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Sunday, April 30, 2017

Product review: Venta Airwasher 2-in-1 Humidifier & Air Purifier - LW45

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Our heating is forced hot air and the air gets very dry. I used a variety of humidifiers through the years and it was always a compromise between the noise and improved air quality. On the low setting Venta air washer is so quiet that I had to keep checking if was on or not when the first time I was using it. On medium and high level I can hear some white noise but it is still very quiet. I am a light sleeper and this humidifier on the low settings is really the only that does not bother me when I am trying to fall asleep.




On the negative side to keep Venta air cleaner going you need to treat the water it uses continuously. This is done with Venta treatment additive. Two small starter bottles are included and Venta LW45 requires the use of both bottles at the same time. These two bottles are sufficient for 10-14 days of use. The additive is available in a larger 35 fl. oz bottle which is sold for $19.00 (sufficient for 5 months use). In addition every 6 months the airwasher needs to be cleaned with Venta cleaner which is $13.5 for one treatment. The cleaner starter is not included. I did some research and found that many people use water and vinegar to clean it instead of hte Venta cleaner. The top housing can be washed in the dishwasher with cup of vinegar. The disks can be cleaned with the pipe cleaner brush. I have been using the Airwasher for several weeks and have not needed to clean it, but I will try the vinegar solution first.

Assembling the Venta washer was very simple, the only thing one needs to do is remove two pieces of cardboard used for safe shipping.

I am using the airwasher on a trolley which makes it easy to move the washer even when it is full with water. The trolley moves smoothly. The troller comes with adapters for different size airwashes. My video shows the adapters installed for LW45 Venta. The adapters are installed properly when you you hear a click as they lock into place.

As the airwasher is working I see no white dust or water droplets on the floor. The airwasher capacity is 3 gallons and when it is out of water it automatically shuts off and displays a red light on the top of the unit.

The size of the unit is 17"L x 12"W x 13"H (or 15"H when on a roller).

You can find it on Amazon by following this link.


Ali Julia review ★★★★★


Friday, April 28, 2017

Product review: Trail Camera, Coolife 12MP 1080P HD Digital Camera

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Video quality: In many situations the videos are very good and sharp.  In bright sun the camera overexposes slightly. The video during the night uses infrared videos (black and white), it is more grainy and less sharp however often captures very interesting videos. I am including video clips taken during the day and during the night.

The camera has good motion sensor and is activated only when something interesting is happening, so every video it captures has something good on it. The default setting was not as sensitive as I wanted (it missed some videos captured by another motion camera that was used to compare the effectiveness of this camera), but the settings can be changed. The camera can be mounted in a number different (strap to attach to a tree or a tripod mount).  I am using a tripod.

The user interface is menu driven and is very intuitive, I show it in the attached video to give you a better idea of how it feels to use it.

The camera runs on eight AA batteries (not included). The battery life is pretty good.  After running for a week taking hundreds of videos every day the camera's battery indicator shows that it is half full. The camera include a 32G micro SD card, the card was in a little plastic bag with cables.  The camera produces AVI and JPG output.

This camera case is robust.  The tripod with the camera has been knocked down by animals several times, and the camera still running, no problems. The case is waterproof and has been out in several rain storms without any problems. The case is 5.25" tall x 3.25" wide x 1.75" thick.

Overall, or its price range it is quite good. I love being able to have a glimpse into the life of our wild life visitors.

You can find it on Amazon by following this link.

Ali Julia review ★★★★☆

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Product review: Besiter 20000mAh Quick Charge 3.0 Portable Charger with Type-C & Micro Dual Input



♦ size: 6.5" x 3" x 0.75"
♦ weight: 15.95 oz
♦ number of ports: 2
♦ flashlight: no
♦ pass through charging: no (i.e. the battery can charge while being charged itself)
♦ cable: not included

This external battery as not as large as one might expect for its large capacity of 20000 mAh.  The battery itself can be charged using either micro USB or type-C USB cable. Both recharge the battery from almost empty to full overnight.  I like the digital display of the battery level, it is easier to read than the 4 LEDs that show your the level on many other batteries.

This charger performed very well with both my Android phone. I also tested to see if the battery supports pass-through charging (i.e. whether the battery can charge mobile devices while it is being charged). This battery does NOT support charger through charging. It can not charge while being charged.

I have been using this battery for several weeks without problems as I write this review. It does the job and does not get warm as it is charging. Om terms of capacity it lasts somewhat less than my favorite 20K battery.

You can find it on Amazon by following this link.


Ali Julia review ★★★★☆

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Product review: FEELWORLD Full HD 1920x1200 7 inch IPS Camera Top Monitor 4K DSLR Monitor

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FEELWORLD monitor an external monitor for a digital camera that has a mini HDMI output.  This monitor comes with a HDMI to mini HDMI cable, a mounting bracket to attach to the camera, and a shade that can be mounted on the monitor.  The battery plate is mounted on the back of the monitor, but F970 battery itself is not included.

The monitor size is 7" x 5" and it is 1.25"thick at the widest point which include the battery mount, battery adds another 0.25" which means it is 1.5" thick with the battery mounted. The shade comes in two parts: the bracket that mounts on to the monitor and a sun shade which is Velcros to the bracket and provides a shade that is 4.25" wide at the top.

The screen looks very good. LCD screen is hard to see in the sun, but the shade really helps. The monitor supports full HD 1920*1200 Resolution. It also support the 4K UHD 3840*2160P.  In addition to HDMI input, the monitor also accepts AV inputs.  USB port is used for system updates.

In attached video you can see the monitor attached to my camera while I am video recording on my phone. The video camera on the phone is not great, so use other photos to judge the quality of the monitor.  The video taken by the phone camera demonstrate how the set up works but since my camera is in the video I could not use it to take the better quality videos.

Overall, this is a pretty nice monitor and makes it much easier to see if the photos are sharp or if they need to be re-shot.

You can find it on Amazon by following this link.


Ali Julia review ★★★★★


Monday, April 24, 2017

Product review: PChouse 2PC Stainless-Steel Kitchen Sink Strainer

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This strainer fits the kitchen sink as expected: nice overlap on the side, nothing flows below the edge. It is a fairly deep strainer without a center a post.  I got this strainer to use with disposable strainer bags - they require a kitchen sink strainer without a post.  This strainer works well, the disposable bags fits and nothing escapes under the edge.  The strainer has a handle which makes it easy to lift it so I can clear it.

You can find it on Amazon by following this link.


Ali Julia review ★★★★★

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Product review: High Mountain Oolong Green Tea, Loose Leaf for Infusers, Tea Tin, Zone - 365

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This is nice tasting green tea in a super nice tin.  The flavor is fragrant and smooth.  The tin has a double closure - a tight inner closure, and a nice looking top cap.  I am sure I will continue to use the tin long after the tea is gone.

Outstanding tea and container.

You can find it on Amazon by following this link.


Ali Julia review ★★★★★

Friday, April 21, 2017

Product review: Trail Camera Vizzlema 12MP 1080P HD Infrared Game Camera

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We are big animals lovers and I own several wild cams so we can observe the wildlife visitors we are lucky to get every day. The camera lens is not wide angle, so it give me good close up shots as you see in the video.

The camera has good motion sensor and is activated only when something interesting is happening, so every video it captures has something good on it. The camera can be mounted in a number different (strap to attach to a tree or a tripod mount).  I am using the tripod.

Video quality: videos are very sharp.  In many situations the videos are excellent.  Sometimes in very bright sunlight the camera overexposes. The video during the night uses infrared videos (black and white). I included clips taken during the day and during the night.

The user interface is menu driven and is very intuitive, I show it in the attached video to give you a better idea of how it feels to use it.

The camera runs on eight AA batteries (not included). The battery life is pretty good.  After running for a week taking hundreds of videos every day the camera's battery indicator shows that it is half full. The camera include a 8G SD card, the card was in the camera when it arrived. The camera produces AVI and JPG output.

This camera case is robust.  The tripod with the camera has been knocked down by animals several times, and the camera still running, no problems. The case is waterproof and has been out in several rain storms without any problems.

Overall, I am very pleased. I love being able to have a glimpse into the life of our wild life visitors.

You can find it on Amazon by following this link.

Ali Julia review ★★★★★

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Product review: Bedecor 2-Pack Waterproof Pillow Covers Zippered Pillow Protectors Cotton

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This is very nice pillow protector.  In my video I pour several tablespoons of water and you can see how the water pools and does not go through the material.

The pillow cover finish feels like terry cloth material on top, and has water proof liner on the reverse side. Waterproof liner does not crinkle and feels soft.

The pillow cover is 27" x 21", standard pillow size is 26" x 20" so it is a little large. It has a zipper closure. 

Cleaning recommendation is to wash it in cold or warm water and either air dry it or  dry it on low heat to prolong the life of the liner.  I have washed and dried the cover and repeated my "tablespoon of water" test and the cover remained waterproof.

This is a nice pillow cover.  I like it! If you have a drooler in your family a waterproof pillow cover is a must. It will be the pillow clean and fluffy for a long time.

You can find it on Amazon by following this link.


Ali Julia review ★★★★★


Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Product review: Vayne Hot Pursuit Electronic Interactive Cat Toy

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This toy is a 8.5" disk with six openings from which a plastic tail shows up every now and then.  On one of the settings the disk also squeaks.  The disk runs on three AA batteries.

We have two cats, one of them is a mouser that like to plays with toys.  She became quite interested in the disk. Most of the time she just sits and watches it. I saw her swipe at it just once, but it keeps her transfixed staring at it for hours.  I imagined that she would be batting at it more, however it does keep her attention so she appears to be detained.

You can find it on Amazon by following this link.


Ali Julia review ★★★★☆


Monday, April 17, 2017

Product review: Zone-365 Executive Gold Pen with Cross Pen Ink Cartridge

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The black and gold foil pen is very attractive.  It writes smoothly without skips, is comfortable to hold, and looks very distinctive. The pen writes in black ink.

✔ It is beautiful - one of my co-workers even commented on the nice looking pen. How often does that happen?
✔ I found the pen comfortable to write with.
✔ It has a clip, which allows me to clip the pen to my notebook while carrying it around.
✔ The pen comes in attractive case. The case is attractive enough for the pen to be a gift.
✔ The pen has a nice retracting mechanism. The pen does not have a cap.
✔ This pen uses the standard Cross D1 refill cartridge.  The package includes two refills: one in the pen, and one spare refill.

You can find it on Amazon by following this link.


Ali Julia review ★★★★★

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Product review: HOMEE Expandable Garden Hose

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I have been using flexible hoses for several summers. They are great to work with - they are light and when empty become very short.  However they are fragile.

The main thing you need to know is that you cannot treat them the same as a regular garden hose. This hose require more careful handling: you cannot leave it in the sun when not in use, you can not drag and pull it like you would a regular hose, you cannot step on it when it is full with water, you cannot hang it to store (this puts pressure on the internal hose).  I store it curled up in a bucket and bring it into the cool basement when not in use.  I lay it out in the direction I want to water and only then fill it with water.  I am careful not to step on it and when I have to pull it I pull gently and carefully. I have strong water pressure, so when I use the flex hose I do not put the water pressure all the way up.  I use it at a half force setting.  Before I started using the precautions my flex hoses did not last all summer, now I get more than one season.

This hose has brass connectors which give me a good no leak connection. Also included in the package is a sprayer.  The sprayer has all plastic construction. We have hard water which is rough on plastic. I usually get 2 good seasons out of plastic sprays. The sprayer is a 7-setting sprayer (Amazon description says 8 settings).  All settings but the "mist" setting work fine. Mist is not as fine as I expected.  The nozzle has flow control and a loop that keeps the nozzle spraying without having to hold down the handle. Flow control does not make a big difference, but I use the stopper loop all the time.

Yes, this hose requires extra care but I really like that it is so light which makes it easier on my bad back.

You can find it on Amazon by following this link.


Ali Julia review ★★★★★

Friday, April 14, 2017

Product review: PriorityChef Potato Ricer With 3 Interchangeable Discs

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There are guzzilion ways to make mashed potatoes. I like my mashed potatoes even-textured but not as creamy as what I get with whipped mashed potatoes. This ricer gives me rich mouth texture without being "over processed" into gooey paste. I like my mashed potatoes with a bit of texture and with the skins. So even though you can peel potatoes before ricing them I do not. I boil them and then quarters or cut them in 8th put 3-4 chunks into the ricer and squeeze the handles. The skin remain in the ricer and I just dump them in the mashed potatoes after each squeezing session.

I often don't even add milk or cream to the potatoes it comes out so smooth that it does not need anything else. If you are watching calories that might be a bonus.

The ricer is made out of stainless steel and comes with three different disks. My video shows the results with each. The one with small circles is my favorite, as it works best with potato skins and is the easiest to clean.

I received this ricer for evaluation and review. If you are skeptical of my review because of this, please take a moment to look at my other reviews and see that I leave many critical review (1 star, 2 star, 3 star) when the product deserves it. Getting a free product does not guarantee a glowing review and I always state this before accepting a product for review.

You can find it on Amazon by following this link.


Ali Julia review ★★★★★




Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Product review: JZBRAIN Tower Power Strip Surge Protector

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I really like this tower power strip, it works very well in tight places: behind the TV, behind the computer, next to my sewing machine.  It has a good size power cord (115 inches, or 9.5 feet). It has 8 AC outlets and 6 USB outlets.

The power strip has a very small foot print (5.5" across) yet accepts large plugs next to each other. The AC outlets are well spaced out. I can power several battery chargers next to each other without problems. This is a very clever design.  It gave me more than enough outlets in an area which barely had any space.

The strip has three switches we control which set of outlets get power. On the bottom of the tower there is a keyhole openings so this power strip can also be mounted on the wall.

You can find it on Amazon by following this link.


Ali Julia review ★★★★★

Monday, April 10, 2017

Product review: US Wire 63025 14/3 25-Foot SJTW Orange Medium Duty Extension Cord (outdoor)

I purchased this outdoor cord for my heated outdoor mat, which required 15 amp rated cord. This cord is left outdoors in the rain and snow so I am using it in combination with cord lock (from Farm Innovators) to keep the connection dry.

I am writing this review after two winters. So far the connection is staying dry in rain and the cord makes a nice tight and secure fit on both ends.  The cord did lose its bright orange color from being outdoors and is now mail orange in color.

The description says the the cord is made in the USA or China. The label of my cord states it was made in China.

You can find it on Amazon by following this link.


Ali Julia review ★★★★★






Saturday, April 8, 2017

Product review: Gerior Premium Kitchen Shears Stainless


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These are general purposes stainless steel kitchen scissors. The total length of the scissors is 8" and the blade is 4". The blades are sharp.  Cutting is easy.  I tried items in the kitchen (such as chicken) and in the office (hard cardboard).
The openings in the handles are fairly large, I found them comfortable. Overall, a good set of general purpose scissors.

The scissors have  a built in bottle-opener on the blades, and a nut cracker between the handles.  I find dedicated tools easier to use but if you take these scissors camping the extra tools might come in handy.

You can find it on Amazon by following this link.


Ali Julia review ★★★★★

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Product review: Duress The Game



I really enjoyed this game.  It is designed for two person. It combines strategy and chance. The players can change the initial set up of the game adding more variety to the games.  The goal of the game is to move your pieces from the the sides of the board to the center of the board, and get there ahead of your opponent. The moves are determined by pulling a random piece out of the bag. How you move is determined by planning where  you want to move each of your pieces.  If you can plan many steps ahead for each of 16 pieces you will do better.  You can either move to the goal or move to block your opponent.    I found the game play fun, and we plan to play it again. 

There are a couple of the aspects of the game that could have been better.

  • The pieces are very light and are easy to knock off the squares on the board.  Even if you are playing on a stable surface you will need to constantly straighten them.  It would be completely impossible to play it on a train on in a moving vehicle.  If the board and pieces were magnetized it would expand the possibilities for where you can plan this game.  
  •  The second thing that could be better is piece identification.  If you don't play chess you will have hard time identifying icons on the tiles.  Even if you play chess it will take a little while to tell the pieces apart. This could have been easily resolved by adding icon images next to the list of pieces in the documentation.
Overall, this is an enjoyable game to play!

You can find it on Amazon by following this link.


Ali Julia review ★★★★★

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Product review: Pergear A216C AIR SWITCH Sensor LED Photo Video Light Panel Dimmable

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My review is for Pergear A216C Touchless Controller with Air Switch.

The light panel works with F550 SONY compatible battery (the package includes two batteries which is great as I can recharge one while using the other). I own several light panels and this panel has a couple of unique features that I like (1) touchless switch lets me save the battery life by turning it off and on quickly. Once I set up the light level and color I can turn the light on and off without having to move the panel or fiddle with the switches. With the other panels I need to either move them or reach around which may reposition the lights (2) I can control the color of the light without using filters. This light panel also has a switch that changes the light intensity. This feature is not unique to this panel, I consider it a must-have feature as it is incredibly useful.

Another minor but nice feature that my other panels do not have is a button that ejects the battery. This will prolong the panel light. I dropped and broke one of my old panels trying to remove a stiff fitting battery.

The panel comes with a light diffuser. I like that it snaps in snugly into the panel and does not fall out even when I turn the light upside down.

The light panel generates continuous light. Once you turn it on the light panel stays on. This panel does not communicate with the camera like a flash. I use it mounted on a tripod so I have more control of how the light is directed.

The photo panel is 5" by 3" and 1.5" deep. The light weighs 8.15 oz. It 216 LED lights.

Color temperature of the lights: 3200K-5500K

In addition to the extras I already mentioned the package also includes gloves which are sized small (I have small hands and they fit me perfectly) and a cleaning cloth (7.75" x 7.75").

Overall, I like this light very much. It is easy to set up and easy to change the amount of light I get to fit any situation.

You can find it on Amazon by following this link.


Ali Julia review ★★★★★





Sunday, April 2, 2017

Product review: Marino Men's Genuine Leather Ratchet Dress Belt

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This is a unique belt, it does not have your typical buckle and holes. It is held together by a ratcheting system. It holds very well but it is less forgiving about the fit because it only holds in a 9" area where the ratcheting system is attached on the reverse side. If someone's size is on a border line of how the belt fits it is something to keep in mind.

This belt is missing a loop to hold the long end of the belt for those who fit at the low end of the range. If the tail is too long for your taste the buckle can be removed in order to trim the belt to my size and then secure it back neatly.

I really like the ratchet mechanism. It is quick and easy and holds well.

The leather is a nice quality, the belt is thick, and the stitching is neat.

You can find it on Amazon by following this link.


Ali Julia review ★★★★★