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Customer Reviews: 8
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Helpful Votes: 35


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Mark B. RSS Feed (Princeton, NJ USA)

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Nike+ SportWatch GPS Powered by TomTom (Black/Volt)
Nike+ SportWatch GPS Powered by TomTom (Black/Volt)
Offered by TauSelect
Price: $199.99
9 used & new from $69.95

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A reasonable choice, but can let you down, February 2, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I've used this watch for well over a year now, including for regular training runs as well as multiple races including two half-marathons. I wanted to share my experience for those of you who are serious runners.

First and most important: Don't buy this watch if you care about data analytics or portability. This watch uploads your data to the Nike+ web site. There's no way to download the data from the watch directly or to export your data from the Nike+ web site. And, as other reviewers have observed, the Nike+ site has a clunky, slow-loading design and only limited reporting features and stats.

If you can get over that, then this watch is acceptable with some caveats. When it locks in the GPS signal for a run, it tends to hang on to it very well, even running through trees or under bridges. But every now and then it inexplicably proves incapable of finding the GPS when you first set it up for your run, even on clear days with no tree or cloud cover. So far this has never happened to me before a race, but it would truly suck if it did. I've tested the watch next to my Garmin car GPS and older Android phone, and every time I tried the car GPS and phone easily found a GPS signal when the Nike+ watch could not. You have the best shot of locking in a signal if you take the watch off and place it on top of something stationary (the roof of your car, or the top of a mailbox) until it locks in.

In theory the Nike+ shoe pod sensor will cover you when the GPS is not available (for example, if you are running inside on a treadmill). You need to complete a couple runs with both the GPS and shoe sensor working for the watch to learn how to calculate your pace accurately from the shoe sensor alone. For the first year or so, this fallback seemed to work fine for me. Then, out of the blue, the watch started showing paces and distances that were much slower and shorter than what I was actually doing. I replaced the shoe pod sensor, thinking it was a battery life issue, but had the same problems with the new one. I'm guessing the problem is in the watch's firmware. You can delete the inaccurate run data on the Nike+ web site on a per-run basis, but there's no way to manually enter the correct data (assuming you even know what it is).

Battery life is usually great. I can easily run for a week, including my long runs, without recharging, and I had plenty of juice left after my half-marathons. However, every now and then the watch drains itself almost to zero between runs, and if you don't notice this in time to recharge you will lose power in the middle of your run. Again, I'm suspecting this is a watch firmware issue because the watch is usually back to normal after the next charge cycle.

The total picture here is mixed. When the GPS locks in, I am very happy with the watch. When it does not, you are at risk of inaccurate data from the shoe sensor. If neither is working, it's a lousy stopwatch. In fact, the one time I tried using it without either the GPS or the sensor, I discovered that tapping the watch face (which normally lights up the face) also triggers the lap time counter in stopwatch mode. Since I was running in the dark, this caused a lot of extraneous laps to be recorded! Not only that, but I couldn't see my time, because the lap time display only shows the lap time, not the running clock.

In sum:

Pros:

-- Clean hardware design, fits smaller wrists like mine fine
-- Once you lock in GPS, it stays locked and data seems accurate
-- Ability to cycle between multiple data points during run
-- Good battery life (most of the time)

Cons:

-- Your data is trapped inside the limited Nike+ ecosystem
-- Unpredictable GPS lock in could let you down when you really need it
-- Problems with shoe sensor accuracy
-- Occasional random battery drain
-- Flawed stopwatch design

Because of all these cons, I always wear a second watch (basic Ironman Triathlon) to races just in case.


Waterpik Waterflosser Cordless PLUS
Waterpik Waterflosser Cordless PLUS
37 used & new from $46.00

1.0 out of 5 stars Works well ... until it doesn't, October 21, 2011
This product has a fatal design defect: You can't get it wet, but there's no way to use it without getting it wet. Think about it. It's pumping a jet of water into your mouth. You can't swallow that water (and you probably wouldn't want to if you could). So the water comes out of your mouth, and flows over the Water Pik. Within a couple months, no matter how careful you are, the water will cause the metal prongs that connect to the charger to corrode. Now your Water Pik won't charge. It's a useless brick. I was lucky to have purchased from a big box store with a 90 day return policy (yes, this happened to me in less than 90 days). I switched to the Panasonic Oral Irrigator (EW-DJ10-A), a portable water flosser that has a gasket-sealed compartment for its batteries (it's not rechargeable, but it's about half the cost of this Water Pik).

The water flossing technique itself works great, by the way. It's very effective at getting all the gunk out from between my teeth, especially where I have a couple dental crowns.


The Mathematics Calendar 2011
The Mathematics Calendar 2011
by Theoni Pappas
Edition: Calendar
15 used & new from $7.50

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Love this calendar!, February 2, 2011
I'm on my second year, and I got the one for kids as well. These calendars are great for keeping your math skills up. For each day of the year, you are presented with a problem -- and the answer to that problem is the day of the month! Very diverse problem types, some tricky, some straightforward. Coverage of algebra, geometry, some trigonometry, number/set theory, the occasional calculus problem, and famous formulas (e.g., one problem from January 2011 required knowledge of Euler's identity: e^(i*pi)= -1). Basically what you would expect in an advanced high school setting. Also, the top half covers a mathematical topic of interest, with extensive references to web sites and printed works. If you want to boost your nerd cred, then nothing beats hanging this in your cube space and showing your work for each and every day of the month, preferably in near-illegible pencil scrawl.


Blue Microphones Snowball USB Microphone
Blue Microphones Snowball USB Microphone
Price: Click here to see our price

5.0 out of 5 stars This microphone makes me happy!, April 29, 2010
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Thank you Blue! A beautifully designed product that works great. Amazing value for the price.


NETGEAR XE104 85 Mbps Powerline 4-Port Ethernet Adapter
NETGEAR XE104 85 Mbps Powerline 4-Port Ethernet Adapter
12 used & new from $23.50

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Easy to set up and use, August 29, 2007
For whatever reason, in the type of older house I live in the wi-fi can't make it through more than one wall reliably. After days of fiddling around repositioning the wireless router and contemplating complex home rewiring schemes, I gave up and bought one Netgear XE103 Wall Plugged Adapter and one Netgear 85Mbps Adapter with 4-Port Switch (XE104). Our problems were solved within 15 minutes of opening the box (it would have been five minutes if I hadn't taken the time to install the utility software to set up a private network password). Nice work, Netgear!

Here's a couple of tips: (1) Write down the device password (on the plug side) before plugging everything in and running the password utility -- you'll need the device password to set the private network password for remote units. (2) Enter the device password for all your remote devices in the software utility before trying to set the network password using the "all devices" option (otherwise the password will only be set locally, and your remote devices will stop talking to the local device).


NETGEAR XE103 85 Mbps Powerline Network Adapter
NETGEAR XE103 85 Mbps Powerline Network Adapter
7 used & new from $50.00

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very easy to set up and use, August 29, 2007
For whatever reason, in the type of older house I live in the wi-fi can't make it through more than one wall reliably. After days of fiddling around repositioning the wireless router and contemplating complex home rewiring schemes, I gave up and bought one Netgear XE103 Wall Plugged Adapter and one Netgear 85Mbps Adapter with 4-Port Switch (XE104). Our problems were solved within 15 minutes of opening the box (it would have been five minutes if I hadn't taken the time to install the utility software to set up a private network password). Nice work, Netgear!

Here's a couple of tips: (1) Write down the device password (on the plug side) before plugging everything in and running the password utility -- you'll need the device password to set the private network password for remote units. (2) Enter the device password for all your remote devices in the software utility before trying to set the network password using the "all devices" option (otherwise the password will only be set locally, and your remote devices will stop talking to the local device).


Nature's Building Blocks: An A-Z Guide to the Elements
Nature's Building Blocks: An A-Z Guide to the Elements
by John Emsley
Edition: Hardcover
52 used & new from $0.01

14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great book - lousy copy editor, June 14, 2002
This book is as great as all the other reviewers say. It's the kind of book that's fun to explore -- each entry is self contained, and there are also a few short sections on the elements in general (for example, a history of the periodic table).
The only negative comment I have is the poor copy editing. There are numerous spelling and grammatical errors. In the periodic table section alone, on one page, there were three spelling errors and three numerical errors. Needless to say, this is a especially problematic with a reference work...


Insect Lives: Stories of Mystery and Romance from a Hidden World
Insect Lives: Stories of Mystery and Romance from a Hidden World
by Erich Hoyt
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $34.69
67 used & new from $0.01

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An entertaining and comprehensive book, June 15, 2000
If you're interested in insects, this book is for you. An excellent collection of a a large quantity of writings and other materials, all about insects. Good bedside reading, as each excerpt is relatively short.


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