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Helpful Votes: 395




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Doc Dave "world music fan" RSS Feed (New York City)
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Wahoo TICKR Heart Rate Monitor for iPhone and Android
Wahoo TICKR Heart Rate Monitor for iPhone and Android
Price: $59.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Works great with Android out of the box, but some (minor) design issues., June 19, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Pros:
Paired quickly with android device
Firmware update over bluetooth was quick and painless
GPS-link (through phone) allows for accurate distance, and pace calculations

Cons:
No discernible on-off button/switch to save power
App mimics gym/treadmill programmable workout interface, but somewhat complicated, should just default to a regular workout mode.
Band material is slightly scratchy/uncomfortable.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 20, 2014 2:54 PM PDT


The 48 Laws of Power
The 48 Laws of Power
by Robert Greene
Edition: Paperback
Price: $13.00
232 used & new from $9.01

3.0 out of 5 stars Important to take this book for what it is - a satire, May 4, 2014
This review is from: The 48 Laws of Power (Paperback)
This book was obviously meant to be a latter day sequel to Machiavelli's "The Prince", and should be regarded in the same vein. As in medieval times, politicians and business leaders have professional coaches and strategists to teach them so it is not something earth-shattering or surprising that manipulative methods are indeed used by them.

But it is also important to understand that this book cannot be used to "level the playing field" as the author posits. The problem is a lot of the so-called laws are highly egregious and will quickly lead to ruin, long before any power-fantasy can be realized. Laws such as "trust your enemies more than your friends" and "take credit for the work of others" will land you in a lot of trouble long before you can rise to be any captain of industry.

Having said that, a satire does still have its practical value; by lampooning the methods of unsavory types (which you will doubtlessly encounter), you can learn to recognize some of these psychopathic behavior in others, and learn to steer clear.

Which is way more valuable than learning how to be a psychopath yourself.

(In my opinion, the author should be a little more honest that people are not meant to enact these laws literally instead of marketing it like some secret guide to success!)


Antec 73009 Bluetooth Speaker (Black)
Antec 73009 Bluetooth Speaker (Black)
Price: $39.99
10 used & new from $33.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Good to Excellent Sound Quality, February 23, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Pros:
The volume is very loud for such a small speaker (louder than most laptops as a comparison).
Sound quality is good with proper separation (despite it looking like only a mono speaker).

Cons:
Bass is lacking (as expected in a small speaker; but there are some new small speakers with great bass).
Bluetooth pairing can sometimes be tricky (you have to remember to turn off the bluetooth on your mobile device after listening or it will be more difficult to pair a new device).


Coast DX355 Double Lock Folding Knife
Coast DX355 Double Lock Folding Knife
Price: $29.97

4.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful fit and finish; some minor issues, February 23, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Pros:
The texture, weight and grip of the graphite coated handle is excellent.
Blade is coated and well contoured.
Locking mechanism is tight and secure

Cons:
Belt clip already shows rust spots (though the other parts are pristine).
The blade metal quality is good but not great.
The additional sliding lock tab is only useful when the knife is already opened (i.e. when it is already secured by the tight main locking mechanism); so it is not really that useful.


Tell to Win: Connect, Persuade, and Triumph with the Hidden Power of Story
Tell to Win: Connect, Persuade, and Triumph with the Hidden Power of Story
by Peter Guber
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $17.97
221 used & new from $0.01

5.0 out of 5 stars The Story of Peter, February 14, 2014
Peter is as consummate of a movie mogul as they come (and his success is never accidental; consider that he made Rain Man AND Soul Surfer), he understands what it takes to produce a hit movie and this book is structured like one. An impressive cast (Muhammad Ali, Frank Sinatra, Carl Sagan, Steven Spielberg and on and on), a riveting plot (and Peter is masterful at communicating his vulnerabilities and anxieties), and a great transformational message and call to action (anyone can tell it to win; to paraphrase Ratatouille).

When people like George Lucas and Night Shyamalan say that making hit movies is formulaic, it means that there are certainly elements a great movie must have (a challenge, a struggle and a transformation), and while having these is no guarantee of having a hit, not having these is a surefire guarantee of a flop. It is not that much of a stretch that making movies have a lot with persuasion through use of effective narrative (the central premise of this book).

But what is surprising and refreshing is how overwhelmingly positive this book (and by extension Peter) is. Even when mistakes are made and events led to failure, the focus of the stories is always positive.

Peter doesn't really explain how he does this David Copperfield-esque magic trick (the illusionist does also appear in this book by the way).

Just try this experiment: think back to the last anecdote you told to try to convince someone of something and it will invariably be negative (i.e. something bad happened so that's why this time things must be done differently). Why? Because that is the way to set up a "moral of the story" chain of logic.

Instead, Peter never succumbs to the ease of this and (while he sadly never effectively expounds on this most critical piece) the Win is always embedded in his stories.


The Leader's Guide to Storytelling: Mastering the Art and Discipline of Business Narrative (J-B US non-Franchise Leadership)
The Leader's Guide to Storytelling: Mastering the Art and Discipline of Business Narrative (J-B US non-Franchise Leadership)
Price: $15.49

2.0 out of 5 stars Unable to recommend this book, February 7, 2014
Storytelling as a defining tool is immensely powerful for individuals and organizations; and this book refers to this in the very introduction.

Unfortunately the author then proceeds to talk not about storytelling (defining identity through narrative) but about anecdotal communications. Ever heard a politician's campaign speech about meeting a steelworker in Pittsburgh or a manager talk about this reminds me of the time I was down in accounting? This book purports to help the reader achieve a better version of that speech/talk.

But it fails even in that regard. As some of the other reviewers mention there is lack of a clear framework to understand the recommendations; making the book fragmented and confusing.


Thomas the Train: Take-n-Play Spills and Thrills on Sodor
Thomas the Train: Take-n-Play Spills and Thrills on Sodor
Price: $21.21
15 used & new from $17.21

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Add-on to other Take-n-Play Sets, January 16, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Pros:
1. As others have noted, there are 3 "interactive" areas that are the main selling point; the bridge, zip line and "paint" attachment. They do work, but aren't decorated - just the bare plastic.
2. The elevation is unusual for Take-n-Play sets, and gives a good speed for launching trains.

Cons:
1. Take-n-play sets are supposed to be portable. Attaching a handle to this large unwieldy set and calling it portable is dis-ingenuous.
2. The build quality is mediocre.
3. This cannot (or should not) be used for standalone play. The launched train is quite fast, and will work better with another take-n-play set attached. Otherwise, having a hard diecast metal train simply fly off the end is not a good idea.


Thomas & Friends Wooden Railway - Sodor Water Works
Thomas & Friends Wooden Railway - Sodor Water Works
Offered by acqua-gift-ideas
Price: $19.99
7 used & new from $10.91

2.0 out of 5 stars Big Design Flaw, December 24, 2013
I just got mine still sealed in factory packaging and can confirm that the liquid is all dried up. Inspecting the clear chamber closely, there are hairline cracks all along the sealed edges of the water chamber. Since the packaging is pristine and undamaged, this must be from the clear plastic barrel being sized too small relative to the blue end caps and cracking over time. This will result in either accelerated evaporation or a catastrophic leak depending on the size of the cracks.

This product is marked as being under lifetime guarantee which TOMY had reportedly promised to honor. I've contacted them and will update as to what their response is.

It's a shame since the paint job is one of the best I've seen. And the wood is solid American Maple.

If you do pick one up; make sure to look for one with an evaporated chamber (to avoid staining your furniture).


Beach Cliff, Sardines in Water, 3.75oz Can (Pack of 6)
Beach Cliff, Sardines in Water, 3.75oz Can (Pack of 6)
Offered by KFiNDS
Price: $19.99
6 used & new from $18.00

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Ok ... but could have been great, December 20, 2013
Pros:
North Atlantic Herring more tender and juicy than true sardines.
Fish was processed fresh (and not from frozen bulk traded fish); one of the freshest tasting canned fish I've had.
Packed in water (neutral tasting).

Cons:
Slightly bitter due to roe being left in (herring roe gets bitter! Beach Cliff has been packing fish for a long time and ought to know better).
A mild smoke flavor would have been nice.


Nongshim Chapagetti Chajang Noodle, 4.5 Ounce Packages (Pack of 20)
Nongshim Chapagetti Chajang Noodle, 4.5 Ounce Packages (Pack of 20)
Offered by Urbanity Trading
Price: $29.59
6 used & new from $21.25

1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Tastes like a horrible mistake ... here's how to fix them if you bought a case., December 13, 2013
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
It is patently obvious that this product line was not as meticulously taste-tested as all the other Shin Ramyuns are. It seems to be a misunderstanding or misinterpretation of what Chajang Mein ought to taste like.

All there is to it, is an excellent ramen coated with a disappointing slurry of bland tasting rehydrated artificial soy sauce and maltose flavoring.

Chajang mein as found in the nooks and crannies of East Asia is truly revelational; snappy noodles with a rich and complex black bean meat sauce. Truly an everyday noodle dish that taste great; kinda like how we think of Spaghetti here (at least they got that part).

Since every punter out there in East Asia (other than Nong Shim) can get it right; so can you if you bought a case of this. If you have easy access to Asian groceries, then a small dollop of any brand of black bean garlic paste will perk this right up.

If not don't panic.

A little dash of balsamic vinegar (trust me), a little drizzle of sriracha and a drop of sesame oil will also help revive these noodles.

If you don't have these Asian kitchen basics,

Then here's what you do. You take a little spoon of peanut butter (trust me) and a little ketchup, and you add that to this.

And you will have a pretty reasonable bowl of Chajang Mein.


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