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Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Product review: MEIKAN Mens Merino Thin Wool Socks




Meikan socks are a very nice quality thin wool socks.  The seams are flat and comfortable.  The socks are shipped held together by a clip, they are not pierced through the sock. I hate when manufacturers use a plastic staple as it often snags a thread it causes holes. I was very happy to see that Meikan does not use the plastic staples.

The sizing of the socks is a little tricky.  I got a pair of socks in Medium and Large. The medium size is equivalent to lady US regular 9-11 size, which fits US shoe size 7 to 9.  If you have a small foot size and wear shoe size 5 or 6, the heel will be a bit too large. I wear shoe size 7 and the medium size is acceptable. I think after several washings the fit will be perfect as wool socks tend to shrink a little.

The large size fits my husband foot, he wears size 8.5D shoe.  He has a comfortable fit, and it looks like it accommodate a larger foot as well.

Here are the sock measurements from toe to heel (unstretched):
Medium toe to heel: 8" long
Medium cuff: 4 3/4"
Large toe to heel: 9.5" long
Large cuff: 4 7/8"

Overall, excellent quality, good fit.

   

You can find it on Amazon by following this link.


Ali Julia review ★★★★★

Monday, February 27, 2017

Book review: The Hidden Pope: The Untold Story of a Lifelong Friendship That Is Changing the Relationship Between Catholics and Jews

This is a touching and interesting story about a close friendship between the Jurek Kluger and John Paul II.  How close?  Close enough that he was the first person to whom that newly minted Pope granted the first Papal audience, baptized his daughter as married her 16 years later.  We follow the story from their childhood to 1997 (this book was published in 1998).   Jurek happens to be Jewish. Having a close friend who is Jewish had a tremendous influence on John Paul II, and he used his friends as sounding board as well as a secret negotiator for helping him establish the formal relationship between Vatican and Israel.  The book helped me understand the complexities of this lengthy process known only to the insiders. It made me love and respect John Paul II even more. 

There are two things about the book that I did not like (but not enough to change my overall opinion).  The photos in the Kindle edition of the book are terrible (the faces are often just black blobs).  I also did not think the title described the book well, I would have called it "True Friends".  This is an interesting and important book.

You can find it on Amazon by following this link.


Ali Julia review ★★★★★

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Product review: Manual Lemon & Lime Squeezer Juicer



This lemon juicer has a heavy duty build. It feels well made. It has a large cup which means a lemon has a lot of room to spread as you squeeze and that makes squeezing easier. We have another manual juicer which has a smaller cup and it is harder to squeeze because the lemon does not have the room to get squashed.

In the video you see my husband doing the squeezing. As you can see he was able to get all the juice out and he said it was easy to use especially compared to using the juicer with a small cup.

The lemon squeezer weights 14.15 oz and is 8.5" long.

You can find it on Amazon by following this link.


Ali Julia review ★★★★★







Friday, February 24, 2017

Product review: MEIKAN Womens Thin Merino Wool Socks



Meikan socks are a very nice quality thin wool socks.  The seams are flat and comfortable.  The socks are shipped held together by a clip, they are not pierced through the sock. I hate when manufacturers use a plastic staple as it often snags a thread it causes holes. I was very happy to see that Meikan does not use the plastic staples.

The sizing of the socks is a little tricky.  I got a pair of socks in Medium and Large. The medium size is equivalent to lady US regular 9-11 size, which fits US shoe size 7 to 9.  If you have a small foot size and wear shoe size 5 or 6, the heel will be a bit too large. I wear shoe size 7 and the medium size is acceptable. I think after several washings the fit will be perfect as wool socks tend to shrink a little.

The large size fits my husband foot, he wears size 8.5D shoe.  He has a comfortable fit, and it looks like it accommodate a larger foot as well.

Here are the sock measurements from toe to heel (unstretched):
Medium toe to heel: 8" long
Medium cuff: 4 3/4"
Large toe to heel: 9.5" long
Large cuff: 4 7/8"

Overall, excellent quality, good fit.   

You can find it on Amazon by following this link.


Ali Julia review ★★★★★

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Product review: Clpp'li Mens Slip On Slippers




These slippers are made out of all men made materials - both the top and the bottom are synthetic. The top is pseudo suede and faux fur, the bottom is synthetic rubber. The sole has some shape and thickness to it (it is NOT one of those totally flat thin soles). The slippers are fairly comfortable, although arch support is very slight.

Instructions say that these slippers can be washed in a washing machine and dried flat (not in a dryer).

These slippers were made in China for Chinese Market place and I received a free pair to test the fit for American market. Getting a free product does not influence what I say, if you are skeptical about that examine my record to see a long history of critical reviews. My husbands likes the slippers and finds them comfortable. He wears them in the morning while getting ready for the day and they work quite well for that.

You can find it on Amazon by following this link.



Ali Julia review ★★★★☆



Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Product review: LIFE EASIER Wall Calendar 2017 Erasable Yearly Appointment Planner Size 40" x 24" 12


This calendar is one shiny piece of paper. It is 40" wide and 24" tall.  Each row represents a month.  Each day of the week is is marked by one letter, the top and the bottom of the page has numbers from 1 to 31 for each day of the month.  Each of 52 weeks is numbered in light blue color.

Each day is 1" x 1.5".  Even though the square is small I can make two or three notations in each square.

The pen is not included in the package. So I tried a couple of pen I had at home. I started writing on it with a permanent ink pen and that ink cannot be erased.  However, I found another non-permanent ink pen (black in the video) that can be erased by using a paper towel.

The calendar is shipped rolled so it took a little work to make it lay flat.  I am using scotch tape to attach it to the wall of my office.

This calendar is available on Amazon by following this link.

Ali Julia review ★★★★☆

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Product review: AT&T 210M Trimline Corded Phone




I owned my Trimline phone for 20+ plus years. It sounds great and is built like a tank, surviving many drops and other accidents. These days we mostly use cordless phones but the old Trimline is still in service in one of the bathrooms and when the power goes out it the only one that works.  Sure, cordless phones are nice because of the convenience of not having a cord, but the Trimline phone sounds better!  When I needed a simple phone for my elderly mother - something that sounds  clear, works without batteries and is easy to use - I immediately knew that I had to get her a Trimline phone!

The new Trimline phone sounds just as good as my old Trimline, but it is much lighter, especially the base.  Will this new lighter version last as long? Not sure... but it sounds very good and it is simple to use.

Weight comparisons:

Old Trimline weight (overall) 1 pound 4.6oz
New Trimline weight (overall) 13 oz

Old Trimline weight (base) 12.8 oz
New Trimline weight (base) 5.4 oz

Old Trimline weight (handset) 8.3 oz
New Trimline weight (handset) 7.9 oz

You can find it on Amazon by following this link.

Ali Julia review ★★★★★




Monday, February 20, 2017

Product review: Rainbow Colorful Stainless Steel Nail and Cuticle Nipper and Nail Scissors Set by HIGH'S



This set consists of a manicure cuticle nipper and nail scissors set.  The set is made of nice quality stainless steel.  Both the nippers and the scissor feel heavy duty and very sharp.  The stainless steel has a pretty rainbow finish, this is is achieved by heating the metal with high heat which causes stainless to oxidize.

Cuticle nipper works well on finger tails and cuticles.  The small scissors are pretty  universal, work well on nails or sewing. In attached video I show how this scissors cut both my nail and thread.  If the scissors are not sharp they take more than one cut, these do not.

The set has a nice weight to them and they open and close well. They have some resistance not too loose and not too tight.

You can find it on Amazon by following this link.

Ali Julia review ★★★★★

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Book review: Backyard Bird Guide: Attracting Wild Birds to Your Yard

This book is aimed at novice bird watchers that live in Northeast. The book does not have as many photos as I was hoping for but the ones that were included are very nice.  It also did not cover all the birds we see in our back yard (we do live in Massachusetts). I found information about how to attract some species of birds we do not see most interesting. None of the information is unique, you can find everything by searching the web.  I was glad that I got the book during a free promo period.

We have a large number of bird feeders and I agree with the author that the commercial bird seed is not the bird's favorite food. If we fill one bird feeder with commercial bird seed and another with sunflowers, the bird feeder with commercial birdseed will hardly be touched where as sunflower seed will be gone very quickly.  I also can confirm that cracked corn attracts a lot of larger birds including wild turkeys and blue jays.

We have not seen Orioles and Waxwings in our backyard, and I will try adding their favorite foods to see if they appear.


You can find it on Amazon by following this link.

Ali Julia review ★★★☆☆




Saturday, February 18, 2017

Product review: Round Rich Hand painted High Gloss Lacquer Jewelry Box


This is a super nice jewelry box. First of all it looks beautiful and elegant. Inside it has 4 compartment. There is built-in holder for rings or earrings, a pillow for watches, and velvet bag for anything. I needed a box for keeping my earrings so I can see them at a glace. I was keeping them in their individual boxes and the boxes were taking up a lot of room. Even though this box is not specifically designed for displaying a lot of earrings, I was able to adapt it for this purpose with foam strips. To keep earrings in place i piece the foam with the posts. I am attaching a photo with my adaptation I am very pleased. They are easy to see, securely in place, and take up a lot less room than individual boxes.

I really like this box, it is beautiful, well made and made me more organized.

You can find it on Amazon by following this link.


Ali Julia review ★★★★★

Friday, February 17, 2017

Product review: KQRNS Clip on Bed Reading Light

This a nice clip lamp.  Its clip open 2" wide and holds secure.  It is also can be used a stand for the lamp.  The neck of clip lamp is flexible and it can be bent as needed and it holds its shape well.

The lamp has a built in battery and is rechargeable. It uses a round connector rather than a micro usb, so you need to hang on to the cord, if you misplace it you will not be able to recharge the lamp.

If you touch the base quickly you can turn on an off the lamp with one touch. If you touch and hold the light dims or brightens slowly.  The spot light the lamp generates is not larger, but enough to light a book. Overall, pretty nice book light.

You can find it on Amazon by following this link.


Ali Julia review ★★★★★





Thursday, February 16, 2017

Product review: Copper Dual USB Car Charger 3.6A/18W by GONGNIU




This a compact charger which feels heavy and well mae.  It is metal and weighs 2.1 oz. This charger makes good tight contact with the car port and stays well seated even on bumpy roads.  I like that it has a clear LED indicator that is is plugged in (a blue ring around the edge).  It has two ports with a maxiumum output of 2.4A (if both ports are used total max is 3.6A).  Of coruse, what each device draws depends on that specific device, not all phones are cable of drawing 2.4A.  For example, my  Nexus 5 draws a maximum of 1A, however Nexus 6 was able to draw the max.

You can find it on Amazon by following this link.


Ali Julia review ★★★★★

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Product review: La Crosse Technology BC-700 Alpha Power Battery Charger





I purchased this La Cross battery charger in January 2014. It has been in daily use since the day I bought it. It is holding up well and continues to work well after this constant long term use. I like that it can charge an odd number of batteries, charging different types of batteries at the same time (e.g. AA and AAA).

The display for each battery shows the mAh of each battery so you can see when the battery is aging. It has a "refresh" feature that will bring dead rechargeable batteries back to life. Batteries without this feature just no longer charge them. This feature alone made the charger pay for itself as I was able to bring rejuvenate batteries back to life rather replace them. Refresh is a fairy long process (as needs to fully discharge the batteries and then re-charge them multiple times).

Summary: reliable over many years, clear display for each battery, very useful refresh function.

You can find it on Amazon by following this link.


Ali Julia review ★★★★★

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Product review: Pawtec Retractable Micro USB 2.0 A Male to Micro B Cable Extends to 3 Feet




This charging cable works well charging my Android phone at an optimal rate (based on current monitor measurements).  The retractable mechanism works well - I have been using the two cables I have since 2015 and both still retract and expand reliably.  Both cables are in daily use for this entire period.

The retractability of the cord is handy especially for my MP3 player with external speaker which I have permanently plugged into a power bank. This cord helped me got rid of the dangling wire. When the cord is extended to its back it is 36" long. To retract it from that position you need to yank on both end to trigger the retracting mechanism.

Current monitor results:
black cord: 1.02A / 5.05V (excellent)
white cord: 1.02A / 5.09V (excellent)
(for comparison this is on par with the best charging monitor result for this phone 1.00A/5V)


You can find it on Amazon by following this link.


Ali Julia review ★★★★★



Monday, February 13, 2017

Product review: Swiffer Sweeper Wet Mopping Pad Refills for Floor Mop

Wet Swiffer pads are a quick and easy way to clean.  I used it on my tile floors using the same mop as I use for the dry Swiffer pads.  I usually run the dry swiffer first to remove any particles and dust and then use the wet pads for to clean up any stains or sticky patches.

Some days when I am doing the kitchen, the bathrooms, and the front roomsand they are not dirty enough to change the pad I rewet the pad with a squirt of Murphy's oil soap.



They are  much easier to use than a wet mop  and there is no clean up when the floors are done. The pad gets tossed in the trash.  The pads have a light lemony smell that makes the rooms smell fresh and clean, and when I toss it in the trash then the trash smells pleasant too.

You can find it on Amazon by following this link.


Ali Julia review ★★★★★




Product review: Etekcity 1x2 HDMI Splitter / 2 Port Audio Video Amplifier HDCP Ver 1.3 Support 3D 1080P PS3 Xbox DVD Blu-ray

This splitter works fine with one cable connected to the TV and another connected to a projector. My only concern is that the splitter does get very warm when in use which is a concern for its longevity.

Note that this is a splitter, i.e. it takes one input (say a cable broadcast) and displays the image on two displays. If your TV has one HDMI port (input) and you want the TV display to show either a cable broadcast or an output from another device such as ROKU you want a switch not a splitter.
This splitter works fine with one cable connected to the TV and another connected to a projector. My only concern is that the splitter does get very warm when in use which is a concern for its longevity.

Note that this is a splitter, i.e. it takes one input (say a cable broadcast) and displays the image on two displays. If your TV has one HDMI port (input) and you want the TV display to show either a cable broadcast or an output from another device such as ROKU you want a switch not a splitter.

Ali Julia review

You can find it on Amazon by following this link.

Ali Julia review ★★★★☆




Sunday, February 12, 2017

Product review: Bamos Water Hose splitter Full Metal Body




This 2 way hose splitter has all metal connections which give me a tight seal and no leaks. The outer shell of the hose splitter is made of rubber. Each shut off valve has a relatively long handle and because it is covered with rubber it feel softer. I like these handles better than the short metal handles on the brass hose splitters I have used in the past. I find these longer handles give me a better leverage and because they are softer I can put more pressure with my bare hands.

This hose splitter is excellent.

You can find it on Amazon by following this link.

Ali Julia review ★★★★★




Saturday, February 11, 2017

Product review: NaturCute Luxury 9-Piece Cotton Bath Towels Set









I like the towels that are not super thick.  These towels exactly to my liking, not flimsy but not the super plush kind.  They are grey in color, the grey has hints of blue in it.  Grey is a very practical color, it does not change much even after a long time in use they continue to look the same.  The towels are color fast. I washed them with color catcher which remained white after the wash.
 
This set includes two bath towels, two hand towels,  2 washcloths (note a discrepancy with Amazon product description) and a bathroom mat.  The bathroom mat is not thick (it similar to the thickness of a towel), so I use it on top of my thick bathroom mat.  I like that I can try it faster by hanging on a rack.

The manufacturing process left quite a few loose threads. I had to wash the towels by themselves until the washing machine no longer had a residue of threads left on the sides of the tank.


The wash cloths: 12" x 12"
The hand towels:  16" x 29"
The bath towels:  26" x 56"
The bath mat: 19.5" x 31"






Update: downgrading!
My initial rating for this product was 3 stars, but after a small number of washes cycles they began to fall apart and I am down grading the rating to 2 stars.
The trim began coming apart both on the towels and the bath mat.  Below I added a few new photos after the latest wash cycle.








You can find it on Amazon by following this link.


Ali Julia review ★★☆☆☆

Friday, February 10, 2017

Product review: Memoscan U380 OBDII Car Diagnostic Scanner


   
This review for Memoscan U380 OBDII Car Diagnostic Scanner Trouble Code Reader



I tried two units of this scanner.  I received a replacement because the first one did not work, but the same scanner worked the same.


Memoscan scanner did not work with either of our cars even thought both were listed as compatible.

Both Honda CRV and Chrysler 300 work with another OBD II scanner but with Memoscan we get "Linking Error!" which indicates that Memoscan has trouble communicating with the vehicle.

All cars and light trucks built and sold in the United States after January 1, 1996 were required to be OBD II equipped. The connector is very distinctive looking, I am including a picture of it in my video for reference. In both of our cars this connector is located under the dash, under the steering wheel.

The scanner displays information on a small screen on the hand held unit. The scanner works as soon as car is turned on. There is no need to turn on the engine. The scanner goes through a series of messages (see video) but for both of our cars the sequence ends with "Linking error!"

Memoscan comes with an impressive manual. It is well written and easy to understand and includes 36 pages of trouble codes.

Unfortunately the replacement unit also generates "Linking Error!". It appears that the seller has a bad batch of these. I have reviewed another OBD II scanner (a bluetooth unit) and it worked it both cars, so I know the connectors are not faulty. This connector is always on according to documentation. Just in case I have tried running it with the engine off, with the engine on, and with the key on ACC setting.


You can find it on Amazon by following this link. Based on my experience I would stay away from it.

Ali Julia review ★☆☆☆☆

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Product review: AT&T CL4940 Corded Standard Phone with Answering System

I purchased AT&T phone with answering machine over a year ago. Overall the answering machine is working fine, but it has two annoying behaviors.

We have more than one phone in the house.  When a call is answered on another phone the answering machine shows these calls as "missed calls".  The second annoyance that it seems not be able to handle day light savings time. Even when I correct the time manually it resets itself to the wrong time.  So for half of the year the phone calls are shown as 1 hour off.  I read the manual trying to find how to change this and could not find it.  If someone who is reading this review knows how make it responsive to Day Light Savings time I would really appreciate a tip on how to do it.

On the positive side, the display is large and clear.  The screen has a back light (note that the dial buttons do not have back light). The back light is turned on when a phone call is coming in or when you press any button. The voice that comes in on the phone is loud and sounds good. This is also true when you use the speaker phone.  I am told that I sound crisp and clear even when I am using the speaker phone.  When there is a message waiting there is a button that blinks to indicate a waiting message. The manual states that you can also configure a beep to indicate a waiting message, but we do not use this option.  The answering machine is easy to turn on and off (a button that glows when answering machine is turned on).  I have caller id, so when a new phone call comes in I can see the phone number and name displayed on the screen (it is not announced by voice, just displayed).





I am using this phone as a wall phone. I like how the attachment bracket is designed - it is easy to hang and the phone is lifted a little away from the wall.  The handset has a special catch to make it work well as a wall phone.

The messages and greeting announcements are digitally recorded in the internal media.  Recording my own greeting was easy.

This phone comes with AC adapter but it is actually possible to make calls during power failure. The power comes from the phone line itself, so it is limited to making and receiving calls. Other functionality is not available unless you have power.  After the power outage I have to reset time, but my pre-programmed quick dial numbers are NOT lost.

Other than the two negatives I mentioned at the start of the review the phone has many good features that I like.


You can find it on Amazon by following this link.

Ali Julia review ★★★★☆





Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Book review: Job Hunting Ninja Master 2017 by Frank McClain

This book is very detailed and specific.  It has two major section one for finding work in the government sector, one for jobs in the private sector.  I have worked for a number of private companies so while I could be impressed by the amount of information in the government jobs section, I could only truly evaluate the relevance and completeness of the private jobs sector information. The information is right on point, very specific, and very thorough.

The government section has information on both civilian and military jobs, a discussion of pros and cons of working overseas, and included web sites where to start your job search in these areas.  There is information about medical and physical exams that each applicant needs to complete, pay ranges for different grades, as well as experiences expected to achieve each grade level.

The private section includes all the information you need to prepare the resume, what to say and not to say during interview process, and how to work with recruiters.

I found a section on resumes extremely useful.  The author describes not only the organization and content, but explains how resumes are processed on line using keywords to find the right candidate. He gives some very specific examples for hi tech.  Just as important was information on what would disqualify your resume from being picked. Some of the information was surprising to me, for example, including your photo is going to cause 13% of recruiters to discard your resume, using decorative paper will cause 22% of recruiters to consider your resume inappropriate.

The author provides a list of key strengths that employers are looking for when hiring.  I have been involved in hiring process in the companies where I worked and the list provided in the books matches up with my experience. We always look not only for specific technical skills but also for people who work well in teams, have initiative and good communication skills.

Another section I found very educational is how to work with recruiters.  The author identifies signs that you are being taking advantage of and has suggestion on what to do when you notice this.  I have seen some of the bad behavior mentioned in the book first hand and if I had read this book before it happened I could have avoided wasting my time, energy and frustration.  The signs were there during the first meeting!  But sometimes politeness prevented me from being more assertive. The author gives the reader specific tips on how handle these situations and goes even further by providing a draft agreement that the applicant should request a recruiter to sign.  This agreement limits the amount of exclusive rights you are willing to give an individual recruiter. It is a reasonable amount of time and a good recruiter should have no problems with it.  If a bad recruiter refuses to sign the agreement this lets you know to avoid dealing with this individual.

A very valuable part of the book addresses the interview process.  The part I liked most is the discussion of the typical open ended questions whether it is about your weaknesses or asking you to describe how you worked with someone you did not like.  The author helps you understand what the employer is looking for when they are asking these questions and how best to handle them with honesty and in a way that will make you attractive as a potential employee.

I was impressed by the amount of specific details in this book. This is not a book with a lot of generalities.  Each section has actionable items. I thought I had a fair amount of experience in job seeking process, but I learned a lot of useful things in this book. I wish I had this information earlier.


You can find it on Amazon by following this link.

Ali Julia review ★★★★★




Monday, February 6, 2017

Product review: TelPal Call Blocker Display for Landline Phone with 1500 Number Capacity Block Robocalls , Telemarketing Calls, Junk Faxes and All Spam Calls


This call blocker works - i.e. once you block the number it is disconnected after one ring - but its user interface is difficult to use because it is not intuitive. Someone older or not computer savvy is not the right audience for this device. I tried showing my mother how to use this blocker as she complains about getting marketing calls every day and she got totally confused. The blocker's feedback on the display is numeric, not words. The manual is written in a broken English, not very detailed, so it does not provide clear instruction when someone is confused.

The second issue is that depending on how you hook up the blocker, you could lose caller id on your phone. There are two options for hook up - you can plug the call blocker into the wall, and hook up the phone to the blocker. Alternatively, you can put a splitter in the wall and have the phone and the blocker hooked up in parallel. I am using the parallel hook up because in this configuration I still get the caller id on the phone.

The unit displays the wrong time and day. The manual said that it will be set automatically, but I have not seen this happen. However, this information is not relevant to the blocker operation so I did not bother setting it manually. Setting it manually is cumbersome, you need to put the blocker into setting mode and then use the phone's key pad to do the setting of values.

TelPal documentation states that the blocker can block 1000 numbers.

On the positive side, the blocking does work. I recruited a friend to help me test the blocker. I was able to block the number and the next call disconnected after 1 ring. The caller was not told anything, it was just a hang up. After blocking the number I was able to see it listed on the blocked phone numbers list. Then I was able to delete it from the list. I show these three operations in attached video.

There are two ways to block calls. One is to push Blacklist button as the marking call is coming in another one is to enter the phone number by hand and save it. The number displayed on the unit does not show the caller id, so it is not easy to identify a marking call without picking up the phone or looking at another phone which shows the caller id.

Blocking a marketing calls gives me a lot of satisfaction. Just the fact that I am not helpless and can take some action has a great mental benefit.

This call blocking device is provided by TelPal for testing and review. This is not the best call blocker out there because of the difficult to use interface, but it does block calls.


You can find it on Amazon by following this link.


Ali Julia review ★★★☆☆

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Product review: Movo Photo MicRig


This is a review of Movo MicRig "Sevenoak".

The first thing you need to know is that to take advantage of this microphone your video camera should have an audio jack for an external microphone.  The grip comes with cables for two options audio jack or micro USB with audio.   My Canon Rebel SLR, SONY NEX5 (a mid size digital camera), and a GoPro clone do not have a port for an external mike.  My smartphone has a audio jack and I am using it in the videos I am included in this review.





The microphone runs on one AA battery, which is not included in the package.  The grip has 1/4-20 male screw. It has a large easy to tighten knob at the bottom.  The phone holder is probably the best phone holder I own, it holds tightly, adjusts easiy, and has very nice rubbery texture on the inside that grabs well to the phone case shell.

The controls for the microphone are on the grip.  It also has a cold shoe if one wanted to mount lights or other accessories.


The microphone grip is made out of sturdy plastic. It feels sturdy but is quite light weight, it  weighs 19 oz.

I thought it did a fairly good job,  The only issue I see there is a tiny, very tiny shift in an audio.  It is not always obvious but sometimes it is - you can see the lips of the singer being slightly out of sync with the sound (the sound is behind).

I let you be the judge by listening to two videos I shot using it. One video features a street percussion instruments, the other one a singer with a guitar.

Ali Julia review

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Product review: Solar Powered Light Motion Sensor 16 LEDs by WBESEV


This light is smaller than I pictured looking at stock photos on Amazon. The lamp area is just 3" across, the entire light is 4.5". It 260 lumens, so it is not very bright. It has three settings off, dim light when no one is around, and bright light when motion is detected.  The unit is sealed and the batteries cannot be replaced or recharged outside the unit. 

To turn the light on you need to use a pin (included) to push into a tiny hole in the rim. This needs to be just one when you want to activate the light.  It motion detection works very well and detection motion reliably.  Mounting hardware is included in the package. 

The light does not have my favorite mode of operation "On only when motion is detected" which uses less power and works better in New England climate as we don't always get long sunny days to fully recharge the battery.

Overall I thought the light was okay, but for my use it was too small and not bright enough too rate higher than okay (3 stars).

You can find it on Amazon by following this link.

Ali Julia review ★★★☆☆

Friday, February 3, 2017

Product review: Folding Cane, BeGrit Dependable Ajustable Height Lightweight Folding Walking Stick Cane



I got this stick for my mother. She likes quad canes as it gives her more stability. She does not use the cane all the time, for example in the store when she has a cart the cane gets in her way and the fact that this cane folds up made it sound appearing.

She likes this cane:

1. This cane is fairly light. It weighs 13.7 oz.
2. This cane is stable. It has wide rubberized base which has a good grip.
3. This cane can stand on is own if you need to use your hands to do something else. Even if you bump it a little it balances back to the center.
4. This handle has a neoprene sleeve so when her hands sweat the handle absorbs it.
5. It folds up so she can put it in the shopping cart when she shops. When folded it is 11" (34" when unfolded)
6. It has a leash on the handle which helps her not to forget the cane when she is out. The same leash holds the cane legs together when the cane is folded.

I asked her if there is anything about the cane that she would like to be different. She told me that she would like it to be a little shorter. The cane adjusts from 33" to 49". My mother is short, just under 5' tall. If a cane could be another inch shorter she would find the arm position more comfortable.

The feature that she likes most is that it can stand on its own while she uses her hands to reach for something.

I received this cane for evaluation a special discount as part of a new product introduction.

You can find it on Amazon by following this link.

Ali Julia review ★★★★☆

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Product review: iNee 6 Fat Quarter Bundles, Cotton Fabric for Quilting Sewing



This listing combines several options, I got the 6 pack of greens. I am a quilter and have purchased thousands of fat quarters in my life. This is a decent fabric - the cotton is not thin and flimsy, it has good thickness. In attached photos I show it with back lighting and my hand behind the fabric so you can use transparency as your own judgment of thickness.

These are not quilt shop top notch fat quarters, but they are decent. They are properly sized for a fat quarter (22" x 21.5"). They are 100% cotton.

This fat quarters are provided to me at a special discount for evaluation and review. Getting a discounted product for evaluation does not prevent me from leaving critical reviews in the past when the product warrants it. I leave critical reviews on regular basis, however, this quarters were exactly what I expected in size, thickness, and quality - good but not outstanding fabric.

You can find it on Amazon by following this link.


Ali Julia review ★★★★☆