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Customer Reviews: 18
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Helpful Votes: 161


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E. Leung "someone@rockiesmountianhigh.us" RSS Feed (CO)
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Plethora of Paradox Games [Download]
Plethora of Paradox Games [Download]

5.0 out of 5 stars Great Value!, January 8, 2013
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This is an amazing value pack! I bought this for Crusader Kings II alone, and at $20 with a few DLCs (but not the expansion DLCs) it is a good deal already. The list shows 13 items, but essentially they are 6 games : (1) Crusader Kings II, (2) Magicka, (3) Majesty 2, (4) Majesty Gold, (5) Victoria II, (6) Warlock: Master of the Arcane. However, I bought this game solely for Crusader Kings II, so I cannot say much about other games. I have downloaded Magicka and Warlock demo and played for a few minutes to see what are they. Note that it requires Steam to play.

Magicka is an RPG, but more kid / teen oriented. There is an issue with my mouse (Logitech LX7) and the default button assignments, so it is necessary to do the setup before playing. Not my cup of tea (I don't even like Diablo), but it should be a good present for my nephew who is in junior high now.

Warlock is something like Civilization in fantasy theme 4X game. Perhaps for 4X games I like Sid's more, so I am not very interested in this game either. The game alone is not a bad one though, it seems.

And back to Crusader Kings II, it is a very addictive game. It is something like RTS but a bit different, feeling like "Nobunaga's Ambition" from KOEI to me. I played around 150 hours thus far. The game is to build a dynasty that rules (or survives) over time, including the Mongol invasions. There are few scenarios to choose from, and of which the "William the Conquer" period is the most interesting to me. It is great to start as a Count, invade using fake claims nearby Counts to expand, and eventually build up (steal) a Kingdom (Georgia in my case)... and once passing it down to the heir (there are many ways), the Kingdom starts to fall apart (well, not yet; it takes 3 generations to see it happens for me).

There are still some glitches in the game, in particular that there is no load game option. I can resign and load saved game, but by doing so it would lead to memory leak and eventually crash the game. Sometimes I can also see the AI armies not knowing where to go and stay in a place to die (of disease) or moving "back and forth" in the same area (a Count).

Victoria II is another very interesting game to me. It sounds like Crusader Kings II pushing forward into the modern era. Since I am "too occupied" by Crusader Kings II at the moment, I don't have time to play this (yet).

Anyway, for Crusader Kings II alone, I think $20 is well worth the money paid.


Crusader Kings II [Download]
Crusader Kings II [Download]
Price: $39.99

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Don't Buy... (then why 5 star?), January 8, 2013
Well, there is another pack called "Plethora of Paradox Games" which include this game + a few DLCs (but NOT the expansion DLCs) and a few other games for $20 (heard that it was once $10 only). That's a better deal than downloading this game alone.

Back to the game itself, it is a very addictive game. I played around 150 hours thus far. The game is to build a dynasty that rules (or survives) over time, including the Mongol invasions. There are few scenarios to choose from, and of which the "William the Conquer" period is the most interesting to me. It is great to start from a Count, invade (but you need to fab fake claims first, unless you want to start a Holy War!) nearby Counts to expand, and eventually build up a Kingdom (in my case Georgia)... and once passing it down to the heir (there are many ways), the Kingdom starts to fall apart (well, not yet; it takes 3 generations to see it happens for me).

There are still some glitches in the game, in particular that there is no load game option. I can resign and load saved game, but by doing so it would lead to memory leak and eventually crash the game. Sometimes I can also see the AI armies not knowing where to go and stay in a place to die (of disease) or not coming over to defend while being attacked.


ASUS XONAR D1 -7.1 Channel PCI Audio Card Sound Card
ASUS XONAR D1 -7.1 Channel PCI Audio Card Sound Card
2 used & new from $203.59

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Nice sound card, but it can be better, June 29, 2012
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I bought this card solely for its PCI interface and low profile form factor. Unlike the Xonar DX which has a PCIe interface, it doesn't require a 4-pin Molex power plug to get tthe card running, which is a plus. PCI bus is phasing out, so unless you are sure you will buy a board with PCI interface in the future (which is becoming less common especially on MATX form factor), this card is not for you. I am using an ATX motherboard with a PCI slot which I want to find a use of it, so it is a really good fit.

The card is using better capacitors in the analog stage, but they seems not to be audio capacitors that other sound cards in the same price range is using. The opamp in use are JRC5532, which is okay but not great, and they are not swappable (unless you re-solder it with SMD components). I would rather use LME49720 or similar as replacement. Or better, get another card like Auzentech Forte (I also have one) which uses better capacitors and at least a LME49720 or similar in the main stereo output stage.

Since this is NOT a gaming sound card, do NOT expect it to support hardware voice mixing like the other cards using X-Fi. Since Windows Vista, I remember the audio stack is changed and there is no hardware voice mixing support any more, unless the game supports OpenAL (I might be wrong on that).


Victorinox Swiss Army CyberTool 34 Multitool Knife
Victorinox Swiss Army CyberTool 34 Multitool Knife

5.0 out of 5 stars Great tools for a geek, June 29, 2012
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I had been using this tools for more than 5 years, and it was a very good purchase I'd made. There were other version of "Swiss Knife" I'd bought before, but this is the one I am most satisfied with. I build computer myself as a hobby since 20+ years ago, and sometimes I need to go to my friends' homes to help fixing their computer (less and less right now). They generally don't have the screwdriver, or well not the "correct" ones at hand. I bring this along with me and it fits most of my need. The only issue with the screwdriver is that it is "too short". Sometimes I would need to have a longer screwdriver.

Of all the other functions of the knife, I used the bigger knife, scissor and the clamp most.


Arctic Silver AS5, 12g
Arctic Silver AS5, 12g
Offered by LLYtech
Price: $16.79
26 used & new from $14.49

5.0 out of 5 stars That's what I ever need in thermal gease, June 29, 2012
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Arctic Silver AS5, 12g (Accessory)
So far this is the only thermal grease I would like to use with my processors and VGA cards. Using this grease, processor temperature goes down a bit more than the factory ones, though a better heat sink will do a better job as always. The good thing I like about this grease is that after a while of usage (dried up?) this grease "almost" become adhesive. Well, this "almost" is why I like it: while it "almost" acts like adhesive, it is not, and it means I can still remove the heat sink when I apply enough force to detach it. Being very much like adhesive, it helps me cool my router, which makes it more stable. It is not really possible to mount a heat sink to the router's network processor "securely" most of the time: at least it is true to all the routers I'd bought so far. Using this grease, however, gives me an "almost" secure way to mount a heat sink to my router's naked processor. Though, I don't recommend any one to do the same unless he knows what he is doing.


Sennheiser HD 280 PRO Headphones
Sennheiser HD 280 PRO Headphones
Price: $99.95
78 used & new from $66.56

5.0 out of 5 stars Very nice headphone, June 29, 2012
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Used this headphone for 5 years or so, and it is by far the most often used headphone for me at home. I still have a couple headphone around me, Sennheiser's MX680i and CX880i, but those are obviously bought for different "purposes". The long cord of this headphone is very good, and the sound insulation is very nice. The head band started its "decay" within a year or two of usage, though the cushion just started to break recently. I am not sure if I would get replacement cushions yet, as it is still "usable" right now. Of sound quality, I cannot comment much, as I don't have my ear as acute as it was in my teen years.


Auzentech AZT-FORTE X-Fi Forte 7.1 Sound Card
Auzentech AZT-FORTE X-Fi Forte 7.1 Sound Card

4.0 out of 5 stars Nice sound card, June 29, 2012
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Bought it to replace my older X-Fi Fatality. It does everything my old card did, and a bit more. Even though it has Dolby encoding which is very useful, I don't really need that as I am using a stereo only. The newer version also comes with a non-removable heat sink, which I hope it didn't... so that I can put a bigger heat sink instead. With the on-board audio, I NEVER hear the pink noise from my headphone (Sennheiser HD280 Pro), but now I can with this card. I am not sure I should consider it a upgrade or downgrade yet.

On other "performance", basically I don't really care: CPU is so fast nowadays that most sound processing can be done on CPU instead of using dedicated sound processor. HOWEVER, the analog stage can NEVER be implemented on CPU. Some newer motherboard with on-board audio may have a relatively good analog stage, but it will never beat a dedicated sound card. Moreover, I can also do EMF filtering easier with a dedicated sound card than on-board audio.

Perhaps the "only" draw back of the card is that there is no HDMI, which is what the HomeTheater card provides; yet, I don't need that HDMI either, as I would rather go all analog (for 5.1) instead, using my PC as preamp.


Sony DSC-RX100/B 20.2 MP Exmor CMOS Sensor Digital Camera with 3.6x Zoom
Sony DSC-RX100/B 20.2 MP Exmor CMOS Sensor Digital Camera with 3.6x Zoom
Offered by Focus Camera
Price: $498.00
43 used & new from $275.00

136 of 172 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very decent pocket camera, June 29, 2012
I bought it to "replace" my Nikon D90: I need a really small camera to go with me on my hiking trips, which I found even a D90 with a 24-120mm VR is too heavy for me. Originally I was considering Fuji X10, but delayed my purchase because of the WDS issue and eventually buying RX100 instead.

In short form:

Pros -
Solid build in compact form factor, and light
Very good wide angel performance
"Manually adjustable" flash
Reasonable ISO performance at its size (1600)

Cons -
Becomes f/2 after going up just 1mm in focal length
Lacking in telephoto performance: wanted f/4 instead of f/4.9 (2/3 f-stop faster)
Want faster boot and shutdown time
Too many pixels: lower pixel count may boost "usable" ISO to 3200, higher FPS etc.
No GPS / no way to use cell phone as a GPS

In long form:

The camera itself is very small, really small enough to fit in my pockets. However, most of the time it will come with me in my bag instead. Since it tightly fits in my pocket now, I don't expect it to fit in my pocket when I get the leather case which comes with the camera a month later (out of stock for now). I had also considered buying m4/3 and NEX, but what's the point? GF5, for instance, is 362g with the 14-42mm X lens (f/3.5-5.6) attached while RX100 is 240g. Comparing the two using equivalent aperture of 35mm (full frame), at the wide end RX100 is around 1-stop faster (f/4.9 vs f/7), while at 84mm RX100 is less than 1/3 f-stop slower (f/11.2 vs f/12.25). I do not and cannot own all different kinds of cameras for testing, but according to what I see from review sites taking sample photos of the SAME object, I will say that GF5 with the kit 14-24mm X lens produces picture very close to but not as sharp as RX100, particularly at ISO 1600 and onward.

RX100's boot and shutdown is around 3 seconds each. Wide angle at 28mm f/1.8 is really amazing, especially that it also have pretty short minimum focus range (roughly 10cm). Telephoto, on the other hand, is a bit weaker at 100mm f/4.9 with a not so great minimum focus range of around 60cm (rough measurement again). Even though the camera is having f/1.8 as the fastest aperture, it goes up very quickly to f/2.0 when the focal length just go up 1mm from the widest; However, it keeps itself in f/4 until going pass 66mm, which is fine and is much better than many lenses already. The picture quality is very good (bokeh is pretty nice), and I see its "usable" high ISO is 1600, which is prefect for outdoor activities but a bit lacking for indoors. I must admit that I am fascinated by the fact that the lens used in RX100 is "Carl Zeiss" : not really produced by Zeiss I know, but at least they are "involved", and I am sold by the T* coating. Perhaps that's also why it performs better as I'd mentioned above?

The flash can be tilted up manually as a bounce fill-in flash, though I have to go through the menu instead of using a shortcut button to activate the flash. This is also a very important feature for me to choose it over Fuji X10. With the 4GB card installed, the camera reports that it has capacity to store around 160 photos in RAW and JPEG (small). I generally shot my photos in RAW for archive but upload JPEG to Facebook directly instead of using LR4 to convert and upload, hence my settings preference. I have no idea about its battery performance, but it should be adequate for one-day use in my case. The camera takes Micro USB for charging and comes with a 1.5A@5V USB charger, and it seems that I can charge it by my computer. However, computer USB port generally supplies 500mA at most, which is 3 times lower than the charger, so I don't think it is a good way to recharge the camera. Yet, using Micro USB, it means I can also use a more generic "portable battery" that works for many devices instead of buying a spare battery, though it may seems more bulky. Perhaps the only missing feature I also wanted is GPS, or the ability to use cell phone as a GPS device. I want Geotagging!
Comment Comments (55) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Aug 18, 2012 5:41 PM PDT


Sony BCG-34HRMF4 Battery Charger with LCD Display and 4 AA Ni-MH Rechargeable Batteries (Discontinued by Manufacturer)
Sony BCG-34HRMF4 Battery Charger with LCD Display and 4 AA Ni-MH Rechargeable Batteries (Discontinued by Manufacturer)

5.0 out of 5 stars Good charger, March 11, 2009
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Used it for a year or two, found it suits my needs since I only use AA or AAA batteries mostly. Unit supports universal voltage (100V-240V) so I can bring it along my travels (but you may want a smaller power cable, for the bundled one is so long and bulky). The individual battery LED is nice. Refresh function... don't need to use it most of the time, and I used it on almost empty batteries so it takes only a short while instead of hours to have the refreshed recharge cycle start. Only use it occasionally on old NiMH batteries will be good enough. Charging speed may be a concern to some, but that's depending on your batteries' capacity. The unit can do 1050mA for AAx2 or 640mA for AAAx2 (/2 for x4). So, say I want to charge the 4 empty 2700mAh AA batteries bundled with my charger (you may get different capacity now), it will take at most 2700/525 = 5 hours 9 minutes. No idea if you max charging though (e.g. charge AAx2 and AAAx2 at the same time)


Xantrex 813-0291 XPower Pocket Mobile Power Source 175-Watt Inverter (Discontinued by Manufacturer)
Xantrex 813-0291 XPower Pocket Mobile Power Source 175-Watt Inverter (Discontinued by Manufacturer)
Offered by estategems
Price: $39.98
3 used & new from $17.99

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Quiet, small inverter, September 14, 2007
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Just got it yesterday and used it today for my laptop. It works flawlessly. Some notes on the item: (i) It runs a little bit hot, but not to a point where you cannot hold it. The fan never turn on with my laptop 90W adapter attached and charging my laptop. (ii) The rating is 175W peak, 130W continuous. It didn't say so in the specification. Not a big deal since my car can supply 120W only. (iii) The blue LED is nice but a little bit weak. Should have a brighter LED in place. Am I picky on this? On my car the ciger plug does not "lock" properly, so it may get loose and not working. A brighter LED will help finding this out WHILE I am driving. (iv) The inverter is really small at around the size of a 2.5" hard disk, but of course thicker. (v) No, there is no air plug, at least "not any more". It comes with a ciger plug and a clamp core (like those jump start cable) now. Hope these information helps any one who is looking for an inverter.


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