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Whill of Agora: Book 1 (Legends of Agora)
Whill of Agora: Book 1 (Legends of Agora)
Price: $2.99

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Started out good, went downhill, May 16, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
If you're itching for a good fantasy book this is a valid candidate, and the price is fair for the type of story it is. My only complaint is that the story lacked continuity and consistency.

In summary: there is a legend about a person who foresaw in the future that Whill, the main character, would wield a sword that would save the world. There are a lot of underlying twists and turns to that summary, some good and some not. I felt that the subject matter was good, but the writer was unable to properly pull the trigger on what he was trying to do.

There's a town that Whill goes to near the beginning, and he participates in a contest which wins him a great deal of currency. He uses some of this to build a boat; it'll take a while to get ready, so the shipmaster lends them a smaller ship. It is this exact moment that things go weird, because after an incident on the ship, they find themselves in fight after fight for their lives. They then learn that the town from the beginning is attacked and destroyed; one of the tavern helpers is at risk. But then later in the book, they return to this town to pick up the boat that Whill purchased; so not only was the shipyard inexplicably undamaged, there's no mention of damage to the town at all, nor is the subject of all of his money in the vault ever visited again. Total plot hole - what was the point of winning enough money to buy a kingdom only to have it go unused and missing?

Friendships are instantly developed and not well thought out. It gets totally frustrating reading the book due to these reasons and while the basic premise was somewhat intriguing, the plotholes and inconsistency really started to bother me.


A Quest of Heroes (Book #1 in the Sorcerer's Ring)
A Quest of Heroes (Book #1 in the Sorcerer's Ring)
Price: $0.00

4.0 out of 5 stars Not sure what's more hysterical..., April 5, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
The sheer number of reviews literally lambasting this book for spelling, grammatical errors and word misuse...or the fact that 90% of said reviews contain at least one spelling error, grammatical error or misused word. I did honestly laugh harder than I've laughed in at least 20 years, reading through these negative reviews. But I digress.

I admit: I am, or was, an avid Terry Brooks fan, especially the Heritage series. Brooks has a distinctive writing style that I've yet to see repeated from any author short of Shawn Speakman. I did read the various Hobbit/LOTR books, including The Silmarillion, believe it or not, and even they don't have the same fluidity and color that Brooks had. Now, it's nearly impossible to find books of the same style. Call them young adult books if you will, if it's not a Dr. Seuss book I see no reason to attach it to an age. But again, I digress.

I downloaded this book free (keyword: FREE) like last year, and I actually tried reading it but found that I couldn't attach to it from the first few pages. I think I have some issue with "too real" in books, especially fantasy books. This was the first negative; the very first chapter is nearly throwaway and does not hook the reader properly. It gives you the impression of a very dull experience. Later chapters, especially after Thor has been in the Legion for a bit, are more engaging and it is here that the story starts to unfold better.

As I read the entirety of Thor's Legion experience, I had the distinct feeling of deja-vu, that I'd read this story before. Ah yes...The Guardians: Book One of the Restoration Series! As in, young unknown boy from a distant place who has uncanny weapons skills goes to large kingdom to prove himself and get in good with the King's men, catches the eye of the princess, and eventually...well, yeah. But of course, he has magic powers that even he didn't realize he had! Now, that book in the Restoration series was written AFTER this book, so clearly Christopher Williams was a bit too inspired by Morgan Rice's book.

But that's too easy. I thought a bit more about it...and then it hit me again. Elseerian: The Second Draeken War #1 (The Chronicles of Lumineia: The Second Draeken War series)! Written after Restoration, Ben Hale wrote a story that was almost a mirror image of Quest of Heroes. Again, young unknown boy from distance place with uncanny weapons goes to kingdom to prove himself...BUT, it gets worse. From an overbearing drill sergeant to a bully who gets beat up and is then saved, becoming friends with the protagonist, to the King taking the young boy in as his own. It's all there. Quite nearly plagiarized.

They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. If that's the case then surely, some of these authors thought rather highly of Rice's work to copy it so blatantly.

I speed read the book, so I didn't focus on grammar and syntax and spelling. I think I noticed one instance where a word was not spelled correctly, but didn't think too much about it. I instead kept my attention on the story. Let's see how close I get.

Young boy from a distant village wants to join the Legion but is nervous. He's directed by a Druid who informs him to take control of his destiny. He breaks in, encounters a bully, gets beat down. Knights of the kingdom including members of the royal family respect the kid's bravery and offer to befriend/mentor/sponsor him. On one occasion he discovers he has unexpected powers. From this point forward, he finds himself in one position after another, either saving someone, watching someone get beat down or courting the princess. He grows in popularity while encountering plenty of animosity from various sources for seemingly no reason whatsoever.

That's all off memory. So clearly, the author was able to tell the story at least effectively enough to get the idea. It's not an overly deep, overly convoluted storyline. Yes, I would have liked more character development. Yes, I felt that the pace was way off (it was difficult to perceive the passage of time, for example). Yes, there were some silly moments like a leopard drinking ale. But clearly the author's intent was that you have fun with the story, which a lot of other books fail miserably at (A Game of Thrones (A Song of Ice and Fire, Book 1), for example). It's lighthearted and enough to pass time.

A fair critique is that the author does not take very much time to explain any of the actions taken by any of the characters. Why is the Druid advising both Thor and the King? Why is the King so receptive to Thor? Why is the Queen so against Thor? What is it about Thor that Gwyn finds so intriguing? Why do so many people dislike Thor despite him having done nothing specifically bad to them? Why is there magic in the Ring? And why does Thor know nothing about his own magic?

Perhaps some or all of these are answered in later books. But you do expect at least some partial hints if not full explanation when you introduce certain concepts to the reader.

Beyond that, it's a book. A lighthearted, not too overly involved, basic concept book. Oh, and I do believe I mentioned it was FREE. Criticizing it for not being advanced seems silly to me. But again...I digress. Given it's after 10pm and I'm typing this half asleep, I'm fairly certain I'll receive the same amount of criticism from people finding errors in my review. Oh well.


A Princess of Landover
A Princess of Landover
by Terry Brooks
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Price: $7.99
79 used & new from $0.01

3.0 out of 5 stars Sometimes the magic doesn't work, March 29, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
It took me a LONG time to get around to reading A Princess of Landover, mostly because it was beat up in reviews something fierce. Some of that is subjective, but when I did start to read the book, I was turned off by the notion that Mistaya was able to just go through mists to Earth and attend a normal school. I didn't get very far when I saw that, and it was a prelude to what I felt was going to be a disappointing story.

If you've ever read A Wrinkle in Time, or seen the Disney movie of the same name, this book is a lot like that. That's not good or bad, but had I known it would take that sort of approach versus that seen in the previous books of the series - Witches' Brew (Magic Kingdom of Landover series Book 5) had one of the most satisfying climaxes Brooks has ever written - I would likely have skipped it. But I was bored, and decided to force myself to read it, similar to the way I felt about Armageddon's Children (The Genesis of Shannara, Book 1).

I saw quite a few issues.

- The story starts out with Mistaya basically being bratty and summoning magic in a school on Earth. Now, she's the daughter of a human and a sylph, and clearly has more sylph than human in her, so is the reader to believe that Mistaya appears perfectly human? Not a hint of sylph features? And even still, this whole segment seems like a waste of space, designed to simply frame Mistaya as a brat. The characters introduced here are never discussed again and she never goes back to the school. So, why? Why not just have her rebel against Questor's teachings or something?

- In every other book in the series, Ben Holiday (or Questor) has a moment where they reflect on the fact that it's impossible to freely pass through the mists unless you use the medallion or you're Strabo, and that magic is useless on Earth because nobody believes in it. So, why is it that now, Mistaya is able to do what even Nightshade claimed to be unable to do and cross through the mists freely? Why is it Mistaya can use magic there when others could not?

- Willow is relegated to the "nuturing mother" role. You almost forget she's part of the story, with how little she's involved, just defending Mistaya left and right. What makes this worse is that even though Willow defends Mistaya, Mistaya rebels against Willow, too! Like, nobody has the right answer, not even Mistaya herself.

- Ben Holiday is arguing with his daughter about what she should do and trying to order her around. He sounds silly - She makes specific, concise arguments why he's wrong about his stance and internally he concedes the point but continues to argue. The intent is just to say "I'm a parent and I'm right and you're wrong" - with no basis. Ben Holiday hasn't acted like that in any of the other books and it's uncharacteristic for him to act like this here.

- Parsnip is mentioned like twice in the whole book, but here's the thing. Brooks throws in a one sentence explanation for a spy and Parsnip is key to this sentence. It's just thrown in there with no background and no explanation of the details behind how or when this spy came about or how they were discovered.

- Certain events are contradictory.
In one part of the book Ben Holiday says he wants to send Bunion to find out how Lafroig's son and wife died. Later, Holiday and Questor are talking about how they don't where Bunion is but make no effort to try and locate him.

Another one has Questor and Abernathy talking about Libiris and how it would be good for Mistaya to set the place straight, even mentioning Crabbit's presence and that he's dangerous (so they knew what she'd be up against) - only to later have Questor say that Mistaya shouldn't be there, shouldn't have come there, and needs to get out of there. Err?

Another has Ben Holiday telling Lafroig that he'd "think about" his proposal for Mistaya, and Mistaya yelling at Ben for not saying no to him - in other words she wanted Ben to decide for her. This is directly contradictory to what I mentioned before, where Mistaya was yelling at Ben for trying to decide things for her. Err?

Crabbit states that if Mistaya signs a marriage proposal that it is binding and must be honored by even the King. She signs a proposal...yet for some reason is absolved from marriage. Err?

- Thom, who Mistaya meets at Libiris, ends up in a different (important) role by the end of the book. Something happens between Thom and Mistaya that directly makes you believe that something else is a given. That something else, doesn't happen. It'd be like George McFly socking the bully to take Lorraine Bates back...only to walk away without kissing her. Come on.

- The whole crux of the book is that Mistaya wants to think and make decisions for herself. Doing so puts her in a world of trouble, yet by the end of the book she still doesn't acknowledge that she needs help and guidance from others. There's no payoff here.

- There are scenes with a "crow with red eyes" which ties directly back to Witches' Brew. Problem is, the climax of this book causes that crow to disappear. This is never explained. Nothing.

- The Earth Mother specifically said in Witches' Brew that if Mistaya failed to call Haltwhistle at least once a day, he would return to the Earth Mother for good. She fails to call Haltwhistle. Haltwhistle goes back. But then...yeah.

- Questor gives Mistaya a plot device. This is never used.

The thing of it is, the book would have been decent had it not been for the above. It definitely felt like the book was written to a younger audience, not because of language or anything, but because nothing really happened in the book. I never got the sense that Mistaya was able to handle the situation. It felt more like she got lucky. The Strabo scene at the end felt thrown together, the wrapup felt rushed, and there's a hint of cliffhanger (which I can't stand).


BAFX Products (TM) - Decibel Meter / Sound Level Reader - W/ Battery!
BAFX Products (TM) - Decibel Meter / Sound Level Reader - W/ Battery!
Offered by BAFX Products
Price: $18.98

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars You get what you pay for. Put it that way., March 11, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I am not going to waste time ranting about calibration or decibels or A/B/C. Why? Because you don't care.

You're considering this device for one reason and one reason only: You need to detect the level of sound around you and, at the same time, you need an easy-to-determine way to figure out what to tell someone who's asking.

This device does that. And it doesn't.

Huh?

Well, here's the problem. First, the device's instructions are "urine" poor. A slight slip of paper tucked into a bland box that you're almost guaranteed to lose. Now, in most company cases, they will conveniently post a PDF of the instructions on their website so you can easily access what you need, when you need, at any time of the day.

Not BAFX. Nope. They have a link to buy the product. That is, the product you already own.

Huh?

That's ok. Generally, you will find companies that post the instructions, or at least brief instructions, on Amazon's order page under the summary info because they know that people curious about the product might look there for more information. Not BAFX.

Ok, so I'm on my own. I work in IT, I can figure this out. Inserting a 9-volt battery, sure...a caveman could do it. Power on? Easy. Hold up and watch the output. Easy. But wait...it sure seems off.

Standing in a room that has aluminum builder grade double pane windows (i.e. paper thin), I measure. 55db at the high point. Ok.

Standing in a room that is facing the same direction, directly above the other one, that has vinyl double pane windows and is rated at an OITC of 21 and an STC of 26 (which means I should see a rather significant drop off of db), with walls measured at an STC of about 45, OITC I figure is around 38-40...the meter measures 44db at the high point.

Huh?

Standing in that same room with Simonton Sound & Security windows, rated at an STC of 34 and an OITC I figure to be around 30...the meter measures 40 at the high point.

I'm seeing a pattern here. It's picking up way more sound than it should. I don't think it's a matter of "40 is a quiet room", but if I increase STC by nearly 10 and the meter detects a 4db drop, there's something wrong with the meter. I don't know if it's a calibration issue or what.

My theory? It's picking up too much, perhaps even the white noise from the forced air system (which is inaudible unless you're next to the vent, which I wasn't). Depending on your use, this may be a good thing. In my case it isn't. I'm attempting to detect based on what a human would hear, not every sound possible.

Moving on, I figure I will try the MAX setting. Great concept, bad implementation. You see, because the device picks up too much, and because you can't not touch the thing at some point, it's counting the very light scrapes from your fingers. Now, maybe this is unavoidable, I don't know. I'm not clear why, for the device, it doesn't have like a 3-second initial timeout where it's not detecting to give you time to get settled and/or set the device down before tracking.

The other issue with the MAX setting is that, since the instructions mysteriously vanished due to being too darn small, and since BAFX didn't think to post them on the website, there's no obvious way to reset that. Oh, I don't know...maybe a RESET button? Is it that hard? Fumbling around with the Power and MAX buttons, I can occasionally get it to reset, or at least it seems as though it's resetting, but for all I know it's just trolling me.

Third, would it have killed anything to just include a $.50 mini tripod? I mean seriously? A small thing, but it's the little things that count.

Anyway, YES it detects sound, and for the money, it does the job. But BAFX, if you're listening, POST THE FRACKING INSTRUCTIONS on your website.


Magic Fragrant Shaving Powder, 5-Ounce Cans (Pack of 12)
Magic Fragrant Shaving Powder, 5-Ounce Cans (Pack of 12)
Offered by Pharmapacks
Price: $32.29
10 used & new from $31.49

4.0 out of 5 stars Works, no burn. Blend/mix time is depressing, March 1, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
As a purveyor of fine shaving products, I decided to give the Shaving Powder a try, mostly to try and deal with ingrown hairs that show up on occasion.

First the powder bears an eerie resemblance to cocaine. It also will get all over the place no matter how cautious or careful you are. It's not hard to clean up, but it's annoying.

Second the container is not X-ray friendly, so despite the fact that it's a powder which is normally allowed through TSA, the cannister might cause them to stop you. When they open it and see what appears to be cocaine, they may very well proceed to frisk you. A very easy way to address this issue is for the manufacturer to consider a different container style, ideally one that is transparent and just screws on like any other cannister.

Speaking of screw on, the container is difficult to open without a flat edge of some kind. I use a multi-tool that has a small metal cutting edge, then I don't completely re-close it afterwards; it's closed enough that it keeps it fresh but not so much that I can't re-open it by hand. Again, a different container would help this a lot.

Mixing the powder and water is the worst. Of the total time it takes to complete the process I would say that mixing is the great majority of time, even more so than the set time. I really wish there were a way to just have a "micro blender" or something that could blend this faster.

I've left it on for 10 minutes without issue. I wipe it off with a damp, hot towel while I'm in the shower, then proceed to wash my face with a scrub. Afterwards I go lightly over the area with a safety razor downward. The hair that doesn't get removed via the towel (I'd say roughly 30% does not) falls off easily with this method. I'm left with a baby smooth surface. This additional step seems only necessary with my face. If I use the powder on my body, the hot towel seems to get 95% of the hair off. Longer, fine hair, best results. Short, coarse hair, not so much.

Good stuff and the value of this 12-pack was awesome.


No Title Available

15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Much like any other coffee, February 28, 2015
I think some people don't really understand coffee. By that, I mean that there is a science to brewing coffee correctly. Of course, how the beans are harvested and roasted and whatnot matter for the flavor of it all (Starbucks, as an example, is too roasted and tastes burnt), but when you're sitting down to have a cup you really need to have the right components.

Bulletproof Coffee's claim to fame is that it's organic. That's it. There are a lot of fancy words on the packaging and on the Bulletproof website, but at the core, the coffee is grown organic with no additional chemicals. That means that you're getting a maximized antioxidant effect out of the coffee. All coffee has antioxidant properties when drunk in moderation; how much depends on the chemicals, the growing, the harvesting, the roasting, etc. So please, don't think this is some magic coffee with stuff added to it to make it superpowered; it's not.

That said, there's nothing wrong with organic coffee.

Tastewise I felt that the coffee fell just short of Starbucks: burnt but not overly so like theirs. I did like that it was ground coarse rather than fine (Starbucks is ground fine and it's annoying when not using paper filters, for example), and I did appreciate the smell. It's a Columbian roast, not too light and not too dark. Some might feel the coffee is weak; I don't. I use two heaping teaspoons which suits me just fine. One teaspoon was like water, three teaspoons was...well, like Starbucks. Disgusting.

One annoyance for the packaging. It uses just a sticker to reseal the bag rather than what everyone else does with a metal bend. Not sure who thought this was a good idea but it's a failure.

Second annoyance for the packaging, the bottom is in an "X" shape rather than a box-shape. This means there will always be coffee grounds stuck in that crevice when you start to run out that you can't get to. A small thing, but I point it out.

I usually blend this coffee with unsalted butter, half-and-half (I have to have cream in my coffee, I can't just have butter), Bulletproof® Brain Octane Oil - 16 oz., and a drop of Vitamin D Drops - 2oz Liquid D3 5000 IU Per Dropper - 100IU Per Drop - Best Absorption - Natural Vit D Supplement Treats Deficiency for Baby, Kids and Adults - Boost Your Immune System, Fight Fatigue Naturally. Seems to help with energy - it's not a magic elixir or anything. I have to supplement this with a can of Starbucks Refreshers Variety Pack, 12 Ounce Slim Cans, 12 Pack, which is where my focus and sharpness come from.

I read reviews online about people making a similar blend and having it curb hunger. Not me. If anything I end up quite a bit more hungry than I normally would within 2 hours, guaranteed. It's not good to drink too much coffee, so I only have one cup of this per day.

I also read about people losing weight drinking the coffee. Again, not here. If I lose weight it's because I'm purposely eating foods designed to do that. This doesn't help me lose weight because, again, it doesn't curb my hunger, it makes it worse.

These are my personal experiences. Your mileage may vary. I still order it and I still enjoy it if only for the energy and wakeup power it gives.


Apple MD820ZM/A Micro-USB to 8-Pin Lightning Adapter
Apple MD820ZM/A Micro-USB to 8-Pin Lightning Adapter
Offered by AccessoryPost
Price: $11.50
15 used & new from $2.45

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Needs some sort of lanyard, may have data connection problems, February 18, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I purchased this adapter somewhat in a hurry as I was on business travel and had forgotten the charge cable for my work-issued iPhone. Tim Cook and Steve Jobs with their mission to keep people using proprietary adapters isn't my thing - I have at least 6 microUSB cables, 2 of which are with me at all times. This is because I'm an Android user; I don't like or care for mobile Apple products. But it's what the company issues, so I'm stuck with it.

The adapter is tiny, and I can see how it would easy to lose this thing. I really wish they would have included some sort of small chain or loop so that you could attach it to keys or a lanyard. AS is I plan to just keep it in the laptop bag and be done with it.

It worked perfectly for charging the iPhone 5S. I did not try data connection directly, but I did notice that I couldn't get USB tethering working. I wasn't able to confirm (as I didn't fight with it for long) whether that was due to the adapter or the driver on the laptop. It never saw it as a network device.


AllPro Men's AP Speed Drill Warm-Up Pants Track Pants Open Bottom (X-Large, Charcoal Gray/Black)
AllPro Men's AP Speed Drill Warm-Up Pants Track Pants Open Bottom (X-Large, Charcoal Gray/Black)
Offered by NYC Sell it 4 ME
Price: $13.99

3.0 out of 5 stars Hampered by poor pocket design, February 15, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
The fit was a little large. Washing a few times helped here; it got them down to a more reasonable fit around the waist area. They're comfortable and keep you warm rather nicely. Where I had an issue is the pockets - they are WAY too shallow. Things constantly fall out when sitting anywhere. Also there are no rear pockets.

Anyone trying to use these as just casual pants for out-and-about who actually carry wallets and keys will be annoyed by these issues.


Magic Razorless Cream Shave Regular Strength Light Fresh Scent 6oz Tube
Magic Razorless Cream Shave Regular Strength Light Fresh Scent 6oz Tube
Offered by AmericaRx
Price: $6.59
26 used & new from $2.25

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars If it at least worked, I'd be more forgiving, February 15, 2015
But it didn't.

See, I'm a Magic Shave Shaving Powder Gold - 4.5 oz user.

I had to take a business trip and didn't want TSA groping me after assuming it was cocaine or something (the powder looks a LOT like illicit drugs, unfortunately). The canister also was not very X-ray friendly. I was going to buy some after I arrived at the destination, but because the powder works so well, you really only need to use it like every 2-3 days or so, which would have been a waste to sit there mixing so much for so brief a trip. So I got the cream, figuring it'd be the same.

It wasn't.

First, the instructions tell you to apply it thick. But the cream is so watery that it just didn't want to apply like that at all. Not for nothing, because even with what it did apply, I got some removal. Nowhere near what the powder did with the same instructions.

The real issue is that it burned the living (blank) out of my neckline just below my beard line, where the bend is when you look down. And yes, I used a pre-shave, and no, I didn't wash my face before hand. A red, swollen line right across. It looked like I'd been hanged - and being African American that's not a look you want to go for.

For some reason, I had no redness or burning anywhere on my beard area. I'm not sure why there was this reaction, the area in question was constantly exposed to the powder version with no ill effects. I'm thinking it was the crease itself that the cream just overreacted to, though I'm not sure why.

So on the first hand, it didn't really work that good, and on the second it burned the living (blank) out of me. (thanks to a post shave balm, the redness did go down after 2 days or so).


Dropcam Pro Wi-Fi Wireless Video Monitoring Security Camera
Dropcam Pro Wi-Fi Wireless Video Monitoring Security Camera
Price: $194.99
48 used & new from $159.99

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars First one for the home office, February 15, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
And I was impressed, just not for the price (thus the one star knock off). Don't let that deter you if all you want is a way to keep an eye on things and be alerted to (other) things.

PRO: The setup was very simple. A caveman could do it.
CON: Such a small device literally requiring a cable is a turn-off. That this does not have a Li-Ion battery and support recharging is simply a joke, I'm sorry. Now, you might say "but then how would you charge it if it's mounted somewhere?!" Easy - I would buy 4 or so of the portable recharge packs and just swap between them every week or whatever while the others are recharging. The value of doing this is that when mounting it somewhere that is not readily accessible to a power outlet (for example, the ceiling), I don't have to care about buying extension cables BUT I could charge the thing. Something this size should be able to hold a charge for at least a week if not longer. Might seem like an additional maintenance routine, but at least provide the choice for those that don't want cables everywhere.

PRO: The video quality is great.
CON: Why do you have to tap anything to "improve quality" when zooming in? This doesn't make sense, the camera should automatically assume improved quality since - SHOCK - the only reason one would zoom in is to get a CLEARER LOOK at the target! This is clunky and silly.

PRO: The alerts give you enough to know when something's going on.
CON: As with most other cameras it's picky about lights and shadows. So it lets you pick a zone where you want to detect movement, the problem is if light from a window runs across that zone as the sun moves, the camera detects this as motion and sends false alerts. It's annoying, because you can't tell the camera how to properly identify true motion even though it's pinned down to a specific region only.

PRO: It's versatile enough to mount nearly anywhere.
CON: The drywall anchors provided didn't accept the screws at all. As a result mine is mounted precariously. A better design would have included a center mount screw, no drywall mount, and drywall anchors as part of the back plate (not separate) that you just drive the screw through and into the wall, so that the screw itself creates the hole that the anchor goes into, while the center screw allows you to at least keep the thing up there while getting the mounting done.

PRO: it picks up audio quite nicely. I was able to hear sounds from downstairs, which is what I wanted.
CON: Because the microphone is amplified there is a ton of white noise in the background, so it's hard to detail exactly what you're hearing unless it's a car going by on the street outside. Would it have killed someone to implement some cleanup here? It's called noise gate, it's not hard.

PRO: You can tell the camera not to detect, dependent on the location of your phone or tablet.
CON: This is GPS dependent, meaning that of course, it's not going to be fine enough detail to know if you're in one room vs. another. It will know if you're in one building vs. another, yes. If that isn't what you wanted, well, you're kinda SOL. I'm not sure why this bothers me so much, but it does.

PRO: You can tell the camera not to detect during certain times of the day.
CON: The issue here is that it assumes such times are static OR that you would combine this with the location detection (so for example, if you're in the home, it doesn't detect but if you're not in the home, it does). But say I'm in the office. I don't want it detecting. I can't use the location setting (see above), and I might be in the office any of the 24 hours in a day, so I can't use the time setting. So ultimately I have to manually disable alerting while I'm in the office, which is annoying.

Again, pros and cons. I think I can recommend some improvements, if the "Director of Customer Relations" for Dropcam is still paying attention.

- Rather than location based and/or time based detection disable, consider making your app more useful: when your phone is in range of the camera (and it will know that it is once it's joined the same WiFi hotspot), tell the app to prompt the user to disable the alerts because you're on the same network now. Let the user choose (A) disable now, (B) disable for a period of time, or (C) don't disable now but prompt again in (X) minutes/hours/days. That's better than nothing, or until we can get a technology that is smarter than wireless and shorter range than Bluetooth that would allow for more intuitive management.

- If you're going to pitch a "wireless" camera, make sure it's truly "wireless" in every way. Figure out a way to power this thing without having to have it plugged in 24/7. I'm sure you can do it, I've got hallway lights that use 4 AA batteries and last for over a month before I have to replace them, so I'm almost certain it's possible to do the same here.

- Noise gate. Figure it out. You can detect movement, why not detect sound and THEN play it rather than just blaring a bunch of static noise?


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