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The Octonauts Season 1
The Octonauts Season 1
Price: $42.99

1.0 out of 5 stars One Star, November 23, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Video is corrupted—does not play beyond a few minutes in, any episode.

Basis Health Tracker for Fitness, Sleep & Stress (2014 Ed.)
Basis Health Tracker for Fitness, Sleep & Stress (2014 Ed.)
8 used & new from $75.00

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I'm loving it. The "tracker" for the rest of us., September 22, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
The most important thing to understand about the Basis B1 is that it is a *Health Tracker* or perhaps even *Fitness Monitor*, but it is certainly not an *Exercise Monitor*. This is not the right device to dig deeply into the details of your exercise sessions, nor is it intended to be.

Instead, this device observes your vital signs over the longer term (especially those times when you're not exercising) to provide you with metrics about your general health and level of activity overall.

For those of us who aren't fitness buffs, don't regularly go to the gym, don't have personal trainers, don't run marathons, and so on, there is no other device quite like it. The Basis B1 is truly "set it and forget it" in that sense--wear it, charge it, and you can log in and get a sense for how fit (or unfit) you are, along with a series of approachable, practical cues to improve your health in ways that busy, non-exercisers might actually be able to work into our lives and schedules.

I love the habit-based system, with scoring and leveling, and find it to be both motivating and informative. This is the body tracking device for the rest of us--the ones that don't own a pair of running shoes but would still like to care about our health in little ways.

I've found no problems with data corruption, missing data, meaningless data, or other similar things that others have reported. The battery easily lasts days, and the syncing is seamless; it syncs when I charge it, it syncs via bluetooth on several mobile devices, and I sync it all of these ways without rhyme or reason and there have been no ill effects. I don't particularly care that it doesn't track my heart rate when running because I don't run. It does track my heart rate when walking just fine, and provides me with an easy-to-capture record of my general level of activity, sleep, and stress (via heart rate) throughout the day.

It's leading me to make positive changes in life that were difficult before simply because it can be hard if you have an incredibly busy schedule to know where to begin and what might move the needle on making health better. The Basis app does a great job, via the habits system, of offering a variety of little changes that are easy to make and meet and that together pay off with bigger rewards.

I suspect that a lot of the negative reviews for this device are from people that want to use it specifically to dissect the data from intense workout sessions. This is the wrong product for that task at every level--the documentation says that it may miss data when you're intensely working out, and the user interface is oriented entirely toward life monitoring and habit maintenance, not toward exercise session record-keeping.

If you're looking for a running computer, this is not it. If you're looking for a device that you can wear 24/7 to get a baseline on your body, then to develop better habits like becoming more active, getting more regular and higher-quality sleep, and developing lifestyle routines that are conducive to better health, then this thing fits the bill very well. I'd almost say it was perfect if the screen was a little brighter and the unit a little thinner.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Sep 23, 2014 5:48 PM PDT

Corsair Hydro Series Extreme Performance Liquid CPU Cooler H100i
Corsair Hydro Series Extreme Performance Liquid CPU Cooler H100i
Offered by Limited Goods
Price: $119.54
50 used & new from $89.00

5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent and awesome and everything else., September 9, 2014
I'm using this cooler in a very dense build with a lot of stuff in it. It's cooling an i7-3770k that's packed into a case along with five SATA drives, 32GB ram, multiple video displays, and three gigabit ethernet ports. No, it's not a gaming rig—it's all business; I use it for various kinds of number crunching and graphics work.

I was having a devil of a time keeping temps down with air coolers. When running full-on multi-threaded jobs, we'd easily hit the "warning zone" in temps that are pushing right up against, or just over, spec after a while. With this cooler in place, and running the fans at half speed so that they're quiet, under full load we never pass about 45 degrees celsius, even for extended periods of time.

I'm not overclocking, but I do run jobs that last many hours, that use every last thread available in the CPU, and that need to finish—there's nothing more frustrating than waiting on a job for hours only to have it crash near the end or have the machine throttle back due to heat instability. Now it's not a problem.

The materials themselves are top-notch; very solid. I don't worry about leaks at all, or about durability. And the design means that parts like fans are easily swapped out as they go bad with standard sized replacements that can be had on Amazon for a song. Installation wasn't too difficult; anyone that's built a white-box machine in the past should be able to get this into place in the space of about 15 minutes, more if you do a really nice job with cable and tube guiding, but not much more.

And—I don't run Windows, but am able to easily access CorsairLink, the configuration software that controls fan and pump speed and so on, through a Windows virtual machine. So if you're having that question, the answer is yes, it will be fully supported down to the driver level (the drivers are really only for dialing back the fan noise and monitoring temps, they don't do anything else) if you have a Windows VM available.

Highly recommended.

Pura (Magnavore) APU00414 3-Pack 300-Micron Media Bags for Aquarium Filter, 6 by 12-Inch
Pura (Magnavore) APU00414 3-Pack 300-Micron Media Bags for Aquarium Filter, 6 by 12-Inch
Price: $12.82
8 used & new from $3.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Durable and versatile., September 9, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Suitable for all kinds of media, and works well.

I'm using it with Purigen, and unlike many other bags, these bags hold it securely, so that you don't find lots of little white globules hanging around in your aquarium. For the price, it's a very reasonable product indeed.

Logitech Wireless Solar Keyboard K750 for Mac - Silver
Logitech Wireless Solar Keyboard K750 for Mac - Silver
Price: $49.99
33 used & new from $47.42

3.0 out of 5 stars It'll have to do for now., September 9, 2014
I've been on something of a keyboard carousel over the last two years. I write (words and code) for a living, so a good keyboard is incredibly important to me. There are a number of factors in play:

- Great tactile feedback
- Solid design
- Minimum key travel (improves speed when rapidly touch-typing)
- Wireless
- Quiet (very loud keyboards just get in my head while thinking, not good)
- Ready access to function, non-alpha, and numeric keys

Unfortunately, there isn't currently a Mac keyboard that meets all of these criteria anywhere.

The Apple extended keyboard is everything except the wireless part—which turns out to be pretty important to me.
The Apple bluetooth keyboard is everything except the last item—its function and non-alpha keys are a mess, and there's no keypad
This keyboard is everything except the first—tactile feedback is poor

I've been circulating amongst these three keyboards for months, each time getting frustrated and switching. This is my second stint with the K750. I had been using the wired keyboard for the last few months, but over the last few days it's caused me to pull my hair out to be tethered to the wire. USB extender cables have proven to be unreliable, and the wire just gets in the way on a crowded desk. For about two days, I switched to the Apple bluetooth keyboard, which I also have laying around. That quickly got very, very old—too many keys are just in the wrong place, and without the numeric keypad, having to touch-type rather than 10-key data, things just got too slow and cumbersome while typing.

So I'm back to the K750, for better or for worse. I'm sitting here typing this review being reminded about the poor tactile feedback (the bottom of the keypress is just squishy, too soft, and there's no real "click" either). But at the end of the day, I think this is the best compromise that Mac users can expect for now.

Combine with the battery issues (you'll probably have to track down a coin-shaped rechargeable at some point to replace it; the charging patterns of the solar cells basically kill the battery more quickly than you'd expect) and it merits three stars.

I wish Logitech would put out a version that has the much better tactile feedback of their iPad keyboards, or Apple would put out a bluetooth model with a numeric keypad attached to it. But until these things happen, the K750 is where it's at.

GLAZZ 0.33mm Tempered Glass Screen Protector for iPad Air 2 & iPad Air 1 (Made From Real Glass, Shatterproof, 2.5d Rounded Edges and Oleophobic Coating)
GLAZZ 0.33mm Tempered Glass Screen Protector for iPad Air 2 & iPad Air 1 (Made From Real Glass, Shatterproof, 2.5d Rounded Edges and Oleophobic Coating)
Offered by HandHelditems

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Essential for your iPad air -- OR, NEVERMIND., September 5, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I originally wrote a very favorable review of this product (see below).

Sadly, I have to amend this review now. I was far too enthusiastic at the start. This screen protector lasted just a few days before cracking across the middle. At first, I was mortified and terrified that I'd cracked the actual iPad's screen.

But no--lifting this glass away, the iPad screen is still in perfect condition.

What caused this to crack? Nothing. I had been using the iPad for about 10 minutes of reading and had set it on the table next to me to take a phone call. While I'm talking on the phone and actually looking at the iPad, I hear a faint, sharp sound and a line appears. CRACK. Just like that. Wasn't touching it.

This thing is made of glass--what if the crack had happened when my kids were using the iPad? Not happy. I know this may be down to the same flexing problems that lead the iPad Air to be suspect as well. But this product can't contribute to a solution for that problem if it cracks first and is even more fragile and weirdly tense than the iPad Air display itself.


The iPad Air suffers from its own success. It's so thin and light, it flexes as you use it, and reports of screen breakage appear across the online universe due, presumably, to this flexing. It's just too damned thin for its own good. Great if you're going to use it only in your living room, not so great if it's a work tool.

The Glazz cover doesn't add a lot of bulk, but it adds a *lot* of rigidity; with the Glazz on, the iPad Air isn't much heavier, but it feels much more like the iPads of old in terms as you tap on it and pick it up.

Just as importantly, this protector is easy-peasy to put on, apart from the dust issue. Find a dust-free environment (run the shower and fill the room with steam, then let the steam clear for a moment, for example) and then just slap the thing on. Since it's not flexible, it's easy to keep aligned as you lower it on.

And it magically "grabs" the screen once you drop it onto your iPad's glass--you can see the contact area spreading out slowly over 6-7 seconds as it "grabs on" and becomes transparent. No bubbles, no rubbing, no fidgeting.

Also easy to reposition if you get it wrong--just gently pry up on the glass (use patience--it will take a few seconds to release itself again--just keep the steady gentle pressure applied and the contact process will reverse), reposition, and re-drop.

I feel about 1000% better about my iPad Air's survivability with this thing on, and despite my worries, it's much easier to apply than most flexible screen protectors.

10 out of 10.

Apple iPad Air MD789LL/A (32GB, Wi-Fi, White with Silver) OLD VERSION
Apple iPad Air MD789LL/A (32GB, Wi-Fi, White with Silver) OLD VERSION
Offered by easternllc
Price: $425.00
129 used & new from $345.00

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Very, very light. Too light, in fact. Flexes as you use it normally. Worried about durability., September 1, 2014
This is a great device in terms of functionality. As a longtime iPad user, I finally decided that it was time to upgrade the aging iPad 2 with a newer model to gain speed, portability, and the higher resolution display. I'm married to the Apple ecosystem because of the apps upon which I depend for serious work—for example, I regularly use Daedalus+Ulysses as a combo, and I am increasingly using MS Office for iPad as well, so given these needs Android was out.

I debated for quite a while about whether to go for the classic iPad form factor with Retina display or the Air. In the end I went with the Air, but at times since then I've wavered about my decision.

The problem is that the Air is just a bit *too* air. This is not a couch-only device for me. It has to travel. It gets used heavily. It's got to be a workhorse. That may not match everyone's needs, but those are mine. This device is miraculously thin and light given what it is and does, but I have come to wish that Apple had compromised a little more on the "Air factor," particularly when it comes to the glass display.

I'll just be blunt—I'm expecting to have to use AppleCare a couple of times to replace the screen before I graduate from this unit to a later model. The glass is thin. As in, really thin. As in, just tapping on the onscreen keyboard causes the glass to flex, and the sound that it makes with each tap—a hollow sound, like tapping on a cardboard box, not the glass-tapping sound of previous iPads—tells me that the glass is very thin.

Very thin glass combined with a very thin aluminum body is not good. Aluminum is a soft and pliable metal. It is not nearly as elastic as plastic, and at the thicknesses that are at issue here, it will flex. Just holding this thing by the corner feels like an act of faith; you can feel it flex slightly each time you pick it up. I'm expecting breakages, not from dropping or big impacts, but from things like someone's hand bumping the edge of the unit and causing just enough flex to shatter the screen.

Maybe I'm wrong. But part of what Apple has also historically been good at is user-centered, transparent design. The fact that I am continuously compelled to handle this with kid gloves, that I notice every time I pick it up how fragile it feels, is a kind of device-in-the-foreground-of-my-thoughts sense that I'm not used to when using Apple products. I'm more accustomed to them disappearing into the background—to feeling secure and productive.

I think at the very least, a thicker glass panel would have been better. If the display didn't flex so much just from onscreen tapping, and the sound and feel of the display during handling were the same as the very solid, impenetrable feel of the previous model iPads, I'd feel better about owning this device. Instead, I have a kind of wariness about using it that has caused me to consider switching to the classic iPad with Retina display over the Air.

Never Let Me Go
Never Let Me Go
Offered by Random House LLC
Price: $8.56

2.0 out of 5 stars I suppose what I am saying is that this would have been better as a story about aliens or bizarre subhumans completely ..., August 23, 2014
This review is from: Never Let Me Go (Kindle Edition)
I've given some very high reviews to novels that are very difficult and can also be accused of being the "flavor of the month" in literary circles (see, for example, my review of Bolano's 2066, much longer and more difficult to read), so it's not that I'm incapable of appreciating highbrow literature.

This novel seems to suffer from a crippling deficiency, however, to my eye.

The characters in this novel—whatever the alternate universe that they inhabit and the alternate form of socialization that they've undergone—clearly regret their fates and lot in life, and they clearly understand the social and emotional contexts that are at issue for them in the same ways that we would.

This ought to be good—it ought to make them empathetic characters with whom readers can identify.

At the same time, this regret does nothing to do them; it is passively accepted as regret. This acceptance is both bizarre and damaging to any empathetic opening for the audience. "I know what these characters feel, because I would feel the same way" quickly gives way to "I cannot comprehend how their feeling this way leads them to do what they ultimatlely do (or do not do)."

By making the audience identify with the characters, then breaking this identification and empathetic response so strongly, the net effect is a detachment even colder than would have been the case had the characters been totally foreign to most humans from the start. I suppose what I am saying is that this would have been better as a story about aliens or bizarre subhumans completely disconnected from any of our experience; as it is, the reader wants to "divorce" these characters just at the critical moment, as empathy gives way to bewilderment and even anger at them.

I suppose in ultra-ultra-serious-highbrow circles, someone may say, "That's precisely the point. Isn't it fascinating that you feel this need to respond this way, that you cannot passively accept the necessity of mortality and can't countenance it when other characters do," but that to me is in the same realm as the blank canvas "painting"—it's highbrow for highbrow's sake, not art for art's sake.

The human condition is precisely one of suffering, not the ironic observation of it in passive detachment.

These films have been dealt with in better ways in other Sci-Fi. I'm reminded of Ridley Scott's Blade Runner, for example, and its closing scenes. Infinitely more human and more apropos.

PThink Ultra-thin 0.5mm Qi Wireless Charging Receiver Card Coil for Samsung Galaxy Note III 3 N9000 N9005 with Full NFC Support
PThink Ultra-thin 0.5mm Qi Wireless Charging Receiver Card Coil for Samsung Galaxy Note III 3 N9000 N9005 with Full NFC Support

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Works very well. Here's how to get rid of the bulge., June 19, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I originally got the Samsung part for wireless charging, only to find that Samsung's back cover adds significant thickness to the phone (looks like it has an integrated heat sink) and thus doesn't allow the use of any aftermarket cases. As someone that uses the slimmest of slim "snap cases" on my phones, I'm very sensitive to thickness.

Got this hoping that it would be thin enough to fit inside the original cover—but guessing that it would cause a bulge.

It's quite thin, but it does in fact cause a bulge. There just isn't enough room inside the standard back cover for even this thin item.

I initially tried to use the phone with a bulge, but it made my case stick out just below the camera, made the phone not sit flat on the desk (instead, it rocked back and forth), and I didn't like the idea of constant pressure being applied by the case and rear cover against the internal components as a result of this receiver being inside the phone.

So here's how to make it fit without a bulge:

1) Peel off the sticker. The printing that you see in the product photo ("Wireless Charger...for NoteIII") is all actually on a black sticker that covers the entire unit and hides the electronics underneath. The sticker isn't, however, electrically necessary, and it adds additional thickness. I simply used my fingernails to separate it from the mylar film that is the unit itself, then gently peeled the sticker off. If you do this, be careful not to crease or bend the receiver. It's not too hard.

2) Thin out the original cover. With the sticker off, it's easy to see that most of the bulge is caused by a single surface-mount IC (a little square blob) just below the camera/lens area that is actually much thicker than the advertised 0.5mm (hence the one-star ding for this review). BUT—the rear cover is a very grindable plastic. I used a rotary tool (i.e. Dremel) set to its lowest speed and the standard sanding bit and thinned out just this area of the inside of the stock cover. It took about 2-3 minutes to thin it out enough that the IC has a little "pocket" to fit into. Blew off all the dust from the rear cover, and snapped it back on.

I've paired this with the Anker wireless charging base (also available on Amazon) which is handsome and fits the phone well, and I now have the setup that Samsung ought to have produced in the first place—still stock thin, but wirelessly charging right now, and with no bulge. Snap case fits perfectly, phone lays flat.

I guess my Samsung wireless charging cover is going up for sale as a used item in a moment...

Krusell 89630 ColorCover Slim Fit Case for Samsung Galaxy Note (AT&T SGH-i717 LTE and International GT-N7000) - Black
Krusell 89630 ColorCover Slim Fit Case for Samsung Galaxy Note (AT&T SGH-i717 LTE and International GT-N7000) - Black
Price: $11.07
3 used & new from $8.30

1.0 out of 5 stars Does not physically fit the phone. But not the wrong model., January 14, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This is the right case for this phone. The size and shape are right, the cutouts are in the right place. But it's actually just off—it won't stay on. It takes a lot of force to push it onto the body, and when you get it on, it pulls hard on the power and volume buttons (it's like it's just a hair too small) until it... pops off and has to be pushed back on.

Basically, ridiculously bad manufacturing tolerances here. Or maybe this one got left in the sunlight and shrunk ever so slightly? I don't know, but I can't use it, despite its being the correct model. Useless.

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