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Propet Men's Ramsey Work Shoe
Propet Men's Ramsey Work Shoe
Price: $76.47 - $119.99

3.0 out of 5 stars Decent shoe, but too expensive, March 25, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I found these to be a perfectly acceptable pair of casual slip on shoes, but I think I was expecting more for the relatively high price: better workmanship, higher-quality leather, etc. They are basically equivalent to the slip-ons I've gotten from Merrill or a dozen other manufacturers for 20-40 % less, or more when on sale. I don't think these are worth the premium price, although there is nothing wrong with them.


Dunham by New Balance Men's  Cloud Mid Cut Waterproof Boot,Grey,15 EEEE
Dunham by New Balance Men's Cloud Mid Cut Waterproof Boot,Grey,15 EEEE
Price: $106.25
11 used & new from $102.53

5.0 out of 5 stars Dunham Cloud, March 18, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
A great product which I recommend with no reservations. I don't use the Dunham Cloud boots for hard-core backpacking/hiking but just to tool around town, walk, etc. For that purpose, they're great! They fit and feel much like my various New Balance shoes (Dunham is a New Balance brand). One thing about Dunham and New Balance is that the sizing is almost always consistent across the brands and different models, so once you're set on a certain size/width, you're set. I returned some Timberland boots because they were too narrow and just not that comfortable - a little tight. These are the opposite - massively roomy toe box and roomy, spacious interior from toes to heel. I really like that about them. My sense is that, overall quality wise, these are a cut or two above other similar boots at this approximate price point, making them a good (though not inexpensive) deal. No boots are ever as comfortable as shoes, but these come reasonably close.


New Balance Men's MW928 Walking Shoe,Brown,15 4E US
New Balance Men's MW928 Walking Shoe,Brown,15 4E US
Price: $124.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great shoes, February 28, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
These are great shoes. They are comfortable, roomy, supportive (with excellent arch support), and stable. I got them for fitness walking, but they quickly replaced pretty much all my other shoes for going outside for any purpose. No, they're not quite "high fashion", but they're reasonably attractive casual-wear for anything from a weekend to a casual office environment. The 928's are really the gold standard for higher-end walking shoes or for people who are on their feet all day; I'm not sure there's anything better out there. I like them so much I already bought a pair in both colors and a back up pair in brown. They are so much more comfortable than other shoes, especially if you're going to be standing or walking a lot, that it's hard to describe. One thing worth noting is that they're not heavily padded; the feel is more "supportive" than "springy". Kind of like sleeping on a firm or medium-firm mattress instead of a cushy soft one. These are not cheap, but you get what you pay for; the build quality is high and attention to detail is solid. I'm very satisfied and, at least as of right now, don't see myself wearing much of anything else shoe-wise in the future.


ICON Health and Fitness iFit 2 Year Premium Membership Incline/Decline Fitness Trainer
ICON Health and Fitness iFit 2 Year Premium Membership Incline/Decline Fitness Trainer
Price: $126.22
4 used & new from $118.99

6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars iFit, February 27, 2015
There is so much misinformation on the web from disgruntled iFit users that I feel compelled to weigh in. Speaking of weighing in, I've been losing 2.5 pounds per week consistently since getting it. Anyway ...

Here is, in a nutshell, what iFit does, assuming you have an iFit enabled exercise machine (basically, those made by Icon Fitness, which includes brands such as NordicTrack, Pro-Form, etc.):

- create custom maps using Google Maps on your laptop, send them to your exercise machine, and then run/walk/cycle along to Google Street Views - anyplace in the world. Today I took a tour of Stonehenge, and yesterday I walked along a river in Australia. On my treadmill. How cool is that? The incline/decline on your machine adjusts automatically to track to the topography of the Google Map - so as you walk up a hill on the map, your machine adjusts accordingly. There are hundreds of maps provided by iFit if you don't feel like making your own. And there are THOUSANDS created by other users that you can tap into; the sharing between members is extensive. One member has created a massive database of 1,200 maps, fully searchable for location (by country), type (beaches, trails, cities, etc), hilliness, distance, etc. The Google Maps thing is absolutely the coolest fitness concept I've ever seen, and it may be the flagship feature of iFit, but it's not the only feature. There is much more:
- download iFit Outside to your phone, go for a run/walk, and it'll use GPS to create a Google Map of your run/walk. It'll immediately upload the data to your iFit account, including the map, time, elevations, speed, pace, calories, etc. You can log into your account at the iFit site and review the map and every detail of your workout. As it does with a treadmill (or other equipment) workout, iFit logs all the data from your outdoor workout and adds it to your accumulating totals.
- every workout you do on your exercise equipment is automatically uploaded to iFit after you complete it - all the data: time, distance, elevation, heart rate (if you're using a chest strap), etc. It's all reviewable on graphs and charts, and iFit totals it by day/week/month and forever, so you can monitor progress and see your accumulating totals. I have used the graphs showing heart rate overlayed with incline level and speed to great effect, learning how and where I can push harder to get improved cardiovascular fitness, and I have been able to see my results improve by the week on the charts.
- you can log your weight, food/calories, etc. I'm not personally a fan of calorie or weight logging, but weight logging does serve an important purpose in iFit. If you log your weight, iFit will automatically use it to calculate the calories for your workouts on your machine - or even your outdoor walks/runs. This will provide you an infinitely more accurate picture of calories burned than any kind of generic formula.
- any workout you do on your machine is stored forever in iFit so you can repeat it anytime
- iFit displays pretty much every piece of data you can think of on your machine as you work out. It is the most comprehensive data-display I've ever seen on a fitness machine. There's nothing you'll want to know about your workout that isn't displayed on the iFit panel. Speed, pace, incline %, heart rate, calories/hour rate, distance, distance remaining to complete workout, and on and on and on.
- you can set goals on the iFit site and it'll track your progress against those goals, alerting you to where you're falling short and prodding you to improve where needed.
- it has social features (forum, blog, etc) for people who are into that kind of thing.

So basically, it's a total system which integrates your exercise equipment, the iFit web site, and your outdoor exercise activities.

But still, the Google Street View thingy is the most amazing feature and is itself worth the ticket to the dance.

Now, about the complaints. Sadly, iFit is a bit buggy. One weekend it was basically not working at all for me, and I've noticed a wide assortment of minor annoyances, from workouts that aren't logged 100 % accurately, to the fact that it knocks 2-3 calories and 2-3 seconds off my workout totals (sounds minor, sure, but I do one-hour workouts only to see it logged as 59:57, which is annoying, so now I do 60:03 workouts). Occasionally iFit workouts don't log at all, and though you can always enter them manually (by typing in the time, distance, calories, etc., as they appeared on your machine after the workout), it's just not the same as having the machine take care of all of it for you. In short, iFit is more than a Beta product but something less than a fully debugged, rock-solid application. iFit needs better system testing. probably more programmers, and somewhat more of a customer-focused commitment to proactive bug and problem fixes. Having gotten to know quite a few iFit users, some of them have had great experiences like me, but others have encountered more substantial and/or persistent problems and been frustrated by the buggy nature of the system. Everything has worked about 95 % for me, but even as a satisfied and impressed end-user I can see that iFit has work to do to elevate this from "cool idea that kinda works most of the time" to a truly reliable, stable service.

Some of the complaints about iFit are flat-out wrong. For instance, the complaint that once you join, you then have to pay to download specific map packages. That is wrong. I have downloaded hundreds of iFit maps and workout collections, and have never been charged one cent. It's all free, once you're a premium member, at least for anything that I've downloaded.

There's really nothing else like iFit, or even close to it, on the market. Put simply, it is the ONLY fitness system that lets you walk, run or cycle anywhere on Planet Earth from the comfort of your own house, getting in shape while seeing the world - from their or your own custom Google Street View maps. That is just brilliant. And as noted earlier, there's a lot to iFit besides the Google Street View feature. Integration of an exercise machine with outdoor exercise and the web into one overall tracking system for fitness is really, really helpful, and probably more important than the Google maps for getting and staying on track.

I can understand why some people are frustrated with iFit, but I encourage people looking into iFit to consider the forest for the trees. It is a brilliant fitness system. Like a lot of iFit users, I am waiting for them to put the resources on this to make it 100 % stable and polished, but in the meantime, even with its quirks and annoyances it's a truly unique and excellent platform for getting in shape.


Fire TV Stick
Fire TV Stick
Price: $39.00

5.0 out of 5 stars Good product., February 27, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Fire TV Stick (Electronics)
Worked right out of the box and seems to do everything it's supposed to do. Replaced a malfunctioning Roku with it after the replacement Roku was malfunctioning too. The Fire TV stick just worked, right away, no fuss. Good product.


Hamilton Beach 46201 12 Cup Digital Coffeemaker, Stainless Steel
Hamilton Beach 46201 12 Cup Digital Coffeemaker, Stainless Steel
Price: $37.99
95 used & new from $26.10

5.0 out of 5 stars Very good coffee machine, February 27, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I only buy Hamilton Beach coffee makers. Despite being sort of a "value" / low cost brand, their coffee machines have proven to be very durable and have all the needed features. This one has a removable water resevoir, which is quite convenient and saves some cleaning time. I'd spend more on another brand if someone had a better machine to offer, but this one really does it all for me. 5 stars.


Acer Aspire NX.MG7AA.006;E1-771-6458 17.3-Inch Laptop
Acer Aspire NX.MG7AA.006;E1-771-6458 17.3-Inch Laptop
Offered by Galactics
Price: $532.89
49 used & new from $379.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Solid value-oriented laptop, February 27, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Solid laptop for the price. Core i3 chip and 500 meg drive is more than sufficient for basic work/entertainment computing; it isn't a gaming machine, of course. The 17" monitor is crisp and bright. Keyboard feels a little un-springy but is otherwise fine. The mouse button isn't great: instead of two buttons, you get one long bar, and have to push at the very ends of the bar to get a left or right click. Also, the touchpad is far to the left side of the laptop, instead of in the middle, where it should be. A big upside is that it ships with Windows 7 home premium, instead of the odious Windows 8. Overall, it's a solid value-laptop for people who don't want to spend a lot of money but want all the basics: large screen, an Intel Core processor, and Windows 7. I looked around and couldn't find anything better for the buck.


New Balance Men's 860V5 Running Shoe
New Balance Men's 860V5 Running Shoe

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding mid-priced, all-around running/walking/fitness shoe, February 16, 2015
I use this shoe (and *only* this shoe) on the treadmill. I had previously been using the 860v4 but then got the 860v5 and it's even better. The new version has a strong plastic mid-sole arch support that really provides a lot of support, which was absent on the v4. It's well worth the higher cost to get the arch support, but the shoe is lighter, too. This shoe provides the perfect amount of padding and support and fits fantastically well on my feet. It provides ample space for the foot and is a bit on the roomier side, compared to some other running shoes. This is as comfortable a shoe as I've ever worn. I have no intention of using anything but the 860v5 for fitness activities in the future.


Bose QuietComfort 25 Headphones, Black
Bose QuietComfort 25 Headphones, Black
Price: $299.00
23 used & new from $240.00

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bose QC25 Headphones, January 31, 2015
This is a tremendous product, as fit for purpose as a product could possibly be. There are some better headphones out there in terms of audio quality, but for noise cancellation, nothing even comes close to the Bose 25s. I had the Sony equivalent, which were about 2/3 of the cost (hence my purchase of the Sonys), and they were NOTHING compared to the Bose for noise cancellation. In addition, the QC25s are extremely comfortable for my large head and ears, and I can wear them as long as needed with no fatigue. I use the QC25s to work out on a treadmill and watch a small TV while my wife uses a rowing machine and watches the main room TV at full volume. With any other headphones, or even with the QC25s and noise cancellation turned off, it's a cacophonous madhouse - a giant TV blasting, exercise equipment and fans running, etc. - I can barely hear my own TV at all no matter how loud I turn it up. But when I turn on the noise cancellation, almost all of the noise in the room just ... disappears, and I can comfortably listen to my own TV show at a low volume. It doesn't eliminate "all" background noise; for example, you can still hear voices and some higher-pitched sounds. But it almost entirely eliminates low frequency noise, background hum, buzz, fans, and other constant/ambient sounds. These headphones are nothing short of phenomenal. The price seems ridiculous, but they are worth every penny if you can afford them. In case it's ambiguous, just to be clear I ***love*** this product.

I wouldn't even consider getting on a plane without these.


The Enigma of Hastings
The Enigma of Hastings
by Edwin Tetlow
Edition: Paperback
Price: $15.15
28 used & new from $2.18

5.0 out of 5 stars Good Conquest book, a few flaws, January 19, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: The Enigma of Hastings (Paperback)
A useful, informative and often insightful book about the lead up to the Battle of Hastings, the major players involved, and the battle itself. Tetlow fills in a lot of blank spots in the history, with interesting and informative speculation, making the story into more of an overall narrative than the raw history would provide.

That said, the book has some historical inaccuracies. Simple example: Tostig Godwinson is said to have been Earl of Northumbria for a year, whereas no one questions that he had been Earl for 10 years prior to his exile.

Except for some errors of that nature and questionable accounting of force sizes at the various battles, Tetlow does a good job of distinguishing fact from speculation from probable falsehood.

Given the enormity of the 1066 story in western history, there aren't really a lot of books that focus on that one year. Most Conquest books spend the first third on the earlier background (Edward the Confessor's reign), a third on 1066, and a third on the post-Conquest situation of William ruling England. Those are useful too, and the more one understands the previous King Edward's reign, the better one can follow and appreciate what happened in 1066. Indeed, in a lot of ways 1066 was the final outcome of political and historical developments that had occurred years earlier. That said, it is good that there's a book that, although it does cover the previous years briefly, really drills down on 1066 itself, devoting time and patience to dissecting the specific events of the year. Good balance of political vs. battlefield coverage.

Every 1066 book has a bias one way or the other, and this one is slightly (but not overly) biased toward the English (versus the Normans). Tetlow takes a properly skeptical opinion toward the Bayeux Tapestry, the propaganda of William of Poitiers (which fed most of what we think we know about 1066), etc.

The book does fall a little flat in its coverage of Harold's brother Tostig Godwinson. His cruelty and maladministration is covered in depth, but his motivations are not, leaving him a cardboard monster instead of the complex person that he probably was. There are other books that provide a more nuanced view of Tostig.

I've read pretty much every book on 1066, and this is one of the better ones.


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