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Profile for Jeff Kraus > Reviews


Jeff Kraus' Profile

Customer Reviews: 355
Top Reviewer Ranking: 2,174
Helpful Votes: 5766

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Jeff Kraus RSS Feed (Orlando, FL USA)

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Bibigo Korean Gochujang Sauce, 11.46 Ounce, 2 Count
Bibigo Korean Gochujang Sauce, 11.46 Ounce, 2 Count
Offered by Better Warehouse
Price: $27.14

5.0 out of 5 stars Pricey & Delicious!! But Mostly Delicious., November 20, 2015
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I'm struggling with this rating (a little, but not really), so I'll put my thought process out there for others to determine if the product is actually worth 4 or 5 stars. Here's why: at the current price of over $30 for two 11.5 ounce bottles, it's just plain expensive. It's so expensive that you could probably convince people that being in possession of it would be a misdemeanor.

So that skewed my perception. At first taste, I liked the flavor but I couldn't get the dollar signs out of my head. But the more I tried it (and in different scenarios), the more I fell in love with this sauce. Now that I'm basically down to the last remnants of the first bottle, I'm hoarding away that second bottle like Golem in the dark recesses of the back of the kitchen pantry, hoping that my wife won't find it and start slopping it all over everything as if it's going to last forever... my preciousssss....

Oh yeah. Back to it. This stuff is pretty great. I'm not one of those people that can pick out all of the separate ingredients of a sauce, but it definitely has a distinct Korean flavor, whatever that means. It starts out with a mild sweetness which slowly progresses into a pretty solid burn that lingers for quite a while. It's somehow not a "punch-in-the-face" sort of heat that you get from some hot sauce. It's slow, simmering, and it builds in intensity over time.

We've used the sauce for a few different things, including as part of a marinade with a soy sauce base, as part of a dipping sauce for hors d'oeuvres mixed with a yogurt-based ranch dressing, and mixed up with a light mayo for use on roast beef sandwiches. The transformation is incredible, even small amounts make a huge difference.

I have to say, I think this is now one of my favorite sauces of all time. People in other reviews have said that this can easily be made at home for much cheaper; I'm going to try my best. But if I can't get it right (it's likely I won't), then I'm definitely okay with spending the money to have continued access to this sauce. And THAT is why I couldn't take off a star for the high price -- because I would pay that much to have more of it.

Black & Decker CS1518 15-Amp Corded Chainsaw, 18-Inch
Black & Decker CS1518 15-Amp Corded Chainsaw, 18-Inch
Price: $85.49
8 used & new from $85.49

5.0 out of 5 stars Does what I need it to do., November 2, 2015
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I don't need anything more than this chainsaw provides. It's perfect for around the yard, clearing out excess bamboo and felling larger tree branches that are bringing too much shade to the yard in certain areas.

While the instructions were a bit vague at times, it was pretty simple to put the chainsaw together and get it working. I haven't yet had the experience that others had with the chain falling off frequently, but I'll keep an eye on it as I finish some of the other tasks that I have planned. If it happens, I'll update the review.

Overall, it does the job. It's not too heavy. It seems plenty powerful for my purposes. It's built to pretty tight tolerances, no flexing or creaking or anything. At this point, I have no complaints.

B+W 77mm HTC Kaesemann Circular Polarizer with Multi-Resistant Coating
B+W 77mm HTC Kaesemann Circular Polarizer with Multi-Resistant Coating
Price: $117.02
8 used & new from $109.00

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Works great; compares well to others, October 29, 2015
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I'm not going to get much into the marketing terminology, parroting the wording from B+W's website about the type of glass they use or the number of coatings they apply. I only care about whether the product works, how well it works, and if it's worth the money. So let's get into that.

To be clear right off the bat, I don't think the increased exposure hits a full stop as is implied by B+W. At least, not compared to the other two circular polarizers I tested it against. However, it is better. I tested against two other circular polarizers: The B+W MRC Circular Polarizer and the Promaster Circular Polarizer. At the current prices as of this review, the standard B+W is $10 cheaper than the Kaesemann model, and the Promaster is half the price.

THE B+W's have the nicest mounts. While there's nothing wrong with the Promaster mount, the B+W's just feel better. They screw on smoothly and the front ring rotates with a nice damped feel.

I did two tests to compare the light transmission. One was indoors in a consistently lit room, and the other was outdoors on a sunny day. Both tests utilized the same incident light meter, which remained stationary throughout the tests. A base reading (with no filter) was taken just before each filter test to ensure that the light had not changed between tests. The results were pretty consistent. The following is the number of stops that the polarizer increases the exposure in each test:

Promaster CPOL: +1.9 stops (inside test), +2.0 stops (outside test)
B+W (standard) CPOL: +1.6 stops (inside test), +1.7 stops (outside test)
B+W Kaesemann CPOL: +1.3 stops (inside test), +1.2 stops (outside test)

The B+W Kaesemann obviously had the best light transmission of the three, but the difference never quite reached that full stop compared to the Promaster (the actual difference was 0.6 to 0.8 stops), and it only reached 0.3 to 0.5 stops compared to the "standard" B+W. I suppose that's close enough for most purposes, and it's enough to make a difference when you're losing light and you want to keep shooting.

I also want to do some side-by-side tests for color accuracy and overall performance. However, the weather has not been cooperating for the last few days. When I complete these tests, I'll put the results here and link to the images.

Kala Exotic Mahogany Soprano Ukulele
Kala Exotic Mahogany Soprano Ukulele
Offered by ToysNGamesEtc
Price: $96.99
22 used & new from $94.90

5.0 out of 5 stars Sounds just like the KA-15S but looks way better, October 14, 2015
As far as my (admittedly untrained) ear can tell, the KA-SEM sounds exactly like the far cheaper Kala KA-15S that I was able to compare it with. My neighbor has the KA-15S, and after switching them back and forth a bit, we came to the conclusion that the KA-SEM's improvements over the KA-15S are purely aesthetic.

Does that mean it's 100% true? No, of course not. Neither of us are musicians. Just learning the instrument for fun.

However, those aesthetic differences are pretty significant. The KA-SEM is beautiful, but a bit different than what you see in the product description. It looks much more like the picture on the Kala website (click the Products menu, select Kala Ukulele, then click on the link for "Exotic Mahogany Series), and I've added my own photos as well for reference. The wood is a little darker, and the binding has a stripe down the middle of the back. The tuning pegs are sort of a pearlescent white, not black as in the product description.

The finish seems a little nicer than the satin finish on the KA-15S, although the Kala website calls this "satin" as well. It has a nice sheen on it that just slightly reflects light, while still allowing you to feel the wood grain on the surface. It's really nice. The black binding adds a nice touch around the edges, and the frets are nickel (on the KA-15S, they are brass).

Both models come with the same Aquila Nylagut strings, which suit me just fine. As far as whether or not the KA-SEM is worth the extra money, that really depends on what you're looking for. If you don't care about aesthetics at all, I'd say definitely get the KA-15S. But if you want it to look as nice as it sounds, spend the extra on the KA-SEM.

PS: I actually bought this great little ukulele from a different listing which includes a soft case for only an extra $2, with free (but not Prime) shipping. Considering that the case included in that listing normally sells on Amazon for about $25, it's a pretty good buy.
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OtterBox MYSYMMETRY Series iPhone 6/6s Case - Retail Packaging - BLACK CRYSTAL (CLEAR/BLACK)
OtterBox MYSYMMETRY Series iPhone 6/6s Case - Retail Packaging - BLACK CRYSTAL (CLEAR/BLACK)
Price: $23.97
2 used & new from $23.97

4.0 out of 5 stars Seems to work well, October 14, 2015
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
If you're used to the slim cases (like one of my previous cases, a Spigen Hard Case) that provide minimal shock protection in exchange for a case that hardly increases the phone size at all, then this case will feel bulky until you get used to it. On the other hand, if you're coming from a more protective case like the Speck Mightyshell, this feels about the same in terms of overall size.

I feel like in most comparisons, this case would sit right in between those other two. The Spigen was small, but a dirt magnet. No dirt ever got into the Speck and it was a real powerhouse from a protection point of view, but once you put it on it was nearly impossible to remove. This OtterBox case is about the same size as the Speck, but provides not-quite-as-good protection. And it's $15 cheaper, and it's way easier to remove.

The major difference in the protection stems from the fact that the Speck case has an opaque soft interior for the back of the phone as well as the edges. For most people I doubt that this is really meaningful.

The one down side that I've seen so far is the edges. Where the beveled face protection part of the case meets the sides is a pretty harsh transition, not soft and rounded like the Speck. So gripping it is a little less comfortable. But that's not a big deal, honestly.

Kala KA-SEM Exotic Mahogany Series Soprano Lite Gloss Ukulele w/10mm Padded Gig Bag
Kala KA-SEM Exotic Mahogany Series Soprano Lite Gloss Ukulele w/10mm Padded Gig Bag
Offered by GearTree
Price: $96.99
2 used & new from $96.99

5.0 out of 5 stars A great instrument for the price!, October 13, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I struggled with the decision for a while. This is my first ukulele, and I knew full well going in that I was probably never going to be considered a good ukulele player. I just wanted something to strum on and have fun learning without any pressure to excel.

There are so many ukuleles out there, I had no idea where to start. I didn't want a piece of crap, but I didn't want to spend a lot of money on it either. I landed on the KA-SEM, and although it was a little more than I wanted to spend (considering the KA-15S is significantly cheaper even when it comes in the kit with the tuner and other goodies, and I'd have to buy the tuner myself), I pulled the trigger.

So far, I'm incredibly happy with the purchase. The build quality is really nice, and the wood grain is beautiful to look at. The satin finish has a sheen about it that looks great, and the black binding really ties it together. It's loud when you want it to be, and soft when you want it to be. The strings included are Aquila Nylagut. At the start, I needed to tune the strings every time I played, but after a few days they stayed in tune. Apparently you can stretch them to speed up the process, but I didn't bother; I didn't mind tuning them while they were breaking in.

I was surprised at the quality of the case that's included with it for this listing (at the time of this review, you can get the KA-SEM without a case for only about $2 cheaper, which seems like a terrible idea). It's thickly padded, inspiring confidence in its ability to protect the instrument. For reference, the bag is the Kaces KUKS-3 model, which is about $25 on its own (mine has a slightly different patch design on the front, but the case manufacturer and model number is the same).

So is it worth the money over the KA-15S? Well, that depends on what you're looking for. The frets on the KA-SEM are nickel, while the KA-15S frets are brass. The KA-SEM overall looks way better than the KA-15S. But they sound exactly the same to me, and they come with the same strings. I brought mine over to a friend's house (he has a KA-15S) and we couldn't tell any difference in sound. So purely from a price/performance standpoint, the KA-15S looks to be a better buy. To me, it was worth that little extra money because aesthetically the KA-SEM is much nicer.
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Real Tuner - Chromatic Clip-on Tuner for Guitar, Bass, Violin, Ukulele, Banjo, Brass and Woodwind Instruments - Bright Full Color Display - Extra Mic Function - A4 Pitch Calibration - Transposition
Real Tuner - Chromatic Clip-on Tuner for Guitar, Bass, Violin, Ukulele, Banjo, Brass and Woodwind Instruments - Bright Full Color Display - Extra Mic Function - A4 Pitch Calibration - Transposition
Offered by Groovy Center
Price: $33.95

4.0 out of 5 stars Works great, October 7, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I bought this tuner for my ukulele. I like having the modes that are specific to each instrument, so it displays the note and the string number that you're plucking. Then there's the chromatic mode, which will tell you what note you're playing, any string any fret.

Of course, that just annoyed me by showing me how my uke gets slightly more out of tune the farther I move up the fret. But I digress.

In "Clip" mode, where the tuner reads the vibration through the clip to determine the frequency, you don't need to worry about the possibility of ambient noise messing up the reading. "Mic" mode uses a microphone instead. I think the Mic mode is primarily for the tuning of brass and woodwind instruments, although it can also be used for strings if you don't want the tuner clipped to the instrument.

Dialing in the correct frequency is pretty simple, just keep plucking and adjusting while you watch the meter on the display. When it hits the green center mark, the string is in tune. It can sometimes be difficult to get exactly in the center, but (at least to my ears) I can't hear the difference between dead on and one mark to the left or right.

There are two things that annoy me a little. First and foremost, this thing has the feel of a toy that came in a Cracker Jack box. The clip and neck are okay, but the buttons feel extremely cheap. I'm concerned about its longevity because of this. Secondly (and this is much more minor) the display bleeds a lot into neighboring segments. You can see the difference in my photos, where every segment in the display is easily visible even when it's not actively being lit. It makes it a little less readable. But as I said, that's more of a minor annoyance.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 7, 2015 11:53 AM PDT

Bose Wave SoundTouch music system IV- Espresso Black
Bose Wave SoundTouch music system IV- Espresso Black
Price: $599.00
3 used & new from $599.00

6 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great sound, but curious design, October 2, 2015
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
There are some strange design decisions here (at least, strange to me), but overall this is a worthy system.

The look of the unit is minimalist and clean, obviously the intended effect since it has no buttons -- only a display and a CD slot. There's a sensor on the top of the unit directly above the display so that when you touch it, it acts as a power switch. When powering on, it resumes the last action. So if you're listening to a specific Pandora station for example, it will go back to that station and start playing.

The sound is definitely impressive, more so than the various iPod docks and Bluetooth speakers that I've had over the years. It can sometimes get a little bogged down in the low end though, mainly at lower volumes. And there is no way that I've found to adjust the EQ to suit my tastes. In fact, the user manual suggests listening to the demo CD at "80-85 volume" for best results. But what if I don't want to listen to it that loud? I'd say most of the time I listen at around 50-60.

The phone app is pretty full-featured (I'm using it on the iPhone 6) and not very difficult to use. You have access to various streaming services, CD, radio, any NAS drives that you might have on the network, and any computer on the network where you've installed the app to point to your music collection.

I like the idea of being able to sync the music to play out of several systems simultaneously. In the past, I've used this feature in iTunes to play the computer speakers in one room and the entertainment center speakers in the living room through the AppleTV, and it's great. Of course, in this case I can't test it because it requires multiple SoundTouch units... and I'm not made of money, so I doubt that will be happening any time soon.

Any wireless connectivity requires the lower dock piece. The setup for that is pretty easy. There's a light on the back of it that changes color depending on the current connection status. On the back is an ethernet port, as well as a USB and micro USB port (both labeled "Setup"). These ports will charge any devices plugged into them, but even the manual is tight-lipped about what actual function they serve, if any. The manual claims that you can use the micro USB for "network setup using a computer" (but says nothing beyond that), and actually states that the USB port currently has no purpose.

I have to admit, I'm curious as to why the wireless connectivity had to be added as a (quite large) separate component. The base piece increases the height by a good two inches, and there's a wired connection between the two in the back using some proprietary connector. Couldn't the connection be built into the top of the base, so that the act of placing the system on the dock establishes a connection? Or more importantly, why isn't this functionality built into the main unit? Why does it need to be a separate dock? That makes no sense to me. And why not allow the USB ports act as a way to plug in an iPod or other music device?

Finally, there's the (admittedly minor) matter of the display. Aren't we, as a society, now beyond the old 12-segment LCD display? Especially at the $600 price point. I've got a streaming music box for my component system with a full-color display that shows all of the information I need, plus album art. iPods have had full color screens for a decade. If you catch it at the very beginning of a song, at least you'll see the full song name scroll by if it's longer than 14 characters. After that first scroll through, it stops and just cuts it off to the first 14 characters.

So yeah, it's a good unit. Sounds great most of the time. Some design decisions have me scratching my head, but overall I'm happy with it.

AmazonBasics Apple Certified Lightning to USB Cable - 6 Feet (1.8 Meters) - Black
AmazonBasics Apple Certified Lightning to USB Cable - 6 Feet (1.8 Meters) - Black
Price: $7.99

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great, longer cable means more bedside reach., October 2, 2015
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This cable seems to be the equal of the Apple branded cable in just about every way, except it's longer (great!) and the rim around the lightning connector is ever so slightly thicker than the Apple variety. That may be not-so-great if your case has an extremely small opening for the charge port. However, with the three cases that I have, this cable works fine. It also works fine for my wife's case.

In fact, it may work with every case in existence, I just don't know. But that plastic bit IS just a tiny bit thicker.

IZZE Organic Flavored Sparkling Water Beverage, 12 oz. Bottles, 3-Flavor, Variety Pack (12 Count)
IZZE Organic Flavored Sparkling Water Beverage, 12 oz. Bottles, 3-Flavor, Variety Pack (12 Count)
Price: $23.98

5.0 out of 5 stars Great water -- but understand what it is before you order, September 28, 2015
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
There is clearly some misunderstanding out there about what you're getting. Have you ever had a drink like Perrier? It's like that. First and foremost, it's a sparkling water. Think club soda. There is a small amount of flavor added to it, but it's very subtle. If you don't like Perrier (or if you prefer your water heavily flavored), you should pass on this because it almost definitely won't suit your tastes.

You shouldn't rate a drink poorly because you don't understand what you ordered, or because you wanted it to be a different type of drink altogether. It's like buying coffee and then rating it poorly because it doesn't taste like tea. On the other hand, for those that ordered from Amazon I can see the misunderstanding -- multiple uses in the product description of the term "bold flavor" are somewhat misleading.

As a fan of citrusy flavors, the Mandarin Lime is easily my favorite of the three, but I like them all. The glass bottles were well packaged and arrived safely. I have no complaints whatsoever. If the manufacturer were to consider revisiting the product description to ensure the correct expectations, I imagine the overall product rating would improve.

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