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Customer Reviews: 35
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Helpful Votes: 855

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T Payne "t_payne" RSS Feed (Fremont, CA United States)

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C-8110 Wall Mount Dip Station
C-8110 Wall Mount Dip Station
Price: $30.95

4.0 out of 5 stars easy to mount and very sturdy, July 8, 2014
This review is from: C-8110 Wall Mount Dip Station
Well made, easy to mount and very sturdy. But they are designed to be placed in studs and those are 16" apart. Dip bars should be 18-22" apart so these end up being too narrow. This is a design flaw in my opinion. The bars should have curved out 1" before going straight out so that they would be 18" apart when mounted in studs. The only way around this problem now is to first mount a thick backboard and then mount these at whatever distance you want. That is too much work when there are other dip bars with this problem solved.

Netgear WN2000RPT Universal WiFi Range Extender - Refurbished
Netgear WN2000RPT Universal WiFi Range Extender - Refurbished
Offered by Luuki_Luuki
Price: $21.99
7 used & new from $17.30

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Does exactly what it's supposed to, but a few small tips to know, April 2, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This thing is very simple, cheap and does exactly what it's supposed to. Setup was a little annoying since you need to look up the product at Netgear's website. You have to search for the product and it's a bit time-consuming. So let me save you the trouble:
1. Use a wireless device (tablet, laptop, whatever) to connect to the wireless device called "NETGEAR_EXT"
2. Open your browser and go to:
3. Go through the easy to follow setup and that's it!
4. ****IMPORTANT*** Go back into the settings and change the default password of the range extender. The default password is "password". If you don't change this, then anyone driving by your house can log in with the default and clearly see your WEP passcode for your whole network! Yikes! Change the password by going into "setup" right away.

Hope that helps
FYI, there are 3 versions of this range extender. Most people are getting version 2 and that's also what I got.

Gold 8'x11' Traditional Isfahan Persian Rug Oriental Carpet Living Room Rugs
Gold 8'x11' Traditional Isfahan Persian Rug Oriental Carpet Living Room Rugs
Offered by AS Quality Rugs - (Click Here To See All Rug Collections on Sale)
Price: $129.84

5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Can't beat this for the price, March 8, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
There's just no beating this for the price. We replaced a very expensive Persian rug in the living room because the cats were scratching the hell out of it and the kids started making it rain meatballs (after watching the movie). So until the cats go to heaven and the kids grow up, we needed a replacement. We put the "good" carpet in storage and replaced it with this one. Believe it or not, this carpet is a very good copy of an expensive rug! From about 10 feet away, it looks like the real thing and you only realize what it is when you get closer. For less than a hundred fifty clams, this is hard to beat. Anyone complaining about this carpet will complain about anything. You get what you pay for, and for how much this costs, you will get an excellent approximation of a large Persian rug.

Antennas Direct, inc DB8e Extreme Range Multi-Directional Bowtie UHF Antenna
Antennas Direct, inc DB8e Extreme Range Multi-Directional Bowtie UHF Antenna
Price: $128.00
20 used & new from $128.00

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great antenna - may be overkill though, March 8, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I live in the Bay Area in California. When I was looking into buying an antenna, I simply wanted the best one out there so I wouldn't have to fuss with it too much. This one was at or near the top of the list of great antennas. It is much bigger than I thought it would be (about as wide as your arms stretched out!), but it is not too heavy and the build quality is good. Being so big makes it hard to place in an attic and it's somewhat clumsy getting it up a ladder and onto the roof. Anyhow, just to see that it worked, I hooked it up in my living room resting on the floor - I got about 4 channels. Then I went ahead and placed it about 25 feet up on the roof pointing approximately in the direction of the transmitters. Boom! I suddenly had over 100 channels! Unfortunately, 95% of those channels are worthless - about 7 Vietnamese ones, a million Spanish channels, shopping channels, etc. I suppose that's good for some, but not for me. All in all, there were about 7-8 useful channels (FOX, kids channels, etc) and I'm pretty sure I could receive those stations with a much lesser antenna (both in terms of cost and size). If I were to do it again, I would have considered a cheaper version or even a good indoor antenna. I would have bought this if I lived in Timbuktu and wanted to maximize my potential to receive channels. In the Bay Area or other major metropolitan area, I believe this is overkill. Otherwise, I highly recommend it.

Rockwell RK3440K VersaCut Circular Saw
Rockwell RK3440K VersaCut Circular Saw
Price: $99.00
36 used & new from $81.61

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars OK saw with some problems, April 4, 2013
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This is a decent saw overall and here is the breakdown for me:
1. Powerful and relatively small for reaching cramped quarters
2. Included blades are useful and of good quality
3. The laser is accurate and very helpful
4. The saw appears well-built

1. The spring-loaded stage is a nice safety feature, but there is a process to doing work this way. The on/off switch has a second lever that has to be depressed to both lower the stage (and plunge the blade) AND to start the motor. The problem is that you have to be careful not to lower the stage and start the motor at the same time. If you do, there will be serious kickback and you will mar your cutting surface or injure yourself. A better way to have designed this is to let the on/off switch turn the motor on and off, then the second lever would only be used to lower the stage. This way you could control the motor and stage more easily and you would not have this problem.

2. The depth limiting device is terrible. I constantly had to reset it to the right depth as it kept creeping deeper and deeper as I worked. If you needed an accurate depth cut for your project and for it to be consistent, this is not the saw for you. If you are doing basic work and just need a ballpark depth, it is fine.

3. No way to do beveled cuts, only perpendicular ones.

4. The laser has an on/off switch separate from the everything else. It is easy to forget it on and drain the battery. I would have preferred the laser activation happen when the motor is started and turned off when the motor stops.

UPDATE 12-24-13

OK, I am now not liking this saw anymore. I've made multiple attempts to cut straight lines in some particle boards (1/2") for a flooring project and this thing couldn't cut a straight line to save its life. The blade was brand new and I noticed that after only cutting about 5-6 linear feet, the blade would get so hot that it would stop cutting properly and the wood would start smoking. That's when the accuracy dropped precipitously. So while the saw is fine for very small cuts, if you want to use it for a weekend project cutting more than just a few things here and there....get out a real circular saw, this won't cut it (yes, pun intended ;). Considering the other cons I listed, I now have to drop another star from my rating.

Brome 1024 Squirrel Buster Plus Wild Bird Feeder with Cardinal Perch Ring
Brome 1024 Squirrel Buster Plus Wild Bird Feeder with Cardinal Perch Ring
Price: $88.80
20 used & new from $77.97

28 of 29 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars I have no clue why this is rated so highly - my squirrels must be super-geniuses, March 1, 2013
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Honestly I don't know why this product is rated so highly. The concept, of course, makes a lot of sense and it would seem to be a brilliant idea. But anyone who has experience with squirrels knows they are smarter than the average 5 year old. And my squirrels must be as smart as a 50 year old, because they figured out how to get the seeds out no problem. So this very expensive bird feeder went back to Amazon.

How did they do it? Simple: they climb on the perch which pulls it down and closes the holes. So far so good. But then they launch off the perch in a way that causes the feeder to start spinning like a washing machine. As they do this, the weight comes off the perch and the holes open. Voila! 1/2 pound of bird feed is conveniently sprayed in a 360 degree radius - a perfect spread for the offending squirrel and his 8 friends to enjoy. The squirrels think it's really funny to watch smoke coming out of my ears. They just climb back up...and...spiiiiiiiinn!!! At one point I wasn't sure if they were doing it for fun or for the food. Anyways, I guess we'll have to wait for another Einstein to be be born to finally outsmart these guys.
Comment Comments (10) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 31, 2014 10:33 AM PDT

Sony Alpha SLT-A99V Full-Frame 24.3 MP SLR Digital Camera with 3-Inch LED - Body Only (Black)
Sony Alpha SLT-A99V Full-Frame 24.3 MP SLR Digital Camera with 3-Inch LED - Body Only (Black)
Price: $2,298.00
24 used & new from $1,700.00

88 of 95 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent and gives Nikon/Canon a run for their money, November 8, 2012
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Make no mistake; this is a top notch camera. I can't imagine anyone will dispute that. But this camera directly competes with the likes of Canon and Nikon (Nikon D800 for example). I have been a Nikon enthusiast for about 15+ years and have gone from film (N80) to digital (D70) to better digital (D7000) and recently went to full format (D600). As I've progressed, I have noted one glaring problem with basically ALL Nikon and Canon cameras: that would be the phase detect autofocus. The bottom line is that I have yet to see a DSLR that doesn't back-focus or front-focus to some extent. This is why there are autofocus fine tune settings on most DSLRs and this works fine with prime lenses. But if you are using a zoom lens then you usually need to adjust a certain amount on one end and a different amount on the other. Since there is only one focus adjustment for the whole lens, you end up compromising with less than perfect focus at all focal lengths. This never worked well for me because I am absolutely obsessed with perfect focus. These ongoing focus issues with Nikon and Canon annoy me to no end. I thought if I upgraded to a better camera (like the Nikon D600) with a serious lens (Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8), then my problems would be solved. Wrong again! Suffice it to say that after using a LensAlign MkII Focus Calibration System and Reikan's FoCal software, I concluded that the D600 was back-focusing either slightly or a lot (depending on which lens I used and at what focal length). That was frustrating. I didn't even bother looking at the D800 because it was totally plagued with this problem from day 1 (see all the negative reviews - have they solved that yet?).
Frustrated, I started looking at this new Sony. What attracted me was the "dual phase detect autofocus". That's a new approach! It has a phase detect chip like all the other DSLRs but also a second one right on the imaging sensor. The problem is that Sony and all the write-ups on this camera talk about how this benefits video capture but talk very little about how it affects focusing accuracy for still images. I've done one preliminary test using the LensAlign tool and am working with Reikan to get it to work with their software. So far the results are very encouraging. I seem to be getting much more accurate focus on still images (without any calibration) than I ever got with the D600. I will update this part as I do more testing.
Other things that make this camera awesome: a lot of info in the viewfinder that you will never get in an optical viewfinder. This is the way of the future for sure, but Sony's electronic viewfinder (EVF) only has about 2 million pixels and I can easily see future versions pushing that to about 5 million or more. The noise level and dynamic range will also improve a lot in the coming years. When that happens, I can imagine Nikon/Canon will rethink the optical viewfinder. I personally like the EVF a lot and appreciate the fact that I can see the white balance of my picture as it will actually be captured, I can see the picture I just took right in the viewfinder (great for bright outdoors) and the clarity and realism of what you see through that thing is remarkable. You can also zoom in on what you are focusing on right in the viewfinder which is very helpful. Some have said that what you see through an EVF is not as realistic as an optical viewfinder (OVF). That may be true, but the picture I'm about to take is also not as realistic as what I see in the OVF! So wouldn't you rather "see" in the viewfinder what you will "get" in the final picture? I say yes to that.
Also, this camera has tons of buttons with tons of ways to customize them. You can pretty much have every button do whatever you want and that makes it fast and easy to use. Picture quality is frankly fantastic although I have to defer that discussion to the labs and their special equipment with phD-type people in white lab coats to tell you more.
As for why go with this over the a77? Well why go with this over any APS-C camera? The full format sensor really excels in dark environments. You can push this to ISO 3200 and hardly notice any noise. If I push my Nikon D7000 to even 1600 ISO, it starts looking pretty bad. There are other advantages to full format, of course, but this is the main thing for me. I have played with the a77, and it is very similar in feel and function as the a99, just smaller, lighter and a lot less expensive. Whether the a99 is worth the huge premium depends on your needs and your budget.
Now for what I don't like about the a99: It is slow. When I switch my D7000 from off to on, the top LCD lights up instantly and I can press the shutter and take a picture. Total time is about ˝ second. The Sony on the other hand is slower, taking about 1.5 seconds, sometimes 2 seconds. This may not sound like a big difference, but when you are trying to capture a spontaneous moment, a second or two can make ALL the difference. You also don't want to leave the Sony powered on waiting for that "moment" because it sucks battery juice surprisingly fast. I had a 100% full charge and then spent about 1 hour playing with it, going through the menus, taking pictures. Suddenly I noticed the battery was already at 50% full. With the Nikon D600, I played with it for several days and an hour or so per day and it dropped to about 77%. So this camera requires that you get a battery grip or at least one or more extra batteries if you plan to shoot all day or will be away from power for a while. Also, there is an annoying lag between switching from the EVF and the LCD display. When you take your eye off the viewfinder it switches automatically to the LCD and then switches back when it detects your eye in the viewfinder. But that switch takes about 1 whole second and can be pretty annoying. I guess for a flagship pro-grade camera, the switch from off to on and from LCD to viewfinder should have been close to instant.
Other things I don't like: no built in flash. No I don't want to walk around all day with another 2 pound brick external flash sitting on the camera for the few pictures that need some fill flash. I really think Sony could have splurged and put one in. Also the big thing with this camera is the video - with the dual phase detectors, the camera does indeed focus faster and continually - Nikon/Canon simply can't touch it in this regard. But I was expecting the focus to be much like my Canon camcorder: smooth, continuous focus. This Sony does not focus smoothly at all; however, it does focus very quickly and precisely. Think of how it focuses when you take a still image, now imagine that's how it will focus on your video subject: sharp, robotic, instant and not very pleasing from a cinematography standpoint. It is still leaps and bounds better than the current contrast detection methods out there, but this will not be replacing my camcorder any time soon.
Once I do more testing on the dual phase detection autofocus, I will update this review. If it passes as I expect it to, then goodbye Nikon...hello Sony! Hope you found this review helpful.
Update 11-9-12
I ran about 100 test shots today at various focal lengths using the Sony 24-70 lens and then had them analyzed by Reikan's FoCal software. At 24mm, the best focus was found at an AF fine tune setting of -2. At 70mm the best was at +4. Wow! This is actually pretty darned great. See uploaded image. When I tested the Nikon D600 using the Nikon 24-70 lens, it was also -2 @24mm but -17 @70mm. That's a huge difference. When I tested the Nikon D7000 using an equivalent 17-50mm Sigma lens, it was -8 @ 17mm and -24 @50mm (beyond the AF settings). So the Sony smashes it out of the park in comparison. I will continue to run some more tests, but the a99's dual-focusing system seems to be the real deal.
Comment Comments (19) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Apr 27, 2014 3:26 PM PDT

No Title Available

13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars No doubt a high quality publication, but I discontinued my subscription, July 8, 2012
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
In many ways, this magazine is a refreshing change from all the "Popular <fill in the blank>" line of publications out there (Popular Science, photography, mechanics, etc). About 50% of these magazines are filled with ads and then about 25% more with stealth-ads (you know, the ones that pose as legitimate articles but are actually ads for a product). The remaining 25% is sometimes OK and usually too amateur or regurgitation of tips/tricks from last year's editions. Then along comes "photo technique". This has very few ads and ALL of the articles are real, bona fide essays on topics in photography. The problem for me was that everything is in the form of an essay and there aren't many of them in the publication. Topics have ranged from things I find interesting to having the entire magazine filled with things I don't. What don't I find interesting? I don't really care about the latest techniques in black and white developing in a dark room (who uses a dark room anymore?), I don't care about selecting the perfect "film" (who uses film anymore?), I don't care about some abstract artist who dedicated her entire life to taking pictures of flower arrangements. All of those things just seem far too specialized and in-depth to keep my attention long-term. Mind you, each one of these topics takes up about 1/5th of the whole magazine, so if you are bored by a few articles, then you're almost at the end! Past articles on RAW conversion, HDR processing, screen color calibrations and more, have been very interesting to me and well-done. So the publication is informative and of high quality, but for the relatively high price and low frequency (6/yr), I can sometimes literally flip through the whole thing and yawn the entire time...only to have to wait 2 more months for the next one to arrive. Other times it has been well-worth it. But when I consider the pros/cons and the high cost, I have decided to pass on this renewal.
Comment Comments (5) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Nov 10, 2013 7:54 AM PST

Lowepro LP36393-PAM DSLR Video Fastpack 250 AW (Black)
Lowepro LP36393-PAM DSLR Video Fastpack 250 AW (Black)
Offered by Dual Photo Deals
Price: $93.08
26 used & new from $93.08

19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great bag, a bit bigger and heavier than I expected with some issues with the camera holder, March 3, 2012
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This is a great backpack altogether. Here are some gripes:

1. When fully loaded with a tripod, it might be heavier than is practical to carry. The backpack itself is quite hefty, weighing in at almost 4 pounds EMPTY. The comparable Fastpack 250 is about 0.5lb lighter
2. The area allocated to holding your camera and lens is a bit tight for my taste. If I have a wide angle lens mounted (eg. 82mm ring size) the fit is tight enough that taking the camera out causes the zoom to extend. That's probably not so great for the lens. I also have a Cokin P mount on my lens at times, and this makes it an even tighter fit - sometimes I worry it will break the holder in the process of taking it in and out. All this can be solved by removing the adjacent partitions, but then what's the point of getting this backpack if not for all the lens carrying capacity? I'm sure the 350AW would work better in this regard because it's roomier, but then you have an even BIGGER backpack! Take a look at the picture here with the backpack open and loaded with a camera if you don't understand this particular concern
3. The camera can only be accessed from the LEFT side when the pack hangs off your left shoulder. If you are left-handed, this might feel unnatural to you or be annoying to folks who prefer to hang their backpack on their right shoulder instead of their left

Here is what I liked:

1. Unlike the comparable Fastpack 250, it has a tripod holder, weather cover built in, and it has chest straps
2. It is well-padded both for your back and equipment
3. There are a lot of little pockets, many zippered or velcro'd to hold little odds and ends
4. There is plenty of room for my 17" HP laptop. This pack is rated to hold a 15" laptop and the 350 AW is supposed to be the one to get for a 17". But I can tell you that the 250 AW had the room without problems. Don't get the bigger pack just to hold your bigger laptop.
5. Without a tripod hanging off it, the pack is not very conspicuous to would-be camera-thieves

Overall, an excellent pack with key improvements over the slightly older model: Fastpack 250. I recommend it.

Better Breathe, Large Tan Nasal Strips -100 Ct - Open Your Nose, Breathe Better and Sleep Better, Reduce Snoring. You and Your Partner Can Both Gets a Good Nights Sleep - 100% Money Back Guarantee
Better Breathe, Large Tan Nasal Strips -100 Ct - Open Your Nose, Breathe Better and Sleep Better, Reduce Snoring. You and Your Partner Can Both Gets a Good Nights Sleep - 100% Money Back Guarantee
Offered by SleepAid
Price: $9.59
2 used & new from $9.59

19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An honest assessment after using these for about 2 months, March 1, 2012
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I was very skeptical about these seeing as how cheap they are compared to Breathe Right. These are Chinese clones of Breathe Right strips right down to the packaging, instructions and the way the strips look. Even the name is strikingly similar: Breathe Better. It's like they aren't even trying to pretend they are their own brand. If you hold a Breathe Better next to a Breathe Right strip, it is pretty challenging to tell the difference. As with all Chinese knockoffs, the instructions have some grammatical errors, so that may help you tell the difference ;)
But I really experimented a lot with these and here are my conclusions when compared to the brand name Breathe Right strips:

1. The spring action on these is slightly less than the BR strips - my estimate is about 15-20% less. So while they do work, they open my nasal passages ever-so-slightly less than the BR strips.
2. The adhesive is strong just like with BR except that it leaves a very subtle and tolerable sticky residue on your nose. Unlike the BR strips, this adhesive does leave a sticky feeling on your nose, but I've tried other generic strips and this is really very minimal. Also some have complained that the strips come off their noses. I found that if I just wiped my nose firmly with my T-shirt before putting on the strips, the adhesion was excellent. My guess is that others that had problems simply didn't wipe the sweat off their nose. It's as simple as that.
3. These are made in China - and yes, I verified that with the seller. Should you be concerned? I don't know. I tend to be concerned with just about anything coming out of China, Mexico, etc. These are places that put 100% of their effort in what looks and feels good to the consumer and 0% effort in safety. So who really knows what is in that adhesive that contacts your skin about 8 hours every night? Probably nothing, but there is a trust issue there and I can't get over my suspicions.

Overall, if you are hesitant about buying these as a BR replacement, I can assure you these are quite reasonable replacements and you are unlikely to be disappointed...especially considering they cost about half the BR strip cost. But if you are a bit concerned by Chinese products glued to your skin for 1/3 of your life (like me), and you want that extra oomph of nasal passage opening power without the slight sticky residue, then you might consider waiting for a good sale on BR strips and then stock up.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Sep 18, 2013 9:26 AM PDT

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