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K. P. Siu (Toronto, ON)
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Dual LCD Monitor Desk Mount Stand Heavy Duty Fully Adjustable fits 2 /Two Screens up to 27" ~ (by VIVO)
Dual LCD Monitor Desk Mount Stand Heavy Duty Fully Adjustable fits 2 /Two Screens up to 27" ~ (by VIVO)
Offered by VIVO Technology
Price: CDN$ 58.97

5.0 out of 5 stars Sturdy and effective, Aug. 13 2014
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Bought this for dual 24" Asus VG248QEs, which are probably on the heavier end for monitors, but the stand had no problems with them at all. Really sturdy even on an old IKEA desk. The adjustability is great. I can swing my monitors in all directions and bring it closer or further easily. Saved me a ton of desk space. Would recommend. One feature I would havr liked ks the ability to adjust height more easily, but it's not a significant problem especially at this price. Definitely better than the ones you get in the big box stores.

Fosmon Crystal Clear Screen Protector Shield film for the HTC One M7 - 3 Pack (Fosmon Retail Packaging)
Fosmon Crystal Clear Screen Protector Shield film for the HTC One M7 - 3 Pack (Fosmon Retail Packaging)
Offered by theWireless Company
Price: CDN$ 4.50
2 used & new from CDN$ 1.39

5.0 out of 5 stars but this one was actually better than any others I have used, July 21 2014
Was skeptical at first because I usually use a wet-apply screen protector (like the Invisible Shield and others), but this one was actually better than any others I have used. It is a great thickness and extremely durable. Each should last 9-12 months with heavy abuse (i.e. keys in pockets) before replacement. Since it comes in a pack of three you should never need another screen protector. It was also "crystal clear" as advertised - you would not know there was a screen protector unless you looked very closely. The feel of the screen protector was very glass-like and smooth.

Perixx MX-2000B, Programmable Gaming Laser Mouse - 8 Programmable Button & 4 User Profile - Omron Micro Switches - Gold-plated USB Connector - Braided Fiber Cable - Avago 5600DPI ADNS-9500 Laser Sensor - DPI Switch 100-5600 - Weight Tuning Cartridge - Ultra Polling 1000HZ -Black
Perixx MX-2000B, Programmable Gaming Laser Mouse - 8 Programmable Button & 4 User Profile - Omron Micro Switches - Gold-plated USB Connector - Braided Fiber Cable - Avago 5600DPI ADNS-9500 Laser Sensor - DPI Switch 100-5600 - Weight Tuning Cartridge - Ultra Polling 1000HZ -Black
Offered by Perixx CA
Price: CDN$ 39.90
9 used & new from CDN$ 31.99

5.0 out of 5 stars This is a great gaming mouse that can match up to the Razers ..., July 21 2014
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This is a great gaming mouse that can match up to the Razers of the world without the hefty price tag. Just make sure you pair it with a good mouse pad.

Samsung ML-D2850A Toner Cartridge for ML-2850/2851
Samsung ML-D2850A Toner Cartridge for ML-2850/2851
Price: CDN$ 78.51
24 used & new from CDN$ 40.45

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars It's toner. It works., Dec 12 2013
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This is your usual laser printer toner cartridge. It works fine as far as it goes, though a bit pricey (they all are). I've run through a few of these already but they always seem to last just about exactly the stated page yield (unless you are printing photos or something). I find that it's possible to eke a few more pages when it starts to run unevenly by pulling it out and shaking it around a bit, then play around with the printer settings.

Tokyo Vice: An American Reporter on the Police Beat in Japan
Tokyo Vice: An American Reporter on the Police Beat in Japan
by Jake Adelstein
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 13.68
32 used & new from CDN$ 4.17

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An imperfect account from a flawed person; still entertaining., Nov. 27 2013
There are a lot of flaws with Adelstein's actions, behaviour, and possibly his morals. He certainly seems more interested in "the story" and "the scoop" than looking out for his friends, family, and acquaintances. However, his actions and morality are not the subject of the book, nor are they fatal to the story. In fact, in a somewhat perverse way, they make the book a much more interesting read.

A lot of the negative reviews of this book seem to focus on the author's somewhat self-centred account, and (rightly) question his actions and his apparent lack of care for those around him. But that is a separate matter from the content of the book itself. Many stories follow flawed protagonists, and this one is no exception.

Tokyo Vice's strengths are in the amusing and interesting anecdotes of Japanese culture, journalism, and crime. In this respect, it is probably unparalleled. There are some blogs and articles of the sort, but none that really get into the dark underbelly, the nitty gritty of day-to-day life in the Japanese underground. Jake's account is certainly unique and insightful. For those of us intrigued in culture (especially Japanese culture), this book is a gem. Anyone who also studies Japanese culture might observe how rare it is to get such an honest glimpse into the "dark side" of Japan, which is not often portrayed in any form of media (other than glamourized Hollywood scenes).

The narrative is probably a bit weak, and the flow could have used some more work. But keeping in mind that this is not a novel but a memoir of an exhausting decade, I give Adelstein a pass on the point. Sometimes it does seem that fact and fiction blend together, though given the circumstances that seems to be fine.

Overall, an interesting read that doesn't take up too much time. There are certainly many dark moments though, so don't read it if you aren't ready for some emotion.

Fire and Ashes: Success and Failure in Politics
Fire and Ashes: Success and Failure in Politics
by Michael Ignatieff
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 18.77
13 used & new from CDN$ 10.95

2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A lesson in failure, but a bad one., Nov. 14 2013
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Michael Ignatieff is something of an enigma. Here is a man who has been a historian, a journalist, a broadcaster, a screenwriter, a professor, and a politician. By any objective measure, this should be considered a wildly successful career. Yet Michael Ignatieff is regarded as a failure. It is the last profession he chose - politics - that irreparably tarnished his reputation, and that is the subject of this book.

This book has been described as "a professor's search for lessons" in political defeat. This description misses the point, unless it is only an introductory lesson. The "search" is only cursory, and its lack of depth is likely caused by the same problem that plagued Ignatieff's short political career. The flaws of the man himself are reflected in the flaws of the book.

Ignatieff is no doubt a smart man, and it is evident that he is very well-read. He is a good writer, though his style of communication will irritate many because of his use of highfalutin verbiage and metaphors. Nonetheless, one gets a good glimpse of the inside workings of the Liberal Party machinery through the eyes of a consummate "insider's outsider".

The insights that the book provides are unique, if only because it is rare to hear about the secret back room dealings of political leaders. It is interesting, for instance, how Ignatieff was the last holdout against the proposed coalition between the Liberals and the NDPs (so he claims); or how Ignatieff was lured back and pursued doggedly by Liberal insiders despite the obvious red flags; or how Bob Rae blew up at his (former) friend for "jumping the queue", so to speak.

Those insights (which are not all that surprising for those who have followed Canadian politics closely), however, are the only real reasons to read the book. The "search for lessons" is ultimately flawed because it asks only "how?", and never "why?".

The reader is treated to history lessons of how things came to be, and how it was that Ignatieff came to power, and how it was that Harper was able to easily trounce Ignatieff, and how the campaign fell apart despite having some legs at the beginning. Unfortunately, Ignatieff, as sharp as he is, never goes deeper to analyze why voters didn't connect with him, or why the Conservatives were able to campaign more effectively than the Liberals, or why the party looked for him in the first place.

Those would be true insights that a man of Ignatieff's stature and mind could have provided, but did not. That was a missed opportunity. Alas, his failure to ask why was probably the reason he failed at politics. He had breadth of knowledge, but it never seemed he had the curiosity to become a real expert in his last chosen field (politics). Voters ultimately saw through this superficial gloss, and rejected Ignatieff the politician.

Canadians are probably not afraid of electing a smart and accomplished person as Prime Minister. Ignatieff, however, was not the right man. Read this book and you will understand why. Or not, because in the words of Ignatieff, "there is nothing so ex- as an ex-politician."

The Big Shift: The Seismic Change In Canadian Politics , Business, And Culture And What It Means For Our Future
The Big Shift: The Seismic Change In Canadian Politics , Business, And Culture And What It Means For Our Future
by Darrell Bricker
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 17.55
11 used & new from CDN$ 9.98

7 of 11 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Big Ambition, Big Disappointment, Nov. 4 2013
The Big Shift is at once ambitious and disappointing. Bricker, a leading pollster, and Ibbitson, a leading political journalist, set out a bold project for themselves. Over the last several years following Canadian politics, they have come to the conclusion that Canada's demographics have shifted irreversibly. The reason that the Conservative Party of Canada has come into power and are not soon letting go, they assert, is that they were the first to "get" the "Big Shift", capturing the attention of a coalition of voters consisting mostly of the West and Suburban Ontario immigrants. In contrast, the old masters of Canadian politics, who they term the "Laurentian elites" hailing mostly from urban Ontario and Quebec, have failed to grasp the changes facing the country and their ideals are facing total collapse.

At first blush, this is not a surprising statement. Bricker and Ibbitson do a respectable job of describing how the political landscape has drastically changed over the past decade, during which time government has gone from perpetual Liberal majorities to consistent Conservative control for the foreseeable future. The authors present an interesting premise and a relevant context for discussion, backing up their findings with bits of data (no doubt from Ipsos where Bricker is the CEO).

No one who has followed Canadian politics will doubt that things have changed in the last few years; as a matter of political science and history, the phenomenon is deeply fascinating. The analysis presented in the first half of the book painted a clear picture of our political past, present, and future. In particular, its analysis on the decline of Quebec and Atlantic Canada as political forces is devastating in its effectiveness, backed as it is by relevant data weaved together in a tight narrative.

If The Big Shift had merely satisfied itself with data and analysis, it would have made for a first class contribution to the field. However, although the authors purport to be neutral ("You may think that this is a conservative argument. It isn't."), the book clearly tilts right, and as the descriptive analysis yielded to normative argument, I could not help but think that I had been duped into reading a cleverly disguised conservative manifesto.

The last third of the book is where it began to fall apart. Up until the eighth chapter (of twelve total), I was right with Bricker and Ibbitson, following their chronicles of how the Laurentian consensus had governed in the past, and how their policies of open immigration and tolerant multiculturalism had inexorably led us to this point. As a person steeped in immigrant culture myself, I could even find myself agreeing with their analysis of pragmatic immigrant values and how the Conservatives managed to capture their vote.

Chapter 9, though, was an odd break in the narrative, which was tight and coherent up to that point. In the middle of a work of political science, I suddenly found myself reading a how-to guide for businesses looking to make more money off of New Canada. While there was nothing inherently wrong with the subject matter, it was certainly odd, and stuck out like a sore thumb. It is almost as if their editors decided that such a chapter would make it a more marketable book, and it was added at the last minute as a concession to the publishers. I suppose (and I suggest to you) that I should have stopped reading there.

Shortly thereafter, the authors began to lament the liberal bias of political journalists in the media. This tired old idea of "liberal bias" has been a perpetual conservative talking point, and yet despite the authors' previous adherence to data-driven analysis, they began to make assertions that sounded all too familiar. The press gallery is full of liberals, nay, "Laurentians". Press coverage skews too heavily towards Quebec. The CBC is "genetically incapable of expressing any vision of the country other than the Laurentian." Journalists detest the Conservatives. Harper will never be legitimate in the eyes of the media.

The rightward shift, if at first consisting only of jabs against the media (maybe even anecdotally true if not empirically so), steadily became more noticeable. Bricker and Ibbitson move from attacking the press to faintly praising conservative social reforms (such as charter schools). Then, in the final chapter on the future of Canadian foreign affairs, the narrative became clearly Conservative.

Yes, Bricker and Ibbitson begin by criticizing Harper's early years as Prime Minister, detailing how he had neglected foreign affairs and especially China while he was busy dealing with domestic politics. But just as quickly as Harper did an about face on foreign policy, embracing free trade in the Pacific, the authors launch into a diatribe on their perceived failures of Laurentian (now conveniently attached to Liberal names) foreign policy.

In particular, the authors clearly had an axe to grind with Laurentian/Liberal military policy ("the long and lamentable decline of the Canadian Forces"). Neither Pearson's peacekeeping legacy (Suez Canal and the foundation of UN Peacekeeping) nor Ignatieff's policy work at the UN (Responsibility to Protect) could impress Bricker and Ibbitson. Apparently the soft power gained from skillful diplomacy is no match for a strong military (or, in their words, "pointless moralizing"). Where the wheels really fall off is when they suggest that Chrétien's refusal to send troops to Iraq was somehow irresponsible. Regardless of one's views on the military or one's approval of Chrétien's term as PM, it would be hard to argue that staying out of Iraq was not at least the one thing he did right. Indeed, over 70% of Canadians agree (http://25461.vws.magma.ca/admin/articles/torstar-24-03-2003c.html).

The Big Shift is not a bad book. In fact, it is for the most part excellent. But I wish that the authors had not written this under the guise of objective analysis when the undertones of political leanings are clearly present.

Bricker and Ibbitson, in their own words, "wrote this book to start a debate." Have they achieved that? Perhaps. But it is unclear exactly what their true target audience is. If it was designed to inflame Liberals, it might succeed in doing so, though that is not likely to result in any meaningful 'debate'.

There are two problems with that goal. First, the "Laurentian elites" that they describe is a straw man. Though they skillfully merge data with history and analysis, I can't help but feel that they have constructed a hypothetical "Laurentian ideal" that exists in no known reality. Are there truly people who believe that Canada is a fragile union, that the government's role is unity, that Quebec is an existential problem, that transfer payments will forever be necessary, and that our national identity should be defended from American influence? If this Laurentian consensus does not truly exist, then what meaningful debate can be started?

Second, this is not a work of scholarly precision. It wavers between a data-driven exposition of Canadian demographics and a narrative/argument of how New Canada will forever be different. For the political science majors who want to examine the claims for themselves, the book is unfortunately sparsely footnoted and much of the data unsourced (undoubtedly because they came from Ipsos' proprietary databases). How can one meaningfully debate when the information is inaccessible?

In sum, it is a good thing The Big Shift is a short read. Any longer and the authors would have started to defeat their own premise. Love it or hate it, the book will no doubt be of interest to politicos and polisci students. It may even start a debate, though perhaps not the kind the authors had in mind.

An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth
An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth
by Chris Hadfield
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 20.06
27 used & new from CDN$ 2.93

45 of 46 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A rare glimpse into the strange world of astronauts, Nov. 4 2013
There is a reason that Chris Hadfield has become one of the most popular astronauts in the world (and certainly the most followed on Twitter). Commander Hadfield, not unlike most astronauts, is whip-smart, incredibly hard-working, and passionate about his work. One might consider him to be among one of the few dozen most accomplished people on (or around) Earth. Though Hadfield credits his son Evan for his popularity, there is no question that the real reason is because he is a great communicator.

His book, An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth, is a rare glimpse into the life and mind of an astronaut. There is of course the expected discourse on motivations and childhood, the trials and tribulations of becoming an astronaut, and the fascinating tidbits of life in space. The greatest strength of this book, however, is that it fills you up with passion, excitement, and wonder - feelings that Commander Hadfield certainly know well.

An unmistakeable and infectious sense of awe exudes from every sentence of this book. It is the same feeling of awe that millions have felt from watching Commander Hadfield's brilliant YouTube videos or admiring the many photographs he took from low Earth orbit. Reading his words, you get the sense that Commander Hadfield is the kind of person who never ceases to be amazed by the world we inhabit, and wants nothing more than to share his experiences with the rest of humanity.

The book is full of life lessons and advice. Although not all of it will be applicable to those of us not likely to go to space, his wisdom nonetheless deserves respect, hard-earned as it was by a series of experiences and accomplishments that most will only ever dream of. While there are many reasons Commander Hadfield is worthy of admiration, perhaps his greatest quality is his ever-humble demeanour. The focus is not really on his accomplishments; rather, the focus is on the people around him, on the support around him, and on the more mundane (but fascinating) aspects of an astronaut's life. You never get the feeling that he is in this for himself, nor do you ever feel that he is out to seek the spotlight. This is a refreshingly welcome change of pace for a memoir of this sort, and makes this book very easy to read.

This book is a great read for anyone who is a space-geek at heart (like I am), but it is also great for anyone who might want to read about a fascinating career from an interesting person (hopefully most people). A quick read, highly recommended.

Our Magnificent Bastard Tongue: The Untold History of English
Our Magnificent Bastard Tongue: The Untold History of English
by John McWhorter
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 12.27
35 used & new from CDN$ 6.62

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An entertaining history that's easy to read, Dec 22 2012
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McWhorter puts forth an engaging and entertaining revisionist history of English - as he puts it, our magnificent bastard tongue. This little book is a firm shot across the bow of prescriptivist linguists - one of many, perhaps, in a long running family feud between descriptivists and prescriptivists. To him prescriptivism is a plague on the language: a barrier artificially erected in the false belief that there is "one true standard English". As he says: "In a perfectly logical English, you would say, Amn't I the one who have to sprink the second coat of paint on? I presume that you have no desire to say sentences like this."

McWhorter takes great pride in the ever-changing norms of our language, celebrating its various oddities and tics as an integral part of English history both geographic and linguistic. Each grammatical construction is a puzzle to be solved - why, oh why, do we have the word "do"? Why don't we have verb endings? Why do we have so many irregular verbs? The answers to these questions lie in the intriguing history of conquest, migration, and intermingling.

But he doesn't quite fit in the mould of a traditional descriptivist either. Unlike many academic works of linguistic history, Our Magnificent Bastard Tongue proposes arguments for why grammar is the way it is, rather than merely concerned with the what and the when. McWhorter attempts to answer why English in particular is so different than all the other Germanic and Indo-European family of languages by reconstructing the history of oral English.

Therein lies the book's greatest weakness. Though the argument is solidly logical and his argument carries an air of inevitability, the premise is difficult to test (which is probably why academic linguists have given it such short shrift). Relying as he does on speculation and comparative analysis, with little focus on the written language, he is able to ignore some points of academic contention while presenting his point in neatly wrapped packages.

Fortunately, the intended audience is not the ivory tower of linguists, but regular readers interested in linguistics and history looking for an entertaining account of the language. And unlike other works of linguistic history, this book does not take itself too seriously, inserting a great many colloquialisms and jokes in the place of footnotes and citations. Here McWhorter does his best work - he is a true believer; he writes as he speaks - and for a work on language, that is a refreshing feeling indeed.

iWoz: Computer Geek to Cult Icon - How I Invented the Personal Computer, Co-Founded Apple, and Had Fun Doing It
iWoz: Computer Geek to Cult Icon - How I Invented the Personal Computer, Co-Founded Apple, and Had Fun Doing It
by Steve Wozniak
Edition: Hardcover
29 used & new from CDN$ 3.01

9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Simple Autobiography, an Inspiration to Engineers, Dec 25 2008
Steve Wozniak, the usually unheralded half of the two Steves who founded Apple, is one of the world's most respected computer engineers, having nearly singlehandedly invented the modern personal computer in a garage.

iWoz is an account of 'his side' of the story of how the personal computer was created with the help of Steve Jobs, along with a few tales from his earlier school days and later post-Apple days. It's a fairly short but engaging read, and certainly not a seriously reflective autobiography by any standards.

Wozniak spends a great deal of time discussing his work with electronics and computers, mostly done in his pre-college and early college years, making all the work he did seem like child's play. In it, he also intersperses many of his stories with tales of his pranks. Wozniak makes it clear that he's a real prankster, and it becomes a recurring theme in the book.

His language is not too complicated, and can be reasonably followed by studious readers, but some technical terms will be out of reach for less technically-oriented readers. That's just as well, because his intended audience most definitely consists of technically adept individuals. He is, as some say, the ultimate geek, and his enthusiasm for all things electronic shine through the rather bland writing.

Aspiring Electrical and Computer Engineers will find the book inspiring, noting how dedicated Wozniak was in his craft, spending all his days and nights playing around with electronic components and circuit diagrams - inventing a great many things along the way. If nothing else, it's certainly touching to read about how Wozniak passionately follows his hobbies to completion.

Wozniak does mention his good friend Steve Jobs throughout the book, of course, but it is clear that Jobs' influence on Wozniak was not one of technical inspiration, but that of a visionary and ambition entrepreneur, constantly needing the help of Wozniak to advance the state of the art. Anyone who knows a good deal of Jobs' work at Apple will find Woz's account enlightening, and perhaps knock Jobs down a peg or two on the awesome scale (Wozniak, after all, did all the real grunt work of inventing stuff).

The latter portions of Woz post-Apple are not as interesting, though some may find his accounts of his later pursuits such as elementary school teaching, more interesting and relevant than I did as an engineer.

Overall, iWoz was an easy read, and a fairly good one for those who want to get a glimpse inside the mind of a true engineer. Those who read it will remember the book well, although it doesn't provide the reader with any real social or entertainment value.

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