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Customer Reviews: 500
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Helpful Votes: 6848




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Terry Sunday RSS Feed (El Paso, Texas United States)
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Chemical Guys SPI_401_16 - Vintage Series Leather Conditioner (16 oz)
Chemical Guys SPI_401_16 - Vintage Series Leather Conditioner (16 oz)
Price: $17.07
3 used & new from $9.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Makes Your Leather Look Like New, December 18, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Leather car seats and interior trim are not good ideas here in the arid West Texas desert. The dryness, intense year-round sunshine and triple-digit summer temperatures bake automobile leather to within an inch of its life. If that weren't bad enough, our nearly constant dust-laden winds insinuate themselves into the tiniest gaps around doors, windows and convertible tops, leaving thin films of gritty tan powder on every surface. It's a harsh environment for leather. If I had a choice, I'd avoid it entirely in my cars, especially since sitting in leather seats in the summer is like being swathed in an all-enveloping Band-Aid. But car buyers sometimes get stuck with it. A case in point is my 2007 Honda S2000, in which an all-leather interior was my only choice.

Before I used this Chemical Guys Leather Conditioner, I went over the S2000's cockpit with a California Duster to remove any particles of grit that might scratch the leather surfaces. Then I tried the product on a small "inconspicuous" part of the A-pillar. It dried in seconds and no black color came off on my microfiber towel. Emboldened, I tried the conditioner on the lower surface of a seat bolster. Again, it dried fast, left no discernable residue and didn't stain the towel. So then I went all the way, so to speak, and used the conditioner liberally on the dash, console, door panels, steering wheel rim, shifter boot and seats. The parts I treated were slightly but detectably more soft and supple after I finished, and the leather smell inside the car amped up a little. Your mileage may vary, of course.

Thanks to Chemical Guys Leather Conditioner, and with very little work on my part, the interior of my car now looks and smells as good as it did when I picked it up new at the dealership. I'm especially impressed that it left no sheen on the surfaces I applied it to. My S2000's interior was flat black initially, and it was the same when I finished treating it.

I recommend this product highly if you care about your wheels.


Stanley Bostitch Personal Heavy Duty Stapler Value Kit, Black (PHD60R)
Stanley Bostitch Personal Heavy Duty Stapler Value Kit, Black (PHD60R)
Price: $26.71
2 used & new from $26.49

4.0 out of 5 stars A Stapler Is a Stapler, December 17, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This heavy-duty Bostitch stapler is all right, but it's nothing spectacular. I don't have a lot of experience with other types or brands with which I can compare this one, so I can only judge it on its own merits. By those standards, I think it's a little better than middle of the road.

My main issue with it is that it's not very stable. The ribbed, semi-hard black rubber base looks like the sole of a flip flop on the bottom, and it's only a little more than two inches wide. So the stapler, which is a little top-heavy anyway, wobbles from side to side with the slightest pressure. In fact, mine seems to rest more on the center of the base than on its edges, but that might be just a production variation.

With that said, it staples fine. The actuating lever provides good mechanical advantage to the head, and I had no trouble stapling 40 or 50 sheets of paper. The fixed anvil bent the ends of the staples over firmly and evenly. Loading was fairly straightforward after I figured out how to release the cover. An adhesive label on the cover (which I promptly peeled off) has tiny, and I mean TINY, line drawings of the loading procedure on it. They're so small that they were of no use at all. I fumbled around with it and finally learned to push the cover forward, toward the business end of the stapler, and then it easily disengages. Only later did I notice the subtly raised words "Push Forward" in black-on-black on the rear end of the cover. That's what's known in the trade as a "clue."

This Value Kit includes a small box of 800 heavy-duty, chisel-point, high-carbon-steel staples and a really nice separate, ergonomic staple remover that works great. It mirrors the design cues of the stapler itself, and may be the best part of the package. It even has a built-in magnet for retrieving errant staples that end up on the floor.

There may be better heavy-duty staplers out there, but this one does the job with no drama. On that basis, I recommend it for the home or office.


ROGGE DUO-Clean Screen Cleaner - Professional cleaning kit for all LED, LCD, OLED, Plasma TV, Computer, Laptop, Phone Screens, Lenses and Sensitive Surfaces - Made in Germany
ROGGE DUO-Clean Screen Cleaner - Professional cleaning kit for all LED, LCD, OLED, Plasma TV, Computer, Laptop, Phone Screens, Lenses and Sensitive Surfaces - Made in Germany
Offered by ROGGE Cleaner
Price: $16.95
2 used & new from $16.95

2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing! My Search is Over!, December 16, 2014
There are a few things I'm really anal about ("a FEW!!!," I hear some of my friends snorting derisively). One of them is fingerprints on touchscreens. They drive me crazy.

No matter how carefully I try to avoid marking up the screens, or how often I clean them, my technology always has me surrounded by smeary fingerprints. I've tried all kinds of ways to clean them, from liquid spritzes to flannel wiping pads to optics-quality moist towelettes. My results have been largely unblemished by success. Thus my mania for clean touchscreens in my cars, tablets, GPS unit, cycling computer, phones and other sundry devices, combined with my paranoia about scratching the screens when I try to clean them, strands me in a state of continual mild frustration.

But not anymore!

This Rogge DUO-Clean TFT/LCD/Plasma Screen Cleaner, which I received free in return for an honest review, is amazing. I am NOT saying that simply because I got a complimentary sample. Based on testing it out on several household electronics and automotive touch screens, this stuff runs rings around all the other screen-cleaning solutions I've tried.

The nearly odorless cleaning liquid comes in a hefty 250ml pump-spray bottle, and a large (about 40cm, or 15 inch, square) pale blue ROGGE-logo microfiber cloth is packaged with it. It's a one-stop screen cleaning kit.

If you follow the directions and apply the solution to the cloth, and don't spray it directly on the screen, you can't go wrong. Fold the cloth to a convenient size, squirt a little of the liquid on it to moisten one side of it, clean the screen with gentle pressure and then dry it with the other side of the cloth. It's simple, straightforward and effective.

My search for a great screen cleaner is over. Now I can move on to being anal about something else...


AYL® Silicone Heat Resistant Grilling BBQ Gloves Set: #1 Best Value ★ Perfect For Use As Cooking Gloves, Baking, Smoking, Or Potholder ★ For Use on Hot Food in High Temperature In The Kitchen, Use As Grilling Gloves, Oven Gloves, Or Even Camping! ★ Protect Your Hands And Avoid Accidents With Insulated Waterproof Five Fingered Grip ★ Far More Protection And Easier to Use Than Oven Mittens!
AYL® Silicone Heat Resistant Grilling BBQ Gloves Set: #1 Best Value ★ Perfect For Use As Cooking Gloves, Baking, Smoking, Or Potholder ★ For Use on Hot Food in High Temperature In The Kitchen, Use As Grilling Gloves, Oven Gloves, Or Even Camping! ★ Protect Your Hands And Avoid Accidents With Insulated Waterproof Five Fingered Grip ★ Far More Protection And Easier to Use Than Oven Mittens!
Offered by Accessorise Your Life
Price: $54.99
2 used & new from $19.99

4.0 out of 5 stars A Little Weird, but They Work, December 15, 2014
I’ve been using an old set of asbestos oven mitts for decades. When I say “old,” I mean OLD. They’re stained, ripped, tattered, torn, charred and leaking insulation in several places. In fact, I actually set one of them on fire once when I accidentally touched it to the lower heating element in the oven. They’ve definitely seen better days, but they still work pretty well.

So along come these AYL Silicone Grill Gloves, which I received free in return for an honest review, no strings attached. The first thing I noticed about them is that they’re…different. A little weird, maybe, but...different.

First of all, they’re very thin but surprisingly heavy, which makes them a little unwieldy. Little molded triangular nubs on both sides assure a slip-free grip. They were fairly easy to don and doff once I pried open the sticky silicon wrist openings. I suspect they’d be a little recalcitrant if one’s hands are wet or sweaty. They’re a little bit short, in my opinion. My old mitts extend well up my forearm and provide good heat protection as I fumble around in the oven with casseroles, turkey roasters and pizza pans. These AYL gloves barely extend past my wrist, so I have to be more careful maneuvering around in the oven. They’re rated to 425º, and I have no reason to doubt that claim. As with any oven gloves, it’s best to do what you need to do with them quickly and not stand around holding a screaming hot pot or pan until the heat penetrates to your hands.

I didn’t subject these gloves to my ultimate test of touching them to the heating element to see if they melt. I suspect they would, but I don’t intend to find out.

All in all, I like these gloves, and they seem to do what they’re designed to do. I’ve relegated my old ones to the back of a kitchen drawer. Maybe I’ll even get around to throwing them out some day.


The Moral Arc: How Science and Reason Lead Humanity toward Truth, Justice, and Freedom
The Moral Arc: How Science and Reason Lead Humanity toward Truth, Justice, and Freedom
by Michael Shermer
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $23.03

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Moral Case Studies, but Scientific Morality--Not So Much, December 13, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I had a bit of a hard time reading parts of "The Moral Arc."

I chose it right away when it showed up as an Amazon Vine selection. As an unabashed secular humanist, I was interested to learn about author Michael Shermer's thesis that the scientific way of thinking has made people, and society as a whole, more moral.

Well, I'd like to believe that. You'd never find a more ardent proponent of the scientific method than me. My skepticism runs broad and deep. My watchwords are, "Believe half of what you see and none of what you hear." I'd be a good Fair Witness (you'll know what I mean if you're familiar with the late Robert A. Heinlein's work). I think all religions, rather than being forces for moral good as their practitioners would like us to believe, have the opposite effect, and are primarily responsible, now and throughout history, for most of the misery and suffering that have plagued the human race since time immemorial.

So, having said that, I think my slightly muted reaction to "The Moral Arc" is not so much due to its content as it is to the fact that I can't support Mr. Shermer's thesis. The content of the book is mostly outstanding. He analyzes in detail the moral aspects of war, terrorism, women's rights, gay rights, animal rights and more. His treatments are not superficial, by any means. He delves deeply into the topics, looking at them from many possible perspectives. I learned a lot about all of these subjects, even those with which I thought I was already very familiar. I found these historical and cultural "case studies," which constitute the bulk of the book, to be interesting and significant.

But I had less interest in those sections where he tried to show the value of scientific thinking in advancing the morals of society. Why? I think it's because I do not believe, at the gut level, that the morals of society ARE advancing. To my mind, much of society is backsliding furiously to the "bad old days" of fear, superstition, ignorance, intolerance and mindless violence. True, I haven't done an exhaustive survey, and true, I hold that belief without having subjected it to the scientific method which I so strongly endorse. Yet, my impression is that the world is becoming more divided, more hostile, more tribal, less willing to compromise and less moral day by day--as exemplified in microcosm by the sad deterioration of the U.S. Congress in recent years. You can guess where I place the blame for that. It's a discouraging viewpoint, but one that I can't shake based on what I see going on around me.

So I enjoyed reading the parts of "The Moral Arc" dealing with the `whats,' `hows', `whens' and `wheres' of humanity's adventures in morality. But I had a hard time accepting Mr. Shermer's `whys.'


Sci-Fi Chronicles: A Visual History of the Galaxy's Greatest Science Fiction
Sci-Fi Chronicles: A Visual History of the Galaxy's Greatest Science Fiction
by Guy Haley
Edition: Paperback
Price: $23.76
31 used & new from $19.32

5.0 out of 5 stars A Remarkable Resource for Every Science Fiction Fan, December 9, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
The 576 densely packed pages of "Sci-Fi Chronicles" contain more interesting information per square inch than any other book about the genre that I've encountered in recent memory--if not ever. At the volume's bargain-basement Amazon price, the cost per useful data byte is minuscule. Why, it's practically free. Who could resist it?

"Sci-Fi Chronicles" is not the type of book to sit down with and read from cover to cover. That would be a Herculean task indeed. It's more of an encyclopedia, but in the best possible way. For example, I have no use for traditional encyclopedias and their dry, boring lists of topics sparsely covered in a paragraph or two each. Rather, "Sci-Fi Chronicles" is a stand-alone, fully integrated, visually stunning, utterly fascinating repository of detailed information about the entire universe of sci-fi in all of its splendor.

The magnitude of General Editor Guy Haley and the contributors' achievement amazes me every time I pick up this book and spend an hour or so just random-associating my through it. Books, authors, movies, TV shows--they're all in here, at just the right level of detail. Topics receive as much coverage as they warrant--a page, two pages, several separate sections--based on their roles and importance in the history of the genre. The approach works perfectly, in my opinion.

Whatever you do, don't skim over the "How to Use This Book" section on pages 12 and 13. Read it carefully. It explains how to use the color codes, icons, notes, sidebars and timelines that appear in the book. These elements are a must for the reader to understand in order to get the most out of this superb magnum opus.

Why are you still here reading this review? Jump up to the top of the page and hit the "Add to cart" button right now!


Magellan CY0315SGHNA Cyclo 315hc GPS Cycling Computer with Ant+ Heart Rate Monitor and Speed/Cadence Sensor
Magellan CY0315SGHNA Cyclo 315hc GPS Cycling Computer with Ant+ Heart Rate Monitor and Speed/Cadence Sensor
Price: $353.45
12 used & new from $350.00

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Great Unit for Cycling, Running--or Walking, December 9, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
When the Amazon Vine program offered this Magellan Cyclo 315hc Cycling GPS Computer, my first thought was: "I wonder if I can use this for walking."

You see, I'm not a cyclist. But I AM an energetic local and long-distance walker. I walk up and down the hills in my neighborhood, to public libraries, to the post office, on errands to town and whenever and wherever else I can. I never drive anywhere that I can walk. I usually log about 20 to 25 miles per week. In the mild, sunny climate of the desert Southwest, I walk year-round.

Before I ordered this item, I did some quick research and didn't find any indications that it would NOT work for walking--or that it WOULD, for that matter. But I thought, "Hey, GPS is GPS, why would it care if I'm pedaling or perambulating?"

And I'm delighted to say it DOES work great for walking. My grin was from ear-to-ear when I fired it up for the first time and saw it sense my speed and distance as I walked around my living room. Using it as a walking computer, of course, means I'm not using the included handlebar mount, speed sensor and cadence sensor. These accessories, plus a heart rate sensor that straps around your chest, come securely packaged in individual plastic bags or bubble wrap. While I didn't install them on a bike, I did evaluate the items and their installation instructions. I'm sure any cyclist can mount them with no problems. The package even includes plastic tie-wraps to attach the sensors to a bicycle's frame.

I was also pleasantly surprised at how small this unit is. At 4" by 2½" by 1", it slips easily into my shirt or shorts pocket. Setting it up is very simple. The 3" diagonal screen is bright, crisp and legible, and fairly touch-responsive. I say "fairly" because I sometimes had to press repeatedly or hold a press before it responded. But I think that's just a matter of me learning exactly the right pressure to apply.

Hooking the unit up to my Windows 8.1 computer via the included USB cable was also very straightforward. In general, it operates much like any other GPS unit without voice commands. That's a little oversimplified, but I don't want to make this review too long by going deep into the details. Suffice it to say that it has maps, turn-by-turn navigation, POIs, favorites, elevation plots, route histories and much more. I haven't put it through all its paces yet, but I'm sure its capabilities far exceed my abilities to take advantage of them.

The Workout option is really cool. Select your goals, such as distance, time or calories, and the unit calculates routes you can take to achieve them. The Surprise Me feature is also way cool. Set the distance or time you want to work out, and it presents you with up to three routes that meet your specs. Of course, you can customize system settings, profiles, units and many other aspects of the device, and even easily share your fitness results.

I realize this review is probably not useful to the hard-core cyclist considering this device. But I'll be satisfied if I simply point out that walkers and runners can also use it. There are probably other dedicated walking/running computers available, but this one gives you the option to use it either on or off a bike. It's the best of both worlds.

UPDATE:

When I wrote my original review, I hadn't had a chance to fully test this unit in "walking" mode. Now I've done so, and I'm even more impressed with it than I was just playing around with it in my living room.

I turned it on, stuck it in my shirt pocket and set off on the road. On hour, five minutes and 53 seconds later, I got to my destination. This unit recorded my walk perfectly. I covered 4.33 miles at an average pace of 3.9 mph (maximum 5.1), started at an elevation of 4,569 feet and ended at 3,766 feet, and burned 588 Kcal in the process. This unit does exactly what I'd hoped it would do, and then some.

I mentioned the touch screen sensitivity in my original review, and said I thought I'd just have to learn exactly how hard and long to press for it to respond. Now I've actually found it to be TOO sensitive. I kept inadvertently triggering it when I put it in my pocket unless I was very careful about how to hold it when I inserted it.

My only other comment is that, when I installed the Cyclo Agent software, it insinuated itself into my computer such that it ran automatically every time I turned the system on, giving me an unwanted upgrade/download window at startup. I hate that! I had to bring up Task Manager, go to the Startup tab and disable it. It's a minor nit, to be sure, but annoying nonetheless. Leave my computer alone, Magellan!


Belkin Apple MFi Certified Car Charger with Lightning Cable for iPhone 6 / 6 Plus, 5 / 5S / 5c, iPad 4th Gen and iPad mini (2.1 Amp / 10 Watt), Black
Belkin Apple MFi Certified Car Charger with Lightning Cable for iPhone 6 / 6 Plus, 5 / 5S / 5c, iPad 4th Gen and iPad mini (2.1 Amp / 10 Watt), Black
Price: $14.85

5.0 out of 5 stars Works Great, Reasonably Priced--What's Not to Like?, December 9, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
As an early adopter, my first computer was an Apple II with a mind-boggling 64K of memory. That's kilobytes--not megabytes, not gigabytes; KILOBYTES. Let me write it this way: 64,000 bytes (actually, it's 65,536, but who's counting?). Anyway, I eventually drifted away from Apple products in favor of IBM-clone PCs. But my wife recently got an iPad, so we're now a dual-mode household.

This Belkin Apple MFi Certified Car Charger is a neat little gadget that meets my wife's needs to keep her iPad up to full charge while we're on the road. I'm really impressed with it. It's very small and compact. I mean SMALL--much smaller than any other car chargers I've used. I especially like how little it protrudes when it's plugged into a 12-volt power point. I tried it in three cars, and it only stuck out between ¼ and ½ inch in each. It fits very tightly into the socket, yet the rubberized outer rim is easy to grab when you want to remove it.

The green LED on the face of the unit lights when it's getting juice, and it is so bright that it's easily visible in sunlight. That has a down side, though, in that I find it way too bright for night driving. It practically lights up the whole car, and is distracting for us drivers who keep our interiors dark to better see out the windows at night. I'll probably put a piece of blue painter's tape across the LED, as I did over the bright status lights on my router, to reduce the glow. The four-foot charging cable reaches anywhere in the front seat area, or even into the back seat (if your car has one) depending on where your power points are. And, of course, you can use it to charge non-Apple devices as long as you have compatible cables.

This charger has a permanent slot in my travel electronics kit bag.


The Arsenal of Democracy: FDR, Detroit, and an Epic Quest to Arm an America at War
The Arsenal of Democracy: FDR, Detroit, and an Epic Quest to Arm an America at War
by A. J. Baime
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $20.34
60 used & new from $15.71

5.0 out of 5 stars The Henry and Edsel Show, December 8, 2014
The subtitle of "The Arsenal of Democracy" is "FDR, Detroit and an Epic Quest to Arm an America at War." Really, though, it could be subtitled "Henry, Edsel and an Epic Quest to Control the Ford Motor Company."

I'm not complaining about that. If you accept the fact that this book focuses on Henry Ford, his son Edsel and the company's Willow Run B-24 factory, and is not a broad look at the overall story of America's industrial mobilization in World War II for tank, truck, gun and aircraft production, that's all right. The fascinating, tragic human tale of the conflict between the founder of the Ford Motor Company and his son, juxtaposed with President Franklin Delano Roosevelt's seemingly impossible demands for ever more war materiél, makes for great reading.

Author A. J. Baime's writing style is crisp and readable, making what could be a dry statistical history read like an adventure novel. I found "The Arsenal of Democracy" to be a fast-paced page-turner. Of course, I'm a car and airplane geek, but still, to me it read like a novel--and I mean that as a compliment.

I've read other Ford biographies, but, as I invariably do, I quickly forgot many of the details of the people and the company's history. In my opinion, Mr. Baime covers the subject at exactly the right depth, neither too superficial to be meaningful nor so detailed that the forest gets lost in the trees. When I finished reading it, I felt I had learned a lot about the topic, and I even expect to remember some of it for a while.

As a comment--and I didn't reduce my rating because of this--apparently Mr. Baime is not that familiar with aviation technology and some aspects of its history, because many of those parts of the story contain minor but irritating errors. For example, on page 204, with Charles Lindbergh in an altitude chamber (Mr. Baime calls it, incorrectly, a "compression chamber"), he describes how the pressure "pumped up." Pressure goes down with altitude, not up. Page 217 gives us test pilots "feathering engines" to take off. Sorry, but feathering a prop engine will get you nowhere. On page 263, we meet the famous CG-4A glider and its astonishing ability of "straightening into a hover." Gliders, of course, don't hover (except maybe in a gale-force headwind, which is true of any aircraft). On Page 286, we learn that the JB-2 Loon was "the American copy of Hitler's V1 and V2 flying bombs..." That's true for the V1, but the V2 was an entirely different beast with which the JB-2 had absolutely no connection. Finally, on page 290, he locates the surplus aircraft "boneyard" at a "desert facility in New Mexico." It's actually in Arizona. Yes, these are minor nits, and yes, I'm anal about it. But I don't understand why many authors don't have "experts" review their manuscripts before they're published. A quick scan by any airplane or military history buff would have instantly identified these errors. Yo, authors--we're out here, and we'll be glad to help you out. All you have to do is ask!

With all of that said, I recommend "The Arsenal of Democracy" highly if you want to learn a lot about how a renowned American company and its leaders mobilized its resources and achieved unprecedented aircraft production levels to help the Allies win World War II.


Best Ever Travel Tips: Get the Best Travel Secrets & Advice from the Experts (Lonely Planet)
Best Ever Travel Tips: Get the Best Travel Secrets & Advice from the Experts (Lonely Planet)
by Tom Hall
Edition: Paperback
Price: $9.18
43 used & new from $3.93

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A Book Without a Market?, December 7, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
If I had to characterize "Lonely Planet's Best Ever Travel Tips" in a few words, I'd say that it might make a good stocking stuffer for a novice traveler.

As far as being of any real use to the experienced traveler, or being so small and compact that you can toss it into your backpack, or being filled with trade secrets--not so much.

Years ago, I think there might have been a decent market for this type of book. Why not now? Well, because you can find most or all of the information that's in it on-line. Also, evidently in an attempt to appeal to today's harried, multi-tasking, ADD-afflicted American tourist, the book dumbs down many of its hints and tips to the point of absurdity. Much of it reads almost like the "USA Weekend" insert in the Sunday newspaper, with its bulletized bon-mots such as: "Decide what you need before you buy it" and "Check the weather before you dress to go out." Duh! Who would have ever thought of that! The book isn't quite that bad, but you get the point.

World traveling is not rocket science. More than anything else, in my opinion, as a traveler who has visited 50 countries on six continents, you need a positive attitude, exceptional patience, good common sense, a spirit of adventure and the ability to adapt to unforeseen situations. If you have those attributes, you don't need a book of blindingly obvious "trade secrets." If you don't, then such a book won't help you.

Stuff "Lonely Planet's Best Ever Travel Tips" into someone's stocking if you like, but don't expect it to be of much use as an on-trip resource for the seasoned traveler.


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