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Tom Douglas (Marlow)
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Verbatim Premium 16 GB SDHC Flash Memory Card, Class 10 (96808)
Verbatim Premium 16 GB SDHC Flash Memory Card, Class 10 (96808)
Price: CDN$ 19.23
24 used & new from CDN$ 15.74

14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The capacity of an elephant, the speed of a cheetah, April 16 2010
Memory cards are increasingly commodity items, but here is what you need to know before clicking the buy button:

SDHC - Secure Digital High Capacity. These cards are not compatible with older regular SD equipment. If in doubt, check first. Newer kit, especially DSLRs which need the extra storage, almost certainly are ready for SDHC cards.

Class 6 - The Class is the speed for reading/writing to memory. The existing Classes are 2, 4, 6 and 10. High resolution DSLRs need class 6 is you ever plan on taking sequential shots. Class 4 is absolutely fine for regular pocket-sized digital cameras. Class 10 is new and is for the extreme professional level.

Verbatim - Better known for blank CDs and DVDs, Verbatim make good quality memory cards with consistent reliability.

Price - Shop around and consider your true requirements. Depending on your camera and likely usage, two 8Gb might well be as useful as one 16Gb card, but cheaper. Likewise with two 16Gb cards and one 32Gb card.

For DSLR use, highly recommended. Five stars.

Kingston 8 GB Class 4 SDHC Flash Memory Card SD4/8GB
Kingston 8 GB Class 4 SDHC Flash Memory Card SD4/8GB
Offered by AudioPoutine
Price: CDN$ 7.99
25 used & new from CDN$ 7.89

45 of 46 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars High capacity, great value, March 31 2010
While moving house last week I came across a 16Mb memory card. How times change!

At 500 times the capacity, this 8Gb unit is a beauty. Huge capacity and, as usual, a very keen price on Amazon.

Two points to note:

- This is a Class 4 SD card. This means it is not really suitable for high spec digital SLRs, such as the Canon Rebel. The Class 4 indicates the read/write speed, and with a Class 4 the card will slow down the camera, and for rapid sequential shots will be a handicap. For such uses you need a Class 6. you will pay much more for one, but will be glad you did.

- Unless you are using a very high resolution camera, you probably do not need 8Gb, unless you plan to never transfer images off the card and onto your computer. For regular digital camera use, buy a couple of very cheap 2Gb cards. However, for other media use, such as playing digital video files on your TV, the bigger capacity is definitely useful.

As is usual with Kingston memory, it works perfectly every time.

Five stars, but make sure it is the right Class for you.

Kodak PlaySport (Zx3) HD Waterproof Pocket Video Camera (Black) (Discontinued by Manufacturer)
Kodak PlaySport (Zx3) HD Waterproof Pocket Video Camera (Black) (Discontinued by Manufacturer)
Offered by Crescas
Price: CDN$ 159.00
6 used & new from CDN$ 66.50

52 of 57 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A great little package, wet or dry, March 20 2010
I have not owned this long - yes, as usual a product shipped in the US a while before Canadians were allowed to buy it - but it is a mighty impressive package so far. It is a little short of perfect, but is definitely worth the price tag.

The positives:
- Although not heavy, it has a solid feel and the rubberized surface makes for a sure grip in the wet
- It is smaller than you expect. Genuinely pocket-sized
- The software is easy to use and simple to set up. They have put some thought into the balance between simplicity and functionality
- It happily runs in HD, although is better at 720p than full HD 1080p
- Most importantly, it is a full underwater camera, with a blue filter mode to balance the colours underwater

The negatives:
- Although it takes still pictures, and in good quality, you have to navigate throught he menu to do it. Simple point and snap would have been better
- 1080p quality is not so good. But at 720p and 60fps it is great. If full HD matters to you, then you need a better and much more expensive camcorder
- Low-light quality is poor, it struggles with balance
- The battery is not removable, so no fast swapping with a spare battery
- The front of the device is white, irrespective of the model colour. I'd prefer a single colour both sides

The negatives highlight an important point - this is a pocket-sized, easy-to-use, waterproof camcorder. It isn't intended to be everything to everyone, just a highly practical cam for the active outdoors.

As a robust first camcorder it is great. For many people it will be a second camcorder which can take the shocks, and the water, of outdoor family fun.

The pricing is very well pitched - while it does have some negatives in HD and low-light, it is a great pocket camcorder for the money, and will be your first-choice device on a daily basis.

Four stars - but much nearer to five than three!

Creative Live! Cam Vista IM 4 MP Webcam (White/Gray)
Creative Live! Cam Vista IM 4 MP Webcam (White/Gray)
2 used & new from CDN$ 28.00

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great value entry-level webcam, March 13 2010
There is nothing special about this webcam, and there is nothing much wrong with it either.

At time of writing, it is under $12 and, because it is sold by Amazon, you can get free shipping if you are buying some other stuff at the same time.

Now, bargain prices are always good news, but we have all fallen victim to the bargain that was junk and was merely passing through our hands on its way to the trash.

This webcam is no such item. It works simply and satisfactorily.

The cons are:
- It struggles in low light, as most webcams do, and sometimes gets a little confused with its auto-brightness controls
- There are some stability issues with the original drivers, this might not affect you, but it is well worth downloading the latest drivers from Creative (do a web search for VF0420 drivers).

Pros:
- Has an inbuilt microphone that works well
- Is simple, with no complicated software

If you need a webcam that you don't mind your children breaking, or for an older relative who needs to keep it simple, this is the one for you.

It is a good deal at anything under $25.

Four stars.

Rework
Rework
by Jason Fried
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 16.89
47 used & new from CDN$ 13.22

30 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Common sense, repackaged, March 12 2010
This review is from: Rework (Hardcover)
It would be easy to be dismissive of this book:

Its 270 pages are mostly white space and tangential illustrations;you get about 100 pages here. It doesn't go into any depth, simply skimming the surface of very many different notions. Nothing here is new, it is 80% common sense and you can read most of it for free on the Signal vs Noise blog.

And yet I highly recommend buying and reading it. It will only take you a few hours and will enrich your business life. Why? Because you are stupid.

Its okay though, I'm stupid too; we are all stupid. We constantly forget what we know; we backslide; we lose courage. We listen to overpaid overfed corporate execs and their ghost-writers and don't listen to what our sensible grandmothers tell us, and heck those grandmothers would never have let the economy go crunch.

So we need books that remind us what we already know to be true, and reiterate it a distinctive and friendly way so that remember it for a little while longer than normal.

This book does this so well that it sets the benchmark for slapping yourself in the face. Along the way it reminds you that you wasted several hundred dollars on wordy business books that told you what to do and how to do it, by authors who did a 180 a couple of years later.

Put simply this book reminds you to be free. Think freely, march to your own drummer, don't do stuff because it worked for someone else, and ignore any doomsayer who says 'that will never work'. Perceived wisdom is dangerous; real wisdom involves having an open mind with plenty of room for new thinking.

It is motivational more than informative, but that is what you need. Your business will be unique, every business is, so why copy someone else?

For the cost of lunch for two at Timmy's, this book will shake off all the nonsense you read in the newspapers and in business books, and set you free to build something really wonderful.

This book won't tell you anything new. This book is the best purchase you will make this year. Go figure.

Five stars.

House Rules: A Novel
House Rules: A Novel
by Jodi Picoult
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 20.16
96 used & new from CDN$ 0.84

15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Engaging, if a little formulaic, March 6 2010
This review is from: House Rules: A Novel (Hardcover)
Wonderfully written, from alternative viewpoints, House Rules tell the story of Emma Hunt, a mother of two boys - Jacob, 18, and Theo, 15. Jacob has Asperger's Syndrome, an illness which has many different elements, making it different in everyone, but often charactered by lack of empathy, detachment from the world, obsessive behaviour and violent outbursts. Emma dotes on Jacob, spending all she has on therapists, medication and food supplements. Theo, naturally, resents such unbalanced parenting.

One of Jacob's quirks is his interest in crime scene forensics - he watches true life forensic TV shows, reconstructs crime scenes at home and even turns up at real crime scenes, offering to help the detectives.

When someone Jacob knows if found dead, and it is revealed that the murder occurred shortly after and argument with Jacob, he falls into the spotlight. Subsequent forensic evidence points even more towards Jacob's guilt and he is held for questioning...

There are some pretty large plot holes, and the twist can be seen coming from a thousand yards, so as a thriller it doesn't really stack up. It also suffers for being overly similar to Picoult's My Sister's Keeper and Handle With Care - child with medical problems, jealous sibling, courtroom drama, check, check and check.

But as an engaging and well observed novel it hits the mark, and is an excellent study of a family under pressure combined with a fascinating insight into Asperger's Syndrome.

Four stars.

The Book of Five Rings
The Book of Five Rings
by Miyamoto Musashi
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Price: CDN$ 8.54
51 used & new from CDN$ 0.25

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Two great texts in one slim volume, March 5 2010
This volumes contains very readable translations of The Books of Five Rings by arch Samurai Miyamoto Musashi and The Book of Family Traditions on the Art of War by Yagyu Munenori.

At 192 pages it is a slim book, but it should not be read in one, or even several sittings. This is a book to digest slowly - read a page or two then leave it for a couple of days.

The lessons of the samurai are nothing new - be more determined than your enemy; be better prepared than your enemy; and so on - but there is little new in most management texts and, as with comedy, it is the way you tell it that makes the difference.

The Books of Five Rings has a simple homespun wisdom and talks gently but carries powerful messages. A Buddhist simplicity the focuses the power of the inner self.

It is, by the nature of its author, about confrontation. Not to be used on your kids, but more for competitive business, or sports, or our own personal battles, against weight gain for instance.

Musashi tells us that to be a successful warrior means adopting the correct state of mind, and this book, with its simple rough-hewn lessons, shows us that there can be a victorious warrior within everyone.

This is not a life-changing book, but it is one that will sharpen your edge, and one that you will keep and re-read for a couple of decades, rather than read once and pass on to friends.

Highly recommended. Five stars.

Hot Rocks
Hot Rocks
by Nora Roberts
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Price: CDN$ 9.49
131 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Beware - this is a reissue, Feb. 20 2010
This review is from: Hot Rocks (Mass Market Paperback)
This is not a review, just a warning message. This novel is a reissue under a different name. It was previously one half of 'Remember When', so if you have read that, you have read this.

The cover of the book does mention it, in very small print, but on Amazon you have to zoom on the cover to be able to read it.

So, just letting you know

Kodak EasyShare C182 12.4 MP Digital Camera with 3x Optical Zoom and 3-inch LCD (Red)
Kodak EasyShare C182 12.4 MP Digital Camera with 3x Optical Zoom and 3-inch LCD (Red)

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great for the price, Feb. 16 2010
You don't always get what you pay for. This is as important at the bottom end of the price scale, as at the top. Cheaper products, especially electronics, can be so lame as to be a waste of money.

Happily the EasyShare C182 gives great value. Sure it isn't as good as a $200 camera, but why should it be? As a camera in the low $100's, it is excellent and a great purchase for an occasional user, or a child who is reasonably likely to break it within six months.

PROS:
- Small and lightweight
- Takes good pictures (12MP) and reasonable videos
- Extremely easy to use, with face detection and blur reduction
- The EasyShare software makes uploading to YouTube a breeeze
- A basic range of scene and colour modes

CONS:
- It eats batteries (AA Akaline or Lithium, or AA NiMH rechargeable), so take plenty of spares
- If you use rechargeable batteries (and you should) you can't charge them in the dock

For many people this camera is all they need - the next price level up is simply not worth it. If you are a more enthusiastic photographer, or more of a control freak, then you will find it limiting and it is worth the extra cash for better zen.

The battery eating is a bit of an annoyance, but you can get used to carry a fully charged pair of spares with you.

A good camera overall. A great camera for the money.

Four stars.

Kodak EasyShare C182 12 MP Digital Camera with 3x Optical Zoom and 3-inch LCD (Silver)
Kodak EasyShare C182 12 MP Digital Camera with 3x Optical Zoom and 3-inch LCD (Silver)
2 used & new from CDN$ 149.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great for the price, Feb. 16 2010
You don't always get what you pay for. This is as important at the bottom end of the price scale, as at the top. Cheaper products, especially electronics, can be so lame as to be a waste of money.

Happily the EasyShare C182 gives great value. Sure it isn't as good as a $200 camera, but why should it be? As a camera in the low $100's, it is excellent and a great purchase for an occasional user, or a child who is reasonably likely to break it within six months.

PROS:
- Small and lightweight
- Takes good pictures (12MP) and reasonable videos
- Extremely easy to use, with face detection and blur reduction
- The EasyShare software makes uploading to YouTube a breeeze
- A basic range of scene and colour modes

CONS:
- It eats batteries (AA Akaline or Lithium, or AA NiMH rechargeable), so take plenty of spares
- If you use rechargeable batteries (and you should) you can't charge them in the dock

For many people this camera is all they need - the next price level up is simply not worth it. If you are a more enthusiastic photographer, or more of a control freak, then you will find it limiting and it is worth the extra cash for better zen.

The battery eating is a bit of an annoyance, but you can get used to carry a fully charged pair of spares with you.

A good camera overall. A great camera for the money.

Four stars.

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