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Glenn R. Howes' Profile

Customer Reviews: 453
Top Reviewer Ranking: 346
Helpful Votes: 7629

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Glenn R. Howes RSS Feed (Nashua, NH)

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Minecraft Animal Toy (6-Pack)
Minecraft Animal Toy (6-Pack)
Offered by Bison Lake Trading Company
Price: $21.32
121 used & new from $15.33

4.0 out of 5 stars True to the Source Material, September 18, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Here are some quotes from my Minecraft loving children. "It's awesome, especially the children," says my 7 year old daughter. "There fun to play with, and move the wings of the chicken," says my 9 year old son.

I was surprised that the designers went out of there way to give each animal a unique mechanism. Thus, the sheep has spring loaded legs, and the chicken had fold out wings.

Construction is sort of digitally authentic, and almost seem to have been 3D printed right out of the games models. True to the blocky frames and flat textures of the original, but not as fun as the real thing. Still pretty cool to tell the world about your favorite virtual world.

MARVEL Spiderman Hooded Bath/Beach Poncho Towel
MARVEL Spiderman Hooded Bath/Beach Poncho Towel
Offered by NDWEBLLC
Price: $19.71
22 used & new from $14.40

4.0 out of 5 stars Works Better as a Costume, September 18, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This beach poncho has 2 elements. It's a novelty for kids to run around with the Spidey hood up, and it is a functional item to soak up water and keep the wind out. I'd say it's more successful at the former than the latter. My 7 and 9 year olds certainly enjoy wearing it and jumping about.

However, I have another beach poncho which I like better for drying kids. It's more like a bath towel than this one which is more like a beach towel.

I'm fairly annoyed by the number of little plastic ties they used to keep this thing folded in the packaging. Lots of bits of plastic to be snipped off and leave a mess.

The sizing was pretty tight getting my 9 year olds head through the opening, so that's probably the upper limit of the age range this is appropriate for.

For the small Spider-Man fan.

OXO Good Grips 6-Piece Plastic Measuring Spoons with added Scraper
OXO Good Grips 6-Piece Plastic Measuring Spoons with added Scraper
Price: $4.99
2 used & new from $4.99

3.0 out of 5 stars I Can't See Using This Snapped Together, September 17, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
It isn't that these are bad measuring spoons, they are comfortable with ample handles and a smooth, yet nicely textured surface. It's just that I can't see using them in their snapped together state. It's like one of those over-the-top Swiss army knives that no one would ever use. So, while it's true that with a little effort the spoons can all be unsnapped and used separately, the uselessness of the connection mechanism sort of ruins the whole package. Plus, it's likely the scraper accessory will be easily lost.

I've been using adjustable measuring spoons, which I like, but have a disadvantage over this style in that the adjustable ones are constantly loosing the part which does the adjusting. I've got a drawer with 6 adjustable spoons, but only 3 of them have workable dividers. These old school spoons have no such complication.

OXO Good Grips Stainless Steel Colander
OXO Good Grips Stainless Steel Colander
Price: $24.99
4 used & new from $24.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Nicely Executed Colander, in Stainless, September 15, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This is a nicely made colander. I've often been nervous about pouring boiling water into plastic colanders and now I don't worry about it with this stainless one. Constructions seems to be pretty well done. There is a bit of flex in the handles, but they don't seem to be in danger of coming off. My wife does not like the little feet; they bump up against the sink, but I can see the advantage of keeping water from getting back into the colander when in the sink, and for keeping it flat on a table.

In general, seems to be a good product.

InterDesign Classico Over Cabinet Hair Care Station, Chrome
InterDesign Classico Over Cabinet Hair Care Station, Chrome
Offered by ToysOnline
Price: $47.96
2 used & new from $22.99

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Might Not Fit Your Situation., September 15, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I'd be grateful if a product would help me organize the tangled mess of my bathroom vanity cabinet. However, it doesn't appear as though this wire organizer was the best choice for my situation.

First, I had to modify my cabinet door to get it to work. My doors do not have flat backs, they have a two piece construction where a taller, wider face is glued to a piece which protrudes into the cabinet opening. If I try to hang this organizer on the door, it will neither fit, nor allow the door to close. So, I cut two slots between the face and back of the door with an oscillating saw. This worked OK, although in retrospect, I should have gotten a narrower blade to match the organizer.

Second, you are supposed to secure the organizer from swinging with wood screws midway down. The problem here is the adjoining wood is quite thin, requiring short, easily pulled screws.

Finally, my hair drier does not fit well into the round ring area so the benefit of the drier specific holders are lost on me.

Other than that, it's reasonably well constructed and looks OK.

In summary, may work well for someone with flat, thick cabinet doors and appropriately sized hair care appliances. But that person is not me.

OXO Good Grips Slide and Lock Standing Caddy
OXO Good Grips Slide and Lock Standing Caddy
Price: $89.99
4 used & new from $89.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Lots of Nice Little Details, But a Little Short, September 10, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I have a standalone walk in shower in my house and this shower caddy fits nicely in the corner. It's replacing one of those floor-to-ceiling spring loaded models that presses against the ceiling to stay in place. I didn't have any particular issues with the previous model other than it gradually crumbling the plaster on the ceiling, but I was happy to give this lean to stay in place caddy a try.

My biggest problem with this caddy is its height. I'm 5'11" and I'd prefer that shelves in the shower be chest high and not barely above belt high. Another foot of height would have been appreciated.

Quite a bit of thought was obviously put into this design. The feet are not quite 90° apart so that they do not scrape the walls. The top shelf drains to the sides so as not to drip thick soap water onto items in the middle shelf. The height of the shelfs are easily adjusted with a tilt up to loosen and a push back to fix in place. Razors can be removed from the special hooks with a quick twist and replaced the same way. I'd have preferred a few more of those nice hooks, two is just barely enough.

This caddy uses plastic shelves on a wire frame so you have a generally flat area and little things, like hair ties or toothpaste tube caps don't fall through. Also the shelving design allows for more controlled drainage than a open air wire frame as in my previous caddy.

Assembly was ridiculously quick, could easily be done in 2 minutes.

In general, if you are OK with the height and have a reasonably flat floored shower, this is a thoughtful and useful shower caddy.

OXO Good Grips Professional 3-1/2-Inch Paring Knife
OXO Good Grips Professional 3-1/2-Inch Paring Knife
Price: $6.99
2 used & new from $6.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Good Knife, September 9, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Knives are unusual in that oftentimes the more moderately priced models are superior (for cooking) over the expensive models. Pros (which I am definitely not) seem to gravitate to well balanced, easily cleaned, easily maintained models and avoid unneeded luxury. Thus, for example, my favorite chef's knife, a Victorinox Swiss Classic, which just does what its supposed to do.

So here is a very nice paring knife. It isn't expensive but it's well made, has a nice heft to it and the only bit of extravagance is the stainless steel OXO button on its butt. It's sharp, but then again initial sharpness is easy. Much better than the ultra-cheap paring knives you get for free for listening to a knife demonstration at the department store, and even nicer than the more expensive wood handled Henkels I somehow managed to lose.

It's not without issues with me. The "good grip" is a bit too grippy and sort of pulls at the skin in an irritating way when using it as a peeler. And I'd prefer a bit more curve on the bolster, as sometimes I'd like to have someplace to put my index finger. Still all in all, you will not go wrong with this knife.

De'Longhi EC680 Dedica 15-Bar Pump Espresso Machine
De'Longhi EC680 Dedica 15-Bar Pump Espresso Machine
Price: $299.95
4 used & new from $298.00

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Beautifully Made Kitchen Gadget, September 7, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I think espresso is a beverage for people who want to enjoy the craft of creating something. It doesn't seem like a fast food kind of beverage. On the other hand, once you've set this machine up as you want it, the coffee squirts out quickly. Everything about this machine speaks to the maturity of design; you don't end up with a product so well focused on its goals without having iterated down to near perfection. From the cup warming area on top, to the heft of the handle, to the quick valve design of the the water reservoir this thing was designed by talented engineers and assembled by craftsmen.

I was a bit curious as to what 15-bars meant, it's a metric measure meaning a bit more than 15 atmospheres, a pressure at which the boiling temperature of water is a whopping 198°C (388°F). So this little device is able to deliver some serious stress to the coffee. And yet, no leaks or squeals.

I had the most fun with the milk steamer. It turned a half a glass of whole milk into a whole glass of hot milk foam in seconds.

The one problem I had was following the instructions to set the settings. Given the lack of a display, and the paucity of buttons, the mechanism for inputting preferences requires a careful reading of the manual, and even then its hard to tell if you indeed set the water hardness or other settings properly. This difficulty might be a positive for some people interested in the journey over the result.

In summary, a nicely built coffee making machine for the espresso enthusiast.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Sep 8, 2014 5:12 AM PDT

Jenga "Throw-n-go"
Jenga "Throw-n-go"
Price: $22.12
27 used & new from $16.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Nice Variation, but Don't Throw Away Your Classic Jenga Set, September 6, 2014
This review is from: Jenga "Throw-n-go" (Toy)
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Jenga is one of those games my family--I have a 7 and a 9 year old--comes back to. It's a classic.

So, I was interested in trying out this new variation to see if it improves upon the original version. I'd say the use of the die to force different moves, or two moves at once, or even to skip a turn and reverse the order of turns gives variety to the game. Variety is nice, and if you own this set, I'm sure you will find it fun to use the new rules. But, the classic game without the die is still my favorite, it is easier to understand and the flow of play is uninterrupted by the rolling of the die. Of course, you can always play the classic rules with this set too.

The packaging is nice, where my classic set came with a tub capable of holding a jumble of Jenga blocks, this one expects you to store it in stacked form using the included stacking guide. At least with this method, you are ready to play right away as the blocks will slide out ready stacked. And the resulting rectangular packaging is easier to find a storage space for. Still, it does take a bit more work to clean up after a session.

The colored blocks are nice, if you like aqua and mauve. I prefer the classic clear coat wood versions, but again, variety is nice. As others have mentioned, the black blocks are a bit shorter than the other colors, resulting in some pretty impossible positions when removing the non-black blocks.

Southern Enterprises Holly and Martin Ottico 3-Piece Tables
Southern Enterprises Holly and Martin Ottico 3-Piece Tables
Price: $199.99
5 used & new from $199.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Sort of Sturdy, Easily Assembled Cheap Furniture, September 4, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
It took me around 20-25 minutes apiece to assemble these three table/shelves, although I did have a cordless drill to aid in some of the connections. Once assembled, the individual tables are reasonably sturdy--they are only rated at 25 lbs so they might not be the best places to keep your library of college textbooks--and when combined as a shelve reach up to about my neck. The package came with enough vinyl circular stickers to cover all the openings left from assembly, although I just used the ones for inside the compartment, and left the bolt holes on the legs bare as the stickers would have been obvious and lame. So I ended up with a bit of an industrial look which is fine.

Be prepared for a some polystyrene dust and bits from the packing material. Remember to insert the nuts with the slotted end visible so you can adjust their angle before trying to thread in the bolts.

I'd say this is a fine example of cheap furniture. It isn't going to end up in the Louvre, but it does a couple jobs, is easily assembled and looks to take a bit of abuse. I've certainly assembled cheaper stuff, stuff that was born broken. We ended up distributing it around the house as individual mini shelves and I find them to be good places to put fake plants and teddy bears.

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