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Customer Reviews: 459
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Helpful Votes: 6478

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Terry Sunday RSS Feed (El Paso, Texas United States)

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1Byone® Sector Digital TV Antenna Reception HDTV Antenna Indoor Aerial For VHF/UHF/FM
1Byone® Sector Digital TV Antenna Reception HDTV Antenna Indoor Aerial For VHF/UHF/FM
Offered by 1Byone
Price: $44.99
3 used & new from $42.74

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Now THIS Is What I'm Talkin' About!, September 19, 2014


Okay, so I'm a semi-Luddite, at least in certain ways. I deliberately choose not to pay to have my intelligence insulted by the incessant commercials on cable TV. In its early days, the whole point of cable was to let viewers pay for commercial-free programming. How times have changed!

So I get TV the old-fashioned way--broadcast over the air. But I live in a mountainous fringe area, so I only get three stations--CBS, Fox and PBS. For many years I've picked those stations up using a powered Radio Shack loop-and-rabbit-ears set-top antenna. It had to be adjusted just right to even get those. I might pull in a few more channels if I put an antenna up on the roof, but TV just doesn't matter that much to me.

So I jumped at the chance when the folks at 1Byone offered to send me this antenna in return for an honest review. I figured I had nothing to lose, and maybe a little to gain.

Setup is simple and straightforward, with just a couple of cable connections. I tested this antenna atop my television set without touching the Radio Shack unit, because I didn't want to disturb its alignment, which is exceptionally critical. I was pleasantly surprised. No, I was delighted. My reception is just as good using the 1Byone antenna as it was with my old one. It may even be a little better, although I don't see a big difference on the signal strength meter. Admittedly, I don't get any more channels with the 1Byone antenna than I do with my old one. I still just get CBS, Fox and PBS, plus a bunch of over-the-border Mexican stations in which I have zero interest. However--and this is a HUGE plus--the 1Byone antenna is a slim, elegant strip of glossy black plastic that almost looks like part of the television set. At last I can ditch my ugly, spindly, flimsy, obtrusive loop-and-rabbit-ear antenna (complete with aluminum foil on one of the arms) in favor of this great-looking modern unit.

I'm extremely pleased with the design, appearance and performance of this 1Byone antenna. I can't recommend it too highly. If you too refuse to cave in to the bombardment of cable TV commercials, and if you get your television channels over-the-air using rabbit ears, you MUST give it a try. Once you get rid of the rabbit ears in your TV room, visitors may even think you've entered the 21st century.


I'd hoped this 1Byone sector antenna would add ABC and NBC, at least, to my meager channel lineup of CBS, Fox and PBS. But it didn't. Not only did I not get more channels when I tested it; I lost CBS. So it didn't even work as well as my current powered Radio Shack loop-and-rabbit-ears antenna. I fiddled with the angles and lengths of the rabbit ears, and the angle of the flat-plate antenna, but nothing made it better. I got only two channels, compared to three with my current antenna. For the record, the rabbit ears on this antenna are much shorter and thinner than the ones on my Radio Shack unit. Maybe this is why it has poorer reception.

With all that said, I think the fairest thing I can do is to rate this antenna--the SECTOR antenna, NOT the RECTANGULAR THIN-STRIP antenna--with three stars. I mean that to be a "neutral" rating. It's clearly not junk, but it equally clearly does not out-perform my current one. To me, that makes it about middle-of-the-pack. It may work very well in stronger-signal areas, but I can't verify that. Try it if you need such an antenna, but just be aware that it may not be the best option under your specific conditions.

1Byone 3-Port 5.1A(2.1A 2A 1A) Aluminum Panel Compact Designed Rapid USB Car Charger For iPhone iPad Samsung Galaxy Motorola HTC Asus Huawei Cellphones Android Smartphones Tablet Pc Gopro Ebooks e-Reader MP3 Player GPS and More, Color Black And Red
1Byone 3-Port 5.1A(2.1A 2A 1A) Aluminum Panel Compact Designed Rapid USB Car Charger For iPhone iPad Samsung Galaxy Motorola HTC Asus Huawei Cellphones Android Smartphones Tablet Pc Gopro Ebooks e-Reader MP3 Player GPS and More, Color Black And Red
Offered by 1Byone
Price: $9.99

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Charge Your Devices on the Go, September 18, 2014
This 1Byone three-port USB car charger is a pretty neat little gadget.

I'll admit up front that I'm not really a dedicated techie. So far, I've resisted the urge to load up with music players, smartphones, video players and other distracting devices to use when I'm driving. I think drivers should devote 100% of their attention to the process of driving, and not screw around with electronic stuff. If that were the case, cars wouldn't have to come with driver "aids" like blind-spot monitoring systems, lane-departure warning alarms, pedestrian detectors, radar cruise control, automatic braking, and all the other systems designed to protect stupid, inattentive drivers from themselves. Having said that, however, I know I'm in the minority. Most drivers love these systems, and probably need them. So be it.

Given that my needs for a car charger are fairly basic, then--I just need one to top off my tablet and maybe a camera or two while I'm on the road--I'm really impressed with this charger, which I received free in return for an honest review. It's very small and compact for what it does. Its shiny plastic and anodized aluminum finish looks great, and I'm pleased with how little space it takes up when it's plugged into a 12-volt power point. A tiny, and I mean TINY, blue LED on the face of the unit illuminates when it's getting juice, and the upper USB port emits a soft blue glow as well, making it easy to find and use in a dark car interior. It fits very tightly into all the power points I've tried it in, with absolutely no slop whatsoever. It certainly isn't gonna vibrate loose, even if your car has square tires.

The power ratings of 2.1, 2.0 and 1.0 amps, clearly marked on the three USB ports, are adequate for charging just about any electronic device. Plug this baby in when you get on the road and you'll arrive with all of your toys ready to use.

Unfortunately, I can't plug my two-year-old Garmin GPS unit into this charger because it uses its own dedicated power-point plug. That means I can only use GPS and this charger simultaneously in a car with two power points. One of my cars has two, but the other three have just one--and one of those is a "cigar lighter," not a "power point." USB hadn't even been invented yet when that car rolled off the assembly line.

This is a great little charger that I expect to use a lot. It's found a permanent place in my travel electronics kit bag.

1Byone® 27W 4-Port Travel-Sized Multi Ports Desktop USB Charger with U-station Design for iPhone 6 5s 5c 5, iPad 4 mini Air, Samsung Galaxy S5 S4, Note 3 2, the new HTC One (M8), Nexus, Smartphones, 5V Tablets, Bluetooth Speakers and More
1Byone® 27W 4-Port Travel-Sized Multi Ports Desktop USB Charger with U-station Design for iPhone 6 5s 5c 5, iPad 4 mini Air, Samsung Galaxy S5 S4, Note 3 2, the new HTC One (M8), Nexus, Smartphones, 5V Tablets, Bluetooth Speakers and More
Offered by 1Byone
Price: $16.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A Good Idea, but Doesn't Work Well for Me, September 18, 2014
I have mixed feelings about this U-Station Four-Port USB Travel Charger, which I received free in return for an honest review.

My wife and I have different device charging needs. She has an iPad and I have a Samsung Galaxy Tab 2. Neither of us has an iPhone, Smartphone or iPod--but that's another story. Anyway, I had hoped this charger would replace the two separate chargers we now use for our tablets. Having tested it in that mode, however, I came away a little disappointed.

But first--it has some really neat design features, and it seems to be high quality and very well made. It's heavy enough to stay put on a hotel desk or nightstand, and the thick, hefty flat power cord is long enough to reach an electrical outlet without being so long that the unit is too bulky to carry easily. The captive Velcro strap for wrapping up the cord is a nice touch, as are the spring-loaded, snap-open plastic covers over the four USB ports. The ports are all identified--1A, 1A, iPhone, iPad--in very tiny, hard-to-read, pale gray lettering underneath the covers. Putting the labels on the outside of the covers would have been better, in my opinion.

Now, on to its performance--and my disappointment. The unit is rated at 5.4 amps, which, as I understand it, is split up as 2.4 amps for the iPad port and 1 amp each for the other three. My wife's iPad seems to charge fine on the iPad port--maybe just a little slower than on its dedicated charger. However, not much happens when I simultaneously plug my Samsung into one of the 1-amp ports. I guess it charges, at least a little, but it is WAY slower than on its own charger. In fact, I often don't even get the animated battery icon indicating that its charging. I lost patience with it long before the tablet was fully charged, and reverted back to the dedicated Samsung charger. I'm hesitant about plugging the Samsung into the iPad port, and, anyway, the whole idea was to use this charger to charge both of our devices at once. It doesn't seem to do that in a useful way.

I don't want to condemn this product too much, because I realize my needs are quite different than those of more "mainstream" users, with multiple phones, music players, headphones, cameras, speakers and so on. It's probably great for such users. However, the fact that it apparently can't, in my experience, effectively charge an iPad and a Samsung tablet simultaneously means I'll have to continue to schlep two individual chargers and power cords along on trips, and I'll have to use two separate electrical outlets. In that, I am disappointed.

ProDesign Silicone Spatula - #sexyspatula - 100% NON STICK - Heat Resistant 500°F - Dishwasher Safe - FDA Compliant Food Grade Silicone - Rubber Spatula - Silicone Spade - Kitchen Turner - MODERN DESIGN - Ergonomic Handle - Excellent Multi Purpose Kitchen Gadget - LIFETIME Money Back Guarantee (Chili Pepper Red)
ProDesign Silicone Spatula - #sexyspatula - 100% NON STICK - Heat Resistant 500°F - Dishwasher Safe - FDA Compliant Food Grade Silicone - Rubber Spatula - Silicone Spade - Kitchen Turner - MODERN DESIGN - Ergonomic Handle - Excellent Multi Purpose Kitchen Gadget - LIFETIME Money Back Guarantee (Chili Pepper Red)
Offered by Topaz Commerce
Price: $8.99

5.0 out of 5 stars A Quality, Top-Shelf Spatula, September 18, 2014
I like a lot of things about this ProDesign Silicone Spatula, which I received free in return for an honest review.

One is that it’s “Chili Pepper Red” (fellow Southwesterners, of course, know its “chile,” not “chili”). That makes it really easy to find in my kitchen tool Lazy Susan.

The business end is soft and flexible, and just the right size—not too big, not too small, and not too thick. Its rounded edges get into nooks and crannies very well. The paddle slides off of the clear plastic shaft fairly easily. That’s good for thorough cleaning, but I can’t help but wonder if it’ll get looser with wear. Only time will tell.

The contoured, ergonomic plastic handle is firm and slightly textured for a good grip with wet hands. It even has a neat little thumb rest. There’s a hole in it to hang on a hook if you like.

Overall, the spatula is lightweight, pleasant to hold and very maneuverable. Its so much better than my ancient, wood-handled Rubbermaid, with its thick, stained, cracked, brittle paddle, that there’s no comparison.

You’ll just have to trust the Amazon description that it’s 100% non-stick, heat resistant to 500°F, dishwasher safe and FDA compliant, because the thin cardboard backing that it comes twist-tied to is singularly devoid of useful information. I exaggerate not. The only things on the backing are the words “ProDesign Kitchen” and three little icons, only one of which—the recycling arrows—I recognize.

I’m very impressed with this spatula, and I recommend it highly.

Haggar Men's Performance Cotton Slack Straight Fit Plain Front Pant,Ash,34x32
Haggar Men's Performance Cotton Slack Straight Fit Plain Front Pant,Ash,34x32
Price: $34.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars When Cargo Shorts Just Won't Do, September 16, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Since I'm retired and live in the desert Southwest, I have almost no use for long pants. Most of the year I live in cargo shorts and a tee shirt. During our brief cold spells or for dress-up events, I'll don cargo pants with unzippable leg tubes. I haven't bought a pair of big-boy pants in years, ever since I bid adios to the 9-to-5 coat-and-tie rat race.

With that said, I did recently feel inclined to update my ancient, threadbare wardrobe a little. So I was glad to see these Haggar Performance Cotton Straight Fit Plain Front pants as an Amazon Vine selection. The pants for review only came in one color (Ash) and one size (34W x 32L). I can live with that--the waist is fine, but the 32-inch length is too long. Hemming them up a few inches is in order.

Based on an inspection and a fit check, I like these pants a lot. Here are some observations:

- They're made in Bangladesh (surprise!), but they seem to be put together very well. The seams are tight and straight, the fly and rear pocket buttons are firmly attached, the two-inch belt loops are secure and there are no loose threads.
- The rear pockets are large and deep. I can easily carry my thick, overstuffed, standard-size billfold with plenty of room to button the button.
- The front pockets are wide and deep, and well sized to stick ones hands down into while one slouches towards Gomorrah.
- The zipper is sturdy metal rather than plastic, a nice touch.
- Not that this means much to me, but they're 57% cotton, 41% polyester and 2% Spandex. A little Spandex can't hurt, right? It provides a very slight but noticeable amount of stretch in the waistband.
- They're really soft. The material feels almost like an old, well-worn flannel shirt. There's no stiffness or starchiness at all. They feel well broken in right out of the box.

I'm not giving these pants five stars, because I reserve that stellar grade for the absolute, bar-none, best-that-I've-ever-seen item, and no pair of long pants is ever likely to get that rating from me. But I have no hesitation in giving them a solid, enthusiastic four-star rating. If you see them in a size and color that you like, give them a try.

Veronica Mars
Veronica Mars
DVD ~ Kristen Bell
Price: $20.97
50 used & new from $8.59

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Enjoyable Movie in its Own Right, September 5, 2014
This review is from: Veronica Mars (DVD)
I was never a fan of the "Veronica Mars" television series, mainly because I don't have cable so I didn't get the channel. But I checked the Season 1 DVD set out of the library quite a while ago, and I enjoyed it a lot. Of course, I quickly forgot the details of story and characters. However, that didn't prevent me from enjoying the full-length movie "Veronica Mars" just as much.

It's head-and-shoulders above most of the other contemporary movies I've seen in the last several years. The murder mystery plot is interesting, featuring enough complexity and twists to challenge the viewer but not so much that it becomes confusing or hard to follow. The cast members (mainly twenty- or thirty-somethings) seem well suited to their roles and their characters are well developed. The cinematography and production values are excellent, as are the settings, dialogue, pacing and editing. I liked everything about it.

In short, "Veronica Mars" is a stylish, engaging, well-made movie. I enjoyed it very much, even though I came into it "cold" and without much knowledge of, or any attachment to, the original TV series. Obviously I can't speak to how a true fan would rate it. But as a casual viewer, I found it to be a great piece of stand-alone cinematic entertainment. Give it a try even if you've never heard the name "Veronica Mars."

The Auschwitz Escape
The Auschwitz Escape
by Joel C. Rosenberg
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $19.10
142 used & new from $7.33

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Thinly Disguised Evangelical Christian Propaganda, September 1, 2014
This review is from: The Auschwitz Escape (Hardcover)
When I first started reading "The Auschwitz Escape," I found it quite a compelling story. For the first hundred pages or so, I figured I'd probably rate it with either four or five stars. But the further I read, the more my rating fell. I ended up just skimming the last hundred pages. By that time, I had totally lost interest in the characters and plot, and I just wanted it to be over. I didn't even care if I finished it or not.

The reason for my negative reaction is that I got tired of author Joel C. Rosenberg's heavy-handed proselytizing. There was a little bit of overt religiosity in the early pages, but I managed to ignore it. I dismissed it as a mere plot element. However, after two of the characters escape from Auschwitz (that's not really a spoiler), religion--specifically Christianity-- took center stage, and I felt like I was being mercilessly bludgeoned by an evangelical wacko. I have absolutely ZERO interest in religious fiction, but by the time I caught on to Mr. Rosenberg's agenda, I had invested too much in the book to give it up. I should have, though.

The systematic murder of more than six million Jews and other innocent people by the Nazis in World War II is a heinous crime that plumbed the lowest depths of human depravity, and that stands as a stark example of brutal fanaticism at its worst. I find it deplorable that Mr. Rosenberg, a self-proclaimed "evangelical Christian with a passion to make disciples of all nations and teach Bible prophecy," shamelessly uses the Holocaust as a back story to proselytize his own sect of Christianity. The ending of "The Auschwitz Escape" is blatantly religious with strong overtones of evangelical Christianity (as I understand it). I think it disrespects and trivializes the true horrors of the Nazi atrocities in favor of preachy prosytelizing platitudes. I found it to be disgustingly self-serving and insulting.

If I want to deal with proselytizers of any stripe--which I don't--I'll just engage the well-dressed, clean-cut young Mormons in conversation the next time they ring my doorbell. In the meantime, I'll steer well clear of all books by Mr. Rosenberg and others of his ilk.

Now Designs Ripple Towel Set of 2, White
Now Designs Ripple Towel Set of 2, White
Price: $15.71
2 used & new from $15.49

4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent for their Intended Purpose, August 26, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I don't ask much from dish towels. All I expect is that they'll absorb enough water to dry the dishes, that they won't wear through after a few uses and that they'll hold up to the occasional laundering without falling to pieces. Sadly, in a disheartening indication of today's throwaway culture, some dish towels can't even do these simple things. I don't discard old, threadbare, holey dish towels, of course. I'm too much of a conservationist to do that. I repurpose them for floor wiping, windshield cleaning, greasy-hand drying and so on. There's a box full of 'em in my garage--more than I'll ever use.

With that said, I ordered these Now Designs white dish towels through the Amazon Vine program with an open mind and modest expectations. On first inspection, they seem to be well made, with even hems, tight stitching around the edges and no loose threads at all. They're a couple of inches wider than standard-size towels, which is good for drying big pots, skillets, casseroles, etc. They're quite thick, but their absorbency seems to be only about the same as our well-used Kohl's towels. That may change after a few launderings, but for the moment I'm calling it a draw. I don't know about their durability because I haven't used them long enough, but so far, so good. They survived their pre-first-use laundering fine, but will they still be good in six months or a year? Time will tell. I'll update this review if the towels fall apart on me.

One final comment--I like the fact that these towels are made in Turkey with 100% Turkish cotton. Why? Well, just because my wife and I have vacationed in Turkey, and it was one of our best trips ever out of the 50 countries we've visited. We love Turkish culture, Turkish cuisine and, based on this product, Turkish towels.

UPDATE: I said I'd update this review if the towels fell apart on me, so here it is. After a couple of washings, the hem on one of them unraveled and came loose for about two inches. Sure, it can be sewn back in place, but c'mon--how hard can it possibly be for a manufacturer to stitch a simple fold in a flat piece of cloth so it'll last? I didn't change my rating, but be aware that you may have to do a little restorative surgery if you buy these towels.

Peugeot Elis Sense U-Select Pepper Mill
Peugeot Elis Sense U-Select Pepper Mill
Offered by Abt Electronics
Price: $100.00
14 used & new from $99.95

4.0 out of 5 stars Works Well, but Buy Extra Batteries, August 22, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
As serious cooking enthusiasts, my wife and I have tried many peppermills over the years. We've had several brands, sizes and types--wood, metal, Lexan--and we've even repurposed one of those little pre-filled clear plastic spice jars that comes with its own grinder lid. But since I'd heard that Peugeot was the Ferrari of peppermills (har!), I jumped at the chance to get this one from the Amazon Vine program.

The first thing obvious on opening the box is that the packaging is exceptionally secure. The peppermill, the capped funnel containing a good-sized starting charge of black peppercorns and the plastic countertop stand are locked firmly into a semi-rigid plastic insert. The batteries, by the way, are shipped underneath the stand. I thought at first that they were missing, but when I popped the stand out, there they were.

But I might just as well have left them packed away. I installed them in the mill, after I figured out how to get the motor out of the housing. RTFM and pay especially close attention to the positions of the little plastic locking clips. Mine were already unlocked when I removed the peppermill from the box, but that wasn't obvious, so at first I tried to unlock them further. Of course, they wouldn't move. Fortunately I figured out the problem before I forced them and broke something. Anyway, with the mill reassembled, I pressed the tactile switch with eager anticipation and...nothing. No light, no motor, no sound. A little troubleshooting revealed that the made-in-China Raymax batteries were dead, DEAD, D-E-A-D. I rummaged around in a kitchen drawer and came up with six fresh(er) AAAs. I installed them, pressed the switch (which does NOT move--it senses the capacitance of your body or something like that) and voila, the light came on, the motor hummed to life and I was in business.

The mill is amazingly quiet, and the light, which may seem like just a marketing gimmick, is actually quite useful to see where the pepper goes. The grind size is easy to set via the sturdy adjustment ring. I do suspect, however, that the ink-stamped, non-embossed icons may wear off in time. As for grind quality--well, it's reasonably consistent, and clearly related, if nonlinearly, to the somewhat mysterious icons, but the sizes of the ground pepper pieces do vary from fine dust up to the selected grind size. I think that's just a function of physics and gravity, though, and I don't find it at all objectionable.

This peppermill would be a shoo-in five-star product except that I have doubts about its longevity. It seems unnecessarily complicated to me, with many interfaces and points of potential failure. Also, I think someone who pays $130 for such a machine has a right to expect that the included batteries will not be dead. So far I like it a lot, but, if you buy one, be sure to have a good stock of AAAs on hand.

Viva Labs Organic Cacao Powder: Raw and Non-GMO, 1lb Bag
Viva Labs Organic Cacao Powder: Raw and Non-GMO, 1lb Bag
Offered by Premium Vitamins
Price: $18.95
2 used & new from $10.00

5.0 out of 5 stars A Better Choice than Cocoa for All Uses, August 9, 2014
My wife and I are serious cooking enthusiasts. Our cookbook library contains more than 400 volumes, and we prepare international, ethnic and American regional cuisines as often as we can. Of course, we need many diverse and unusual ingredients. Thus we're regular customers of Penzey's Spices, even though the nearest store is hundreds of miles away. One of the ingredients that we always have on hand in the pantry, and that Penzey's offers in several varieties, is cocoa powder.

So when Viva Labs offered to provide samples of their Organic Cacao Powder in return for an honest review, we immediately took them up on it.

"Cocoa" or "cacao," you ask--what's the difference? Well, based on literally minutes of on-line research, it seems that, in a nutshell, cocoa is a more-highly-processed form of cacao. That fact alone puts Viva Labs Organic Cacao Powder in the lead in comparison with Penzey's Dutch-processed Cocoa Powder. We prefer organic, minimally processed food items whenever we can get them, which, sadly, is not all that often.

My wife makes a yogurt concoction for breakfast that combines plain yogurt, fresh fruit such as strawberries, raspberries or a banana, soy milk, cocoa (or cacao) powder, chia or flax seeds and cinnamon. She couldn't tell the difference when she substituted this Viva Labs Cacao Powder for the Penzey's cocoa she normally uses. However, a side-by-side taste test of the two products neat revealed her clear preference for the stronger, more-bitter flavor of cacao. She also always adds a little cocoa to her chili while it's cooking. We haven't made chili since we got the cacao powder, but we'll use it the next time, and I think it will add even more complexity and character than cocoa powder does.

I'd normally rate a commodity like cacao powder with three stars--middle-of-the-road--unless it's uniquely better than other versions on the market. This Viva Labs Organic Cacao Powder meets that criterion. It's now our go-to choice for all the recipes in which we used to use cocoa powder, and it fully warrants a five-star rating.

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