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ASUS Zenbook UX305FA-ASM1 13.3-Inch Ultra-Slim Aluminum Laptop, 8 GB RAM and 256 GB SSD
ASUS Zenbook UX305FA-ASM1 13.3-Inch Ultra-Slim Aluminum Laptop, 8 GB RAM and 256 GB SSD
Price: $699.00
29 used & new from $690.00

33 of 46 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Do NOT buy the ASM1 version of this laptop if you plan on running Windows!, February 28, 2015
Folks, there is a much better and less expensive version of this laptop that is optimized for Windows 8.1 without any of the third-party junkware or bloatware installed, the UX305FA-USM1. The USM1 is the "Signature Edition" version of this laptop optimized by Microsoft for maximum speed out of the box. It is currently available direct from the Microsoft Store for only $597.64 after the 10% off educational discount and additional 5% off you get by texting MSHS to 29502.

Don't get me wrong, even this ASM1 version is decent (same hardware), but the USM1 version is much better if you want to run Windows with optimized settings without a bunch of fuss trying to get to a truly clean install.

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***EDIT TO ADD (03/26/15)***: Looks like the 10% Educational discount has ended on that USM1 model. Sorry for those latecomers who missed it. Must be too popular of a model over there at the Microsoft Store. It is still available for the base MSRP of only $699.99 though, which is still a steal for what hardware you get with this ultrabook, and cheaper than most third-party sellers on Amazon are charging for the ASM1 model right now.
Comment Comments (32) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Apr 19, 2015 11:08 AM PDT


Hannspree HL269DPB 26-Inch Screen LED-lit Monitor
Hannspree HL269DPB 26-Inch Screen LED-lit Monitor

4.0 out of 5 stars Change the default settings., March 13, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I got this monitor to replace a ten-year-old 21" 4:3-aspect-ratio Samsung LCD that had served me quite well. (And which I had paid five times as much for back then, as well.) Installation of the base was a breeze -- they even include a little mini-screwdriver in case you don't have one. Much more screen "real estate" allowing you to comfortably view two documents (or college text e-book and notes in my case) side by side. I was originally going to just buy another 21" and run them both in Portrait mode (rotated 90 degrees), but this 26" 16:9-aspect-ratio in Landscape mode works just as well, and for not that much more in price.

The only real negatives are that the default color schema leaves more to be desired. Every time I'd move a window around it would leave this "greenish" streak of a hue. Same when watching fast-motion video. I was able to fix this problem by going into the monitor settings and changing the Color Setting from "Nature" to "Warm." So definitely fiddle with the settings if you aren't liking the hue. The speakers in back of the monitor are also pretty weak, but again, you can go into settings and boost the volume up from 50 to whatever level you are more comfortable with. It's not the highest fidelity sound, but not too bad if you aren't a hard-core discerning audiophile. I still mostly use my headphones for "serious" sound-effects like movies and music, but the speakers work fine for YouTube videos and what not, allowing me to replace the cheap pair of stand-alones I had sitting on my desk before.

Overall a pretty good bargain, all things considered. After those minor tweaks, the video quality is at least as good as most of those more expensive name-brand models I saw showcased in my local BestBuy. Hopefully it lasts me another ten years like the Samsung.


PS3 500 GB Grand Theft Auto V Bundle
PS3 500 GB Grand Theft Auto V Bundle
Offered by Worldwide Sales
Price: $299.95
32 used & new from $197.06

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Two words: GTA V & Heavy Rain. (Okay, I guess that's five words...), November 26, 2013
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This is the first Sony console I have ever bought, although I've always admired their controllers ever since the original PS1 days playing Twisted Metal and Final Fantasy VII at a friend's house way back when. I never cared for the stock Xbox controllers (two big and bulky for my small hands) and just played most of the Xbox titles I was interested in on the PC with my Playstation-knock-off controllers that I still use to play emulated classic Nintendo games and what not (at least those not available from the Nintendo eShop on the 3DS which I still greatly enjoy.) So I guess you could call me a casual retro-gamer.

I've always enjoyed the GTA series, having owned and played through every release on the PC. But as it sounds like GTA V won't be released for PC, I decided to bite the bullet and splurge on this new console instead. Having heard great things about the PS3-exclusive title Heavy Rain, I've been contemplating this purchase for awhile, but the GTA V bundle sealed the deal for me. After perusing Sony's web-site and noticing all the PS1 titles available for download as well (including Twisted Metal 2 and Final Fantasy 7, 8, and 9) I figured it was time to enjoy those games the way they were meant to be enjoyed: on their native console.

Having the Blu-Ray player functionality is an added plus, which displays brilliantly on the new Insignia (Best Buy branded) 39" LED HDTV that I picked up yesterday during their "Black Friday Week" sale. My upstairs gaming room setup is now complete!


Sid Meiers Civilization IV: The Complete Edition [Download]
Sid Meiers Civilization IV: The Complete Edition [Download]
Price: $29.99

31 of 34 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant game, great bundle., December 6, 2010
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I was first introduced to Sid Meier's line of strategy games with his Alpha Centauri game, which takes place right where this game leaves off: expedition to space, and colonizing an alien planet. So I found this Earth-based prelude to be quite interesting, and very familiar to use. I kind of question the way they use religion in the game, with only broad categories (the big 5: Buddhism, Hinduism, Judaism, Christianity, Islam) where you get bonuses with other like-minded cultures. It kind of ignores the reality that even within those 5 great religions, there were many sects that often did not find peace with each other (take Sunni and Shia Islam for example). But I guess it would have taken too much time to account for all the sects and what not... maybe that's why the role of religion was really scaled back in Civ 5, to just not have to deal with it?

There are many other good reviews of this game on the non-digital download page, so I'll just mention a couple things regarding this digital download... first of all, I must have lucked out, because I snagged this digital download of The Complete Edition just a couple days ago for only $12.99 -- a real steal, even if the game is a few years old now, with Civ 5 out and all. (The price has since jumped back up to $39.99 as I write this review, so not quite as good of deal with it costing roughly the same as Civ 5, although you do get all the expansions.) One issue I had with the installation, was that it never made a program group or icons on the desktop for the games, but that was no big deal, you just have to create shortcuts to:

C:\Program Files (x86)\2K Games\Firaxis Games\Sid Meier's Civilization 4 Complete\Civilization4.exe

...and...

C:\Program Files (x86)\2K Games\Firaxis Games\Sid Meier's Civilization IV Colonization\Colonization.exe

Once you right click and drag those two programs to your desktop (or wherever you keep your games icons) and "Create Shortcuts Here" you can launch right into them by double-clicking the new icons like normal.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Feb 19, 2011 7:13 PM PST


Thinking Straight
Thinking Straight
by Robin Reardon
Edition: Paperback
Price: $13.50
69 used & new from $0.01

3 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Can Christianity be Reformed?, October 13, 2009
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Thinking Straight (Paperback)
An interesting tale, if you can get past all the graphic accounts of gay sex scattered throughout -- I read this to try to get more familiar with "liberal" Christian theology, and should have expected the sex scenes considering the nature of the book I suppose, although I think the author could have made her point without them, to try to reach a more broad (non-gay) audience. Anyway, it does highlight the schism in modern Christianity between those who view the "good book" literally, and those who take a more selective approach as to what parts of the Bible should be followed or not. It does beg the question though: why would anyone choose to remain part of a faith where even a sizable number of believers believe that way? Why try to water-down and temper Christianity, when you can just as easily forsake it altogether? A "gay Christian" just seems like an oxy-moron to me, and I can't help but think sometimes that those who seek to liberalize Christianity are really just giving more credence to ALL of it -- even the bad conservative/authoritarian parts -- but I'd definitely take a "liberal" Christian that doesn't interpret every word of the Bible literally over a conservative Bible-thumper who does, any day of the week.
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 31, 2014 9:16 AM PST


Religulous
Religulous
DVD ~ Bill Maher
Price: $9.92
78 used & new from $3.37

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining look at the world's various religions., October 13, 2009
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Religulous (DVD)
I don't really care for Maher's views on other topics such as gun control, but he is home in familiar elements with this film. You just have to see the way he engages people, to get them to open up to him about their faith. Of course, it only makes them look like fools in the end.

Do we have too much religion in the world? Definitely. This film proves it.


The God Who Wasn't There
The God Who Wasn't There
DVD ~ Richard Carrier
Price: $24.94
21 used & new from $3.96

6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thought-Provoking, October 13, 2009
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: The God Who Wasn't There (DVD)
This movie will challenge the very notions you may have about your Christian faith. Some interesting trivia and history, too. Definitely sheds some light on the "good book." Not for the faint of heart...


The God Delusion
The God Delusion
by Richard Dawkins
Edition: Paperback
Price: $10.84
293 used & new from $1.27

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Introduction to Atheist Thought, October 13, 2009
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: The God Delusion (Paperback)
What can I say that hasn't already been said by so many others? The author is a master story-teller, really lays out his case well. If you're even slightly open-minded and have your doubts about whatever God you happen to believe in, give this book a shot. You won't be disappointed.
Comment Comments (18) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 23, 2012 5:46 PM PDT


Lost American Principles: The Counter-Revolution
Lost American Principles: The Counter-Revolution
by Steven L. Hall
Edition: Paperback
Price: $14.95
26 used & new from $3.44

5.0 out of 5 stars Great Libertarian Read!, October 13, 2009
The author doesn't endorse the Libertarian Party -- in fact he calls for the formation of a new political party altogether -- but he sure makes the case for libertarian ideals. Be it on personal matters or economic, we should resort to Government force only as a last resort! Keep the Government out of our bedrooms, out of our bodies, and out of our financial lives -- we should only have as much Government as is necessary to defend our Rights! There's no reason we can't keep all of our social progress (end of slavery, women suffrage, etc.) but still take America back to its founding principles when it comes to our most basic Liberties! FPP!


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