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Reviews Written by
Mike Powers "mkp51" RSS Feed (Woolwich, ME USA)
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   

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Chess King Gold (new for 2015)
Chess King Gold (new for 2015)
Offered by CHESSQUEEN INC. DBA CHESS KING
Price: $109.95
3 used & new from $89.00

5.0 out of 5 stars “Chess King Gold 2016:" The best ever, easiest to use chess software I’ve ever found., February 5, 2016
“Chess King Gold 2016” is the latest version of what I consider the best overall modern chess software package I’ve ever found. This excellent app gives me all the tools I need to play chess whenever I like, while at the same time helping me improve my distinctly average playing skills.

“Chess King Gold 2016” is at the top of a line of Windows-based chess apps expressly intended to teach users how to play better chess through training and analysis. It’s specifically designed for computers with multi-core processors (up to 32 cores). It certainly lives up to its claim of working flawlessly in the Windows 10 environment, showing no compatibility issues with Microsoft’s latest operating system. There is also a version that works in the MAC OSX El Capitan operating environment.

“Chess King Gold 2016” has all the great features of its predecessors. It contains the excellent and challenging Houdini 4 Pro chess engine, which has a “super grandmaster” rating of 3350. There’s also the elegant 2D user interface that’s attractive, easy to use, and now comes with three color themes – green, blue, and gray. There is a large variety of chess puzzles that range in difficulty from beginner to grandmaster. I especially enjoy playing these puzzles, which have greatly helped me to improve my chess playing skills. Users will also find a completely updated version the “GigaKing” database, which now contains 5.7 million historical games to study and analyze.

Since I started using the Chess King line of software three years ago, learning and playing chess once again has become enjoyable for me. “Chess King Gold 2016” is an excellent program that continues giving me hours of challenging fun, while at the same time helping me improve my game. Most highly recommended.


Mens Pair of Heat Holder 2.3 tog Thermal knitted FINGERLESS Gloves Charcoal Grey
Mens Pair of Heat Holder 2.3 tog Thermal knitted FINGERLESS Gloves Charcoal Grey
Offered by Sock Snob Ltd- DELIVERY 7-10 working Days
Price: $14.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Heat Holder Fingerless Gloves: Keeps my hands warm while allowing me the dexterity I need to do my job., February 5, 2016
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I work for the U.S. Postal Service as a rural letter carrier, and frequently find myself driving an old, cold mail truck. My hands usually end up very cold as I spend the day reaching out the truck's window and sticking mail in boxes. I've been searching for some kind of gloves that will keep my hands warm, while at thew same time allowing me the dexterity I need to do my job efficiently.

My new Heat Holder fingerless gloves are the best solution I've found so far to the problem of keeping my hands warm while on the job. These excellent gloves are knit from a fairly thick yarn and have an excellent lining that retain my body heat very well. As a result, my hands stay warm throughout my long days in my mail truck. Even my fingertips, which are not covered, tend to stay warm. I'm not sure exactly why that is, but I'm guessing that my retained body heat radiates from the finger holes, thereby keeping my fingertips warm.

When I first discovered these Heat Holder fingerless gloves on Amazon, I bought two pair - one black and one charcoal gray. Both colors are very well constructed, although, at first, the black ones were slightly prone to snagging on mailbox lids and other sharp edges under heavy use. For some reason, this has not been the case with the charcoal gray gloves. I haven't experienced any snagging issues with them, even though I've used them almost as much as I have the black ones.

Heat Holder fingerless gloves are an excellent product. Highly recommended.


Mens Pair of Heat Holder 2.3 tog Thermal knitted FINGERLESS Gloves Black
Mens Pair of Heat Holder 2.3 tog Thermal knitted FINGERLESS Gloves Black
Offered by Sock Snob Ltd- DELIVERY 7-10 working Days
Price: $14.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Heat Holder Fingerless Gloves: The best solution I've found for keeping my hands warm when on the job., February 5, 2016
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I work for the U.S. Postal Service as a rural letter carrier, and frequently find myself driving an old, cold mail truck. My hands usually end up very cold as I spend the day reaching out the truck's window and sticking mail in boxes. I've been searching for some kind of gloves that will keep my hands warm, while at the same time allowing me the dexterity I need to do my job efficiently.

My new black Heat Holder fingerless gloves are the best solution I've found so far to the problem of keeping my hands warm while on the job. These excellent gloves are knit from a fairly thick yarn and have an excellent lining that retain my body heat very well. As a result, my hands stay warm throughout my long days in my mail truck. Even my fingertips, which are not covered, tend to stay warm. I'm not sure exactly why that is, but I'm guessing that my retained body heat radiates from the finger holes, thereby keeping my fingertips warm.

I have two pair of Heat Holder gloves: one charcoal gray and one black. My black Heat Holder fingerless gloves are very well constructed, although, at first, they were slightly prone to snagging on mailbox lids and other sharp edges under heavy use. The snags were minor and easily repaired. As I've continued using them, however, they have snagged much less frequently.

Heat Holder fingerless gloves are an excellent product. Highly recommended.


Jewel Star
Jewel Star
Price: $0.00

2.0 out of 5 stars "Jewel Star:" a pale imitation of the best "match three" type games., February 2, 2016
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Jewel Star (App)
"Jewel Star" is another one of those "Absolutely Free" apps for Android that I picked up from Amazon Underground. It's the same type of "match three" puzzle games as Candy Crush and "Soda Crush," although it's nowhere near as good as those two particular games.

In fact, I would call "Jewel Star" a pale imitation of the best "match three" type games. The graphics are okay, but very simple. It
is easy enough to navigate and play, and it performs well on my smartphone and tablet, but there's really no challenge in playing it. It's enjoyable for its simplicity, but not really very much fun. In fact, I think it's kinda dull.

"Jewel Free" is truly an "absolutely free" app, but it's marred by a major flaw that eventually caused me remove it from my devices: it contains large and annoying full-screen ads that pop up randomly. I simply refuse to play games that contain full-screen ads that interrupt game play. (Those kinds of ads can shorten your battery's charge considerably.) So, it's "good-bye, Jewel Star," and time for me to move on to another "absolutely free" app that's actually free of in-app purchases and annoying ads.


Crossword
Crossword
Price: $0.00

4.0 out of 5 stars A good crossword puzzle app, but still falls a bit short of ideal., February 2, 2016
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Crossword (App)
"Crossword" is another one of those "Absolutely Free" apps for Android that I picked up from Amazon Underground. I'm a long-time fan of crossword puzzles, but have not (so far) found an "ideal" crossword app. "Crossword" comes as close to ideal as any I've found so far, but it still falls just a little bit short of exactly what I want.

The interface is fine, and the puzzles are reasonably challenging without being overly difficult. It's fairly easy to navigate through clues. There's not much in the way of "wordplay" in the clues, which is a feature I especially enjoy.

My biggest gripe: the puzzles I've seen so far are not in the standard format found in most newspapers and crossword puzzle books, where each letter forms part of a word both across and down. The puzzles in "Crossword" are in a format where only a few letters in each word interlock with another word.

I continue to play and enjoy "Crossword," although I'm still looking for my "ideal" crossword puzzle app.


Too Big to Fail (Blu-ray/DVD Combo + Digital Copy)
Too Big to Fail (Blu-ray/DVD Combo + Digital Copy)
DVD ~ Paul Giamatti
Price: $17.29
18 used & new from $12.29

5.0 out of 5 stars “Too Big to Fail:” The story of how America narrowly avoided financial catastrophe… for now., January 26, 2016
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
“Too Big to Fail” is a made-for-TV drama from HBO that does an outstanding job of explaining the basics of the great financial crisis of 2008, as seen through the eyes of key players within the U.S. government and several of Wall Street’s largest financial institutions

As “Too Big to Fail” opens, Lehman Brothers, the nation’s fourth largest investment bank, is deep in crisis. The firm’s long-time CEO, Dick Fuld (played by James Woods) , is desperately trying to find investors willing to bail the company out of its staggering losses. As a last resort, Fuld calls U.S. Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson (William Hurt) and asks him to help find someone – anyone – who might agree to provide sufficient capital – amounting to tens of billions of dollars - to offset Lehman’s losses. Paulson reluctantly agrees to assist Fuld only as far as the law allows, and no more. And he makes it very clear to Fuld that there will be no government bailout for Lehman.

Thus begins the story of America’s financial meltdown in the autumn of 2008. One by one, many of the country’s oldest and most prestigious financial institutions – among them investment banks, commercial banks, insurance companies, and government sponsored mortgage guarantors – find themselves brought to the brink of total financial failure, all brought about by a sharp downturn in the nation’s housing market, and the resulting freezing-up of credit. As Paulson, New York Federal Reserve Bank President Timothy Geithner (Billy Crudup), Congress, and other government regulators race against time to save Lehman and the other banks from ruin, America faces the very real possibility that its entire financial system may completely collapse…

“Too Big to Fail,” is based on financial journalist Andrew Ross Sorkin’s best-selling book of the same name. The film features an impressive ensemble cast that includes: Hurt, Woods, Crudup, Paul Giamatti as Federal Reserve Chair Ben Bernanke, and Bill Pullman as JP Morgan CEO Jamie Dimon. The movie was directed by Curtis Hanson and written by Peter Gould.

I’ve watched “Too Big to Fail” a few times now, and I never fail to be impressed by its high production values, the superb acting from a top-notch ensemble cast, and a taut, well thought-out screenplay. I like the way the writers explain the causes of the financial crisis. It’s reasonably non-political, focusing instead on the efforts of government officials and Wall Street executives to bring the nation back from the precipice of financial disaster. “Too Big to Fail” makes things fairly simple and easy to understand without being boring or simplistic, and yet with enough technical details of the crisis included to make things feel realistic.

Overall, a very enjoyable and informative viewing experience. Highly recommended.


The Day of the Jackal
The Day of the Jackal
DVD
Price: $12.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "The Day of the Jackal:" a political/crime thriller at its very best., January 19, 2016
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I remember reading Frederick Forsyth's masterful thriller "The Day of the Jackal" way back in the 1970s, when I was still in college. Unfortunately, I never got to see the movie that was made from the book...

...Until last weekend, that is, when I discovered "The Day of the Jackal" on Amazon Video. I quickly purchased it, adding it to my video library.

The film version of "The Day of the Jackal" is every bit as good as the book it's based on. The movie's plot is pretty straightforward: during the early 1960s in France, a right-wing domestic paramilitary group, opposed to French President Charles de Gaulle's policies concerning Algeria, has made several unsuccessful attempts to assassinate de Gaulle. The group's leaders decide to hire a foreign contract killer to take on the job of killing the French president. That man turns out to be a cold, ruthless, but outwardly suave man known only as "The Jackal."

Senior ministers in the French government are made aware of the plot against de Gaulle's life. They assign their best investigator - an assistant police commissioner named Lebel - to find out if the plot is real, who is behind it, and who the assassin is that's supposed to kill the French president. The film shows the parallel courses of action taken by "The Jackal" (played by British character actor Edward Fox) and Commissioner Lebel (played by French actor Michael Lonsdale).

Although there isn't a great deal of "shoot 'em up" action in "The Day of the Jackal," the film consistently maintains a high degree of "edge-of-your-seat" suspense throughout its 132-minute running time. I found myself completely engrossed in the film from its opening to its closing credits. The acting is superb, the screenplay by Kenneth Ross is always taut and tense, and Fred Zinneman's direction is masterful.

"The Day of the Jackal" is a political/crime thriller at its very best. Most highly recommended.


Paper Toss 2.0
Paper Toss 2.0
Price: $0.00

4.0 out of 5 stars "Paper Toss 2.0:" an "Actually Free" game for those moments when I need some mindless fun., January 19, 2016
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Paper Toss 2.0 (App)
I downloaded "Paper Toss 2.0" from the new (for me) Amazon Underground app, which promises that the game is "Actually Free." It's for those moments in life when I want to waste some time on a bit of mindless fun. This game fills that bill very well.

In "Paper Toss 2.0," a nerdy office boy slides by on a wheeled chair with a wastebasket in his lap. As a player, your goal is to toss balls of crumpled paper (or other objects) into the moving wastebasket, taking into account varying degrees of "windage."

"Paper Toss 2.0" is easy to play, but still can be a bit challenging, especially if you choose other objects, like staplers, crushed cans, tomatoes,and even grenades, to toss at the wastebasket. I've actually gotten quite a few laughs playing this game.

"Paper Toss" certainly doesn't rank as one of the most innovative, graphics-intensive, or technologically advanced games out there, but it's fun and quite addictive. Recommended.


Pawn Sacrifice
Pawn Sacrifice
DVD
Price: $14.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Pawn Sacrifice:" probably the best chess movie I've seen in a very long time., January 18, 2016
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Pawn Sacrifice (Amazon Video)
Being an ardent fan of chess, I always like it when a movie is made with the “ancient and venerable game” at its center. When I saw that the film “Pawn Sacrifice” was available on Amazon Video, I knew it was one I would add to my collection.

Directed by Edward Zwick, “Pawn Sacrifice” stars Toby Maguire as Bobby Fischer, Liev Schrieber as Boris Spassky, and Peter Sarsgaard and Michael Stuhlbarg and Fischer’s mentors, Father Bill Lombardy and Paul Marshall. The film tells the story of Bobby Fischer, the erratic American chess genius who became World Chess Champion in 1972. He did this by defeating the reigning world champion, Boris Spassky, in Reykjavik, Iceland, in one of the most highly anticipated and publicized chess tournaments in history.

Although “Pawn Sacrifice” focuses on this famous chess match and the events leading up to it, it’s actually less a film about chess than it is about Bobby Fischer the man. Toby Maguire gives the performance of his career as the deeply disturbed chess genius whose rampant paranoia causes him to believe that his phones are all tapped, all Russian chess opponents are conspiring to cheat him, and his mother, sister, and two devoted mentors are all out to “get” him. Fischer’s well-known anti-Semitism is clearly addressed in the film as part of his paranoia.

I thught Liev Schrieber (“Ray Donovan”) was particularly well cast as the stoic Boris Spassky. Sarsgaard (“Black Mass,” “The Killing”) and Stuhlbarg (“Boardwalk Empire,” “Lincoln”) were also very effective in their roles.

Although “Pawn Sacrifice” is about chess, it is neither boring nor slow-moving. It is an intense and taut drama, and a realistic portrayal of Bobby Fischer, and probably the best chess movie I’ve seen in a very long time. Highly recommended.


Rummy 500
Rummy 500
Price: $0.00

4.0 out of 5 stars "Rummy 500:" an excellent game that provides hours of entertainment., January 18, 2016
This review is from: Rummy 500 (App)
I bought Trivial Technology's "Rummy 500" game last summer, before it became available on Amazon. It's one of the better versions of Rummy 500 that I've ever seen. This is, of course, the form of Rummy where you actually score points for creating and laying off melds of three/four-of-a-kind or same-suit runs. Trivial's "Rummy 500" features simple, easy-to-read graphics (although it must be noted that royalty cards do not actually show the faces of the Kings, Queens, and Jacks), and elegant, buttery-smooth game play.

Scoring is the typical 15 points for Aces, for three-of-a-kind, A-2-3, and K-Q-A runs. Jokers, which serve as "wild cards," also count 15 points. Ten points are scored for 10-J-Q-K, and face value for number cards 2 through 9. There is no option for allowing 5 points for number cards.

I two gripes concerning "Rummy 500," both of which hold me back from awarding this game five stars: First, the "free" version of this game is ad-supported (which is fine), but the ads are large, frequent, and annoying... unless, of course, you buy "virtual coins" that suppress the ads. (I bought $10 worth of these "coins," and haven't seen an ad since...)

My second gripe: as of this writing, "Rummy 500" appears not to be compatible with my Kindle Fire HD7; however, it works very well with my Galaxy S6 smartphone and LG G-Pad 10-inch tablet.

Otherwise, "Rummy 500" is a great game that I continue to spend hours playing. Recommended.


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