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Mark P. McDonald RSS Feed (Chicago, IL United States)
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No Ordinary Disruption: The Four Global Forces Breaking All the Trends
No Ordinary Disruption: The Four Global Forces Breaking All the Trends
by Richard Dobbs
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $19.01
58 used & new from $13.45

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Disappointingly ordinary in its descriptions, June 29, 2015
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
McKinsey seeks to pull together all of the forces that seek to pull apart business strategies. The result is a surprisingly flat description that rehashes past McKinsey research reports than offer a new way to look at the world and the relevance of strategic choices and investments. The four trends are below:

Trend 1: The locus of economic activity is shifting to emerging markets like China, India, Asia and Africa
Trend 2: Technology's impact on the economy is accelerating
Trend 3: Demographics, the aging of the population is shifting demands
Trend 4: Connectedness as trade, capital, people and information flow across national boarders

Each trend is treated in a formulaic way, following a standard structure with slavish adherence. You can extract the books outline which should give you and idea of the limitations of the book's story telling or information value.

Overall, this book is filled with factoids and other little nuggets, many previously published by McKinsey's Global Institute. So if you are looking for new insight, you will not find it here. The discussions of each trend are interesting in their own ways, but the prose is rather bland and expository rather than telling an engaging story that drives understanding or action.

The book's prescriptions are surprisingly simple -- mostly around do better -- rather thank do things differently.

Overall not recommended if you are looking for new ideas. It may be helpful for others to re-enforce their strategic decisions, particularly if those decisions are not too radical.


uni-ball Air Rollerball Pen, 3-Pack, Black (1926808)
uni-ball Air Rollerball Pen, 3-Pack, Black (1926808)
Price: $11.85

5.0 out of 5 stars WOW, a cross between a rollerball, fountain pen and felt tip marker., June 12, 2015
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Highly recommended, particularly if you are expressive writer or like to draw as you take notes. This pen is something unique. To start its really light weight, less than a stick ball point pen. If you like a heavy pen, initially this is an issue, but just initially. Next the pen head looks like a felt tip marker, but it isn't its a roller ball that delivers fountain pen like performance. That hybrid seems like a pen designed by committee, but they really pull it off.

The one drawback for the pen is that you cannot really press down like you can with a ball point or ball point like roller ball pens. In that regard it is much more like a marker.

Equally adept at writing letters and drawing, this is a great all around pen that replaces the need for other roller balls and markers. Highly recommended


The Fifth Heart
The Fifth Heart
by Dan Simmons
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $15.99
90 used & new from $11.99

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Pass, particularly if you liked Drood and Simmons other non-sci fi books., June 12, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: The Fifth Heart (Hardcover)
I love Dan Simmons work, both the Hyperion Sci Fi and his horror books. I liked Drood, his take on a Dickensian novel. All good. In each of those books Simmons has a great beginning that often delivers a weaker ending. Not in this case. I found the start of this book to be boat anchor. I pushed my way through the first hundred pages or so and simply gave up, which is not something I like to admit.

I threw in the towel for a few reasons. First the main characters Henry James and Sherlock Homes are flat, self absorbed and generally unlikeable, at least by me. I do not know Henry James well enough to be engaged in him as a real person. The whole are you real or are you fiction gets tiring and the mystery is not particularly engaging. Again that is just my opinion.


Three Moments of an Explosion: Stories
Three Moments of an Explosion: Stories
by China Miéville
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $17.75

1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting, different, definately somethign you will find no where else, June 12, 2015
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Three Moments of an explosion is a collection of short stories rather than a novel. Each story is unique, interesting and a blend of contemporary socially aware fiction with just a little twist of sci-fi/fantasy thrown in. Recommended if you are looking to read something that is different, challenging and will leave you scratching your head a times -- in a good way.

I have not read China Mieville's other works so I have nothing else to compare it to, but this book seems to represent the best of mildly avant-guarde themes that are still accessible to the average reader. I have been entertained, engaged and enlightened by each of these stories.

A world of warning each story is really different from the other, so its challenging to read them in sequence or for a long duration. I found that reading the stories individually was more entertaining as you have a natural tendency to create connections that may or may not be there. The stories range from a few pages to a chapter to a novella. Many seem to have a similar theme of disconnection, being lost or just on the fringe, but in different ways.

My favorite stories include:

The Dowager of Bees
The Condition of New Death
Sacken

Among others.


Brother Designio Series DZ3400 Computerized Sewing & Quilting Machine With 270 Stitches, including 2 Sewing Fonts
Brother Designio Series DZ3400 Computerized Sewing & Quilting Machine With 270 Stitches, including 2 Sewing Fonts
Price: $463.72

3.0 out of 5 stars Complex to get set up and can be a little much for a casual user, June 12, 2015
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This is a computer that happens to sew. Great for people who sew all the time as the stitch variation and performance is great. We are not hard core sewers so it took us more than a week of starting and stopping to get the machine going. Once we had it set up, it worked great, but given the set up effort it is something that works best with a dedicated sewing area. Great machine, but not for the more casual people who already have a simple machine to do simple tasks like curtains, clothing repair, making pillows, etc.


ZAGG Pocket Foldable Wireless Mobile Keyboard and Stand for Apple Devices - Black (APLPOC-BK0)
ZAGG Pocket Foldable Wireless Mobile Keyboard and Stand for Apple Devices - Black (APLPOC-BK0)
Price: $52.65
17 used & new from $25.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Compact, full functional and a great accessory to extend the functionality of your phone or iPad., May 11, 2015
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Zagg originated the full sized keyboard cover with the Zaggmate for the first iPad. That was a good product and I looked forward to this product. This is the most portable keyboard yet. It is as full size as the cover sized keyboard but it folds up to 1/3rd the size and about as thick as a half dozen credit cards. That sounds like a lot but not really in the context of a briefcase or bag.

I am assuming that many people will be thinking of this as either a replacement to a keyboard/cover combination - like the original Zaggmate or as an alternative to typing on the iPad screen.

Overall, a good product that is a clear advancement over the original keyboard/cover design in terms of space saving, ability to support different covers and functionality. If you type on a remote keyboard often then you may want to stick with what you have. If you are looking to add keyboard functionality to your phone or tablet, then its hard to go wrong with the Pocket.

Strengths
This is not a chicklet keyboard with tiny keys. The keyboard is full sized, with mostly full sized keys which makes this very effective for typing on a phone or a tablet.

This really folds up into a small 'bar' that is easy to carry around and use everyday. In this regard, the Pocket is an advancement over other keyboards that are cumbersome.

The Pocket holds your iPad or phone at a shallower angle than prior keyboard/cover combinations. More like the angle of a MS Surface kickstand. That is ok as it make more of the screen readable. It does this without increasing the real estate required on an airline tray table, something that the
Surface has yet to figure out.

Bluetooth set up is easy and the product pairs quickly with my iPad.

Challenges:
It is not as crisp to type on than a keyboard/cover combination. The keys are rather shallow which makes it slightly harder to type with as each key has limited 'travel' It takes a little while to get used to, but you can get used to it. Some of the keys are slimmer to fit the keyboard so if you use "" that will be a little problematic. The return key is smaller as well.

The keyboard is an accessory, not a dual purpose functioning as an iPad cover and a keyboard. In some ways this is a challenge as the keyboard/cover combination afforded protection and functionality. In other situations, this now allows you to employ other covers. If you use your iPad mostly in graphic mode, then this solution is great.

The keyboard turns on when the keyboard unfolds and turns off when it folds up. This is great for using this in the field where you are setting up and taking down frequently. It is less functional if your iPad sits on the keyboard on a desktop where having an on/off switch would be better to give you the confidence that you are controlling the juice in the battery.

The keyboard itself is shallow about 2 mm thick when unfolded which some may find creates some wrist strain. Given that most of the typing it will do is for short emails etc. rather than novel writing, its less of a consideration.


End of Secrets
End of Secrets
Price: $2.00

3.0 out of 5 stars More a collection of cyber TV dramas than a new story on an old theme, April 13, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: End of Secrets (Kindle Edition)
End of Secrets seeks to blend cyber security threats with world domination and a heroine who is largely clueless through most of the book. Imagine a cross between the all seeing technology premise of Person of Interest and the heroine from the Blacklist and you get the idea. So its not bad, but given the rich potential of the content its no where near as good as it could be.

The idea of a company gaining dominance via omniscient technology is not new and the author does little to re-imagine the premise. The book starts slow with a recruitment into a super secret cyber anti-terrorist group (Scorpion meets CSI-Cyber) and her assignment to the disappearance of a seemingly unrelated person. The book is pretty much a procedural after that and if you watch any of the TV shows mentioned you have seen most of it.

If you like procedural thrillers, then this one is ok. It starts slow, gains momentum slowly, the characters are relatively flat but the writing is smooth.


Curel Daily Moisture Original Lotion, 13 Ounce
Curel Daily Moisture Original Lotion, 13 Ounce
Price: $5.79
22 used & new from $1.00

5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic, especially for people who need repeated applications for rough and dry skin., April 13, 2015
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Curel has made great moisturizers, including this lotion. There is not much to say beyond the fact that it really works. It really is non-greasy. It is amazing how quickly and deeply the lotion works into your skin, particularly your hands. The big caveat is that you need to use it in small doses. A single squirt provides a great starting point for two hands. Too much and you will be spending extra time working it in.


The Art of Social Media: Power Tips for Power Users
The Art of Social Media: Power Tips for Power Users
by Guy Kawasaki
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $17.57
71 used & new from $12.58

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Basic social media ideas, best for beginners, April 13, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Social media has become a habit for most of us and many of the practices discussed in this book are now habit for people who inhabit facebook, twitter and the like. If you are new to social media and want to study it, then this book is not bad. But if you have already dabbled in social media then you will find much of this book containing stuff you already knew intuitively.

The book is like a mini- social media for dummies in that it contains rather step by step approaches to the following tasks.

How to Optimize Your Profile
How to Feed the Content Monster
How to Perfect Your Posts
How to Integrate Social Media and Blogging
How to Get More Followers
How to Socialize Events
How to Runt Google+ Hangouts on Air
How to Rock a Twitter Chat
How to Avoid Looking Clueless
How to Optimize for Individual Platforms
How to Put Everything Together

The book is a bit of a self promotional missive for Kawasaki's company that is not all bad but something to acknowledge. Kawasaki is trading on his reputation in this book rather than adding to it.

This book is really really basic, almost mechanical in its treatment of topics. If you are looking for something that explains how to work effectively in social media as a whole then I would recommend Zarella's Hierarchy of Contagiousness which is a little old but has helpful ideas.


Jergens Natural Glow Instant Sun Sunless Tanning Mousse, Dark, 6 Fluid Ounce
Jergens Natural Glow Instant Sun Sunless Tanning Mousse, Dark, 6 Fluid Ounce
Price: $11.97
12 used & new from $6.66

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Easy to apply, smooth color and does not upset sensitive skin, April 13, 2015
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
According to my teenage daughter this stuff works. She has been applying a little at a time over the past week and developing enough color so she does not look pasty white when she goes on spring break. She has sensitive skin and the Natural Glow product has not tripped any allergies or created dry patches. The applicator provides a smooth and easy to apply measure of the tanning product. Overall, one of the better sunless tanning products out there. Recommended for someone looking to not stand out at the beach or in a swimsuit now that the nice weather has come out.


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