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Customer Reviews: 625
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Kevin Nicholls "jaded, aging hipster" RSS Feed (Milford, MI)
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3.0 out of 5 stars Bad QA, not-good construction, but worth what you'll pay., November 14, 2013
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Of the five cables I got, two of them have strange burrs that prevent them from working in my iPad -- yet they seem just fine in my iPod Classic.

The cables work pretty well, otherwise. But, they're not made nearly as well as other cables I've used (by Apple and other manufacturers). In fact, in just over a month, I've already had two of these end up with cracked plastic at the dock connector.

For the price, though, I guess I can't really complain. Just keep your expectations reasonable.


The Bones of What You Believe (Special Edition) [Explicit]
The Bones of What You Believe (Special Edition) [Explicit]

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of this year's best albums., November 14, 2013
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Every time I think today's youth is lost, and that music will never be good again, a band like Chvrches comes along and restores my faith.


Honestech VIDBOX for Mac
Honestech VIDBOX for Mac
Price: $57.48
16 used & new from $49.99

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Save those tapes, before they disintegrate!, November 14, 2013
This review is from: Honestech VIDBOX for Mac (CD-ROM)
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Years ago, I bought a FireWire Elgato EyeTV for converting VHS videos, but getting them in a format that iMovie or Final Cut Express liked was a chore. I finally upgraded my Mac, and now being without FireWire, I figured an upgrade was long overdue.

Connecting this was a breeze, and I appreciated that there was a download link for the software, since optical drives have also gone the way of FireWire, according to Apple. Within a few minutes, I was churning out video that I had never got around to doing anything with when I used the EyeTV. While the documentation pushes you toward iMovie, the output works just fine with FInal Cut Express (and regular Final Cut).

Interestingly, I noticed that a couple of my commercial tapes with Macrovision seemed to work without the picture going dim/bright/dim/bright.

I can't imagine anybody seriously picking this up to pirate VHS-quality content in 2013, but I have to say that I was happy to be able to archive tapes I legitimately paid for (and are definitely showing signs of deterioration), that didn't find their way to DVD, Blu-Ray, or streaming services.


Braun CoolTec Men's Shaving System 1 Kit
Braun CoolTec Men's Shaving System 1 Kit
Offered by CincyPal
Price: $135.00
25 used & new from $126.99

3.0 out of 5 stars It doesn't give a close shave, but it gets cold., November 10, 2013
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I've been a fan of Braun razors since... well, I guess since I was able to afford them, back in the late '90s. My current daily driver is the Braun Series 7- 790cc Pulsonic Shaver System, which is really quite good. But, I was really drawn in by the CoolTec, as though having a razor that got cold would make for a more refreshing morning routine.

Well... it feels weird. I'll say that from the start. The center of the foil is a solid piece of metal that gets cold, and as it glides across your face, you feel the coldness. Don't expect the blue wraparound to mean anything. It's just decoration.

I thought I'd get used to it, but because the CoolTec doesn't have a pivoting head, that cold piece of metal seems almost to prevent getting a very close shave. It's not like a foil can come in at an angle, cut the hair, and then get touched by the cool piece. It's all just one contiguous block that can go no deeper than the metal allows. If you've never used a Panasonic, or Braun 5 / 7 series, this probably doesn't mean much to you. On the other hand, if that's where you're coming from, I'm sure this is a major consideration.

The Clean & Renew system is the same one we've all come to appreciate for a decade or more, though with each new model, I'm mildly disappointed to see that there's really been no innovation there. It's very much the same as it was a decade ago, save for the charging contacts being relocated. Speaking of charging, I really don't appreciate that the AC adapter can't just be plugged in to this when traveling. It comes with a cheesy mini-dock that I guess is designed to be reasonably safe if it gets accidentally submerged, but is annoying for those of us who have managed to make it through life having not electrocuted ourselves.

The cost of the CoolTec puts you right in line with a Braun Series 5-590cc Men's Shaving System, and if you can live without wet / dry or a cold head, it's a much better razor. Or, if you can swing it, I'd spend the fifty bucks more and get the Series 7-790cc, for an infinitely better razor.


Linksys AC1900 Dual Band SMART Wi-Fi Router (EA6900)
Linksys AC1900 Dual Band SMART Wi-Fi Router (EA6900)
Price: $160.99
51 used & new from $120.00

4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars It's fine, if you don't care about speed or stability., November 9, 2013
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
After finding that the fabled Netgear Nighthawk was dropping nearly 30% of my late-2013 MacBook Pro's packets, I jumped at the chance to try out another 802.11ac router. I run about 27 devices across 802.11g, 802.11n, 802.11ac, and GigE ethernet, so the dual-core processor was certainly welcome.

Admittedly, I haven't thought very highly of anything Linksys made after the WRT54GL Wireless-G Broadband Router, but I was kept an open mind. I was a little surprised to see that Linksys changed hands again from Cisco to Belkin -- a company that made routers so horrible, their QoS thought my VoIP traffic was a DDoS attack. Again... open mind...

I screwed in each antenna with care, connected the router, and skipped over the dumb "Make an account here before you configure your router!" prompting. Luckily (much unlike D-Link), it lets you configure the router manually, without setting up some dumb account.

Now, there are a few things that Belkin/Linksys has done exceedingly well. Probably better than I've seen on other routers:
1) The ability to locally rename the appearance of devices in the interface based on their MAC or IP address is brilliant.
2) QoS is, beyond question, easier to set up on this router than any other router I've seen.
3) The underlying OS is merciful, and doesn't need to reboot the whole router to apply minor changes.

Those are all really great things that I wish other manufacturers would do. Beyond that, though, I have to report that the rest isn't so great.

Throughput is probably one of the bigger factors here, and I'm prone to move VM images from a flash-based MBP over 802.11ac to a NAS connected to a GigE switch with failover. When the MBP is connected to the switch, transfers are pretty speedy. Over 802.11ac, they should be just as good (even factoring for overhead), but the Linksys seems to throttle back the transfer, even with QoS disabled.

Worse than mediocre throughput though, is that every other day, I have to hard-reset the router. It's a real pain, and downloading the latest firmware hasn't helped. I don't know if it's because my device count is so high, or if I'm just pushing the router to its limits, but it's really annoying to have to reset the router so often.

The same kind of money gets you close enough to the Nighthawk (assuming my bad experience was just hardware-related) or an Airport Extreme (if you have a Mac... word has it, this generation doesn't have a Windows admin tool). While they both have their own flaws, I'd take either of them over this router.
Comment Comments (4) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 23, 2013 5:11 AM PST


NETGEAR Nighthawk AC1900 Dual Band WiFi Gigabit Router (R7000)
NETGEAR Nighthawk AC1900 Dual Band WiFi Gigabit Router (R7000)
Price: $187.42
50 used & new from $162.72

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Mine wasn't so awesome., November 9, 2013
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I wanted to move up to 802.11ac, and I noticed my trusty Netgear N900 was starting to act up after adding device #27 the network, so I suspected the dual-core processor would help me out there.

For a few days, everything seemed to work beautifully. But after applying the 1.0.1.22 firmware update, my late 2013 MacBook Pro started showing up to 30% packet loss, despite the strong signal and low interference. My 802.11n and 802.11g devices weren't affected -- but my old router could've kept them happy if I had just backed off on the number of devices.

Not quick to dismiss the Netgear, I tried the same computer with a Linksys EA6900, and went a few solid days without packet loss. (However, I can't say I'd recommend the EA6900, either)

I realize that this is Netgear's current flagship for home users, and that it's really new. On the other hand, it's also really expensive, and the firmware is concerning. I'm sending mine back, but I'm not prepared to write off the model. Maybe I'll try again after a firmware update or hardware revision.

11/16 UPDATE: I exchanged my router for another one, and since the initial review, firmware 1.0.2.120_1.0.17 has been released. Sadly, I doesn't resolve the problem I was having with the new MacBook Pro on 802.11ac. Turning off IPv6 helped a little bit, but here's what I'm seeing when in the same room as the router:

PING 192.168.35.1 (192.168.35.1): 56 data bytes
64 bytes from 192.168.35.1: icmp_seq=0 ttl=64 time=17.710 ms
64 bytes from 192.168.35.1: icmp_seq=1 ttl=64 time=51.835 ms
64 bytes from 192.168.35.1: icmp_seq=2 ttl=64 time=53.158 ms
64 bytes from 192.168.35.1: icmp_seq=3 ttl=64 time=51.741 ms
64 bytes from 192.168.35.1: icmp_seq=4 ttl=64 time=745.715 ms
64 bytes from 192.168.35.1: icmp_seq=5 ttl=64 time=151.457 ms
64 bytes from 192.168.35.1: icmp_seq=6 ttl=64 time=174.822 ms
64 bytes from 192.168.35.1: icmp_seq=7 ttl=64 time=198.763 ms
64 bytes from 192.168.35.1: icmp_seq=8 ttl=64 time=1.956 ms
64 bytes from 192.168.35.1: icmp_seq=9 ttl=64 time=349.586 ms
64 bytes from 192.168.35.1: icmp_seq=10 ttl=64 time=1.793 ms
64 bytes from 192.168.35.1: icmp_seq=11 ttl=64 time=723.504 ms
Request timeout for icmp_seq 12
64 bytes from 192.168.35.1: icmp_seq=12 ttl=64 time=1725.898 ms
64 bytes from 192.168.35.1: icmp_seq=13 ttl=64 time=725.711 ms
64 bytes from 192.168.35.1: icmp_seq=14 ttl=64 time=1725.923 ms
64 bytes from 192.168.35.1: icmp_seq=15 ttl=64 time=725.675 ms
64 bytes from 192.168.35.1: icmp_seq=16 ttl=64 time=1728.299 ms
64 bytes from 192.168.35.1: icmp_seq=17 ttl=64 time=728.138 ms
64 bytes from 192.168.35.1: icmp_seq=18 ttl=64 time=1730.305 ms
64 bytes from 192.168.35.1: icmp_seq=19 ttl=64 time=729.946 ms
64 bytes from 192.168.35.1: icmp_seq=20 ttl=64 time=1730.788 ms
64 bytes from 192.168.35.1: icmp_seq=21 ttl=64 time=730.729 ms
^C
--- 192.168.35.1 ping statistics ---
23 packets transmitted, 22 packets received, 4.3% packet loss
round-trip min/avg/max/stddev = 1.793/672.884/1730.788/636.990 ms

That's pretty pathetic, and the story on legacy 802.11 is no better. I'm pretty convinced now that Amazon had (or has) a bad run of these routers.


AGPtek® Halloween Party Decorations Creepy Latex Rubber Horse Head Mask For Fun and Entertainment
AGPtek® Halloween Party Decorations Creepy Latex Rubber Horse Head Mask For Fun and Entertainment
Offered by BrainyDeal
Price: $15.55

3.0 out of 5 stars Look! I'm a horsey! A HORSEY!, November 5, 2013
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
It looks sufficiently creepy, but the mask itself is really, really tight. I usually wear a medium hat, so it's not like I have some giant head or anything.

There are two small holes in the nose, and a small hole in the mouth, that's it, as far as vision or breathing. It's very hard to see out of, and gets hot quickly. Having latex against your ears like a glove can also be a bit unnerving. If you're not claustrophobic, this mask might help you reconsider that phobia.

This is fine for posing for pictures and things where you're going to be relatively stationary, but definitely not something I'd recommend for trick-or-treating.

But... it's pretty creepy, no matter how you use it.


Draftmark 1-Pack Tap System, NBABPD1500-000
Draftmark 1-Pack Tap System, NBABPD1500-000
Price: $49.99
8 used & new from $36.74

3.0 out of 5 stars Cool idea, perfect for parties, but I can't get refills..., November 4, 2013
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I was really on the fence about the Draftmark system until I had a chance to see it in person. The unit itself isn't made particularly well (it's cheap-feeling plastic) and the battery charging process is less than graceful. Once you get past wondering if the tap handle is going to snap, you're in for some decent beer.

Michelob Amber Bock was my test bottle, and the very first pour had an incredible head. Subsequent pours were absolutely tap quality. With every pull, the Draftmark makes a loud "Whiiiiiiiiiiiiirrrrrr" kind of noise, so don't plan on getting a stealth drink. Chances are, though, that this is only coming out for parties, where my intense testing shows that it'll be well-received, and draw all sorts of curious questions.

Loading the refill was easy, and transporting them isn't much more than carrying around a couple of 12-packs. I can't really comment on whether or not the beer stays fresh for the stated 30 days (or that the battery stays charged that long), because it was good enough that a small Halloween gathering was enough to empty the bottle.

It's cool, and what's better, it's cheap. And the bottles are... uh... hmm... Well, I don't know about that, because Detroit isn't a "Draftmark City". At the time of this writing, you're out of luck if you don't live in one of the following cities:
Atlanta, Austin, Boston, Charlotte, Chicago, Cincinnati, Houston, Minneapolis, San Antonio, San Diego, Seattle, and St. Louis.

There's also a nebulous "Parts of Delaware, Southern New Jersey, and Kentucky", but you'll want to check for yourself before buying this -- especially if you plan to give it to someone as a gift. Since this has been out since 2011 and a giant like Anheuser-Busch can't seem to get it off the ground by the end of 2013, I'm really not hopeful that I'll ever see refills in my local store.

If the refills were as readily available as, say, Heineken mini-kegs are, I'd be able to give this four or five stars.


No Title Available

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great way to get PoE on the cheap., November 4, 2013
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
For home use, I'm usually pretty happy with Netgear switches, and was giving some serious consideration to the Netgear ProSafe GS108P Ethernet Switch. However, I had an opportunity to give TP-Link a shot, and I've gotta say, I'm pretty impressed.

As others have pointed out, this isn't a managed switch, so there's not a whole lot you can do with it other than plug it in. So on one hand, it's easy to use. On the other, if you're doing anything with VLANs, don't expect this to pay any attention to STP. It won't, and at this price range, that's hardly surprising.

Throughput was surprisingly decent, approaching where GigE maxes out. I'm hesitant to call it "faster" than my trusty plain Netgear GigE switch, but it's easily as good. Construction was nice, too. Again, similar to what I'd expect from the much more expensive Netgear switch.

The only real downside in my mind, is how the ports are laid out. I'd have appreciated a break between the PoE and regular ports. I don't know about you, but my home switches don't live in racks. They live wherever I can hide them without annoying my wife. So, I often find myself feeling where connections are. Having something to segregate PoE from not-PoE would be nice.


Rain-X 5079275 Latitude 8-In-1 Premium Graphite Coated Wiper Blade, 18" (Pack of 1)
Rain-X 5079275 Latitude 8-In-1 Premium Graphite Coated Wiper Blade, 18" (Pack of 1)
Offered by Xpress Auto Parts
Price: $11.79
29 used & new from $9.50

2.0 out of 5 stars They look cheap and junky. They perform worse., October 20, 2013
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I've had my eye on these wiper blades for a while, because I had heard some pretty good things. Once a sale hit, I was all over them.

The very first thing I noticed when I replaced the OEM blades on my 2013 Charger was how massive the brackets are. I didn't have any delusions about a universal-fit part looking like a contiguous part of my wiper arm, but seriously, the bracket on this is just huge.

I appreciated how well-constructed the rest of the blade seemed to be, and that in spite of the gigantic bracket, the blade didn't wobble. Then I tried them out. Ugh. They streak like no other. I've actually treated my windshield with Rain-X 800002243 Glass Treatment and I use Rain-X washer fluid religiously, so if there's a windshield in town that should be slicker than a... well... you know... it's mine. Yet, these blades do a horrendous job of keeping my windshield clear.

After a couple of weeks, I ended up putting the OEM blades back on. Those year-old blades performed far better than these new ones.


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