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Customer Reviews: 15
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SquareTrade 3-Year Computer Accident Protection Plan ($500-600)
SquareTrade 3-Year Computer Accident Protection Plan ($500-600)
Offered by SquareTrade
Price: $110.51

23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Talk the talk, but no walk., January 22, 2014
This review is from a person processing a claim, and that person is me. I have read many reviews on this company, but very, very few are from people who have actually processed a claim. That is telling in itself.

I wonder how many bad experiences go unnoticed with this company. SquareTrade has a good website interface with clear language. However, today I was told I would receive a call back by a supervisor, "...in 24 business hours." That was a first for me. I have an extensive past career as a technical support person and having been a manager at a phone support center for a major company as well as a trainer and quality assurance officer, I was more than a little annoyed, surprised and drawn into action. Suffice it to say, you may stop reading at the end of this paragraph and know that the rest of the story fills the details in for your amusement and perhaps the management at SquareTrade. This company failed in providing the service and communications to this end user at many points in the warranty claim cycle and the tipping point was the courteous, apparently hard working, phone support person who read scripts to great annoyance. Quite simply, SquareTrade talks the talk, but does not walk the walk. From 24 business hours to business days to business weeks, it makes little difference how much time SquareTrade says it needs to repair and ship something back if no business actually happens. In my case, the repair of my laptop.

My laptop was in receipt for 9 business days with no update other than it was to be fixed. This is my first encounter with this company and they have very clear milestones denoted in the claim process. Unfortunately, no one individual really handles your claim, follows up with the repair depot or updates the customer with delays. All seem to fall through the proverbial crack. Today, I gave them a call and spoke with Tracy in customer service. She authenticated me five different ways and then proceeded to finish her script stating she would put me on hold and check on the laptop. She came back after a few minutes and alerted me that the repair depot had to order parts and that repairs were being made and it would ship out in 2-3 business days. Wow. You have had the laptop for 9 business days, not made any update even though you said you would if there were delays, and now you have the parts in hand and still won't be able to ship it for 2-3 business days? The website indicates five business days for repair and up to 2 business days for shipping. Shame on me for not following up at 7 business days! It would seem this should be a priority for a company to repair, but perhaps not. I was going to accept that the laptop would ship out in a few days and then take unknown amount of days (up to 2) to be delivered. Then, I realized the repair takes less than a couple of hours, probably a lot less as it was just a bezel, but certainly not 2-3 business days. Why am I not getting the laptop shipped today? I asked to speak to a supervisor. Mind you, very politely and acknowledging that I was not angry at Tracy. I was told by Tracy that I would be contacted by a supervisor, "...in 24 business hours." Huh? What does that mean? Is that a fancy or sneaky way of saying 3 business days? I told her I was not happy and would take the matter up with the seller of the warranty and make it known to the world. Then, all of a sudden, Tracy says I can talk to a more senior representative. Huh? Is that a fancy way of disguising supervisors as "senior customer service reps?" I said, "Ok, please let me talk to this person." She put me on hold and then one minute later the line gets disconnected. Sound familiar? To her credit she called me back, but I had already called them back and asked to talk to Tracy and was informed there were many call centers. Not surprising to me. No authentication this time and I moved right into checking if there were any updates to the account with the new representative. He checked and nothing there. He indicated maybe Tracy had not yet posted anything to the account. Tracy was on hold while we figured this out, perhaps a bit of payback. I gave her my work number and asked if they could call me back in half an hour at that number. It must take some number of business minutes to get the call back as I have yet not heard back and it has been several regular hours.

And so the dance continues. I did not pay $99 to go dancing and spend hours on the phone. Save your hundred bucks, buy a good case, and be careful. Do this and most of the time you will get your three years and then some out of your tech. If it breaks and is not related to your handling, then it probably will do so within the manufacturers warranty period. Are extended warranties a bad idea? For laptops, I say yes. Probably for most all electronics.

Updates to follow as my claim unfolds.

UPDATE: 1/23/2014
The representative indicated they would send me an email, ask a senior representative to contact me, and nothing happened. This was yesterday.

Talking to Ashley now to ask what's up. Ashley says they have no leverage with the repair depot as they are contracted out and would I like to call them. Huh? One person calling a big company to spend more time on the phone with a company that could care less. The failure, is with communication to me from SquareTrade, the failure of the repair depot to communicate up to SquareTrade (which I could never know if that happened or not), and the failure of the systems used to process a claim. Yes, I am talking to you web communications person.

All that is needed is a fair assessment of how long things take and the reality is that it takes 2-3 times longer than they say. If it is going to take longer update the claim! Of course, it could be longer as I am still without a laptop and the repair depot approved the claim of repair on 1/8/2014.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 23, 2014 10:47 AM PST


ASUS RT-AC66U Dual-Band Wireless-AC1750 Gigabit Router
ASUS RT-AC66U Dual-Band Wireless-AC1750 Gigabit Router
Price: $159.99
121 used & new from $129.99

2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A challenging experience for an engineer, January 1, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I am a teacher and a Network Engineer. I have quite a bit of experience setting up many levels of tech. I have tried over the years to find a good router for the home front without going to commercial gear. I might just go to commercial gear as I tire of replacing crap every 0.5-2 years. The best router so far is the WRT54G and those techys reading this know what I am talking about. So why did I switch? I have two boys and needed parent controls. This one had them and I did not want to upload custom firmware and spend my offtime futzing with wireless routers. The router has worked to varying degrees requiring a variety of resets and updates to firmware. The parent controls were hard to work with and in fact would not kill existing pipes to the Internet (my sons love to maintain Skype calls with their friends). The updates came and some addressed the issues and the GUI is quite nice.

The problems lie in the degradation of wireless (noted in many other reviews), flakeyness of parent controls, and now it has died. No, it is not the power adapter, I checked it with a DMM. The unit will not power on. My search begins anew and for some unbelievable reason Best Buy is open on New Year's day. Go figure!

My advice to you is to go cheaper and simpler or go big and buy commercial. I probably will not even attempt to deal with ASUS due to all the bad press they have with customer service and the unit is out of warranty by a month.

I will update this post with what I buy.

And to think I was about to buy a new ASUS motherboard. OMG this router death was a wakeup not to buy ASUS. ASUS, if you read this and think I am out of line let me know, but I suspect I am adrift in the ASUS cloud and am scrambling flap out.

p.s. Why is this review showing up under a ASUS (RT-AC68) Wireless-AC1900 Dual-Band Gigabit Router???

p.p.s. I have opened an ASUS case and want to find out how they handle this. It appears I have a 24 month warranty.

Update 2/21/2014
More than 50 days later and ASUS is in the house.

The unit died with unknown causes and a new one showed up with no explanation. Original comments all still hold, but maybe ASUS has a come back in support. Kinda hard to know with no one talking.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Feb 21, 2014 4:14 PM PST


Kindle Paperwhite, 6" High Resolution Display with Built-in Light, Wi-Fi - Includes Special Offers [Previous Generation]
Kindle Paperwhite, 6" High Resolution Display with Built-in Light, Wi-Fi - Includes Special Offers [Previous Generation]
10 used & new from $95.59

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An ereader for backpacking!, August 19, 2013
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Much has already been said about the Kindle Paperwhite so I will limit this to my experiences with it on the trail during backpacking.

I love to do many things on the trail and during the day while backpacking but, I love to read a book when hitting the sleeping bag. Of course, this is after star gazing etc.! In my constant quest to reduce bulk and load in my pack and on my pack I decided to checkout a Kindle. I have Kindle readers and plenty of books in the Kindle cloud so was ready to move. I also have owned a Kindle Fire, but it is too heavy for my purposes. An iPad is also quite heavy in comparison to the Paperwhite. Being able to have a 1000 books on a 7.5oz device with a battery that lasts weeks was very appealing. I did not know about the need for a backlight. I wanted cheap and I have a headlamp already. I decided to try out with a light and I am very happy I did. No case or sleeve. I use a double zip Ziploc freezer bag and am able to read through the bag just fine. I tend to pull it out though. The light is amazing. No reflections, it is almost surreal. The form factor is perfect and the light is perfect. During the day and while packing, I would feel fine putting the Kindle alone in the backpack. However, I keep all my maps etc. in a small clipboard enclosure. It fits perfect along with my maps, pencils, compass, etc. Since I am a science teacher and take students into the outdoors on trips it will be interesting how I can leverage this device with additional books on ecology, history, star gazing etc. A library in my pocket!

My wish list:

1. Color.

I can live with the eInk page refresh etc. However, give me color to read comics and graphic novels and I am all set. The Kindle has a special "panels" mode that allows reading of comics to great success.

Can't wait to see what Mr. B's team comes up with next! Keep up the great work.

p.s. Don't buy the unit for $20 more. The ads only appear when you turn off the device, no big deal and sometimes they may have something good.


Kikkoman Instant Shiro Miso Soup, 1.05-Ounce Units (Pack of 12)
Kikkoman Instant Shiro Miso Soup, 1.05-Ounce Units (Pack of 12)
Offered by TA National Trading
Price: $28.93
11 used & new from $25.50

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars And now a word about MSG, I mean this soup...err, both!, August 2, 2013
I am a skeptic. Plain and simple. I am also a scientist, engineer and a teacher. I am a cook and have been lead "chef" in restaurants, although it was a restaurant of three employees. Anyways, I have been told MSG has always been a bad thing and to be avoided like the plague. One day, while I was backpacking in Joshua Tree (I also teach outdoor ed), I asked a guide if they had any soup and she flicked her last Miso soup packet at me and said try that. I was hooked! I never really thought about what a Miso was, but knew it was Japanese. Bird, plant, squisy stuff from the sea, it was good! I returned from backpacking and decided I wanted some of those packets for my next trip. The hunt was on.

Amazon, great reviews, great feedback, great online system for getting stuff and getting the low down on the best...in this case Miso soup.

Whoa, Miso soup has MSG in it!! Claims the one star review for this product. Well that is no good. Or so it seemed. In pure skeptic mode I dove deep to uncover mono-sodium glutamate, is it in this product and in fact, is it not good for you.

What follows is a brief digression into what MSG is, whether it is in this product, and whether it is in fact not healthy to eat MSG. Click away now! If this is not what you are after go ahead...click to some little button and avoid what follows. Although, you may find it surprising.

When I was young my mother would stuff vitamin C down my throat via powder, pills, chewable, etc. etc. "you have a cough, take some vitamin C!", she would proclaim. I believe in the stuff. One day, digressing in some chem class, I discovered two things: 1. Vitamin C is water soluble, 2. 10g of Vitamin C will kill you. What? The good stuff will kill you? Wait a minute. Then came how much water to kill you, how much licorice, how much Captain Crunch with Crunch berries, (never figured out how much of the last one, now the stuff is repulsive). My lesson, live in moderation and don't trust anyone about how much is ok or what it really does and test for yourself.

MSG, like many other food additives, be they "spice", "herb", whatever, comes from a natural source. When I say that I mean we do not combine things to "create" this stuff. Nor is it some sort of genetic mutated slime from nuclear sludge. Sorry about that last one, but people get a little high and mighty. The MSG in this Miso soup comes from seaweed. Plain and simple. Kikkoman is required to put it on the label because the FDA mandates it. The FDA also says it is GRAS (generally recognized as safe). GRAS is pretty stupid all by itself since it implies it could be dangerous, which it has never found to be the case. Unless you start putting lots and lots of it on everything, but we learned not ok from our vitamin C bit above right?

In fact, a Professor Ikeda found glutamate in 1908 and named it umami. Umai=delicious and mi=taste. Umami is found in its salt form via MSG. If you are a curious about umami and the fact that it represents something other than saltiness, and has unique receptors for it on our tongues, go Google it.

So, how much MSG do you have to eat for it to be bad? Not sure, but it seems if you keep it under the vitamin C equivalent, you should be safe.

Glutamate has been around for over a hundred years and is safe in my eyes. Am I gonna go out and buy some MSG shakers and start putting it on everything? No. Am I gonna not every eat any Miso soup cuz someone says a naturally occurring substance from seaweed (and other sources) is bad for you? No. I am not eating fake sugar (sucralose, aka Splenda) though. That stuff is rated as a caution by the FDA...

This soup has MSG. This soup is awesome and simple to make and comes in a variety of flavors. This soup will never be as good as Miso soup made from scratch, but is amazing. MSG is no problem in my book. Let the retorts begin!

The packets for this product are bigger than my guides mentioned above, but are still considered small, perhaps the size of a 1/2 size cocoa packet. Great stuff!
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 6, 2013 6:46 PM PST


Catskill Craftsmen Super Slab with Finger Grooves
Catskill Craftsmen Super Slab with Finger Grooves
Price: $102.10
17 used & new from $82.56

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Awesome board huge cracks erupting!, June 18, 2013
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This board is a massive slab of beautifully joined wood. Solid, sturdy, heavy came to mind when it arrived. It is big and heavy enough that you do not want to move it once you put it on the counter. This was a bit different than what we were used to with our less massive board that had little feet at the corners. We were used to moving the board to clean under and around. The handholds help, but the board is so massive it is best to just let it sit albeit in a dry location that won't get sink water underneath it.

After five months I noticed a massive separation in the wood blocks. This is not a small crack to heal with oil. This is along the joints and turns at right angles following the joints from the edge and is more than a 1/4 inch wide. This board lives in the SF bay area and it is not super dry, gets light use and is surprising.

Another reviewer had a similar experience and contacted the manufacturer. The manufacturer promptly sent a replacement. I will update this review with how that goes for me.

Update: 7/6/2013
I emailed the manufacturer and, while slow to respond, decided to send me another board even though it was out of the 90 day warranty. It seems to me the warranty should be longer. In any event, I am most appreciative and have updated the review to three stars from one star. In fairness, the board did come with a piece of paper stating to immediately put oil on it and even purchase their conditioner. Who reads a manual for a cutting board?? I did not the first time and perhaps that is why it cracked. I have since dumped half a bottle of mineral oil onto it and it is like a sponge. I keep waiting for it to ooze out the bottom. The surface is still very rough and not easy to clean. We will see how it goes after some "seasoning" of the board. This has turned into an unwanted project, but I will stay the course as I do a lot of cooking and this is not a decorative piece!
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Aug 15, 2013 3:09 AM PDT


No Title Available

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Light, quick-drying, washable, awesomeness in a hat!, July 26, 2012
What is not to like? I have many of these hats only because I have many colors and sometimes misplace them. They are amazingly durable hats that quickly dry and are fully adjustable. I run, kayak, play basketball, bike (with it under my helmet), and toil in the yard with this hat. This is my go to hat for everything. It is very stain resistant and when it does get dirty a little hand washing is all it takes. You can also throw it in the washer if so inclined. I was worried the first time I machine washed the hat, but I could not see any damage to it afterwards. I have had one of these hats for over 7 years and you cannot tell the difference from a new one. This is one of those pieces of clothing that you fear they will stop making due to fashion or something. Stock up!


LG 3.6 CF FRONT LOAD WASHER DRYER COMBO
LG 3.6 CF FRONT LOAD WASHER DRYER COMBO

47 of 57 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars 3-2-1...(explosion noise), December 22, 2011
Stay away from this unit and any combo wash/dry units by LG, at least for now. I have been dealing with this bad, bad, boy for about five years. Why? I purchased it online (not from Amazon)AND received a free 4 year extension to the warranty. Thank goodness for that extended warranty! I have been through pumps, motors, hoses, and more. Five service calls and many hours lost of my life. My warranty ran out a few months ago and guess what...it is making all sorts of noises and giving me error codes left and right. I now know way more than I need to know about this washer. I am a teacher and engineer and this is the next take it apart project for fifth graders in the Makers' Lab! The concept is solid, the implementation very poor. From motor placement, filter screen systems, etc. I won't go into the details, but suffice it to say it is a pain to deal with. I may have it working as a washer only now and am in the hunt for a good dryer.

I use Amazon for tons and love 'em...where are all the reviews on appliances?? Don't trust the manufacturer sites or even some online resellers. They censor their reviews. In all the years I have spent with Amazon, they do not censor.

By the way, my wife hates the fact we switched to this from a traditional washer dryer setup. Everything is always wrinkled and still damp. We purchased a steamer to hang the clothes and steam them...what a pain. Wash them then dry them and pull them out right when dryer finishes...perfect. Albeit, not as economical, but come on...five repairs?? Pffffft.

Update: 12/25/2011
Yup, have nothing better to do between hold'em and cooking the prime rib...
The washer is about to give up the ghost as well. Here is a link to a website with consumer complaints about LG washers: [...]

I am going to look a the Miele and Bosch units...users on the above site seem to have had good experiences...

Update: 2/5/2012
About four weeks ago the washer was on its final breaths. I decided to dive deep and learned about all sorts of horrible lint that builds up in the lines in the washer. Lint that accumulated above the pumps and caused them to fail due to stress. I did not know the strange noise was coming from a pump until I slid the washer on its side and did exploratory surgery. What I found is below. Know that the washer has had multiple issues with the pump and I believe it is due to the design and inability to easily access the location where the lint is accumulated.

There is easy access from the bottom and back of the washer. The back has a panel with four screws and the bottom has no panel at all. The large hose (3-4") coming from the soap dispenser down to the 'basin' under the washer is the problem child. This hose is used to receive the flushed soap from the soap compartment and comes down to the basin from the top left of the washer. There are two pumps at the bottom left of the washer right by the externally accessible lint trap. It appears that what happens is the spin cycle forces lint up the 3-4" hose and it clings to the side of the hose. This pushes it away from the pumps. However, the pump takes repeated damage due to stress of the lint at times. The lint slips down and constricts the pump openings. When I opened the back of the washer I removed two hose clamps from the 3-4" hose to check it out. I saw nothing...at first. Then I blinded put my hand up the hose and found a bit that turned into almost 2 cups of lint! I was shocked and thought I fixed the problem. The washer still had problems and I decided to replace one of the pumps ($30 or so on ebay). The pump is very easy to access and I had it replaced in about 15min. The washer is now 100%. Amazing that I almost tossed the washer for a new one. I am not sure how many washers that are side loaders have this problem, but it appears they all battle with it to varying degrees. Perhaps the material of the hose line is different in some not allowing the lint to adhere to the walls of the hose. Now that I am an unoffically certified LG washer repair person, we'll see how long it lives. The above information was pieced together from many sites and glued together with personal inspection and tinkering.
good luck!

Update: 4/13/2012
I have decided to update the stars to three stars. The washer came with a five year warranty and now I know all it's in and outs. While it is working it does a good job. It is not like a regular washer and you need to be aware of the differences. We have spent about 15 man hours on repairing the unit (me fixing and the missus waiting for a covered service call).
Comment Comments (6) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 1, 2013 4:26 PM PST


Medialink Easy Setup Wireless Router, Repeater & Range Extender (300 Mbps)
Medialink Easy Setup Wireless Router, Repeater & Range Extender (300 Mbps)
Offered by Mediabridge Products, LLC
Price: $19.99
38 used & new from $11.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Simple, easy, and configurable, with great support!, November 7, 2011
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I wrote the below as a comment to another persons 1 star review. I want to add my own stars to this great product and great support team. That persons experience went in the toilet and Medialink came to the rescue and fixed the situation. In the end, you buy something like this to do something and to not have to worry about it. Set it up, and forget it. Yes, some will tweak endlessly and update the firmware every five weeks. Sometimes things don't work and you need to spend time fixing a problem. For some, books, websites, forums, etc. are enough support. Medialink has these. Some people start out making a call and some end up making a call. Dealing with real people is what it boils down to. All the fancy smancy wiz bang options arn't worth squat if they don't work or break things AND there is no support.

Medialink has good support, at least currently they do. The tide shifts so VPs of Medialink keep the support good!

This is a great wireless router that gives you current tech capabilities and a great support team. Look no further and NO, I do not work for Medialink! :0)

Dear Medialink,

Congratulations. You have won me over with your feedback to these users. I am a network engineer and often make purchases on Amazon. I even use Amazon when at times purchasing local, just for the reviews and feedback. I usually start at the bottom and found these posts immediately. I want to know what is wrong with stuff and read the negative stuff first. I was pleasantly surprised by your posts. Good job! You made another sale and probably quite a few more as users ask my advice. Don't ever stop thinking that these posts don't make sense. If you are a VP in charge of support, consider it time well spent, to have your support crew pursue these reviews. The world talks in these seemingly small spaces and when the manufacturer listens AND responds, we all win.

Update 11/1/2012
Had to let this router go. It became very unstable.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Nov 26, 2011 4:35 PM PST


Bushnell Legend Ultra HD 20-60 x80 (45 degree) Spotting Scope
Bushnell Legend Ultra HD 20-60 x80 (45 degree) Spotting Scope
Price: $417.95
34 used & new from $349.98

5 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Does not come with tripod--full review soon!, July 21, 2011
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I just received this and will put this to use in both birding and on the rifle range. Quick note that it DOES NOT COME with a tripod. The 60mm version apparently does. I will update this with more after I put it through the paces. Now, I need a tripod...

UPDATE: 7/25/2011
I purchased the Alpen Micro Adjustable Tripod: [...] to go with this scope. I will have a separate review on that tripod. I have attached it and it seems great.

I have found, after purchasing the Alpen tripod, that Alpen makes a remarkably similar scope (if not identical) and I am wondering how much branding I am paying for. I understand you also get the company behind the scope and I think you should look into this scope as an alternate to this one as you research: [...]

Perhaps a reader of this review could chime in with a comment as to the differences. I will have more detail on this scope as I put it through its paces.


Libbey Crisa Moderno Cereal Bowl, 6-Inch, Box of 12, Clear
Libbey Crisa Moderno Cereal Bowl, 6-Inch, Box of 12, Clear
Price: $21.59
2 used & new from $21.59

4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars I expect more from an everyday bowl, July 16, 2011
A review in short.
I purchased 12 of these a couple of years ago. They arrived half broken. Amazon promptly sent me another order. I now had about 18 bowls. They are attractive and great for salads and eating cereal. I like that they are deep so stuff like soup and cereal milk don't slosh out as I balance the bowl on my chest in bed.

I am now looking for more bowls as I only have about 6 left. These are not tough bowls and easily break and chip. My mother gave me four glass bowls 20 years ago and I have all four still. Changing environments to be sure, but those four remain unchipped, albeit a bit scratched up, but fully functional. They shared the cupboard with these bowls.

These are an everyday kind of bowl and are not sustainable in that fashion. My hunt is on for something more Pyrexy and durable...


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