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Rival 4-Quart Red Ice Cream Maker FRRVCB40-RD
Rival 4-Quart Red Ice Cream Maker FRRVCB40-RD
Offered by DealYard
Price: $34.95
5 used & new from $17.00

5.0 out of 5 stars Good service and excellent ice cream, May 8, 2013
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
There was a few days delay in shipping, but the seller responded quickly. Other than that, the unit arrived in good shape right when the seller said it would. I received a brand new unit still in its factory sealed box and well packed. Overall good experience.

The ice cream maker itself does a very good job. I use it with ice from my freezer's ice maker, and regular salt (since rock salt can be hard to find). It has been producing very good ice cream. I use a whole container of salt for each batch of ice cream, and I add two cups of water. Also, I must replenish the ice after about 15 minutes. Because of the oval shape, the unit uses quite a bit less ice, but it seems to melt faster than other traditional ice cream makers so needs to be replenished in mid-cycle. It generally takes 45 minutes to complete a batch when I use it this way--somewhat longer than the rock salt recipe indicates.

Unfortunately, it appears that this model has been discontinued. I ordered this unit actually as a replacement for my current one since I use it quite a bit and the motors tend to wear out after many months of heavy use. Now I have a spare motor (and other parts) to replace if and when my current unit has problems.


How Children Succeed: Grit, Curiosity, and the Hidden Power of Character
How Children Succeed: Grit, Curiosity, and the Hidden Power of Character
by Paul Tough
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $20.26
291 used & new from $1.62

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent summary demonstrating the impact of life skills/character on success, May 8, 2013
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I sought out this book after reading a long article in the New York Times magazine that introduced the subject of the book. Tough is a journalist who provides a very readable, compelling, and informative overview of a very interesting topic. He cites psychological research that identifies 24 key character skills (I would call them "life skills or habits") which influence the success of individuals over their lives much more than any academic or trade skills and knowledge. Tough wraps the narrative around stories of two school leaders, one from a very exclusive and expensive private school and one from a KIPP Charter School serving disadvantaged kids, who work together to incorporate these skills into their schools.. Both of them noted that improving the academic grades and competencies of their students was not a good predictor of their success in college and in life. They end up working with psychologists at the University of Pennsylvania, I believe, to home in on the seven character skills that are most determinate of future success. The KIPP school leader creates a character report card that is now used in KIPP schools along with traditional report cards, with encouraging outcomes. The elite school leader does his best to incorporate the ideas into his school, but is not able to explicitly teach "character" because the parents don't see that as a role of schools.

I would encourage every educator to read this book. The book makes a compelling argument that the learning described here could make a big difference to help students overcome many of the issues that are bred by the dysfunctions in today's society. And those dysfunctions are responsible for much of the "failures" attributed to schools today.

This is not really about character in terms of being a good person. Rather, it is about habits of successful people such as grit, persistence, determination, social awareness, etc. For that reason, I would not use the term "character," which can attract controversy. Nevertheless, the book provides enough understanding to begin to structure these life habits into a regular school curriculum. Highly recommended!


Powerful Learning: What We Know About Teaching for Understanding
Powerful Learning: What We Know About Teaching for Understanding
by Elizabeth Stage
Edition: Paperback
Price: $18.48
90 used & new from $7.58

5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent review of teaching practices leading to deeper understanding, April 6, 2013
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This book is an excellent overview of research studies that focus on different techniques for deeper learning. That means helping students truly understand what they are learning so they can apply what they learn to new situations. The first part of the book talks about general techniques including project and problem based learning and collaborative learning. The next three sections talk about techniques as they apply to reading, math, and science. Numerous research studies are cited throughout, noting their conclusions and how those conclusions relate to other studies. Examples are also included. While i have been convinced of the power of project based learning and collaborative learning for some time, I found it helpful to understand the research and, particularly, how the authors bring everything together bringing out the key features that make the techniques so powerful as well as ways different approaches apply to different situations.

Given the focus within education today on test taking and related memorization approaches, it is quite remarkable to see how much is really known about teaching for deeper understanding. It certainly cannot be said that we don't know any better ways to educate kids after reading this book. I just wish the practices overviewed here were more common in schools today.

High recommended!


Aluratek AUH1210F 10-Port USB 2.0 Hub with AC Power Adapter
Aluratek AUH1210F 10-Port USB 2.0 Hub with AC Power Adapter
Price: $28.35
49 used & new from $19.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars USB with large number of ports, December 19, 2012
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I have found myself accumulating a large number of USB devices at my desktop that link to my laptop through USB ports. I wanted a USB hub with as many ports as possible and its own power source so I can attach all those devices and connect them with one plug. This Aluratek hub has 10 ports, including two that rotate up for easier connection. I have been using it now for more than six months, and everything has worked fine. It sits flat on the desk behind my laptop, and it has an illuminated blue bar that show when it is active. The power source for this unit is actually less than the one I used previously (about 2.5 amps total). However, it is enough for low power devices like mice and webcams along with one or two higher power devices like hard drives.


One Size Does Not Fit All: A Student's Assessment of School
One Size Does Not Fit All: A Student's Assessment of School
by Nikhil Goyal
Edition: Paperback
Price: $16.00
35 used & new from $8.92

1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Student perspective on education, November 20, 2012
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This book by Nikhil Goyal is a comprehensive review of public education in the US from the perspective of a high school student. Mr. Goyal combines his own perspectives and experiences with information drawn from personal interviews he conducted with many leading educators and education critics. One cannot help but be impressed that someone so young has developed such deep insights into the limitations of education and how education has failed to adapt to major new demands in the 21st Century. (The narrative is almost entirely critical of education.) If you have been keeping up with education reform, you will likely not encounter any new ideas here. However, it is always interesting to see how a young person interprets those ideas. If you have not kept up, Mr. Goyal covers all the salient issues in this book. My only hesitation is that Mr. Goyal sometimes expresses strong opinions that advocate simple solutions to what are more complex issues than he has identified. If it were that easy, more of these issues would have been addressed already. I sense that he sometimes found a very strong advocate in his interviews, and he endorsed a straightforward solution eloquently expressed by that expert without seeing some of the complexities that had been glossed over. However, this is a minor thing that should not diminish the value of what is said here.

The most important lesson for me is that today's students, at least as reflected by Mr. Goyal, are very aware that much of what they are asked to learn in school is of little value to them in preparing for their future. In particular, memorizing endless facts and formulas in the age where any such answers are readily available at the click of a mouse is not only boring but wasteful. And the "answers" imposed on schools by well meaning policy and political leaders miss the mark by a wide margin. Is it any wonder that so many students are disconnected from education today? What will it take for Americans to finally address what may be the most important barrier to our future? Hopefully, this book will stimulate more informed action.


The Leader's Guide to 21st Century Education: 7 Steps for Schools and Districts (Pearson Resources for 21st Century Learning)
The Leader's Guide to 21st Century Education: 7 Steps for Schools and Districts (Pearson Resources for 21st Century Learning)
by Ken Kay
Edition: Paperback
Price: $29.83
50 used & new from $26.85

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Step by step guide to 21st Century school change, August 8, 2012
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Ken Kay was the leader for many years of the Partnership for 21st Century skills. This is a consortium led by big business (about ten years old) that has done some of the most thorough work to identify changes in what we need from education in the 21st Century economy. This book is a step by step guide for school leaders who want to move their districts in the direction of adopting new skills such as those in the framework developed by the Partnership. The steps will be familiar to any change agent. We are instructed to begin by developing a vision of what the school will look like if the changes are made or where we want to go. We are then led to add capacity with professional development activities and related changes in school culture and process that will take time to implement. The advice is all good and well presented. The book also includes a very extensive list of references spread throughout the chapters and in the appendices.

The guidance here is written around a vision based on what the Partnership calls the four Cs: creativity, collaboration, critical thinking, and communication. However, as the book mentions, the guidance on the change process works for any similar vision of 21st Century skills and education.

The only thing to note is that innovation or creative problem solving is really not addressed. Frankly, innovation has come to be recognized as the most important 21st Century skill in the last 2-3 years. However, it was only peripherally addressed by the Partnership's framework since it had not obtained the prominence at the time that work was done, and so it is largely missing from the guidance in this book, also. The effective teaching of innovation requires even more systemic change and professional development than the other 21st Century skills. One will not get much about innovation and related culture and instructional changes from this book or from the great body of references. At the same time, the change process steps are still pretty much relevant. Other than missing the innovation component, this book is a very comprehensive, easy to follow guide that is highly recommended.


TurboTax Deluxe Federal + E-file + State 2011 for PC [Download] [Old Version]
TurboTax Deluxe Federal + E-file + State 2011 for PC [Download] [Old Version]
Price: $59.95

4.0 out of 5 stars Very complete; convenient but flexible, March 31, 2012
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I have been using Turbotax for a number of years, choosing the deluxe version. My tax situation is not overly complicated, but I do have both wages as well as a small consulting business with some capital purchases amortized over time. I started using the product after doing my own taxes manually for several years. I found that one can do everything manually on your own, if you are willing to read all the appropriate forms and publications and instructions. But it is very tedious. When I first used Turbotax this gave me a strong background to see if Turbotax was picking up everything I had learned to do manually. In short, I have found that even the deluxe version picks up everything and more. The company has more expensive versions designed for my situation. I am sure that those versions provide a more friendly way to evaluate the many options one has especially with a small business, for example. However, the deluxe version covers all the necessary forms, taxes, and deductions as long as you know pretty much what is at issue.

Turbotax carries over any information from the previous year as long as you continue to use Turbotax. It calculates all the amortization values for my business equipment, and automatically incorporates them in the next year's taxes. It allows one to download tax information from major banks and financial service providers directly. (However, I note that, when it downloads the information from my provider, it does not include the adjustments on my state taxes to omit any income taxes on federal interest in my various mutual funds. However, I can easily add them manually using the information mailed to me from the provider.)

The format has gotten simpler over the years. Basically, you can go through each section, one at a time, and have Turbotax ask questions. The program responds depending on how you answer the questions. You can also pick and choose from a menu at the beginning of each section (Income, for example), and go through each major category in that section, or skip sections that do not apply, as you wish. I generally do the later. Turbotax checks your forms at the end, and it seems to do a good job of finding errors. I have found that you can even call up an individual form and make changes on it, and Turbotax recalculates all related forms based on your changes. That is not normally needed, but I have occasionally run into something where I did that as a last resort. For example, this year I downloaded information for my stocks and mutual funds. For some reason, I got a payer listed in that download with a value of 0, and Turbotax kept including it on my forms and would not let me delete it in the regular questions section. I finally went into the individual forms where I found one for each type of mutual fund. I was able to delete that listing there, and it was subsequently gone from the forms and questions. It would not have been an error since the value was zero, but I did not like it cluttering up my forms.

There was one thing of concern this year. I filed my taxes in mid-February after I got all my forms. When I went to efile, Turbotax would not let me. The program detected what it thought was a situation that prevented efiling. I called Turbotax, and the agent was very helpful, identified the issue as a bug, and told me how to get notified immediately of the fix. That ended up being good customer support, but I was disappointed that such a serious bug would still be present in mid-February.

All in all, I find using Turbotax to be a reasonable compromise for me between doing everything manually and hiring a tax preparer. I am confident I get everything that applies to me without any aggressive interpretations. It greatly simplifies the filing process, particularly for data carried over from year to year with capital losses or amortized equipment, for example. And it allows me to break out of the standard question sequence to address a specific item on a given form if I feel a need to do this. I will probably keep using it because the cost versus time and grief saved is worthwhile.


Rayovac Sportsman LED Lantern SE3DLN
Rayovac Sportsman LED Lantern SE3DLN
Price: $25.25
96 used & new from $21.94

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very good for the price, March 31, 2012
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This LED lantern caught my eye after I went through a period of several days without power and nothing but a standard flashlight. I wanted something battery powered that would light up enough area in a room to do work. In general, I believe this unit fills the need.

The construction of the unit seems solid, not super heavy duty but solid. The base is some kind of plastic with a rubbery feel that gives a secure feeling when holding it or setting it down somewhere. Most of the upper part is the plastic diffuser lens (removable), with a metal handle. As others have mentioned, the batteries are inserted by unscrewing the base of the unit. This operation is a bit tricky because there is a disk with one side of the battery contacts mounted to the inside of the base. When you reinstall the base, you must make sure that a slot in that disk lines up with a tab in the body; this holds the disk in the right position to connect to the batteries as you screw the base back in place. I did not have any problems doing this as long as I was careful.

The most important thing is the light output. In general, I believe this lantern puts out a remarkable amount of light for a device powered by standard batteries. The LED is mounted facing up in the top of the base. In the normal lantern mode, the diffuser lens diffuses that light around in all directions. It is not near as bright as a kerosine lantern, but it provides plenty of light to work on a table nearby, for example. If you look directly at the lantern, there is a very bright band of light around the lower part of the diffuser. I assume this is just the diffuser not being able to deal with the output of the LED with complete evenness. This is bright enough to be distracting if the lantern is where you can see see it, for example, on a table in front of you. It works much better if the lantern is held just out of one's view. Even better, if you remove the upper part with the diffuser, and hang the lamp upsidedown with the LED pointing directly down into the space you are lighting from above (hanging the lantern from an overhead hook), then you get the full brightness of the LED shining evenly on everything below it. Unfortunately, the hook in the base designed to hold the lantern upsidedown is a flimsy plastic part that does not seem as sturdy as the rest of the lantern.

One more thing to consider. The lantern I received does not always work consistently. There is a single off-on button, which is pressed once for on low intensity, again for on high intensity, and again for off -- or held for a second or so for a strobe effect. Mine operates inconsistently--sometimes going full on and full off, skipping a step in the sequence. There is also a small green LED on the side of the base that flashes regularly, supposedly as a beacon to help find the lantern in the dark. With my lantern that sometimes works and sometimes does not. Neither of these has been a deal breaker because I have always been able to get the lantern on at the intensity I want after one or two tries. However, it may suggest some modest quality control issues.

One other warning. The lantern comes with a lifetime warranty. However, once you get the unit you discover that the warranty does not cover the LED itself, probably the most expensive part. Also, to take advantage of the warranty you must ship the unit at your expense back to the service center. Frankly, the shipping charges are at least half the purchase price, so that is not something I would do unless I had a unit not working at all--and then I would be upset.

All in all, this is a pretty well built unit that is remarkably priced for an LED device. Probably because of choices made to keep the price low, however, one does not have good options if the product has problems, and the inconsistencies on mine suggest at least modest quality control issues. By the way, I send an email to RayoVac noting the inconsistencies and that it would be expensive to return for warranty, and asking for advice. After more than two weeks I got a response that there are no replaceable parts in this lantern but they offer a lifetime warranty and I am free to return the unit if I am not satisfy for replacement. Again, I guess that is what you get with a product made to a price point.

I rated it four stars only because of the relative value of what you get for the price. I am sure there are better LED lanterns out there, but they would be twice or more as expensive.


Startup Weekend: How to Take a Company From Concept to Creation in 54 Hours
Startup Weekend: How to Take a Company From Concept to Creation in 54 Hours
by Marc Nager
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $17.11
70 used & new from $0.64

5 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Insight into entrepreneurship in the 21st Century, February 26, 2012
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This book is written by the founders and managers of the Startup Weekend programs held today in many cities throughout the world. Basically, aspiring entrepreneurs and others curious come together to develop a new business over a weekend: ideas are presented on Friday evening, people come together in teams, work all weekend, and final pitches are made on Sunday evening. This kind of grassroots event is representative of the new entrepreneurial ecosystem that is emerging in the U.S. and some other countries today. It is fast paced and open, very different from the highly structured incubators, mentoring programs, and seed funding entities that characterized the old entrepreneur support network.

In the book the authors share the vision that led them to start these weekend events. They make the point that helping people with ideas find partners with complementary skills is the most valuable thing for a potential entrepreneur, even more than funding. Today, a good team can bootstrap at least an early version of a wide variety of products and services and then either grow organically or use the early success to justify investment. While I am pretty familiar with the entrepreneurial process and the new ecosystem, I found this book to be informative and very readable. The person who is thinking about starting or getting involved in a new business will gain a lot of insight into what it really takes and whether you are ready. The book also has a great introduction by Carl Schramm and Steve Blank about how different it is to start a business today than it was even 5 or more years ago.

If you are looking for an explanation of how to run a Startup Weekend yourself, this is not the ticket. Contact the authors. But if you want to better understand entrepreneurship and how programs like Startup Weekend are greatly expanding the ecosystem and widening the practicality of entrepreneurship, then this is a great read. If you are considering in any way some kind of entrepreneurial endeavor, you should find this book a great resource. It will take away the myths and give you a realistic perspective on what is involved. I suspect we will see more people strike out on their own once they see that almost anyone with sufficient passion can do it.


Spanner Wrench, Pointed (Imported) - SPP
Spanner Wrench, Pointed (Imported) - SPP
Offered by Micro-Tools
Price: $17.25

5.0 out of 5 stars qualtiy but somewhat delicate spanner wrench, February 26, 2012
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I purchased this spanner wrench when I was looking for a way to remove a notched ring on part of a old analog tape recorder. In the end, it really did not work well for that need. I did not want to force it in removing the about 1/8 inch thick ring screwed on a shaft about 1 inch in diameter. Nevertheless, I have used the tool for several other jobs since then. It works best on small objects such as watch cases. The two working ends come to very fine points, which works very well for things with small notches such as watch parts, but seems a bit delicate for more heavy duty situations. At the same time, the tool has a very solid feel, and it is pretty easy to adjust the spacing. For its intended use on small parts, I highly recommend it. I have even been tempted to try it on somewhat bigger tasks, and it has held up very well.


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