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Let It Ride
Let It Ride
DVD ~ Richard Dreyfuss
Offered by bonjohnnyfan
Price: $112.99
21 used & new from $34.94

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very funny movie, October 12, 2005
This review is from: Let It Ride (DVD)
This is just an outstanding movie that unfortunately flopped at the box office. This film was directed by Joe Pytka, who is extremely succesful in T.V . commercials, but less so in movies. This film is funny, touching, has and has a great soundtrack. Richard Dreyfuss plays the loser who against all odds has a great day at the track. It also is love story, with Terri Garr as his wife and Jennifer Tilly in her prime as a knockout possible extra-curricular interest. An over the top hilarious supporting role by David Johansen and a really funny small part by Robbie Coltrane as a cashier just add to the fun. Especially enjoyable for anyone who has ever gambled.

Hudson Hawk
Hudson Hawk
DVD ~ Sandra Bernhard
Offered by Sparks DVD Sales
Price: $9.95
110 used & new from $0.01

9 of 24 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars One of worst films of the last 25 years, October 12, 2005
This review is from: Hudson Hawk (DVD)
This is a stunningly awful movie. I went to see it when it first came out, and is one of only a handful of films that I walked out on. It's hard to believe the number of 4 and 5 star reviews of this film posted. This illustrates a problem with the reviews of DVDs on Amazon -- that basically only people that already like the movie are going to buy the DVD and review it. The movie was almost universally panned by critics, and flopped at the box office.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 19, 2007 11:40 AM PST

Sony MZ-RH10 Hi-MD Walkman Digital Music Player/Recorder
Sony MZ-RH10 Hi-MD Walkman Digital Music Player/Recorder

129 of 129 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent recorder, good music player, August 12, 2005
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This is Sony's top-of-the-line consumer Hi-MD recorder/player. A similar device, a little cheaper, is the MZ-RH910, for which I have posted a long review. There are four differences between the cheaper MZ-RH910 and this model: the display, a remote control, a better battery, and a pouch. The display on this unit is beautiful. The stock images from Sony don't do it justice, so I took a picture of it and uploaded it onto Amazon (hover over the "customer image" thumbnails and click to see it). In my review for the RH-MZ910, I stated that this display was "probably more convenient." I understated the case; this display is much better, allowing you to easily see the display under subdued light or even in total darkness. The only place where the LCD on the RH-MZ910 is superior would be outdoors, where all the light washes out the RH-MZ10 Electro Luminescent display. The RH-MZ10 can be configured so that the display stays on all the time, or the factory setting is that it shuts off most of the display after a few seconds of no buttons being pressed to conserve battery power. The second difference between the RH-MZ910 and is that this unit has a wired remote control. You plug it into the headphone jack and plug your headphones into the remote control. I have not found it to be useful, it easier just to press the buttons on the unit itself. This unit is supplied with a battery that has about 40% more capacity than the MZ-RH910-- although it has the same form factor and it is interchangeable. Finally, this unit is supplied with a pouch big enough to hold the unit and earbuds.

I bought my other unit, the MZ-RH910, for its recording capabilities -- with an analog microphone, that unit and this one can record in uncompressed CD quality (44100 Hz 16 bit Stereo), as Sony calls it "a recording studio in the palm of you hand." To my knowledge, there are no other devices in this price range that can do this, except other Sony minidisc units. Sony has just (August 2005) released some "professional" models which include a microphone (the Hi-MD MZ-M100 is the analogous model). With the MZ-RH10 unit, you need a microphone to record -- I use the Sony ECM-719 -- about $65 -- which I believe is a better mic than the one included with the MZ-M100, both in quality and because it can also be used on non-Minidisc units.

I am very pleased with the quality of the recordings; and other people are usually quite impressed too. Minidiscs are also commonly used to record musical performances, either for practice, demos or to record concerts, though I don't use it for this. These units are also popular with journalists to record interviews. I use it, however, primarily to record the voices of my family and friends. Most people have their memories recorded in photographs and video, but audio is overlooked. However, voice recordings, especially good quality audio, invokes strong emotional responses and memories. Video, even with the highest quality equipment costing thousands of dollars, cannot substitute for it because when people are being videotaped, they become self-conscious and behave differently. The situations where you can shoot video are also much more limited--good lighting, your friends want to look good and be well dressed, etc. You can lay this machine down on the table and record, for example, your parents telling stories or your children, and get candid, authentic, high quality recordings that will sound the same in 20 years as they did the day you recorded them. The next step up from Hi-MD recorders is something like the MAudio Microtrack 24/96 which can record at better than CD quality, and has an impressive feature list, about $400 street price plus more $$ for a 1GB CompactFlash card - I don't know about it's reliability or ruggedness.

After I bought my other unit, the MZ-RH910, I realized I really liked the music-playing capabilities as well -- I must have been the last person in the developed world without an iPod or other digital music player -- and I now needed 2 units since my wife wanted a music player as well. So I researched digital music players. Many of the hard-disc units are very nice, but there was one thing I really disliked about them. Almost all the major brands, the newest units from Apple iPod, iRiver, and Cowon iAudio all had non-replaceable batteries. If this doesn't bother you, then you should probably consider one of these units. However, I really dislike the idea that in a year or two I'll have to send my unit to have the battery replaced, at significant expense, or buy a new unit. Also, I like to be able to load another battery immediately -- this unit also includes a side mounted AA battery holder, a great feature -- basically you will always have power for this unit if you have a spare gumstick battery or some AA batteries. The batteries for the minidisc can be had very cheaply, the Sanyo HF-A1U, a high capacity battery, can be found online for about $8, plus another $6-$8 for shipping. The hard-disk players I did find that had replaceable batteries all seemed to have reliability problems (Rio), or had other limitations -- such as the inability to play uncompressed audio natively (Sony NW-HD5 Network Walkman -- which I might have bought had it not been for this issue). Another advantage of the Sony minidisc units, is that I believe they are less delicate than hard disc units -- for example, my MZ-RH910 was dropped from a counter about 3 1/2 feet high and its perfectly fine. Also, these units have never skipped on me. One disadvantage compared to hard disc units is that minidiscs transfer speeds are not quite as fast -- so it takes a few more minutes to load a CD. This device will load and play back constant or variable bit rate MP3 -- but only the MPEG1 codec, not MPEG2 or 2.5. Almost all music will be MPEG1, but speech is sometimes recorded at the lower frequencies available in MPEG2. There is no convenient workaround either, since you cannot force Sonicstage to convert the files to another format -- though you can convert them one file at time in Sonicstage. The Sonicstage software used to transfer files to machine is cumbersome, especially if you are doing frequent transfers. Because of the lack of support for MPEG2 and the cumbersome nature of Sonicstage this device is not recommended for podcasts. The new Sonicstage 3.2 software, released in August 2005, which you may need to download from, will now encode mp3s from your CDs (at fixed bit rates only) -- though the version I received on the CD, 3.0, would not. You can load the music uncompressed though you will only be able to get 94 minutes on one minidisc -- but the fidelity is really stunning, and if you have good headphones you may want to use uncompressed for your favorite music. It's too bad the player doesn't support FLAC or another lossless format, which cuts the file size nearly in half.

Of course, with a Hi-MD player, you can't really put your whole music collection on one disc. I use the ATRAC3Plus 256 kbps format, which is the larger, higher quality format, it reduces the original uncompressed audio to about 20% of the original size. With this format, I have found you can get about 8 CDs on one minidisc. I have compared this ATRAC3Plus format to MP3s I made using LAME using the 320 kbps compression "insane" setting (the maximum quality and minimal compression permitted). The ATRAC3Plus sounds truer than the MP3 to the original uncompressed version, but you need good headphones to tell the difference. If you use the ATRAC3Plus 64kbps format (if you are using cheap earbuds, you may not notice the difference), you can get about 32 CDs on one minidisc. Additional Hi-MD minidiscs are about $7 each + shipping (Amazon charges a fortune to ship them for some reason, but you can buy them elsewhere). This unit and the MZ-RH910 are plastic instead of aluminum or magnesium, so they don't look as quite as pretty. Magnesium would probably have been nice, but I think plastic is better than aluminum which gets dinged too easily, and portable device like this is likely to be dropped a few times.

In summary: as a recording device, it is without equal for the price and size; as a music player you may want to consider it depending on your priorities.
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My Son, The Greatest: The Best Of Allan Sherman
My Son, The Greatest: The Best Of Allan Sherman
Price: $11.99
51 used & new from $0.78

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Allan Sherman was a genius, July 29, 2005
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
There will probably never be another like Sherman again. Back in the 1960's and earlier, many old songs in the public domain were still well known by the public, such as the folk songs "Down By The Riverside," and "Auld Lang Syne." Sherman used the tunes of these old songs with big band-type arrangements, and his own hilarious lyrics, thus tapping into the familiarity with the tunes, and the arrangments kept the songs sounding fresh. Since famiarity with these old songs is largely gone today (except perhaps among boy scouts), Sherman's approach could not work today. Furthermore, folk songs generally don't require a tremendous vocal range, so a guy without a great voice could sing his renditions of them and still sound pretty good. Sherman would also sometimes parody popular lyrical songs of the day, for example his rendition of "Downtown" (the original was sung by Petula Clark), which is included in this collection.
Because much of the material that he used was topical, much it will be unfamiliar today -- which makes it all the more remarkable that much of it still funny (such as Chim Chim Cheree: "I wake up each morning a most happy man, I cover my Pic-O-Pay with Fluoristan; I add Hexachlorophene, 'cause it's so pure, And then GL-70, just to make sure"). I find the funniest to be "Good Advice" and "You Went The Wrong Way Old King Louie" (To the tune of La Marseillaise and then to You Came A Long Way From St. Louis). Good Advice, incidentally, was not a parody but an original tune. Sherman is without equal in his parodies -- they are hilarious without being mean-spirited or "edgy," and I don't think any other artist has been able to accomplish this--in fact he comes across as a really nice guy.
Sherman prided himself on polished arrangements, partly to compensate for what he considered to a bad singing voice -- but his voice is great for these songs, he projects a comedian's timing and punch. Unfortunately, this the only collection of Sherman's songs that is still published -- and many very funny ones are missing from this album -- such as "Green Stamps" and "Skin," among others. With some interesting liner notes written by Steve Allen this is a funny and worthwhile collection for anyone who likes to laugh.

No Title Available

430 of 459 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Pristine sound, July 16, 2005
My internet research and experience with these indicates that they are at least as good, and probably better, than anything else for the price. The sound quality from these headphones is fantastic. You can pick out the individual voices of the backup singers. Things like the drummer's brushes sound vastly improved, and many other little details. I have created mp3s using LAME at the "insane" quality setting, 320 kilobits/sec, with optimizations, and I can distinguish subtle sounds in the original stream that are muted or altered in the MP3. Poor quality recordings, or overly compressed MP3s sound terrible compared to what these headphones are capable of. I find it most impressive compared to lesser headphones in pieces that have vocals and acoustical instruments.
The headphone has an ultra-low impedance, 24 ohms, which means it can be easily powered by portable players, and achieve more than enough volume. Since a 1/4" screw-on adapter is included, so this headphone can be used equally well on your portable or your home stereo. Both the base mini plug and 1/4" adaptor are gold-plated. If use this headphone on a portable player with a large disc, you may be tempted to keep your most listened-to recordings uncompressed (or in the FLAC lossless format, for the few devices that support that).
According to my research, the headphones have an extremely even response over the whole spectrum. That means that what you are hearing is pretty close to the original intent when the music was mixed. Some users have complained that the bass response is low -- but I think that's compared to headphones / earbuds / in-ear monitors whose bass response is too high. If you don't like the bass response, simply change the equalizer settings on your unit.
The headphone has a closed design, blocking out outside sounds. This is the best way to go in my opinion, because with outside noise you need to raise the volume higher to achieve the same clarity, and you risk damaging your hearing. These headphones can be played at low volumes and still sound great. The only other option for "closed-ear" is some of the ear-sealing in-ear-monitors, but the good ones are very, very expensive. The in-ear-monitors also have the disadvantage that the sounds of brushing the cable, and even sometimes your own breathing and heartbeat, is trasmitted to your ear.
The headphone can also be used as a monitor headphone, i.e. to hear what you are recording while you are recording it--that in fact is it's primary intent. There is basically no sound leakage so it works very well--also meaning your won't annoy those around you when you listen to music. I own a Sony Hi-MD (MZ-RH910), which I record voice audio with, and so this monitor ability is very welcome.
I find the headphone very comfortable. Like any closed headphone, it does make your ears warm, but I have not found this to be noticably uncomfortable. I believe this headphone is suppossed to be more over-the ear rather than on the ear (i.e. like Sennheiser HD 25-SP), but be warned that the opening for each ear is small -- my ears barely fit in them, and I do not have large ears. From a comfort point of view, I recommended that you try this set on before purchasing them. I tried mine on before buying and purchased them from a retail outlet. Another plus for this set is that only one cable comes out of the left side of the unit, the connection to the right channel is through the arch over your head. Furthermore, the cable drops out about 1 inch from your neck, so it usually doesn't touch you. I find this greatly preferable to having cables hanging out of both sides of your head that always seem to be brushing you somewhere. All earbuds, in-ear-monitors, and even many hyper-expensive headsets (i.e. Sennheiser HD 650), have cables coming out of both ears.
The Sony 7506 headphone is super-rugged, exceptional quality from start to finish.
The only possible negative I see is the cable -- it's a non-removable, long, thick, heavy-duty coiled cable. For use on your home stereo, it's great. But for use outside the home on a digital music player, it is inconvenient, as the bundled coiled cable probably takes as much space as your player. However, it's not unusable, from the left earpiece there is just enough straight cable to reach down to your waist -- where you can stuff the coiled cable in your pocket or in a case along with your player. But if you plan on using this mostly on a digital player outside your home, this alone could a be deal buster. It is also fairly bulky to carry around. You can probably forget about using this headphone on your bicycle, or while jogging, or anything where you are moving around outside.
Overall, this is a very well made set of headphones that will deliver beautiful and pristine sound at a reasonable price. Highly recommended.
Comment Comments (21) | Permalink | Most recent comment: May 2, 2014 9:26 PM PDT

The Human Being: Jesus and the Enigma of the Son of the Man
The Human Being: Jesus and the Enigma of the Son of the Man
by Walter Wink
Edition: Paperback
Price: $25.37
60 used & new from $0.77

32 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Profound and Brilliant, July 9, 2005
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Surely one of the most perplexing phrases in the Gospels is Jesus' repeated reference to himself as "Son of Man." Let's face it, for most biblical scholars, the term is simply an embarrassment, and they work hard to explain it away. Inconsistent statements such as saying that Jesus is fully human as well as fully divine are used to try to explain it. Or, attempts are made to show that "Son of man" is some divine title. In both the ancient and modern church, the phrase is basically non-existent in hymns, prayers, and liturgies.
Wink researches all the references to the son of man he could locate: in the Old Testament, the New Testament, and in Hebrew literature. For example, he shows that the capitalization of "Son of Man" was added by the translators, to give the impression that "Son of Man" is a title. In fact, there is no capitalization at all in the Hebrew or Greek texts of the bible. In fact, "son of" is a Hebrew idiom (usually appearing as "ben `adam") that means "member of a class," and Wink pulls many examples from the bible itself, examples that would not be obvious unless you return to the Hebrew text (or a literal translation, because the idioms are not translated as "son of," but as "member of," or the translation simply drops "son of " and just leaves the group name.) One example is in Genesis 18:7, which for example NIV translates as "Then he ran to the herd and selected a choice, tender calf ..." but Young's Literal Translation is "and Abraham ran unto the herd, and taketh a son of the herd, ..."
The exception to this translation of "son of," Wink points out, is when Jesus refers to himself as "son of man." Here, the translators don't appear to be willing to have Jesus call himself a man, so the leave the strange-sounding phrase "Son of Man," and capitalize it to boot.
Wink has a knack for seeing through the fog of Christology and all the baggage that his been built around Jesus by the translators and theologians. Wink explores carefully the historical meaning of Son of Man in Jewish literature. Then he analyses the curious and unique use of Son of Man in Gospel ("bar enash" in Aramaic, which appears as "ho huios tou anthropou" in the Greek NT sources): that nobody else uses this term in the New Testament except Jesus himself, and that it really doesn't mean "I" since among other things Jesus frequently uses "I," and could have used that if he wanted to.
Wink's essential conclusion that Jesus' repeated use of "son of man" is to deliberately emphasize that he is human. Jesus was not claiming to be divine, not calling us to worship him, but calling us to be human, and that is our highest calling. Wink makes the profound observation that Jesus never appealed to God's authority for anything he said or did, and yet divine authority clearly shines through his words and deeds. Wink's interpretation of Jesus' message is not that being "human" is bad, but that our failure is that we are rarely human at all; that we act selfishly, without thinking, without consideration, without reverence for God. It is a compelling interpretation, well analyzed and defended. Wink shows that is the most consistent with what is found in the Gospels.
This interpretation will for many people hard to accept. It is one thing to have Jesus come down from high, to be worshipped, with a huge chasm between him and us. It is another to realize that Jesus was, in fact fully human while we most of us are barely so, and that he tried with all his might to show those around him the way to the Kingdom of God, and that is our calling not to worship Jesus but to share his understanding and worship of God.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Sep 28, 2012 8:58 PM PDT

Engaging the Powers: Discernment and Resistance in a World of Domination
Engaging the Powers: Discernment and Resistance in a World of Domination
by Walter Wink
Edition: Paperback
Price: $21.92
105 used & new from $3.32

23 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Magnificent, June 8, 2005
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
The thrust of the book is the world is in control of the Domination System, the powerful institutions that repress us, perpetuate violence upon us, and whose power is based upon the myth of redemptive violence--the idea the violence "saves." Wink powerfully shows that the myth of redemptive violence is the actual religion of our society, so deeply ingrained in us that we are unaware that we idolize it. It is the basis of even our comic book heroes, of whom Wink observes "repentance and confession are as alien to them as the love of enemies and nonviolence." Wink's analysis is profound because it encompasses intellectual, the physical, and the spiritual aspects our predicament. The gospel, or good news, of his book is centered on how Jesus introduced us the "Kingdom of God," the antithesis of the Domination System, and how radical Jesus's teachings were, not only 2,000 years ago but today as well. Jesus's teachings were influential in the early church, but Wink shows how when Christianity became the religion of the Roman Empire, the Church became corrupted itself as an institution, and has remained so to this day--because most of it became part of the Domination System which needs to repress the truth. Using biblical analysis, Wink explains that persons and institution in our world are (1) created by God and therefore good, (2) fallen, and (3) in need of redemption. A first-class biblical scholar, Wink among other things decimates the blood-theory of atonement, citing it as another instance of "redemptive violence" and an idea that could hardly have sprung from God: "Jesus's message reveals that those who believe in divine violence are still mired in Satan's universe." Satan, incidentally, he defines not as some personified boogeyman separate from our institutions, but as the malicious spiritual forces that are woven throughout our world and ourselves. There are many profound insights in this book. One of the most important is although Jesus was non-violent, he was in fact a passionate resister of violence and of the Domination System; in fact for this resistance he paid with his own suffering and his life. He brilliantly analyzes Jesus's sayings to "Turn the other cheek," to "Give the undergarment," and "Go the second mile," not as passivity, but actions taken to bewilder and expose the dominators for what they are, and to undermine the Domination System. Woven throughout the book are many spiritual and biblical insights regarding the world, the powers that control it, and God's plan. This together with considerable evidence he presents regarding the effectiveness of nonviolence in history is a powerful argument. Also present is specific spiritual guidance for the reader, expecially regarding prayer. These are wonderful insights from a spiritually mature perspective, with analysis from biblical passages to support his perpective. I enthusiastically recommend it.

Logitech Deluxe Access Keyboard
Logitech Deluxe Access Keyboard
Offered by LogiDeals
Price: $14.95
10 used & new from $8.57

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent keyboard for the price, May 28, 2005
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This is a nice keyboard. I believe it is the most inexpensive Logitech model. The good news is that Logitech doesn't make junk. It's slightly tweaked from a standard keyboard, in that keyboard is not inclined upward but horizontal. There is a also a plastic wrist-rest that attaches to the front of the keyboard. These changes I believe are supposed to make typing more comfortable since your wrists are no longer twisted upwards. I am experimenting using the keyboard with and without the wrist-rest; I think it largely depends on the height of the chair you are sitting in--if your chair is high enough, then the wrist-rest is good, if your chair is lower, the wrist-rest leaves your wrists uncomfortably high. There are some other slight differences in the keyboard; the 1st row of keys (spacebar, control, alt, etc.) are tapered toward the front of the keyboard, I assume for ergonomic reasons. I like the feel of the keyboard; it requires only a light touch. It is also fairly quiet i.e. no loud clicking. The only things I don't like are minor--the function keys must be enabled using a F-lock key--however they stayed locked for the remainder of the time the computer is on. I also couldn't get the software to work--the one that is supposed to map various keys to things like e-mail, your internet home page, etc. I don't really care about that, so I didn't really try very hard to get it to work--it probably would have if I persisted. I also had some problems de-installing the drivers--when I removed them, the keyboard wouldn't work. I had to reinstall the drivers again. The keyboard worked OK in Debian Linux (Sarge/3.1), as well as Windows. The keyboard looks attractive enough, although the wrist-rest if charcoal and the keyboard off-white so they don't match. In all, an excellent keyboard for the price.

Sony MZ-RH910 Hi-MD Walkman Digital Music Player
Sony MZ-RH910 Hi-MD Walkman Digital Music Player

106 of 108 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Unique device, May 20, 2005
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This device can be used to:

- Listen to music i.e. instead of an ipod.

- Record audio (with a microphone, not included)

- Function as external disk, when connnected via USB to a PC.

It uses 1GB removable disks which sell for about $7 each (plus shipping). As a audio recording device, it is unique for its capabilities in this price range, and essentially substitutes for a DAT (digital audio tape). The device has a line-in and microphone analog inputs. You can record in one of the three formats: high compression (Hi-LP), low compression (Hi-SP), and uncompressed (Linear PCM). The recording times per disk are 34 hours (Hi-LP), 7 hrs 55 min (Hi-SP) and 1 hr 34 min (Linear PCM). The compressed formats are stored in a proprietary Atrac format developed by Sony, which are basically are only of use on this device. Thus most crucial and invaluable feature, however, is that for audio recordings made from an analog microphone, you can convert the recording to the open .wav format when you upload the recording to your computer. The upload requires the SonicStage software which comes bundled with the device. There is pointless restriction that you can only upload the audio file once to your PC, but then you can convert it to the open wav format (the uncompressed CD quality Windows format), and then you are home free--you can do whatever you want with the audio file i.e. make an unrestricted number of copies, copies of the copies, edit the file using sound software, burn CDs, whatever. The sound is exceptionally clear; I use the ECM-719 Sony microphone (this is great mic, the cable is almost 6 feet long however which is a little too long for my preference). I generally record at the Hi-SP level, and it sounds great. For no loss of fidelity due to compression, you can record uncompressed and still get 1.5 hours on a disc. The manual warns that the device should be plugged in when recording, due to high battery consumption while recording, but I have used it off the battery for short periods with no problem.

This device does incorporate SCMS (serial copy management system), which puts all kinds of restrictions on copying digital files. As mentioned previously, you can only upload your analog-source recordings once to a PC, which is not really a problem as long as nothing goes wrong during the upload, and there is no particular reason why it should. As far as MP3s or other digital music, you can load them onto the device, but you can't copy them again after that i.e. back to the computer. The MP3s are not converted to another format, this device can read them directly so there is no loss of quality. You can also copy uncompressed audio to this device, or you can compress it into the ATRAC format to save space. The highest quality compressed format is ATRAC3Plus, which reduces files size to about 20% of uncompressed, and sounds very, very good. It is supposedly better than the highest quality MP3. ATRAC3Plus is the format used by the Hi-SP recording mode also.

This device also has an extra battery holder which holds on AA battery an can power the unit in the event your rechargable battery fails. This is an exceptional feature; it means that as long as you bring some AA batteries with you, you will be able to power the unit.

The reliablity of the interchangable Hi-MD disks appears to be exceptionally good. They are basically infinitely re-recordable; Sony claims you can re-record 1 million times. They are encased in a well made enclosure, well protected unlike CD-RWs or DVD+RWs. I would guess they are much, much more reliable than CD-RWs and DVD+RWs. They are also quite compact, and make a good replacement for thumb drives, or can be used to back up files. For example, you can use it to back up the wav files from your recordings. Howevery audio files, copied directly to the Hi-MD disks cannot be listened to on the device, you have to download them using the SonicStage software. The songs you download are then placed into the some special files on the disks which contain the song catalog, and all the music--i.e. you cannot manage the songs/audio on the Hi-MD through the Windows file system. This was probably done because of the SCMS restrictions, to prevent from copying audio at will. This is an annoying restriction which means that if you want back ups of your audio on the Hi-MD disks, you must do extra work and consume extra disk space--i.e. backup your MP3 or wav files to the Hi-MD disks as Windows files (which cannot be listened to directly).

When the device is connected to your PC it gets power from the USB cable, and actually appears to even recharge the battery while connected. The LCD screen is adequate but has no backlight, Sony makes a lit version for the next model up from this one, for another $100. You need to basically angle the player reflect off the main light source to see the screen. This is not really a problem for me, but the lighted display is probably more convenient. The fit and finish, as with all Sony devices, is excellent. The battery life when used as a player is quite long, they claim up to 34 hours; reports on the internet report that 20+ hours is common.

In summary, the only downside to this device is the SCMS restrictions, but generally you can still do everything you want to do. In particular, you can record audio from a mic (or from any analog input using the line-in; i.e. old cassettes) and make unrestricted digital wav files out of them.

Bringing Out the Best in People: How to Enjoy Helping Others Excel
Bringing Out the Best in People: How to Enjoy Helping Others Excel
by Alan Loy McGinnis
Edition: Paperback
Price: $8.99
277 used & new from $0.01

43 of 77 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars How to succeed without lettings ethics get in your way, April 16, 2005
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I fault this book for many reasons. First, the title is misleading. This is not a book about helping other people. It is basically a motivational book about how to succeed when working with others. The approach is to use numerous motivational anecdotes weaved into the author's 12-point approach. The author, has a blatant disregard of ethics. He doesn't ignore ethics, on the contrary, he often argues against them, frequently railing against idealists for their impractical approach. For example, "the idealists might suppose that the only way to inspire people is to appear to their benevolent instincts, but the best motivators usually appeal to anger as well." Another example: "For all our talk about love, I have never seen a congregation genuinely fired up which did not have the conviction that they fighting a common enemy." But whatever works is what we should do, and damn the "idealists." When McGinnis advocates truly helping others, it is always because it works to your own advantage from a practical standpoint. Appeals to pride are also common in this book, he even relates a story from his own past: " . . . I remember 35 years later my deep pride as he chewed out certain members of the team for poor performances . . . the coached praised me before the team." The exultation of pride is reprehensible, especially since McGinnis is purportedly a Christian. Since antiquity, Pride has been one of the seven deadly sins of Chrisitanity; the great popular Christian author C.S. Lewis rails eloquently against it, devoting a chapter to it in "Mere Christianity," calling it the cardinal sin. For McGinnis, all this ancient wisdom is simply "idealism" or he simply ignores it. My final complaint is that some of the information is simply inaccurate. For example, he states that "Most studies show that parents who run a tight ship and who are fairly strict produce the most secure children". This is dead wrong. The vast majority of modern psychology and research is dead against this approach; i.e. see T. Berry Brazelton, or virtually any other of book written by a mainstream M.D. or psychologist. As with all McGinnis's statements, he provides no research to back it up.
The appeal to non-benovolent (e.g. malevolent) instincts, the denigration of the Christian ideal of love, and the exaltation of the cardinal sin of pride display a pattern of disregard for ethics and the worship of the practical.
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