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Pyle PDIWCS56 In-Wall / In-Ceiling Dual 5.25-Inch Center Channel Sound System, 2-Way, Flush Mount, White, Single Unit
Pyle PDIWCS56 In-Wall / In-Ceiling Dual 5.25-Inch Center Channel Sound System, 2-Way, Flush Mount, White, Single Unit
Price: $47.99
52 used & new from $39.95

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Might rate this higher if I get one that isn't broken, January 18, 2013
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So far, I've had two of these. The first arrived with one of the two 5.25" speakers completely broken free of its mounts and the center speaker knocked completely loose. I generally find Pyle equipment to be good for the money; not exceptional, but a good value (especially as these ears can't hear fine nuances anymore). The second (a replacement) arrived in worse shape that the first. Both 5.25" speakers were broken loose with no attachment points in one piece, processor board had broken mounts, and one of the wall mounts was broken as well.

Perhaps the third time's the charm. If so, I'll revise my review for the actual performance of the speaker as opposed to the shape in which it arrived.

UPDATE: OK, we're three for three. The third one arrived the least broken of all of them (only one of the 5.25 inch speakers was completely broken free); however, that's small consolation. I still don't have center channel speakers and I've now wasted nearly a month trying to get them. Unfortunately the in-wall space available is kinda limited so it's going to take a lot more digging to come up with a replacement.

The problem is in the packaging. Each of the two speakers have a pretty sizable magnet that drives the cone. Each speaker is attached by four small screws that are molded into the plastic housing. The cardboard wrapper for the speakers (there's no packing foam which is at least part of the problem) doesn't contain a circular cutout to hold the back of the speakers. Consequently, if the shipping box is manhandled at all on edge it shears the speaker right off the housing. The truly surprising thing is that all the rest of Pyle's speakers have a cutout specifically designed to prevent that. Except this one. Honestly, I don't understand how any of them manage to arrive undamaged.

Standard Li-Ion Battery for HTC Hero (Sprint)/ Imagio XV6975/ Ozone XV6175/ Snap S511 (Sprint), S521 S522/ Tilt 2/ Touch Pro2 (GSM/CDMA)/ T-Mobile Dash 3G/ Dash 3G/ EVO 4G
Standard Li-Ion Battery for HTC Hero (Sprint)/ Imagio XV6975/ Ozone XV6175/ Snap S511 (Sprint), S521 S522/ Tilt 2/ Touch Pro2 (GSM/CDMA)/ T-Mobile Dash 3G/ Dash 3G/ EVO 4G
Offered by BuyCellular
Price: $8.49
5 used & new from $5.49

1.0 out of 5 stars Waste of money, May 3, 2011
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I bought this battery when my OEM battery (Sprint HTC Hero) passed the 1-year-old mark and resisted holding a charge. With moderate use, I was only able to get less than eight hours of phone use where previously I had gotten at least a full sixteen hours before I even needed to think about recharging. Time for a new battery.

In retrospect, this battery shouldn't have been the one I chose. Starting with a full charge and doing nothing more than periodically checking for text messages (and literally everything else turned off), I get just over four hours of use. God forbid that I actually make a phone call or turn the GPS on. This is the first replacement battery I've ever purchased for anything that was noticeably worse than the battery it replaced. I'm now back to the original battery and once again searching for a replacement.

Save your money.

The Structure of Scientific Revolutions
The Structure of Scientific Revolutions
by Thomas S. Kuhn
Edition: Paperback
Price: $12.35
223 used & new from $0.01

7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars THE best book on change managment..., December 6, 2003
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I read this book completely by accident; I found Kuhn's name and this book as a reference while looking for something completely different. When I checked out the reference a little further, I discovered that this book is generally considered a classic (anything written a half a century ago that's still cited probably has -some- staying power). So I decided to take a look at it.
The book is relatively small, which means you might think it's an easy and quick read. You'd be wrong. Kuhn's book is dense with information and thoughtful presentation, which makes it challenging to sail through quickly. However, I felt that was also one of its strong points; it forced me to work through the book and really think about what I was reading. If you're looking for fluff and pablum; look elsewhere.
So, what's the book about? As has been stated elsewhere, Kuhn's premise is that scientific progress isn't what it's typically made out to be. Generally, such as in most of my high school presentations, science is portrayed as a steadily moving river; progressing inevitably from one port of discovery to the next. Kuhn's book set that perspective on it's ear, by stating that science progresses relatively seamlessly until it gets near the edges of understanding, where it then begins fragmenting into a variety of perspectives and viewpoints. Eventually, a fundmental [paradigm] shift occurs which completely changes the world-view of that science (and which often creates an academic war to go with it). Once the dust has settled, revisionist history takes over, and we romanticize the struggle that our understanding went through in that period of growth and change.
Kuhn presents all this in a logical fashion, strengthing his argument via both a well-thought-out approach and a variety of supporting anecdotes. In particular, he doesn't rely too heavily on the Copernican revolution, which seems to be the only argument that others can present on scientific revolution. That alone contributes perhaps most heavily to the value of the argument.
So what has this got to do with change management? I worked as a management consultant for a few years, all before I read this book. Upon reading it, I was hit with the most blinding flash of the obvious; a lot of what I saw empirically in the business world echoed the issues of scientific paradigm shift that Kuhn so eloquently presented in this text. If your work involves any change to an organization; you -have- to read this book. It communicates, better than any book I've read on the subject, what's happening and why in the midst of change. The title may say "Scientific Revolutions," but the applicability is across the board. Buy it and read it.

Salt: A World History
Salt: A World History
by Mark Kurlansky
Edition: Paperback
Price: $12.03
311 used & new from $1.85

141 of 158 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Taking a love of Salt to its logical extreme, December 6, 2003
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This review is from: Salt: A World History (Paperback)
Salt is one of those things that turned up all over the place in my high school studies. It turned up in chemisty (sodium chloride), in biology (the amount of salt in our bodies and what we do with it), in history and English (check out the root of the word: "salary"). So sure, salt's important. But does it merit its own entire book about its history? Turns out the answer is both yes and no...
I like these small, focused histories (as you've probably guessed if you've read any of the other reviews I've written). I've read many of them, including another one by Mark Kurlansky, Cod (which I rather enjoyed). So when I ran across Salt, I was certain I wanted to read it. I liked Kurlansky's style, and I already knew that the subject matter would be interesting.
And it was. In Salt, Kurlansky walks through both the history of salt and the influence of salt on history, presenting a wide and varied picture of one of the [now] most common elements in our modern world. And he does this in the same engaging fashion that he used in Cod; although, with fewer recipes. So why not give it five stars? Well, it has a couple of noticable flaws that tended to detract a bit from the overall presentation.
The first flaw was in the sheer number of historical snippets that were included. While I'm certain that salt has been important in the broad span of human history, there are a number of these historical anecdotes where he was clearly reaching to demonstrate the influence of salt. Salt may have been involved in these incidents, but it was peripheral at best, and the overall tone sounds too much like cheerleading. Cutting a few of these out would have shortened the book without detracting from the presentation at all.
The second flaw was the meandering path that he takes through the history of salt. He generally starts early in history, and his discussion moves along roughly as history does as well; however, he has a tendency to wander a bit both forward and backward without effectively tying all of this together. I'd have preferred to either walk straight through history while skipping around the world (effectively comparing the use and influence of salt around the world) or to have taken more time to discuss why we were rewinding (effectively following one thread to its conclusion and then picking up another parallel one). To me it made the presentation a little too choppy.
There have been other criticisms as well; for example, the chemistry is incorrect in a number of places, but if you're using this as a chemical reference, then you've got serious issues with your ability to library research. Of course, that begs the question of what errors are in there that we didn't catch. And it does tend to be a bit repetitive in parts; although, this could have been used to good effect if historical threads had been followed a bit more completely.
While I had a few dings on the book, overall I liked it. The fact that I read it end-to-end and enjoyed the last chapter as much as the first is a testament to my general enjoyment of it. It wasn't the best book I read last year, but I'll certainly keep it on my bookshelf. So, back to my original question: does salt merit its own book? Yes, it does, but perhaps in a somewhat shorter form.
Comment Comments (8) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 15, 2015 9:02 PM PST

The Goal: A Process of Ongoing Improvement
The Goal: A Process of Ongoing Improvement
by Eliyahu M. Goldratt
Edition: Paperback
245 used & new from $0.49

28 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A 150-page text squeezed into a 300-page novel., September 28, 2002
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In "The Goal," Eliyahu Goldratt has written what has to be one of the most-read business books in existance. It's an introduction to his "Theory of Constraints" (TOC), but it's presented in a radically different form than the traditional business book. Most business books are either substantial, yet dry, text books or more engaging, but less substantive, anecdote-filled treatises. "The Goal" is a novel. About a Plant Manager. Who learns about the Theory of Constraints. While saving his plant. Sounds electrifying, huh?
My first reaction when I heard about it was: "A novel about a plant manager? And people actually paid money and read this?" Part of me wanted to read it for the sheer novelty of it. And part of me was interested in some of the buzz I'd heard about TOC. And here's the weird part; the book actually works. It's engaging, particularly if you've ever worked in or around a plant (and know how intimately your personal success is tied to the success of nebulous factors that no one seems to understand). It gradually introduces you to the concepts of TOC in a way that gives you a decent handle on them without mining them to the point of mind-numbing boredom.
What is TOC? Well, without re-writing the book here, it's about changing the focus of the organization to understand that the overall flow of work is more important to the success of the organization than the contribution of single parts. That is, managing the manufacturing capacity of the process is more important than ensuring that each manufacturing machine is producing at optimal capacity. In this sense, it's a lot like mathematical optimization, but TOC presents this in a fashion that's much more intuitive (it almost kills me to say that, as I spent a lot of my life gathering math degrees). If you're interested, Goldratt explains all of this in a much shorter book, The Theory of Constraints; however, it's much less interesting than The Goal. And as it basically covers the same information, I'd recommend The Goal before The Theory of Constraints.
There are no explosions. No one dies, and there are no conspiracies. At the end of the story, the hero (Alex Roge) doesn't end up in a nail-biting shootout with the enemy (although that might be a nice touch). It's a simple manufacturing plant in a company town that's doomed to extinction (the town and the plant), if things don't improve and improve quickly. And you find yourself pulling for Alex and his team as they honestly try to save the company and the town.
As a novelist, Goldratt will certainly never be mentioned in the same breath as Hemingway or Steinbeck. But don't sell the book short; it communicates a fundamentally different business point of view in a quick and effective fashion. And it does it in a way that has the reader anticipating the next development, rather than having to force themselves to slog from chapter to chapter. In the end, I'm glad I read it, and I recommend it highly.
Now if he could just turn Alex into an action hero for the sequel...

Tastes of Paradise: A Social History of Spices, Stimulants, and Intoxicants
Tastes of Paradise: A Social History of Spices, Stimulants, and Intoxicants
by Wolfgang Schivelbusch
Edition: Paperback
Price: $13.63
92 used & new from $0.01

52 of 59 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not as piquant as I had hoped..., February 5, 2002
This just had to be a subject right up my alley. Spices? I live in Texas where Tabasco is a condiment (and not a spice) and jalapenos are considered vegetables. Stimulants? I have a coffee cup surgically attached to my hand and Brazilian music runs constantly through my head. Intoxicants? I worship beer. What could be better than a book about all three subjects?
Tastes of Paradise considers the social use of and social importance of spices, stimulants, and intoxicants largely from a Western point of view. It covers the use of spices, the coffee-related ethic of the middle class, chocolate, the rise of smoking and snuff, alchohol and the industrial revolution, and the rituals and places surrounding our drinking. What more could we talk about?
Turns out there's a lot more we could talk about, and what would be better is a book that really covers all three subjects. My disappointment boils down to three basic complaints against the book. The first is by far the broadest. In including "a social history" in the title, Schivelbusch focuses almost exclusively on the social effect of the use of the particular stimulant or intoxicant. Nowhere does he discuss the broader history of the item or the impact of the item on society (read "The True History of Chocolate" for a broader and more thorough presentation on chocolate, for example). My second complaint regards his treatment of specific subjects. Spices get remarkably short shrift (twelve pages total; less space than the discussion of drinking rituals; "Nathaniel's Nutmeg" is a better presentation on spices as a whole), and tea is only considered from the point of view of England (I'm pretty sure that the Chinese and Japanese drank tea, and that there's some social history there). Finally, there are more illustrations in this book than in most elementary school readers.
The book is immensely readable, does include -some- interesting illustrations, and covers admirably the impact on western society of the most popular stimulants and intoxicants from the 1600's to the late 1800's. However, there's an enormous amount that isn't there (except for the extra illustrations; those are presented wholesale), and in that the book disappoints.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 5, 2012 10:24 PM PST

Eat the Rich: A Treatise on Economics
Eat the Rich: A Treatise on Economics
by P. J. O'Rourke
Edition: Hardcover
277 used & new from $0.01

8 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Where was this when I was taking all that econ?, February 5, 2002
P.J. O'Rourke is without a doubt my favorite essayist and writer (I got hooked on P.J. when he was writing for "Car and Driver" and have never regretted my addiction), and this book didn't fail to live up to my expectations. P.J. takes a basic look at economics, and then flavors that look with real-world examples as gleaned from his globe-trotting excursions in the pursuit of truth.
He starts with a simple examination of the basic, mind-numbing econ a large number of us slept through in college, and arguably this is the weakest part of the book. While his presentation is brief, understandable, and to the point, it's also filled with just a bit too much diatribe against the pointlessness of much of economic theory. However, these sections are as short as they are acidic.
It's after that however that P.J. is at his finest; writing about what he sees and experiences as he makes a round-the-world compare and contrast paper out of the economies of a variety of countries (and if you like this, go read "Holidays in Hell"). Comparing the economies of Tanzania, Hong Kong, and Shanghai through his witty observations and anecdotal references is worth the price of admission. When he visits a country, he really visits the country, getting to see its seamy underside as well as the glitzy parts photographed in the travel brochures. And no one is better at producing the telling anecdote that completely sums up his point than P.J.
His conclusions? Well, they're a bit pointed (and, yes, he probably did have most of them in mind before he started all this), they support a lot of the status quo (which I prefer to think of as his gaining perspective rather than losing his edge), and they'll most likely offend a wide spectrum of people (and if you're easily offended, why are you reading P.J. O'Rourke?). But the bottom line is that he pretty much cuts to the chase on both his analysis and his conclusions, and he does it while making you laugh out loud (more than I can say for my copy of Mansfield).
Definitely worth a place on your bookshelf.

What Color is Your Parachute? A Practical Manual for Job-Hunters & Career-Changers
What Color is Your Parachute? A Practical Manual for Job-Hunters & Career-Changers
by Richard Nelson Bolles
Edition: Paperback
144 used & new from $0.01

66 of 70 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An essential book (even if you're not job-hunting), November 26, 2001
I recently read Bolles 2002 edition after finding myself unexpectedly jobless (first time for that when it wasn't my choice). Two versions of his book have been taking up shelf space on my wife's bookcase for years, but I have never had occasion to pick them up and even thumb through them. Finally, I have.
There are literally thousands of books on the market that help with the job search process, covering everything from writing the perfect resume to addressing the career prospects of the photolithography portion of the semiconductor industry. This book covers none of that. What this book does, and does extremely well, is present the job-search process as it should be done; without limiting the process by applying it solely to a single industry. It doesn't cover the intricacies of cover letters and the specific variations of your resume (there are other books to do that). It does walk you through the path of your job search, holding your hand as appropriate.
Why hold your hand? Well, if you're following the more usual job search, you probably won't want the hand-holding. However, one of the more valuable aspects of the book is clear insight into just what works and what doesn't; and once you hear that, you'll probably want some hand-holding ('cause it's really different from what we all were told and what we'd all like it to be). Furthermore, if you're really serious about your job-search, some introspection is going to be required (what is it you really want to do, and where do you really want to do it?). Most of us enjoy that about as much as a tax audit, but Bolles' book manages to make this effort, if not enjoyable, at least tolerable.
So if it's so good, why doesn't it get five stars? Two reasons. First, networking, which is arguably the most important piece of the job-search process, gets discussed as a tool, rather than a process, making its entire presentation a little on the choppy side. Second, this really needs to be two books (more accurately, a single book and a workbook). Bolles has gone back and forth from one book to two books (sold as a single volume), with this version presented as a single book. I'd find keeping a workbook open while I'm referring to the main text much more valuable than having to page back and forth through a single volume.
Regardless of these dings, it's an essential book. I'd recommend reading it even if you're not looking for a job, and not just because, in this economy, we're all likely to be looking for work shortly. Bolles' focus on what it is you'd like to do, and the ease with which he guides the reader through the process are worth the read regardless of your employment status.

Raising Cain: Protecting the Emotional Life of Boys
Raising Cain: Protecting the Emotional Life of Boys
by Teresa Barker
Edition: Paperback
Price: $9.94
719 used & new from $0.01

146 of 156 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Grateful that I've discovered this book, August 28, 2001
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A few months ago, I read Reviving Ophelia on the recommendation of my wife (a psychologist) and a friend (a social worker). I was frankly stunned at the insight I gained in reading it. I immediately ordered a copy of my own, and in the process discovered Raising Cain. And just like Reviving Ophelia, I read it completely through. As a man, with strong memories of my adolescence, the book resonates with me. The stories it presents of the adolescent indoctrination into male culture (the "Big Impossible" as it's referred to throughout the book) ring true in a personal way. I "knew" many of the boys that they're referring to and who tell their stories. These were my associates, my classmates, my friends. And the more I read, the more I recalled of that period. Kindlon and Thompson present their story in the same basic structure as Pipher in Reviving Ophelia; as a series of topics that can greatly influence a young man, using vignettes of particular children and their stories to develop understanding and insight. And again, these are powerful vehicles for communication; presenting stories of strength and power in the face of unbelievable adversity. Just as powerful, is the understanding it brings as to how and why a child who's been continually disenfranchised can lash out against others (I find I'm in particular agreement with the authors after having been on the minority end of discussions about school killings such as Colombine). The most important contribution of this book; however, is to those who don't (and can't) understand what male culture can do to shape a child. I'm continually at the receiving end (and mostly the participating end) of jokes about the inability of a man to express a real emotion or feeling. While most of it is joking, it's clear that for two close female friends (one an only child and one with the closest siblings 15 years their senior) and my spouse (with three brothers, the youngest 16 years older than she) there really isn't any understanding of what it's like growing up to be indoctrinated as a man. Hopefully this book can provide some measure of understanding to those who haven't experienced this first-hand. And what of those of us who have experienced it? Hopefully this book provides both some reminder of what it was like growing up in that environment as well as providing some hope that it's possible to grow beyond the expectations of that environment. For while strength is important, it must be tempered with compassion. And it's up to us to make sure it happens.
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 22, 2013 10:08 AM PST

Reviving Ophelia: Saving the Selves of Adolescent Girls (Ballantine Reader's Circle)
Reviving Ophelia: Saving the Selves of Adolescent Girls (Ballantine Reader's Circle)
by Mary Pipher
Edition: Paperback
1257 used & new from $0.01

9 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I only wish I'd read this when it came out, August 28, 2001
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I don't read self-help books or psychology texts. I'm a mathematician by education and training, and I'm as left-brained as they come. I'm married to a psychologist who specializes in adolescents, substance abuse, and eating disorders; if I want to know something, I ask her. A few weeks ago, she brought this book home for she (and hopefully me) to read. A friend and co-worker had strongly recommended it to her, and so it sat on our kitchen counter. I read a great deal, both in volume and in topics, so on a whim {translated: I had nothing else in my reading queue at the time), I picked it up and started reading it. I could not put it down. We have a 13-year old daughter, and have as much trouble as the next set of parents in trying to communicate with her and understand her. I find it particularly difficult at times as I grew up in a household with only boys. While there was certainly our fare share of sibling rivalry and other issues to help build my understanding in working with others, there was none of the stereotypical issues or dealings that you hear about with adolescent girls. My sole experience with adolescent girls was as an adolescent boy (and you know how sensitive your typical adolescent boy is). I like to think I'm a decent parent, but there's a lot I don't know about being an adolescent (boy or girl), and my daughter's not in a position in her life to tell me. This book communicates great deal of that and more that I needed and still need to hear. To be sure, there are things that are missing. If you're looking for an instruction set on how to communicate with or raise your adolescent daughter, you've got the wrong book. And at first, I believed this to be a serious failing. Pipher's book walks through a series of topics that can greatly influence a young girl, using vignettes of particular children and their stories to develop understanding and insight. And these are powerful vehicles for communication; presenting stories of strength and power in the face of unbelievable adversity. However, while they clearly mark the path for parents to avoid, they don't provide instruction on what TO do. And I believe that's how it should be. Parenting is a unique experience; one in which you can do everything right and still fail; one in which you can do many things wrong and still succeed. The purpose of this book is not to provide direction, but to provide understanding. And in that it is extremely successful.

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