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Jerry Saperstein RSS Feed (Evanston, IL USA)
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Run and Gun Lighting Resource: One-Light Solutions for Commercial and Portrait Photographers (Fuel)
Run and Gun Lighting Resource: One-Light Solutions for Commercial and Portrait Photographers (Fuel)
Price: $7.69

5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent tutorial for newcomers to external flash and more experienced photographers wanting a refresher, September 15, 2014
This is really a very nice, very simple reference intended for beginners or more advanced users looking for a refresher course.

The setups are simple, well illustrated and thoroughly explained.

Best of all, Fancher is writing for the average user, not someone who is shooting in a blizzard atop of Mt Everest in the middle of the night.

He uses a relatively simple flash, explains the interplay of camera and flash settings, use of basic flash accessories, such as reflectors, grids, gels and the like.

Pros may not need this short book, but newcomers and people like me who don't get to employ their skills often enough will find it helpful.

Jerry


Life n Soul MT103 Bluetooth Earphones with Adapter, Black
Life n Soul MT103 Bluetooth Earphones with Adapter, Black
Price: $57.83
7 used & new from $50.53

3.0 out of 5 stars Does the job – for a short time, that is., September 14, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
If only they had engineered this product to use a larger battery. Four hours of listening just doesn’t cut it.

Overall, this is a nice, if overpriced, device. It allows you to use your wired headphones and ear buds wirelessly through Bluetooth. (The included earbuds are totally mediocre.

A lesser fault is the use of a short proprietary cable for charging. One more thing to lose or misplace, though they do include a cute carrying case.

Bluetooth range in my tests was about 25 feet without any degradation of the signal which is pretty good in my opinion.

Pairing was a pain. The instructions were awful. At first, the device kept showing up as “USB Host Controller” and would pair, but not connect. Finally after numerous attempts, it displayed as “MT-103” and connected easily. Since the first attempts, no pairing or connection problems.

The volume controls are sort of hit or miss. The track change function works on streaming audio sites as well, which is a nice plus.

I didn’t try using it for calls.

Overall, if you can live with the short battery life, this is a handy device for turning your favorite wired headphones into Bluetooth capable. The price is pretty high, though, for this limited battery life.

Jerry


Dell Ultrasharp UZ2315H 23-Inch Screen LED-Lit Monitor
Dell Ultrasharp UZ2315H 23-Inch Screen LED-Lit Monitor
Price: $239.99
21 used & new from $220.00

4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent display, but watch out for Dell warranty and support., September 12, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Confession: I am not a fan of Dell. My most recent experience is buying four tablet computers from Dell. Three have already been returned for refund because of quality issues (they didn’t work) and the fourth may be returned as well if Dell is unable to resolve a significant operational issue. Dell technical support is a very bad joke, though customer support – if you push hard – is okay.

That said, my most fervent wish is that this monitor continues to work properly throughout the remainder of its 3 year warranty: it’s a nice, usable monitor.

This happens to be the largest screen monitor I’ve ever used. What a jerk I’ve been. I should have ignored space and cost considerations and gone big-screen years ago.

I’ve had 1920 x 1080 pixel resolution on 17 and 15.6 inch screens, but frankly on the 23 inch display, it’s a different world – and I love it. Now I’m thinking of two 23 inch displays, side-by-side, but that may be just a dream.

In any event, this monitor turns in a solid performance. Colors are crisp, definition is good, but not breathtakingly fantastic. Set-up is very simple, with a wide variety of input options including HDMI, DisplayPort, VGA and a couple of others, including USB 3.0 if you’re using Microsoft Lync.

I would strongly urge you to at least skim the user manual, which is available on the supplied disc or available from the Dell site. Choosing the input you want is not necessarily intuitive. Ultimately, though, you can learn the entire interface by trial-and-error, but the well-illustrated manual will make it a faster and less frustrating experience.

I didn’t bother using the internal webcam and microphone. A 2 Megapixel webcam won’t hold a handle to my Logitech C920 webcam. Microsoft Lync users, however, may prefer to use the monitor’s built-in facilities.

I used this with productivity applications like Office and appreciated the roominess. Where it really hit home, though, was on group calling applications like Google Hangouts and Skype. In particular, my graphics editing and video productions programs are totally unreal on this big screen. I really can’t understand why I held out this long. Worrying about space and cost, as I did, seems pretty silly compared to the advantages of going big-screen.

I like this Dell monitor, though I hope I never need any kind of support from Dell. In one place on the Dell site, it says the warranty applies only when used with compatible Dell computers and then goes on to list the models. For a monitor, that sounds like a pretty silly restriction, but that's the kind of thing Dell does.

Jerry


Wacom Gen. 3 Bamboo Stylus Duo with ballpoint pen for Kindle Fire, iPad & Samsung Galaxy - Gray (CS170K)
Wacom Gen. 3 Bamboo Stylus Duo with ballpoint pen for Kindle Fire, iPad & Samsung Galaxy - Gray (CS170K)
Price: $29.95

5.0 out of 5 stars Instant love for this stylus, September 11, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I love styli. Ever since touch screen devices started hitting the market, I’ve always preferred to use a stylus.

The problem has been that there have been very, very few styluses that could be used for any length of the time before they proved less convenient than your finger.

I am pleased to be able to tell you that the Wacom Bamboo Stylus Bamboo is exceptional.

My testing has been done with a Samsung Galaxy S4 and a LG G3 8.3 tablet, both running Android KitKat. I used the SWIFT keyboard on both and did most of my testing with the Google Keep note taking application. I also spent a brief time testing the stylus with the Bamboo Paper Android app, which I didn’t particularly like.

The design of the Wacom Gen 3 Bamboo Stylus is, from my perspective, close to perfect. It’s long enough to fit comfortably in my largish hand. The balance of the device is excellent. Typically, I hold the stylus at what I estimate is about 30 degrees from the screen. The nub on the Wacom is extraordinary. It feels like there is no friction: the nub glides smoothly over the screen protector without k=skips or snags. With the SWIFT keyboard, the accuracy is phenomenal compared to what I get using my finger. By the way, the SWIFT is no slouch at recognizing my finger stroking either.

On the smaller screen Galaxy S4, accuracy suffers, but the operation is still smooth and fluid.

I have lots of stylus, most of them gathering dust. The Wacom Bamboo puts nearly all of them to shame. This one is a total keeper.

Jerry


Contigo West Loop Tea Infuser Accessory, Greyed Jade
Contigo West Loop Tea Infuser Accessory, Greyed Jade
Offered by ExpeditedMugs
Price: $16.99
2 used & new from $9.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful accessory for the on-the-road tea drinker, September 11, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
We over our Contigos. We travel to neighboring states fairly often and the Contigo cups are wonderful for keeping beverages warm or cold as the case may be.

I’m a coffee drinker, my wife’s preference is for tea – and for her, this Contigo Tea infuser is a great road trip accessory.

Get your hot water from wherever you’ve stopped, pour your tea leaves into the infuser, mount it in to the Contigo West Loop cup (the only series it will work properly with), close cap, let seep, remove, affix plastic cap and you’re all set. Perfectly brewed tea of our choice on the road.

You can also use it with tea bags, coffee bags and not-too-finely ground coffee.

There are drawbacks. It is intended for use with the 16 ounce Contigo West Loop cup. When you use it, though, you can use only 12 ounces of water since the Tea Infuser takes up considerable space. Obviously, if you don’t mind cooling down or diluting your tea, you can add additional water after you’ve brewed. On the road, that can be an inconvenience. The Infuser is a bit fussy to attach and detach as well as to clean. Again, minor inconveniences you can leave with – or can’t, depending on your tolerance.

For tea drinking road travelers this Tea Infuser, couple with the Contigo cup is one of life’s little blessings.

For stay-at-homes, however, I’m not sure I see any pronounced advantages.

For us, this instantly became a part of our road travel kit.

Jerry


OXO Good Grips 6-1/2-Inch Santoku Knife
OXO Good Grips 6-1/2-Inch Santoku Knife
Price: $14.19
3 used & new from $12.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Nicely designed, well-balanced, very substantial grip., September 10, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Large grip fits my hands very nicely. Excellent balance keeps knife from feeling heavy and makes it easy to chop and mince for long periods. Blade is very effective for scooping.

The knife came out of the package with a sharp edge, but I think some additional sharpening could be helpful.

Nicely designed and this appears to be a durable knife. Time will tell.

Overall, though I am hardly a chef, this is a nice addition to the knife rack.

Jerry


3M Privacy Filter for Chromebook 11.6W9 (PFCB11)
3M Privacy Filter for Chromebook 11.6W9 (PFCB11)
Price: $22.70
7 used & new from $14.30

5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent if you understand its purpose and limitations., September 9, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This is an excellent product. It effectively reduces the visibility of your screen when viewed from an angled of about 45 degrees to the side and essentially blocks it out when viewed from the side at greater angles. However, the screen visibility is barely, if at all affected when directly in front of the screen including viewing from above.

Used judiciously between the 3M filter and angling your laptop, you can obscure the screen from curious seatmates on one side or the other, but not both at the same time.

In short, while this is a reasonably effective way to discourage snoops, it is not perfect and doesn’t claim to be.

I tried it on my Asus TF100TA using the slide tab mounts and it was a perfect fit. By using the slide tabs, the screen can be easily installed and uninstalled as needed.

There’s a glossy side, which is very reflective and a matte side, which is the one I prefer to use.

A nice touch are the scales printed on the back of the package which help you determine if the screen will fit before you open the package. Although intended specifically for Chromebooks, I think this will fit on any standard 10.1 inch wide format display.

Overall, a good product to obscure your screen from prying eyes, but don’t expect miracles.

Jerry


AmazonBasics 4.0 Amp Dual USB Car Charger for Apple and Android Devices (High Output)
AmazonBasics 4.0 Amp Dual USB Car Charger for Apple and Android Devices (High Output)
Price: $9.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Extremely handy gadget for the mobile user - and the mobile family., September 8, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
What distinguishes this Dual USB car charger from most others is its two 2.0 Amp outputs. Most have either two 1A or one 1A and one 2A. Increasingly smartphones and other mobile devices are spec’ed for 2A. Provide less juice and your device charges more slowly.

With this, you can charge a artphone and a GPS, while using both. Or two people can be charging their devices at full speed. In my ca, I have two separate cigarette lighter sockets. With two of these chargers, I could be charging four in-use device simultaneously. Think that’s silly? Not when you put two iPod or small Android tablet users in the backseat, like your children or grandchildren.

The unit fits snugly in the socket, but I suspect over time that I’ll have to keep an eye on the dim blue ED indicator to make sure it is charging. The head of the unit is larger than most, which I presume is to accomadate the more sophisticated circuitry to provision the two 2A USB outputs.

With limited use so far, everything work sthe way it should. I am planning on getting a second unit, so the grandkids can keep their devices charged when we’re off on a road trip.

Jerry


Nothing Changes Until You Do: A Guide to Self-Compassion and Getting Out of Your Own Way
Nothing Changes Until You Do: A Guide to Self-Compassion and Getting Out of Your Own Way
by Mike Robbins
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $14.17
42 used & new from $10.17

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not at all inspiring to me., September 8, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I like self-help books and often seek inspiration from them particularly, as might be expected, when I'm feeling low.

But I didn't find this book inspirational.

Ever see the movie "Airplane"? Particularly the scene where the passenger sitting next to Robert Hayes is driven to self-inflicted mayhem by Hayes' endless prattling on about himself? Reading this, I felt that way more than once.

For Robbins, it seems to be all about "me, me and I". His financial difficulties and so on. But what lessons does he draw, what wisdom does he have to pass along?

"Each of us has overcome a lot in our lives - both big and small. If you spend enough time walking around the planet. chances are you'll experience some significant adversity."

As profundity,that doesn't travel very far.

Some of his anecdotes struck me as unbelievable. For example, he describes taking his two young children to Disneyland for the first time and goes on to describe "overheard" conversations of people complaining about how hot it was, how long the lines were and how expensive it was. I've never been to Disneyland, but I've (happily) visited DisneyWorld several times,taking our grandchildren the last time. There aren't many places where you're in a position to overhear other people's conversations - and with two small kids on their first trip, I would suspect your attention going to be focused on them.I am sure Robbins did hear such complaints, but not in the circumstances described. I think it's pretty general that people describe a visit to Disney as (increasingly) expensive), the lines sometimes long and, depending on when you visit, hot. Why Robbins chose to make it sound like he overheard conversations at the park is beyond me: it sounds - and probably is - phony.

In the end, it's all about Robbins and the life lessons he provides are pretty routine. I didn't like the book.But I won't condemn because although Robbins' style may not suit me, other may find it inspiring.

Jerry


Norton Small Business - 5 Device
Norton Small Business - 5 Device
Price: $99.99

5.0 out of 5 stars An improved Norton experience in Windows, September 4, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
In the beginning, there was Norton, specifically Peter Norton who brought the world Norton Utilities in the early 80s, the first hugely successful package of PC utilities which would do wondrous things like recover accidentally deleted files. Norton AntiVirus wasn’t far behind. Norton wrote books, produced utility software and in 1990 sold out to Symantec.

Over the years Norton AntiVirus in particular became a go-to product.

It also became bloated, buggy and slow and a lot of people, including me, migrated to more agile products.

I have several older computers that needed to be protected, but I didn’t necessarily want to spring for the price of BitDefender. So I figured I would try Norton again. After all, I could always uninstall it, which I did with several prior versions.

This time, though, I don’t think so.

Norton, for Windows at least, is back in fighting trim. There is no physical media in the package. Just a card with a keycode. You have to go online to the Norton site to download the product. By the way, this package permits you to install the product7 on give machines, which may be Windows, Mac OS, Apple iOS or Android. I am using it only with Windows. The Apple iOS and Android offerings look weak. Also, the one-year subscription term begins with installation on the first computer, so be sure to do all the computers you plan to protect at about the same time. I’ll be protecting five older Windows computers with this package.

On n Intel i7 equipped computer, I am very pleasantly surprised so far. Installation was simple, fast and without problem. The User Interface, which at first looks way too simple, is actually quite sophisticated. Scans were very fast and efficient. Norton includes usage meters so you can clearly see how much CPU and RAM Norton is using. The impact according to the Norton meters and eyeball observation is minimal, a far cry from the last versions of Norton I used several years back.

Overall, I am very impressed by this Norton and feel no hesitation in going ahead and installing it on another four Windows computers.

Jerry


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