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Customer Reviews: 309
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Robert Stone RSS Feed (Midwest / Ohio)
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Speck Products CandyShell Card Case for iPhone 6 - Black/Slate Grey
Speck Products CandyShell Card Case for iPhone 6 - Black/Slate Grey
Price: $39.95

4.0 out of 5 stars Nice Case, October 16, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Got this while awaiting a waterproof case and with the idea that I'll use this to hold business cards as well - without realizing that credit cards are just a bit smaller than business cards. So much for my powers of observation. Anyway, after a couple weeks of use the case is holding up well with no scratches - but must note has been in a shirt pocket. Case fits well and allows full access to ports and buttons. Camera function without problems.

Overall, recommended.


Olympus TG-3 Waterproof 16 MP Digital Camera (Red)
Olympus TG-3 Waterproof 16 MP Digital Camera (Red)
Offered by Willoughby's Established 1898
Price: $425.00
5 used & new from $324.00

5.0 out of 5 stars Great Camera; Minor Quibbles, October 5, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I purchased this a couple months ago and have finally put it though its paces enough to write a review. I've been very impressed. For background, I'm an aspiring amateur photographer committed to the Canon line - once heavily invested in glass there is no going back - and I love my 5D mark III. I had previously used a Canon D10 as my waterproof go-to camera when visiting water parks, for beach vacations, and when inclement weather precludes my bringing my full size DSLR. That camera, the D10, preformed very well in full daylight but suffered terribly in darker conditions. A recent trip with family to a Great Wolf Lodge served as illustration of this - pictures during the day turned out okay but once the sun went down the indoor lights were not sufficient illumination to get good shots. My brother in law had purchased a Fuji camera right before the trip and his pictures looked a lot better than mine so I decided to upgrade. I looked first at Canon's offerings (of course) and found them lacking. Although there have been two "upgrades" since my D10 was made the sensor / sensitivity is really no better. Nikon, Fuji and others have made significant advances in waterproof cameras and I'm sorry to say that Canon has fallen behind.

After a lot of research regarding best low-light capability and overall quality, I decided on this Olympus and I'm glad I did. The camera is well made feels solid. The centered sensor (where it ought to be!) was a major plus. On my iPhone I still often block the near-the-edge sensor (and feel really stupid when I do). Doors appear to seal tightly and have a secondary lock mechanism. They don't feel quite as solid as my D10, however. I've now used it through two camping weekends this last one with odd sleet and rain in October and it has done well. The controls are easy to use and the most important thing - picture quality (PQ) is great.

A few minor quibbles: 1. Watertight doors are not as solid feeling as on the Canon D10. 2. The mode selector dial sticks out and when in a pocket it usually comes back out on a different setting. 3. I would love a shutter priority mode rather than just aperture priority (dare I ask for full manual?) and the implementation of the aperture priority is clunky.

Overall, I highly recommend this unit at 5 stars as the above minor issues don't subtract enough to dock it a star. For me, PQ is always the main thing and this camera delivers.


Forney 306 MIG Welder 130FI-A Flux Core Gas/No Gas, 120-Volt, 130-Amp
Forney 306 MIG Welder 130FI-A Flux Core Gas/No Gas, 120-Volt, 130-Amp
Price: $411.17
8 used & new from $350.00

4.0 out of 5 stars Well Made / Easy Setup for Newbie, October 5, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I'm a pretty adventurous sort of person who likes to try new things for home upkeep and repair and so when this became available I thought it looked like a fun challenge. There have certainly been many things around our house over the years which have broken - and been discarded - for lack of ability to do a quick weld.

The unit is solidly built with good build quality. Setup in terms of installing the handle on the top and feet on the unit as well as assembling the included face shield was easy. Installing the included wire took a few minutes while getting to know how the unit works in terms of the wire feed mechanism. Next time I suspect change of wire will take about 30 seconds.

The instructions are clear and as with most things become clearer after spending some time with the unit. I'm glad I realized that at least for the wire included with my unit that I was not supplied with the correct welding tip. The wire is 0.035 and the tips included were 23, 30, and 40. Although the wire fits through the 40 tip there is a tiny amount of wiggle room and I assume it should be absolutely flush. I therefore plan to purchase a 35 tip before I can use the unit. Please comment below if I'm wrong as noted I'm a newbie on this. I also plan to get some formal welding gloves and better body protection as well and I'll update this review once I've actually done some welding. BTW there are a number of great YouTube videos for aspiring welders and watching several of them is the only reason that I would consider trying something which would otherwise be quite risky for someone with no welding experience or mentor. (I'll ask my wife update the review if I don't survive my initial welding attempt - just kidding, as long as all safety precautions are followed I suspect welding will be as rewarding as many other once-new household upkeep activities)

Overall recommended but wish correct tip was included.


Minecraft Diamond Steve Action Figure
Minecraft Diamond Steve Action Figure
Offered by Exquisite Buys
Price: $11.56
91 used & new from $6.70

5.0 out of 5 stars "Fun" and "Awesome", September 24, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
The consensus of my 9 year old son and 11 year old daughter (both Minecraft players) is that this is a winner. In writing this review I simply asked them what they thought of the Steve figure and they did turn away from the computer long enough to say the words in my title. The action figure does seem well constructed and I was delighted to see it become available.

Overall, highly recommended for Minecraft fans.


Braun Ear Thermometer
Braun Ear Thermometer
Price: $42.97
21 used & new from $42.97

5.0 out of 5 stars Diagnosis: Professional Quality Thermometer, September 14, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
In my work as a primary care doctor, we use very similar hardware to check temperatures of patients daily. In fact I'll have to check but they may be this exact brand of unit. I've had many home type units in the past and they have varied in accuracy - taking 2 readings back to back which varied significantly but this one seems to yield repeatable results. We've (fortunately!) only tried it out a few times since getting it a few days ago - my daughter thought she might be a bit warm but the thermometer and her lack of getting sick over the subsequent few days were in agreement.

Overall, highly recommended and cough / cold / flu season is coming so this may well come in handy!


Kensington KeyFolio Thin X2 Bluetooth Keyboard Case for iPad Air (K97252US)
Kensington KeyFolio Thin X2 Bluetooth Keyboard Case for iPad Air (K97252US)
Price: Click here to see our price

5.0 out of 5 stars CHECK VERSION - No backlight on this one, September 14, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I selected this unit for my wife to use with her iPad Air and similar to other keyboards I have owned it was easy to pair though this one seems to be dependent on having the iPad mounted in the case before pairing. I initially tried to pair it with my iPad 3 just to try out the keyboard without success and as there were no instructions included with it I was on my own - finally consulting the Kensington site and downloading a manual for a similar model. The pairing key was what I expected in the upper right corner with arrows in both directions (made sense that was correct button!) and it works once the iPad is mounted and resting on the keyboard / attaches with magnets mounted there for Apple's cases. Though mine did not have directions (other than a black card showing how it folds) it did come with USB charger cord; some other reviewers noted missing both the cord and directions.

The keyboard is standard small size for an iPad and is comfortable and easy to use for medium to small hands, would not be so comfortable for those with large hands. Importantly, the one I got does NOT have backlit keyboard - a very nice feature which it looks like costs only 8 dollars more. It looks like currently Amazon is grouping reviews of the non-backlit X2 Bluetooth Keyboard with the backlit PLUS version. At least as of time of posting this review it is linked to the non-backlit one so be sure you check before you order to be sure you get what you want. It looks like the backlit one has a much bigger battery (which makes sense) and is therefore heavier so if you don't need backlight this is the one for you.

Overall, highly recommended nice and light (but non-lit ;-) keyboard which complements the iPad Air.


CAD Audio 1610 Wireless Microphone System
CAD Audio 1610 Wireless Microphone System
Price: $256.74
8 used & new from $256.74

5.0 out of 5 stars Nice Wireless Mic System / Poor Documentation, September 14, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Length:: 1:12 Mins

I confess to being a newbie when it comes to wireless mic systems, so those of you with experience would likely not have any problems with the documentation shortcomings of this unit. I am uploading an unboxing video to show what is in the box as that is not completely clear from the manual - which shows a large handheld microphone which at first I thought had accidentally not been included with my unit. Of course, this set has instead two microphones - a clip on and an over the ear type which I think are more useful for what I'll do with it. I plan to use it for public speaking primarily at Cub Scout events (such as the pinewood derby) - in the past it has been difficult to be heard over the din of 20-30 Cub Scouts; last year I tried to use a USB mic amplified through my MacBook Pro but the delay and feedback were not too pleasant. The sound quality of this unit is far superior and will serve us well for that event and others.

I consider myself pretty tech savvy (despite being a newbie at this particular type of tech) and of course tried to set it up without looking at the directions. During that process I noted the little IR sensor inside next to the batteries on the transmitter and also what I recognized as an IR LED on the front of the receiver unit. I did then give in and look at the directions which actually had me a bit more mixed up. The directions refer to pressing the "Set/Scan" button but no such button exists. I quickly figured out they meant the "Down/Pair" button and indeed that works and causes the display to flash. Then you simply line up the IR communication ports on the transmitter and receiver and they are linked. The positioning of the IR sensor on the transmitter under the battery door makes sense to avoid interference once it is set up but if you don't know it is there you could easily search for it as no where in the manual does it really tell you where it is. There is a sentence which says "While the receiver display is flashing hold the transmitter IR node in alignment with the receiver IR node within a distance of approximately 12 inches. The receiver will automatically set the transmitter channel. When the display stops flashing the system is "Scan-Link'd'" - although at least it does not appear to be a google translation it might as well be.

The microphones themselves are actually both quite good and should work well for public speaking as we will use them. I found the over the ear one surprisingly comfortable. Of course, you have to have somewhere for the signal to go - either an amplifier directly or via conversion. I ended up using an old tape deck with a phono plug mic input to convert to line audio which in turn goes through an old stereo amp and out to the speakers.

Overall recommended. I went back and forth between docking a star for the poor documentation but if you have read this review you know enough to set it up even if you are a newbie like me so I'll leave it at 5 stars as the final result (which is all that really matters) is good.


Wahoo Fitness TICKR RUN Motion Analytics Heart Rate Monitor for iPhone and Android
Wahoo Fitness TICKR RUN Motion Analytics Heart Rate Monitor for iPhone and Android
Price: $79.74
3 used & new from $65.00

5.0 out of 5 stars Easy Setup / Works Well, August 27, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I got this item to use with MapMyRide. A great feature which is not present on other straps I have had is the tiny LED light which confirms pickup / activation. I tried putting it on without wetting the leads and it lit up right away. If troubleshooting is ever needed in the future those lights will be very helpful! I set it up with the Wahoo utility which detected the BT signal immediately. Comparing palpated radial pulse with the readout it appears accurate. As I am using it mostly on bike I have not tried out the running features but I pan to take a short run (as much as my knees can take!) to try that out in the future for fun.

Overall, highly recommended


The Game Of Life Electronic Banking Game
The Game Of Life Electronic Banking Game
Price: $19.99
15 used & new from $15.39

3.0 out of 5 stars NOT Your Mamma's and Daddy's Life Game!, August 23, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Well, my kids (9 and 11) and I just spent 2.5 hours playing this game and comparing it to the classic game. A few weeks ago I happened to come across my original Life game from my childhood back in the 70s (yes the one with Art Linkletter's endorsement on it) and we played that. When this item became available I assumed it would be the same game but with some electronic aid which would allow banking to be done quickly - perhaps even speeding up gameplay. Well, I was wrong.

This is an entirely new game and although there are still little cars and pink and blue people to put in them that is almost where the similarities end. You select a career from the college or non college pile at the beginning of the game. This is programmed manually into the banking machine. Almost all spots on the board are black circle "action" spaces with no writing on them - you select a card and do what it says. A lot of these "acton" cards seem written to appeal to younger kids - you challenge another player to do a tap dance, both spin the wheel and whoever gets the highest number adds 50K to their total - stuff like that. Some are very silly like "You make a smoothie" and spin the wheel to see how smooth it is (and make money depending on that). Almost all the Action cards are positive - but there are a couple where you lose your career and have to return it to the career card pile and re-choose.

There is very little strategy in this version - in the old game choosing college over going directly to work made a big difference most of the time. Now much more is left to chance as the salary received is not much compared to basically "earning" 100K per turn by holding onto all the action cards (they are worth 100K each at the end). There are still "stop" spots on the board including one where you get married (no choice) and other spots where you do make choices at forks in the road but these choices have very little effect on money total at the end which is still how the winner is decided. One of the "forks in the road" features the opportunity to go to night school and change careers which I think is one of the most creative touches of this version.

The banking calculator works okay as a means of adding in your salary and manually adding (rarely subtracting) money based on action cards. It may be a little faster than using paper money; though for the rare cards which have money exchange between players it actually takes longer. It is operated by inserting one of the 4 cards into the bottom of the unit. Each card has a different "bump" pattern which the machine detects. It is essentially a calculator with four "memory" registers to keep track of the 4 players. I had envisioned a much more tech-heavy game with cards which the machine could process and a board which detected where you landed and automatically changed your total. In thinking about that it would certainly be possible but quite costly!

PROS:
May be more appealing to younger players with the silly action cards; gives kids chance to get up and dance rather than just sitting - not a bad thing.
There are several action cards that encourage discussion among family members - such as "You form a family band, what instrument would you each play?" (and pay 80K!)
Still has the little plastic cars and pink/blue people!

CONS:
Chance is the overriding factor, even more than the original game.
Vast majority of action cards don't reflect anything like real life situations. Not that the original was realistic, but in this game having kids costs nothing (wouldn't that be nice!), for example. Being paid $50K for a really smooth smoothie is another example.
There very few meaningful choices made by the player - no such thing as buying Auto, Life, Fire insurance or Stocks, for example. One of the "lessons" in the old game is that it pays to be insured, etc.
Interesting choice that everyone still gets married in this game - I think the classic game requires that as well but one might think with all the other updating they might have modified that. While I'm speculating on what might have been done perhaps the opportunity to even emphasize something other than money as a "winning currency" could have been made as long as they were changing so much about the game anyway. Oh well, maybe next version...

Overall the game is okay but my kids agree it pales in comparison to the original. We may actually try using the banking / calculator with the classic game!


Micra Digital 4-Pack Anti-Glare Screen Protector for iPhone 5 / 5S / 5c
Micra Digital 4-Pack Anti-Glare Screen Protector for iPhone 5 / 5S / 5c
Price: $9.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Works well, easy to apply, August 19, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I have applied protective covers to many iPhones and these work well. I had a screen protector a while back which although it reduced glare it also distorted the screen. This type does NOT do that - looking at the screen there is very little change after applying the film. Actually my wife (whose iPhone 5S this was used on) applied the film herself. She did it very quickly and there were some bubbles - I used a credit card and was able to get the bubbles out with a great final result.

Overall, highly recommended


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