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Country: North America, US, United States
City: 18501 Scranton, Pennsylvania
An observation not yet noted: this captivating novel is extremely complex in its structure, devices, character developments. One thrill in reading it is that Jess Walter makes the complex look easy. One of the best fiction writers we have, Walter is always the maestro, in total control of his prodigious talents. His multi-dimensional characters often are adrift, but the reader always is in confident, caring hands. They're the hands of a masterful story-teller at the top of the art. It would not surprise to see "Beautiful Ruins" hot in the running for major awards. Bravo...and enjoy
12/15/12: NPR "Fresh Air" critic Prof. Corrigan just tapped "Beautiful Ruins" as the single best piece of fiction for 2012..
A few years ago I purchased an ASUS Netbook based on the premise that it provided superior portability for web surfing at a reasonable price. Wrong. Yes, it was small and light, but the need to fold it as well as the limits of battery life in my experience significantly compromised what I could do on the road. Add to that the Windows operating system and an underpowered Intel Atom CPU and it made for a miserable surfing and computing experience, whether on the road or not.
Fast forward to late November of 2011 when I first heard of another robust ASUS ultra portable computer in the form of a tablet running on the Android platform and you can imagine I was skeptical, especially at the price points mentioned in the press and with the claims that HD quality video would run smoothly, that surfing included fast screen updates, and that the tablet delivered an enjoyable gaming experience. After considering that I had an Amazon gift card for $100, but recognizing that Amazon appeared to have stopped taking orders and the fact that I had an upcoming vacation trip for which it was necessary to travel light, I took my chances and ordered the Transformer Prime from B&H on November 25. B&H could not provide a reliable shipping date or even explain if they shipped on the basis of who placed orders first. Thus I indicated my travel destination as the shipping address thinking there was no way the product would take that long to ship. Wrong again. Weeks later, when it was clear that my vacation would end before I received the tablet, I asked B&H to change the shipping address to my home. B&H explained they could do that but that would place me at the end of the line, which was apparently established after my initial call. I had previously had good experience with B&H, but it was very disappointing to hear this. Considering the experience and the still unused Amazon gift certificate, it was easy for me to cancel the order through B&H to order through Amazon instead. I have never had a problem with Amazon and they just happened to have started taking orders again. I placed the order in late December and it arrived on about the 14th of January nicely boxed to prevent damage during transit.
I unpacked, quickly went through the abbreviated user guide, charged the unit as directed, and the following day attempted to run the setup to link to my wireless home network. Based on news accounts and Transformer Forums I was concerned about problems with both GPS and wireless connectivity. I hoped my experience would be uneventful, but it was not to be. When the setup attempted to log into my Gmail account, it was apparent to me that I probably had hours of troubleshooting ahead of me. I had some hope, however, that since the Transformer Prime was connecting to the home network but failing at the point of internet access, that my problem would be easier to diagnose and fix. I did a fair number of fruitless Google searches before I resorted to ASUS customer support. ASUS had me reboot my router (which I had just updated the firmware for) and then walked me through the process of resetting the Android software. Still no luck. Customer support told me I had two options at that point: one, send them the Transformer Prime for repair since they concluded it was faulty or, two, return it to Amazon for an exchange or refund. These options were provided to me after no more than 5 minutes of conversation and I was surprised that ASUS was not suggesting other options. I reminded the representative that I was able to establish a wireless network connection and that the issue was simply internet access. He was insistent that the problem was the tablet and I didn't argue. Nonetheless I was determined to try other options before returning the tablet.
I started by driving to a nearby mall, figuring that if I could connect to the internet there I would have some assurance that the tablet was not the problem. Within seconds of my turning on the tablet, I did indeed establish the internet connection while sitting in my car about 30 feet from the nearest building. I completed the setup, went to the settings menu, saw that there was an update available, and proceeded to download and install what turned out to be Android 4.0_. I then drove home monitoring the access points and signal strength along the way. I was very surprised by the number of unsecured access points in residential areas. I hope that people are taking precautions in safeguarding their privacy and data.
When I got home I called my internet service provider to make sure that there were no service interruptions. I was assured there were none. I then powered on the tablet hopeful that the operating system update solved my problems. It did not. At that point I knew the problem was my router. Since I purchased my D-Link 655 from Costco at a time they had a promotion that provided free lifetime technical support, I wasted no time in getting them on the phone. Within 30 minutes of trial and error testing, we traced the problem to an IP address for the router that limited functionality. We changed that and immediately had the Transformer Prime on the internet.
One thing I am extremely thankful for is the free router technical assistance. I have an extremely complicated home network with multiple routers, switches, and extenders for both wired and wireless connectivity. We also have multiple media servers and at any one time can have more than 10 devices competing for wired and wireless bandwidth. My technical knowledge is limited and as much as I enjoy tweaking, a prime consideration for me in any future router purchase will be the availability of free technical support for those times that I can't troubleshoot a problem.
As to the Transformer Prime, now that I've put it through hours of use, I'm impressed. I have not taken it on a trip yet, but I can happily trip through my home and yard while surfing without problems. The available aps are numerous, performance far exceeds that of a netbook, the screen is gorgeous, and while I have experienced occasional browser crashes, they are thus far tolerable and I hope fixed in future software releases.
This is what the Netbook should have been.
I recommend a Griffin stylus and a stand to go with the mini HDMI cable in your accessory kit. I am still waiting for the leather jacket that I will protect the tablet in. If that allows me easy tablet access, this product is a winner since it seems I can use this product all day without a charge.
I am so in love with this device. It is a miracle of technology. A new book to read in less than 30 seconds! Yes please! At first I thought it would be too small but it is perfect! And even if it was too small you can make the print any size you want. You can highlight and it saves it into a file for you. You never lose your page. It is so intuitive a chimp could figure it out! I honestly can't say enough! This is going to be the greatest thing ever on vacation! No lugging books and I will never run out of anything to read! I also bought the case with light which made it even more fabulous and more like an actual book.
So in love with my kindle!Kindle 3G Wireless Reading Device, Free 3G + Wi-Fi, 6" Display, Graphite, 3G Works Globally - Latest Generation
Why I bought this: Starting rather early in the day I would begin to drip sweat from my armpits. Not because I was hot, not because I was nervous, they would just drip. By 10AM I would have giant sweat spots in both pits and it was embarrassing. I do suspect that the amount of caffeine I consume impacts this but I was unwilling to give up coffee.
My results: SweatBlock started working the first week I used it. I went the entire day and never dripped on my shirt. I really did work for me. I've tried all the fancy deodorants / antiperspirants and this is the only thing that has worked. I was just about to schedule an appointment to see a dermatologist and tried this as a last resort.
The only catch: It starts to work better the 2nd week - kinda wore off after about 3 days the first week. I'm in my 5th week now and as long as I remember to use it on Sunday night it works fine all week. At first I was concerned about the price but after seeing the results it's totally worth it.
I hope your results are as good as mine.
I have seen small businesses pay between $50 - $85 per week to have an outside payroll service process their paychecks because they didn't realize that they could do it themselves for a lot less. QuickBooks Enhanced Payroll makes it easy to do your own payroll. When changes are made to rates or requirements by the government you are notified by a message letting you know that your payroll needs to be updated. From what I have seen all the forms needed for the Federal and State monthly and Quarterly reports are available within the program. The system also completes most of the forms for you. You do not have to worry about completing some complicated calculations. If you want to know if Enhanced Payroll is for you, add up how much you are spending with your current service and compare this to the cost to purchase Enhanced Payroll. I believe you will find out that doing your own payroll will help you save money. Also, if you run into any problems, you can always call a Certified ProAdvisor for assistance.