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Customer Reviews: 477
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Loot
Loot
by Jude Watson
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $12.95
19 used & new from $9.90

4.0 out of 5 stars Good plot, target audience should be upper middle school, December 19, 2014
This review is from: Loot (Hardcover)
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
The target audience of 8-12 years is inappropriate for the narration and plot that somehow portrays stealing and a few immoral traits as normal. Clearly, that is not Watson's intent - but reading this book with a 4th and 5th grader, it opened up discussions that may not be fully appreciable by the suggested target group. I'm unsure if this is an independent must-read for 4/5 grade students Nevertheless for upper middle school kids, this can be a thrilling read - offering a plot with some nuance and suspense. The vocabulary is not overly triviailized and the conversational tone is mostly natural and is easily relatable.


Freshware KT-406 7-in-1 Onion, Vegetable, Fruit and Cheese Chopper with Mandoline Slicer and Storage Lid
Freshware KT-406 7-in-1 Onion, Vegetable, Fruit and Cheese Chopper with Mandoline Slicer and Storage Lid
Price: $20.68
2 used & new from $18.99

4.0 out of 5 stars excellent value for a wide variety of chopping needs, December 16, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
With the versatile blade set and sleek look, this is an excellent option for all chopping needs. The two options for slicing and the dial for adjusting the thickness works great and so far has held up well. Like most other mandolins, chopping thinner vegetables like carrot/beets etc will not be easy without taking on some additional risk. For onions, this has turned out to be an excellent option. Clean-up is not difficult, but one needs to be extra careful in placing/storing the blade sets to avoid any injury. At this pricepoint, this is a very compelling value. Durability of the blades (and replacability) is the only concern knocking off .5 stars. 4.5stars


It's Not About the Shark: How to Solve Unsolvable Problems
It's Not About the Shark: How to Solve Unsolvable Problems
by David Niven
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $18.15
74 used & new from $5.00

3.0 out of 5 stars power of reframing in creative solutions, December 12, 2014
Using a series of (simplified and cherry-picked) examples, Niven positions that most problems can be solved if we stop thinking about it as a problem... In fact, reframing the problem - essentially presenting yourself a different choice architecture - is the core idea that is repeated throughout the book (and in numerous other books such as How We Decide (Paperback) and The Art of Choosing. Kahneman and his disciples have provided excellent treatment of these topics and much more in other pop-psych books; so it is challenging to add something unique to that corpus. Niven tries to reinterpret some of well-known experiments and some other narratives (mostly vignettes that have to be taken at his word) to emphasize the power of reframing, digressions, divergent thoughts, and a refusal to look at a problem in its "own terms" in finding creative solution. While the book is an entertaining read and offers some food for thought, it is not provocative nor adds any significantly new insights in creativity or problem solving. The summaries at the end of chapter provides a key take-away and suggests 1-2 habits that could be developed - most of which centers around "zoom-out" strategies. 3.5*


App Inventor 2
App Inventor 2
by David Wolber
Edition: Paperback
Price: $27.63
37 used & new from $21.65

3.0 out of 5 stars A glossy printed version of manual, providing minimal theory, December 12, 2014
This review is from: App Inventor 2 (Paperback)
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
For those who need a printed tutorial of what's already available in the App Inventor website, this is a glossy handout. For those who want to understand programming theory or techniques for Android, this is merely an appetizer. The chapters progressively build apps with increasing complexity and introduces more features, but it doesn't challenge the reader to think about how to extend those features or provide a design methodology to start composing new apps and functions as you progress through the chapters. Overall, for someone keen on having a ready-to-reference printed manual,. instead of toggling screens with the online help manual, this is a OK choice.


Rookie Smarts: Why Learning Beats Knowing in the New Game of Work
Rookie Smarts: Why Learning Beats Knowing in the New Game of Work
by Liz Wiseman
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $21.14
82 used & new from $10.86

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars An interesting hypothesis, but with limited runway, December 9, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
There is no doubt that a fresh set of eyes or a reframing of a problem often can result in breakthrough results - but to extend that to say that rookies are source of innovation or that they can outperform veterans is misleading. It may true that rookies' questions may provoke calibrating or even reassessments of established procedures, but these procedures evolved/exist because collective wisdom has shown that to work! In her eagerness to convey a message that it is good to think like a rookie, and be curious all the time, Wiseman's narrative stretches it a bit too far to imply experienced folks and outdated dinosaurs are equivalent. One wishes Wiseman focused more on the process of learning like a rookie (for an experienced professional) or on assembling teams of varied experience levels to tap into what she believes rookies bring to the party. Overall, an interesting premise that over-reached.


Cyberlink PowerDirector 13 Ultra
Cyberlink PowerDirector 13 Ultra
Price: Click here to see our price
16 used & new from $68.95

4.0 out of 5 stars Feature-rich, memory-hogging video editor at a decent price-point., December 3, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
For me, this software became the final push I needed to upgrade RAM. For all the functionality of this software, it is a memory hog and not very kind to multi-tasking. As an amateur in video editing (mostly kids dance lessons and performances, swim and tennis competitions and travel videos), the learning curve was not intimidating. Though the feature-richness is likely to limit how quickly one can master this software, once you have a specific task in mind, it is easy to figure out how to use the editor to develop your masterpiece (though directly uploading to YouTube doesn't seem to be an option - or it is well hidden). It is not clearly stated in the packaging, but their licensing policy seems to restrict the use of the product key for only a single installation. It would have been great if they allowed a limited installation in a second location (a laptop for travel, for example). I have also had intermittent problems with thumbnails either not showing up or very slow (could be a hardware issue).

Overall, the rich features take a while to figure out, amateurs need some patience and a really souped up (memory) PC to utilize this software without cursing every other second....


Nautilus R616 Recumbent Bike
Nautilus R616 Recumbent Bike
Price: $585.48

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars great value at this pricepoint, may need to overlook some of the build quality/cosmetics (4.5*), December 3, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This is a very sturdy, easy-to-assemble recumbent bike that is likely to turn out to a solid long-term value at this pricepoint. The only negatives of this bike is the fairly flimsy looking plastic covers for the wheel and a rather too bright LCD panel.

All parts required for assembling are clearly labeled and the instructions (predominantly pictures) are good enough for anyone with some minor experience to put it together in about an hour. The length of the power cord is an important consideration to keep in mind where you plan to keep the bike (would have preferred a longer wire). Packaging is good (tons of packaging material that cannot be recycled though) and the unassembled box will need 2 persons to carry.

Setting up the bike is fairly trivial (though it is difficult or even impossible to reset the time/dates - so, pay attention when you initially set the time/date functions).

Bluetooth works as advertised, no issues in pairing with my devices; speakers are OK (you are not likely to give up your headsets), and the fan may provide more white noise than breeze at lower settings. USB connections seem to charge a bit slow. So, the technology features are not something sensational but represents an excellent value at this price point. The Heart rate display is an excellent feature - (need to test the calibration to confirm accuracy, but I've not done that yet). Based on your heart rate, it displays whether you are in the aerobic or anaerobic zone - giving a good sense of calorie burn rate.

With the relative easy of assembly, excellent options for personalizing your workout and archiving, heart rate monitor with a very useful and intuitive display, ability to connect to your audio devices, a holder for tablet & USB port, this bike represents a compelling value for this price. One wishes the plastic covers were stronger and some of the finishes for the plastic bottle holder and other covers more elegant. 4.5*


The Story Hour: A Novel
The Story Hour: A Novel
by Thrity Umrigar
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $18.92
66 used & new from $11.56

5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent attempt in character evolution., November 29, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Umrigar lives up to the expectations set up via her earlier novels. This one, in particular, takes a more realistic approach to developing characters, viewing them more as a composite of flaws and strengths, with different aspects dominating their approach, outlook, language and actions at different times. That realism, in itself, is worth the read. The plot may still show hints of traditional plots from subcontinent stories (dominating husband, repressed relations, etc..), but it is treated with a certain degree of neutrality and the focus solely rests on the evolution of the relation between two women from very different circumstances. The narrative style seems jumpy at times and the pace is uneven, but the book is well worth the read.


Where Earth Meets Water
Where Earth Meets Water
by Pia Padukone
Edition: Paperback
Price: $10.93
95 used & new from $0.01

4.0 out of 5 stars Dense but interesting narrative style with realistic characters, November 26, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
While the fairly dense pose, constant time-shifting, and narratives focusing on different 'protagonists' may make this a slightly tough read, it is a rewarding one. Using two of the more well-known tragedies - human-made and natural ( perhaps chosen by purpose to highlight that suffering inflicted via Nature or man - ends up with similar predicaments for those who need to live beyond them), Padukone steps far away from traditional stories centered in the sub-continent on arranged marriages and mango-tree climbing.... that, by itself, is refreshing. The attempt to define survivor's guilt and potential ways to struggle through it makes this a very unique read.


Oral-B Deep Sweep 5000 Smartseries with Bluetooth Electric Rechargeable Power Toothbrush
Oral-B Deep Sweep 5000 Smartseries with Bluetooth Electric Rechargeable Power Toothbrush

4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent brush, technology overkill (can be mitigated), November 21, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
For the most part, the very innovative approach in the five modes for brushing, the robust design and fairly decent battery performance is overshadowed by what comes across as an overkill of technology. Apparently, staying focused on any task for 2 minutes is so difficult, the designer chose to add personalized news and weather to entertain ....using a smartphone app. In order to facilitate the technology invasion, one has to carefully define access to different kinds of information on the app. While some of the privacy concerns can be mitigated by restricting access, the default for all models should have been just a BT enabled "smartguide" that can potentially bypass the need for a smartphone app.

The technology overkill aside, this is a brush that performs extremely well. The "deep" sweep and the different modes can clearly be felt and one notices a difference in a few days. The battery charge holds as advertised and didn't notice any "decay" during brushing sessions. Replacement brushes are a tad expensive, but generic versions are available at much cheaper pricepoints (though I have not tested their performance).

Overall, an excellent brush that can potentially be crucial for oral health, if one can use common-sense approach to limit how much one wants technology to intrude. I wish all models just limited to the use of "smartguide" found in Oral-B Professional Deep Sweep with Smart Guide Triaction 5000 Rechargeable Electric Toothbrush, 1 Count


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