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Customer Reviews: 37
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Helpful Votes: 183




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Norman Ramsey RSS Feed (Medford, MA United States)
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Sony DSC-RX100M III Cyber-shot Digital Still Camera
Sony DSC-RX100M III Cyber-shot Digital Still Camera
Price: $798.00
62 used & new from $696.48

7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great results in low light, but very complicated, hard to use with eyeglasses, July 27, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I wanted the best camera I could get that fit in my pocket, and I was quite willing to give up lens length (zoom) in order to get better image quality in low light. For these aspects, I couldn't be happier. But two problems reduce my rating to four stars.

First, the camera contains a computer so powerful that the user-interface experience is a nightmare. Granted this problem is common to most digital cameras, but Sony could not even be bothered to explain what all the icons on the screens mean---their documentation explains only what you can change, not what you are looking at.

The second problem is more serious, but applies only if you wear eyeglasses: the pop-up viewfinder is just not usable with eyeglasses. I find myself having to remove my glasses and use the viewfinder with my naked eye. I am quite nearsighted and am lucky that the diopter correction just barely has enough range for me. If you are over 50 and have trouble focusing on nearby objects, you may find the viewfinder unusable. Since the viewfinder is one of the main reasons to by the Mark III instead of the Mark II, let the buyer beware.
Comment Comments (4) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Aug 19, 2014 3:50 PM PDT


Lufkin X46F 6-Inch Red End Extension Wood Rule
Lufkin X46F 6-Inch Red End Extension Wood Rule
Offered by BIC Warehouse
Price: $17.71
14 used & new from $14.85

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Cheap junk; extension slide does not work, March 22, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
The folding part of this rule is reasonably well made. But the reason to have it is the brass extension slide. In the sample I got, the slide arrived jammed. Even after un-jamming it, it doesn't extend when the rule is open. When the rule is closed, it extends only with great difficulty. The only way to get it to extend reliably is to half-fold the segment on the end, so the joint is at 90 degrees. Then the slide will extend.

To add insult to injury, once the slide extends, it is loose enough that it will not hold its own weight against gravity. So you can use it to measure only horizontal distances.

My father always used a folding rule instead of a tape measure. At this price, I was hoping to get a tool of reasonable quality. Instead I got junk. Do not buy.


Silverstone Tek FT02S-USB3.0 Aluminum ATX Mid Tower Uni-Body Frame Computer Case with 2X USB3.0 Front Ports Cases (Silver)
Silverstone Tek FT02S-USB3.0 Aluminum ATX Mid Tower Uni-Body Frame Computer Case with 2X USB3.0 Front Ports Cases (Silver)
Price: $248.29
2 used & new from $244.99

3.0 out of 5 stars Great cooling, terrible disk noise, March 9, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
As noted by other reviewers, the case is really heavy. It is also really big. I was lucky I did not have to squeeze it into the location occupied by the previous computer---you would find it difficult to maneuver a case of this size and weight into a small space.

Cable management in the top-facing motherboard worked out fine.

Cooling is superb. Noise is a little more than I would like, even with fanless PSU and the top exhaust fan turned off.

The major reason for the 3-star review is the placement and mounting of disk drives. Compared with the predecessor Antec Solo, a case costing less than half as much, the hard-drive noise is TERRIBLE. And the disks (hard and optical) are so far away from the PSU that the modular cables don't reach. (PSU is a high-end X-series from Seasonic, so I blame the case, not the cables.)

If you like the looks of a silver railroad car (I do) and you don't mind about hard-drive noise (I do), great case. If you care about noise, find a different case.


Hyperbole and a Half: Unfortunate Situations, Flawed Coping Mechanisms, Mayhem, and Other Things That Happened
Hyperbole and a Half: Unfortunate Situations, Flawed Coping Mechanisms, Mayhem, and Other Things That Happened
by Allie Brosh
Edition: Paperback
Price: $10.02
154 used & new from $3.59

5.0 out of 5 stars Everyone laughed out loud, February 17, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Each piece is like a stand-up comedy sketch. A few are not funny, but most had me and my wife laughing out loud.

Read one sketch at a sitting! Then take a deep breath...


TEKTON 6610 5/32-Inch Letter and Number Stamp Set, 36-Piece
TEKTON 6610 5/32-Inch Letter and Number Stamp Set, 36-Piece
Price: $18.67
17 used & new from $13.20

2.0 out of 5 stars No good for leather, February 17, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I bought these to mark leather items with months and year. Perhaps I should have ordered the larger set, but these stamps barely mark leather---the letters and numbers are just not cut deep enough. The leather is quite smooth, so that is not the issue. Also, striking the stamp hard enough to mark leather results in an ugly circle around each letter or numeral. And from a foot away, I can just barely distinguish the 2 from the 3.

They may be great for metal, but if you want to mark leather, order something else.


Thermaltake 3.5 Inch to 2.5 Inch SSD HDD Bay Drives Converter Kit AC0014 (Black)
Thermaltake 3.5 Inch to 2.5 Inch SSD HDD Bay Drives Converter Kit AC0014 (Black)
Price: $8.99
42 used & new from $6.96

2.0 out of 5 stars Poor fit, March 31, 2013
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
The convertor is solid enough, but it is not the right shape. I had use considerable force to get my SSD inserted, and then I could not get it to screw in properly in all four positions. And then when I went to install it in the 3.5 inch drive bay, I discovered that the outer edge had been bent badly enough that it wouldn't screw in. I tried using pliers but was unable to straighten it adequately.

If it actually fit, this could be a good product. But as shipped, it's annoying junk.


Panasonic KX-TCA60 Hands-Free Headset with Comfort Fit Headband for Use with Cordless Phones
Panasonic KX-TCA60 Hands-Free Headset with Comfort Fit Headband for Use with Cordless Phones
Price: $9.78
147 used & new from $3.00

2.0 out of 5 stars Not reliable, January 31, 2013
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Initially, sound was good compared with the competition. But within a couple of weeks, I started getting all sorts of crackling sounds. The problem is probably in the submini phone plug making a poor connection with the handset. I had the same trouble with several handsets.

I have put the product in the trash.


Existence
Existence
by David Brin
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $20.07
93 used & new from $0.01

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Big, thought-provoking ideas, but sir, you're no John Brunner, August 23, 2012
This review is from: Existence (Hardcover)
Both stylistically and thematically, this book owes a lot to John Brunner's classic 'Stand on Zanzibar'. The debt is acknowledged, if only implicitly (hello SCANALYZER), but unfortunately Brin cannot quite emulate the master. For most of this long book, Brin is not as good at making multiple viewpoints compelling, and he is not as good at weaving disparate threads together. If you have not read Brunner, drop this review and go buy a copy. If you have, and you want more like that, 'Existence' is not a bad read. The execution of the concept, though inferior, is competent.

The arc of the story is one I have seldom seen in fiction: the ending of the story is the strongest part. The beginning is very slow to start, and for perhaps the first two-thirds of this book I was impatient for Brin to get on with things already. Then near the end, everything starts to come together, and I found maybe a quarter of the book really compelling. Then, sadly, the denouement, in the very last section, is too pat: the viewpoint character is poorly chosen; the information in the 'reveal' doesn't justify the build-up; and many of the great questions raised in the novel aren't really addressed.

Leaving aside the style and the execution, what really distinguishes this novel is that it is, in the best tradition of science fiction, a novel of ideas. Even better, many of the ideas are new. So if you are looking for a grand novel of big ideas, and if you can live with the imperfect execution of a disjointed Brunnerian style, you will enjoy this book. If you are looking for a story that is compelling throughout and ends with things neatly and convincingly resolved, look elsewhere.


Antec Minuet 350 MicroATX Slim Case Computer Case 350 Watt 80 PLUS Power Supply
Antec Minuet 350 MicroATX Slim Case Computer Case 350 Watt 80 PLUS Power Supply
Price: $89.99
63 used & new from $85.49

5.0 out of 5 stars Cramped but solid; cool enough for a fine HTPC, August 10, 2012
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I've been using this case for an HTPC for about four years. I use it almost exclusively for watching high-definition video---mostly terrestrial broadcasts recorded on a PC. With that in mind I bought a low-power Sempron 140 designed to use only 45W, and an Nvidia GeForce 210 low-profile, fanless GPU with a maximum draw of 30W. (Were I building the same system today I could undoubtedly get motherboard graphics that could handle MPEG-2 and H.264 video.)

The case ships with an 80mm fan controlled by a switch with High, Medium, and Low speeds. With the fan set on Low it is quiet, but everything stays cool. CPU temp runs around 26C. The hard drive runs around 41C at idle, up to 48C when in heavy use (e.g., OS upgrade). I don't have software installed to measure GPU temperature.

The inside of the case makes for a cramped build, and depending on the position of cables in the motherboard may be tricky. It would be easier with a modern all-SATA motherboard; the PATA cable for the optical drive is a little hard to manage. Also, it took be a little while to get the hang of the inverted drive cage. But everything fits, and the drive cage does not wiggle or buzz.

Finally, as noted by other reviewers, the case is very solid and the body looks good. (In my opinion the front panel does not look as nice as the rest, but I'm still happy.)

Summary: nice-looking case; build is no harder than you'd expect from a uATX in a system with a small form factor; and with suitable components inside you can build a superb HTPC that will stay cool and quiet even under load.


Redshirts: A Novel with Three Codas (Hugo Award Winner - Best Novel)
Redshirts: A Novel with Three Codas (Hugo Award Winner - Best Novel)
by John Scalzi
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $19.15
75 used & new from $1.76

3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars For fans only, August 8, 2012
As Star Trek fans know, the "redshirts" of the title refer to those doughty characters that my mother-in-law referred to as "Mr Expendable"---the bit players who die painfully while on excursions with the Starship Captain. Scalzi has worked this idea into an entertaining premise, but by itself, the premise is not strong enough to sustain even a short novel. The book is just not *consistently* sharp enough or funny enough to make a good satire or parody at this length. It does have some funny moments, but only one or two. I found it nowhere near as sharp or funny as Scalzi's *The Android's Dream*.

The "three codas" mentioned in the subtitle represent an admirable attempt to bring more depth to this parody, but they come too little, too late to rescue an otherwise relatively boring book. Without giving too much of a spoiler, the codas "break the fourth wall." This is the sort of thing that Jasper Fforde does superbly well. Scalzi is just competent.

I can recommend this book to you only if (a) you are enough of a fan of Star Trek that you find the very idea of expendable "redshirts" inherently funny, or (b) you love work that breaks the fourth wall. The book *is* competent, and fans of either genre will have something to enjoy, but it is not good enough to recommend to general readers.


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