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Reviews Written by
Andre Lawrence (Miami, Florida)
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Expower Bookshelf furnishings / computer desk / home wireless Bluetooth speaker (microphone, FM radio, alarm clock, AUX input) (White+Red)
Expower Bookshelf furnishings / computer desk / home wireless Bluetooth speaker (microphone, FM radio, alarm clock, AUX input) (White+Red)
Offered by Expower
Price: CDN$ 42.99

4.0 out of 5 stars ExPower Bluetooth Speaker Bar with Alarm: A Critical Review, Aug. 24 2014
Length:: 2:34 Mins

This is one of two new speakers made by ExPower and it’s extra features and extra speaker makes this the better of the two.

The speaker measures:
9.5” x 2.5” x 2.25” and weighs 1 lb.

Spec’s:

* LED Display (shows time, FM Channel and alarm clock time)
* Bluetooth 3.0 (up to 75’)
* Phone mic
* Micro SD card port
* Line in/ Aux in port
* FM radio
* Alarm clock (w/ multiple programming options)
* Rechargeable Li-Ion battery
* 80 Hz to 20 KHz

*** Design ***

Front panel:
* Aluminum grate covering three speakers. Two (1.75” diameter) left and right speakers, One 3” center speaker.

Top panel:
* Play, pause, phone button
* Back/ volume down button
* Forward/ volume up button
* Alarm clock set button
* FM button
* Bluetooth pairing button
* Microphone

Back panel:
* Line-in port
* SD-in port
* USB port
* On/Off button
* DC/5V port

*** Sound ***

Although made by the same manufacturer and having similar components, it’s the added features that makes this more than just a “larger” version of the smaller wireless speaker.

Both of the speakers do NOT emphasize bass-centric music like rock, hip-hop—this is strictly a mid-ranged music bar. This is NOT high-fidelity but it’s definitely acceptable.

The sound reproduction, although, with little to no amplification built in, produces more than acceptable sound.

So, if you’re a music lover that listens to various kinds of music whenever the urge hits you, this is a good option, especially when considering that this speaker also has the rare feature of an alarm clock as well as a line-in feature.

See video for demo.

4 stars

SG06 iCharge Waterproof Sport MP3 Player
SG06 iCharge Waterproof Sport MP3 Player

4.0 out of 5 stars It simply works! Sports & Swimming MP3 Player (Model # WPM8): A Critical Review, Aug. 20 2014
Length:: 1:24 Mins

I like it when things work as advertised and this waterproof mp3 player does.

***

This mp3 player is a waterproof, 8GB player. This is NOT to be confused with a wireless headphone. You have to transfer music to this player via the pop-out centerpiece.

The set features:

* Power/Play/Pause
* Volume Up/ Down
* Forward/ Backward
* Reset
* LED indicator light
* FM radio receiver

I tested out the unit just last weekend in the pool and it’s waterproof and lightweight.

This is a different type of mp3 player and one should own.

Great product for a very reasonable price.

PIXNOR Wireless Bluetooth Colorful LED Dancing Water Mini Speakers with TF Slot for iPhone /iPad /Cellphone /PC (Black)
PIXNOR Wireless Bluetooth Colorful LED Dancing Water Mini Speakers with TF Slot for iPhone /iPad /Cellphone /PC (Black)

3.0 out of 5 stars A Fun Novelty. Dancing Water Speakers: A Critical Review., Aug. 13 2014
Length:: 4:13 Mins

The Dancing Water Speakers is one of those rare items that makes you go, “Whoa! What’s this about?”

The appeal begins and ends with the water show that imitates the sound spectrum of the music that the speaker is playing.

To be certain, this is NOT high fidelity, nor could I say that it’s par for the course for the budget-minded shopper.

I wasn’t impressed with the sound—and, there are a lot of private companies that make good and great speakers, speaker bars, bluetooth headphones and transmitters.

That being said, I can’t seem to look away from this product anymore than walking past a Christmas tree that is beautifully decorated with lights and ornaments.

Despite my need for at least “good” audio, the novelty of this water show is too good to ignore and if someone you care about doesn’t need high fidelity but would appreciate a nice gift to have on their desk at work, this definitely fits the bill.

[New Arrival] HooToo® TripMate Elite Versatile Wireless N Travel Router with 6000mAh Battery Charger (Dual USB Wall Charger, USB Storage Wi-Fi Media Sharing, Access Point, Wi-Fi Mini Router & Bridge)
[New Arrival] HooToo® TripMate Elite Versatile Wireless N Travel Router with 6000mAh Battery Charger (Dual USB Wall Charger, USB Storage Wi-Fi Media Sharing, Access Point, Wi-Fi Mini Router & Bridge)
Offered by Sunvalleytek Canada
Price: CDN$ 59.99
2 used & new from CDN$ 59.99

5.0 out of 5 stars One of the Best Tech Products of 2014. HooToo’s “TripMate Elite” (Model #HT-TM04): A Critical Review., Aug. 12 2014
Length:: 2:52 Mins

There are a number of different products that’ll make your smartphone, phablet or tablet more useful and satisfying. We’re talking about peripherals like bluetooth speakers or wireless headsets or transmitters. But how many of them are actually put together so you don’t have carry around a bag full of wires and batteries?

The “TripMate Elite” by HooToo is a phenomenal device because it brings together many of the peripheral that you’d actually need if you take your devices out a lot.

This is a “4 in 1” device featuring:

* Personal Cloud
* Travel Router
* External Battery Pack
* Dual USB- AC Charger

I’ve had this device now for almost two (2) months and I haven’t been able to stop recommending it.
The set measures:
3” x 3” x 1” and weighs 7 oz.
Gray canvas bag.

*** External Battery ***

6000 mAh battery
Dual outputs of 1mA and 2.1mA
Charged by micro usb.

Wireless broadcast over 802.1lb/g/n

*** Travel Router ***

If you’re familiar with the “MiFi” device from a few years back (I still have one) then you can appreciate this feature. The old “MiFi” style of personal routers would receive a signal from your carrier’s mobile tower, then transmit it to anyone within your proximity of upto 30’.

This device doesn’t need a carrier’s connect (although you can) but it takes an existing network (i.e. a hotel internet signal, or an airport wifi and can turn that signal into a secured internet connection for multiple devices.)

The unit has a usb storage port. (This is the 1st port only) You’ll need to download the HooToo app in the Google Play store or the iTunes store before anything else. With a SD or a MicroSD card attached to a card reader, you can actually see and play the files that you have on those storage cards.

Even better, you can create a VPN (with encryption abilities (WPA/WPA2) for office meetings on the go.

*** USB charge port ***

The unit has a built-in AC plug that flips out but also an internal battery. So, if you’re traveling outside of the US, you’ll need a converter for this to work if you’re depending upon a wall current or you’d be fine if you need this as an external battery. But, if abroad, at some point this device will have to be charged itself to be able to continue to provide current or to transmit files to your devices.

With all of its capabilities, this is one of the most important devices you can own…especially if you carry around multiple mobile devices.

USB 2.0 LED Borescope Endoscope Pipe Inspection Video Camera 7M
USB 2.0 LED Borescope Endoscope Pipe Inspection Video Camera 7M
Offered by Fair Fly--Ships From Hong Kong
Price: CDN$ 23.49
6 used & new from CDN$ 23.47

5.0 out of 5 stars A Great Specialty Video Camera., Aug. 4 2014
Length:: 0:41 Mins

This generic endoscope is a great specialty camera.

Although it says that it is only for Windows, it works well with Windows 8.1 as well as Mac OS X.9!

***

You can use this in place of Facetime if you want want to have a recording that not directly in front of the computer or if you want to show people or elements outside of the computers camera view.

But, an even better use is to use this with Quicktime Pro. Before it can be used, you have to adjust the settings in the Preference panel.

The camera has a maximum output of 720, not spectacular but it is certainly acceptable.

***

The set comes with:

* 5M/ 16 feet Endoscope camera
* Mini Disc of optional software
* handful of thin, wired stands

If you're into videography, this camera is indispensable.

Rii Mini i8 2.4GHz Multi-media Portable Wireless Handheld Mini Keyboard with Touchpad Mouse
Rii Mini i8 2.4GHz Multi-media Portable Wireless Handheld Mini Keyboard with Touchpad Mouse
Offered by GboxCan
Price: CDN$ 21.97

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Simply Phenomenal. RII Mini Keyboard (“I8”): A Critical Review, Aug. 3 2014
Length:: 2:26 Mins

I see a lot of tech products but very few are really heads-above their competitors. In fact, most are the same product, made in the same factory overseas. But, this product is different and it’s great.

The “I8” Mini Keyboard for, primarily, mobile devices is absolutely fantastic.

This device works as a wireless (Bluetooth) keyboard. It can work on the Windows, Mac and Chrome OS’, but that’s not practical because you’d use a full keyboard for your desktop and a laptop has a keyboard built in.

Where a device like this really shines is on your tablet and smartphones.

Believe it or not, the most difficult brand to pair to Bluetooth devices, in my experience, is Samsung; the easiest is HTC.

I don’t see many “mini” keyboards, I have one from 3 years ago from Anker and it’s about half the size of the I8, and to be honest, I didn’t see how anyone with an average size hand could use such small keys.

I like that this keyboard is significantly bigger yet portable enough to carry anywhere.

It measures:

5 '” x 3 5/8” x '” and weighs 3.7 oz.

It features:
* Full Qwerty keyboard
* 0-9 numeric pad
* Left “mouse” key
* Right “mouse” key
* Directional keys
* Audio keys for Volume, Play/Pause, Forward, Back, Mute
* Magnifying key
and…
* Touchpad

This is simply phenomenal.

On my Samsung Galaxy Note tablet and my Galaxy Note 3 phablet—in the video clips you’ll see how easy it is to negotiate emails, audio files and games.

If you carry around a smartphone (without a keyboard) and especially a tablet, this portable, inexpensive mini keyboard would make a great edition to your electronics gear.

I love this.

5 big, big stars.

Daffodil CAP105 Dual USB Car Charger - Twin Cigarette Lighter USB Socket with 2 USB Ports - Dual Charging Device for Drivers (Black)
Daffodil CAP105 Dual USB Car Charger - Twin Cigarette Lighter USB Socket with 2 USB Ports - Dual Charging Device for Drivers (Black)
Offered by Daffodil CA
Price: CDN$ 9.95

5.0 out of 5 stars Daffodil Car Charger- Excellent Device, July 20 2014
Length:: 0:36 Mins

The Daffodil car charger is great device. It has the standard two (2) outputs 2.1a and 1.0a

What I like most about it is that is very small and compact.

ARCTIC S111 M Mobile Mini Stereo USB Sound System with 2 x 2 W RMS Integrated 2000 mAh Lithium Polymer Battery - Retail Packaging - Lime
ARCTIC S111 M Mobile Mini Stereo USB Sound System with 2 x 2 W RMS Integrated 2000 mAh Lithium Polymer Battery - Retail Packaging - Lime
Price: CDN$ 24.99

4.0 out of 5 stars A First Look. Arctic S111M/Mobile (2014) and BT/Bluetooth (2014)—A Critical Review., July 19 2014
One of the things I have always liked and respected about Arctic is their willingness to design and manufacture their own goods. Too many product come by us, product reviewers, that are made in a central factory--most likely China--and the only difference is, is the nameplate attached to the unit.

***
I've tested the previous two incarnations of the "S111" and both are good, consumer/ basic speakers. The real enticement of the S111 series has always been the issue of value. Features vs. cost, is a real issue here.

*** S111M/ "Mobile" ***
Like the previous models, the current versions of the S111 offers a mixed bag of choices that have varying results when compared to the previous models.

The S111M (Mobile)

The first of the two models is now designated as the "S111M" or Mobile. This model features:

+ Wired connection to an older audio device or cellphone, tablet or laptop.
+ Small footprint (2.5" x 2.5" x 2.5")
+ Micro usb to usb cord
+ 3.5mm cord
+ Hard Case

- 4 watts (2w x2)
- Frequency range: 50Hz to 25KHz
- No screen protection for the speaker cone

*** Sound
The sound is like previous models not exceptional but acceptable. The frequency range is a modest 50-25 and a 4w max output is barely passable when compared to a cellphone or a tablet's internal speakers. But, this incarnation should have been at least 6 or even 8 watts to distinguish it from the previous generations.

I'm also surprised that there's not screen of any kind over the speaker opening: You have the exposed speaker cones. I would really like to see for the future just a thin mesh to offer some kind of protection.

*** S111 BT/ Bluetooth ***

The S111BT is surprisingly better than it's "M" sister. But, I can't put my finger on why.

The "BT" has the exact same spec's, dimensions and accessories as the M with the exception of the Bluetooth radio installed.

As you can see in the separate video for the "BT"--there's a distinct difference in sound quality output.

Typically a wired connection, plugged directly into the source has an advance but I really like what I hear from the BT version. The midrange is more vibrant and less distorted and both the lower and higher levels sounds improved over all of the other S111 models I've tested.

So, the...

S111M--3.5 stars
S111BT- 4.5 stars

ARCTIC S111 BT Mobile Bluetooth V4.0 Sound-System with 2 x 2 W RMS AAC/aptX - Retail Packaging - Blue
ARCTIC S111 BT Mobile Bluetooth V4.0 Sound-System with 2 x 2 W RMS AAC/aptX - Retail Packaging - Blue
Price: CDN$ 29.99

5.0 out of 5 stars A First Look. Arctic S111M/Mobile (2014) and BT/Bluetooth (2014)—A Critical Review., July 19 2014
One of the things I have always liked and respected about Arctic is their willingness to design and manufacture their own goods. Too many product come by us, product reviewers, that are made in a central factory--most likely China--and the only difference is, is the nameplate attached to the unit.

***
I've tested the previous two incarnations of the "S111" and both are good, consumer/ basic speakers. The real enticement of the S111 series has always been the issue of value. Features vs. cost, is a real issue here.

*** S111M/ "Mobile" ***
Like the previous models, the current versions of the S111 offers a mixed bag of choices that have varying results when compared to the previous models.

The S111M (Mobile)

The first of the two models is now designated as the "S111M" or Mobile. This model features:

+ Wired connection to an older audio device or cellphone, tablet or laptop.
+ Small footprint (2.5" x 2.5" x 2.5")
+ Micro usb to usb cord
+ 3.5mm cord
+ Hard Case

- 4 watts (2w x2)
- Frequency range: 50Hz to 25KHz
- No screen protection for the speaker cone

*** Sound
The sound is like previous models not exceptional but acceptable. The frequency range is a modest 50-25 and a 4w max output is barely passable when compared to a cellphone or a tablet's internal speakers. But, this incarnation should have been at least 6 or even 8 watts to distinguish it from the previous generations.

I'm also surprised that there's not screen of any kind over the speaker opening: You have the exposed speaker cones. I would really like to see for the future just a thin mesh to offer some kind of protection.

*** S111 BT/ Bluetooth ***

The S111BT is surprisingly better than it's "M" sister. But, I can't put my finger on why.

The "BT" has the exact same spec's, dimensions and accessories as the M with the exception of the Bluetooth radio installed.

As you can see in the separate video for the "BT"--there's a distinct difference in sound quality output.

Typically a wired connection, plugged directly into the source has an advance but I really like what I hear from the BT version. The midrange is more vibrant and less distorted and both the lower and higher levels sounds improved over all of the other S111 models I've tested.

So, the...

S111M--3.5 stars
S111BT- 4.5 stars

Shift: Indigenous Principles for Corporate Change
Shift: Indigenous Principles for Corporate Change
Price: CDN$ 1.11

4.0 out of 5 stars SHIFT: Indigenous Principles for Corporate Change—A Reader’s Review, July 14 2014
If you're a part of the "Baby Boomer" Generation or even of the "Greatest Generation," it may seem difficult to understand what has happened in Corporate America over the past several decades.

My dad was a part of the former. And, the changes he saw both scared him and puzzled him simultaneously.

"Why can't you just get a job and stick with one company?" "In my day, I've only had 2 jobs after I left high school!" "We all made sacrifices to just to `make it'!" "Your generation wants everything handed to you!"

These were the kinds of things that were told to him. These were the kinds of statements that he reached for when he went through troubling times as a married man with four children to care for.

When the harsh realities of the Wall Street/ Corporate America started to change direction and the ever-available jobs (and, I use the term "jobs" very loosely) started to disappear; stagnant wages were discussed in grievous communities on factory floors while executives celebrated record bonuses in boardrooms high above.

But, it didn't stop there.

Outsourcing and environmental deconstruction started to make the headlines in the 90's.

For the people in my father's generation, it was a dichotomy that left them perplexed. If things are so bad, how are some getting richer?

This is not a discussion on the idea of wealth re-distribution, just a discussion on corporate ethics.

To be sure, there have been corporate executives who've re-invested in the American workforce, use recyclable/ renewable resources and put a cap on excessive executive compensation.

Some of the early examples that come to mind was a gentleman, I believe he had his factory in Pittsburg during President Clinton's term. He invented a fireproof and waterproof polyester. When it came to his attention that a competitor had discovered and stole his idea, he attempted to sue the competitor only to discover that they had just recently patented the idea that he had been using for several years at that time.

The company, started by this now-elderly man, was headed to bankruptcy. But, that wasn't the end of the story. It came out that every one in the company had good health insurance, adequate pay and a good working relationship with the owner. This man, facing his staff, created and bankrolled out of his own savings, a severance package for long-time associates. For more recently hired associates, he paid for job-retraining classes. He later extended his beneficence by agreeing to pay for extended unemployment benefits for the long-term unemployed.

Tony Hsieh, the founder of Zappos, more recently wrote a book on his life before and after saving the small, but personal-oriented online shoe store. His broadview of people, their talents and his own selfless bankrolling of this dream is an inspirational reminder that there are still great people who manage companies.

***
SHIFT: Indigenous Principles for Corporate Change, by Mr. Glenn Geffcken, is one man's attempt to introduce a "Native" perspective to this corporate climate of greed, mismanagement and disconnect from the workforce.

For Mr. Geffcken, egregious company implementations should be tempered by embracing what he calls an "indigenous" mindset--one that is rooted in Nature and "Core" principles. This according to Mr. Geffcken can balance out or even correct bad corporate policies of the past.

In this softcover book, the principles are laid out in 21 chapters. They are as follows:

Ch. 5- Connection To The Earth
Ch. 6- Everything is Alive
Ch. 7- The Elders
Ch. 8- The Four Directions
Ch. 9- Patience
Ch. 10- Intentionality
Ch. 11- Roles of Men and Women
Ch. 12- The Seventh Generation Unborn
Ch. 13- The Oral Tradition
Ch. 14- The Way of Love
Ch. 15- Integrity
Ch. 16- The Spirit World
Ch. 17- Organizational Change Starts With Ourselves
Ch. 18- The Warrior Spirit
Ch. 19- Creating Purpose
Ch. 20- Creating Core Values
Ch. 21- Integrating Core Values
Ch. 22- The Lesson From Tobacco
Ch. 23- Vigilance
Ch. 24- Trust
Ch. 25- Humility

The first four chapters are devoted to (and, I'm not sure convincingly) to defining what "Indigenous" means.

For Mr. Geffcken, Indigenous is an all-encompassing term referring to the original inhabitants of a particular land AND a similar, common socio-religious belief that are connected to the natural environment.

For my reading, this broad designation is counter-productive for an intellectual argument that he's about to undertake. So, I reduced the spectrum as simply a consensus of many indigenous tribes of North America. But, even that may be presumptuous.

I like the book, nonetheless, but not because I think that he has an alternative psychological path for a desirous corporate executive to consider but because this is more of a treaty for individual, personal growth.

I also like that each chapter is peppered with anecdotes about his many different experiences with native rituals and what those rituals signified to him.

In many of the chapters, Mr. Geffcken brings up that he participated in * this * ceremony, alluding to an esoteric ritual that demands a certain degree of privacy and respect. But, he stops just short of sharing what exactly went on.

This is good because he'd have a difficult time trying to explain how and why replicating a spiritual exercise (meant for only for parishioners) could be beneficial in a secular situation, such as a board meeting. But, the heart of this argument is rooted in what happened when he was * there *. So, you're left with an assumption that whatever it was that took place is the reason why this principle is valid.

This is not necessarily a negative criticism.

Many of us who cherish a spiritual tradition knows how hard it is to explain certain precepts and sometimes even analyzing a belief is nearly impossible without some dose of rationalization.

This, I would say, is why I like this book and it's because of the conclusions that Mr. Geffchken comes to which reminds me of the same conclusions other communities-- nowhere near connected to the native people--come to. It's a validation of sorts.

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