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Bobby Fischer Teaches Chess
Bobby Fischer Teaches Chess
by Bobby Fischer
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Price: $7.19
171 used & new from $0.01

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good introduction to some basic checkmate techniques, but the print quality is poor, June 18, 2016
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Roughly 40 years ago, I received a copy of this book and I remember that it was kind of a fun way to learn some basic checkmate techniques. I liked that each page was a problem to be solved, with the answer appearing on the next page.

Five years ago, I picked up a copy of this book for my son from a used bookstore. He kind of liked it, but someone had filled in the answers to many of the puzzles, and so it wasn't as fun.

So, when the opportunity came along to get a new copy to review, I mentioned it to my son and he said he definitely would appreciate a copy that did not have the answers. This says something important: he liked the book enough to want a better copy.

If you are interested in a simple introduction to the game of chess (how pieces move, and how to recognize some simple mate-in-one situations), this is a fun weekend read. But there are some problems with the print quality. Here are the details...

The first page of the book says "Here is the fastest, most efficient, most enjoyable book on chess ever compiled." I have to disagree with such a bold claim (though perhaps it was true 50 years ago when it was first published?). The problems are sometimes overly simple. Many are multiple choice, or suggest drawing an arrow to indicate the move. Why an arrow? Because the book does not use any kind of move notation. The lack of notation is fine for a beginners' book such as this. Instead of worrying about how to read and write moves, the focus is on recognizing fundamental mates (back-rank mates with a rook or queen, smothered mates, and so on). I have seen kids play chess and miss obvious "mate in 1" opportunities. This book will help with that. It does not teach openings. It does not teach how to force a mate with a Queen and King versus a King. But it does improve a player's ability to recognize certain common mating situations.

When my copy arrived, I immediately checked to see if this was perhaps an updated version of the book I had as a kid. No, it is not. This seems to be identical to the edition I had 40 years ago....including poor print quality. My biggest complaint about the book is that the printing of the board and pieces is bad. In particular, the black pieces on the black squares are tricky to recognize. On some of the smaller images, it is nearly impossible for me to tell which black piece is on a square without holding the book very close to my eyes. Better paper or thinner/finer lines would have made this book much easier to read.

Still, I'm happy that my son is enjoying the same chess book that kindled my interest 40 years ago. It's a nice pleasant introduction to the game.


YONGJUN Pyraminx Cube Speed Cube Puzzle Black 3.89inches
YONGJUN Pyraminx Cube Speed Cube Puzzle Black 3.89inches
Offered by WOANI
Price: $16.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Fun, easier version of the cube. Easy to twist and turn., June 16, 2016
This is a fun little variant of the Rubik's Cube. Much less challenging, but it almost seems like a required purchase if you are a collector of cube puzzles.

Each edge of the pyramid is longer than that of a traditional cube (9.4 cm for the pyramid, 5.5 cm for the cube). The action of the pyramid is smooth. I like that a lot. I had a pyramid like this many years ago that was a pain because it was hard to turn. This is very easy to turn.

All in all, a fun little puzzle. If you know how to solve the cube, it won't take you long to learn to solve this. If you are stumped by the cube, you might start here instead because it is considerably easier.

Note: I received this cube free for the purpose of testing and reviewing.
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SoundPEATS Bluetooth Headphones Magnetic Wireless Earbuds Sport In-Ear Sweatproof Earphones with Mic (Bluetooth 4.1, aptx, 6 Hours Play Time, Secure Fit Design) Q12 - Black
SoundPEATS Bluetooth Headphones Magnetic Wireless Earbuds Sport In-Ear Sweatproof Earphones with Mic (Bluetooth 4.1, aptx, 6 Hours Play Time, Secure Fit Design) Q12 - Black
Offered by SoundPEATS Audio
Price: $99.00
2 used & new from $27.99

0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good choice for sports earphones. The magnets should be stronger., June 15, 2016
I have used several SoundPEATS headphones over the past year or so, and I continue to be impressed at the design and performance. The Q12 headphones are no exception.

As for fit: Like their Q8 headphones, these have ear "hooks" that help secure each earphone in my ear. So, I can go to the gym, run, and so on knowing that these will stay in place in my ear.

As for music quality: No complaints. At high and low volumes, the sound is clear without distortion. Neither too tinny nor too much bass, this non-audiophile is happy with the sound from the Q12.

As for comfort?.....these barely there headphones are easy for me to forget I'm wearing them. The hooks hold them securely, whether I'm just hanging out at home, or out for a run.

And as for those magnets? The magnets that hold the two earbuds together? That feature works fine. Not great...just fine. The slightest pressure will disconnect the pieces. It would have been better to use stronger magnets.

All in all, a good choice if you are looking for sports headphones that stay in your ear.

Reviewers' note: I received these earphones free for the purpose of testing and reviewing


Audio-Technica ATH-MSR7NC SonicPro High-Resolution Headphones with Active Noise Cancellation
Audio-Technica ATH-MSR7NC SonicPro High-Resolution Headphones with Active Noise Cancellation
Price: $299.00
12 used & new from $299.00

5.0 out of 5 stars So comfortable, and great at blocking airplane noise, June 15, 2016
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I am so glad I had these with me on my summer vacation. The active noise canceling works so well, blocking so much airplane noise. They also effectively blocked the sounds of the busy city street life outside the room where I stayed in London. They are also extremely comfortable. I have worn them hours at a time to watch movies on the plane, and they were comfortable from start to finish.

As for sound quality, here is my non-audiophile perspective: I love the sound. Whereas some headphones give too much base, or sound too "tinny", these provide clear pleasant sound for music, podcasts, and movies. Really, I couldn't be happier with the experience.


Primula PPOCD-6701 1-Cup Stainless Steel Pour Over Coffee Maker, Black
Primula PPOCD-6701 1-Cup Stainless Steel Pour Over Coffee Maker, Black
Price: $19.61
9 used & new from $15.69

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Makes a rich cup of coffee, but the dark plastic makes it hard to gauge how much water has been poured, June 11, 2016
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
There are many great pour over makers out there, and this fits in nicely among them. This Primula offering stands out above many others for its metal filter and very small drip hole. Before I get into the details of this filter, there are some points to consider:

* Pour over is not magic: automatic drip coffee makers are essentially big pour over machines. Pour over simply allows you to pour hot water over ground coffee. The advantage of a filter like the Primula is that you get to fine tune the water temperature, the rate at which the water is poured, and how that water is distributed over the grounds. Automatic drip makers make all those decisions for you, and typically do so very poorly (especially with regard to temperature).

* Pour over is not difficult, and does not take very long at all to make a cup of coffee. BUT, if you are going to make pour over coffee, you ought to be going out of your way to use freshly roasted coffee (roasted within the past week or so), freshly ground (within the past few minutes), and consistently ground (with a burr grinder...not a blade grinder). And you should use good clean water. You can go one step farther, measuring the weight of your coffee and water as you go. Good coffee beans, good water, and a good grinder are really the starting point for a good cup of coffee. So, before you spend a few dollars on a pour over filter, remember that the effort that you put into the filter will be lost if you don't have a good foundation. Look around online for more information about how to make good pour over coffee. It is educational and fun.

Now, the Primula: Like most pour over filters, this sits over a coffee mug, and you brew right into the cup. Instructions that come with the brewer say to boil the water. I'll argue for a bit short of the boiling point. Or, let it come to a boil, turn off the heat and wait 30 seconds or so before you start pouring.

What I like about the Primula:
* First and foremost, it makes a good cup of coffee. It is richer than the coffee produced by some other pour over filters, due to its metal filter and small dripper hole (see below). The cup will have a bit more sediment in it than when brewing with a paper filter.

* The metal filter has several benefits. First, obviously, is that you won't need to buy paper filters. This also means you won't need to toss them out (though I typically compost paper filters along with the grounds). Second, and perhaps more important: paper filters retain some of the oils inherent in the coffee beans...oils that I prefer to have in my cup. The result is a richer tasting cup of coffee. A disadvantage is that there will be a bit more sediment in the bottom of the cup. No big deal. Just don't take that very last sip. Note that there is also a bit more cleanup involved with the metal filter.

* The tiny hole on the filter slows the rate of drip more than some pour over filters. This means water stays in contact with the ground coffee a bit longer. This will extend the brew time a bit, but also adds some richness to your cup of coffee.

What I do not like:
* The dark material of the filter...the part of the filter that sits on the cup...makes it near impossible to know when my cup is full. I find myself needing to lift the filter off the mug to see how much more water I need to pour. Had the material been made clear, like the rest of the filter (and like many other pour over filters), I would be able to see the water rise in the cup, and know when to stop pouring. Of course, I could simply use a scale to measure how much water I've poured (measuring water with a scale is a typical way to make pour over), but when my scale is not handy, then I am faced with the frustration of that dark plastic material.

In summary: this is worth considering because it makes good coffee and does not require a paper filter. If you pour water by weight, or measure the water in advance, you can ignore the problem of the dark plastic material and you will be quite happy with this. Just remember to use good beans, good water, and a good grinder.


[Apple MFI Certified] GGMM M4 Leather Wireless Wi-Fi/Bluetooth Portable Speaker w/ Rechargeable Battery (10-Hours Playtime) 40W Output | Featuring Airplay, DLNA, Spotify, Pandora, and Multi-Room Play (Brown)
[Apple MFI Certified] GGMM M4 Leather Wireless Wi-Fi/Bluetooth Portable Speaker w/ Rechargeable Battery (10-Hours Playtime) 40W Output | Featuring Airplay, DLNA, Spotify, Pandora, and Multi-Room Play (Brown)
Offered by GGMM, Inc.
Price: $399.99
2 used & new from $179.99

4.0 out of 5 stars A large, beautiful speaker, but with a bit too much bass for my taste, May 29, 2016
This is big, beautiful speaker. It has an elegant retro look to it, and will no doubt get attention from guests. I was amazed by just how large this is. It is indeed portable, but it is big enough to provide commanding sound.

I got this because I have one of those tiny Amazon Echo Dots. The "Dot" has a very tiny speaker, and works best by connecting it to an external speaker (via Bluetooth or a 3.5" audio cable). So, now I have the two together in my bedroom, connected by the cable. They work very well together. "Alexa's" voice comes from the GGMM speaker instead of from the tiny Dot.

I also tested the speaker's WiFi connectivity which requires downloading a mobile app (I did this on an iPad). The WiFi connectivity worked very well. Once connected, I could use my Spotify app to play directly to the GGMM speaker using Airplay.

Now, about the sound: do you like bass? I find that the bass is a little much for my taste...sometimes making the music sound a bit hollow. There is a button on the speaker to increase the bass, but even when that is off, the bass is more than I care for. At higher volumes, for larger spaces, this seems like less of a problem. But for the smaller space of my bedroom I wish I could reduce the bass.

All in all, though, it is hard to overstate the great look and feel of this speaker. The connectivity works great and the sound is acceptable. If you are looking for a portable speaker option that can fill a large space with music, I think this is well worth considering.

Reviewer's note: I received this speaker free for the purpose of testing and reviewing.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: May 31, 2016 10:23 AM PDT


SENHAI Quick Release Plate,Photograthy Aid Tripod Ballhead 360 Degree Single Handle Hydraulic Damping Three-dimensional Head with 1/4" Universal Screw for or Canon Nikon DSLR Camera
SENHAI Quick Release Plate,Photograthy Aid Tripod Ballhead 360 Degree Single Handle Hydraulic Damping Three-dimensional Head with 1/4" Universal Screw for or Canon Nikon DSLR Camera
Offered by SENHAI
Price: $29.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Solid, sturdy, and easy to use. The bubble level is less useful., May 29, 2016
Though I sometimes appreciate the flexibility of a ball head for my tripod, there are times when I need more precision in how my camera moves. This mount gives me that precision. It is solid and sturdy, and allows me to "lock in" certain directions, and unlock others. For example, I find it very easy to take panoramas using this mount because I can lock two of the knobs and loosen the panorama knob.

There are a couple other things you should know:
* When I connected this to my tripod, even with all knobs locked securely, I could slightly rotate it left and right (in the panorama direction). It turns out there are three screws that needed to be tightened slightly with an allen wrench. Once those were tightened, the wiggle went away.

* There is a bubble level that, because of its location, I find to be not very useful at all for my purposes. In order for the level to be useful, the "left right" plate needs to be at a 90 degree angle to the rest of the mount, so that the bubble is at the very top (in other words, I need to be looking straight down toward the ground to look at the bubble). I have included a photo of my camera mounted to the tripod. Note that the bubble is at the very top of the picture. That's the only place to put the bubble in order to check if the setup is level.

To be fair, I generally don't check the level in my photos anyway, so it is not that big of a deal. And, I have tightened those three screws to get rid of any looseness. So, minor problems aside, I am happy with how solid and easy-to-use this mount is.

Reviewer's note: I received this tripod free for the purpose of testing and reviewing.
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DII 100% Cotton, Machine Washable, Dinner, Summer & Picnic Tablecloth, 60 x 104", Warm Stripe, Seats 8 to 10 People
DII 100% Cotton, Machine Washable, Dinner, Summer & Picnic Tablecloth, 60 x 104", Warm Stripe, Seats 8 to 10 People
Price: $32.99
5 used & new from $24.18

4.0 out of 5 stars Nice colors, but there are problems with sewing and with shrinking, May 24, 2016
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
There is a lot to like about this tablecloth: The colors and materials are nice, The tablecloth feels soft and comfortable in my hand. The tablecloth works well for casual gatherings. Having said that there are two complaints:

1. In some places, the stitching is flawed...enough to be noticed. See the included photo.
2. The tablecloth seems to shrink too easily when washed. Ironing it helps a little afterward, but it does seem that each successive wash shrinks the tablecloth noticeably.

It's unfortunate that these two problems came up, because other than those, the tablecloth is good.
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Qyuhe 2Million Pixels HD USB Endoscope Borescope Waterproof Portable Inspection Snake Camera with 6LED Lights (49.2ft)
Qyuhe 2Million Pixels HD USB Endoscope Borescope Waterproof Portable Inspection Snake Camera with 6LED Lights (49.2ft)
Offered by crystalcity
Price: $72.99
2 used & new from $28.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Very good image quality...once I was able to get it connected to a computer, May 20, 2016
I had a bit of trouble getting this to be recognized on several computers. Once it connected, I was very impressed with the quality of the video and the ease of use.

Some details...

I tried to connect this to an older MacBook Pro (roughly 5 years old). No luck. The Mac failed to notice that I had made the connection.

I also tried it with a 2-year-old Chromebook, with the same results.

Next, I connected it to a new Surface Pro 4. This time, Windows noticed that I plugged in the camera, installed the necessary drivers, and added it to my list of devices. However, I was not able to get it to work in any of the apps I had on that computer. None of those apps were able to recognize that I had connected this camera.

Finally, I connected it to an older Dell desktop running Windows 10. Success! The driver installed, and the standard Windows Camera app was able to interact with it. Of course, this isn't very useful unless my desktop is within 45 feet of where I want to use the camera. I need to find a laptop

Once connected, the camera worked great. The image quality was very impressive, producing crisp images even when just an inch from what was being recorded. I really like the ability to control the brightness of the light from where the camera connects to the computer. I haven't thought of a lot of uses yet for the camera, but I'm thinking about inspecting some holes in my lawn to find out what's living underground.

Regarding software: The camera comes with a disc with some software, but it's one of those "Mini" DVDs, roughly 3 inches in diameter. So, I can't use it on the disc slot of my MacBook Pro, and my Surface Pro 4 lacks a DVD drive. It will only work for you if you have a DVD tray with a cutout for this type of disc, or if you have an adapter for these smaller discs. In my opinion, it was a mistake to use one of these mini discs. Alternatively, I would have been happy to download the software from online, but no instructions were included on if/how the software could be downloaded. You may find, however, that you don't really need the software. For me, the driver installed automatically. Then, any decent app that can work with a webcam should be able to work with this camera.

Reviewer's note: I received this endoscope free for the purpose of testing and reviewing.
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Yongjun Unequal Rubik Cube 3x3 Speed Cube Rainbow Puzzle (black,56.2mm)
Yongjun Unequal Rubik Cube 3x3 Speed Cube Rainbow Puzzle (black,56.2mm)
Offered by WOANI
Price: $8.49

5.0 out of 5 stars Challenging fun, without being too frustrating, May 20, 2016
Length:: 2:30 Mins

In short, this is a fun update to traditional Rubik's Cubes. In fact, probably the most fun I've had solving a cube in a while. The colors, the unequal slices, and the smooth turning made this fun without being frustrating.

In a bit more detail...

There are plenty of choices out there for "unequal" cubes. This has proven to be my favorite so far. Note that two faces are "equal" (all stickers are squares), and the other four faces are unequal. There are some additional challenges due to the coloring of the cube (two of the centers have the same sticker), and the fact that many pieces look alike but are not.

Like a lot of "picture" cubes, this cube requires a little knowledge of how to twist the centers independently of the rest of the cube. I had to remind myself of the steps to complete it.

The action on the cube is good...it turns smoothly, but is not loose. As a result, I was able to focus on the puzzle itself, which truly was a lot of fun.

Reviewer's note: I received this cube free for the purpose of testing and reviewing.


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