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L. C Glover "“Everything should be made as simple as possible, but no simpler.”" RSS Feed (San Jose Ca, USA)
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The Blacksmith's Son (Mageborn Book 1)
The Blacksmith's Son (Mageborn Book 1)
Price: $0.99

3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting first effort -- a mashup of classic fantasy story elements but needs editting, June 13, 2013
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Overall (3.5 stars):
This is a novella from Michael Manning. I believe it is his first published novella/book. As such, it is a pretty good effort but needs some editting and pacing adjustments.

The story draws on many classic fantasty elements:
1) Boy comes of age to find out they are special
2) Magic rare and powerful
3) Slight coming of age
4) Parents killed shortly after his birth

The elements are combined in a what feels like a very rushed manner. It read like a roughed out outline but not a finished novel. Some of the key concepts are not fully worked out in the authors mind which show up in the story as contradictions or actions that do not make much sense. The main character also outclasses his enemies very quickly and learns magic by himself very quickly when the prose indicates how hard it is to learn and control magic.

A minor annoyance is the use of quotations from a book on magic at the beginning of each chapter. The quotations are nearly repeated identically on several chapters. It is very heavy handed and only semi effective as the reader quickly tends to ignore the quotations instead of reading them which should help fill in the Mileu / theory of magic in this world.

The story is a quick read, entertaining in parts but not great writing. So, if you are looking for a quick read on a plane / in an airport, then you might want to download this. You should look for it to be priced on the low end for your kindle / e-reader.

I am not sure if I am going to read the next book or not. If it is on sale for $0.99, then I probably will for some light reading.


Yards: Turn Any Outdoor Space into the Garden of Your Dreams
Yards: Turn Any Outdoor Space into the Garden of Your Dreams
by Billy Goodnick
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $12.31
44 used & new from $7.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very good overview on design process but light on detailed ideas/examples, May 21, 2013
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
"Yards" is a very good book to help you think about how to design a yard in a disciplined manner. A fair amount of the information is obvious but the presentation and sequence is very good. It really helps to frame how you go about doing the design. The pictures in the book are very good examples of what the author is talking about.

This should be your first place to start when doing a landscape design. it will help you get a design down so that they you can find the specific elements that you want in the yard/garden. The process will take time and patience but that makes sense when it comes to a landscape design that really works well.

I only gave the book 4 stars because I was hoping to get more examples of design elements that the author has used before / a few reference web sites to review to help get a good idea. I could use Houzz.com but I was hoping for something more specific to the task of landscape design.


Fellowes I-Spire Series Document Lift (9311501)
Fellowes I-Spire Series Document Lift (9311501)
Price: $17.24
35 used & new from $10.00

4.0 out of 5 stars Multi-functional, useful but not inexpensive, May 8, 2013
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
The Fellowes I-Spire Series Document Lift is a multi-functional item:
1) Document holder
2) Dry Erase board
3) Clipboard...in a pinch

The document board/dry erase board can be set into the stand in landscape or portrait positions. The stand has some weight to it, so it can hold up a fair number of pages clipped to the board. The number of vertical positions are somewhat limited, so I would not recommend this for extended period use.

The overall quality of the device is good. You can tell it is not inexpensive when you pick it up / start to use it.

If you are just looking for a document holder, then you should look for another item. But, if you want something in your home office that can be used for several things, then this would work for you. If you want to use it to leave messages for people, the board is large enough for that. Note: It does not come with a dry-erase pen or eraser. You will have to pick that up seperately.


Crowdfund Investing For Dummies
Crowdfund Investing For Dummies
by Sherwood Neiss
Edition: Paperback
Price: $16.56
64 used & new from $3.50

4.0 out of 5 stars Good overview, easy to read and full of good starting information, April 18, 2013
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"Crowdfund Investing for Dummies" is written by the two co-authors of the the JOBS bill that was signed into law by President Obama. So, the authors know the law inside and out which is very helpful. However, since the law has not been fully implemented, the exact details of how crowdfunding investing using debt and equity is not really set yet. So, I would look at this book as more of a roadmap document vs. how to really do debt and equity based crowdfunding -- the devil is in the details when it comes to finance laws. You do not want to be on the wrong side of the SEC!

The information on how to setup a campaign for something like Kickstarter is helpful but fairly obvious if you have followed any of the successful kickstarter projects.

If you are looking for information on the new equity class created by the JOBS bill, then this is a great place to start. But, I would strong recommend that you get a copy of the law and read the details after looking at the highlights of what is intended by the authors via this book. A final law has a funny way of getting twisted from what the original intent of the bill is.

If you are a successful entrepreneur looking for a small amount of start up capital via something like Kickstarter, then this is worth a quick read/review. But, you can probably get a good feel for what needs to be done by looking at the kickstarter projects that have reach the minimum funding goal.

The concept of defining the amount of funding needed for the plan but only getting the capital if the goal is reached is a very good idea. It makes sure the entrepeneur has the capital needed to deliver the prototype/initial product, the investors have good visibility into the progress of the startup and the entrepeneur gets market validation that the concept is viable as well as a group of very engaged and interested beta testers. It meshes well with the lean startup concept.


The Truth of All Things: A Novel
The Truth of All Things: A Novel
by Kieran Shields
Edition: Hardcover
80 used & new from $0.01

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Period murder mystery done in a Holmesian Style, April 18, 2013
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
"The Truth Of All Things" is a period murder mystery set in 1892 Maine. The style of the narrative is done in a Holmesian (Sherlock) style -- is effective sometimes but can be hit or miss. If you enjoy Sir Conan Doyle or Matthew Pearl (The Poe Shadow), then you should give this book a try.

The pacing of the book is again a bit hit or miss for my tastes. There are times that detailed descriptions are engaging but other times were some editting would have helped keep the pace a bit more enjoyable.

The book is not exactly a page turner but if you enjoy interesting and complex characters then the book may be for you.

Note: other Amazon reviews give details on the plot -- see those.


The Lean Startup: How Today's Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses
The Lean Startup: How Today's Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses
by Eric Ries
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $14.99
158 used & new from $2.60

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good introduction to a startup for a new entrepreneur but fairly obvious to a veteran, April 18, 2013
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
"The Lean Startup" by Eric Ries is a good book for someone who is interested in starting a business but does not have a background in starting up companies or have been an early employee at a sucessful startup company.

The concepts of the Startup can be boiled down to the following:

1) You must get traction with your customers as quickly as possible. Product/service development is a highly iterative process. If you do not structure your organization to embrace the iterations, then you are most likely going to fail.

2) The 80/20 rule should be applied to your product --> do 20% of work to get 80% of target value of the product. The product should then have customer review/feedback as quickly as possible. If you can get the customers involved in the QA/UAT of the product, it is the best way to go.

3) You must get market validation (aka people willing to pay for the product) of your product as soon as physically possible. The product will then evolve rapidly to meet a growing market segment.

Tribalism in your early adaptors is very important. The early adoptors will help drive your product into the next set of adopters via influencers.

4) Businesses should be using what is termed "emergent strategy" --> try things and see what gets traction in the market. Do not assume you know what the market really needs/wants --> ask them!

5) You can lower the risk of failure by speeding up when customers give you feedback --> organic growth of the market basis is what you should be targeting especially with the rapidly increasing degree of connectivity/information in today's business environment.

The book itself is a bit wordy for something that could be expressed in a more compact and effective way. You might say that the lean startup needs to be more lean and focused. :)


Python for Data Analysis: Data Wrangling with Pandas, NumPy, and IPython
Python for Data Analysis: Data Wrangling with Pandas, NumPy, and IPython
by Wes McKinney
Edition: Paperback
Price: $24.87
67 used & new from $18.87

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars IPython, NumPy, Pandas and SciPy -- tutorial, April 7, 2013
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Python for Data Analysis is a book focus on the person looking to data analysis using Python that has the following prerequities:

1) Understands Python
2) Understand data analytic techniques
3) Focusing on getting their feet wet in "Big Data"

If you have the prerequites, then this book will be quite helpful to you. The author gives you some working examples across key areas of data analytics:
Data acquisition, data cleanup, statistical analysis and based reporting capabilities

The book will provide the tools for you to do data analysis not the why you should do a particular thing with the data you are working on. Python is fairly easy a language to learn. But, you spend some time getting up to speed on the language before jumping into this book.

The format of the book follows the standard O' Rielly press technical book. The organization is ok but not good as a reference book.

The content is good but you should really read the book front to back -- aka not a cookbook type programming book.


Microsoft Streets and Trips 2013
Microsoft Streets and Trips 2013
Offered by Tech for Less
Price: $245.48
8 used & new from $225.00

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Very poor GIS product -- bad interface and limited usefulness, April 7, 2013
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Streets & Trips 2013 by Microsoft is not a good product by any stretch of the imagination. Also, I am a bit baffled as to why this product even exists given services like Google Maps. Microsoft had the advantage in GIS technology when they purchase MapInfo. MapInfo was a much better product ten years ago than the current version of Streets & Trips 2013.

The trip routing software available online for free gets the job done quickly and easily. The ability to add notes and information attached to geocoded data is not new. Geocoded = Latitude and longitude associated with the data. The location information makes for some very powerful searching techniques and location specific applications.

This software looks to be made in the late to mid 90's. The interface is very hard to use -- not intuitive. A previous version of the software allowed for easy geocoding of data while this version has hidden that functionality.

Frankly, this looks like software that was developed as a basic user interface to do lat/long data capture to feed into the Bing search engine. If that was the goal, then Microsoft should have released this as free ware and a good supporting API like Google did with Google maps. If the interface was good, then people would start to use and data would be flooding into the Borg-hive mind of Bing.

Note: The DVD that came with the product did not work for the installation. I had to download the application over the internet. The software activation was straight forward using the standard Microsoft license key code.


The Flatey Enigma
The Flatey Enigma
by Viktor Arnar Ingolfsson
Edition: Paperback
Price: $10.99
50 used & new from $3.82

3.0 out of 5 stars Icelandic saga interwoven with 1960 murder mystery, April 7, 2013
This review is from: The Flatey Enigma (Paperback)
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
"The Flatey Enigma" sounded like a very interesting book when I saw it on the Amazon vine program monthly offering. I enjoy mythology and murder mysteries quite a bit.

The translated story by Viktor Arnar Ingolfsson was a very hard read. The character names are very hard to read / remember especially when there are so many characters in the story. The people of Flatey (small Icelandic fishing island) are a very tight social community due to the physical proximity to each other. The characters are odd and not developed much -- more like pieces of puzzle being moved around to help complete the overall final image. The pacing is on the slow side, so you should be up for that type of book before you start to read this book.

The story was interesting, complex but hard to follow at times. The story starts very slowly, so be ready to give it a chance. The story is for someone who enjoys stories with lots of characters weaving in and out of who-done-it but must have appreciation for the stark environments.

The Flatey Engima relates to a medieval book from Flatey. The murder mystery and attempts to solve the engima are interwoven /connected. It helps to keep the story moving and interesting.

This would be a good book to curl up to the fire with on a cold, long winter's night.


A User's Manual to the PMBOK Guide
A User's Manual to the PMBOK Guide
by Cynthia Stackpole
Edition: Paperback
Price: $54.44
54 used & new from $39.00

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars PMBOK Lite -- condensed and updated version of the PMBOK, April 7, 2013
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Disclosure:
I am a PMP. I am currently finishing up my recertification -- getting the required 60 PDUs for recertification.

Overall:
This is a boiled down / lite version of the PMBOK. It covers the keys areas of the PMBOK and updates with information from the 5th edition. If you have not read or looked at the PMBOK, you have not missed much as a book goes. It is a reference tome not a way to learn the PMBOK material. If you are looking for a way to learn the concepts in the PMBOK, I would look to another source. This book is good for reference / refresher on the PMBOK material.

The book is formatted the same way as the PMBOK -- clear but dry material. If you are looking for a quick way to get some sleep tonight, you should get a copy and read it in bed. If you learn by rote, then this book will be helpful in memorizing the PMBOK material (which is a must to pass the PMP test).

If you are looking for book to help you learn project management, do not use the PMBOK or this book. The PMBOK and the user's manual to the PMBOK GUIDE should only be used as reference or for preparing for the PMP certification test. The book assumes you are a project mananger with actual experience so that you can decide what is useful and what is not for managing your particular project.

I gave the book three stars for the following reasons:
1) Consistent formatting with the PMBOK -- easy cross referencing
2) Dry material -- hard to learn from. This is a theory book not a use case/example book to help you learn the concepts.
3) Reference material -- does the job --> not good, not bad.


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