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A. Dent "Aragorn" RSS Feed (Minas Anor, GD)
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 50 REVIEWER)    (#1 Hall OF FAME REVIEWER)   

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DLAND YOYO Alloy Aluminum Dash High Speed Professional YO-YO Toy Black
DLAND YOYO Alloy Aluminum Dash High Speed Professional YO-YO Toy Black
Offered by Dland-USA
Price: $18.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Yo-yo Forever, December 17, 2014
= Durability:5.0 out of 5 stars  = Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars  = Educational:4.0 out of 5 stars 
DLAND's Yo-yo came as a 'for review' item but, of course, I do my best to be objective.

For someone like me, used to less durable yo-yo's - I'm not a professional - this one was a surprise because it's built to last forever. It's a hard, resonating, durable well-balanced alloy body, made so well, it can be your last yo-yo ever if you're careful not to lose it. Of course, it's meant for professionals only and care must be taken not to harm the general public because this yo-yo is hard and aluminum, while a relatively light metal does have mass. So, be careful as but determined as your yo-yo skill grow to approach the pro level.


Coffee Beans Roasted - Koffee Kult - Organic Fair Trade Coffee - Whole Coffee Beans - Aromatic Artisan Blend - 2 Lb Bag Fresh Coffee Beans Shipped Daily
Coffee Beans Roasted - Koffee Kult - Organic Fair Trade Coffee - Whole Coffee Beans - Aromatic Artisan Blend - 2 Lb Bag Fresh Coffee Beans Shipped Daily
Offered by Center Stage Coffee
Price: $29.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Now I'm a Believer, December 17, 2014
Koffee Kult... 'believer'... get it? :)

For the price this coffee sells at the time I posted this review you can probably get a bag of mainstream, 'balanced', definitely not kult-like but passable Starbucks French Roast at a discount store so... why settle for that much less?

Seriously, this happens to be some of the best dark roast Arabica I've tasted well... in a long, long, long time. Do yourself a favor and, if you get your bag, make it right. Forget about milk or cream or sugar first, you can add some later if you really want to but try it without first. You may like it this way. My first cup was made in a Hario and it's spectacular. I did make it strong and I'm glad I did. My wife smelled it from 20 ft away while running on a treadmill and she immediately yelled 'make me some!!!'. She's a casual coffee drinker so that much excitement was unusual.

For technical specs, I'm not an expert, I just like to drink good coffee, this batch came from an elevation of 1500m and is 'washed'. Roasted to perfection in Hollywood, Florida. I'll probably buy me more once the initial bag is consumed because it's that good.

By the way, I received this 32 oz. bag as a 'for review' item but there were no under the table deals or promises that a 'good' review was to follow.


ROGGE DUO-Clean Screen Cleaner - Professional cleaning kit for all LED, LCD, OLED, Plasma TV, Computer, Laptop, Phone Screens, Lenses and Sensitive Surfaces - Made in Germany
ROGGE DUO-Clean Screen Cleaner - Professional cleaning kit for all LED, LCD, OLED, Plasma TV, Computer, Laptop, Phone Screens, Lenses and Sensitive Surfaces - Made in Germany
Offered by ROGGE Cleaner
Price: $19.95
2 used & new from $19.95

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Cleans Good, December 15, 2014
We received a 'for review' sample from vendor but, of course, there was no quid pro quo involved so, here's my independent and objective view of the product.

First of all, what you get is a very generous amount of cleaning fluid inside a spray pump bottle and a very large, washable cleaning cloth. The zero-alcohol solution was very efficient at getting rid of fingerprints and somewhat worse smudges off a couple of phones, my Kindle and a monitor face. It's quite quick and efficient so, yes, I do recommend it and I will probably buy another bottle once this one runs out. But that's not going to happen for a while because, like I said, you get a lot of cleaning fluid with your purchase.

By the way, I tried some other microfiber cloths with it and it worked as well as it did with the one supplied.

And, since I don't see this at the Amazon page, this is what the vendor suggested in an email you do for the best and most efficient clean.

- Fold cloth into fourths, and moisten with ROGGE Screen Cleaner (4 to 6 sprays).
- Wipe surface multiple times (with moist side) using light pressure.
- Turn cloth over, and polish surface with dry clean section until streak-free.
- Wash cloth if dirty (no fabric softener or bleach), then air dry (no heat).


The ScrubbaTM Wash Bag
The ScrubbaTM Wash Bag
Offered by Advanced Rescue Products
Price: $54.95
4 used & new from $49.96

4.0 out of 5 stars What If?, December 14, 2014
This review is from: The ScrubbaTM Wash Bag (Kitchen)
What if a blackout lasted days or weeks rather than minutes of hours? Possible but not likely. However, the Scrubba is something worth bringing along when out in the wild and it could make for a great gift if you happened to be in one of those places where electricity and everything that comes with it is not always available and plentiful.

Doing a little laundry with the Scrubba is as easy as throwing in the dirty items together with some soap - and it doesn't have to be laundry detergent - rubbing the sealed bag for a couple of minutes, rinsing and... there you have it. Clean clothes. No, they are not washing-machine-quality and the Scrubba doesn't come with the drier (think Sun for that) but you will be wearing clean clothes.

I would have rated the Scrubba a five stars it it weren't for the high price. It's great IF you can afford it and the way it's priced it can't be afforded by those who probably need it most. But prices change and if, like me, you live somewhere on Earth where you'll only need something like this while camping, it's still a nice thing to have.


[2015 Version] TROND Halo 10W Eye-Care LED Desk Lamp (Gooseneck, 30-Min Light Timer, Max. 600 lumens, 7-Level Dimmable, Touch-Controlled, Memory Function, Flicker-Free, No Ghosting & Anti-Glare, Matte Black)
[2015 Version] TROND Halo 10W Eye-Care LED Desk Lamp (Gooseneck, 30-Min Light Timer, Max. 600 lumens, 7-Level Dimmable, Touch-Controlled, Memory Function, Flicker-Free, No Ghosting & Anti-Glare, Matte Black)
Offered by eTROND
Price: $59.99

5.0 out of 5 stars The New and Improved Illuminator, December 14, 2014
I am reviewing this product because I received a 'for review' unit from the distributor. I did not promise a 'good review' in return but it just turns out that their LED desktop lamp is an impressive item and, for the price it sells at the time I'm reviewing it, quite a bargain.

The Halo is the successor of the very nice and multi-featured TaoTronics® Dimmable Eye-Care LED Desk Lamp TT-DL05 (9W, Flexible Neck, 7-Level Dimmer, Touch Controller, No Flickering, No Ghosting, Matte Black). Improvements over its predecessor include it being brighter, delivering up to 600 lumen compared to 450 for the previous model, a timer and a redesigned gooseneck.

THE LOOKS

To me, it's the most important quality in a desk lamp and this model is just perfect if what you are looking for is the super-streamlined look. The pictures at Amazon's product page show exactly what you are getting - an all-black, rubberized and therefore fingerprint-proof, sleek body that should be at home on any modern, uncluttered desk. And 'black' goes well with just about anything.

FEATURES

'Pretty' may be in the eye of the beholder but what you get is a 10W LED bright lamp that produces a very white and bright and steady 5500-6000K output which should correspond to 'average noon daylight (Summer)' And you are getting a lot of light. But that's not all so let me enumerate some of the features worth discussing:

- Touch controls. These are very unobtrusive, discretely illuminated control points that, once the lamp is turned on by touching the leftmost point, your can simply slide your fingers over the control groove to control brightness.
- Seven brightness levels: see above. The lamp is at the lowest output level when you turn it on but by simply sliding your finger you get to increasingly brighter levels.
- Timer. Holding the on/off control for 2 seconds activates a 30-minute timer. You know it's active because the red light blinks when in timer mode.
- Flexible neck that can be bent to suit your preferred illumination angle.
- The manual is written in good English and covers just about everything that's important.

The lamp comes with its own dedicated power supply. It is covered by an 18-month warranty and a 30-day money-back guarantee. And, of course, you can always take advantage of Amazon's own return policies if, for whatever reason, you are unhappy with the product or the lamp is defective and you'd rather have a refund rather than a replacement.

RATING

The Trond combines a great design, as far as I can see impeccable quality and great features into one, affordable product that adds class and elegance to your workspace while illuminating it.


Brainwavz S5 In Ear Noise Isolating Headphones
Brainwavz S5 In Ear Noise Isolating Headphones
Offered by MP4NATION
Price: $99.50

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Top of the Range, December 14, 2014
I did receive the S5s as a 'for review' unit from vendor. But I'm trying to stay objective and my enthusiasm is genuine given my general lack of enthusiasm for in-ear headphones.

The S5s sound 'awesome' and I am experiencing near-zero discomfort while wearing them. I've tried them on a range of sounds, from a Lorde to a Bach cello and then back to the rich sound of Amy Lee and Evanescence and... can I say again that I'm impressed?

So, to make it short, I'd rather use over the ear headphones but if, in ear were the only choice, I'd go with the S5s in a heartbeat if I could afford the price.

- 16 ohms rated impedance
- 18 HZ - 24 kHz frequency range and based on my listening experience I have no reason to doubt it. Not many headphones cover such a range.
- 110 dB sensitivity at 1 mW, again I believe it
- lots of ear tips provide to choose from
- 1.3m tape style cord
- 3.5 mm gold-plated plug
- 1/4" gold-plated adapter (sweet)
- beautiful black and red hard case with 2 interior pockets for ear tips and the 1/4" adapter

They come with a 12 months warranty so... I'm impressed, if I am allowed to make an understatement.

Being 'wired' headphones they will work with anything you can plug them in. They don't have noise-cancelling capabilities but, even with the standard ear tips, the noise isolation was good enough for me to easily ignore someone running a treadmill and playing some loud tracks only a few feet from me.

It's 5 stars for their true high end sound, the high end look and feel, the nice stylish and protective case and the overall quality of the set and package.


Samsung Chromebook 2 XE500C12-K01US 11.6-Inch Laptop (Metallic Silver)
Samsung Chromebook 2 XE500C12-K01US 11.6-Inch Laptop (Metallic Silver)
Price: Click here to see our price
37 used & new from $200.00

4.0 out of 5 stars A Classic, Improved, December 12, 2014
This Samsung Chromebook 2 comes with the power-efficient 2.16 GHz Intel Bay Trail chip and gave me close to the promised 8-9 hours of battery life. By the way our first Chromebook ever was Samsung Chromebook (Wi-Fi, 11.6-Inch) 2012 Model. Over the past year or two I came to realize that Chromebooks not only do almost everything a laptop or a PC or a tablet would do for me but they do it cheaper, usually faster and better, almost always worry-free and very much in style. I wrote 'almost' because nothing does 'everything' even though the Chromebooks seem to be doing a lot and they are getting better - they even run Microsoft Office these days (see note at the bottom).

WHY A CHROMEBOOK AT ALL?

There's so much to say here but let me make a quick summary. And never forget that we are talking about an 'around 300 dollars' device here because, yes, anything that costs 3-4-5 times as much should do SOMETHING better or very few of us would pay more for such devices.

˕ My Chromebook is by far my most used computer excluding work hours and by 'computer' I mean PCs, laptops and tablets.
˕ Malware, spyware, adware-free. Since nothing is really 'installed' on a Chromebook and not much is physically stored on it, it would be very hard for one to be infected. I am in fact now using my Chromebook to open suspicious emails or click on dubious URLs that I don't dare touch from a laptop.
˕ Extremely safe OS. I don't know if this is common knowledge but Google is constantly challenging hackers to crack their OS. As far as I know, Chrome OS wasn't cracked yet.
˕ Easy to share among any number of users without any concerns of compromising privacy. If you have a Google account, you simply sign in and you are going to be within your own, personal environment.
˕ Constantly updated and upgraded. Google updates Chrome OS every few weeks and I found my Chromebooks actually getting better all the time rather than slowly fall into obsolescence.
˕ Nearly maintenance free. Whenever I don't use a tablet or even a laptop for a while, they tend to get very busy once I turn them back on, downloading and installing various patches, updates and upgrades. Not the case for Chromebooks. Whatever upgrades may take place don't hit my Chromebook. Whenever I call up an app, I get it in its latest version.
˕ The attached keyboard helps a lot. Yes, you can pair a keyboard and even a mouse to a tablet but the Chromebook's keyboard is always there, it negates the need of a stand or even some protecting case.
˕ Chrome OS is streamlined and efficiently focused where it matters, on the everyday uses most of us need a 'computer' most of the time.
˕ Chrome OS being such a streamlined one, browsing and running apps on a Chromebook is in fact faster than off a PC/laptop/tablet of equivalent specs.
˕ Relatively low prince, 11.6" display and light weight seem to be just about right for something that typically you'd be using to browse the Web while watching TV or take to and from school.

WHY NOT A CHROMEBOOK?

Yes, Chromebooks can't do everything. Google's productivity suites notwithstanding, Chromebooks are best at media consumption rather than production. Nobody should buy a Chromebook and expect to be able to edit video or do some hard-core gaming. There are other machines and devices for such tasks. My experience is that a Chromebook can't do 'everything'. Tablets are more portable, PCs and laptops are more powerful and versatile but, to me, my Chromebook is the most fun to use and it's likely to stay this way. I am not going to call it my 'second' or 'third' or 'first' computer but, objectively, it's the one I most use outside business hours if what we measure is 'hours'.

MY SON's SAMSUNG's CHROMEBOOK 2 vs. MY HP's CHROMEBOOK 11

HP's is one of my favorites because of its great display and beautiful design. From the start, it was a very familiar feeling. Samsung's is easily recognizable as a Chromebook (see video).

This is how they compare:

˕ USB-based charging. Yeah... it's proprietary on the Samsung vs. semi-proprietary on the HP. HP's USB-based charging allows the use of most off-the-shelf chargers so there's a lot less to worry. However, off-the-shelf chargers aren't as efficient as the HP-supplied one so, while I give HP's a slight advantage, both HP and Samsung's are better off when charged with the manufacturer-supplied charger.
˕ Better quality display. When compared to Samsung's, HP's colors are sharper and brighter and you can view the screen from almost any angle left/right or up/down. This can be seen in the attached video but it's the difference is even sharper to notice with the naked eye.
˕ Keyboard. As a touch typist I am comfortable with both but. On a blind test, I wasn't able to distinguish between the two. As the video shows, the size and the layout are very similar and so is the feel.
˕ Style - see video. Again, a matter of preference. HP's glossy white is easier to wipe and clean but some may find Samsung's black more elegant. Both HPs and Samsungs come in other colors. They are both Okay as far as I can tell.
˕ Ports. There are no USB 3.0 or HDMI ports on the HP's but you do find them on Samsung's. Speaking for myself, I never felt a need to output HDMI off my Chromebook, ever. I am occasionally using USB to plug in a mouse dongle or perhaps a speaker set. Regardless, USB 3.0 is nice to have.
˕ Other hardware. Samsung's comes with double the RAM (4GB) and a much faster processor. This is a clear advantage, especially when running demanding apps such as spreadsheets.

Overall, I am pleased with both. I am going to keep my relatively old (but oh so pretty) HP because its primary use is 'entertainment' as in Web browsing and playing media but my kid prefers Samsung because, as a college student, he can put the faster processor to good use.

RATING

Samsung's Chromebook 2, while generally excellent, loses one star for the somewhat dull display but, otherwise, it's a true Chromebook classic.

I am not going to compare Samsung's Chromebook with the Pixel or some top of the line laptop. So, let me make a 'duh' statement: this Chromebook is not as good as devices that sell for 3 times or 4 times as much so anyone who doesn't mind paying more should pay more and get one of those. Even though... look at some reasons above for why one my prefer a Chromebook to a laptop or a tablet, regardless of price.

Samsung's is at least as good and in some ways better than my older, often used and much trusted HP Chromebook 11, even though I prefer HPs better display. As far as performance, Samsung beats HP when loading pages even though they both appear to be up to the task and they both played Netflix movies flawlessly over Wi-Fi and cast them to the big TV through Chromecast (no need of an HDMI cable for that) - I mention it because I just tried that. Samsung's Chromebook was able to easily and simultaneously play a movie on Netflix, a video on Youtube and a song on Pandora while I was checking my email and running a spreadsheet in the cloud without breaking a sweat. Not bad for such an inexpensive device with only 2GB of RAM.

Chromebooks are not for everyone and they are not a universal computing device and Samsung's Chromebook 2 is a Chromebook through and through but, if used for what they are meant to be used, they are as good and as revolutionary as tablets.

_____________________________________________________

NOTE:

I recently attended an IT 'orientation' session at our kid's college that helped me and our kid decide whether to go with a Chromebook as his main 'college computer' or to try something else. The session with the IT director helped me decide to order one. I really wasn't sure what was good for him. He already has a rather large Windows 8 laptop but he doesn't want to take it to school because it's too large and heavy among other reasons. I asked the IT person if he was going to be Okay if he used a Chromebook the answer was 'yes'. Then I asked the specific 'Microsoft apps' question: "are there any 'Microsoft apps' that he may need and won't be able to run on his Chromebook?" The IT person stated that all students are granted free Web access to Microsoft Office and that Chromebooks are fully supported.
- Like all Chromebooks, this one too comes with a free storage in Google's cloud for two years.


Mens Canvas Leather College School Bookbag Laptop Bag Rucksack Backpack Daypack
Mens Canvas Leather College School Bookbag Laptop Bag Rucksack Backpack Daypack
Offered by All Match
Price: $39.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Official school bag, December 9, 2014
Length:: 2:04 Mins

Our daughter loves this bag. We rarely actually 'use' items that we receive for review - we give them away to others who may need them - but she actually made this one her official school bag, replacing one that was A LOT more expensive.

It's old fashioned fabric and leather but it's durable and roomy with 4 zippered external pockets plus 4 internal and our six-grader finds it super-cool and that's all that matters. She's telling me that it's comfortable to carry too but, again, the main reasons she likes it is the cool, old fashioned looks so, look at the picture on Amazon's page, look at the video and if you like what you see, get it because what you see is exactly what you get.


Poweradd™ USB 3.0 Type A to Micro-B Superspeed Charge & Sync Data Cable for Samsung Galaxy Note 3 White - 4.0 Feet(2 Pack)
Poweradd™ USB 3.0 Type A to Micro-B Superspeed Charge & Sync Data Cable for Samsung Galaxy Note 3 White - 4.0 Feet(2 Pack)
Offered by PoweraddDirect
Price: $9.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Standard USB 3.0 pair, make sure you need this, not USB 2.0, December 7, 2014
The 2-pack came as a 'for review' set and it's good.

If they don't fit your phone or tablet, make sure that they come with a USB 3.0 port. If your device require USB 2.0, this cable will not work with it. Many devices have USB 2.0 Micro-B ports which are much smaller so make sure you are getting the right cable.

These are standard USB 3.0 Type A to Micro-B cables and they worked well for me as charging cables and for data transfer. These came in white and they had no defects.


Lepow® POKI Ultra Slim 5000mAh External Battery Pack (Power Bank, Portable Charger, Charging Station) with 2.1A Output, Safe Lithium-polymer Battery, Fast Charge, Innovative Design and Compatible with Apple Iphone 6 Plus, 6, 5s, 5c, 5, 4s, Ipad, Air, Mini, Samsung Galaxy S5, S4, S3, Note, Nexus, Lg, HTC and Other USB Charged Devices (Apple Adapters - 30 Pin and Lightning, Not Included) -Mint Green
Lepow® POKI Ultra Slim 5000mAh External Battery Pack (Power Bank, Portable Charger, Charging Station) with 2.1A Output, Safe Lithium-polymer Battery, Fast Charge, Innovative Design and Compatible with Apple Iphone 6 Plus, 6, 5s, 5c, 5, 4s, Ipad, Air, Mini, Samsung Galaxy S5, S4, S3, Note, Nexus, Lg, HTC and Other USB Charged Devices (Apple Adapters - 30 Pin and Lightning, Not Included) -Mint Green
Offered by Lepow Official
Price: $59.99

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Beauty, December 7, 2014
In their email soliciting a review, the makers are calling the POKi "the most well-designed and lightest portable charger".

I would agree with the 'most lightest' claim. at 140g or about 5 oz, according to my bathroom scale, the Poki is indeed light for pack that claims to deliver 5000mAH worth of charge. For the 'most well-designed', it's a matter of taste. I personally like the slim, fingerprint proof, slightly curved shape with a light bar on the side to indicate the charge level that seems to light up upon touch. I also like then grey, folding, felt carrying case with an extra pocket for the charging cable.

The included charging cable, by the way, looks pretty but I couldn't use it with my phone because the USB Micro connector is encased into a rather wide plastic body that didn't allow it to reach to my phone's charging port. That was easily solved by using a standard cable but the makers may want to consider a different design for the cable they provide. And the cable would fit so much better inside the case if it was only 1/4" shorter.

I'm hesitating between 4 and 5 stars but five stars prevail to recognize and reward originality.


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