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Cowboy Bebop: The Complete Series [Blu-ray]
Cowboy Bebop: The Complete Series [Blu-ray]
DVD ~ Wendee Lee
Price: $41.99
3 used & new from $36.49

5.0 out of 5 stars Bebop is one of the best Anime ever, December 17, 2014
Bebop is one of the best Anime ever. Well, in my opinion of course. It may not be everyone's cup of tea.

The music is spot on jazz fun and insanity. The animation, while a TV series, is quite smooth and pretty. The story is two parts insanity, one part heartwarming characters (OK, they aren't heartwarming, generally), and 10 parts greatness.

FUNimation has taken the Japanese remastered video and put it on Blu Ray and DVD for is. A series that's been out of print for a while, license rescued and given the 5 star treatment, top to bottom.

If there is anything to complain about, it's that the English subtitles, when watching in spoken Japanese, are FORCED to on. They are software based subtitles, you just can't turn them off. There are ways around this. If your computer has a Blu Ray player, JRiver Media Center ignores player prohibited functions, so you can easily swap between all the audio tracks and subtitle options. You lose access to the menus, but if you know what you are doing you can enable the audio commentaries no problem, and you can find the "titles" with any video extras you are looking for.
In terms of the show itself:

Video- remastered from the original source material. You will see some dust here and there, but otherwise you are getting a pristine, and beautiful print in full HD. The show is presented in the Original Aspect Ration, meaning it's 4:3. They did NOT stretch the video or otherwise molest it to make it full 16:9. The black borders on the side of the image are normal.

One thing to note is that the ending credits are in English. I will compare to the original DVDs, but I think it matches the original US release. So if you are expecting a release that is 100% like the Japanese release, you will be disappointed. Not a big deal for me, so not worth losing a star, but I know there are some who want original video from start to finish.

Audio- English or Japanese DTS-MA 5.1. Both sound fantastic, with warmth and brightness that are lacking on the original DVD releases (think they were stereo for Japanese and English, though if memory serves Bandai Ent released a 5.1 English version).

Subtitles - as stated, if you choose to use the Japanese audio track, you MUST watch subtitles, unless you use software on your computer. It's a little annoying, but it's one way Sunrise and FUNi try to prevent reverse importation into Japan. For me, I want them on anyway, so it's not a huge deal, but for some, it might be a deal breaker.

Extras - I don't see anything we haven't seen already, though I don't believe we ever had the commentary tracks before? If we did, it would have been on the second set Bandai released that I didn't buy into.

Overall the show is great. The release is great, but marred, maybe, by forced subtitles when watching in Japanese.

Highly recommended on every level.


Aduro APPLE CERTIFIED / MFi 30-pin USB Sync and Charging Cable for iPhone 4/4S, iPhone 3G/3GS, iPad 1/2/3, iPod (6.5 Feet / 2 Meters) Black
Aduro APPLE CERTIFIED / MFi 30-pin USB Sync and Charging Cable for iPhone 4/4S, iPhone 3G/3GS, iPad 1/2/3, iPod (6.5 Feet / 2 Meters) Black
Offered by Entronik
Price: $12.99
2 used & new from $5.99

4.0 out of 5 stars It's a cable, and it works as expected, December 16, 2014
This is an Apple Certified MFI 30 pin cable. It will charge your older iPad, or iPhone without issue. It will also allow you to sync to iTunes on your computer as well. Both use cases work well.

What more can you say about a cable? It's well designed, and where the cable meets the connector seems to be well re-enforced so you shouldn't be breaking the connection when you remove it from your devices.

Overall it works well, it's decently long, and it allows a sync and a charge.

Recommended.

Sample provided for review.


Aduro POWERUP 11000mAh Portable External Battery USB Charger with 3 USB Ports (4.1 Amps Total Simultaneous Output) for Apple iPhone 5s 5c 5; iPad Air mini; Samsung Galaxy S5 S4; Note 3 2; Tab 3 2, Google Nexus and More
Aduro POWERUP 11000mAh Portable External Battery USB Charger with 3 USB Ports (4.1 Amps Total Simultaneous Output) for Apple iPhone 5s 5c 5; iPad Air mini; Samsung Galaxy S5 S4; Note 3 2; Tab 3 2, Google Nexus and More
Offered by Entronik
Price: $49.99
4 used & new from $24.95

5.0 out of 5 stars Offers 3 USB charging ports on one power bank, which is nice, December 16, 2014
The Aduro Powerup is an 11000 mAh beast.

Before I start my review, I have one complaint. The complaint is the packaging. All I can say is, if you buy this, ensure you have scissors handy. It looked like it would be easy to open, but after pulling off the cardboard, the battery was protected by a nigh impervious plastic shell only susceptible to scissor or knife damage. I expect this from one of those ridiculous anti-theft shells you get in stores, not for something like this.

Once you have it open though, it a really nice portable battery bank. It offers 11000 mAh of power on a full charge. In terms of actual use, and battery charging efficiency being what it is, it's more like 9350 mAh of usable power. This is a limitation of physics, not this battery though.

With 9350 mAh of power, you can charge your iPhone 5s six times. My Lumia 1020 is just over 4.5 times. And an iPad or other tablet, well, an iPad Air will get a full charge on a full charge, but other versions may not be quite that well off.

This charger also comes with a nice carrying case.

Overall, it's a nice battery. It doesn't offer anything other power banks don't, but that's not a bad thing. 3 ports to charge is nothing to sneeze at.

Recommended.

Sample provided for review.


Simply Simily Stainless Steel Water Bottle - BPA Free - Classic Screw-on Cap - 26 Oz - Lifetime Warranty - Wave Blue
Simply Simily Stainless Steel Water Bottle - BPA Free - Classic Screw-on Cap - 26 Oz - Lifetime Warranty - Wave Blue
Offered by 24HR
Price: $16.95

4.0 out of 5 stars Nice bottle, not insulated so not really a good option for hot beverages, December 16, 2014
This is simply stated, a water bottle. You can put other cool or cold liquids in it, and it does a good job of keeping them in the bottle and off of you. What it doesn't do is insulate, so cold beverages will warm up, warm/hot beverages will cool. And if you plan on putting hot beverages in the bottle, I would recommend against it. Since there is no insulation, grabbing the bottle with hot liquid inside will potentially lead to scalding, or if nothing, a potentially nasty surprise when you pick it up.

The bottle is completely stainless steel, with the exception of the plastic bottle cap. The bottle cap, for me, is a little finicky to get into position to close properly, which is another good reason to leave the hot beverages not in this bottle.

The bottle is hand wash only, and on first taking it out of the packaging that's definitely what you will want to do - wash it. It has a rather nasty odor to it, which once washed with warm soapy water, rinsed and left to dry went away.

Overall it works well enough, if you aren't trying to keep your beverages hot or cold.

Sample provided for review.


AFUNTA C-17 2500 DPI 9 Programmable Buttons USB Wired Gaming Game Mice Mouse for Laptop PC Desktop Computer (Black)
AFUNTA C-17 2500 DPI 9 Programmable Buttons USB Wired Gaming Game Mice Mouse for Laptop PC Desktop Computer (Black)
Offered by Afunta-mall
Price: $15.99
2 used & new from $15.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Variable DPI, works well, software is on CD only and a little wonky, December 16, 2014
If you are looking for an inexpensive mouse, one that feels a little cheap but does the job well, then the Afunta may be the mouse you are looking for.

You will have to make some allowances for a little wonky software though. And you will have to make an allowance for a Chinese only manual (a downloadable English manual is available, and they have a sticker on the instruction manual that points you to it - I've linked to it in my comments below the review). And an allowance for a cheap-ish feeling plastic.

One thing I can't stand about the mouse is the inability to just simply turn off the colors. You have full control over the color it displays per DPI setting (more on that later), but you can't just simply turn it off. It's kind of distracting and annoying. I realize turning the colors off may lose indication of what DPI setting you are on, but it would be nice if maybe it flashed RED so you knew it was in 2500, or BLUE when you want 250 DPI and had an option to shut the color off after it sets it.

In terms of the smoothness of the motion, as you can control the DPI settings of the mouse, you can use standard settings (which I think is right around 400-800 dpi). 250 dpi is a joke, but the 2500 DPI is super smooth.

So let's talk about the software, since this is how you will control the mouse. The English manual sort of explains what's going on, but not that well.

When you open the software for the first time, you will see a DPI setting panel. This is where you set the DPI of each COLOR of the mouse. So you can set RED to be 250 DPI, you could set GREEN to 750, BLUE to 2500 and PURPLE to 800, or any DPI in this range: 250, 500, 750, 1000, 1250, 1500, 2000, 2500. You then use the + and - buttons on the mouse to switch between the different colors and DPIs.

You can also very easily set Macros. So if you want to put a specific button combo in for a key, you can "record" the macro and have it play every time you press that button. I've played with it, but I don't really need it. For gamers though, this could be something super useful.

One other way the software is wonky is I can't alt-tab to get to it. I either have to minimize what I'm doing, or I have to click the icon in the taskbar (next to the clock). It's annoying, but not a big deal since I'm not editing it that much after my initial setup anyway, but it is still wonky.

The last bit of wonkiness is that the drivers and software only come on a mini CD. If you don't have a CD/DVD/BD drive, you will have an interesting time finding drivers for the mouse, and without loading the drivers, you essentially just have a mouse running at an OK DPI setting, but not what you paid for. SO ensure you have a drive, or can copy the software from the CD to a USB stick or other portable location before buying.

The quality of the mouse is OK, but the plastic feels a touch cheap. That being said, it seems to be working just fine for me.

Recommended.

Sample provided for review.


Cowboy Bebop: The Complete Series - Amazon Exclusive Edition (Blu-ray/DVD Combo)
Cowboy Bebop: The Complete Series - Amazon Exclusive Edition (Blu-ray/DVD Combo)
DVD ~ David Lucas
6 used & new from $275.00

1 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Discs in hand, 10 episodes watched. Amazing remaster, though some will not like forced subs when watching in Japanese audio, December 16, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Bebop is one of the best Anime ever. Well, in my opinion of course. It may not be everyone's cup of tea.

The music is spot on jazz fun and insanity. The animation, while a TV series, is quite smooth and pretty. The story is two parts insanity, one part heartwarming characters (OK, they aren't heartwarming, generally), and 10 parts greatness.

FUNimation has taken the Japanese remastered video and put it on Blu Ray and DVD for is. A series that's been out of print for a while, license rescued and given the 5 star treatment, top to bottom.

If there is anything to complain about, it's that the English subtitles, when watching in spoken Japanese, are FORCED to on. They are software based subtitles, you just can't turn them off. There are ways around this. If your computer has a Blu Ray player, JRiver Media Center ignores player prohibited functions, so you can easily swap between all the audio tracks and subtitle options. You lose access to the menus, but if you know what you are doing you can enable the audio commentaries no problem, and you can find the "titles" with any video extras you are looking for.

In terms of the Amazon extras, they are OK. The box is nice, the booklets are a little disappointing, but not bad. My biggest annoyance is that the color booklet isn't glossy, so some of the colors used in the artwork just don't POP the way you may want. It's nitpicking, but it's annoying.

In terms of the show itself:

Video- remastered from the original source material. You will see some dust here and there, but otherwise you are getting a pristine, and beautiful print in full HD. The show is presented in the Original Aspect Ratio, meaning it's 4:3. They did NOT stretch the video or otherwise molest it to make it full 16:9. The black borders on the side of the image are normal.

One thing to note is that the ending credits are in English. I will compare to the original DVDs, but I think it matches the original US release. So if you are expecting a release that is 100% like the Japanese release, you will be disappointed. Not a big deal for me, so not worth losing a star, but I know there are some who want original video from start to finish.

Audio- English or Japanese DTS-MA 5.1. Both sound fantastic, with warmth and brightness that are lacking on the original DVD releases (think they were stereo for Japanese and English, though if memory serves Bandai Ent released a 5.1 English version).

Subtitles - as stated, if you choose to use the Japanese audio track, you MUST watch subtitles, unless you use software on your computer. It's a little annoying, but it's one way Sunrise and FUNi try to prevent reverse importation into Japan. For me, I want them on anyway, so it's not a huge deal, but for some, it might be a deal breaker.

Extras - I don't see anything we haven't seen already, though I don't believe we ever had the commentary tracks before? If we did, it would have been on the second set Bandai released that I didn't buy into.

Overall the show is great. The release is great, but marred, maybe, by forced subtitles when watching in Japanese.

Highly recommended on every level.


THERA°PEARL Neck Wrap, 1.44 Pound
THERA°PEARL Neck Wrap, 1.44 Pound
Offered by BIGFLYSPORTS
Price: $21.99
16 used & new from $14.22

4.0 out of 5 stars Works well, heats nicely, December 15, 2014
I've been using this at work, as I find my posture at work tends to... stink. I find that my shoulders and neck start to hurt after a while if I don't pay attention to my posture, and when this happens I will just pop this in the microwave for about 80 seconds. When it comes out I drape it over my shoulders and neck and the pain will start to subside (helps that this reminds me to sit properly!).

If I have a complaint, and the reason I dropped this to 4 stars instead of 5, it's that there isn't a ton of the heating material in the lower portions. This means that it doesn't always stay in place as well as I would like, and it also means not as much heat in the extremities of the wrap. Since I sometimes wrap this around "backwards" in an attempt to get heat further down my back, this doesn't work so well.

I haven't really used this as a cold pack, so I can't comment on the use there. I don't tend to like cold, and since I wanted it for heat, I probably won't ever use it this way.

Overall, it seems to be well designed (I don't notice any of the quality issues others have reported, though they are mostly older reviews, so maybe it's been corrected?) and I don't have any problems with it. My only recommendation would be to lay it out flat in the microwave, otherwise it may not heat evenly.

Recommended.

Sample provided for review.


DiGiYes® 3 Socket 120W Car Cigarette Lighter DC Outlet Splitter Adapter 4 Port USB Car Charger USB Outlet DC Charger Power Adapter 12V Socket DC Adapter Car Charger For Android Cellphones iPhones iPads Tablet Computers And Most Of Digital Devices
DiGiYes® 3 Socket 120W Car Cigarette Lighter DC Outlet Splitter Adapter 4 Port USB Car Charger USB Outlet DC Charger Power Adapter 12V Socket DC Adapter Car Charger For Android Cellphones iPhones iPads Tablet Computers And Most Of Digital Devices
Offered by Yes Digi
Price: $17.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Great little device, December 15, 2014
Do you need to add 2 more cigarette adapters to your car? If the answer is yes, then the DiGiYes 3 socket adapter might be exactly what the tech Dr ordered.

Usage is simple - plug it into your cigarette adapter. Now plug in up to 3 other adapters into this and you are ready to roll.

So here's the awesome thing - if you plug this in, not only can you plug in up to 3 cigarette adapter devices, you also have 4 ports to charge USB devices. Two of those ports are Super Speed ports (2.1 A I believe) and the other two are 1 A ports. This is... crazy! I no longer use a standard cigarette adapter charger, I use this. I can plug my Garmin GPS in (it has the traffic, so you have to use their cable) and charge my phone, no problem.

If you just want USB charge capability though, and don't need the extra cigarette adapter inputs, then a regular cigarette adapter charger is maybe a better option. If you need the extra cigarette adapter ports though, this is a fantastic option.

Usage is easy. Plug the cable into the charger, plug the other end into the cigarette adapter port and that's it. You can now plug in a USB cable to charge a phone or tablet, and also plug your GPS into the added ports.

Highly recommended.

Sample provided for review.


DiGiYes® 3 Ports USB 3.0 Hub-Powered Hub Bus with RJ45 10/100/1000 Gigabit Ethernet Converter LAN Wired Network Adapter For Desktop Laptop Ultrabook Tablet and Surface Pro Compatible with Windows XP/7/8, Mac Mac OS 10.6 or higher, Linux
DiGiYes® 3 Ports USB 3.0 Hub-Powered Hub Bus with RJ45 10/100/1000 Gigabit Ethernet Converter LAN Wired Network Adapter For Desktop Laptop Ultrabook Tablet and Surface Pro Compatible with Windows XP/7/8, Mac Mac OS 10.6 or higher, Linux
Offered by Yes Digi
Price: $19.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Nice USB3 hub for travel, adds gigabit Ethernet capability., December 15, 2014
The DiGiYes 3 port USB 3 hub, that is powered by the USB hub (no external power cable), is a really nice travel option to have if your computer is short on USB ports, and you think you might need to add wired network to your computer.

In terms of usage, simply plug it into your computer, it will find it as a USB hub and you are ready to plug other devices into it. It should also pick up the gigabit Ethernet adapter that is included, so you can just plug the network cable in an go.

In terms of performance, USB3 external hard drives range a little slower than an actual powered (with an adapter) hub I have from Pluggable, but comparing to other bus powered USB hubs, performance is on par there.

Gigabit Ethernet works as well as the built in Gigabit Ethernet in my desktop, so absolutely no complaints there.

The hub is light weight, and should travel well if you need it to.

Recommended.

Sample provided for review.


DiGiYes® [2 Pack] SuperSpeed USB 3.0 Type-A Female to Female Adapter Bridge Extension Coupler Gender Changer Connector
DiGiYes® [2 Pack] SuperSpeed USB 3.0 Type-A Female to Female Adapter Bridge Extension Coupler Gender Changer Connector
Offered by Yes Digi
Price: $6.88

5.0 out of 5 stars Does what it says - you can couple 2 USB cables for greater length, December 15, 2014
Do you need to extend the length of a USB cable? Need it to be USB 3 compatible?

Then the DiGiYes female to female adapter is what you are looking for.

This is actually difficult to review, as it really is self explanatory as to what it does, and it does exactly what it claims.

What I tried was a 6 ft cable paired with a 3 ft cable. I ran speed tests on an external USB3 hard drive, directly to my computer first, then compared to the coupled speed. The speed difference was all but nonexistent, so using the coupler, at least at a 9 ft total length, doesn't seem to impact overall drive or USB3 performance.

The adapter is decently built, doesn't feel cheap, and it works.

Recommended if you have the need.

Sample provided for review.


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