Developed in part with a grant from
the National Science Foundation

Member since April 2007

  • Reviews 66
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5 stars
34
4 stars
25
3 stars
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4
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About Me

I am interested in the development of new technologies and how they can benefit society.

How I Can Help

I have a background in computer science, business, and internet technologies.

Interests

museums, music, movies (in no particular order)

66 Reviews by Michael

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Peloton

Peloton

9/18/18
I tried the Peloton for the first time at a friend's place and was skeptical at first. I'm not a big cyclist, so I had a hard time understanding why anybody would pay thousands for a bike + a monthly subscription fee. But I actually enjoyed the experience.

The bike is much more compact than I expected it to be. The screen is fairly immersive and the trainers in the videos are all very attractive and motivating. The workout my friend chose for me was very difficult, but went by quickly. I liked getting the immediate feedback on my heart rate, speed, and output. At the end of the workout, I was able to see how I performed relative to others, review all my summary stats, and could barely walk. I'll need to try it again when I'm in better shape!
Timbuk2

Timbuk2

4/11/18
I probably wouldn't bring my bag to a formal business meeting, but it's a great looking everyday bag to use at cafes and the office. I've had mine for 6 years already and it still feels like new. It's definitely more durable than any other bag I've owned in the past. It just reeks of coffee from all the time it has spent in the coffee shop!
GoFraudMe

GoFraudMe

2/15/18
This is a neat site that reports on fake and fraudulent campaigns on GoFundMe. With the rising popularity of crowdfunding, charitable sites like GoFundMe have become the easiest place to contribute to a cause. But scammers have also taken advantage of these platforms to steal money from good samaritans through fake campaigns. GoFraudMe monitors reports of fraudulent campaigns from social media, local sources and direct donor reports, and then publishes them for everyone to see. It's a great way to double check a campaign before making a donation.
Centraldev

Centraldev

3/4/17
I have known Marcelo for over seven years and have worked with Centraldev on many projects for our company. Centraldev provides access to a talented and affordable pool of engineers down in Argentina. I have always been happy with the way they manage their projects and the overall quality of their work.

Marcelo is an excellent communicator and always responds very quickly whenever I reach out to him. He is also very fair and goes out of his way to make sure his clients are getting a great return on their investment.

Centraldev prioritizes the long-term satisfaction of its clients, which is why I have returned to them over and over again. I highly recommend them to any company that is considering outsourcing some or all of their engineering projects.
Service
Value
Quality
HappiestBaby

HappiestBaby

2/8/17
First off, let me start by saying the the SNOO is a beautiful piece of furniture. Even if all it does is sit in the corner looking pretty, you might be able to justify its hefty price. I was a bit skeptical at first, but I must say the SNOO does do everything it claims to do. It combines a white noise machine with a swing with a swaddle with a bassinet. It can literally replace all of those things and save some space in your house.

It's actually quite simple -- the SNOO pipes in white noise and rocks at different levels of intensity that you can control with your phone. And it automatically adjusts the intensity based on how much your baby is crying. It even has a weaning feature that helps the baby adjust to life without the SNOO as it grows older.

So far so good, but verdict is still out on whether it can help sleep train a baby to sleep through the night by 2 months! Now that would be something...

Tip for consumers: The SNOO comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee. And that includes shipping, so it's hard not to give it a shot if you're desperate for sleep.

KickStarter

KickStarter

10/25/16
Kickstarter is a innovative micro-patronage site which connects aspiring
creatives to those who want to be more involved in endorsing interesting
projects. The way it works is that individuals who conceive of a project but do
not have the money to pursue it or don't want to bear the financial risk can
submit their idea to the site. Donors can then see the projects and decide to
donate as much or as little as they want to support one they find interesting.

The artists benefit from seeing how viable or interesting their idea really is
before they decide to follow through on them. And the donors typically get a
memento or are somehow incorporated into the project. For example, one project
involved a women sending a postcard from around the world every day for 365
days. If you donated to her cause, not only did you help out financially, but
you provide one of the 365 addresses and in turn receive one of the postcards!

Projects have ranged from new restaurants, world travel, movies, and even open
source social networks. The homepage organizes the projects into different
categories so that they are easy to browse and each project shows how much money
is required and has been raised so far. I praise Kickstarter for helping reduce
the friction around true innovation and creativity.
YourMechanic

YourMechanic

7/22/14
I've used this service several times now. Basically, they give you a quote online and the mechanic comes to your house or office to service your car. No more dropping off the car at a garage and being stranded without a ride for several hours.

Each time I've used the service, the mechanic has been super friendly and very knowledgeable. One time, he was able to fix my problem in a mere 15 minutes and I was able to get half the fee refunded to me. I've been impressed so far with their customer service and the costs have seemed very reasonable.
Service
Value
AllClearID

AllClearID

3/17/14
A few years ago, one of my credit cards had a security breach and some members had their personal information stolen. As compensation, my credit card company offered one year of free identity-theft protection from a company called Debix. I really enjoyed the service, which monitored my transactions as well as my credit from the three major credit bureaus and alerted me whenever anything suspicious came up. Fortunately, I never received an alert and therefore never needed to use their extended services of identity repair or identity-theft insurance.

I'm not sure if I would actually pay for the service since I can easily monitor my credit on my own. However, since I used the service, they have rebranded themselves as AllClearID and switched their focus to providing data-protection services to businesses. Because of this, their identity monitoring services are now subsidized by their business customers and completely free to regular users, so I would recommend checking it out if this is something you are worried about.
FlightCar

FlightCar

6/26/13
This is a neat new service which offers travelers free airport parking in exchange for renting their cars out at much lower prices than traditional rental car companies. In addition to providing free parking, they will wash your car and also compensate you if you car is rented while you're gone. For someone who is always debating the best way to get to the airport (and in need of a car wash), I decided to try them out before going out of town for the weekend.

I was able to schedule a drop off just six hours in advance by calling the service -- the FlightCar website doesn't allow you to make appointments online less than 24 hours in advance. Everything went smoothly in the morning. I was especially impressed by the professionalism of the staff, uniforms and branding given how new the service was. When I got back from my trip, I was pleasantly surprised that they washed my car even though it wasn't rented out. However, the shuttle back from the airport didn't show up for 25 min, which was a little longer than expected.

My experience is pretty limited so far, but I will definitely use them again and see how the experience is when someone actually rents my car. I have also not rented from them yet, but hope to try them out after they expand their locations beyond just San Francisco and Boston.
Brilliance

Brilliance

5/8/13
While out ring shopping with my girlfriend, she saw a ring she liked, but I knew I could improve upon the design. I looked at various custom jewelers, but Brilliance seemed to have the biggest selection and most transparent design process. I was slightly skeptical since they were strictly an online business, so I called them up and was put in touch with Jonathon Ohayon. He blew me away with his depth of knowledge, experience, and honesty. I immediately felt comfortable enough to lay down the $200 deposit to get the design process started.

The way it works is that once you put down the deposit, you begin working with their designers to come up with the exact design that you want. You can send in drawings, images, or written descriptions and they send you back computerized renderings for you to provide feedback. This continues back and forth for as long as you want, until you are completely satisfied with the design, and then it goes into production which takes about a week. They will even send you the diamond ahead of time for inspection before they mount it in the setting, although I didn't take advantage of this option. Finally, when the ring is ready, it's shipped to you overnight with a beautiful black box, the certification, and a professional appraisal.

I was extremely impressed with every aspect of the process, including the introductory call, the iterative design process, the customer education, the diamond selection, and the final delivery. I was very demanding, but the team that worked with me was always patient and enthusiastic. When it came time to choose the diamond, Jonathon gave very candid feedback on what he thought would look nice and what he thought wouldn't work. And once you're close to your final decision, he goes out of the way to confirm that the stone looks great in person.

The whole process took a little over a month, but mostly because I was so specific with what I wanted. The end product was amazing and turned out even better than I had envisioned from the renderings. I gave it to my girlfriend this past weekend and she thought it was absolutely perfect! If anybody needs a custom engagement ring made, I have to recommend Brilliance for their amazing level of professionalism and quality.
Tristate Camera

Tristate Camera

1/22/13
Ordered the Olympus Tough TG-1 camera from these guys and was very satisfied with the experience:

1) Price at Tri-State Camera was $60 less than what it was being offered for on Amazon. I usually purchase from Amazon because of their Prime 2-day shipping, but even after selecting the 2-day air option from Tri-State, I was saving a lot of money.

2) I needed the camera before going on vacation and because I had ordered it right before MLK weekend, I wasn't sure I was going to receive it in time. I called them up and found out that, sure enough, it was going to get there one day too late. However, the manager I spoke to, Al, told me he would overnight it for no extra cost and personally guaranteed that I would get it in time.

I got the camera as promised right before my trip, in perfect condition. You just don't get service like that anymore these days from most online retailers. I highly recommend these guys and look forward to buying more stuff from them. You just can't beat the price and the customer service at Tri-State Camera.
Pttrns

Pttrns

3/17/14
Simple website showcasing great mobile application design patterns. All screenshots are taken from popular mobile applications and arranged in a very browseable grid format. You can also filter the types of screenshots by selecting one of the UI elements from the left column (e.g. comments, search, etc.) If you're interested in UI design or thinking of building a mobile app, make sure to check out this site.
Mayhem.cbssports

Mayhem.cbssports

3/17/12
Simply the best place to manage your NCAA tournament brackets. The interface has improved greatly over the past few years, making it easier now than ever to fill in and track your picks. When filling out your bracket, the site allows you to pre-populate your choices with expert picks, public consensus picks, or any of your previously completed brackets. It literally takes about 5 seconds and two clicks to get a respectable bracket up and running.

Beyond these features, I've found this site to have the quickest updates, best standings board, most customizable options for managers, and overall the cleanest interface. Highly recommended for a site you'll be glued to everyday for the last three weeks of march.
Meme Generatorr

Meme Generatorr

8/24/11
Very cool site that allows you to create meme-based photos or posters with customized text. All the popular memes are on there and the interface is extremely easy to use. It's also a cool place to go to see which memes are trending these days. But at the end of the day, your generated image will only be as funny as your captions are creative...
FareCompare

FareCompare

8/20/11
A sophisticated airfare comparison site which differentiates itself on the amount of data it searches and the speed at which it is able to process and present the results. It has the most airlines and search options of all the travel comparison sites I've seen and even pops up multiple windows to other meta-search engines so that you can compare the results. Another neat feature is the ability to sign up for real-time email alerts on price drops for preselected routes.

They are also known to mine the vast amounts of data to which they have access and perform advanced analytics to understand how and when prices fluctuate. The site publishes these findings in a series of very helpful travel advice articles, explaining to consumers not only the best days to travel, but also the best days to *purchase* tickets. It's definitely worth visiting this site even if just to gain greater insight into how the airline industry works.
Warby Parker

Warby Parker

7/11/11
A very impressive eye wear company selling amazing products for a really good cause. Everything is top notch, including their designs, their product quality, their customer service, and even their website. I just can't say enough good things about Warby Parker:

1) Very trendy frames and prescription lenses for only $95 (yes, $95)
2) A website that allows you to try on frames virtually by uploading a photo
3) Allows customers to try up to 5 different frames in 5 days with a pre-paid return shipping label
4) 30-day satisfaction guaranteed return policy
5) Donates a pair of glasses to someone in need for every pair sold
6) Works with non-profits to promote third-world women entrepreneurship

There's really no reason to ever buy expensive designer glasses again. Who knew a company could literally make the world a better place at the same time as providing you with the latest in trendy eye wear?
Google Plus

Google Plus

7/7/11
Google's latest attempt at creating a true social network to compete with Facebook, and also their best. The interface is very slick and cleaner than Facebook's. The standout features are: (1) ability to arrange all your friends into and share content with smaller groups or "Circles", (2) ability to do group video chat up to 10 people in "Hangouts", and (3) deep integration with Picasa for photo sharing with a very fast and intuitive interface. I'm still learning all the features and I'm sure they'll improve a lot over the next few weeks, but so far I've been very impressed!
Walgreens

Walgreens

6/19/11
Very simple and easy-to-use website for ordering contact lenses. And best of all, very cheap -- you typically get free shipping on orders over $99 and there are coupons for at least 15% off all over the internet. After your initial order, re-ordering just takes a few clicks. I've ordered from here a few times already and am a happy customer.
ElderGadget

ElderGadget

4/7/11
A website that discusses technology for baby boomers seems like a great idea, but ElderGadget falls well short of executing on that vision. I am assuming that this site is modeled after engadget, based on its name and layout, but after a few minutes browsing the site, I was very disappointed by the quality of the content and the depth of the reviews. Most of the product reviews simply list out specs and product features, with no commentary on how it might be particularly well suited for seniors. The site also offers brain games and cartoons for the elderly, but I find them a bit patronizing. Perhaps the most useful features are the how-to guides which explain things like getting on to the internet or changing your computer settings. All-in-all, a very poorly designed website which doesn't do a good job of truly catering to the audience for which it was made.
CoupRecoup

CoupRecoup

4/7/11
As companies like Groupon and LivingSocial continue to explode in popularity, I see many of my friends purchasing hundreds of unnecessary coupons that they never end up using. For those experiencing buyer's remorse from the latest local deals craze, CoupRecoup offers a very valuable service -- it provides a public marketplace for those groupons you can't or don't intend to use anymore. The site basically acts like a craigslist for online coupons, simply connecting buyers and sellers who are then responsible for completing the transaction off the site.

I find the service particularly useful when shopping or browsing for discounted discounts. CoupRecoup makes it very easy to see what the best deals are (after being marked down again in the secondary market), by providing basic sorting and filtering options. Just sort by discount percentage and you'll see things like a month of yoga classes for $10 or one-hour acupuncture sessions for $20. Still completely unnecessary? Yes, but at least I won't feel so bad when I find out I no longer have time to go indoor skydiving.

Michael Has Earned 415 Votes

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rogerh180
Should-Use-A- D. thanked you for your review of WikiLeaks

“Solid Points.”

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