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Customer Reviews: 102
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J. Whiteside RSS Feed (Missoula, MT)
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Close to Home: Celtic Music, Scarborough Fair, Shenandoah, All Through the Night, Red River Valley, Simple Gifts, Relaxation, Yoga, Spa, Soothing, New Age, Meditation, Relaxing, Soft Music CD
Close to Home: Celtic Music, Scarborough Fair, Shenandoah, All Through the Night, Red River Valley, Simple Gifts, Relaxation, Yoga, Spa, Soothing, New Age, Meditation, Relaxing, Soft Music CD
Price: $9.98
17 used & new from $4.48

4.0 out of 5 stars A Trip Through Ancient Grounds, December 10, 2015
My taste in music is rather wide, enjoying everything from contemporary, to jazz to rock and thumping industrial or electronic music. I'm an "album" kind of guy, I like to hear what an artist puts together from end to end and am often attracted to concept albums. There's a special place in my heart for the music of old and this album aims to fill that common need, offering relatively complete Celtic experience in a single audition.

From the first song to the last, this album will put you at peace and is a great way to spend 41 minutes. Throughout the album, I was reminded of the likes of Enya and Loreena McKennitt while she brought me through many classic folk favorites. The album gets off to an interesting and diverse start, but then starts to balance itself well through the rest of the album. The music invokes nostalgic images and the feelings of a pleasant journey through old Celtic grounds. Laura invokes emotions through both her keyboard and vocals, truly showing she knows how to connect with the listener through her music.

She Moved Through The Fair aired the room with haunting, overlaid vocals that immediately started to draw me into the album. Spancil Hill was the strongest track on the album in my opinion, it could have gone on for another 4 to 10 minutes and I would have been just fine with that. Both Shenandoah and Scarborough Faire were done very well, anything but some tired rendition and they offered a unique take on these well known classics.

From a technical perspective, the mastering of the album was well done. The gorgeous vocals, when present, were silky smooth over the menagerie of keyboard backdrops. The sound stage of the album tricked me into thinking I was listening to a real piano at times, until the classic keyboard sounds shook me back to reality. Gentle moments were mixed well with the more urgent transitions, offering a peaceful, uninterrupted journey throughout the entire album. Despite the MP3 format, the quality of the compression was certainly professional and I couldn't distinguish that I was listening to an MP3 over a CD on a fairly decent audio system.

Overall, Close to Home is a solid album offering up a couple handfuls of classic folk favorites done very well. It can serve its purpose for both active listening or pleasant background melodies. For anyone who enjoys the Celtic classics, this album is worth a few listens!


BISSELL PowerFresh Steam Mop Pads (2 pk) with Fragrance discs (4 ct), 5938
BISSELL PowerFresh Steam Mop Pads (2 pk) with Fragrance discs (4 ct), 5938
Price: $17.99
26 used & new from $13.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Overpriced Fabric, But Holds Up To Heavy Duty, November 29, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Last year, I switched over from the old chemical based floor mop to a steam mop. After reviewing steam mops, it just seemed to make more sense in the long run.

At first, I was stark raving mad that these pads cost so darn much. I needed at least 4+ sets to get through a proper day's cleaning with nearly 2,000 square feet of wood flooring. I bit the bullet and paid virtually the cost of the steam mop itself for their stupid pads and probably complained about it for a couple weeks straight. Fortunately, these dark days are behind me and I can provide a clear review without the bad taste of what amounts to overpriced fabric with attached elastic.

Really, what I want to say is that these have held up to use, abuse and regular washing for better than a year and are showing no major signs of deteriorating. I throw them in the wash and they're as good as new again. (Maybe darker, but eh, whatever...it's designed to clean a floor.) I've gotten through some pretty serious stains and junk on the floor that previously I had to dig out a chisel to get loose. I guess if these pads are going to hold up to repeated abuse, they might be worth the asking price. Heck, I've broken my Bissell steam mop before these things gave up the ghost!

I strongly considered making my own pads, and there's info out there on how to do it, but I figured once I got done with all the effort it just wasn't worth my time. These fit perfectly and hold up to constant use, so no sense in trying to reinvent the wheel here. Anyway, I'm reluctant to give a 5 star review considering I can buy a dress shirt for less money than these...but whatever. Just buy 'em and give your floor a beating.


AmazonBasics High-Back Executive Chair
AmazonBasics High-Back Executive Chair
Price: $109.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good For Regular Use, But Maybe Not All Day, November 29, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I've had this chair now for about two months, it's gotten regular use and I feel that I'm qualified to review it. I needed to replace my 10+ year old chair that was falling apart and desired a high back chair for the comfort. I really wanted to save some money on the purchase, so this AmazonBasics unit caught my eye for the price. I figured it was worth a shot, I could always sell it if things didn't work out.

Assembly was easy, I didn't really have any issues to speak of. The instructions were reasonably clear, diagrams easy to follow and everything fit with minimal fuss. Construction of the unit was impressive for the price, I don't really see the chair failing over the course of many years of use. The controls work as expected, allowing fair basic modification to the fit. It doesn't have all the adjustments that high end ergonomic chairs feature, but it works well enough to get it comfortable to sit in.

Now, for the most important aspect of the chair...comfort! To be honest, it's only OK. It's not bad by any means and extended use is really just fine, but I'm not exactly writing letters home about how comfortable the chair is. I find the chair marginally fatiguing after several hours of use, but it's gotten better as I've broken the chair's padding in. Sometimes I've noticed clear signs of ergonomic issues in my legs, like them falling asleep, and I know I need to get up and move around. Again, I wouldn't say the fit is terrible...just not an experience that could allow you to sit all day without a single break. My previous chair was more comfortable, but I'd also admit that I paid over twice the amount for it.

Overall, I wouldn't not recommend this chair. There are better quality chairs out there, but they will also carry high end price tags along with them. For the price, I'm happy...and to me, it's a good thing to be reminded that you need to get up every once in awhile. I offer up 4 stars...big value for the price, decent comfort and a good quality product.


Plano All Weather Tactical Gun Case, 42-Inch
Plano All Weather Tactical Gun Case, 42-Inch
Price: $68.67
20 used & new from $68.67

5.0 out of 5 stars Great For Airline Transport of Hardware, November 29, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I moved to Alaska in 2015 and needed a way to transport my valuable collection from the lower 48. I calculated that I needed 4 cases to transport everything, which frankly, put higher end cases such as Pelican's well outside my budget. I was a bit concerned about how these would transport via airline, given previous reviewer's statements, but my fears are now well at rest.

Once I received them, I was immediately impressed with the quality of the cases. While they're certainly no Pelican, they are built well and provide for the necessary security I needed. For extra protection, I drilled out two new lock holes on each end of the case, allowing me to pair up four MasterLock 140Q brass locks on each case. After fitting these, I then got to work at customizing the fit for the hardware. While the pluck and pull foam isn't going to win any awards for longevity, it did the job and got me a reasonably custom fit for each item I expected it to carry. I followed up by spraying down 3M adhesive, which helped the foam stay in place. I followed this up with labeling all the cases, keys and locks such that I could have trusted travelers transport additional cases on each trip back from the lower 48.

I didn't go so far as to black out the "tactical all weather" nonsense on the cases, but I can tell you that I've successfully been inspected by the TSA twice now with no troubles to report. My experience may be abnormal, though, since I'm going from Montana to Alaska where airport personnel are well versed in firearm transport...if you're flying out of Atlanta, it might be wise to black out the image on the case somehow. As far as security goes, I figured if someone's going to mess with four padlocks, they're going to get noticed by someone...not to mention, I just don't think that attempted theft from quad-locked hard cases is commonplace on domestic airlines. Transport went fine for two of the four and I expect no further troubles will come from the additional two cases.

Now, there's a few caveats to my review. I used these for simple transport in a medium duty application. The foam probably wouldn't hold up to repeated in/out efforts, so it might not work as well for daily use scenarios. I would also say that I've had success with triple transfer flights, one way, but if you're looking for something that can last forever against repeated abuse, a higher end case might be more suitable. I'd trust these to last many years with once a year flights, but if you're talking regular transport where the odds of something going awry go way up...then a better case might be a better option for you.

The provided locks are junk, to be honest. Don't even plan on using them. The keys from all my cases fit all the case locks, so it stands to reason there's thousands of these keys out there. If you need simple security (say at home for children's safety), the provided locks are probably fine, but I wouldn't trust them for a second on an airline. For best results, I do recommend drilling out the additional two lock holes on either end of the case...it's easy to do and the results are quite satisfying to the security minded.

Overall, for a budget case, these units might be right for you but you should weigh your use case and specific circumstances. They were right for me and saved me easily $800 over higher end cases, which means the value to me was huge. I wouldn't hesitate to recommend them, even with the minor modifications that are desirable to make them better.


G7 Power Austin LED 6 Watt (50w) 500 Lumen MR16 Track Light, Non-Dimmable 3000K Soft White, GU10 Base
G7 Power Austin LED 6 Watt (50w) 500 Lumen MR16 Track Light, Non-Dimmable 3000K Soft White, GU10 Base
Offered by G7 Power
Price: $13.95

5.0 out of 5 stars Best Price To Light Ratio I Could Find, November 29, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I live in Alaska where electricity costs upwards of 19 cents per kilowatt hour. Over our dark winters, we tend to run our indoor lighting a lot more than the average person in the lower 48. Needless to say, anything you can do to save power is going to help the wallet a bunch. In our new house, we had track lighting installed that was using 12 traditional halogen 50W bulbs. I sought out an alternative, but couldn't stomach the $20+ per bulb for "high end" LED lighting, even if it did make sense for the power savings. At the same time, I wasn't willing to sacrifice the quantity and quality of light overall.

I was a little dismayed at the "low end" (AKA cheaper) LED alternatives...most had a dismal 300ish lumens and many of the reviews indicated early failures. Then I stumbled across these G7's. I'd never heard of them before, but figured the price was right to try them out...and with a 10 year warranty, how could it go wrong? I ordered up a dozen bulbs and they were shipped quickly, arriving in a couple days. I got them installed and immediately, I could tell they were better than the halogens that were previously installed. More light, cooler operating temps, perfect color, zero failures. For 6 watts each and a reasonable price tag, I will overlook the small shortcomings.

What shortcomings you ask? Well, as others have observed, there's a slight delay when you flick the switch to when these turn on. It takes maybe a second, but it's enough to notice. I can't hardly think of a situation, even the most urgent in nature, where that second is going to cause any real problems for us. Additionally, the packing was a bit varied. We got some in brown boxes, some in white boxes and one was even loose in the shipping box. That said, all the bulbs were identical and even the loose bulb worked fine. Small price to pay to save over $40 a month in electricity.

For us, the return on investment for these bulbs is just a hair over 30 days. We went from 600 watts to 72 watts overnight, which will save us almost $800 every year. I hope to not have to use the warranty on these, but I wouldn't hesitate recommending these G7's for pretty much any situation where they'll work.


Cable Matters Gold Plated Toslink Digital Optical Audio Cable with Metal Connectors and Braided Jacket 6 Feet
Cable Matters Gold Plated Toslink Digital Optical Audio Cable with Metal Connectors and Braided Jacket 6 Feet
Offered by Cable Matters
Price: $7.99
2 used & new from $7.99

5.0 out of 5 stars A Great "Cheap" Toslink Cable, October 26, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This is a really good toslink cable in my opinion. It screams quality, very good construction and sports a nice look and feel. It's certainly of a professional grade without the high end price tag commonly associated with such things. I use this to pipe my TV's audio to my DAC in order to prepare the digital signal for my Hi-Fi/theater audio system. I really appreciate the braided cable, it really takes things above your typical plastic/rubber coating that you'll find on most inexpensive cables.

For a test, I set it up on my true "hi-fi" system, for which I typically use a (high end) coaxial connection that "supposedly" has better audio production capabilities. With a fairly high end audio setup, I was barely able to discern a difference from the DAC's optical input and coaxial input...and what difference might exist is probably in my head or more likely, has more to do with my DAC's inputs than anything else. I would be totally happy using this is a fairly high grade Hi-Fi application, especially considering optical connectivity isn't something that will degrade all that much unless the cable is truly poor quality. Admittedly, I have nothing to measure the bits across the wire, but perception is most important in audio applications anyway.

Overall, high value and reasonable price...what I look for in a purchase!


Cosco Products Centerfold Folding Table, 6-Feet, Black
Cosco Products Centerfold Folding Table, 6-Feet, Black
Price: $56.77
23 used & new from $40.83

5.0 out of 5 stars For A Cheap Computer Desk, It'll Do For Now!, October 26, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I'm using this table as a computer desk, probably not the intended purpose, but it works well enough for the application. For the price, it's difficult to find something in the six foot range that can handle a decent sized dual monitor setup, a pair of monitor speakers and all the other items you might want within arm's reach on a computer desk. I really like the black color, it doesn't scream "temporary table" in the office and provides plenty of storage underneath for computers and such. The working height is comfortable for this application, not too high and not too short...just about perfect. I can kick my feet up on it without feeling like I'm doing yoga. The surface has held up to relatively heavy use, seems like it's going to last until I'm in the mood to buy a real desk.

I can confirm that the table's top isn't perfectly level on both sides of the fold. This does cause a minor issue in my application where my two monitors don't line up absolutely level. No big deal for me, really, eventually I might just cut a nice oak board or something to act as a level plane. If you're looking for something with absolute flatness on both sides, though, this table might not fit the bill.

I liked the unit enough that I purchased a second one for it's intended purpose...a temporary table. We occasionally get some big cooking projects going on and find it really helpful to add additional food preparation space since our kitchen has limited counter space. I like that we can just fold up the table and store it, taking up minimal space when it's stowed away. For this, it's absolutely perfect...plenty of working space and places to put things when you need to.


Duck Brand Commercial Grade Packaging Tape, 1.88-Inch x 54.6 Yards, 6 Rolls per Pack, Clear (240053)
Duck Brand Commercial Grade Packaging Tape, 1.88-Inch x 54.6 Yards, 6 Rolls per Pack, Clear (240053)
Price: $9.54
18 used & new from $7.19

3.0 out of 5 stars Derp...Get The Bigger Rolls!, October 26, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I was apparently an idiot when I decided to purchase this item. I thought, wow, what a good deal for a decent quality, name brand tape! The problem isn't the tape, actually...it's a fine tape that did the job I expected it to do. The problem is that I purchased the 54 yard rolls and was expecting the more substantial, and clearly a better value, 109 yard rolls.

Overall, I can say that the Duck brand tape is really good. On my recent move from Montana to Alaska, I had a number of boxes that failed well before the tape did. The AlCan is a punishing road for a move, and let me tell you, this tape held up...in at least a couple cases, it was the only thing standing between a full box finding it's contents inadvertently emptied. I really didn't need a low temperature application, as I see they make specific tape for...but we'll see how this "sub standard" version holds up to our punishing -50 degree winters for the stuff still left in outdoor storage. If it holds up, consider me me a fan...otherwise, it's just tape.

Oh, and make sure you get the bigger rolls for a moving job. You'll go through these faster than you'd like.


MTM ACR8-72 Ammo Crate Utility Box with 7.25" Deep, Large, Dark Earth
MTM ACR8-72 Ammo Crate Utility Box with 7.25" Deep, Large, Dark Earth
Price: $19.99
5 used & new from $18.00

5.0 out of 5 stars Perfect For Transporting Ammunition Via Common Air Carrier, October 24, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I recently moved to Alaska and needed something to transport ammunition via common carrier flights, as our Canadian friends frown upon bringing these items through their country. It was somewhat difficult to find something reviewed for this particular application and I wasn't quite sure whether this unit would fit the bill or not. I can happily say that these utility boxes have been safely used without incident to transport 49.5lbs of ammunition from Montana to Alaska. (50lbs is the maximum you can transport on most carriers, check your carrier's rules before committing to a flight!) There were no issues from TSA transporting ammo in this box, I've successfully made multiple transports without a single objection. I did remove the "Ammo Crate" sticker, which was easily done, so as to not draw unnecessary attention.

These things are very well built, no major concerns about loading them up with 50lbs or more. The handles are probably a bit underengineered to carry the rated weight comfortably by hand, but at 50lbs, it can be lifted without issue. Most of the time during transport, you'll want something to assist - a cart, over the shoulder, a hand cart, something - the handles just don't provide much room for grip when manhandling the case about. Important for me, I was able to secure the box with two padlocks and felt like this was adequate protection for the relatively short period the box would be in other people's hands.

50lbs of ammo will easily fit inside the case, I would suspect 70-80lbs would be fine depending on the ammo stored. I used packing paper to secure the top of the case as 50lbs will not quite fill the entire space and this adequately prevented things from moving about during the flights. From there, these units make nice storage compartments to keep things relatively secure and organized when stored up.

If you're looking for this application, I can heartily recommend them and they should suit you just fine!


Modi 2 Uber Digital/Analog Converter
Modi 2 Uber Digital/Analog Converter
Offered by Schiit Audio
Price: $179.00
3 used & new from $179.00

20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Crushed A Two Thousand Dollar DAC!, October 24, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I've been into Hi-Fi audio for better than 20 years. My current main audio system consists of a 1978 pair of Klipsch Lascalas using custom ALK crossovers, a Cary Audio preamplifier, a BelCanto amplifier...connected by relatively high end balanced uplinks and RCA cables. All of this is driven by Toslink via a media PC I built. It's about a $11k audio setup and one that will reveal any substandard equipment.

My previous high end DAC decided to give up the ghost after over 7 years of use, $2 grand down the drain. :( These days, I just don't have the carefree budget I used to for audio gear, even though long standing "wisdom" in Hi-Fi dictates you should pair reasonably similar caliber equipment together for best results. I really wanted to see what a "lower end" DAC replacement could do for this system as I just didn't have the budget to throw another expensive DAC at my system. My extensive research brought me to Schiit Audio's line of DAC's, I liked that they seem to focus on connectivity and solid audio instead of trying to be just another expensive alternative. I was torn between the more expensive Bitfrost and the Modi 2 Uber, ultimately settling on the Modi to really push the "low end" concept to its maximum potential. Considering the Modi 2 Uber is billed as a lower cost, non-upgradable Bitfrost alternative, it seemed worth the shot.

Thoughts after burn in? Just wow. The Modi 2 Uber literally puts my old $2 thousand dollar DAC to shame...maybe not shame, per se, but it's certainly on par. I can't even believe that a sub $200 DAC can keep pace with high end audio gear, musically and with an incredible soundstage! This DAC is musical, offering a semi analog feel without the lazy, somewhat muddy side effects of analog gear. The soundstage makes my Lascalas sing like they can, allowing the speakers to resolve clarity and detail like few other drivers can. I was a bit worried that the DAC might be a bit bright from my research, which can really be a problem on Lascalas...but I'm happy to report clarity without overabundance on the tweeters. (I will admit my custom crossovers are set to -2db on the tweeters, my preference after extended listening on my old DAC.) Bass is tight and fast, another problem substandard equipment will reveal on the Klipsch speakers...maybe a little less than my previous high end DAC, but almost better to some degrees. The midrange, however, are the Lascalas strong point and this DAC makes the horns sing like I expect allowing vocals to come through strong without getting bogged down by anything else. 24/96 recordings really shine with this DAC, something my previous DAC really didn't reveal as much as I had hoped.

I don't know if it's a matter of design, or that audio-centric capacitors and such have significantly improved in the last ten years...but I would say that this DAC is overall maybe 99% compared to my older, and much more expensive, DAC as far as audio quality. In the early days of external DAC's, I could tell the difference between a high end and low end unit. These days, that line has been blurred much more than I would have expected. For one tenth the price, this Schiit is a sure-fire win for me.

Drawbacks? The supplied power wall wort is a little on the short side...I wish it had a couple more feet of range. I would have appreciated a slightly higher end power input, but also can't say that the supplied power supply is inadequate for the unit considering its size. The input selector switch floats a little bit, this isn't an issue to speak of, but some people expect a solid feel on selector switches. For me, it works and I'm betting it won't be a long term issue. Other than that, I'd have a hard time coming up with flaws. I'd prefer a larger footprint, but for a budget DAC designed primarily for headphone use, the smaller footprint makes sense to me and works for the application it's designed for.

Overall, I'm totally happy with this DAC and am super pleased I gave Schiit Audio a shot on my system. Big picture, this DAC will eventually be replaced by a Bitfrost and sent up to my office system...but it solved an immediate need and allowed me to hear Schiit's sonic signature without breaking the bank. I wouldn't hesitate recommending this DAC for either a headphone setup or Hi-Fi audio scenarios, it's a solid unit for a really fair price and likely better than anything else you can get in a similar price range. In my opinion, I've thoroughly debunked that price is a considerable factor when it comes to DAC's. Thank you Jason Stoddard for bringing high end audio at an acceptable price!


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