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L. MacNeill's Profile

Customer Reviews: 29
Top Reviewer Ranking: 85,809
Helpful Votes: 235

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L. MacNeill RSS Feed (Atlanta, GA)

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Twelve South HiRise for iPhone/iPad mini, black | Adjustable charging stand, requires Apple Lightning cable
Twelve South HiRise for iPhone/iPad mini, black | Adjustable charging stand, requires Apple Lightning cable
Price: $34.99
12 used & new from $31.02

4.0 out of 5 stars Good, overall. Setup was not as easy as you might think it should be..., February 5, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
The overall quality of this dock is very good -- all-metal construction (except for the plastic clip that holds the Lightning Cable in place -- but it's not at all cheap plastic that feels like it's going to break).

Assembling the dock is not as easy as you might think it should be. It has four small allen-head screws (it *does* include an allen-key, so that's a plus) which you have to screw into the stand that holds the Lightning Cable, and into the "backing plate" that supports the device when it's in the dock. Getting these screws into those fairly small holes is a little difficult -- and then adjusting the backing-plate to get it just right takes several attempts. Too tight and it's impossible to put the device into the dock; too loose and the device isn't secure and wobbles around. (TwelveSouth makes a "Deluxe" version of this dock, which costs $20 more, but has a superior method for assembly and adjustment -- I felt that since I'm only going to assemble and adjust this dock once, it wasn't worth the extra $20 to save a few minutes of my time.)

But once you're done dealing with the screws and the adjustments, the dock is great! I use it every night -- the dock sits on the nightstand next to my bed. There are *many* alarm-clock apps you can download from the App Store -- both paid and free -- so you have, literally, dozens of different alarm-clocks that you can have displayed on your device while it's in the dock.

*Unlike* the Android-phone docks I've used in the past, this dock does not automatically start any alarm-clock app when you dock the device. You have to manually start the alarm-clock app, then insert the device into the dock for charging. This is *not* a big deal to me, and it's *not* the fault of the dock manufacturer -- it's just the way the iPhone/iPod Touch/iPad Mini work. There is no way for an external device to start an app on an Apple device, apparently. So if you're switching from an Android-phone to an iPhone, that's one big difference that you will notice right away -- but, like I said, it's not really a big deal at all...

The OtterBox case I have on my iPhone 6 Plus doesn't seem to faze this dock at all. The dock works fine, even with that big, bulky case on it -- which is precisely why I bought this dock as opposed to any other docks on the market. I did have to mess around with the placement of the Lightning Cable a bit -- the 5mm clip doesn't *quite* raise the connector high enough for the newest OtterBox Defender case on the iPhone 6 Plus, so it took a little "finagling" to get it to work right, but I've had no issues with it since then. (That's the reason I gave it 4 stars instead of 5).

And, to make docking easier, I cut off the cover-flap on the OtterBox case that covers the charging port. The case is not water-proof, so missing that flap isn't going to affect how well the case protects the phone. But, I blame OtterBox for that, not TwelveSouth.

Overall, I'm happy with this purchase. And it's just about the *only* well-constructed dock on the market that will work with a big, bulky case like the OtterBox Defender.

Tecsun PL-660 Portable AM/FM/LW/Air Shortwave World Band Radio with Single Side Band, Black
Tecsun PL-660 Portable AM/FM/LW/Air Shortwave World Band Radio with Single Side Band, Black
Price: $121.15
35 used & new from $93.28

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars AMAZINGLY sensitive tuner for the price! Couple of minor flaws, but very much worth the price, in my opinion., August 2, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
It is unbelievable to me how well this radio works with the built-in telescoping FM/SW antenna. It comes with an external wire antenna, and one of these days I might unwrap that and set it up -- but for now, I'm picking up stations 5000 to 6000 miles away with just the built-in antenna! And I live in a major metropolitan area, not out in the boonies, so it's not like I'm in the best place to receive distant radio-stations.

The built-in AM (MW) and LW antenna is nowhere near as good. It does *ok*, but it's not *great*. If you want to go DXing AM radio stations, you're not going to want this radio. But for SW and HF Ham bands -- incredibly good!

I would've given it 4.5 stars instead of 4, if Amazon would let me. But I can't give it 5 stars. It does have a couple of minor flaws. It has two built-in stands -- a good, secure one that lets it sit at about a 30-degree angle on a flat surface, and one that lets it stand (*very precariously*) on its front edge.

When you're using the "flat" stand I mentioned, the telescoping antenna will not go completely vertical -- it is about 20-degrees away from vertical, which is definitely something you have to be careful of. Someone walking behind the radio could easily snag that antenna and pull the radio off the table. Alternatively, if you want to place it so the back of the radio is flat against the wall, you can't do that without bending the antenna in a way it's not designed to bend.

When you're using the second stand I mentioned (the one that lets the radio stand on its front edge) the antenna will go completely vertical -- but the radio is *very* precariously perched in that position. A gentle bump will knock it right over. That stand is very poorly designed. Maybe duct-tape it to the table when you're using that stand to help keep it secure.

One other minor gripe -- the buttons don't light up. Until you learn the buttons by feel, you'll be using a flashlight or your cell-phone to see the buttons so you know what you're pressing. But that's just a minor gripe for me. The screen lights up for 30 seconds when you press the easy-to-find-in-the-dark "light" button, and for 3 to 5 seconds when you turn the tuning knob or press any other button, which is a very good feature. Just wish the buttons lit up too.

The Volume, BFO, and Tuning knobs all feel like they're a *touch* on the flimsy side -- not *bad*, just not quite as strong as I'd like to see on a portable radio. I'd be very careful not to drop the radio on that side -- they feel like they'll break off easily if you knock them hard enough. The radio comes with a decent carrying case, and I'd definitely keep the radio in there when you're transporting it.

Overall, though, it's an excellent radio for the price. The sensitivity is truly amazing! The features are well above the average for other radios in this price-range. The fact that the tuner is a knob and not a pair of +/- buttons is a big plus for me, personally. It has 2000 memory spaces! And, surprisingly, the included A/C adaptor doesn't seem to put much of a 60-Hz hum into the signals -- there's a *little* of that on the very weak stations, of course, but no where near what I've experienced with other A/C adaptors.

If you're into DXing on the SW or HF bands, you will definitely be very happy with this radio, in my opinion.

(Just got this radio today, and spent about 4 hours playing around with it. I'll update this review after I've had the radio for a couple of months.)

Thrustmaster TX Racing Wheel Ferrari 458 Italia Edition
Thrustmaster TX Racing Wheel Ferrari 458 Italia Edition
Price: $293.00
11 used & new from $265.00

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Works very well for me. Forza 5 is SO MUCH easier to play now..., June 13, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I can't stand racing with those little hand-held controllers that game-consoles come with, and Forza 5 on the XBox One is no exception...

Since this is currently the *only* steering-wheel available for XBox One and Forza 5, I had no choice but to buy it, despite the plethora of negative reviews here...

But, so far, I've had no problems whatsoever.

I followed the instructions to update the firmware before using the wheel for the first time: (go to [...] and click on 'Updates and Downloads', then select 'Xbox One', 'Wheel', 'TX Racing Wheel', and 'Driver / Firmware'. Then READ the instructions CAREFULLY. You shouldn't have any problems.)

After updating the firmware, I plugged in the wheel into the XBox, loaded up Forza 5 and everything just worked... I adjusted the force-feedback settings in Forza 5 (in the game go to Player Profile, Controller, hit 'X' to get to Advanced Settings and you can adjust everything there). It may take some experimentation to get the force-feedback where you like it -- the default setting is WAY too strong for me, but I found a setting that was comfortable with a little trial-and-error.

One thing I did notice -- BEFORE you plug the wheel into the XBox (or your PC), turn it all the way to the left as far as it will go. For some reason, this helps it calibrate the wheel-center better. Otherwise it will sometimes be a little off to the left instead of being centered for some reason. But other than that, no problems at all.

I'm glad I didn't buy one of the earlier models of this wheel. Judging by the reviews, they were junk. Looks like they've fixed the problems since then -- this wheel is solid and works very well as long as you calibrate it properly (see my note above about what to do before plugging it in).

Cast Away [HD]
Cast Away [HD]
Price: $3.99

5.0 out of 5 stars What an amazing movie!, April 1, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Who the heck gives this movie one star?! I can see 4 stars, or even maybe, 3 stars. But one?!

They should make a TV show about a whole group of people who have a plane crash on a mysterious island! Oh wait, they did that already -- it's called Lost. :-)

Seriously, though -- what an amazing performance by Tom Hanks. Definitely shows his chops as an actor. Acting with no one else in the scene has got to be one of the hardest things to do as an actor, and he does it brilliantly.

I saw this movie when it came out in theaters back in 2000, and I loved it then. If you haven't seen it yet, you owe it to yourself to rent it. $2.99 to rent it? It's worth every penny! Especially if you haven't seen it in awhile... What an amazing movie!

What would YOU do if you were stuck on an island in the south-pacific all alone? This movie really makes you wonder.

And the title is perfect -- "Cast Away.' Is he a castaway, or was his life cast away by the people who knew him when they thought he was dead? That's the question that this movie forces you to ask yourself. Really makes you think about what's important in your life, and what truly isn't. I don't really have the words to express how this movie makes me feel -- you just have to watch it and find out for yourself. The $2.99 you'll spend to rent it on Amazon Instant video is well worth the money.

SimCity: Limited Edition
SimCity: Limited Edition
Offered by Shopville USA
Price: $18.51
67 used & new from $9.95

11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Was 1-star, now it's 5-stars., March 25, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
FINALLY they've fixed it so you can play it WITHOUT logging into their overcrowded, slow servers! I bought this game when it first came out (about a year ago) and tried playing it for about a week. Hated it! But FINALLY they've upgraded the game so you can play it without logging into their servers -- completely offline.

The first time you play it, you will have to log into the servers and create an account, but then you put the game in Offline mode, and you'll never have to log into the servers again. It's the way SimCity was meant to be played. Finally.

ASUS RT-AC66U Dual-Band Wireless-AC1750 Gigabit Router
ASUS RT-AC66U Dual-Band Wireless-AC1750 Gigabit Router
Price: $154.99
128 used & new from $119.00

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best router I've ever owned..., March 25, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I can't believe the difference between this router and my old one. The external antennas alone make it worth the price. I bought some "extension cables" for the antennas and mounted them up in my attic -- my WiFi signal is AMAZING now, all though the house! And it sped up ALL of my wireless devices -- even the older 802.11g devices that can't see the dual-band 5GHz signal. It's not a cheap router, to be sure, but in this case you definitely get what you pay for.

The only caveat, so far, is that the firmware updates are VERY important, and they're NOT automatic (or at least the auto-update feature doesn't seem to work for me.) So go to Asus's web-site as soon as you buy this, and make sure your firmware is up-to-date. And don't forget to check every month or so for a new firmware update. The good part is that updating the firmware is quite easy to do manually.

The fact that this router conforms to the 802.11ac means that you're "future-proofing" yourself by buying it -- even if you don't have any 802.11ac devices yet, you will soon enough, so go ahead and buy this router. Like I said, it even speeds up your older 802.11g and 802.11n devices a good deal, so you will see some benefit even if you don't yet own any 802.11ac devices.

Newer Technology iSesamo: Ultra-thin steel pry tool for opening iPods, iPhones, iPads and more.
Newer Technology iSesamo: Ultra-thin steel pry tool for opening iPods, iPhones, iPads and more.
Offered by Newer Galaxy Distribution Company, LLC
Price: $6.00
6 used & new from $3.00

5.0 out of 5 stars Must have for any electronics-hobbyist..., March 25, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
If you're going to do any kind of repairs on modern mobile-electronic devices, you MUST have a couple of these in your toolbox. They're SO useful for prying off glued-on pieces or getting into tight spaces to release plastic clips -- and they won't break, unlike the plastic pry-tools that are out there. (Of course, you have to be careful when you're using them to pry delicate plastic parts, but I have yet to break anything with them). I definitely recommend buying a couple of these, if you do any work at all on modern mobile-electronic devices.

Sony MDRZX100  ZX Series Stereo Headphones (Black)
Sony MDRZX100 ZX Series Stereo Headphones (Black)
Offered by WOOHO
Price: Click here to see our price
122 used & new from $4.30

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good quality, for the price., March 25, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Yes, there are higher-quality headphones out there -- but those will cost you far more, too. These are so inexpensive that I wasn't expecting much from them, so I was pleasantly surprised. They perform better than other headphones at this price-range, and WAY better than those annoying "ear buds" that always fall out of my ears. They're light-weight and comfortable enough to wear for hours (and I have worn them for hours with no problems).

You will NOT be blown away by the audio-quality of these headphones. They're decent-sounding, but nothing special -- still, they're FAR better than the speakers built-in to your laptop or tablet computer, that's for sure.

But when you consider the price -- you're not going to find better headphones at this price.. If you're an audiophile and want super-incredible-sounding headphones, go spend $300+ on an audiophile-quality set of headphones. But if you just want a cheap pair of headphones that you can carry around with you and not worry about them getting broken, and which have an OK sound, buy these.

Amazon 5W USB Charger (also compatible with other android and iOS devices)
Amazon 5W USB Charger (also compatible with other android and iOS devices)

5.0 out of 5 stars Why buy the more expensive one?, March 25, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Amazon offers two 5-watt USB chargers. A larger one that's black in color and costs $5 more than this one. This one is smaller and produces the same 5-watts. From what I can tell, there is no difference between the two, other than the size and color. The larger one can block other plugs on a power-strip -- this one does not. And this one is $5 cheaper. Why would you buy the other, larger and more-expensive charger? Buy this one.

AmazonBasics Apple Certified Lightning to USB Cable - 6 Feet (1.8 Meters) - Black
AmazonBasics Apple Certified Lightning to USB Cable - 6 Feet (1.8 Meters) - Black
Price: $13.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Great cable. Way cheaper than Apple., March 25, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Longer than the original Apple cable. Well-constructed (doesn't feel flimsy or like the connectors will break off at any moment). And half the price of the half-as-long Apple cable. Worth every penny. The cable from Apple is just not worth the extra money.

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