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Anker® Uspeed USB 3.0 7-Port Hub + 2 Charge-Only Ports - 5V 2.1A and 5V 1.5A, 12V 4A Power Adapter and 3.5-foot USB 3.0 Cable Included
Anker® Uspeed USB 3.0 7-Port Hub + 2 Charge-Only Ports - 5V 2.1A and 5V 1.5A, 12V 4A Power Adapter and 3.5-foot USB 3.0 Cable Included

5.0 out of 5 stars Great 7-port hub, April 29, 2013
This review is for the updated version of the 7 port hub with 2 charging ports.

This hub is lightweight. It measures about 6 ½" X 2 ½" X ½". It has 7 USB ports on the front and 2 USB charging ports on the side. It's nice that the charging ports are on the side of the unit so that you don't confuse them with the other ports. The 2 charging ports are different. One is for Apple (2.1A) and one is for Android (1.5A).
I really like that this product has a built-in surge protector.

This product is USB 3.0 but is backwards compatible so it will work with older devices.

This product comes with a power adapter. The power adapter is kind of bulky and heavy (it measures about 2" X 4 ½" X 1 ¼"), but this is not a problem because I have it sitting on the floor near my computer. The hub needs to be plugged in to work. If you are looking for a more portable unit, Anker makes a really nice 4-port hub that is really small and lightweight. It does not need an external power source like this one does so is really convenient for laptop users. This 7-port hub is great for the home PC.

Overall, I have been using this hub with my camera, external hard drive, iPhone and my flashcards and it has been working well. I have not had any problems with it overheating. It's nice having 7 ports because I can now just leave all my cords plugged in and in one spot at my desk. I have so many cords and they always got lost when they weren't plugged in. I was constantly looking for my lost cords and now they are always in one spot and ready to use.

I really like that this product comes with free lifetime technical support and 18-month manufacturer's warranty.

Anker gave me this product in exchange for my honest feedback


Anker USB 3.0 4-Port Compact Hub with a Built-in 1ft USB 3.0 Cable
Anker USB 3.0 4-Port Compact Hub with a Built-in 1ft USB 3.0 Cable
Offered by AnkerDirect

5.0 out of 5 stars Great USB hub, April 15, 2013
This 4-port compact hub is pretty small and lightweight. It measures about 2 ½ X 2 ½ inches and is only about a ½ inch thick. The built-in USB cord extends about 6 inches (including the USB plug) (about 4 inches if you don't include the plug). At first I didn't like the shape of this hub. I thought having the ports all in one line would be better, but after using it for a while I realized that this design (of having one USB hub on each of the 4 sides), leaves plenty of room for USB plugs that are wide, like some of the flash drives that I have. They wouldn't fit together if I had to place them side by side.

This product is very practical to have. My computer only has 2 USB ports on it. With this product I went from 2 ports to 5. I have used this hub mostly for uploading pictures from my camera and have found that the speed was great. There was no reduction in speed at all with this product. I have also used this hub for connecting my external hard drive and I have found transfer speeds to be really good with that too.

Overall, this is a handy product to have to expand the USB capability of your computer.

N.B. Anker gave me this product in exchange for my honest feedback.


Mastering Peyote Stitch: 15 Inspiring Projects
Mastering Peyote Stitch: 15 Inspiring Projects
by Melinda A. Barta
Edition: Paperback
Price: $18.81
56 used & new from $11.06

31 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful Projects!, November 30, 2012
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I love to bead and peyote is my favorite beading stitch. This book contains 15 projects and I actually like most of them.
The book contains 2 projects made with flat peyote stitch, 3 projects with circular peyote stitch, and 3 projects using tubular peyote. Then there are 5 projects called "peyote stitch extras" which incorporate other techniques like freeform and sculptural and other stitches like herringbone, right angle weave and netting.
The final 2 projects are categorized as "finishing touches", teaching various types of fringe, picot edging, bezels and others.

The photography is in full-color and is of great quailty. The diagrams are really clear and, at a glance, you can see how the pattern progresses. No matter how well-written beading instructions are, it is alwasys easy to get confused and lose track of where you are. That is why good diagrams are so important and this book has that.

The author also included a resource section in back which is nice to have.

Overall, this is a great book and I would recommend it to both beginners and advanced beaders.

Be sure to check out the "Look Inside" feature above so you can see for yourself the quality of the diagrams and you will also be able to see what some of the projects look like.


Making Wire & Bead Jewelry: Artful Wirework Techniques
Making Wire & Bead Jewelry: Artful Wirework Techniques
by Janice Berkebile
Edition: Paperback
Price: $15.71
70 used & new from $7.39

27 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fabulous wirework!!, April 16, 2012
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I am a jewelry maker (metalsmith and lampworker) but was never really interested in wire wrapping until I saw the jewelry that Janice Berkbile made. I took one of her workshops a couple of months ago and made a beatiful pendant that I just love. I always get comments on it when I wear it out in public. Anyway, wanting to learn more I pre-ordered her book back in February and I must say that it was worth the wait!

This book is loaded with beautiful projects by two artists: Janice Berkbile and Tracy Stanely. The first 25 pages of the book discuss the tools and materials used, and explain the basic techniques in detail. This is then followed by the actual projects. There are 24 projects in the book. Twelve by each artist. The book is just loaded with great photos showing every step of the process. The instructions are clearly written and easy to follow.

If you are a lampworker and want new ways to show off your beads then you will love this book.

There is an 8 page gallery at the end of the book which showcases more of their work. Very inspiring!


Patterns in Polymer: Imprint and Accent Bead Techniques
Patterns in Polymer: Imprint and Accent Bead Techniques
by Julie Picarello
Edition: Paperback
Price: $17.17
59 used & new from $5.00

40 of 44 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful book!, June 1, 2011
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This book is geared towards the polymer clay artist who already has some experience working with the clay and knows the basics. This book focuses mainly on one technique... imprinting, and goes into it in great detail. Imprinting is basically a technique of stacking clay (and other materials as ink, gold leaf, etc) and then slicing into it to reveal beautiful and unusual patterns. You never know what the finished piece will look like until you slice into it. It's a surprise every time! The book is loaded with good quality color photographs. The instructions are clear and detailed. The book also gives instruction on how to incorporate metal objects/accents into the clay. I own several books on polymer clay but none go into detail about imprinting like this one does. I love working with polymer clay snd I love the effects you can get from this technique. I highly recommend this book for any polymer clay artist.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 17, 2012 10:01 AM PDT


500 Silver Jewelry Designs: The Powerful Allure of a Precious Metal (500 Series)
500 Silver Jewelry Designs: The Powerful Allure of a Precious Metal (500 Series)
by Marthe Le Van
Edition: Paperback
Price: $13.67
72 used & new from $9.55

18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Interesting and Inspiring, March 29, 2011
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This book is quite interesting. It showcases the works of top metalsmiths. This is a juried collection. The pieces were chosen by Talya Baharal. She is an award-winning art jeweler. There is quite a varied collection of styles in this book and the jewelry is very beautiful. Most of the pieces are contemporary or avante-garde. Some of the pieces are quite bizarre. Things you might find in a museum maybe, but you would never see anyone wear in real life. But, as they say, art (beauty) is in the eye of the beholder.

Although this is not my favorite "500" book, I did enjoy it and found lots of inspiration in it.


Kodak PlaySport (Zx5) HD Waterproof Pocket Video Camera - Aqua (2nd Generation)
Kodak PlaySport (Zx5) HD Waterproof Pocket Video Camera - Aqua (2nd Generation)
Offered by Electronics Club
Price: $289.99
8 used & new from $84.95

1,075 of 1,094 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good camera overall, a bit grainy when shooting indoors., March 17, 2011
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Length:: 1:50 Mins

The Kodak PlaySport Zx3 (the older model) was a pretty good camcorder (better than most in this category), so I was thrilled when I found out there was a new model coming out. However, Kodak made some changes that I was really disappointed about:

SENSOR SIZE:
When it comes to video quality one of the most important things to look at is the size of the sensor. The (new) Zx5 has a 1/3.2 sensor which is smaller than the (old) Zx3 with a 1/2.5 sensor. Basically, bigger is better when it comes to sensor size. Smaller sensors result in more "noise" which will affect the image quality. This is especially a problem in low-light situations. (I think the video quality is good in bright light situations, but it is a bit grainy in low light.)
Now I don't expect too much from a $179 camcorder, but the older model which came out at $149 (and is now even cheaper), has a bigger sensor (with the same CMOS type and 5 MP size). What's up with that? Newer models are supposed to get better, not worse!

BATTERY:
The other significant change is that the Zx5 has an integrated battery. Yes, that means it's non-removable. Which means that you can no longer keep spare batteries for "just in case"... and you know the battery always runs out at the worst possible moment. And, even worse, if the battery malfunctions/dies the camera is useless and you have to send it to Kodak for them to replace the battery ($$). And besides, what's the point of making a camera that is capable of recording up to TEN hours (on a 32GB card) when a single battery charge can't last even close to that?

If you can get past those two BIG negatives then you might want to read about the GOOD changes:

----Macro mode has been added. (7 - 17 cm). This is a really great feature.
----Focus range: Zx5 is ~4 inches to infinity, while the older Zx3 is ~39 inches to infinity.
----camera is now shockproof. (Good for those of us who drop things. I am guilty of that.)
----Special "Cool Capture Effects" added. This is really great for all you creative types.
----sharing videos online is a bit easier with this model. ("3-step sharing")
----records in MP4 format. The older model recorded in the MOV format. MP4 format is easier to work with in most video editing software.

The other positives about this camera (but these are not new features):
----Waterproof (up to 10 feet)... but being able to record in macro under water is new.
----Image stabilization is pretty good for a pocket camera.
----Face detection ability
----Can record up to 10 hours if you get a 32 GB card
----Small and comfortable to hold on to.

Comparing to Flip and Sony:
I also considered buying the Flip UltraHD, but its image sensor is even smaller. It is 1/4.5. The Sony Bloggie was a good contender with its sensor being 1/2.5, and it takes better quality still photos, but it's not waterproof and it also has the internal battery issue. You're not going to find a perfect, pocket sized camera with all the features you want, and all for under $200. So, essentially, you have to decide which features are most important to you, and which features you are going to sacrifice.

Overall, this is a pretty good camcorder and is filled with tons of good features, but I think it's really too bad that Kodak made those changes with the sensor and the battery. Otherwise, this really would have been an awesome little camcorder. Despite those 2 big negatives, I bought this camera anyway (instead of the Zx3). (I really wanted the macro mode and mp4 format). If most of your filming will be in low-light situations I wouldn't recommend this camera. It's good if most of your filming will be outdoors or in bright light.

If you do decide to get this camcorder, or any camcorder that uses SD/SDHC cards for that matter, be sure you get a fast card (a Class 6 or higher). A slow card can cause problems when recording.

Also, the HDMI cable is not included with the Zx5. They will send you one if you pay shipping & handling ($6.50). The other problem that people may not know of is that if you happen to own the Zx3 and already have an HDMI cable and think you can use it on this camera then think again. You're out of luck. The Zx5 uses a smaller cable. It uses the micro HDMI cable (type D).

I did a lot of research before buying this camera and still had a hard time choosing. Hopefully this review will be helpful to you.

(((I had to compress the uploaded video because of Amazon's file size limitation. The original is better quality.)))

***********************************

~~~Update 3-24-11:
I don't feel this camera is as bad as what some of the negative reviews imply. Sure, I shot some video that was horrible and really grainy, but I was in really low-light and I was moving too fast. I got much better results after slowing down. And filming in really bright light gave great results. What I really love about this camera is that I can get really close to my subject. I was only about 10 to 15 inches away from the birds in the uploaded video. (You can't get closer than 39" with the Zx3).

Also, my HDMI cable arrived today from Kodak so I was finally able to watch my videos on my 55" TV and I have to admit the picture quality was quite good. (so good that I'm changing my review to 4 stars). I actually seemed to get the best results from the 720p recordings. The biggest challenge is low-light. The lower the light levels, the more obvious the graininess is.
Comment Comments (98) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jul 26, 2013 10:47 AM PDT


Kumihimo Wire Jewelry: Essential Techniques and 20 Jewelry Projects for the Japanese Art of Braiding
Kumihimo Wire Jewelry: Essential Techniques and 20 Jewelry Projects for the Japanese Art of Braiding
Price: $14.66
67 used & new from $7.87

73 of 75 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fabulous book!, March 17, 2011
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Kumihimo is the ancient Japanese art of braiding. I have done kumihimo before with various strings, ribbons and yarns and have come up with some great results. This book takes this art form to a whole other level using wire. Doing Kumihimo with wire is a bit trickier of course, but CAN be done. The instructions in the book are very clear and accompanied by tons of illustrations and photos. This book is appropriate for all skill levels. There are simple, basic designs great for the beginner and there are more complicated designs for the advanced braider. There are 20 designs in the book. 14 of them are made using the round disk and 7 of them are made using the square plate. Kumihimo is a great art form and does not require a lot of tools and supplies, making it an ideal "on the road" craft to take with you when you go on vacation. (almost everything you would need would fit nicely in a small box)

I bought this book because of the fabulous necklace on the cover. The rest of the projects in the book are beautiful as well, but the one on the cover is still my favorite.


101 Log Cabin Blocks: With Full-Size Patterns for Paper or Foundation Piecing
101 Log Cabin Blocks: With Full-Size Patterns for Paper or Foundation Piecing
by Jeanne Stauffer
Edition: Paperback
22 used & new from $62.29

10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Log cabin with a twist!, March 16, 2011
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
If you love paper piecing and you love log cabin blocks you will love this book. This book contains 101 full size patterns for traditional and modern variations of the log cabin block. Most of the blocks are 7" square. Some of the other sizes are 4",5" and 6" squares, 6" x 8", and 7" x 8" rectangles. There is some instruction provided in the beginning of the book in case you are not familiar with paper piecing. That only takes up about 8 pages of the book. This is mostly a pattern book. The biggest tip I can give anyone who paper pieces is to use really good paper. If you try doing it with regular copy paper, you will get frustrated because it is not so easy to tear off afterwards. My favorite paper is: Carol Doak's Foundation Paper. It works wonderfully!


Sherry Serafini's Sensational Bead Embroidery: 25 Inspiring Jewelry Projects (Beadweaving Master Class Series)
Sherry Serafini's Sensational Bead Embroidery: 25 Inspiring Jewelry Projects (Beadweaving Master Class Series)
by Sherry Serafini
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $15.91
72 used & new from $7.00

22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing artist!!, March 15, 2011
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
If you are familiar with Sherry's work, you know she is quite a talented artist. She was also recently voted one of the top 10 instructors in the county. I hope one day to be able to take one of Sherry's workshops, but for now, the next best thing is having this book. If you aren't familiar with her work, then visit her website and prepare to be dazzled! Her website is serafinibeadedjewelry dot com.

I've been looking forward to getting this book for a long time and it was certainly worth the wait. It was even better than I expected. The projects are stunning! The step-by-step directions are clear and easy to follow. There are 25 projects in the book. The level of difficulty ranges from very simple to challenging. The techniques taught include peyote stitch, single-bead edging, and basic embroidery stitches.

This is such a great book at such a great price that I ordered another copy as a gift for my beading friend.


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