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41
This is probably no news for most fellow posters here, but perhaps it's worthwile to remember, before buying the wrong edition or at the wrong price.

I

Look at the attached pdf please; you see a common phenomenon at amazon's, which is some crooks trying to sell books which are NOT out of print, to "idiots", i.e. customers not searching deeply enough, at two times the original price, be it for really used book, or for brand-new books declared as "used", in order to sidestep national book price binding legislation.

I did the search in amazon, with full title, in order to make a concise screenshot of just these two offerings one after the other, so you will not "fall" for this scheme here.

But ordinarily, you search otherwise, and amazon will present you with lists of books, and then those offerings, official price for new book, and some deluded offer for the same book, will NOT necessarily follow each other, but other books often will be in-between.

(The example is from the German amazon site, but I have seen this phenomenon on the USA/GB/F amazon sites, too.) (And see below point V.)

II

When the book really is out of print, there are two alternatives: Too few buyers, or many buyers. In the latter case, why would you pay twice or thrice the price for the former edition, when the new edition is highly probably imminent? In the former case, well, it might be cheap, then buy, but if some sellers think they can make a big benefit, why not photocopy the book from your library (if really you need it in full and permanently), which is perfectly legal in such cases. (Of course, this doesn't apply to "photographic monographies" and other coffee table books.)

III

amazon itself is not really honest in its prices: They often say, you will safe x p.c. from original price, when in fact that price is only slightly higher than their price, or in other words, they invent some "original" price which even the original source does not ask for. This being said, in spite of their lying about the original price and your savings percentage, often amazon.com has got highly interesting prices, but not for European customers (and downloads "to" Europe are forbidden, i.e. not available without U.S. credit cards, street addresses, and so on), whilst amazon in Europe, most of the time, is not of real interest, since some dealer or another will send it out for less, often for much less than what amazon.de or .fr ask for it.

IV

This (III) is particularly true with offerings from both dealers and individuals on the amazon platform: The same out-of-print book on amazon will often be several times more expensive on amazon, than on "competing" marketplaces, the quotation marks being the explanation for this phenomenon, or in simpler words, other marketplaces ain't quite real competitors for amazon anymore, and thus... This being said, never buy on amazon too quickly: First, try individual sellers, by a regular google search, or, for books, alternative platforms.

V

Speaking of google, there is another, big disadvantage related to point I above: When you don't search from within amazon, but when you search for a book in google, and then are redirected to amazon (which you will invariably be, as if other booksellers didn't even exist anymore), in many instance, this "amazon hit by google" will be the alternative, totally overpriced offering, and without any indication of, let alone a link, to the "real" one, the one for the new book at a regular price; in fact, my google search for the book in the pdf went straight to the overpriced "used" book offering (alone), and this not having been the first time, I thought it was time I shared some advice to not fall into frequent amazon traps.

VI

Similar with ancient editions. In 99 p.c. of all cases somebody wants to buy some book, he's after the current, most recent edition, some very rare exceptions proving this rule. Now, these google links to amazon will NOT cater for this need, but in many instances, they showed me the amazon page for some ancient edition of that book, and whilst in theory, such amazon pages would have a line, near the top, saying, "from this book, there is a more recent edition available; would you like to go the relevant page?" or something like that, I can confirm I've seen this line in some cases, but in the majority of such cases I did NOT see that line, so when in amazon, you'll have to search again for that same book, and look at the hits with a sharp eye, and you never know for sure:

When it says, it's from 2012: For a monography, that's quite recent, and in most cases, that's the (unique) edition you're looking for; but for a textbook, in 2014, that might even be TWO editions too old, not just one, an intermediary edition having been published in 2013, and the current one being from April, 2014. Similar for monographies: If what google shows you in amazon, is from 2004, there could be very well be some "revised and enlarged" edition from 2009, so be careful in amazon, and especially "coming" from google.

VII

Similar to the previous problem: Many alternative sellers in the amazon marketplace hide the fact they are selling outdated editions. It's ok they present previous or even ancient editions on the page of the current edition, but then, in the short description text you'll seen when you click their offer, only some honest sellers indicate their offer is for such an outdated edition, whilst the majority of them simply don't fee obliged to mention this very important fact, and that's why, by buying books from amazon marketplace, you'll get into lots of trouble, on many occasions, especially since the two biggest booksellers on that marketplace on amazon.de both give a dime for informing their customers about these flaws of their offerings, and they both have been doing this this perfectly illegal way systematically and for years now, without amazon (which is in perfect knowledge of these ongoings) doing anything about this abuse of its customer base, just as in ancient times ebay allowed crook sellers to administer retaliation evaluations on buyers who dared giving those crooks a bad evaluation for having had them.

VIII

ebay learned from the negative effects of this on turnover, and even on amazon, with their refund-no-questions-asked system, it's the buyers who today treat (especially individual) sellers not well: If ever you're sufficiently criminally-minded, it's up to you to "buy" some coffee table book on amazon, tear out the pages you're after, then send it back as "defective", and amazon will refund you, the seller being ripped-off at 100 p.c. (and there are very expensive coffee table books on amazon...) Thus, my last point is about the risks of SELLING on amazon, and it's even worse for the seller: Many books are just between 10 and 20$, so registered mail is not justified, and what to do if the buyer just pretends he didn't get the book? And of course, amazon is much too expensive for the seller... but then, e.g. priceminister.com, in France, is even more expensive, but that's another matter.



Anyway, in one sentence: On amazon, don't ever be sure that price and edition are the correct ones before having checked and re-checked (especially elsewhere).


EDIT: As you can see in the screenshot, it's the same book, but with the title slightly changed/rearranged, and that's how many of such "double entries" in the amazon db are created, notwithstanding the identical ISBN (!), but you've got such double entries even with identical title lines, and then with some irrelevant add-ons there, which seem to have been added on purpose, in order to create the "twin", to which google will then mislead buyers... (And yes, the ISBN thing should prevent all this...) (And of course, "neu" = "new" and "gebraucht" = "used".)

42
You are right, I didn't mention this third kind, had not even been aware of:

When I bought mine, then sent it back (b/c it was from the "cheap" kind in which I didn't trust, hearing it clicking), I did some "research", and all I got was the traditional relay kind which does not rely on a network (which is the big advantage of them, from the data safety pov), and then the sw offerings; ShareMouse trialling was quite nitemarish since my setup was judged "prof.", so the sw said good-bye every 10 minutes, but except for this, it seemed very good (in the traditional setup, i.e. for just sharing kb and mouse, but NOT for sharing the monitor, too, and I had forgotten my needs had evolved over time).

If I understand your post well, those ethernet kvm switches even work remotely, which is their primal advantage, but it seems they rely on traditional relays (click, click) nethertheless? For the moment, I do not know yet if the traditional kind I know would be able to share ONE OF TWO monitors (setup 1: pc 1, screens 1 plus 2, common kb and mouse; setup 2: pc 2, screen 1 (or 2, or just one window in screen 1 or 2), and again shared kb/mouse), which is a little bit special.

Problem is, as a non-professional, you have the right, in Europe, to send back the stuff within 14 days, but you don't make friends that way, and if you ask them beforehand for special features, you never get correct answers, even from the so-called specialists (which are higher-priced); so at the end of the day I fear what I need cannot be done with "boxes", but should be possible with proper sw.


This being said, I thank you very warmly for the hint to this third kind of switching means; perhaps with some search in the relevant factory pdf's, I'll get valuable info about what's possible with some of them.

43
ShareMouse will be on bits very soon, and above, I spoke of "30-40$ devices" - well, I checked my records (I had once bought such a "mechanical" device, but then had it sent back, for its relay being so "loud" that with every click, I feared the device would conk out).

In fact, those "cheap" mechanical/electrical vs. electronic devices do NOT cost 30-40$ in Europe, but, as "mechanically cheap" as they are, they cost over 60€, i.e. over 80$ (TVA and postage included), this being from the very cheapest source over here; (hopefully) "good" mechanical devices starting at over 120€, i.e. some 160$ (always for just 2 pc's; for more, costs rise sharply).

As said above, the problem is, for the sw solutions, you'll need to have your pc's connected within a "home net", which makes available ALL your data to the NSA and the Chinese...

Well, I've got THREE comps, not just two, and I have (as most of us will have) serious space probs re additional monitors/keyboards, so I probably buy ShareMouse, finally, now, in spite of my security considerations, at least for my pc number 2 to become available from shared mouse and kb, and to my screens; I'll have to shift private data to pc 3, then...

I trialled the sw solutions, and ShareMouse is the best one, no doubt about that.

And no, most people will not have it for free, since the sheer presence of some (?) Adobe sw will make you a "prof. user" from the pov of this sw.

Of course, I/we would prefer some sw which does not rely on network connection, and in which's set up some of our data would be safe from spies, even if comp 1 is connected to the internet... ;-)


EDIT:

Well, I might have been wrong here: From my memory, ShareMouse (in spite of its name) shared mouse, kb, and monitor, too, but from the description, I see your pc 2 always needs its own monitor, and so on for further pc's in such a setup.

I've got 2 monitors, both for pc 1, and my idea had been to share 1 of the 2 with pc 2, as well as my kb and mouse, but from my current understanding I either would have to place a 3rd monitor (for which I scarcely will have the space), or to sacrify 1 of my 2 monitors for pc 2 (which is out of the question).

Thus, the usefulness of such sw solutions is far from evident, I'm afraid to say.


EDIT 2

It's not my intention to denigrate current sw. But let's be realistic. I think it's a very viable set-up to have 2 screens (which for most people is a realistic maximum in their respective working environments - we're not speaking of network admins here, but of people who either work alone on their desktop, or who even have customers sitting in front of them), OR even just ONE screen, but which is very broad, and with a high resolution (see below).

Then, you do your work on pc 1, with screens 1 and 2, or with the (better, and higher-priced) screen mentioned above.

Also, you do some work on pc 2, or rather, pc 2 does some work on its own, but which has to be monitored here and then: Does all goes well? Are there some info screens there which ask for your intervention? Etc.

It's NOT realistic for this pc 2 "doings", to have your own screen, your own kb, your own mouse: Once in a while, perhaps once per hour, you'll have to check: for some data mining, for web scraping... whatever.

Thus, by all means, pc 2 should be available from your regular kb, from your regular mouse (which ShareMouse and its competitors do)... AND from your regular screen setup:

- either from 1 of your 2 screens, in my setup, described, above,

OR, even better and much more elegant:

- from a frame within your regular screen (or screen setup; be that devided into two lesser screens, as for me, or be that represented by some state-of-the-art super screen (Sideline: Those very modern, and expensive screens all share one missing feature: They are flat, instead of being slightly curved, as the screens are in sophisticated cinema houses: That's why for the time being, I prefer my two minor, 1280x1024 screens to some "really good one", for the time being, my 2 screens being positioned at some 160 or 150 angle, instead of being aligned straight, at 180 degrees).

Thus, there is certainly room for some sw (and please make it independant from "networking"), from Bartels Media or from other sources, for realizing what I've described above:

A setup from which, for some seconds or minutes, by some "toggle" or such, you see comp 2 in a frame on your screen(s) relied to comp 1, and to which (comp 2) then both your kb and your mouse, technically relied to comp 1, are connected, and it should even be possible to have this frame, "minimized" to perhaps 200x300 pixels, and then without responding to kb/mouse input, on your screen permanently, just like for some television frames and such, within your normal pc/screen setup ("frame in frame" and such).

I kindly invite Mr. Bartels to comment on this issue, all the more so since I'm afraid such a feature will not come from some of the "amateurs" out there.

If, by chance, such sw even exists today, please let us know.

44
I think that except for mentioning Instant Text, rjbull's post blurred more of the subject than it explained.

Some time ago, I trialled every available expander, and believe me there are big quality differences, with any cheap offer not being really helpful beyond 2 or 3 days; PhraseExpress is deemed free for not-commercial use as you state, but then, I suppose that everybody who believed that, AND then tried to really use for some time, will have experienced that Express' notion of "commercial" is different from the users': Avoid writing letters to your landlord or to your employer, you will never know WHERE Express makes the cut... ;-) Btw, they insist on the fact that the tool doesn't phone home for them making the decision you overdid, but that the application has its decision-making inbuilt, but the effect is similar: You'll have to buy or to leave (or perhaps reinstall, or refrain from doing any such letter anymore, I don't remember).

So perhaps this is the perfect, free program for a novelist...

As for text expansion vs. completion vs. correction, this pseudo-distinction is ridiculous; you just have to compare Expander and Express (both Prof.), and you'll see the big difference in their respective approach, and they both are expanders.

But your remark brings up an aspect we did not mention yet: pre-installed vocabularies.

Of course, there is the problem with language, and even with "country versioning" for these, but it's evident that a 500$ medical expander should come with a broad set of special medical/latin/pseudo-latin vocabulary, and a 500$ legal expander should do the same for your country's legal terminology, and indeed, some expanders offer to sell you additional vocabularies.

And of course, some of the expanders come with some English, or even German, French, Spanish general vocabulary, resp. with a vocabulary of typical (or what they think is "typical") mistypings for these languages, thus generating those expanders to be "correcting devices", too, to some degree.

Of course, there is a big problem with the former functionality: Those pre-installed vocabularies come for the profession as a whole, and (hopefully) try to be as complete as possible, and necessarily come with pre-installed abbreviations, whilst most users of such programs will only need a very tiny subset of such vocabularies, and with largely differing frequency demands, i.e. some user needs short abbrevs for some terminology, whilst for other words, longer abbrevs will be ok, and vice versa, and especially, any "suggestion" (cf. Expander's drop-down lists, but which are of the "learning" kind, which makes them quite interesting!) for a broader range of terminology will be a nuisance in your typing - I do not know of any medical or legal vocabulary that would have been cut into (necessarily overlapping) sub-sets, for administrative law, criminal law, commercial law, etc., let alone for several countries... (Perhaps there is such a thing for medics, though.)

So in any case, even with (necessarily expensive) special vocabularies, there is a plethora of tweaking to be done, from the users' side, and that's another very strong argument for Dragon Naturally Speaking, or the other way round, even with very big efforts, expander sw does not become really useful out-of-the-box, hence the absence of such big efforts for most of those applications. (And most of "correction" vocabularies offered are ridiculous: They offer plenty of mistypings nobody would ever type.)

I don't want to sound negative here. ;-)

So let me give you another hint how really "to do it", with expanders, if for some reason you're "into" them, instead of DNS:

Have some set of typical text files (Word, etc.) typed by yourself or by your staff. Then run them in some concordancer sw (depending on the conc. sw, you will have to put those different files into some big file, first, other conc. sw will run different files in some folder one after the other).

This will give you precise frequencies, and you'll import those list(s) into your expander, then devise the right abbrevs to the terms you really need to type again and again, and cf. what I say above: Of course, when needed, you can (for Express, for AHK, and for some others, but as we have learnt, not for Expander in its version 4 yet), instead of mixing up different such original files of different kind, run the conc. sw on just similar files, and then do subsets for "general vocabulary", plus for special vocabularies, and then COMBINE those, within your expander.

Of course, in order to retrieve the "general vocabulary", you would need some special text processing, i.e. some programmable text editor would be needed for processing the conc. sw files, i.e. for moving those text lines/entries from their different output files, into the "general terminology file" which list entries present in several particular output files, or which are present there above a certain frequency level, i.e. if some law court is mentioned more than 2 or 3 times in every subset, it should be transferred to the general set: in Germany, this would be the BGH, whilst the BSG would only be accessible, by abbrev, from the particular "social law" abbrevs subset.

Here, it will hit you in the eye again that Expander's actually missing combining feature for different vocabularies doesn't make it the ideal deal, for the time being, if you're looking out for a good expander.

And finally, folks, try to deliver some practical info, like I do, blathering less. I particularly appreciated
Renegade's current post in the Tizen thread, which could serve as a brilliant example of a good post for anyone who's not enclined to appreciate my posts as a valid example.

45
I

Hi Andrea,
I'm not speaking of different vocabularies in different applications, since I don't see a real interest in that; of course, AHK would do that as well if ever anybody needed that.

I'm speaking of different vocabularies, and of combinations of them, a real-life example for the first alternative would be, you write in several languages, and the second alternative would be needed then, e.g. you write in Spanish (not English), but not some general text either for now, but some legal text: Hence the need for a (very basic) combination of "general Spanish" and "legal Spanish", for the special vocabulary, and you will need them both. Then, you also would have some use for a third vocabulary, which would contain the proper names of some "case", even if this third vocabulary included perhaps only 3, 5 or 10 such terms.

All this is definitely possible in AHK (since I use such set-ups every day), and also in Express (since the developer says so, and I don't have any reason to doubt his word on this), whilst in fact, those 30$ expanders I know of, do not offer such a feature.

Btw and from my real-life experience, I should add that the "several languages" part is not that handy for later remembrance (and which must be really quick and "intuitive", in order for an expander to be useful) (and Expander Prof's special drop-down list feature would not be of help but for longer words), but combination of several vocabularies within ONE language is perfectly realizable (and you can even envision different "legal" (or whatever) vocabularies, ditto in the medical world, i.e. for several sub-species within these matters).

To be frank, I'd been afraid this feature had not been introduced between 3 and 4, and that's why I verbalized this matter here, instead of over at bits: Not that my question would have been censored over there, but it would have harmed your business. ;-)

II

"I've always been perplexed as to why text expanders are usually so expensive. Maybe it's because they are used so frequently in the medical and legal professions where people don't blink an eye at high software prices."

"I think it's less that, and more that a 'phrase expander' is a niche product with a relatively small market. So the average pricing is higher."

First explanation being true, second one much less so. If it were only for "niche", outliner prices should skyrock, for an example, but even quite sophisticated outliners (= your main application, in case) are available for much less than each of these 2 leader-of-the-pack expanders (= "just" a tool, a secondary thing in order to optimize what you're doing within your main applic) would cost you.

I once even wanted to trial some other expander, priced at 500$, but was unable to download it, even after giving full credentials incl. tel. number, since I gave them a wrong one, and they insisted on phoning me first, THEN send me a link to download the trial - and I even tried on some Easter week-end, in the faint hope they'd send the link without checking, instead of having wait their prospects a full 5 days... no chance. (And yes, their advertizing was directed to the medical professions.

Similar for the legal profession, and Innuendo gave the right examples, since both professions have constraint and repetitive (in a word: standardized) terminologies, whilst in other, equally high-paid professions, vocabularies usually do not offer those 2 qualities, or rather, the part the respective standardized sub-vocabulary takes in their global writings, is much lesser.

For the information of some: Doctors never typed in big numbers, even with the help of these expanders (whilst laywers often did), but even in the Fifties (and perhaps even earlier in the U.S.), they dictated (first, to sort of gramophone records, just enter "assmann dictation" into the google IMAGE search), and there was a big typists' market around them, in universities, to put those into typewritten pages, and yes, pay counted by these pages.

That's why these now-pc-typists were willing to pay almost any price to speed up not their typing, but filling up those pages with the product of their typing, with the additional benefit of getting those crazy simili-latin terms right, finally, on first try, where before they had bought "Tipp-Ex" in corporate quantities (legal terms being quite easy to type, by comparison).

Of course, dictation-right-into-the-pc (MS Word) has taken over to a very large extent, at least for the legal professions (and yes, the sw is about 800$ or more, instead of about 150$ for the general public), so I'd assume expanders are a receding market, all the more so since flections of words in the non-English world (i.e. way beyond just plural-s's) are really difficult to cope with in expanders, whilst being of no particular difficulty for a good dictation system - of course, it does not really help that there is only ONE such system worldwide being left.

On the other hand, that "niche" isn't that tiny after all, and that remark works for many kinds of "tools". Just remember that whilst "everybody" uses MS Word or some free alternative, the market for paid, alternative text processors has become very tiny indeed (ditto Excel and other MS sw's), but tools in general, anybody can use them, whatever his main applications might be otherwise, and we see a similar phenomenon with paid macro tools.

Btw, there are some expanders which are very good and do cost about 30$, but Expander and Express above are those which are the "big players", so their respective (list) price is in consequence.

"As long as the support is there - and problems get resolved rapidly - the initial cost of software isn't a significant concern." - This is very true, and vice versa, too, and even for individuals, I always preached that they shouldn't look too much onto the price tag on bits or elsewhere: Savings of 15, 30 or 60$ there are negligeable, whist the possible fact you didn't get the very best sw in your price RANGE, will perhaps cost you a little fortune over time (= tco).

III

This is cute:

http://takingnotenow.blogspot.be/ (June 7th, 2014)

"Growing up in Germany, wirebound notebooks weren't very common, if they existed at all. I think they offer no advantages over composition books.

No further comment!" - Whilst I consider Prof. Kühn's Germanese "No further comment!" almost unbearable, I'm very pleased to be informed notebooks grew up on trees in ancient times, over there, and I'm sorry for this method of upbringing being not that successful, though.

IV

And finally, since this thread does not have its proper "Pets are like people, only better yet!" link of the week yet, here it is:

http://www.stuff.co.nz/oddstuff/10072164/Dogs-make-emergency-call

where Stella and Stuart, hilarious French bulldogs (see their photo, such adorable creatures!), first devour dozens of potentially dangerous-for-them drugs, then activate the panic button a dozen of times to get help.

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