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Customer Reviews: 20
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HBGuy "BTHB" RSS Feed (Huntington Beach, CA)

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Cooler Master JAS mini - Portable Aluminum Display Stand for Smartphones and Tablets (iPhone 6 Plus, iPhone 6, Galaxy S5, One M8, G3, iPad mini and More) (Espresso Brown)
Cooler Master JAS mini - Portable Aluminum Display Stand for Smartphones and Tablets (iPhone 6 Plus, iPhone 6, Galaxy S5, One M8, G3, iPad mini and More) (Espresso Brown)
Price: $29.99
30 used & new from $22.76

5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent design, performance and scalability, October 3, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
The JAS mini is a well-crafted stand that can support devices ranging in size from an iPhone to an iPad Air. Its range of motion is variable by ~ 135 degrees, and accommodates typing as well as reading/viewing while providing excellent stability for the device it is used with. The materials used - aluminum and rubber - are of the same caliber used by Apple for its product, yet very light weight and easily transportable.

I previously used another stand and find this one far preferable in terms of look, functionality and weight. I highly recommend it to anyone who wants a versatile stand for an i-device.

Transcend JetDrive 500 240GB SATA III SSD Upgrade Kit for Macbook Air SSD (Late 2010 - Mid 2011) TS240GJDM500
Transcend JetDrive 500 240GB SATA III SSD Upgrade Kit for Macbook Air SSD (Late 2010 - Mid 2011) TS240GJDM500
Price: $189.99
14 used & new from $165.00

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent price-value proposition, July 6, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This is an excellent upgrade for any 64GB or 128GB Mac Air. Installation is tricky, especially if, like myself, one has never opened up a Mac Air before, but there are some very helpful videos on YouTube. The videos produced by OWC memory sales were particularly helpful.

There is always an urge to get a new upgrade installed as quickly as possible, but anyone who buys this upgrade should take the time to walk through the entire upgrade process, especially cloning the new drive. I also suggest having some ziplock bags handy as temporary storage for the screws removed from the Mac Air, unless spares are available.

The overall performance of the SSD upgrade has been excellent, although installation of the Jet Drive Toolbox software is also highly recommended. This will provide all of the SSD software tools needed for the upgrade. I strongly recommend this upgrade from a price and performance perspective.

CaseCrown Omni Case (Carbon Fiber Black) for Apple iPad Air with Sleep / Wake Feature & Multi-Angle Viewing Stand
CaseCrown Omni Case (Carbon Fiber Black) for Apple iPad Air with Sleep / Wake Feature & Multi-Angle Viewing Stand
Offered by Senyx
Price: $25.46
3 used & new from $20.47

13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Looks great. Great price. Performs as advertised., January 22, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I read about this case on iLounge, where it received an "A-" rating for the iPad Air version. It would have been rated higher, had the reviewer not paid full price. This is the first CaseCrown case I've owned, so my comments are specific to the iPad Air. I don't remove my iPad from the Omni, in part because I don't need to, and because I'm likely to drop the iPad because it is so slick to the touch.

The shell protecting the rear of the case is very solid and well designed. The cutouts provide good protection for the iPad's speaker, ports and buttons. It manages to do so without being unnecessarily bulky or heavy, which cannot be said of other cases. The front cover, while thin, retains the 4-fold design of previous Apple iPad cases. This provides for good stability when in a standing position, which is how I use my iPad much of the time. The faux carbon fiber is a nice, complimentary design to the "Space Gray" color, and provides adequate protection for the iPad.

I do have one concern about the case, which is that the plastic that connects the cover to the rear protective shell is quite thin and could be a problematic over time from repeated use. I haven't had any problem with it yet, nor would I expect to after only 2 months of use. Nevertheless, it bears watching, but isn't serious enough to warrant a negative review.

Some reviews have commented that this case wouldn't protect the iPad in the event of it being dropped. My response is that apart from a few military-grade cases, none will. I keep my iPad in a padded sleeve case from Roots when travelling, which in turn is inside of a thick leather bag. If you're really concerned about protection, my approach has been useful more than once at airports, etc., without sacrificing the thinness of the iPad.

Overall, considering the alternatives on the market at this time, the CaseCrown Omni is an excellent value, provides great protection and looks great. It warrants 5-stars.

Phone Power IF-ITVV-CFFY Phone Power Broadband Telephone Service VoIP Phone and Device
Phone Power IF-ITVV-CFFY Phone Power Broadband Telephone Service VoIP Phone and Device
Price: $75.72
2 used & new from $75.72

5.0 out of 5 stars World class QoS and value at an incredibly low price, October 21, 2013
I have been an extremely satisfied PhonePower customer for 4 years. I made the switch from ATT CallVantage after that service was discontinued by ATT. I read several glowing reviews of PhonePower online, and had a hard time believing that they were as good as the reviewers claimed. Now, 4 years later, I can happily state that each glowing review was 100% accurate.

I am a remote worker in the IT Dept. of a major life sciences company, so reliability and QoS is extremely important to me. PhonePower meets this need at an incredibly low price. I've only needed technical support once, but when I did, it was nice to speak with someone whose native language was English, located here in California, and be able to understand them. And my problem was quickly resolved.

I travel extensively overseas, and really appreciate PhonePower's "Click to Call", especially given the cost of making an international call on my iPhone. So for me, Phone Power is an incredible value that provides rock solid availability at an extremely affordable price.

Quicken Deluxe 2014 [OLD VERSION]
Quicken Deluxe 2014 [OLD VERSION]

905 of 952 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Save your money, October 7, 2013
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I had high hopes that 2014 would at long last bring with it an improved mobile companion app for desktop Quicken that fully supported investment, loan and other asset accounts. Instead, the only "new" functionality that was offered was "receipt capture" and a few miniscule improvements to the desktop version of the app itself. Lack of a full-featured app or version for either iOS or OSX is difficult to account for, given their widespread use.

The 2013 and 2014 Quicken mobile app provides basic syncing ability between desktop Quicken and cash accounts, and some budget support. For some inexplicable reason, the 2014 app is only available after one pays Intuit its annuity payment of $60-100, depending upon the version used. Investment, loan and other asset accounts are not supported in the 2013 or 2014 releases of the app. Which begs the question: why bother to upgrade at all, or even use the app?

Mint provides much more robust support for one's financial life by supporting all asset and liability classes. Although it doesn't sync with desktop Quicken directly, it can be configured to mirror Quicken accounts by using similar names, asset types, etc., and including static accounts - e.g., property value, autos, etc. It would be preferable if the two could be synced directly, but mirroring accounts works well enough. And it's free.

In terms of the desktop Quicken 2014 upgrade, save your money and don't bother. Apart from a few welcome technical changes - a long overdue upgrade from .Net 2.x to 4.0 is the main one - little else has changed. If you are using an older version that no longer downloads bank or securities information, you may want the upgrade. If this isn't important to you or you're using the 2012 and 2013 versions, the upgrade is hard to justify, unless you enjoy frittering money away.

I'd offer Intuit one other piece of friendly advice. I've been a desktop Quicken user since 1990 and have depended upon it to such an extent that it is the only reason I maintain the Windows version on a Parallels VM, hosted on my MacBook Air. The Mac products should have been put out of their misery years ago because of their limited functionality and Intuit's general lack of support for the Mac. I've tired of the Parallels and Windows bloatware, and of Intuit's lack of a full featured upgrade for the Mac since 2007 (yes, 2007!). I've sought alternatives, and there are now some very credible alternatives to desktop Quicken.

Similarly, in the iOS world, Intuit's lack of interest in this platform, apart from Mint, is hard to fathom. The Mac alternatives I mentioned offer full featured iOS companion apps that in several cases do sync between the desktop and iOS versions, AND support investment, loan and other accounts. If these alternatives can do it, with resources that are likely much more limited than Intuit's, why can't you? And, Intuit's Quickbooks, TurboTax and other products do offer excellent OSX and iOS support. Hard to understand, then, the Quicken offerings.

I hope Intuit listens to what I know have been many similar complaints from other users, as there are other alternatives if it doesn't.

Edited on 20 Oct 2013:

I didn't expect my review to draw the number of responses it has received or comments. This update is intended to elaborate further on my remarks above and to recommend some alternatives.

1. Quicken 2014 upgrade from 2013 - I didn't make my remarks without trying the product. I didn't experience any significant problems with upgrade process, although my Quicken file is ~ 400MB. Updates downloaded for my accounts seem to be much faster than in the 2013 version, and the periodic hesitation evident in the 2013 and earlier releases isn't as apparent in Q2014. Tax tables have been updated, but that is the extent of any obvious improvement.
2. Investment support - call me old-fashioned if you will, but I believe every investment portfolio should have a significant allocation for precious metals. There is no support at all in Q2014 or earlier releases for PMs, despite numerous feature requests for it.
3. Investment return calculations - I don't why, but Quicken's estimate of my rate of return differs significantly from that of my 401K trustee and my own spreadsheet, which I built with the help of a CFA.
4. Mobile app - I commented on Quicken's offering above, and have been trying an excellent, full-featured iPad app that could be used as a standalone app, or as a companion to the OSX version. "IBank for iPad" by IGG offers full support for investments, loans and other asset classes, as well as direct downloads for bank, credit card and other accounts with online access. It isn't perfect, but considering that it is its initial release, one would give it 4 out of 5 stars. The OSX product has been released for several years and is very good. It, too, lacks some features, but as an alternative the running QFW on a Win XP/Parallels VM, it is far superior.
5. WinXP - continued use of this as an O/S after April 2014 should give anyone using it cause for concern. After that date, Microsoft will cease providing security patches for XP. I am an IT professional and have been urging clients to prepare for their migrations ASAP. For OSX users, their choices will either be an upgrade to Windows 7 or if they're masochistic, Windows 8, if they choose to continue running QFW on OSX. Otherwise, begin planning an exit strategy.
6. Quicken for Mac update - there are periodic reports in Quicken's Support Community of a update for Quicken 2007, but no sign of any impending beta testing. It is also far from certain what data coil be migrated to an OSX version, given Quicken's inexplicable use of different file formats for Windows and OSX. A hint from "Quicken Tamara" that we "might" see something in February - which year wasn't stated - but since that comment appeared, no other mention of a release date.
7. Migration strategy - absent the ability to migrate QFW directly to most OSX alternative, e.g., attachments can't be brought across, the safest strategy is probably to run QFW and an OSX replacement in parallel until Intuit's strategy for OSX becomes more apparent, or, one becomes comfortable with an OSX replacement. This does create additional work, but the advantage is that one's QFW file will be current if iOS or OSX replacements aren't what a user wants.
8. Cloud option - it is possible that Quicken could be offered as a hosted service, which Intuit already does for QuickBooks, Turbotax and other products. This won't appeal to those with data privacy concerns, but as one who deploys virtual desktops for thousands of users for a large life sciences company, this alternative has many advantages and few downsides. However, there is no indication that Intuit plans on doing so anytime soon.
9. Quicken user interface - this is, indeed, something that needs a lot attention. One can only conclude that lack of credible alternative products and a confused product strategy - consider what Intuit could have done with Mint, but didn't - have led to inertia on Intuit's part in terms of meaningful product enhancements. Compare QFW to iBank, MoneyDance and other alternatives for what could be done. Many of Quicken's problems are the customer base's perception of its tired UI, a public accustomed to beautiful apps on the iPad and a business model that prioritizes gratuitous annual upgrades with little in the way of improved functionality over meaningful design changes and new services, many of which (cloud hosting) could improve earnings more than the current cycle of annoying annual upgrades.
10. Conclusion - there is not a single approach for every user. Some want a Windows release, others an OSX version and still others a mobile version. What is clear to me from comments posted here and elsewhere is that many of Quicken's users use it because they have to, and lack of alternatives. The latter will diminish in time, and with it, Quicken's installed base.

Edit 25 Oct 2013

For Mac users using Quicken for Windows with Parallels, be aware that if you upgrade to OSX Mavericks you will also need to upgrade to Parallels 9. Previous releases of Parallels aren't supported by Mavericks. So, in addition to paying for a Quicken upgrade of dubious value, Parallels 9 will cost you $49-89 more.

Edit 5 Jan 2014

I have migrated my use of Quicken to iBank 5, which is an excellent product and directly comparable to Quicken 2014, but with much stronger support for mobile platforms (excellent iPad app). Best of all, I can run iBank without need for Windows virtualization s/w and a full install of Windows.

I tried to convert my Quicken file using iBank's import process, but it was a miserable failure. In the end, I set up a new file from scratch using Quicken account summaries. Overall, the time spent setting up iBank wasn't excessive, and it allowed me to become conversant with the product. It is a pleasure to use, especially the investment functionality and iPad app. I will keep my Quicken installation for seven years for tax and other purposes.

The above is only for OSX users, but my criticism of the Windows version remains. Quicken, as a product, has seen little innovation in the past 5 years, has serious shortcomings from an investment perspective, poor mobile support and its user interface is in serious need of a major facelift.
Comment Comments (136) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Aug 20, 2014 7:03 PM PDT

Chef's Choice 681 Cordless Electric Kettle
Chef's Choice 681 Cordless Electric Kettle
Price: Click here to see our price
16 used & new from $47.45

5.0 out of 5 stars Attractive and functional, July 12, 2013
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This is the first electric kettle I've purchased since having one in Canada several years ago. The style of the Chef's Choice Electric Kettle is attractive and functional, while providing some nice safety features my old kettle didn't have: automatic shutoff of the kettle once water reaches a boiling temperature, an blue LED light to indicate that the kettle is on, a cordless feature that allows the kettle to be detached from its base for flexible use. Water heats up quickly.

The only thing I dislike about this kettle is the small opening at its top for filling it with water. I like to use the filtered water from my refrigerator, not tap water, but the opening is too small for this purpose. Instead, I fill another container which has a larger opening and use it to fill the electric kettle. It's not a big deal, but it's cumbersome. Overall, though, I'm very pleased with this kettle and strongly recommend it to anyone in the market for one.

Elevation Dock for iPhone 5
Elevation Dock for iPhone 5

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautifully made - Apple-caliber build quality - in the USA, January 5, 2013
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I'm very pleased with this dock. It looks and feels as if Apple manufactured it, and is a great way to protect a new iPhone from unintended bumps and scratches.

A couple words of caution: the iPhone 5 dock requires buyers to supply their own lightning cable, which has to be installed by removing the 30-pin connector that is provided. Installation instructions aren't clear, so watch the online video a couple times to ensure that you understand how to install the cable. Speaking of which, Apple's lightning cable is much thinner than others (I also own a Boxwave cable) and works; others do not.

Apart from the installation aggravation, this is a great product that really complements the new iPhone 5 very well.

Motorola SB6121 DOCSIS 3.0 Cable Modem in Non-Retail Packaging (Brown Box)
Motorola SB6121 DOCSIS 3.0 Cable Modem in Non-Retail Packaging (Brown Box)
Offered by LontraPop Communications
Price: $68.99
19 used & new from $47.00

5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent cable modem, January 5, 2013
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I was aghast at Time Warner's recent move to charge $4/month for what had previously been free. After checking which modems were supported by Time Warner, I bought this and will recover my investment in ~ 19 months.

The modem features DOCSIS 3.0 and very easy setup, which took less than 5 mins. Documentation is a very clear, and build quality is good. Highly recommended to anyone who would prefer to supply their own device instead of being ripped off by their cable provider.

Genius Case for new iPad/iPad2 Clear
Genius Case for new iPad/iPad2 Clear

1.0 out of 5 stars Junk!, January 5, 2013
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This item I received was either used or, if indicative of Enki's manufacturing, is abysmal. Either way, this isn't something I want on my iPad!

Panasonic ES8243A Arc4 Men's Electric Shaver Wet/Dry with Nanotech Blades
Panasonic ES8243A Arc4 Men's Electric Shaver Wet/Dry with Nanotech Blades
Price: $104.99
79 used & new from $104.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Very close shave, January 5, 2013
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I wish I had purchased this much sooner. It provides a very close, comfortable shave with no facial irritation at all. It is somewhat louder than other electric shavers because the speed of the shaver is very fast, but isn't a deal breaker for me. Overall, I highly recommend it.

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