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Profile for Katherine Sierra > Reviews


Katherine Sierra's Profile

Customer Reviews: 11
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Helpful Votes: 174

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Katherine Sierra "Passion for learning" RSS Feed (California)

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Westcott Ice Pack Kit
Westcott Ice Pack Kit
Offered by Calumet
Price: $199.99
3 used & new from $165.00

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars I love the Ice Light (gave it 5 stars), November 26, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Westcott Ice Pack Kit (Camera)
I love the Ice Light (gave it 5 stars), and I like *most* of what's in this pack, but I was SEVERELY disappointed in the "flexible tripod". It does not feel capable of holding up an iPod, let alone this light. I don't know how anyone would be expected to trust that tripod; I certainly won't risk my lovely Ice Light on it. Instead, I have it on what is literally the strongest possible flexible tripod, the Gorillapod Focus (which I already owned for a DSLR with a large heavy lens). It works perfect with the Ice Light, and with this I can hang it and point it anywhere, off anything.

I haven't used most of the items in the kit, but everything else seems sturdy and well-made. I love the Ice Light, and it's opened up so many possibilities for me (I shoot video, mostly outdoors). And since I'm typically shooting in very tight environments, and with no place to set-up big lights (even if I had them with me, which I never do), this is my only option and it's exceeded my expectations. But I wouldn't be able to use it the way I am now if I didn't have the heavy duty Gorillapod, which isn't cheap. But if I'm going to spend $500 on a light, another $50 for a much stronger flexible tripod for it is worth it for me.

Westcott 5500  The Ice Light (Black)
Westcott 5500 The Ice Light (Black)
Offered by Kellards
Price: $399.90
8 used & new from $289.99

5.0 out of 5 stars I love this light, November 26, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I love this light. Having never seen one other than in photos, I had no idea it would be as bright as it is. I wanted it to use as a hair light in videos I shoot inside a barn (where space is extremely tight in all directions), and it's perfect. The light is beautiful and soft, and it has many levels between dimmest and brightest. I haven't had it long enough to know how rugged/robust it is, but it seems sturdy and I like the rubbery, grippy texture of the handle.

I also ordered the extra Westcott kit for this light -- the one with the barn door, flexible tripod, etc. and the only problem I have with *that* kit is that the flimsy flexible tripod is way way WAY too weak for this Ice Light. I would NEVER risk putting anything heavier than my iPhone on the included tripod, let alone this Ice Light.

I already owned the big heavy duty Gorillapod Focus — the biggest and strongest of the 'flexible' tripods – and that's what I put my Ice Light on, as I needed to mount it on a metal fence rail, and have the light straight out parallel to the floor, over the top of the person's head/shoulders. I'm used to having lights to shoot indoors, but natural light only once I'm outside, and this changes everything for me. Now that I've used it, I'm going to get the extended battery pack because I'm already a little addicted to it.

SanDisk 32GB Extreme Pro CF memory card - UDMA 90MB/s 600x (SDCFXP-032G-A91, US Retail Package)
SanDisk 32GB Extreme Pro CF memory card - UDMA 90MB/s 600x (SDCFXP-032G-A91, US Retail Package)
Offered by Obsotech
Price: $59.00
7 used & new from $59.00

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Raw speed and power, nearly impossible to read..., August 29, 2012
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I love this card. I hate that as of August 2012, there appear to be VERY few card readers that can cope with it. I have tried four already, and only through another Amazon reviewer was I able to figure out that it was the card readers, not my camera (a new Canon 5d Mark iii) that was the source of my problems.

I was able to use this card but ONLY if I connected my camera directly to my computer, which is of course a horrible workflow problem, especially for video production. However, I got the Lexar Professional USB dual slot reader, and -- as of now -- it is reading both this card and a 16gb UDMA 6 card. The box the Lexar came in (just got it yesterday) has a sticker added to the front that says "UDMA 7", so I do not know if this is an upgrade to the original device or not, but it DOES work for me.

The strangest part of all of this is that the first few times I used the card, I WAS able to pop it my trusty old Targus reader and it worked. Until a few days later when it didn't. The reader just stopped "seeing" the card... It would not show up as a drive, etc. nothing. The reader still read my SD cards, and the camera still seemed happy with the UDMA card, so I assumed the reader had simply broken with respect to CF cards. Bought another reader. Didn't work. Bought another reader (Kodak, this time). Didn't work. Bought another (Dynex) reader, which claimed UDMA compatibility. Didn't work. Meanwhile, Canon tech support and dozens of forums offered no help for this issue. It was an Amazon review for the Lexar reader that finally confirmed that it was not a camera problem, but the inability of most readers today to cope with UDMA 6 or 7. Sheesh.

Still, the card is awesome so it gets five stars. But be warned that just because you have the card does not mean you can read it from anything other than your camera... But for now I am thrilled with the new Lexar reader, and hoping it keeps working...

(oh yes, the card is actually UDMA 7, though the photo here shows UDMA 6, don't know what's up with that. Amazon tells me this IS the card I purchased, but mine definitely says UDMA 7).
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Sep 8, 2012 7:51 AM PDT

Lexar Professional USB 3.0 Dual-Slot Reader (LRW300URBNA)
Lexar Professional USB 3.0 Dual-Slot Reader (LRW300URBNA)
Offered by TheImagingWorld
Price: $24.99

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars FINALLY a reader that handles UDMA 7!, August 29, 2012
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I was about to send my three-week old Canon 5d Mark III in for service because not ONE of the FIVE different card readers I bought from RadioShack and BestBuy could handle *either* of my two (very pricey) UDMA 6 and UDMA 7 cards (16gb and 32gb). I was having to plug my camera into my computer in order to access the photos and videos, destroying my workflow. I did not want to return to SD cards, because of the painfully slow speed for transfer (I do mostly video, so massive file sizes).

The problem before this reader:
The cards worked fine in the camera, and the photos and videos -- when accessed -- appeared uncorrupted, etc. My camera had the latest firmware updates, and the cards were both new. They simply would not be seen by my Targus, Kodak, Dynex, readers, period, no matter which computer, cables, whatever I used. Though they claimed UDMA compliance. Nobody at my camera dealer warned me when they sold me these high-end, high-speed cards. Canon tech support DID suspect that UDMA 6 and 7 might *be* a problem for card readers, but nobody could explain why these cards were being sold yet nearly impossible to actually *read*.

Then I found a review here where someone described the exact problem I was having, and mentioned that Lexar seemed willing to support him by sending a replacement when the first one failed to read his card.

So, last ditch effort, I ordered this and OMG IT WORKS. Read both of my cards, just like that. Hoping it stays reliable, but given that this little relatively inexpensive piece of gear is the weak link in a many-thousands-of-dollars workflow, I am relieved to see ANYTHING working, and am going to order a second as a back-up.

Meanwhile, I hope camera dealers, card manufacturers, etc. can be more up front about this problem and if they are going to recommend and sell these cards, they need to ensure better/more reliable support. My work came to a horrible screeching, crunching, grinding halt over this. (plugging the camera in is not a scalable, productive approach to full-time video work).
Thanks Lexar and the guy who wrote the other review that convinced me this was the problem (Canon thought it might be some deep and subtle circuit board in the camera, etc.)

Seductive Interaction Design: Creating Playful, Fun, and Effective User Experiences, Portable Document (Voices That Matter)
Seductive Interaction Design: Creating Playful, Fun, and Effective User Experiences, Portable Document (Voices That Matter)
Price: $17.27

25 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A lot of power in this playful book, August 26, 2011
I love this book. You can get something useful just by randomly opening it to any page, though I strongly suggest reading it start to finish, and then again with a highlighter! I was looking forward to this book for some time, though a little skeptical given: A) the bold promise of the book and B) this is a topic my own work centers around, so my bar was set quite high. But after spending time with the book, I believe it will be a *HUGE* help to anyone who takes the messages within it seriously.

It's a playful book on a playful topic, but that doesn't mean it isn't powerful. The author has done an amazing job of synthesizing research and implementation ideas from a wide range of domains, all devoted to one goal: creating sustainably engaging user experiences. He manages to do this while including a topic that I typically do NOT like: gamification. However, the author understands the deep implications of how these (game mechanics) techniques can be used, and stays focused on a user-centered context (as opposed to pure marketing-driven manipulation).

This book may look like yet another superficial "make things fun" or even "delightful customer experiences" book, but it's much more. If you want to give your users richer experiences at every level from initial exposure to more advanced use, and create users/customers more likely to stick around and grow with the product, I recommend this book. It's the only book I have found that summarizes these topics in a useful, actionable, way.

Footnote: I was shocked to find my name listed in the credits as an "inspiration" for the topic. I don't know the author, and I would have been extremely disappointed if the book failed to live up to its promise, given my "association" with it. So I was both relieved and thrilled with how helpful and insightful the book is. As an end-user of many, many products and services, I want a world where those who design and deliver user experiences have taken the message of this book seriously.
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jul 23, 2014 2:16 PM PDT

Color Correction Handbook: Professional Techniques for Video and Cinema
Color Correction Handbook: Professional Techniques for Video and Cinema
by Alexis Van Hurkman
Edition: Paperback
38 used & new from $40.65

32 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Instant confidence boost for video editors, January 21, 2011
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I am fairly new to video editing, and a one-woman production but striving for higher standards with each project, and now shooting with Canon DSLRs and high-quality prime lenses. It made no sense to take such care in capturing and editing video, then fail to properly color correct. I had been getting by with basic usage of (and much trial and error) Final Cut Pro two and three way color correctors, but did not truly understand what I was doing, how to properly use the Final Cut scopes, and was way too intimidated by Apple's Color. This book has not only given me a much richer understanding of how to use the tools for color correction and grading, but it has also given me a much better sense of what, why, and when to apply certain approaches to correct typical problems I was struggling with constantly including noise and underexposure.

The format is extremely useful and learner-friendly, with a conversational tutoring style that walks you through a wide range of common problems then showing you not just the BEST adjustment, but also the other possible adjustments you might imagine trying, and then you can see the results with the waveform next to each image. Of course there is always the problem that many of the images showing subtle shifts from corrections simply do not come through well in the printed page. The color and paper quality of the book are good, but there are still some shots where the before and after are just too slight, especially when talking about noise/grain, but this book has done a better production job of this than some of the others I have tried.

I was a little put off by the first part of the book where the author emphasized the importance of having the proper hardware for color correction and grading... I very nearly quit reading the book at chapter one! It gave me the impression that this book was not for me, at home, with my Mac and Final Cut Studio software, but no dedicated scopes, monitors, hardware controllers, or even a properly configured "room" (turns out my entire office is wrong... Eg. workstation faces a window, has way too much uncontrolled light and color surrounding it, etc.). While I recognize the importance of having the proper set-up for anyone who is going to be a pro colorist, the book itself if enormously useful to ANYONE who simply wants to take the next step in improving their video, and I would think especially all those new "digital cinema" folks moving from still photography to video thanks to Canon.

I am so grateful for this book. This is a fairly complex topic, but once you begin to understand the use of the scopes, your confidence and skills will take a huge leap forward. Thank-you to Alexis for such a wonderful book.

Zoom H4n Handy Portable Digital Recorder DVD Video Training Manual Tutorial
Zoom H4n Handy Portable Digital Recorder DVD Video Training Manual Tutorial
Price: $34.95

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Feels like I have a new superpower now, December 30, 2010
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Watching this video not only answered every question I had, but shoved it permanently into my brain. It also gave me the inspiration to do things I had not considered before. I bought the Zoom just to do external capture of better audio for video work, but now I am having fun exploring other capabilities including multiple track recording (which has one of the most adorable interfaces I have seen on a piece of tech gear, ever).

Granted, I have very low expectations for most training videos of this type, but this video so greatly exceeded them that I wish other forms of product training used it as a standard. It does exactly what you hope for: teach step-by-step tutorials on doing anything you want to do with the Zoom, but adds the one most important thing most manuals and training leave out -- teaching you the "why" for these features along with the "how". And this guy does it with an enthusiasm for the product and capabilities that is infectious and motivating.

If you are in any way overwhelmed by the Zoom, that will immediately stop. After the first 30 minutes of this video, I could not imagine why I had been reluctant to use more than the most basic default options. I should mention that I do not come from a pro audio background, so most of the terminology was new to me, but the examples and explanations for everything in this video made it all clear and useful.

Best use of my time and money, period. I wish he did training videos for all my other non-audio gear!

Equine Fitness: A Program of Exercises and Routines for Your Horse
Equine Fitness: A Program of Exercises and Routines for Your Horse
by Jec Aristotle Ballou
Edition: Paperback
Price: $15.89
65 used & new from $9.64

52 of 52 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Finally I know what, when, and how to help my horse, November 7, 2010
I have bought three copies of this book so far: one I gave away to my trainer (who loved it), one to mess with (cut out cards, write notes on, drag out to the barn, etc.), and one to keep on the coffee table for constant reference. Just the chapter and exercises on the horse's neck were, for me, the best and clearest description of how to help build your horse's top line in the most effective, healthy way was worth much more than the price of the book.

I have gained a lot more confidence from Jec's clear, careful explanations and the excellent illustrations, so that I now have a plan when I go out to work with my horses. As winter and rain season approaches, I also now feel like I have exercises I can do even in a very small space, and even if it is too wet to actually ride. I spent the last year working on getting one of my gaited horses to trot, and trot with a good stretched top line and also 'on the bit', but was still struggling until Jec helped put the rest of the pieces together.

Just a few of the specific things I have learned to do in this book include:
How to do a proper warm-up
Vary the workouts throughout the week and month to better "cross-train" my horses for better sustainable fitness
How to strengthen the hind end
The importance of working on getting the correct bend, and tools for helping make it happen
How and why NOT to make the most common mistake of "forcing" contact in a frame the horse is not ready for (and how to evaluate what they ARE ready for)
How to bring a horse back from a vacation or other layoff
How to work the older and/or stiffer horse
But mainly, I now have a much deeper understanding and rich toolset for helping my horses become better athletes in a way that is sustainable, healthy and feels good for both horse and rider.

I have Icelandic horses -- all gaited -- and though this book does not address specific development of gaited horses, everything in it is exactly what my horses need to work better in all gaits, and especially to enhance their "special" gaits (tolt and flying pace).

What the book does NOT address (or try to) is rider performance and fitness. So, that needs to
be the next book please! Because as wonderful as the book is, it is clear that some of what horses need to become better athletes is simply for us to become better riders.
Overall, this is the best money I have spent on a horse book... all three times!

Sound Demon Audio Vest Grey/Orange, Female, Medium
Sound Demon Audio Vest Grey/Orange, Female, Medium

5.0 out of 5 stars Surprisingly good sound! I love it., June 11, 2010
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
With my iPod nano on about 25% volume, this vest pumps out surprisingly good, clear audio. I got it for horseback riding and skateboarding, and it's wonderful so far. The vest is simple and well-made, and the devices are all balanced in a way that makes the weight of the speakers, your iPod, and the amplifier a non-issue. It's *especially* nice for horseback riding because headphones aren't safe if it limits your hearing, but the other problem with headphones is that the horse cannot hear the audio (yes, this can matter when you're working on a musical performance or even just establishing tempo, etc.)

I haven't tried to wash it yet, but it does say you can leave the wiring in as long as you remove the speakers and amp. The instructions that came with it says "Dry Cleaning Preferred" and, well, Really? It's marketed as a SKATEBOARDING vest and they're suggesting dry cleaning? ;) Don't think so.

Pros: Lightweight, well-made, good clear audio at a reasonable volume, VERY user-friendly, relatively inexpensive. Uses 4 AA batteries (though I don't know how quickly it'll burn through batteries since I just got it...)

Cons: the ultra-bright orange stripe (some of you might like it), no external controls for the iPad the way some snowboard jackets have (though that would have dramatically increased the price), the audio on *my* iPod distorted on base at about 50% volume, depending on the song. This wasn't a problem for *me* -- it was MORE than loud enough for my use, but if I was trying to be a human boombox for other riders, people would need to be fairly close by.

So far, I LOVE it. It does exactly what I hoped it would do, and better than I was expecting. I have no idea how robust it is, so I'll post an update after I've had it in use for awhile.

Different: Escaping the Competitive Herd
Different: Escaping the Competitive Herd
by Youngme Moon
Edition: Hardcover
55 used & new from $0.28

8 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Inspirational, direct, simple, beautiful, April 24, 2010
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This book "eats its own dog food" by being... different. It looks like an ordinary business book: standard book format, typical page layout with mostly text in an unremarkable typeface. But my response to the book was far from typical. I dog-eared 90% of the pages. I underlined, highlighted, post-it-noted, and quoted out loud for my husband at least half the book.

Most importantly, I was more inspired by this book than just about any other business book I've read. It's the book I wish everyone would read. And I mean everyone... not just those running companies, but those of us who are customers and might be able to put a stop to the madness of the features/choices arms race associated with "hyper-maturity".

I would have loved this book for what it *says* even it weren't also beautifully written (or fabulously edited). I do, however, wish it were more prescriptive. A book this motivating SHOULD (in my opinion) do a better job of giving you more practical advice to begin channeling that motivation into useful action. The author is clear from the beginning that it's NOT a prescriptive how-to, but still...

The fact that I gave it five stars *despite* its lack of implementation details is a testimony of just how much I appreciate what the book HAS done for me. So worth it!

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