Welcome to Our New Online Review Forum

Read exclusive online reviews of products and discuss them.

Postby Richard Kaufman » 09/02/08 04:55 PM

Very shortly, our seven new reviewers will begin posting their comments about items we have sent them for evaluation in this category of the Genii Forum. You will be allowed to reply and comment on the reviews. Please keep it civil.
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 09/04/08 07:06 PM

Our seven reviewers are:

Kent Gunn
Joe Keppel
Bill Wells
Dave Egleston
Tom Frame
Steve Vaughn
Bill Duncan

Please welcome them when they begin posting shortly. Only the seven reviewers can start new topics in this section, however any registered Genii Forum member can post responses.
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Postby Joe M. Turner » 09/05/08 11:30 AM

Congratulations and good luck!
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Postby Dustin Stinett » 09/05/08 02:10 PM

Ditto.

I need only add "Have fun!"

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Postby Richard Kaufman » 09/05/08 04:34 PM

I'm hoping to see the first reviews start appearing over the weekend. (Hear that, fellas?) :)
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Postby Jim Martin » 09/05/08 09:05 PM

So far, so good.

I've read the reviews by Kent (two, no less; nicely done), Dave and Tom and they seem honest, balanced and fair.

This is a nice new feature; thanks Richard.
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Postby Richard Perrin » 09/05/08 10:18 PM

Oh, what's a review online! Many thanks! Looking forward to read more!
I have a question for Richard and the readers. Where can I post my review on the product that I bought? I know I cannot post (my review) on this thread.

Thanks
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Postby Nikodemus Siivola » 09/06/08 03:48 AM

Where can I post my review on the product that I bought?

There's always MyLovelyAssistant: http://www.mylovelyassistant.com/

Cheers, Nikodemus
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Postby Jim Maloney » 09/06/08 08:07 AM

If you want to post your own reviews, feel free to use the regular Light From The Lamp Forum.

-Jim
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 09/06/08 01:45 PM

I think things are going very well so far. Trying to get all the reviewers to put the technical information up top. But I like it. Let' have some comments from folks who've bought some of these items!
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Postby mrgoat » 09/06/08 02:32 PM

I think it's an excellent start. Really enjoying the reviews and the different tones of voice.
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Postby The Magic Apple » 09/06/08 06:43 PM

Richard,
If you ever need a reviewer from someone that SEES EVERYTHING and is not afriad to give the truth, please allow me to do some reviews. As you know, there is 90% junk and 10% "quality" coming out EVERY week. I think reviewing the quality of the prop, the production quality, packing and of course the effect should ALL be included in a review (from a magic shop standpoint)
SOmeone may release the greatst product ever but if it is in a cheap zip loc bag with a photocopied cover and doesn't look good in a counter - it will not sell on it's own.

I have PLENTY of more comments but I'll keep them quiet for the time being...
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 09/06/08 07:28 PM

Brent, you're a magic dealer and thus immediately disqualified from reviewing products here because of potential conflicts of interest. No personal slight intended, but it even the appearance of a conflict isn't good.
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Postby The Magic Apple » 09/08/08 06:21 PM

I should get products sent in an unmarked bag, with all names taken off...ha!

but then again, how is it a conflict??
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Postby Dustin Stinett » 09/08/08 07:00 PM

Brent,

Its not that there is a conflict; its that there could be a conflict. You are a seller with a direct financial stake in the game. Even the appearance of a possible conflict should be avoided. The last thing you need is to have one producer who you trash accuse you of collusion or favoritism.

My opinion is not necessarily reflected by my publisher; the producers know this so have no problem continuing to send Genii items to reviewgood or badwhile also advertising. They know one has nothing to do with the other. This system has been going on as long as publications have been reviewing books, plays, films, etc. etc.

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Postby Michael Close » 09/09/08 12:00 AM

I've looked at most of the products reviewed so far. That this new topic of the Forum has run to three pages already gives you some idea of how much "stuff" is dumped into the magic marketplace each month.

I have to tell you this: As I look at these "products" I recite the following chant:

"For just a few dollars more I could buy Williamson's Wonders."
"For just a few dollars more I could buy 100% Sankey."
"For just a few dollars more I could renew my subscription to Genii."
"For just a few dollars more I could buy Revelation."

There is simply no excuse for most of this overpriced junk.
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Postby Michael Close » 09/09/08 12:02 AM

Oh, yeah. I forgot one.

"And for just a few dollars less I could buy That Reminds Me."
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Postby Richard Perrin » 09/09/08 03:19 AM

Thank you for the responds. I will post my review in "Light of the Lamp".
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Postby Bill Duncan » 09/09/08 01:21 PM

Mike,
I already have all those books, and two copies of That Reminds Me besides.

What else can I get for my money? All I can come up with is dinner for four at Jack In The Box, which probably won't help my blood pressure, or my social life.
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 09/09/08 01:23 PM

Forget Jack in the Box: spend your dough at Kentucky Fried Chicken--you'll get to the grave quicker and thus spend less time in your life worrying about all the books you'll never have time to read.
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Postby Alexander Crawford » 10/09/08 04:38 AM

I think this is a great idea.
However, would it be possible for reviewers to put BOOK, TRICK or DVD (or whatever else is appropriate such as EBOOK) at the beginning of the title of their review.
I am definitely more interested in book reviews than anything else - others may have other interests. There is already becoming too much material to read everything.
Regards
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Postby Dave Egleston » 10/09/08 10:00 AM

So far, we only get DVDs and tricks that are overwhelming the GENII office, those of us lucky enough to help GENII and Mr Kaufman with these products hope we can do an occasional book but Mike Close's perspective and attention to detail in his book reviews for GENII magazine quite truthfully are the best in the business and I would highly recommend you search out his opinion before you make a book buying decision.

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Postby Alexander Crawford » 10/10/08 06:31 AM

Hi Dave

I read Mike Close's reviews carefully, but I note that Bill Duncan has done a review of Paul Hallas' Magic from the Overground, so my suggestion for LFTLO would certainly help me if nobody else.

With very best regards
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Postby Harry Entwistle » 11/20/08 10:55 AM

Hi Richard,

I think having on online review section is an excellent idea. Im interested in your selection process of the reviewers and how that came about. Also, I'm very pleased to see no shop owners or employees selected, as to your response to Magic Apples request . Hopefully the group that was selected are working stiffs in the profession. Ive always respected the reviews in your magazine as well Stans, but Ive always thought it should be done by the ones in the trenches. Not the bigger names who are also in the business of selling their own products.
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Postby Brandon Hall » 12/11/08 07:18 PM

What happened to this category? We need it more than ever now that it's close to the holidays and most people don't have the amount of discretionary income they once had
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 12/12/08 11:01 AM

I need to send more stuff to them! :)
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Postby Tom Frame » 12/12/08 12:53 PM

Richard,

I think I speak for all of us reviewers when I say that we look forward to receiving more stuff.

Bring it on!

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Postby Brandon Hall » 12/12/08 12:58 PM

Understood. I guess our fearless leader is a busy man.
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Postby Richard Perrin » 12/12/08 07:02 PM

Our fearless leader doesn't have some elves to help. Is that correct? ;-)
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 12/12/08 08:32 PM

The only elf is me: I need to spend a few hours making separate piles and having Margret send the items out to our online reviewers.
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Postby Tom Frame » 12/12/08 08:48 PM

If I've played my cards right, my long suffering SantaWife will get me The Wolverine Formula, X-Finger and Humbug for Christmas. Unless Richard informs me that these tricks have already been submitted for review and assigned to someone else, I'll offer my post-yuletide review of these products.

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Postby Richard Kaufman » 12/12/08 09:34 PM

Tom, I've never heard of any of those tricks!
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Postby Tom Frame » 12/12/08 11:23 PM

Richard,

Of course you haven't heard of those tricks. I estimate that you devote about 14 hours a day to the magazine, the forum, and your writing/publishing endeavors. You simply don't have the time to troll the wire for the latest stuff. That's understandable.

I am more than happy to mine the deep, dark underbelly of this deluge of products, in search of the good stuff, and to share my assessment with the readers.

Details to follow.



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Postby Richard Kaufman » 12/12/08 11:43 PM

Sounds good to me!
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 01/16/09 01:31 PM

Our online reviewers have posted, and will be posting more, reviews of material by Bob Solari. Be sure to take a look in the Light from the Lamp Online section.
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Postby Tom Frame » 09/10/10 09:27 PM

Hi folks,

Lost Luggage was the 100th product that Ive reviewed here on the forum. Yippee! This meager milestone provides me with an opportunity to share some musings from my review odyssey.

First, Id like to thank Richard for allowing me to set up my review desk in a tiny closet of his wondrous house.

My thanks to everyone who sends their products to me for review. Im touched that they trust me with their children. Without their submissions, Id be out of a job.

And a huge thank you to all of you who read my reviews. I greatly appreciate your support and feedback. I dont expect you to agree with all of the reviews. But at the very least, I hope that they provide you with enough information to make an informed purchasing decision, regardless of my recommendation.

For those of you who tuned in late, heres a quick historical summary. In 2008, Richard became concerned about the back-log of products that were piling up on the desks of the Genii reviewers. So, he selected me and six other gentlemen to handle the overflow. Thus, Light From the Lamp Online was born.

In August 2008, Richard sent me a box of seven products for review. It felt like an early Christmas! After I posted three or four reviews, someone sent a product directly to me for review. I checked with Richard and he approved this direct approach. That initial box of products was the only shipment that Ive received from the Genii offices. Since then, all of the products that Ive reviewed have been sent directly to me.

So what began as a back-log concern for Richard has become a back-log concern for me. As I write these words, I have five products squirming on my review desk, impatiently drumming their fingers.

My reviews have earned me a few enemies along the way, but I expected that. The major downside to this review gig is that for the past two years, Ive had no time to develop any new material of my own. This situation frustrates and saddens me, but for the moment, I simply dont have the time.

But the benefits certainly outweigh those negative consequences. Im thrilled to have received thousands of dollars worth of the latest magic for free! In studying the products, Ive learned about magic effects that fall outside of my comfort zone of cards. And Ive made some new friends, who thankfully outnumber my new enemies.

As most of you know, Im a psychotherapist. What you didnt know is that I write the majority of each review at work. When a patient fails to attend their session, I spring into action and start stabbing away at the keyboard. Thats another perk of this review gig. I get paid my shrink salary for writing reviews.

Occasionally, Ill be engrossed in writing a review and a patient will actually show up. I hate having to stop writing when Im on a roll! So, I gnash my teeth and conduct the session. During the session, I secretly harbor malevolent thoughts toward the patient while exuding an empathic, supportive aura. Nah, Im just kidding. Kinda.

Lets take a look at the types of media that Ive reviewed.

CD: 1

Printed book or lecture note: 8

Trick: 11

DVD: 13

Video Download: 32

PDF: 35


Obviously and mercifully, I dont review every single product released. Im not sure if these 100 products are a representative snapshot of all of the formats of magic products released during my two year tenure. But the numbers seem to verify what we already knew.

Four times more video downloads were released than actual, ink-on-paper products. My gut tells me that the disparity is even greater. As a devoted book guy, these numbers distress me. In most cases, I consider a video download to be little more than a reflection of the creators cheapness and laziness. But it costs virtually nothing to produce, so people will continue to produce more and more of them.

For many years, Ive believed in the prevailing notion that the majority of magic products that hit the marketplace are crap. But when I added up the number of products that I recommend versus the number that I didnt recommend, I was surprised to discover that I recommended 54% of them.

Im not suggesting that these results are representative of the overall quality of material released over the past two years. The data merely reflects one mans assessment of a small, random sample of material.

Maybe I got lucky and received a disproportionate amount of good material. Looking back, I now realize that I erred in recommending several products. Mea culpa. But even if I adjust the numbers, it still works out to nearly a 50-50 split. These results give me a tiny glimmer of hope that the situation may not be quite as bad as I imagined.

Offering up ones integrity and credibility for public scrutiny on a near weekly basis is a hazardous practice. But Ive got enough gamble in me to take that risk in order to provide what I consider to be a valuable public service.

Sometimes I get frustrated and feel like quitting. But so far, the feedback that Ive received has been far more positive than negative. And for now, thats enough to keep me going. Now, if youll excuse me, I must away. Products beckon.


Wet Hugs,

Tom
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Postby Joe Pecore » 09/10/10 10:02 PM

Tom, I thoroughly enjoy your reviews. Thanks for doing them and am glad to hear you'll continue to be doing them!
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Postby Seuss » 09/10/10 10:37 PM

So that explains the constant writing on the legal pad.

:)

Great job to all the reviewers.
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Postby Tom Frame » 07/22/12 03:14 PM

Hi folks,

In case youre not keeping score at home, Im pleased to announce that my review of Planging Chaces marked my 150th installment in Light from the Lamp ONLINE. Hooray! This calls for a celebration. Maybe I'll recklessly increase my meds.

Here are the results. Though devoid of meaning, they may be of interest.


Recommended: 91 (61%)

Not Recommended: 59 (39%)


Thanks for reading me.


Tom
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 07/23/12 01:00 AM

Wow, time flies. And Tom is the only one of our original group still writing! I will take quality over quantity. :)
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