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clickz4 "clickz4" RSS Feed (Metairie, LA United States)

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ATEC Tuffy Supersoft Dimpled Baseball Dozen Box (Optic Yellow)
ATEC Tuffy Supersoft Dimpled Baseball Dozen Box (Optic Yellow)
Offered by CloseoutBats
Price: $24.95
3 used & new from $24.95

5.0 out of 5 stars Bouncy, Smelly and Underweight but Fantastic!, July 21, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
OK, there's a few odd reviews, so let me tell ya the real deal.

I ordered directly from Amazon, not a marketplace vendor. The balls came in a box with an Atec label and the balls had the word Atec stamped in them from the mold. So they are genuine Atec balls. -- Amazon's product title IS wrong. They call it "ATEC Tuffy Supersoft Dimpled Baseball." -There's no such Atec Product.- The word Supersoft does NOT belong in the title. They are "ATEC Tuffy Dimpled Baseballs" - Part # WTAT0390. (Since there is some confusion, these are not for the Atec Powerstreak, use the yellow SFT balls for that machine.)

Now on to the review of the ball.

They are a bit bouncy. At first I was disappointed but in thinking it through it's a very good thing for BP balls. These balls will provide great feedback to the batter. If he tops the ball, he'll know. Quickly. And if the hitter connects properly there will be no doubt. The mental reward will be large because this thing will fly off the bat. And since (paraphrasing Yogi Berra) 90% of batting is 2/3rds mental, it's probably not a bad thing, especially for younger players to build confidence. In short, it will exaggerate the performance of the batter both good and bad which is great training.

For fungo work, they will be a little harder to catch than a regular ball. Also probably a good thing. As far as getting hit by one, I'd rather get smacked by this than a regulation ball but they are harder than a T-Ball if that helps you. They are bouncy but hard. (But softer than regulation so your kid's $300 bat is safe. ;-) Also they are the exact size of a regulation ball but about .15 oz lighter. It's raining outside so I have not had a chance to throw them but I bet they will play very close to a regular ball, extra bouncing notwithstanding.

Also, they are also amazingly smelly... I'm not normally real sensitive to new product smells but these are surprisingly bad... I put them in a bucket and washed them 3 times with dish washing soap and they were still smelly. They are going to live on the back porch for a week. So if you're sensitive to that kind of thing, be warned they are pretty bad.

I have not run them thru my (Atec Rookie) pitching machine due to the rain, but I know already they will be great. I have 3 pitching machines and 5 different types of machine balls plus of course regulation balls and everything else you can imagine. Unless I get completely unexpected results when I throw them, I'm standardizing on these. They just have a great fell to them, very durable and consistent.

I'll update tomorrow or whenever the rain breaks.

UPDATE: These balls are amazing. At 50 ft, I caught all 12 balls without moving my glove. All I did was open and close my glove at the right time. Granted I have a good machine but WOW they are far more consistent than anything else I've ever used. By comparison I caught 12 regulation balls and they wiggled all over the place with the same machine. (bucket of random balls including some raised seams so that caused a lot of it) But I'd bet the Atec balls did not move 1 ball width in a dozen.

Bottom line, if you want to have a hitter work on a certain pitch placement there is no better ball I've ever used. Period.

I hope this review helped clear up some misconceptions.

Baseball: Baseball Strategies: The Top 100 Best Ways To Improve Your Baseball Game (Baseball Strategies, Baseball Guide, Baseball Hitting, Baseball Pitching)
Baseball: Baseball Strategies: The Top 100 Best Ways To Improve Your Baseball Game (Baseball Strategies, Baseball Guide, Baseball Hitting, Baseball Pitching)
Price: $2.99

2 of 14 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars The top 100 way to fake your Amazon reviews, June 22, 2015
Sigh... Now I'm sure Ace will send his paid lackeys to click this as unhelpful. Because that's what spammers do.

Before ya buy the book note this guy is not a baseball guy writing about his years of study and experience... He's a full time author who writes books about 'top performance.' And the top performance he is best at is spamming amazon reviews.

So look at the (before me) all the perfect reviews (in just a few days) that don't actually review the book, they are all written as sales letters.

If you want a book on baseball, I'd buy it from a guy who knows the game, not some guy who's trying to scam you to buy his book.

Programming: Principles and Practice Using C++ (2nd Edition)
Programming: Principles and Practice Using C++ (2nd Edition)
by Bjarne Stroustrup
Edition: Paperback
Price: $48.78
75 used & new from $42.95

20 of 28 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Why You Shouldn't Buy This Book, April 3, 2015
Background: I've done 'some' programming in a half dozen languages for 30 years. Usually if I have some code and there is a bug in it, I can find the bug and fix it even if I've never seen the language. Same with adding minor new features. But I'm completely self taught and never learned any one language formally and extensively. Since I've used C a bit I'll call myself an 'extremely advanced newbie.'

In short, this book is a jumbled mess. Part of that might be because (remember) this was written as a textbook for a class. Perhaps if you have someone teaching you live for 3 hours a week, this is a great supplement. On it's own it has proven to be near worthless. The author routinely uses concepts not previously covered. And he -purposely- says things in obscure ways (or gives sample code with errors) to 'make you think' but instead they serve only to confuse.

I get what he is ~trying~ to do. To program is to debug and to debug is to find errors and to find errors is to think. He wants you to think like a programmer. That's fine. I get it. But you can't find what is wrong with something if you've never been taught what is right. -- You can't referee a sport and find penalties if you've never been taught the rules of the game.

*** Asking someone to proofread a paper in French is pointless if they don't know French. And telling them to 'think about it' won't make them somehow magically know French. ***

And of course, you can't debug code if you have never been told what the language features used actually do.

The best example of this is in chapter 6. (And for you complete newbies, just read though this, don't worry if you don't know all the terms I use, you'll still get the point.)

Before Chapter 6 he had covered neither function calls nor classes. He shows many convoluted code snippets with errors in them, then he expects you to know what is wrong. (the key word here is convoluted, this isn't debugging, it's reading his mind.) Finally you're directed to his website where you can download purposely broken code to debug:

(Which is fine in theory but..) The code has classes, functions and (my favorite) function prototypes that the reader has never even seen much less could hope to understand. Function prototypes are odd little hunks of code that don't actually do anything, they just tell the compiler that there is a function it should look for. Dropping those on a newbie cold is just not fair. -- I knew what I was looking at and I was confused by his presentation, I can only imagine what a complete newbie would think.

In another example from chapter 3, he wants you to ask a user to input several numbers and then output them in ascending order. This is a common and important task. And it is solved in most any language as follows:

1) Put the numbers in an array. (an array is just a bucket that can hold several values in a row)
2) Sort the array
3) Print the array.

Doing it this way took 3 lines of code and 4 minutes even though I had to look up the C++ syntax for the array and the sort. It's a dead simple thing to learn or teach.

ONLY. ONE. PROBLEM. He gives the students this exercise at the end of the chapter on conditionals (if/then statements) and conditionals are THE MOST HORRIBLE way to do this imaginable. The book does not get to sorting arrays for something like another 8 chapters. So ~I guess~ he wanted me to spend 40 minutes constructing a jumble mess of conditionals that would be ABSOLUTELY the wrong way to solve the problem and would get a failing grade in any class. (and fired from any programming job) So I guess he actually wanted the reader to do it wrong.

I just used an array.. I pity anyone who tried to use conditionals. Why that question was at the end of that chapter is still a mystery to me.

If you read the other long critical review you'll see he says similar things, I just gave more precise examples.

Usually when I write reviews, I mention who should buy a product and who should look at a different product. I'm not sure this book is for anyone. Newbies will undoubtedly be confused and anyone will some experience will probably shake their head at his presentation.

I spent over 4 hours picking this book because getting the right instruction is invaluable... I hope if you feel the same way, you consider this review carefully. I wasted hours on this book. (I give some positives in the comments)
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: May 19, 2015 10:13 PM PDT

The Self-made Billionaire Effect: How Extreme Producers Create Massive Value
The Self-made Billionaire Effect: How Extreme Producers Create Massive Value
Offered by Penguin Group (USA) LLC
Price: $14.99

97 of 99 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Meh... Not much to this book, February 18, 2015
Preface: First, I would be highly skeptical of several of the reviews of this book. As I write this, there are 5 other reviews, all but one of which I have reason to suspect (or know) is spam.
(also I got 2 down votes within hours of posting this. Really spammers?)
Second, this is a long review but if you read it, you may not have to read the book to get the actionable parts out of it

The review:
As someone how knows two of the subjects in this book, when I saw it for sale locally, it was an easy impulse purchase. Sadly my excitement faded fast.

The book is basically two sections. The first section talks about the traits of some of the self-made billionaires they interviewed. They call them "Producers" vs typical successful executives whom they classify as "Performers." It's not a bad distinction and they do (once) say that it's not a binary difference. Every (successful) exec will fall somewhere on the "Performer - Producer" spectrum. They also talk about the traits of true producers. They distilled these characteristics from interviewing several billionaires. And all that is mostly fine. You can take exception to the subjective conclusions they drew from these interviews but they probably mostly made reasonable observations.

While the first half the book was interesting -much like reading the bios of billionaires on Forbes- there was not of much value beyond entertainment. There was little actionable information; they 'saved' that for the second half the book.

The second half the book was approaching train wreck it was so bad. Ostensibly they were trying to give managers a framework to identify employees that fell on the 'Producer" side of the spectrum and tips on how to retain them. What they ended up producing was 100 pages of repetitious, buzz phrase filled, nothingness. My main beef with most business books is that authors really aren't business people and as such while they have some knowledge, they rarely know how to make that knowledge actionable. -- In fairness to the authors tried very hard to give the reader actionable advice but their message was lost in an avalanche of disorganized repetition.

-- It didn't have to be this way. --

Ironically Keith Rabois (wikipedia him some time, wow) talks about this exact topic and distills the concepts into brilliant actionable advice. He says employees fall into one of two categories. Cannons and Ammunition. (same idea as Producers/Performers)

His philosophy is simple. Find the cannons and give him/her lots of responsibility and pair him/her with ammunition.

But how do you find the cannons?

Two tricks.
1) Give new hires small tasks others have struggled with. If they struggle too you probably don't have a cannon. If they do something creative to solve the problem you might yourself have a cannon.

2) Watch to see which person in the office other people go to for help when they are stuck on a problem. If coworkers keep going to the same person for help (who do not report to) that guy is probably a cannon, promote him and let him run.

That is actionable advice. -- That's what the authors tried to say for 100 pages but never quite pulled off.

I hope this review was helpful. If you found it helpful, I'd appreciate you clicking the bottom below to promote this up above some of the spam reviews.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Aug 23, 2015 4:00 AM PDT

C++ All-in-One For Dummies (For Dummies (Computer/Tech))
C++ All-in-One For Dummies (For Dummies (Computer/Tech))
by John Mueller
Edition: Paperback
Price: $23.96
48 used & new from $13.99

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Careful Newbies, It's Riddled with Typos (and then it got worse), January 5, 2015
- Initial Review 1/5/15 with several updates. The train wreck just kept getting worse. -

OK I don't normally review 800 page books after 70 pages but those 70 pages were pretty scarey. I'm an advanced enough C++ user that I skimmed the first 70 pages in about 10 minutes, mostly getting a feel for how the material was presented not so much trying to learn how to print 'Hello World' to the console.

Even just skimming (not actually following) I found at least 5 glaring typos 4 of which were completely inexcusable. So I'll start the editing process the Dummies could not be bothered with:

Code Listing 3-5 (page 62)
That code looks like it will compile and run but the output will not be what the book says. The good news is the error will be self explanatory and I don't need to explain it. (in fact you'll learn more if I don't)

Code Listing 3-6 (page 67)
That code won't even compile. (hint see first comment for the fix) Further, that code is actually the code that goes with example 3-7 so even if you fix the code the output will not match what they say it will.

Code Listing 3-7 (page 68)
That's the code for page 67... so if you're wondering why it didn't work, that's why.

Did anybody even read this, much less edit it? And this is a 3rd edition!

Typos are to be expected in life but this is a joke. I saw a few other typos in the text, at least one of them critical but I was not documenting them at the time.

When I hit 3 critical typos in 3 code blocks I figured I'd warn my fellow Amazon peeps.

The book gets 2 stars as of this review. The second star is only because it looks like there is some good stuff in there somewhere. I'll update every 100 pages or so.

UPDATE ON PAGE 71: I didn't get far. This book is a complete and total joke. If you're a newbie and you understood pages 71-73 without getting heartburn you're special. It's not so much the concept is so hard, it's not.. But she just might have picked the worst possible way ever to introduce conditionals. She picked the most arcane syntax she could come up with as her intro. I can only imagine how many people will put down the book right there and never pick it up again. If you're that newbie, don't give up, she's making it unduly complicated.

UPDATE Code Listing 3-9 (Page 75)
WOW. The title of the code block is "Using Conditional Operators to Make Comparisons" That has NOTHING to do with the code... There's no conditionals even in it. That's the Code block before it. Listing 3-8 (page 73)

So they (author plus supposed editors) have botched 4 code blocks out of 5. I lowered it to 1 star. I'm probably not going to update this review any more. Largely because I'm probably putting this monstrosity down.

(shakes head)

Update several days later:

So... I spent 3 more hours with this book. It's an embarrassment. I see now there are two authors. And I think I know how they wrote this book. It's like both of them made all the notes about what they wanted to put in the book. Then they lost their notes so they made new ones. Then they found the originals and not knowing what to do with the now 4 sets of notes, they threw them up in the air, picked them up off the floor in random order and bound them as a book. Sans editing. Seriously that's exactly how this book reads, it's just random stuff.

There is no rhyme or reason as to how things are presented and repetition abounds. At one point they had three consecutive paragraphs that said the exact same thing just in different words.

Part of programming is thinking logically. There is a zero percent chance these jokers are real programmers.

Save the money but more importantly save the time and the effort, this book does as much harm as good.

I just hope this review helps keep some of you out the ditches.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 20, 2015 5:16 PM PDT

Mobile Design Pattern Gallery: UI Patterns for Smartphone Apps
Mobile Design Pattern Gallery: UI Patterns for Smartphone Apps
by Theresa Neil
Edition: Paperback
Price: $34.80
51 used & new from $24.16

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Great Idea... Not the Best Execution, January 4, 2015
The idea of this book is great. If you want to improve the UI of a mobile app, look at 1000 or so screenshots from various popular apps and see what other developers are doing both right and wrong. But it has some glaring omissions.

To the author's credit the first very first chapter is navigation which is surely the biggest pitfall of multi-platform app developers. But that's also where she missed the boat big time.

She gave dozens of examples of good and bad navigation but never once did she compare the same app on both iOS and Android. (much less Windows Phones which she does cover some)

Apple now allows a 5 button tool bar. Android only let's you use 3 buttons. Things like this are BIG issues for developers. Indeed she criticizes Quora for Android for 'Squeezing in" a forth button which makes thing cluttered. Yet on iOS, Quaroa's designers could use 4 buttons and have 1 to spare.

It would have been considerably more useful to show the same apps on both platforms and how the designer(s) made decisions (ie compromises) on how to customize their app for each platform.

The biggest challenge to a mobile UI designer is non-standard environments and the author seemed to not even consider it.

If she took even a dozen well known apps and did screen shots on both platforms (and perhaps on tablets) the book would be gold.

[UPDATE: The author left me a nice comment and mentioned she had touched on this topic on her blog. (check first comment for link) That post is worth reading.]

The other big fail was in the section on forms. She shows several flight booking apps (which by definition require large amounts of form input) and gives them as examples of bad form design for being cluttered. Then in the next few pages she shows login forms (you know, with 3 elements, username, password and sign in button) as examples of good form design. Well duh! That's like complaining an 18 wheeler won't fit in a compact only parking spot.

ON THE GOOD SIDE: I give her credit because apparently in one section of the first edition she like really blew some of her advice and she owned up to it and corrected it. Also she does give some coverage to Windows which she could be excused for skipping.

All things considered it's worth spending a couple of hours with if you're a UI/UX newbie but if you have any experience at all, you'll be wanting more.

I hope this review helped and good luck designing the next killer app.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 11, 2015 7:24 AM PST

Arrow Shed BW54-A Brentwood 5-Feet by 4-Feet Steel Storage Shed
Arrow Shed BW54-A Brentwood 5-Feet by 4-Feet Steel Storage Shed
Price: $179.00
13 used & new from $179.00

315 of 317 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars IMPORTANT - Read Before Assembling (Fixed Door Problem), February 17, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
OK so if you read the reviews, probably about 30% of them mention problems with the door. Specifically, screws being in the wrong place to block the door from opening properly. I figured (correctly) that many people could not follow directions and assembled it wrong so I ordered it anyway.

I'm a pretty advanced builder and even though I knew in advance that people were assembling the door wrong... I STILL GOT BIT.

Part of the problem is that it is the very first step and people are not used to the instructions but in fairness, it is obliviously poor instructions. So here's the deal:

If you have not purchased or assembled yet: On "Step 1" you will be asked to put 2 white nylon door hangers in the door header track. (above door, door hangs from them) DO NOT miss the very small picture labeled 'End View.' << read that again. You DO NOT put the hangers INSIDE the C track. (like the big picture kinda shows) Instead you want the H shaped nylon hanger to be half in the track half out. (ie the top and bottom of the C rail are in the top and bottom of the H shaped piece.) The 'End View' picture is about the size of a postage stamp and easy to miss. (it's bottom center of the Step 1 Page)

If you are having door problems: Simple fix. Take the door off, slide the 2 hangers all the way to the right (as looking at track from inside building) and pry them out with a flathead screwdriver. You'll bend the C rail a bit but this is on the side all the away from the opening and it will be fine. I did not even bother to bend mine back, the door worked fine. It was about a 5 minute fix.

As for the rest of the review, heck, it's a ~$200 tin shed. Don't expect more than a ~$200 tin shed and you won't be disappointed. It's very serviceable, easier, cheaper and faster than any other option out there. (I know, I looked and looked) I'd be surprised to get 10 years from it but it might last that long. I'm not raving about it but not complaining either. (I certainly would buy again.) I gave it five stars because I honestly think from reading reviews it lost a full star due to this one problem and that's not giving people the full story. There is no way this is a 1 star product.

Lastly, the instructions really aren't as bad as everyone says. The key is you gotta actually read them slowly *and understand them* before you pick up a screwdriver. I read them through the night before assembly and that was a big help. DO NOT use an electric drill/driver. I was stripping screws with a light tough on a screwdriver. How anyone could do with this a drill/driver I have no idea. They must not know what stripped screws feel like.

OK I hope that helped --If this helped you-- please click the button below. I'd like to elevate this to where it can help some people. I'll do my best to answer any questions in comments.
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 30, 2015 5:37 PM PDT

Route 66 / America's National Parks
Route 66 / America's National Parks
DVD ~ None
Price: $16.96
19 used & new from $10.84

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Real Review From A Verified Purchaser, December 28, 2013
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Now... I'm not going to say many of those 5 star reviews are bogus. I'd just suggest you look at the number of 5 star reviews on this edition with a single sentence and the number of reviews on the previous edition that aren't even from verified purchasers, then make up your own mind.

OK let's start with the good...... Wait gimme a minute.... Oh yeah these guys got to write off their whole vacation because they filmed it and offered their home movies for sale. That's the best I can say. (more on this later)

There is so much 'bad' I'm not even sure where to start:

The box proudly states it was "Filmed in HD" and I'm sure it was. Then they down sampled it to DVD quality using a horrendous codec and the video is just awful. And the editing.... Well, technically I can not complain about the editing because there basically was none.

The 'interviews' that people complain about being too long are not actually interviews. They sat the owners of these establishments down and had them recite all the various dates associated with the property into a camera then showed it unedited without even a single camera cut. Imagine a high school kid interviews grandparents about life during WWII. --- Put the camera on the tripod and hit record.

Above I compared it to a home movie. That wasn't just a random insult. It really is basically these guys home movie. And if you like that kind of thing well, this is probably not the worst you'll see... Just know going in that this isn't a professional production. (This ain't no Discovery Channel or TLC)

I could go on... goodness knows they did for 10 hours... suffice it to say I can count on one hand the number of items I've returned to Amazon because I was not pleased with the quality. This is officially one of them.

Save yourself the trouble, find a better set.

EDIT: OH my bad, the music was decent.

2L8 My Luv: A Story of Love and Betrayal
2L8 My Luv: A Story of Love and Betrayal
Price: $2.99

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wow With a Double Wow Ending, December 6, 2013
OK So I'm probably not the target market for this book, Being a typical middle aged male, I still don't text message all that well. But I started reading it because I was fascinated by the format. -- Writing a whole book in text messages seemed like a big gamble to me... It's one of those things if you pull it off, you're a genius... but if you don't, you're a goat. I'm pleased to say the author pulled it off better than I thought possible.

If you buy the book, be warned that it is hard to put down for two reasons. First of course, is that it is a good story. But beyond that, since the next paragraph is less than 140 characters, there are no obvious stopping points. I just kept reading and reading, finishing the whole thing in a single sitting.

The other thing that surprised me is how much you could connect with the characters and events despite a lack of verbose imagery. I'm (painfully) reminded of a book where Eudora Welty spent 7 pages describing the inside of a taxicab. There's none of that with 140 characters and yet, I felt just as connected to the plot. (maybe more so)

And then there's the ending.

I can't say much about it because I don't want to spoil it but I can say it's darned powerful. The author clearly had the end in mind from the beginning and then (skilfully) set the rest of the book up to support it.

I don't read much fiction (mostly because of a certain college professor who made me read 7 pages of nothingness about the inside of a taxi cab) but I'm very glad I read this book. Very worth the time and nominal cost.

If the author writes another, I'll probably buy that too.

Winning Design!: LEGO MINDSTORMS NXT Design Patterns for Fun and Competition (Technology in Action)
Winning Design!: LEGO MINDSTORMS NXT Design Patterns for Fun and Competition (Technology in Action)
Price: $15.19

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Can we get an editor on aisle 3 please?, June 11, 2013
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
OK lemme start with the good. There is some good information in the book. If you're a tinkerer or someone who works with electromechanical things, none of this is earth shattering. (ie It's better to support the axle of a wheel on both sides vs a single side.) If you don't have a mechanical background, I'm sure it would be very helpful.

However the book is maddening to read. On the superficial but still annoying side, misspelling, typos and grammar problems abound and the illustrations are lacking.

The bigger issue is that the author spends waaay too much time on stuff he himself says you'll never need. It's like: "Here's something that you'll never need in your FLL life and let me spend 8 pages on it." -- I can't help but wonder how much more good stuff he could have put in the book if he had chopped the stuff he himself says you'll never use.

Lastly if you're looking for programming tips, this is not the book for you. I found the programming section to be rather sparse.
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jul 13, 2014 8:20 AM PDT

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