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Thomas Duff "Duffbert" RSS Feed (Portland, OR United States)
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Samsung LEVEL over Noise Cancelling Wireless Headphones - Retail Packaging - Black
Samsung LEVEL over Noise Cancelling Wireless Headphones - Retail Packaging - Black
Price: $349.99
3 used & new from $315.31

5.0 out of 5 stars I love these headphones..., August 31, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
These are now my favorite headphones for watching videos on my iPad... the Samsung LEVEL over noise cancelling wireless headphones absolutely rock, and they are comfortable for long periods of extended use.

The headphones fully cover your ears, so there's no pressure or discomfort if you wear them for a period of time. Plus, that design helps to filter out any extra noise in the environment. The noise-cancelling feature works well on those steady noises (think fan in the background or airplane engines).

While you can attach them to your computer or mobile device via cord, the easiest way to use them is with the bluetooth connection. The headphones pair up when you turn them on (they show up as Samsung Level over in the device list). At that point, any sound will play through the headphones. What makes these *very* nice to use is the touchpad on the right earpiece. The entire outside surface is touch-sensitive, and it controls volume (finger slide up and down), pause/restart (tap center of touchpad), or advance/reverse tracks (finger slide left and right). All it takes is doing it once, and you wonder why more items aren't this easy to use. The headphones can also take incoming phone calls. A double-tap in the center of the touchpad takes the call, and a small built-in mic picks up your voice. I tried that with my wife, and the sound is great (on both ends of the call).

I watched four episodes of The Strain on my headphones, and the sound quality was excellent. The same was true for music... great treble and mid-range sound, and bass to kill for. I got NO distraction from surrounding noise (nor did I distract others with bleed-through noise), and there was a couple times when people were talking to me and I heard nothing. And comfort... I had no ear pain or discomfort, nor did I end up with "sweaty ears" (yeah, gross... but you know it happens).

If I want to watch a video on my iPad and there are others around, I'm usually courteous enough to wear earbuds. But honestly, it's not something I'd prefer doing if I had my choice. Now with these Samsung headphones, I think I'd rather use these than listen through the normal speakers. Bottom line... I'm not loaning these out to anyone... MINE MINE MINE!

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


[2 PACK] Premium Dry Bags - two 500D PVC Tarp waterproof dry bags (170 Oz and 340 Oz) for outdoor activities and watersports - Lifetime Warranty (Yellow + Blue)
[2 PACK] Premium Dry Bags - two 500D PVC Tarp waterproof dry bags (170 Oz and 340 Oz) for outdoor activities and watersports - Lifetime Warranty (Yellow + Blue)

5.0 out of 5 stars Good way to keep dry things dry..., August 31, 2014
If you go out camping or boating, there's a good chance you have things that pretty much have to stay dry (change of clothes, electronics, etc.) The Friendly Swede Dry Bags fit that role very well, and they're very easy to work with.

They come two to a pack, one that holds five liters of material, and the other holds ten liters. It's made of a water-resistant PVC tarp material that is thick and resiliant. It's not water-proof, as water would get in if you submerged it for a period of time. But for typical rain protection, falling in a puddle/pond/lake, or similar accidents, it'll work just fine. The top buckles closed by folding over the top edge a couple of times and then connecting the clasps. Finally, they also have clip-on straps that make the bags easy to carry over your shoulder or across your back.

I put some items in the bags to test them out, and things work exactly as advertised. Dunking them in the tub kept the items dry, as did spraying them down with a hose. Given that they're water-resistant, I think I'd not want to press my luck with items that were very water-sensitive (such as an iPad or cell phone), but I'd be perfectly OK for using them to protect against the one-off accidents I tend to have. I can also see these working out well in reverse... using them to store wet/damp things that shouldn't be stored with dry items. For instance, taking the five liter bag swimming would be great for transporting wet swim suits and towels home afterwards.

Disclosure:
Obtained From: Retailer
Payment: Free


Professional Chef's Lime Squeezer & Manual Lemon Juicer - Extract More Juice Than Conventional Juice Extractors With This Heavy Duty Stainless Steel Citrus Squeezer. Quick & Easy - From Fruit to Juice in Less Than 10 Seconds! Lifetime Guaranteed.
Professional Chef's Lime Squeezer & Manual Lemon Juicer - Extract More Juice Than Conventional Juice Extractors With This Heavy Duty Stainless Steel Citrus Squeezer. Quick & Easy - From Fruit to Juice in Less Than 10 Seconds! Lifetime Guaranteed.
Offered by Bora Design
Price: $29.99

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Juice with no seeds... I like it!, August 30, 2014
Using this lime/lemon juicer makes it much easier to get the most juice from the fruit. Normally I just try squeezing the fruit, but I get stuff squirting all over the place (plus seeds in the liquid). With this, I just put a chunk of lemon or lime in there and squeeze... all juice, no mess.

The construction is excellent. It's a heavy stainless steel design, so it's got some heft to help put pressure on the fruit while juicing. The bowl is 2.25" across, so it's perfect for limes and smaller lemons. Cut the lime in half, put it into the bowl rind-side up, and then press the upper handle down into the fruit. The juice comes out of the seven holes in the bottom of the bowl. The holes are small enough to prevent the seeds from exiting, so you only get the juice. Clean-up is a breeze, as there are no small parts to disassemble... just rinse it out or toss it into the dishwasher.

I could see a problem if you were trying to use this with larger lemons. In that case, I just sliced it into three segments (top, middle, bottom) and did the juicing that way. Normally the rind would be facing up, but putting a slice of fruit in there and squeezing accomplishes the same thing.

I look forward to using this a lot in the future, as I like to have fresh lemon juice in some of the things I cook. This'll be perfect for that.

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


Mead Academie Felt Tip Markers, Pack of 20, Assorted (98028)
Mead Academie Felt Tip Markers, Pack of 20, Assorted (98028)
Price: $14.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Nice pens, but I wish the case closed more tightly..., August 30, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
These Mead Academie felt tip markers are high-quality pens that are nice for color work in images. The tips are designed such that you can use the fine tip for narrow lines or points, or tilt the pen back and use the edge to get wider strips of color. The colors blend well on paper, and the ink (water-soluble) layers nicely to get lighter/darker effects.

The tin case with the internal pen tray keeps everything organized for easy selection and use. When the pen is in the tray, you can push down on the bottom part to get the top to pop up slightly. That makes it easy to get the pen out of the slot in the tray. I would like the case a lot more if it was more secure when it is closed. It takes very little pressure to open the lid, and the odds are pretty high that it would dump the contents if you had this in a backpack or messenger bag. I'd recommend getting a larger rubber band to loop around the case, and then it would be fine.

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


Sunnytech® Solar Powered Led Reading Foldable Emergency Lamp Light,USB Battery mobile Phone Charge Power Bank Function,touch Control,brightness Adjustable,modern Candle,green Energy,highlight, Eye Protect,durable,for Camping,traveling Outdoor Activity
Sunnytech® Solar Powered Led Reading Foldable Emergency Lamp Light,USB Battery mobile Phone Charge Power Bank Function,touch Control,brightness Adjustable,modern Candle,green Energy,highlight, Eye Protect,durable,for Camping,traveling Outdoor Activity
Offered by WeiHeng
Price: $69.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Good option for emergency lighting..., August 30, 2014
I'm liking the Sunnytech Solar Powered LED Foldable Lamp I recently received. It puts out a surprising amount of light for a considerable time period, and the fact that it can recharge via solar/ambient light is a nice option.

The unit is 8" long, 3" wide, and 2" high when it's fully folded. If you extend the lamp and arm to full height, it's just about 15" high. The lamp panel has 33 LEDs that are very bright, and it swivels a full 180 degrees to give a lot of flexibility in terms of targeting the light. To use the light, you flip a switch on the side from OFF to LED, and then touch a spot on the base panel. A single press of the spot turns on the LEDs. If you continue to touch the spot, the LEDs dim down to about 25% of their total brightness. Press and hold the spot again, and it goes back to full brightness. One more touch, and the LEDs go off.

While this is designed to be used away from a power source, it does have flexibility. There's a power cord that plugs into the unit, and it can both recharge and power the light if you have it next to an electrical outlet. If you have sunlight (or even just ambient light), you can recharge the unit by just setting it out. It even has a USB plug where you could use this as a phone charger if needed. I didn't try that, but I'm assuming you'd drain the power pretty quickly, and the lights would be considerably more dim when you tried to use it.

On a full charge, I turned on the LEDs and left it on high all day. I found that the light output was excellent for the first five hours. It dimmed over the course of the day, but it was still working over 12 hours later. Granted, you'd have to be very close to the lamp if you wanted to use it for reading, but in a dark room it would still be a considerable source of light.

The fact that this can continually recharge based on any light source makes it an excellent option for emergency lighting. Just place it in a window or in an area that's normally exposed to light, and you'll have a lamp ready to use in any power outage.

Disclosure:
Obtained From: Manufacturer
Payment: Free


Ipow Extendable Self-portrait Wireless Bluetooth Remote Camera Shooting Shutter Monopod Selfie Handheld Stick Pole with Mount Holder specially designed for Iphone 5s 5c 5 4s 4 Samsung Galaxy Mobile Cell Phone,Black
Ipow Extendable Self-portrait Wireless Bluetooth Remote Camera Shooting Shutter Monopod Selfie Handheld Stick Pole with Mount Holder specially designed for Iphone 5s 5c 5 4s 4 Samsung Galaxy Mobile Cell Phone,Black
Offered by Empire Palace USA INC
Price: $24.99
3 used & new from $16.99

5.0 out of 5 stars OK... this is pretty freakin' cool..., August 28, 2014
When I was asked if I wanted to review the Ipow Extendable Bluetooth Monopod for my cell phone, I thought it looked like an interesting concept. After hooking it up and playing with it, I have to say it works a lot better than I expected. It's not something you'd use every day, but it presents some unique possibilities for cell phone pictures.

The main portion of the monopod (the rod) telescopes out from its starting 9" to nearly 40" in length (it's also very light at only 5 ounces). The top of the rod has a bracket that swivels both side-to-side and up-and-down (with tightening screws to lock it into any given angle). There's a plastic bracket that fits onto your phone in landscape orientation, and you just screw it onto the monopod bracket to put the two together. The bracket for the phone comes with a soft orange clamp in case your phone isn't quite large enough to be held securely. I'd recommend putting that clamp on anyway, as it provides a bit more of a secure grip on the phone while you're using it.

To turn on the monopod, there's a small on/off switch on the very bottom (right next to the micro-USB slot for charging). When you turn it on, it attempts to pair via bluetooth to your phone (it shows up as "kjstar" in the list of devices). Once that's done, you simply go to your camera application. There's a button on the handle of the monopod that, when pressed, triggers the shutter much like touching the screen. Every time you press the button, it takes the picture... very simple.

I think I only tapped the possibilities during the time I played with it. I can take selfies with a lot more distance between the camera and myself (I'm short, so that's a good thing), and it takes in more of the background. It's also easy to get shots from overhead looking down, which also looks cool. For videos, it's great in that it freezes you as the main subject and everything else moves around you if you walk around... sort of like those mounted Go-Pro camera videos... only you're the mount here. Beyond that, I can see how it'd be useful for other shots too. Imagine using it in non-selfie mode and using it to take pictures over a crowd of people in front of you (did I mention I'm short?) It would be great to reach around objects or into tight spaces and take pictures from angles where you just couldn't reach otherwise. "The possibilities are endless" sounds trite, but you *could* do some cool things with this that wouldn't be possible any other way.

Side note... since the camera bracket is threaded for a normal tripod mount, you can also use it with other tripod stands... like a mini-tripod I have. :)

This is too big to carry around on a regular basis, so you'd have to think about whether you're going to be in a situation where it would make sense to use it. But if you are, this can give you some interesting photo opportunities you wouldn't get otherwise.

Disclosure:
Obtained From: Manufacturer
Payment: Free


Ouddy Stainless Steel Whisk - Stainless Steel Egg Frother - Stainless Steel French Whip - Handle Milk Egg Beater Whisk Shaker Frother - Kitchen Blender - Set of 3
Ouddy Stainless Steel Whisk - Stainless Steel Egg Frother - Stainless Steel French Whip - Handle Milk Egg Beater Whisk Shaker Frother - Kitchen Blender - Set of 3
Offered by Ouddy
Price: $20.99

5.0 out of 5 stars They do exactly what they should do..., August 28, 2014
The Ouddy whisk set is an instance of something doing exactly what it's supposed to do at a very good price point. These will be getting plenty of use in my kitchen (and possibly my kids' kitchens).

The 12", 10" and 8" whisks are made of stainless steel, and they have a nice balance of weight to sturdiness. They aren't overly heavy (so they don't wear your hand out during mixing), but they don't feel cheap either. The wires have a good amount of spring to them, so they work with you instead of against you. The metal loop on the bottom gives you options in terms of whether you want to hang them up or stash them in a drawer. Given the price that Amazon sells these for, it's a really good buy for a set of whisks to either round out your kitchen drawer or start building a good set of cooking and mixing tools.

Disclosure:
Obtained From: Manufacturer
Payment: Free


HomeFlav Insulated Lunch Box Cooler Bag
HomeFlav Insulated Lunch Box Cooler Bag
Offered by HomeFlav
Price: $13.99

5.0 out of 5 stars This worked well for a flexible cooler bag..., August 28, 2014
I'm not sure I'd call it a "lunch box", but the HomeFlav Insulated Lunch Box Cooler Bag I received does do a good job in keeping things cool for an extended period of time.

It's approximately 13" long, 9" wide, and 9" deep, so it's a lot larger than what I'd normally pack for a lunch (unless it was for more than one person). It has a fabric outside with a reflective inside that reflects and retains cool air. I packed it up this morning with some large ice cubes in a plastic bag along with a gel freezer bag. I then popped a few bottles of water in there. Ten hours later, the bag was still cool inside, and the ice bags still had large chunks of ice inside. Given the surrounding air was around 80 degrees, I thought it did pretty well.

The carrying straps are solid and would last a considerable amount of time. There's also an outside pouch on the front that can be used for dry items, such as a couple of utensils and napkins. I like that you can have them on the outside with little chance of them getting wet if the ice melts down.

I could see this being a good thing to keep in the trunk of a car in case you have refrigerated items you'd like to keep cooler on the way home from the store. A couple of milk jugs would do quite well in here, and it beats letting them sit in a hot trunk with no insulation for longer trips...

Disclosure:
Obtained From: Publicist
Payment: Free


K'NEX 2-in-1 Ferris Wheel Building Set Amazon Exclusive
K'NEX 2-in-1 Ferris Wheel Building Set Amazon Exclusive

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very good kit, but the instructions take some perseverance to get through..., August 27, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I received the K'NEX 2-in-1 Ferris Wheel Building Set from Amazon Vine, as I enjoy the challenge of putting these together. Overall, this was a lot of fun, but not without a few challenges and caveats should you take it on.

One thing to note right off... this is a HUGE set, both in number of pieces and the scale of the model. It'll take up some space when you have both items finished, so plan ahead on where you will put it when you're done. The pieces come in two bags, and it takes a bit of perseverance to find and sort all the pieces. Some of the less common parts can be a bit of a challenge to locate when you need them, so taking the time to separate out the parts up front is time well spent.

The instructions reminded me a lot of Ikea furniture... you have to pay attention and at times some of the steps may not be completely intuitive. But with a bit of determination, it all comes together. It's a good idea to pay close attention to the corners of the posts, as they all look very similar. However, the alignment of the pieces is critical and it's easy to mess up.

On the motors, it's a very good idea to insert and test the batteries before installing on the model. Changing the batteries once the motor is on the model requires some disassembly, so save yourself the hassle up front. In addition, make sure the cover for the batteries is screwed on tightly. If it's not, the motor won't work, and you'll end up having to disassemble parts of the model to fix it. Finally. make sure you have 4 AA batteries beforehand, as the batteries don't come with the package.

With so many individual parts, it's probably not surprising that I was missing two pieces when I got done. I've contacted customer service via the K'NEX website, so we'll see how responsive they are for replacing the pieces.

If you like building things like this, the K'NEX Ferris Wheel is a fun challenge. It's not a quick project, and it's not simple, but there's a sense of accomplishment when you finish.

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


Yubi Power Universal Power Strip 3 Outlets with 1.1A Dual USB - 100V to 220V/250V and 2500 Watts Surge Protector - With circuit breaker -U.S. Cord For Worldwide Use
Yubi Power Universal Power Strip 3 Outlets with 1.1A Dual USB - 100V to 220V/250V and 2500 Watts Surge Protector - With circuit breaker -U.S. Cord For Worldwide Use
Offered by CABLE-MIX
Price: $29.99
2 used & new from $19.44

4.0 out of 5 stars Great idea, but be aware that it doesn't take polarized plugs..., August 24, 2014
This is a great idea if you travel to areas where you might be using non-US plugged appliances... the Yubi Power Universal Power Strip. It's a relatively lightweight power strip with surge protection and USB charging outlets. This offers up some interesting use cases...

Most power strips are set up for use with US plugs and outlets, both for the strip itself and what you plug into it. The Yubi is set up with a normal US plug for the power strip, but the three outlets on the strip are universal. This gives you the option to plug in items that are not manufactured for use in the US (based on the plug design). You'd still need a plug adapter if you were using this in a place like Europe, but it beats having to carry around three or four adapters for each thing you're plugging in (plus it gives you more outlets from a single plug). I consider the USB plugs an extra bonus, especially when I use it around the house. It gives me a few more options as to where I can recharge something with nothing more than the USB cord.

The only downside is that the outlets do not take a polarized plug. That's the type where one of the prongs is slightly wider than the other. I had a small desk fan that I wanted to move over to where the power strip was, but it wouldn't fit. I tried a couple other plugs that were polarized, and those wouldn't fit either. Before you take this on a trip thinking it'll cover all your outlet needs, make sure you don't have any items using those types of plugs. Better to find it out now than once you're at your destination.

Disclosure:
Obtained From: Manufacturer
Payment: Free


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