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Belkin Speaker and Headphone Splitter
Belkin Speaker and Headphone Splitter
Price: $2.70
78 used & new from $0.80

5.0 out of 5 stars Works exactly as intended with no loss of audio quality ..., July 1, 2014
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Works exactly as intended with no loss of audio quality (although the stuff I'm listening to on my computer isn't exactly pushing the limits of audio quality).


Maxell LR44 Batteries 10 Pack
Maxell LR44 Batteries 10 Pack
Offered by Best Price Mirror
Price: $1.40
15 used & new from $0.01

5.0 out of 5 stars Just put some of these in my cat's laser mouse ..., July 1, 2014
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Just put some of these in my cat's laser mouse and the light is actually brighter than I've ever seen it before.


Live in Swing City - Swingin' With Duke
Live in Swing City - Swingin' With Duke
Price: $11.39
64 used & new from $3.78

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing, June 17, 2014
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I purchased this CD after hearing "Cottontail" and then listening to samples of the remaining tracks. Something which I could not tell from those short samples, however, is that "Cottontail" is just one of two pieces on the CD which actually swings with a fluid, driving rhythm. The remainder plod along with a rigid beat and a subdued rhythm section which is largely ignored and mostly overwhelmed by the arrangements. One of the songs is bogged down even further by a ponderous operatic style of vocals. I'm left scratching my head and wondering how anyone can agree with the CD's claim that this music makes you want to get up and dance.

Let me make clear that it's still good enough to make me want to sit down and listen. Taken individually, these are energetic performances by highly skilled musicians working excellently together. The creative arrangements and solos provide many surprises and make the songs interesting from start to finish. But the one thing they don't is swing and that just isn't right for a CD which has the word "Swing" twice in its title.


Fear and Loathing in America : The Brutal Odyssey of an Outlaw Journalist
Fear and Loathing in America : The Brutal Odyssey of an Outlaw Journalist
by Douglas G. Brinkley
Edition: Paperback
Price: $11.85
205 used & new from $0.92

5.0 out of 5 stars The Rise and Fall of HST, June 11, 2014
In Volume I we were introduced to someone who obviously loves to write and through his letters watch him gradually finding a unique voice and maturing into a highly skilled writer. This book, Volume II, starts with Hunter S. Thompson at the top of his game. Over the next four years he'll be writing letters about the events in his life which are motivating some of the most creative writing of the 20th century. This will culminate with the publication of his satirical masterpiece "Fear & Loathing in Las Vegas".

What the reader unfortunately sees next is HST's creative energy drying up almost overnight. His works from this point on will mostly consist of repetitive, self-indulgent rambling in which he reports on his own opinions rather than the people and events around him. His writing will occasionally show flashes of his brilliant wit, but he largely becomes just one more of his many imitators. His best books will be the compilations which draw heavily on his past writing. His letters clearly show this decline of creativity as they become increasingly dominated by complaints. He complains about not receiving expense checks and about the constant stream of uninvited guests at his home. He complains about the media treating F&LinLV as if it were non-fiction and ponders whether he should sue Garry Trudeau over the Uncle Duke character. When he does write about the events in his life, it's about the upcoming ones which he's trying to turn into his next creativity inspiring adventure, but because he's trying to force it, they always come up short.

We get no clear answer for why this has happened because we have nothing to go on but the letters of somebody who doesn't recognize his own decline. Does he succumb to the stress of having to match his past success while trying to continually outdo himself? Do the acolytes who'll rave over anything he puts into writing give him an over-inflated ego? Is it because he stops being himself and starts trying so hard to be Hunter S. Thompson? Is it fame that did him in or was it simply a matter of good luck that he was in the right place at the right time for several years followed by the bad luck of that never happening again? What do we even really know about the workings of human creativity? The letters give us no simple answers to these questions because there are no simple answers, but they do provide an amazing look at the rise and fall of a brilliantly creative individual.


Sit & Solve® Tight Fit Sudoku (Sit & Solve® Series)
Sit & Solve® Tight Fit Sudoku (Sit & Solve® Series)
by Thomas Snyder
Edition: Paperback
Price: $5.15
44 used & new from $0.01

4.0 out of 5 stars Fun little book of Sudoku variations, October 9, 2013
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Tight Fit Sudokus are a variation which uses a 6x6 grid with 6 sections but allows you to work with more than 6 numbers by having 2 numbers share a cell. The rule governing how they share the cell is an extra constraint which creates a whole new set of logical tactics for getting to the unique solution. As is always the case with Huang and Snyder, they design puzzles which require you to learn and use a variety of different tactics. For someone who may have grown a little tired with Sudokus, this makes for a much more interesting puzzle.

There are a total of 82 puzzles. The book starts off with puzzles using the numbers 1-7, which means that a single cell in each row, column and section must share 2 numbers. They gradually scale up to the more difficult 1-12 puzzles which have 2 numbers in every cell. The compact book is very comfortable to handle and the puzzles, printed one to a page, large enough to easily work with.

My only complaint is that book is not challenging enough for an advanced puzzler. Most of the puzzles fill in very quickly once you've figured out the first few numbers. For roughly the first 2/3 of the book, I was able to solve nearly every puzzle in about 5 minutes; most of the remaining puzzles took about 10 minutes. As much as I was enjoying the book, I really didn't want to be done with it so quickly. Maybe a dozen puzzles were of a high difficulty level, but half of those were challenging only because I was trying to solve them without making any notations of the possibilities.


Stanley Hardware CD1707 Zinc Plated Chain Doorstop
Stanley Hardware CD1707 Zinc Plated Chain Doorstop
Price: $6.01
20 used & new from $0.10

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Did the job, July 4, 2013
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This did the job it needed to and had all the parts required for that. The instructions could've been a little better and it was particularly annoying that the best way to open the package was to tear up the cardboard which the instructions were written on. I was able to find better instructions on-line, however, so I didn't have a problem figuring it out. I haven't yet had a chance to see it work when the door gets caught by a really strong wind, but it certainly appears to be holding everything securely in place.


The Art of Sudoku
The Art of Sudoku
by Thomas Snyder
Edition: Paperback
Price: $7.99
32 used & new from $7.88

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent collection of hand-made puzzles, March 22, 2013
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This review is from: The Art of Sudoku (Paperback)
This book presents 120 hand-made puzzles varying in difficulty from moderate to very difficult. Few, if any, are what I would call extreme, but I consider this a good thing since it means that all the puzzles can be solved by logically working through the possibilities rather than ever having to make guesses. To really appreciate the hand-made nature of these puzzles, you should try solving them not only without guessing but without making notations of the possibilities for each cell which can't be determined in a straightforward manner. The first 20-30 can be readily done this way and won't seem much different, or more interesting, than computer-generated puzzles. Beyond this point, however, difficult puzzles become more common and the hand-generated nature of the logical problems you have to solve make the puzzles that much more interesting if you're trying to do it all in your head.

I was able to solve about half of the puzzles in this manner without making notations. Of the ones remaining, there were about half that I felt I might have been able to solve that way if I had enough experience and patience. The rest of the puzzles were ones I simply could not have solved without notations, but most of those still ended up being more interesting than the typical computer-generated puzzle in working through to the solution.

You should be warned, however, that the title and cover can be a bit deceptive. Although the puzzles create regular patterns with the given numbers, the art isn't in the appearance of the puzzles (they're all in black and white) but in the way the author creates a variety of logical patterns needed to solve them.


BATTLESHIP Sudoku
BATTLESHIP Sudoku
by Thomas Snyder
Edition: Paperback
57 used & new from $0.01

5.0 out of 5 stars Once you get started, you don't want to stop., December 20, 2012
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This review is from: BATTLESHIP Sudoku (Paperback)
This book combines Battleship puzzles with Sudoku to create an interesting variation which has more logical constraints than either puzzle alone. The increased constraints might make you think it will be easier, but it also allows the puzzles to give you fewer starting hints and forces you to find more logical paths through which you can eliminate possibilities in order to get to the one correct solution. This also makes it a more interesting puzzle which all but the most jaded Sudoku puzzler should enjoy. The more difficult they got, the more eager I became to get started on the next one.

The book starts with a small section of easy to moderate puzzles for each of the two types along with a good discussion on how to go about solving them. This is a sufficient introduction if you haven't solved Battleship puzzles before, but I wouldn't recommend this book for a novice Sudoku puzzler. These sections are followed by 150 Battleship Sudoku puzzles. They start at a moderate level and slowly work their way up to difficult, with a few truly challenging ones thrown in near the very end. I was using a pencil from the very beginning, however, because it's just too easy to occasionally make a mistake with these kinds of puzzles.

As with all of Snyder's books, these are hand made puzzles. This not only means that you sometimes get interesting layouts, it also means that you'll have to constantly be figuring out new strategies to get the puzzles started. The only flaw is that puzzle number 184 has a typo making it impossible to solve.


Sudoku Masterpieces: Elegant Challenges for Sudoku Lovers
Sudoku Masterpieces: Elegant Challenges for Sudoku Lovers
by Thomas Snyder
Edition: Paperback
22 used & new from $4.94

4.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful book full of challenges, August 19, 2012
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With its embossed cover, elegant end papers and nifty square design, this is easily the most attractive sudoku book I've ever seen. The elaborate hand-designed puzzles make it a pleasure simply to browse the book before even beginning to work them.

The puzzles themselves present a great variety of sudoku variations. Some times this means creating extra constraints which are needed to solve the puzzle, but in most cases the variation involves a modified layout. The basic idea of having rows, columns and cells with unique numbers is maintained, but the cells take on odd, irregular shapes while the columns and rows twist, turn and jump around in very unusual configurations. You're constantly treated to the novelty of a new variation since most variations are only used in 2-4 puzzles before moving on to a new one. A few of the puzzles are of moderate difficulty, most are advanced, and some near the end are pretty extreme. With enough work, however, all of them can be worked through logically to arrive at a solution.

The book's greatest weakness is that many of the puzzles get their difficulty not by requiring you to figure out new methods of logical elimination but simply by making it very hard to line up the rows and columns. A person could go crossed-eyed trying to work some of them. In most of those puzzles, the challenge consists only of trying to avoid making mistakes while methodically eliminating possibilities. Because of this, the puzzles simply don't provide the same level of satisfaction as you would usually expect from these authors.


Mutant Sudoku
Mutant Sudoku
by Thomas Snyder
Edition: Paperback
21 used & new from $0.01

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Putting the excitement back in Sudoko, February 14, 2012
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This review is from: Mutant Sudoku (Paperback)
When I first began solving Sudoko puzzles, I really enjoyed figuring out the logical tactics through which the puzzle can be solved by the process of elimination. After a while, however, solving most puzzles came to be a rote application of the techniques I'd mastered, while a few of the most extremely difficult ones required techniques that had become too complicated to enjoy or else required strategic guessing which I prefer to avoid. Ordinary Sudoko is still a pleasant challenge for me, but nowhere near as fun as when I first started. In Mutant Sudoko, mutations (i.e. variations) create new logical constraints which must be used in addition to the existing constraints to solve each puzzle. Having to figure out new tactics and strategies for each mutation brings back the excitement I had when I was first introduced to Sudoko.

There are a total of 11 mutations and a final section where mutations are combined. Within each mutation, interesting variations in appearance testify to the hand-made nature of the puzzles. The puzzles in each section typically start out small and relatively easy, then grow larger and more difficult. Even the easy puzzles, however, can be a challenge until you figure out how to make use of the new logical constraints. The overall difficulty level also tends to increase as you progress through the book so that the final variations provide serious challenges throughout. No matter how difficult, however, logical elimination and perseverance still get you to the solution for any of the puzzles.

My favorite was the Consecutive Sudoko, which forces you to simultaneously apply both the new logic of the mutation with the ones already existing, while also providing variations in appearance that force you to explore different tactics for solving the puzzles. In the most challenging of this mutation, you have a puzzle which does not allow for any adjacent cells to contain consecutive numbers. Among the other mutations are those with cells that occupy more than one row or column, regions which are either missing a number or have a duplicate, and puzzles which bend around 3-D shapes. The least interesting mutation, the Extra Space Sudoko, added visual clutter which made it more difficult to line things up but didn't otherwise significantly alter the standard Sudoko experience. Fortunately, almost all of the mutations are closer to the best of them than the worst, which leaves no doubt that this book deserves a 5-star rating.


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