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XSories Sneaker Bank 6000mAh Power Bank with 2 USB Ports Portable Multi Device Charger (White)
XSories Sneaker Bank 6000mAh Power Bank with 2 USB Ports Portable Multi Device Charger (White)
Offered by XSories
Price: $79.99
2 used & new from $79.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Combo Charger / BackUp Battery (high capacity) - Powers Two Devices, May 24, 2015
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
PROs- can charge devices & battery simultaneously, two USB outputs, high capacity
CONs- no built-in prongs, larger than alternatives, included cord hides needed micro-USB plug

Like the FluxMob Bolt , this is one of the few power banks which can simultaneously power your devices as well as store charge in its internal battery. Having dual functions at the same time can be very handy if you have a short period of time in which to charge your devices as well as battery backup (e.g. while changing planes).

This one claims to store either 4200, 6000, or 9000 mAH of power (depending on which one you choose), unlike the Bolt which claims to store only 3000mAH. And it is really nice that there are two USB output ports, so that you can power two devices at once.

However, it is missing the built-in outlet prongs of the Bolt, so you have to carry around a wall-to-USB base. Also it is about twice as large as the Bolt, so if you are budgeting space, that can be an issue. Speaking of budgeting space, it seems like some of the deep textured design on the rubbery surface is taking up room, and it could be a bit more compact if it skipped that part, however, the rounded edges and corners make it feel good in the hand.

The included cord is rather clever, at first appearing to be the wrong type. It appears to be a standard-A to mini-B USB plug, which is not what the box needs to charge. However, if you pull on the useless mini-B plug, a micro-B plug is revealed. I didn't realize this at first and raided my cable drawer to be able to charge the thing (I needed to provide wall outlet prongs also). This dual cord-type could be useful if those match the devices you carry around. (If you want to see an image of these different plugs, look at the "Connector Types" section of the Wikipedia article about USB.)

For the space and the modest price increase, I think it is worth getting the largest capacity possible. And for the right person, it could make a useful gift.


Classic Accessories 55-395-040401-EC Ravenna Cover for Kamado Ceramic Grills, Large, Black
Classic Accessories 55-395-040401-EC Ravenna Cover for Kamado Ceramic Grills, Large, Black
Price: $33.00
3 used & new from $33.00

3.0 out of 5 stars Decent Cover, but Mystery Coating (and is oblong to include side-table), May 23, 2015
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This is a well-made cover with a waterproof plastic lining, and convenience features including a handle, buckle, an elastic cinch tightening thing, and an inner plastic lining which keeps the water out. On each end, there is a ventilated section which is covered to keep rain out. According to the label, it is woven polyester, with a pvc lining.

However, there are some ingredient mysteries. First, one of the content labels says that it contains urethane foam -- I can't figure out where that is, unless it is a very thin sheet of foam to give the cover bulk. Also, it says not to clean it with soap or detergent, in order not to remove the special coating it got at the factory -- I'm wondering if that is something like generic Scotch-guard, which now days requires a health warning. Or is it one of those old fire-retardants that they used to put on nightwear, also which has health issues. Too bad they don't say what this mystery coating is.

Finally, the image looks like it covers a round grill, but actually it accomodates a side-table, and is oblong.


Scotts Liquid Turf Builder Lawn Food 32 oz.
Scotts Liquid Turf Builder Lawn Food 32 oz.
Price: $13.49
9 used & new from $11.16

3.0 out of 5 stars Dry Fertilizer is Easier, May 23, 2015
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
In the past, I have used dry granule fertilizer on a lawn, and it worked great, and was easy to apply. I thought this was going to be a hand-spray bottle, but it requires being hooked up to a hose to apply, which is a bit more of a pain. There are some specific instructions about how to hook up the hose and start and stop the stream of water that are _behind_ the back label, so be sure to check them out.


The Ghost in My Brain: How a Concussion Stole My Life and How the New Science of Brain Plasticity Helped Me Get it Back
The Ghost in My Brain: How a Concussion Stole My Life and How the New Science of Brain Plasticity Helped Me Get it Back
by Clark Elliott
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $20.78

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Brain Repair, Long after Injury, May 23, 2015
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
After reading an excerpt of this book which appeared in Discover Magazine, I wanted to read the rest, especially because this was about the experience of, and recovery from, concussion by a cognitive scientist.

I found it enlightening to know the kinds of thing a concussive could suffer, however, I am more fascinated by harnessing brain plasticity to repair problems. I wish the book had spent more time on approaches to dealing with brain repair, rather than his experiences as a person who suffered long-lasting damage from a concussion.

However, I do find it very hopeful that such changes can happen long after the initial injury. When my father had a stroke, the feeling was that he had a short period of time in which to regain skills, though he actually kept normalizing long afterwards. It is good that a book like this shows that brain repair can occur long after injury.


How Music Got Free: The End of an Industry, the Turn of the Century, and the Patient Zero of Piracy
How Music Got Free: The End of an Industry, the Turn of the Century, and the Patient Zero of Piracy
by S. Witt
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $20.48

5.0 out of 5 stars MP3 versus the Music Industry, the Behind the Scenes Story, May 22, 2015
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This book is an incredibly detailed account of the rise of the MP3, interwoven with the story of the music industry versus music piracy, written by a journalist/math major with prior experience with the world of Wall Street. While I was generally aware of the general flow of events, this book details specific meetings, detailed business dealings, law enforcement and court activities, and so forth. It gives a good window on the growth and changes of the internet over the same period of time, from the music industry point of view. The pivotal results are at the very end of the book.

The back of the book explains how he tracked down and pulled together all of the threads in this book, the interviews he conducted, and the published sources he relied upon. Yet sometimes, events in the remote time and past have such vivid detail that I wonder how much is reconstructed after the fact; for example, when describing a meeting in 1995, he describes someone speaking in "sentences, punctuated with short, sharp intakes of breath". Still, there is an incredible amount of meticulous research and detail in this book. If there is any flaw, it would be that some people may prefer to read a condensed version of this tale.

Along the way, this book, in the first chapter, reveals how and why MP3s suck, compared to CD music quality. In the first chapter, the science of psychoacoustics suggested where and how bits of music information could be thrown away, when digitizing music. Years ago side-by-side comparisons showed me how much presence and depth of music was missing in MP3, so I have avoided them, so it was illuminating to know the specifics.


Spice Hunter Organic Green Onion Dip Mix, 0.9 Ounce (Pack of 12)
Spice Hunter Organic Green Onion Dip Mix, 0.9 Ounce (Pack of 12)
Price: $15.20

5.0 out of 5 stars Fresh Green Onion Taste, All Organic, No MSG or other forms of glutamate, May 21, 2015
This is the first powdered dip mix I have tried that I have liked. When you first mix it up, the flavor is just about right. As you let it rest, the flavor grows and the onion flavor gets a bit sharp -- too much flavor is a nice problem to have, but I tone it down by adding a bit more sour cream, so for me it makes even more dip than the back of the envelope states. Also, my daughter feels it is a bit too sweet and needs a dash of soy sauce to balance it (I like it either way).

I have fond memories of green onion dip that my mother would make from a dry mix in the 60s, but when I tried the same brand now, Laura Scudder's Dip Mix, Green Onion , I guess my tastebuds have changed, because it has a fake taste to it now, probably from the MSG. Another one I tried, Gourmet Village Dip Mix Onion Chive , was out of balance too sweet. And Lipton Soup & Dip Mix, Onion is not awful, but not great, and missing the freshness of the green onion flavor. Usually make our own at home out of dried minced onion, fresh chopped scallion greens, and a dash of soy sauce, and leftover caramelized onion if we have some.

I'm a big fan of Spice Hunter blends, especially because they aren't filled out with salt, so i was optimistic about trying this dip mix when I saw it in my local store. I'll be keeping some of it on the shelf.

Note, to those who are sensitive, it has no MSG or glutamates or yeast extract. [Yes I know that when my daughter adds a dash of soy sauce she is adding glutamates, but at least it is not in the form of MSG, and that is the way she likes it.]


Spice Hunter Organic Guacamole Dip Mix, 0.9 Ounce (Pack of 12)
Spice Hunter Organic Guacamole Dip Mix, 0.9 Ounce (Pack of 12)
Price: $18.03

3.0 out of 5 stars Good, but Overwhelms Avocado Flavor, May 17, 2015
Everyone in the house agreed that this dip was good, but that it covered over the basic flavor of the avocado. The instructions said to mix the contents with one large avocado, I used a single large Haas, but we found the resulting flavor to be too strong. Adding an additional half an avocado made it better (I do appreciate that they are generous with the flavor ingredients).

I tried this because I am a big fan of Spice Hunter in general, especially because they don't pad out their spice blends with salt. i find their Steak & Chop Grill & Broil blend to be very useful in all sorts of dishes, including roasted vegetables, grilled burgers, dips, etc. And their Green Onion Dip Mix is really good, without the MSG of other brands of green onion dip. But I won't be getting their guacamole mix again.

To me, the point of guacamole is to taste the avocado. I prefer Guatemalan style with just a bit of white onion, a pinch of oregano, mexican/key lime juice and salt to taste. So while this was not bad, to me it misses the point of guacamole, it would have been better if it enhanced the avocado rather than overwhelmed it.

Perhaps it would be useful if you don't have access to good avocados, to make weak avocados work, like during that time of year when most of the avocados aren't so good.

p.s. I was really happy to find this mix at my local market. I really didn't want to have to buy many packages (as listed on Amazon), just to be able to try it. I won't be buying this one again, but I will be buying their Green Onion Dip Mix, and will continue to try out others from Spice Hunter.


Clay Water Brick: Finding Inspiration from Entrepreneurs Who Do the Most with the Least
Clay Water Brick: Finding Inspiration from Entrepreneurs Who Do the Most with the Least
by Jessica Jackley
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $20.52

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Tell a Story to Make a Point - Approaches to Building Effective Organizations to Make a Difference, May 16, 2015
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This book is a couple of different things. On the surface, it is a chronological account of Jackley's path from early encounters with poverty, anecdotes of people and situations throughout her schooling and her work in other countries, on to the founding of Kiva and later ProFounder, interspersed with brief profiles of micro-entrepreneurs she encountered along the way. But what takes this book to another level is that she extracts lessons and advice from these experiences, that would be useful to anyone struggling to build an organization which can accomplish things.

Early on, she talks about her frustrations in trying to find a lawyer to help set up Kiva so that it conformed with SEC regulations. While seeking other supporters to work with, she learned that she had to customize the language she used for each person, and that she "had to tell stories to move a person from a place of ignorance to a place of understanding". After a while, I realized that this is exactly what this book is doing, telling her stories to the reader, to convey the perspectives and tactics she has realized over time.

Sometimes the lessons surprise you by jumping out from behind a simple anecdote. For example, in one chapter she talks about building her initial team, then she started reminiscing about dealing with chickens people would give her when she visited in Uganda, and then suddenly her flock of hens and a rooster brought her to the importance of picking strong team leaders (roosters) and getting out of the way to get them to lead. Then she expands upon experiences with her team leaders.

Much wisdom about making good things happen in an entrepreneurial way, and choices in life, are in this book. I was interested in reading it because I am reaching a stage where I want to focus on charitable choices I'd like to make, but I thought the book was going to focus on specific kinds of activities worldwide, rather than building effective organizations which make a difference. Still, there are lots of good lessons in this book which I find illuminating and helpful in refining my own goals.


The Bad Doctor (Graphic Medicine)
The Bad Doctor (Graphic Medicine)
by Ian Williams
Edition: Paperback
Price: $24.95
21 used & new from $12.50

3.0 out of 5 stars Deep Stories, Shallowly Told, May 15, 2015
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I found this book unsatisfying, because the graphic novel format didn't allow the reader to fully delve into the depths of the various situations in the ongoing story of the main character, and those he crosses paths with. Perhaps this is because over the years, I have read many accounts by doctors, the patients they deal with, the puzzles they solve, and the effects upon their personal lives. I don't find the format of few words and a few clever cartoons and icons to be as satisfying as well-written accounts, and because of lack of detail, is somewhat disjointed.

But this book is to be recommended for being a unflinching look at some of the things which doctors deal with both in their practices and in their personal lives. The format may work better for you than it did for me.


Probelle All Natural Fungal Nail Treatment, Clear, .5 Fluid Ounce
Probelle All Natural Fungal Nail Treatment, Clear, .5 Fluid Ounce
Price: $15.00
4 used & new from $14.99

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Nice fluid, not greasy or smelly, May 14, 2015
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This looks like a bottle of clear nail polish, but with an eyedropper instead of a brush. What I really like is the lack of aroma. Other anti-fungals I have used have one smell or another to them. Out of the bottle the aroma is almost imperceptible, and once dried on the nail/skin, the aroma is minimal, only slightly medicinal. Also, it doesn't feel greasy, either when first applied and still wet, and after drying, in spite of the coconut oil it contains.

Only time will tell how well it works, but it is a nicer fluid than other anti-fungals which I have used.


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