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Glenn R. Howes' Profile

Customer Reviews: 460
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Helpful Votes: 7658

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Glenn R. Howes RSS Feed (Nashua, NH)

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Heavy Weight Square 14-Inch Metallic Woven Vinyl Placemat, Black, Set of 4
Heavy Weight Square 14-Inch Metallic Woven Vinyl Placemat, Black, Set of 4
Price: $15.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Once You Get Around the Shape, These Do Their Job, September 29, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
There have been complaints about these placemats being either too square or too small, and I would warn away anybody who needed particularly wide placemats, but for those people with moderate space needs the dimensions of these mats are fine. I can put my plate, my utensils and a beverage container in the allotted area with room to spare. I probably wouldn't have designed them so square, but it works.

As for doing their job, they look OK, although I think the non-black colors might look better. It's a loose weave of a nonabsorbent material so any liquid spills are basically going to go right through, but it'll protect tables from dents and scratches. I'm happy to have them as an alternative to the busier designs of my other placemats.

Epson WorkForce WF-2630 All-In-One Wireless Color Printer with Scanner, Copier and Fax
Epson WorkForce WF-2630 All-In-One Wireless Color Printer with Scanner, Copier and Fax
Offered by antonline
Price: $114.61
3 used & new from $69.99

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars If you need a smallish printer, September 26, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I've several printers in the house, but my go-to color printer is an Epson WF-7610 which is one of the many big brothers to this smaller, less feature-filled printer.

What you give up when choosing a higher end printer:
Ethernet, speed (192 seconds versus 145 seconds to print a full color 4"×6"), a proper paper tray, maximum paper size (the 7610 goes all the way up to 13"×19", and yes I've actually done that), scanner bed size, SD card support and an easier to navigate interface.

What you keep:
iOS AirPrint support, print quality looks about the same

What you gain:
Size. My WF-7610 is a monster that barely fits on its dedicated table. I could put this one on the dresser in my son's room.

Because of the lack of Ethernet, and the tiny, hard to navigate control screen, this was a bit of a pain to setup. It didn't detect the WiFi router I normally use and it took a while to enter the password for the router it did find. Once on the network, and the ink was installed, and it restarted, everything was OK. I had to install OS X drivers available from Epson's website to enable scanning from my Mac, but printing from my iPad Mini was automagical. I wish it could print faster, but I have no complaints about color accuracy. Epson knows its ink. I am not a fan of rear loading paper, and miss the paper trays in my other printers. In particular, it did a poor job of printing out some Barbie clothes that needed to be precisely aligned.

As a convenient, infrequently used printer in a bedroom or extremely cramped office, this is an OK printer. However, most people would probably be better served with one of its big brothers.

InterDesign Med Plus Dental Center, Clear
InterDesign Med Plus Dental Center, Clear
Price: $10.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Just What We Were Looking For, September 25, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
My wife is happy to have a proper toothbrush/toothpaste organizer on the upstairs vanity. Previously, we've used a much larger catch-all bucket which could hardly be called organized. This petite, hard plastic organizer looks very nice and makes it easy to find the kids and her toothbrushes and toothpaste. There's just room for 1 adult and 1 child toothpaste tube, and obviously 4 regular non-electric toothbrushes. Some narrow electric toothbrushes might fit in the opening, but not all.

I was curious as to whether these drained onto the sink top or collected drippings. I could see it either way, they went with collecting easily cleaned drippings rather than letting them leak out. Just remember to periodically clean it.

There's a large product sticker on the toothpaste holder, and it looks to take some effort to cleanly get it off, so I left it on for now. It'd be nice if they had not put it there.

In general, a fine addition to the bathroom.

Barbie Fashion Design Maker Doll
Barbie Fashion Design Maker Doll
Price: $46.54
14 used & new from $46.54

5.0 out of 5 stars Mattel Outdoes Itself, September 23, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Usually, I have been unimpressed with the creativity shown by Barbie branded products. Usually, Mattel mails it in. Usually.

I'm very happy to report that whatever team at Mattel is responsible for this extremely complex hardware/software product did an awesome job. They have managed to put together one of the best child toy apps I've ever seen on the iOS App Store, and at the same time produce a very tightly designed paper product out of quality materials capable of producing temporary paper dresses that don't look like paper dresses.

My daughter (7 years old) went into this thinking this would be some lame print out and cut out and tape it together product, and she was very happily surprised to find out how much better put together this is with its sticker based system for building little dresses. She's been happily putting together dresses with some beautiful fabric designs and accessories, and collecting her fair share of in-app achievement badges—yes they had time to put in in-app achievements.

Now, as it happens I happen to have an AirPrint capable printer—an Epson 7610—so it was easy to print things out from my iPad Mini. Someone having to print to PDF and transfer to a computer, or use the Mac or PC versions of the software might have a different level of experience. Still, I'm impressed with what I've seen.

The one complaint my daughter has is that almost everything is disposable and can only be used once. P.S. but it's good while it lasts.

Highly recommended for those with a 7 year old daughter and an ink jet printer.

George Foreman GR260P Classic Plate Grill, Serve for 4
George Foreman GR260P Classic Plate Grill, Serve for 4
Price: $29.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Better than my Old George Foreman Grill, September 23, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
It's funny. I've had an original George Foreman Grill sitting on a shelf in my kitchen for 8 years or so without thinking to use it. Last week, I decide to grill a steak with it, and this week I've got a modern version to test and play with. Compared to my old model, there are several improvements, the non-stick surface looks and works better--much easier to clean for instance. My old grill was losing its coating, even with its fairly light use, whereas this grill claims to be much more durable, well I hope so. The new grill can either be run in the traditional sloped mode where oil and fats roll out, or flatter where they stay near the food. There is a big pair of status lights on the new grill which lets me know if its hot enough, while the original just had a single small, dim status light.

My wife is concerned about the dangers of Teflon, and while I don't know what this particular grill uses, I do know it's temperature regulated to keep it well below the 500°F that Dow recommends as a maximum for Teflon, in fact my infrared thermometer says it runs at most around 420°. So it should be safe enough for humans. Contrast with a pot on the stove that could easily get too hot if left empty and unattended.

Given how popular these grills are, its easy to find recipes and helpful hints online. So the first thing I cooked was chicken breasts with pineapple rings and strips of bell pepper. First thing to know is it is easy to burn your food, but you can use tricks like for instance, taking the chicken off the grill surface and make a little bed and cover out of bell pepper or the pineapple to give it a little more cooking time. Also, it's a good idea to have a quick read probe thermometer to periodically check to see if the meat has reached its safe internal temperature (around 160° for chicken).

The next morning it was grilled cheese sandwiches, which this grill is particularly good at and my son gave thumbs up on.

Also online, I found out that a good way to clean it is with a wet, folded paper towel which can be laid on the hot surface and will steam clean it while you unplug. I also like to use the same paper towel and some tongs to clean the crevices. Works very well given the non-stick.

In general, an excellent addition to my kitchen.

Main Street Guitars MKB-M49 49 Key MIDI Controller
Main Street Guitars MKB-M49 49 Key MIDI Controller
Price: $93.32
4 used & new from $86.79

4.0 out of 5 stars Fills My Low-End Needs for GarageBand Input, September 20, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I am nowhere near a professional musician. All I needed was an inexpensive keyboard which I could attach via USB to my MacBook and act as an input to GarageBand. For this purposes, this keyboard works well enough. It is not as nice as the two consumer Yamaha keyboards in the house; but they don't have a USB port. I can hear the springs squeaking when I press a key, and the casing is cheap plastic, "To prevent fall apart," as the old Simpson's episode had it.

I plug it in. GarageBand immediately sees it, and I can start playing using whatever instrument is selected. Some of the controls work out of the box; the track level slider and the pitch blend do their thing. Presumably the knobs on top can be made to do something but I don't know what. I can't say the key-feel is great; these are springy keys and do not have any heft to them.

If I had higher end needs than creating some background music for some product videos, I would definitely have sprung for a higher end unit, but I don't and I'm content with this one.

Hoover UH70935 Windtunnel 3-Pro Pet Bagless Upright Vacuum
Hoover UH70935 Windtunnel 3-Pro Pet Bagless Upright Vacuum
Price: $129.99
6 used & new from $119.95

4.0 out of 5 stars Seems Sturdy for a Plastic Vacuum, September 19, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This is the second vacuum of this general type in the house in a couple years, the first was a Bissell. While still operational, the Bissell's plastic construction and plastic accessories have already started to fall apart; I'm not happy with it not lasting. While I can't speak to the actual long term resilience of this Hoover, it at least appears a bit better constructed. While still predominantly plastic, there's more metal and it just seems a bit sturdier.

This does not appear to be Hoover's first vacuum, they've put together a nice package of thoughtful features. The controls are accessible either with one's feet or hands without bending down most times. You still have to bend down to pull out the cord and adjust the height. There's a gauge to let you know if the air flow is clogged, a clip to put your cord to avoid fouling with the business end of the cleaner. The accessory wand twists to unlock and telescope, but is still a bit on the short side. Cleaning is quite powerful, I can't quite believe it pulled so much dust out of such a small bit of carpet. So, I'm, in general, well disposed to this cleaner.

I am concerned that the cord gets uncomfortably hot while operating. I'm sure it's passed whatever safety tests are required, and it's probably deliberately high gauge to work with the cord retractor, but it could have been a bit thicker gauge.

Also, it is not the most easily maneuvered vacuum, there's a certain jerkiness to moving it around a carpet that I don't like. This is not a vacuum to dance with.

All in all, I like it quite a bit; it just is not perfect. This is a good supplement to the main vacuum in the house: a Roomba 880 robot which does most of the work but can't get in the crevices and definitely doesn't do stairs.

Minecraft Animal Toy (6-Pack)
Minecraft Animal Toy (6-Pack)
Price: $19.17
119 used & new from $14.99

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. "They're 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
Price: $18.08
21 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.

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