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Customer Reviews: 32
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Neato Botvac 80 Robot Vacuum
Neato Botvac 80 Robot Vacuum
Price: $449.99
15 used & new from $368.51

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Better than the XV-12??, November 29, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This is now the 3rd Neato robotic vacuum I have owned. I recently bought the BotVac 80 for a few reasons -

1) My Neato XV-12 is starting to have issues after 2.5 years
2) I've read reviews about longer run time / longer battery life with the BotVac series - with my XV-12, I need to partition the house so that "R2" could clean the house effectively, so I was looking for a replacement that could handle a whole floor without being constrained.
3) I've read reviews that the room mapping, and therefore cleaning, was improved
4) The little twirly side brush

I have only used the BotVac 80 for a few days now. On the whole, I do not think this is a major upgrade over the XV-12.

As I stated above, in order to make the XV-12 clean the house effectively, I would need to partition the main floor of my house (roughly 1200 sg ft main floor) into 3 "zones" - Master Bedroom & Bath, Living Room & Office, Kitchen & Laundry Room. I use the magnetic boundary markers to separate the areas (or just close the bedroom door). This has worked for the last 2.5 years with the XV-12, but I was excited by the reviews of the BV80, saying that it would cover an entire 1800 sg ft home on a single charge. That has not been my experience with the BV80. Without partitioning the main floor, BV80 covered the Office, Living Room and Bedroom, then returned for charging, where it stopped short of the base. I pushed "3PO" onto the base to charge, which took several hours. When it resumed, it completed the Kitchen & Laundry Room but completely ignored the Master Bathroom & walk-in closet. I'm not sure why.

The next day, I went back to partitioning the main floor into 3 "zones" again. Starting in the Bedroom / Bathroom "3PO" managed to complete that zone, and shut down since he was locked in a room. I then put him to work on the Living Room / Office "zone, which he got about half way through before returning for a charge - this time successfully connecting itself to the base. Several hours later it started up again, completed the Living Room / Office "zone" and successfully connected to the base. After several hours of charging, I then set it free on the Kitchen / Laundry Room which it completed fine. Having to partition the main floor in this manner, kind of defeats the purpose of a Robotic vacuum, as it needs to be put in the different "zones" and then can not make it back to it's charging base because it's being constrained to these "zones".

After having spent 2.5 years watching my XV-12 clean my house, I can say that "R2" seems to logically map out a room. It sees most rooms in their entirety and cleans them as a whole. The BV80 on the other hand is not seeing things as a "whole". For example - it splits my Living Room into 3 sections - which it then spends a lot of time and energy moving around and between.

Likewise, for some odd reason, it split my entry way (roughly 6' wide by 12' long) into 2 sections - one being roughly 4' wide x 12' long, the other being 2' wide x 12' long, it cleaned the larger section running back and forth the long way, it cleaned the smaller section by zig-zagging back and forth along the smaller section ... I've never seen the XV-12 do that, and again the BV80 seemed to spend a lot of time and energy moving around and between those sections.

In another instance - when I was trying to get the whole floor completed at one time - BV80 cleaned my Office, missed a small (3' x 3') section in front of the basement stairs, went about most of the rest of the floor, stopped halfway through the bedroom (again split the bedroom into small sections), went and cleaned this small section by the stairs, then went back to clean the rest of the bedroom - literally traveled halfway across the house and back. To me, the room mapping seems like a step backward here, and may be the cause the frequent recharging that I'm seeing. It sure doesn't seem to be laying out a very efficient plan of attack for either individual rooms, or the whole house.

From what I've read about the Neato vacuums, there is not retained intelligence concerning the rooms / floors. Every time a Neato starts a cleaning cycle, it views the space as "new" and develops a plan of attack. So, I am doubtful that over time that "3PO" will improve upon its mapping abilities.

On the bright side of things -

The larger bin is nice. It seems to hold considerably more debris than the XV-12.

The little twirly side brush is nice too. It cleans right to the baseboard, I'm finding far less crumbs being left along the walls.

The BV80 is considerably quieter than the XV-12.

The wider brush is closer to the edge of the bot, so it seems to do a better job of picking up debris mid-field.

Are a bigger bin, a twirly side brush, and less noisy big enough improvements over the XV-12 to justify the more expensive BV-80? I'm not sure.

At this point, "R2" is on duty on the second floor, cleaning the 3 bedrooms and bathroom up there (roughly 800 sq ft), while "CPO" is on duty on the main floor.

I will update this review in the future should there be any improvements in the room/floor mapping, or ability to clean the whole main floor without being partitioned.


Louisiana Alligator Jerky for Dogs - 42oz Bag
Louisiana Alligator Jerky for Dogs - 42oz Bag
Offered by Cozmic Online
Price: $13.00
19 used & new from $13.00

5.0 out of 5 stars My 2 Goldendoodles love these snacks, November 24, 2014
My 2 Goldendoodles love these snacks! And I like that these are MADE IN THE USA!

I also like to mix up my dogs protein sources. Chicken is the main protein in their food, so I like to give them duck or bison jerky as treats. I had never heard of Alligator dog treats until I saw these on the shelf at Costco, now we've got a 4th protein source to add to the mix.

There are numerous complaints here that the product crumbles, and you're left with a partial bag of crumbs. I use those crumbs in 2 different ways - 1) I mix the crumbs in with their breakfast feeding or 2) I add the crumbs to homemade biscuits that I make for the dogs (homemade cheese & bacon biscuits become homemade cheese, bacon & alligator biscuits).

I know 2 Goldendoodles that absolutely love these treats! I'll keep buying them for sure!!


Withings Aura Smart Sleep System (iOS)
Withings Aura Smart Sleep System (iOS)
Price: $299.95
2 used & new from $299.95

58 of 68 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars 0 STARS!, September 3, 2014
I would give this item a 0 star rating if Amazon allowed it!

I purchased one of the first units available, directly from Withings.com.

The problems with the Aura started right at the unpacking of the device. Withings packaged the Aura with only a "Quick Start" manual that is vague at best. With instructions as cryptic as "10 minute calibration. 1 minute calibration." with no indication of when the calibration process was complete, so you can move on to the next step. Luckily they were smart enough to include a full user manual online in PDF (found it after a Google search, they didn't even think to point you to their website in the "Quick Start"), but not smart enough to include a printed copy in the box.

Once it was connected and setup though the Withings Health Mate iOS APP - that's when he problems really started ...

First, it started interfering with the Fitness tracking portion of their iOS APP. Fitness tracking is the primary use I have for their APP, so they rendered the primary reason I use their products useless. I have used a Withings PULSE for step tracking for over a year, and have never had a problem. Suddenly, after adding the Aura to my system, my PULSE was reporting 20,000+ steps, but syncing less than 1,000 steps to the Health Mate APP. I removed the PULSE from my account / APP hoping that maybe it would still accurately track steps via my iPhone 5s M7 chip - but nope, that data is being interfered with as well, and not recording correctly.

Next problem - it doesn't report sleep data correctly. Keep in mind the purpose of this $300 device is to improve your sleep, and provide data that you can analyze to help you improve your sleep. It will report that I'm sleeping when I'm not in bed. It will report that I am awake, when I know I was in bed and asleep. And it will report that I was in deep sleep, when I know I was in bed but wide awake. It's hard to analyze data, when you can't trust the data.

Withings advertises that this device will monitor your room conditions while sleeping - things like ambient light, sound, and air quality. Upon receiving my first report (of bad sleep data), I wondered where the room condition data was ... Withings has a small foot note stating that the room condition reporting will be "coming soon". In other words, they released a product that was not fully ready ...

Now the thing that really irritated me - I have sent numerous request for support to Withings in the last week. They have not responded once. They also do not provide a phone number to contact them, only an online request form. $300 for a sleep tracker / sleep improver that does not work, and they're not responding to support requests. That is inexcusable. I have even requested a return / refund for the device, and Withings continues to ignore me. My next step is to ask my credit card company to start a dispute resolution case.

On the bright side - the sleep program is very nice - it provides a reddish orange light (to increase melatonin), and some soothing wave sounds to lull you to sleep. It does seem to help me fall asleep faster. Similarly the wake up program - a blue light and some pinging type noises, does wake me up nicely. Though it is supposed to wake you up at the best possible time in your sleep cycle (within a half hour range of your alarm time), but for some reason mine only wakes me up at the time I set the alarm for (probably because it's not reporting data correctly). But those are functions that are readily available in FREE iOS APPs - and used in combination on both an iPad and an iPhone on a night stand, can produce similar sleep / wake up effects.

Withings may improve this product in the future, but they'd have to do a LOT of improving of both the product and their support, before I would be willing to say they deserve even the 1 STAR minimum that Amazon allows!

Should Withings contact me, or somehow miraculously improve this product, I will update this review. For the time being though - AVOID this product!!
Comment Comments (8) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Nov 1, 2014 11:01 AM PDT


No Title Available

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great solar fountain!, July 27, 2014
I did not purchase this fountain from Amazon, but I think this is such an incredible fountain, I decided to leave a review.

For the location I wanted to place a fountain on my patio there is no electrical outlet readily available, so I decided a needed a solar fountain. Most solar fountains require a separate solar panel that can be placed near the fountain, but again, in the location where I wanted a fountain, there really wasn't a good place to put a solar panel / collector either. This fountain solved both of those problems, by putting the solar panel / collector in the top level of the fountain. That makes this fountain, a self contained, truly portable fountain. It can be placed anywhere it will receive enough sunlight to run the pump (or charge the battery if you chose that option - which I did).

Assembly was very easy, though the instructions that are included are fairly vague. It took me a few minutes to realize that there was a tube that needed to be connected between the pump and the solar panel to make the water come out of the top nozzle, instead of just ooze around the solar panel when it was in place. Beyond that, you need to connect the power to the battery (making sure that the rubber seal included is in position correctly to avoid water shorting out the connection and unintentionally draining the battery), fill it with water, and turn it on. VERY simple setup!

The one complaint I originally had with this fountain, was the sound that it created. As the base is hollow - foam resin made to look like stone - it did not create a very pleasant sound when the water was flowing. I would describe the sound as slowly filling a kitchen sink. It was very tinny, and not very soothing. I corrected the problem by buying two small bags of river rocks from my local Lowes - the type of decorative rocks you would use in an indoor plant to cover the dirt. I filled the 2nd & 3rd level, as well as the 4th "pool" with the river rocks (making sure not to clog the return hole inside of the 4th "pool"), I even had enough rocks left over to make a ring of rocks around the top level (making sure not to block any of the solar panel / collector). Now the fountain makes a soft, soothing babbling brook type of noise. Very pleasant and relaxing.

I would highly recommend this fountain for it's easy setup, convenient all in one design, & portability. And once you add some river rock to it, it makes a great, pleasing fountain.


Honeywell TH8732WF5018 Lyric WiFi-Enabled Thermostat
Honeywell TH8732WF5018 Lyric WiFi-Enabled Thermostat
Price: $219.99
27 used & new from $179.00

6 of 9 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Thermostat that won't heat in Michigan = WORTHLESS!, July 12, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
UPDATE 11/1/14 - Reduced rating from 3 star to 1 star. While the Lyric worked all summer long in AC mode, when I went to switch to Heat about a month ago, the system would not change over. I spent several hours on a call with Honeywell Tech support who had no clue why the heat would not turn on. After several hours on the phone with them, I finally remembered I had an old Zwave home automation thermostat in the basement - I installed that in a matter of minutes while on the phone with Honeywell, and the furnace kicked on (much to the joy of my daughter and dogs!). Honeywell at that point decided the problem was with the wall plate, and said they would ship a new wall plate.

10 days later the new wall plate arrived. I installed the new wall plate, again NO HEAT! Again, I spend several hours on the phone with Honeywell support. They keep telling me the problem is that the Lyric is not receiving power, I keep asking why the Lyric worked for months in AC mode, but won't work in Heat mode, and why the Zwave thermostat that also needs to be powered will work? I explained to them, from my point of view there was not a problem with wiring, or lack of power, but something inside the Lyric that would not run in Heat mode. They were stumped, I was irritated, so I finally asked for a refund / return. And surprisingly they agreed. They take a bunch of info, have me email them my Amazon receipt, tell me the return / refund will be processed "soon", give me a case number and a return authorization number.

1 week passes - nothing happens. I email Honeywell support referencing the return authorization & case numbers - no response.

3 more days pass - I call Honeywell. They don't know why no one has gotten back to me, they'll look into it. Later that day I get an email from them simply saying to send them the Lyric. I call them and ask if they're paying for the return shipping since this is a defective product - they need to look in to that and get back to me.

5 more days pass - still no response from Honeywell. I contact Amazon about returning the Lyric to them - it's been longer than 30 days, they won't take it back.

3 more days pass - I contact Honeywell again - they don't know what's going on, and their stupidity just irritates me further. That night I decided to contact my credit card company, explain the situation to them and ask them to initiate a dispute resolution case. They do. I then contact Amazon, again explaining the situation and telling them that the credit card company has started a dispute resolution case ... Amazon suddenly agrees to accept the return.

Lyric boxed up and shipped back to Amazon Thursday. Credit posted to my credit card today!

Bad products will happen, I can forgive Honeywell for that, and had they simply replaced the Lyric quickly with a unit that worked, I probably would have raised my rating from 3 stars to 5 stars.

Competent tech support is expected, especially in the Home DIY Market - several times during phone calls their rep would say that maybe I should contact a professional to have the Lyric installed. I would respond that the Lyric is supposed to be DIY, and there was nothing extraordinary about the install. I was taking clearly marked wires off of a Zwave thermostat that worked, connecting them to the same connections on the Lyric that would not work. That alone should say to them that the problem was the Lyric thermostat, not wiring, not installation. This did not require a service call that would probably cost me $100, and end up with the same result. Honeywell's lack of competent tech support on such a high tech device is inexcusable and inappropriate. That alone justifies a reduction from 3 stars to 1 star.

Horrible customer service is also inexcusable! For weeks to pass by without communication on an authorized return / refund is justification for reducing the rating of this product to 0 stars (if Amazon would allow it).

This is the first Honeywell product I have ever owned, I feel safe in saying it will also be the last.
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jul 16, 2014 8:10 PM PDT


NETATMO Rain Gauge for Netatmo Weather Station - Retail Packaging - Black
NETATMO Rain Gauge for Netatmo Weather Station - Retail Packaging - Black
Price: $50.00
6 used & new from $50.00

6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Nice, but there's problems too., June 3, 2014
On the plus side ... Easily adds to the Netatmo system / app. Very nice wireless / digital rain gauge.

Here's the problem ... Netatmo says to mount the gauge about 2 feet off of the ground. They do not supply a mount, nor any guidance for buying one, or building one. I ended up improvising a mount with a pressure treated 2x2, and a 1/4-20 hanger bolt. I have the 2x2 in the ground so that the bottom of the gauge is about 18" off of the ground. At that height, a strong wind will make the gauge sway, which causes the little teeter totter inside that measures rain move, which then gives a false rainfall measurement. We have had 0" rain in my neighborhood over the past 7 days, yet my Netatmo Rain Gauge says we got almost 1/3" yesterday, and is already showing 1/4" of rain for today. No rain, but it has been very windy the last 2 days I know, those are not huge numbers but ... it is displaying incorrect data. For a scientific gauge, with a very accurate app, that's a problem.

I guess my next project is going to be trying to figure out how to attach this gauge to a boulder ...
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jul 8, 2014 7:31 AM PDT


Brightech - BrightPlay Home HD™ Bluetooth 4.0 Music Receiver / Adapter with apt-X Technology for CD Quality Sound - Adds Bluetooth Functionality to Non-Bluetooth Sound Systems. Stream Music with Startling Clarity from your Mobile Device to Speakers and Stereos - Connect 2 Devices Simultaneously and Have A DJ Battle with a Friend!
Brightech - BrightPlay Home HD™ Bluetooth 4.0 Music Receiver / Adapter with apt-X Technology for CD Quality Sound - Adds Bluetooth Functionality to Non-Bluetooth Sound Systems. Stream Music with Startling Clarity from your Mobile Device to Speakers and Stereos - Connect 2 Devices Simultaneously and Have A DJ Battle with a Friend!
Offered by Brightech™
Price: $80.00
3 used & new from $30.92

4.0 out of 5 stars BT for the Sauna!, May 21, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Finally, a bluetooth connection for my sauna! Now I can listen to my music off of my iPhone through the sauna's built in sound system. Works great, and very easy to set up.

I would have given a 5 star review but the lack of a power button is a little problematic. Since this device plugs into an outlet it is constantly ON - meaning my iPhone was constantly connected anywhere / everywhere in the house. I have to unplug the device from the wall in order to disconnect from my iPhone, it would have been nice to have a simple push button on/off switch right on the device.


ChannelMaster Internet to TV 4-Port Coax Switch (CM-6004)
ChannelMaster Internet to TV 4-Port Coax Switch (CM-6004)
Price: $63.81
4 used & new from $55.00

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars INCREDIBLE!, May 21, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I have many HDTVs, TiVos, AppleTVs, Game systems, computers, etc., scattered throughout my house. I have struggled for years trying to get all of them connected via WiFi bridges - at times the WiFi bridges work wonderfully, and at other times ... not so great! Usually the bridges decide not to work when I have guests over and we're sitting down to stream a movie from the iMac in the Office to the AppleTV in the Living Room - embarrassing! I also encounter "hand off" issues with mobile devices, constantly seeking between the nearest of several bridges to connect to.

I've been reading about MoCA systems for a while, and finally decided to give it a test. I ordered the single port adapter (to connect to my router) and two 4 port switches (one for Living Room entertainment center, the other for the Basement entertainment center). The setup was incredibly simple and was up in running on the Living Room and Basement entertainment systems within about 15 minutes. While I am use to carefully watching an HD movie load into an AppleTV ... and praying that we don't "bump" into the video as it's loading in ... I was shocked to see how quickly an HD movie (Avengers) loaded in during my first test of the MoCA setup. I was even more pleasantly surprised to see how quickly an HD episode of Game of Thrones loaded up and played off of HBO GO, and again surprised to see how quickly an HD Movie (Star Trek - Into Darkness) loaded up and played off of Netflix.

The next test involved transferring an HD TV Show (Agents of Shield) from the Living Room TiVo to the Basement TiVo - a process that usually results in several "bumps" as transferring the video usually happens more slowly than watching the video as it transfers. Again, to my pleasant surprise the video transferred incredibly fast leaving plenty of room between the viewing speed and the transfer speed.

I have since placed an order for four more 4 port switches - to connect all of the bedrooms which will then eliminate all of the WiFi bridges in the house.

I really wish I had made the switch to MoCA a long time ago!!


Zippo Stainless Steel Wallet
Zippo Stainless Steel Wallet
Price: $41.51
6 used & new from $36.65

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great wallet!, December 30, 2013
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
One of the thinnest wallets I have ever owned. I was skeptical when I bought it - I feared it would not keep bills secured. But the rubber grips the bills, ID card and all credit cards very securely. I get a lot of people asking me where I got this wallet.


Platinum Pets Triple Modern Diner Stand with 8 Cups Stainless Steel Dog Bowls in Midnight Black
Platinum Pets Triple Modern Diner Stand with 8 Cups Stainless Steel Dog Bowls in Midnight Black
Price: $51.02
6 used & new from $42.97

5.0 out of 5 stars 2 Happy Doodles!, December 30, 2013
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
The perfect solution for feeding and watering 2 golden doodles. Food on each end - no fighting or growling. Water in the middle!


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