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Ryan K. RSS Feed (South Amboy, NJ)
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Timex Kids Shake and Wake Alarm Clock
Timex Kids Shake and Wake Alarm Clock

5.0 out of 5 stars A Safe, Battery-Operated, Vibrating Alarm You Take To Bed, January 13, 2015
= Durability:5.0 out of 5 stars  = Fun:3.0 out of 5 stars  = Educational:5.0 out of 5 stars 
First let me say that this version of the Shake and Wake uses corny sound effects like springy sounds, crashing sounds, etc. NOT the "racist stereotype sayings" that others report in the black and silver version of this clock (check other reviews and other places on the internet for such comments).

A friend gave me this as a goof because he knows my problem waking up. And I have a fear that I will silence the alarm clock on the side of the bed and fall back to sleep. This is meant to be a child's toy, but I find it useful for myself as an adult. It is designed to be safe for a child to take to bed - the whole point of the vibration is that it will shake the bed as it alarms. (OK, it would NOT be friendly if you shared a bed ...) The blue protruding dimples are soft and keep the clock from sliding or rolling. I have always stuffed the sheet and top cover under one side of the bed to make it easy to make the bed which keeps the clock from being pushed out from under the covers. The big orange button is a snooze. There is a small switch that shuts the alarm off. Each morning I turn it off, and turn it back on, then get out of bed and toss the clock back under the covers for the next morning. I have used the thing for over a month and the strange sound and strong vibration is a hell of a lot nicer to wake up to than the Sony Dream Machine (which itself is designed to be a better way to wake up with its increasing volume). I am ready to throw the Sony out the window. I like the Timex Kids clock. And the batteries have lasted the month so far. Replacing the batteries requires a small Phillips screwdriver which is a bit of a pain - but I guess the engineers don't want kids opening the clock and eating the batteries. The best gag gift I ever received.


Linksys AC3200 Tri-Band Smart Wi-Fi Router with Gigabit and USB, Designed for Device-Heavy Homes, Smart Wi-Fi App Enabled to Control Your Network from Anywhere (EA9200-4A)
Linksys AC3200 Tri-Band Smart Wi-Fi Router with Gigabit and USB, Designed for Device-Heavy Homes, Smart Wi-Fi App Enabled to Control Your Network from Anywhere (EA9200-4A)
Price: $299.99
2 used & new from $292.85

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent - But Most People Don't Need the Speed (at This Price), January 12, 2015
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I am using this to replace an four year old Linksys E3200 High-Performance Simultaneous Dual-Band Wireless-N Router that was very reliable but had dead spots in my house. This new model AC3200 cost 4x the price of the old one but is only 1.5x as powerful (crudely measured by dead spots).

My house is built like a brick sh__house - brick over cinder block exterior walls and plaster over wire mesh interior walls. The house will be the last building standing come the apocalypse. Great sound insulation. A complete nightmare for wifi. The house is shaped like an "L" and router (new replaced old in the same spot) is on the second floor at the center of the L. The signal is perfect in the room with the router, mediocre in adjacent rooms, and poor the next rooms over. Depending on where you are in any room, getting a signal is a crap shoot depending on position in the room.

The new router cut down on the number of dead spots in the adjacent rooms. It really didn't do anything for the signal farther away. For that I began using Linksys' related product Linksys AC1200 MAX Wi-Fi Range Extender (RE6500-FFP). That product is less than half the cost of the AC3200 router and was a much better investment dollar-for-dollar.

This AC3200 router probably does provide for double the speed but really, who needs double speed? Unless you are streaming video from elsewhere in your home you won't notice the difference. The bottleneck for surfing the web is your ISP's speed which is way slower than any router. For my house's issues, I want power, not speed. Do they make a router so powerful I would need to wear a radiation detector?

Still, if you need the slight extra power and much greater speed, this router is the solution. I have used Linksys for the last 15 years and find the company reliable with solid products. 5 stars.


Linksys AC1200 MAX Wi-Fi Range Extender with High-Gain Antennas (RE6500HG-FFP)
Linksys AC1200 MAX Wi-Fi Range Extender with High-Gain Antennas (RE6500HG-FFP)
Price: $119.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Powerful Solution in a Small Box, January 12, 2015
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
When I opened the box and found a 6" x 4" x 3/4" lightweight device, I was skeptical. The Linksys router is huge by comparison - how could this be as powerful? Well, it is. For the most part, it solved my huge dead space problem.

My house is built like a brick sh__house - brick over cinder block exterior walls and plaster over wire mesh interior walls. The house will be the last building standing come the apocalypse. Great sound insulation. A complete nightmare for wifi.

The house is shaped like an "L" and the router is on the second floor at the center of the L. The signal is perfect in the room with the router, mediocre in adjacent rooms, and poor the next rooms over. Depending on where you are in any room, getting a signal is a crap shoot depending on position in the room. As instructed, I installed the AC1200 on the first floor where the signal is 50%. Voila! Maybe it's lucky positioning, but I now have 90% coverage in the rest of my house. I can now use the calorie app on my phone near the refrigerator.

I had used a range extender in my old home in the 802.11g days. Setup was a chore that needed a wired computer. With the AC1200 you can use your phone by logging into the signal (a temporary network) from the device. Setup took 5 minutes. Let me summarize the index card sized, 4-step Quick Start Guide: (1) plug it in, (2) place it where the signal is around 50% for best performance, (3) wait for the light to come on and log into the network "Linksys Extender Setup", (4) if setup doesn't start, log into 192.168.1.1.

I have used Linksys gear for the last 15 years. Linksys is the consumer side of Cisco - the king of commercial networking equipment. I find their features are slightly less advanced (call them less confusing) than the competition but they make up for it in rock-solid performance and reliability.

Without this thing I would have needed to run a wire to another router set up as an access point. Who wants to snake ethernet cables through the walls in their home?


Coding For Kids For Dummies
Coding For Kids For Dummies
by Camille McCue
Edition: Paperback
Price: $22.12
78 used & new from $16.43

0 of 5 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars First decide if you want to buy Microworlds EX software, January 8, 2015
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
The cover brags about the programming language used. The cover does not tell you that you must download and install a free-for-35-days-only programming language interpreter.

And within those 35 days you can only save your work 90 times. Then you must buy the software (for 70% off of a price that was almost impossible to find on the website). The software only works on Windows 7/8/8.1. So don't buy this book if you run Vista or XP.

I did not install the software and did not read past 13 of the book which talks about obtaining and installing the software. It's clear from skimming the book that the author is impressed with the software. I wonder why.

The title is "Coding for Kids" instead of "Programming for Kids." Coding is to computer programming as typing is to creative writing. Skimming the book, I see it focuses on the fundamentals of programming. I refuse to blur the language on these definitions because the distinction is important.

In the old days the For Dummies series would include non-expiring software with incomplete features. Everything taught in the book was unlocked in the software, but if you wanted to go further you had to buy the software. In the current model, why would you want to learn a skill that you could only use for 35 days?


Teach Yourself VISUALLY Photoshop Elements 13 (Teach Yourself VISUALLY (Tech))
Teach Yourself VISUALLY Photoshop Elements 13 (Teach Yourself VISUALLY (Tech))
by Richard Wentk
Edition: Paperback
Price: $20.01
42 used & new from $15.96

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Picture is Worth 1,000 Words, January 8, 2015
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I have been using the Teach Yourself Visually series for almost 20 years and think it is great to get you started on major software rewrites. I used it to learn Microsoft Word 97 back in the day. Didn't need the "baby picture book" series for Office 2000 or 2003. Needed it again for Office 2007 with that darned Ribbon that Microsoft implemented - a new interface that confused the heck out of me. Used it for Windows 8.1 after being a pro at the Old Windows.

While Photoshop Elements is a simplified version of the professional versions, it is still much harder to use than, say, a word processing program. Not only do you need to understand the concepts if image editing, you need to understand the unique Adobe interface which is more at home on a Mac than a PC. Teach Yourself Visually Photoshop Elements shows a picture of the screen (with buttons or menu options highlighted) along side very simple instructions. It explains features of the program that might at first seem unnecessary and unrelated to actually editing an image (e.g. the Organizer, keyword tagging). You can then appreciate why the publisher included these nice features.

I think they should have introduced image layers earlier in the book and more fully explored their power. This is one of the main reasons for using a program as powerful (and complicated) as Elements instead of the free web-baaed applications. But the concept is a little complicated and the book doesn't want to scare off the reader, I guess.

When reading any book in this series, you need to be comfortable with skipping much of the material once you have mastered the basics. After you get comfortable with the interface, you no longer need instructions on every single mouse click. But these books can be used as references even for those who never read them cover-to-cover so they make each instruction complete.

It's too bad the publisher has mostly phased out the related series Master Visually which had black-and-white pictures but were more complete (and the books were 2 to 3 times as thick). This is a powerful way to learn.


IRWIN Tools 1881324 Impact Performance Series Turbomax Black and Gold Drill Bit Pro Set Case, 10-Piece
IRWIN Tools 1881324 Impact Performance Series Turbomax Black and Gold Drill Bit Pro Set Case, 10-Piece
Price: $40.38
7 used & new from $35.43

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stays Sharp, January 2, 2015
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
If you're reading this review you're probably a weekend home fix-it guy. You have decided that this is the price range for a bit set. You went cheap years ago and the popular sized bits (e.g. 3/16") are now very dull. You could sharpen them if you buy a tool for the price of this bit set. But then you figure it's a tool that will disappear before you need it again. I just want a set of bits that don't dull quickly.

This is your set. I have been using them for a project over the last few weeks and I don't see them getting dull - not even the 3/16" bit. They are designed especially for impact drivers but are better than standard bits for a regular drill (every bit has a 1/4" quick-change base so you don't have to make so many turns on the chuck when switching bit sizes).

The packaging does not say what the drills are made of - it says "black oxide finish" but is the metal cobalt? titanium? I don't know. The packaging (in three languages) describes the plastic case better than the bits themselves. Still, these bits remain sharp and get my recommendation.


MeGooDo Headset Sports Folding Bluetooth Stereo Wireless and Wired A2DP Headphones Headband Hairband with Microphone (BLACK)
MeGooDo Headset Sports Folding Bluetooth Stereo Wireless and Wired A2DP Headphones Headband Hairband with Microphone (BLACK)
Offered by MetroEB
Price: $19.99
2 used & new from $19.99

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The BEST gym headphones at any price, January 1, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I had written a review for the Arctic Sound P311 headphones a couple years ago and sang the praises of that model for gym use. And they are great. But this MeGooDo is better. Forget about the bizarre name of these things. They fit very well and are extendable to accommodate heads even larger than mine (both figuratively and literally). They have excellent sound for Bluetooth headphones under $100 - a little weak on bass but they all are. But the mid-range and highs are very loud and crystal clear at max volume - better than the P311. The P311 has great sound also but it has heavily cushioned ear cups. This MeGooDo is really sports-ready with comfortable but non-cushioned speaker cups which are easily cleanable (I use Lysol disinfectant every few days). Put them on your head and forget about them since they never need adjustment. I really can't rate battery life since I charge all headphones after each use but no problems over the 1-1/2 hours at the gym. The only slight annoyance is that the three buttons - FF/louder, Play/Pause/Answer, and REW/Softer are touching with no space in between - try to press the 3/16" center button to pause and you press all three buttons. Also, the high-gloss exterior will probably get scratched easily. But at this price I can live with some scratches!


Logitech Wireless Wave Combo Mk550 With Keyboard and Laser Mouse
Logitech Wireless Wave Combo Mk550 With Keyboard and Laser Mouse
Price: $54.99
64 used & new from $34.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Perfect for Office and Home Theater, December 23, 2014
I have been using this keyboard and mouse for 5 years. I have gone through 6 or 7 other keyboard/mouse combos for my home theater setup (that is, the computer plugged into my 50" TV".) In all combos, the mice are all fine. This Logitech combo is by far the best of the bunch. The mouse has forward and backward thumb switches that don't get in the way of normal mouse use. But the keyboard is even better.

The keyboard will stand on edge without falling over when you stand it up on the edge of the coffee table in the home theater setup. Even better, there are indentations on the bottom on the left and the right of the keyboard that I believe the ergonomic engineers designed as "handles". After going though so many other keyboards, it seems Logitech anticipated moving this around in a theater setup. Yeah, it has the legs that raise it at an angle for an office (and I use an identical keyboard/mouse pair in the office). But I feel I had to write a positive review for this loyal keyboard (and mouse) that I use in my home theater setup. Five years, and I don't really think about it. But five years ago I went through other manufacturers' keyboards and found them ... lacking. This combo thing is now an extension of my fingers. Those handles that I described ... look for them when shopping for a keyboard that you want to move off your lap.


So You've Been Publicly Shamed
So You've Been Publicly Shamed
by Jon Ronson
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $20.28

2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Too Many Drawn Out Autobiographical Stories, December 23, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Ronson had a gem of an idea in writing a book about shame. But the book seems to be merely a personal reflection on the matter. I must say that I only read a few pages and absolutely could not tolerate the writing style, then I spent about an hour randomly reading other parts of the book.

What turned me off from the outset was the line on page 2, "Dreaming about cock." Yeah, potty-mouth in the 11th sentence of the book. I am certainly not offended by the profane (especially when it is integral to the story as this line is) but, come on, p.2?

What I found insulting was the rambling writing style reminiscent of typical high school students.

EXAMPLE:
"I think we feel annoyed with you," Dan continued, "because we're not quite persuaded by that. We think there's already a layer of artifice and it's your online personality - the brand Jon Ronson - you're trying to protect. Yean?" "NO, IT'S JUST ME TWEETING," I yelled. "The Internet is not the real world." said Dan. (p.6)

The majority of book is written in this style. Very little research into a topic that could be worthy of a dissertation. Lots of feelings, few facts, no analysis. Check out the Amazon "Look Inside" before you buy.


Kenwood KDC-BT958HD CD Receiver with Built-In Bluetooth & HD Radio
Kenwood KDC-BT958HD CD Receiver with Built-In Bluetooth & HD Radio
Offered by LegacyStereo
Price: $186.98
17 used & new from $175.00

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Unusable While Driving, e.g. No Play/Pause Button, December 5, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
It's been 10 years since I hated a product as much as I hate this radio. I have been using Kenwood for 30 years - two home stereos and car speakers a few vehicles ago were Kenwood. Friends have installed Kenwood stereos in their cars. But Kenwood dropped the ball on this car stereo. I don't know why it gets so many good reviews from others - maybe these reviews are written before the owner/installer actually gets out on the road. It is an engineer's dream, but a driver's nightmare.

Download the owner's manual and look at the faceplate layout. The thousands of features are accessed by pressing the volume control. If you do that, you will be 10-deep in a haphazard menu layout which is impossible to get out of (until you learn the trick). The LED display is three lines of small print which is confusing (it can be adjusted to two lines and even a one-line clock). I have no doubt there will be more accidents than usual from drivers, probably young drivers, messing with this complicated radio.

PROS:
- volume can be balanced between sources, so the radio doesn't blast and blow your speakers when you remove your mp3 player which was at a comfortable volume.
- remote control, if you like that sort of thing
- bluetooth hands-free works great with good sound and a good microphone
- bluetooth connection is flawless, no skips

CONS:
- The confusing and dangerous button layout as described above
- There is no play / pause button. The instructions say press and hold the search/menu button (why didn't I think of that??!!) Just one of the many bizarre features
- If you have the clock displayed, it will turn off when the radio is shut off even while driving.
- You can't temporarily bypass the clock to get to track information. If the clock is displayed, you would have to navigate the menus and turn off the clock, navigate out of the menu, get the track info, go back into the menu structure, turn on the clock, and back out of the menus. On my old JVC you just pressed a button and the track info displayed for 10 seconds before reverting to the clock.
- Not included is a carrying case for the faceplate if you choose to remove it while parked.
- I often get "N/A DEVICE" on various USB flash drives. They work fine on the PC, and two of them were used with my old JVC which NEVER had a problem with them. Also, if there is a single file in a folder on the USB drive, the entire folder will not be recognized. Try finding the file with the problem - probably a foreign character in a name or album title I don't know.
- While there are many equalizer options, you cannot choose between them while driving since you have to go 3 or 4 deep into the menus to select the profile, then back-step out of the menus. This is true for all of the features - balance, fader, etc. You cannot make adjustments while driving.
- Setting the radio presets cannot be done while driving as it requires entering that menu structure again.
- To switch between audio sources (and there are MANY - Bluetooth Audio, AM, FM, CD, USB front, USB rear, ihearradio, Pandora, Aux, ...) you have to press the SRC button and dial the volume control. And you have to take your eyes off the road to read the display to see where to stop. When selected, of course, then press search/menu (??!!). On my last few stereos you press a button repeatedly, e.g. press twice to switch between FM and USB - you could do it without taking your eyes off the road.

I could go on and on. It would be easier to read the newspaper while driving than to operate this radio. Truly, I wanted to like this stereo. The options in the menus are a geeks' dream come true. Everything is adjustable. Kenwood is a big name. But this is simply a disaster to use while driving.


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