point with 5 Port Switch
Edimax EW-7228APn 150Mbps 11n Wireless Range Extender/Access Point with 5 Port Switch

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Learning Experience, September 26, 2013
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
After carefully reading many reviews, I purchased the product anyway, and installed the Edimax as a wireless access point (AP). Here is a summary of my experience:

1. My home network consists of a wired router, desktop PC, printer, and wireless IP security camera gateway.
2. Used the Edimax installation CD, and played it safe choosing all default options.

The installation could not have gone better. When finished the AP talked to my router without disrupting any existing devices on the network. The only fly in the ointment came later when I attempted to access the Edimax configuration screen using a browser to tweak settings. No luck.

Contacted tech support via email for guidance. They responded in a few hours and explained the problem was the Edimax and my PC were on a different subnet. They could both talk to the router but not each another. A little confusing since both were set to the same subnet (, but their default IPs were different:


Apparently the third octet (1 for the router and 2 for the Edimax) was the source of the problem. Since my router was using DHCP to issue an IP to my PC, it too was on a different subnet.

Tech Support included instructions on how to temporarily change the IP on my PC so it could access the Edimax. Once I understood the concept, I revamped the addressing scheme for both the Edimax and the router, rebooted, and everything worked wonderfully.

Final Thoughts
Many consumer routers come with default IPs different from the Edimax, so I'm sure newbies who go with the defaults encounter the same problem. Fortunately, tech support is highly responsive.

I racked up the entire episode as a learning experience. Even though I do not understand how a different digit as the third octet would constitute a different subnet with a mask of (thought it would only apply to the fourth octet), who can complain about gaining a 150mbs AP with all the features of the Edimax for so few $$$?

Update 2014-03-30
Owned the product for six months now, and it's been trouble free. Used to reboot it monthly as a general precaution, but quit three months ago without problem.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 6, 2013 10:15 AM PDT

Nordic Ware Toaster Oven Pizza/Crisping Sheet
Nordic Ware Toaster Oven Pizza/Crisping Sheet
Price: $7.68
27 used & new from $5.00

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Works as advertised, August 28, 2013
Just purchased one of these from a big-box store and love it. Baked pizza, tater-tots, fries, and it works exactly as advertised. Pizza bottoms come out crispier compared to the corn-meal method on a traditional bake pan. And, it cleans up easily.

I've owned a Nordic Ware broiling pan for about a year and it's pretty heavily stained from marinades and such. The crisping sheet is a slightly different color and texture, so maybe more stain resistant.

For now, I'm one happy camper.

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