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NeuroSplicer (Freeside, in geosynchronous orbit)
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HE SHOP 360 Degree Rotating PU 10.1" Case with Stand for Asus Transformer Pad TF300 , Black
HE SHOP 360 Degree Rotating PU 10.1" Case with Stand for Asus Transformer Pad TF300 , Black

5.0 out of 5 stars FITS LIKE A GLOVE. ROTATES LIKE A CHARM., Aug. 21 2014
This was a gift to my sister who had just acquired an Asus Transformer TF300TL - and she loved it.
The tablet fits perfectly, not too tight to damage the coating, not too loose to be in danger of falling off (although I would suggest not to keep taking it on and off as the plastic may loosen). It has an opening for the camera lens and another for the ASUS logo to show - which also serves as a pivot to allow the tablet to be turned on its side.
The case can also be used as a stand in both orientations.

Recommended.

Distrust That Particular Flavor
Distrust That Particular Flavor
Offered by Penguin Group USA
Price: CDN$ 13.99

5.0 out of 5 stars A GENEROUS TREAT TO HIS FANS, Aug. 21 2014
If anyone expects this to be a novel, well, it is clearly not. It is a far greater treat.

Distrust That Particular Flavor is a collection of essays and articles William Gibson had given over the years. If you have been touched by his mesmerizing prose and kaleidoscopic Futures he keeps weaving one trilogy at a time, you would want to read all of them. Instead of fine combing the net to locate them all, you can easily find them now in one printed source. I am a great fan, ever since I plunged into Neuromancer as a freshman in the nineties, and thought I had a complete collection of all of William Gibson's articles. Well, I was not even halfway done!

What I particularly appreciated was how Gibson took the risk to humbly come back to every essay of his with honest criticism. And I was thrilled to learn that we share a wrist-watch chronograph fetish (and now the Jaegers traded on the Bridge, in Virtual Light, make a whole different kind of sense).

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED (especially for fans and aspiring SciFi writers).

SanDisk Cruzer Fit 16GB USB 2.0 Low-Profile Flash Drive- SDCZ33-016G-B35
SanDisk Cruzer Fit 16GB USB 2.0 Low-Profile Flash Drive- SDCZ33-016G-B35
Price: CDN$ 15.43
33 used & new from CDN$ 14.20

5.0 out of 5 stars THE Tardis OF FLASH DRIVES, Aug. 21 2014
I recently bought a Panasonic Mini HiFi for my kitchen and I needed a reliable, ample yet micro USB FlashDrive to keep it attached. This SanDisk 16GB Cruzer was exactly what I imagined it to be. Small (only the black plastic stays out when inserted) yet easy to remove and with enough space to fit hours and hours of digital songs.

I have trusted SanDisk again and again with their Flash Drives and (with the exception of a Ultra Cruzer Titanium that one day simply refused to function) they have rarely let me down.

Recommended.

24" LED 1080p 5ms
24" LED 1080p 5ms
Offered by KincaidGlobalTradeCA
Price: CDN$ 621.71
5 used & new from CDN$ 498.72

5.0 out of 5 stars A BRILLIANT MONITOR, July 3 2014
After more than a decade, my trusted SONY SDM-S was starting to show its age. For too long, I was willing to put up with its slow response time and obsolete geometry because it was a solid, reliable PC monitor and it looked great on my home desk, with its total black and clear-cut design. Yet, all good things come to an end. After a number of warning flickerings, I realized the end was nigh. It was time to find a replacement.

After extensive research I knew I had found what I was looking for when I saw this SAMSUNG S24C750P: a brilliant 23.6" (16:9) monitor with a decent response time and the deepest blacks you can find. The later is due to the fact that this is patented PSA LCD (not a IPS, like most monitors nowadays), and this gives it one of the highest contrast ratios available today (2900:1). Take into account that the screen is matte, not reflective, and you can realize why this is such a great monitor for office work and gaming alike.
Its native resolution is 1920x1080 (2HD) and the thin piano-black frame allows you to experience all of it without any distractions. All buttons are tucked in under the right corner (an easy to navigate menu pops up when pressed) and only a tiny and very discreet blue LED stays on when operating.

The base is of an excellent quality plastic that looks like metal and feels satiny to the touch. It keeps the monitor higher than my previous one (and the height is not adjustable) but I found this height to be perfect. Not too low for your neck to bend, not too high for your eyes to strain. And this is where it gets interesting.

Some years ago I saw for the first time a PC monitor (a FUJITSU, if memory serves) that could pivot. I found it a brilliant idea! Working on any document (and especially a long one) it is very convenient to be able to see the entire page by simply turning the monitor to its side. This SAMSUNG does exactly that.
Hidden behind the monitor is a rotating mechanism that attaches to the arm of the base and allows you to pivot the monitor 90o! However, there are a number of downsides to this. First of all, monitors now are much larger than they were ten years ago. So, in order to pivot a 24 inch monitor one has to first tilt it all the way out and then turn it. Forget to tilt it out first and you will be hitting the desk. The accompanying software promised to swift everything on your screen automatically, unfortunately, this does not seem to work for WinXP, I have to do it manually (using the MagicRotation software downloadable form SAMSUNG) – and it really messes up your icons afterwards. I would advise that 24 inches is the absolute maximum for pivoting monitors, larger than this and the whole concept collapses.

The first monitor I received came with a pixel stuck in blue. True to its zero-pixel warranty (especially true for its high-end monitors), SAMSUNG and the retailer I bought this from had it replaced within days with no hassles. However, a quick reminder to SAMSUNG: this is what you get when you try to cut manufacturing costs too deep: quality control suffers. A stuck pixel can happen to anyone. But there is also the misfitting of the back frame plastics (I cut my thumb reaching for my glass the first day) and the base screw that had to be forced at an angle. It is all those little things that rob you of the quality you got us used to over the previous years.

All in all, the small number of manufacturing imperfections that are not enough to diminish this brilliant monitor. Recommended.

Diablo 3 Reaper of Souls EXP (Eng Only)
Diablo 3 Reaper of Souls EXP (Eng Only)
Price: CDN$ 44.95
19 used & new from CDN$ 44.95

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars THESE ARE THE ISSUES Blizzard DOES NOT WANT YOU TO TALK ABOUT, March 25 2014
If paying for a small DLC (which adds a single character, 2 hours of gameplay and randomized dungeons - unrelated to the story), the same amount the money you would for a complete full-priced game makes sense to you, kindly stop here. This review is not for you. In any other case, please read on.

TOO LITTLE. TOO LAME. TOO EXPENSIVE.
Charging 66% of the original game's price for only 20% of extra content is disgustingly greedy. This is not an expansion in any sense of the word. It is an overpriced DLC - and a small one at that.
Are we paying for BLIZZARD to fix their game(!) or do we need to pay as much as a premium game to get randomized dungeons in a game that was way too short to begin with?
And, they are not fooling anyone, the Crusader is basically the Paladin (the most popular hero choice in D2) that was withheld and replaced with the Witch Doctor only to be the selling point of the first DLC. Does this mean we can expect the next $45 expansion to include an Assassin and then yet another $45 will give us the Druid? With these people at the helm of BLIZZARD there seems to be no low they will not stoop to.

TAKING AWAY THE AUCTION HOUSE WAS A LICKISH MOVE
Let me make this as clear as possible: the problem was NOT the Auction House. Some people liked it, others ignored it, me, I found it a brilliant idea. In fact, I have had more fun in the Auction House than in the game itself.
The problem was the drop rates of Legendaries. The entire game was designed in such a way as to ensure that it was unbeatable unless you payed real money to buy virtual gold from BLIZZARD's Gold sellers (remember all those PVPbank "friend requests"? guess what!). After Hell level (and especially true for Inferno) it was impossible to survive long enough without full sets of powerful Legendary items. BLIZZARD made sure to keep the drop rates of Legendaries into the infinitesimal (a single drop after a complete playthrough. If you were lucky). Even at those small drop rates, it was still very unlikely to get a Legendary with useful attributes and stats! What is the use of a +300 Intelligence Manticore when high level wizards are useless with crossbows? Hence the need for you to keep visiting the Auction House - where the prices were always kept super-inflated. Hence the need for you to pay real money to buy millions of virtual gold.
So, if they were able to milk their own customers for more money, why did they yank it out? Because, once the number of people playing the game dropped dramatically, it got too expensive for them to operate. At the same time, the class-action suits were amassing like a storm. More and more people lost great amounts of real money to Auction House "glitches", mostly after selling items - and the lawsuits kept coming in, one after another.
So, no, they did not do us any favors. And no one believes them when they claim to have decided to remove the Auction House because "it was hurting the enjoyment of the game". They just decided to take away a major feature the original game was sold with, just to stop losing some money.
You still think they "listened to their customers"? Please read on.

WHY IS THIS GAME STILL ONLINE ONLY?
After 2 years the verdict is out and it is definite: BLIZZARD cannot run enough stable servers to properly support a popular always-online game. Or they are not willing to unless they charge you a monthly fee like they do with WoW. In any case, their servers are fickle as ever, prone to loose connection at any time, in need of weekly day-long maintenance and always ready to kick you out if you leave the game to take a break longer than 5 minutes.
Have you ever lost a legendary because the servers hiccuped just after it dropped, not allowing you to pickup or open anything?
Have you ever had a Level-60/Paragon-50 Hardcore character die because of a usual server lag?
How about having to start over an area (missing on that random spawning of a rare event), just because the servers lost it once again? Yes, I am sure you know what I am talking about.
So, now that the Auction House is no more, what is the excuse for not making private/Single-player games free of any need of an online connection? None!
The game takes up 15GB of our HDD. Are they going to lie to us all (like EA did with The SimCity) that it cannot run offline for private/Single-player games?

THE FORCED PATCH (Loot2.0) WAS AN INSULT TO ITS CUSTOMERS
Without warning,a about two months ago, BLIZZARD forced the Loot2.0 patch on all of us. This is what this much praised by the usual company shills patch did: it made sure that every single hour you had spend on the game up to then was utterly wasted!
Did you grind for hours to get Legendary items (or, even worse, did you pay real money to buy gold and then buy them from the Auction House)? Well, you wasted your time (and money). Those Legendary items were now insultingly weak, much weaker than Rare (yellow) items.
Did you make endless runs of the same areas, again and again (the infamous Alkaizer grind), to bring all of your heroes up to Paragon 100? You guessed it, you wasted your time. Now Paragon levels are shared between all of your characters.
Any time you sunk into the game prior to the Loot2.0-Patch was now very much wasted. So why would anyone trust BLIZZARD ever again and play any more D3? Next time they want to release their next DLC, they will not hesitate, once more, to render all of your time spend in the game totally wasted.

Replay Diablo II or Titan Quest. They are complete games.
Play Torchlight 2. It is an honest game.
Play Path of Exile. It is the game D3 was not - and it is free on STEAM.
Or wait for Grim Dawn.

In any case, I am sure you were not born yesterday.

Moleskine Large Notebook Ruled Pages Oxide Green Hardcover
Moleskine Large Notebook Ruled Pages Oxide Green Hardcover
by Moleskine
Edition: Diary
Price: CDN$ 17.52
37 used & new from CDN$ 8.63

4.0 out of 5 stars AN ITEM STRAIGHT OUT OF WRITERS' HISTORY, Feb. 5 2014
Let's be honest for a moment: until a reliable and accurate speech-to-text App comes along, no electronic device can even come close to the practicality of a paper notebook. And those classic-looking MOLESKINES are a good example of this.

I like the hard covers and the stylish elastic band. I like the rounded corners and the perfect size. I like the handy back inner pocket and the British green colour. And I certainly like the looks I get every time I pull it out my briefcase.

On the other hand, I would have liked the paper to be somewhat thicker, enough to be able to use both sides of the page without having to suffer ink sipping through. And I certainly would not mind paying more to get real leather covers.

It is still quite practical to use but it has to rely on its style to compensate for the manufacturing corners they decided to cut.

Diablo 3 - Standard Edition
Diablo 3 - Standard Edition
Offered by BEARDOS BAZAAR
Price: CDN$ 39.41
25 used & new from CDN$ 30.00

2.0 out of 5 stars THE DEVIL IN THE CORPORATION, Dec 14 2013
Even if I was a great fan of the original Diablo and D2, I was late in deciding to take D3 on. It was a combination of factors, from the bad reviews the game kept getting, to the constant servers errors I kept hearing about and to me being too busy to take up such a time-eater. However, I came across it at a great discount and, on an impulse, decided to give it a try. Three weeks of (casual) gameplay later this is what I think.

DIABOLICALLY GORGEOUS
The game is beautiful to look at and a visual pleasure to play in. The environments are meticulously rendered and yet they loose none of their details when zoomed in or acted upon. Blowing up tree trunks or exploding bodies of enemies is both fun and physically accurate. Sure, some heads or pieces of wood can be seen to spin for too long, but that is part of the game's appeal, right? You are become Death, the destroyer of Worlds!

YOUR CHORD SOUNDS FAMILIAR
The sounds are better than the music but they are both quite well made. What I found strange was that, at least once, throughout Act I, the background music clearly reminded me of the main theme from Baldur's Gate. Let's chalk this one off as ...tribute.

GRINDING BUILDS CHARACTER.
The bad news is that it builds exactly the same kind of character for everyone. There are no choices when leveling up. Everything eventually gets unlocked for you and you only get to choose what 4 skills to use and which runes to combine with each one. Your strength, dexterity, intelligence and vitality get automatically increased, depending on your class. No more making a tank out of a ranger I am afraid. And this is where the game looses its first star.
The fact that you get to have a sidekick that does practically little more than keep the mobs occupied until you dispense of them, does not help either.

CULTURAL PHOBIAS DO NOT A GOOD STORY MAKE
Yes, the story plot is infantile, disrespectful to the original games (I will refrain from spoiling it) and it offers very little help in immersing into the game world. It is unfortunate because, BLIZZARD has proved in the past that they can produce games with a very good back-story, such as Starcraft II.
However, this a game franchise that is heavily invested on the Judeo-Christian culture of the Devil. Just read the name on the box! So, taking away demonic pentagrams and most religious symbols (some crosses can still be found) fools no one. Because once you go down that road and then decide to backup, you should make sure not to step on yourself and trip. As in: if a golden-eyed Fallen Angel (Hello!) is helping you fight Diablo, are you sure who is the Devil and who is not?

LOOT. LOOT NEVER CHANGES.
Well designed and clearly labeled items make all the difference in the world. I would love for Borderlands 2 items to have such a clear Damager-Per-Second (DPS) number to make comparisons easier. Pair this with an inventory that is big enough and free of the need to play item-Tetris in (all items take up either one or two vertical squares) and you have yourself almost loot haven. Almost because you still get too many unusable items, mostly because of class restrictions.
You can stash such items in your common stash to share with your other heroes (on the same BattleNet account) but make sure to find the necessary...700,000 gold to pay for all the extra stash space. Hint: use the Auction House while you still can.
The only thing I found missing is the ability to add sockets to magical items and enchant regular ones.

THE AUCTION HOUSE: BRILLIANT! (WHEN IT WORKS)
I am going to go against the current here but here it is: I found the Auction House a brilliant idea. Well designed and decently executed. I am going to be sad to see it go on March, as announced. I can only hope they change their mind before then.
In all honesty, I am currently a Demon Hunter at Nightmare difficulty. And I have heard the complaints that it is impossible to finish Inferno without Real-Money Auction House (which is clearly not how it is supposed to work) but up to Nightmare, using the Auction House is the only way to get enough money to be able to do the enhancements you want, craft or buy the items you covet and unlock the precious extra stash space you need.

CHAINS IN NEED OF BREAKING
I withheld the second star because of the always-online requirement. Because it is indeed a hassle and a hindrance (just try pausing in town for longer than half and hour and see what happens). Yes, the game does offer some gameplay features (namely, the Auction-House) to compensate for the inconvenience but they all give way to anger and frustration whenever BlLIZZARD's servers go down and you are unable to play a Single-player game for days at a time(!). Take away the Auction-House, however, and the always-online requirement becomes a severe and now unjustified hindrance!

THE ORIGINAL SIN
No, D3 looses its third and final star for being both short and boring at times. There, I said it. Yes, it is a well balanced eye-candie, with tons of loot, problematic character development yet the gameplay feels like at chore at times and it is over before you know it. I even found Act I (the one offered for free as a demo) to be better designed and longer than the rest.

It is like that old Woody Allen joke: two old ladies are complaining about their retirement home catering. "The food was awful, barely edible", "I know", her friend replied, "and such small portions!".

Brabantia Fall Front Bread Bin Matt Steel Fingerprint Proof, Matt Black Sides
Brabantia Fall Front Bread Bin Matt Steel Fingerprint Proof, Matt Black Sides
Price: CDN$ 85.51

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars BREAD KEEPER OF STEEL, Oct. 20 2013
This is a beautiful and yet practical brushed-steel (fingerprint-proof) bread bin. The top is flat, which makes it handy in placing items on top and the front door drops, so you only need one hand to get the bread.
There is plenty of room for at least two loafs of bread, even if they are round. Baguettes have to be broken in half though.

Apparently the quality of both the materials and the workmanship varies, a warning light for a company enjoying such good reputation as BRABANTIA. We were lucky with ours (picked it up retail at a WMF store) and it has developed no problems for over two years now (hence the 5-stars).
However, I would recommend returning any substandard piece. BRABANTIA items are supposed to be sturdy and last a long time, besides being well designed and beautiful.

It takes years to built up a good brand name but it only takes a week to tarnish it.

OXO Good Grips Good Grips Swivel Peeler
OXO Good Grips Good Grips Swivel Peeler
Price: CDN$ 8.98
17 used & new from CDN$ 8.27

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars PEELING LIKE A PRO, Sept. 24 2013
One would be surprised how rare it is to find a peeler that is actually easy to use. The grip has to be just right, the peeling head has to swivel not too much and not too little and its edges have carry just the right amount of sharpness. I went though a number of peelers which I all eventually abandoned in favor of my trusted knife. However, once I got my hands on one these OXO ones, I never used my knife again.

Nowadays, that seems you cannot go through a single day without coming across Food Shows, this swivel peeler is a must in every kitchen.

RECOMMENDED.

Kitchen Canister w/ Window Lid & Measuring Spoon (2QT/2.2L) Matte Steel - Brabantia #423666
Kitchen Canister w/ Window Lid & Measuring Spoon (2QT/2.2L) Matte Steel - Brabantia #423666
Offered by langton_distribution
Price: CDN$ 39.58
2 used & new from CDN$ 39.58

4.0 out of 5 stars SPAGHETTI PULLED OUT OF STEEL, Sept. 24 2013
I love how these BRABANTIA cannisters look on my kitchen counter-top. Obviously, taking your spaghetti out of its box and keeping it in a cannister is a good idea only if you are using the same type of spaghetti. These cannisters come with a discreet label on the side that can be color-coded as well.
The measure contraption is a bit generous in portions (and one use the opening off a 2L soda bottle with equal results) but it is a convenient idea and it looks nice.

The quality of the fingerprint-free steel is unparalleled. It looks and feels sturdy and it will not accumulate fingerprints most brushed steel items do. Not the same can be said about the plastic lid though. The clear part at the top came with small but quite obvious molding imperfections. The first cannister I received I asked to be replaced but, when the second arrived with exactly the same issue as well, I realized it must be a common issue.

BRABANTIA keeps offering products of excellent design and made of good materials. That is why I will keep favoring their products. However, they do need to look into bringing their manufacturing back to their old standards.

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