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James Q. Smith "JQS" RSS Feed (Western USA)

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Apocalypto [Blu-ray]
Apocalypto [Blu-ray]
DVD ~ Rudy Youngblood
38 used & new from $30.24

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great movie, best for home in blu-ray, November 22, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Apocalypto [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
This review isn't about the movie, but more about the blu-ray version. For many years, many scenes in Apocalypto have been a showcase for selling HDTVs in 1080p particularly when large TVs first went to market. I never owned this disk until now but saw Apocalypto for many years on cable, and streaming media. This disk is by far leagues better than anything ever shown on the Internet or Cable.

Apocalypto explodes with color, detail, and texture in every scene. The shots of lakes and forests appear life like real compared to real places among Mayan ruins I've seen in the Yucatan, such as Tulum. So much CGI is used today, that many viewers often remark to me that the forests scenes shown in say, Cameron's Avatar is amazingly detailed, yet its far less impressive than a real forest in nature, as Apocalypto more closely depicts.

Digital compression shows its weakness is details, and in the forest scenes leaves, tree bark, and branches will appear blurry or have edges that are not straight lines, not so in blu-ray. The colors on the blu-ray are sharper and vivid, great than life like as if sunlight sources were deep inside the canopy, and the sound has greater dynamic range and depth. On facial imagry, nearly every line of hair, pores on skin, and sweat, are near real.


Solid Silk Mens Necktie Plain Multi color Ties, Burgendy
Solid Silk Mens Necktie Plain Multi color Ties, Burgendy

4.0 out of 5 stars great 100% silk work tie that cost less than polyester, November 22, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
These are plain Jane ties that are 100% silk, so its claimed, and I think it is as it has the sheen and feel of real silk, compared to polyster which has the sheen but not the feel!

These are my everyday work ties and I leave in the office. I bought several of these in the past and it lasts for about 4-5 years before I frayed the edges of the tie. They are so low cost, I just get a new set rather than dry clean them.

Pro
100% silk
plain solid color and medium width, won't become obsolete with fashion
easy to clean DIY if needed, just spot wash
colors do not fade
great work tie

Cons
thin construction
not durable over time, I own 100s of ties, and these are the only ones that I've worn down and frayed, so minus 1 star


Stahlsac Bonaire Mesh Backpack w/drybag (Yellow)
Stahlsac Bonaire Mesh Backpack w/drybag (Yellow)
Offered by New England Dive
Price: $84.95
3 used & new from $84.95

5.0 out of 5 stars toughest bag I've owned, November 21, 2014
I've used the smaller original size of this bag Stahlsac Panama Mesh Backpack for 15 straight years and 2000+ dives. During early 2000, I tried similar mesh bags and destroyed them all in weeks, until I got my Stahlsac. The acid test of mesh bags was the water dunk tank soak, very common after ocean dives. You take all your wet gear and submerge it in a fresh water tub, and after soaking for a while, pull it out. Nylon weakens a touch when wet and will stretch, so it has to be built extra tough. When you pull the bag out of the tub, it carries the weight of your gear and the water its sponged up, and this often tears lesser webbing, handles, or rips the bottom of the bag. Many times we'd soak the bag overnight. All the bags I've and my buddies have destroyed died during the dunk tank test.

In 15 years of not just 1000+ dunks, but loaded with 50-70# of gear including lead weights, then carried dripping wet for mile+ after shore dives the bag never tore. About its 10th year, the stitches on the front pocket gave way, so I stitched it back. The 'dry bag' eventually wore out, it leaked but I could keep stuff in the "dry" compartment by wrapping it a ziplock bag. The mesh would snag on carts, boats, and vehicles, tearing holes in the mesh in places but never critical to cause gear to fall out or loose the bag's intergrity as a bag. Easy to repair with nylon line like you would a fishing net.

Finally in the past 2 years, the mesh began tear too easily in many places and the frequency of my stitching repairs increased to literally every dive trip. So my original bag is now being retired.

As expected, fellow divers and my dive buddy of 15+ years also uses an identical model Stahlsac bag, and his bag too started to fall apart at the same time. He has as many dives as I have, and treats the bag similarly. It says the toughness of this bag is not just an accident, and its expected lifespan is similar.

Pros
VERY tough
VERY durable
quality construction and materials appear and feel similar to the original of 15 years ago
mesh design good for airing and draining wet gear
coated bottom is extra tough for rough surfaces; I would use this bag to sit on bare sharp rocks and limestone
large sack conforms to many shapes of gear including cameras and strobes
doesn't stink, because it always airs itself
easy to clean, worse case, you can turn the bag inside out and manually wash it

Cons
The 'shapelessness' can make gear stab you in the back in don't arrange it properly. We put fins on the dry bag end, towards the shoulder straps. This provides a firm protective flat surface for your back, and you can backpack this bag for miles easily.
The bag stretches when wet, and can be large for some people; it will hit my thighs when carried as a backpack and loaded. To shorten the straps loop straps through the carry handle, and this pulls the bag up, then I put my towel and dry bag, underneath the straps when I wear it, and provides more stretch and padding for long marches.
When heavily loaded, the weight of the bag pulls the front pocket velcro tab open, but the pressure of all the gear in the sack hold most anything in the front pocket from falling out
When heavily loaded, the drawstring lock can pull open: I loop the drawstring around the top carry handle, pull tight and tie a shoelace knot, and this locks the drawstring lock


Stahlsac WD16 Bonaire Deluxe Mesh Dry Backpack - Yellow
Stahlsac WD16 Bonaire Deluxe Mesh Dry Backpack - Yellow
Offered by Austin's Diving Center
Price: $84.95
14 used & new from $84.95

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars the toughest mesh bag I've ever used, November 21, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Pros
tough materials
durable construction
appear and feel similar to the original of 15 years ago
mesh design good for airing and draining wet gear
side zipper opens the bag widely eases filling compared to just top loading
coated PVC bottom is extra tough for rough surfaces; I would use this bag to sit on bare sharp rocks and limestone
large sack shape conforms to any shape such as cameras and strobes
doesn't stink, because it airs itself
easy to clean, worse case, you can turn the bag inside out and wash it

Cons
The 'shapeless' bag can make gear poke you if not arranged properly. We put fins on the dry bag end, towards the shoulder straps. This provides a firm protective flat surface for your back, and you can backpack this bag for miles easily.
The bag stretches when wet, and can be large for some people; it will hit my thighs when carried as a backpack and loaded. To shorten the straps loop straps through the carry handle, and this pulls the bag up, then I put my towel and dry bag, underneath the straps when I wear it, and provides more stretch and padding for long marches.
When heavily loaded, the weight of the bag pulls the front pocket velcro tab open, but the pressure of all the gear in the sack hold most anything in the front pocket from falling out
When heavily loaded, the drawstring lock can pull open: I loop the drawstring around the top carry handle, pull tight and tie a shoelace knot, and this locks the drawstring lock

Notes on Durability

While I've had this bag for just a month, its workmanship and materials are very similar to the original. We'll see how it survives over the coming year.

I've used the smaller original size of this bag Stahlsac Panama Mesh Backpack for 15 straight years and 2000+ dives. During early 2000, I tried similar mesh bags and destroyed them all in weeks, until I got my Stahlsac. The acid test of mesh bags was the water dunk tank soak, very common after ocean dives. You take a bag full of gear and submerge it in a fresh water tub, and after soaking for a while, pull it out. Nylon weakens a touch when wet and will stretch, so it has to be built extra tough. When you pull the bag out of the tub, it carries the weight of your gear and the water its sponged up, and this often tears lesser webbing, handles, or rips the bottom of the bag. Many times we'd soak the bag overnight. All bags I've and my buddies have destroyed died often during the dunk tank test.

In 15 years of not just 1000+ dunks, but loaded with 50-70# of gear including lead weights, then carried dripping wet for miles+ after shore dives the bag never tore. About its 10th year, the stitches on the front pocket gave way, so I stitched it back. The 'dry bag' eventually wore out, it leaked but I could keep stuff in the "dry" compartment by wrapping it a ziplock bag. The mesh would snag on carts, boats, and vehicles, tearing holes in the mesh in places but never critical to cause gear to fall out or loose the bag's integrity as a bag. Easy to repair with nylon line like you would a fishing net.

Finally in the past 2 years, the mesh tore too easily in many places and the frequency of my repairs increased to most every trip. So my original bag is now being retired.

As expected, fellow divers and my dive buddy of 15+ years also uses an identical model Stahlsac bag, and his bag too started to fall apart at the same time. He has as many dives as I have, and treats the bag similarly. It says the toughness of this bag is not just an accident, and its expected lifespan is similar.


DROK USB 2.0 Digital Multimeter, Ammeter Voltmeter Capacitance & Watt Meter, 7 Modes Multi Tester, DC 3A 12V Amp Voltage Power Meter, Charging System Tester, Fast Charging and Data Sync Dual USB Ports
DROK USB 2.0 Digital Multimeter, Ammeter Voltmeter Capacitance & Watt Meter, 7 Modes Multi Tester, DC 3A 12V Amp Voltage Power Meter, Charging System Tester, Fast Charging and Data Sync Dual USB Ports
Offered by DROK
Price: $15.59

62 of 67 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars perfect for indoor use, November 21, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I put a PortaPow in series with a this DROK unit and used an electronic load MAYNUO M9712C USB Programmable DC Electronic Load 300W 0-60A 0-150V via a USB breakout box Breakout Board for USB Mini-B. It drew power from a Nexus 7 charger. I dialed up current. The Nexus 7 supply has current limiting protection and shuts off at 2.5A. At all times, the DROK, PortaPow and electronic load read identically from 0.01A to 2.5A, as well as output voltage. The voltage output began to drop quickly after 1.9A, but this was an issue for the charger or the cabling than for the volt-ammeter. I let the units run for > 24 hours charging a Nexus 7 and all devices read the output voltage and current identically.

Pros
accurate volt and ammeter
dual-LED easy to see indoors
compact
dual USB jacks
Power draw of the device is less that 10mA, and does not significantly load the test devices or PSU

Cons
No brand name, you can find many identically looking devices under many brands and vendors, you can't be sure if it was made by the same person, its fake or counterfeit, or works properly without testing it yourself
LED are difficult to see in outdoors and worse in sunlight

I troubleshoot USB with a USB breakout box that is tedious to set up and having this device makes it plug and play for quick status checks for charging or USB devices.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 21, 2016 7:49 AM PST


Olight I3 CREE XP-G R5 LED Keychain Light -Red- 1x AAA
Olight I3 CREE XP-G R5 LED Keychain Light -Red- 1x AAA

5.0 out of 5 stars A bang for buck in bright, multisetting EDC single AAA lights, November 11, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Compared to some competitors the I3 is not the brightest, but its very well made, very reliable and is bright to use in daylight versus a competitor which cost 2-3x as much. I own 3 of these and use it everyday.

Pros
Quality construction
3 setting LED brightness
Ease to use
water proof: tested, dropped in glass of water and bone dry
Comes in many colors
Integrated pen clip

Cons
Less brighter than the competition, but bright enough to use in daylight to look under crevices


Linksys EA3500-NP Router Smart WiFi N750 5GHz (EA3500-NP)
Linksys EA3500-NP Router Smart WiFi N750 5GHz (EA3500-NP)
Offered by IPC-Store
Price: $89.99
8 used & new from $20.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fast simultaneous dual band gigabit wifi router, October 5, 2014
All I need is to connect at the maximum speed allowed by the hardware e.g. 802.11n or g, and both bands simultaneously. The closer it reaches the theoretical speed, the higher the points.

Pros
Easy to configure, its plug and play with one instruction, to run the CD first
I unplugged my old router, plug this in in its place using all the old cables
Streamlined design, it looks like a plastic 6" plate
Dual band, simultaneously
Great reception: 5/5 bars up to 20' away with no line of sight and through dry wall
Speed: 3 antenna on each radio gives LAN transfers typically show at 802.11n > 100Mib/s on 2 Ghz, but 170-250Mib/s on 5Ghz; WAN connects ~>300Mib/s, typical. The theoretical maximum is 450Mib/s
I stream multimedia without a hiccup
I connected all my devices easily
passes Steve Gibson's suite of security test
Gigabit LAN
ipv6 automatic switch over: allows options of following less congested paths, thus higher overall speed
Low cost

Cons
Limited firewall, URL blocking options
Limited network monitoring options
During installation it asks you to join the Linsksys Smart Wifi over the Internet. You needn't subscribe to this and doing so removes remote access to the router, via the Linksys's website. I feel this is a security concern. I just log into the router locally via its local IP address: 192.168.1.1 rather than the URL supplied to insure all sessions are local.
At times you need to refresh the setup screen after making changes as your browser may use the old cached version instead, giving you erroneous reports.

This router is basic, but does the most vital job of good connectivity and high level protection but limited options on custom settings, so if your device fail to connect there is far less options for tweaking, but it connected all my devices without hitch. With 802.11n, its 3 stream 5 GHz reception is consistently >2x faster than my old 5 GHz router, and its own 2 GHz.


Linksys EA3500 - Dual-Band N750 Router with Gigabit and USB (Certified Refurbished)
Linksys EA3500 - Dual-Band N750 Router with Gigabit and USB (Certified Refurbished)
Offered by Amazing Deals Online
Price: $49.95
5 used & new from $38.38

5.0 out of 5 stars Fast simultaneous dual band gigabit wifi router, for $35, September 29, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I bought this as a backup for my current router 300MBPS Dual-band Wirelessrouter which is starting to act up. I'd rather have a backup now that I've tested to run well, is a drop in replacement for my current router rather than buy a new one when the current one dies and suffer downtime on my network as I check the new one out.

All I need is to get it to connect at the maximum speed of protocols my devices use: 802.11n, g, a using both bands simultaneously. Everything else is icing on the cake.

Pros
Easy to configure, its plug and play even without any enclosed instructions, just follow the one instruction: insert CD first, then follow the CD's prompt
I just took out my old router, plug this in in its place using all the old cables
Nice streamlined design, it basically looks like a plastic 6" plate
Dual band, simultaneously
Great reception: 802.11n > 100Mibs on 2 Ghz, 170-200Mibs on 5Ghz! 5/5 bars up to 30' away, no line of sight and through dry wall
I can stream multimedia without a hiccup
I connected all my devices easily
passes Steve Gibson's suite of security test
Low cost

Cons
Limited firewall, URL blocking options
Limited network monitoring options

Compared to my old router, which showed traffic on each radio, the consumed bandwidth, the capacity to fine tune QoS and its firewall this router provides as good functionality without such options. I can monitor network traffic with other tools.

This router is basic, but does the most vital job of good connectivity and high level protection but short on notification as to what its doing. Its superior in that the 5 GHz band is nearly 2x faster than my old router, so I'll use this as my main and have the 7750 now as backup.


No Title Available

5.0 out of 5 stars STBV series has been good to me, September 26, 2014
This is my 4th Seagate STBV based external drive in the past 2 years. They have been durable and reliable. I have ~ 6 TB of data on 3 prior drives, and this ups my storage another 4. They play on Windows 7 and Vista PCs, 2x 64 bit and and 2x 32 bit boxes.

Pro
Plug and play and pre-formatted NTFS
Everything needed to run out of box is included
USB 2.0 easily sustains >= 35MB/sec transfer speed
Capable of USB 3, but not tested

Cons
No instructions other than a quick info card, you can read about advanced functions on the Seagate website. For example the drives default to sleep in 15 minutes, if you wish to change this requires software that isn't included
Setup software can be downloaded directly from Seagate's website
USB 2 is barely adequate when formatting such drives, it took > 36 hours to reformat 4TB for an encrypted partition, however its speed is very workable for day to day file transactions or playing multimedia files, even streamed via the network


No Calorie Sweetener Made with Sucralose 1500 Individual Packets, 52.8oz
No Calorie Sweetener Made with Sucralose 1500 Individual Packets, 52.8oz

5.0 out of 5 stars great substitute for the real thing, August 29, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This product tastes just like the real thing in the "yellow packet" but far less cost per packet. If you use sweetners, this is a great alternative. Bulk packing is done very well and it should keep until needed.


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