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stuartp

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REVIEW: Calculated Risk by Michael Murray
RATING: 9 out of 10!
FULL REVIEW: Calculated Risk is an insanely fantastic resource for those that want to read (and blow) minds – and mostly with a borrowed iPhone. No special apps are required. Although Michael Murray’s book is only 52 pages, it delivers the keys to the kingdom for those that want to be able to unlock their spectator’s iPhone and amaze with a total of 9 routines.

For these routines, an iPhone, not an android, is required. The title effect, “Calculated Risk” is the first routine taught in which two spectators secretly enter their iPhone unlock PINS into a borrowed iPhone’s calculator and add up the two numbers. For example, if one spectator’s unlock code is 9865 and the other’s is 6764, the total will be 16,629. The phone is handed to the performer with the total on the display. The spectators see the performer either clear the calculator or keep the total on the screen. Amazingly, the performer is able to open the first spectator’s iPhone after it is locked and then a second later open the second spectator’s locked iPhone. The routine and the justification for all the moves is expertly crafted and it is a dragon slayer.

This book is written with ultimate clarity. Not only is the title routine clear and easy to understand, so are the remainder of the effects, most of which use the iPhone’s calculator app. The book has numerous photographs which make the already easy to understand written instructions even easier to follow. Murray also provides a secret link to several videos that clearly demonstrate how to perform the effect. There are two videos for the Calculated Risk routine and two additional videos; one for Perfect Opener and one for One in Ten Thousand.

Perfect Opener is a clever routine in which the performer is able to mentally transmit his unlock code to a spectator. After the spectator calls out the code from their mind, it is entered into the iPhone which unlocks.

One in Ten Thousand is a fantastic effect in which a spectator is able to read the performer’s mind. The performer asks the spectator or guess his unlock PIN. The spectator guesses what they believe to be the performer’s unlock iPhone PIN by gut feeling. The performer then shows he has entered that exact same code into the calculator. This effect is quite astonishing.

All of the effects have significant angle issues so your spectators cannot be behind you or see the screen during certain parts of most of the routines. The routines, one of which involves the entry of data into the notepad app, are not difficult to learn and most are very easy to perform. There is some memory work, but it is not too extensive and worth the small amount of work it requires to perform. Some of the routines require the performer to be able to do some “behind the scenes” work as they are holding the borrowed iPhone in front of the spectators which may be uncomfortable for some beginner performers.

There are other routines which teach you how to divine a birthday or zodiac sign or guess random numbers. A minority of the taught routines require some pre-routine set-up or on the fly secret set-up.

The great thing about Calculated Risk is that you can amaze with any iPhone at any time. If someone asks you to do a trick, you are ready if they have an iPhone. Murray appropriately credits numerous mentalists for the input and as being sources as inspiration for many of the routines.

The ad copy accurately describes the taught routines (some from the spectator’s point of view) as follows:

Calculated Risk (Feature routine) – Unlock TWO borrowed mobiles in an incredibly easy fashion

Perfect Opener – The spectator names ANY four digits, they are typed into your genuine phone lock screen and your mobile opens

iSwami – A method for using the iPhone calculator to seemingly predict any two digit number

One in Ten Thousand – Have a spectator intuit (or predict) any four digit number/pin code/unlock code

Feedback – Did you know your iPhone has a memory for numbers?

Phone Clone – Show just how vulnerable out phone security system actually is

Identity Theft – A method for stealing your spectators identity

Frosties Reveal – Reveal your spectators exact DOB or starsign

Noted – The notes application on either your or the spectators mobile will become your new peek device

The book itself is a paperback that measure 5 ¾ by 8 ¼ inches with a glossy finish and a well-designed logo. The book, as of the time of the writing of this review retails for $39.95.

Calculated Risk is a great addition to any modern mentalist’s library ranging from a working pro to a hobbyist that can’t wait to knock out their friends.

This great book is available at your favorite Murphy’s Magic retailer.

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Anthony Vinson

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Reply with quote  #2 
Thank you for the thorough, informative review. The material sounds interesting, but technology-based tricks leave me cold. I have tried a couple, but, probably as the result of a personal shortcoming, have never had much success with them.
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Blathermist

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Reply with quote  #3 

I’ll second that. Thanks indeed for your efforts regarding the review, but I also have no affection for tricks that recruit electronic gadgets. Clever the tricks certainly are, but then so are the devices employed to bring the trick about. And there, I feel, is the major stumbling block.

To me, it’s just another "trick-box" trick. No matter how marvellous the effect, as far as the audience is concerned, it’s the box that does the trick.

I know the same thing can be said of most magic props…."It’s a trick pack, trick coin, trick pen, trick donkey….." and ever onwards, but iPads and suchlike draw more comment of this nature than more traditional apparatus.

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Will Jung

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Reply with quote  #4 
I agree that this booklet is fascinating. I personally do not favor effects utilizing electronics, but this booklet offers some very genuine methods, and by genuine, I mean logical, practical, and makes sense. 

Blathermist, I understand what you mean by "trick-box," but wouldn't you say that if you borrow a spectator's phone and do some magic, the results are different than just a "trick box?" I say that because the phone is theirs' and not just a "prop" where anyone can just perform the effect with. 
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Blathermist

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Reply with quote  #5 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Will Jung


Blathermist, I understand what you mean by "trick-box," but wouldn't you say that if you borrow a spectator's phone and do some magic, the results are different than just a "trick box?" I say that because the phone is theirs' and not just a "prop" where anyone can just perform the effect with. 

Not really. It is a trick box. We’ve all got gizmos and gadgets with features we either don’t use or don’t know exist.

How many times have we compared gadgets with a friend and said: "I didn’t know it could do that!!"

The spectator will no doubt be baffled, but will still think it’s the phone that does it. Which is true.

That said, seemingly any number of magicians use this sort of thing and are happy with it. I’m not.  

 

And, just a thought, I’d hate to be accused of somehow "hacking" somebody’s phone. Not unlike borrowing an expensive ring and having the spectator say, "This is not mine".

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EVILDAN

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Reply with quote  #6 
I don't like the idea of borrowing someone's phone and then rifling through it.
The only time I'd borrow a phone is to take a picture.

I also don't like the premise of messing with security issues/items on a phone.
If you're able to hack into their phone, what other info did you glean off of it.
We all have heard about skimmers that steal your info on an ATM machine.
Just because you do this as entertainment doesn't make you a suspect should anything go wrong like identity theft.

I steer clear of this type of stuff.
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Will Jung

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Reply with quote  #7 
Ah I see. Thanks for your thoughts. 
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