Profile for Ian Thurston > Reviews

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Content by Ian Thurston
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Reviews Written by
Ian Thurston "Geezer Geek" (Barrie, ON Canada)

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Udi U816A 2.4Ghz 4 Channel 6 Axis RC Quadcopter Dexterous Mini UFO RTF
Udi U816A 2.4Ghz 4 Channel 6 Axis RC Quadcopter Dexterous Mini UFO RTF
Offered by EXPRESS
Price: CDN$ 89.00
8 used & new from CDN$ 49.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I recommend this, Feb. 9 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This was everything I expected. Worked right out of the box with no problems, and my buddy Bob, for whom I bought this as a present, was able to control it within minutes. He's spent a lot of time flying a single-blade RC helicopter, but this is much different, and he was delighted with the challenge.

This beastie hovers and rotates very well. It's very stable in Mode 1 (beginner), and Bob had no trouble moving it where he wanted, holding it in place, and even flying under the furniture. You'll want to use the frame: the green top and the light plastic rig that encloses the blades as show in the pictures. It not only protects the blades, but (according to the net video reviews) adds stability to the flight.

This thing has great legs - can't wait to see Bob flip it, but for that, we will wait until we want to be outside <grin>.

I originally bought Bob one of the ladybug quadcopter knockoffs (not the Walkera). We weren't able to pair it with its controller, so had to return it (and that was effortless - Thank you,!). The UDI, on the other hand, paired with the controller in a couple of seconds, and Bob was off to the races. As the video reviews on the net say, we saw about 7 minutes of flight time on one charge, and about an hour to charge the battery. Which is why I'm ordering a couple of extra batteries ... hard to wait patiently for that recharge.

This was value for money. The manual say this is not a toy. Not so: it IS a grownup toy.

World Cuisine Tri-Blade Plastic Spiral Vegetable
World Cuisine Tri-Blade Plastic Spiral Vegetable
Price: CDN$ 39.51
12 used & new from CDN$ 37.77

5.0 out of 5 stars A kitchen gizmo that actually works, Jan. 16 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
My daughter asked me to order this for her. It looked like something that would get used once and forgotten, but the first thing she made was cucumber "pasta" and it was great. She uses it several times a week. She loaned it to our neighbour, who was so impressed with it we gave her one as a christmas present. Novel, yes, but actually useful.

Dog Shaming
Dog Shaming
by Pascale Lemire
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 12.27
35 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

5.0 out of 5 stars The vet had this on the counter, Jan. 16 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Dog Shaming (Paperback) while I was waiting to pay the $850 bill, I dipped into it. Made me feel better right away, so I ordered it as a bathroom book. Just the thing for your friends who love dogs. Those who don't might find the humour a little crude, but what do they know?

Chengxing Lady Bug 4CH RTF Micro RC Quadcopter
Chengxing Lady Bug 4CH RTF Micro RC Quadcopter
Price: CDN$ 39.66
8 used & new from CDN$ 39.66

1.0 out of 5 stars Could not get controller to connect to copter, Jan. 16 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
The instruction manual was poorly written and poorly organized. I followed the instructions for pairing the controller with the copter, but it failed. The only support available on the website was a PDF of the manual. A web search returned no information. Finally gave up and returned it.

Mind Performance Hacks: Tips & Tools for Overclocking Your Brain
Mind Performance Hacks: Tips & Tools for Overclocking Your Brain
by Ron Hale-Evans
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 16.62
30 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars ...yeah, but, Sept. 25 2011
I really expected to like this more than I do. The author is a geek, big time, has a degree in psychology, and has won awards for designing board games. His interests range from I Ching to Esperanto, juggling, and if I understand his home page right, he's a bisexual married zen buddhist ...

Sounds "interesting". And the O'Reilly "Hack" series of which this is a part IS a phenomenal resource for computer geeks. The book covers ground from meditation through mind mapping to mnemonic systems. Should be great, right?

But as I read it, I realized I'd already read most of it before, somewhere else. I guess I was expecting new stuff, but the book is, to a large extent, a compilation of stuff you already know, put in one place.

Part of the problem is that the "Hack" series has a certain standard of excellence, a sense that you're getting the latest cream off the top of the bottle.

This stuff isn't cream, it's milk, and skim at that ... but then again, having a couple or three psychology degrees myself, I remember that there ISN'T any cream to be had in this subject area.

I guess you can't blame the author for that. But my brain, far from being overclocked, kinda slowed down as I read this baby.

Fundamentals of Joomla! [With DVD]
Fundamentals of Joomla! [With DVD]
by Barrie M. North
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 61.07
17 used & new from CDN$ 32.71

5.0 out of 5 stars Get it from the horse's mouth, Sept. 25 2011
Since Barrie North wrote the sample documentation that comes with Joomla itself, you might expect that he would know something about the product.

Since he is a teacher by trade, you might expect that he could show you how to use it.

And you'd be right.

The book and DVD together will allow you to get a professional-quality Joomla site up and running very quickly, and to maintain a Joomla site even if it was created by someone else.

I know this, because I used the book to put together a site, design a custom template, and add special-purpose plugins to display forms and capture date.

I loaned the book to others who were tasked with maintaining the main web site (a Joomla site) that had been prepared by a commercial designer. They were and are able to maintain and extend the site with the help of this book.

It works.

Linux Manual: Everything You Need to Get Started with Ubuntu Linux
Linux Manual: Everything You Need to Get Started with Ubuntu Linux
by Mike Saunders
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 22.56
23 used & new from CDN$ 16.06

4.0 out of 5 stars Worthwhile even if you're not a beginner, Sept. 25 2011
I have been playing with Linux since it first hit the scene, and have bought a LOT of thoroughly geeked books in my time. Most of them care abou the guts of the operating system. But occasionally, you might want to actually do something with the computer once you've got Linux up and running. That's why I enjoyed this book. I didn't have to think about what I was doing ... and things worked out.

The Linux Manual does have a fair bit about how to get Linux working as you want it ... but much more important for an end user (especially if they are a beginning end user - oops) is how to do stuff. Like music, writing, videos, photos, recording, and getting new applications and keeping 'em up to date.

I have installed a lot of versions of Linux over the years, including Ubuntu, the distribution included on CD with the book. It installed alongside Windows as easily as any ever have, without issues. The instructions for setup were in plain english; they were the minimum required but effective for all that.

There were lots of up-to-date suggestions for applications to install, and the process worked as written (often not the case with Linux manuals, which are, ah, anachronistic ...)

This is not rocket science - it just works

Le Pan TC 970 9.7-Inch Multi-Touch Google Android Froyo 2.2 OS
Le Pan TC 970 9.7-Inch Multi-Touch Google Android Froyo 2.2 OS
3 used & new from CDN$ 219.95

34 of 35 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Unless you need a fruit logo, buy it already!, Sept. 25 2011
Being a geek, I checked a lot of tech reviews for this pad. They raved cautiously, and it seemed too good to be true for under $250.

I bought it. It works as written, which means splendidly. If you don't insist on paying twice the price to get an iPad, I have one word: BUY.

If you are the least bit paranoid, you're asking yourself, how come I can't find a link to the product site on Google? W-e-l-l, Le Pan IS a little coy about their URL, but it DOES exist:


The goodies there includes:
The user manual (also on your pad if you know where to find it)
3 short training videos: key info done visually without redundant voiceover. Fast paced, but actually hits all the high spots for an android novice.

There's a useful faq, and a short list of accessories, too.

Most important: there IS a warranty service number: 1-855-LePanPC.

The positives:
- yes, the screen matches the iPad. Superb.
- android apps abound at Android Market and most run on this tablet
- good battery life ... 6-7 hours used flat out
- wifi works flawlessly
- there's a USB connector which makes back-and-forth with your desktop easy
- gps not only works, it talks. Makes this competitive with a lot of dedicated GPS units ...)

The negatives (all can be dealt with):

- The system runs Froyo (Android 2.2). Android 3 would have been better. Since there are lots of apps for 2.2, this is not a deal breaker.
- there's no back facing camera. Which I wouldn't care about, except
- Skype (which chokes on Android 2.2 apparently on purpose), won't work as written. As you read above, there is a hacked version of skype that solves this.
- the speakers are a bit tinny when held in the hand. Play on a flat surface, use portable speakers or headphones

- it does not have a fruit logo on it. You could maybe get a sticker.

...further on January 13, 2012 (Friday the 13th!)
Still loving the tablet. Disappointed that the tantalizers about Ice Cream Sandwich on this tablet turned out to be pickle smoke, and that to get that, I'd have to buy a newer tablet.

Some must have apps from Android Market turn this into a useful interface to my clients:

Kingston Office lets me view/edit Word documents and Excel Sheets

Dropbox lets me save and retrieve files

A full featured file manager is a must (for example Astro)

Good ePub reader software (for example Moon +) lets me take my shelf of manuals with me

Advanced Task Killer lets me shut down applications fast and easily

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