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Reviews Written by
Andre Lawrence (Miami, Florida)
(TOP 50 REVIEWER)   

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MIU COLOR® Stylish Portable Real Borosilicate Glass Water Bottle with Tea Strainer and Nylon Sleeve,550ml (with Tea Strainer)
MIU COLOR® Stylish Portable Real Borosilicate Glass Water Bottle with Tea Strainer and Nylon Sleeve,550ml (with Tea Strainer)
Offered by KKSTAR CA
Price: Click here to see our price
2 used & new from CDN$ 25.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Miu Glass Water Bottle w/ Tea Filter, July 23 2014
Length:: 1:51 Mins

As I stated in the video, this is one of the most beautiful tea pots I have ever seen.

The Miu is a 5-piece set that includes:

The Glass Container (w/ tea filter)
Nylon sleeve
Two (2) wash sponges
Thong

and the instruction booklet.

The system is very easy to use and the only thing that needs to be of concern is the occasional dripping from the seal/gasket. I suspect after having this for several weeks and noticing its tendency, this is not a major problem because it drips for a small amount of liquid then it stops. My hunch is, is that the hot liquid causes the seal to condense and after it cools a bit, it expands.

But, that is something that the company should look more closely into.

However, everyone whose seen this tea pot absolutely loves it.

4 stars

Daffodil CAP105 Dual USB Car Charger - Twin Cigarette Lighter USB Socket with 2 USB Ports - Dual Charging Device for Drivers (Black)
Daffodil CAP105 Dual USB Car Charger - Twin Cigarette Lighter USB Socket with 2 USB Ports - Dual Charging Device for Drivers (Black)
Offered by Daffodil CA

5.0 out of 5 stars Daffodil Car Charger- Excellent Device, July 20 2014
Length:: 0:36 Mins

The Daffodil car charger is great device. It has the standard two (2) outputs 2.1a and 1.0a

What I like most about it is that is very small and compact.

ARCTIC S111 M Mobile Mini Stereo USB Sound System with 2 x 2 W RMS Integrated 2000 mAh Lithium Polymer Battery - Retail Packaging - Lime
ARCTIC S111 M Mobile Mini Stereo USB Sound System with 2 x 2 W RMS Integrated 2000 mAh Lithium Polymer Battery - Retail Packaging - Lime
Price: CDN$ 24.99

4.0 out of 5 stars A First Look. Arctic S111M/Mobile (2014) and BT/Bluetooth (2014)—A Critical Review., July 19 2014
One of the things I have always liked and respected about Arctic is their willingness to design and manufacture their own goods. Too many product come by us, product reviewers, that are made in a central factory--most likely China--and the only difference is, is the nameplate attached to the unit.

***
I've tested the previous two incarnations of the "S111" and both are good, consumer/ basic speakers. The real enticement of the S111 series has always been the issue of value. Features vs. cost, is a real issue here.

*** S111M/ "Mobile" ***
Like the previous models, the current versions of the S111 offers a mixed bag of choices that have varying results when compared to the previous models.

The S111M (Mobile)

The first of the two models is now designated as the "S111M" or Mobile. This model features:

+ Wired connection to an older audio device or cellphone, tablet or laptop.
+ Small footprint (2.5" x 2.5" x 2.5")
+ Micro usb to usb cord
+ 3.5mm cord
+ Hard Case

- 4 watts (2w x2)
- Frequency range: 50Hz to 25KHz
- No screen protection for the speaker cone

*** Sound
The sound is like previous models not exceptional but acceptable. The frequency range is a modest 50-25 and a 4w max output is barely passable when compared to a cellphone or a tablet's internal speakers. But, this incarnation should have been at least 6 or even 8 watts to distinguish it from the previous generations.

I'm also surprised that there's not screen of any kind over the speaker opening: You have the exposed speaker cones. I would really like to see for the future just a thin mesh to offer some kind of protection.

*** S111 BT/ Bluetooth ***

The S111BT is surprisingly better than it's "M" sister. But, I can't put my finger on why.

The "BT" has the exact same spec's, dimensions and accessories as the M with the exception of the Bluetooth radio installed.

As you can see in the separate video for the "BT"--there's a distinct difference in sound quality output.

Typically a wired connection, plugged directly into the source has an advance but I really like what I hear from the BT version. The midrange is more vibrant and less distorted and both the lower and higher levels sounds improved over all of the other S111 models I've tested.

So, the...

S111M--3.5 stars
S111BT- 4.5 stars

ARCTIC S111 BT Mobile Bluetooth V4.0 Sound-System with 2 x 2 W RMS AAC/aptX - Retail Packaging - Blue
ARCTIC S111 BT Mobile Bluetooth V4.0 Sound-System with 2 x 2 W RMS AAC/aptX - Retail Packaging - Blue
Price: CDN$ 29.99

5.0 out of 5 stars A First Look. Arctic S111M/Mobile (2014) and BT/Bluetooth (2014)—A Critical Review., July 19 2014
One of the things I have always liked and respected about Arctic is their willingness to design and manufacture their own goods. Too many product come by us, product reviewers, that are made in a central factory--most likely China--and the only difference is, is the nameplate attached to the unit.

***
I've tested the previous two incarnations of the "S111" and both are good, consumer/ basic speakers. The real enticement of the S111 series has always been the issue of value. Features vs. cost, is a real issue here.

*** S111M/ "Mobile" ***
Like the previous models, the current versions of the S111 offers a mixed bag of choices that have varying results when compared to the previous models.

The S111M (Mobile)

The first of the two models is now designated as the "S111M" or Mobile. This model features:

+ Wired connection to an older audio device or cellphone, tablet or laptop.
+ Small footprint (2.5" x 2.5" x 2.5")
+ Micro usb to usb cord
+ 3.5mm cord
+ Hard Case

- 4 watts (2w x2)
- Frequency range: 50Hz to 25KHz
- No screen protection for the speaker cone

*** Sound
The sound is like previous models not exceptional but acceptable. The frequency range is a modest 50-25 and a 4w max output is barely passable when compared to a cellphone or a tablet's internal speakers. But, this incarnation should have been at least 6 or even 8 watts to distinguish it from the previous generations.

I'm also surprised that there's not screen of any kind over the speaker opening: You have the exposed speaker cones. I would really like to see for the future just a thin mesh to offer some kind of protection.

*** S111 BT/ Bluetooth ***

The S111BT is surprisingly better than it's "M" sister. But, I can't put my finger on why.

The "BT" has the exact same spec's, dimensions and accessories as the M with the exception of the Bluetooth radio installed.

As you can see in the separate video for the "BT"--there's a distinct difference in sound quality output.

Typically a wired connection, plugged directly into the source has an advance but I really like what I hear from the BT version. The midrange is more vibrant and less distorted and both the lower and higher levels sounds improved over all of the other S111 models I've tested.

So, the...

S111M--3.5 stars
S111BT- 4.5 stars

Shift: Indigenous Principles for Corporate Change
Shift: Indigenous Principles for Corporate Change
Price: CDN$ 1.11

4.0 out of 5 stars SHIFT: Indigenous Principles for Corporate Change—A Reader’s Review, July 14 2014
If you're a part of the "Baby Boomer" Generation or even of the "Greatest Generation," it may seem difficult to understand what has happened in Corporate America over the past several decades.

My dad was a part of the former. And, the changes he saw both scared him and puzzled him simultaneously.

"Why can't you just get a job and stick with one company?" "In my day, I've only had 2 jobs after I left high school!" "We all made sacrifices to just to `make it'!" "Your generation wants everything handed to you!"

These were the kinds of things that were told to him. These were the kinds of statements that he reached for when he went through troubling times as a married man with four children to care for.

When the harsh realities of the Wall Street/ Corporate America started to change direction and the ever-available jobs (and, I use the term "jobs" very loosely) started to disappear; stagnant wages were discussed in grievous communities on factory floors while executives celebrated record bonuses in boardrooms high above.

But, it didn't stop there.

Outsourcing and environmental deconstruction started to make the headlines in the 90's.

For the people in my father's generation, it was a dichotomy that left them perplexed. If things are so bad, how are some getting richer?

This is not a discussion on the idea of wealth re-distribution, just a discussion on corporate ethics.

To be sure, there have been corporate executives who've re-invested in the American workforce, use recyclable/ renewable resources and put a cap on excessive executive compensation.

Some of the early examples that come to mind was a gentleman, I believe he had his factory in Pittsburg during President Clinton's term. He invented a fireproof and waterproof polyester. When it came to his attention that a competitor had discovered and stole his idea, he attempted to sue the competitor only to discover that they had just recently patented the idea that he had been using for several years at that time.

The company, started by this now-elderly man, was headed to bankruptcy. But, that wasn't the end of the story. It came out that every one in the company had good health insurance, adequate pay and a good working relationship with the owner. This man, facing his staff, created and bankrolled out of his own savings, a severance package for long-time associates. For more recently hired associates, he paid for job-retraining classes. He later extended his beneficence by agreeing to pay for extended unemployment benefits for the long-term unemployed.

Tony Hsieh, the founder of Zappos, more recently wrote a book on his life before and after saving the small, but personal-oriented online shoe store. His broadview of people, their talents and his own selfless bankrolling of this dream is an inspirational reminder that there are still great people who manage companies.

***
SHIFT: Indigenous Principles for Corporate Change, by Mr. Glenn Geffcken, is one man's attempt to introduce a "Native" perspective to this corporate climate of greed, mismanagement and disconnect from the workforce.

For Mr. Geffcken, egregious company implementations should be tempered by embracing what he calls an "indigenous" mindset--one that is rooted in Nature and "Core" principles. This according to Mr. Geffcken can balance out or even correct bad corporate policies of the past.

In this softcover book, the principles are laid out in 21 chapters. They are as follows:

Ch. 5- Connection To The Earth
Ch. 6- Everything is Alive
Ch. 7- The Elders
Ch. 8- The Four Directions
Ch. 9- Patience
Ch. 10- Intentionality
Ch. 11- Roles of Men and Women
Ch. 12- The Seventh Generation Unborn
Ch. 13- The Oral Tradition
Ch. 14- The Way of Love
Ch. 15- Integrity
Ch. 16- The Spirit World
Ch. 17- Organizational Change Starts With Ourselves
Ch. 18- The Warrior Spirit
Ch. 19- Creating Purpose
Ch. 20- Creating Core Values
Ch. 21- Integrating Core Values
Ch. 22- The Lesson From Tobacco
Ch. 23- Vigilance
Ch. 24- Trust
Ch. 25- Humility

The first four chapters are devoted to (and, I'm not sure convincingly) to defining what "Indigenous" means.

For Mr. Geffcken, Indigenous is an all-encompassing term referring to the original inhabitants of a particular land AND a similar, common socio-religious belief that are connected to the natural environment.

For my reading, this broad designation is counter-productive for an intellectual argument that he's about to undertake. So, I reduced the spectrum as simply a consensus of many indigenous tribes of North America. But, even that may be presumptuous.

I like the book, nonetheless, but not because I think that he has an alternative psychological path for a desirous corporate executive to consider but because this is more of a treaty for individual, personal growth.

I also like that each chapter is peppered with anecdotes about his many different experiences with native rituals and what those rituals signified to him.

In many of the chapters, Mr. Geffcken brings up that he participated in * this * ceremony, alluding to an esoteric ritual that demands a certain degree of privacy and respect. But, he stops just short of sharing what exactly went on.

This is good because he'd have a difficult time trying to explain how and why replicating a spiritual exercise (meant for only for parishioners) could be beneficial in a secular situation, such as a board meeting. But, the heart of this argument is rooted in what happened when he was * there *. So, you're left with an assumption that whatever it was that took place is the reason why this principle is valid.

This is not necessarily a negative criticism.

Many of us who cherish a spiritual tradition knows how hard it is to explain certain precepts and sometimes even analyzing a belief is nearly impossible without some dose of rationalization.

This, I would say, is why I like this book and it's because of the conclusions that Mr. Geffchken comes to which reminds me of the same conclusions other communities-- nowhere near connected to the native people--come to. It's a validation of sorts.

LuguLake® Wireless Bluetooth Speaker Stand Portable Stereo Speaker Built-in 3.5mm Aux Port, Coffeee
LuguLake® Wireless Bluetooth Speaker Stand Portable Stereo Speaker Built-in 3.5mm Aux Port, Coffeee
Offered by LuguLake Direct CA
Price: CDN$ 89.99
2 used & new from CDN$ 54.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars LuguLake “BT 10” Bluetooth Speaker: A Critical Review., July 13 2014
Length:: 6:10 Mins

The "BT 10" is one of most elegant of wireless speakers I have seen in some time.

This Bluetooth speaker is also doubles as external, wired speaker for your older analog or mobile devices with a 3.5mm jack.

This review unit is a "brown" but is more like a pearlized bronze.

The speaker features:

* 8" x 2" and has a built-in tablet holder in the front.

* Two 3-watt speakers on the left and right.

* Bluetooth 3.0 (or roughly 50' of wireless connectivity)

* Micro usb and 3.5mm cable

* 1000 mAh internal battery (for a 4.5- 6 hrs of use, depending on the loudness and use of other features.)

***
In the accompanying video, I play a few random tracks to give you an idea of the sound reproduction of this unit.

On the whole, the unit is a very good set that is NOT bass-centric. What this means is that the speaker is very versatile if you like a broad-range of music from time to time. But, if you listen to bass-heavy music exclusively, the speaker probably won't appeal to you. But, for me this is a positive because I know this kind of speaker typically has less noise distortion at the lower frequencies and reproduces vocals more accurately.

Another thing that should be pointed out is that this speaker by a newly, formed private audio company is marketed toward consumer-grade/ budget-friendly/ mass market division.

Every once and a while, I'll get a question about how does this device stack up against this or that.

There are three grades of electronics:

Consumer
Prosumer
Professional.

Most of the devices on Amazon are for the consumer market, with an equal amount shared between the Prosumer division and the Professional division. The standards (like the price) are much higher as you go up the line.

But, this "consumer" grade device is well made, the sound is very good and its elegant design means that it fits nicely with your better audio equipment or cellular devices and not like those gaudy, kiddy-ish looking products that offers little in the way of value for the buck.

This device is a winner.

ORICO CMF3-10 SuperSpeed USB 3.0 Charging Data Cable for Samsung Galaxy Note3, S5, Note Pro and any Micro USB 3.0 Devices, 3.3FT(1m), Black
ORICO CMF3-10 SuperSpeed USB 3.0 Charging Data Cable for Samsung Galaxy Note3, S5, Note Pro and any Micro USB 3.0 Devices, 3.3FT(1m), Black
Offered by ORICO Direct Store

5.0 out of 5 stars Orico USB 3.0 Cables[CSR3-10 & CMF3-10]: A Critical Review, June 22 2014
Length:: 0:48 Mins

Orico has just release two variations of their USB 3.0 cables—the standard “CSR3-10” (circular) plug and a flat cable “CMF3-10” plug.

***

I have a few usb 3.0 plugs that I bought for Samsung Galaxy Note 3. They vary from the OEM to a generic brand to Cable Matters.

Believe it or not, the Samsung brand is probably the least durable of the cables that I have.

In the video, you’ll see how the Samsung plug stacks up against the Orico.

***

Each of the Oricos is a 3’ cable. The cable itself looks to be about 50% thicker than the Samsung cable and it’s visually the thickest of the bunch.

Testing these cables out for the past week, it’s my opinion that they’re made very sturdily and of the highest quality.

And, currently selling for $6.99, these are near the top as one of the best you can buy.

They’re, definitely, highly recommended.

TheraPearl Sports Pack
TheraPearl Sports Pack
Price: CDN$ 13.44
3 used & new from CDN$ 13.44

5.0 out of 5 stars Thera-Pearl Sports Pack w/ Strap: A Critical Review., June 18 2014
Length:: 1:34 Mins

The “Sports Pack with Strap” by Thera-Pearl is a limiting title for a muscle wrap that is also an effective muscle relaxer at work.

I’ve been calling this item the “Sports Wrap” for the past week without realizing that I had been mistaken in its moniker. What I wasn’t mistaken about was how multi-functional this medicinal pack is.

***

My day job is as a physical inventory specialist of high-end electronics for South American export company here in Miami. At times, the work is VERY physically demanding as these—largely Japanese—electronics has to be inspected and repackaged for the Brazilian, Chilean and Argentinian markets.

There are times when I am sore all over. This “Sports Pack” or sports-wrap is great to apply to aching muscles.

This system is actually a hot or cold compress.

If you need a heat press, the package can be put in the microwave for upto 35 seconds or (as I’ve demonstrated in the video) it can be used as a cold compress by having it in the freezer for about 2 hours. And, whether you use it as a hot or a cold press, it is applied to the area for at least 20 minutes.

The wrap stays secure and I can see this lasting for a very long time and….you don’t have to be an injured athlete to benefit from this technology.

OXA Mini Portable Wireless Bluetooth Speaker with Rechargeable Lithium Polymer Battery, Support for Micro SD Cards and AUX Line-in Port for Laptops; Smart Phones and More - Brown
OXA Mini Portable Wireless Bluetooth Speaker with Rechargeable Lithium Polymer Battery, Support for Micro SD Cards and AUX Line-in Port for Laptops; Smart Phones and More - Brown
Offered by Maple Style
Price: CDN$ 28.99
2 used & new from CDN$ 25.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Oxa Mini Bluetooth Speaker: A Critical Review, June 16 2014
Length:: 4:19 Mins

This speaker is a surprise.

It seems that everybody and their grandmother has a single, wireless speaker. On average, most of the speakers have sounds identical; a few are only marginally better than the rest. The biggest difference in my opinion has been how the speaker is packaged.

This one by Oxa is really, really nice. From the beautiful wood casing to the sound it produces, I’m really surprised at how different this speaker sounds.

I play a few samples in the video for you to get a feel of how it translates mp3 files.

Like most of the wireless speakers out there, speaker has a line-in /aux. jack that you can connect to your phone’s (or tablet’s) headphone port.

This speaker also has an FM transmitter and a phone speaker to answer calls.

The spec’s are as follows:
+ Bluetooth 2.0
+ Battery life of about 5 hours
+ Rechargeable time about 3 hours
+ Mini usb port/ mini usb plug
+ 3.5mm line in/ aux. jack—3.5mm plug

This speaker is a beautiful pearlized, bronze-copper. All of the speakers in this series is a pearlized and looks very professional.

It measures 2 '” x 2 '” x 2 '” and weighs less than .5 lb.

This is a very nice speaker.

OXA NFC Bluetooth Natural Wood Design Portable Wireless Stereo Speaker with Replaceable, Rechargeable Lithium Polymer Battery, Support for Micro SD Cards, Integrated FM Radio and AUX Line-in Port for Laptops; Smart Phones and More - Black
OXA NFC Bluetooth Natural Wood Design Portable Wireless Stereo Speaker with Replaceable, Rechargeable Lithium Polymer Battery, Support for Micro SD Cards, Integrated FM Radio and AUX Line-in Port for Laptops; Smart Phones and More - Black
Offered by Maple Style
Price: CDN$ 49.99
2 used & new from CDN$ 46.99

5.0 out of 5 stars (Grade: B+/A-) Oxa Stereo Bluetooth Speaker, Model #5300: A Critical Review., June 16 2014
Length:: 5:36 Mins

Generally speaking, speakers encased in wood are better sonically. Wood, as they say, is best at insulating sound around the speaker preventing leaks.

The #5300 set comes with:
+ The Speaker (4 5/8”x 4 '” x 4 '” – 1.5 lbs)
+ Micro usb cable
+ 3.5mm aux. line cable
+ 1000 mAh rechargeable lithium ion battery
+ 17-button remote

The speaker system produces very good sound and coupled with the fact that it’s encased in wood, the speaker has a balanced weight to it. The solid wood housing seems very durable and it looks elegant.

Put aside the aesthetic and this beautifully-designed speaker produces some very good sound for a consumer-grade speaker.

Just sampling a broad section of mp3’s, I didn’t detect any bass-enhancing filters in the speaker. In fact, up tempo cuts sounds natural and vibrant.

In the video you can hear some samples.

***
The only drawback is the remote. I had a very difficult time getting the remote to go to various functions. It took repeated and hard presses to get to other functions.

I like having the remote with this speaker, but it should have been created with better circuitry.

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