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ASUS Eee PC 1000HE 10.1-Inch Black Netbook - 9.5 Hour Battery Life
ASUS Eee PC 1000HE 10.1-Inch Black Netbook - 9.5 Hour Battery Life
4 used & new from $239.00

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Netbook With Few Shortcomings, March 26, 2009
This is my first netbook. I'd read about them for awhile and finally caved in to the convenience of having a powerful computer in a small unit. After reading many reviews it soon became clear that the Asus 1000he was widely accepted as the best of breed.

This is an excellent computer. With 160 GB harddrive and 1GB RAM it's not a toy, but a real PC. It was only a few years ago that these were part of the standard build for top-of-the-line lap tops. Yes, the processor is slower than what laptops now include, but again, a few years ago there were few laptops this fast.

There's a lot crammed into a small package with the ASUS 1000he, but it's fit in well. The 10" screen is sufficient. The keyboard layout is very good (apparently overcoming a shortcoming from earlier models). The keys can sometimes feel a little flimsy, but the PC as a whole seems solid and sturdy. The built-in webcam is a nice touch and works well. It connected to a Blackberry mouse easily and works fine with it.

I took this on a work week of five cities in five days. It was so much nicer to use the netbook than a laptop. It fit on the airplane tray. It was light and easy to carry. It connected easily to WiFi, the hotel room Ethernet and to my mobile card. In short, it does what it says it will do and does an excellent job of it.

There are just a few shortcomings, none of them fatal. The exterior of ASUS is a tragedy of design over function. The high gloss finish looks great until you expose it to the real world. It then seems to vacuum smudges from every corner of the room. Clearly someone cared more about how the device looked than how it worked, which is a design sin I don't forgive easily.

The ASUS comes with a sleeve into which the Netbook fits snugly. That's all that will fit, however. Need to bring along the power cord? No way. Want to bring along a mouse? Even a small one? It goes in the sleeve, but if the bulge doesn't worry you, what it's doing to that inane glossy finish will worry you. (Yes, I know at this price it's too much to ask for a real carrying case, but a little more room in the sleeve wouldn't have hurt -- at least enough for a mouse).

These shortcomings are just nits that say more about the designers at ASUS than it does about their netbook. The ASUS 1000he delivers great value for the dollar. If you've been waiting to buy a netbook like I was, come on in, the PCs fine.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 27, 2009 6:06 PM PDT

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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Lasted Just One Night, February 17, 2009
They call it titanium finished, but it's an awfully flimsy titanium. This combination alarm clock/flashlight has a mediocre display and a not too bright light. But then again, for less than $20 one shouldn't expect anything special.

However, one might expect the thing to work. Unfortunately, on a weeklong trip the flashlight gave out on night two. This was a little sooner than hoped for. The clock still works. Yipee!

Travel Alarm Clock with Nightlight and Flashlight by Totes
Travel Alarm Clock with Nightlight and Flashlight by Totes

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars You Get What You Pay For, February 17, 2009
I've been looking for a travel alarm clock with a flashlight for some time now. This was my second attempt. (The first, a Howard Miller Flashlight Alarm Clock I bought on Amazon for $18.20 broke the second night I used it). So if flashlight/alarm clock combinations were going to be flimsy, I thought I'd pay less and get two of them. So I bought two of these Totes Travel Alarm Clocks with Flashlights.

They are flimsy. Worse, the "set" button on one stuck. The "mode" button on the second was a bit balky. I eventually got them set, but it wasn't fun.

The small digital time/alarm/date clock is really small. And somewhat faint. Depending on the abient light it could be a problem. Surprisingly, when you turn the light on it doesn't illuminate the clock. That's a problem.

Bottom line: you get what you pay for. In this case, a problem plagued flimsy flashlight with a mediocre alarm. If it was merely flimsy I'd have given it more stars. But flimsy and poorly designed isn't worth more than one. Even at this price.

If we can put a man on the moon, why can't we build a decent alarm clock/flashlight combo? They say the third times the charm. I hope so.

Eton FR400 Hand Crank Radio and Power Generator (Red) (Discontinued by Manufacturer)
Eton FR400 Hand Crank Radio and Power Generator (Red) (Discontinued by Manufacturer)

47 of 67 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars It's the Little Things That Raises Questions, December 25, 2007
It's the little things that define the quality of a product. Having just received the Eton FR400 I can't attest to how well it will work under emergency conditions -- which is, after all, why one buys something like this. But there's a few little things that make me nervous about its quality and design.

The plastic strikes me as cheap. How will it stand up to getting knocked around?

The case is a textbook case of poor design. It fits the radio so tightly that it turns on switches when you insert the radio -- if you can get the radio into the case. Plus there's no room for the AC charger. This may sound peevish, but it's this kind of poor craftmanship which can be symbolic of a short sighted company. What good is a case if it's a pain to use? What good is it if it turns on features that drain the battery? What good is it if you can't carry accessories that comes with the radio?

And the key question, how good is a company that puts out a product so poorly designed? Was Eton trying to cut corners? If so, where else did they scrimp? Did anyone test the case before manufacturing it? If so, what kind of standards do they have?

Bottom line: the device has all the features listed here, but their execution makes me wonder if it was worth getting.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 25, 2008 6:11 PM PDT

Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking
Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking
by Malcolm Gladwell
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $19.28
929 used & new from $0.01

4 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Thought Provoking Observations & Insights. A Worthwhile Read, March 26, 2005
Malcolm Gladwell is not a typical business writer. He doesn't package common sense bromides into check lists for success. Instead, he observes, ties together disparate anecdotes, and he comments. He expects the reader to think, not just passively accept wisdom from on high. Like a good coach or teacher, he doesn't provide answers, he offers insights and suggestions.

Blink asks us to consider whether -- and if so, when -- intuitive analysis trumps data-driven analysis. I found the book refreshing and even encouraging. Again, it doesn't offer a checklist for success, but it might make a discerning readers wonder how often they hide behind spreadsheets and presentations instead of trusting their gut and taking action.

Those expecting a sequel to the Tipping Point will be disappointed. This is a new work with new questions and observations. However, like the Tipping Point, Gladwell makes the inquiry interesting and very readable. Highly recommended for businesses large or small.

Quicken 2005 Basic [Old Version]
Quicken 2005 Basic [Old Version]
11 used & new from $14.48

15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Intuit Used to Value Its Customers. Now It Doesn't, March 24, 2005
When Intuit stopped supporting Quicken 2002 I moved to Quicken 2005 Basic. A lot has changed in a few years. What a disappointment. It's full of annoyances, which may seem small, but add up to an unhappy experience. For example:

1. Quicken advertises its various functions on the bottom of most screens. That takes up screen space better spent on viewing your financial information.

2. Every time I log on it asks me if I want to make Quicken my default for downloading account information from financial institutions. I answer "no" each time. So it keeps on asking. Every other dialogue box I've seen has a box labeled "Don't Ask This Question Again." Not Inuit.

3. They've changed the way you enter information on your investment accounts. Instead of a register view, they force you through a wizard (if there's a way out of it I haven't found it). Why they couldn't give a choice between the "classic" and new view is beyond me.

What these problems have in common is they demonstrate a lack of customer-focus by Intuit. You do things there way or no way. This is sad as Intuit was once a very customer-focused organization.

Quicken still does the basics very well. If they just weren't so deperate to push their functions and services at you, if they just weren't so inwardly-focused, it would be a pleasure to use -- like it used to be. As of now, though, it's simply driving folks like me elsewhere. Anyone know of a good alternative?

Babylon 5: Season 3
Babylon 5: Season 3
DVD ~ Bruce Boxleitner
Offered by RockSolidDeelzz
Price: $35.00
8 used & new from $17.34

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Pivotal Season, December 29, 2003
This review is from: Babylon 5: Season 3 (DVD)
Pros: Great stories, amazing visuals. The season where it all comes together.
Cons: Some of the "extras" are only very good; not great
This is the pivotal season in this amazing five year series. Many of the threads planted over the previous 24 episodes finally come together -- and a host of new ones are created. The special effects in this season hit a new high with some of the most amazing battle scenes ever shown on TV -- they stand up today. But it's the stories that makes this season soar. The character development is handled expertly. The stories build on one another with nary a "gimmick" to move the tale along. The extra features are very good, although not all of them live up to the standards of the episodes themselves. The commentaries by J. Michael Straczynski are expecially insightful.
To fully enjoy this DVD set it obviously helps to have seen the first two seasons. But they're excellent in their own rights and well worth the time. This is perhaps the best science fiction series ever to air. If you're at all a fan of the genre -- or just like good stories -- this series is for you.

PhotoSUITE 4.0
PhotoSUITE 4.0
8 used & new from $13.90

13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Avoid This Product, September 3, 2002
This review is from: PhotoSUITE 4.0 (CD-ROM)
While PhotoSuite 4.0 has some interesting features, it's quirks outweigh any benefits they might offer.
On the plus side: it's guides to enhancing and cropping photos are simple and straightforward -- but then, so are most of the better imaging software.
On the negative side: when you create an album of photos, the pictures remain where they originally were stored on your hard drive. Which makes uploading them to a printing service (say, Ofoto) extremely complicated, difficult and frustrating. Further, because of this approach it is easy to erase a picture unintentionally.
Also of note: to talk to a support technician will cost you...!! So if you do have problems, the cost of getting help is nearly as much as the software itself.
I'm back on Amazon to find decent imaging software. Not only can't I recommend PhotoSuite, but based on the problems I've had with other Roxio products, I can't recommend the company either.

Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity
Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity
by David Allen
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $18.73
111 used & new from $0.85

36 of 38 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Practical, Useful and Well Delivered. What More Do You Need?, May 26, 2001
Too many books on getting organized tend to be, well, unorganized. Or worse, impractical. They take digressions through academic theories or offer advice which simply won't work in the real world.
Not so with David Allen's "Getting Things Done." He offers clear, concise insights on action-oriented steps anyone can implement to make their worklife more productive and stress free. (He recommends the same approach for dealing with your personal life, and while they may work in this context, I'm not sure how many folks really want to run my family like a business).
Yes, a lot of Allen's advice is simple common sense and he tends to offer lists which simply added pages instead of help. Nonetheless, he presents obvious insights in useful context by showing how they've worked with his clients and it's simple to skip the unnecessary lists. The key is (and this is why I awarded five stars instead of four) Allen's advice is aimed at folks who live in the real world. You can actually implement what he talks about and see results.
While the book may not change your life, it will certainly help you keep it organized and focused. "Getting Things Done" is an ideal gift for the colleague who is more of a "big picture"-type than a detail person.

I Couldn't Wait to Tell You
I Couldn't Wait to Tell You
by Ethyl Katz
Edition: Paperback
Price: $8.84
35 used & new from $0.01

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Great Memoir. A Terrific Gift., April 29, 2001
In a collage of short chapters, Ethyl Katz takes the reader on a remarkable journey, one that is frequently touching and often hilarious. This book combines many threads -- the relationship of two sisters, growing up in the middle of last century, dealing with the death of a loved one -- into a coherent and fascinating whole. Katz's writing is simple,direct and accessible, and as a result, extremely powerful.
I strongly suggest you order more than just one copy of "I Couldn't Wait to Tell You," because, odds are, once you've read it you'll wind up sending copies to friends (but you definitely won't part with your own).
The bottom line: you can read the book in one sitting, but it's impact will last a long time.

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