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Russell Belfer's Profile

Customer Reviews: 31
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Russell Belfer RSS Feed (San Mateo, CA United States)

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Emma's Magic Winter (I Can Read Book 3)
Emma's Magic Winter (I Can Read Book 3)
by Jean Little
Edition: Paperback
20 used & new from $0.09

5.0 out of 5 stars Makes my daughter smile, January 1, 2010
This is one of my daughter's favorite books this season. The story is very sweet about two girls becoming friends, where one is new to town and one is shy. It really emphasizes their creativity and playfulness with each other. The artwork is very pleasing and the story unfolds and then wraps up in a satisfying way.

My daughter is around three years old and we read this book 5 or 6 times. When I read it to her, she was very absorbed and would get a happy smile on her face as the girls played their various pretend games in the snow. This is the one book out of a big stack that she really protested about when we returned them to the library. I'm looking forward to reading other books by the same writer and artist.

Britax Roundabout Convertible Car Seat, Tan Swirl (Prior Model)
Britax Roundabout Convertible Car Seat, Tan Swirl (Prior Model)

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Love the roundabout, November 30, 2007
We love the Britax Roundabout and our daughter does too. When our daughter outgrew her newborn car seat and we were looking for new options, we mainly looked at the Britax Marathon and the Roundabout. A friend had purchased the Marathon and it is a monster! Really big, particular while the child is still small enough to face backward. We decided to try the Roundabout, since it is a little shorter, and we don't regret it. It's been a great carseat.

* The size is good. Our daughter is on the small side and this will fit her for a long time. Even for a larger baby, unless they are truly off the charts, I think you will get plenty of use from the Roundabout.
* From a comfort standpoint, it seems to be very good. Our daughter used to squirm and complain about her old seat, and she rarely does with the Roundabout.
* Safety is top notch, as you probably already know.
* Installation (using LATCH, for us) was quite easy.

Regarding the person who said their child's head flops forward, we were having that problem too, then we started adjusting the chest clip to be a little higher on our daughter when we put her in and the problem largely went away.

The Enchanted Forest Chronicles: Dealing with Dragons / Searching for Dragons / Calling on Dragons / Talking to Dragons
The Enchanted Forest Chronicles: Dealing with Dragons / Searching for Dragons / Calling on Dragons / Talking to Dragons
by Patricia C. Wrede
Edition: Paperback
Price: $18.64
62 used & new from $9.99

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great books for a wide range of ages, August 3, 2007
This is a great collection of books with a strong heroine and a good sense of humor. They are an excellent choice to read out loud due to the fun characters and the whimsical nature of the writing, and the recurrent message of non-conformity is carried out well without feeling too didactic.

Other reviewers have given capsule summaries, but I would recommend against reading them if you can resist. Part of what was delightful about reading these books for me was seeing the story and Patricia Wrede's pattern unfold.

That being said, I will immediately contradict myself, and note that the third book is, in my opinion, the weakest of lot. I think this is because when I read the books, I was reading out loud. The third book has more fractured conversations and irritating voices popping up all over the place, and the pattern gets in the way of the narrative. Additionally, compared to the other books, the ending is unsatisfying, merely setting up the action for the fourth book. For what it's worth, my wife (who also loved this series) recommends skipping the third book altogether and allowing the story of the fourth to slowly fill you in on what happened in the third.

One other note that I will add is that the vocabulary used in these books is advanced enough to make them a better pick for 10+ year olds, in my opinion. I mistakenly recommended them to the 8 year old daughter of a friend and she struggled to read the first couple paragraphs. The first couple of pages use: philosophers, fashionable, periodic, prosperous, etiquette, etc. Nothing unheard of, obviously, but these are probably better read out loud to early readers. These younger kids will still love the story and the characters, though I guess they may miss some of the humor.

With the discounted Amazon price, this box set is a lot of story for the dollar. I highly recommend it.

Panasonic ES8168S Men's Vortex Hydra Clean System with Convex Cutting System
Panasonic ES8168S Men's Vortex Hydra Clean System with Convex Cutting System

9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Pretty powerful with some shortcomings, August 3, 2007
I've had a half-dozen electric razors over the years, both of the foil and rotary style, and this is my most recent. It is not the best I've had, but quite good. Here are my pros and cons:

- Powerful motor cuts my beard easily.
- Smooth shave - probably the best I've had from an electric.
- Nice accessories - the cleaning station, etc. are pretty easy to use.
- Light weight and easy to carry.

- Makes a mess. Leaks little hair dust all over, far worse than any other electric I've owned.
- Charges slowly compared to other razors I've had.
- Charge does not last as long as some (such as the Norelco I had previously). I'd gladly have it weigh an ounce more for an extra couple days of use between charges.
- Beard trimmer feels cheap and its locking mechanism seems less reliable than others I've used. (I've never had to consciously think about "did I click the trimmer into place?" before and on this razor I have to think about it or it doesn't lock.)

Neither here nor there:
- Percentage charged readout only shows multiples of 10%. Personally, I preferred the "minutes left" readout on my previous razor.
- Cleaning system takes a long time and is quite noisy. This is the first razor I've bought with a cleaning station, so I'm not sure if this is any better or worse than the norm.
- Getting a close shave is not particularly fast with this razor, though as mentioned above, the end result is very good.

All in all, I'm giving this 4 stars based on the ease of shaving and the smoothness of the end result, despite the shortcomings.

Scosche IS IU3.5RCR 3.5mm Retractable Cable
Scosche IS IU3.5RCR 3.5mm Retractable Cable
Price: $4.00
11 used & new from $1.99

109 of 114 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Convenient little cable, July 19, 2007
I'm fairly pleased with this little retractable cable. Fortunately, I had read the other reviews, so I was not surprised by the short length and it works for me. Some things you should know:

* As other reviewers mention, this is not a 6' cable. The technical details have the correct 2.5' length, but the description is incorrect.
* The retractor mechanism is a little cheap and I've gotten it tangled a couple of times. That being said, I've always been able to untangle it and it has recovered.
* The rubber around the plug ends is a good size for iPods and most stereo inputs, but it is too wide for the audio jack in an iPhone. I took a sharp knife to one end of the cable and shaved down the sides, then it worked fine even for the recessed iPhone jack. This wasn't too hard to do, though that cable end doesn't look too pretty now.

In spite of these reservations, the cable works well, the audio quality seems fine, and it is small, convenient, and nicely functional.

No Title Available

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Falling apart after less than a year, June 8, 2007
This table seemed nice upon arrival, but after less than a year, the cheap construction is starting to show. The slats that make up the table surface are starting to crack and slip where they meet the edges of the table and will easily fall out. The matching chairs are suffering from the same fate.

Perhaps if you did not expose it to the elements it would hold up better, but what's the point of getting an outdoor table if you have to bring it in when it rains? I live in California, so it's not like the table is exposed to snow or even freezing temperatures. It's just not well made.

My recommendation would be to spend a little more and get something that will last more than one season.

Please note this is no comment on the seller. Their shipment was prompt and I had a good experience with them. It is just a poor product.

No Title Available

53 of 55 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Cheaper at Eureka's own site, March 9, 2007
I love my 71a vac, but this replacement filter is available for less directly from the manufacturer's site (even when their high S&H fees are taken into account).
Comment Comments (5) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 27, 2012 8:31 PM PDT

The C Programming Language
The C Programming Language
by Brian W. Kernighan
Edition: Paperback
Price: $51.83
185 used & new from $7.42

5.0 out of 5 stars One of the all time greats, June 15, 2006
For learning C programming, this book is the gold standard. It is unpretentious and to the point, assuming that you have the general concept of what it means to program a computer and want to learn the C language. It is gentle, but not touchy-feely, and guides you through what you need to know.

Personally, I think "The UNIX Programming Environment" by Kernighan and Pike is an excellent companion to this book (assuming you have a Unix-like environment with tools like make, yacc, and lexx). That book conveys much of the philosophy of Unix and C that has made them such powerful and lasting foundations for everything we use in computers today. Taken together, these two books give a solid (albeit fairly low-level) foundation.

Now, you may ask, why would I want to learn the C language and these low level tools today, when I really want to create great Web 2.0 sites using Ruby on Rails? (Now that's a reference that's going to date quickly, I fear.) The answer is: you probably don't. For a great many programmers, there is probably no reason to master these basics that are so close to the core of the machine. But if you are intent on mastering software development from high-level fast prototyping to low-level "to-the-metal" tweaking, this is where you need to go, and this book will convey the enjoyment and purity of working at that level with computers.

P.S. Shout out to Anne Glaser - if you see this, it's the best answer I can give to your question - sorry I didn't see it earlier.

Three Zen Masters: Ikkyu, Hakuin and RyoKan (Kodansha Biographies)
Three Zen Masters: Ikkyu, Hakuin and RyoKan (Kodansha Biographies)
by John Stevens
Edition: Paperback
31 used & new from $7.54

13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Well written, interesting, broad, December 3, 2005
This slim volume is in many ways a great introduction to Zen thinking through profiles of three great masters. It is a wonderful combination of historical examination and recollection of stories about the lives of these three. The selection of the figures is excellent as you see a broad sweep of different styles of living and practicing Zen Buddhism. Also, the three are each in their own way extremely influential, so it is good to understand the roles of the individuals in the overall development of Zen Buddhist religious practice. Finally, the stories are just plain entertaining, filled with humor, insight, wry observation, and wisdom. A very enjoyable read.

How to Live with Teenagers. I give up. How?
How to Live with Teenagers. I give up. How?
by Linda Fink
Edition: Paperback
Price: $8.85
16 used & new from $4.25

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Worth the price even at just 3000 words/dollar, April 28, 2005
I've been wanting to review this book for a long time, having read and enjoyed it immensely, but now that Amazon's text stats tell me that it comes at 3059 words/dollar, I feel good recommending it as both a good read and a solid bargain!

Silly abuses of high tech aside, I imagine that Linda Fink often is compared to Dave Barry. She has a somewhat similar whimsical style and flair for turning events from her life into humorous anecdotes. The book is an easy read and carries you along well as you learn more about the Fink family.

You may think that your family does not have that much in common with one living out on a farm in Oregon, particularly a quirky family like the Finks (and believe me, they are quirky), but this book is filled with delightful moments of recognition and genuine emotion that will resonate with all readers. It is particular good if you have a geek in the family or are one yourself. I'd actually love to give you more detail, but as soon as I finished it, I sent it off to my mom because I knew she'd love it and see a lot of our family in it, too.

So pick it up! It's a bargain, it's a fun and easy read, it is typeset relatively well, I suppose, and you'll want to share it with everyone you know.

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