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Customer Reviews: 9
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The Peanut Shop of Williamsburg Peanut Butter, Unsalted Smooth, 18-Ounce Plastic Jars (Pack of 4)
The Peanut Shop of Williamsburg Peanut Butter, Unsalted Smooth, 18-Ounce Plastic Jars (Pack of 4)

5.0 out of 5 stars This is the peanut butter you've been looking for., December 14, 2012
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
The quality of the nuts is important, I'll freely admit. And as far as such quality is concerned, this delectable butter has it in spades. But what else can we, connoisseurs of fine peanut butters, concern ourselves with? Plenty.

Let me start with the grit. You see, I'm not a huge fan of smooth peanut butters. The consistency normally is just a little boring. I like something with a little bit of fight in it, a little oomph, a little--dare I say--crunch. Though this is labeled as a smooth peanut butter, it has a nice grit to it, as it is filled with tiny little crunchy bits of pulverized peanut. I was not disappointed and I highly suspect I'm getting the best of both worlds, here--smooth, yet crunchy.

Now, should we concern ourselves with buying pre-salted nut butters? Let me submit, gentle readers, that no, we should not. We should buy our nut butters just about as un-fooled-around-with as possible. I was all too happy to stir in my favorite pink sea salt upon receiving my first jar of this unspoiled butter. I added just the right amount--according to my own taste--and could not be happier.

I could go on about the perfection that is The Peanut Shop of Williamsburg Peanut Butter, but I will not. I hope you have enjoyed this review and that it has piqued your interest just enough to try a little taste adventure of your own. To those of you, my fellow intrepid foodies, I salute you. Happy travels.


Canon PIXMA MG5220 Wireless Inkjet Photo All-in-One (4502B017)
Canon PIXMA MG5220 Wireless Inkjet Photo All-in-One (4502B017)
5 used & new from $125.00

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is the best printer I've ever owned., September 24, 2011
This is how it's done. The other printer manufacturers should take note:

1. Flawless wi-fi connectivity. This is an important consideration for me, as I've had difficulty with other models. This printer connects easily to my network and is always responsive. It's just as reliable as a wired connection, the way it should be.

2. High print quality. Images and text are super crisp and clear. No streaking, smudging or other weird aberrations that you normally associate with ink jets.

3. Fast. One of the first things I noticed was how quickly it kicked the pages out. Awesome.

4. Uses an internal cartridge for loading standard pages. This isn't immediately obvious, but you really don't want your paper sitting in an open tray where it gathers dust and then transfers said dust into your printer. Plus, aesthetically, it's nice to hide that huge stack of blank paper that would otherwise be sitting on the front of your printer. This feature allows it to keep an attractive, non-cluttered appearance.

5. Great scan quality. Scans are super clear and in super high resolution. Nothing less than what you'd expect from Canon.

6. Ability to control all aspects of scanning from the unit. For example, I can easily scan a multi-page document and send it to my computer as a PDF file without having to open any software. The printer automatically interfaces with a Canon application installed on the computer and pretty much takes care of everything. The only thing I have to do on the PC side of things is save the file where I want it.

7. Separate ink cartridges for each color. This way, for instance, if you run out of cyan ink, you only have to replace the cyan cartridge. On most other printers, when a single color well runs dry, you have to replace all of the color wells since they're all contained in one big cartridge. How much expensive ink have I wasted doing this? No more.

This is a well made, thoughtfully designed product. And for the price, it's an absolute steal. All of my prior fussing with printer problems appears to be over.


Kodak ESP 5250 All-in-One Printer
Kodak ESP 5250 All-in-One Printer
9 used & new from $50.00

1.0 out of 5 stars This is the worst printer I ever owned., September 17, 2011
I should start by saying that all of my experiences with this printer have been while using it over the wi-fi connection. I feel I have a reasonable expectation of the printer operating normally over wi-fi, but this model clearly does not (and I've even tried replacing it once).

Issues:

1. Very often, the printer simply will not respond. Windows will report that the printer is unavailable even when it is powered on and apparently ready to go. In order to fix this, I have to disconnect the power from the printer, plug it back in and then wait. After a minute or so, it will then be available. I do not have trouble with the wi-fi connectivity of any other devices in my household and the printer is literally sitting within ten feet of an access point.

2. Very often, even when the printer is accessible over the network, it will print my documents jumbled up and out of order, as if someone had cut and pasted bits and pieces of my document and shuffled them all around into a bunch of nonsense. I don't mean that pages are out of order, I mean that the document is indecipherable and completely useless. This issue is intermittent and I have not determined a fix. Waiting and trying again later seems to work. Sometimes powering down and starting back up fixes it. Real nice when I'm on a deadline and need that report printed PRONTO! Also, like some kind of paranoid weirdo, I read everything I print line-by-line to make sure the printer hasn't goofed something up that will result in bad consequences for me...

3. Nearly always, even when ink levels show as full and the printer has been properly calibrated, it will print out images with light / dark bands of color. This is typical of low ink cartridges or a printer needing calibration, but neither help. I cannot fix this issue, it just prints out lousy images.

4. Text quality is nothing to write home about either. There are often distortions or other weird artifacts in the text. This doesn't make it difficult to read in any way, but it's just obvious that it was printed on a cheap printer and doesn't look professional at all. Yes, I realize that it *is* a cheap printer, but I feel it is sub-par even for its price range.

5. Is all of this trouble worth the savings on ink? Well, there aren't enough savings (if any) to matter. Although Kodak ink cartridges are cheaper, this printer burns through them like nobody's business. What I'm left with is perhaps 5% savings on ink for the added hassle of having to constantly replace cartridges. This just seems like a gimmick to me--I'm not impressed.

Overall, this printer was a horrible, annoying, frustrating experience. I'm now using a Canon MG5220 (see my review) and am a very satisfied customer.


Garmin eTrex Vista HCx (010-00630-00)
Garmin eTrex Vista HCx (010-00630-00)
10 used & new from $109.99

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Probably the best hiking / geocaching GPSR in its price range., July 23, 2011
This GPS unit was designed with the outdoorsman in mind. Pros:

1. It is water resistant, so you're perfectly safe in the rain or even in shallow water.

2. It locks onto a satellite signal quickly and in difficult environments. Treecover is no issue, neither is a deep canyon. I recently took a trip to NYC and while my Garmin Nuvi was practically useless at getting a signal lock when surrounded by tall buildings, my Vista had no trouble at all.

3. It is precise and when the signal is good, it doesn't skip around too much. This is vital for geocaching. I do notice a bit more skipping around in difficult environments, but not nearly enough to degrade its usefulness for general navigation.

4. The display is clear and easily readable in direct sunlight. Most of the time during the day, I don't even need the backlight. The display at night is even better.

5. Battery life is phenomenal. It seems to go forever on two ordinary AA batteries. Also note that having removable batteries is highly preferable for outdoor / survival use. This makes it easy to pack extra batteries and nothing is stopping you from using rechargeable AAs if you want.

6. In comparison to the less expensive Legend model, the Vista has the advantage of an electronic compass and barometric altimeter. I can't say I've had much use for the altimeter, but I don't know what I'd do without the compass. This is pretty much indispensable for geocaching and is a huge time saver for general navigation. Without an electronic compass, you would need to be in motion for the GPS unit to determine your bearing. This means that with the Vista, you are able to stand still with the unit in your hand and the map will orient itself automatically so you will never have any doubt about which direction you need to be heading in. When you're trying to home in on a precise location (such as with geocaching) it's very helpful to stand still and take a reading, move a bit, take another reading and so on. When moving above a certain speed, GPS signals are used instead of the compass to determine bearing (as with other units). It's the perfect combination.

7. It's the perfect size. With the right carrying case (Case for Garmin ETREX Summit Vista Venture Legend CX HCX HC Protective Holster compatible with Garmin ETREX C-series GPS in 'Special Ops Black'. Compatible with color-screened Legend, Vista, Venture & Summit. Genuine excellent protection. Includes "Peel...), it clips snuggly onto a belt or MOLLE attachment and still fits easily into a small compartment such as in a Camelbak.

8. Non-touch screen. You really don't want a touch screen when it comes to an outdoor GPS, in my opinion. This ensures more durability and once you get used to the controls, they're very easy to use.

Cons:

There honestly aren't many cons. Perhaps the biggest complaint I see in other reviews is the lack of an adequate basemap. Yes, you'll probably need to invest in some nice map products to make the unit really useful, but if you read through some of the other reviews, you'll find that there are many ways of getting better maps and not all of them involve buying them from Garmin. There are many public domain map files that are compatible with the unit, it just depends on what exactly you need.

Another possible con is the sparse documentation and perhaps a bit of a learning curve. I didn't have too much trouble figuring things out on my own, I just had to experiment a bit and accept that I'd learn more as I went along. Geocaching is a great way to test your abilities and expand your knowledge of the device.

Other thoughts:

I've had my Vista for about a month now and I couldn't be happier. I was really surprised when on my flight to New York City, I turned the unit on and it got a signal lock during the flight! It was able to show me on the map where we were at all times along with bearing, speed (average was 550 MPH) and estimated time of arrival. Awesome for when you don't want to wait on the pilot to update you. Also, even though the unit is primarily intended as an outdoors / hiking GPS, it can work as a vehicle nav unit in a pinch. Load it with City Navigator maps and it will give you turn by turn directions and help you find many points of interest. The screen is a bit small so it would be good to have a co-pilot doing this, but it's possible to keep it handy and glance at the simple directions from time to time. I found it super helpful when navigating the streets of New York City on foot. Using City Navigator, I was able to find the nearest metro station at any time (ridiculously useful) along with other POIs. While on foot, it's also very handy to be able to look at a map and see what streets are coming up so you don't head too far in the wrong direction.

I can't recommend this unit enough. This is the one you want! I'm knocking off one star in consideration of the few cons which could be valid issues for some people.


Extreme Condition Sun Hat Stone
Extreme Condition Sun Hat Stone
Offered by APEX Group
Price: $19.95
4 used & new from $19.95

77 of 80 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great hat for insane heat., June 30, 2011
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
We've had an unreasonably hot summer in the Texas panhandle this year, with record highs up to 111 degrees Fahrenheit. I've done a good bit of hiking around Palo Duro Canyon and found the sun to be unbearable. Baseball caps just aren't going to cut it when it gets this hot!

This hat provides excellent coverage, keeping my face and neck in the shade with the sun at just about any angle. The brim is soft and easy to shape however you'd like it. The sweat band does a good job of keeping that stinging sweat out of my eyes and the top of the hat is well ventilated, not only with the holes you see clearly in the photo, but also with two strips of white mesh that wrap around the left and right side of the cap along the brim.

I've got a large head and so I was a little worried that the hat might not fit, but it was no problem at all. A cord in the back is used to adjust the hat to your own size and I found that I had room to spare.

There is room for plenty of ice in the back flap and so as the ice melts, the flap absorbs cool water, having the expected effect on your neck. I find that lots of heat is radiated through that area and so it actually has a really nice cooling effect I can feel all over. Very smart.

I'm going to differ with the reviews that say this thing is stylish. It's really not. Its appearance is unusual and will attract attention. In particular, the bright white mesh and large black cords on the back of the hat really stand out, and not in a good way. I wouldn't recommend wearing this in casual situations, as I'm afraid you'll look like a bit of a dork. However, I wouldn't go so far as to say it's obnoxious, and so if you're wearing it in a situation where the sun is clearly beating down, you're likely to inspire envy as others suffer in the heat. For my purposes (hiking out in a canyon), obviously, I really don't care what I look like, I just want to stay cool! As I didn't buy this item for the fashion appeal, this won't figure into my review score.

The hat is made in China and seems to be of good manufacture. The material (70% cotton, 30% nylon) is light and does a good job of absorbing moisture.

Having explained the advantages (staying cool) and disadvantages (looking like a dork) beforehand, I can strenuously recommend this hat for those blistering hot situations where an ordinary hat just isn't going to cut it.
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 16, 2015 9:14 AM PDT


USMC Camelbak Ambush 3 Litre (100 Oz) Hydration Pack. Desert Digital.
USMC Camelbak Ambush 3 Litre (100 Oz) Hydration Pack. Desert Digital.

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Nearly perfect for my uses., June 27, 2011
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Ambush Tactical Hydration Pack
The USMC Camelbak Ambush is rugged, well made and does precisely what it is supposed to do. I was also very happy with the price, as I had to do a bit of shopping around to find this deal. To be clear, this was purchased through Amazon from McGuire Army Navy for $62 (I couldn't find the Ambush for less than $74 anywhere else I looked).

Observations:

The insulated hose is wonderful. I have another hydration system without the insulation and let me tell you, the water in a clear plastic hose gets hot *fast* on a bright summer day. The insulation seems like a no-brainer, but you definitely want it.

All straps adjust and there is a neat velcro "management system" to keep them from hanging all over the place and bugging you when you're moving around. The chest strap does a good job of distributing weight across the chest and keeps the pack from shifting.

Lots of storage. This obviously isn't designed for extended missions, but there is plenty of room for your communications, flashlight, fire starter, multitool, keys, energy bar, etc. There are lots of attachment points all over the pack where you could hook things on the outside. There is also a large velcro strip on the back where you could attach something that had velcro. (The velcro on the pack is soft, so you'd need something with the rough portion to attach.)

The bite valve doesn't leak in the slightest and has a cap to keep dirt and debris from getting it dirty. Like everything else about this piece of gear, both the cap and bite valve seem rugged and durable. I've noticed leaky bite valves on cheaper models and the cap is another no-brainer, but you don't always find it.

The insulation is great, water stays cool for hours. I'm particular about the way my water tastes and to me, the water I put into the hydration system tastes precisely the same as it does beforehand. That is to say, the hydration system isn't adding any unwanted flavors (or any flavor at all).

Overall, I find this to be a thoughtfully designed product of good manufacture. Essential for long hikes, bike rides and the like.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Aug 17, 2011 6:01 AM PDT


Duke Nukem Forever - PC
Duke Nukem Forever - PC
Offered by AOOutlet
Price: $6.00
53 used & new from $0.25

3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not as bad as everyone wants you to believe., June 27, 2011
You won't enjoy this game if you're purchasing it for the wrong reasons.

First of all, if you're looking for cutting-edge graphics, move along. The graphics are dated, I'd say a good two to three years behind the rest of the industry. Don't waste your money if you're looking for something to push your fancy new graphics card to the max and dazzle your eyes. Having said that, the graphics really aren't bad at all and I've read many reviews which wildly exaggerate in describing how poor they're supposed to be. No, the graphics are not blocky or pixelated. No, the graphics are not ten years behind the times. No, the action is not choppy or slow if you have a decently spec'd gaming rig. Note: You absolutely -do- need to tweak some simple in-game settings in order to get the best appearance. Disable 'Post Processing Effects' and 'Film Grain'. Set 'Antialiasing' to FXAA if available. If you've got a good rig, you should also be able to max out the rest of the graphics settings with no trouble.

Secondly, expect to encounter crude and offensive content. This is a part of the franchise and I don't understand the reviews that bash the game for these reasons. It wouldn't be a Duke Nukem game if it didn't push the boundaries of what we feel comfortable with. If you're easily offended, just skip it.

Unfortunately, you might also not want to purchase this game if you're dead-set on having a recreation of Duke Nukem 3D. You will be sadly disappointed with the absence of jet packs, key cards, the mighty boot, health packs and unlimited weapon carrying capabilities. I was also upset about this at first, however I gave the game a chance and to my surprise, found myself having fun anyway. Though I'm not used to ducking-and-covering in a Duke Nukem game in order to regenerate health, I found that in some ways, it made things a bit less tedious and the action more intense. When you're not worried about every little hit you take, you're more apt to go into battle, guns blazing. Despite the big changes, I found myself fighting battles much as I had in Duke 3D. I also found that while the two weapon limit annoyed me at first, it added an interesting element of strategy into the game and once I adjusted to it, I didn't mind so much.

Yes, A.I. is as dumb as dirt, but so was it also in Duke 3D. Despite that, the game manages to be plenty challenging. If it's not tough enough for you, beat it on 'Come Get Some' and then try it on 'Damn I'm Good'. You will be sufficiently challenged and despite lousy A.I., you will need to formulate good strategies in order to win.

My biggest gripe, which I do share with many reviewers, is the very linear gameplay. There is little exploring to do, the levels are clearly laid out and you almost feel like you're stuck on a roller coaster ride at some points. DN3D was all about running around the level and checking out different things, finding secret areas, etc. That was a big part of the appeal for me and it's largely missing from this release. I hope that this is something that Gearbox can improve upon in future releases.

Some other myths I'd like to dispell: The controls work fine. I found them to be responsive and accurate. Levels do not take unreasonably long to load. On my rig (i7 950, 6GB, GTX 460) new levels take 10-15 seconds to load, and it takes maybe 5-10 seconds to reload after I die. I observed very little glitchiness or aberrant behavior. You'll hear horror stories on the consoles, but if you have a good PC, this doesn't apply to you. I suspect many of the reviews complaining of these issues on Amazon were placed under the PC release by mistake.

Hints to enjoying the game: Stop and smell the roses. Check out the writing, artwork and other hidden things in the game. There are lots of funny little surprises and campy appeal to be found. Relax and enjoy the Duke for being Duke. While this isn't a comic masterpiece there are definitely some funny moments and all of the attitude you'd expect to find is still present. Despite what some other reviewers have said, I found the humor to be consistent with the franchise.

In short, if you can deal with the game for *what it is* instead of *what you want it to be* and just relax and have fun (which is the whole idea behind Duke anyway) then I suspect you will also enjoy this title. On the other hand, if you were expecting a super-duper reincarnation of Duke 3D that will redefine gaming all over again, save your money, this isn't it.
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Aug 5, 2011 8:22 AM PDT


VIZIO E3D320VX 32-Inch Class Theater 3D LCD HDTV with Internet Apps (2011 Model)
VIZIO E3D320VX 32-Inch Class Theater 3D LCD HDTV with Internet Apps (2011 Model)

19 of 22 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A good model, though there may be production issues., June 26, 2011
Let me start by saying that for the money, this model provides a rich feature-set and performs very well. Finding anything comparable--at this price point--will be difficult. Perhaps this is why I was willing to suffer through three returns before finally receiving a satisfactory unit. On each of the first three units I received, there was severe backlight bleed at the lower right hand corner of the screen and sometimes at the upper left hand corner. (For those unfamiliar with the issue of bleed, you need to view a black screen in a darkened room to best observe it. Bleed is observed as some parts of the screen being lighter than others, or a cloudy white effect on certain parts of the screen.) On one set in particular, the bleed covered about 40% of the screen, starting at the lower right corner, filling out in a triangular shape from there. I also noticed that with each of the first three I tested, applying gentle pressure to the screen (using a microfiber cloth) at the lower right corner would cause the screen to "snap" into place, as if it hadn't been seated properly. Unfortunately, doing this often intensified bleeding and so I haven't dared to touch the screen on the unit I'm using now (I'm a little worried about having to clean it for this reason).

On the unit I have now, I can see the faintest bleed around the same area of the screen when the room is sufficiently darkened. I decided this was good enough since I wasn't sure I'd have any better luck by exchanging again.

This, to me, seems like an issue with production. While it was a hassle getting a unit I was happy with, I feel like it was worth the trouble. For the money spent, I find that this model has brilliant picture quality with nice 3D and a very nice set of features. I wanted something with a good 1080p picture, good sound quality, at least 3 HDMI inputs and internet connectivity with apps (particularly Netflix, Amazon, etc.) for under $500. I couldn't find anything else that delivered at this price point and the 3D is a nice bonus. There are a few other small issues which I could nit-pick, but other reviews cover things pretty well. I don't mind the "boot up" time (mine takes about 14 seconds). I find that if I wait for about 30 seconds after turning the set on, the CPU bound features (such as loading NetFlix) are much more responsive; it's a bit like using a PC. While the sound isn't particularly powerful (I generally listen at about 40/100) it has nice range and delivers very "full" sounding audio.

On another note, Vizio technical support was very friendly and helpful. I spoke with two U.S. based technicians (they tell you their location at the start of the call) and they even offered to send someone out to my house to have a look at my set. Hold onto your Amazon invoice / packing receipt, as they will require to see it if they visit you.

Hopefully, this is just a weird production issue that will be sorted out. With that caveat, I can definitely recommend this set.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 21, 2015 9:24 PM PST


Brain Age: Train Your Brain in Minutes a Day!
Brain Age: Train Your Brain in Minutes a Day!
Offered by You Name the Game
Price: $23.25
385 used & new from $0.01

4.0 out of 5 stars Keeping The Brain Young, February 18, 2009
This "game" is a nice change from the usual fare and actually does a good job of working out your gray matter using a battery of tests focusing on math, memory and concentration. Based on the work of a prominent Japanese neuroscientist, one is lead to believe that working the brain in special ways for minutes a day can actually lead to an overall improvement in cognitive function.

The game sounds dry and boring, but is designed in a clever and engaging way that tends to draw you in and keep you coming back.

I do have serious gripes with the accuracy of character recognition in the game. The calculation tests inexplicably require you to write out the numerical answers using the stylus. Unfortunately, many numbers often fail to register, resulting in unfairly reduced scores. So it's disappointing to learn that a big part of your score will depend upon how well you figure out the handwriting detection used by the game. For me, writing out the number "4" only works perhaps 60-70% of the time. I cannot understand why the designers did not include an option to use a 10-key style touch pad for the stylus so that the user could simply click the desired numbers (such as with Big Brain Academy). This would make a lot more sense.

I have no other major gripes. Some people apparently have trouble with the voice recognition used by the game, but I haven't had nearly as much trouble with that aspect. I find that you will achieve much better results by holding the DS at a fair distance from your mouth. (I recommend one to two feet.)

Overall, a fun and rewarding title, definitely worth owning.


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