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5.0 out of 5 stars Better than older Panasonic trimmers; way better than Babyliss Forfex models, November 15, 2015
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I own and have owned several hair clippers/trimmers: A couple of Babyliss Forfex models, including the FX780; the Panasonic ER-GS60-S; and now this Panasonic ER-GB60-K. In sum:

Babyliss Pro FX780 Trimmer: Expensive, poor battery, comes with (and requires) lots of comb attachments
Panasonic ER-GS60-S Self-Hair Clipper Wet/Dry: Inexpensive, a little underpowered, best charger, so-so adjustment mechanism
Panasonic ER-GB60-K: Moderate price, good power, great battery, excellent adjustment mechanism

[Because the model numbers are so similar, I'll note which one is new and which one is old below. See attached picture for comparison.]
The ER-GS60-S [old] is really inexpensive (around $50). The ER-GB60K [new] costs a little more, but it's still pretty cheap, so if it dies, no big deal. That's of particular concern with Panasonic's wet/dry shavers; because you're subjecting them to water so frequently, eventually, water will get in. So, I don't buy Panasonic's $200 shavers; I stick with the ones that are $70 or less.

The ER-GB60-K [new] has several advantages over the older model, though. I think its motor is stronger, and the battery lasts longer (even accounting for the fact that the older model I have is now 2.5 years old). I can go at least 10 uses between charges with the ER-GB60-K [new], and it charges in an hour, compared to 15 hours for the ER-GS60-S [old].
My ER-GS60-S [old] still works, but after a couple of uses, its motor slows. It's still usable then, but it takes longer. Of course, it's 2.5 years old, so that's to be expected, but even when it was new, the motor seemed wimpier, and the battery didn't last as long.

I also prefer the wheel adjuster on the ER-GB60-K [new]. It's very smooth; the ER-GS60-S [old]'s ratcheting mechanism works fine, but it just doesn't feel as nice.

The one thing abou the Panasonic ER-GB60-K [new] that I don't like as much is the charger. The ER-GS60-S [old]'s charger is a stand into which you rest the trimmer, whereas the ER-GB60-K [new]'s charger plugs directly into the trimmer. It's much smaller, true, but it plugs into a receptacle that can hold a little water. I always feel the need to stick a cotton swab in there to remove the water, and in my experience with Panasonic shavers, this receptacle is often where water intrudes.

Nevertheless, either one of these models is still superior to the Babyliss Forfex trimmers I had before them, though. Those models were quite expensive, and their batteries didn't last long; they didn't hold a charge after--I'm going to say six months, but I really don't remember. I just remember that it wasn't very long. After that time, I might be able to get one, maybe two uses out of them, so I ended up using them with the cord. As these are so-called "professional" models, you'd think you could replace their batteries, but that's not the case. Want a different hair length? Just dig through the vast assortment of comb lengths until you find the right one (Panasonic's on-trimmer adjustment is much more convenient). And, you can't clean them under running water, as with the Panasonic models.

The Panasonic ER-GS60-S [old] was a pretty good trimmer; the Panasonic ER-GB60-K [new] is even better.

Health o meter nuyu Wireless Connected Scale with Auto-Pairing, BMI Tracking and Disappearing LED Screen, Black
Health o meter nuyu Wireless Connected Scale with Auto-Pairing, BMI Tracking and Disappearing LED Screen, Black
Price: $45.71

3.0 out of 5 stars Not very accurate, quirky syncing -- but it's still pretty cool, October 25, 2015
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I'm really surprised that this scale costs as little as it does. I haven't purchased a bathroom scale in a really long time, so I was surprised to find tons of highly rated electronic scales on Amazon for as little as $20, or even less. But devices that work with mobile apps usually command a hefty premium; I wouldn't have been surprised to see a $200 price tag on something like this.

However, if I'd paid $200 for this, I'd be ticked off. The scale's accuracy isn't very good; I step on it once, and it reads 179.4 pounds; step off and step back on, and it reads 175.6 pounds. Step off and back on again, and it reads 175.6 again, and from that point, it stays at that reading over several attempts. But if I come back 20 minutes later, it'll read something different.

The app does not sync reliably for me, either. It has a sync button on its home screen, but that doesn't usually work for me; the app gives me a "No device to pair or invalid device" message, even after several tries. But if I go to the Weight screen and use the same sync button there, it will usually pair and exchange data (you'll see a Bluetooth icon on the scale, next to the weight readout).

For some reason, today the app showed a previous reading of 150.4 pounds--I'm not sure where that came from. Then when I synced, it said 176.2 pounds--"-1.2 pounds under your goal" (or something like that); I synced again a minute later, and my weight was 175.6; the app gave me a "Goal reached!" message.

I'm accustomed to apps and devices that require a bit of sorting out; technology-oriented companies rarely ship anything that's truly done, with all the kinks worked out--or that cannot be further improved. I'm not sure if the inaccuracy can be addressed by a firmware update, though.

Despite its deficiencies, I still think it's a neat product; I've figured out how to work around those deficiencies, for the most part. But I'm focusing on the technology features; if you're buying a scale to use as a, ah, scale, other products might offer better accuracy, albeit without the interesting technology features.

TRENDnet TV-IP862IC 720p HD Wireless Cloud Pan/Tilt/Zoom Surveillance Camera, 2-Way Audio, 25 Feet Night Vision, Free Mobile app for Android/Iphone support, microSD Card slot for convenient storage management, Easy setup, WPS one-touch setup
TRENDnet TV-IP862IC 720p HD Wireless Cloud Pan/Tilt/Zoom Surveillance Camera, 2-Way Audio, 25 Feet Night Vision, Free Mobile app for Android/Iphone support, microSD Card slot for convenient storage management, Easy setup, WPS one-touch setup
Price: $92.99
72 used & new from $92.99

3.0 out of 5 stars TrendNet vs. D-Link vs. Foscam: No clear winner, October 17, 2015
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I own a few Webcams--a D-Link DCS-930L, a D-Link DCS-5010L, a Foscam FI8910W, and now this TrendNet TV-IP862IC, which is the only HD camera of the bunch. Its image quality is the best of the bunch, but the web interface and mobile application are just as poor as the others.'

Even if you never view the images from this camera on your desktop computer, you'll need it set up the camera. But on Google Chrome, you'll get a warning that the interface relies on an unsupported plugin (Java), which Chrome has disabled since September 2015. Okay, no big deal; I'll use Firefox--nope; same issue. All right, if I must, Internet Exploder (aka Microsoft Edge on Windows 10). I couldn't get the plugin to work on Edge/Windows 10, and even when I resorted to using Developer Tools (F12, Emulation) and choosing to emulate IE 11, IE10, IE9, and even IE8, I couldn't get the interface to show me a live view. Apparently this is because Edge does not support any plugins at all, and even in an emulation mode, you can't run plugins that aren't installed.

This is not unique to TrendNet, of course. D-Link's cameras (at least, the ones I have) rely on Java, too. D-Link's recommendation is to use IE11, which can still be found on Windows 10 systems, but the two cameras I have are not supported with this method. I could not get IE11 to display the TrendNet camera's interface at all. I tried using emulation on IE11, but that didn't work either. But I'm pretty sure that you could probably get IE11 on Windows 7 to work.

The Foscam FI8910W offers a couple different ways to connect to its interface, so I'm still able to control it via any browser I want, and it works fine.

I usually interface with all of these cameras through Micasa Verde, a home-automation system. With this system, I can see all four cameras at once, on a desktop, on an iPad, or an iPhone, or an Android device. I don't get all of the controls, and the only one that lets me pan or tilt via this interface is the Foscam (via a plugin).

TrendNet's mobile application looks like something out of 1999, but it works fine on an iPhone. It does not come in an iPad version, though. D-Link's mobile applications are far more polished, but they don't let you do nearly as much with them. Foscam's application is crude by comparison.

The TrendNet's image quality is sharp and bright, and its IR/night vision is quite good, too. I've had no connection problems whatsoever; it has never not been connected, and it has never had to be rebooted.

So, I'd probably call this a tie with a comparably priced D-Link HD camera (at this moment, the D-Link I found costs a smidge less). But because of the problems with Java, I'd probably look at a Foscam HD model if I were to need another camera. I'm not sure how these manufacturers are going to solve this issue, except in the case of D-Link, whose solution is simply to not support older cameras--even ones that it still sells.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 20, 2015 1:56 PM PDT

Crescent DB18X 18-Inch Indexing Flat Pry bar, Red/Black
Crescent DB18X 18-Inch Indexing Flat Pry bar, Red/Black
Price: $20.28
24 used & new from $16.00

4.0 out of 5 stars Bend it, don’t break it, August 7, 2015
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I got this for use removing large baseboards. I have a couple of smaller, thinner pry bars [], and those are fine for delicate stuff or just small jobs, but they don’t provide enough leverage for bigger projects. This pry bar, though, is pretty beefy, and it works really well for baseboards work, and for some of the other demo projects I’ve used it for. For baseboards, I usually position a putty knife against the wall and then pry against it, so that I don’t damage the wall.

The articulating head is, as everyone else says, the best feature. It has 16 positions, though a couple of those positions aren’t actually usable, because they have the blade front too close to the bar. You can’t adjust it with one hand, though, because sometimes the joint requires some fiddling or an extra-hard push to actuate. Some grease in there might help things, but I haven’t gotten around to that.

Usually I try to find tools that balance price and construction; I hate spending money on tools that don’t work well or that I end up throwing out after the first job. This is a pretty good balance; it’s not as fancy as a Mac tool, but at a fifth of the price, I think it’s pretty nice.

basyx by HON HVL511 Mid-Back Task Chair, Black Mesh Fabric
basyx by HON HVL511 Mid-Back Task Chair, Black Mesh Fabric
Price: $109.19
26 used & new from $86.42

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Basic, sturdy chair--but not a $700 chair, July 13, 2015
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Price-dependent: This is a very good chair. Price-independent: This is an okay chair.

I've tried to find good office chairs. Once I even committed to spending $700 or even more for the right chair--but I couldn't find a chair that I thought was worth the money. So I ended up buying a $150 chair at Office Depot. It's okay--kinda wobbly, bad positioning, started to look ratty the day after I bought it. But at least I didn't spend $700 on a just-okay chair.

The HON HV511 is the same kind of chair as ones you'd find at Office Depot, Office Max, or Staples, not one you'd find at a dedicated office furniture store. It looks basic: the cushion is hard, so even though it isn't really thin, it feels thin. The arms are hard plastic, and they don't adjust. They fit me very well, because I'm 6'2", but if you're shorter or taller, they probably won't fit you well. The breathable mesh back looks like one I saw on an Office Depot chair.

But it's not all bad. It's a really sturdy chair--it doesn't wobble, and it doesn't squeak. Assembly is very quick and easy, all of the parts are there, and the instructions are quite clear. The posture/positioning is great, for me, and the seat is big and deep, which makes it good for a larger person. (When I hear "task chair," I think of a small seat that I have to perch on, but this is quite the opposite). I find the mesh back to be quite comfortable, though it doesn't make up for the hardness of the seat.

So, for a beer-budget chair, it's a pretty good option, but I'm still looking for my champagne-tastes throne.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jul 15, 2015 9:42 AM PDT

Samsung VU10H3021PY/AA VU3000 Lift and Clean Bagless Vacuum Cleaner, Yellow
Samsung VU10H3021PY/AA VU3000 Lift and Clean Bagless Vacuum Cleaner, Yellow
Price: $178.98
15 used & new from $120.81

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Your rug is dirty…still dirty…okay, now you’re good, May 22, 2015
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This vacuum cleaner’s best feature is its dust sensor. As you’re vacuuming, it lights up red to tell you to keep vacuuming that area; it will turn green when the area is clean. Maybe this is overkill, but with past vacuum cleaners, I simply vacuumed until it looked clean. Now I know it’s clean. It might also make you more efficient: Instead of going over an area several times to make sure it’s clean, you go over it only enough times for the green light to shine. Thank you, Pavlov!

Shiny green light or not, I think it cleans rugs and carpet really well. But bare floors, not so much. You can turn off the agitator, using only suction, and you can modify how much suction is generated (by turning a plastic shroud on the intake pipe), but I found that it won’t pick up large pieces like, say, corn flakes. It pushes them in front of the vacuum cleaner instead of rolling over them and sucking them up.

As with many other vacuum cleaners these days, to tilt the handle back, you have to step on the agitator brush assembly and then pull back on the handle. That’s awkward, and I would imagine it’d be even more awkward if you have balance issues. The old-timey vacuum cleaners had foot switches on the back that made tilting much easier.

But I do like that you can detach the vacuum from its agitator brush assembly. Doing so makes it easy to carry around and use the detachable wand. You can use a smaller agitator attachment with the wand, and together that makes cleaning carpeted stairs much easier than if you were going to try carrying the entire vacuum cleaner with attached agitator brush assembly up and down the stairs. The small agitator attachment works okay; it has a belt to turn the agitator, and it works better than most such devices, but it doesn’t really agitate much, and it’s quite small, so you have to go over stair steps several times. If you don’t keep it moving, the agitator brush will stop moving.

In all, this is a well-engineered vacuum cleaner. I appreciate the thought that went into its design; it is a far sight better than some of vacuums I’ve had in the past.

Speck Products MightyShell Case for iPhone 6/6S - Carrot Orange/Speck Blue/Slate
Speck Products MightyShell Case for iPhone 6/6S - Carrot Orange/Speck Blue/Slate
Price: $20.00
8 used & new from $16.50

4.0 out of 5 stars It's a bit lippy, February 21, 2015
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
The best thing about this case is its slightly pronounced lip around the front: It's just enough to protect the screen from face-down drops, or when you place your phone face-down on a table, for example. I'm sure that many of the thousands of iPhone cases have protective lips too, but it's hard to figure out which cases have *enough* of a lip. This one seems just right to me--it's not so much that it makes the device too thick.

On the other hand, while the lip is rubbery and easy to hold onto, the hard-plastic back is pretty slippery, and I've nearly dropped the phone on a couple of occasions because I gripped it by the back. I wasn't really grabbing it by the front of the phone and the back--just perhaps by a couple of fingers on the sides and a couple on the back--but that was enough for a whu-oh moment.

You'd think that, at this price, the case would have some sort of special features--a compartment for a credit card and ID, for example, as the Q Card Case for iPhone 6 has, or makes your phone waterproof. The MightyShell doesn't have anything like that--it's just a basic case. A nice one, yes, and an attractive one, but overpriced, in my opinion. But it's hard to find a case that's perfect for everyone and doesn't cost an outrageous amount. I think there are less-expensive cases out there that are probably just as nice; I just haven't been able to find one.

All that aside, I still like the case, and it's the best one I've found yet, so if you can stomach the price, I'd say you'll be happy with it.

Oral-B Pro 5000 SmartSeries with Bluetooth Electric Rechargeable Power Toothbrush
Oral-B Pro 5000 SmartSeries with Bluetooth Electric Rechargeable Power Toothbrush
Price: $99.97
2 used & new from $99.97

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bluetooth version works with SmartGuide, too, January 7, 2015
Length:: 0:29 Mins

In my written review, I said that the bluetooth version works with the SmartGuide that comes with the non-bluetooth version. Oral-B support says it doesn't, though, according to some people who've contacted the company. So, here's a very short video to show that, at least with the toothbrush and SmartGuide that I have, they do work together.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Sep 29, 2015 9:49 AM PDT

Oral-B Deep Sweep 5000 Smartseries with Bluetooth Electric Rechargeable Power Toothbrush
Oral-B Deep Sweep 5000 Smartseries with Bluetooth Electric Rechargeable Power Toothbrush
Price: $129.99
2 used & new from $117.55

6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bluetooth version works with SmartGuide, too, December 3, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Length:: 0:29 Mins

When I decided to replace our six-year-old Oral-B toothbrushes, I opted for the Bluetooth version of Oral-B's Deep Sweep 5000 toothbrush, and my wife chose the Oral-B Professional Deep Sweep with Smart Guide Triaction 5000 Rechargeable Electric Toothbrush, 1 Count. A pleasant surprise: Despite the fact that the Bluetooth version does not include Oral-B's SmartGuide device--the little display that communicates with the toothbrush--it will work with the SmartGuide that comes with the non-Bluetooth version.

That's nice, because it's a bit of a hassle to start up your phone, enter your password, find the Oral-B application, and start it up, just to brush your teeth. Most of the time, I simply use the SmartGuide (or rely on the built-in vibration and lights alerts). On the other hand, I prefer to travel light, so I don't want to pack the SmartGuide every time I leave town, even if the new SmartGuide is smaller than the previous version (see pics). In those cases, it's nice to have the application available. In case you were wondering, the new toothbrushes won't work with the old SmartGuide, and you can't buy a SmartGuide by itself.

The app is very well done; in addition to brushing-related information, you can browse the news while brushing. And, the communication between the toothbrush and my iPhone 6 was totally trouble-free--once I'd set it up, I didn't have to think about it at all. I don't, for example, have to turn on anything on the toothbrush or on my phone (other than having Bluetooth active on the phone).

However, I think the Bluetooth radio does have an effect on battery life. The first full charge gave me eight days of brushing (two minutes twice a day on most days, plus a couple extra on weekends). When our six-year-old Oral-B brushes were new, they held out for about two weeks, and even now they still give us about four days of brushing on a full charge. I haven't been able to test the new toothbrushes side by side yet (sorry; I just thought about it yesterday). At least the charger is a bit more convenient than the older version; the old version had a very large, awkward wall plug (see pic).
Otherwise, the toothbrush is roughly the same size, and makes about the same amount of noise, which isn't objectionable. The new toothbrush has lights that flash after every 30 seconds and at 2 minutes; it's not that easy to see the lights, but combined with the vibration alerts (and the SmartGuide, if you're using it), it's plenty to know your progress. I can't really tell any difference in brushing quality between the old Triumph and the new one; they seem about the same to me.

Comparisons aside, it is an excellent toothbrush (which is why I replaced an old Oral-B with a new Oral-B). My only criticism would be about the battery life, and even there, it's still pretty good. Perhaps the next version will brush my teeth for me.

Linksys AC2400 4X4 Dual-Band Gigabit Wi-Fi Router, Optimal for HD Video Streaming and Lag-Free Gaming (E8350)
Linksys AC2400 4X4 Dual-Band Gigabit Wi-Fi Router, Optimal for HD Video Streaming and Lag-Free Gaming (E8350)
Offered by Ebusinessplace
Price: $158.90
43 used & new from $131.09

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Linksys E8350 vs. Linksys WRT1900AC, October 31, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I own the Linksys E8350 and the Linksys WRT1900AC; I use the WRT1900AC as my main router and the E8350 as a wired/wireless bridge. Comparing them seems like comparing a Chevrolet to a Buick--or perhaps a high-end Toyota to a low-end Lexus. But which one's the Toyota and which one's the Lexus? In my tests, they performed identically, but they are different in a few ways.

For example, you can't set the E8350 to operate in only AC mode; you have to choose either AC and N mode or "mixed" mode (i.e., all WiFi modes). If you choose WiFi AC and N only, you must choose either 20MHz or 20Mhz/40MHz mode; only if you choose "Mixed" mode can you choose 20MHz/40MHz/80MHz. This is one difference from the WRT1900AC, which does not offer 80Mhz operation.

That's because the WRT1900AC supports three data streams, and the E8350 supports four streams. Once upon a time the prevailing theory was that if you used "Mixed" mode, you'd slow your entire network to the speed of the slowest WiFi mode on your network, but that's been debunked. Still, to manage which devices run on which network band, I'd like to be able to set that more precisely. The 8350 will (eventually) be able to support MU-MIMO--multiple users/multiple-input, multiple-output--but it hasn't been enabled yet.

I tested both devices as my primary router first, transferring files to and from a wired workstation to a wired NAS, to and from a wireless-N laptop, and to a wireless-AC mobile phone (a 2014 Motorola MotoX). I saw no difference in performance with any of these devices. That's because, while the E8350's CPU is a little faster, you'd really have to try to tax a router's CPU--multiple simultaneous users pulling and pushing lots of data. Even with my family's ever-growing array of network devices and bandwidth appetite, we simply don't fill the pipe most of the time, even when we're running a couple of TiVos, a few computers, and a few other devices simultaneously.

The only thing I really don't like about the E8350 is that it uses the same dowdy interface that Linksys has used for at least the last decade. The WRT1900AC--introduced a few months before--sports a much more attractive, functional interface. I don't really care one way or another about the devices' external design, except that the E8350's more subdued look makes it blend in better if you locate it in public view, vs. the WRT1900AC's Star Wars look. After a few problems with the WRT1900AC initially, it has been working reliably for the past couple of months; the E8350 has worked reliably from the start. So maybe dowdy is better.

I do find it a little difficult to comparison-shop among the now-several similar Linksys router products. Linksys offers the WRT1900AC (~$200), the E8350 (~$250), and the EA9200 ($300). The EA9200 has an additional radio, so you can run a 2.4GHz network and two 5GHz networks, but it has only three antenna, and a slower CPU. If I want Linksys's best router, which one do I choose?

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