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Barilla Plus Elbow Pasta, 14.5 Ounce (Pack of 8)
Barilla Plus Elbow Pasta, 14.5 Ounce (Pack of 8)
Price: $15.92

5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, February 5, 2015
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I used to be partial to the DeCecco brand of pasta, but about ten years ago, on my weekly food shopping trip, I discovered that my local supermarket was out of that brand, and I had to "punt." The Barilla was right next to where the DeCecco should have been, and was in plentiful supply, so I put a box in my cart and I have never looked back.

This "Plus" pasta is not quite as good as Barilla's regular line, but it is still very good. It has the consistency and taste you expect from good quality pasta. In an effort to improve the nutrition of my pasta consumption, I tried Barilla's Whole Grain line a few years ago, but didn't care for it at all. This one is much more to my liking.

With regular Barilla pasta, I find that cooking to the minimum time listed on the box gives me the "al dente" quality that I like. With these, if I do that, I find them a bit too rubbery. Cooking to the maximum time (8 minutes for these elbows) yields a much more satisfactory result.

As an evening snack and especially in cold weather, I like to have a bowl of soup. I've been adding these elbows to that little treat and I find that they fortify both nutrition and satiety.


Pinnacle Studio 18
Pinnacle Studio 18
Price: $29.19
25 used & new from $26.91

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Difficult, December 22, 2014
This review is from: Pinnacle Studio 18 (CD-ROM)
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I had tried Pinnacle Studio 16 a few years ago, but didn't like it mainly because I experienced great difficulty trying to figure out how to use it. Pinnacle 18 (this version) tries to address this problem by providing 6 weeks free training from Studiobacklot/Class on Demand.

The online course is good, but Studio 18 is still a complex piece of software and requires no small amount of effort to learn. To go through all the lessons at a relaxed pace took me a month. One distracting element in the Backlot course, is that it uses a Studio 16 course as its basis. Most of the changes in Studio 18 are internal, so this is mostly transparent. However, there are some interface differences between the two versions, and when you encounter one of these, the course video halts, puts up a slide explaining the difference and then returns to the presenter. It can be a little confusing.

I became interested in video editing several years ago and discovered the freeware VirtualDub early on. I love it for its simplicity, and during the entire time that I was using Studio, I kept thinking, "this is so much easier to do with VDub and its plugins." That may merely be a result of the fact that I seldom use the features where Studio is strongest: Multitrack editing, Multimedia, Support for Cameras and Capture Devices, 3D, and Library Organization.

With regard to program stability, Studio 18 has crashed on me a few times (most often after importing very large clips) but not too often.

It seems pretty fast. I'm guessing that this is largely due to its support for 64-bit architecture (I was running it under Windows 8.1). Operations that would require 30 minutes to an hour in VirtualDub complete in just a few minutes in Studio 18.

Another area where Pinnacle excels is in support on both input and output sides for a large number of video formats. MP4, WMV, AVI, etc, whatever you have, whatever you need, Studio can read it and write it.

Studio 18 is hard to master because it seeks to emulate a professional Video Editing environment, which is inherently complicated. If that's your goal, then this might be the software you want.


Koss Pro4S Full Size Studio Headphones, Black with Silver Trim
Koss Pro4S Full Size Studio Headphones, Black with Silver Trim
Price: $149.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, December 8, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I like these headphones very much and they have become my "go to" set.

I have been using them daily to listen to music of all kinds as well as the spoken word. I guess a total of about 20 to 30 hours of use. I'm not an "audiophile," and I don't know if there's anything to the headphone "break-in" argument or not, but I also played a pink noise loop through them when I wasn't using the PC for anything else. Perhaps an additional 30 hours there.

Everything seems clear and undistorted with no break up or rattling at high or low frequencies. They do appear to require a higher volume control setting than other headphones and its my impression that they drain the batteries in my iPod and Roku3 slightly faster than others.

They are not noise-cancelling headphones, but the soft leather ear cups do an excellent job of sealing out the rest of the world so nothing interferes with whatever you're listening to. I liked that they seemed to give a very even performance across the audio spectrum. My understanding is that calling them "studio" headphones means that they are supposed to have a perfectly flat response. Some headphones that I have owned sounded like they had a built-in "loudness filter" that artificially hyped the treble and bass and I was always fiddling with a software equalizer to try to remove that. With these, I use the equalizer to just tweak the sound to my liking.

The Pro4S headphones seem well-made. They are comfortable to wear and quite light (on my kitchen scale they are 6.9 ounces without the cable), although as other reviewers have mentioned, they do fit tightly and feel like they are squeezing your head. Unlike other headphones I've seen, they are understated and unobtrusive in appearance--flat black with silver trim and a Koss logo on the outside of the ear cups. The coiled audio cable can be plugged in to either left or right ear cup.


New York Giants NFL Infrared Space Heater, LW-NFL-0005
New York Giants NFL Infrared Space Heater, LW-NFL-0005
Offered by Heatercom
Price: $149.99
14 used & new from $99.98

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, November 29, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I pretty much live in my bedroom. My desk and PC are there, the TV that I prefer to watch is there, my bed is there. Unfortunately, there is also an ancient double window there that leaks cold air in the fall and winter. I will eventually replace it, but for now this space heater does a fine job compensating for the frigid seepage.

We've had a few very cold evenings in the northeast this fall, so I've been able to give the Helmet Heater a good trial and it passed with ease. I placed it about six feet behind my desk chair, set it to its lower setting (600 watts) and switched it on. It takes just a few minutes and the chill is gone! Its fan propels the heated air in my direction silently.

My only reservation is that the heater does not appear to have UL Product Certification. I've checked and I don't see the UL sticker that one finds on all sorts of electrical appliances (in the US, anyway). Underwriters Laboratories is an independent testing organization that checks and certifies products for safety. Although it appears to be well made, a space heater has tremendous potential for disaster, and it would be comforting to see the assurance from UL especially when the manufacturer is not well known.

Don't turn the heater off by unplugging it from the wall outlet. When it is switched off, the internal fan will continue to run in order to cool off the heating elements to a safe level. If it's unplugged, that won't happen and you run the risk of an overheat.

The unit is generally spherical in shape, about 13 inches in diameter with a flat bottom. In use, the outside and base remain relatively cool to the touch. Louvers on the front allow you to direct air flow up or down. Controls are simple to use and easily accessed. I did not detect any odor the first time I used it as did some of the other reviewers.


Generic Compatible Replacement 5 Packs for Epson 273XL
Generic Compatible Replacement 5 Packs for Epson 273XL
Offered by MPC Direct
Price: $11.10
12 used & new from $4.38

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, November 4, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I was very pleasantly surprised with how well these worked in my Epson XP800. I bought two sets and had no leaks in transit. Installation was uneventful, and printed pages look fine. The printer software treats the cartridges exactly the same way as OEM. Ink levels are correctly displayed and the printer does not complain about them. Text is sharp and images are colorful, with no bleeding or smudging or smearing.

Hint: Read Epson's instructions on installing replacement ink cartridges before you start. I think the good folks complaining here about how they got full-sleeve tattoos from these may have handled them incorrectly. The only ink I got on myself was from removing the empty Epson-branded cartridges! Think of them as loaded guns that shoot ink rather than bullets and treat them appropriately, you'll be fine.

Hint 2: Buy directly from the manufacturer, Printer-Mate.

Look, if you're printing Annual Reports for the Board Meeting of your multimillion dollar corporation, maybe you should invest in Epson's ink. Likewise, if you're printing family photos that you want your descendants centuries from now to be able to look at and admire how colorful great-great-great-grandpa was, then you want the archival properties of the OEM's ink. But to print the occasional rebate form or coupon or the kids' homework, these work perfectly and at a small fraction of the cost of the ones from Epson.


Lock&Lock 25-Fluid Ounce Round Food Container, Tall, 3.1-Cup
Lock&Lock 25-Fluid Ounce Round Food Container, Tall, 3.1-Cup
Offered by langton_distribution_
Price: $8.04

5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, November 2, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I love the Lock&Lock brand. I've been using them for quite a long time. My oldest pieces are at least 8 or 9 years old and are still going strong. I use them constantly. I know some folks hate leftovers, but I don't. If I bought it or made it in the first place, it was because I like eating it, and if I liked it today, I'll like it tomorrow too! The Lock&Locks keep everything I put into them fresh and ready to be rewarmed.

I don't buy sets. Instead, I prefer to just buy the particular pieces that I need (preferably on sale--this one was 8 bucks). I can usually find a space-efficient way to store them by putting the smaller ones into the larger ones. I didn't have a Lock&Lock of this size, but I like the Birds Eye and Hanover "Steam-able" bags of frozen vegetables and I wanted an appropriate size and shape for storing them. The 3.1-Cup, 25-fluid ounce size is perfect. Most 8 to 12 ounce packages will fit very comfortably. I just open the bag, pour it all into the Lock&Lock and portion from there.

It has the familiar 4 flaps, one on each quadrant of the lid, that engage the equally familiar tabs on each quadrant of the body of the piece. This was one of my first round Lock&Locks, and I was concerned that with a round shape, getting the tabs and flaps to line up might be a problem, but it isn't--it takes an extra half second. The seal is tight, waterproof and secure. The dimensions in the Product Details are backwards. The diameter should be 5.6 inches and the height is 3.3 inches. Keep in mind that they refer to the lid and not the body of the container, which will be slightly smaller.

The Lock&Locks are microwave reheatable, but I never do that. Depending on what I'm reheating, if it has tomatoes or oil, it can stain or mar the container. I transfer to the dish I'm going to serve in, and reheat that way. I do wash them in the dishwasher (top rack) and my oldest pieces are still perfectly functional.

I am a retired engineer, and I think it may be that the simple, effective and direct way that the Lock&Locks solve the food storage problem appeals to my "tech-y" personality. The way that they preserve the freshness of whatever I put in them appeals to my palate, that's certain!


Lock&Lock 24-Fluid Ounce Round Food Container, Tall, 2.9-Cup
Lock&Lock 24-Fluid Ounce Round Food Container, Tall, 2.9-Cup
Offered by SHOPFORYOU
Price: $8.99
5 used & new from $5.49

5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, November 1, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I love the Lock&Lock brand. I've been using them for quite a long time. My oldest pieces are at least 8 or 9 years old and are still going strong. I use them constantly. I know some folks hate leftovers, but I don't. If I bought it or made it in the first place, it was because I like eating it, and if I liked it tonight, I'll like it tomorrow night too! The Lock&Locks keep everything I put into them fresh and ready to be rewarmed.

I don't buy sets. Instead, I prefer to just buy the particular pieces that I need (preferably on sale--this one was 7 bucks). I can usually find a space-efficient way to store them by putting the smaller ones into the larger ones. I didn't have a Lock&Lock of this size, but I like canned soup (especially when the weather gets cold) and I wanted an appropriate size and shape for storing that. The 2.9-Cup, 24-fluid ounce (700 ml) size is perfect. An entire 18 or 19 oz can of Progresso or Campbell's will fit very comfortably. I just open the can, pour it all into the Lock&Lock and portion from there.

It has the familiar 4 flaps, one on each quadrant of the lid, that engage the equally familiar tabs on each quadrant of the body of the piece. This was my first round Lock&Lock, and I was concerned that with a round shape, getting the tabs and flaps to line up might be a problem, but it isn't--it takes an extra half second. The seal is tight, waterproof and secure. The dimensions in the Product Description are accurate (4.5" high, 4.6" diameter), but keep in mind that they refer to the lid and not the body of the container, which will be slightly smaller.

The Lock&Locks are microwave reheatable, but I never do that. Depending on what I'm reheating, if it has tomatoes or oil, they can stain or mar the container. I transfer to the dish I'm going to serve in, and reheat that way. I do wash them in the dishwasher (top rack) and my oldest pieces are still perfectly functional.

I am a retired engineer, and I think it may be that the simple, effective and direct way that the Lock&Locks solve the food storage problem appeals to my "tech-y" personality. The way that they preserve the freshness of whatever I put in them appeals to my palate, that's for sure!


Lenovo X315 Gaming Desktop (90B00000US)
Lenovo X315 Gaming Desktop (90B00000US)
Offered by Fatech International
Price: $899.99
2 used & new from $899.99

6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, October 31, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I don't use my PC for gaming. But labeling a machine as a "Gaming PC," just means that it has powerful main and graphics processors. These strengths are also required for video editing and I have become interested in that recently, so I was very pleased to evaluate this Lenovo X315.

As you would expect from the specs, it is fast. My old machine is a Dell Optiplex with an AMD Athlon 64 5600+ at 2.9 Ghz. On video editing tasks, I find that the Lenovo is anywhere from 3 to 5 times faster. For instance, using Freemake to convert a 1.5Gb 1080p FLV to a 720p AVI, takes the Dell 52 minutes. The Lenovo can dispatch it in 12! If I use the DeShaker 3.1 plugin in VirtualDub to then stabilize that video, the Dell needs 2 hours, whereas the Lenovo can do it in 44 minutes. Other video editing operations show similar speed improvements.

If you believe in Microsoft's "Windows Experience Index," the Lenovo's CPUScore is 7.5, its GraphicsScore is 8.1 and its Overall is 5.9 (the DiskScore holds it back).

The hardware has been relatively trouble-free in the month that I've been using it, except for some small issues involving its USB connections. Initially, I had the sender for a MS Sculpt Ergonomic keyboard and mouse plugged into 1 of the USB2 connectors on the back panel. When I booted the machine, it would sometimes not find the peripherals and I'd have to boot again. Moving to one of the nearby USB3 ports remedied the problem. When I plugged a Seagate External Hard Drive into the other back panel USB3 port, both the keyboard/mouse and the Seagate acted erratically. Moving the sender to one of the front USB ports corrected this situation. I've used both the Sculpt duo and the Seagate drive on other machines, and not had any of these problems.

The system is very quiet. I have to check the front panel light to see if it's on.
Comment Comments (4) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Nov 29, 2014 1:33 PM PST


Geoge Foreman GRP472P Removable Plate Grill, Service for 5
Geoge Foreman GRP472P Removable Plate Grill, Service for 5
Price: $39.99
10 used & new from $32.97

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fabulous!, October 3, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I've owned a Foreman Grill (George Foreman 4 Serving Classic Plate Grill) for the last 8 or 9 years. It has soldiered on admirably and it gets a lot of use owing to the facts that grilling is my preferred cooking method and that I'm not allowed to use a charcoal grill in the condominiums where I have lived for the last few years. It's pretty worn out and the non-stick coating is no longer "non-stick," so I was very pleased to try out this one. I've used it a half-dozen times and I love it!

I researched the removable-plate Foreman Grills a few years ago, but the reviews at that time were generally that, while convenient to clean, they didn't get as hot as the fixed-plate versions, so I never bought one. I can report that this one, if anything, gets hotter than my old one! Until I realized this, I overcooked the first two meals I prepared with it. It gets as hot as a rocket.

The removable grill plates are very well thought out too. They have plastic stay-cool handles and the handles travel with the plates, so you can remove the plates even if they are hot. The coating functions brilliantly. No matter what I've cooked, clean-up with water and a soapy sponge was simple, fast and easy. They are diswasher safe, but I don't think it's a good idea to clean any non-stick surface that way. A trick that I learned with my old Foreman, is to place a triple thickness of completely saturated paper towels on the grill after you've finished cooking and have unplugged the unit. The resulting steam keeps any food residues from burning to the grill surface and makes it a snap to clean.

The cooking surface is approximately 6+ inches deep by 12+ inches wide. Whether you can get 5 meals into that 72+ square inch space depends on what you're cooking and the appetites of those for whom you are cooking. I have grilled a 24 ounce London Broil on it with no difficulty. I have also made two 10-ounces skinless, boneless chicken breasts with easily enough additional space to accommodate a third. I bought a package of 5 boneless center-cut pork chops (avg weight about 4.5 to 5 ounces each) and, though I grilled only one of them, I did lay them all out on the grill surface--tight but feasible. Five quarter-pound burgers, flattened into thin disks like the fast-food places make them, would never make it--three at best. But if you made them thick and plump, I think you could make it work. If you're cooking for a family of five with two adults, you'll be fine. If you're cooking for the defensive line of an NFL football team, forget it.

The one negative is that replacing the plates into the grill can be tricky. It's slightly awkward and a difficult fit. Until you get the knack of it, the process can cause a bit of frustration. I make no deduction in my star-rating for this because once you understand how it's done, it ceases to be an issue.

It has no temperature control but I don't think it should have one. The idea of grilling is to get your cooking surface good and hot so you sear the surfaces of what you're cooking, make nice grill marks and get done fast. This GRP472P gets plenty hot and that's what you want.

The instructions say that when you plug it in, the red light will go on and when it reaches maximum temperature, the green light will go on. That isn't correct. Both lamps go on when you plug it in, and the green one turns *OFF* when it reaches the right temperature.

Highly recommended.


3x Canon PowerShot SX500 IS Digital Camera Premium Clear LCD Screen Protector Cover Guard Shield Film Kits. Exact fit, no cutting. (3 pieces by GUARMOR)
3x Canon PowerShot SX500 IS Digital Camera Premium Clear LCD Screen Protector Cover Guard Shield Film Kits. Exact fit, no cutting. (3 pieces by GUARMOR)
Offered by GUARMOR SHIELD
Price: $9.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, September 26, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
These are very nice. They fit the Canon SX500 perfectly, are completely transparent, are inexpensive (in September of 2014, their price was $6.50), really do seem to help some with the glare off the LCD when outdoors and you get three of them! It's easy to get smudges and fingerprints on them when you're using your camera, but it's also very easy to clean them off with a microfiber cloth. Most importantly, the camera's LCD is protected.

If you've never installed a screen protector or have had difficulty doing so in the past, I recommend that you go to YouTube and search for a video entitled, "(The Original) Foolproof way to put a screen protector." I found it very helpful. The method is demonstrated on a cell phone, but it's easily adapted to the SX500.


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