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Customer Reviews: 269
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Jeff Kraus RSS Feed (Orlando, FL USA)
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Cyber Acoustics PS-2370 Portable Stereo Bluetooth and AC Wall Speaker System (Black)
Cyber Acoustics PS-2370 Portable Stereo Bluetooth and AC Wall Speaker System (Black)
Price: $56.29
2 used & new from $56.29

4.0 out of 5 stars Portable and functional BT speaker, July 29, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I have to say I'm pretty impressed. I didn't have particularly high hopes for the speaker, and although it's by no means perfect, it's better than I expected it to be.

To start, this thing is lighter than it looks. I expected it to be denser feeling, but the weight is nice for something intended to be portable. It's a pretty good size, too. Maybe a little too big to comfortably fit into a pocket, but easily stored in a bag or something without taking up much space. The build quality feels solid, and rubber feet are positioned for both setting on a table or attached to an outlet on the wall.

The manual suggested allowing it to fully charge before use, so I plugged it in, and it was done charging in about two hours. You're not getting top quality audio out of these 2W speakers, but you really can't expect that for something this size. It is acceptable though, and the volume range seems quite good. The box suggests that you can get "up to 8 hours" of listening time in on one charge, but surprisingly my experience suggests quite a bit more than that. The last several days, I've been pairing the speaker first thing in the morning and using it for music while working. After 9 hours at medium volume, the speaker show no signs of quitting -- in fact, I haven't run it all the way down yet, so I don't know how long it will last.

One nice feature is the built-in microphone, which allows you to use it as a speakerphone if someone calls while you're connected. There's an auxiliary input if you are using a non-BT device, and a USB port for a secondary method of charging. Both of those cables are included.

The pairing is easy. Hold the BT button for a couple of seconds and then select it on your device. On subsequent uses, the speaker will reconnect to the previous device, if it's available. I'm not a huge fan of the voice status notifications though -- when you turn on or off the speaker or connect or disconnect a Bluetooth device, a loud obnoxious voice says, "POWER ON!" or "YOU ARE NOW PAIRED! ENJOY!". It's annoying because it's at a high volume (it doesn't seem to be affected by your selected volume) and its kind of jarring.


Moen 77200CSL AquaSuite One-Handle High Arc Filtering Kitchen Faucet, Stainless
Moen 77200CSL AquaSuite One-Handle High Arc Filtering Kitchen Faucet, Stainless
Offered by Wayfair
Price: $203.00
2 used & new from $99.99

5.0 out of 5 stars I love this thing!, June 19, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
So up until now, our filtered water came from our two-pronged attack -- a Brita pitcher that we keep in the fridge, and a PUR Faucet Water Filter that attaches to the end of our kitchen faucet. The pitcher has always worked fine, but refilling can be annoying since both of us drink a lot of water. The PUR faucet attachment did the trick, as long as it wasn't too busy leaking through the threads or popping off the faucet into the sink. But then our aging faucet developed a leak, and I decided to replace it with a much nicer Moen 7185CSL Brantford One-Handle High Arc Pull-down Kitchen Faucet. The PUR faucet attachment would no longer be compatible, but the new faucet's integrated sprayer meant there would be an extra port in the sink where the old sprayer used to reside. So I decided to splurge a little and buy this filtered water faucet.

Boy, am I glad I did. It's easily the most convenient option for filtered water delivery. The filter (one is included) is good for 6 months, and a light will flash at the base of the faucet when it's time to replace it. In a perfect world, a green/yellow/red transitioning light (like the PUR had) would have been nice, rather than just the red "change it now" light, but that's not a big deal.

The faucet is all metal, and the handle turns with ease while being nicely damped in a way that feels quality. The head pivots to any direction. Installation was pretty simple, and a tool was included to aid in the tightening of the nut that locks it into place against the sink -- this tool was a huge time saver, because getting up in there with a wrench is an absolute nightmare. Everything I needed was included in the package, so it was nice not to have to run out to get something at the hardware store.

I was able remove the old faucet and install both the main faucet and this one in about 2.5 hours, not bad for someone that has never done any of that before! Although much credit goes to Moen's design for making it as easy as possible.


Moen 7185CSL Brantford One-Handle High Arc Pull-down Kitchen Faucet, Classic Stainless
Moen 7185CSL Brantford One-Handle High Arc Pull-down Kitchen Faucet, Classic Stainless
Price: Click here to see our price
12 used & new from $210.48

4.0 out of 5 stars Overall works great, couple of minor things I'd change, June 19, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I bought this to replace the kitchen faucet that predates our ownership of the house, which had started to leak all over the counter every time it was used. Purchased on a Monday morning, the 2-day shipping estimate (Amazon Prime) was for Friday because of a possible "1 to 2 days for processing". The faucet arrived on Tuesday, beating Amazon's own best-case scenario!

Removal of the old faucet was the real nightmare, but once done, the install of this faucet was surprisingly simple. They even include a tool that allows you to easily tighten the nut that holds it down without struggling with a wrench in that really cramped space. Much of the time savings was probably due to that tool. I don't care much for the fact that the nut is plastic though - I would have preferred something metal. The faucet is reasonably solid on the sink after tightening the nut down, but it's also not that difficult to grab the base and forcibly move it. I'll probably have to go back under the sink and try to tighten the nut a little more.

Other than the plastic nut, the only other thing that bothers me a little is that the removable faucet head is plastic while everything else is metal. I suppose this may be for weight purposes - a heavier faucet head may not return back as easily.

At any rate, I liked it enough to splurge a little more and purchase the Moen 77200CSL AquaSuite Filtering Kitchen Faucet for the port left open by the old faucet's sprayer. They look great together, and both were installed with zero additional required parts -- only what was supplied in the box.


OXO SteeL Cocktail Strainer
OXO SteeL Cocktail Strainer
Price: $6.95
15 used & new from $6.68

4.0 out of 5 stars Just a little small, otherwise perfect, June 5, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Maybe my shaker is just a non-standard size (for reference, I have a 30-oz Winco shaker) but when I place this strainer over the top, there's still about a quarter-inch gap between the spring and the shaker lip. This isn't a major issue because I just put a little bit of forward pressure on the strainer with my finger while holding it, and this keeps the spring in contact with the "correct" part of the shaker lip when straining.

Other than that, I can find no fault at all with the strainer. It's well built, sturdy, and the rubberized grip provides a good slip-proof surface for your finger.

Even with the minor sizing issue, I'd happily purchase this strainer again before switching to another brand.


Milo's Kitchen Grilled Burger Bites Dog Treats, 15-Ounce
Milo's Kitchen Grilled Burger Bites Dog Treats, 15-Ounce
Price: $14.98
6 used & new from $14.98

4.0 out of 5 stars Great Treats, June 5, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
These flexible, easily cut treats make for great training rewards (cut them into small pieces for training so you can reward more often). They have a rather intense smell that helps keep the dog's attention. I've been using them (whole) as rewards after applying my dog's ear medication, which isn't a particularly comfortable process for her.

Still, now that she associates the ear meds with one of these treats after it's over, she sits perfectly still for the process. If I somehow forget the treat afterwards, she reminds me.

Granted, it doesn't take much to get her seal of approval (the only thing I've ever seen her turn her nose up at in 10 years was a piece of raw mushroom), but she seems to particularly enjoy these.


Winco Stainless Steel Bar Shaker, 30-Ounce
Winco Stainless Steel Bar Shaker, 30-Ounce
Offered by The First Ingredient Kitchen Supply (Trnpke online)
Price: $5.85
13 used & new from $4.80

5.0 out of 5 stars Cheap and Effective, May 30, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
We already had an inexpensive Cobbler shaker (the 3-piece type with a lid that has a built-in strainer), but it had formed a tiny stress fracture near the lip and was leaking every time I used it. Unfortunately, every shaker of this type that I could find on Amazon had several reviews mentioning a bad seal. I'm sure many of these were user error, but it's hard to tell which ones. Since I didn't want to take a chance, I decided to try a Boston shaker instead. Added bonus: not having to try to pry that stupid lid off the shaker every time I use it (oh, and the strainer on ours was TERRIBLE, straining 80% into the glass and 20% everywhere BUT the glass).

Anyway. I love this one. It's simple and effective, pairing nicely with the pint glasses already in my kitchen. It creates a good seal and the glass separates easily when done. I bought it with an OXO Steel Hawthorne Strainer, and while the spring on the strainer is too small for a tight fit (it's perfect on the pint glass, but too small on the shaker) it still works fine held in place with a finger.

No complaints all the way around. If you're trying to decide between a Boston shaker and a Cobbler, definitely get a Boston. And get this one because it works, and it's practically free.


Milo's Kitchen Steak Grillers Beef Recipe with Angus Steak Dog Treats, 18-Ounce
Milo's Kitchen Steak Grillers Beef Recipe with Angus Steak Dog Treats, 18-Ounce
Price: $14.71
14 used & new from $14.04

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Yup, Dog + Treats = Droolface, May 29, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I would talk about how much my dog LOVES these treats, how she can barely hold her "stay" while quivering with anticipation at the sound of the rustling bag while that one drop of drool lands on the tile in front of her. But to be honest, she'd do that with any treat. Or a carrot, or piece of celery. She's one of the least picky eaters I've ever seen. So maybe not a good judge in that sense.

Another reviewer dings the product for the stink. Yes, it's a stinky treat, and I guess that's a deal breaker to some. But it's no worse than most meaty treats out there (jerky excluded since there's not much moisture there).

Most dogs LOVE stinky treats. This makes them great for training. Cut them into tiny pieces (even for the big dogs) and you'll have a training reward that's safe to give often for reinforcement. It's a big bag, so they'll last forever like this. The smell helps to keep their interest, and it's very likely cheaper than buying actual training treats because when you cut them small, this bag makes for approximately 435 quadrillion treats.

My dog is 10 years old so the training days are long gone, replaced only by occasional "tests" and situationally relevant commands. Since she's big (~80 lbs) we keep the treats full size, using them a couple of times a day as rewards or because she's just so cute you want to give her things.


Sony HAPS1/B 500GB Hi-Res Music Player System
Sony HAPS1/B 500GB Hi-Res Music Player System
Price: $998.00
4 used & new from $899.95

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful!, May 23, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Quick Summary: Great build, great mobile remote software, fantastic sound. Overall, a pleasure to own and operate.

Definitely-Not-Quick Full Version:

Build:

As expected, this unit has that typically excellent Sony build. It's heavy and solid feeling. The front panel and top are one piece, and there are no seams visible from the top at all, only on the sides. Both dials on the front panel are equally quality, the smaller with a soft click for moving through the menus, and the larger (volume) has a smooth travel that is heavily damped. The screen looks great and has an adjustable brightness so you can match it to the ambiance of the room.

Storage:

The 500GB internal drive is more than enough for me for the foreseeable future, but if desired you can add an extra external HD via the USB connection. The drive must be formatted ext4, and the HAP-S1 will do this for you (so don't put your music on it first or it will be lost). Currently, the ability to plug in a USB drive to play music stored on it is not supported. It would be nice if this feature were available in a later firmware upgrade.

File Transfer:

The unit comes with a 4GB USB drive that contains a selection of 8 sample songs (this is in addition to the songs already present on the device), as well as an installer for the transfer software. Once the software is installed on your computer, you can point it to one or more specific directories to "watch". Any supported audio files found in these directories will be transferred (via Ethernet or, more simply, 802.11b/g/n wifi) to the HAP-S1. Thereafter, the software watches the directories for changes, and when new audio is added, it's automatically copied over. It's not all great though, and I'm hoping for eventual updates to resolve some of the annoyances. For example, the list of transferred files is just a text file, and that file determines which music files have already been copied over. The software goes through this text file and ignores anything listed in it. It's pretty inefficient, and if you want to mark a directory for the software to reload, you have to find the entries in the text file for every file under that directory and manually delete them.

Transfer times seemed reasonably quick to me -- it transferred about 5,500 files to the unit in the time it took me to go out to lunch and come back. Actually making those files usable, however... that took quite a bit longer. It seems that after the file is transferred and the PC transfer software claims success, a database update needs to take place on the HAP-S1 before the files are usable. Not knowing this, I thought that a large number of my FLACs were not being read -- the directories were there but showed zero files -- but after a while they started to show up. I haven't found a single file that the player couldn't deal with.

The HAP-S1 is also available from your PC desktop as a NAS drive, so if you like you can skip the auto-transfer software and just drag-and-drop your files directly into it. Unfortunately (here's another suggestion for a firmware update) this connection doesn't reset the standby timer. So if you're messing around in the filesystem with the unit mounted as a drive, at some point you'll lose your connection to it because it doesn't think it's being used and it goes into standby mode.

Personally, I set the software to watch two directories. It watches my iTunes directory as well as a sister directory for all non-iTunes files. When there are duplicates, I manually delete the duplicate from the HAP-S1, and since it still shows up in that silly text file, it won't attempt to re-copy it later.

Included Remote:

Nearly useless, only the most basic controls: Power, volume, prev/next/pause, mute. It has the exact same finish as the HAP-S1 itself, and feels good in the hand. But to be honest, you'll almost never use it, instead favoring one of the mobile remote options.

Mobile Remote:

As of today, remotes are available for Android and Apple devices. I've used it on an iPhone and an iPad, and both formats look great. I've added a couple of screenshots from the iPad, which is my preferred remote. Numerous sorting and filtering options are available, and you can search as well. Operation is quick and smooth, and the background colors fade and shift to match the predominant colors in the album art (a feature also present on the screen of the unit itself, a very nice touch). Many features are available in the remote including basic EQ, a sleep timer, DSEE defeat, and more. Overall, it's a beautiful and slick user interface that's comfortable and easy on the eyes.

Music Options:

The HAP-S1 has a series of "SensMe" channels (Morning, Upbeat, Emotional, Energetic, and a host of others, 13 total) based on what the songs "look like". It's generally pretty accurate, but undoubtedly you'll find a few that don't fit -- I was listening to the "Morning" channel this morning, and before I'd had my coffee I needed to skip over the Smashing Pumpkins track that popped up. And I was curious about what it would have included in the "Dance" channel since I have very little that would apply there. Some were valid, but "Until It Sleeps" by Metallica seemed a questionable choice. I guess if you have limited viable options for a given channel it needs to stretch the definition a bit. It's a neat feature though, and it looks like it attempts to find a place for just about everything. Each of the 13 channels has between 150 and 1100 songs on my system.

You can also mark favorites, create playlists, browse by genre, artist, album, or track, and search. You can browse the file system itself to find a track you want. You can even mark "anti-favorites". By tapping this button on a track, it will never be played (i.e., if you play the album it's on, it will always skip that track) unless you specifically play that track or turn off the anti-favorite.

In addition to the music you've transferred over, there are a couple of other listening options. There's an Internet Radio section, which as of this review only contains vTuner. I expect that at some point more will be added, but I was able to find several local stations I enjoy in the list (and even a couple of air traffic radio stations from nearby airports).

Finally, there's the external inputs: 1 coaxial, 1 optical, and 2 line-in. They are selectable from the menu on the unit or from the remote.

Audio Quality:

As expected, the sound coming from the HAP-S1 is exquisite. When using the built-in amplifier, it sounds far better than the 40Wx2 rating implies. But if you're looking to connect to an external amplifier, that option is available as well. Listening through a high-quality pair of headphones is a wonderful experience.

Regarding the DSEE functionality (an attempt to fill in the "missing" frequencies of compressed audio formats to restore the sound to its former glory), I honestly can't tell a difference. For reference, I am *in no way* an audiophile, and all of my tracks (those that are not high def) are encoded as AAC 256kbps or ~192kbps variable bit rate MP3. Using headphones, I played a selection of tracks while switching back and forth between DSEE "Auto" and DSEE "Off", but while I could hear a soft, minuscule gap when the mode switched over, for the life of me I couldn't hear any difference in the audio itself. I spent a fair amount of time on this, eyes closed and concentrating as hard as I possibly could. I tried several different types of music. Of course, I am definitely not saying that this feature doesn't work -- it's just that I personally can't tell a difference (remember, NOT an audiophile!). Maybe it works best with more heavily compressed tracks where the compression is more audible, like a 128kbps MP3. That is a test I'd like to do and update the review accordingly. (Edit: see update below!)

The same can be said for the external inputs -- does the DSEE feature work on audio coming in through one of the external inputs? If so, I can't tell a difference. None of that bothers me though. If I am never able to distinguish between music with DSEE on or off, I can still say that it sounds great regardless.

*** Update 05/29/2014: "Not so fast, self!" ***

Okay, I got around to some additional DSEE testing today. I took a 16-bit/44.1kHz FLAC of Queen's "Under Pressure" and encoded a 64kbps MP3 (insert dry heaving noises here) out of it. With both uploaded to the HAP-S1, I donned my headphones and got to testing. I turned off DSEE and listened to the 64kbps MP3. As expected, it sounded like poop. It was muffled, lifeless, and the chattering-robot-squirrel compression artifacts were evident throughout. I closed my eyes, and while listening to the track I switched DSEE on, and the difference was definitely noticeable (the effect kicks in a couple of seconds after you hit the button). You could really feel the audio being "stretched", with the lower frequencies getting a boost but not nearly as much as the highs. Mercury's vocals became clearer and cymbals gained a whole new life. It's not a free lunch though - that compression is still there, and occasionally magnified by the DSEE massaging process. The improvements also sounded a bit manufactured, not quite natural. Whether that was an artifact of the pre-existing compression or newly introduced by the processor inserting "guesses" where information was missing, I don't know for sure. But one thing is for certain: if you spent this kind of money on a device, you wouldn't be filling it with 64kbps crap, so this test is probably not very real-world relevant.

Next I went back to my 16-bit/44.1kHz FLAC version and repeated the process (remember from the original review, I previously could discern NO DIFFERENCE with high quality files, but now that I know exactly what to look for...). Concentrating hard on the FLAC, I switched the DSEE on and off over and over. This time I could tell a difference. Hard to explain though, maybe slightly "roomier" sounding. The difference was SO subtle that of all the times I hit the DSEE switch, I could only distinguish between off/on about half the time. That's uncomfortably close to introducing the possibility of confirmation bias - if I hadn't just heard the difference at 64kbps, I would have doubted my own ears. The difference was so mind-achingly subtle that there's no way I'd care about what mode it's in on a day-to-day basis.

*** Update 06/01/2014 ***

Another annoyance I just ran across involving iTunes albums that are more than one disc. Hopefully this will be fixed in a future firmware update. Multi-disc albums in iTunes can count as separate albums (i.e., "Pink Floyd: The Wall (Disc 1)" and "Pink Floyd: The Wall (Disc 2)"). You also have the option to rip them from the CD (or download, I presume) and just have one album (i.e., "Pink Floyd: The Wall") and both discs will show up indented under one album title as "Disc 1" and "Disc 2". I prefer the latter because they maintain the correct play order by checking the file metadata for the disc it's on, playing all of Disc 1 before starting Disc 2. Mobile iDevices also play in the correct order. However, when you transfer that album to the HAP-S1, it ignores the disc metadata and ONLY sorts on track number. So your play order is: both track 1's, then both track 2's, then both track 3's, etc. Of course, if you leave each disc as separate albums in iTunes, this solves the problem. But then when using iTunes or an iDevice, you can't just play The Wall. You have to play The Wall: Disc 1, and then when it's over, you have to tell it to play the Wall: Disc 2.

Both sides allow you to create playlists, and the interim solution is to do it that way. That's just a bandage though, and Sony really should consider fixing the sort in firmware to make life easier.


Bon-Aire Original Ultimate Aluminum Hose Nozzle ( Colors may vary )
Bon-Aire Original Ultimate Aluminum Hose Nozzle ( Colors may vary )
Price: $18.12
8 used & new from $12.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Going Strong After Years, May 9, 2014
This will be the 773rd review for this product, so I'm guessing that this is not the first one you've read. It's safe to assume you already know enough about how it works. As such, I may not have a lot of information to add, except for the fact that I've had this nozzle for at least five years. I'm not sure exactly when I bought it, but it was definitely no later than 2009.

I've used it consistently over that time, for washing the car, hosing off the patio by the pool, washing the dog, cleaning the pool filter, etc etc. It's heavy-duty enough to drop on the concrete, it just lands with a dull thud from that thick rubber ring around the end, and years of abuse haven't affected it in the slightest. The stream selection by rotating the outer ring is still as smooth as the day I bought it.

Being able to turn it off at either end of the rotation is a nice feature too, less messing with it when you're done using it. I had intended to buy another one for the hose in the back of the house, but instead I've just been switching this one back and forth as necessary.

If you're looking through these reviews because you're interested in buying one (why else would you be?), get one. It's worth the money.


Cannondale Teramo Helmet 58-62cm Large/XL
Cannondale Teramo Helmet 58-62cm Large/XL

5.0 out of 5 stars Worth the price., May 6, 2014
The helmet I already had was one that I had purchased a while back with price as the primary consideration -- a Bell helmet that cost me around $25. It was fine. I probably wouldn't have replaced it for quite some time, if it weren't for the fact that my LBS sent me a gift card that I needed to use before it expired.

After spending way too much time at the shop trying on all of the helmets (several times) that were under $120, I ended up coming home with the Teramo. I didn't realize how comfortable a helmet could be until my first ride with it -- I didn't think the Bell was uncomfortable, but the difference is night and day. It's extremely light, and the ventilation is great.

In fact, the helmet is so comfortable that one time I accidentally left it in the car, and I made it about a mile before I realized that I wasn't wearing it! I actually touched my head to verify that it wasn't there. It's so low-interference that there is almost no difference between wearing it and not wearing it.

People that have been riding longer and have had high-end helmets before will likely not see AS MUCH of a difference as I did. But if you're coming from a cheap helmet like me, you'll be amazed.


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