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Michael Sandman RSS Feed (Brookline, MA United States)

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CMT 835.502.11 Rabbeting Set, 1/2-Inch Shank
CMT 835.502.11 Rabbeting Set, 1/2-Inch Shank
Price: $45.98
10 used & new from $38.00

4.0 out of 5 stars Quality cuts; somewhat complicated design. Save the instructions!, February 22, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This is a high quality rabbeting set for rabbets from 1/8" to 1/2" wide and up to 3/4" deep. It requires a router that can take bits that have a 1/2" diameter shaft, so you can't use this set in a trim router like the Bosch Colt palm router or the Dewalt 611. The set uses a moderately complicated design in order to ensure high quality cuts. And of course good cuts are what we're buying with a set like this, so despite my comments, I'm giving this 4 stars.

The large-diameter bearings (which are used to cut small rabbets) have larger inside diameters than the smaller bearings. For these larger sizes, you insert a reducer into the bearing so that it fits on the shaft of the cutter. There are 7 bearings in the set, and each of the four largest bearing requires its own reducer. Then there are three sizes of washers, depending on which bearing size you're using. There's a small leaflet enclosed with the set that shows clearly how to assemble the bit for each size. Don't lose that leaflet! (I scanned it and saved a PDF just in case.) The design seems to make sense, although the comparable Whiteside rabbeting set has a much simpler design, with all the bearings having the same ID. (However, the Whiteside set came with the set screw at the end of the shaft screwed in so tightly that I couldn't remove it, even with a long-shaft Allen wrench. Had to return it and ordered the CMT set instead).

The kit comes with and Allen wrench, two lengths of set screws and three sizes of washers. There's a spare for one size of set screw, but not the other, and a spare for one of the washers but not the other two. And there's one ridiculous thing: The bearings come stacked on a shaft so they can easily be stored together. There's a screw at the end of that storage shaft to hold them in place. But instead of using a set screw that accepts the included Allen wrench, CMT uses a Phillips head screw (and a different thread!). You need a small phillips screw driver because the Allen wrench included with the set obviously doesn't work with the Phillips head screw. That seems just plain stupid. But... like I said at the beginning, the quality of the cuts is what counts.


AYL StarLight - 300 Lumens Ultra Bright LED Lantern - The Perfect LED Lantern for Camping, Hiking or Any Type of Emergency - Battery Powered Ultra Long Lasting
AYL StarLight - 300 Lumens Ultra Bright LED Lantern - The Perfect LED Lantern for Camping, Hiking or Any Type of Emergency - Battery Powered Ultra Long Lasting

5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent replacement for your old camping lantern; useful in any home, February 4, 2015
Full disclosure: I received this at no charge with a request that I review it. And I agreed because I was ready to retire my ancient liquid-fueled Coleman lantern. The Ayl 330 is a solid light, almost 2 pounds and about 8 inches/20 cm tall, with a case that's made from what feels like a reasonable grade of engineering plastic. The switch feels rugged and it clicks positively. There's a metal lantern handle at the top and a plastic hook at the bottom so the lantern can be hung upside down. The switch toggles between two levels of brightness and a flash mode. On low, the bulb is sufficiently bright to light a tent for camping, or a 10 x 10 foot room. The clearly written, nicely printed instructions are explicit in telling you how to install batteries, and it's a bit tricky because of the moisture-proof design (as the instruction say). But there's a video you can watch on line to see how to do it, which is impressive. My only quibble is that the instructions also say you can twist off the top to remove the reflector cap to get a more focused light, but it must be on pretty tight, because I couldn't remove it without feeling like I might damage the lantern. Other than that, this appears to be a fully functional replacement for old-style gas-fueled Coleman-style lanterns, an dit will work well in any home if teh power goes out or when you need to explore the attic.


Arris TM822 (Series - TM822G) Touchstone® DOCSIS 3.0 8x4 Ultra-High Speed Telephony Modem
Arris TM822 (Series - TM822G) Touchstone® DOCSIS 3.0 8x4 Ultra-High Speed Telephony Modem
Offered by ITS SUPPLY
Price: $139.98
31 used & new from $75.95

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Like many others, January 16, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Like many others, I installed this to save ten dollars a month in Comcast rentals. The unit handles both INternet and telephone service (up to 2 phone lines). If you get this via Amazon Prime, it's not a "retail" package. It comes in a plain cardboard box, ready for installation by a cable company technician, but you can and should do it yourself. The package includes everything needed to replace an existing cable modem, or start new service, including a "patch" cable to connect it to either a computer or a router. It also came with a backup battery that keep phone service working if the power goes out. You need to call your cable provider to get the modem "provisioned" -- it has to be listed on your account.

A number of reviews mention that it was necessary to call Comcast several times to get to a technician who knew how to provision the modem. I called the number Comcast has for people to self-install modems that Comcast supplies -- 1-855-652-3446. That got me to a customer service rep (in Manila, Philippines) who knew exactly what she was doing. She had the modem set up and working in maybe 8 minutes. She made sure that I had dial tone and then called me on my Comcast landline to make sure I could receive a call. The customer support experience was excellent, so if you're a Comcast customer, call that activation line rather than 1-800-COMCAST.

I think you can buy a ready-to-install version of this modem in a retail package from Best Buy for about 30 percent more than it costs in for the package available on Amazon. But don't be afraid to go with the installer version. Just call the new equipment activation number for your cable company to get to someone who knows how to set up the modem.


Ambient Weather WS-04-2 Dual Zone Wireless Thermometer with Indoor and Outdoor Temperature (white)
Ambient Weather WS-04-2 Dual Zone Wireless Thermometer with Indoor and Outdoor Temperature (white)
Price: $19.99
3 used & new from $14.37

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Inexpensive; reasonably accurate; excellent customer support, January 14, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
We bought his to replace a 15-year old Brookstone digital indoor-outdoor thermometer. The price of the Ambient unit is about 1/3rd of what the Brookstone unit cost. This is a good little device, although it looks and feels low cost - almost but not quite "cheap." It comes with one outdoor sensor and two receivers you can place inside, within a reasonable distance of the outside sensor. With all three devices sitting next to each other on our kitchen counter, one read 73.9, one read 74.5 and one read 75.4, a 1.5-degree spread. Considering the cost and the purpose, that's accurate enough. We just want to know when we get up in the morning whether to wear an extra sweater in winter (in New England). If you need greater accuracy, Ambient makes units that have a calibration function. I mistakenly thought that the outdoor sensor was defective and called Ambient's customer support line. The call was answered quickly by a helpful and well-informed person, which is impressive for such a relatively inexpensive product.


TRENDnet Wireless N 150 Mbps Easy-N-Range Wall-Plug-in Universal Wi-Fi Network Range Extender Repeater, TEW-713RE
TRENDnet Wireless N 150 Mbps Easy-N-Range Wall-Plug-in Universal Wi-Fi Network Range Extender Repeater, TEW-713RE
Price: $20.43
57 used & new from $20.43

4.0 out of 5 stars Works well if its not too far from your router; follow the installation instr.!, January 6, 2015
This little gizmo strengthens your WiFi signal as you get toward the edge of your WiFi router's range. It works pretty well, but don't expect miracles. I installed mine in the living room, two rooms over from where the router is. Installation took 2 minutes, and it boosts the signal in the living room enough so that our iPhones etc. have stable connections, which they did not have before I installed the Trendnet.

There are several reviews here saying that the extender didn't work. Without casting any aspersions on the reviewers, I wonder if they all followed the instructions included with the unit. It seems odd to be putting step-by-step instructions into a review, but sometimes people read reviews more carefully than they read the instructions included by the manufacturer. So here are the instructions:

There are two ways to connect the unit. The simple way has four steps:
(1) Plug the unit into an outlet in the room where you want to strengthen the WiFi signal. An orange light should come on and stay on.
(2) Go to your router, find the little button labeled "WPS", and press and hold it for 5 or 6 seconds. Usually an LED will come on to tell you that the router is now hunting for a new device. (If there's no WPS button on your router, you have to follow the slightly more complex steps in the instructions.)
(3) Assuming you found and pressed the WPS button on the router, go back without delay to the TRENDnet unit and find the small WPS button on the left side. Press it and the orange light should turn to blinking green.
(4) Wait a couple of minutes - or maybe three, and the blinked green should turn to steady green. The TRENDnet extender should now be connected to your router.

If the light doesn't turn to steady green, you may be too far from your router. Find a closer outlet and try again. Or you might try connecting using the second, more complex way described in the instructions. Again, don't expect miracles. This extender won't pick up and boost a signal from 500 feet away, or even 50 if the signal is coming through walls. Sometimes (but not always), when you move from one room to another with a smartphone or tablet, the device will lose its connection to the router's WiFi for a moment and then pick up the connection to the TRENDnet extender. The transition takes maybe a minute.


TP-LINK TL-PA4010KIT AV500 Nano Powerline Adapter Starter Kit, up to 500Mbps
TP-LINK TL-PA4010KIT AV500 Nano Powerline Adapter Starter Kit, up to 500Mbps
Price: Click here to see our price
100 used & new from $25.65

5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent way to set up a Powerline connection for streaming video, etc.; setup may require an extra step, January 4, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Powerline adapters turn an ordinary 120 volt plug into a high-speed wire connection that is faster than WiFi, but you do have to use a standard patch cable (“Cat. 5 cable”) to connect the Powerline adapters to your computer or other Internet-enabled device (like a “smart” TV, etc.). You need two adapters to start – one to connect to your router and one that goes into an outlet near the computer or other device for which you want a wired. This starter kit makes sense; it includes two adapters and two 5-foot patch cables. You can buy longer patch cables if you need them.

This is the second time I’ve set up a Powerline connection. The first time was 2 years ago with Netgear adapters, which are more expensive and larger than the TP-Link units. The Netgear adapters connected to each other immediately. But at first, the TP-Link kit, the adapters didn’t connect properly, so I sent an email to TP-Link support. I got a clear, correct solution in less than 24 hours, so 5 stars for excellent support. The solution was to connect one adapter to the router and connect the second one to a nearby outlet in the same room to let the two adapters establish a link. Then I moved the second adapter to the room where I wanted the connection, and the link remained. Once connected, there’s a huge increase in speed vs. WiFi, which is wonderful for streaming video. Given the price, the small size, the throughput and the good tech support, this is an excellent way to set up a Powerline connection.


AYL 3-in-1 LED Vehicle Emergency Flashlight High-Lumen 100,000 Hour CREE Torch with Powerful MAGNETIZED BASE. Peace of Mind During Blackouts and Emergencies!
AYL 3-in-1 LED Vehicle Emergency Flashlight High-Lumen 100,000 Hour CREE Torch with Powerful MAGNETIZED BASE. Peace of Mind During Blackouts and Emergencies!
Offered by Accessorise Your Life
Price: $39.99
2 used & new from $19.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Versatile LED flashlight/warning light with a magnet base, December 22, 2014
Full disclosure: I received this as a free sample. OK, now that the formalities out of the way... this is a versatile 8 inch long, 1 inch diameter flashlight with three modes and a magnet at one end. Press the switch once and it's a standard flashlight, with a single, very bright LED. It's bright enough so that you won't want to look straight at it close up (and the instructions wisely tell you not to). Press again to turn on an array of 26 lowered-powered LEDs arranged in a rectangle along the length of the flashlight. They cast a wide beam that fills a dark room and lights a sidewalk or one-car-wide driveway easily. Press a third time and the LED array flashes red, along with a couple of LEDs on the collar of the flashlight. The magnet is strong enough so that you can set it against a car fender so that it's out horizontally and leave on red flash as a hazard light, or attach it to a metal post or door hinge and use the broad beam to illuminate some work outdoors. There's also a wrist strap. It takes three standard AAA batteries, LEDs draw relatively little power, so the batteries should last for many hours, although AA batteries would be better. It feels solid, with a knurled end that can be turned easily to open the battery compartment and a rubber O-ring to seal the batteries against moisture. I hesitated a bit to give this 5 stars only because I got it as a free sample, but it really is a clever device that does what it promises, and it seems to be well-made for the price.


Apple iPad Air 2 MGKL2LL/A (64GB, Wi-Fi, Space Gray) NEWEST VERSION
Apple iPad Air 2 MGKL2LL/A (64GB, Wi-Fi, Space Gray) NEWEST VERSION
Offered by E ZEE Electronics
Price: $586.49
67 used & new from $529.99

19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Step up from earlier iPads; get the 64 GB model, December 19, 2014
I use an iPad to read the daily newspaper, to read books, to browse the Internet; to read email... almost everything I'd use a laptop for.

I bought his to replace an iPad 2, which is 2-1/2 years old. (My daughter claimed it it.) I also got a Logitech Bluetooth keyboard so I could use it to take notes at meetings and write documents, so it's almost a full substitute for a laptop.

MS Office 365 runs on it, so it's possible to create Word documents, although moving them off the iPad to a PC is at least temporarily a bit of a hassle because of a bug in Office 365. You can't add Microsoft's cloud storage service, OneDrive to the iPad even though Microsoft says you should be able to. You can, however add DropBox.

The Air 2 is about 2/3rds the weight if the first & second generation iPads, so it's a more suitable book reader, and the processor is very clearly much faster. Apps open more quickly and everything seems to happen more smoothly than on the old iPad. (That may be due to the fact that Apple's iOS 8 doesn't run as well on older iPads as iOS 7 does). The "Retina" display is significantly clearer, especially for graphics and maps. There's less of a jump up in clarity for reading the paper or a book. The fingerprint reader works more reliably than the one in the iPhone 5-S. Battery life is about 10 hours of heavy use -- about the same as the older iPad. Despite the drop in weight, it doesn't feel fragile (but don't drop it...).

One other thing that's notable and highly commendable -- if you have an old iPad and you back it up to iTunes just before you plug the new one in, iTunes transfers everything -- apps, settings, the way you've arranged your icons, email passwords, the works. Put the old one down, pick up the new one and there doesn't seem to be anything you need to fix or change. That's a long way up from what you get when you move from an old PC or old version of Windows to a new one.

iPads are expensive compared to e-readers, but the iPad Air 2 does so much more -- really, almost everything you can due with a Surface or even a PC or MacBook Air.


Photive 25 Watt 5 Port USB Desktop Rapid Charger. Multiport USB Travel Charger for iPhone 6, 6 Plus, 5s 5c 5, iPad Air, iPad mini, Galaxy S5 S4, Note 3 2, the new HTC One (M8), Nexus and More
Photive 25 Watt 5 Port USB Desktop Rapid Charger. Multiport USB Travel Charger for iPhone 6, 6 Plus, 5s 5c 5, iPad Air, iPad mini, Galaxy S5 S4, Note 3 2, the new HTC One (M8), Nexus and More
Offered by Amazing Deals Online
Price: $15.95
12 used & new from $9.50

5.0 out of 5 stars 5 ports; plenty of power for multiple devices including tablets; feels solid, December 19, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
There are more than 1,000 devices listed on Amazon that can be used to charge cellphones, tablets and other devices that use a USB connection. Why chose this one?
* Most important, it can charge 5 devices at once and still provide each one with enough wattage for quick charging.
* It has a cord that plugs into a wall socket, so it doesn't hang precariously by a pair or prongs, and you can move it around on a counter or desk surface.
* It comes with a clear, well-written instruction leaflet and it's weighty for a device of this sort, both of which inspires confidence that it's not a piece of junk that will overcharge my phone/tablet/camera or burst into flames, something that one of my wall plugin devices did several years ago.
* You can use any port for any USB-connected device. (Mine did not come with the ports labeled like the photo, so the charger may have changed since the product photo was posted.)
I leave mine plugged into the wall in the corner of a counter, with four charging cords plugged into the ports - an Apple Lightning connector, an Apple 30-pin connector, a micro-USB connector for a couple of other devices, and a mini-USB connector for a couple of other devices. That leaves a spare port for whatever else comes along.


Bryant & May and the Bleeding Heart: A Peculiar Crimes Unit Mystery (Bryant & May series Book 11)
Bryant & May and the Bleeding Heart: A Peculiar Crimes Unit Mystery (Bryant & May series Book 11)
Offered by Random House LLC
Price: $10.99

5.0 out of 5 stars One part good British detective story, one part spoof, December 15, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
"The Bleeding Heart" is the 13th book in the series on London's (fictional) Peculiar Crimes Unit, but it's the first one I've read. I bought it because of a good review in the newspaper. It's the somewhat meandering story of how a series of murders are tied together, and in that regard it's much the same as many good crime novels. The plot gradually thickens, and watching it slowly congeal is entertaining, not boring. But what makes this book fun is the author's gift for dialog, including some wonderful tongue-in-cheek humor.

Examples: "Most of the time sin and ill fortune surrounded her...until she sometimes longed for the release that eternal sleep would bring. On other days she cheered up a bit and went to bingo." Or this line, spoken by the Chief Warder at the Tower of London regarding a theft at the Tower: "`Don't let anyone know... My head will be on the block if they're not found quickly.' It was an unfortunate turn of phrase, given the setting."

Or this exchange at midnight between a plump, sweating 60 year old funeral director and a constable, spoken in a night-darkened cemetery where the constable has noticed him digging up a grave: "`It's not how it looks', Ron Rummage began lamely... `How do you think it looks?' PC Briggs was intrigued to know. `I'm a funeral director,' said Rummage. [Constable:] `A bit late to be working, isn't it? Do you need the overtime?'"

When we're not being entertained by the dialog, there's the plot, which wanders, but not too far, between seemingly disconnected crimes. The lead detectives are the intelligent and apparently normal John May and his partner, the brilliant and completely wacky Arthur Bryant. Bryant is a little too wacky for my taste, even for an English detective story, and he consults some even more bizarre unofficial experts in his quest to understand the evidence he uncovers. He seems to know every crackpot in London; he has his own Rolodex of people who are refugees (or exiles) from "CSI: London." Thus he goes to a screwball former Bletchley Park cryptologist to crack a computer code. Bryant's circuitous logic sometimes seems a lot more circuitous than it needs to be to make the point that's he the opposite of a lineal thinker. And some of the secondary characters are drawn more as caricatures than as real people, although to be fair, I haven't read any of the previous 12 books, in which some of them may have been fleshed out more.

Despite these annoyances, the plot is entertaining and dialog makes this a delightful book, 1 part good detective story and 1 part spoof on good detective stories. I'm going to get more books from this series and learn more about the Peculiar Crimes Unit.


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