Thursday, June 17, 2010

Leatherman 830850 Skeletool CX Multitool

Technical Details

* Stainless Steel Handles with Carbon-fiber Handle Scale and Tungsten DLC Scratch-resistant Coating
* Outside-accessible blades mean, just like a pocket knife, it can be opened with one hand, quick-style.
* Bit driver technology makes it possible to customize the tool for any job
* At a mere five ounces, this is the lightest full-size multi-tool on the market.
* 25-YEAR WARRANTY Leatherman Tool Group, Inc.proudly stands behind our products.

Introducing the Brand New Skeletool CX from Leatherman
Get back to basics -- the very cool basics -- with Leatherman's Skeletool CX. Today’s outdoor enthusiasts want to keep weight and volume to a minimum without sacrificing quality and true functionality, and that's what the Skeletool is all about. Many multitools have multiple options, but they’re often heavier -- and they're loaded with more features than most people actually need on a regular basis. Conversely, pocket knives are light and streamlined, but they render themselves useless when the task calls for a more versatile tool. Enter the new Skeletool platform, offering minimal weight, compact size and endless capabilities.

Key User Features
The Skeletool CX has a large straight knife blade that can be accessed while the tool is closed; to open it, just place your thumb in the thumbhole at the base of the blade and rotate it out until it's fully extended -- which will engage the safety lock. This locking mechanism is noted with a padlock symbol on the tool. To unlock the blade, press the locking mechanism towards the handle until the blade slides past the lock.

Equipped with a universal bit driver, the Skeletool offers real utility options like no other multitool. To change the tool bits, simply unfold the tool and remove the bit from the bit driver -- and pop it out. And replacing bits is just as easy. Just press a new one into position and you're good to go. There's even a spare bit located in the handle side opposite the knife blade. This tool includes the following bits: Phillips #1 and #2, screwdriver 3/16-inch and 1/4-inch.

In the plier jaws you'll find a hard-wire cutter and a regular wire cutter. The regular wire cutter is great for softer grades of wire, but the hard-wire cutter is excellent for heavier jobs -- like cutting and bending fishhooks.

Multitool Capabilities:
The Skeletool keeps it simple -- and light, and compact, and easy to transport. Why waste time with pointless, heavy add-ons when all the basics are right at your fingertips? With its open hardware, skeletal design and hardy appearance, the Skeletool boasts a premium stainless steel blade, pliers, a universal bit driver, and a carabiner/bottle opener ... and that's it.

Key Tech Specs:

* Length: 4 inches/10 cm closed
* Weight: 5 ounces/142 grams
* Materials: Stainless steel, Tungsten DLC coating, 154CM, carbon fiber (handle scale)
* Included Bits: Phillips #1 and #2, Screwdriver 3/16-inch and 1/4-inch

Optional Accessories (not included)
Spice up your Skeletool with genuine Leatherman accessories. Options include a bit kit that offers 21 double-ended bits for real versatility. From new belt sheaths to t-shirts and caps, genuine Leatherman accessories are durable, fun and show that you're a part of Leatherman World. With such a wide variety available, it's easy to find just the add-on that's right for you.

All Leatherman products are covered by a 25-year limited warranty. If within 25 years from the purchase date of your genuine Leatherman tool you find any defect in material or workmanship, you can count on the manufacturer to make it right with fast warranty service. To obtain warranty service, return your tool to Leatherman Tool Group. Depending on the tool defect, they will decide whether to repair your tool or replace it with a product of equal or greater value. No variations, upgrades or refunds are offered.

The Leatherman Tool Group and its History of Quality
In 1975, Leatherman Tool Group founder Tim Leatherman was inspired by leaky pipes and a cranky car on a budget trip to Europe -- and thus the idea for his first pocket survival tool was conceived. Since then, Leatherman has become an internationally recognized company with hundreds of employees and a wide variety of durable, versatile, stylish products. Created with bold designs and truly rugged construction, Leatherman products are a perfect addition for tool kits, emergency sets, and glove compartments everywhere.

I think there is a lot of confusion about what advantages the CX has over the cheaper (-$20) stainless version. I hope this review will clear some of that up. Some reviewers are advising you buy the stainless version because the only difference is a slither of carbon fiber. That is simply not true. The CX has a lot more going on for it than that!

1) The metal used to make the blade in each model is different. The stainless version uses 420HC steel, which is a decent metal with good hardness and good edge retention. The CX version uses 154CM steel, which is considered by many as a "super steel" because of its good corrosion resistance and excellent toughness and edge retention. Imho, this is worth the $20 price difference alone.

2) The blade styles are different. The stainless version has a plain edge whereas the CX has a partially serrated blade. Each has its own advantages and disadvantages. The plain blade is much easier to sharpen because you dont have to deal with maintaining any serrations (if you dont know what you are doing, serrations tend to get ground away when you do any sharpening). The partially serrated blade, however, is much more versatile in terms of cutting. In a pinch, you can used the serrated part of the knife as a saw or just for more cutting power. Additionally, if you learn the proper technique, sharpening a serrated blade is not that much more difficult, albeit a bit more time consuming. Personally, I like the partially serrated blade.

3) The tungsten coating isnt just for looks. True, it makes this tool even sexier than it would otherwise be, but it also adds a layer of corrosion/oxidation protection. This is a big deal to those of us who intend to use the tool in humid or moist conditions. Natural oxidation isnt always that noticeable and protects the layer of aluminum underneath it. However, it is porous and is not as durable as a coating.

4) Some reviewers have stated that the carbon fiber portion of the scales adds cushioning to the handle, making it more comfortable to hold. I dont know if that is true or not because I have only held the CX. Still, it might be something worth considering.


*The 2009 model of the CX has a plain edge blade and the Stainless has a partially serrated blade* Thanks, Poiuyt Man, for the heads up.

After 1 year, I still love this tool. So far, it has held up to daily use and abuse very well. I sharpen it maybe 4-5 times a year and oil the joints once or twice a year. I also gave the pocket clip significantly more tension by removing it, bending it inward, and reattaching it. This keeps the tool firmly in place when I clip it in my pocket. Be careful not to strip the threads by cross-threading or over-torquing if you decide to do this. The pliers have developed a tiny bit of lateral play, but they still work great for anything I throw at them. The spare bit holder still has a lot of bite and holds the spare bit firmly in place. I still lost a bit, however, out of carelessness and had to order a replacement from Leatherman. Although the replacements are pricey, Leatherman got it out to me extremely quickly and customer service seemed very responsive and helpful. The tool's black anodizing has held up remarkably well despite being dropped countless times, used heavily, and tossed around in my pocket with keys.

Overall, I am very happy with this tool and it has been my trusty daily-carry almost every day since I got it. Much more versatile than a pocket knife alone and not much bulkier. You really cant appreciate something like this until you start to carry one and forget it at home one day. You will find yourself constantly reaching for it throughout the day, only to be greeted with an empty pocket and disappointment. I almost feel naked without mine.

Monday, May 24, 2010

SE-0303OR Power Button

Unique safety device designed for jogging
Bright, flashing lights can be seen more than 1 mile away
One-hit emergency alarm
Comfortable to wear with the adjustable elastic bands
Stylish, lightweight design, popular with sports people
Technical Details

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Spy Gadget

iniature Spy Scope This compact spy scope is miniature but 'very' powerful With this gear you can zero in a vehicle license plate from two blocks away and able to clearly read all the letters The optics system is constructed of double optical prism which reduces its size significantly to fit in the palm of you hand The exterior frame is made of tough and feather-weight metallic alloy The minimum distance is 3 meters, perfect example for this, is the ability to read a bar code of a box on top of a tall warehouse shelf This spy scope utilizes advance optics system which increases brightness by 10 -20% when used at night This item can be used indoor or outdoor and easy to operate Approximate dimension: 3" x 1 3/4" x 1 1/2" Approximate weight: 1.76 oz Satisfaction Guarantee: 'If you're not impressed with this item, we'll buy it back!'

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Apple iPad MB292LL/A Tablet (16GB, Wifi)

From the first announcement of this device, I was prepared to dislike the iPad, on paper it has way too many flaws. With one in hand and actually using the device, I can honestly say it is an excellent, gorgeous, piece of hardware. The biggest flaw, it weighs a ton. The weight doesn't sound like a bad thing, but after I held this device in both hands while laying down, my arms got sore. It's a small thing, but you should be aware that it is heavy.

Set up was super simple. Connect the unit to your computer, run iTunes, follow the wizard. About 5 minutes later the iPad is set up and activated. The wizard does call it an iPhone for some strange reason. If you have an iPhone already, the set up is a bit easier. It will inherit most of your settings.

Once activated, you have to unplug the unit and then go through the settings application to set up your wireless network and a variety of other settings. All pretty obvious, top to bottom, essentially all the same as the iPhone.

Do note that the charger is a 10W charger - much larger and different from the iPhone's 5W charger. So you'll have to use that charger. There is a big negative, you'll have to cart around that charger, most USB ports will not charge this device. My beast of a PC has plently of power on all the USB ports, and it will not charge my iPad. External battery packs will work with no trouble charging, or extending the use.

Battery life - I ran video, downloaded a ton of apps, and played with this thing for a solid 2 hours - 10% of the battery life was used. I would guess that reported battery life is right accurate.

Typing is easier than on an iPhone, but still not keyboard easy. There's a big problem with how to hold the device and type at the same time. I was a master at Blackberry typing with my thumbs. I can't seem to get it with the iPad. The other problem, the device has a rounded back, so if you place it on a table and try to type, the thing rocks back and forth annoyingly. I don't think I will spend a lot of time typing long emails on this device.

Apps that are built for or converted to the iPad format are simply gorgeous. They are full of detail and easy to read. Old iPhone apps that have not been upgraded are all blocky and not so great (useable but not great). You have the option to click the app back to native size if the jaggies bother you.

Safari works really well on this device. The browser is a real live browser that displays WebPages beautifully. Bookmarks snap up in an instant. Pages load at almost lightning speed, actually faster than on my desktop computer (quad core 3GHz, gigabit wired connection). There is almost no need to have multiple pages open, since load times are so fast and the favorites menu is so easy to access. There is just no comparison to the iPhone's horrible display of WebPages.

Email takes on a whole new look. Embedded pictures display beautifully. There is a pop up ribbon to select email from your inbox. Navigation is just a pleasure. Account switching is a little different from the iPhone, but still very intuitive. Apple seems to have figured out how to make the email experience more intuitive and remove the unnecessary from view.

Video is stunning. Netflix over high speed WiFi (my connection is 22Mbps) delivers full screen, highly detailed, smooth video with good sound. Any video created for the iPhone plays, but they are significantly pixilated or blocky, basically you've blown up a video designed for a three inch screen to three times that size. Those videos are viewable, but I will be reconverting my source video to the larger size.

Some of the free apps I've tried. ABC is simple and stunning for watching video, but lacks a lot of programs. Craigslist adds the ability to view pictures in the preview of a listing, something not available on any other computer - very handy feature. USA Today has done an awful job, the interface is horribly confusing and pretty well useless. Weatherbug is incredible, simple and to the point, but with a ton of forecast information (including webcams for different weatherbug stations). NASA is silly, an enlarged version of their iPhone app. Pandora works perfectly as expected.

The iPod / music side plays like I expected. Nothing really new there. The oddity though, iPod / music is on the home base menu, but video is a separate application. Everyone would expect that Apple got the music player right.

I've had an iPhone 3G for almost two years and have disliked almost every minute of use. I got it for work email and it sort of delivers on that promise. The iPad is what the iPhone should have been all along - fast, simple to use, and a gorgeous screen. I also own a netbook. The iPad is a much better device.

I love this device. Is it a revolution in computing? Only time will tell. For the moment, this is the best video, audio, email, web browsing device I've ever seen.

Go try it at a store. I think you will fall in love.

April 11 Update - Kindle versus iPad - I own them both. The Kindle is the better e-reader by a long long margin for avid readers. e-Ink is easy on the eyes, it looks just like a book. Where ever you can read a book, you can read a Kindle. The Kindle is light weight, about on par with a real book, maybe a bit lighter. And the plastic has a really fine satin feel. After about ten minutes reading on a Kindle, I don't think of the device anymore. The iPad - pages look gorgeous. Winnie the Pooh is absolutely stunning, with the color images, the perfect page layout, sharp beautiful type, fun page turning animation, and a kind of 3D look that mimics a book. But, it weighs a lot more than a book, more like a big old heavy text book. The hand feel - aluminum and glass - not as wonderful as the Kindle. I keep thinking, this is such a cool device that I don't lose myself in the reading.
Buying books with the Kindle is a super snap, under a minute and I've got my book. Buying them with the iPad? Sorry I'll never buy a book through iTunes, just like I've never bought a song at iTunes. Amazon has the review world covered and they know how to sell books.

But, and here's the big but, the majority of the public is going to love the iPad reader software. They will marvel at the color pages and love the book buying experience, just like they love buying music through iTunes. It will be a success. The avid reader will stick with paper or a Kindle, or a Sony reader, or a Nook. There just is no substitute for e-Ink. And, yes my eyes hurt reading the iPad screen; and no you can't read a book easily in the sun (especially not the beach).

And if you think I'm silly saying the device is heavy - there's three pretty savvy tech people that agree, Patrick Norton (a big strong guy) and Veronica Belmont of Tekzilla (an intense WOW gamer, so she has strong hands), and Molly Wood of CNet. Molly has returned her iPad because it is too heavy among other reasons.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Cranky Desk Toy

Cranky wants to help you remember stuff by holding cards, pictures, notes, reminders, or whatever you can wedge in its little claws. This four-legged fidgety friend will dance like crazy to get your attention.

Add a kooky diversion to your work space with Cranky
Lots of gears and spokes give him a geeky, homemade look
Wind-up gadget moves like an insect
Made of stainless steel with rubber feet - Comes in Assorted colors
6.3" H x 3.2" W x 2.5" D

My review
These little gear box wind-up toys (you can watch all of the action as it takes place - the toy has an "open" build) are soooo much fun. My son and I found these toys by Kikkerland while on vacation, and I decided to purchase them from Amazon. "Cranky" isn't as active a toy as several of the others in this series, but he can hold note cards, business cards, photos, etc., which makes it fun for a desk. My only recommendation to the company would be to consider adding a timer to Cranky... how cool would it be to have Cranky go off, and the note he is "holding" is the reminder for your next call or meeting? I really wish the photo of Cranky showed better colors. For example, my Cranky has red rubber feet and a bright yellow windup key. Very snappy! All of the keys and feet differ between the individual toys, so you never know what you'll get.

I bought two of the more active toys for my 8 y.o. son (Awika and Cosmojetz), and they've been a big success! I only recommend the toys for responsible children who do not beat up or abuse their toys. These are not Mattel or Playskool toys, but cool and fun? Yep, way more unusual and cool than your average toy. Recommended!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Ninja Remote Stealth Television Gadget

This small keychain remote can control up to 500 brands of televisions.
Use your stealth to control television at: bars, restaurants, the gym, schools, hospitals, and hotels anywhere.
Master power on/off, channel, volume, mute, and even audio video inputs!
Super easy to use, just point and click!
Great for pranks, makes a great gift. Battery included.

The Ninja Remote is a trademark of Swamiware LLC and is only sold through NinjaGizmos. Use the Ninja Remote™ to control television. This fun and small gizmo fits right on your keychain. Never be denied your favorite program. Control your own viewing destiny, with the Ninja Remote™. Real Ninjas love TV. Features a 16-bit microprocessor and powered by a 3-V battery

My Review
This little remote is amazing. Within about 10 seconds on average, we got it to sync with just about all the tv's we could find. I would say 1 out of 20 doesn't work well with this one.

Off topic: It's hilarious watching people's reaction when you turn the volume up all the way in a Wal-Mart or restaurant.

Its only real limitation is that you need to be about 10 to 15 feet at most to be able to use it.

Love the item, makes a great gift to anyone.

Great product!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Breville 800JEXL Juice Fountain Elite 1000-Watt Juice Extractor

1000-watt juicer with 2 speed controls, high (13,000 RPM) and low (6,500 RPM)
Die-cast steel housing; stainless-steel micromesh filter; titanium-plated cutting disk
Circular 3-inch feed tube accommodates whole fruits and vegetables
Pulp container, juicing pitcher, and manual/recipe book included; dishwasher-safe parts
Locking arm bolts move up to 1/4" in all directions to ensure a snug fit in the locking arm

ake great tasting, fresh fruit or vegetable drinks at home with this efficient juicer from Breville. The unit's Italian-made 1000-watt (1-1/3 horsepower) motor delivers ultimate power and durability, while its built-in electronic "smart chip" regulates power to the blades, depending on the juicing load. The juicer's patented, dual-action, diagonal knife blades are encased by a titanium-plated stainless-steel cutting disc, which features 115 individual knives to grind pulp into the tiniest particles. The machine's circular three-inch stainless feed tube easily processes whole fruits and vegetables without pre-cutting, slicing, or dicing. The patented design centers the feed tube directly over the cutter, providing the strength to process large quantities of fruit and vegetables instantly.
For harder fruits and vegetables, like apples and carrots, the juicer's high-speed delivers a crushing 13,000 RPM, approximately three times faster than most other machines. At such speeds, the pulp particles are "g-forced" against the stainless-steel micro-mesh filter with tremendous pressure to squeeze out as much juice as possible. An 8-ounce glass of juice from whole apples takes less than five seconds. Low-speed spins at a whisper-quiet 6500 RPMs, which delivers the best results when juicing leafy vegetables, or softer fruits such as watermelons or oranges. A 34-fluid-ounce (1 liter) juicing pitcher, a large 100-fluid-ounce pulp container, and a user manual with recipes are included, and dishwasher-safe parts make cleanup a snap. Housed in beautiful die-cast stainless steel, the juicer measures 8 by 9 by 19 inches and carries a one-year warranty.

Product Description
The Breville 800JEXL Juice Fountain Elite with 1000 watts is super efficient. This model has an Italian made electronic motor that increases power under yield to maintain filter revolutions. It has two speeds for soft and hard fruits and a three inch feed tube which minimizes preparation and feeding time. Beautifully designed stainless die cast steel housing and motor body makes it a work of art on the countertop. While juicing, you may notice juice escaping between the plastic juicer cover and the stainless steel filter bowl surround. Try pushing the Food Pusher down more slowly and using the low speed. When large quantities of fruits and vegetables, especially those with high water content such tomatoes and watermelon, are fed into the Feed Chute at a rapid rate, the stainless steel filter basket coverts these into juice so quickly that the force may cause leaking.

My Review
We just bought this juicer on Amazon, using the $25 discount and the free shipping. Made it the best price on the internet when we bought it first of December 2005. Before commenting on the juicer, let me tell you what we used before this juicer arrived.

We have a top of the line Green Power juicer. If you know juicers, you know this is one of the best. We've been juicing with it on a daily basis for 10 years and it is still going strong. It has a high juice yield (dry pulp), can juice grasses and greens efficiently (wheatgrass, parsley, spinach etc.), and low temperatures and rpm minimize oxidation so juice lasts a long time. Other advantages are claimed, but these are the biggest for us.

A well-known downside to twin-screw type juicers like the Green Power is that it takes quite a bit of force to push items like carrots into the juicer, because there is no cutting blade action, just the gripping/squeezing action of the twin screws. Frankly, after 10 years of pushing hard on this thing, we've gotten tired of it, even though it makes great juice. We also don't like the 1.5" square opening which requires us to cut up apples and large carrots before feeding them. Cleanup isn't too bad, but not great either. I decided to buy a juicer that would make good juice in reasonably high yields but with emphasis on speed and ease of use. My intent was that this juicer would complement but not replace the Green Power.

Well, after doing a lot of research and reading the reviews here and elsewhere, I decided to buy the Breville 800JEXL Juice Fountain Elite. The most attractive claims for this juicer were the fast juicing speed, relatively easy cleanup, and the widemouth (3" round) opening. The stainless steel exterior was also a plus, as the Green Power's white plastic parts became stained long ago (vegetable juices can do that!).

The biggest concern with this juicer was the limited warranty period (1-3 years) compared to other juicers in its class (which go as high as 15 years). Phone discussion with a vendor indicated concerns about the lifetime of the motor, though his experience was not with the Elite, which has a new, more powerful motor. I also had some concerns about how efficiently it would extract juice compared to our Green Power, how it would work on spinach and other leafy vegetables, and whether the juice would stay fresh as long.

Though I'd have preferred a better warranty, I decided the features were attractive enough to try it. It is a lot of money to throw away if it fails just after the warranty. But if the ease of juicing was as good as claimed, it would almost be worth it!

The new juicer arrived a few days ago. It was simple to put together. The instructions were clearly written. After washing the parts in the dishwasher (yes, they are dishwasher proof), my wife and I proceeded to make one of our standards, carrot-apple-celery. Boy, were we blown away! This juicer met our expectations and more!

Our apples were large, so we had to quarter them despite the 3" opening. However, in the Green Power we have to cut them into 9 pieces, requiring 4 knife cuts instead of 2 for the Juice Fountain. The apples fed into the juicer easily and very rapidly. Apples feed into the Green Power without too much force, but can be hard to feed because of the pulp they generate (you make apple sauce in the screw feed area and it backs up the chute). We usually use Granny Smiths to minimize that problem on the Green Power, but the Juice Fountain had no problem at all, so I tried some Galas and they also fed in beautifully. In the Green Power, you have to alternate carrots with soft fruits to avoid stalling the screw conveying action; there was no such need with the Juice Fountain. For ease of feeding pulp-producing or juicy fruits and vegetables, I give the Juice Fountain an "A+" compared to the Green Power a "C".

We then fed in the celery. In the Green Power, celery strings wrap around the end of the screws and plug the end plug. The cutting/centrifugal juicing mechanism of the Juice Fountain eliminates such issues completely. The celery fed in very easily and produced plenty of juice. In the Green Power, celery that is small or somewhat old (limp) can be hard to feed into the chute since the stalks don't feed into the screw that easily and the plastic crammer tends to jam them in the chute rather than push them into the screws. In the Juice Fountain, celery of all sizes, including tips and leaves, fed in easily. For ease of handling fibrous vegetables or long, flexible vegetables, I give the Juice Fountain an A+ and the Green Power a B.

Already by this time I knew the Juice Fountain really does make juice fast! I couldn't wait to try the carrots. We put them in whole (minus the cut off tops) and for smaller ones, in bunches of 2 or 3. They just zipped into the juicer! The instruction manual says that juice yield is higher if you feed them slowly, so we didn't push the limits of feed speed, but suffice it to say, it was MUCH faster than the Green Power, on the order of just a few seconds. Furthermore, there was almost no force required to push the carrots in, a welcome change from the 2-handed, "lean your body weight into it" effort required on the Green Power. What a delight this was! For speed of juicing, we give the Juice Fountain an A+ and the Green Power a C. For ease of feeding, we give the Juice Fountain an A+ and the Green Power a D.

We were having so much fun we grabbed more carrots and shoved them in, and then disaster happened! With the juicer still outputting juice, the juice container (pitcher) overflowed and bright orange carrot juice poured out over the countertops and down the face of our painted white cabinets, staining them orange. We were having so much fun juicing, and it was happening so quickly compared to the Green Power, that we didn't realize how much juice we had made in so short a time! Had we been using the Green Power, we'd just be getting started. Oh well. We hit the well-marked red STOP button on the front of the juicer, then sponged up the mess, using 409 cleaner to get the orange stains off the cabinets. The stainless steel Juice Fountain Elite cleaned up easily.

We emptied the pitcher and then finished our juicing, making mental note to remember how rapidly this thing produces juice and to not exceed the pitcher's MAX level marking in the future.

What about noise during juicing? Many have suggested that the Juice Fountain is noisy. My wife and I didn't find it so at all. We have a flour mill that sounds like a jet plane! We have a Vitamix blender that makes a racket (on highest speed). By comparison, this juicer is quiet. Not as quiet as the Green Power, but not at all annoying. For noise, we'd give the Juice Fountain a B and the Green Power an A, with a Vitamix blender a D and our grain mill an F (requiring ear plugs).

Now for the taste test. The defrother on the pitcher seems to work OK. The juice was excellent, not oxidized tasting in comparison to juice from the Green Power. In fact, maybe it was my imagination, but I think it tasted fresher. The Green Power may use lower speed and incorporate less air, but because it takes so long to make the juice, by the time you are finished, the first part of the batch may be 20 minutes old. With the Juice Fountain, it may be just a couple minutes old. For taste, I give the Juice Fountain an A+, the Green Power an A.

We dislike pulp in our vegetable juices. With the Green Power, the amount of pulp in the juice is not bad, but we still have to strain it through a wire screen strainer to get pulp-free juice. With carrot-Granny Smith apple-celery, a quart of juice will leave at least 2-3 tablespoons of pulp in the strainer. By contrast, the Juice Fountain juice was virtually pulp-free. We didn't bother straining it, there was so little. This is great, since wire screens tend to plug and back-up, and are a pain to keep clean. Yet another time saver for both juice production and clean-up! For pulp-free juice, Juice Fountain merits an A+ and Green Power gets a B.

OK. What about juicing efficiency? I don't have any hard numbers on this, but the pulp felt about as dry as that from the Green Power. That suggests that the efficiency was similar. The Green Power is claimed to have one of the highest extraction efficiencies of any juicer on the market, short of the Walker or other press-type juicers. That seems to be a fair claim. However, actual practice may vary. The dryness of pulp in the Green Power is controlled by how far you screw in the end plug, which creates back pressure and controls the pulp flow rate. If you screw it all the way in, you get very dry pulp. However, the juicer feeds poorly, and if you have anything like apples you'll just backup the pulp into the chute and the screw won't be able to generate enough pumping pressure to overcome the backpressure of the plug. Thus, in practice, we kept the end plug of our Green Power screwed out about a half turn. This resulted in better screw feed action but somewhat wetter pulp. Some Green Power users will push the pulp through a second time to get higher yields, but we didn't bother. By comparison, the Juice Fountain seems to make pulp of similar dryness to what we were getting on the Green Power, but without having to mess with optimum end plug settings, screw backups, or feeding pulp through a second time. Thus, I give both Green Power and Juice Fountain an A for efficiency, but the Juice Fountain gets there more easily. Perhaps in the future I'll do a more quantitative comparison.

Cleanup was a breeze. I just rinsed all the top parts off and put them in a drying rack or the dishwasher. The wire mesh and cutting blades were easily cleaned with the supplied brush. I found cleanup easier and faster than with the Green Power. The Green Power has mostly plastic parts, and these are stained with vegetable juice stains which don't disappear with any of the manufacturer's recommended treatments. I anticipate no such problems from the Juice Fountain's stainless steel parts. The plastic on the Juice Fountain is not in places where stains are expected to build up (the pulp container or pitcher). The elimination of wire screen straining further eased cleanup. For ease and speed of cleanup, I give the Juice Fountain an "A" and the Green Power a "B".

A few comments on durability. One drawback of many product reviews on Amazon is the limited experience of reviewers with the equipment. Don't you just love those reviews that read, "I just bought Product XYZ and used it for a week and it is fabulous!!!"? I wish we had more reviews from longterm users. Thus, I wasn't going to write a review on this juicer until I'd used it at least for several months. However, I was so impressed by this juicer I just had to write now! I felt like I already had enough hard facts to compare with a top-of-the-line competitor that some of you would appreciate reading my comparisons.

Nevertheless, the big question on this machine is the limited warranty. I'm hoping that durability won't prove to be the Achille's heel of this machine. Discussions with vendors suggest that the motor is the critical part that may fail, so I'll be watching it, hoping that it outlasts the warranty, and that the new, more powerful motor in the Elite will prove durable. Warranties aren't everything, though. The Green Power had a 5 year warranty. The motor is robust and going strong after 10 years of almost daily use. However, the plastic parts on the Green Power seem inadequately designed for the high stresses placed on them in an extrusion device. We saw stress-cracking of the front piece within the first few years (which we eventually had to replace when the cracks propagated to the failure point). Stress-cracking is also visible in the main screw housing. Other plastic failures include partial separation of the feed crammer halves (so that pulp gets stuck inside the hollow crammer), chipping of the hopper tray so that it doesn't seat snugly, breakage of the plastic cross-piece on the base that the pitcher tray fits over, and stress-fracture leading to failure of one of the plastic knurled knobs used to tighten the chamber assembly.

By contrast, the Juice Fountain's stainless steel bowl assembly shouldn't fail unless I severely dent it. The wire screen/cutting assembly will probably need periodic replacement, I'm guessing. The housing lid and feed chute are plastic (looks like polycarbonate) and may eventually chip if dropped, but look stronger than the highly mineral filled plastic of the Green Power. The pitcher is plastic, which some people would not like as much as the glass of the Green Power, but at least it won't break as easily (we had to replace our Green Power pitcher once). If you prefer glass, you could use a glass container instead on the Juice Fountain without a problem except increase risk of splashing and no defoamer. Overall, I think the housing of the Juice Fountain will hold up very well compared to the Green Power. Thus, the only big question mark for me is the motor, and I am hoping that the short warranty is not a reflection of issues in that department. Stay tuned.

The other issue is the ability to juice grasses and leafy greens. I am planning to keep the Green Power because I don't expect this juicer to do a great job on those. We often don't include those in our juices, however, so it will be worth it to have this extra juicer for the many times when we don't need the other capabilities. I expect it to juice spinach OK, but probably not with as good an efficiency. However, I will withhold comments until I can do quantitative tests, which I may report later.

CONCLUSION-- I love this juicer. It is every bit as fast as the manufacturer claims. It is easy to use and clean up. It makes great tasting juice at high yields. It compares very favorably with a more expensive, top-of-the-line Green Power juicer. The biggest concern is the limited warranty, but I'm having so much fun with this juicer that I would probably buy another one even if it failed just after the warranty period.

The above comparisons are somewhat "apples vs. oranges". It might be more fair to compare this to other centrifugal juicers. Some of the advantages in ease-of-use would pertain to other centrifugal juicers when compared to the Green Power. But I think the 3" mouth, the high rpm, and the stainless steel housing are worth considering. I can't compare to other centrifugal juicers, but the Juice Fountain does compare very well with the top notch Green Power juicer.

This juicer saves so much time and effort, I will probably suffer any juicing inefficiencies that may arise with spinach and such rather than bother with the Green Power. I'll probably put the Green Power on a high shelf and pull it down only when doing grasses, which I rarely use.

Sorry about the length of this review, but hopefully you'll find the comparisons helpful.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Flip UltraHD Camcorder, 120 Minutes (Black)

asy-to-use, pocket-sized HD camcorder featuring one-touch recording and digital zoom
Simple user interface lets you start capturing video just seconds after powering on
Captures 120 minutes of HD video on 8 GB of built-in memory; no tapes or additional memory cards required
Convenient flip-out USB arm plugs directly into your PC or Mac to launch FlipShare software
Built-in FlipShare software lets you easily email videos, edit individual clips, make custom movies, capture still photos from video, and even upload video to sharing sites likeYouTube and MySpace

The World’s Simplest HD Camcorder
The Flip UltraHD camcorder combines Flip Video’s signature shoot-and-share simplicity with the power of vivid, vibrant HD video. UltraHD could not be easier to use: just power on and press record, and you’ll be capturing high-quality HD video in seconds.

Ultra-Spontaneous, Ultra-Fun
UltraHD features 120 minutes of record time and an included rechargeable battery pack, so you’ll never miss another minute of video again. And because it’s ultra-portable, UltraHD lets you capture spontaneous video anytime, anywhere. Whether it’s a lazy afternoon in the park; a family vacation; or simply an unplanned, everyday event, your UltraHD will be charged and ready to go. So you never have to say, "You should have been there."

tunning HD Video
While it may be small, UltraHD produces stunning HD 720p video that will look crisp and clear on your HDTV. Flip camcorders are known for high-quality video, and UltraHD combines that signature Flip quality with the latest in HD technology. Its 8 GB of built-in memory lets you capture 120 minutes of brilliant HD video, even in low-light situations. Plus, premier AAC audio means your videos will sound clearer than ever, too. And included HDMI output makes it easy to enjoy your videos on your HDTV.

Pre-Installed FlipShare Software
UltraHD comes pre-loaded withFlipShare software, which makes it easy to organize, create and share your videos:
Organize your videos. Drag and drop your videos into folders you've created, or use the automatic date-stamped folders.
Create custom movies. Make movies featuring your favorite video clips, and add your own music to provide a more personal touch.
Capture still-image snapshots. Use enhanced freeze-frame capabilities to grab a snapshot from any of the thirty frames that comprise each second of your video.
Share privately. Send videos to your friends and family using attachment-free emails. Or create private Flip Channels to share your videos with specific groups of friends and family.
Share with the world. Publish your videos directly to Facebook, YouTube and other sites, all with the click of a button.

The Flip UltraHD Camcorder combines Flip Video's signature shoot-and-share simplicity with the power of vivid, vibrant HD video. Power on and press record to start capturing incredible HD video in seconds. When its time to share your video, use the flip-out USB arm to connect to any PC or Mac and launch built-in FlipShare editing and video-sharing software. Built-in FlipShare software lets you easily email videos, edit individual clips, make custom movies, capture still photos from video, and even upload video to sharing sites likeYouTube and MySpace

My Review
If I'm going to spend more than a hundred bucks on an item or somewhere around there, I do extensive research first to know I got the best bang-for-the-buck and, consequently, dodge any potential future buyer's remorse.

I've realized that the time I spend doing my product comparisons is often time that others don't have so I may as well share what I can.

I'll start by saying that you'll see my "Verified Amazon Purchase" on the Flip HD Ultra Camcorder review because, obviously, that's the one I wound up buying and I'll share with you why. But what I like in a camcorder may not suit your own needs so I'll break it down and let you decide what's best for you via what I found out:

Here are the pocket camcorders I compared:

Flip UltraHD (will be referred to as "F")
Flip Mino HD 2nd generation (Will be referred to as "M")
Creative Labs Vado HD 8 GB 2nd generation (Will be referred to as "CL")
Kodak Zi6 Pocket HD (Will be referred to as "K")

Why HD cameras only? Brighter colors and better images, wider images

F: 120 minutes.
M: 120 minutes
CL:120 minutes
K: 25 minutes with batteries they included, 120 minutes if you buy an SD card

F: 8 GB
M:8 GB
CL: 8 GB
K: internally only 30 MB recording space but it has 32 GB expandable SD/SDHC card slot. Because it comes with such small recording space you really need to buy an SD or SDHC card to maximize its potential, but the potential is really good and this will increase your ability to shoot longer.

All 720p which is excellent, just one step below the top 1080p format.

F: Stereo
M: Mono **Update** They are now putting Stereo Mics in the Minos as of 2010.
CL: Mono
K: Mono

F:Premier AAC audio. Best stereo sound quality but still not great in winds
M:Good sound quality. Still not good in winds.
CL:Poor sound quality; had issues with sound and picture not being in sync.
K:Poor sound quality

F: 2x
K: poor quality zoom on the one I tried but I still think it's 2x. It has a great macro focus for very close-up objects if, for example, you see a bumble bee and want to shoot it on a leaf a few inches away! Kinda cool.

F: 4.3x2.2x1.2 4 oz
M: 3.9x2x0.6 3. 3 oz
CL: 3.9x3x0.6 3.5 oz
K: 5.5x2.5.0.9 5.6 oz

F: 6.2 x 3.1 x 3.1 inches ; 11.2 ounces
M: 2 x 0.7 x 3.9 inches ; 1 pound
CL: 3.3 x 7.9 x 6.3 inches ; 11.2 ounces
K: 4x 5x 2.5" 2.4 lbs

F: USB cable pops out of the back so you don't need to keep up with a separate cable. Comes with Flip Video rechargeable AA battery pack (recharges when connected to USB); also supported by standard AA batteries. Note: Some sets come with the HDMi mini included and others come with the rechargeable battery pack on Amazon. Looks like one or the other but of course if you need both you can buy the other.
M: USB cable pops out of the back on this one as well. Has child safe button to prevent accidental deletion of videos. Internal lithium ion battery recharges through built-in USB arm
CL: USB in camcorder. Included in box are HDMI cable (nice), USB extension cable,(nice)silicon skin (cool) & rechargeable battery.
K: Included in box are HD and AV cables and wrist strap and rechargeable batteries and battery charger. Has built in USB arm.

F: 30 frames per second.
M: 30 frames per second
CL: 30 frames per second
K: choice of 30 frames per second or 60 frames per second.

VIEWING SCREEN: All 2" except the Kodak was the largest at 2.4"

F: Best low-light performance for the mini cameras (though not perfect at all) and least amount of blurring and dropped frames in my opinion. Best color. Only one with stereo sound. You can get an underwater case for this one! Though that may sound crazy for a Texan, we use the camera non-stop on vacations and even when we aren't IN the water, we are around the water...on boats, in the sand with sea mist, etc. Then we can dive in and record the fish. Comes preloaded with flipshare software...just plug in to computer and it pops up. Only one with stereo sound.
M: Colors don't appear as good on the Mino as the other cameras. Thinnest camera. Make sure you get the one that only comes in the color aluminum or brushed metal. If it comes in any other colors it is the 1st generation MinoHD and they improved upon that one in the newer models. Great audio. Better shooting in low light than most mini cameras. Camera comes preloaded with FlipShare software. Can get still images through flipshare software.
CL: Decent filming in low light but not nearly as good as the Ultra or Mino; Software is preloaded in camcorder.
K: This is the only camera that I compared without the built in image stabilizatin which corrects for shaky images. What appears to be metal in picture is actually a chrome colored plastic. That said, this had the largest viewing screen of all of them. 2.4" Very poor in low light and seemed to have far more shaking and blurring. It also takes still pictures but they are really really poor quality...same as a lesser-quality cell phone pictures but good in a pinch if you want a still shot and have no cell or camera I s'pose. Heaviest for a pocket camera. Software is not preloaded in camcorder but a cd comes with it.

F Excellent
M Excellent
CL Very Good
K Very Good

And, finally, the reviews of the Flip from experts swayed me quite a bit:
Fast Company: "Flip Ultra HD is Pure Digital's "Best Pocket Camcorder Yet." 6-09

USA Today: "New Flip Ultra Video Cameras Might Flip Your Switch" 4-09

Business Week: How do you Invigorate a Recession? Look to i-phone, Flip, Kindle, and Zip Car For Answers

There were lootttts more I came across when researching the Flip Ultra HD but those are some of my favorites.

CONCLUSION: Clearest picture and sound was important to me, expert reviews that pointed to the Flip UltraHD as well and I liked the built in software and the case I can get to shoot underwater. It is the number one selling camcorder as well. So that was my personal decision-making process. However, keep in mind that if you need reading glasses none of that will matter if the 2" screen is too small for your viewing the shots easily for playback in which case you may wish to get the Kodak if that's important to you..

Also: No matter which one you get, you will probably want a mini tripod if you ever want to be in the shot yourself do don't forget those.

Also note: It's confusing because when these manufacturers make changes in the camcorders, they do not change the names on the new versions, nor do they change the names if it's an HD version or a non-HD version so be sure you look for the "HD" after the brand name and look for "2nd generation" or "newer version" on the Mino and Vado if you like one of those better so you don't get the older models.

Hope my obsessive comparing and contrasting for my own purchasing assistance helped you as well even if what you wanted in a camera was different from me. :-)

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Kindle Wireless Reading Device (6" Display, Global Wireless, Latest Generation)

Slim: Just over 1/3 of an inch, as thin as most magazines

Lightweight: At 10.2 ounces, lighter than a typical paperback

Books in Under 60 Seconds: Get books delivered wirelessly in less than 60 seconds; no PC required

3G Wireless: 3G wireless lets you download books right from your Kindle; no annual contracts, no monthly fees, and no hunting for Wi-Fi hotspots

Global Coverage: Enjoy 3G wireless coverage at home or abroad in over 100 countries. See details. Check wireless coverage map.

Paper-Like Display: Reads like real paper without glare, even in bright sunlight

Carry Your Library: Holds up to 1,500 books

Longer Battery Life: Now read for up to 1 week on a single charge with wireless on, a significant improvement from the previous battery life of 4 days

Built-In PDF Reader: Your Kindle can now display PDF documents natively. Native PDF support allows you to carry and read all of your personal and professional documents on the go.

Read-to-Me: With the experimental Text-to-Speech feature, Kindle can read newspapers, magazines, blogs, and books out loud to you, unless the book's rights holder made the feature unavailable

Large Selection: Over 500,000 books and the largest selection of the most popular books people want to read, including 105 of 112 New York Times® Best Sellers, plus U.S. and international newspapers, magazines, and blogs. For non-U.S. customers, content availability and pricing will vary. Check your country.

Out-of-Copyright, Pre-1923 Books: Over 1.8 million free, out-of-copyright, pre-1923 books are available to read on Kindle, including titles such as The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, Pride and Prejudice, and Treasure Island. Learn more

Low Book Prices: New York Times® Best Sellers and new releases from $9.99.

Free Book Samples: Download and read first chapters for free before you decide to buy.

Amazon, we've always been obsessed with having every book ever printed, and we know that even the best book reader is useless without the books you want to read. We are fortunate that we have tens of millions of book customers at Amazon, and as a result, we know the books customers want to read and we prioritize getting those titles. With over 500,000 titles, the Kindle store contains the largest selection of the books people want to read including New York Times® Best Sellers and new releases from $9.99. Along with today's bestsellers, the Kindle store offers thousands of free popular classics including titles such as The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, Pride and Prejudice, and Treasure Island. Kindle customers can also discover and download over 1.8 million free, pre-1923, out-of-copyright titles from other websites.

echnical Details

Display: 6" diagonal E Ink® electronic paper display, 600 x 800 pixel resolution at 167 ppi, 16-level gray scale.
Size (in inches): 8" x 5.3" x 0.36" (203.2mm x 134.6mm x 9.1mm).
Weight: 10.2 ounces (289.2 grams).
System Requirements: None, because it's wireless and doesn't require a computer. Check wireless coverage.
Storage: 2GB internal (approximately 1.4GB available for user content).
Battery Life: Read on a single charge for up to 1 week with wireless on. Turn wireless off and read for up to 2 weeks. Battery life will vary based on wireless usage, such as shopping the Kindle Store and downloading content. In low-coverage areas or in EDGE/GPRS-only coverage, wireless usage will consume battery power more quickly.
Charge Time: Fully charges in approximately 4 hours via the included U.S. power adapter. Also supports charging from your computer via the included USB 2.0 cable.
Connectivity: HSDPA modem (3G) with a fallback to EDGE/GPRS; utilizes Amazon Whispernet to provide wireless coverage via AT&T's 3G high-speed data network in the U.S. and partner networks outside of the U.S. See Wireless Terms and Conditions.
USB Port: USB 2.0 (micro-B connector) for connection to the Kindle U.S. power adapter or optionally to connect to a PC or Macintosh computer.
Audio: 3.5mm stereo audio jack, rear-mounted stereo speakers.
Content Formats Supported: Kindle (AZW), TXT, PDF, Audible (Audible Enhanced (AA, AAX)), MP3, unprotected MOBI, PRC natively; HTML, DOC, JPEG, GIF, PNG, BMP through conversion.
Included Accessories: U.S. power adapter (supports 100V-240V), USB 2.0 cable, rechargeable battery. Book cover sold separately.
Documentation: Quick Start Guide (included in box) [PDF]; Kindle User's Guide (pre-installed on device) [PDF]. Additional information in multiple languages available online.
Warranty and Service: 1-year limited warranty and service included. Optional 2-year Extended Warranty available for U.S. customers sold separately. Use of Kindle is subject to the Kindle License Agreement and Terms of Use.

Advanced Design

Sleek & Light
At 10.2 ounces, Kindle is lighter than a typical paperback and as thin as most magazines. Barely a third of an inch in profile, you'll find Kindle fits perfectly in your hands.

Simple to Use, No Computer Required
Unlike most electronic devices, we wanted to keep Kindle simple. Kindle is wireless and ready to use right out of the box–no setup, no cables, no software to install, no computer required.

Ergonomic Design
Kindle is easy to hold and read. We designed it with long-form reading in mind. When reading for long periods of time, people naturally shift positions and often like to read with one hand. Kindle's page-turning buttons are located on both sides, allowing you to read and turn pages comfortably with one hand from any position.

Precise 5-Way Controller
Kindle has an easy-to-use 5-way controller, enabling precise on-screen navigation for selecting text to highlight or looking up words.

Long Battery Life

Long Battery Life—Read for Days Without Recharging
With Kindle's long battery life, you can read on a single charge for up to 1 week with wireless on. Turn wireless off and read for up to 2 weeks. Battery life will vary based on wireless usage, such as shopping the Kindle Store and downloading content. In low-coverage areas or in EDGE/GPRS-only coverage, wireless usage will consume battery power more quickly.

Charge Via USB
Kindle ships with a U.S. power adapter and a micro-USB cable for charging your Kindle from a computer USB port. The U.S. power adapter supports voltages 100V-240V.

Wireless Access With Whispernet

Get Books in as Little as 60 Seconds
Whispernet utilizes Amazon's optimized technology plus a high-speed data network to enable you to wirelessly search, discover, and download content on the go. Your books and periodicals are delivered via Whispernet in less than 60 seconds. And unlike Wi-Fi, you never have to hunt for a hotspot. Wireless download times can vary based on 3G or EDGE/GPRS coverage, signal strength, and file size. See wireless coverage map for availability.

No Monthly Wireless Bills
No monthly wireless bills or commitments. Amazon pays for Kindle's wireless connectivity so you won't see a monthly wireless bill. There is no wireless setup–you are ready to shop, purchase, and read right out of the box. See Wireless Terms and Conditions.

Global Coverage
Uses GSM technology—the most popular mobile wireless standard—with wireless coverage in over 100 countries. See wireless coverage map for availability.

Travel the Globe with Kindle
Travel the globe and still get books in under 60 seconds. Download books wirelessly in over 100 countries around the world, such as Australia, Hong Kong, Germany, Japan, Norway, Spain, South Africa, the United Kingdom (UK), and many others. Stay in touch with news from home by having your newspaper and magazine subscriptions delivered wirelessly while you travel. See wireless coverage map for availability.

For U.S. customers traveling abroad, additional fees apply for wireless delivery of periodical subscriptions and personal documents. For details, click here. To avoid any fees, you can always download items via your computer and transfer them to your Kindle using USB.

Carry Your Library in 10.2 Ounces

Holds Over 1,500 Books
The ultimate travel companion, Kindle weighs 10.2 ounces and holds up to 1,500 books. No longer pick and choose which books fit in your carry-on. You can always have your entire Kindle library with you.

Automatic Library Backup: Re-Download Your Books Wirelessly
Books you purchase from the Kindle Store are backed up online in your Kindle book library at You can wirelessly re-download books available in your library. This allows you to make room for new titles on your Kindle. We even back up your last page read and annotations. Please see more information about your library content.

Enhanced Reading

Lose Yourself in Your Reading
The most elegant feature of a physical book is that it disappears while you're reading. Immersed in the author's world and ideas, you don't notice a book's glue, the stitching, or ink. Our top design objective was to make Kindle disappear—just like a physical book—so you can get lost in your reading, not the technology.

Paper-Like Screen
Utilizing the latest in electronic-ink display technology, Kindle provides a crisp black-and-white 6" screen with the same appearance and readability of printed paper. Sharp and natural with no glare or backlight, reading on Kindle is nothing like reading from a computer screen. Those who see it for the first time always do a double-take. The screen works using ink, just like books and newspapers, but displays the ink particles electronically. And unlike a laptop or smart phone, Kindle never gets warm so you can comfortably read as long as you like.

Read what some of our customers have to say about Kindle's screen:
"My first impression of Kindle's screen was: 'That's a screen?! It doesn't look like a screen.' When I got my own, I had the same impression again. It looks like a book page, only perfect. No grain or pulp." —Jeremy

"I love how the screen really looks like a page, because I do work at a computer all day, and the last thing I want to look at is another screen."
—Amy P.

"I found the contrast to be soothing and I was able to read in direct sunlight with no glare." —M. H.

"I use my Kindle for reading in bed and sitting at my desk. I also did a test read while sitting in full sun and the screen is even more readable."
—Dallas M.

"Everyone who has seen my Kindle is amazed at the clarity of the screen, ease of use, and plethora of features."—R.L.S.
Read in Sunlight with No Glare
Kindle's screen reflects light like ordinary paper and uses no backlighting, eliminating the glare associated with other electronic displays. As a result, Kindle can be read as easily in bright sunlight as in your living room.

Sharp Display of Images and Photos
Kindle's high-resolution screen boasts 16 shades of gray, so images and photos are sharp and clear.

Adjustable Text Size
Because one size doesn't fit all, you can increase the text size of your favorite book or periodical with the push of a button. If your eyes tire, simply increase the font size and continue reading comfortably. Kindle has six adjustable font sizes to suit your reading preference. Now every book in your library can be large print.

Manual Screen Rotation
Manually rotate the display from portrait to landscape to view maps, graphs, tables and Web pages.

Built-In PDF Reader
Unload the loose documents from your briefcase or backpack, and put them all on Kindle. From neighborhood newsletters to financial statements to case studies and product manuals--you can take them all with you on Kindle. Native PDF support allows you to carry and read all of your personal and professional documents on the go. With Amazon's Whispernet service, you can send your documents directly to your Kindle and read them anytime, anywhere. Some features such as annotations and read-to-me are not currently supported for PDF. You can magnify PDFs by viewing them in landscape mode. You also have the option to have your PDF document converted to the Kindle format so that it reflows. Learn more

Read-To-Me Feature
With the experimental Text-to-Speech feature, Kindle can read English newspapers, magazines, blogs, and books out loud to you, unless the book's rights holder made the feature unavailable. You can switch back and forth between reading and listening, and your spot is automatically saved. Pages automatically turn while the content is being read, so you can listen hands-free. You can choose from both male and female voices which can be sped up or slowed down to suit your preference. In the middle of a great book or article but have to jump in the car? Simply turn on Text-to-Speech and listen on the go.

Newspaper Reading
Using Kindle's 5-way controller, you can quickly flip between articles, making it faster and easier to browse and read the morning paper. Want to remember the newspaper or magazine article you just read? Clip and save entire articles for later reading with a single click. Newspapers are auto-delivered wirelessly to Kindle before they hit news stands.

Bookmarks and Annotations
By using the QWERTY keyboard, you can add annotations to text, just like you might write in the margins of a book. And because it is digital, you can edit, delete, and export your notes. You can highlight and clip key passages and bookmark pages for future use. You'll never need to bookmark your last place in the book, because Kindle remembers for you and always opens to the last page you read.

Full Image Zoom
Images and photos display crisply on Kindle and can be zoomed to the full size of the screen.

Personal Document Service Via Whispernet
Kindle makes it easy to take your personal documents with you, eliminating the need to print. Each Kindle has a unique and customizable e-mail address. You can set your unique email address on your Manage Your Kindle page. This allows you and your approved contacts to send Word, PDF documents, and pictures to your Kindle via Whispernet for a small fee—see details. Kindle supports wireless delivery of unprotected Microsoft Word (DOC, DOCX), PDF, HTML, TXT, RTF, JPEG, GIF, PNG, BMP, PRC and MOBI files. Some complex PDF and DOCX files might not format correctly on your Kindle.

You can transfer personal documents to your Kindle via USB for free at any time. Learn more

Built-In Dictionary with Instant Lookup
Never get caught without a dictionary. Kindle includes The New Oxford American Dictionary with over 250,000 entries and definitions, so you can seamlessly look up the definitions of English words without interrupting your reading. Come across a word you don't know? Simply move the cursor to it and the definition will automatically display at the bottom of the screen. Never fear a sesquipedalian word again–simply look it up and keep reading.

Wireless Access to Wikipedia
Kindle also includes free built-in access to the world's most exhaustive and up-to-date encyclopedia, With Kindle in hand, looking up people, places, events, and more has never been easier. It gives whole new meaning to the phrase walking encyclopedia.

Kindle's keyboard makes it easy to search within a book, across your library, in the Kindle Store, or even the Web. To use the Search feature, simply type in a word or phrase you're looking for, and Kindle finds every instance in your book or across your Kindle library. Looking for the first reference of a character in your book? Simply type in the name and search. You can extend your search to the Kindle Store to find related titles you may be interested in. Explore even further by searching Wikipedia and the Web. Web access is not currently available for some customers outside the U.S. Check your country

With Kindle, you are able to download and enjoy more than 50,000 audio titles from, including bestselling audio books, radio programs, audio newspapers, and magazines. Due to their file size, audiobooks are downloaded to your PC over your existing Internet connection and then transferred to Kindle using the included USB 2.0 cable. Listen via Kindle's speakers or plug in your headphones for private listening.

Read Kindle Books on your iPhone or PC
With our free Kindle for PC and Kindle for iPhone apps, you can read Kindle books even if you don't have your Kindle with you. Our Whispersync technology saves and synchronizes your reading location across your Kindle(s), iPhone and PC. Read a few pages on your iPhone or PC and pick up right where you left off when you return to your Kindle.

Experimental Features

The experimental category represents features we are still working on to enhance the Kindle experience even further. Try them out and let us know what you think.

With the Text-to-Speech feature, Kindle can read English newspapers, magazines, blogs, and books out loud to you, unless the book's rights holder made the feature unavailable. You can switch back and forth between reading and listening, and your spot is automatically saved. Pages automatically turn while the content is being read, so you can listen hands-free. You can choose from both male and female voices which can be sped up or slowed down to suit your preference. In the middle of a great book or article but have to jump in the car? Simply turn on Text-to-Speech and listen on the go.

Basic Web Browser
Kindle's basic Web browser works well to read simple, text-centric Web sites such as Google and Wikipedia. Need to find a movie listing or look up a sports score? Now it's easier than ever to find the information you're looking for right from your Kindle. The experimental Web browser is not currently available for some customers outside of the U.S. Check your country

Listen to Music & Podcasts
Transfer MP3 files to Kindle to play as background music while you read. You can quickly and easily transfer MP3 files via USB by connecting Kindle to your computer.

Included in the Box

Kindle electronic reader, U.S. power adapter (supports 100V-240V), and USB 2.0 cable (for connection to the Kindle power adapter or to connect to a computer).

My Review
s one of the original Kindle's biggest fans and an owner for over a year, I can speak to the Kindle from two perspectives--the benefits of owning a Kindle, and Kindle 2 improvements (as I've now had it for half a day)

The benefits of owning a Kindle (these do not change)
- Absolutely, Jeff Bezos is right that the Kindle 'disappears' as you read I read other reviews (and non-user critiques) about the Kindle, this point is often lost. Once you have the Kindle in your hands, you forget everything and become immersed in the content of what you're reading. Isn't that really the whole point?
- I read more now that I have my Kindle, 10 years out of college than I did when I was in school, and I really enjoy it. Books look a lot less intimidating when they aren't sitting on your bookshelf and 3 inches thick. I recently finished Team of Rivals, and I am sure that if I had to read it in book form, I would never have gotten through it because it would have felt so intimidating.
- Heft and weight is a complete non-issue with the Kindle. I like to read in odd positions (in bed, on the couch, on a plane, poolside, shifting around in a lounge chair) and I've always had trouble with real books because unless you are in the absolute middle of the book, it always is weighted to one side or another and frankly, my arm and pinkie finger gets tired holding it up. The Kindle is balanced and portable, and entirely usable in any situation.
- I can be in the middle of a lot of different books at once...not much more to say here. You never run out of space on the Kindle, and though it may be a little bit hard to maneuver around a lot of books in your library, it's still better to have access to all your books at any time.
- I now read newspapers. I always found physical newspapers to be clumsy and take up too much space to actually subscribe to. They are great for short content pieces, but terrible for reading in transit because the pages are so big. I also read some articles on my BlackBerry, but find myself scrolling a lot and waiting a long time for page loads. On the Kindle, you have wireless delivery, easy navigation, no ads, no need to flip to page D17 and find the place where you left off. You also have a searchable/annoted/bookmarked archive of all your newspaper articles if you ever need to find something again.
- All of these things can probably be accomplished with any eBook reader. The difference with the Kindle is that you have wireless delivery of content. This means, literally, that I can be sitting on the plane, start talking about what good books the guy sitting next to me has read recently, look it up on my Kindle, read the reviews and download it before the rest of the passengers have boarded and the plane doors close. This has happened.
- My biggest complaint, which I'm sure will be addressed in due course is that the entire wireless benefit does not exist outside of the US. I have taken my Kindle to Canada, Mexico and China, and I found that I had to (gasp), decide what I wanted to have on my Kindle before I left the US. Foreign language support would also be a plus, but again, I see why this might come later.

Now, onto improvements with the Kindle 2
- There are the obvious ones: sleeker look and feel (it feels solid in your hands), sharper screen, no longer accidentally depressing the next page button by accident and having to find your place in the book can read about these from various sources)
- The 5-way button, though a bit small, allows you to select left and right, and not just up and down like the original version. This is very helpful when you want to select and highlight.
- There are now two layers of interaction...before when you were reading a paper, you could only go back to the previous screen to select the next article. Now, there is an option at the bottom of the screen to skip to the next article when you tire of the current one.
- Page loads are much faster. I can feel that the delay between pages is much less. Only issue is I need to recalibrate now--in general, I try to anticipate how much time it will take the next page to load, and when I'm two lines from the bottom, I would hit the next page button. Now I need to push the button later.
- Text to speech is cloogey, but fun. I'm not sure how useful this will end up being. I tried to have the voice read the user's manual to me and it paused at commas and periods, but skipped right over hard returns. It also scrolled the page as it was reading, so if you are trying learn English and don't mind developing a metallic accent, it could really help. :-) You can also choose, male/female and speed. I think this could be a nice feature, though probably won't be using it all the time.
- Managing your books is much easier. It's easy to see what is in your archive and re-download onto the Kindle. Also easy to delete and manage your books. That 5-way button is magical...though a bit unintuitive--you need to train yourself to think that there might be something useful if you scroll to the right.
- Dictionary is improved. Now you can highlight a word and it automatically gives you a definition at the bottom of the screen. It also lets you look up words (that are not in the text), which is an improvement since the last version.

I'm sure there are still a bunch of things that I haven't yet discovered about the Kindle 2. I don't really bookmark/annotate/highlight that much, but for those who do, I think this has also been improved upon.

Overall, the Kindle is an amazing product. It did the basics well in the original model, the Kindle 2 has improved on a lot of dimensions, and I look forward to seeing what new bells and whistles are still to come.

If you are considering buying one, and need to see before you order, find someone in your city who has one and can show you. There is now a special board for this on Amazon. Kindle owners (at least this one), are always happy to talk about it, and you will be delighted with the screen and the possibilities in such a compact package.

Sony DVP-FX930 9-Inch Portable DVD Player, Black

njoy your favorite movies on the road with the DVP-FX930 portable DVD player. Boasting a large 9-inch, high-resolution widescreen display and up to six hours of battery life, this portable device is ideal for long flights and car rides. Conveniently located touch keys and a 180-degree swivel and flip screen make it a breeze to operate and watch your favorite flicks. And when you want more than movies, this portable DVD player lets you view your personal photo albums and plays your CDs or MP3s. You can even share audio and video with a friend via two built-in headphone jacks. The FX930 is available in black, blue, red, pink and white.

9-Inch, High-Resolution, Widescreen Monitor
Enjoy entertainment on the go with the Sony DVP-FX930 portable DVD player, featuring a nine-inch, high-resolution screen (800 x 480 resolution) and widescreen display.

6-Hour Rechargeable Battery
With up to six hours of battery life, the Sony DVP-FX930 portable DVD player lets you watch approximately three full-length movies before having to recharge.

180 Swivel and Flip Monitor
A convenient180-degree swivel and flip screen allows you to watch your DVDs from almost any angle.

Touch Keys on Bezel for Easy Operation
Easy-to-access touch keys are conveniently located on the frame surrounding the player's screen.

Multiple Format Disc Playback
View movies and photos and listen to music with multiple format playback.

Ultra-portable at under two pounds. Click to enlarge.

Available in Five Colors
The DVP-FX930 series comes in five colors to complement the player's stylish design. Choose classic black or select a stunning blue, red, pink, or white player.

Two Built-In Headphone Jacks
Share your entertainment with friends and family with two built-in headphone jacks.

Dual Sensors for Enhanced Remote Control Use
Dual sensors on the player let you operate the remote control from various angles.

Car Adaptor Included
Included car adaptor helps make sure your DVD player is always ready to go no matter how long the road trip.

Disc Resume
With disc resume, you can boot up a DVD where you left off.

A/V Input and Output
Plug the DVP-FX930 into your TV using the A/V output and it instantly becomes a standard DVD player.

12-bit/108MHz Video DAC
Enjoy a pristine picture every time you play a DVD with 12-bit/108MHz Video DAC (Digital to Analog Conversion). The DAC technology minimizes digital artifacts and fine picture gradation for an image that's closer to the original source.

What's in the Box Sony DVP-FX930 9" Portable DVD Player (Black), Remote Control (RMT-D191), Rechargeable Battery Pack, AC Adaptor (AC-FX160), Car Battery Charger (DCC-FX160), Owners Manual, A/V Cable

Enjoy sharp, crisp images with the high-resolution Sony DVP-FX930 stylish portable DVD player. The DVP-FX930 features a nine-inch (diag.) screen and six hours of battery life, allowing you to watch your movies from virtually anywhere for an extended period of time. Convenient touch-screen keys and a 180-degree swivel and flip screen make it easy to operate and watch your favorite movies.

My Review
I had been looking at the previous Sony model that had over 300 reviews and CNET had it as their choice in the portable DVD products in the 7"-10" screen sizes.

I am very please with the latest Sony model, what has changed is they made the screen an inch larger and placed touch buttons on the newer model. This FX 930 looks more modern, sleek although it is a little larger.

I am very pleased as I have played various DVD's, using full and normal settings that you can select for wide or standard screen formats. I have played many CD's from the actual artists to my own made CD's at home and played music files from my PC and taken along photos like a photo album when I want to share or have those close to me with me so to speak when traveling.

Sound is fine for the little speakers but 99% of the time I use really good headphones and you get two jacks so you can share when sitting with someone on a plane, train, or in the car as long as you are not driving. Had to toss that in! ;)

It is not too heavy compared to many, certainly much less than a laptop and still small enough screen size to know you are not luggin around a laptop. Battery life is standard, I have it run out yet but have not been on pure battery for 6 hours yet either. I try to have it plugged in most of the time during use and for the car you get a car charger included in the box.

Being it is smaller it makes it more mobile for your travels whether local or abroad.

I have been using this item non-stop almost without any issues. Could it be improved, yes, almost any product can be and as with any electronics they seem to improve with almost each iteration.

With this said, you can save $30-$40 by buying the previous model. It is an inch smaller but the screen resolution is the same and many of the features are almost identical.

Take it for a test drive and remember you've got 30 days to test it and if it is not what you like or expect, return it and try another, but choices on these products are quite limited since many use their PSP, iPhone, or iPods to watch movies/videos etc.

Buy it on Amazon