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Beiträge von Marty From SF
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Marty From SF "Marty From SF" (San Francisco/Oakland, CA.)

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SWIDO Displayschutzfolie für TomTom One II - PREMIUM QUALITÄT
SWIDO Displayschutzfolie für TomTom One II - PREMIUM QUALITÄT

4.0 von 5 Sternen Great For All Directions!, 5. Dezember 2008
I have an `Allen Navigator GPS' that works through your cell phone, but my phone screen is very small. When I received the `Tom Tom, I was amazed at how easy it was to setup and use. I had once visited a friend 65 miles away and it took me almost two hours, due to not being familiar with the area. With the Tom Tom, I was there in one hour. Even when I took the wrong highway (on purpose), the Tom Tom recalculated my route with the same destination.

The Tom Tom is all touch/tap controlled on the screen. The driving view is in a nice perspective or plan view (2D) giving you plenty of warning both verbally (you can pick from several voices and several other languages) and visually (large crisp screen). Some of the great features are its easy Tap to zoom in/out, showing you your current location, names of roads you are on and near, trip time, remaining distance and arrival time. The GPS signal strength is strong. Only once did it get lost through a tunnel and it recalculated itself within a minute.

To navigate an upcoming trip, just tap the intuitive screen and select "Navigate to...". You can enter an address with a small keyboard (i.e., street, house number, town). You're done.

Some cool features:

*Shows current time
*Navigate to any address
*Add any address or location (ATM, restaurant, gas station, etc.) to Favorites
*`Help Me' feature that addresses `phone for help', `drive to help', `walk to help', `where am I?', `First Aid Guide'.

Change preferences allow you to:
*Use night colors
*Show your Points of Interest (POI) on a map and warns you when you are near one
*Guided Tours of Tom Tom
*Safety preferences (seven items you choose like, `warn not to leave device in car', `warn when driving faster than speed limit', `suggest driving breaks', etc.
*Turn sound On or Off with a Volume control
*Display the status bar horizontally or vertically
*Can be set to specific units, clock, keyboard, car symbol, brightness, map colors, left-handed option, language (other than English) and more

The only thing I did not like was the fact that you can only update maps for FREE the first 30 days after purchase. However, this version of the Tom Tom is simply easy to use (I could learn to use the functions before I read the manual). The voice and map (a perfect 3.5 inch screen) are a solid reassurance that you are headed in the right direction. In fact, it guided me to my own driveway parking spot and my parking stall at work. I would recommend updating maps with its easy USB port every six months or so, like all other GPS devices. I highly suggest reading the manufacturer's list of functions here on Amazon to get a FULL picture of what this great GPS device provides. This is only a snapshot, but I am very happy with this unit.

Acer Aspire One A150X blau 22,6 cm (8,9 Zoll) WSVGA Netbook (Intel Atom N270 1,6 GHZ, 1GB RAM, 120GB HDD, XP Home)
Acer Aspire One A150X blau 22,6 cm (8,9 Zoll) WSVGA Netbook (Intel Atom N270 1,6 GHZ, 1GB RAM, 120GB HDD, XP Home)

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4.0 von 5 Sternen Small But Convenient, 5. Dezember 2008
Like a strange cross between the standard laptop and an iPhone, the 'Aspire One' is perfect for the student or someone who travels extensively. It measures (outside) only 7" X 10" X 1" thick and weighs 2 pounds. It has a much nicer screen quality than my previous 'Eee PC' and starts up faster than my Acer desktop which has Windows Vista. 'Aspire One' has Windows XP, for you that like the XP over Vista!

As expected, the keyboard is a real squish for large hands, but the keypads are sensitive enough and the mouse pad works perfectly. Unfortunately there is no disc drive, but there is capability to hook up an external drive, if necessary. The USB ports also allow you to add Memory sticks for lots of additional memory. The 'Aspire One' also has a very good Wireless LAN communicator. Its powerful enough to boot up in less than 15 seconds, has a 1.6 GHz Atom N270 processor, 1 GB of RAM and a 160 GB hard drive. The powerful 6-cell battery will give you over five hours of battery life (under normal usage conditions).

For fun stuff, the 'Aspire One' contains a Webcam built in (perfectly adequate), a multi-compatible card reader, 3 USB ports, built-in email, basic web browsing, and numerous digital media applications. It also has stereo speakers, earplug/headphone and microphone jacks. Don't forget about the Ethernet port for non-Wireless!

This really does make the perfect companion for the student or world traveler with its amazingly compact size and its surprising power. The conveniences are all here, plus, it has Windows XP, which I feel is FAR superior to Vista for speed.

Samsung BD P 1500 Blu Ray Player (TrueHD, HDMI 1.3, Ethernet) schwarz
Samsung BD P 1500 Blu Ray Player (TrueHD, HDMI 1.3, Ethernet) schwarz

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5.0 von 5 Sternen Blu-Ray does not limit you to Blu-Ray!, 27. November 2008
I have a 2-year old Sony NS3100ES receiver that plays every format and outputs stereo or 5.1 surround sound. The picture is clear and the sound is impeccable. Why would I go out and spend literally $300 to $1,000 for a player that plays Blu-Ray discs?

Samsung's BD-P1500 is sleek, compact and has so many more functions than other players. It will play regular DVD's, CD', SACD's, DVD-R, DVD-RW, home made DVD's and much more. The HDMI to HDMI cable is the best to use if your television has that port, as it carries the most data most efficiently (you can buy it here on Amazon). You can also connect to a regular TV or sound system with R/B/G cables (video) and R/W cables (audio). Whatever connection or system, it will play stereo to surround sound.

The entire world of Blu-Ray discs is another topic. They have a new optical disc format with over five and a half times the storage capacity of a standard DVD. This means you have more data and extras (like a storyboard guide at the bottom of the screen, display the title list, repeat play to specific points on the Blu-Ray disc, changing the camera angel of the movie, `bookmark' a specific scene spot and much more). There is also a LAN/Ethernet terminal output for updating software from Samsung (most electronic companies upgrade to improve quality over time).

The biggest selling point of all is the massive amount of data that can be played compared to regular DVD players. The picture is SO amazingly crisp (a Full 1080/24p True Cinema picture), I'd much rather prefer viewing a Blu-Ray disc over a regular DVD. The sound is crystal clear (Dolby TrueHD/DTS-HD), either in stereo, 5.1 or 7.1 (something I never thought could be improved upon with my Sony DVD player). Now at this price, you can have the new experience of Blu-Ray entertainment. It seems that prices do come down and quality does go up.

Note: Most of the on-line rental companies (Netflix, Blockbuster, etc.) have most of the Blu-Ray discs in stock!

Holy Headshot!: A Celebration of America's Undiscovered Talent
Holy Headshot!: A Celebration of America's Undiscovered Talent
von Patrick Borelli
Preis: EUR 17,14

4.0 von 5 Sternen Uniquely Bizarre!, 7. November 2008
The two guys who put together this book (Patrick Borelli & Douglas Gorenstein) looked at over 50,000 headshots to choose these 100 headshots. Don't be fooled into thinking (as I initially did) that this was a collection of freak shots of D-list actors tossed together for amusement. Far from it.

Along with photos (some zany, some serious, all unique) there are `resumes' ranging from the basic of weight and height to the details of special skills, interests and acting history. They could almost be all your neighbors acting out in their wildest ways; they all look so average (or not normal). As David Cross says in the foreword, "In life you only get one chance to make a good first impression".

Trivia: Meryl Streep was cast in "Sophie's Choice" once the director saw the headshot wherein she was wearing what looked like a prom gown, sucking on a lollipop, and making "crazy eyes". After reading that, I had an entirely new perspective and respect for all these "Head Shots".

Elton John - The Red Piano (Deluxe Edition (2 DVDs + Audio-CD, NTSC) [Deluxe Edition] [Deluxe Edition]
Elton John - The Red Piano (Deluxe Edition (2 DVDs + Audio-CD, NTSC) [Deluxe Edition] [Deluxe Edition]
DVD ~ Sir Elton John
Wird angeboten von MEDIMOPS
Preis: EUR 29,82

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5.0 von 5 Sternen Elton John Raises The Bar!, 2. November 2008
This four disc box set is one of Elton John's most expansive. The first DVD is the actual concert at Caesar's Palace with fourteen songs played to perfection in front of a 4,100 seat crowd. Its Elton's famous band members combined with a theatrical show combining visual delights like neon sculptures, pop art inflatable's, pole-dancing Pamela Anderson, giant love hearts, balloons and more. Filmmaker David LaChapelle has included original videos for the backdrop for each individual song. There is constant music and constant motion awash in color. The show is much more intimate than the Madison Square Garden 60th Birthday party concert. Elton does a lot more personal talking in this great video as well. The show is available in Dolby stereo or DTS surround.

The first DVD includes the songs:
"Bennie And The Jets"
"Philadelphia Freedom"
"Rocket Man"
"Answer In The Sky"
"Tiny Dancer"
"Don't Let The Sun Go Down On Me"
"Candle In The Wind"
"The Bitch Is Back"
"I'm Still Standing"
"Saturday Night's All Right For Fighting"
"Your Song"

The second DVD includes an in depth look at the behind the scenes setup of the theater with plenty of individual band member interviews and a great deal of personal perspective and insight from Elton John. It is a remarkable story about what brought about "The Red Piano" show as well as a good briefing on the Elton John band. An excellent addition.

Not to leave out this great music from a non-DVD player, there are two additional CD's that contain all the songs from the show, plus an additional one, "I Guess That's Why They Call It The Blues". The entire set is contained in a nice 5" X 7" X 1" cardboard box enclosure.

Logitech Z-5 Omnidirektionale Stereo-Lautsprechersystem 2.0
Logitech Z-5 Omnidirektionale Stereo-Lautsprechersystem 2.0

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3.0 von 5 Sternen Ambience Vs. Tone, 23. Oktober 2008
I love Logitech devices and have experienced many over the recent years. This version (Z-5 Omnidirectional) sounds fairly similar to the Audiohub Notebook speakers and they are approximately the same price. The Audiohub speakers are one unit and can be packed easily when moving about or traveling. The bass is better on the Audiohub. The Z-5 speakers have an extra speaker in the rear, so you can experience a more `ambient' multi-directional sound. This sounds good, but there is no adjustment for bass or tone.

The system I currently have on my desktop (which is transferable to my laptop) is the Logitech X-140, which not only sounds better (it has a treble/midrange speaker and a bass speaker in each tower), but you can control the tone (treble and bass). Here's the big hit - it only costs about $30 as opposed to the others which are around $80. Granted, the look of the Z-5 Omnidirectional is more sleek and attractive and the Audiohub Notebook is also compact and attractive, but for sound, and price, the Logitech X-140 is still the best deal and is more adjustable for your surroundings.

As I said, Logitech makes great computer speakers, but I think their first one, the X-140 is still by far the better bargain and sound. They are heavier and I suspect have a stronger magnet. Plus the headphone and microphone access is right in the front. The X-140 is slanted and not as sleek, but for sound, tonal adjustment and especially price, I'm sticking with my Logitech X-140 (until they really break new ground).

In addition, Logitech has added a small remote (1" X 3") that controls the On/Off, volume, sound source (iTunes/computer) and Play/Advance, but its gimmicky and I could see easily losing it (not that you HAVE to have it).

Ringo Starr - Ringo & The Allstars Live on Tour 2006
Ringo Starr - Ringo & The Allstars Live on Tour 2006
DVD ~ Ringo Starr
Preis: EUR 17,99

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4.0 von 5 Sternen Some Great Performances, 10. Oktober 2008
With twenty-six songs in surround sound, the sound is perfect for displaying the oldies live like you've never heard them before. Rod Argent plays his very oldie, `She's Not There" with a near perfect rendition. Of course, he also supplies the seventies monster hit, "Hold Your Head Up", a completely different style of music. Sheila E. gets her kicks in frequently as a super-percussionist, teaming up with and sometimes replacing Ringo Starr on drums. Her, "The Glamorous Life" is a nice powerful performance with a great finale. Billy Squire who has never really been a huge hit, performs very, very well with his signature songs, "Everybody Wants You" and "Rock Me Tonight", obviously relishing every piece he shares intimately wit the audience. My favorite has to be the wild and weird Edgar Winter who does a great job on, `Free Ride", but brings the house down with his wild rendition of, "Frankenstein, playing both keyboards, saxophone and a duel percussion with Sheila E. To watch this giant guy recreate that classic song with all the special effects and synthesizes is worth the DVD alone. Sheila E. does a great powerhouse job on the drum solo as well as playing duel percussion with Winter. Multi-talented Richard Marx and Hamish Stuart round out the band playing on nearly every song. Of course, Ringo Starr gets his famous songs in, like, `Photograph", "Yellow Submarine" and A little Help From My Friends" and more. The only drawback is the frequent interruptions with interviews from each of the musicians and Ringo Starr, but the music makes up for that minor inconvenience.

McAfee VirusScan Plus 2009 (1 User) (Euro-Box)
McAfee VirusScan Plus 2009 (1 User) (Euro-Box)

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5.0 von 5 Sternen A Much Better Version, 3. Oktober 2008
Not only did I check with Consumer Reports, but I called family and friends before I bought McAfee. I had previously used "Windows Live One Care" with no problems, but it is not even listed in the "top ten" of anti-virus protection. Norton was placed second best, but I heard too many horror stories. This 2009 version was very easy, easy, easy to install. Immediately, I noticed that on every website listed (after a GOOGLE search), there were colored check marks indicating which sites were `safe' and which sites were `risky' to open. Holding your cursor over the checked mark gives you more detailed information. McAfee actually checked all these sites BEFORE they made this program.

Some of the basics are: Virus protection (which updates itself), Spyware protection, Firewall protection, Email protection for virus and spyware and lots of other things I have yet to really explore. The menu box gives you your own opportunity to perform specific tasks. There is the QUICKCLEAN, which removes your Internet cache, temporary files, lost fragment files, old registry keys, deleted Email messages and other non-essential files that take up space. You can also DEFRAGMENT your hard drive whenever you want to speed up your computer. The TASK SCHEDULER allows you to create Windows scheduled tasks that clean your computer routinely.

That is the most important stuff, but there are about a dozen more accessories you can use to protect and optimize your computer. I do suggest you schedule your tasks for the middle of the night, as when McAfee was running in the background, everything slowed down significantly. If you have more than one computer, you might want to check out the "3-User" version to save money.

The Fall ( UK Import)
The Fall ( UK Import)
DVD ~ Catinca Untaru
Preis: EUR 14,50

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5.0 von 5 Sternen Visually Arresting!, 29. September 2008
Rezension bezieht sich auf: The Fall ( UK Import) (DVD)
A movie stuntman (Lee Pace from "Miss Pettigrew Lives For A Day") in early 1920's Los Angeles is laid-up from a serious fall and is suicidal. An inquisitive little girl (amazingly cute Catinca Untaru) begins asking him questions and before anyone realizes it, he begins to tell her fanciful stories. Director Tarsem Singh channels Spielberg with his amazing and enormously grand cinematography. The loosely told love story with wild adventurers, heroes and princesses is shown in colorfully large scale in dramatic places. From crystal clear waters of an ocean reef to sand deserts and the Taj Mahal, the look is nothing short of mesmerizing (ever seen an elephant swim in a lush reef filmed from underneath?) The despondent stuntman tells the story in hopes of getting the young girl to procure him a bottle of lethal morphine. In the process, his story grows and progresses into wild and visually arresting backdrops. Costumes and characters are played out in over twenty countries with no CGI effects - all the visuals were done with thousands of extras and enormous outdoor sets. The story of the stuntman and the little girl takes on its own life and the two intertwine with dramatic and endearing results. The ending is rich, clever and more than satisfying. This is a film that has to be seen to be believed. They just don't make them like this anymore.

My Kid Could Paint That [UK Import]
My Kid Could Paint That [UK Import]
DVD ~ Marla Olmstead
Wird angeboten von -uniqueplace-
Preis: EUR 10,02

5.0 von 5 Sternen Controversy Is The Star Here, 29. September 2008
Rezension bezieht sich auf: My Kid Could Paint That [UK Import] (DVD)
This is a strange documentary, in that, the star of the show is a four year old girl named Marla who can paint like an adult. However, she doesn't speak other than what you would expect from a four year old. The paintings are considered remarkable works of modern art. Not until "60 Minutes" does a scathing story about the possibility that she was coached or that her father might have even touched up the paintings, do things start changing. Her gallery showings end along with the sales of her paintings (some asking $25,000 and more).

The parents allow a hidden camera to be placed to document Marla painting to prove that she is truly the artist. The result is a painting called, "Ocean" that is both considered great and below her ability. The controversy continues. It appears that no one is satisfied. During one gallery sequence, several of her paintings are displayed and they all have child-like titles. Along with "Ocean" are "Lollipop", "Feather", "Flower", "Blue Sun", "Four" and others. They all are consistent in their quality and style. However, I could not help but notice that two paintings not only had adult titles, but were considerably different than the other paintings in style. These were titled, "Ode To Pollock" and "Asian Sun". Now if the father did not coach (meaning, he said he did not even suggest a color, theme or any other kind of influence), someone certainly titled these paintings other than Marla. Or am I wrong too?

Everyone interviewed speaks with utmost believability, credibility and honesty. Several columnists are also interviewed and the insight into the "Marla" phenomenon takes on anther perspective. Also pointed out, is the viewpoint of the very people doing this documentary. Can they be completely neutral in their observances and recording? It seems the answer is that everyone is suspect - and that is amazing, considering that Marla was the original point of this story - a story that got spun out of control. If anything, watching the human interaction and a family placed in the spotlight makes for a great documentary. The paintings? They are amazing in themselves and that should be the point.

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