Truck Month Best Books of the Month Amazon Fashion Learn more nav_sap_plcc_ascpsc Mudcrutch Father's Day Gift Guide 2016 Fire TV Stick Grocery The Baby Store Find the Best Purina Pro Plan for Your Pet Amazon Cash Back Offer DrThorne DrThorne DrThorne  Amazon Echo  Echo Dot  Amazon Tap  Echo Dot  Amazon Tap  Amazon Echo Starting at $149.99 All-New Kindle Oasis AutoRip in CDs & Vinyl Outdoor Recreation SnS
Profile for Robert Francian > Reviews


Robert Francian's Profile

Customer Reviews: 11
Top Reviewer Ranking: 361,607
Helpful Votes: 259

Community Features
Review Discussion Boards
Top Reviewers

Guidelines: Learn more about the ins and outs of Your Profile.

Reviews Written by
Robert Francian RSS Feed (Anchorage, Alaska USA)

Page: 1 | 2
ePhoto 600 LED Photo Studio Panel Video Light Panel Camera Studio Lighting FST600S NEW
ePhoto 600 LED Photo Studio Panel Video Light Panel Camera Studio Lighting FST600S NEW
Offered by ePhotoInc
Price: $299.99
2 used & new from $149.99

2.0 out of 5 stars partial operation for a partial year, January 18, 2016
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I bought this light 11 months ago, and at first it worked well. It's well constructed, but with a few design flaws. You will need to add some kind of strain relief for the cord, the entire length of which hangs from a very small connector. But that's not why I gave this thing two stars. Over the course of the 11 months that I've used this light the number of functioning LEDs has steadily decreased. Until yesterday only about two thirds of them still worked, and now the entire light will come on for about 15 seconds and then just turn off. I guess it's done. I don't think less than a year of (partial) operation is adequate service. I've spent a lot of money trying to save money on lights for my studio. As far as lights go, you get what you pay for and this unit is a waste of time and money.

Solo Guitar Playing - Book 1, 4th Edition
Solo Guitar Playing - Book 1, 4th Edition
by Frederick Noad
Edition: Paperback
Price: $15.80
78 used & new from $9.42

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars I think I have 3 of these now..., August 27, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I have had the 2nd edition of this book since I was a kid, and just bought the 4th edition for my daughter. In comparison, the print quality of the 4th edition is inferior to that of the 2nd, such that some of the very small fingering figures can be difficult to read. Still, it's a very worthwhile and thorough introduction to classical guitar and I'd recommend it as a must have if you're just starting out. The discussions and study notes on the etudes are well done and accurate. My biggest complaint however, and one that's not unique to this volume, is that it is impossible to lay flat on a music stand. It's hard to imagine that anyone involved in its manufacture or marketing actually tried to use it, as it's impossible without some serious massive clips to hold it open. I actually had to photograph and print some of the pieces for my daughter to work on. I would recommend buying it, then tearing off the spine in a vicious, but classical way, and placing the pieces on your stand.

NS Design NXT5 Violin, Sunburst
NS Design NXT5 Violin, Sunburst
Offered by Johnson String Instrument
Price: $1,369.00
5 used & new from $1,368.99

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars NS Design NXT5 violin, July 7, 2015
I've had this instrument for a year now and couldn't be happier with it. It's beautiful and the build quality is outstanding. It's comfortable and a pleasure to play, and as an electric instrument it can sound like anything you can imagine. When I want an acoustic sound I use a bit of EQ notch to get rid of the very slight piezo sound, and a convolution reverb loaded with an acoustic violin impulse response and it sounds as nice as any acoustic. Alternatively you can use a pedal like the Fishman Aura, or a plugin like Bodilizer. Otherwise an amp simulator will make it scream and shout in anyway imaginable. Be aware that this has a very high impedance and should be matched to a preamp with a high input impedance or you'll be disappointed with tonal death. I have the 5 string version and thought that it would be useful for laying down bass lines while looping. It does work, and I use it often, but in my opinion the string is a bit too heavy for such a short scale length. So I sometimes replace the low C string with another G string and tune it down to an E, and sometimes other tunings depending on what I want it for, and it's a great addition. The tuning system is extremely stable and the shoulder rest is adjustable and comfortable. I only wish that they had put some teeth on the shoulder rest post because it can slip when torqued. I've used other electric violins and nothing else comes close to the quality of this instrument.

Cecilio 4/4 CEVN-1BK Solid Wood Electric/Silent Violin with Ebony Fittings in Style 1 - Full Size - Black Metallic
Cecilio 4/4 CEVN-1BK Solid Wood Electric/Silent Violin with Ebony Fittings in Style 1 - Full Size - Black Metallic
Offered by KK Music Store
Price: $129.99
6 used & new from $116.99

1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars VSO DOA, August 4, 2014
I recently bought one of these VSO's (violin shaped objects) intending to practice quietly during those times when my acoustic violin would just be too loud. Unfortunately it was DOA (dead on arrival). When I tried to initiate a return I was told “It’s only 1 in 50 units where the amp doesn’t work. It’s just bad luck!” Well I hadn't realized that my $150 was a ticket to a VSO lottery. I also hadn't realized that Cecilio refuses to cover return shipping costs even though they sent me a dead object, and that they charge a $20 restocking fee. And I'm pretty sure they will actually restock this thing. Laughingly, they also admonish that I should “Be sure to pack merchandise with additional padding to prevent damages during shipping. What was provided in preparation of delivery to you was meant for one-way shipment and it will not be sufficient for shipping more than once.” Seriously.
If you're lucky enough to get one of these things that actually work, be aware that it is cheap in every respect. The amp, if it works, and the pickup are very minimal in quality, which is to be expected I suppose. The battery compartment is so small, that after you put a battery in, you'll need a screwdriver to pry it out. Which is a little strange because there's plenty of room for a larger unit. As a minimum you'll need better strings and a better bow to make this playable. It is very quiet when played without amplification and does fill the 'silent' role well. However don't expect to improve your tone with this thing, at best you might be able to practice intonation. The pegs seemed to fit well and did hold a tune for the few minutes it took me to realize that the electronics package was dead. Cecilio's customer service policies are pathetic and I would recommend buying one of their products only if you are there in person and can try it out to see if it meets your needs. Take a valium before you try to return something to them.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 1, 2014 11:54 AM PST

Epson Artisan 1430 Wireless Color Wide-Format Inkjet Printer
Epson Artisan 1430 Wireless Color Wide-Format Inkjet Printer
Price: $264.97
122 used & new from $219.99

107 of 114 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars I cannot recommend this printer either, July 27, 2013
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
If you can actually get this printer to work, it will produce beautiful prints.
When I first got this printer it had severe banding issues. A quick look through the forums will show that this is a popular problem. I wasted a lot of expensive paper and ink trying to get a decent print to no avail. I contacted Epson customer service and their response was "did you clean the print head?". I replied that although it was only a few days old, I indeed cleaned the print head. Their response? "How many times did you clean the print head?" Seriously. I then went back to the forums and found complaints about the epson drivers and then tried all the image apps I had to find an implementation of the driver that gave me access to all the options available. In the end I found that any quality option less than Ultra premium epson paper and Photo quality print will produce banding. I might suggest to Epson that they start reading the forums so they can learn to operate their own printers. So, I finally started getting some nice prints. However, since I wasted so much ink trying to get the thing working properly a couple of the cartridges were empty. I replaced them, with Epson cartridges, and now the printer will not recognize the yellow cartridge. Again, a popular problem. I contacted Epson again and told them that I had replaced the cartridge, reseated the cartridge, unplugged the printer, reseated the cartridge again, and still it won't recognize the yellow. They responded with "Did you try a firmware update?" Of course my response was that I had but the firmware wont update with an error in the printer. And, of course, the error is that there's an unrecognized ink cartridge. This is an extremely frustrating and expensive solution to your printing needs. So far I've got 27 nice prints for about $500. I have an exhibition soon and really needed to keep printing, so I bought another Epson yellow cartridge. That one is unrecognized as well.
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Apr 17, 2016 7:03 AM PDT

Audio-Technica ATH-AD700 Open-air Dynamic Audiophile Headphones
Audio-Technica ATH-AD700 Open-air Dynamic Audiophile Headphones
5 used & new from $165.00

7 of 15 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars pumpkin head? basketball head?, October 25, 2011
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I tried these on for about 30 seconds before deciding to return them. There is no adjustment possible, and if your head is any smaller than a basketball (an epic gourd, or a watermelon, maybe) you should reconsider this purchase. They sound fine, and the cord is nice and long, with great flexibility. But other than that, they are laughably unusable.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Nov 9, 2011 8:03 PM PST

Battlestar Galactica: The Plan
Battlestar Galactica: The Plan
DVD ~ Edward James Olmos
Offered by newtownvideos
Price: $7.59
98 used & new from $0.01

10 of 18 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars not worth the time, October 27, 2009
basically just a of series of deleted scenes thrown together in a pitiful attempt to create some back story, make a little more money, and kill whatever lingering fondness anyone had for this series. ignore this and let well enough alone.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 28, 2009 2:37 PM PDT

Crash (Widescreen Edition)
Crash (Widescreen Edition)
DVD ~ Don Cheadle
Price: $5.00
388 used & new from $0.01

7 of 14 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars very good, not very great, March 29, 2006
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Crash (Widescreen Edition) (DVD)
there are many truly fine moments in this film, and all of the performances are remarkable. However, it's so over-the-top that it becomes farcical. I'm from LA so I'm not going to say it's not that bad, because it is. It's just more subtle. If the writer/director had taken half the stories and developed them twice as much it would have been ten times better.

The Great Divergence: China, Europe, and the Making of the Modern World Economy.
The Great Divergence: China, Europe, and the Making of the Modern World Economy.
by Kenneth Pomeranz
Edition: Paperback
Price: $28.85
68 used & new from $14.52

64 of 85 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars nonsense, December 5, 2005
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
In "The Great Divergence", Kenneth Pomeranz presents an exhaustive investigation of the minutest differences and similarities in development of China and Western Europe. His claim, and stated objective, is to show that Europe's emergence as a preeminent power was the result of privileged access to overseas colonies, exploitation of non-Europeans, and a fortunate `geographic accident' of the location of coal in England. However, considering China's significant, and much earlier, developments in science, technology, and shipping, not to mention their huge deposits of coal, and its use some 600 years before the Europeans to make iron, it's difficult to understand Pomeranz's rationalization of those claims and ultimately the whole point of his book.

His specialty and interests clearly lie in China. In this book he attempts to shed a somewhat biased benevolent light on China by explaining the violent circumstances that led to the industrial revolution in Europe, and why it didn't happen in China. He presents a comparative analysis in such close, tortuous, detail that he becomes myopic in drawing his conclusions. His joy and skill clearly lie in analysis, rather than synthesis, and in the process, and among the ensuing debris, he loses a view of the whole as processes of nation building rather than competing sets of historical data. The outcome notwithstanding, he consistently paints each step in the process of growth in Europe and its colonies as a violent and ugly stepsister to a more sophisticated, benign version taking place in China. All of which may be true, but he discounts the effects of institutions, capital markets, capital accumulation, and regulatory competition in Europe as having marginal effect on the difference in outcome between the two areas because in his opinion what was happening in Europe was so similar to what was going on in China. He states that "European science, technology, and philosophical inclinations alone do not seem an adequate explanation, and alleged differences in economic institutions seem largely irrelevant".

Regulatory competition in Europe, for Pomeranz, equates to military competition. Although it could be argued from a more objective perspective that military research and development regularly spins off technological advances applicable in commercial areas, Pomeranz claims that in Europe `the net effect of warfare on technological innovation is likely to have been negative'. Clearly not true, but his argument about it possibly killing off other inventors was kind of funny. The development of institutions and property rights arising from this competition for him equals only the purchases of position, interference of guild control, and the granting monopoly privileges. He claims that all served to keep prices high, limit the extent of markets, and restrict output. The most positive function of `military' competition seen by Pomeranz is in the overseas projection of power. This lies in contrast to his claim that China was engaged in competitive trade with low margins, unprivileged by the state, that couldn't generate enough profits to finance a European style military capitalism. Here he ignores the Chinese obsession with intensive land use to feed its armies. The vast differences between the European states and the diversity of politics, social constructs, and institutions therein will show that had any single one of them been dominant the story of Europe, and the world, would have been very much different. Had the Chinese the benefit of this fracture, the voyages of Zheng He would have been continued, but when he died, the Confucians were regaining power and There was no political or spiritual will to continue. They felt that other nations had nothing to offer the already prosperous Chinese and they had no need to conquer their souls. Their voyages were ended, their fleets were dismantled and they turned inward. It became a crime to set sail from China in a multi-masted ship. This was their choice. One nation, one choice. Had there been competition among states in China, someone, somewhere would have chosen to continue.

As far as ethical systems and ideology are concerned, Pomeranz doesn't consider the consequences of differing motivation but only writes that philosophical inclinations do not seem an adequate explanation of divergent paths. Lost in analysis of the details of the similarities, here he misses the significance of the differences. Arguing that they were too small to create the large disparities in outcomes, he fails to ask whether those differences were what led to different choices. The differences in the ethical systems of Christian Western Europe and Confucian, Buddhist, and Taoist China are enormous. The differences in the choices made within the context of those systems, especially within the protestant reformation and the creation of the Church of England, are significant. Pomeranz claims that ideology, or `philosophical inclinations', can't explain the different outcomes in the fortunes of China and Europe, but it was ideology and philosophy that led to the divergence in their development paths. Western Europe's history of fighting Muslims to keep them at bay and out of Europe established their crusading zeal to protect themselves by trying to convert everyone they could find. They embodied this fear and hegemonic drive and made Christian solipsism an imperative part of their culture. Vasco Da Gama said that the objectives of his voyages were "Christians and Spices". This dogmatic drive of the Europeans and their churches' implicit consent of their conquests and colonialism lent a higher power to their expansion. The Chinese chose not to continue their voyages. The Europeans were on a mission from God.

In this book, great tenaciousness in presenting historical data meets an astounding lack of insight into behavior and economics, and leaves the reader (at least me anyway) wondering why it was written in the first place.
Comment Comments (4) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Nov 10, 2011 9:07 PM PST

Rio 500 64 MB USB MP3 Player (Teal)
Rio 500 64 MB USB MP3 Player (Teal)

14 of 19 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars do yourself a favor, July 27, 2000
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
assume that you're aware that the software they ship with this unit is garbage and that there are other decent options that are free. assume that you dont care that the earphones that they ship with this unit is trash. you can buy much better ones. assume that you dont need a decent manual. You can figure it out because you're a gadgethead and by reading posts on the net. assume that you dont care that the little carrying case is a joke. assume that you know you'll get no decent information on their web site other than how to polish your darling rio or cute names to give it. But do yourself a favor and read ALL the one star reviews in this list and COUNT on your unit getting fried after an innocuous little download and COUNT on having a grand time in customer service hell.... My sony minidisk player was recently crushed by my rollerblades and it still works and sounds better than the rio ever did. the rio is a fine unit... as long as it works...

Page: 1 | 2