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Customer Reviews: 373
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Reviews Written by
Jeff P. "Jeff" RSS Feed (Durham, NC USA)

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5" x 5" Square Wire Mesh Skimmer Professional Grade
5" x 5" Square Wire Mesh Skimmer Professional Grade
Offered by Utensil Pro
Price: $11.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Very heavy-duty, sturdy, high-quality feel to this thing, November 13, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I actually needed a bit more of a sieve but this fine mesh is close enough for my weird purpose (skimming rapidly breeding baby snails off the surface of the water in an aquarium). Who knows, I may actually cook with it some day. Escargot, anyone?

Bibigo Korean Gochujang Sauce, 11.46 Ounce, 2 Count
Bibigo Korean Gochujang Sauce, 11.46 Ounce, 2 Count
Offered by Better Warehouse
Price: $27.14

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Finally burned out on Sriracha? Here you go..., November 8, 2015
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I'm all about the sauces - I claim to be able to cook but mostly I experiment with Indo-Asian condiments and noodles or vegetables and such. If my guests like what I came up with I take the credit, otherwise I blame the sauce I snuck in on them.

Other reviewers have already pointed out that this is pretty thick - it's not a paste but it's definitely not watery thin, and it's not oily thin either (think of sesame oil or chili oil - it's not like that). To my taste, both the sweet and spicy elements are right there prominently in your face without a lot of subtlety which suits me just fine. There is a slight smokiness to the flavor and it has a pretty spicy kick for a finish so there's more to it than just fire and sugar.

I love hot stuff and can deal with quite a bit of heat, but I must say this would be a little over the top as the only sauce in, say, a stir fry. The heat builds as you keep eating and it will get your attention. (Lest you assume I'm a wimp, I'm the guy who brings his own chili oil/chili paste to the Asian buffet when a group of coworkers go out for lunch.)

I marinated some raw shrimp in it before steaming with veggies and sticky rice and that was a perfect use for it. It's also great as a flavor variation if you like doctoring up ramen noodles as I do sometime. But my favorite use so far is to add it to pizza - it enhances pretty much any variation. I was an early adopter of Sriracha sauce for this purpose, 20+ years ago, and I completely burned out on that stuff a long time back. This has about the same punch but a completely different taste that works with old-school pepperoni and red sauce, chicken and white sauce, olive oil based pizza, veggie, you name it. Just a bit here and there as an enhancement and you can transform what was an excellent pizza pie into a completely different, but still excellent pizza pie. A two-fer!

One caveat: Gochujang is a Korean staple, not an exotic rarity. You can buy it in paste form for a lot less and mix up your own version of this sauce with, e.g., sesame oil and soy sauce and a few other odds and ends. It's a convenience item and if you buy this product you are paying a premium for the convenience.

I racked my brain to justify fewer than 5 stars because this is a Vine review of a free product, the presence of which appears to cause some folks all kinds of heartburn. Apparently the only proper atonement for receiving a review sample at no cost is to despise the product you're reviewing, but I think this stuff is really tasty so...five stars. Haters gonna hate :-)
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Nov 11, 2015 4:18 AM PST

Generac 6866 iQ2000 Ultra-Quiet Portable Inverter Gas Generator, 2000-Watt, Carb Compliant
Generac 6866 iQ2000 Ultra-Quiet Portable Inverter Gas Generator, 2000-Watt, Carb Compliant
Price: $719.99
11 used & new from $611.99

20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I like it more than I expected to, November 7, 2015
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This is a review of a Generac iQ2000 6866 portable inverter generator. I received the generator at no charge in exchange for an honest review of it. Coincidentally, I've been shopping in this market for at least a couple of years, having previously owned a gigantic, incredibly loud 7KW (13KW starting) monster that was more of a maintenance hassle than it was worth. I've also tinkered with generator alternatives such as inverters powered by a car battery or by dedicated battery banks. I'm by no means an expert but am not a complete novice either.

This is marketed at a 2000 watt generator. I consider it a 1600 watt generator because it will power stuff that draws up to 1600 watts when running. Some items require some extra mojo when they start up (like an air conditioner) so you need a little headroom to allow the item to start up, and then settle back down to its normal wattage draw. This generator has about 400 watts of headroom. It will handle something that draws up to 2000 watts momentarily at startup, and then settles back down to no more than 1600 watts. Generac isn't alone here. The famous Honda EU2000i is also a 1600 watt generator with 2000 peak watts, and it's marketed as a 2000 watt generator as well.

It gets confusing when comparing different pieces of equipment. I have an inverter that runs off of batteries that's marketed as a 2000 watt inverter. It actually produces 2000 watts of power continuously, and has approximately 2000 additional watts of headroom. So it will power multiple devices that have pretty large startup surge demands, yet it's described as a 2000 watt device just like this Generac.

The point of all this is to caution you to understand how much power you're going to need to produce to run the goodies you want to run. My 2000 watt battery-backed inverter will run my refrigerator and my portable air conditioner without complaint. This Generac 2000 watt inverter generator shut down due to overload when I tried to run the same two appliances. Don't buy any generator until you understand starting watts vs. running watts and have learned how many starting/running watts are required by the devices you want to run.

OK, on to the Generac. This item is made in the USA and is targeted specifically at the Honda EU2000i, which is legendary for having a long, trouble-free life, being relatively lightweight and being relatively quiet (generators are notoriously noisy). It arrived well packaged and fully assembled and even came with a bottle of oil.

The one page quick start guide doesn't take you very far. Step 2 is "fill with oil as indicated in manual" so you have to stop there and read the manual, which is just as well.

Dealing with oil is almost always a messy job that Generac has done a decent job with. The oil port is very easy to get to and doesn't require any tools other than your fingers to open or close. There's an angled funnel that screws into the oil port for adding oil and I suppose it could be useful for draining oil as well (see photos). How much to add is mostly guesswork; I overdid it and had to pour some back out. If you can see some oil pooling about halfway up the threaded part of the port you're pretty much there. A small plastic tray is molded into the cabinet to catch small spills or drips which is a thoughtful idea.

While you're under the hood you might want to note a couple of other things (see photos). The air filter cover easy to get to and is secured by one Phillips head screw, just behind what I call the Tube to Nowhere, a clear plastic tube that hangs inside the access door. I have no idea what it's for and haven't been able to find out yet, but the generator works fine so I've left it hanging. Just flip it out of the way to get to the air filter.

After getting the right amount of oil installed and adding a tank of gas (I used 93 octane with fuel stabilizer already added because that's what I had), I fired it up per the instructions and it started on the first pull. Weather was fine so it required virtually no time on choke, and we were up and running. The first thing I noticed was that the engine purred. I had already watched a video online comparing this Generac to the Honda EU2000i and thought that the Honda sounded smooth, purring like a cat, where the Generac sounded "valve-y," with a more harsh metallic sound. Not so this one. Very smooth and, for a generator, so quiet I actually said "wow." (Emphasis on "for a generator".)

Now the fun part: what can I run with this thing? My portable AC (about 900 starting watts, 700 running) was no problem. My fairly recent refrigerator (about 850/600) was no problem. Both at the same time? Overload. Oh well. The point is that each of them was happy with the power level and the sine wave quality. The two of them together was a little too much for the Generac, but that's not unexpected.

Speaking of which, the true-sine-wave-or-not question came up in the questions section and the answer was sidestepped (pretty clumsily IMHO) by someone who may be been a vendor rep, or maybe not. So, being a professional jerk, I asked it in a different way and rather than evading the question again, it was just ignored. I don't have the definitive answer but I can say that the UPS that I use to power my modem, router, printer, desktop and VOIP phone would click like a madman and refuse to charge when I attempted to power it with either my old giant monster generator or my battery-backed inverter. This Generac makes it as happy as if it were plugged into the grid. And in fairness, even Honda's marketing refuses to come right out and explicitly claim pure sine wave. So I'm going to guess it's not pure, but it's close enough to make my stuff happy, which makes me happy.

Odds and Ends

There's no 12V or USB or 220V output.

Build quality looks and feels very good. Even the access door is finished with insulation.

The gee-whiz displays are actually helpful. I'm looking out my closed glass door and can easily see the remaining estimated runtime, fuel level and output percentage being used on the generator a goodly ways away on the patio.

I'd love to see watts and amps being consumed in realtime; maybe in a later version.

The owner's manual talks about spark plug and muffler/spark arrestor maintenance but doesn't show you how to get your hands on them to do the maintenance. So I called the toll free number on the Quick Start Guide to ask about that and also about the Tube to Nowhere. 10 minutes on hold, then got the encouraging sound of ringing...after about 10 or so rings back to hold, then in about 10 more minutes fast busy (disconnected). Not a stellar day at the old call center. So I decided to play around (see photos).

The spark plug is underneath that wired thing where you probably think it is anyway - if you give it a good tug it will come off and reveal the plug.

You can see the muffler and spark arrestor but it quickly becomes clear that you're not going to get the arrestor out with your fingers. You have to take off the black trim/grill that covers the rear of the unit using an Allen wrench on the four bolts at the corners. Then you can have at it with a Phillips.

So the only mystery remaining for me is the Tube to Nowhere. That could stand explaining, as could accessing the spark plug and spark arrestor since they're described as routine mainenance items in the manual. And there was that call center problem, never a good thing but unfortunately not a very rare thing.

If you're considering the higher-end portable inverter generators (Honda, Champion, Yahama) you need to put this guy in the mix. This is a nice piece of work at a reasonable price point. If you have any questions please post a comment and I'll try to answer as best I can.

Final note: I'd planned to add captions to the photos but it's not clear to me how to do that within the Vine review submission interface. If I can add captions later I will.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Nov 10, 2015 9:08 AM PST

No-Spill 1450 5-Gallon Poly Gas Can (CARB Compliant)
No-Spill 1450 5-Gallon Poly Gas Can (CARB Compliant)
Price: $33.95
51 used & new from $28.01

5.0 out of 5 stars It's magic but it works. Brilliant!, November 7, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I can't remember when I've filled a lawn mower and NOT spewed at least a little gas even when I was being oh-so-careful. The first time you use this you will do a smack-my-head double take. It just stops pouring when the tank is full. I think this is right up there on the level of whoever finally thought up putting wheels on luggage.

Woof Dog Oval Vinyl Car Bumper Window Sticker 5" x 3"
Woof Dog Oval Vinyl Car Bumper Window Sticker 5" x 3"
Offered by YOLO Stickers and Tees
Price: $3.99

5.0 out of 5 stars I love my WOOF oval sticker., November 4, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
It's oval. It says WOOF. It sticks on the back window. What more could a guy ask for? My dogs even approve. At this price who can complain?

MidWest Quiet Time Pet Bed Deluxe Tan Ombre Swirl 35" x 23"
MidWest Quiet Time Pet Bed Deluxe Tan Ombre Swirl 35" x 23"
Price: $34.99
22 used & new from $27.83

5.0 out of 5 stars Comfy and durable and not crazy expensive, October 16, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
The dogs like these and despite their "nesting" behavior haven't been able to tear into one yet (I have 2 dogs and 3 of these beds). They (the beds) fit into my standard sized washing machine and dryer and come out looking and feeling the same as new, no bunching up of stuffing at one end or the other. Recommended.

Plantronics BackBeat PRO Wireless Noise Canceling Hi-Fi Headphones with Mic - Compatible with iPhone, iPad, Android, and Other Smart Devices
Plantronics BackBeat PRO Wireless Noise Canceling Hi-Fi Headphones with Mic - Compatible with iPhone, iPad, Android, and Other Smart Devices
Price: Click here to see our price
42 used & new from $119.99

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Finally, I found my headphones!, October 16, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
These things kick hiney. The noise reduction on an airplane is startling. They will amp up your music source to ridiculous volume levels if you like. The controls (particularly the volume control) require no fumbling or feeling around to make sure you hit the right thing. They sound great whether connected via Bluetooth or wire. I haven't used them to talk on the phone but I love the feature that cuts off the music source and turns on the mic so you can hear conversation without taking them off, then resume whatever you were listening to. Battery reserve is great; I traveled from San Francisco through Denver to Raleigh using them pretty much the whole time (including a 3 hr layover in Denver). My phone needed a charge and my tablet needed a charge but these phones didn't. I've bought and sold/discarded/gifted I don't know how many headphones over the years and finally, these are it.

HP S7000 2.1 Speaker System (K7S77AA#ABL)
HP S7000 2.1 Speaker System (K7S77AA#ABL)
Price: $42.23
4 used & new from $32.80

2.0 out of 5 stars Keep shopping, October 16, 2015
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Cheap look and feel. Muddy (and very little) bass, no sparkle in the highs and the midrange isn't anything to get excited about either. I'm surprised that HP allowed its name to appear on this product. I own (or have owned) several 2.1 systems ranging from around $50 to over $300 and I'm telling you that you can do *much* better for this amount of money. I added one star because the speakers are very small and might be better than nothing for a really, really cramped space. Take a look at the Arion Legacy AR504LR-BK for roughly the same price. They're inelegant but they blow this product away. This is a Vine review; I received the product at no cost in exchange for an honest review.

Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 9.7" (32GB, Gold)
Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 9.7" (32GB, Gold)
Price: $399.00
10 used & new from $339.15

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An expensive beauty, October 3, 2015
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This is a review of the Wi-Fi only Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 in the 9.7" format. An 8" version is available that costs about $100 less. I received the S2 at no charge in exchange for writing an honest review of it. I'm not going to rehash the dazzling tech features as others have done that better than I ever could. This is a take mostly about the value proposition.

I've been using tablets for a while as entertainment devices going back to the introduction of the Barnes and Noble Nook Color about five years ago, which I rooted immediately after purchase and used as a generic Android tablet. For the past couple of years I've been happy with my much slimmer and lighter LG G Pad 8.3" tablet. The Samsung S2 is ridiculously slim and light with a gorgeous screen and bottomless (for my purposes) memory expansion via a 128GB microSD slot. Installation/setup was a breeze as I already had a Google account with my LG tablet backed up to it...I just selected the apps I wanted to bring overfrom the LG to the Samsung and off it went. If this were just about the tablet I'd state my preference for the 8" form factor, say "five stars!" and quit here. But as these things have proliferated there's more to it than that.

As mentioned, I use tablets as entertainment devices and I don't think I'm unusual in that. Web surfing, music/video streaming, playing locally-stored audio and video files, email, reading apps, games...general end-user stuff. Tablets have gotten very good at such things, so good in fact that I've started to wonder why one would spend so much money on the latest and greatest. Example: the first thing I did when I ordered this beautifully thin and light S2 was to order a faux leather case with a Bluetooth keyboard for it, easily doubling the weight and tripling the thickness. If you plan to accessorize your tablet, how much of a premium is thin & light worth to you given that you're going to pay even more to add thickness & weight as soon as you get your hands on it?

Another consideration is depreciation. Consumer electronics seem to depreciate even faster than cars. If you're shopping for a tablet, can you justify the cost of the latest smokin' hot tech vs. the bargains you can find on what was just as hot - and still works just as well - as a year ago? I just looked on Craigslist and even in my small metro area there are hundreds of hits for "android tablet" in the for sale listings. There's a lot of very nice used hardware out there for the picking and choosing, and for cheap.

Is the Samsung S2 a great tablet? Absolutely! Would I spend $500 to have one? Probably not. I'll enjoy using it in some scenarios, but will probably continue to use my 8" LG tablet while traveling as it fits those dinky little seat back tray tables better whilst I get to work on my snack and beverage. Yes, the visuals are bigger and better on the S2 but the point is that they are plenty good enough on the ~2 yr old LG. And if I lose it in the airport, it's no big deal. I can pick up another one, or the rough equivalent, for next to nothing.

I hate to give less than 5 stars to something as beautifully executed as this, and I won't argue with someone who says it's unfair to mix the used toy market into the equation. But the quality and capability of these appliances (there, I said it!) has gotten incredibly good such that the former "wow, check THAT out!" impact of the latest model is giving way to "oh look, a tablet. Is that new?" I argued with myself over 3 vs. 4 stars and settled on 4 ("I like it") but a 3 ("it's OK") is just as accurate from my POV.
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 4, 2015 9:06 PM PDT

Father Knows Best: Season 6
Father Knows Best: Season 6
Offered by cds_dvds_guaranteed
Price: $69.89
3 used & new from $39.99

5.0 out of 5 stars This may be the best done show of its era, maybe even one of the top 10 TV shows ever., September 15, 2015
This review is from: Father Knows Best: Season 6 (DVD)
I started watching these when I got a few Season 1 discs from Netflix to share with my elderly aunt at her request. I was sure I was *much* too sophisticated for such sophomoric stuff, but the more I watched, the more I liked. This is a surprisingly versatile, remarkably talented ensemble cast, the members of which work very well together. Yes, it's wholesome (what used to be called "in good taste" before good taste became a bad thing) but Billy Gray ("Bud Anderson") does a terrific smart-*ss who adds an edge the others play off of. I've become a huge fan of Jane Wyatt (see her Wikipedia biography for some surprises). I used to think of Robert Young as just "that Sanka commercial guy" and had really no exposure to Elinor Donahue or Lauren Chapin before I started watching, but all these people could *act*. Start at Season 1 if you've not seen this and want a taste - you can get it on Amazon or rent it on Netflix. It just gets better from there. Mr. Young apparently pulled the plug after ~7 seasons when they were at the top of their game and everybody wanted more, but he was probably right to let it go then. You won't regret time or a few bucks spent on this show.

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