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Thomas Duff "Duffbert" RSS Feed (Portland, OR United States)
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Festive in Death
Festive in Death
Offered by Penguin Group (USA) LLC
Price: $11.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Dallas faces one of her biggest fears... a Roarke party., September 29, 2014
This review is from: Festive in Death (Kindle Edition)
Even after so many episodes of Lieutenant Eve Dallas and the In Death series, I still look forward to each one. Festive in Death is the latest, and I enjoyed it just as much as the ones in the past. I'm also liking how the characters continue to mature and grow over time.

In this episode, Dallas is doing something she absolutely hates... being part of a Christmas party that Roarke is hosting for a few close friends... like 250. Not only is she expected to actually perform certain planning and hostess duties, she also has to wrap up a murder case involving a personal trainer who has apparently gotten very personal with most of his clients. The more she digs, the more she finds that he's made much more money than he should have received from "just training", and the list of people who might want him dead isn't exactly short. The question is who on the list was willing to kill him, and which reason would they have used to do so?

The story and investigation in Festive was one that I got into quickly, and I had a hard time putting the book down. I also enjoyed watching Dallas come to grips with living in Roarke's world when it's party time. She's putting more of her past behind her and learning to show her emotions with less reserve.

And yes... I'm already on the hold list for the next installment when it comes in at the library. :)

Disclosure:
Obtained From: Library
Payment: Borrowed


TP-LINK Archer C8 AC1750 Dual Band Wireless AC Gigabit Router, 2.4GHz 450Mbps+5Ghz 1350Mbps, 1 USB 2.0 Port & 1 USB 3.0 Port, IPv6, Guest Network
TP-LINK Archer C8 AC1750 Dual Band Wireless AC Gigabit Router, 2.4GHz 450Mbps+5Ghz 1350Mbps, 1 USB 2.0 Port & 1 USB 3.0 Port, IPv6, Guest Network
Price: Click here to see our price
14 used & new from $129.99

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very happy with this router..., September 29, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I received the TP-Link router after having difficulties with a Netgear Nighthawk router. For almost half the price I was skeptical of how well it would work, but since the Nighthawk kept dropping connections and just flat out not loading some content, I was happy to give the TP-Link a chance.

Pros:
Setup - Setup was a breeze for anyone who’s ever connected a router before.
Connectivity - All my devices connected without issue (laptops, desktops, smart phones, tablets, xBox One, Slingbox, PS3, Wii U, Dish receiver, umm.. and a couple of others) . The interface is simple and straightforward, not a lot of bells and whistles, but then again most of those aren’t needed.
Signal Strength – The TP-Link performs as well as if not better than the more expensive Nighthawk as far as range goes. The router is in the basement of my 2,700 sqft home and there are no deadspots anywhere in the house (or quite the distance outside)

Cons:
Updates – There is no auto-update or check for update features.. it’s completely a manual process. I’ve been spoiled by the auto-updates on other devices and wish it were used here as well.
A couple of dropped connections – A couple of times since having the router one of my devices lost connection to the internet even though I was connected to the router, I switched to the 5g connection and everything started working fine again. This has only happened a couple of times, so not really sure this is a “con” but I thought I’d mention it.

All in all, for the price and the features is a nice, fast, simple to use little router.


CODE Donut Premium Portable Wireless Bluetooth Speaker with NFC Tag (Black, Dual Drivers, Built-in Speakerphone, 8-hour Play Time)
CODE Donut Premium Portable Wireless Bluetooth Speaker with NFC Tag (Black, Dual Drivers, Built-in Speakerphone, 8-hour Play Time)
Price: $50.44
11 used & new from $45.22

5.0 out of 5 stars Solid speaker with a fun design..., September 28, 2014
This worked out really well when my son's computer speakers went on the fritz. The CODE Donut portable wireless bluetooth speaker hooked up quickly via bluetooth, and the quality of the sound was far better than he expected. The treble and midrange sounds were very good, and the bass was OK. There's only so much bass you can get out some something the size of a large donut. :)

We found that the battery time of eight hours was pretty accurate, as he was able to go most of the day before he had to recharge it. I was impressed with the solid feel of the product coupled with the quirky playfulness of designing it to look like a donut.

Overall, this is a good product that's different enough to stand out and make me smile when I see it used.

Disclosure:
Obtained From: Retailer
Payment: Free


Monkey Fist Self Defense Keychain 1" Steel Ball Double Line 550lb Tensile Strength Military Paracord (Length 6 5/8") by Muzitao© (Black)
Monkey Fist Self Defense Keychain 1" Steel Ball Double Line 550lb Tensile Strength Military Paracord (Length 6 5/8") by Muzitao© (Black)
Offered by Muzitao
Price: $10.49

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great simple self-defense tool..., September 28, 2014
I had never heard of a Monkey Fist self-defense keychain prior to trying this out, and I'll admit to a fair level of scepticism. Wrap a one-inch stainless steel ball in paracord and that's supposed to help me defend myself? Well, after watching a couple of videos and seeing it in action, this is now something I'm taking on my daily walks with no question...

As a keychain, I'm not sure I'd use this on a regular basis. I wouldn't want to add that much bulk and weight in my pocket, and it wouldn't be comfortable. If I carried a purse, I'd think differently, but it's not a pocket thing. What I do find useful is slipping the keyring portion around my middle finger and palming the ball and paracord while walking. If I need to swing it, it extends the reach of a fist by a good six inches. The paracord is very strong, so it's not going to break when the ball makes contact with something. Even just swinging at an arm is effective, as you'd be surprised at how much damage that steel ball will dish out when it hits skin.

Realistically, I doubt/hope I'll ever have to use this while out walking. But I have been known to go walking at odd hours, so having something extra is not a bad idea. This would also be very useful if a dog decides to take a disliking to you. Either way, it's easy to carry, and I like the idea of having it on me should the situation ever arise where it could be used.

Disclosure:
Obtained From: Retailer
Payment: Free


Aukey® SuperSpeed USB 3.0 PCI-E Express Card with 4 USB 3.0 Ports and 5V 4-Pin Power Connector for Desktops DS-E1
Aukey® SuperSpeed USB 3.0 PCI-E Express Card with 4 USB 3.0 Ports and 5V 4-Pin Power Connector for Desktops DS-E1
Offered by Amzdeal Direct
Price: $39.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Easy to install, and great performance..., September 28, 2014
My current desktop computer USB ports are only 2.0, so I've been missing out on all the speed improvements for USB 3.0. I offered to try out the Aukey SuperSpeed USB 3.0 PCI-E Express Card, and I'm so very glad I did. It was easy to install, and the transfer times were a massive improvement.

To install, I opened up my case, plugged the card into one of my PCI-E slots, and then screwed it down to make sure the card would remain solid against the back opening where the four ports are exposed. I then plugged in the four pin power connector and turned on the computer. Everything booted up as normal (that's always a good thing, right?), and then I used the enclosed mini-CD to update the drivers, along with another reboot to make sure everything was running normally.

To test things out, I took my external USB hard drive with a few GB of material and copied it from there to my regular hard drive using the normal USB 2.0 port it normally uses. I then switched over to using the USB 3 port that the device was *meant* to be using. The transfer speed was five times the USB 2.0 rate, which I was thrilled with.

I plan on taking one of my USB 3.0 hubs which has been running in 2.0 mode, and plugging that into the new card so I can get better performance on my USB thumb drives and such. Had I known this would be so easy and such an improvement, I would have done it years ago. :)

Disclosure:
Obtained From: Retailer
Payment: Free


Ouddy Stainless Steel Fine Mesh Strainers, Set of 3 Mesh Food Strainers, Mesh Colander Set
Ouddy Stainless Steel Fine Mesh Strainers, Set of 3 Mesh Food Strainers, Mesh Colander Set
Offered by Ouddy
Price: $18.99

4.0 out of 5 stars I wish there was a bit more variation in the sizing..., September 27, 2014
Straining smaller amounts of stuff in my kitchen is a pain because I really don't have anything more than a regular colander. Now I can do more after trying the Ouddy stainless steel mesh strainer/colanders/sieves. It's nice they come in a pack of three, but I wish there was more size variation between them, as they all look like they'd target pretty much the same straining jobs.

The smallest one measures 2.75" across, about 1.25" deep, and just under 8" in overall length. The medium one measures slightly over 3" across, about 1.25" deep, and just over 8" in overall length. The largest one is 4" across, about 1.5" deep, and measures just over 9.5" long. The handles are metal wire loops that look they are glued onto the rim of the strainer under some sort of pressure.

For the strainer portion, it's a fairly fine mesh. If you put flour in the large one and shook it, you would get a decent sifted effect. The formation of the mesh bowl is very stiff in the small and medium ones, but the larger one has a bit of give to it. It's not going to deform if you're doing normal straining activities, but it's definitely bendable if you apply pressure with your hand.

Overall, these work well for smaller straining jobs. They would strain out tea leaves or coffee grounds with no problem. They wouldn't replace a full-size colander for larger cooking jobs, but that's not really what they're for. I'm a little concerned about the connection of the handle to the rim of the strainer, as it's hard to tell how well they're attached. For lighter jobs (like straining tea), I doubt it would be an issue. I'll have to watch how they react over time.

Disclosure:
Obtained From: Retailer
Payment: Free


Stainless Steel Fine Mesh Strainer Colander Sieve with Handle for Kitchen Food Rice Vegetable,set of 3
Stainless Steel Fine Mesh Strainer Colander Sieve with Handle for Kitchen Food Rice Vegetable,set of 3
Offered by NORTHERN LIGHTS USA INC
Price: $11.49

4.0 out of 5 stars I like having the size options..., September 27, 2014
Straining smaller amounts of stuff in my kitchen is a pain because I really don't have anything more than a regular colander. Now I can do a lot more after trying the IPOW stainless steel mesh strainer/colanders/sieves. I probably won't be using all of them equally over time, but it's nice to have the three different sizes.

The smallest one measures 2.75" across, about 1.25" deep, and just under 8" in overall length. The medium one measures 4.75" across, about 1.5" deep, and just under 11" in overall length. The largest one is 7" across, about 2.5" deep, and measures just over 14" long. The handles are metal wire loops that look they are glued onto the rim of the strainer under some sort of pressure.

For the strainer portion, it's a fairly fine mesh. If you put flour in the large one and shook it, you would get a decent sifted effect. The formation of the mesh bowl is very stiff in the small and medium ones, but the larger one has a bit of give to it. It's not going to deform if you're doing normal straining activities, but it's definitely bendable if you apply pressure with your hand.

Overall, these work well for smaller jobs. They would strain out tea leaves or coffee grounds with no problem. You could use the larger one to wash rice under the faucet or drain a single or double serving of pasta. They wouldn't replace a full-size colander for larger cooking jobs, but that's not really what they're for. I'm a little concerned about the connection of the handle to the rim of the strainer, as it's hard to tell how well they're attached. For lighter jobs (like straining tea), I doubt it would be an issue. Heavier things like pasta could be a bit more dicey. I'd be careful if I were working with hot water...

Disclosure:
Obtained From: Retailer
Payment: Free


ProDesign Silicone Spatula - #sexyspatula - 100% NON STICK - Heat Resistant 500°F - Dishwasher Safe - FDA Compliant Food Grade Silicone - Rubber Spatula - Silicone Spade - Kitchen Turner - MODERN DESIGN - Ergonomic Handle - Excellent Multi Purpose Kitchen Gadget - LIFETIME Money Back Guarantee (Chili Pepper Red)
ProDesign Silicone Spatula - #sexyspatula - 100% NON STICK - Heat Resistant 500°F - Dishwasher Safe - FDA Compliant Food Grade Silicone - Rubber Spatula - Silicone Spade - Kitchen Turner - MODERN DESIGN - Ergonomic Handle - Excellent Multi Purpose Kitchen Gadget - LIFETIME Money Back Guarantee (Chili Pepper Red)
Offered by Topaz Commerce
Price: $8.99

5.0 out of 5 stars A nice spatula to have in your kitchen drawer..., September 27, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I'll readily admin that trying to make a spatula stand out from hundreds that are sold online is somewhat daunting. But the ProDesign silicone spatula does that in a rather cheeky way with their #sexyspatula hashtag. It's enough to get you to take a second glance at what is really a pretty good kitchen utensil.

The most obvious thing is the color... bright red for the blade and the gripping part of the handle. The two parts are connected by a clear handle, and that combination alone makes it easy to find in the drawer. In terms of of use, it feels very comfortable and works well for getting things out of jars or mixing things in bowls. The blade is 2.5" wide and 3.5" high, and the overall length is 10.5"... perfect for getting the mayo out of the jar or the cookie batter all mixed up and off the edges of the bowl. The blade has a nice combination of ridigity to flexibility, so it'll hold up well with a batter mix but also curve around the inside of a jar with little effort on the tip. The red handle even has a slight indentation where the thumb would naturally rest, so it gives a extra bit of power without your hand slipping around.

Another point of appreciation... most of my current spatulas all have ragged edges from heat-related issues over the years. Being that the blade is silicone, this is going to hold up FAR better over time, and it wouldn't surprise me to see it looking still relatively new a year from now.

So you need a #sexyspatula? I'll let you determine your own definition for what that means, but regardless of how you define it, this is a good item to have in your kitchen drawers.

Disclosure:
Obtained From: Retailer
Payment: Free


Jabra STEP Wireless Bluetooth Stereo Earbuds
Jabra STEP Wireless Bluetooth Stereo Earbuds
Price: $69.99
9 used & new from $47.04

4.0 out of 5 stars Decent earbuds, and very light..., September 22, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
These Jabra STEP wireless bluetooth earbuds are an interesting design. They're not the best earbuds I've ever used, but I can definitely see their advantages over other designs.

I had a bit of trouble trying to get them paired up on my iPhone. It wasn't so much the pairing as it was trying to get them turned on and off. There's a multi-function button on the neck cord that you hold down to turn them on and off. You know they're on when a voice tells you "Hello" and tells you it's pairing. My problem is that I'd hold it down for what seemed like five seconds (according to the instructions), and I wouldn't hear anything. I guess patience is the keyword here. Once it *did* turn on, it showed up on my bluetooth list as Jabra STEP Wireless V0.3.2 and connected up with no problem.

In terms of weight, they're extremely light. They flexibly hook over the ears to hold them in place, and the actual ear plug portion is angled downward to fit into the ear canal. I found that they stayed in place well when moving around, so these would work well for exercising (especially since you wouldn't need to have a cord connected to your mobile device.

The sound was pretty good. They didn't (at least for me) seal off a lot of the outside noise, so there was some competition between background noise and the sound from the earbuds. Since I don't think I'd be using these in "audiophile mode" to listen to music as a primary activity, I don't think that matters a lot. It's just worth pointing out that they are not the most silent set of earbuds I've used.

Overall, the Jabra STEP works well for what I'd use them for. I'm sure a bit more "practice" would make the pairing work a little better for me.

Disclosure:
Obtained From: Amazon Vine Review Program
Payment: Free


OXO Good Grips 5-Inch Utility Knife
OXO Good Grips 5-Inch Utility Knife
Price: $7.99
5 used & new from $7.99

5.0 out of 5 stars I'd love a whole set of these..., September 22, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I'm really liking my new OXO Good Grips 5-inch utility knife. This is one of those kitchen items that I tend to look for first because it works so well. Add in the comfort factor, and I wouldn't mind a whole drawer of these.

The serrated edge works perfectly for slicing things like tomatoes or fruits that would normally be smooshed by a flat blade. It's razor sharp, so pulling the serrated edge over the surface makes the initial cuts on the outer skin, and then makes short work of the inside pulp. I'm able to slide tomatoes with no waste or mashed parts left over. It also does a great job on meat when I'm slicing up larger pieces to throw on the barbecue. In short, I haven't found anything that it doesn't cut well, with the exception of something that's larger than 5" across. Other than that, it's all good. Oh, and the handle is perfect for comfort and safety. The rubberized grip makes it a joy to hold with no hand fatigue, and it proves a non-slip surface that greatly minimizes the chance of cutting yourself.

As I mentioned at the beginning... if someone offered me a set of these knives, I'd take the with no questions asked. They are really good cutting utensils.

Disclosure:
Obtained From: Amazon Vine Review Program
Payment: Free


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