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D-T-D "Mister Don" RSS Feed (Chicago, IL United States)

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Plantronics M55 Bluetooth Headset - Frustration-Free Packaging - Black
Plantronics M55 Bluetooth Headset - Frustration-Free Packaging - Black

2.0 out of 5 stars It'll soon be thrown into my BT headset drawer., June 1, 2014
My Bose BT headset just crapped out and I just bought the M55. Here's my 2 cents.

M55 has pretty reliable Bluetooth electronics. It has voice prompts. It lasts ~9-10hrs. But it gives tin-can audio quality. Microphone pickup is atrocious.

Bose has superb audio quality & good microphone pickup. But Bluetooth electronics on Bose unit is downright unreliable and wouldn't last.

In a nutshell, if Plantronics would supply Bluetooth electronics & Bose supply audio parts, you will have the ultimate Bluetooth headset.

But we don't live in the ideal world. I guess I'll just go back to a wired headset.


Duogreen Replacement Side Brush Filter for iRobot Roomba 500 and 700 Series, 3-Pack
Duogreen Replacement Side Brush Filter for iRobot Roomba 500 and 700 Series, 3-Pack

1.0 out of 5 stars Cheap imitation, June 17, 2013
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
It looks like the real thing.
It feels like the real thing.
It works kinda like the real thing.

But it is not as durable as the real thing.

The original brush that came with the 770 lasts about 2 years or so. And I had to replace it be cause it got tangled with something really bad. If that wasn't the case, I suspect it will last as long as the life of the Roomba itself.

It's not the same for Duogreen cheap replacement. Without the side brush getting tangled with anything, those tiny brushes were gone within less than a year. -- I suppose there's a reason Duogreen includes 3 brushes in a package.

Either get a real thing or prepare to replace this brush frequently.


Logitech Wireless Keyboard K270 with Long-Range Wireless
Logitech Wireless Keyboard K270 with Long-Range Wireless
Offered by HALF TIME
Price: $22.99
18 used & new from $21.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Great keyboard for HTPC setup, but would not recommend in an environment where security is crucial., April 21, 2013
I got a great deal on this keyboard (just fifteen, can you believe it), and use it in HTPC setup.

As usual, Logitech keyboard & mice are always excellent. Range is good, and setting up is a breeze. (If you are using just one Unifying device, you don't even need to set it up.)

In general settings (for most people), this encryption scheme should be just fine. However, if you handle sought-after, sensitive information, stick with a wired keyboard.

Why?

Upon inspecting Logitech's white paper, there seems to be a flaw on key exchange mechanism between the Unifying receiver and devices. Logitech relies on a "secret algorithm" for key exchange. It means that once the algorithm is no longer "secret", one could intercept initial key exchange without any problem.

Since it's "proprietary" and "secret", security of the key exchange, and implementation of encryption cannot be independently verified, one should be cautious whether they are properly implemented, especially if sensitive information is involved.

Don't get me wrong, from the white paper, "Unifying" devices are years ahead of many wireless keyboard security (excluding Bluetooth, of course) and would work fine for most people. However, key exchange mechanism does have a flaw which, given enough effort, the "secret algorithm" can be broken (supposedly easier than breaking an encryption key) and encryption key can be compromised.


Bose Bluetooth Headset Series 2 - Right Ear
Bose Bluetooth Headset Series 2 - Right Ear
Price: $149.95
17 used & new from $120.83

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars It is the reason why I love my Android phone so much., April 19, 2013
I'm not a Bose fan. In fact, I dislike Bose's audio profile. Too much low, and so-so treble. But more on that later....

One thing that I have to accept is that Bose's "Stayhear" design is 'the' best. I went through several Bluetooth headsets, and none of them would stay on my ear without accidentally falling off. This "Stayhear" design fits my ear perfectly, without the pain of dealing with the popular "in-ear" design.

I use this Bluetooth headset to listen to radio shows / podcasts first, and phone conversation second. It performs well for a Bluetooth headset. Multi-point setup comes in handy as I usually have 2 phones with me.

There are occasional disconnect, but always quickly recovered. There are also some other hiccups, annoyances that plague ALL other Bluetooth headsets I tested. So, you really can't blame Bose on this one. It's probably the problem with Bluetooth standard itself, or flaky implementation by BOTH phone & headset manufacturers.

Battery life is on a lower end. I can continuously listen to 4, maybe 5 hours of audio stream before low battery warning. With that said, for the size of the headset, it is acceptable. Otherwise, you'll have to deal with heavier headset.

Range for this headset is typical comparing to other Bluetooth headset. But try to have your phone nearby for best reception.

Micro-USB charging (instead of a proprietary one like Plantronics Legend) is much appreciated since I have lots of chargers around the house.

Adaptive audio seems to ONLY work when you are having a conversation. It automatically ramps up the volume in a noisy environment. It's quite practical, and effective in real world setting. (When construction crews on the upper floor start their heavy equipment, I can sense that it increases volume quickly to compensate for the noise. Very neat.) But I can only hope that it works under A2DP streaming session as well.

Oh, and the volume on this headset is pretty good. It is one of the few headsets that I had to lower the volume.

Are there any drawbacks on this headset? To quote Mrs.Palin ... "You betcha!" ::

- As with typical Bose tuning profile, too much emphasis is put on the lower end. As I listen to radio programs most of the time, this heavy bass profile causes headache and ear fatigue. I had to install an equalizer on my Android phone, to pretty much turn off lower frequency to alleviate this problem. It's not perfect, but it's bearable, considering no other manufacturer make Stayhear-like design. (Imagine you are using a phone that is in a walled garden, and you are not allowed to use equalizer.)

- Stayhear design requires that you pick which ear you want to put the headset on. If you're wearing it all day long, regardless how comfortable it is, you would wish that you could switch side.

In summary ::
With equalizer in place, this headset is a keeper. Especially when I got it half the MSRP at a local store. It works well on many aspects. But its most important feature is the "Stayhear" design. -- One star off for Bose's signature tuning.

Pro tips ::
-- If you wish to use your Bluetooth headset with a stock Skype on an Android phone, you will be sorely disappointed. None of the bluetooth headsets I tested worked with Skype on Android. -- However, there's a way out. A good guy at XDA-Developers modded the stock version and added much much needed features, including proper Bluetooth stack support, and made it available for free. -- Just do a search "xda skype mod" on the internet, and you should find it.

-- As with other Bluetooth headsets, if you wish to use other communication software (Skype, Viber, other VOIP/video chat apps), you must do your own due diligence and verify that it actually works. While most apps do properly support Bluetooth stack, Skype is a prime example of an application with a shoddy Bluetooth stack implementation.

-- Switches and controls on this headset seem rather fragile. Just be gentle with it.

Update #1 (04/25/2013)
- Noise cancellation is impressive. I was on the phone while I was grinding coffee beans (hand crank mill). Adaptive audio increase the volume automatically, and the other party didn't notice any noise.

- Modded Skype for Android is not perfect. There are some quirks that you have to deal with, but at least you can use Bluetooth with Skype.

- Bluetooth stack on Android OS is just plain horrible & unreliable. Switching between apps often would freeze up Bluetooth and/or Wifi on the phone. Most of the time, it reset itself within a couple minutes. But once in a while, only phone reboot will do.


Royal PX1000MX 10-Sheet CD/Floppy Cross Cut Shredder with Pullout Basket (White)
Royal PX1000MX 10-Sheet CD/Floppy Cross Cut Shredder with Pullout Basket (White)
Offered by Acedepot
Price: $59.95
4 used & new from $34.90

5.0 out of 5 stars Couldn't be happier with this shredder, April 17, 2013
I've had this shredder for about 4-5 years and it is the best shredder so far. I bought it from a warehouse store for about fifty bucks. It shreds all papers, diskettes, CDs without a hitch. But I usually feed just 5-6 sheets at a time. 10-sheet rating might be for just a certain type of paper. I shred both heavy & light papers, so I try to err on the lower end.

This shredder is for low & medium use. If you look at the label on the machine, it actually suggests alternating between 3 minute run & 30 minute break. Basket is rather small for its shredding capacity. I would agree with other reviewers that the window is on the smaller side, but it really doesn't matter to me. -- To install the basket, you have to push the bottom end first, then you push the top. It never come lose, and the top never popped of the machine when it's full.

Before this, I had a cheap straight cut, and a moderately priced confetti cut machine. They were both prone to paper jam. Their Achilles heels were weak motor, and weak steel blade. Either the motor wasn't powerful enough, or the blade would give out after constant use. --- But not this PX1000MX shredder. Its 5A motor is powerful enough for its size, and the cutting mechanism is surprisingly beefed up comparing to my previous shredders. Oh, it's virtually maintenance free as well. I just keep on using it without cleaning/maintenance, and it's still going strong.

For the price, I really can't complain about it. But if I had to nitpick, here's what can be improved on this machine :

1 - No overheat led. Just a green led that's lit whether it's on or overheated. Took sometime to get used to.
2 - Noisy. Sure, the manufacturer can offer better sound proofing. But I suspect it will be larger & more expensive.
3 - Paper dusts. You really can't get away from dusts when shredding. This machine produces much less dusts than my previous machines, but not as good as heavy duty, commercial machines I used.
4 - The basket doesn't really accept plastic bag. You have to juggle with the basket to move everything into a plastic bag.

I am surprised to see many negative reviews on this machine. Maybe QC is getting worse during the past few years, or the manufacturer is cutting corners. I don't know. But what I know is, for the price, it is "the" consumer-grade shredder for me, and I would not hesitate to recommend it to anyone.


No Title Available

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent board, watch out for software compatibility., April 16, 2013
I purchased this motherboard along with M350 chassis, PicoPSU to build a pfSense firewall. At the moment, it is "the" board for small form factor pfSense firewall. (Not many dual-nic miniITX boards out there) Without chassis fan, CPU temp is about 55C on load.

A word of warning : From what I read, this board uses Intel's new video technology which is not yet fully compatible with FreeBSD and Linux. I had trouble with pfSense (latest stable, AMD64) ncurses install screen. There were two options, use x86 version or nightly builds. I opted for x86 as the board only has 4GB of memory anyway. So, be prepared for a possibility of display issues until Intel's new technology is widely adopted.


TP-LINK TL-WA901ND Wireless N300 Access Point, 2.4Ghz 300Mbps, 802.11b/g/n, AP/Client/Bridge/Repeater, 3x 4dBi, Passive POE
TP-LINK TL-WA901ND Wireless N300 Access Point, 2.4Ghz 300Mbps, 802.11b/g/n, AP/Client/Bridge/Repeater, 3x 4dBi, Passive POE
Offered by PC Parts Depot
Price: $45.28
33 used & new from $29.99

5.0 out of 5 stars If you are looking for an AP with VLAN, multiple SSIDs, this is it!!, April 9, 2013
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
My quest for "affordable" access point with VLAN + multiple SSIDs + radius IS OVER, thanks to TP-LINK.

I went through several $100-200 access points with these features. Many of them claim to be an "enterprise" access point an such, but none of them held up to the hype.

Who would have thought that a cheap, Chinese brand, access point could actually deliver? It's not perfect. It's not "enterprise". But it does what it's suppose to do, and does it well.

Here's a drill down on this AP, and my findings:

- External antennae = better range. So far, none of APs with internal antenna that I tested can beat those with external one. Don't believe the hype, marketing material, etc. They just try to fool you to pay more with pretty look.

- It is faster than any 150/300mbps N AP that I tried. I am in a very noisy 2.4GHz environment, and it performs best on 20MHz width(150mbps).

- Unless you are bonding several channels / frequency bands together, don't bother paying extra for an access point with gigabit uplink. Standard wireless N links rarely go over 100mbps, especially in noisy environment (i.e. several APs in vicinity)

- This AP has fake POE. -- Well, I meant to say, non-standard POE. You cannot use standard injector with it.

- Multiple SSID + VLAN set up was A BREEZE. Connect it to your trunk port, configure the VLAN/SSID/security, and you are all set!

- It does not support SSID-specific client isolation

- Ping Watch Dog:: You can configure the AP to ping a certain IP. If it fails to receive a response within specific ping counts, it reboots itself. Pretty neat huh? -- I haven't had this AP long enough to know whether it would actually need it or not.

- Monitoring is lacking on this AP. -- You can see MAC addresses connected to the AP, but you can't tell which SSID they're connected to. There's an option to monitor throughput (of all SSIDs), but the graph doesn't show up, at least on Firefox, so you have to rely on Current/Max/Min/Avg read out.

It is cheap.
It works as promised.
It is faster than all other N APs I tested.

What else could you ask more for less than fifty bucks?
Heck, I might even buy a couple more as a backup.


KingWin Single Bay 3.5-Inch Internal SATA Trayless Hot Swap Rack with Key Lock (KF-1000-BK)
KingWin Single Bay 3.5-Inch Internal SATA Trayless Hot Swap Rack with Key Lock (KF-1000-BK)
Price: $20.72
19 used & new from $13.26

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Gets the job done. But has room for improvement., April 5, 2013
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
+ Relatively cheap
+ No need to mess with screws. Just pop the drive out, insert a new one, that's it.

o A bit flimsy, but for the price, I really can't complain. Just handle it gently, and it will last.
o No 2.5" disk support. Well, it's not designed to support 2.5" disk, but I kind of hope that it would

- Does not have power control. For hot swap, I would prefer to manually cut down the power before inserting/removing drive.
- Of all drives tested, access(orange) LED lit constantly when ST31500341AS is inserted. (It's suppose to lit only when there's a disk activity.)
- Molex power connector?!? Well, you can connect SATA power directly to the tray, but power/access LED will not work in that case. You have to connect a molex to an adapter which will then split into SATA power & special cable for front LEDs. On the Dell chassis that I worked on, there was only one molex connector. Since I have 2 trays, I had to buy a SATA->MOLEX adapter for it. I would have paid a couple more bucks on this item just to not have to use this special adapter.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 20, 2014 7:28 AM PDT


Thermaltake MAX-2533 Backplane Hot Swap Removable Hard Drive Kits 3.5-Inches SAS/SATA RAID Ready RC2300101A
Thermaltake MAX-2533 Backplane Hot Swap Removable Hard Drive Kits 3.5-Inches SAS/SATA RAID Ready RC2300101A
Price: $76.00
4 used & new from $76.00

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Nice 2-bay hotswap, keeps drives cool, but could be improved., April 5, 2013
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I had to jury rig a unRaid server and this 2-bay hot swap fits the job. I didn't need a hot-swap feature for this set up, but I needed an extra fan to cool down these disks. Even at low settings, it keeps drives cool without any problem. The fan, by itself, is reasonably quiet at low setting. However, with several fans and HDDs in my chassis, it really doesn't make any difference on my setup.

The price is reasonable for what it does. Temperature alarm is a nice feature. Each disk has its own power control, which is great.

However, there are a couple of design issues that could improve this cage :

- SATA power connectors are too close to each other. With typical PSU SATA power cable, it's impossible to connect 2 SATA power at the same time. (Fortunately, there are 2 extra molex connectors)

- HDD Tray lock is small and VERY sensitive. Say you just pushed the tray in and about to lock it. If you're not VERY careful when locking, the latch will pop out. While it doesn't necessarily disconnect disk from backplane, the latch should only pop up with you try to remove the disk, NOT when you're trying to lock it.


JBL Sonnet M310J 2.1 Computer Speakers (3-Speaker, White)
JBL Sonnet M310J 2.1 Computer Speakers (3-Speaker, White)

5.0 out of 5 stars They don't make it like this anymore., March 30, 2013
I've had these speakers for 10+ years. I've purchased/used several computer speakers during the past 10 years, and none came even close to JBL Sonnet sound quality. Not even Bose's overpriced computer speakers system, not even JBL/Harman's later computer speakers series.

Bass, mid and treble are just right for Blues & Jazz with unmatched treble clarity.

They just don't make it like this anymore. I hope my JBL Sonnet will last another 10 years or so.


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