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Nottingham's Profile

Customer Reviews: 112
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Nottingham RSS Feed (Los Altos, CA USA)

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Mohu Leaf 30 TV Antenna, Indoor, 30 Mile Range, Original Paper-thin, Reversible, Paintable, 4K-Ready HDTV, 10 Foot Detachable Cable, Premium Materials for Performance, USA Made, MH-110583
Mohu Leaf 30 TV Antenna, Indoor, 30 Mile Range, Original Paper-thin, Reversible, Paintable, 4K-Ready HDTV, 10 Foot Detachable Cable, Premium Materials for Performance, USA Made, MH-110583
Price: $38.87
50 used & new from $19.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sceptic No More, July 20, 2012
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I bought this attenna with quite low expections. Back in the days of analog TV, I had a large antenna mounted on my roof standing 12 feet above it and I could not receive one single station clearly, because of the big trees and hills surrounding my house. I had to subscribe to cable. With cable prices getting higher every year I decided a year ago to discontine the subscription. My Sharp Aquos monitor is now only used for viewing movies from DVDs; the TV side is dark - until this evening. The leaf antenna is delightfully simple: just twist the coax into the socket on the TV and start searching. I thought I would be happy if I got a few channels. I was surprised at the number of channels the tuner could find: several dozens! The image quality is not bad at all. I am very pleased with the Leaf. It is a great innovative product. It is also modestly priced. Far exceeds my expectations.

Altec Lansing iML237USB ORBIT Ultra Portable USB-Powered Speaker
Altec Lansing iML237USB ORBIT Ultra Portable USB-Powered Speaker

2.0 out of 5 stars Good Acoustics; Bad Mechanical Design, January 27, 2012
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This speaker produces very listenable sound and is very convenient. However, mine broke after only a few uses. The USB cable storage mechanism is such that you have to stretch the cable fairly tight to make it fit into its cradle with a 90-degree bend. After a few (less than 5) uses (and rewinding and stretching and bending), the cable was damaged and the sounds goes on and off depending on the way the cable is bent, rendering the speaker useless. The wires within the USB cable are pitiably thin and flimsy. It looks cute but is a very poor and impractical design.

Taylor 5751-Black Body Fat Analyzer & Scale
Taylor 5751-Black Body Fat Analyzer & Scale

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars So Smart, It Cheats, August 13, 2011
This scale has some built-in intelligence and memory. It is so smart that it knows how to cheat to make itself look good. What I discovered is that the scale keeps the last several weight readings for a period of time, and if you step on it and your weight is approximately one of those kept readings, the kept reading will be displayed, instead of your real weight.

Thus, if you step on the scale, get a reading, then step on it after a minute or two, you will most likely get the same reading, even though you might have put on two pounds of clothes. The problem is: once you know that scale does not produce an honest reading, you don't trust it. You don't know what else it will do.

The scales tries to show "consistency" by masking the small differences that it is unable to ascertain. But 2 lbs is not that small. The product declares a resolution of 0.2 lb.

Although I have no direct evidence, I reasonably suspect that Taylor scales all have this "feature."
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 20, 2011 11:45 AM PST

Mr. Coffee Mug Warmer for Office/Home Use, MWBLK
Mr. Coffee Mug Warmer for Office/Home Use, MWBLK
Price: $9.39
55 used & new from $8.75

4.0 out of 5 stars Useful and practical, January 22, 2011
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I find this coffee warmer useful and practical. Some complained that it does not generate enough heat to heat up the coffee, and they are mistaken about the purpose of the product. It is not a coffee maker, it is a coffee warmer. It is good for keeping warm coffee warm, not to make cold coffee hot. I would be better if it can automatically turn on or off with the presence or absence of the mug. At it is, I have to remember turning it off at the end of the day.

A History of Private Life, Volume I: From Pagan Rome to Byzantium
A History of Private Life, Volume I: From Pagan Rome to Byzantium
by Philippe Ariès
Edition: Paperback
Price: $49.22
176 used & new from $0.01

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Unimpressed, February 18, 2010
I was overjoyed to find this series of books on history from the perspective of how lives were lived, only to be utterly disappointed.

The essays were difficult to read and more difficult to understand. That I was reading translated text might very well have something to do with it, but it surely cannot account for all the bad features. Sentences were unnecessarily long and windy. The tone was often condescending, disdainful and occasionally sarcastic. At times the author made a claim and then offered to illustrate it with material that was disorganized and irrelevant.

I read the first essay on the Roman Empire and my enthusiasm about the book was completely extinguished by the time I reached the chapter's end . I had hoped that the second essay, by a different author, would be an improvement. Well, it was not. And that was enough for me.

No Title Available

75 of 78 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sharing My Own Learning Experience, January 19, 2010
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I talked to a doctor friend before purchasing a blood pressure measuring device. His confirming that a "manual" device like this one is more accurate than the electronic ones that promise ease of use but often are inaccurate, and his assurance that it was not "rocket science" to learn how to do it with a stethoscope, convinced me to invest in this device.

The device is actually pretty easy to use once you get the hang of it. There are several things to keep in mind. Knowing them will reduce your frustration in the learning process. If you are a medical professional, you need to read no further.

The first is that you need to buy a good stethoscope (it does not need to be expensive; I bought the Omron model recommended on this page. I found it to be too short and rigid, but the acoustics are reasonably good. One out of the three pairs of ear buds (the clear ones) was soft and comfortable) as the success and confidence depend largely on your ability to audibly recognize the distinctive pounding sounds in synchrony with the pulses of blood flow.

The second thing is to understand the principle of taking blood pressure. I am not a physician, so I am just describing it in layman's terms. The whole idea is to pressurize the cuff gradually to block the blood flow and then slowly reduce the pressure until blood flow resumes. At the point when the resumption is strong enough to create a turbulent flow which is accompanied by a series of pounding sound, the pressure reading of that first pounding sound is the systolic pressure. When the pounding sound is no longer heard (about 4 to 5 sounds after the first one), the pressure reading is that of the diastolic pressure.

Procedurally, you do this by securing the cuff on the upper arm of the patient, making sure that the patient's position and posture is correct and the artery mark on the cuff is near the center of the arm at rest on a table, slightly to the thumb side. Put on the stethoscope and put the sensing cup at the inside bend of the elbow, again, slightly to the thumb side, over the brachial artery. Hold the cup in place with a slight and steady pressure. To optimize the acoustics, you should not let the tubes of the stethoscope touch anything while using it, as the touching and moving will generate interfering noise. Don't be frustrated because you cannot hear any pulse as you position the sensing cup, as you are not suppose to hear them yet - not until you start the measuring process.

Now you are ready to start, but I would like to prepare you for two things before you actually start. You are to pressurize the cuff by pumping, but you must first twist the screw knob to shut the release value so pressure can build. DO NOT TWIST TOO TIGHT, as you will need to release in a controlled manner later. Twisting it very tight will make it very difficult to achieve the desired release. The other thing is to make sure that before you start pumping, you must know when to stop lest you apply too much pressure on the artery. If you expect the patient to be about normal blood pressure, you should stop pumping when the meter reads 180 - 190 mmHg.

Turn off the radio and the TV. Now you are really ready. Hold the rubber bulb in your palm with your index finger and thumb controlling the screw knob, make sure you can see the pressure meter clearly. Twist the knob clockwise to shut the value (not to tight now!). Start pumping until the needle goes up to 180 (mmHg), stop, and twist the screw knob counterclockwise to open it slightly - so that the needle falls steadily at about 2 to 3 mmHg per second. Listen carefully, you will hear no sound (except some noise) initially, but at some point you WILL hear the onset of the pounding sounds. At first, you might miss the first one, but be confirmed as you hear the second and third one. With a little practice, you will be able to catch the first sound every time. Watch the meter carefully and note the readings at the first sound and when the sounds disappear. At this point, turn the screw knob counterclockwise further to release all the pressure.

Catching the first sound is a little tricky in that as you observe the fall of the needle, you will see that the needle starts to "jerk" slightly, but you still don't hear any sound, and you start to wonder. But that is normal, as the blood starts to flow again initially, the flow is very weak and the needle registers the pressure change, but the pounding sound (Korotkoff sound) that we are looking for does not come until cuff pressure is sufficiently reduced so the flow is turbulent. It is this condition that we want to associate with the systolic pressure.

Hope this helps.
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Aug 12, 2011 9:50 PM PDT

Dylos DC1100 Standard Laser Air Quality Monitor
Dylos DC1100 Standard Laser Air Quality Monitor
Offered by One Organic Home
Price: $199.99
6 used & new from $199.99

91 of 96 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Monitor Lacks Robust Design, October 30, 2009
I bought one of the Dylos monitors several months ago and I was initially quite impressed. I have the more advanced, 0.5 micron model, and it reported count readings that seemed to correlate with time of day (lower reading at night) and activity (e.g. higher reading when I am dusting) However, I was not as impressed after it started to report readings that were inexplicable. For example, after a while, the reading seem to rest on a plateau of about 2200 (which signified bad air quality), whereas before it should normally read 700. I taped a piece filter paper to cover the ingress and the reading will drop to 1700. So I called up Dylos customer and technical support, who were very friendly and helpful. However, the answers I got from them were not entirely encouraging. First, the monitor had no calibrating function. So, if you suspect the reading is too high (as in my case) or too low, you are just left wondering; and of course, once you think a test or measuring tool is suspect, you don't trust/use it! Second, both the ingress and egress of the monitor has no wire gauze to protect insects from getting inside. This is not good, because if an insect got inside and contaminated the lens, the readings would be completely meaningless. Third, worse yet, you are not supposed to open up the monitor (it will void the warranty; laser might injure your eye if you are not careful) to do any cleaning. So, if, over time, cooking grease vapor, say, condensed on the surface of the lens, the accuracy of the reading would be called into question, and you cannot do any meaningful cleaning. Dylos technical support was kind enough to check and service the monitor for me (even though I admitted to having opened the unit), but the monitor still does not work right.

So, as much as I appreciate the good folks at Dylos, who really tried to help me, I just do not find this monitor a reliable tool, due to the design flaws I outlined above, which I hope they would address in a subsequent version. I hope your experience is better.
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 13, 2016 8:49 AM PST

Why Are Jews Liberals?
Why Are Jews Liberals?
by Norman Podhoretz
Edition: Hardcover
92 used & new from $0.01

23 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars No Good Answer, September 30, 2009
This review is from: Why Are Jews Liberals? (Hardcover)
This book is both interesting and informative. However, it does not satisfactorily answer the question why Jews are liberals. The author gave a very abridged history of the Jews to illustrate why the deep mistrust Ashkenazic Jews had for the ruling powers of Europe and for the Christian Church - in short, the right. This, together with the traditional Judaic teaching, does reasonably explain why Jews tended to be on the left side of the political order. The author admits to be as perplexed as the next person as to why, given a vastly different political, economical and religious context - here in today's America - Jews are still overwhelmingly liberal (and a reliably Democratic voter). He posits various "theories" served up by many students of the subject, but none really quite up to the task (of rationally explaining the anomaly.) Thus, in exasperation, he gave up by serving up the "Jews are politically stupid" line, which is what most people are forced to light-heartedly conclude.

Podhoretz's book was written not to answer the question which entitled the book - as there is not a good answer - but to hopefully provoke the vast majority of American Jewry into searching thoughts on why they are, to their detriment, stuck in a dogma that was formed from circumstances of the past, admittedly a very long and bitter past, but that have now evolved to be so different.

The book is, again, interesting and informative. As a philo-semite (if there is such a thing), I have been perplexed by this question for a long time. This book provides invaluable insight on the subject because it is from the heart and mind of a Jew, a very intelligent, accomplished and influential one, who more or less tells his life story in his quest for an answer.

Ark of the Liberties: America and the World
Ark of the Liberties: America and the World
by Edward L. Widmer
Edition: Hardcover
100 used & new from $0.01

6 of 14 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars A Peek at the Mind of a Liberal, March 4, 2009
The following is from the first chapter of this book:

It does not take too much effort to perceive an erotic energy pulsing beneath these breathless accounts (of America.) Far from thinking the world flat, Columbus likened the earth to a pear shape with a nipple, and throughout the literature of exploration one encounters a relentless emphasis on fecundity, both human and vegetable. In retrospect, the use of the term Virginia to describe this land appears to have been somewhat ironic....In narrative after narrative, the feeling of liberty was enhanced by the description of unclothed women, eager...

To say this book is full of historical fluff is to give historical fluff a bad name. Small wonder Bill Clinton's and Ted Kennedy's praises for the book topped the list at the back of book.

As the narrative progressed, things did not improve much.

I read (but did not finish) this book in an effort to try to understand the viewpoint of the liberal. I got more than I asked for. To be fair, this book is a small improvement over Howard Zinn's.

No Title Available

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Not Ready for Prime Time, December 10, 2008
I just recently purchased one of these player, model VX787. I was amply forewarned about the buggy software by current owners and, true to form, the software and the GUI are atrocious.

I could not reliably change the sound volume while a video is being played. When it does work, it also seems to require touching the backward/play/forward buttons right above the scrollbar. As a result, the volume either does not change, or it changes, but the video either stops, or changes to a different one.

When I have more than one video in a folder, after a video finishes, the unit will chain-play the next one, as if the whole folder is a play list. I am not aware of a way to stop this.

In the eBook viewing, there is a "Page Jump" mode. However, to my dismay, the only way to specify the target page is to increment or decrement from the current page - ONE PAGE NUMBER AT A TIME. One would think that the least the interface should do is to allow the user to hold down the button and let the page number go up and down continuously until the desired number is reached (and then release,) but no - you keep pecking at the miserable screen!

In the picture/photo viewing, the change-in-progress clock always (for several seconds) appears while a picture is being formed. This happens even in the "slide show" mode. This is extremely annoying, as half of the time, you have this thing smack in the middle of your picture.

There are many other similar issues. I am "lucky" in that I understand Chinese and when the unit displays Chinese, at least I know what it is about. For example, on the welcome screen, the date and day of week will always display in Chinese. The default "read me" text file is also in Chinese. All the preloaded songs and video are in Chinese.

The user manual is in English, but it contains only very superficial information and is no help when you need it to resolve an issue.

The CD that came with the unit was unreadable. It had big scratches on the read surface.

This product is not ready for prime-time. It may meet customer expectations in certain parts of the world, but it will almost certainly frustrate the daylight out of an American consumer.

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