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Solaris 10 ZFS Essentials
Solaris 10 ZFS Essentials
by Scott Watanabe
Edition: Paperback
Price: $35.62
44 used & new from $17.10

2.0 out of 5 stars Waste of money, April 14, 2013
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This book is probably not the book you want. It covers the superficial aspects of ZFS and little else. All the information in this book is available free of charge from various web sites. It does not cover any of the internal details of ZFS (such as the on-disk format) nor does it cover advanced administration of ZFS (such as performance tuning).


Ethernet I340 Server Adapter
Ethernet I340 Server Adapter
Offered by AMTECH
Price: $230.00
43 used & new from $140.00

5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent product, March 18, 2013
I purchased one of these PCIe cards for a small server system to handle iSCSI over trunked links using LACP (802.3ad). It is running in Solaris 11 in an ESXi hypervisor system using direct pass-through.

It is a fast and stable product and it has worked flawlessly for the last 8 months.


WD RE 4 TB Enterprise Hard Drive: 3.5 Inch, 7200 RPM, SATA III, 64 MB Cache - WD4000FYYZ
WD RE 4 TB Enterprise Hard Drive: 3.5 Inch, 7200 RPM, SATA III, 64 MB Cache - WD4000FYYZ
Offered by Aeon Micro, Inc.
Price: $285.00
82 used & new from $199.99

14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Product, February 7, 2013
For the last 6 months I have had four of these drives running in a FreeNAS system.

All the drives have operated without any problems. They are fast and reasonably quiet.

Edit: I have added three more of these drives and the seven drives are running in RAID-Z3 configuration on a Solaris system. They continue to be excellent drives.
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 24, 2014 10:35 AM PDT


Pampers Swaddlers Diapers Size 1 Economy Pack Plus, 234 Count
Pampers Swaddlers Diapers Size 1 Economy Pack Plus, 234 Count
Offered by Fun Stuff For Sale
Price: $56.90
7 used & new from $47.45

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Not as good as the Swaddlers supplied by the hospital, December 27, 2012
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
The Swaddlers we received when we ordered from Amazon are not the same as the Swaddlers package supplied by the hospital.

The purchased Swaddlers are thinner, they do not have as much absorbent material and have a much stronger scent. My wife found the scent to be intolerably strong. The packaging is exactly the same as the hospital supplied diapers, but the product is not as good.


Corsair Gaming Audio Series SP2500 High-Power 2.1 PC Speaker System (CA-SP211NA)
Corsair Gaming Audio Series SP2500 High-Power 2.1 PC Speaker System (CA-SP211NA)
Price: $229.99
21 used & new from $149.95

4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing sound, October 3, 2012
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I needed to replace my 14 year old Cambridge Soundworks speakers and I purchased this system based mostly on the excellent reviews here.

However, the sound is muddy and the volume from the sub-woofer is quite low unless the sub-woofer volume is turned to maximum (which makes the bass somewhat distorted). After my wife and I spent some time playing around with the controls we decided that it sounds best on the dynamic pop settings - even for classical music. We will not be keeping this product.
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 9, 2012 3:04 PM PDT


Gigabyte Intel Z77 Dual Thunderbolt ATX Motherboard with BT4.0/Wi-Fi (GA-Z77X-UP5-TH)
Gigabyte Intel Z77 Dual Thunderbolt ATX Motherboard with BT4.0/Wi-Fi (GA-Z77X-UP5-TH)

6 of 10 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Cannot recommend, October 3, 2012
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I purchased this motherboard for the two Thunderbolt ports. Sadly, there are some problems when using Windows 7 or Window 8. If I run a disk on one of the Thunderbolt ports and an Apple 27 inch display on the other, the display sometimes flickers when the disk is accessed. On one occasion the disk disconnected from the system without warning, which is somewhat scary if you value your data.

The board also hangs on boot occasionally. The boot drive is an SSD not on Thunderbolt, but the hang has only occurred (so far) when there is a disk connected on a Thunderbolt port.

The Thunderbolt implementation doesn't appear to be ready for prime time. I don't know if it's a hardware or a driver issue. If you don't need Thunderbolt, one of the other Gigabyte boards might be a better choice. If you do, you might want to try a Thunderbolt board from another manufacturer, although there aren't many and I've read about problems with them also.
Comment Comments (4) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 21, 2013 9:59 PM PDT


The Pillars of the Earth
The Pillars of the Earth
by Ken Follett
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Price: $6.09
193 used & new from $0.01

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A surprising gem, June 12, 2011
We bought this book for our son as it was required reading for a class he was taking. His immediate reaction was to put it aside for when he HAD to read it, and I picked it up to see what sort of books his school wanted him to read. After reading the first few pages I was hooked.

I didn't expect much from the book before I started to read it, but it was enthralling from the start. It's a wonderful read. As with any long book, you can always find nits to pick, and there are some historical inaccuracies and a few minor plot holes. But they don't detract from the story, and what a story it is! However, don't mistake it for anything but fiction - the characters seem to have brought up with 20th century attitudes and sensibilities.

In other reviews people have complained that the characters speak modern English. I have to say that this is a good thing. In the 12th century the language spoken by the nobility was Old French, and if the peasants had spoken in Old English, you would need considerable study just to understand them - after all, this was less than 100 years after the Norman Conquest and 200 years before Chaucer. It's not clear what language the complainers feel should have been used. Maybe they would have felt more at home with Victorian English or 17th century English as found in the King James version of the Bible, but I'm happy with modern English.


Apple iPad 2 MC773LL/A Tablet (16GB, Wifi + AT&T 3G, Black) 2nd Generation
Apple iPad 2 MC773LL/A Tablet (16GB, Wifi + AT&T 3G, Black) 2nd Generation
Offered by SUNSET PHONES
Price: $374.99
70 used & new from $185.00

1,078 of 1,147 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Comparison of my IPad 2 with my Xoom, April 8, 2011
I have purchased both an iPad2 and Xoom for different family members. I thought it worth comparing the two devices for anyone interested. Many of my comments are subjective so bear that in mind when reading the review.

External appearance and feel:
The iPad2 screen has a different feel from the Xoom screen - the iPad2 is a bit slicker, less likely to stick when moving short distances. The screen on the Xoom tends to show fingerprints more than the Ipad2 for some reason. Everyone in this family thinks that the iPad2 looks sharper than the Xoom.

Both weigh 1.6 lbs. Subjectively, the Xoom feels heavier than the Ipad2, but it's an illusion perhaps caused by it's slightly smaller size. UPDATE: I need to learn to use the scales - the Xoom is about 3 ounces heavier than the iPad2.

Both have a similar size screen, measured diagonally. But the aspect ratio is different - 4:3 for iPad2, 16:9 for Xoom. This means that the iPad2 actually has a larger viewing area, and this makes a real difference when scrolling through a web site. The iPad2 screen is brighter than the Xoom screen.

Hardware performance:
The Xoom feels a bit faster than the iPad2, and the specs show that it is faster. Both have dual core processors based on ARM designs. The Xoom seems to be able to handle graphics better than the iPad2. As far as connecting to Wifi networks, both seem to have this one down pat - they both just work.

User Interface:
The iPad2 is just like a big iPhone. Whether this good or bad is subjective. For me, it's good - polished, flexible and can be customized to my needs. The Xoom user interface is totally new, and unfortunately it shows - there are many rough edges. Some examples: moving icons around to group programs together is not intuitive and they keep moving back; you can see the first 5 applications running on the Xoom and select one, but the list doesn't scroll so applications that don't show in the list can't be selected; you can't close applications (except by a force quit that can lose data) as the Xoom decides when to quit an application; customization is possible but more difficult than the iPad2. In short, the Xoom user interface is a work in progress - great potential but currently quite flawed.

Operating System:
The iPad2 uses Apple's IOS. It works, but it uses cooperative multitasking which (in theory) is less effective than the full multitasking on the Xoom which uses a version of Google's Android designed for tablets. In practice, they both work fine and I doubt anyone would notice the difference.

Applications:
iPad2 has 70,000 apps available from the Apple App store and it also runs the 300,000 apps available for the iPhone. Xoom currently has around 60 apps and it can run Android phone apps (but they are stretched in one direction which makes them look strange). Some of the iPad2 applications are pretty impressive - GarageBand for example. There are many games on the iPad2, and just a few games made for the Xoom. If this doesn't improve quickly, the Xoom is sunk. After all, applications are generally the reason people buy these devices.

Browsing:
Because of the screen aspect ratio that I mentioned, I prefer browsing on the iPad2. The Xoom has Adobe Flash and the iPad2 doesn't, but so far I haven't come across a single instance where this has been an issue. I'm sure there are very many sites not compatible with iPad2, but I haven't browsed to one of them yet.

Camera:
I don't use the camera much, and I'm not really sure if either is better. In the family, the Xoom owner says the Xoom is better, the iPad2 owner says the iPad2. The Xoom has flash and iPad2 doesn't which is a win for Xoom, but the Xoom seems slower to take a picture.

Speakers:
The Xoom has two small speakers, iPad2 has one slightly larger speaker. The sound is somewhat better quality on the iPad2 and the Xoom cannot achieve the same volume as the iPad2. But they are both pretty poor - use earphones or an external speaker if you want decent audio.

Battery life:
Difficult for me to give an exact comparison, but based on family usage it seems the iPad2 has the edge here, but not by much.

Internal storage:
The Xoom has 1GB of RAM and 32 GB of flash storage. The iPad2 has 512MB of RAM and 16GB, 32GB or 64GB of flash storage - I bought the 64GB model.

External storage:
The Xoom has an external card slot that supports SD cards, but the software was not ready in time for the product release. The slot is inoperative until Motorola releases an operating system update. The iPad2 has no external storage support.

User Experience:
The iPad2 was up and running quite quickly. I connected the device to iTunes and it automatically updated to the latest version of the operating system. I was then able to select and download Apps immediately and start using them.

The Xoom was not so easy. For some reason, I was not able to install the latest version of Google Maps or Adobe Flash. I was able to download the apps, and the install process appeared to work without errors, but the new apps just were not installed. After some time trying I finally returned the Xoom back to the factory settings and started again, and this time both the installs worked. Of course, this wouldn't be a good solution if you had a ton of applications and/or data on the device.

Support:
Apple has their retail stores. You can get a huge amount of help from these stores from people whose only job is to support users. Both iPad2 and Xoom users have web sites available that support their products but you have to spend the time digging for the sites and digging through the sites. You can also purchase an Applecare support package which gives you a couple of years extra support for the iPad2.

Bottom line:
I believe the Xoom hardware may be slightly better than the iPad2 (apart from the screen aspect ratio and the speakers), but the software is terribly lacking. The Xoom was released FAR too early, it's just not ready for primetime.

If I had to pick just one, I'd pick the iPad2 - less hassle, apps for everything, better browsing experience, better support options. The Xoom needs less buggy software and more applications; it has potential but it's not there yet. And by the time it gets there, there will be something better available.

Update 7/5/2011

We have now had the two devices for over 3 months. During that time Motorola released an update to fix some of the issues with the original Xoom. It's somewhat faster, the problem of only seeing the first 5 applications is fixed, there are some extra capabilities for USB, and most importantly, the Xoom doesn't crash every few hours.

However, the biggest issue with the Xoom is still the number of applications available to run in native tablet mode, as opposed to running Android phone applications. I've read that there are 300 applications available, but it's hard to find them. The Android Market doesn't distinguish between phone applications designed for a small screen and tablet applications. You have to read the description of each application to see what it is designed to run on, and finding 300 apps in 200,000 is very time consuming. Apple claims to have 100,000 iPad specific apps in their store.

Another problem with the Android Market is the complete lack of supervision. I understand that anybody can put any application there without any review, and I've read there have been a few problems with malware. Recently I saw an article that claimed there are spyware applications on the store, which worries me a little. I'm not saying you can't get malware from the Apple store, but Apple does look at the apps first - I'm not aware of any malware getting into the Apple store.

The iPad2 does have some downsides I wasn't aware of when I wrote my review. It would be nice to have a general purpose USB connection and a card slot. There is an extra-cost adapter available from Apple that supplies HDMI out and a limited function USB connector. Also the keyboard attachment made for the original iPad doesn't work on the iPad2.

For us, the iPad2 is the winner. The Xoom is sitting on a shelf and I don't think it's been used over a week now. In contrast, iPad2 is in use every day and continues to be a big hit. The primary problem with the Xoom is the lack of tablet-based applications.

Update 7/7/2011

The Xoom has been sold to a colleague who wants an Android tablet. I think the Xoom is better than most of the Android tablets currently available. However, the Honeycomb software feels so unfinished, and the paucity of available tablet-based applications was a major issue. I lost several hundred dollars on the sale, but nobody wanted to use it and there was no point in letting it lay around unused. I'm already under some pressure to buy another iPad2, but I want to wait to see if the rumors of another iPad version in September are true.
Comment Comments (29) | Permalink | Most recent comment: May 9, 2012 5:59 PM PDT


MOTOROLA XOOM Android Tablet (10.1-Inch, 32GB, Wi-Fi)
MOTOROLA XOOM Android Tablet (10.1-Inch, 32GB, Wi-Fi)
Offered by FORTUNE TECHNOLOGY LLC
Price: $270.00
92 used & new from $89.99

1,556 of 1,725 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Comparison of my Xoom with my IPad2, April 8, 2011
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I have purchased both an Ipad2 and Xoom for different family members. I thought it worth comparing the two devices for anyone interested. Many of my comments are subjective so bear that in mind when reading the review. I notice that reviews that love the Xoom are overwhelmingly marked "helpful" and those with even slight negatives are are usually marked "unhelpful", so I expect this review will get poor ratings.

External appearance and feel:
The Ipad2 screen has a different feel from the Xoom screen - the Ipad2 is a bit slicker, less likely to stick when moving short distances. The screen on the Xoom tends to show fingerprints more than the Ipad2 for some reason. Everyone in this family thinks that the Ipad2 looks sharper than the Xoom.

Both weigh 1.6 lbs. Subjectively, the Xoom feels heavier than the Ipad2, but it's an illusion perhaps caused by it's slightly smaller size.

Both have a similar size screen, measured diagonally. But the aspect ratio is different - 4:3 for Ipad2, 16:9 for Xoom. This means that the Ipad2 actually has a larger viewing area, and this makes a real difference when scrolling through a web site. The Ipad2 screen is brighter than the Xoom screen.

Hardware performance:
The Xoom feels a bit faster than the Ipad2, and the specs show that it is faster. Both have dual core processors based on ARM designs. The Xoom seems to be able to handle graphics better than the Ipad2. As far as connecting to Wifi networks, both seem to have this one down pat - they both just work.

User Interface:
The Ipad2 is just like a big iPhone. Whether this good or bad is subjective. For me, it's good - polished, flexible and can be customized to my needs. The Xoom user interface is totally new, and unfortunately it shows - there are many rough edges. Some examples: moving icons around to group programs together is not intuitive and they keep moving back; you can see the first 5 applications running on the Xoom and select one, but the list doesn't scroll so applications that don't show in the list can't be selected; you can't close applications (except by a force quit that can lose data) as the Xoom decides when to quit an application; customization is possible but more difficult than the Ipad2. In short, the Xoom user interface is a work in progress - great potential but currently quite flawed.

Operating System:
The Ipad2 uses Apple's IOS. It works, but it uses cooperative multitasking which (in theory) is less effective than the full multitasking on the Xoom which uses a version of Google's Android designed for tablets. In practice, they both work fine and I doubt anyone would notice the difference.

Applications:
Ipad2 has 70,000 apps available from the Apple App store and it also runs the 300,000 apps available for the iPhone. Xoom currently has around 60 apps and it can run Android phone apps (but they are stretched in one direction which makes them look strange). Some of the Ipad2 applications are pretty impressive - GarageBand for example. There are many games on the Ipad2, and just a few games made for the Xoom. I really hope this improves soon otherwise the Xoom is sunk. After all, applications are generally the reason people buy these devices.

Browsing:
Because of the screen aspect ratio that I mentioned, I prefer browsing on the Ipad2. The Xoom has Adobe Flash and the Ipad2 doesn't, but so far I haven't come across a single instance where this has been an issue. I'm sure there are very many sites not compatible with Ipad2, but I haven't browsed to one of them yet.

Camera:
I don't use the camera much, and I'm not really sure if either is better. In the family, the Xoom owner says the Xoom is better, the Ipad2 owner says the Ipad2. The Xoom has flash and Ipad2 doesn't which is a win for Xoom, but the Xoom seems slower to take a picture.

Speakers:
The Xoom has two small speakers, Ipad2 has one somewhat larger speaker. The sound is slightly better quality on the Ipad2 and the Xoom cannot achieve the same volume as the Ipad2. But they are both pretty poor - use earphones or an external speaker if you want decent audio.

Battery life:
Difficult for me to give an exact comparison, but based on family usage it seems the Ipad2 has the edge here, but not by much.

Internal storage:
The Xoom has 1GB of RAM and 32 GB of flash storage. The Ipad2 has 512MB of RAM and 16GB, 32GB or 64GB of flash storage - I bought the 64GB model.

External storage:
The Xoom has an external card slot that supports SD cards, but the software was not ready in time for the product release. The slot is inoperative until Motorola releases an operating system update. The Ipad2 has no external storage support.

User Experience:
The Ipad2 was up and running quite quickly. I connected the device to ITunes and it automatically updated to the latest version of the operating system. I was then able to select and download Apps immediately and start using them.

The Xoom was not so easy. For some reason, I was not able to install the latest version of Google Maps or Adobe Flash. I was able to download the apps, and the install process appeared to work without errors, but the new apps just were not installed. After some time trying I finally returned the Xoom back to the factory settings and started again, and this time both the installs worked. Of course, this wouldn't be a good solution if you had a ton of applications and/or data on the device.

Support:
Apple has their retail stores. You can get a huge amount of help from these stores from people whose only job is to support users. Both Ipad2 and Xoom users have web sites available that support their products but you have to spend the time digging for the sites and digging through the sites. You can also purchase an Applecare support package which gives you a couple of years extra support for the Ipad2.

Bottom line:
I believe the Xoom hardware is slightly better than the Ipad2 (apart from the screen aspect ratio and the speakers), but the software is terribly lacking. The Xoom was released FAR too early, it's just not ready for primetime. But it has great potential.

If I had to pick just one, I'd pick the Ipad2 at the moment - less hassle, apps for everything, better browsing experience, better support options. The Xoom needs less buggy software and more applications; it has great potential but it's not there yet.
Comment Comments (160) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Nov 21, 2013 3:16 PM PST


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