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Reviews Written by
Stephen Pletko "Uncle Stevie" (London, Ontario, Canada)

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Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom
Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom
DVD ~ Idris Elba
Price: CDN$ 6.88
10 used & new from CDN$ 3.39

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "This is a film about a man who has changed the world", Sept. 1 2014

“I have walked a long walk to freedom. It has been a lonely road and it is not over yet.

I know that my country was not made to be a land of hatred. No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin.

People learn to hate.

They can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart.”

The above comes at the very end of this engrossing movie that is based on the 1995 autobiography (entitled “Long Walk to Freedom”) of Nelson Mandela (July 1918 to Dec. 2013).

This movie chronicles Mandela’s early life, education, marriage to Winnie Mandela, and his 27 year prison sentence before becoming South Africa’s first democratically elected president in 1994.

I found that this movie was very realistic.

This movie is just not about Mandela (Idris Elba) but is also about his second wife, Winnie Mandela (Naomie Harris). Both actors do a good job in their roles. Elba seemed to have a certain charisma that kept me drawn to the movie. (The real Nelson Mandela also had charisma.)

The background music was impressive. It featured music of Bob Marley, U2, etc.

This movie was filmed entirely on location in South Africa.

This movie has not yet gained enough in box office receipts to reach its break-even point. I’m not sure why. It’s a well-crafted movie with good acting that’s intensely emotional and deeply stirring.

Finally, the DVD itself (released 2014) has two extras. Both are interesting.

In conclusion, this movie details Nelson Mandela’s extraordinary journey to becoming one of history’s most iconic figures!!

(2013; 2 hr, 15 min excluding end credits; wide screen; 20 scenes)

<<Stephen PLETKO, London, Ontario, Canada>>


A Window on Eternity: A Biologist's Walk Through Gorongosa National Park
A Window on Eternity: A Biologist's Walk Through Gorongosa National Park
by Edward O. Wilson
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 34.99
47 used & new from CDN$ 6.30

5.0 out of 5 stars Examining one of the biologically richest places in Africa and perhaps the world!!, Aug. 24 2014

"Gorongosa National Park [in Mozambique, Southeast Africa], with the mountain [Mt. Gorongosa] forming its northwestern border, is a global treasure. Its forested plateau is the southernmost extension of Africa's Great Rift Valley, a domain of savanna, dry forest, and grassland centered around Lake Urema and fed by a lacework of rivers and tributary streams. The eastern slope of Mount Gorongosa is covered by a series of vegetation zones weakly divided by elevation and capped by the summit rain forest. Close by rise three seldom visited inselbergs, miniature peaks of lower elevation.

To the east of the massif is a region of caves and exposed limestone ridges and intervening deep ravines, their sides and bottoms heavily grown in rain forest, also awaiting exploration. This mix provides the greatest variety of habitats of any park in Mozambique, and one of the most diverse in the entire world.

In the whole of the park have been found so far 398 bird species...compared with 914 in all of North America; 123 mammals...which is well above the 67 species Yellowstone National Park; 34 [reptile species]; and 43 [amphibian species]. It is just an educated guess, but I am reasonably certain that the resident species of insects, arachnids, and other invertebrates number in the tens of thousands."

The above comes from this revealing book by Edward O. Wilson. He is one of the leading biologists in the world. Wilson is the author of many prize-winning books. He has received more than one hundred awards including the U.S. National Medal of Science, two Pulitzer Prizes in nonfiction, International Prize for Biology, and the Carl Sagan Award for Public Understanding of Science. Wilson is currently Honorary Curator in Entomology and University Research Professor Emeritus, Harvard University.

There are three parts to this book:

(1) Text or main narrative (by Wilson)
(2) Photographs in color
(3) DVD (by an award-winning filmmaker)

What can I say about this extraordinary book? Between Wilson's splendid main narrative and the gorgeous photographs, I learned a lot about a piece of "paradise."

If that's not enough, the DVD (a "companion" to the book) entitled "The Guide" is beautifully filmed. It catches the essence of the book through the eyes of one of the park's young indigenous inhabitants (who is also briefly mentioned in the book and may well, in the future, become this park's ambassador). We also get to see the man himself, Professor Wilson, and the philanthropist who made everything possible, Greg Carr. (It was Carr who conceived and brought to reality the rebirth of this majestic park.)

(Note that the DVD is located in a pouch at the back of the book.)

Where does the title of this book come from? The wild lands of Africa (that includes Gorongosa National Park) gave birth to humanity, and it is this natural world, still evolving, that may outlast us humans and become our legacy, our WINDOW ON ETERNITY.

Finally, the front cover of this book (displayed above by Amazon) shows the lush canopy of the forest and two inselbergs in the western part of Gorongosa National Park.

In conclusion, the subtitle of this book is entitled "A biologist's walk through Gorongosa National Park." What a wonderful walk it is!!

(Book: published 2014; prologue; 11 chapters; main narrative 140 pages; acknowledgements; notes; index)
(DVD: 2013; 40 min; wide screen)

<<Stephen PLETKO, London, Ontario, Canada>>


How Do I Keep My Employees Motivated?
How Do I Keep My Employees Motivated?
by Phd George Langelett
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 21.57
13 used & new from CDN$ 15.55

4.0 out of 5 stars Get this book for your favourite office tyrant!!, Aug. 17 2014

"I am concerned with the direction that corporate America is headed. I am convinced that empathy-based management is a healthier and more effective way to manage your employees than traditional management practices based on temporary inducements. The practice of empathy-based management needs to become a conversation in your organization and across corporate America about what works and what is ineffective in the real world. I hope you'll make this book a starting point for this much-needed discussion."

The above comes from the conclusion of this pioneering book by George Langelett, PhD. He is a professor of management and economics at South Dakota State University in Brookings, SD. Also, Langelett is a member of the Academy of Management.

So just what is empathy? Langelett prefers humanistic psychologist Carl Roger's definition:

"Real Communication occurs...when we listen with understanding. What does this mean? It means to see the expressed idea and attitude from the other person's point of view, to sense how it feels to be [that person], to achieve [that person's] frame of reference in regard to the thing [that person] is talking about."

Langelett defines empathy-based management as follows:

"A new protocol in which a manager's ability to empathize is a prerequisite to effectively performing the duties of management, including planning, organizing, leading, and controlling."

This book is well-written (though repetitive and wordy in spots). I liked the neuroscience that was presented which gives strong validity to the effectiveness of empathy-based management. I especially appreciated the conclusions or summaries found at the end of each chapter that included a preview of what was to be discussed in the next chapter.

Another hallmark of this book is that it includes hypothetical dialogue between a manager and employee in order to illustrate a particular empathetic technique.

There are six appendices. Each one is short and concise. My two favourite ones are entitled "A Journey through Management Theories of Motivation" and "Managing by Fear vs. Managing by Empathy."

There are also three worksheets. These are important because they allow you to put the book's core information into practice immediately.

Finally, the only problem I had with this book is that there is no index. This by itself is not a big problem since it can be made up for in other ways. For example, the table of contents, instead of just listing the titles of each chapter as this book does, could have had indicated the names of each section included in a particular chapter. Also, there could have been a glossary listing key words and key terms that are paramount to empathy-based management.

I say this because this is an instructional book and access to information is thus critical.

In conclusion, I feel that this is a pioneering work that may very well help change the direction of corporate America!! Best of all, empathy-based behavior is not difficult to learn as Langelett tells us:

"Management literature often treats empathy as a fixed personality trait. This assumption is incorrect. Much like learning to drive a car, empathetic behavior is a skill that can be mastered with practice by virtually anyone."

(first published 2014; preface; introduction; 5 chapters; conclusion; main narrative 135 pages; acknowledgements; 6 appendices; 3 worksheets; about the author; notes; bibliography; further reading)

<<Stephen PLETKO, London, Ontario, Canada>>


Land of the Pharoahs
Land of the Pharoahs
DVD ~ Jack Hawkins
Offered by MotionPicturesUnlimited
Price: CDN$ 59.99
11 used & new from CDN$ 19.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The story of the FIRST WONDER of the ancient world!!, Aug. 10 2014
This review is from: Land of the Pharoahs (DVD)

"Now five-thousand years of might, mystery and majesty sweep down upon you as the story of the first wonder of the world becomes the greatest wonder of the entertainment world!

So vast, that making it was the screen's supreme achievement!

So powerful that seeing it will be your greatest dramatic experience!

A motion picture triumph that you will never forget!"

The above comes from the theatrical trailer of this engrossing epic.

We are presented with a fictional account of the building of the Great Pyramid (the oldest and largest of the three pyramids found in Egypt). (Note that the Great Pyramid served as a tomb for the Pharaoh.)

This movie stars two British actors: Jack Hawkins (1919 to 1973) and a young Joan Collins as Pharaoh Khufu (also known as Cheops) and his second wife, Queen Nelifer. They give good performances as do all the others involved in this spectacle. (Collins first appears about 39 minutes into this movie.)

This film has literally a cast of thousands (almost 9800 extras in one scene alone).

The sets are magnificently detailed including the pyramid's inner labyrinth, booby-trapped so no one can learn its secrets and live. You get to also see vast deserted vistas that fill the screen. The vivid colours shown are quite astonishing.

I thought that the background music enhanced each scene.

This movie was filmed on location in Egypt and in Rome studios.

Surprisingly, this film was a box-office failure since it did not quite break even. I don't know why it was seen as a failure.

Finally, the DVD itself (the one released in 2013) has two extras. Both are good.

In conclusion, this is a truly lavish production whose story can be summed up by what one character says:

"To build a tomb to house one man in his second life, thousands are finding misery in this life."

(1955; 1 hr, 45 min; wide screen; 27 scenes)

<<Stephen PLETKO, London, Ontario, Canada>>


Struck By Genius: How a Brain Injury Made Me a Mathematical Marvel
Struck By Genius: How a Brain Injury Made Me a Mathematical Marvel
by Maureen Seaberg
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 29.99
8 used & new from CDN$ 3.96

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A traumatic brain injury transforms an ordinary mind into a beautiful mind, Aug. 2 2014

"I struggled to my feet. Not only was I in a lot of pain, but I was having trouble getting my bearings. The world looked different: off-kilter, dreamlike. Everything that moved had trails of colored light following close behind it.

There were triangles and squares in repeating patterns wherever I looked, from the windows to the lampposts to the street signs...

I rubbed my eyes. The glow of the streetlights seemed amplified. I could see the cars going by, little chipped shapes bouncing off their hoods."

The above is what was experienced after a brutal mugging and is found in this fascinating book by Jason Padgett (and Maureen Seaberg). Padgett is now an aspiring number theorist. He's an award-winning artist who hand-draws the stunning geometric patterns he sees everywhere. (Seaberg is an author with several forms of synesthesia (see below). She has written for numerous notable publications.)

This book briefly describes Padgett's life before his TBI (traumatic brain injury) that resulted from a mugging and his long struggle to understand what was happening to him after his TBI. Padgett is determined to overcome psychological and neurological trauma and fully embrace his new mind that now has an extraordinary gift.

What is that extraordinary gift? Answer: acquired savant syndrome (the first documented case) with mathematical synesthesia.

(Savant in the term "savant syndrome" is one whose mental capabilities are quite limited but who possesses some extraordinary talent. Padgett's talent is mathematics and his other mental capabilities seem not to be affected as in the typical savant. Synesthesia is a process in which one type of stimulus produces a secondary, subjective sensation, as when some colour evokes a specific smell. In Padgett's case, he associates shapes with numbers.)

What's even more amazing is that before his TBI, Padgett was a party-loving jock and a college dropout who did not make it past pre-algebra.

This is a true story of sorrow and joy, of falling in love, finding a passion for mathematics and physics, and above all, discovering a profound sense of wonder for the order in our seemingly chaotic world.

Finally, there are twelve colour photographs near the center of this book. My favourite has the following caption:

"My conception of particle fusion [or nuclear fusion where two atomic nuclei combine to form a more stable heavier atomic nucleus resulting in a considerable amount of energy being released]. I imagine the center hexagon [in the photo] as the inert iron core of a star [like our sun] and the six surrounding hexagons [in the photo] as the outer mass, collapsing due to the immense pull of gravity. I'm fascinated by the process of fusion and the possibility of harnessing it to create unlimited, clean energy."

In conclusion this is a well-written book about the story of an ordinary man who was transformed when a traumatic brain injury left him with an extraordinary gift.

(first published 2014; a note from Maureen; 18 chapters; main narrative 225 pages; acknowledgements; bibliography; index)

<<Stephen PLETKO, London, Ontario, Canada>>


The Angel Ultimatum
The Angel Ultimatum

4.0 out of 5 stars This book is "dedicated to every caring person who has ever, or will ever live", July 25 2014

"[In this analysis] we will approach the Bible as being the most complex literary puzzle ever created, and we will examine two completely different solutions [with respect to religion] to that puzzle."

The above comes from the introduction of this extremely interesting e-book by Alexander Mann. Mann is an author, producer, screenwriter, and actor. He develops new movie projects through his Production Company, Alexander Mann Productions, and works with notable talent throughout the entertainment industry.


In this book, Mann examines the traditional biblical explanation of creation where angels (supernatural beings) are created and whose actions in Heaven negatively affect the human race. There is, thus, a need for salvation through the Messiah, with the message of that salvation entrusted to religion.

Mann presents an alternative and, in my opinion, plausible explanation for everything that has taken place within the creation of individuals. Free will, the concepts of good & evil, and angels figure prominently in this explanation.

Throughout Mann's analysis, the role of religion is considered. (According to Mann, the word "religion" does not appear in the Old Testament Hebrew and only appears five times in the New Testament Greek.)

I was impressed with Mann's analysis. It is well-presented, thorough, and rational. As well, I was impressed with Mann's ability to conceptualize. As a result, I learned quite a bit from this book.

I'm looking forward to seeing the movie version of this book (of which Mann wrote the screenplay). It has already been announced on the Internet Movie Database (IMDb).

Finally, the only problem I had with this book is lack of references. The only reference given is that "all biblical references are from the New International Version of the Bible." However, there was information given that made me wonder where it was obtained. For a book of this type, I feel references are especially critical.

In conclusion, this is a well-written book. We're told in the "about the author" section that Alexander Mann has suffered the deaths of his older brother, his father, and most recently his mother. It seems to me that these losses combined with his ability to conceptualize (mentioned above) has enabled him to create an original work of depth that appeals to both the heart and intellect.

(First published 2014; introduction; 15 chapters; bibliography; about the author; 1740 KB; print length 90 pages)

<<Stephen PLETKO, London, Ontario, Canada>>


Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (Single-Disc Edition)
Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (Single-Disc Edition)
Offered by Fulfillment Express CA
Price: CDN$ 24.62
48 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A solid sequel and ending to the Indiana Jones series, July 19 2014

"Whoever finds [the crystal skull] will control the greatest natural force the world has ever known."

The above (spoken with a Russian accent) comes from this science fiction adventure movie, the fourth film in the Indiana Jones franchise.

It was created by George Lucas and directed by Steven Spielberg.

This movie was released nineteen years after the previous film (the fantastic "The Last Crusade," 1989). It acknowledges the age of its star, Harrison Ford (who plays Indiana Jones) by being set in 1957. (Ford was 64 in this movie.)

This movie also pays tribute to sci-fi B-movies of the 1950s, pitting Indy against Soviet Agents who are searching for a telepathic crystal skull. The Head Soviet Agent is Irina Spalko (Cate Blanchett, who gives a good performance).

Indy is aided by his former partner, Marion Ravenwood (Karen Allen) and her son Mutt Williams (Shia LaBeouf). Marion appears in the last half of this movie.

To keep continuity with the three previous Indiana Jones movies, traditional stunt work was used instead of computer-generated doubles.

I personally enjoyed this movie. Yes, there are some absurd scenes (liked the "nuked the fridge" scene) but overall it was a good movie with, what I thought, was an important message. I especially liked the fact that this movie gave brief homage to Indy's father, Henry Jones Sr. (played by the first 007, Sean Connery) and to his late archaeological academic colleague Marcus Brody (Denholm Elliott, 1922-1992). We even get to see very briefly the Lost Ark (which was the relic Indy sought in the sensational blockbuster, "Raiders of the Lost Ark," 1981).

Although this film is no "Raiders" or "Last Crusade," it does have its moments.

Director Steven Spielberg said in an interview that "I'm very happy with this movie." (This is unlike his negative comments about the dark "Temple of Doom," 1984.) He even said Cate Blanchett's Irina Spalko was his favourite villain of the series. (Note that Blanchett was 12 years old when "Raiders" came out.)

As with the previous films, this movie features the unforgettable music of the great John Williams.

This movie was a financial success, grossing over 780 million dollars worldwide, making it the franchise's highest-grossing film. (This is probably due to nostalgia for the series. I found "Raiders" and "Last Crusade" much more entertaining.)

Finally, the DVD itself (single-disc edition released in 2008) has 2 extras. I found both to be interesting.

In conclusion, this is a solid sequel to end the Indiana Jones series!!

*** 1/2

(2008; 1 hr, 55 min excluding end credits; wide screen; 16 scenes)

<<Stephen PLETKO, London, Ontario, Canada>>


How Sherlock Changed the World [Import]
How Sherlock Changed the World [Import]
Price: CDN$ 19.29
17 used & new from CDN$ 15.58

5.0 out of 5 stars It's elementary! A documentary that blends real-life forensics with the fictional forensics of Sherlock Holmes, July 12 2014

"Sherlock Holmes, the first CSI, continues to inspire detectives on TV and at the movies. He is as popular as ever. But his lasting legacy is that, even today, he continues to solve crimes."

The above is said by the narrator at the end of this spectacularly interesting documentary that blends real-life forensic analysis with Sherlockian forensic analysis.

I learned quite a bit from this documentary, not only about forensics but about Sherlock Holmes (and his alter ego, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, 1859 to 1930).

Using a combination of interviews (with forensic scientists, crime historians, Sherlock Holmes' experts, etc.), dramatic recreations, and archival footage (some in black and white), this documentary explains the impact and legacy of the most famous fictional crime fighter in history.

Here are some of the chapters found in this documentary:

(1) Jack the Ripper
(2) Deductive reasoning
(3) Blood evidence
(4) Bullets and ballistics
(5) The science of poisoning
(6) Fingerprints and fakes
(7) The art of tracing footsteps

Finally, what I especially liked about this documentary is the use of real high-profile murder cases with footage of the real crime scenes.

In conclusion, not only is this an instructional documentary on forensics, it is an entertaining one as well. I leave you with this piece of wisdom from Sherlock Holmes:

"Once you've excluded the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth."

(2013; 2 hr; 2 episodes; wide screen; 12 chapters)

<<Stephen PLETKO, London, Ontario, Canada>>


Shadow World
Shadow World
by Chris Impey
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 18.71
11 used & new from CDN$ 16.10

5.0 out of 5 stars Is this a sci-fi novel? Only the SHADOW (and this reviewer) know for sure, July 5 2014
This review is from: Shadow World (Paperback)

"If this [novel] is about anything, it's the boundary between creation and madness, art and science, the natural and the artifactual [meaning "of or related to artifacts"]. Characters are fictional although some are inhabited by amalgamated aspects of real people. The science is factual but I insert plausible speculation in places...

[This novel] hopefully explores new terrain between fiction, fantasy, and popular science writing...

[This novel] has twenty-eight sections organized into...chapters. Each [chapter] is geographically specific, connected to and yet disconnected from the [chapters] that precede and follow. Each chapter has a particular iconography: a celestial body, a substance, and an artifact."

The above comes from this VERY INTERESTING and well-written novel by Chris Impey (or Cimpey as he refers to himself). He is a University Distinguished Professor and Deputy Head of the Department of Astronomy at the University of Arizona. Impey is also a writer and has written many popular articles on cosmology and astrobiology, two introductory textbooks, and four science books. This is his first novel.

Many years ago I saw a science fiction (and horror) movie (directed by David Cronenberg). For those that didn't understand this movie beyond what was being shown, they saw it as a mess. For those who understood it, they saw it as exceptional. I saw it as a masterpiece.

The same goes for this novel. In my opinion, this novel is a masterpiece. (Unlike the movie mentioned above, even if you don't "get" this novel, it still is an interesting read.)

This novel follows the life of the Scot, McEvoy, from age 19 to age 40. It is filled with (among other things) action, adventure, family, philosophy, politics, science, steamy sex, travel, and even some religion.

Who is McEvoy? At one point in the novel, he's described as a "shadow person." He displays a wide range of behaviors. The most important, in my opinion, is that he is a questioner. (This is how the reader should be when reading this novel--as a questioner.)

We globetrot with McEvoy starting from the Arizona desert and ending up in Sweden, near the Arctic Circle. Each of the adventures (one per chapter) seems to be different from the other one with the only common element being our hero. In fact, after reading this novel, the unsuspecting reader might view it as a collection of short stories. (Don't believe me? Just read some of the reviews on Amazon's American site.)

I'm here to tell you that this novel is definitely NOT a collection of short stories. As the author tells us above, each seemingly separate adventure is "connected...and yet disconnected."

I forgot to tell you that each time McEvoy goes to a different place, he doesn't remember how he got there. He has memory problems and other problems. Our hero has many "chance encounters" and "game-show twists" in his life.

I especially liked two things about this novel: the science and the humor.

Impey describes, through his characters, all the science quite well throughout his novel. The more of a science background you have, the more you'll probably enjoy this novel. (Realize though, you don't have to have a science background to read this novel.)

The humor found throughout is impeccable. (Impey must have been laughing uncontrollably to himself as he was writing some of this stuff.) Much of this humour is blended with fantasy. The separate fantasies (whether funny or not) that occur throughout this novel should tell you that something strange is going on.

Now, to answer the question posed in the title of this review: Is this a science-fiction novel? Definitely YES (but it's not obvious). In fact, it's an exceptional sci-fi novel! However, you'll only realize this if you consider the "big-picture," and not the snapshots presented in each chapter.

Tips on reading this novel:

(1) Carefully read the preface (much of which is reproduced above)
(2) Pay attention to detail
(3) Pay attention to the science
(4) Give special attention to the first chapter
(5) After you have read this novel, carefully analyze the two lists of objects found in it.
(6) Don't worry if you don't "get" this novel initially. (For me, I never understood this novel until I finished it!)

Finally, I found the cover image of this novel (displayed above by Amazon) quite relevant to its title. This cover image's artistic title is "Wintery."

In conclusion, Chris Impey has written an impressive debut novel. Now, the question is:

"Will he quit his day job and write only science fiction novels?"

(Perhaps he already has in some "shadow" universe.)

(first published 2013; preface; 7 chapters or 28 sections; 4 sections per chapter; main narrative 325 pages; about the author)

<<Stephen PLETKO, London, Ontario, Canada>>


[New Technology] OxyLED T10 COB(Chips on Board) 7-Level Touch / Sliding Sensitive Control Dimmer, Eye-care LED Desk Lamp with Free Angle Adjustment Gooseneck (Piano Black)
[New Technology] OxyLED T10 COB(Chips on Board) 7-Level Touch / Sliding Sensitive Control Dimmer, Eye-care LED Desk Lamp with Free Angle Adjustment Gooseneck (Piano Black)
Offered by Hisgadget Canada
Price: CDN$ 62.99
3 used & new from CDN$ 62.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A stylish, ultra-modern desk lamp that adopts energy-efficient solid-state Light-Emitting Diode (LED) technology, June 28 2014

"[1] Seven levels [of] brightness
[2] Eye-protection
[3] Free-angle adjustment [of lamp light]
[4] Safe touching [or easy touching of lamp brightness controls]

[5] Long life [of LED bulbs]
[6] Energy saving
[7] Eco-friendly
[8] Top-class LED"

The above eight features are what you'll find printed on the back of the box that contains this ultra-modern lamp by OxyLED. (The name of this lamp that's printed on the box is "Dimmable COB Smart LED Desk Lamp" where "COB" stands for "Chips On-Board.")

Contents of the box:

(1) Desk lamp
(2) Adapter (attached to one end of a cord with a round plug-in at the other end)
(3) Instruction manual (six pages)
(4) Warranty card

I immediately took the lamp out of its box and was impressed by its design (pictured above by Amazon). This lamp appears to be of modular design consisting of these components:

(1) Lamp base (which has a touch panel to adjust brightness)
(2) Lamp arm (that is bendable or adjustable)
(3) Lamp head (that has the COB LED bulbs)

I was also amazed by this lamp's stability considering that you can bend the lamp arm a full ninety degrees from the vertical, it's not heavy, and it has a small base diameter.

This lamp is quite easy to set-up and operate. The instruction manual has large diagrams to guide you. Actually, I should say that it's "lucky" that there are diagrams because some of what's written can be confusing. For example, the adapter (indicated above) is referred to as a "charger" several times.

As well, the diagram showing angle adjustment in the instruction manual seems to be wrong. It shows how the angle can be adjusted through ninety degrees from, what appears, to be an arbitrary reference point. This diagram is incorrect because it doesn't take the ninety degree angle from vertical. In other words, you can only bend the lamp arm maximally from vertical to horizontal (or horizontal to vertical). Doing otherwise may cause damage.

I tried to find the longevity of this lamp's LED from the instruction manual. I encountered these statements: "LEDs have a lifetime of many tens of thousands of hours" and "Extremely long service life: >10000 hours." As you can see, nothing specific was given. By chance, I noticed on the box this lamp came in, a clearly defined information square above feature [5] indicated at the beginning of this review. It said "20 years 50,000 hours."

I take this to mean that the LED in this lamp has a longevity of (50,000 hours or 20 years). Is this true? Doing the math and crunching the numbers, (50,000 hours actually equals about 5.5 years). This result assumes that the lamp is on twenty-four hours a day for 365 days a year.

Perhaps, what they mean is that the lamp can be used for 20 years but only when used a certain amount of hours per day. (Certainly not twenty-four hours per day as indicated above.) Again, doing the math reveals the lamp could be used for just under 7 hours per day!! This is astonishing! (Personally, I thought this usage per day was going to be much, much less but the numbers don't lie.) This information should be in the instruction manual.

The instruction manual indicated nothing about support for this lamp if something goes wrong (such as a defective LED bulb burning out). No telephone numbers or Internet addresses are given. There is no mention of a warranty.

However, what the manual does say is "not [to] attempt to dismantle [this] lamp."

There is a separate "warranty card." (This card is small and I almost missed it.) It states that "You can return this product [within the warranty period] for a replacement for any valid reason as defined in our return policy." As well, an Internet address is given. I could not find any "return policy."

I checked out this lamp's website. It has a support page and there is a return policy. (Note that there is other stuff on this website, not just this lamp.)

Finally, I should explain my final rating. This lamp is "cool." It is sleek, stylish and easy to operate. I especially liked that it is LED eye protective and has a nifty angle adjustment. The light produced is soothing and relaxing. I give the lamp itself a rating of 5 stars. I was not impressed with the instruction manual for the reasons I outlined above. I give it 3 stars. My final rating is an average of these two separate ratings.

In conclusion, this ultra-modern "Dimmable COB Smart LED Desk Lamp" should provide you with solid performance for many years!!!

{LED bulb longevity: 50,000 hours (or 20 years using lamp 6 hours and 50 minutes per day); BASE DIAMETER: 4.5"; Length (bendable arm); 14"; Height (arm fully vertical): 25.5"; Height (arm fully horizontal): 14.5"; CORD LENGTH: 55"; Weight: 2.5 lb; Colours: piano black or snowflake white; Model: T10; WARRANTY: 1 year; Website: hisgadget dot com; Made in China}

<<Stephen PLETKO, London, Ontario, Canada>>


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