Helpful Tools – Ytria EZ Suite (part 2)

Two weeks ago I wrote about Ytria EZ Suite, a set of tools for HCL Domino that I have been using for years. Unfortunately there were so much to write about the tools that I had to split it up into multiple blog posts. This is the second article about the tools that comprise EZ Suite. In that first post I covered scanEZ, consoleEZ, actionBarEZ and viewEZ, and if you haven’t read it yet, you can find it here.

Most of the tools I previously covered were aimed more towards developers, especially actionBarEZ and viewEZ. The consoleEZ tools can also be very useful for a developer who needs to keep an eye on the server console for potential error messages from agents being executed on the server. But Ytria offer tools directly geared towards administrators as well, so today we will take a look at them.

The first of these tools is aclEZ, and as the name indicates it is used to manager the ACL (Access Control List) of Domino databases. You get an overview of who has access to the databases, and you can modify, create and of course delete entries. You are of course not limited to displaying one database, you can select multiple databases and compare the ACL settings between the different databases. You can also copy ACL settings between databases, so you can setup one database with the proper security settings and then copy them to as many databases as you like on your server.

Ytria is using a configurable grid to display columns in all their tools. This is making it easy to view just the info you are looking for. Columns can be hidden or displayed, sorting can be set, and much more. I find this flexibility very helpful, there are often columns I am not even remotely interested in and now I can just prevent them from being displayed.

In addition you can sort the columns in the grid, and also apply filters so only values matching a specific criteria are displayed.

This is just a couple of examples of the many details I enjoy with the Ytria tools. They have over 20 years of experience creating tools for Notes and Domino professionals, and that shows. Everything is well thought through, and the tools offers great flexibility.

A tool I find extremely useful is databaseEZ. It allows me to get a high level view of all databases on a server, check things like the ODS version, if they are full-text indexed or not, the database size,, when they were last compacted, and also look at the size of the view index for each view in a database.

All this information helps me for example if I need to find out why a Domino application is slow, or which databases needs maintenance first. Almost this information can be accessed from the Domino Administrator client, but not in this easy to read format. Instead you need to open a number of different views and dialog boxes in each database. This is a huge time saver!

The last tool I want to mention today is replicationEZ. As the name states, this is a tool to locate and compare replicas of databases on different servers. Like in the other tools from Ytria, there are too many functions to list them all. I would like to mention a few that I find very useful.

Here I have loaded two of my servers into the replicationEZ grid, and it is now easy to see that there are a couple of databases I don’t have replicas of on my secondary server. I am also loading and comparing the number of documents and deletion stubs in two replicas of a database, and you can see there is a discrepancy on the number of deletion stubs between them (highlighted in red).

It is of course easy to create new replicas, or rather a replication stub. This is another example of how Ytria added functionality that I miss in the native Domino Administrator. Instead of having to sit and wait for a new replica to be created and all documents replicated to the new server (or start the replication, cancel out after a few documents have been replicated, and then let the Domino server finish the replication in the background), replicationEZ creates a replication stub, and I can continue to work while the full replica is created.

There are a few more tools from EZ Suite that I want to talk about, so check back in a few days for the last blog post.


Busy, busy – But wait: There is help!

For the last year and a half I have been very busy with different projects, and this blog had to be put on the back burner. And no, despite a number of blog posts about Microsoft Flight Simulator, I have actually not had much time to play it, less than 10 hours since it was released last August. But this leads me to today’s topic: tools that can help you save time.

As a Notes/Domino developer, administrator or power user, you often need to go deeper into the Domino database. This could be tasks like finding and resolving replication contacts, look closer at the fields (including hidden fields) in a document, or quickly locate all documents of a particular type, or matching a particular criteria that you don’t already have a view for. As an administrator you maybe would like to keep several Domino consoles visible side by side, so you can watch what is happening on all your servers at the same time. As a developer, what if you could copy the design of a view or an action bar to numerous other views to make all views look consistent, without having to edit and update every single view manually? Things like that makes your life easier and makes you more efficient, but you don’t have that in the native product.

One set of tools that stands in a class by itself is EZ Suite from Ytria. The EZ Suite tools are extremely powerful, and there is no way I will be able to cover all of them in one blog post. I will focus on some of the functions that have been useful to me, and even with that limitation I have to split this up in multiple blog posts.

The first tool from Ytria I ever tried was scanEZ. We had some issues with a database at my old work (I don’t remember the details anymore), so we purchased a time limited version of scanEZ. I think it was valid for a week, enough for us to salvage the documents in the database. My boss thought the tool could be useful in the future, so he immediately purchased a full license of it for himself. Eventually he purchased a license of EZ Suite for me, and I made frequent use of the tools, both while doing development and server administration, as well as when I had to troubleshoot database issues or replication conflicts.

You can purchase the full suite , or one of several bundles of tools geared to different types of users (developers, administrators or developer with some administration needs). Each tool can also be purchased individually.

The latest version is EZ Suite 20. This version contains a number of new functions and enhancements. Since I haven’t used the tool in the last couple of years, after my license expired, I have not been keeping up with all the new features, but as always Ytria is supporting the latest version of Notes and Domino.
Disclaimer: Ytria generously provided me with a license for the latest version, but I was previously a paying customer, and I have recommended their products for many years.

Let’s start with the first tool from Ytria I was ever exposed to, scanEZ. This tool makes it possible to explore a Domino database in depth, not only the documents but design elements, settings and even deletion stubs (the remains of deleted documents used to delete the document in replicas). Fields can be added, deleted and their content can be changed. You can even change the data type of a field, as well as many other attributes.

In scanEZ you can also look at and modify profile documents and replication conflicts, which often comes in very handy. But there is also a dedicated Conflict Solver tool within scanEZ. It will analyze the database, which can take a little bit of time, but then you can compare the conflict document with the parent and see which fields differs. This may even help you figuring out how the conflict was created, and how you can prevent that in the future.

This only scratched the surface of what scanEZ is capable of. I have not even mentioned the different ways to view and analyze data. You can for example dynamically categorize the documents through drag-and-drop, and even present the data in charts, thanks to the extensive capabilities of scanEZ.

The next tool I want to mention is consoleEZ. The easiest way to describe it is the Domino server console on steroids. You can view multiple consoles simultaneously, and also see a list of the tasks running on them. Your console commands are saved, and you can view them later if you like. It has many features you wish were in Domino Administrator out of the box, and even more features you did not even know you wanted.

You don’t have to be a hard-core administrator to appreciate consoleEZ. It was first released about six years ago, so it is one of the latest additions to EZ Suite. It quickly became one of my favorite tools.

I do quite a bit of modernization of Notes and Domino applications. Often this involves web enabling them, including creating a modern UI using HTML, CSS, and often a framework like Bootstrap. But there are still many Notes databases that works well, and instead of rewriting a lot of the existing logic for the web, a refresh of the Notes client UI is sufficient. This often involves adding a nicer background to the action bars, as well as changes to the views. Just a few small changes can make a huge difference, and make an old application look fresh again.

But even after you come up with a nice, more modern looking design, you have to duplicate it across all the action bars and views in your application. This is where actionBarEZ and viewEZ comes in. Those two tools makes it a breeze to apply a design to many action bars or views or copy the design from one view/action bar and apply it to any view or action bar you want.

Using actionBarEZ you select a number of view, pages or form, and change the properties across all the elements just like you would have done in Domino Designer, but there you can only make the changes on one view, form or page at a time. But the function I found the most useful function is that you can design a nice action bar in one view, then select that design and with the click of one button apply it to any views, forms or pages you like. This has saved me countless hours of work. The functionality of viewEZ is pretty much identical.

Stay tuned for the next part to be published in the next few days.


Looking for a HP calculator? Look no further!

It is probably well-known that I am a little bit of an enthusiast when it comes to HP calculators. I have written about this in the past here on my blog.

The other day I received a packet from Switzerland. Inside I found two calculators from SwissMicros. This is a company who created and sell clones of the famous HP Voyager series (HP-11C, HP-12C, HP-15C and HP-16C) as well as a version to emulate HP-41.

I received one full-size DM-15L (which was introduced just last year) as well as the original credit card sized DM-15. I picked this model as I still have my original HP-15C that I got in 1983 so I could compare them side-by-side.

SwissMicros have made an amazing job. I have just started playing with them, but they work just like the original.

HP-15C (top left), DM-15L (top right) and DM-15 (front)
HP-15C (top left, missing the label), DM-15L (top right) and DM-15 (front)

The attention to detail is pretty amazing. On the back of the larger DM-15L there is even the same set of formulas, functions and error messages as on the original. There are of course some differences. The case is not plastic but titanium, and held together by four screws. The keys are flatter that on the classic HP keyboard, but the feel of the keyboard is almost identical, something that really impressed me. On the credit card sized DM-15 the keys are almost totally flat, but still easy to use despite the small size.

There is also a USB port to allow users to connect to the computer to update the firmware or even access the content, something that did not exist back when the orignal calculators were introduced in the early 1980’s. SwissMicros also claim to have fixed some of the bugs found in the original calculators. There is also more memory available by using a special firmware. The fact that you can upgrade the firmware is very nice. These days we are used to that, but back in the 80’s that was unheard of.

Another neat feature is that there are 3 different fonts to choose from. The original of course only had one font. The letters on the display are a little bit larger than the original, making them easy to read. The calculators also run at a much higher speed than the original at 48 MHz, but the speed can be slowed down to 12 MHz with a special key kombination. The batteries used are CR2032 instead of three button cells of the original. The 2011 HP-15C Limited Edition used two CR2032 batteries. You have to open the case (remove the four screws) of the SwissMicros calculators to replace the battery, instead of just popping of a small plastic door. I think it’s a good improvement as that little door was prone to get lost.

Thanks to the metal case the DM-15L is slightly heavier than my old HP-15C, but not by much. It weights 130 gram (4.5 oz) vs 118 gram (4.1 oz), with the credit card sized DM-15 coming in at 57 g (2 oz).

The price is a bargain if you compare with eBay, where the originals often ar sold for $300-400 or even more. The full-size L-models are all 119 CHF (Swiss Francs) and the credit card sized models are 89 CHF. The DM-41 models are each 10 CHF more. This translates to almost exactly the same price in US dollar as I write this.

So what is my verdict? I am pleasantly surprised. Both models are very nice and the quality of engineering is what one would expect from Switzerland.  The case of both model feels really nice, and thanks to the titanium they seem almost indestructable. I would not be worried keeping any of them in my pocket for daily use.

The full size models come with a black case very similar to the original one. For the credit card models there are cases available for ordering separately.

Is it worth $90 or $120 to own them? Absolutely. I still use my HP-15C almost daily, and not having to worry about losing it or having it damaged is worth a lot. Or perhaps you got rid or lost your original calculator and feel nostalgic and want to once more experience what many call the best calculator ever made. Yes, it is not the original HP, but it is pretty close and to an acceptable cost. And the credit card sized models are pretty amazing, showing how far we have come in 30 years.

Disclaimer: I got the calculators for review from SwissMicro after they contacted me and offered to send me two samples. If I would have known about them earlier I would probably have purchased at least one.

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Review – Ytria consoleEZ

Recently I wrote about the great customer service I received from Ytria, and that made me realize that I haven’t been writing about one of their newer tools yet. The tool is consoleEZ, and it has actually been out for over a year. A new version was recently released.

As the name indicates, it is a Domino server console on steroids. You can load a number of consoles into one window, have them neatly tiled and get a great overview of what’s happening on your servers. Just like all other Ytria tools it runs in it’s own process, which means that it does not lock up your Notes, Administrator or Designer client. This is of course very convenient.


Each console window has a field where console commands can be entered. A nice feature here is auto-complete/type-ahead. You also have a drop-down button that will give you any previous commands you sent to any console, it does not have to be the one you are working on. And the commands are saved, as opposed in Domino Administrator where you lose your command history when you close the client.

You can also launch a task viewer, where you can see what tasks are running on a specific server. It updates every 3 seconds, so you can stay updated for example on views being updated, somethings I sometimes need.consoleEZ2

I would highly recommend consoleEZ for any Domino administrator, as well as for the more advanced developer who need to see what’s happening on the servers.

Contact Ytria for a current price quote in you region.



Book Review: A man called Ove

en-man-som-heter-oveOne of the most talked about books in Sweden in 2012 was “En man som heter Ove” (“A man called Ove”) by Fredrik Backman. Fredrik did the unusual thing to debut with two books at the same time, his other book was called “Saker min son behöver veta om världen” (“Things My Son Needs To Know About Life”). Earlier this month his third book, “Min mormor hälsar och säger förlåt” (no english title yet, translates to roughly “My grandmother send greetings and say she is sorry”) was released.

“A man called Ove” have been sold to 25 countries for translation (the English version is scheduled for 2014), and a movie adaptation is in the works in Sweden, with a release planned for 2014/2015. The book has sold over 500,000 copies in Sweden (a country of 9 million people).

Ove is 59 years old. He drives a Saab, and he have done that his whole life. “What would it look like if people switched car make all the time”, he says. He is the archetype of the old school, responsible Swede, who works hard, pays his taxes, and follows the rules.

When the book starts, Ove has lost his job as an engineer, due to his age. He was also ousted from the home owners association, in what he calls “the coup d’etat”. He still walks the neighborhood every morning, making note about any car parked more than the allowed 24 hours in the guest parking spots, kicking the sign posts to make sure they are sturdy and won’t fall on people, etc.

I don’t want to give away too much of the story, but this is a really good book. It makes you think, and the twist and turns keep you on your feet. If it has been released in your country, I recommend getting a copy of the book. If you live in the UK or US, you unfortunately have to wait until next year to read this very humoristic book.

Disclaimer: I got the copy of the book directly from the author. It was not given to me with for review purposes, but as a personal gift. I have purchased other copies as gifts for family and friends, though.


Google Chromecast – First Impressions

This weekend I got hold of Google’s latest gadget, Chromecast. As you may know, it is a small device, the size or a large thumbdrive, but with an HDMI connector instead of a USB connector.

It allows you to stream video (currently from Youtube, Netflix and Google Play) to a TV, as well as mirror the screen of the Chrome browser on the TV. In the box, you get the device, a USB wall charger, a mini-USB cable and a short HDMI extension cable.

The installation is extremely simple. First of all, you need a wireless network, and a device running Android, iOS  or the a Windows/Mac computer running the Chrome browser.
Plug the Chromecast device into an available HDMI-port on the TV, connect the mini-USB power adapter and plug it into an outlet.

Power on the TV, and you are directed to download the app to your smartphone/tablet or a small program to your computer. On the computer you also download an extension to the Chrome browser that let you mirror the screen on the TV.

I downloaded the Android version of the app on my Samsung Galaxy S4, and it found the Chromecast device at once. I connected to the device, and was now able to start playing videos. The total time to hook everything up, installing the software and connecting my phone to it took no more than 3 minutes.


After playing a couple of Youtube videos and starting a movie on Netflix, I decided to test the screen mirroring. The browser extension simply adds a small icon in the browser, and when I click it, the contents of the browser (excluding the title bar, menus, status bar, etc) are displayed on the TV.

I tested some streaming video from Swedish TV, watching a news show. It worked perfectly, but there was a delay of between 2 and 3 seconds between the computer and the TV.

The sounds comes out of the TV speakers, and during my testing the sound and picture quality was good. I was not performing the test on my network at home, and because of a sometimes weak signal, one of the Youtube videos had to buffer a bit.

The Chromecast device works by running an embedded version of Chrome OS, which in turn is based on Linux. It then stream videos to the TV directly from the source. Netflix, Youtube and Google Play all have software in the device to handle their streaming content. The laptop, tablet or phone is just a remote control, starting/stopping/pausing the video (or in the case of Netflix, going back 10 seconds if you missed something). I am guessing that the screen mirroring works the same. I would imagine that the browser plugin is just sending commands to the embedded Chrome browser in the device, duplicating what happens on the screen.

So what is my verdict? Well, for $35, it is a great little gadget. For me personally it is perfect, I can now watch TV shows from Sweden even while in the US, without having to hook up a computer to the TV. I can use a laptop or smart phone as a remote. I have not been able to get Chrome on Android to mirror it’s screen, but I can see apps and hacks for Chromecast coming out very soon.

If you already have Youtube and Netflix in your TV or blu-ray player, then Chromecast might not be as interesting. But if you want to use the screen mirroring, it is great. That function would also be very good for presentations on a big screen TV. In short, a very cool and fun gadget, to a very reasonable price. It is not threatening Apple TV or Roku yet, but is a nice low-cost alternative.

Currently it is very hard to get hold of a Chromecast, they sold out within hours of becoming available. A big thanks to Chrissy Hull, who let me test the one she got, making this review possible.


Movie Review: Looper

Last night I went to see Looper. I had actually not heard much about it, but I looked it up online real quick and at least it sounded like a good premise for a movie. I have always enjoyed sci-fi, and especially time-travel.

The premise is that Joe is a "looper", a contract killer in a near future (2044). About 30 years after that, time-travel has been invented, but declared illegal. So only the biggest crime syndicates have access to time-travel, and they use it to get rid of people. The send the victim back 30 years in time, bound and gagged with a hood over their heads. The looper promptly kills them and disposes of the body. The looper is paid with silver attached to the victim. Occasionally the future version of the looper is sent back, who kills his older himself. The is called "closing the loop".

Joe (played by an excellent Joseph Gordon-Levitt) is a looper. One day his future self (Bruce Willis) shows up, but promptly escapes. In the future, a new gangster boss, "The Rainmaker" has taken over, and he is closing the loop on all loopers. In doing so, the future Joe lost his wife, and he is now looking to prevent this by finding the young Rainmaker in the past and kill him.

I truly enjoyed this movie, it was absolutely much better than I had expected, and it makes you think more than the average movie. The story is clever and it works. You see influences of both Back to The Future and The Terminator in the story, as well as to Carrie and X-Men (with the concept of telekinesis), but it all fits well into the story.

I would highly recommend this movie. However, it´s not a movie for kids, due to violence (and for sensitive Americans, some nudity).



Review: Samsung Galaxy S3

Last Thursday I got the Samsung Galaxy S3 I pre-ordered back in the beginning of June, and I have now been playing with it for a few days. There are of course other reviews (mainly of the international version) and overviews of the phone, so I will not list all the features and functions here.
As I am in the US, I received the North American version. It differs from the international version in that it has a dual-core Snapdragon S4 processor and 2GB system memory, instead of the Samsung’s own processor Exynos 4 Quad and 1 GB memory. This is due to the latter processor not supporting the North American LTE networks.

Samsung Galaxy S3 vs. Blackberry Bold 9700With this phone I am also moving from the Blackberry platform to Android. I have been looking forward to getting a nice big screen and a more powerful phone, but at the same time my biggest fear was the on-screen keyboard. The times when I have been using an iPhone or played with older Android phones in the store, I did not feel like I would be able to type as fast as with the Blackberry’s excellent physical keyboard.
Samsung Galaxy S3 LockScreen

I am coming from the Blackberry Bold 9700, with OS 5. The phone is about 2 years old, and originally came with OS 4. After I upgraded, the phone became more and more sluggish, and I constantly ran out of memory, in certain applications as well as when browsing the web. The GPS started taking longer and longer to get a fix, it could take me 2-3 minutes (if it even got the position) if I was indoors. The screen on the blackberry is also tiny compared with today’s phones, even if it was a very good screen when it came out.
So it was about time for me to get something more modern.

I was very pleasantly surprised with the keyboard on the Samsung Galaxy S3. As soon as I started typing, the correct text came out. The predictive text works very well, as long as I use English. I know there are other keyboards (like Swiftkey 3 that Mitch Cohen blogged about last week) where I can set different languages, so that is not a big deal right now.
The 4.8 inch Super AMOLED screen is just gorgeous, and features a resolution of 720×1280 pixels. The internal memory in my phone is 16GB (32GB and 64GB models are also available or coming soon). The memory can be expanded using microSD cards up to 64GB, and in some markets customers get a free 50GB DropBox account. My carrier, AT&T, opted out of this promotion. I already use DropBox, SugarSync, SkyDrive and Google Drive, so after downloading clients for those services, I can now easily transfer my pictures to my cloud storage of choice.

S3_FoldersJust like on the Blackberry, and most other smart phones, the Galaxy S3 has several screens where I can place widgets, icons for applications, and folders containing additional icons. This way it is easy to organize all my apps. On the Blackberry I also used folders, but the lack of available memory caused me to eventually remove most apps.

The default setup came with a number of widgets, but I removed most of them from the screens and opted to just use icons. The lock screen shows the date and time, the current weather, and four icons for applications you want instant access too. To unlock, you swipe your finger over the screen, or swipe any of the four icons to launch that particular application.

I have already modified my phone by adding a custom wall paper, and as I mentioned above, I have organized the icons and widgets the way I want them. To the left you can see a folder open, showing the four applications located in it, in this case IBM Lotus Traveler.


I currently have four screens of icons, of the seven I can have. The first one, the "home screen, is where you end up after unlocking the phone on the lock screen. At the bottom you have five icons of the most frequently used functions, they stay on ever page. The the top of the screen is a notification area, with small icons indication new mail, text messages, twitter messages, etc. It also shows the status for network/wireless connection, battery status, as well as time.


As I mentioned, the keyboard is very impressive, and it exceeded my expectations. I had assumed that I would make a lot of typos, but the predictive text works very well. Or perhaps it is me being too predictable… But the result is that I have very few errors when I type. There are a few small issues, mainly how question marks and similar characters works and that there is no support for Swedish. But as I plan to evaluate a couple of other keyboards, that is not anything that bothers me.

As you can see to the left, when I start typing, suggestions show up above the keyboard. In most cases the suggestion is correct, but in case you want exactly what you typed, the option furthest to the left is what you entered.

You can also see the speech recognition icon to the left of the space bar. I have not used it very much. Speech recognition is of course available everywhere you would use a keyboard, but also on other places, like the S Note application. I have not had time to test the S-Voice yet, nor the face recognition unlocking of the phone or a few of the other advanced functions that is available in this phone.

But I did use the phone to call with. The sound quality is excellent, much better than on my Blackberry. From what I read online, it has active noise cancelling.

I also tested the web browser. As opposed to the Blackberry, it actually load every page I tested.


The browser is fast (especially on wifi or 4G LTE) and seem to render all pages I tested perfectly. However, I created some bookmarks, and a few hours later they were gone. I am not sure what I did, but now the bookmarks seem to stay. The browser support Flash, of course.

2012-06-24 09.36.53

Talking about speed, I live and work in the Dallas-Ft Worth area, where AT&T have their 4G LTE network available. And it is fast, as you can see to the left.

The one issue I see with the phone is the battery. Despite having a 2100 mAh capacity, it usually lasts only to about 3pm. However, I been using the phon
e extensively, and I may need to tweak some setting. I have no power saving settings turned on, and usually run either wifi or bluetooth. Since I have 4G coverage, that also uses more battery. So one of my first purchases was a portable charger…

So the summary is that this is an amazing phone, and that my worry that the keyboard would annoy me was not an issue. I am very happy with the phone, just wishing the battery lasted a little bit longer.



Review: LEGO Lord of The Rings

This weekend I spent with my son building some of the new LEGO kits from the new Lord of The Rings series. Here is a quick review of the kits we have built this far. You can click on the images for high-res versions of them.


9469 Gandalf Arrives – 83 pieces


A small but nice set. Contains Gandalf in his cart loaded with fireworks, as well as Frodo welcoming him.
Plenty of nice details, like the fireworks, a carrot for the pony and an envelope for Frodo to put the ring in.


9472 Attack on Weathertop – 430 pieces


This is a very nice set. It contains five minifigs: Aragorn, Frodo (with the ring), Merry and two Nazgûl (ringwraiths), as well as two horses. The three first minifigs have a feature I have not seen before, they have two sets of faces. By turning the head and exposing the part hidden by the hair, you get two different facial expression, like stern and aggressive or scared. The Frodo minifig in 9460 got the same feature, but not Gandalf as the back of his head is visible. All the minifigs are extremely detailed, it is obvious that the designers of the kits realized that collectors and adults will buy these kits.



The kit itself is of the ruins on top of Weathertop (Amon Sûl), and it features a trap door and a cooking fire. The ruins can be opened and in the inside you find weapons, toches and much more. Even a rat! There is also a stand-alone pieved of ruin with a bush and some plants.


The plants are the only thing I did not like with the kit. For some reason, perhaps the kind of softer plastic used, they don’t stick well to the bricks they are placed on. But that is a minor detail, otherwise this is a great kit.


9473 The Mines of Moria – 776 pieces


This is a big set, the second largest in the series, and it depicts the events in the Chamber of Mazarbul. It contains six minifigs (Gimli, Legolas, Boromir, Pippin and two Moria orcs), as well as the cave troll. There are four separate sections, a large wall section, the doors to the chamber, the well with the skeleton and the chain and bucket, as well as Balins tomb, containing the skeleton of Balin. By pulling a lever, the skeleton, bucket and chain will fall down in the well, just like in the book and movie.

There are plenty of details, from old weapons to gems and even the Book of Mazarbul.



9476 The Orc Forge – 363 pieces


This is currently my son’s favorite kit. It features a light brick, so when a rod is pushed, it looks like fire under the melting pot. In addition, there are four minifigs: Lurtz, two Mordor orcs and one Uruk-hai. To be really picky, Lurtz was created by Sauron, just like the Uruk-hai, so there should not have been any Morder orcs, but Isengard orcs. There is two sets of Uruk-hai armor (complete with the white hand of Sauroman), a crane to lift material to melt for the forge, etc.





So what is the verdict? As a Lord of the Rings fan (both the books and the movies by Peter Jackson), I am very happy with the LEGO kits this far. The quality is good, the instructions are very clear (recently I have seen some instructions where it was easy to miss a piece of pick the wrong shade of gray) and the detailing is amazing.
I still have two more kits to build that I already purchased, and I have to get the last kit (Battle of Helms Deep). I will report on them later.



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