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CrunchyCookie RSS Feed (Palo Alto, CA)

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Rain-X Weatherbeater Wiper Blade, 24" (Pack of 1)
Rain-X Weatherbeater Wiper Blade, 24" (Pack of 1)
Price: $13.05
29 used & new from $6.53

2.0 out of 5 stars Screechy and short-lived, January 16, 2016
These Rain-X Weatherbeaters are a little cheaper than average (just under $10 for size 25" and below, at Target anyway), but they're annoying. I've bought four pairs in the past year or so, and three of them have been somewhat screechy right out of the box -- just enough to be irritating. They also seem to only last about a year before major deterioration.

The only difference I can see in Rain-X's higher-end "Latitude" line is the inclusion of a removable plastic insert that's meant to "repel" rain, but also makes wiping less effective.

It's too bad Wal-Mart stopped stocking Anco-brand wiper blades back in 2013 for some reason. Those worked great, were usually quiet, sometimes lasted two years, and I think only cost $7/blade!

Doesn't anyone make a cheap, quality wiper anymore?

ASUS Dual-Band Wireless Router (RT-AC56U)
ASUS Dual-Band Wireless Router (RT-AC56U)
Price: $91.81
103 used & new from $45.00

1.0 out of 5 stars Wireless dead in 4 weeks, December 28, 2015
Since our Linksys (aka Belkin) EA4500 router konked out after a whopping 1.5 years of service, I went and bought this Asus RT-AC56U as a replacement. 28 days later, the wireless portion is already completely dead. It still works as a wired router, but even if we stand right next to it, our smartphones can't see the device at all.

I updated the firmware to the latest version ( Didn't do anything.

Is Netgear my only hope?
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 30, 2015 7:48 AM PST

Boogie Superstar with Microphone - Nintendo Wii
Boogie Superstar with Microphone - Nintendo Wii
Offered by bocha1211
Price: $53.99
36 used & new from $0.50

3.0 out of 5 stars This game's just OK, but girls born in the 90s might like it, December 20, 2015
Boogie Superstar doesn't quite reach the level of the best singing games of all time (that would be the Karaoke Revolution series on the PlayStation 2), or the best dancing games either. But now that it's a $10 item, you might find it worth picking up if you're into the type of music on the disc.

This game came out in 2008 and was aimed at teen/pre-teen girls, who are of course now in high school and college. It features 38 tracks (all from 2001-08) that you can either sing or dance to. As far as the singing part, this game got the basics right by basically copying Karaoke Revolution: the lyrics scroll continuously from right to left, in sync with a pitch line you're supposed to follow, while your cartoon avatar dances/performs in the background. (I've always found this way better the approach used by SingStar, where the lyrics/pitch are stationary and get colored in as you read from left to right, which messes you up constantly since there's no transition between screens.) The songs are covers, but they're pretty accurate, or at least do a good job capturing the feel/mood of the originals.

Also like K.R., you get a character and can customize her outfit, hair color, etc. This game's artwork and presentation are quite cute.

On the other hand, there's plenty wrong with it:
-The creators messed around with the songs too much, randomly chopping out verses & bridges to make them shorter, and censoring lyrics that need no censoring (i.e. "Pina Coladas" became "Coca-Colas").
-The scoring mechanism rewards you for singing like an auto-tune robot. When the designers put a pitch line into these songs, they seem to have rounded every note up/down to the nearest whole note, rather than capturing the little nuances that would have made things more accurate.
-The game's structure and menus are annoying. You only get 9 of those 38 songs to start with, and it's a really long slog (as in, a few days) to unlock the rest. The menus scroll slowly, and there's no option that lets you just pick up and play. The only choice is to pick "Star Mode" every time, which involves fumbling through a bunch of menus to perform setlist of exactly three songs. (For each one, you have to click into a sub-menu to decide whether you'll sing or dance to it, then whether you want to actually pick the title or do one at random.) Then at the end of this repetitive ritual, you watch the same reality TV style judges make the same prescripted comments, comparing you to the same fake contestants. It gets old.
-Finally, even considering the game was aimed at a certain demographic, the songlist seems pretty limited. 38 ain't a big number to begin with, and only half of them got any radio play even back in their day. Maybe a 35-year-old guy like me doesn't make the best judge, but it seems to me like 1/3rd of these tracks are neither popular nor very good, and I love pop music.

I can't say much about the dancing, since I could barely get it to work (not sure what I was doing wrong). And anyway, when Dance Central came out on Xbox 360 in 2010, it kind of blew away everything that came before it.

For all its flaws though, it's still a game that girls born in the 90s (or later) might get a kick out of playing at least a few times.

Linksys EA4500 App-Enabled N900 Dual-Band Wireless-N Router with Gigabit and USB (Certified Refurbished)
Linksys EA4500 App-Enabled N900 Dual-Band Wireless-N Router with Gigabit and USB (Certified Refurbished)
Offered by Electronica Direct
Price: $36.77
2 used & new from $36.77

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Barely lasts a year, November 28, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
No matter how competitively this router might perform, the fact remains I bought this thing in June 2014 and it started dying by August 2015. Automatic dealbreaker. The really annoying thing is that it started dying piece by piece -- first the wireless capability vanished, then three months later the wired connections jumped ship. And since the effects were also invisible (it still powers on, thus it LOOKS like it's working), I wasted hours on the suspicion that my computer/modem was the problem.

LinkSys may have been the king of routers in the 2000s, but these days they can't seem to even reach basic competency. Perhaps the Belkin takeover is to blame?
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Nov 28, 2015 11:48 PM PST

Tell Me the Truth, Doctor: Easy-to-Understand Answers to Your Most Confusing and Critical Health Questions
Tell Me the Truth, Doctor: Easy-to-Understand Answers to Your Most Confusing and Critical Health Questions
by Jeanne Besser
Edition: Hardcover
85 used & new from $0.01

3.0 out of 5 stars Some useful info in here, if you look for it, September 13, 2015
This is a decent book overall, mainly because it's easy to understand, contains a fair amount of useful information (all of it supposedly factual), and demystifies a couple things you've probably always wondered about.

The only problem is that to get to the good stuff, you often have to sift through somewhat boring writing and long-winded introductions that mostly consist of common knowledge. A chapter titled "Will Condoms Prevent Me from Getting STDs?" comes to mind. I'd say about half the words in this book are "noise". It's a book tailored for the Time magazine crowd.

To get the most bang for your buck time-wise, I'd advise just reading the every chapter's one-paragraph summary, and only to bother reading the rest of it on topics you're truly curious about.

Dockers Men's 4 Pack Fly Front Full Rise Brief,White,32
Dockers Men's 4 Pack Fly Front Full Rise Brief,White,32

4.0 out of 5 stars These put the "tight" in tighty-whitey, April 11, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Sometime in the 90s, I developed a habit of buying a buttload of Hanes every few years. But the last time I did this (late 2000s), I was pretty bummed out by the slip in quality and drastic drop-off in height (which had me constantly, er, peeking out like a periscope). Looking at the alternatives, I've never been a fan of Jockey's weird-ass cyclopean slot, and I don't recall seeing BVDs anywhere recently, so I thought I'd try a new brand. Dockers -- they know pants, so they must know underpants, eh?

Indeed they do. Color me pleasantly surprised: these briefs seem high in quality, feel good, and look pretty good, too. Just one footnote: they grab a tad more tightly around the waist than any pair I remember. It's not really uncomfortable (and it's directly at odds with the claims of "looseness" in the highest-ranked 3-star review), but I thought I'd mention it anyway.

Amana 18-1/2-Cubic Foot Bottom-Freezer Refrigerator, ABB1921WEW, White
Amana 18-1/2-Cubic Foot Bottom-Freezer Refrigerator, ABB1921WEW, White

1.0 out of 5 stars Springs a leak after two years, March 30, 2015
I was pleased with this fridge initially -- it's good-looking, well made, and gets the job done.

But it's not built to last. Before ours turned two years old, it started leaking water out the bottom on an almost daily basis. Judging by a 100+ message discussion going on at, this is an expensive and common problem, costing a few hundred dollars to fix. It's also pretty consistent with the shoddy quality I've experienced with other recent Whirlpool products, i.e. a washing machine whose main knob broke off, and a stove whose heating elements sometimes go to full blast no matter how low you set the dial.

I wish I'd bought the LG instead.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Apr 24, 2016 2:21 PM PDT

Maxell 648200 700 MB 80 min CD-R 100 Pack
Maxell 648200 700 MB 80 min CD-R 100 Pack
Price: $28.70
129 used & new from $18.99

2.0 out of 5 stars High failure rate, January 21, 2015
I burned about a dozen of these Maxell CD-Rs in the past week, and most didn't turn out so well. Roughly 1/4th had annoying skips & hiccups in the occasional track, and 1/4th were error-ridden to the point of being unplayable. Another 1/4th were so glitchy, they made the CD burning program choke and give up halfway through the writing process! Slowing down the speed to 24X seemed to reduce the errors, but not by much, and for discs that are rated "48X" I shouldn't have to do that anyway.

I'm using proven, quality components here -- Nero Burning ROM, a Sony drive, and a Pioneer CD car stereo -- and they delivered perfect results almost all the time back when I used Sony discs. I feel pretty confident in blaming Maxell quality.

Logitech Media Combo MK200 Full-Size Keyboard and High-Definition Optical Mouse (920-002714)
Logitech Media Combo MK200 Full-Size Keyboard and High-Definition Optical Mouse (920-002714)
Offered by LLYtech
Price: $23.40
66 used & new from $9.60

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good, though I've had better, January 15, 2015
This combo satisfies in all the essential ways: both the keyboard and mouse feel sturdy, look good, and have no great flaws. They're both laid out well, too: the mouse is a comfortable size/height and has a scroll wheel that takes just the right amount of pressure, and the keyboard doesn't mess with tradition, putting all keys exactly where they belong. $25's a fair deal, and the keyboard is exclusive to this combo, because Logitech's only stand-alone wired keyboard is the K120, which lacks the handy row of shortcuts on top. (The mouse, on the other hand, is identical to Logitech's M100 aside from adding a gray stripe around the middle.)

But I can't give it a fifth star because I've seen the mountaintop, and these Logitechs don't reach quite as high. The best keyboard in the history of the world was Microsoft's "Internet Keyboard", which had slightly greater tactile satisfaction thanks to keys with faster/firmer bounceback, and the best mouse ever created by man was Creative Labs' "Mouse Optical 3000", which had a more comfortable, curved shape that was ideally shaped for a right hand. Too bad both of those models went extinct in the 2000s. These days, Microsoft's keyboards kind of suck while Creative seems to have quit the peripherals business entirely.

So these Logitechs aren't the best of all time, but they might be the best you can buy right now.

Zalman CNPS7000C-ALCU 92mm 2 Ball Cooling Fan
Zalman CNPS7000C-ALCU 92mm 2 Ball Cooling Fan
2 used & new from $29.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An obvious reduction in noise, June 21, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I built myself a Core 2 Duo computer in 2008, which means I was always stuck with the annoyingly loud stock Intel fan. Switched to this Zalman today and HOT DAMN, WHAT A DIFFERENCE -- the new fan is still audible, but the volume is noticeably lower, and more importantly, the constant high-frequency pitch of the Intel crap (the unpleasant part) is totally missing.

Since I also use a similarly expensive silent power supply (and a fanless video card), pretty much all I hear from my computer these days is the hard drive when it's working.

My subliminal daily rage is gone. Well worth $23.

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