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Customer Reviews: 37
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Helpful Votes: 158

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Jasper Cook "Go science!" RSS Feed (Boulder, CO)

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CM Storm QuickFire TK - Compact Mechanical Gaming Keyboard with CHERRY MX BROWN Switches and Fully LED Backlit
CM Storm QuickFire TK - Compact Mechanical Gaming Keyboard with CHERRY MX BROWN Switches and Fully LED Backlit
Price: $99.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome Keyboard, Mostly, March 22, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I've been very pleased with this keyboard (it's my first mechanical keyboard) and I love the feel of the MX Browns. I like the compact form factor as well. It really feels excellent to type on this (there was next to no adjustment period) and it's just comfy. I enjoy using it, and it drives me nuts every time I have to use a non-mechanical keyboard at work. I've thought of spending my own money to get one just so I could use it there... haha.

The LED backlighting is a nice feature, especially when I'm looking for the play-pause control in the dark. That brings me to my only real complaint about this thing: when the FN key is locked (achieved via press-and-hold), you can use the brightness/play/pause/volume keys without having to concurrently press FN (this is obviously good), but you can't access the actual FN# key actions (like F5 to refresh page, F2 to rename, etc.) until you press and hold the FN-lock key again to disable FN-lock. It would be a lot nicer if, in that situation, it behaved as the converse of when FN-lock isn't enabled. In that case (when FN-lock is disabled), tapping FN+F5 plays/pauses, while F5 (without FN) performs its default FN# action (usually refresh). Unfortunately, on this keyboard, when FN-lock is activated, F5 activates play-pause, and FN+F5 ALSO activates play-pause, rather than simply F5's default action (refresh). This functionality (the "toggling" ability of the FN key) is present on most laptop keyboards, so it's a bit of a bummer that it isn't built into this ~$100 keyboard. This is a pretty minor gripe, and is definitely outweighed by how great this kb is to use, but still, it bums me out sometimes.

Hopefully that made sense... sorry if it was unclear.

As for the tenkey design: it's pretty clever. I seldom use the numpad, and simply toggle that functionality off and on as needed. I mostly use it in the arrow-key mode. I just didn't want to give up having a tenkey due to games like Tribes: Aerial Ascend (to name one) using the tenkey for a loadout selector. If you need to often use the del-ins-home-end AND the tenkey, this is a terrible keyboard for you. If you want a small keyboard footprint, and don't mind toggling between the two, then my personal opinion is that this is a good solution. I fit into the latter category. That said, I wouldn't want this keyboard at work (I'd go with the Quickfire, not the Quickfire TK) because of this issue. At home, where I don't punch data into a computer often, this is totally fine.

Anyhow, enough rambling. Let me know in the comments if you have any questions about the keyboard; I'll try to answer them quickly. Happy typing!

Samsung ETA0U60JBE + APCBU10BBE Micro OEM Home Charger - Non-Retail Packaging - Black
Samsung ETA0U60JBE + APCBU10BBE Micro OEM Home Charger - Non-Retail Packaging - Black
Price: $7.01
36 used & new from $1.09

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not OEM (Duh) But (IMPORTANTLY!) Also Not a Data Cable, December 31, 2013
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I've bought many aftermarket random chargers. They're cheap and easy. This one is a little fatter at the Micro-USB end than the original OEM cable from something like a Samsung Focus (a 700mA Samsung charger). However, it's important to note that this one does NOT work for transferring data (it works just fine for charging). That is, when I plug it into a USB port on my PC, the PC doesn't acknowledge that a device has been plugged in. The phone does, however, charge from that USB port. The OEM cable (the original white one that came with my Samsung GS4) works just fine for both purposes, so it's not the phone or the PC.

So: serviceable charging cable & USB charger, but isn't for data transfer.

Cable Matters MHL to HDMI Adapter for Samsung Galaxy S3/S4 and Note 2 in White
Cable Matters MHL to HDMI Adapter for Samsung Galaxy S3/S4 and Note 2 in White

5.0 out of 5 stars Cable: Great. MHL: OK, December 31, 2013
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This is a perfectly functional MHL cable. No issues with functionality whatsoever. One thing to note: the Micro-USB end has a very fat casing. This means it likely won't fit into your cell phone case, if you use one. You'll thus probably have to take your phone out of its case to use this thing. This can be solved by taking a razor blade to the rubbery plastic to slim it down a bit. I did this with no problems (I've been using it this way for months now). The video quality is good (nothing evidently terrible unless I'm streaming low-quality source material).

As for MHL: it's OK. Through no fault of the cable, my battery still drains when using this to stream video while the power is plugged into it. This is because (evidently) MHL caps the charging current at 500mA. For reference, my Samsung Galaxy S4 (with which I use this cable) came with a 2000mA charger. Since streaming video and sending it through the MHL cable to the TV evidently drains more than 500mA of current, the phone has a net decrease in battery charge while streaming video. This is a bummer, but not the end of the world. Just thought you should know what to expect. Also, my TV has a slightly non-standard aspect ratio (I think it's 1366x760 or something arbitrary/stupid like that) instead of a standard 16:9 (1366x768), so the output from this cable cuts off a few pixels at the bottom and top of the screen on my TV (this doesn't happen on 720p or 1080p sets).

Ultralight Backpacking Canister Camp Stove with Piezo Ignition 3.9oz (silvery)
Ultralight Backpacking Canister Camp Stove with Piezo Ignition 3.9oz (silvery)
Offered by GO Carol(Ships From Hong Kong)
Price: $5.78
42 used & new from $4.95

5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome, tiny stove, December 31, 2013
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I bought this because it was hilariously cheap. It's also, however, hilariously cool and tiny. The piezoelectric starter works in Boulder (elev. ~1mile) but I haven't tried it in the proper mountains yet. As I understand, they don't work that great at altitude. The stove lights just fine from any standard isofuel canister. Just pop it out of its carrying case (tiny plastic container) and screw it on, swivel out the arms, start the gas, and click the starter (or use a match, etc.). A handy little stove. Not perfect (build quality isn't incredible, but doesn't scream "garbage", either) but great for the price, and awesome as a starting stove (for me).

Puma Men's Archive Lite Low UO,Ebony/Black/Dark Shadow,10 D US
Puma Men's Archive Lite Low UO,Ebony/Black/Dark Shadow,10 D US
Offered by MZB Sports
Price: $63.07
2 used & new from $63.07

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Comfortable, Lightweight Shoes, But Slippery, December 31, 2013
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Original review, 2013-12-31:
These are nice shoes - very comfy. The sole is one piece of foam-ish rubber which coats the outer edges and bottom of the shoe. There's a small fuzzy insole layer inside the shoe where your foot touches it. It's quite comfortable and everything has held up well (I've worn them a lot since July [2013] when I bought them). The shoes themselves are also very lightweight (weigh about as much as my phone?) and the soles aren't wearing down much (as they tend to do around the heels and balls of my feet, usually). One thing: the shoes are slippery on the soles. Complete non-issue on asphalt or dry concrete, but in the rain or on smooth concrete (or on smooth tile floor) this can be an issue if you make abrupt turns. Also, the soles make a suction-cup sound when you walk on these kinds of smooth surfaces. Not a huge deal, but non-trivial if you've got poor balance. I have yet to slip significantly due to this, so I say it's fine, but I could see it being a problem for some. [Duration of ownership: ~5 months]

Update, 2014-03-04:
The shoes are still in pretty good shape (I wear them almost daily, but I have 2 pairs which I alternate). The soles have faded somewhat (mostly at the heel and the ball of the foot). The outside of the shoes still looks to be in quite good shape. [Duration of ownership: ~7 months]

Update International BAP-BL Cotton Blend Twill Bib Apron, 33-Inch, Blue
Update International BAP-BL Cotton Blend Twill Bib Apron, 33-Inch, Blue
Price: $6.65
8 used & new from $1.60

5.0 out of 5 stars It's an Apron!, December 31, 2013
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
It fits me well (I'm 5'10"). The length is good (ends right at my knees) and the stitching is sound (a few stray thread ends, but no missed stitches or anything bad). The material is thin, but not paper-thin. It's more like pair-of-dockers-pants-thin. It's appropriate for an apron. I actually bought it for a costume (Halloween; Arrested Development banana stand employee) but it has since taken up residence in my kitchen. Nothing remarkable about it, good or bad. It's an apron! If you have questions, let me know. I'll (hopefully) answer them if I can.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Feb 1, 2014 11:36 AM PST

Roku 3 Streaming Media Player
Roku 3 Streaming Media Player
Price: $94.64
85 used & new from $67.99

2 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Irritating Product (More Troublesome Than My Linux XBMC Box), December 31, 2013
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
First the player/software/performance: the software interface is simple and clean, albeit limited. This is nice when you want something easy to use. The OS itself runs fairly quickly (though it still feels sluggish at times) and the streaming quality is good (obviously contingent upon your internet connection). The included headphone jack on the remote is great (when it works - see below). The inability to stream free Hulu content (without a Hulu+ subscription) is obnoxious, as is the inability to stream content from Fox, ABC, etc. without an appropriate cable subscription. This isn't the fault of Roku, but it's nonetheless a significant limitation of the player. I used it for Netflix and Amazon prime instant video, primarily, and it was good. However...

I bought my first Roku 3 player from Amazon. It was defective. There was something wrong with either the firmware or the hardware such that the Roku couldn't generate an authentication code. Then the screen started turning green. This didn't bode well. Hard resets (which apparently only clear personal data, rather than reinstalling the OS from a secure partition) didn't fix my problem, nor did OS updates, etc. That one went back.

Roku 3 redux: Amazon is amazing. They took the first Roku back, paid for return shipping, and sent me a new one immediately. This one also had problems. It wouldn't work at first (crashed a bunch) so I ran updates and hard reset it. It then worked, until the headphone jack started cutting in and out. This persisted with multiple batteries and multiple headphones while I was and wasn't using my network successfully for other tasks. Then, sometimes, it started shutting down. Audio would drop out, the player would lock up, and the screen would freeze until the Roku reset itself. Overheating, probably. Accessing a "secret" screen at the behest of tech support found that the temperature was "N/A", meaning their hardware had a problem (can't read CPU temperature - this is bad). I spent an hour on the phone with Roku tech support where they tried to suggest that this was not a big deal, and that I should continue using it despite its overheating and crashing and inability to read its own temperature. I told them this wasn't OK and had to argue for them to get me an RMA. Unfortunately, the problem was intermittent enough (and I took a vacation) such that 30 days had passed since activating the player. I was thus outside of everyone's "return" period (though I now very much wanted a refund). The (terrible) warranty on these things is only 90 days, and is not renewed on getting a new device (that is, the new device inherits only the remaining warranty period from the first). I am now waiting for an RMA label to get a new Roku so that I may pay(!) to have their defective Roku shipped back to them. Then they'll receive it, "inspect" it, and ship a new (or recertified) one back to me. This process will leave me Roku-less for 15-20 days. Oh well. But yeah - I very much don't recommend you buy a Roku. Get an android streaming stick, or buy a tablet and an MHL cable, or something. The Roku, for all it's "pre-packaged"-ness, turned out to be a bigger hassle than my last streaming box (an old PC built up as an XBMC Live box). This thing is very much not worth the hassle. That's saying something. I seriously regret buying this thing.

Kingmys Premium Explosion-proof Tempered Glass Screen Protector Film For Samsung Galaxy S4 S IV i9500
Kingmys Premium Explosion-proof Tempered Glass Screen Protector Film For Samsung Galaxy S4 S IV i9500
Offered by BargainPricesHere
Price: $3.76
18 used & new from $1.99

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Tempered Glass Screen Protector and Phone Stand, October 19, 2013
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Glass screen protector shipped from China and arrived roughly 1.5 weeks after I ordered it.

The packaging was secure, and the product arrived undamaged. In the box, there was the protector, a folding phone stand (plastic), and a microfiber cloth to clean the screen before applying the new one.

I was able to easily remove my old plastic screen protector and drop the new (rigid-ish) one into place. It has an adhesive on the back, so adjustment after placing it is realistically not possible. Thus you should be careful when applying it. I don't know how easy it would be to remove; I have no intention of trying to do so, because...

...the protector feels/acts great. It feels the same as the bare glass on my GS4, and I've tested it with my keys (which obviously don't scratch the glass). The protector itself is about a half-millimeter (0.5mm) thick. That's a rough estimate, but I think it's close. It's almost certainly more than 0.3mm and less than 0.7mm. It adds a non-trivial thickness to the phone, but I like the feeling. It does make the home button noticeably recessed relative to the screen, where it was flush before applying the protector.

So, the take-home: this glass screen protector satisfies all of my wants regarding phone screens. Those are as follows:

1.) I can use an un-scratched screen (the glass protector is much, much more difficult to scratch than one of the plastic ones, which, while they protected the underlying glass from some things, get scratched very easily and end up causing me to use a scratched screen, which is why I put on a screen protector in the first place)
2.) If it scratches, it's replaceable for relatively low cost (this one cost me less than ten dollars).
3.) It feels nice to touch (all the plastic ones feel weird to me). The oleophobic coating seems to be doing its job, as fingerprints are easy to remove and it is always smooth to touch the screen.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 12, 2014 4:36 AM PDT

Cellto Samsung Galaxy S4 IV i9500 Premium Slim Fit Flexible TPU Case Cover & Screen Protector (Samsung Galaxy S4 / Compatible to Sprint , AT&T, T-Mobile, US Cellular, Verizon, and All International (Black) - Made in Korea
Cellto Samsung Galaxy S4 IV i9500 Premium Slim Fit Flexible TPU Case Cover & Screen Protector (Samsung Galaxy S4 / Compatible to Sprint , AT&T, T-Mobile, US Cellular, Verizon, and All International (Black) - Made in Korea
Offered by Cellto USA
Price: $1.99
4 used & new from $1.98

86 of 89 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Cellto GS4 (i9500) Premium Slim Fit TPU Case - Black, With Screen Protector, May 9, 2013
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
The case I ordered was the Cellto Samsung GS4 "Premium Slim Fit Flexible TPU Case" in "Black". To my understanding, it's also referred to as "Anti-slip TPU crystal silicone" in some of their writing.

This is a very good TPU (thermoplastic polyurethane) case. It is firm like other TPU cases, but not hard (shouldn't crack or chip). Here are my thoughts. See also the photos that I'll upload shortly to the product page. EDIT: posted.

-The case is very thin, meaning it doesn't add a lot of bulk. It's thinner than the TPU case I used with my old Samsung Focus. I think it would offer some shock absorption if the phone was dropped on a corner.

-The edges of the case *barely* raise the screen from a table when the phone is face down. Only barely. It is enough to prevent the screen from touching the surface, and should avoid scratches.

-Camera is slightly recessed relative to back of case. This should protect it from scratches as well.

-The cutouts are well-placed. I am able to hit all the buttons, and the IR blaster/mic are free from obstruction.

-The headphone cutout is pleasantly large. I use Audio Technica ATH-M50 headphones, which have a large plug. They fit into the hole on this case, which is good.

-The surface is almost "sticky". It's not the easiest to get in/out of pockets, but it's grippy. With friction alone (fingers flat on the back of the phone, nothing touching the front) I'm able to hold the phone at a roughly 80 degree angle relative to horizontal without it slipping, vs. maybe 60 degrees for the phone without the case.

-The screen protector is good. It is cut well (has a cutout for the home button and the sensor array at the top). It is not uncomfortable to use (the surface doesn't feel "weird"). Slightly higher friction than the bare glass (this is typical), but it's not an issue at all. I like the surface of it.

-The case is kind of sparkley. It almost looks like there is glitter embedded in it. See the photos I uploaded to get an idea of what I mean. It's subtle, but it's there. EDIT: I had the case for a few weeks and I didn't really like the glitter (it was what caused the me to originally review the case at 4 stars). The seller contacted me (unsolicited) and asked me if there was anything they could do to make me happier. This is probably the best interest in customer satisfaction I've ever seen. I applaud the seller (Karen Deals) for this. I've since upped my rating to 5 stars, since the glitter issue was my only real beef with the case. If you don't care about (or actually prefer) the glitter, I think it's a great, simple case for a phone that isn't dropped often.

Long story short: this is a good, minimalist case. If you've got any other questions, let me know in the comments and I'll try to reply.
Comment Comments (4) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 8, 2013 3:29 PM PDT

OREI Grounded Universal 2 in 1 Plug Adapter Type M for South Africa & more - High Quality - CE Certified - RoHS Compliant WP-M-GN
OREI Grounded Universal 2 in 1 Plug Adapter Type M for South Africa & more - High Quality - CE Certified - RoHS Compliant WP-M-GN
Offered by Bombay Electronics
Price: $5.99
4 used & new from $5.50

5.0 out of 5 stars OREI Universal 2 in 1 Travel Adapter for South Africa, etc., April 30, 2013
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I purchased this for my mom, who went on a trip to South Africa. She used it with no issues to charge a phone and a netbook.

Important: the wall voltage in South Africa (220-240V) is often different from that of the US (120V). This plug simply allows you to fit a US-shaped plug into a South Africa-style outlet. It does nothing to change the voltage supplied. However: most electronic devices WILL still accept 220-240V. Her electronics, for example, accepted 120-240V, and thus she was able to use this without a portable transformer (which can change one wall voltage into another).

In order to find out if you'll need a transformer, look at the wall chargers for the devices you want to use. On them, there should be a label which says the Input voltage (denoted by "V") and current (Amperes, denoted with an "A", will often be in milliAmps, "mA"). My phone charger, for example, says "INPUT: 100-240V ~200mA 50-60Hz 11-17VA", which means it can use voltages from 100-240V, and thus wouldn't need a transformer in order to function in South Africa, since their current and frequency are the same.

Decent site to exlain this:

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