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John Williamson RSS Feed (NYC & Bucks County, PA)
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Cheese Fondue
Cheese Fondue
Offered by Short-form Videos
Price: $0.00

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Cheese Fondue: Making it right..., April 11, 2015
This review is from: Cheese Fondue
This Cheese Fondue video short is a good one. In sixty-one seconds, it offers the essentials, with just enough information, including the ingredients and the kitchen tools needed, to make it simple. The apple brandy makes it an interesting variation from other recipes, and the "broken fondue" tip at about 0:46 seconds eliminates a number of problems... watch for it.

Hope to see more of these video shorts, and soon.

JW ▪ 4/11/2015
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Apr 11, 2015 11:26 PM PDT


Amazon Prime Now
Amazon Prime Now
Price: $0.00

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars [Updated| Amazon Prime Now... lives up to its claims., February 8, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Amazon Prime Now (App)
Was highly skeptical when I first read about this new service for Prime members, but it was worth a look anyway. Living in NYC I've heard some outrageous claims about fast delivery here in the city, and at the most optimistic view, about half live up to expectation... until the temperature goes south and the snow and slush come in.

Had downloaded this Amazon Prime Now app to my Samsung Galaxy S5 smartphone in advance as I wanted to see what it was and if my area of the city was included, as the product page as of the date of this review says that it is available "in select areas of Manhattan." Luckily my area turned out to be in that range. Admittedly I waited until a really slushy day with snow still on the ground in Manhattan to give it a try.

Went online and selected a few items that were running low, and will profess that I had checked the local prices on what I wanted to order ahead of time. Though there is an option for one-hour delivery for "just $7.99" decided to pass and went for the free two-hour delivery, which was promised within a two hour time window. Long story to short, my order arrived via the courier well within the time window promised. The courier was very polite and professional, and brought it up the elevator to my apartment. I have had occasion to use this service once again, and the results were similar.

The Amazon Prime Now app is easy to use. It was a very fast download to my Galaxy S5, and setting it to my Amazon Prime account was a breeze. The menus are very intuitive, and are obviously dynamic. Currently at the time of this review, there are categories for Valentine's Day suggestions, winter preparedness, cold & flu, along with the expected gift ideas, healthy living and everyday essentials. Checking the prices against local chains, found them to be quite reasonable and very competitive, and in a few cases quite a bit cheaper. But if you're living in Manhattan and within one of the available areas, download the app and take a look for yourself. Also interesting is that you can visually track the status of your order on a map once that it's out for delivery.

On the downside, I was surprised to see that this app was not available for any of my Kindle Fire devices. Hopefully this will change in the future as it would be quite handy, but for now it works just fine on my Galaxy S5 smartphone.

A small word of caution... once within the app, you will find a much wider array of products than might be expected, as it goes beyond just staple items. There are the expected paper towels, toilet paper, toothpaste, cat food, batteries, and such, along with toys, books and even some jewelry. The caution is that just like shopping in the "Today's Deals" section, it's easy to add items that might have gone beyond the expected essentials and staples that you might have wanted.

For those within the delivery area stated in the product description, this is a 5-star resource for those in need of essentials quickly, especially in bad weather. It doesn't offer the full range of products from Amazon, so it's best to be looked at as a separa as avte service. The good news is that Amazon is said to be expanding this program to other cities in 2015, so stay tuned and watch the product page.

[Updated 3/21/2015|
Have used this app on my Android phone a number of times, and it has proven to be a 5-star resource for quick local purchases. No complaints whatsoever ... and note that Brooklyn, Miami, and a few more locations have been added, with more to follow. See the comments for updates, as I will not modify this review due to the negative voting. I can only speak from personal experience using it on my Android phone.

JW ' 2/8/2015; 3/21/2015
Comment Comments (6) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 23, 2015 3:45 PM PDT


Duck Brand Standard Tape Gun with Foam Handle, Includes 1 Roll of 54-Yard Standard Tape (669332)
Duck Brand Standard Tape Gun with Foam Handle, Includes 1 Roll of 54-Yard Standard Tape (669332)
Price: $8.70
4 used & new from $8.70

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Duck Brand Standard Tape Gun: Does the job, but there are caveats..., July 26, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
From a personal perspective, I've owned and/or used a number of tape guns and box sealers of varying types and prices over a number of years. Some have admittedly been dollar store thrash that barely lasted the first roll, to a high-end automatic commercial/industrial tape dispenser that I borrowed for a large moving job. But this time I was looking for a practical product to replace an old favorite.

Bought this Duck Brand Standard Tape Gun with Foam Handle here after using on that belonged to a local friend. It included one 54-yard roll of Duck Brand clear standard tape, but that's an issue that I'll address here later. This is a good product that met my expectations based on experience.

◆ Good Parts:

+ Sturdy construction; painted steel chassis
+ Foam covered handle; built for comfort in use
+ Red tension control knob; highly adjustable
+ Extra-sharp blade; cuts tapes to 2-inch wide easily
+ Can be used with longer 109-yard tapes; 54-yard is standard

◆ Not So Good:

- Standard 1.6 mil packing tape is way too thin

◆ In Use:

This Duck Brand Standard Tape Gun comes with a black plastic shield covering the blade. Be sure to remove this before you use it, and if you have kids around you want to keep it handy as that blase with its serrated teeth is very sharp. I taped the shield to the side of the tape gun to keep it handy.

Loading the tape is fairly easy, once you get the hang of it. Place the tape gun on it's side with the red tension control knob in the up position. Insert the roll of tape in the gun by sliding the cardboard core onto the large retaining wheel, and be sure that the tape is in position so that the free end is positioned in a counter-clockwise direction.

The tape feeds in between the roller and the metal bar that's located below the roller. Just be sure the tape is positioned so that the free end is positioned in a counterclockwise direction. Extend the tape up to the nose of the tape gun to a point just below the serrated cutting teeth are located. The tape tension can be easily adjusted with the red tension control knob.

A personal caveat: I found the standard 1.6 mil packaging tape that came with this gun to be far too flimsy for packaging use, even for storage purposes. Bought the Scotch Long Lasting Moving & Storage Packaging Tape, 1.88 Inches x 54.6 Yards here based on prior use. It's a medium-strength tape, suited for moving and storage, and at a thickness 2.4 mil, this US-made tape is just thick enough to work well and quite smoothly with this tape gun. Duck Brand also makes thicker tapes than the one that come with this tape gun should you prefer.

Note: I was originally looking for my old favorite, one similar to the Scotch Box Sealing Tape Dispenser H180, 2 in. This one had served me well for years until is was "borrowed" by a friend who was moving and forgot to return it. These things happen, but in terms of functionality and use, I've found this Duck Brand model to be its equal.

◆ Summary:

The Duck Brand Standard Tape Gun with Foam Handle has proven to be a good purchase, and it's been in use for a few months now. It's comfortable to use and offers a good range on its tension control knob. Caveat aside, the original tape that came with it ended up being used for some trash that was being discarded, so please bear in mind that my review is based on the tape gun itself, and solely that. Just get some decent quality tape that's thick to fit your needs and all should be fine. And note that the serrated teeth on the blade are very sharp, so it should only be used by adults with care.

JW ▪ 7/26/2013
Comment Comments (5) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Sep 10, 2014 8:45 AM PDT


Bankers Box SmoothMove Basic Moving Boxes, Medium, 18 x 18 x 16 Inches, 10-Pack (7713902)
Bankers Box SmoothMove Basic Moving Boxes, Medium, 18 x 18 x 16 Inches, 10-Pack (7713902)
Offered by biddeal_co
Price: $40.07
4 used & new from $21.90

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars SmoothMove Basic Moving Boxes: Good for storage as well, June 14, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Every time that I get more boxes for packing or moving, and that's been a number of times over the years, I am reminded of this all-too-familiar quote:

"A house is just a place to keep your stuff while you go out and get more stuff."
~ George Carlin

That being said, these Bankers Box SmoothMove Basic Moving Boxes, Medium, 18 x 18 x 16 Inches offer a good general solution for most packing needs. It's a 10-pack, and arrives in a large flat box, so there's no need to go hassle with your local storage outfit with loose boxes falling all over the place in your trunk or back seat.

◆ Likes:

+ 18x18x16-inch medium size boxes; pre-printed on two sides label contents
+ Sold and shipped in bundles of ten; very convenient
+ Good for general household items, kitchen & bathroom goods
+ 32 ECT C-Flute Construction; 60% recycled materials, recyclable
+ Made in the USA; no strange unidentifiable insects in the carton

◆ On the Fence:

± May be a bit thin for some household items; pack carefully

These boxes arrive banded within the carton so that they are not spilling all over the place once you remove them from the shipping carton. Once assembled and taped, these are good general boxes for your "stuff," whether it's for storage, moving across town or to the other side of the country.

My reference above to "no strange unidentifiable insects in the carton" has to do with personal experience where I picked up a pack of ten smaller boxes locally for a bargain price. They were not made in the USA, and a friendly entomologist identified the little critters as not being a native US species. Enough said on that.

If you're considering these for packing books (or a lot of heavy canned goods), you might want to pass on this size. A better choice would be the Bankers Box SmoothMove Basic Moving Boxes, Small, 16 x 12 x 12 Inches, which are available as a 15-pack. Books and magazines can be far heavier than one might think, and this size also stacks well if your books need to be in storage for awhile.

Suggestion: if you're going to the trouble of packing, you may want to make a small investment in a decent tape gun. Anticipating the arrival of these boxes, I bought the Duck Brand Standard Tape Gun with Foam Handle. It's a sturdy product and comes with a roll of 54-yard standard tape, but there are far better tape choices for refills.

I received these Bankers Box SmoothMove Basic Medium Moving Boxes as an Amazon Vine selection. They were good enough that I ordered a second 10-pack so that I could store more of my "stuff," which seems to accumulate by itself. At the time of this review, there a coupon for $3.25 extra savings at checkout, so don't miss it.

JW ▪ 6/14/2013
Comment Comments (4) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 24, 2014 2:18 PM PDT


Roker®Sound Cube Portable Wireless Bluetooth Stereo Speaker Built in Hands Free Speakerphone and Rechargable Battery,Clear and Crispy Sound Quality,Works With iPhone iPad iPod,Mp3 player,Tablet,Laptop,Computers And Any Bluetooth Enabled Device,Support 3.5mm Audio Cable Connection (black)
Roker®Sound Cube Portable Wireless Bluetooth Stereo Speaker Built in Hands Free Speakerphone and Rechargable Battery,Clear and Crispy Sound Quality,Works With iPhone iPad iPod,Mp3 player,Tablet,Laptop,Computers And Any Bluetooth Enabled Device,Support 3.5mm Audio Cable Connection (black)
Offered by ROKER USA
Price: $22.99
4 used & new from $16.84

27 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Roker Sound Cube: A black box speaker with solid sound, May 22, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Small portable speakers may not offer as much overall dynamic range as their full-size counterparts, but the advantage here is that they do save quite a bit of space. Add to that, these self-contained stereo mini-speakers can be excellent when working at the computer, and all you want is improved sound over what a computer may offer.

The Roker Sound Cube is designed to work with the iPhone, iPad, iPod, MP3 players, tablets, Android phones, laptop computers, and just about any Bluetooth-enabled devices that you can find. For those who want to use it as a phone speaker, that can be done as well, though it may be a bit small to offer the sound quality that one might expect from a dedicated unit ideal for small-group conference calls.

◆ Likes:

+ Excellent compact design; ~ 6.8"W x 2.0"D x 2.8"H
+ Sturdy well-crafted product; sturdy enough for travel
+ Excellent stereo sound quality; 3W x2 power, 100Hz-20kHz frequency response
+ Easy Bluetooth pairing; has a range of ~30 feet
+ USB charging port; charges in ~4 hours, cable included
+ Rubberized non-slip base; won't slide off of desk surface in use
+ Accepts TF (microSD) cards; handy for music storage

◆ On the Fence:

± Supplied audio cable may be too short for some users

◆ Dislikes:

- None so far

◆ In Use:

The Roker Sound Cube Portable Wireless Bluetooth Stereo Speaker arrived in a no-nonsense, easy to open cardboard box. Inside was the speaker, a USB charging cable, a short 3.5mm audio cable, and a simple user manual in English. Charged the speaker (LED indicates charge level, etc.) for about four hours, then proceeded to set it up for use.

The directions are straightforward, and the Bluetooth pairing directions made it easy to set this speaker up, first on my Kindle Fire HDX 7" tablet, and then on my Samsung Galaxy S III Android phone, which also doubles as an MP3 player. The sound quality was surprisingly good, and it has a non-slip base that also serves to enhance the sound quality when placed on the desktop. There is a small vertical slot to the left of the multipurpose USB port on the end of the speaker. This allows for cards, such as the Sandisk 16GB Micro SDHC Class 4 TF Memory Card, to be inserted for music playback. If you store your music files on one of these cards, this can be quite handy.

But how good is the sound, and how useful is this speaker? For small-group business conference calls, I've found the Jabra SPEAK410 USB Speakerphone to be excellent, though at a much higher price. The Roker Sound Cube works quite well with private conversations with a low to medium level background noise, and at a far more cost effective price. As far as overall sound quality goes, have had the occasion to locally try the Photive CYREN and the even more costly Jawbone JAMBOX wireless Bluetooth speaker, and though they have more punch, it all becomes a price vs. performance issue, and why I went with the Roker Sound Cube. This brand is one with which I am familiar, as some months back I bought the smaller Sound Cannon Wireless Portable Bluetooth Speaker by Roker, and found it surprisingly good for portable use when traveling with a laptop computer.

On a personal note, I prefer setting up speakers like this using the built-in standard 3.5mm audio cable connection for best sound quality, but the one on this unit is a bit short, as noted above. Bought a Cables to Go 3.5 mm Male/Female 3-foot Stereo Audio Extension Cable here, and it's presently hooked up to my mini-tower PC. Problem solved.

Though it's not noted in the specs, this speaker has a replaceable battery, noted as a BL-5C Li-Ion rechargeable battery. See the comments for more details.

◆ Summary:

The Roker Sound Cube has proven to be a good performer for general audio listening purposes. Bluetooth connectivity is good for those who wish to use it that way. Considering its compact size, it's good one, and has proven to be an excellent value for the money. Its replaceable Li-Ion battery makes it a good one for long term use, and if you are using it for a sound upgrade for your existing desktop PC speakers, that stereo audio extension cable helps.

JW ▪ 5/22/2013
Comment Comments (5) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Feb 4, 2015 2:21 PM PST


SanDisk Ultra 32GB Micro USB 2.0 OTG Flash Drive For Android Smartphone/Tablet With App- SDDD-032G-G46
SanDisk Ultra 32GB Micro USB 2.0 OTG Flash Drive For Android Smartphone/Tablet With App- SDDD-032G-G46
Offered by Digital Media Source
Price: $9.85
15 used & new from $9.85

21 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars SanDisk Ultra 32GB Micro USB 2.0 OTG Drive: Highly efficient, May 22, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Plug it into your Android smartphone, and it works.

This SanDisk Ultra 32GB Micro USB 2.0 OTG Flash Drive For Android Smartphone/Tablet is a winner, and a marvel of simple efficiency. It's a small USB drive that allows you to connect to other computers or devices such as a smartphone. It comes with a micro-USB plug at one end and a full sized USB 2.0 plug at the other, allowing for directly connections to most Android smartphones and many Android tablets.

Downloaded the free SanDisk Memory Zone app to my Samsung Galaxy S III smartphone and let it index the contents of its internal memory and the extra 32GB micro-SD card that has been there since I bought the phone. This can be run in the background, and also allow you to add online cloud services. It's easy to backup apps, documents, contacts, photos, videos and music files. During the first time you backup, you're asked which of the file types you want to backup, and then it becomes automatic.

I was surprised that the Amazon Kindle Fire series tablets were not on the compatibility list (come on SanDisk!), but digging around found that I could use it to also transfer JPG files from my Nikon D-series DSLR. It's worth checking the compatibility list at the SanDisk site to fit your own needs.

This OTG (On-The-Go) USB drive is true plug-and-play, and is currently available in three sizes: 16GB, 32GB and 64GB. It's compatible with PCs running Windows XP through Windows 8.x, and with Macs running OS X 10.5 and higher. It also has a five-year limited warranty from SanDisk. Most Android smartphones are compatible, as are many Android tablets, but if in doubt, check SanDisk's compatibility list.

The SanDisk Ultra 32GB Micro USB 2.0 OTG Flash Drive does not disappoint. It's efficient and very compact, but also small enough that it can also be easily lost or misplaced. Will admit that I've become hooked on this enough to buy a second one as a backup to be stowed in my camera bag.

JW ▪ 5/22/2014
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 9, 2014 1:57 AM PDT


It's Been Said Before: A Guide to the Use and Abuse of Cliches
It's Been Said Before: A Guide to the Use and Abuse of Cliches
by Orin Hargraves
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $19.05
78 used & new from $14.65

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It's Been Said Before: For all of those who love (or hate) clichés, May 22, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
If you love the art of the cliché, then this book is for you.

If you hate clichés and find them overused, you need to read this one.

Lexicographer Orin Hargraves is brilliant and often witty writes, as we see within the 248 pages of his book It's Been Said Before: A Guide to the Use and Abuse of Cliches. It's one that truly does live up to its title.

Author Hargraves discourages readers from considering this book as dictionary of clichés, and in that he's probably right. There are over 400 of them listed here, and he has them selected according to how they may be used in a sentence. The book is broken down into chapters, and he grades each cliché on a scale running from 1 to 5.

Whether you're a writer, a student of our language, or even a casual reader, this is a good one to add to your bookshelf.

JW ▪ 5/22/2014
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Sep 21, 2014 11:10 AM PDT


Mr. Brightside Usb L
Mr. Brightside Usb L

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mr. Brightside: Small light, just right, May 22, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Unfortunately, my laptop PC did not come with an illuminated keyboard. We're theoretically supposed to know where the keys are on a standard QWERTY keyboard, but when one starts making simple typing mistakes when working in low light, it's time to find a remedy.

Mr. Brightside is a small, USB-powered LED light that plugs into one of the USB ports on a notebook or laptop computer. It's a simple, no-nonsense device with no switches or wires dangling all over the place. It's rubberized, and the neck is just flexible enough to provide light on the keyboard.

If you work in a dark room at night, you may wish to find a regular lamp with reasonable illumination. But if you need a small, supplementary light with just enough to help you find navigate the keyboard, then Mr. Brightside might be a good solution at a reasonable price.

JW ▪ 5/22/2014


Seagate Backup Plus Slim 1TB Portable External Hard Drive with Mobile Device Backup USB 3.0  (Black) STDR1000100
Seagate Backup Plus Slim 1TB Portable External Hard Drive with Mobile Device Backup USB 3.0 (Black) STDR1000100
Price: Click here to see our price
93 used & new from $58.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Seagate Backup Plus Slim 1TB: Fast, compact & efficient, May 22, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Sometime the simple and easy route of plug and play is the best way.

The Seagate Backup Plus Slim 1TB Portable External Hard Drive is a good example of how far backup solutions have come in the last few years. It's extremely compact, quite portable, and for those still using computers with USB 2.0 ports, it's a forward-looking device for when a computer with USB 3.0 is in the plans. But first, here are the basics...

◆ Likes:

+ Compact and sturdy; measures 4.47"L x 2.99"W x 0.38"H
+ Lightweight; just under 5.3 ounces
+ USB 3.0; can be used with USB 2.0 computers
+ Works with Windows PCs (Vista or higher) and Macs (O SX 10.4.8 or higher)
+ Easy plug-and-play setup on both Mac OS and Windows systems
+ 1 TB (terabyte) capacity; about 930 Gb useable space formatted
+ Runs quietly; offers excellent performance
+ Reasonably priced; excellent bang-for-the-buck

◆ Dislikes:

- None found so far

◆ In Use:

We all have different motivations for purchasing and using external drives like this. Some use these for photos, others for video storage, and some as a backup device for all files. In my case, the primary dedication for this external hard drive is for running automated backups in as hassle-free a method as possible on a Windows 8.1 notebook. And compatibility with both Mac and PC was an important standard as needs can change over time. But for now, automation was the key.

◆ Seagate Dashboard

This drive comes with Seagate Dashboard 2.2,x installed. I was skeptical as first due to issues had with this software in the past, but decided to give it a shot. When brought online, it offered the free upgrade to version 3.0.3x, so I went with it. Ran a number of backups and restores (the hard drive was already backed up manually to another device), and it performed flawlessly. It has recently been upgraded to Seagate Dashboard 3.1.3.0, and each small upgrade seems to make it better.

◆ Summary:

My need was for 100% reliable backups of thousands of documents, photo files in JPG and RAW format, and everything else on the computer's hard drive. This Seagate Backup Plus Slim 1TB Portable External Hard Drive is one that I can highly recommend to anyone in similar circumstances as I've described here. It offers true plug-and-play operation out of the box, and in conjunction with the Seagate Dashboard software, does it effortlessly at a reasonable price.

JW ▪ 5/22/2014


Switching to the Mac: The Missing Manual, Mavericks Edition
Switching to the Mac: The Missing Manual, Mavericks Edition
by David Pogue
Edition: Paperback
Price: $22.67
82 used & new from $4.24

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Switching to the Mac: Another good resource from David Pogue, May 22, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
There are always books out there that claim to be the ultimate reference for computers, including those running Mac OS X, but as usual, author and Mac guru David Pogue comes through again.

His Switching to the Mac: The Missing Manual, Mavericks Edition has 800 pages of info, so it's no small task getting into this one, but typical of books published by O'Reilly Media, this one is solid info. Newly published in February 2014, it's probably as good a reference as there is for those upgrading to Apple's new operating system for the Mac. There's enough here for the experienced Mac user, but this book is written inn such a way that even a new user can follow.

OS X 10.9 Mavericks was released in October 2013, and is the replacement for OS X 10.8 (Mountain Lion), for those who may not know. The only issue that I personally have is not with the book, but that since the original release of Mavericks, we're now up to OS X 10.9.3 (as of May 15th, 2014), so it's impossible for the book to keep up with Apple's OS X upgrades.

That being said, it's always a good thing to have a paper reference handy when needed for any operating system. Whether you're new to the Mac or an experienced OS X user, this one from author David Pogue may be the only book that you need for this iteration of OS X... until the next major release appears.

JW ▪ 5/22/2014


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