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Customer Reviews: 554
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Glenn R. Howes RSS Feed (Nashua, NH)
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Hitachi DS10DFL2 12V Peak Li-Ion Cordless Driver Drill with 2 Batteries and Quick Charger
Hitachi DS10DFL2 12V Peak Li-Ion Cordless Driver Drill with 2 Batteries and Quick Charger
Price: $99.97
15 used & new from $99.97

3.0 out of 5 stars Functional, Light, Not a Premium Tool, April 24, 2015
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
One of my favorite possessions is a Dewalt 20V Max (18V) hammer drill. It's a premium, rugged, powerful tool that can do what I need. It's one problem is it's heavy. Really heavy, and after a day of drilling holes to install a fence, my arms could barely lift it. So, there is a place for a lightweight drill, and this one certainly is. If all I need from it is to loosen screws and drill narrow holes then it can do that, easily enough.

With the lack of weight, comes the lack of power. Whereas I can use a paddle bit to drill ¾" holes into a log with my Dewalt, and go until the battery overheats (maybe six inches deep), this drill won't go ½" into the log. Same deal with a 2" hole saw into composite planking; this drill won't drive it more than ¼" before stopping, while my DeWalt zips right through.

This is not a premium tool. The case is not formfitting. The bits are sticky out of the box. The LED light goes immediately off with the trigger instead of waiting a few seconds. The battery takes care to slot into place, so you can't just casually snap it into place with the palm of your hand. The flashing pattern to indicate pre-charging is the same as the pattern for charged. The chuck cover is cheap plastic.

I'm also not a fan of tool manufactures labeling 10.8V tools as 12V, but even DeWalt did that with its 20V Max series, so I'll let it pass.

The grip is nice enough, soft and a bit tactile. You can remove the belt clip, or switch it over to the other side for lefties. The included bits are a decent steel.

If you need a drill for lightweight around the house use and can't afford the really good stuff, then this would be OK if you know what you are getting into. I think I'll get a lot of use out of it myself.


Command Decor 03WFR Damage-Free Wall Tiles with White Frame Plus Riser, 3-Pack
Command Decor 03WFR Damage-Free Wall Tiles with White Frame Plus Riser, 3-Pack
Price: $66.67

4.0 out of 5 stars Do You Need a Better Mousetrap?, April 19, 2015
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I don't think this product is for everyone. I, for one, don't have a problem putting a nail into my walls should I need to hang a piece of art. But renters might prefer this, and it works easier and with more stability than the traditional steel wire on the back, or the dreaded loop or ring in the back. The integrated level makes it easy to align, and once the frame is pushed into the velcro it isn't tilting, or leaning. This is the metaphorical better mousetrap.

I was sent a series of monochrome photographs for my artworks, which would probably be appropriate for a café or other place where impersonal, inoffensive decoration is needed. I would have rather tried a chalkboard or whiteboard facing, so I could have gotten my ever crafty daughter to make a statement. That would be great. There was one extension piece, so one of the pictures could be mounted further from the wall, to break it up a bit and give some 3D effect; it works reasonably well, but does expose the frame which would otherwise be hidden.

Installation was as quick and errorless as they claim. Just make sure the wall is clean.


Kellogg's Cereal Cup Assortment Pack - Special K, 3 flavors (Pack of 24)
Kellogg's Cereal Cup Assortment Pack - Special K, 3 flavors (Pack of 24)
Price: $29.70

3.0 out of 5 stars Convenient for Special K Likers, April 19, 2015
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Reviewing cereal is hard. Most of you reading this are probably already Special K enjoyers, and just want to know if anything is wrong with the packaging or whether the addition of dried strawberries or yogurt detracts from the original. I'll try.

The portions are too large. I'm an average sized male; (5'11", 182 lbs) and I have a hard time eating all the cereal in a cup in one sitting; and of course, you pretty much have to eat it all in one sitting for it to have the convenience you bought it for. And once the milk is poured on, the clock starts ticking; my daughter filled a cup up with milk, then forgot it on the counter; this stuff turns to mush fast, you can't just put it back in the fridge.

Of the three varieties, I guess the Red Berry version with dried strawberries is the best; I like strawberries. I don't think the yogurt version is any improvement, chunks of dried yogurt that settle to the bottom of the cup with a flavor that isn't so much tangy yogurt as it is emptiness.

The packaging does deliver everything fresh, crisp and well preserved. So if you are a Special K lover and just need a convenient way to keep a single serving this will work out for you. Although I'd imagine it would be cheaper and more resource friendly in the long run to get a securely sealable bowl and fill it daily from a bulk box.


ICUP Disney Frozen Elsa Be the Character Apron
ICUP Disney Frozen Elsa Be the Character Apron
Price: $24.99

3.0 out of 5 stars If You Need Frozen Everything, April 18, 2015
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This is an adequately executed apron. If you need an apron, and want a little whimsy, this would be fine. It just isn't amazingly whimsical, you could 'design' this in about 5 minutes given the original drawing. Also, I'm not a fan of the hand feel for the actual design, and I'm worried about how many washes the artwork will remain on.

My 8 year old daughter is a huge Frozen fan and will sing 'Let it Snow' with little nudging, but this is an adult size, so she isn't quite the target market. She likes wearing this like a faux dress, it goes down to her ankles.


Perlux Hypoallergenic Tencel 100-Percent Waterproof Mattress Protector, Queen
Perlux Hypoallergenic Tencel 100-Percent Waterproof Mattress Protector, Queen
Price: $40.31
2 used & new from $39.95

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Much Better Than A Heavy Rubber One, April 16, 2015
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Ever since our children were babies, we've used a heavy rubber mattress cover on one of our beds and while it definitely kept fluids from penetrating, during summer it was horrible as it just did not breath at all. We put a mattress pad on top of it which alleviated that somewhat, but I was not happy with it. That is why I'm so very happy to take delivery of this much lighter weight cover. It's much more clothlike yet it does a good job of keeping fluid from penetrating. I poured water on it, put a piece of paper underneath, and let it sit for 20 minutes, nothing came through, not a drop.

As for comfort, while I wouldn't want to sleep on it directly, it isn't quite cotton-like in its texture, it isn't bad at all. Put a sheet or a sheet and a mattress pad over it and you are good to go. My daughter has been sleeping with just a sheet between her and this pad for a couple weeks with zero complaints.

I recommend this cover.


Brinks Home Security Push Pull Rotate Door Locks 23054-105 Glenshaw Passage Lever, Polished Brass
Brinks Home Security Push Pull Rotate Door Locks 23054-105 Glenshaw Passage Lever, Polished Brass
Price: $26.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Nice, If It Fits, April 14, 2015
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I was sent two Brinks Push Pull locks; the other one had a privacy lock on it, and a nickel finish. I liked the other one better, but this is a nice latch, if you are lucky enough to have a door it fits. I tried this lock first on the door leading out to my garage, but unfortunately, neither the 60 or 70mm bolt modules this lock ships with fit; I needed around a 65mm one. So there went that idea. I subsequently tried installing it on a closet door, and that went much better; the 70 mm bolt fit perfectly, and I had the old latch off and this new one installed in under 10 minutes. The mechanism was pre-set for my standard interior door, but adjusting it for a thicker size can be done in a few minutes of mainly reading the instructions.

Once installed, I have a fairly smooth mechanism that can be opened by either pulling, pushing or twisting. I will be mainly pulling because the door opens towards me. I'm concerned that the finish will scratch; that's why I prefer the better aging nickel surfaces, but it hasn't scratched yet. It is certainly an improvement over the old fashioned door knob it's replacing and will make it easier to get into the linen closet with my arms filled with sheets and towels.


Brinks Home Security Push Pull Rotate Door Locks 23035-119 Arnett Privacy Lever, Satin Nickel
Brinks Home Security Push Pull Rotate Door Locks 23035-119 Arnett Privacy Lever, Satin Nickel
Price: $34.00

4.0 out of 5 stars A Clever Way to Open Doors, April 9, 2015
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This door lock is for those who just need to get into the bathroom NOW! Come barreling up to the door and pop it by pushing into the handle and it opens up all in one smooth motion. Really clever. So probably best for doors that open in, but still functional if pulling the door opens it, just not as fun. Unless, of course, the lock is actually locked in which case a Three Stooges bit ensues.

Finish and decorative detail work are OK, if not fantastic, and construction is all metal. I'm curious about the mirror finish on the bolt, it seems as if that can't last. The handles are a bit loose, and I think the set screw on the inside handle is likely to require periodic retightening. The lock takes a little work to engage as you have to reach around the inside handle, but unlocking is easy: just twist the handle. Emergency unlocking, which is sometimes a daily occurrence around here with the kids is accomplished by a bit of included stiff wire.

Installation was done in a few minutes, and most of it was done by my 9 year old, so even novice handymen should have little trouble.
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Tacwise Z3-140 Heavy Duty Hand Tacker/Staple Gun for 1/4, 5/16, 3/8, 1/2 and 9/16 Inches Long Staples, Silver/Orange (TAC0806)
Tacwise Z3-140 Heavy Duty Hand Tacker/Staple Gun for 1/4, 5/16, 3/8, 1/2 and 9/16 Inches Long Staples, Silver/Orange (TAC0806)
Price: $19.21
3 used & new from $19.00

5.0 out of 5 stars Well Crafted, April 6, 2015
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I was recently offered a variety pack of Tacwise staples to review; along with it came a cousin of this Z3-140 model. I liked the staples, but loved the stapler and I jumped at the chance of getting another. Even though my house now has 5 hand staplers and my wife will look at me like I'm insane should she find out I took delivery of another one. Regardless, this is an excellent stapler. It fires firmly and evenly, it's comfortable in the hand, and the detachable guide makes stapling along a line easy.

I would say this is a feature-rich model. You know that they threw in the kitchen sink when they put in a little window to put your initials inside. But the gimmicks do not make a stapler gimmicky if it does its primary task easily and without error. The only thing I can say against it is that the staples they throw in are quite short, and you will likely want to buy a more varied pack.


Pip Bartlett's Guide to Magical Creatures
Pip Bartlett's Guide to Magical Creatures
by Maggie Stiefvater
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $12.22

4.0 out of 5 stars A Series of Gentle Adventures, April 4, 2015
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This is a decent read. The main character is mostly pleasant if self-rightious, and it seems like she could quickly dispense with her main problem—that folks won't believe she can talk with magical creatures—which should be easily and irrefutably provable. Regardless, I took a liking to the idealistic girl.

The most unsatisfying part of the book is the antagonist, who takes the role of the voice of reason. The town is being invaded by a magical pest, which threatens the lives and property of the inhabitants, and the antagonist is forcefully advocating for the town to vote for erradication of said creatures. This is not Cruella de Ville, the antagonist is just using the democratic process to do what is sensible: eliminate harmful creatures. Imagine reading a book where the protagonist was fighting to protect malarial mosquitos. If my kids read this book, I will be sure to point out the softheadedness of Pip's point of view.

One of the philosophical quandries about this book is that Pip finds that almost all magical creatures can speak. Thus, they are intelligent and I would think more deserving of protection than everyday mindless things. So imagine mosquitos that can talk, would they be just as swat-table? For that matter, would creatures capable of intelligent conversation be appropriate as subservient pets?

I had thought there would be more clippings from the imaginary 'Guide to Magical Creatures' and this would have been an opportunity to add something special and diffentiating for the book, but the clippings are short and far between. And could have more imagination.

I'd say this is a decent book for young people, not a great one, that many will enjoy.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Apr 5, 2015 7:05 PM PDT


HP 24uh 24-inch LED Backlit Monitor
HP 24uh 24-inch LED Backlit Monitor
Price: $159.99
6 used & new from $158.00

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Don't Put This Next to a Good Monitor, April 2, 2015
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This is not a horrible monitor. At its native resolution—1080p—it is quite crisp. However, it is what is, an inexpensive LCD monitor, and for a lot of people it will be sufficient and maybe even a bargain. But make no mistake; it is not as good as pricier models.

For example, I have it sharing my Mac desktop with a Thunderbolt Display, which has a quite good LG panel. For the life of me, I cannot get the HP panel to calibrate where the standard Mac gamma of 2.2 looks good. I'm not talking some purist's calibration, just set it so that colors look the same, and I can watch TV shows without it looking either washed out or way too dark. Contrast with the great panel on the ViewSonic monitor hanging over my printer. Also there is a lot of changes in brightness as you change your position so that from my normal seated position, the top of the HP looks like the solid background color is a completely different shade of blue.

I can see where someone could need a monitor on the cheap, or have a little-used workstation which just needs a monitor. For this, it would be fine. And maybe, the user hasn't been ruined by using a good monitor, thus my advice to keep it away from a good one. As for me, I'll just keep it here and use it to display auxiliary windows when I program, and it should be OK for that, at least I won't have to stare at it.

For whatever reason, it shipped with a VGA cable instead of a more useful HDMI or DVI cable. And of course, it doesn't have a Display Port, or any audio out. Onscreen controls were a bit confusing but you get the hang of them. The face of the display is a bit under 6 inches from the back most part of the stand, so it will jam against the wall pretty tight. The status light is a pleasant white dot and there isn't anything in the way of HP branding on power up, so it isn't deliberately annoying in any way.

It seems to take longer than most monitors to negotiate a resolution with my Mac, so awaking from sleep takes several seconds longer and involves my desktop going black twice. And if I restart my Mac Mini, it will flash many times and I'll end up cycling the monitors power in order to get it back in sync. My advice here would be to avoid using this with a Mac.

If your budget is larger, I've found Samsung's SD590 series to be more praiseworthy at about the same size.

Just know what you are buying and not to expect more and you should be fine.


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