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Garmin Forerunner 405 Review - Garmin Forerunner 301

Posted by Linda | 10:00 AM

I purchased this Garmin Forerunner 405 at the begining of February 2011. I started running in the fall of 2010 and was interested in measuring and monitoring my progress. I purchased the Nike+ Sportband at first and used this as my primary training tool for both indoor and outdoor runs until I bought this.

The problem with a non-GPS unit was some inconsistency in measuring my distance on a treadmill vs my natural outdoor stride. I still use the Sportband for indoor runs but decided I wanted to get more accurate data as I begin to train outside with changes to topography and measurements of heart rates, etc.

I logged my first run (a 7 miler) with quite a lot of variation in elevation and was interested to see how accurate and effective this was tracked. I was very pleased with the results. I have since used this Garmin Forerunner 405 on all but all of my long distance runs (I am up to 10 miles with a planned 1/2 marathon next week) and have found the data to be consistent in terms of my overall pace and I can see how I am progressing.

The device itself is fairly easy to use for its basic functions. I have not yet delved into the mapping/navigation functions. It is very light to wear and you hardly notice it when running despite its size. The heart monitor is not uncomfortable and it does help show you how hard you are working (however the basic screen heart information is quite small although this may be customizable within the settings).

One of the benefits is when uploading to the Garmin Connect site. Not just for monitoring your training but also to look for routes that you want to try yourself. Now that I am training for longer runs I am looking around my zipcode and seeing runs of the distance that I want to run. Having the ability to plan runs ahead of time and print a map (I tuck it into my shorts in case I get lost) is very helpful so you can know your range and direction in advance of getting out the door.

Overall, for an amateur runner this Garmin Forerunner 405 is a great tool and the price is right vs the newer models. Highly recommended.

Python String Formatting

Posted by Linda | 8:45 AM

In the last couple of projects at work, my focus has really been on using Python more rather than the usual Java that most of our work is written in. I have been developing in Java for the past 6 year, and have recently thought about taking on a project that didn't require Java at all.

The idea came after I read the seven languages in seven weeks - if you haven't seen the book, I would suggest you pick up a copy. It's a great resource for someone like myself whose whole development life was based on Java. Worth every penny.

So, one of the few gotchas you come across when you start working with Python is indentation error - this happens quite often if you are not using an IDE that indents the code for you. Unlike other languages, Python explicitly enforces the use of indentation. It trips up many beginners and not easy to spot.

Another thing I find fascinating is the string formatting - I have used

"%s %d" % (var,num)
"{0} {1}".format(var,num)
 ...but wondering which of the two folks prefer.
The .format() version seems much easier to understand, more elegant to work with, but it is not backward compartable. If you have Python 2.6 of below, the first one would be better. Python 3 and above support the format() version which means that if you are running Python 3, you should not be using anything other than the format().

I prefer the format() version, but the problem we have now is that our version at work is still Python 2.6; so no one is looking to upgrade. With half of the developers working on different projects, I think this might be the right time to ask if we could upgrade.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ35 12.1MP Digital Camera with 18x POWER Optical Image Stabilized Zoom and 2.7 inch LCD

Posted by Linda | 2:18 AM

I know very little camera lingo talk. In fact, I don't even know the technical wording for all the mechanical functions and capabilities of products such as this. So, if you're looking for a fancy review...you will be sorely disappointed. (I'm apologizing in advance). If you're looking for a simplistic review that anyone can understand...my review may be right up your alley.

First, I typically keep my electronics for as long as they're functioning. I really don't care if I have the latest and greatest piece of equipment, so when I had to buy a new camera because mine was on the fritz....I was overwhelmed by the variety I had to choose from.

I had tried numerous "pocket cameras", but few impressed me enough to make me want to buy them. The couple that I did buy, went straight back to the store, due to poor quality pictures. The larger cameras (such as this one) were either far too pricey, or, again, the picture quality left much to be desired. So, when I stumbled across the reviews of this camera, I thought that I should give this one a try. I am incredibly glad I did!

When this camera arrived, I wasted no time in opening it (so patience isn't one of my virtues). I immediately figured out how to start snapping pictures. Granted, I had to let the battery charge first, (UGH! More waiting..granted, it really didn't take that long...but once again, I'm impatient, and I think a little added drama adds to the excitement of this review.)

The pictures have come out crisp, clear, and extremely detailed. Not to mention, with the correct color. Even in low light, this camera functions like a champ! If you want the flash, you simply push in the button, and "VOILA"! The flash pops up. Another exciting feature I LOVE about this camera is the fact that it takes picture after picture VERY quickly! (This was my biggest complaint with my last camera, as it was slow to take the next shot.) The optical zoom is amazing! I have taken exquisite pictures of objects that were too far for me to see well, and the pictures are focused, clear, and almost like they're from a magazine.

Though it is a little bulky, ( I personally prefer my cameras this way), it is by far, the BEST camera for the price! Now, that's not to say that it's better than some of those SLR cameras that a person like myself, will never be able to afford, BUT, if you want excellent pictures, a sturdy product, a nice variety of functions, and an easy-to use camera that won't put you in the poor house...then this is the ideal camera for you! That's all I have for now....I'm sure I have left out some important key features, but I am off to play with this camera some more, so that I can "wow" my friends and family with my photographic skills.

Buy one now

The Troubled Man by Henning Mankell

Posted by Linda | 1:56 AM

A little over a year ago I received, read and reviewed The Man From Beijing by Henning Mankell for the Vine program. I gave it five stars and was so impressed with Mr. Mankell's abilities that I immediately purchased one of his Kurt Walllander novels. The Troubled Man might well be described as the story of Kurt Wallander's last case, for in it the detctive is coping with the onset of his own old age, dementia, and losses as well as attempting to solve a case at hand.

Characters from earlier novels who were significant in Wallander's life make return appearances either as real people, such as Wallander's ex wife, or in memory such as his deceased father and in each case some sort of resolution of the relationship is accomplished. It speaks much of Mankell's skills that if it is a character that was in that earlier novel he or she was so well drawn that they quickly return to memory as old acquaintances, and if they were in a book yet unread I was drawn to read that book. As in all excellent novels, The Troubled Man, drew me in quickly and kept me enthralled to the end, an end that I was sorry to reach as I missed being with the characters.

The Troubled Man is also the story of a mystery. As such it is well plotted held my attention to the end and, if in the end, it does not supply all answers, it supplies enough answers to satisfy.

I recommend this book wholeheartedly to one and all. I purposely have omitted a summary of its plot and suggest you avoid all such summaries letting Henning Mankeell tell his story in his own way.

The Pragmatic Programmer: From Journeyman to Master

Posted by Linda | 10:43 AM

The Pragmatic Programmer is not going to blow your mind the way inching through a book on machine learning or functional programming or . But it will give you insight into how to be a better developer at the job you're in. Some of the information/advice is a bit dated - almost everyone uses version control, which the book argues passionately in favor of. At present, should you find a company which doesn't use version control, DO NOT WORK THERE.

That said, it is interesting to see what wasn't considered matter-of-fact for development jobs when the book was written. However, most of the material is timeless in the way a book on design patterns is timeless. DRY (Do not Repeat Yourself) and orthogonal code will likely never go out of style, for instance, nor will the power of code generation. And though I say the book is for 'your first development job,' it's probably worth reading even if you're a bit further along in your career (especially given the propensity for switching jobs in this industry).

The principles elaborated in this book will help you do your job. And unlike some developer books, Pragmatic Programmer is easy to read and not prone to fluff or rambling. The exercises in the book (with answers in the back) provide ways to illustrate the principles espoused by the text, which is also helpful.

Get a copy of the book here

Keurig Coffee Maker - Keurig Brewers

Posted by Linda | 8:52 AM

Keurig Coffee Maker - Been a month, no problems at all. My neighbour has had his for over a year, not an ounce of trouble with this awesome machine.

First off, I'm going to tell you right off the bat, put Filtered or drinking water into the budget when buying this system. I've read people having trouble with their brewers breaking down over time. While not saying every instance for sure, I do think the majority of issues are caused by the type of water they are using. While Keurig said they recommend using filtered water with the Keurig Coffee Maker, I say it should be required. Most water, especially from the tap obviously, will have abnormalities in it, chlorine, fluoride, minerals, carbon, etc. I think it eventually will destroy the intricate mechanisms inside the best coffee makers. I used to work at a coffee shop. The big no no for making coffee was NEVER to use tap water in any type of instant brewer.

I say without question, do not use TAP water out of your faucet, or you may want to consider using a water filter like the Samsung Water Filter. Obviously it depends on your location, but most tap water will eat things like coffee brewers up. My water is really bad. I have instant water heater. I had my previous one replace after 2 years. The water literally ate up the tank and started leaking. It's basically a corrosive over time. This is the same premise for your coffee brewer, any coffee brewer for that matter, especially the ones that use internal heating for the k cups. So if you're going to get this amazing brewer, you gotta consider filtered water into the budget. Yes, you're going to pay more, but it will prolong the life of your Keurig brewer and most importantly, it will taste better too!

About the only things I've had come across, -- occasionally I noticed the Keurig Coffee Maker will give out different amounts of coffee, sometimes it uses more water, sometimes less. But it's very sporadic and the amount is pretty minuscule, so didn't affect the taste hardly at all. The best part about this coffee brewer is the speed. I can wake up in the morning and in about 3 minutes time, I'll have the best tasting coffee in my hand ready to drink. Highly recommended. Just don't forget that water!

The Steve Jobs Way: iLeadership for a New Generation

Posted by Linda | 9:14 AM

Jay Elliot, the author, is an insider. He worked and spent most of his life with Steve Jobs during the early years when the two Steves started the Apple company, during Steve's hiatus, and then during the subsequent years when he returned to Apple. Jay wrote in cahoots with William Simon, known for his books "iCon" - a Steve Job's bio and "The Art of Deception" - a story on another interesting personality, hacker Kevin Metnick.

The book did not write a lot about Steve's younger years, it is not bio anyway. It just mentioned a very brief story when he was a kid. But early on, it shows how focused Steve is into anything he is working on. Being detailed oriented is a recurring theme throughout the book. Even before, he emphasizes the importance of building a company concentrating on the product. Steve's principle on living simple and his belief on minimalism reflects on every thing that comes from Apple. His house don't have a lot of furniture believing only the things that is needed should be there. No wonder, the first iPhone came out with just a single button.

Steve Jobs as a marketing genius is also covered in the book. He can be as stubborn as a mule which is why we have the single button Apple mice. It also brought up the story of how Steve insisted of making a no fan laptop despite losing hundreds of thousands of dollars in R&D.

Also an interesting part of the book is how Steve built Pixar and how he was able to work with a similarly stubborn Jeffrey Katzenberg. If Steve did not gamble his own money on one particular movie, they may not be Pixar today.

Other than seeing the movie "Pirates of Silicon Valley", a movie that revolves around the rivalry between Steve and Bill Gates, I have not read or seen anything much about Steve Jobs, one of the geniuses in the modern world who gave us iPod, iPhone and much later the iPad. This book did not add just a "one more thing," but a lot more on what I already know about the man.

Love Wins: A Book About Heaven, Hell, and the Fate of Every Person Who Ever Lived

Posted by Linda | 9:06 AM

Few notes on condemnation for those who hope that God will provide eternal pains for sinners:
Matt 10:28 "Do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell." - notice that "he" in the hell destroys both body and the soul, nothing is left over.

Jude 7 "Likewise, Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding cities, which, in the same manner as they, indulged in sexual immorality and pursued unnatural lust, serve as an example by undergoing a punishment of eternal fire." Where is that fire today? Do we try to dream about some invisible fire in other dimension, or fire did what it did and their punishment's consequences are eternal?
Notice also Mal 4:1-3 when God speaks about final punishment and salvation, what happens is one group has eternal life, the other have eternal punishment, where nothing is left of them:

Mal. 4:1 See, the day is coming, burning like an oven, when all the arrogant and all evildoers will be stubble; the day that comes shall burn them up, says the LORD of hosts, so that it will leave them neither root nor branch. 2 But for you who revere my name the sun of righteousness shall rise, with healing in its wings. You shall go out leaping like calves from the stall. 3 And you shall tread down the wicked, for they will be ashes under the soles of your feet, on the day when I act, says the LORD of hosts.

I think you have to understand that eternal life and eternal death are two opposites, not the two parallel lives in the age to come. It started in Eden when God warned first humans about the possibility of death if they disobey God's commandment, and that was opposite to eternal life. But it was serpent who promised "You will not surely die". Since that time humans try to believe that death is not death but still another life in another realm.

We just cannot accept simple Bible truth. Death is the last enemy, Bible says, which will be destroyed (Rev. 20:14 Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. The lake of fire is the second death.) If even death is destroyed in the end, where are all those who chose death? Gone with the wind which blows away ashes... (Mal. 4).

So many things in theology depend on which verses you choose or want to see, and which ones you ignore. If you take these verses into account, then Bell is quite right in his conclusion.

Heaven is for Real: A Little Boy's Astounding Story of His Trip to Heaven and Back

Posted by Linda | 7:16 AM

Heaven is for Real: A Little Boy's Astounding Story of His Trip to Heaven and Back - Pastor Todd Burpo recounts the life-threatening experiences that nearly took his little boy's life. Illness can be a life-altering experience. In this family's case, it was a profound, positive change.

It is written simply and honestly. The style is much like sitting across the table from a friend and listening to a story that gets more incredible as it unfolds. Whether you are religious, spiritual, agnostic or, don't know what you believe, Burpo's son will leave you sensing there is so much more--both now and later--to our world that we don't yet grasp.

A four-year old boy's encounter with God and heaven is worth reading. Take it at face value or, search for deeper meaning. For some, it will bring questions and scepticism and for others, peace of mind and hope. A quick read (a few hours), you too, may have a soul-searching encounter of your own.

Get this book!

What A Great Week!

Posted by Linda | 2:26 PM

First, I would like to say how excited I am about the start of 2011 Formula 1 season. This time we will be having more races than we've ever had - India is joining as a new addition to the already tight list of countries hosting Grand Prix for the first time. With the construction work circuit completed, all they have to do now is to just wait until the race comes to India country in October. At least with two Indians in Formula 1, the popularity and interest is going to be huge; and huge fans in the Asian subcontinent is what the sport has been lacking.

Talking about huge, the level of work we've been doing lately has been massive both here at home and at the office - we recently relocated to a new office building, acquired more companies, I moved home, changed kids schools and recently just managed to sell my house. All these happened within the last three months; within that period, I still managed to find time to talk about the few things I found quite useful. These things have helped me in one way or another so that's why I blog about them in the hopes that other would benefit from them as well.

As if moving home is not hard enough, getting the new place to your standard and decent costs money and time, not considering the stress, pressure and strains it puts on the kids. You don't anticipate them until you start packing - everything begins to turn upside down, with things scattered all over the place. Initially, I knew it would be hard, but I did not think it would be this stressful on the whole family. It's not as easy as just loading the trucks and driving to the new place - a lot of things need to be taken care off like bills, postal redirections, putting the house on the market and lots more.

However, three months on, we are slowly settling into the new house, but a lot still need to be done. Last week we decided to scrub some of the floors and got The Eureka 313A Enviro Hard-Surface Floor Steamer  for the floors. With it we were able to finish the kids rooms and will slowly work our way down stairs are the weather improves.

We also used Shark Steam Mop for those areas that are hard to reach...because of our first time experience using it, I decided to blog about it - be sure to check that out.

Despite the amount of time we were putting into making the house decent, I still managed to find the odd free time to see how my post on Sleep Innovations Pillow and  Samsung Water Filter have been doing since I last checked them. They are still doing quite well which is good news. Although, I have not really pushed them that much, they've more or less been surviving on their own - which is remarkable; only if all other post were doing as great.

Seeing how some of them are struggling, I decided to spruce up some of my old-time favourites like the popular Swissgear Laptop Backpack article I put up not long ago. Funnily enough, more people have taken up the opportunity to get themselves one of the best products on the backpack market. If you haven't seen it yet, I suggest you check it out.

Although I have not really found more time to spend on this blog, I think the much needed updates I've made on those post and other sites will be enough to get them moving again until I pop in next week to check on them.

The 17 Day Diet: A Doctor's Plan Shoots To Top of Bestseller List

Posted by Linda | 4:26 AM

When I first blogged about The 17 Day Diet: A Doctor's Plan Designed for Rapid Results, I didn't think the interest in the topic would take off that fast. Several days after the post, I noticed that most of the traffic to this blog came in through a search on Google. This explains why the book is currently #2 on the bestseller list.

If you don't know what this book is about, it is deals with weight management and dieting. I'm not the sort of girl that require dieting as I hardly have any fat in the first place. But I got it for my sister who has been Dr. Michael Rafael Moreno's fan. She has read many of his work and believe they've helped her. So, when I saw this book on the release day, I just had to get it for her.

Judging by the level of interest in this book, it is safe to assume that most people are recommending it to their friends, colleagues and family. Remember what they say: There's no advertising that's better than word of mouth. I think it is this word of mouth that is generating this huge publicity for free for the author and the publishers. If the book does not live up to the hype, it wouldn't be flying of the shelve this fast.

Click here to see more including interview and clips and buy it!

Have you read the book or any of his other publications? If you've had any experience using his programmes - no matter how small, it would be nice to hear them. Leave a comment.

Shark Steam Mop

Posted by Linda | 4:10 PM

Shark Steam Mop - I had never used a mop this powerful before this one. We have marble floors both in the kitchen, hallway and the bathrooms - and keeping them clean involved using water in buckets and woollen mop with wooden handle. It took time, effort and energy to cover the whole place..and in some case, you had to scrub hard enough to get rid of the dried-in stains and dirts.

But it was a friend who recommended I get one of these Shark Steam Mop as they work quiet well. And I must say it has not only changed the way I clean my house now, it has also changed my life totally. I had heard people comment on how useful the Shark Steam Mop is, but didn't really pay much attention. I'm the sort of person that rely on word of mouth before I commit on something like this. So, when a friend suggested I check it out, I knew it was well worth it.

When it is delivered, it comes in a pack - assembling it is a breeze, it takes a few moments to put together and you are off. Although it will come with and operation manual, you are like not to need it as all the button and features are clearly marked. One added thing I like about this Steam Mop is the seemingly endless power cord. No matter how big your house is, you will not need to move the socket around.

Swiss Gear Backpack

Posted by Linda | 3:10 PM

Swiss Gear Backpack - Last month, I talked about the beauty and comfort of having a durable and quality backpack. If you missed it and would like to see it, check out the Swissgear Laptop Backpack article.

One thing I failed to mention in that post is what makes this backpack one of the best on the market. It comes with a 17" laptop space - meaning that no matter how big your laptop is, this bag will surely take it and still have enough room left for other items.


Those among you who are interested in the technical specifications will be glad to know that it comes with air-flow back padding, shock absorbing straps, and padded laptop pocket able to sustain drops up to 3 feet. Equipped with a removable A/C adapter pouch and removable LAN gear storage panel.

The cool thing about this backpack again, is that it's ideal for commuting - with your items locked safely inside. Mine has served me for a number of years and still going strong...with very little complaints. What really got me buying Swissgear products is the high quality backpacks they always produced. Some of us have used one of the products in one form or another, but just didn't realise it. Everyday, on trains, buses and cars around the world, people are commuting with their precious possessions tucked away in one of these Swiss Gear Backpack.

Round Up Of The Week

Posted by Linda | 4:08 AM

It is funny how fast time runs! Most of the things I planned on working on have virtually remained untouched - and can't seem to understand what happened despite spending many hours on them. The tasks were not much; just the odd blog posts, article writing and book reviews. These are things I can do quite easily without spending much time on them, but as it turned out, I got caught up in pushing my latest post on The Tales of Beedle the Bard, Collector's Edition over at another blog.

What that meant was the initial plan to work on this blog took a back seat. But then again, I wouldn't call that a waste of time because they both belong in the same pot...if you know what I mean :)

Anyway, one of the things I planned on spending time on was Dragon Age II Collector's Edition: The Complete Official Guide - if you have not checked it out already, I highly recommend you see it. I wrote a review on it as such, I will spare you the repeat here and suggest you check it out. Since I bought the collector book and also have the file, I thought I would spend time reading the book before the book's scheduled release date, I only managed to get through to chapter 2 and since then it's been lying gathering dust in my bed-side table.

Other than that, my recent push to get as much publicity for the Swissgear Laptop Backpack seems to be working. A number of people left messages and comments letting me know their own experience with the product. The general conclusion is that it comes on top of some of the best backpacks out there. Thanks guys for letting me know - I knew was not the only people who liked it given that I already owned 2 Swiss Gear Laptop Backpack over the years.

Swissgear Laptop Backpack - Wenger Laptop Backpack

Posted by Linda | 3:15 AM

Swissgear Laptop Backpack - Wenger Laptop Backpack - If your search for a good and durable backpack led you to this site, them you are in luck because I want to discuss some of the benefits of having a backpack that not only looks great and feel cool, but something that is durable, packed with features and affordable.

Among the things about this bag, it comes in various design, one of which is the ability to stand on its own. This is especially cool if you are travelling and can't be carrying the bag on your back for a prolong period. I know it's called Laptop Backpack, but there are times when you want to give yourself a nice rest.

I was one of the first people to buy this Swissgear Laptop Backpack several years ago when they first came out, but unfortunately, it was stolen when I accidentally left it on desk in a restaurant to use the restroom.  It hit me like a ton of bricks - and I still get angry everytime I remember the very first Swissgear Laptop Backpack those days. It was not just the backpack that I lost, it was everything in it; the whole content.

As a software engineer, my office is the things I carry around with me. In this case, my whole office was literally stolen along with its content. The sad thing was that there was nothing at all I could do about the theft. Luckily for me, I had a full backup of my vital data - so losing the laptop didn't meant the end of my business.

That said, it was only a couple of months that I finally got my hands on the newest and latest version of the Swissgear Laptop Backpack. This new one has lots of compartments for books, laptop, camera and the odd items one carries around. Unlike this 17 Inch Laptop Backpack, this one comes in black with swiss flag-embroiled logo in the front. There is a zip that runs across the front from side to side. When you unzip this, it opens up to the main laptop compactment along with 3 smaller compactments inside. These are good for keeping your wallet, passport or watches.

Once in there, it is impossible for anyone to know you have something tucked away there. Along with that, the inside lining of the backpack has a waterproof material which helps protect you content from water damage. What good is a backpack if it does not protect your valuable item?

The padding on the back, the bottom and the main compartment is something I also like about it.If like many people who carry around their office; you suffer from back strain, this will help relieve the strain. Despite all these top quality features, the Swissgear Laptop Backpack comes in at a very reasonable price. The last time I checked Amazon.com, it was on special for $54. So check them out and see if you too can get a bargain right now.

How A Single Article Changed My Google Ranking

Posted by Linda | 2:49 AM

Remember that I blogged about Swiss Gear Laptop Backpack and Heated Blanket last week? Well, as it so happened, the latest big G's algorithm update, or changes (or whatever you'd like to call it) has helped move the page a few places up the ranking.

These are not the sort of things I would be seen to be hanging out on the net for, but could not hold my excitement after I saw it. This is one of those things you just give a try and see how they work. Those who know me know that my focus is on promoting my articles on hubpages. Let me tell you, if you are not already on that site, I strongly recommend you join now. The folks there are some of the coolest people anywhere on the net.

So, it all started when one of the guys there recommended Make a Fortune Promoting Other People's Stuff Online: How Affiliate Marketing Can Make You Rich as one of the best books on promoting products. I quickly got a copy and set out to put it through a series of test. My initial plan was to roll out a series of article on how I set out doing that, but I thought against it as the whole process and methods are well covered in the book.

Two weeks later, I saw blown away to see them on the front pages. You know the feeling you get when someone famous knows your name? That was the same thing I felt to see my little tester article doing well for the relatively competitive keyword I used.

We all know how fluid the results are on G can be sometimes, in fact, they could take ages just dancing around the result pages. So I'm not going to hang around and pin my hopes on that little success. It may move off the front page as time goes on, but at least it showed what can be achieved if you follow the rules and played along nicely accompanied with good quality content and campaign.

If you have been struggling to get any of your pages out there in the limelight and would like to give something well tested a good whirl, then Make a Fortune Promoting Other People's Stuff Online: How Affiliate Marketing Can Make You Rich may be what you are looking for. It worked for me, not because I knew what I was doing, but simply because I followed simple, yet effective methods that helped show that anyone could do it.

Why don't you try it now and if it does not work for you, at least you didn't just sit there reading great review and not taking any action. Here's the link again... Good luck.

Moonwalking with Einstein: The Art and Science of Remembering Everything

Posted by Linda | 3:01 PM

Moonwalking with Einstein: The Art and Science of Remembering Everything - I don't know what is going on lately, everyone seems to be bringing out hard copies of their book. last week, I got sent another copy of Dragon Age II Collector's Edition: The Complete Official Guide to review, and that one as well was a hardcover edition as well.

That said, Moonwalking with Einstein: The Art and Science of Remembering Everything is not your average book - it takes you through the mind of one the world's most remarkable people. It is more than a joy to read; everything in this book has opened my eyes to how powerful the human memory is and how it works. If you are like most of us who find it almost impossible to remember what we did two days ago, this book is for you. In fact, you don't have to be struggling with names and events to benefit from it. The joy of reading and learning how these people stand out head and should above the rest of us is that they were not afraid to experiment. And in the Moonwalking with Einstein: The Art and Science of Remembering Everything , they show and explore how anyone can not only learn from them, but benefit from it - which is what most people want.

Read this book was such a joy. Joshua Foer's tone and style of writing is great. The passion, the enthusiasm, the experience... expertise - all are put together into this book. At just 320 pages, it took me 3 days to read it from cover to cover. That shows how exciting and well written it is. I struggled to put it down after 30 minutes of starting to read it.

Although this is his first book, he's already building a strong reputation for himself as a respected writer and American Memory Champion. This is quite remarkable for some so young, and yet has achieved alot so soon. With this book, Joshua Foer has sealed his reputation not only as a memory champion (which of course he is) but a fine writer.

You must get this book for yourself or someone close to you. And you will be glad you did...trust me.

How to Save Money Fixing Your Home Appliances

Posted by Linda | 3:59 PM

Being the sort of person that I am, I thought I would replace my own Samsung Water Filter without having to call some repair man. I have used them for the usual odd job now and again, but it always ended up costing me a lot; even when the job was too small. Not that I'm complaining of how much it costs, (no one likes to waste money anyway) but it is the way they make it seem like they've done something so great that you couldn't do it yourself if you tried.

What gets me angry is how people think they can mess you about. Let me explain. I recently moved home and needed someone to help disconnect my gas cooker, washing machine and the rest of the laundry stuff. I thought it would make sense to just call one of the guys I knew to come down and get them disconnect, and eventually, help reconnect them at the new place. He refused to discuss about payment on the phone and said it won't cost much just to disconnect and reconnect at the new place.

After disconnecting, he said it would cost me £50 for the total round trip job, but needed me to first pay £30 now, and then complete the payment once I've moved things to the new place and ready to reconnect them. As it turned out, the removal guy who help with the moving thought he would show me how to install cookers and washing machines. To my surprise, all he did was push the end gas-supply pipe behind the cooker into the wall socket - think of it like a male-to-female connector, and a simple push and twist was all it took. This took less than a few seconds - just to connect the cooker.

For the washing machine, this did not even take much longer as well. Because they come with two pipes - one for the waste water, and the other for incoming water, he quickly connected the waste water pipe into the sink and connected the water supply pipe into the 'Y' joint underneath the kitchen sink; which he tightened up with a ring and a screw.

All these lasted no more than 5 minutes...

Having seen how easily these household tasks can be accomplished, I decided not to be paying for things that simple again. This time when I needed to replace my Samsung Water Filter, a quick search was all I needed. Four months on, the fridge continues to work without any problem. The cool thing about it is that I not only manage to figure out the type that I needed, but also installed it myself.

In this period when things are tight, if you think you could do with a few savings, searching online so simple solutions might be one of the best money saving ideas.

Dragon Age II Collector's Edition: The Complete Official Guide

Posted by Linda | 10:46 AM

Dragon Age II Collector's Edition: The Complete Official Guide is the latest in the line of collector items been released this month. This edition is a hard cover version of Cassandra book based on the game of the same name. As with all collector's items, this book comes with lots of never-seen before behind the scene images, graphics, photo gallery and additional 16-page of high quality content for those die hard fans.

I took a sneak peak at it because, as a technical review, you get to see these books before they hit the shelves. And I must tell you the Dragon Age II Collector's Edition: The Complete Official Guide is not only a nice book on the Dragon Age game, but a massive collector's item.

As if the book isn't enough, Electronic Arts are releasing the next generation of the game to coincide with the release of the book. For me, as an avid gamer, I think this is Christmas come very early. Why couldn't they at lease wait till the middle of the year before they push these products into the market? My theory is that by doing it now, it gives them the ample opportunity to create buzz and awareness for the Dragon Age II Collector's Edition: The Complete Official Guide well ahead of others before Christmas - giving them enough time to shift their product.

However, this book is written that it seamlessly add greater value to the game. Every care was taken to ensure that there are no spoiler for those who like to have a go at the games first. It is like a journey further into the game; each chapter discussed the strategy and in-depth analysis of the game.

If you are a fan of the Dragon Age 2 game, there's a lot in the book that will make it worth your while. These include, the plots, strategies, tunes, weapons, enemy locations, special effect discussions and lots more.

Get a copy now!

The 17 Day Diet: A Doctor's Plan Designed for Rapid Results

Posted by Linda | 12:00 PM

The 17 Day Diet: A Doctor's Plan Designed for Rapid Results has yet to be released, but the interest it is generating both on and offline is huge. I received a newsletter today from one of the sites I follow for my latest bleeding edge news, and was blown away to see this book's pre-publish review.

Most books of course have this sort of reviews - they allow buyers to have an idea of what the book is about and what it covers before they buy them, but this one some how showed a lot of positive feedback and comments. I usually don't buy a book on a single recommendation, I take my time to look around forums, blogs and discussion sites for much broader and fairer comments. That said, I didn't have to wait because as an avid reader of Dr. Michael Rafael Moreno's books, I had to rely on my past experience and judgement of his work to know that it would be another smashing work.

What The 17 Day Diet: A Doctor's Plan Designed for Rapid Results focuses on is how you can literally take charge of your diet and see changes before your very eyes. With millions of such claims, books and other materials on the market, how would know that this will work? Well, there's no one size fits all when it comes to dieting. We've all been there - rush to the gym as part of our new year resolution, join local jugging group and all sorts of activities. But what it boils down to is how committed and focused one is to see the programme through.

In this The 17 Day Diet: A Doctor's Plan Designed for Rapid Results, Mike Moreno looks at some vital points that everyone should be able to relate with:
Accelerate—the rapid weight loss portion that helps flush sugar and fat storage from your system

Activate—the metabolic restart portion with alternating low and high calorie days to help shed body fat

Achieve—this phase is about learning to control portions and introducing new fitness routines

Arrive—a combination of the first three cycles to keep good habits up for good. On weekends, enjoy your favorite foods!

 I don't want to over sell it here, but I would say it is a marvellous read packed with helpful information and steps that anyone serious about maintaining their diet will find very useful.
It comes in a very glossy hardback edition - great to have on your book shelve or take on holiday. I have a copy already and hope you too can get one, if not for yourself, but for those you love.

River Marked (Mercy Thompson, Book 6)

Posted by Linda | 3:19 PM

The werewolves outed themselves and while humans debate the politics of the species living in their midst, car mechanic Mercy Thompson is a walker who can turn into a coyote at will. She is busy trying to elope with Adam the alpha werewolf of the Columbia Basin Poole. Her friends and family want to throw a wedding for the couple before they depart on their honeymoon along the banks of the Columbia River.

When Mercy finds out the Fae gave them a luxurious camper; she is upset because the Fae do not do favors without an exorbitant price. The fae wants her to investigate the disappearance of several people along the river. What they find is that there is an essence known as the river devil that is in a symbiotic relationship with the fae otterkin that looks human but is a deadly predator. She distances herself from the river devil who has marked her. The God Coyote informs Mercy about her parentage and she has a role to play as part of her heritage to end the river devil's reign of terror while a frustrated Adam must back away.

River Marked is a wonderful urban fantasy that has characters who touch the souls of readers especially the lead couple; a loving duet who lives for today as they may not see the morrow. Coyote the Trickster and the other gods of Native American mythology enhances the Mercy mythos. With a strong cast including other walkers and a terrific malevolence, fans of the saga will relish Mercy's honeymoon.

Harriet Klausner

This One Will Blow Your Mind!

Posted by Linda | 6:59 AM

I just came a cross this on another site, and thought I would post it here for a good old Friday laugh :)

Electric Blanket - How to Choose the right ones

Posted by Linda | 10:30 AM

Electric Blanket - It is not news anymore that the cost of gas and petrol has been going up in recent month, and years. But with the tension piling up in the middle east, the average cost of heating a house has also gone up. The effect of course is going to be felt by those in the middle or lower income. Those with children and the elderly will also feel the pinch.

But is there anything you can do to help save those pennies? Well, there's a number of real practical steps can can help. They won't just make very dramatic difference very quickly, but with determination and focus, you could start to see those bills come down.

So, how do you save? 

1. Electric Blanks - using an electric blanket can help not only to reduce your bill, but is also helps to keep you warm when you need it most. In the UK last year, the winter was the coldest since records began. That saw the elderly and the frail needing help to keep warm. These as we know are always the most vulnerable in the society - and they the ones most likely to suffer most in extreme conditions.
So, with very little money coming in, the best way for them to keep warm and not pile up the bills is through these Electric Blankets.

2.  Heated Blankets - These work in the same way as the electric Blankets, but the difference is that they don't need to be connected to the main power supply constantly whilst using. A simple quick and a few easy minutes heating is all you need. Most (especially the good ones) come with special heat retaining inner lining that keeps them warm whilst wrapped around the body.

As with electric blanket, it is worth checking with your doctor for health and safety advice if you intend getting one. Although, there's a general concern for pregnant women and those with weak immune system using it, some people still think it does not have any health issues. But it's checking though.

Choosing The Right Electric Blanket
With most things in life, it is hard to recommend a single one that will be ideal for everyone. A lot of factor can determine which one you will choose to go with. For example, some people will prefer heated blanket because it requires a short time of heating; and can continuously be used thereafter. While others may want the Electric blanket constantly plugged in.

Apart from those points, what you should really be checking is the cost, maintanability, quality, safety and size.
The focus here is to safe money and ultimately help keep us warm in the harsh winters. If they meet all those qualities and yet fall within your price range, please go for it.

Have you used any of these blankets? Did you safe any money, did it keep you warm? We would like to know. Leave a comment below.

Heated Blanket

Posted by Linda | 10:31 AM

Heated Blanket - The last time I talked about Heated Blanket on this blog, I was surprised to see lots of traffic from the big G. I don't mind having visitors coming in here, looking around and dashing off. What I want is for them to hang around and see if there's one thing or the other they can learn from this blog whilst they are here.

As it turns out, it is the Heated Blanket post that draws in visitor most - If you want to see it, just click on the link and follow it to the post. If you haven't already seen it, it's about the top of the range blanket I bought for my mum for Christmas because of the heating bills she was paying. These blankets and Throws help cut all that bills down but allowing you to keep warm in your home by only heating the blanket.

Just like every other thing on sale these days, they come in various designs, shapes, sizes and colours - so choosing the right one can sometimes be very hard. So, in that post, I talked about how to choose the colours that will last longer and not run, and what sort of quality you should be looking for. Although most of them will should made in China, it makes sense to ensure that the one you buy was hand-made... and machine washable.

As someone who has bought quite a number of Throws for my very own Homemade Christmas Gift Ideas, I've seen them all in varying quality and sizes; including prices as well. There's no harm in shopping around, as long as you know what you are looking for and what price range you expect, getting a good quality Heated Blanket or Electric Blanket could be one of the wisest money saving decisions you will make in this hard economic times.

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