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William B Partridge "William B Partridge" RSS Feed (SEATTLE, WA)

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LEGO Bionicle Kopaka and Melum - Unity set 71311
LEGO Bionicle Kopaka and Melum - Unity set 71311
Price: $24.77
11 used & new from $24.77

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Kopaka is awesome but dragged down by Melum., January 6, 2016
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Bionicle is back for year 2 now. This year Lego is doing five creatures at $10, three toa (Lewa [jungle], Pohatu [stone], and Gali [water]) at $15, two toa (Tahu [fire] and Onua [earth]) for $20, and then this set featuring the Kopaka (Toa/uniter of ice) and Melum (creature of ice) for $25. Additionally there's a villain (Umarak) for $20.

The set itself is solid and it's a nice idea to showcase the theme to this year's sets: unification, wherein the creature attaches to the Toa's back to add feature like wings or armor. The problem comes down somewhat to value here, based on pricing and piece counts it seems Kopaka was intended to match with the other $15 Toa and Melum on par with the rest of the $10 creatures. Kopaka is arguably the nicest of the $15 toa and does a good job pulling his portion of the cost, the armor pieces are nice, he's posable, the sword is cool. I'd knock him a slight amount for the color scheme on some pieces, the dark blue arm plates don't fit in well and the golden parts to the leg armor are just out of place entirely.

Melum is a different story though. He's arguably the weakest of the creature sets and is also missing the shadow trap that the rest of the creatures come with. While not a clone of Terak (creature of earth) he's very similar and the limitations are there comparatively. The unified form of Kopaka and Melum is also kind of 'meh' at best so it feels an odd choice to showcase this pairing as the set when it would have been better left to something like Lewa [Toa of jungle] and Uxar [creature of jungle].

Overall I like Kopaka a lot, I just wish they'd either made Melum better or left him as a separate piece entirely. I understand the idea of wanting a complete set in the box but again it's not the best to showcase it, the jungle or water toa would have made a better pairing for sure. Kopaka is an incedibly solid figure (aside from color choices) but is ultimately let down by the mandatory bundling of the weaker Melum. Still, this shouldn't be enough to turn you off, Kopaka is almost worth the 'tax' of having to buy Melum, it's just something to consider. 5 stars for Kopaka, 3 for Melum (especially given the missing shadowtrap).


Roku 3 Streaming Media Player (4230R) with Voice Search (2015 model)
Roku 3 Streaming Media Player (4230R) with Voice Search (2015 model)
Price: $94.50
52 used & new from $75.00

304 of 332 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best streaming media player, April 8, 2015
With the recent refresh of the Roku 3 (4200 => 4230) Roku keeps what works and adds in voice search.

The new Roku 3 (4230)'s voice search works easy enough - just press the search button and speak what you're looking for. This search button does however replace the jump back/replay button. The functionality is a bit hit or miss - it seems overly finicky compared to voice search on Amazon Fire or even Android TV - but when it works the results seem better, showing across multiple service providers (Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, Vudu, etc) and not a select few. To be fair the hit/miss aspect seems more with Roku's search sometimes than voice not working out right.

The new Roku 3 (4230) keeps the updated processor of the previous Roku 3 (4200), which in comparison to previous processors allows for apps to load almost instantly - it's most noticeable with the dedicated app buttons (Netflix, Amazon, Rdio, and Hulu) which go straight to their respective applications. You get the wi-fi direct remote (not IR) so you don't need to worry about aim, complete with the headphone jack for private listening (a must have for the bedroom or late nights).

You also get access to what is, arguably, the best streaming media device. Sure there's specific features/reasons you might prefer Apple TV, Fire TV, Android TV, or WD but as an overall it's hard to beat the selection of content on Roku. Add to that the ability to follow movies for release and sales and you're looking at the most content focused device and without a specific platform to push forward (Apple TV has iTunes, Android TV has Play, etc) you get something putting pure content first and not simply the specific store. For example if you're looking to rent a movie you can easily see who has the best price and possibly save a buck or two.

If there's anything negative to say it's arguably that Roku has done such a good job with the new Roku 2 (4210) and previous models of the Roku 3 (4200) that you just may not need this. If you don't care about the headphone jack on the remote, the voice search, or wifi remote you can save yourself $30 by getting the Roku 2 (4210) - it's the exact same hardware inside the actual box. If you have the previous Roku 3 (4200) model there's not likely enough here to upgrade for - just the update voice search. But if you don't have a recent Roku or are looking to get into the game straight off this is the best option baring specific needs (e.g. if you MUST have iTunes then you have to get an Apple TV). If you don't care about the headphones or the voice search though, Roku 2 (4210) will not let you down.

Pros:
++ Most content of any streaming media platform
+ Fast, almost instant in some cases
+ Voice Search and Headphone jack provide some nifty extras

Cons:
- Voice search is hit or miss at times
- May not be worth upgrading over last year's Roku 3 (4200) or worth the cost over the Roku 2 (4210)

While this might not be the best media player for everyone, you may have very specific needs, it's likely the best for most people. The combination of performance, content, and extra features make this a hard device to beat. Baring very specific things like AirPlay, iTunes, Chromecast you're not likely to find much missing. But if you just need something to watch movies and tv on - Hulu, Netflix, Pandora, Vudu, etc etc - you'll be happy with this purchase.

If you have any questions feel free to ask - or for comparisons with Apply TV, Chromecast, or Fire TV (have access to them) let me know.
Comment Comments (33) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 23, 2015 5:33 PM PST


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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Quality with less mess and ease, March 11, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This is a hybrid between a drip coffee machine and a french press. The process is a little more involved than either method but produces good results and easy clean up. Coffee brews inside and there's a release valve on the bottom that activates when you put it on top of a mug (the lip of the mug pushed up against the bottom plate of the brewer which opens the flow).

Essentially the steps are: 1) Put a filter in (#4 cone filter), 2) wet the filter (I just boil a little extra water), 3) drain the water through, 4) add coffee grounds, 5) pour hot water in, 6) let it steep about 4 minutes, 7) drain the coffee out.

The whole process takes about 5 minutes plus water boiling time and you're left with a single serving in the quality of a french press but one where you can remove the filter and toss it in the trash or compost and just give a brief rinse to the dripper for cleanup. It's a simple and inexpensive way to do great coffee at home. The quality is comparable to a french press just with a little less cleaning needed. I generally do this for single serve and a french press if I need multiple cups (e.g. guests). This is also a good compromise to the slower and more attention requiring pour over methods - a good place to start if you're interested in such methods.

As an FYI the small produces about 10oz of coffee and the large produces about 16oz, so purchase according to your size needs.


GoodSense Omeprazole Delayed Release, Acid Reducer Tablets 20 mg, 42 Count
GoodSense Omeprazole Delayed Release, Acid Reducer Tablets 20 mg, 42 Count
Price: $15.99
11 used & new from $15.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Acid Relief at a discount, March 10, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This is the same ingredient as Prilosec just in discount form. I'd been suffering with some extra acid reflux due to stress and was suggested by my doctor to take this for a while so it was nice to find it in a more affordable form. The effects take a couple of days to take initial effect but I felt relief after 2 days.

The only annoyance I'd have is I wish they weren't in the blister pack, it's one of the few daily long term medicines I know that's not in an easy open bottle.


Acer C720 Chromebook (11.6-Inch, 4GB)
Acer C720 Chromebook (11.6-Inch, 4GB)
4 used & new from $273.71

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What a world of difference Haswell and 4GB makes, March 7, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Chromebooks are, by their nature, about compromise. You accept some reduced functionality for the idea that you'll need less hardware and thus get a cheaper computer. Too often the sacrifices manufacturers make (e.g. HP Chromebook 11) lead to a bad product. Either the processor is bad (Samsung Chromebook, HP Chromebook 11), the ram is too little (Toshiba Chromebook), or they're asking too high a cost (Chromebook Pixel). Somehow Acer managed to hit the sweet spot of compromise with the C720 and keep it cheap.

In all honesty, spec wise, it's insane this only costs $250 when HP is charging more for less. While the HP Chromebook is better built and has a better screen the device's insides are too slow and old to make doing anything more than 3 tabs open a slow crawl. The C720 can handle most anything you throw at it, keep as many tabs open as you'd like, watch HD video - you'll get that all and impressive battery life, over 8 hours.

This device isn't perfect, the keyboard and trackpad could be better. The screen bezel is a bit too large and glossy. But honestly it doesn't matter when you factor in value and performance. So long as you know what you're getting in to with Chrome OS this is the best chromebook to buy, save maybe the touch version of this (not the one with only 2GB but the one with 4GB still). It's the best cheap laptop you can buy too.

Pros:
++ Haswell chipset
++ 4GB RAM
++ $250

Cons:
- Screen and build quality could be better but is nothing to sneeze at

Compared to the original Samsung Chromebook this is miles ahead for the same cost. The only real competition for the C720 would be the HP Chromebook 11 if you prefer form over function or the Toshiba 13" model if you demand a larger screen. Save those minor things there's no reason to buy another Chromebook.


Sharpie Pen Fine Point Pen, 4 Colored Pens (1742662)
Sharpie Pen Fine Point Pen, 4 Colored Pens (1742662)
Price: $5.99
42 used & new from $1.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Writes well with no smearing, March 7, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Pens aren't something I'd think I'd normally write a review for but I've just been so pleased with these I felt it was worth doing. These write really well, smooth too. But best of all there's no smearing or bleeding of the ink. Smudge proof even.

Very pleased and would happily buy again.


Victorinox Jetsetter 3 Pocket Knife
Victorinox Jetsetter 3 Pocket Knife
Price: $18.95
14 used & new from $8.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Finally a SAK I can take on trips, March 7, 2014
I'd been looking for a bladeless swiss army knife for a while. There used to be two but they were long since discontinued so I'm happy to see the return. It's well built and features scissors, bottle opener, phillips head screwdriver, wire stripper, tweezers, and toothpick. Not a bad assortment but I do miss the flathead/file that's usually on SAKs.

And if I have to nitpick I'd like a pen instead of a toothpick, but I can maybe take care of that on my own.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: May 24, 2014 6:37 PM PDT


KEY-BAK #500 Premium Quick Release, Pull Apart Key Accessory with 2 Split Rings
KEY-BAK #500 Premium Quick Release, Pull Apart Key Accessory with 2 Split Rings
Price: $6.46
5 used & new from $1.00

3.0 out of 5 stars Ordered two, one broke, March 7, 2014
I ordered two of these, one broke a week in to use and the other is still going. Given the 50/50 nature I'll give it three stars, but given the cost I'd probably try another item if I had the chance.


Sony DSC-QX10/W Smartphone Attachable 4.45-44.5mm Lens-Style Camera
Sony DSC-QX10/W Smartphone Attachable 4.45-44.5mm Lens-Style Camera
Offered by DeltaMobiles
6 used & new from $165.18

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A fun toy but not much more, March 7, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This is one of Sony's attempts to solve mediocre cellphone quality images. While the image quality is improved over cell phones, the best feature to me is adding on the 10x zoom and the wider angle than standard phone cameras offer. You also have the ability to take better angle shots, the camera and the phone being separate allows you to say hold the camera above your head while you look at your phone's screen for control. You can control some settings too, namely zoom, from the phone. I've found it fun and interesting to use, allowing me to take some interesting shots I couldn't otherwise get.

The problems come in with the whole concept though. Lacking any form of viewfinder has you entirely dependent on your phone, and more notably your phone's battery life, for shots. This also leads to a notable delay in starting the whole process up. The startup delay in turning the QX10 on, unlocking your phone, opening the app (or tapping them together for NFC) and getting them connected takes a few seconds - in which you could have already taken the picture with your phone and put it back in your pocket/purse. The other issue I have is that despite pairing, the images sent over aren't the full quality. You'll have to separately get to them from the SD card or by connecting the camera to your computer. The smartphone app is supposed to allow for transfers but seems to send over even lower qualities in my testing. It's a nice concept but one with notable flaws. There's issues with lack of control with the software, it's a bit limited (namely to tap to focus and exposure) but it's fine for a camera like this.

While it ultimately provides better pictures, most notably thanks to a 10x zoom, the question is really if they're better enough to outdo the hassle of needing to carry it with you and pair it each time before you take a picture. I'd have to say it's not though, when push comes to shove. Camera phones are about convenience over quality and this presents a weird sacrifice in that. If you really wanted better quality a small camera (e.g. canon's S110 which is about the same price) presents a better, faster, option by far.

But what this does offer is a versatile, tiny camera that you can control remotely. I've used it to take self shots without having to hold my phone out at arm's length, I've perched it on top of things to take interesting above shots and various other fun things. It's a great toy. If you can pick one up on sale or used, it's a great item. For the size it's got great zoom to boot.

Pros:
++ 10x zoom
+ Small

Cons:
-- Pairing adds too much delay

In the end I'm having fun with it. I thankfully picked it up as a used model for notably less than the $250 asking price. In the end I'd have to say it's not worth $250 given what else is on the market, even from sony. But if you're looking for a nice toy and are interesting in what having a tiny 10x zoom camera can do for fun then have at it.


Incipio IPH-905 Edge Case for iPhone 5 - Retail Packaging - Indigo Violet
Incipio IPH-905 Edge Case for iPhone 5 - Retail Packaging - Indigo Violet
Price: $19.46
3 used & new from $19.46

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good case but tough to remove, November 30, 2013
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
The case works well while adding minimal bulk but is difficult to remove the bottom for docking. Not terrible but eliminates what should be a feature of the case as compared with say some incase models. For the price I'm pleased but I do wish it came off easier.


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