Tag Archives: reviews

My “Pope Names” Is Finally (After 12-Years) Available As An eBook — Updated, Expanded & In Color.

by Anura Guruge

Click to ENLARGE.

The 2008 PRINT version. This book was well received. Check Amazon … worldwide.

Some of the Reviews for the PRINT book on Amazon.

Click to ENLARGE & read here. On Amazon. Check it out.

In FULL color. Looks good.

Hard to believe. My 1st pope book! I was so, so new to popes & I was so tentative. Then I started getting all the feedback. Wow. People liked it. They had copies at the Vatican.

People started asking me what the NEXT NAME was going to be. That is what got me started on the ‘Next Pope‘ kick. Wow.

I said I would NEVER publish this book as an eBook. I was, obviously, WRONG.

The problem was that it was tightly-formatted & contained tons of tables. In 2008, eBook rendering was not good enough to deal with that. Much has changed in the last 12-years, PLUS I am much more experienced in creating eBooks. This took a fair amount of work & time. Close to a WEEK! At the rate I work, that is a LOT of work.

It looks good. I am PLEASED. I am proud of it.

Have a look. It is FREE to preview IF the $2 is too much of an ask.

It is also available, as are most of my eBooks (as of 2020), on BOTH APPLE & Amazon (i.e., Kindle). So, no excuses.

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by Anura Guruge


Garmin Has A ‘Mecca Finder’ Widget For Its Wearables.

by Anura Guruge

Click to ENLARGE and view here. From Garmin ‘Connect IQ’ @ https://apps.garmin.com/

I do not know how long they have had it for. Can’t find a version number. Judging from the reviews it appears to have been introduced in 2019.

The last review is disturbing! Says the direction calculation is wrong! I can understand. There might be nuances that a non-Muslim might not get. It would be like a novice trying to figure out when Easter is supposed to be — rather than just looking it up.

Click to ENLARGE.

I am (as a Garmin shareholder, user and fan) proud of Garmin. This was cute.

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by Anura Guruge

Fuji X-Pro2 Update: No Firmware Update As Yet, 150 Shot Battery Life Claim & 83% Rating By DPReview.

by Anura Guruge

From fujifilmusa.com Product Support page for the X-Pro2. Click to ENLARGE and view here.

From ‘B&H’ product page for the Fuji X-Pro2. Click image to ENLARGE and read here. Use link below to access original at ‘bandh.com’.

Click here to access original review at ‘B&H’.

DPReview 83% rating. Click to ENLARGE and goggle here. You can find the original review (thorough as ever) at: dpreview.com/reviews/fujifilm-x-pro2/10

As I have already made clear the Fujifilm X-Pro2 leaves me cold. The only reason that I appear to obsessively follow it is because it is, by any measure, the precursor to my much anticipated dream camera — the yet to be announced Fuji X-T2. So that is the deal.

The X-Pro2, per Amazon & B&H, doesn’t start shipping till next week, March 20, 2016. Yes, I know that there were ‘pre-production’ models. That said I am slightly leery of the reviews that I see at B&H. Yes, of course they may have got the cameras by some means. But last September I saw many ‘bogus’ reviews getting posted on Amazon for the Sony RX10 II BEFORE the camera was shipping. That might not be the case on B&H but I am, as ever, cautious.

There are two reviews of the X-Pro2, at B&H, that are of concern. One is that posted above talking about a 150 shot battery life in ‘high performance’ and the throwaway comment, right at the end, that the “camera speed throughout is noticeably slower”. Aahh? The third review, a 3-star one (by a supposed Pro photographer with an impressive stable of Fuji cameras) is frightening. He confirms the ‘custom menu reset’ problem we have already heard about BUT claims it happens when you swap batteries. Yikes! That is why I was checking to see if Fuji has done a Firmware update as yet. They haven’t.

The DPReview 83% is, from what I know, above average. From what I have seen most ‘good’ cameras get 82%. So this is a tad higher. BUT JPEG image quality and ‘metering focus’ do not get outstanding ratings. That is scary.

Anywho. Hope all of this in one place, with the necessary links, helps.

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by Anura Guruge

Eye4 C1 Indoor Surveillance Camera, With Motion Detect & IR, Is An Absolute Steal At $40 To Mitigate Sibling Rivalry.

by Anura Guruge


Click here to access Amazon product page.

No, no. We did NOT get this as a serious indoor surveillance camera for the house. That had been taken care of long time ago.

This was the latest hi-tech measure to mitigate the intense, war-footing sibling rivalry. Yep. This is to hopefully stop accusations of theft (of little things like batteries (rather than going down 2 flights of stairs to my huge cache of batteries (from the Dollar store)). 

And this camera for $40 an absolute beauty.

It took us, Teischan and I, less than 3 minutes, TOPS, to set it up — including downloading the Android APP (to Teischan’s pad) and setting it upon Wi-Fi (using the ‘WOW That Was Easy’ one-touch Wi-Fi configuration). Worked first time. No hassle. Absolute joy. This thing has Infrared for night vision, motion detection and can be controlled remotely. Yes, it is slightly big BUT we are talking $40.

Things are bad on the sibling rivalry issue at our house. In November, fed up with the constant bickering, I got them FOOD LOCKERS! Now they can lock up their favorite snacks so that the other doesn’t ‘borrow’ them. But it appears that wasn’t enough. So hopefully this camera will provide some type of true — the CAMERA DETERRENT!

This was the second camera we tried out. I first ordered an UOKOO camera but we couldn’t set it up! So that went back.

Two thumbs PLUS, PLUS for this camera. Amazing. Oh, it has two-way voice communications too and as such would be GREAT as a baby monitor or a pet monitor. 5-star. We love it. Not sure I would use it as a security camera — and I am not sure whether you can access it over the Internet as opposed to just Wi-Fi. I haven’t looked. But for now it does all of what I/Teischan want it to do. For me its is the peace. $40 for that. You can’t beat it. SMILE.

by Anura Guruge

SketchPro 3D Pen — Works & Teischan Is Hooked.

by Anura Guruge


Click to access Amazon product page (where you can, of course, order one).

Our pictures. Click to ENLARGE.


Click to ENLARGE and read my review here. IF you prefer to read the original at Amazon, with the pictures, use the link below.

Click here if you want to read the original as it appears on Amazon.

4 pictures of the early creations.

Given my prolific Web presence it should not come as a surprise that I get contacted by folks asking me if I will review their products. I do NOT accept all of them because I want to be honest, upfront and credible. So I will turn down products that I know that we will not do justice to.

When I was offered this, at a list price of $95 (with a $95 off coupon), I could not resist. I knew that it would get used. I was just hoping that it would not disappoint. I should not have worried. It, after (what I guess was an inevitable) hesitant start has proved to be a great success. Deanna informed me that Teischan was using it, creating a red heart, WHILE she was eating breakfast this morning, prior to school! That is impressive. Typically she would have been on her pad. I have already been told to order more (non-smoking) filament. That I will do.

I think this could be a new craze in the house. I will try to keep you posted.

by Anura Guruge

I Bought A 10.6″ 8-Core Dragon Touch X10 Android Tablet To Replace My Le Pan.

by Anura Guruge


My Le Pan 10.2″ Android tablet, that I got from Walmart in August 2014 (to replace my 7″ ASUS that died), after acting up now and then, in terms of not powering up, finally gave up the ghost and died, dead as a doornail, Friday night. Friday was quite the day, even without the stock market meltdown. I won’t even tell you how much I lost. Some people have mortgages that are less than that. C’est la vie.

Yes, the Le Pan is covered by a USELESS 2 year product warranty I got from bloody Walmart — for $45. Never again. This is why I bought this from Amazon, the 2nd of the 12 (or more) Android pads that I have bought for the kids, Deanna and I.

I came across the Dragon Touch X10 when I asked Amazon to show me 10″ (or greater) Androids. I have had good luck — or I should say Teischan has had good luck — with ‘cheap’ Chinese Android Pads, i.e., Visual Land. The reviews for this, including one on YouTube, were pretty awesome. I liked the specs. The 10.6″ appealed. I do NOT carry this around. 95% of the time it is on my bedside table. I mainly use a tablet, in the morning, in bed, while I drink my coffee, and listen to CNBC. I check my blog, I read ‘marketwatch.com‘, I read the U.K. “Daily Mail“, cover-to-cover, without fail, and I check camera news. All using Chrome. I don’t use many APPS! So this looks good. Price was acceptable, though it appears the price has gone up in the last 6 months! I paid quite a bit more for the Le Pan 18 months ago.

I will, of course, let you know how it works out after I get it on Wednesday, February 10, 2016.

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by Anura Guruge

I Get My “Top Contributor” Badge At “Tripadvisor” With My 50th Review.

by Anura Guruge


Click to ENLARGE.


Click to ENLARGE and read here. My 1st and ONLY ‘1 star’ review — ‘Acadia Sunrise Motel’ in Trenton, Maine.

Kind of amuses me that “tripadvisor” managed to cajole and pander me to write 51 reviews! They have one heck of a system and scheme, mainly relying on ones ego, to write these reviews. It is the ultimate in ‘frequent flyer’ type loyalty programs (as introduced by American Airlines in the 1970s) BUT the catch here is that the ONLY rewards you get is ‘recognition’! They give you nothing back — as far as I know — for writing these reviews. I definitely haven’t go anything other than these virtual badges. But, I will confess, that it can be satisfying to share your opinion.

I only went on ‘tripadvisor’, in September 2013, because I wanted to tell the world about the dreadful experience we had at the ‘Acadia Sunrise Motel‘ in Trenton, Maine — our first visit to Acadia. I was venting and ranting. We were mad. But then ‘tripadvisor’ sucks you in, very cleverly. They ask you about the “Visitor’s Center”, restaurants in Bar Harbor and the next thing you know you have written 3 reviews. And that is how it went.

I am by know means a regular or committed contributor. I haven’t by a long chalk reviewed all the restaurants we have been to since that first review. After a trip I typically feel compelled to review the hotels. Then they get me to comment on local attractions and restaurants. Soon I have all these badges and they keep on cajoling me. Once I passed 40 review I did want to do 50 and get ‘Top Contributor’ status. Not sure what is next. It is a harmless lark.

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by Anura Guruge

Top 25 Hotels In The U.S. Per “Tripadvisor” Traveler’s Choice.

by Anura Guruge


Click to access the complete list at “tripadvisor”.

I contribute reviews and photos to “tripadvisor” though I can never rationalize to myself as to why I do so other than for purely egotistical reasons. I have actually done 49 reviews and am just one review away from being classed a ‘Top Contributor‘. But that is all I get. Seems somehow wrong. You would think that they would give you some kind of travel points. But c’est la vie. But, also to be fair, I do use the site, albeit not that often, to check out recommendations, especially in terms of places to eat.

As for this list of hotels, suffice to say that I have not stayed at any of them and probably unlikely to ever do. But you might find it useful.

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by Anura Guruge

IF Amazon Thinks They Only Have 1,000 Fake Reviewers They Are Definitely ‘Under The Influence’ At Work!

Anura Guruge December 2014 thumbnail
by Anura Guruge

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From ‘marketwatch.com’. Click to ENLARGE and read here.

This is a BIG joke on the part of Amazon, just in the same way that most of us, who actually do real business on the site, know that at least 50% of the reviews are a JOKE.

They are out-and-out BOGUS and Amazon has ENCOURAGED that for decades.

There were people in the U.S. writing reviews for the Sony RX10 II, that they claimed that they had bought from Amazon, 8 weeks BEFORE the camera started shipping in the U.S.!

I have review on some of my books from people who I know, just from what the review says, never saw the book let alone bought it.

Amazon, and here I speak as one who has MORE of a monetary stake in Amazon (in terms of the number of shares I own) that in any other ‘thing’ (including our (very modest) house) in the World. Yes, I am a genuine stakeholder. I want Amazon to do well. But on this issue I know that Amazon will always be disingenuous and even duplicitous. They WANT reviews — more stars the better. They EVENTUALLY published my 1-star review against the Sony a77 Mk II, but only after 72 hours when my 4- and 5-star reviews get published in seconds!

I do plan to attend the next shareholder meeting, in Seattle, in person. My main goal is to address the issue of Kindle books and the widespread misconception that you need a Kindle to read a Kindle eBook. That drives me nuts. Amazon share are going gangbusters. But the share price does not reflect quite a few things that are drastically wrong with this company — their encouragement of bogus reviews high on that list.

Today, July 25, 2015: Canon PowerShot G3X Becomes Available — 80% Chance It Will Be My Next Camera.

.Anura Guruge December 2014 thumbnail

by Anura Guruge

Other Related posts:
** ‘Camera Labs’
review of Canon G3X.
** Sony RX10 II vs Canon PowerShot G3X.
I bought Sony stock, rather than RX10 II.
** Sony’s
2 new cameras: A7 RII & RX10 II.
** BuyDig
offering Sony RX10 II.

>> Search ‘camera’, ‘Panasonic’, ‘Canon’ & ‘Samsung’ for other related posts >>>>

When I got an e-mail from Canon on June 19, 2015 informing me of the Canon PowerShot G3X I knew I was going to be facing quite a dilemma. I had more or less convinced myself that I was going to get the new Sony RX10 II. Then the Canon which uses the same OEMed 1″ CMOS 20.2MP sensor from Sony.

My birthday is in September and it had been long assumed by Deanna and Devanee (who already in her mind owns my Canon T3i) that I would treat myself to new camera. I got the refurbished Canon T3i, from Canon, for a bargain $330, for my birthday last year after I was disenchanted with a refurbished Nikon L820 I had treated myself with. The Canon T3i, at that price, was a ‘trial’, to let me get back into the swing of things after nearly 3 decades of not paying much attention to cameras.

I am still drawn to the Sony RX10 II. If nothing else it looks beautiful, what a “$1,000” camera should look like. I do not like the shape of the Canon G3x and I really dislike the external, addon — very ugly — Electronic Viewfinder (EVF), the EVF-DC1. But it has the 600mm equivalent 25x OPTICAL ZOOM. That really appeals to me.

Given that I wanted ‘superzoom’ I then looked at the Nikon P900 with its obscene 2,000mm equivalent 83x Optical Zoom. I would buy the Nikon in a heartbeat IF it had a 1″ CMOS sensor. It does NOT. I do not care what anybody says, and Deanna swears by the picture quality of her Olympus SZ-16 with an EVEN SMALLER sensor. But, I, given that I do have a degree in computer technology, know that you can’t beat the laws of physics. Sensor size will come around to bite you at some point. To me 1″ has to be the bare essential.

So here is my comparison.

Canon G3X comparison Anura Guruge

Click to ENLARGE and study. Check sensor size.

I even downloaded the user guide.
From what I see Canon no longer includes a user guide in the box!
That is a bit naughty.


Click to ENLARGE and study.

I liked this review. I read it twice to help me make up my mind.


Click to access the review.

I am going to wait a few more weeks BEFORE I buy a camera. I am right now 80% sure it will be the Canon PowerShot G3X because of its 1″ sensor and 25X zoom. But I am going to do some serious research into the digital zoom on the Sony. Yes, digital zoom is not the same as optical. BUT if the image quality is superior in the 200mm range, and the Sony has a MUCH FASTER f/2.8 lens, I might still go with the Sony. What a dilema.

Any thoughts?