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Customer Reviews: 403
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Ira Laefsky "Ira Laefsky" RSS Feed (Philadelphia, PA)
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No Ordinary Disruption: The Four Global Forces Breaking All the Trends
No Ordinary Disruption: The Four Global Forces Breaking All the Trends
by Richard Dobbs
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $19.01
60 used & new from $11.94

5.0 out of 5 stars Important trends Affecting Business, Government and Individuals The World Over, July 1, 2015
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
The authors, three principals of McKinsey's Global Institute identify major trends likely to affect business, government and individual in the coming decades. These include urbanization particularly in the former third world, rapid adoption of new information and manufacturing technologies, the demographics of an aging planet, and globalization and transactions across national boundaries. There insight's in these important trends are likely to affect all of us whether we are business and government leaders or workers and individuals in the home. While I might not accept the specific recommendations and conclusions drawn by these experts in every case there observations of important trend likely to influence everyone on the planet in a few years make this indispensable reading.


XYZprinting Da Vinci Jr. 1.0 3D Printer
XYZprinting Da Vinci Jr. 1.0 3D Printer
Offered by Qurr Hardware
Price: $486.99
4 used & new from $486.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Low Cost Introduction to 3D Printing and Personal Manufacturing Technologies. A Few Start-Up Bugs& Support Issues, June 15, 2015
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Excellent Low Cost Introduction to 3D Printing and Personal Manufacturing Technologies. As other well satisfied hobbyists and beginners have stated this is the least expensive system which will allow the home hobbyist to experiment with 3D Printing. There are a few issues which have up until now prevented some users from getting the maximum benefit from this credible system. The largest involves problems with calibration that come with "bouncing around" in shipping of the somewhat delicate 3D calibration of the X and Z stages (spatial adjustments). In most cases the system can be re-calibrated with a few tools illustrated in new videos on the vendor site. A second issue is with the availability of phone support, the messaging system sometimes leaves you in "Phone Limbo" even calling within the 9AM-9PM EST time window. I did eventually reach Charles
on the Support Team who is knowledgeable and speaks excellent English. I am told that the quickest and most reliable means of obtaining support
(including telephone support) is by setting up a support ticket on the Support option of the web site.

One excellent feature which demands a special call-out is the possibility of transferring design files to an SD card so that the printer can be used offline from your computer. In order to use this feature if you have designed your model in other free or paid 3D software is that the STL model
which you might have created with other software must be imported into a (dot)3W file using XYZWARE. I would also recommend that any user with concerns about long term support of this printer, purchase a 3-Year Electronics Protection Plan from Square Trade or other warranty vendors.


Adventures in Arduino
Adventures in Arduino
by Becky Stewart
Edition: Paperback
Price: $17.45
50 used & new from $13.54

5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Introduction to the Arduino and Electronic Maker's Hobby for Children and Adult Beginners, June 15, 2015
This review is from: Adventures in Arduino (Paperback)
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This excellent introduction to the Arduino family and the microcontroller hobby is written by a British museum and hobbyist educator Becky Stewart. It is a much more complete introduction to the Arduino line than is typical for books aimed at the youthful beginner. Illustrations abound
and the circuit diagrams look like they were produced with the excellent open source Fritzing package. I have only two slight criticisms of this excellent beginner's guide to the Arduino: 1. The adventures or lessons after the first all seem to require additional parts, while some other beginners introduction make use of a minimal number of parts and show features of the Analog (in), Digital and Pulse-Width Modulation (PWM) Ports on the Arduino itself and show more features of the C/C++ programming language (SKETCHES) with without reuiring parts other than resistors, LEDS, Potentiometer and a solder-less breadboard for several of the first experiments (and thus allow the experimenter to become more familiar with the possibilities of the Arduino before selecting a parts kit or additional accessories); 2. No parts kit is available from a specific site among the excellent vendors listed in the appendix which provides a complete set of parts for following all experiments in the book.

With that said, this is an excellent introduction to the Arduino and related technologies for the youthful and adult beginner.


Moen YG0424BN Align 24-inch Designer Grab Bar, Brushed Nickel
Moen YG0424BN Align 24-inch Designer Grab Bar, Brushed Nickel
Price: $81.45

5.0 out of 5 stars Safety, Good Appearance, Ease of Installation, May 20, 2015
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Beautiful 24" (The Bar Length -- about 26" including the side attachments) brushed nickel appearance--very stylish). It affords safety and good appearance. Firm attachment to a tiled wall might require a drill made for ceramics, but this is not a limitation of the bar itself. Otherwise installation easy with good appearance.


Life on the Edge: The Coming of Age of Quantum Biology
Life on the Edge: The Coming of Age of Quantum Biology
by Jim Al-Khalili
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $14.67

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Engaging Science Journalism on Quantum Explained Phenomena in Current Biology, May 19, 2015
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
The authors, two prominent academics, describe several biological phenomena that are believed by some scientists to be best explained as the result of quantum phenomena (sub-atomic physical laws). These phenomena include the magnetic navigation of robins, certain characteristics of photosynthesis, a theory of the organization and phenomena of consciousness, and some aspects of smell sense. The strength of this popular but well documented piece of science journalism is that it describes and makes understandable current research into until now inadequately explained biological facts. The weakness if one is to be found in this engaging work is not enough explanation of the state of "proof" or general scientific acceptance of each instance where a quantum explanation of biological phenomena is presented. Certainly there is much to be learned from this essay in a new approach to biological science; however I feel limited as a layman in weighing the overwhelming evidence or questionable character of each particular quantum explanation of these biological findings.


Delta Faucet 3564-MPU-DST Ashlyn Two Handle Widespread Lavatory Faucet, Chrome
Delta Faucet 3564-MPU-DST Ashlyn Two Handle Widespread Lavatory Faucet, Chrome
Price: $163.38
5 used & new from $95.22

5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Design Clear Instructions. Long Life Valve, May 13, 2015
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
A masterpiece of industrial design this faucet is beautiful and functional. Installation is relatively easy (under one hour) with either the enclosed well illustrated instructions or via You Tube videos. The diamond seal assures a long life for the valve. Installation is slightly different than other faucets but the instructions are clear. An excellent value.


Automate the Boring Stuff with Python: Practical Programming for Total Beginners
Automate the Boring Stuff with Python: Practical Programming for Total Beginners
by Al Sweigart
Edition: Paperback
Price: $23.20
59 used & new from $16.50

11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Excellent Introduction to Programming Python 3 That Uniquely Enables Accomplishing Real World Tasks in Home & Office., May 13, 2015
This is a unique and highly beneficial way of teaching programming. After careful pedagogy in all basic constructs of Python 3 in the first part of the book. Comes the unique and highly valuable 300 page implementation section "Automating Tasks". Most introductions to programming, especially those accessible to youngsters leave one wondering what they can do with their newly learned skill, perhaps they can construct a game much more primitive then any they could buy and much Open Source; here in "Automating Tasks" one learns to really use programming around all the activities one would use a computer for in the home or office; these include: Administering the Operating System, Manipulating Word, PDF and
Excel Files, reading and writing CSV and ZIP files, manipulating text files with Regular Expressions, etc.

Having come from a 30 year old Master's in Computer Science and being eager to apply Python in a variety of practical tasks I cannot highly enough recommend this book.


Data Science from Scratch: First Principles with Python
Data Science from Scratch: First Principles with Python
Price: $18.99

12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Pedagogy; Clear Python Code; Algorithms Built from "Scratch" with Pointers To Full Libraries. Uses Python 2.6/2.7, May 13, 2015
This book emphasize excellent pedagogy and understandable Python code. The basis of all programming and mathematical algorithms is given with only an assumption of minimal prior programming and high school mathematics. The basics of Data Science including: 1. A 20 page Clear Introduction to Python 2, 2. An introduction to Linear Algebra (described by Python Functions) 3. A Similar Introduction to Practical Statistics.
Like most scientific programmers who use Python the 2.6/2.7 branch is used throughout given the availability of appropriate libraries (like the Anaconda distribution). Tools for each type of algorithm are prototyped "from Scratch" in the author's own exemplary code with references to the professional libraries in the final chapters. Math is for the most part taught from code rather than mathematical notation.

Highly Recommended
Comment Comments (6) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 13, 2015 11:44 PM PDT


Who Gets What — and Why: The New Economics of Matchmaking and Market Design
Who Gets What — and Why: The New Economics of Matchmaking and Market Design
by Alvin E. Roth
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $14.67
56 used & new from $10.67

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Exposition of Matching Markets by a Nobel Prize Winner. Simplified for the Layman, May 4, 2015
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
In any case where a leader in a field, or especially a Nobel Prize Winner like Professor Alvin E. Roth in this book, or Eric Kandel (in) "In Search of Memory" is able to write interestingly and understandably for a general audience the book is worthy of note. But especially in a situation that effects all of us (that of making selections and being selected reciprocally--matchmaking) writing by a recognized expert becomes essential reading. Professor Roth won the Nobel for describing and optimizing such Market Selection in Matchmaking Markets, and has been an active practitioner consultant in "Designing" such Matchmaking Markets such as the exchange for kidney transplants and school choice matching in the New York and Boston school systems. He writes understandably about the criteria for designing a market such as the phenomena of a stable match and market signaling in these non-monetary markets. My only regret about this engaging and well written guide for the layman is a lack of description of the algorithms that drive Market Design in Matchmaking Markets. Only in three pages of Chapter 8 "The Match: Strong Medicine for New Doctors does Professor Roth attempt to give a very simplified description of one of the algorithms that create matches. Several Recent Mathematics and Physics books for the layman do successfully present a similar verbal approach to formulae and algorithms, but these are usually accompanied by a simplified formal description of the method and calculations which drive the decision making content. I wish Professor Roth could have provided greater insight to his algorithms in accompanying notes.

In any case, I would highly recommend this work by a master in a field that affects all of us and who can write in an engaging fashion.


pcDuino8 Beta Computer Board, Allwinner A80 Default with Ubuntu, Arches Single Board
pcDuino8 Beta Computer Board, Allwinner A80 Default with Ubuntu, Arches Single Board
Offered by Sain Store
Price: $129.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Powerful Embedded Linux or Android Processor with the Processing Speed of an Intel i5 or i7, April 28, 2015
This is a powerful board capable of running either Ubuntu Linux with all significant utilities, or an Android Operating System. Performance of this 8 Core processor (with separate multicore graphics processors) is tremendous, in my "un-bench-marked" personal observation the responses of this board seemed at least as good as my fast 3 GHZ i5 Dell laptop. To obtain maximum benefit from this powerful single board Linux or Android System you need to have a 1080P capable monitor, and standard USB Mouse and Keyboard. Linux apps must be compiled for the ARM architecture if you wish to add packages that are not part of the standard Linux distribution--in most cases you can simply sudo apt-get install "package name". In android apps install from the Google Play store.

I highly recommend this powerful board as an introduction to embedded Linux or as a standalone desktop computer.


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