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Customer Reviews: 410
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Jeffrey N. Fritz "Nikon Jeff" RSS Feed (Morgantown, West Virginia)
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Southern Enterprises Holly and Martin Ottico 3-Piece Tables
Southern Enterprises Holly and Martin Ottico 3-Piece Tables
Price: $199.99
5 used & new from $199.99

3.0 out of 5 stars Lovely Tables, Easy Construction, But Built With Horrid Hardware, September 14, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I wanted to give the Southern Enterprises Holly and Martin Ottico 3-Piece Tables a good review. In fact, I was looking forward to writing a positive review. A four-maybe even a five star review.

So much of the furniture that we have ordered from Amazon over the years has turned out to be poorly designed and/or poorly manufactured. The Southern Enterprises Holly and Martin Ottico 3-Piece Tables seemed to be a refreshing change. The looked good even in the box, they went together extremely well, and the well illustrated instructions were not only helpful they were polite--even going to far as to use the word "please."

It was only after everything was together that I discovered that the Southern Enterprises Holly and Martin Ottico 3-Piece Tables had sadly followed the trend of all the other furniture that has come from Amazon.

While the nearly completed tables were stacked I began tightening the legs (per the directions.) I tightened the hardware firmly but took care that it was not overly tight. However, in the process the gray table literally fell part. It didn't take long to find the cause.

Instead of using high quality hardware, these tables are manufactured with the soft aluminum hardware so typical of the Chinese junk on the market today. No piece of furniture, no matter how pretty or how nice it is, can hold together with such poor hardware. This was particularly an issue with the cam-locks--and essential piece of hardware in any furniture. You can literally take a knife and carve them--the aluminum is that soft!

I had to raid my junk box and replace every cam-lock with a one that was much stronger. Otherwise this furniture didn't stand a chance of lasting more than a few months.

If only Holly & Martin had specified better quality hardware these stackable tables would have been close to perfect. But, alas, this is not the case and that's a shame especially with stackable tables this nice and this useful.


OXO Good Grips Stainless Steel Colander
OXO Good Grips Stainless Steel Colander
Price: $24.99
4 used & new from $24.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Stable, Easy to Hold, and Nearly Perfect Colander, September 12, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
The OXO Good Grips Stainless Steel Colander is nearly perfect. It has comfortable, large handles making easy to hold while, at the same time, protecting your hands from the hot food. The large legs are convenient for setting the colander down and they make if quite stable allowing it to drain very well. In addition, and I thought I'd never say this about a kitchen product, it's very nice looking.

The OXO Good Grips Stainless Steel Colander has quickly found a permanent place in our kitchen!


Rachael Ray Tic Tac Tote, Black
Rachael Ray Tic Tac Tote, Black
Price: $17.99
2 used & new from $17.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Just The Right Size for Lunches--And Good Looking Too!, September 12, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
The Rachael Ray Tic Tac Tote bag is a perfect size for those lunches away from home. It's not too large making it easy to carry. It's not too small making it not at all difficult to pack the food you want to eat.

Oh yes, one other thing--this bag is very nice looking. You won't be embarrassed to carry it with you even to the office and public events. Highly recommended.


Belkin Air Protect Case for Chromebooks (B2A069-C00)
Belkin Air Protect Case for Chromebooks (B2A069-C00)
Price: $49.92
23 used & new from $39.79

3.0 out of 5 stars Yet Another Laptop Bag, August 23, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
As if the world did not have enough laptop bags, along comes Belkin with their Air Protect Case for Chromebooks. (Note: This is for the smaller Chromebooks. The 14-inch models are too large to fit in this case.)

It's not a bad case, but then there are many other bags out there that do much the same thing. And I'm not sure what it is about the bag that makes it especially useful for Chromebooks. It looks to me like most any small laptop (or iPad for that matter) would fit nicely in the Belkin Air Protect Case for Chromebooks.

If you are looking for a laptop bag, you certainly can do worse. However, I find nothing special about the bag that makes it especially valuable for housing either my netbook or my Chromebook.


Tide Pods HE Laundry Detergent, Free & Gentle, 72 Count
Tide Pods HE Laundry Detergent, Free & Gentle, 72 Count

4.0 out of 5 stars Good Cleaning and Free of Fragrance and Additives, August 15, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
When it comes to doing our laundry, we much prefer using the pod products to the old-fashioned liquid detergent. We also prefer a detergent that is free of fragrances and unnecessarily harsh chemicals. Tide Pod claims to be free of all of these additives and promises to give our clothes a good washing.

We were concerned at first because there are numerous reports of blue staining of white garments when using this product. However we did not experience any of that problem with it. My white jeans came out white with no stain. In fact, nothing was stained in our wash and the clothes came out looking fresh and clean. In addition we appreciated a bottle that was easy to hold with convenient finger grips on the side.

So until we find some issue that prevents us from is it going to continue to use it, Tide Pods HE is the laundry detergent that we will use regularly because it is free of those additives that we would prefer not to have in our laundry or our environment.


Another Side of Bob Dylan: A Personal History on the Road and off the Tracks
Another Side of Bob Dylan: A Personal History on the Road and off the Tracks
by Victor Maymudes
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $19.69
51 used & new from $14.72

2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A Book Not About Bob Dylan, August 15, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
"Another Side of Bob Dylan: A Personal History on the Road and off the Tracks" by Victor Maymudes and Jacob Maymudes is not quite a personal story of Bob Dylan, but it is a fine tribute by a son to his father.

Victor Maymudes was Dylan's tour manager and close friend. Maymudes had recorded over 24 hours of material for this book's manuscript when he unexpectedly died. His son, Jacob, subsequently took up the task and finishing and publishing the book. What came out of this unintended collaboration is an account of the friendship between two people with one of the friends being an iconic musician.

The 30 year relationship between Dylan and his tour manager reflected the changes in the world that happened between 1950s in the 1990s. The stories in the book are reflective of sex, drugs, hippy and politics that were so pervasive of that era.

In actuality the book is not really about Dylan. I found this to be disappointing as I expected to learn more about a musician who remains clouded in mystery to this day. The book really should have been entitled "Victor and his Famous Friends" or "Who I Did Drugs with in the 70s-90s." A title such as that would have been more reflective of the material and less misleading than "Another Side of Bob Dylan."

Still there is value in the book and it does manage to hold the reader's interest.


Acme Made Skinny Cover for iPad Air, Matte Black (AM36719-PWW)
Acme Made Skinny Cover for iPad Air, Matte Black (AM36719-PWW)
Price: $38.92

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Yet Another iPad Air Cover, August 11, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
There are a plethora of iPad Air covers to choose from these days. They come in different shapes, sizes and colors. They offer different degree of protection to your expensive iDevice.

The Acme Made Skinny Cover for iPad Air is, as advertised, skinny. There are installation directions of a sort (pictures, actually,) but they really aren't needed. The iPad Air snaps nicely into the case without much assistance needed. And the Apple-like magnetic cover gets the job done turning the iPad Air on upon opening and turning it off when closed.

Concerns--there are a few. Protection is nil. The cover and super thin back can't possible absorb a great deal of impact protection. The entire case feels flimsy in and of itself.

When the cover is open there is no screen protection. However, to be honest, I don't find screen protectors all that helpful. They are often more work to apply than the protection that they offer--at least in my experience. So it might be just as well that the Acme Made Skinny Cover for iPad Air omitted them.

My big concern is really what does the Acme Made Skinny Cover for iPad Air offer for my iPad Air that a myriad of other protective covers do not? I am at a loss to come up with an answer to yet another of the same type product.


Mille Bornes Card Game
Mille Bornes Card Game
Price: $13.48
21 used & new from $10.74

4.0 out of 5 stars Great Card Game with a Classy Tin Box but with Flimsy Plastic Card Holder, August 9, 2014
This review is from: Mille Bornes Card Game (Toy)
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Mille Bournes--our favorite card game--by miles! (Pun intended.) And here we have this classic, engaging card game enclosed in a classy tin box. (Yes, it appears to be real tin!) The cards are true to the original and made from reasonably heavy stock. What more could be asked? Well just one thing...

Why bother manufacturing a metal box, including thick well made cards, and then put in a flimsy, light plastic card holder? Couldn't Asmodee have included a solid, thick plastic card holder? I fear that the cheap one that they used will begin tearing in no time. This is the only thing that keeps this from being a five-star rated product.


OXO Good Grips Interlocking Corn Holders, Yellow/Green
OXO Good Grips Interlocking Corn Holders, Yellow/Green
Price: $9.99
5 used & new from $9.99

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Building a better mousetrap? Hardly, August 7, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Building a better mousetrap? Hardly! Many have tried. But building better corn holders, now we have something--especially for corn-on-the-cob lovers. In fact, somebody did.

OXO Good Grips Interlocking Corn Holders are larger than most corn holders. That makes holding the corn cob much easier. However, they are almost too large to fit on the smaller (narrower) side of the corn.

They hold together in pairs when not in use protecting your finders from nasty sharp surprises when you reach into the kitchen accessory drawer. Plus they clip together making it easier not to have one come up missing.

So go build a better mousetrap if you like, but OXO has already figured out how to improve on the corn holder. The OXO Good Grips Interlocking Corn Holders is the best that I've ever found or used.


Fluance ES1S Higher Fidelity Surround Sound Bookshelf Speakers for Home Theater
Fluance ES1S Higher Fidelity Surround Sound Bookshelf Speakers for Home Theater
Offered by Fluance Speakers
Price: $199.99
2 used & new from $149.91

5.0 out of 5 stars Great Sounding Speakers, A Bargain and A Keeper, August 1, 2014
When my Fluance ES1S speakers arrived, I decided to test them out before committing to keep them. (Fluance kindly has a generous return policy--although I've never had to use it with any of their products.)

I sampled a variety of materials from CDs (Redbook) to SACDs to DSD files to WAV/AIFF and FLAC files played through two high quality DACs. In each case, the ES1S speakers opened up the sound over my previous floor standing speakers and, as result, produced another surprise. I found it difficult to identify the exact location of certain instruments. Sure, if the instrument was panned hard left or hard right I could tell it's location. However, in many cases there was a sense of "it's there on the right somewhere," but it seemed to be coming from a much wider space that the physical placement of the speakers. I can't say that I've ever encountered that previously, but I like the effect. It widens the sound field significantly.

My vintage Yamaha receiver likes the speakers and has plenty of power to drive them. Happily, my Klipsch Sub-10 subwoofer feels the same way--and these speakers definitely need a sub. When I disconnected the Sub-10, the bottom fell out of the sound. So that might be the primary disadvantage of the ES1S speakers. They lack the ability to reproduce extremely low frequencies.

If you can afford the sticker price, owning full range speakers may be the best way to go. Still, I much prefer that the speaker designers think "they'll need to buy a sub to use with this" rather than try to force artificial bass response out of two five-inch speakers stuffed into a 17.3 x 5.7 x 6.2 inch box. The Law of Physics will only allow so much.

Bottom line: I'm pleased with the purchase of the Fluance ES1S Higher Fidelity Surround Sound speakers. Given their sound and price, they are a bargain. And they are a keeper!


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