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OneTouch Blood Glucose Monitoring System 1 monitor
OneTouch Blood Glucose Monitoring System 1 monitor
Offered by bway_baby
Price: $9.95
23 used & new from $8.96

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Important information, April 2, 2014
Product: OneTouch VerioIQ Blood Glucose Meter
Rating: 3 of 5 (average)

First, the important information: see the recall alert, listed under "CONS" below. As for my review: this seems to be a decent, reasonably accurate unit. Read on, for the pros and cons.

PROS:

* Display: The chief attraction of this unit is a brightly lit, easy to read, colorful display ... much better than other models with hard to read LCD displays. The unit also features pattern alert notices, whereby if the machine detects a significant change in your glucose patterns lasting several days (i.e., a high or low trend), it will alert you.

* Accuracy: I've found the unit to be reasonably accurate. Some people have raised flags on this point, but I've found that using test strips that are either expired or have been stored improperly can be the cause. The kit comes with a small bottle of test solution (something most people ignore or throw away), which if read out of range is cause for replacing your test strips with a fresher batch.

CONS:

* RECALL (-1/2 star): Units manufactured from December 14, 2011 through March 7, 2013 are subject to a recall. To receive a free replacement, call LifeScan Customer Service at 1-800-717-0276 to verify your OneTouch Verio IQ Meter Serial Number. The reason for the recall is the unit shuts off at extreme glucose levels instead of displaying the intended "EXTREME HIGH GLUCOSE above 600 mg/dL" warning. Hmmm, that's not very helpful in a life threatening situation where permanent eye and kidney damage are starting to occur.

* BATTERY (-1/2 star): This unit has a sealed internal battery that isn't replaceable, and is also rather weak. Even unused it will go dead in a mere 2-3 weeks, and because it lacks non-volatile memory (NVM) you'll lose your entire glucose history (tip: keep a manual copy somewhere). IMNSHO, the unit should be redesigned to add NVM, and replace its proprietary internal battery with something over the counter that's replaceable and rechargeable (ex: AAA Eneloop, with 1+ yr standby time).

* PLUG/INTERFACE (-1 star): This model uses a proprietary plug instead of an industry standard micro-USB. That means you have to add yet another unlabeled plug-adaptor to your power strip, and the unit can't talk to your PC. Can you say 'Obsolete technology' ?

Verdict: It's bright and easy to read, and reasonably accurate, but it's got a weak proprietary battery with poor standby time, it forgets your history if it runs out of juice, and it can't talk to your PC. This unit is fine as long as you keep it charged and dont mind keeping a handwritten backup log, but if you want a unit that less forgetful and can talk to your PC, look elsewhere.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jul 23, 2014 6:19 AM PDT


UCO Stormproof Match Kit with Waterproof Case, 25 Stormproof Matches and 3 Strikers - Yellow
UCO Stormproof Match Kit with Waterproof Case, 25 Stormproof Matches and 3 Strikers - Yellow
Offered by ACME APPROVED
Price: $6.50
51 used & new from $1.75

4.0 out of 5 stars Great product, excellent value, March 14, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Product: UCO Stormproof Match Kit with Waterproof Case (25 matches + 3 strikers)
Rating: 4.5/5 (excellent)

This is a well designed product and a good value for its price.

Likes:

* Case: It's sturdy, waterproof, visually loud for easy identification, reasonably crush proof and shock proof, and has a well integrated external slot for holding one of the replaceable strikers (which work with both waterproof and regular matches).

* Matches: There are 26, and they work very well indeed - windproof, submersion proof, you name it. Well made, and reliable. A cotton ball is included in the cap, to prevent the matches from rattling around.

Cons:

* Striker (-1/2 star): Sadly, although three replaceable strikers are provided, unlike the matches they are not waterproof, and become useless if wet. They're also not very durable, even if kept dry. A set of sturdier water resistant strikers would be a welcome upgrade, as would an alternate fire starting option (ex: a sturdy flint integrated into the base, and a tube with a steel striker).

* Pocketability: This is a very minor nit (no stars), but the case, although waterproof and well designed, is a little bulky. It'd be nice if it fit as comfortably in one's pocket as it fits in a backpack, box or desk drawer.

Highly recommended. I bought two of them: one for a household emergency kit, and a spare for portable casual use (I replaced the waterproof matches with non-waterproof 2 1/4" diamond "greenlight" matches).


0.5 W Fail-Safe Long Range FM Transmitter - FS CZH-05B - Newly Revised: Dual Mode now with RCA Inputs
0.5 W Fail-Safe Long Range FM Transmitter - FS CZH-05B - Newly Revised: Dual Mode now with RCA Inputs
Offered by F-S Electronics
Price: $84.99
2 used & new from $79.99

0 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Noisy, Unreliable and Increasingly Obsolete, March 13, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Product: 0.5 W Fail-Safe Long Range FM Transmitter - FS CZH-05B
Rating: 3/5 (mediocre)

I purchased this product from Amazon back in Aug 2012. I'd purchased it, like others here on Amazon have, in order to have some semblance of whole-house stereo connectivity, using my PC's very extensive MP3 library (30+ gb) to wirelessly send FM music across the house, and out to our detached garage.

No such luck.

Living as I do in a well populated suburb, the FM dial in my area is crowded with MANY competing radio stations, as well as a lot of noise and multiplath between signals, leaving little in the way of noise-free gaps to reserve for household use. The "dual-mode power" that this unit ballyhoos gave me some hope of being able to get around that problem, but in my case neither the low power nor the technically illegal higher power setting were able to give me a consistently clean signal a mere two rooms away, much less to my detached garage. In addition, the antenna connection used an exceedingly poor design, and routinely flopped over, yeilding an unreliable connection. Add in the lack of robust/intelligent noise filtering, and you have a product that only works in extremely limited and simplistic situations.

I was so turned off by the poor performance that I packed the entire unit up and disposed of it. In my case, it was not worth the time consuming tediousness of an RMA replacement or refund with a 3rd party vendor. I was generous and gave this unit 3 stars, even though the bad antenna should have downgraded it to, at most, 2 stars.

Bottom line: The decision to use FCC-regulated overutilized and noisy FM as the basis for a whole-house music routing system was a mediocre design decision that will likely only work well in low-density locales where there is ample dead space on the dial, and little in the way of range needs. I'm sure the product will work adequately for some, but for many others (like me) it will be a mediocre or downright poor interim setup that you will promptly begin looking to replace/upgrade. WiFi and/or Bluetooth linkage (which can be linked to your pc or smartphone) is a newer and better design that is only just now proliferating into the market place, and it (or whatever comes shortly after it) will render interim tech like this increasingly obsolete. Save your money.

------

UPDATE 2014: This product has been revised to add RCA plugs (also obsolete) and a better antenna connection. The latter was actually a modest improvement, but it did nothing to address the central flaw of trying to use a weak FM transmitter, sans robust noise-filtering, in a noisy FM environment, when better technologies are already in the process of replacing same. Again, save your money.

UPDATE 2014 (more): PROBLEM SOLVED ... I've since purchased an LG 500w Bluetooth Mini System (model CM4530) from bestbuy, for use in my living room. I was successfully able to copy my entire 30+gb music library onto my Android smart phone, and I'm now able to stream it directly to my stereo using Bluetooth. I can also use my smartphone's WiFi/internet to connect to any radio station in the world that has a website with a live steaming link and play their station in my living room, STATIC FREE. My friends and family can do the same with their laptops and smart phones too. At last, static free music from anywhere in the world, straight to any bluetooth compatable stereo, speakers or headphones, via my smartphone. All I have to do is pair the device and keep my phone within 20 feet ... not a whole house solution, but a viable solution to tide my household over until the technology convergence completes over the next few years.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 21, 2014 9:48 PM PDT


No Title Available

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Also good for Pipes & Cigars, March 11, 2014
Product: Diamond "GreenLight" Strike-on-Box Matches (300 ct)
Rating: 4.5/5 (excellent)

These are pretty much all you could want in an inexpensive all purpose strike-on-box wooden match.

Pros:

* LENGTH: They're 20-40% longer than many other leading box matches (2 1/4" vs 1 5/8"), which makes them great for all purpose indoor use.
* THICKNESS: Above average, for less curling and breaking during striking and burning, and a more even rate of burn.
* BURN TIME: The extra length and thickness provides just enough time for a proper 'toasting' light on a cigar (or a double-char on a fresh pipe of tobacco) without crowding your fingers and necessitating a hasty drop.
* STRIKERS: The box has not one but two ample and reasonably durable striker panels that light easily & reliably and can stand up to lighting all 300 matches within (if kept dry).
* MADE IN USA: Say what you will, but a brand that's been commercially successful for 130+ years is doing something right.
* PRICE: Although a bit overpriced here on Amazon, they can be had for a mere $0.99/box (300ct) at Target.

Cons:

* Strikers: Although noticeably better than most in size, redundancy and durability, they're vulnerable to humidity, and as a result must be stored indoors rather than in an unheated garage or shed. Strikers with a modicrum of water resistance would be a welcome upgrade, even if it increases the cost.

Recommended.

--------------

UPDATE: I recently bought a "UCO Stormproof Match Kit", and refilled it with diamond greenlight matches (and a cotton ball, to keep them from rattling), for portable use (charcoal grilling, cigars, pipes, etc). The UCO kit is crushproof and waterproof, and permits a nice upgrade over too-small and easily squished box matches.


Belkin Pivot Wall Mount Surge Protector with 6 Outlets
Belkin Pivot Wall Mount Surge Protector with 6 Outlets
Price: Click here to see our price
114 used & new from $13.34

2.0 out of 5 stars What you need to know, March 10, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Item: "Belkin Pivot Wall Mount Surge Protector with 6 Outlets"
Rating: 2/5 (below average)

This unit has some advantages and disadvantages over an ordinary (non-surge protected) 6-way outlet tap.

PROS:

> Surge Protection: The only positive thing I can say about this unit is that it has a surge protector.

CONS:

> Vertically Offcenter: The wall plug on the back of the unit is too close to the top of the unit, causing the unit to 'hang low' and not fully cover (by 3/4") the wallplate of the outlet it plugs into, resulting in a cluttered appearance. Well designed wall taps are properly vertically centered, so that you can remove the old outlet cover and securely screw the unit into the wall, and fully cover it. No such luck here ... if you remove the old cover and screw this unit in, it leaves part of the ugly opening in the wall exposed, and if you leave the old outlet cover inplace not only does it leave part of that exposed but you cant screw it in to secure it because the screw isn't long enough to allow the old cover to remain underneath.

> Backwards Taps: It would have been more intelligent if the ground plugs in the outlets faced inwards instead of outwards, in order to accomodate the oblong transformer plugs typical of things like cellphones. Facing backwards as they do, such things cannot be rotated flush, which defeats the purpose of the pivoting flush design.

> Unbalanced Loading: Well designed wall taps divide the load of all six outlets between both of the wall outlet taps - three go to top, and the other three go to the bottom. This unit has all six of its outlets connected to only the topmost tap, and the bottom tap is unused. If you live in an older house with old paper-coated wiring and/or old rickety outlets, this could be a potential issue, if you regularly run the outlet close to its max load.

> Pivots: I fail to see why they thought that pivoting outlets would be an advantage over the simpler, cheaper, and more foolproof method of simply having the outlets face sideways, like a normal transverse wall tap. IMHO, it's little more than a questionable gimmick to differentiate their product from competitors.

> Aesthetics: In addition to the offcentering issue mentioned above, the designers appear to be under the miguided impression that people actually WANT to stare lovingly at their product. Reality check. IMHO a good wall tap is NOT supposed to draw the eye - quite the opposite ... if it's hidden nobody cares, but if it's in an exposed location then it should be as visually unobrusive and uncluttered looking as possible. Instead of two tone colors, pivots, and blinking LEDs that scream "LOOK AT ME !!", a good wall tap should try to blend into the wall, and preferrably match the light neutral color typical of trim/baseboards.

Bottom line: Although functionally adequate, this unit has 'issues' with ergonomics and aesthetics that left me wishing I'd bought something else. If this unit had properly centered and electrically balanced taps, transverse non-pivoting outlets, and came in white or tan, I'd have given it 4 or 5 stars, but as is I can only give it two. Save your money.


Contigo Autoseal West Loop Stainless Steel Travel Mug with Open-Access Lid (Discontinued by Manufacturer)
Contigo Autoseal West Loop Stainless Steel Travel Mug with Open-Access Lid (Discontinued by Manufacturer)
Price: $18.20
13 used & new from $16.38

4.0 out of 5 stars Good thermal mug w/minor caveats, January 13, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Product: Contigo AUTOSEAL West Loop Stainless Steel 20-Ounce Travel Mug
Rating: 4 / 5 (excellent)

Likes:

* Spillproof: It's true - this mug is reasonably spillproof. The first thing I did straight out of the box (after a brief wash) was to fill it with a hot beverage (in this case some freshly brewed hot organic 'gunpowder' green tea), seal it, let it stand for half a minute (to let it heat the air in the headspace), burped it, then turned it upside down ... nadda. No leaks. Not bad. I wouldn't try that with a carbonated beverage however ... that's just asking for trouble.

* Ergo Grip: The metal body of the mug is smooth burnished stainless steel that narrows slightly in the middle and then flares back out again slightly towards the dark twist-on drinking cap. The barrel is a bit slippery and seems designed to be held by pinching the cap firmly between one's thumb (just below the drinking lip) and your middle and/or index fingers (which grip the back of the cap and depress the liquid release button) ... your other fingers splay out along the upper back of the barrel and dont really require pressure until your bring the mug to your lips and tilt to drink, at which point your second and third fingers manage the flow of your beverage, and your ring and pinky fingers provide additional stability. It's a well thought out design that works well.

* Solid construction: The stainless steel provides a nice stain-free interior and exterior gripping and drinking surface that's much more durable, easy to clean, and proof against flavor contamination than plastics and aluminum. The twist on cap mechanism seems well designed, fairly durable and dish-washer friendly - although it remains to be seen how it stands up to extended use with a variety of liquids. Thankfully, the cost to replace the entire mug is low enough that anything over half a year could be considered an excellent investment ... and it will probably last quite a bit more than that.

* Thermal Retention: Since it uses a full vaccum sandwich construction, the thermal retention on this is well above average, and represents a good value for its price point.

Minor nits:

* Height: The 20 oz mug is fully 9" tall, rendering it slightly tippy in less snug cup holders or atop slightly cluttered surfaces. A very minor nit to be sure, but not insignificant for those with older vehicles or less tidy environs. When I re-order, I'll definitely step down from the 20 to the 16 oz model.

* Size: I wish this mug came in a 12 oz size, so that it could could be used for hot beverages served in smaller portions ... things like hot sake, hot mulled wine, or hot buttered rum (all of which would benefit mightily from some space-age heat retention on a cold night). As of this writing, the mug is only available in 16 or 20 fl oz sizes.

* Flow rate: Even fully depressed, this mug dispenses at a fairly slow rate - I wish they'd tweak the design to add some adjustability (both up and down) to the flow rate.

* Thermal Retention: My nit here is not with the design per se, but rather with some of the unrealistic claims and expectations that abound. People need to keep in mind that all the claims about 4-6+ hours of thermal retention are based on leaving a FULL mug undisturbed (not drunk from) for most of that time frame, which is not entirely realistic. In a normal use situation (ex: a 1 hour commute with periodic sips every few minutes) actual 'good'
performance means that the dregs of your beverage will still be about midway between where it started and ambient temperature at the end of your commute. The reason is simple physics - every sip you take is replaced by an equal volume of ambient air, whose temperature is then slowly averaged with that of the remaining liquid during the time until your next sip ... repeat multiple times during that hour-long commute and the result is an unavoidable series of slow temperature steps (towards ambient) until you finish your beverage or reach ambient temperature, whichever comes first. The fact that this container is able to effectively limit direct conduction (from its sides) means that that temperature drift is slow enough that your drink will still be within a reasonable range of where it started from after an hour, instead of nosediving to ambient in short order. That's still FAR above average, but it does shine a light on some of the overstated claims that abound. As long as your expectations are realistic, you'll be happy with this mug's performance.

Bottom line: a great product that I'm sure will continue to improve. Recommended.

------------

BTW, remember than anytime you use a sealed container for drinking, you're always sacrifing aroma for temperature retention, so save your gourmet coffee (if you have one) for your smaller in-home open top ceramic mugs, and only use mid-shelf or economy blends in travel mugs like this one.


Magnetic Memo Note Pads, Seasonal Monthly Themes, Lot of 12 (1 Complete Year)
Magnetic Memo Note Pads, Seasonal Monthly Themes, Lot of 12 (1 Complete Year)
Offered by Court House Supplies
Price: $19.98
5 used & new from $12.22

3.0 out of 5 stars Decent magnets & paper, but poorly glued., January 13, 2014
Product: Magnetic Memo Note Pads, Seasonal Monthly Themes (12 pads, 35 sheets ea, 3.5x8")
Mfr: [...]
Rating: 3.5 / 5 (above average)

I've been in the habit of using magnetic memo pads on my fridge for several decades {a habit I intend to finally phase out soon, now that camera phones finally have large enough screens with good enough cameras & touch controls to manage such things paperlessly). In that time, I've tried, or been gifted with, innumerable brands committing every imaginable sin of poor design you can think of. I would rate this particular product as somewhat above average.

Pros:

* Magnets: Unlike many brands, these feature full width magnet strips that are large enough, glued securely enough, and have enough grip to hold their pads to a magnetic-friendly surface without sliding too easily or dropping off if you glance at them cross-eyed.

* Paper: The paper is neither too thick, nor (more commonly) too thin for its intended use. Note paper, by definition, needs to be able to tolerate pens and pencils without puncturing or bleeding too easily, and needs to be sturdy enough to endure repeated folding and unfolding, stuffing and un-stuffing, from one's pockets ... without disappearing or disintegrating, and to do so without crumpling nor being too bulky. The paper in these seems to be resilient enough, and easily withstood 10 bi-directional knife-edge folds on a single crease before showing signs of splitting (pretty good).

* Art: As with most kitchen decor, my preference in fridge pads is that they should be homey, but not overly distracting, and the color of the note-taking area shouldn't be so dark or visually cluttered with patterns that it competes with your list writing (a cardinal sin). The pads for march and august ran slightly afoul of this problem, but not excessively enough to lose points. So far so good.

* Value: For the price, this is a decent value, provided that it includes free shipping.

Cons:

* Glue Top: (-1 star) My chief complaint with this product are the weakly glued tops. These sheets detach too easily, sometimes several at a time, and can too easily slough off enmass (the entire pad) from their cardboard backing if handled too roughly. A better glued top, with or without a perforated tear point, would have been a welcome upgrade, and would have moved these into 4 star (excellent) territory.

* Magnet Location: (- 1/2 star) My only other nit is with the otherwise above-average magnets - my batch exhibited some annoying positional flaws. First, many of the magnets in my box were misaligned to one side or the other by as much as a quarter inch (some overhung one side by as much as 1/8"). Secondly, all the magnets were fully flush with the tops of their pads, which prevents people from using the easiest and most common work around for poorly glued pads ... a single staple though the top center of the pad. You can still do that, but for these you need a heavy duty lever action ream stapler that can handle 35 sheets plus the magnetic strip without choking (tip: staple from the back side, directly though the magnet, then use the heel of an ice pick to bend over the sharp points on the front, and periodically re-flatten as the pads get thinner).

Despite both flaws, I'd still rate these as decidedly above average.


SanDisk Ultra 64GB MicroSDXC Class 10 UHS Memory Card Speed Up To 30MB/s With Adapter, Frustration-Free Packaging - SDSDQU-064G-AFFP-A [Old Version]
SanDisk Ultra 64GB MicroSDXC Class 10 UHS Memory Card Speed Up To 30MB/s With Adapter, Frustration-Free Packaging - SDSDQU-064G-AFFP-A [Old Version]
Price: $33.99
28 used & new from $31.61

5.0 out of 5 stars Perfect for Galaxy S3, January 2, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Product: SanDisk Ultra 64 GB microSDXC Class 10 UHS-1 Memory Card 30MB/s with Adapter SDSDQU-064G-AFFP-A
Rating: 5/5 (Excellent)

People buy MicroSD cards with 4 primary criteria in mind: (1) Storage Capacity, (2) Price, (3) Reliability/Compatibility/Availability, and (4) Speed. When I bought the u64 back in Feb 2013 (not long after its release) it was the largest and fastest MicroSD available at the time, and it weighed in at a good price and backed up by SanDisk reputation.

For me, and my Galaxy S3 {SCH-i535, currently with Android 4.3} this card has been a delightful slam dunk on all four counts. I was reminded of this today when I slammed 30+gb of MP3's from my PC onto my S3's card. The card handled the massive data dump with grace and aplomb, and I'm now able to use my phone to wirelessly stream my entire music library to my new bluetooth-compatible bookshelf stereo.

Color me very satisfied.


Friedrich KWCFM carbon filters - 3 pack for Kuhl and Kuhl+ series - M chassis models
Friedrich KWCFM carbon filters - 3 pack for Kuhl and Kuhl+ series - M chassis models
Price: $15.99
3 used & new from $15.99

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Nice upgrade over factory default, June 16, 2013
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Product: Friedrich KWCFM carbon filters - 3 pack for Kuhl and Kuhl+ series - M chassis models
Rating: 5/5 (excellent)

I got these to upgrade the no-frills foam screen filter, which does nothing but keep out the largest particles of hair and airborne dust.

Likes:
* Much better filtration - comparable to the outer prefilter wrap of a typical HEPA filter. The finer mesh captures much finer particulate than the porous default foam sponge screen, and the activated charcoal helps attract and trap a modest percentage of other fine particulates and a modest amount of odors too.
* Can be easily cut down to fit smaller units, or to fit other applications (ex: microwave oven air intake ports, garbage pail odor eaters, etc.).
* Reasonable value.

Nits:

* The one minor advantage of the old foam filter was that it could be rinsed and reused, whereas this cannot and is intended to be disposable and replaced on a regular basis. Its not so much a nit as identifying a trade-off ... for better filtration you need disposable filters, instead of something reusable.

Recommended.


No Title Available

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Exactly what I wanted, June 12, 2013
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Product: Norpro Ornate Wood Toothpicks, 360-Pack
Rating: 4/5 (excellent)

Over the years, I've had a fair amount of experience in both bartending and catering, and these were exactly the kind of quality toothpicks I've been looking for, but which are surprisingly hard to find. Yes, there are fancier picks out there, but these are more than adequate for most kitchen, catering and bartending uses.

Likes:

* Construction: These are sturdy, uniform, attractive, round (turned), one-ended (read: cocktail style) wooden toothpicks. They're smooth, splinter free (very few defects), food safe, and (unlike plastic/treated picks) they're Oven/BBQ friendly. Their one-ended design makes them ideal for spearing garnishes, because there's no chance of poking yourself when taking one out of its container.

* Good value: 360 is a good value for the price I paid.

Dislikes:

* This is a very minor nit, but I wish the plastic container were a little sturdier.

Recommended.


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