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Jerry Saperstein RSS Feed (Evanston, IL USA)
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USB External Battery Pack 15000mAh 5V/2.1A (Black Limefuel Lite LP150X) Charger with Flashlight for iPad Air, Mini, iPhone 5S, 5C, 5, 4S, Galaxy S5, S4, S3, Note 3, Nexus 4, 5, 7, 10, HTC One, One 2 (M8), Motorola Droid, LG G2, G3, MOTO X, G, E
USB External Battery Pack 15000mAh 5V/2.1A (Black Limefuel Lite LP150X) Charger with Flashlight for iPad Air, Mini, iPhone 5S, 5C, 5, 4S, Galaxy S5, S4, S3, Note 3, Nexus 4, 5, 7, 10, HTC One, One 2 (M8), Motorola Droid, LG G2, G3, MOTO X, G, E
Offered by Limefuel
Price: $55.00

5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent performer at a reasonable price., August 30, 2014
I was fortunate to find this on sale. I like it so far, The display is quite informative, showing charging and discharging states,which ports are being used and their output. Weighing about 12 ounces, it is heavier than many external batteries with lower capacities, but not so heavy as to be a burden in your messenger or camera bag. In a pocket, though, better tighten your belt a notch or two.

The battery charges quickly with a 2 Amp AC adapter. Using the 2 A output on the adapter I charged a 4000mAh tablet battery from about 25% to 100% within about two hours. Obviously, the LP150X could, theoretically, recharge that particular tablet battery almost four times.

Overall, particularly, for the price I paid, this is a great external battery for those who want a lot of energy in reserve.

Jerry


LEGO Architecture: The Visual Guide
LEGO Architecture: The Visual Guide
by Philip Wilkinson
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $27.50
8 used & new from $24.00

5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic. Informative. Instructive. And just plain fun., August 29, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I love Lego. But I’ve never been a Lego builder. When I was kid, the Lego building block system didn’t exist and even if it had, we wouldn’t have been able to afford it. The modern Lego blocks were just gaining some popularity in the United States and my son never got deeply, if at all, involved. For my grandchildren, there were lots of Legos and I got hooked, but as a designer of structures and stop motion animator.

My Lego “building” is done with Lego design software. That’s plenty of fun – and challenge – for me in using software to design the structures and it’s a lot easier on my old fingers, not to mention my budget.

I go to Lego shows, read Lego websites and the one major magazine and just plain enjoy the creativity of Lego builders.

This is the highest quality DK published book I’ve ever seen. It’s coffee-table sized, slip cased and beautifully printed. The first 20 or so pages describe the builders and provide background. Then come 22 gorgeous, beautifully done Lego reproductions of well-known architectural gems. The photography is very well done and there are schematics of how the model was done as well as commentary on the architect and his work.

This book is meant for browsing: slow browsing, with your hot chocolate, coffee, tea or other beverage at hand. It is, for the Lego lover, breathtaking.

If you like Lego as a builder or spectator, I highly recommend “LEGO Architecture: The Visual Guide”.

Jerry


Dragon NaturallySpeaking Premium 13.0, English
Dragon NaturallySpeaking Premium 13.0, English
Price: $199.99
19 used & new from $155.00

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Love Nuance or hate them, Dragon Naturally Speaking keeps getting better bit by tiny bit., August 28, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I have been using Dragon for years and only with the last couple of reviews has my rating increased to more than three stars.

For many Nuance hell begins with installation. I am pleased to say took only five insertions of the DVD before it was recognized. Yes, it could be argued that this indicates a problem with my computer, but if you read the reviews for this and earlier reviews, you'll see that install of Dragon is often problematic and sometimes nightmaeish.

Once my installation DVD mounted, installation ran flawlessly.

Since I am a veteran user of Dragon, Version 13 simply upgraded my existing User Profile. I am pleased to say "simply" because this is yet another point at which things have gone wrong in the past.

Next comes setup and training. And that proved troublesome, as it has in the past, but resolvable.

Finally Dragon is ready to go. I haven't gone past using the Dictation Box yet because I want to get my accuracy rate as high as possible and, in any event, I most often use the dictation Box because it is the least troublesome way to use Dragon. For example, the Dragon Outlook add-in already broke Outlook.

So far, accuracy is on a par with Versions 11 and 12, which were, in a word, terrific.

It will take me months before I am really settled in with using Dragon in Word and Outlook. It always does. Hopefully, Version 13 will be more stable than its predecessors. Instability is what has always kept me from using Dragon more because Nuance's tech support is beyond awful.

But so far, so good. There aren't any real alternatives to dragon Naturally Speaking and the program has incrementally since Version 11. I'm hoping that time and more experience will allow me to revisit this review and update it with news of glowing results as my use expands. Unfortunately, in the past for this and other Nuance products, I've returned to my reviews too often to register my anger and disappointment with the product and Nuance's lack of support. I'm keeping my fingers crossed on this one.

Jerry


Adonit Jot Touch with Pixelpoint pressure sensitive stylus for iPad - Black
Adonit Jot Touch with Pixelpoint pressure sensitive stylus for iPad - Black
Offered by Adonit USA
Price: $119.99
6 used & new from $119.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent design, but I am having problems with iPhone connectivity., August 27, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I’ve been using Adonit styluses with Android devices for a couple of years and have been pleased. I recently acquired an iPhone, essentially for business purposes.

The Jot Touch with Pixel (“JTP”) is, as is the case with all the Adonit products I’ve used, beautifully designed.

At first I thought the relatively thick stylus would be uncomfortable. Wrong. I like this thicker stylus somewhat better than the thinner styluses I currently own.

The JTP fits nicely in the hand and is very maneuverable. The charging connector is a wonderful piece of cleverness. The end of the JTP is magnetized and a small “shelf” with a USB connector serves as the base. It is very convenient.

There’s a switch on the barrel that is reasonably well placed. Not perfectlyk, but certainly easier to actuate than on some Wacom and other styli I’ve used.

But not everything is perfect: my iPhone 4s will not recognize the device. I think the problem here may be a defective user – me. As a result, I can only report that as a dumb stylus, the JTP is great.

I know that in a couple of days, I’ll be able to provide my experiences with using the JTP as an active device. Why am I so sure? Because Adonit’a customer support is absolutely superb. I’ve had minor issues with my other Adonit styluses and support response was prompt and thorough. I’m on deadline to finish a project so I won’t be able to contact Adonit until Friday or Monday. But I know that within a day, my problems – which I emphasize I think are with my iPhone 4s’s setup rather than the product – will be resolved.

Adonit is the kind of company you root for. Innovative. And customer-centered.

Jerry


Belkin 11-Inch Laptop /Chromebook Sleeve, Blue (B2B081-C01)
Belkin 11-Inch Laptop /Chromebook Sleeve, Blue (B2B081-C01)
Price: $16.58
37 used & new from $12.21

5.0 out of 5 stars A nice little sleeve for your small device, August 24, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This works well for my Asus TF100TA 10" tablet, which fits with room to spare.

Remember, this is a sleeve,not a Pelican hard shell case. It has essentially no padding and is not intended to protect the contents from damage in a hard drop. Rather, it is designed to protect the exterior of the computer from scuffs and scratches. whether carried by the integral handle or packed in your backpack, messenger bag, duffel or luggage.

It's pretty well made with good stitching and the Neoprene material is soft to the hand. There is a second outside pocket which really isn't terribly useful except for almost flat objects. If you have a power "brick" the odds are it won't fit at all well.Oddly, while the main compartment zipper pull has a tab, the compartment zipper doesn't - and it really needs one.

Overall, as long as you remember that this isn't designed to protect your small device from rough handling, this is a nice little sleeve.

Jerry


The Lion's Gate: On the Front Lines of the Six Day War
The Lion's Gate: On the Front Lines of the Six Day War
Offered by Penguin Group (USA) LLC
Price: $11.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Historical fiction at its best, August 17, 2014
Author Steven Pressfield makes it clear that he is not writing an objective history of the Six Day war. Rather, like Truman Capote and Tom Wolfe have done, he mixes history, fictional thoughts of some main characters (some of whom are no longer with us) and first-person interviews of battle veterans. At first, in reading the author’s introduction and explanation of his method, I was turned off and almost didn’t read the book. When I did start reading, I began in the middle.

Soon enough, I was involved and read it through the end – and re-read it in full from the beginning.

Pressfield does a truly masterful job of bringing this very unusual war and its Israeli participants to life. This is not a two-sided discussion – only Israeli warriors appear on the record here.

From privates swallowing the dust of the vehicles ahead of them to Moshe Dayan and other war leaders, Pressfield brings us the tension, of soldiers who have no choice but to emerge victorious.

The Lion’s Gate refers to a gate in the city of Jerusalem which becomes one of the focal points of the story, if not the focal point.

Pressfield’s approach, as I said, put me off at first – but once I got a few pages in, I recognized his genius – yes, genius – in deploying it. This is not an objective history, this is a legend in the making and Pressfield is a master at conveying the grit, dust, misery, exertion of battle. Truly remarkable and well worth reading as a diary of a war, not a sterile history.

Jerry


The Heist: A Novel (Gabriel Allon)
The Heist: A Novel (Gabriel Allon)
by Daniel Silva
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $16.79
124 used & new from $9.36

5.0 out of 5 stars Getting a bit threadbare, but Silva still weaves a terrific story., August 17, 2014
A lot of “The Heist” will be familiar to any Silva fan. A bit too familiar, perhaps.

I don’t like to divulge a lot of detail in a review of a novel. Thrillers depend heavily on surprising the reader and I don’t want to diminish anyone’s pleasure.

So I’ll be general and, in the process demonstrate that Silva is walking a dangerous line.

Gabriel Allon is working on a restoration in Venice, where he has taken up residence with his wife, Chiara. The director of Italy’s “art squad” comes to visit – and Gabriel is off on another adventure, this time to find a long ago stolen masterpiece.

Sound familiar? It is in many ways. And as the novel goes on, it becomes more and more familiar. We’ve met and come to know nearly all the characters before.

It’s an exciting thriller: I was past 4 AM three nights in row finishing it. And the story was thoroughly enjoyable with lots of tense moments.

Whether you’re an Allon fan who has read all the books or a newcomer, “The Heist” is an excellent, exciting thriller.

But I think it’s time for Silva to bring in some new characters, though none of the existing characters need to be retired. And Allon needs some new challenges.

Silva hints at this happening in the future, but honestly, I think this novel would have benefited from some new characters.

Still a great read, but I think things have to change in the next Allon thriller.

Jerry


Avery Textured White Menu Cards, 8.5 x 3.66 Inches, Pack of 75 (16110)
Avery Textured White Menu Cards, 8.5 x 3.66 Inches, Pack of 75 (16110)
Price: $19.75

5.0 out of 5 stars Very nice for cardmaking and paper crafting, August 15, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
My wife and I are both into card making and these little gems fold down to a unique size (about 4.25 x 1.75) which is ideal for gift cards, notes, die cutting, custom bookmarks (add a flexible magnet on each side) and other projects your imagination takes you to.

The card stock is a barely perceptible off-white, fairly heavy, textured and takes ink on both sides. Each 8.5 x 11 sheet is scored to yield three of the “menu cards”. No need to rip or tear – just bend the card back and forth a few times and slowly separate it from the sheet.

I don’t use the Avery software and thus can’t comment on it. But I do use customized design programs for paper crafting and they work just fine.

This is a very nice basis for crafting projects. If you score the menu card in the middle, it folds down to the 4.25 x 1.75 size mentioned above, producing a uniquely sized card. If you have a trimmer, cut them in half lengthwise and each menu card yields two bookmarks. Using a die-cutter like the Silhouette, you can cut a number of shapes from each menu card.

A very nice product that, as you can see, is very adaptable to other purposes.

Jerry


Dell Computer Wireless Portable Speaker - AD211 (520-AAGP)
Dell Computer Wireless Portable Speaker - AD211 (520-AAGP)
Price: $57.61

4.0 out of 5 stars Not bad at all., August 14, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
The portable Bluetooth speaker model is crowded. You can get them for anywhere from a few dollars to hundreds.

This Dell device is not spectacular, but it is highly usable.

The unit is relatively compact: 6.5 x 2.5 x 2.5 and weighs maybe a half-pound or so. There are definitely smaller units available which might be more suitable for travel.

Instructions are essentially non-existent, but it’s easy enough to figure out. There’s a microUSB port on the back for power, snuggled next to a 3.5” jack for wired audio input.

On one end of the unit, there’s power button, volume controls, Bluetooth pairing and call control button. The controls work as expected and if you’ve used any other Bluetooth speaker, setting this up should be a snap. On the other hand, if this is someone’s first Bluetooth speaker, they will probably be best served if they look up something on the web about installing a Bluetooth speaker.

Setup with three different devices (two Windows (7 and 8) and one Android) was quick and easy. Sound quality is adequate – nothing special. Volume is excellent.

The Bluetooth receiving range is outstanding: a solid 30 feet indoors, which is really impressive.

As a conference call unit, I tested it only with Skype and it worked. Again, nothing special, but why should it be?

Overall a solid performer. The only negative is that it’s a Dell which means abysmal customer and technical support, should it ever be required.

Jerry


Dell Computer WM524 Wireless BT Travel Mouse (F7TJK)
Dell Computer WM524 Wireless BT Travel Mouse (F7TJK)
Price: $26.74
34 used & new from $19.95

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Might work out well for you, but it’s not for me., August 14, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
The physical design, much of the ergonomics and largish size of this device are very nice. Construction quality is also quite high.

But it’s the little things that weigh this product down.

First, read the sales description on the Dell site and their warranty carefully: they warrant the device only for use with compatible Dell products and will provide support only for use with Dell products. I am not a big fan of Dell because their customer and technical support are generally abysmal. Considering how flakey Bluetooth connections can be, I wouldn’t be at all surprised that if I called dell and described a problem with connecting to a non-Dell computer, they might say “not my problem”.

As it happens, I tried it with an Asus computer and connectivity was instant and problem-free. One switch handles power and pairing. This runs on two AA batteries and has an auto shutoff – I think. The incredibly brief quick-start sheet provides no details. I also didn’t find anything about low battery level warnings.

Mouse sensitivity is excellent. I wouldn’t want to use it for any demanding Photoshop or similar work, but on the whole response was fast and accurate.

The showstoppers are the side buttons which are located too far back on the mouse to be readily accessible to the user. If you have to reposition your hand on the mouse to use the function buttons, then their entire purpose is defeated. By the way, this mouse is optimized for use with Windows 8. The side buttons are to control functions such as activating the Windows Charms, switching apps, zoom, back and forward. In the manual, ironically, the placement of the buttons is accurately depicted in the illustrations showing battery insertion – but inaccurately shown in the illustrations showing mouse use. This misrepresentation could not have been accidental.

And there’s the right mouse button. It is very sensitive to the touch and I was utterly unable to avoid activating the right-click menus. Maybe there’s something wrong with my fingers, but I don’t have this problem with my other mice, which are Logitech and Razer.

These two latter factors are killers for me, rendering the mouse very difficult for me to use.

But while it didn’t work for me, that doesn’t foreclose the possibility of it working for you. I would be very wary of the support issues, though, if you use it with non-Dell colmputers and encounter a problem.

Jerry


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