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D. Brennan RSS Feed (New York, NY)
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De'Longhi America EN750MB Nespresso Lattissima Pro Machine
De'Longhi America EN750MB Nespresso Lattissima Pro Machine
Price: $499.99
9 used & new from $499.00

5.0 out of 5 stars A high end machine with design to spare that makes sublime espresso drinks and is a breeze to maintain., June 30, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Bottom line - awesome machine. Small footprint, easy to use once you figure out the buttons (or read the manual), almost idiot proof operation, detachable milk container allows you to refrigerate the milk between drinks and MOST IMPORTANTLY - the best cappuccino and lattes I have enjoyed at home/work.

This is my fourth Nespresso espresso machine in the past 10 years. The first two machines machine (I forget the model numbers) each endured four years of daily use, and probably could have lasted longer with routine maintenance. With these machines I had to microwave my milk for cappuccino or lattes, and manually start and stop the espresso production but that wasn't a big deal. I figured out the appropriate time and volumes after some trial and error and was very happy with the results. I like to think that my lattes came out as good as those from most coffee shops.

Two years ago I replaced it with a Nespresso Pixie Espresso Maker With Aeroccino Plus Milk Frother, Electric Titan. This machine, which is still for sale on Amazon, still works very well. It has a small or large coffee setting that automates the amount of espresso served up (though you can override it if you like) AND comes with a very handy milk frother/heater. This machine has seen daily use at my office by 2-3 people and has never once given us a problem. It's a good, less expensive, option and I would recommend it heartily.

I was excited though to give this De'Longhi machine a try and practically tore the box apart when it arrived. Of course this meant that I didn't read the manual (that's the story of my life). Setup took less than 10 minutes, including washing the milk container and water reservoir, as well as running some hot water through the machine before using a Nespresso pod. For my first drink I made a standard cappuccino (middle button on the right). Using a ristretto pod and with the froth setting on max, the cappuccino was the next thing to perfect. The foam was light and at least a half-inch deep. There was the perfect amount of espresso and liquid milk in the glass and the temperature was ideal. I was an instant convert.

Other people in my office followed up with straight espresso, lattes (top right button), espresso macchiato (on of the 3 left buttons depending on quantity you want and then a little milk foam) and some flavored drinks. They were all sublime. The straight espressos allowed the taste of the coffee to shine through as mother nature (and human engineers) intended. The drinks with milk all were perfectly balanced. Those people who wanted a little bit of extra milk were delighted with the warm milk button (bottom right).

Even though this machine has "America" in the name, do not expect it to make you a grande or venti. The drinks are all distinctly European in size. You will get a delicious cappuccino that you can finish in a few glorious sips and a latte that weighs in at the equivalent of a short Starbucks.

The machine warms up in less than 30 seconds and you can be drinking a cappuccino in a minute flat. Seriously - a minute flat.

Maintaining the machine is a breeze. The touch screen displays instructions for refilling the water reservoir, cleaning the milk container and even reminds you to detach the milk container and place it in the refrigerator. The detachable milk container is itself a great feature. Put some milk in it in the morning and make your coffee. Refrigerate it until you need your next pick me up and plug it back in. The heating unit doesn't heat the milk in the container so it will stay cold and ready to go back in the refrigerator. In fact I can imagine some people buying an extra milk container if for example one person likes soy milk and the other likes 2%.

Overall this is a GREAT machine that makes awesome drinks. It is pricey - no doubt about that. If you are looking for a machine in this price range the De'Longhi America deserves your serious consideration.

One tip about Nespresso pods - buy them directly from Nespresso. Those for sale on Amazon are 60% to 100% more expensive than those for sale direct through Nespresso's web store AND are guaranteed to be fresh and undamaged, which is not the case with those from some of the outfits that sell through Amazon.


Confessions of a Successful CIO: How the Best CIOs Tackle Their Toughest Business Challenges
Confessions of a Successful CIO: How the Best CIOs Tackle Their Toughest Business Challenges
by Dan Roberts
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $29.71
47 used & new from $23.84

4.0 out of 5 stars Very different CIO's share their insights in to the rapidly evolving CIO position, June 30, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
The authors have convinced a number of successful CIO's to share those skills and beliefs that at the right moments allowed them to succeed where others may have have failed. I found it interesting that these skills very rarely were technical. Reading through this book repeatedly drives home the point (though not obnoxiously so) that CIO's are business leaders who happen to be responsible for a technical portfolio. Understanding how to explain technology to non-technical constituencies and how to explain business needs to a very technical team are important - we get that after decades of I.T. leadership books. What is perhaps less discussed today is the importance of governance, scalability, ownership, responsiveness and the ability to anticipate where the business is headed 5 or 10 years out.

My highlighter saw a lot of action during my first read through as I figured out very early on that this book earned a permanent spot in my bookshelf, and that I would be referring back to it often as I continue to grow with my role as CIO.


Paper Shredder by Swingline, Duo Super Cross-Cut Junk Mail Shredder, 12 sheet (1757394)
Paper Shredder by Swingline, Duo Super Cross-Cut Junk Mail Shredder, 12 sheet (1757394)
Price: $59.99
5 used & new from $45.83

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great machine for home - shreds junkmail, credit cards, etc without jamming, June 30, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I have gone through a bunch of shredders over the years. My last one was a Swingline Stack-and-Shred 60X Hands Free Shredder, Cross-Cut, 60 Sheets, 1 User (1757572) that is still sitting at my office. It's good but after clearing my way through a couple of old filing cabinets I rarely use the feeder tray - plus it jams more often than I would like. What I value today is reliable operation and the ability to tear through a bunch of paper quickly. This shredder from Swingline is exactly what I was looking for.

First, it's powerful. I can shove unopened junk mail directly into the mouth of the shredder and it's gone in a few seconds. I can consistently feed 8-10 sheets of standard copy paper through it with no problems, even if there is a staple or two. Over the cource of 2 days I shredded several hundred pages of old credit card and bank statements, case studies and other junk that had accumulated. In all of that shredding the machine NEVER ONCE JAMMED. I cannot say that about any other machine I have used.

It is also VERY quiet compared to any other shredder I have ever used - a big plus in my book.

There is a plastic mini-tub inside that is used to catch any credit cards or CD's you may shred. This makes it easier to be environmentally helpful as you can keep the plastic from mixing in with all of your shredded paper.

As far as security, the pieces generated by this shredder are small enough to drive anyone but the most determined identity thief to go trouble someone else.

It's also solidly built. I'm using mine as a foot rest as I write this review. Overall this shredder is everything you could want for the home or small business environment.


Wilson Jones Cut and Sewn Binder, Round Rings, 1", Navy Blue (W31902)
Wilson Jones Cut and Sewn Binder, Round Rings, 1", Navy Blue (W31902)
Price: $20.86

5.0 out of 5 stars A sophisticated binder for those who have outgrown black plastic, June 30, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This binder is elegant with a beautiful shade of blue and great texture. The inside had a business card holder and an elegant white leather lining. I have been using this as a presentation tool for those cases where a projector isn't warranted. My slides look just a bit more compelling when revealed from this significantly-above-average binder.


High Visibility Safety Vest with Pocket and Zipper + 3M Scotchlite Reflective Tape - ANSI Class 2 & OSHA Approved - Hi Viz/Hi Vis Clothing for Motorcycle, Running/Jogging, Bike/Bicycle, Dog Walking, Construction, Surveyor, Traffic Crossing Guard, Police, EMS, Security - Yellow/Orange Mesh for Adult Men and Women - Essential for Your Car/Auto Rescue & RV Roadside Emergency Kit - Satisfaction Guaranteed! - Size X-Large (XL)
High Visibility Safety Vest with Pocket and Zipper + 3M Scotchlite Reflective Tape - ANSI Class 2 & OSHA Approved - Hi Viz/Hi Vis Clothing for Motorcycle, Running/Jogging, Bike/Bicycle, Dog Walking, Construction, Surveyor, Traffic Crossing Guard, Police, EMS, Security - Yellow/Orange Mesh for Adult Men and Women - Essential for Your Car/Auto Rescue & RV Roadside Emergency Kit - Satisfaction Guaranteed! - Size X-Large (XL)
Offered by VizBrite Reflective Gear
Price: $24.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Cheap yet effective alternative for bike riders, June 29, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This was purchased for use during for my bike commute. There are some very expensive vests designed specifically for cyclists but I have found that this one works just as well as those other types and costs half of most of them. It breathes well, doesn't obstruct any movements and doesn't trap your own body heat..

For those who think that these look goofy, keep in mind that you are competing for drivers attention with all of the technological distractions that we have created for ourselves. You need every bit of advantage you can get if you're putting 20+ miles on your bike daily.


California Car Duster 62443 Standard Car Duster with Plastic Handle
California Car Duster 62443 Standard Car Duster with Plastic Handle
Price: $15.12
16 used & new from $12.52

5.0 out of 5 stars Helped me live through pollen season, June 24, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
For 4-5 weeks per year you would think that I own a green car. EVERY DAY the 10 million ornamental trees in Westchester County spew forth tons of pollen which blankets every horizontal surface within 20 miles. My car seems to get far more than its share, to the point that a quick burst of windshield wiper fluid results in a green stew that oozes slowly down my windshield.

The California Car Duster was an impulse buy but was one of the best purchases I have made this year. In no more than 5 minutes I can remove every last bit of pollen, dust and even most of the bird droppings on my car. After 5 weeks of daily use there is absolutely not a single scratch, and I have had no problems with spider web patterns forming. The trick is to very gently sweep this duster across the surface. With one or two strokes it will completely clean the surface.

My new car looks new without regular washing. I highly recommend this product.


BumpShox 3.0 - Front Car Bumper Protection, Ultimate Front Bumper Guard. Front Bumper Protection License Plate Frame. Tougher Than Steel !
BumpShox 3.0 - Front Car Bumper Protection, Ultimate Front Bumper Guard. Front Bumper Protection License Plate Frame. Tougher Than Steel !
Offered by EuroBumperGuard
Price: $29.95

5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent protection. Was able to paint it to match my car's color, June 24, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Parking in NYC is best described as "park by braile". You back up into a spot until you hit something and then move forward until you hit something. Repeat until you are wedged tightly in place. I recently traded in a car that had been through the parking grinder for years and I wanted better for my shiny new car. I purchased the BumpShox with a rear Bumper Bully. To be honest I was a little turned off with the highly visible white and red lettering on this product. I was looking for something a bit less Brooklyn in character. I purchased a can of spraypaint from automotivetouchup .com and in a few hours and three coats of paint had the BumpShox colored perfectly. I made the mistake of adding a few coats of clear coat. It wasn't necessary, and in fact ended up flaking off after a few days. The color underneath was fine.

In the meantime, I have been VERY happy with the protection offered by this guard. I don't have a single scratch on my front bumper, despite parking in some areas where I have most certainly been bumped.

A review or two mentioned problems with normal license plate screws being too short. I didn't have a problem as this came from Amazon with 4 screws taht were the perfect size for installing this.

This product is great and I highly recommend it.


Five Star Customizable Binder with Removable Fixture, 1-Inch, Black (72977)
Five Star Customizable Binder with Removable Fixture, 1-Inch, Black (72977)
Price: $15.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Configurable to meet a range of needs, June 24, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
All binders that I have owned over the last 30 years have a few things in common - a 3-ring binder for loose leaf paper, some pockets and a loop or two for pens. This binder takes a different approach. First, I decided that I don't really use loose leaf. It was only held on with velcro, and while the velcro held it firmly in place for day to day use, there was no effort required to intentionally remove it.

In went a legal pad which works much better for me.

I never travel without my iPad Air. Lo and behold there was a pocket that easily held it. It was big enough for my wife's iPad 2.

Business cards, a few pens, a small USB recharging cable and a few other little nick-nacks later and I had a self-contained portfolio with everything I need throughout the day.

Customizable devices are all around us lately, and this binder is an excellent example of its benefits.


Anolon Tri-Ply Clad Stainless Steel 17-Inch by 12-1/2-Inch Large Rectangular Roaster with Nonstick Rack
Anolon Tri-Ply Clad Stainless Steel 17-Inch by 12-1/2-Inch Large Rectangular Roaster with Nonstick Rack
Price: $74.78
8 used & new from $54.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sturdy, attractive and all around workhorse, June 19, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This pan comes out of the box looking almost like some sort of alien technology. It is polished to a mirror shine, is designed with nice curves and will look awesome on your table with a perfectly roasted turkey or roast beef. All of the roasting pans I used before were either decades old and covered with the baked on remnants of a thousand family meals, or were non-stick contraptions with gray surfaces. This pan is fundamentally different.

In fact, my problem with this pan is that it looks too good. I was afraid of messing it up and it took me a long time to meticulously scrub it with Bon Ami after using it to cook a small turkey, a roast beef and a duck (not together of course).

For aspiring Martha Stewart's there is an easy fix. Roast your meats in a beat-up roasting pan, transfer the fully-cooked meat to this pan before serving and then enter the dining room with this pan in perfect shape. If you're a little less fussy, lining the inside with heavy aluminum foil prior to roasting will make your clean up much easier.


The Hard Thing About Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers
The Hard Thing About Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers
by Ben Horowitz
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $20.45
72 used & new from $13.02

5.0 out of 5 stars Essential for those in the start-up world. Important for those in business management, June 19, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Ben Horowitz gives us an open view into his personal business experience, allowing us to see. through his eyes, the bad decisions along with the good, those times when luck made all the difference, and the principles by which he governs today. Ben Horowitz is seen by many as being the next thing to divine. He doesn't seem to have internalized that adoration, and steps way out on a limb to describe how much of his success was based on getting the right people for the critical positions at crunch time.

I have been reading this book with a highlighter at my side - something I have not done since grad school. There are nuggets of hard-earned wisdom spread throughout and I will probably end up re-reading the book a couple of more times. I have passed out two copies of this book to managers in my company and expect to have many follow-up discussions.

I would recommend this book to anyone interested in a life in the start-up community. It not only tells you about some of the pitfalls you should avoid, but gives you insight into the minds of those people who fund many of the successful, and unsuccessful, start-ups.


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