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John Williamson RSS Feed (NYC & Bucks County, PA)
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Big Vision Glasses - Magnifying Eyewear That Makes Everything Bigger and Clearer
Big Vision Glasses - Magnifying Eyewear That Makes Everything Bigger and Clearer
Offered by MEGA-BAZAR
Price: $9.37
22 used & new from $8.44

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Big Vision: Not necessarily better vision., October 30, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
We often see items advertised on television and wonder if they might not be a reasonable solution for a common problem. Being somewhat cautious about TV claims, came here and bought them on Amazon where I gave a 30-second glance at the reviews. And sometimes the product does not live up to ones initial hopes or expectations.

That was the case with these Big Vision Glasses, which are billed as "Magnifying Eyewear That Makes Everything Bigger and Clearer." Bigger yes, but the claim of "160% magnification lenses" might be a bit of a stretch. I'm not an optician so I cannot say. My issue here is that they claim to be "Clearer," which did not turn out to be the case. I tried these by themselves and as the product page states that one can "Easily wear over prescription glasses, contacts or even sunglasses," so I tried that as well.

Putting it simply, the Big Vision Glasses seem to have a problem shared by some other low-priced glasses: distortion.

They are not as bad as some inexpensive reading glasses, but it was enough to result in a mild headache when used for fifteen minutes. Put them aside for a day, then tried them again. Have reached a compromise with these, and that's to not use them for more than five minutes at a time. I'll say subjectively that these are a 3-star product at best, but some may find their experience better. Just wish that I had read more of the reviews here before I purchased them.

JW - 10/30/2015
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 30, 2015 8:38 AM PDT


Monty Python Ministry of Silly Walks Sketch Unisex Analog Water Resistant Novelty Gift Watch
Monty Python Ministry of Silly Walks Sketch Unisex Analog Water Resistant Novelty Gift Watch
Offered by The Unemployed Philosophers Guild
Price: $42.95
2 used & new from $42.95

8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Monty Python's Ministry of Silly Walks lives on!, October 30, 2015
"The Ministry of Silly Walks" was a famous sketch from the Monty Python comedy troupe's TV show Monty Python's Flying Circus, which dates back to the early 1970s. Now you can wear it on your wrist with this Monty Python Ministry of Silly Walks Watch, which commemorates British comedian and actor John Cleese in one of his most memorable comedy sketches.

This episode involved John Cleese as a civil servant in an iconic bowler hat in a fictitious British government ministry responsible for developing silly walks through government grants. Throughout the sketch, Cleese walked in a variety of silly ways, and it was those various silly walks that earned the sketch its enduring popularity.

Onto the watch itself: had added this one to my Amazon Wish List, and it was received as a birthday present, which was a real surprise. It came in a tin box from The Unemployed Philosophers Guild with the appropriate Latin term 'Tempus Fugit' on top. When reversed, the tin can be placed on a dresser, or even on a desk at work, where it is sure to elicit and invite comments. The face of the watch itself, which measures about 1¼-inch in diameter, features Cleese in his bowler hat, and the legs point to the hours and minutes. It may take a bit of getting used to as the hour hand (or leg, as it is) may not appear to be so easy to read. But that just adds to the silly walks theme. The second hand serves as his cane.

And that's not all. Flip the watch over and you'll find the 'Tempus Fugit' slogan there, along with a Monty Python-esque saying that reads: "For Best Results Use Other Side," and there's more. The black band is stamped as genuine leather, though it's hard to determine what faux beast it might have come from. It has a Japanese quartz movement, so the watch is silent.

Breaking the watch down into subjective points, here are some basic observations:

- Monty Python Value: 5-stars; Ministry of Silly Walks sketch is a British humor classic
- Functionality: 4.5-stars; it tells time, but that hour hand (leg) can be tricky
- Appearance: 5-stars; suitable for dress or casual wear, for those with a sense of humor
- Accuracy: 5-stars; has a Japanese quartz movement
- Water Resistant: 4-stars; not waterproof; not for use during The Fish Slapping Dance.
- Comfort: 5-stars; the genuine (faux?) leather band is quite adjustable
- Conversation Piece: 5-stars; those with Rolex and Omega watches will take notice

As many Monty Python fans already know, the Ministry of Silly Walks sketch was rated #15 among the 50 Greatest Comedy Sketches of all time in 2005 by Britain's Channel 4. In fact, Monty Python scored five of the top 50 sketches, so if you get this watch, just add that to your conversational trivia.

Summary...

With this Monty Python Ministry of Silly Walks timepiece, you can watch John Cleese take a silly walk stroll around the dial as each hour passes. He kicks, jumps, knee slides, and performs intricate ballet contortions through your day. And as an added bonus, you'll know that "no taxpayer money was used to develop this watch," as noted in the product specs. And as also noted in the specs, this watch is water resistant, "not waterproof -- not for use during The Fish Slapping Dance," so just be aware. This is far better and more interesting than your average Mickey Mouse watches, and as timepieces go, it's a 5-star product that's refined and fashionable enough for almost any occasion. It would make a perfect gift for any diehard Monty Python Fan… or any employee of the Ministry of Funny Walks.

JW - 10/30/2016
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Replacement Usb Port Cover Flap for Galaxy S5 - 3 Pack
Replacement Usb Port Cover Flap for Galaxy S5 - 3 Pack
Offered by AskForMall
Price: $5.99
3 used & new from $4.89

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Samsung Galaxy S5 owners, make note of this, August 16, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
The Galaxy S5 is an excellent Android smartphone, and for some of us the best. One of the key features is that it's quite well protected from the elements. It's resistant to rain, snow, sand, dust and even sweat, so you can take it everywhere you go. But if there's one weakness, it's that the small USB charging port cover flap may come off for any number of reasons.

When this happened, took my Galaxy to my local phone seller, but they were little help as they said that the small part was "out of stock," that they would have to order it, and once the part came in it "might take 5 to 7 days" for the repair to be performed. Came back home, went online here on Amazon and within seconds found this Replacement USB Port Cover Flap for Galaxy S5 - 3 Pack. There are other quantities available, but for the price the triple-pack made the most practical sense should it happen again.

As noted on the product page, no instructions or tools are provided, but the USB cover is not that difficult to replace for even those with basic skills. You'll need tweezers or small needle-nose pliers, along with a very small Phillips screwdriver, preferably size #000. You can alternatively try the type of small Phillips-head screwdriver that you'll sometimes find in an eyeglass repair kit. Here are the abbreviated steps:

1. Remove the back cover of the Galaxy S5 exposing the battery, microSD card slot, etc.
2. Remove the small screw on the left side, which holds the remnants of your last port piece in place.
3. Lift out the small piece of plastic that covers the remainders of your last USB port cover.
4. Using tweezers or needle-nose pliers, gently lift out the tiny remains of the broken port cover.
5. Place the new USB cover in, then replace the plastic section you unscrewed.
6. Screw the plastic section back in and replace the back cover. You should be good to go.

As far as the screwdriver goes, I already had the TEKTON 2830 Precision Bit and Driver Kit for Electronic and Precision Devices, 27-Piece, which made the job easy as it comes with #000, #00, #0, and #1 Phillips screwdriver bits. The included spudger is handy for gently lifting up the small plastic piece once you've removed the Phillips screw if it seems a bit tight.

Once you've replaced your USB charging port cover flap, your Galaxy S5 should be protected from the elements as well as it was the day that you got it. And with this inexpensive triple pack, you'll have spare USB port covers in the event that you lose another.

JW ' 8/16/2015
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Aug 16, 2015 10:07 PM PDT


Clarks Mens Circuit Pic Slip On Loafers,Tan Tumbled Leather (10.5, Tan)
Clarks Mens Circuit Pic Slip On Loafers,Tan Tumbled Leather (10.5, Tan)

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another winner from Clarks Shoes..., June 23, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Perhaps because I've always been lucky with the Clarks brand, I picked up these Clarks Men's Circuit Pic Slip-On Loafer after seeing them locally. Would have never bought them online except for the fact that the retailer did not have my size, a men's 10.5, which is not uncommon. But when I happened to find them online here, it was worth the gamble to grab them.

Mine were made in Brazil, and I found the fit and workmanship to be excellent. I liked the classic "driving shoe"style in the Tan Tumbled color, but they were bought more for comfort than anything. The were bought primarily for wear around the house, but I found myself wearing them occasionally on the street as well.

Mine have been in service and worn almost daily since November 2014, so one might say that I'm pleased with them... pleased enough to have recently picked up another pair of the same in Black Tumbled Leather as a backup. They're that good.

JW ▪ 6/23/2015 .


Acesori A-ILK Smartphone Camera 4-Piece Kit with 3 Lens and Microfiber Cloth
Acesori A-ILK Smartphone Camera 4-Piece Kit with 3 Lens and Microfiber Cloth
Price: $4.98
12 used & new from $3.99

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars One guaranteed way to get sloppy, blurred smartphone photos, June 23, 2015
Sometimes one can only wonder what they had been thinking when purchasing a product on impulse, thinking that it might live up to wild expectations, or at least hopes. This is one of those cases.

Bought this Acesori A-ILK Smartphone Camera 4-Piece Kit with 3 Lens and Microfiber Cloth here on Amazon for use with my Samsung Galaxy S3, which had a lens that had proven to be remarkably good. The main interest that I had was in the wide-angle and fish-eye lenses, and the macro lens was secondary. Just as a note, I always have the rear-facing 8-megapixel camera on my Android phone set for the maximum of 3264×2448 resolution. When I received this "kit" the first thing noticed was that the instructions (if one can call them that), were almost incomprehensible English, so I came back here to the product page, where I found this:

"Simply attach the magnetic ring included directly onto your phone, around the camera lens. Since the included lenses are magnetic themselves, they are drawn to these rings on the phone and attach securely. That's it."

Seems so easy... except that I lost one of the six magnetic rings when trying to peel off the self-adhesive backing. It went flying, and was never again found. That left five magnetic rings, so I was far more careful when attaching the second. It should also be noted that if you have a case on your phone, these magnetic rings may or may not attach properly. Your results may differ from mine.

Still not dismayed, I took the Galaxy S3 outside to try a few test photos in daylight, eager to see if it was a "nifty way to add different lens capabilities to your smartphone camera," as described on the product description page. Maybe the term 'nifty' has a different meaning in the country of origin where these were made, but in American English, my results were sloppy and poorly defined. And those were with the wide-angle lens, which should have been the most forgiving. Next came the fish-eye lens, and the results were even worse, to put it simply.

Since that initial experience, I had upgraded to Samsung Galaxy S5, which has a 16 MP rear camera. Out of simple curiosity, decided to try this kit one more time. My resulting photos were more sloppy, poorly defined images, but at an even higher resolution.

In truth, one could probably buy one of those generic front door security viewers such as the National Hardware V805 Door Viewer and hold it on front of the smartphone's lens and achieve better results. A friend did this as a DIY project by modifying a standard lens cap with one of these and mounting it on the front of his digital camera. His results were not perfect, but they were far better than any of mine from this kit.

There's an old saying dating back to the mid-1500s, and this proverb tells us: "You can't make a silk purse out of a sow's ear." This product is a perfect example of that idiom. Would have given this a 1-star rating, but the included microfiber cloth is my sow's ear to serve as a reminder to read the reviews more carefully, so I'll subjectively call this a 2-star kit. Depending on how picky you are about your images, your results and satisfaction level may be different.

JW ▪ 6/23/2015


Corel VideoStudio Ultimate X7 [Old Version]
Corel VideoStudio Ultimate X7 [Old Version]
Offered by Ocean Reef Electronics
Price: $25.99
5 used & new from $25.98

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Corel VideoStudio Ultimate X7: Adequate for some, June 22, 2015
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Corel has been around since the mid-1980s, and for many of us has been a good source of good computer software at a reasonable price. The company expanded into video editing software a few years ago with the acquisitions of Pinnacle Systems (Pinnacle Studio) and Ulead (VideoStudio), which was rebranded as Corel VideoStudio.

Having familiarity with both of these products, the choice of Corel VideoStudio Ultimate X7 as a Vine choice was obviously interesting for this user. It's good for those looking for a budget- friendly video editor that can perform all of the essential functions without getting very complicated. It offers an intuitive, well-organized layout, though since you can only have one video track on the timeline may limit what you can do with your video production.

The minimum system requirements to install VideoStudio Ultimate X7 aren't very much, but for the best possible performance, Corel recommends "an Intel Core i7 or AMD Phenom II X8 processor with a Windows 7 or Windows 8 64-bit operating system and minimum 4 GB of RAM. For editing of 4K video, a 4th generation Intel Core i7 processor is highly recommended." I had installed this software on a PC notebook with a Pentium Dual-Core 2.2GHz CPU with 6GB RAM and running Windows 7. After a slow install, at first everything seemed to be running well, but soon it seemed to develop a case of hiccups, to put it simply.

The few short videos that were produced were fine, but perhaps due to my hardware, the software had a habit of occasionally shutting down, and one time caused a reboot for unexplained reasons. The software does allow for installation on two systems, but as of the date of this review, have not installed it on my more powerful Windows 8.1 PC with 8GB RAM. Your results may differ widely from mine.

If you're looking for a video editing program to get your feet wet, so to speak, you may wish to look into the newer Corel VideoStudio Ultimate X8, which has many more features and stronger reviews. Another excellent choice might be the Cyberlink PowerDirector 13 Ultimate package, which is very fast, has plenty of tools, and offers excellent rendering in HD video formats.

Unleash your creativity... the choice is yours.

JW ▪ 6/22/2015


Mudder Portable USB Flexible Stick Dimmable Touch Switch LED White Light Lamp for Laptop Computer PC
Mudder Portable USB Flexible Stick Dimmable Touch Switch LED White Light Lamp for Laptop Computer PC
Offered by MudderOnline
Price: $9.99

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mudder Dimmable USB Flexible Stick: Does the job, June 22, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
My MacBook Pro has an illuminated keyboard, which is excellent for night work. But my Window PC notebook has a regular keyboard, and for late night work when one has tired eyes, keyboard errors become frequent.

Enter the Mudder Portable USB Flexible Stick Dimmable Touch Switch LED White Light Lamp for Laptop Computer PC, which has proven to be a good solution for this keyboard error problem for over nine months as of the date of this review. It plugs into any available USB port, and has a bendable, flexible neck that is about 10" long, so you can position it where it will best illuminate your keyboard. The stick portion is just a bit over 5¾-inches long, which seems to be sufficient for lighting the keyboard on my 17-inch notebook.

This light stick has 10-LED bulbs for maximum illumination, about 80 lumens according to the manufacturer, which is sufficient for lighting the keyboard. If it's too bright, just touch the small, white logo button on the end of the stick, and you can dim it to your personal preference.

I also own the Goal Zero 14101 Luna USB LED Stick Light, which has been in service for about three years. So how do the two compare? In truth I'm subjectively on the fence, as they are about equal in quality of illumination and construction. The disadvantage to the Goal Zero stick light is in that it is not dimmable, unless you take a length of a plastic drinking straw and slip it over the end of the stick.

Having tried a number of different notebook keyboard lighting solutions, can easily recommend this Mudder Portable USB Flexible Stick Dimmable Touch Switch LED White Light Lamp as an excellent 5-star product.

JW ▪ 6/22/2015
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jul 24, 2015 11:00 AM PDT


Cuisinart CTG-00-SMP Stainless Steel Measuring Spoons, Set of 4
Cuisinart CTG-00-SMP Stainless Steel Measuring Spoons, Set of 4
Price: $6.91
18 used & new from $3.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Cuisinart Measuring Spoons: You can do better, June 21, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Purchased this set of Cuisinart CTG-00-SMP Stainless Steel Measuring Spoons thinking that it would be a good replacement for a set that I had owned years ago. Without getting too snarky about them, let's just say that they don't quite live up to the fabled Cuisinart standard.

◆ Issues:

Take a look at the product photo for these spoons. You'll see that the spoon portion is polished stainless steel. In reality, these are made from brushed stainless steel. Fortunately they do pass the "magnet test" which means that they are actually steel and not aluminum.

Also in the product image, what is shown are spoons with engraved handles, showing the Cuisinart name, along with both metric and US kitchen measurements. The actual product as received has both the measurements and the logo in some type of black paint. They are supposed to be "dishwasher safe" according to the specs, but from past experience with other kitchen products, the paint might wear off in a dishwasher, so I'll stick with hand washing.

◆ Rating:

It's probably best to rate these measuring spoons on a few subjective values. Your ranking may differ from mine, but here goes:

▪ Functionality: 4-stars; measurements US and metric kitchen standards
▪ Finish: 2-stars; rough, not well-finished as in the product photos
▪ Value: 3-stars; subjective, but you can probably do better searching a bit

As such, that averages at a 3-star overall rating, meaning that they're OK, but no better.

◆ Additional Notes:

Had initially seen these measuring spoons in the Cheese Fondue video here on Amazon, and you'll see them at about 0:10 in that free video short. Had I perhaps looked more closely at some of the product reviews before ordering these Cuisinart Stainless Steel Measuring Spoons, I might not be writing this review. Lesson learned.

So which might be better? The Natizo Measuring Spoon Set, Stainless Steel, Accurate US and Metric Sizes is ranked as of the date of this review at a 4.8 out of 5 stars, with 988 customer reviews posted. And noteworthy is that 88% of these are 5-star reviews. These my cost a bit more, but it doesn't take much to figure our what this reviewer will be buying after the black paint on my Cuisinart spoons wear off.

Sorry, Cuisinart, but you can do much better than this 3-star offering.

JW ▪ 6/21/2015


No Title Available

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars MacBook Pro: Little extra screws when you need them, June 21, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
If you own a notebook computer, it's best to have some extra small screws around if you plan to do any upgrades, such as battery replacement or memory upgrades. If you own a MacBook Pro, this is especially true, and some of these are very small and can be lost quite easily.

Bought this Eathtek New MacBook Pro Unibody 13" A1278 15" A1286 17" A1297 Complete Bottom Case Screw Set Kit -10 PCS prior to installing a memory upgrade in my MacBook Pro. It was a good thing that I did, as the small container that was holding my screws tipped over in the middle of disassembly. It happens.

As you can see in the product photo, there 3 long and 7 short screw, which is exactly the number needed if you needed to replace all of them. And be aware that you need a Phillips ("crosshead") #00 screwdriver to do the job. You can find them online here on Amazon, but mine was within the 27-piece TEKTON 2830 Everybit Tool Kit, which has proven to be very handy for small item repairs.

Even if you need just one or two of these tiny Phillips screws, this small 10-piece set is worth it.

JW ▪ 6/20/2015


Bankers Box SmoothMove Classic Moving Boxes, Tape-Free Assembly, Small, 15 x 12 x 10 Inches, 10 Pack (7714203)
Bankers Box SmoothMove Classic Moving Boxes, Tape-Free Assembly, Small, 15 x 12 x 10 Inches, 10 Pack (7714203)
Price: $19.71
33 used & new from $19.71

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bankers Box: Small boxes that work, over and again, June 20, 2015
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
For moving, storage or utility purposes one can always go to the local grocery or liquor store and get plenty of free boxes... if you catch them at the right time. But unless you know someone there, chances are that you'll end up with a motley mess of varying size cartons that may or may not suit your needs.

A personal fAVorite for general, casual storage are these Bankers Box SmoothMove Classic Moving Boxes, Small, 15 x 12 x 10 Inches, Pack of 10 (7714203). They'rs also available in packs of 5, 8, 12, 15 or 20, but do a quick math check to see which quantity fits your needs and cost per box.

If you check the product page, at the time of this review, you'll see that these cartons are available in large, medium and small sizes, along with with a small/medium kit. This review is on the SmoothMove Classic Moving Boxes, Small, 15 x 12 x 10 Inches, Pack of 10, which is the size and quantity that I've used most frequently

◆ Likes:

+ 15x12x10-inch small size boxes after assembly; convenient and multi-purpose
+ Lift-off lid, has easy to carry handles at each end; no tape required
+ Double end double bottom construction; offers strength for heavy-duty moves and storage
+ Good for general household items, kitchen & bathroom goods; excellent for paper files
+ Easy set-up construction; lid ships attached to prevent lid loss, tears off for use
+ Made from strong 32 ECT C-Flute Kraft corrugated board; reusable and recyclable
+ Construction: 75% post-consumer recycled material content
+ Uniform size; stackable five-high or more depending on weight of contents

◆ Dislikes

- None at all; have reordered this size and quantity

The above items list the subjective high points of these reusable cartons. For this reviewer, it's the uniformity of the size that matters most, as they can be easily stacked. Depending on the weight of the contents, these 15x12x10-inch cartons can be easily stacked five or six high with little danger of toppling. There's a section below the handle opening at the end of each box where you can note the contents of each, which is highly suggested.

When I received my first order as an Amazon Vine selection, I wondered how easy they were to put together. As that turned out, it was only the first one that seemed slightly tricky, and once done it all made sense. Assembly is easy, and the directions are printed on the bottom of each box. Just follow the numbered steps and all should go just fine.

Hints: though no tape is needed, if you plan to use these for storage, you may wish to put a small strip of standard 1.88" to 2" wide packaging tape over the handle openings. That should be enough to keep out any small critters that may reside in your storage area. And of course it's not advisable to store any foodstuffs other than canned goods in these cartons. Enough said on that.

These Bankers Box SmoothMove Classic Moving Boxes are an excellent choice for moving and storage of your paper files, magazines, books, general household items, kitchen & bathroom goods. Just pick the size that best suits your personal needs, but remember that cartons can become heavier than you expect, especially with books and paper. The best part is that these uniform-sized boxes are very stackable, and can be used over and again.

JW ▪ 6/20/2015


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