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James R. Reiff RSS Feed (North Bergen, NJ United States)
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Honestech VHS to DVD 5.0 Deluxe
Honestech VHS to DVD 5.0 Deluxe
Offered by MR Online Store
Price: $69.99
17 used & new from $44.00

43 of 51 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Deserves Zero Stars, May 9, 2011
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I don't like to give negative reviews but this one deserves it. My comments on the refund form say almost all that needs to be said.

"VHS to DVD 5.0 Deluxe does not fulfill any of the manufacturer's claims. It does not even capture at VHS quality. Even with S-Video from high quality Laser Disks and quality software I already have. The included software is a toy and very cumbersome to use." ... It also has an onerous registration and activation set-up like one might expect for Avid or Final Cut but not for this dumb program. Plus, one must go behind the program's back and move the temporary mpg files because the software insists that you insert a writable DVD to set the encoding parameters. If you don't have a dual layer DVD laying around, there is no option to just save the file to disk.

My purpose for video capture is this: I have a large collection of Laser Disks, whittled down to those that have not been re-released on DVD. About 20 Laser Disks are from NASA space missions, others are films you can't get on DVD like Wim Wenders long version of "Until the End of the World."

I went to a local Micro center store and tried two other USB video capture products; the SIIG USB 2.0 Video Capture Device and Adesso Video Capture Express.

The SIIG product is identical to the Honestech VHS to DVD 5.0 Deluxe. I didn't bother to install it when I saw the device driver was for VidBox, the same hardware in a sleeker case and the same, useless Honestech software.

The Adesso product does a good job at capturing 4x3 video but mats 16x9 video. I have tried to contact Adesso support but this product , as of today, is not even listed on their drop-down to select the product you are asking about. I filed a report under "accessories" 12 days ago concerning the matting issues and have heard nothing as of this date.

Adesso comes with Cyber Link Power Director, which is a nice product. However they have "gone to the dark side" with copy protection. It won't record analog video from a Laser Disk.

If anyone out there knows how I can record the video off these ancient Laser Disks without matting the 16x9 format, please, let me know. And no, I don't want to buy an iMac and a MacroVision filter. I only want to save my investment is Laser Disks that make DVD prices seem trivial.
Comment Comments (6) | Permalink | Most recent comment: May 6, 2013 3:04 PM PDT


NETGEAR N300 Wi-Fi Gigabit Router (WNR3500L)
NETGEAR N300 Wi-Fi Gigabit Router (WNR3500L)
Price: $48.59
83 used & new from $34.99

14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Routers Behaving Badlyt - This Device Has Serious Problems With Multiple PCs, January 29, 2011
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I searched for a router that met my needs and found the NETGEAR 3400L. It met my needs ON PAPER!

The NETGEAR 3400L produces so many INTERMITTENT ERRORS and can have you chasing your tail for weeks.

The 3400L assigns random IP addresses to machines, even if the machine's network adapter number (MAC addresses) is reserved for a specific IP addresses. It seems to change IP addresses on a whim, if a router has whims. NETGEAR knows the device has "known issues" but won't admit it until you spend 4 hours with tech support. Maybe you can see the printer, maybe not. Maybe you can access the internet or network storage, maybe not. It seems to be random luck if everything works few a few hours.

It's rare that I give anything such a bad review. This product deserves it. So does NETGEAR's poor support. Check my other reviews. I'm happy to praise a product that does what the maker says it will do.

NETGEAR would not even do a replacement or RMA that didn't cost me. They said, return it with Amazon.

So far, in just one email, Amazon has confirmed all parts of the refund, including RMA shipping labels that I just printed because the NETGEAR router is in the mood to let me see the printer. That is what customer support should be.

Avoid this NETGEAR product - and if you have trouble, better to just return it than deal with NETGEAR support.


Ooma Telo Free Home Phone Service
Ooma Telo Free Home Phone Service
Offered by Galorco Inc
Price: $140.99
49 used & new from $99.00

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not For FAXing, November 8, 2010
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Service is good. Quality declined after I discontinued my "land line" with Verizon FIOS. Could never send a FAX with Ooma. Switching back to cable, that may improve the service.


Universal Windshield Car Mount Holder with Large Suction Cup for Apple Iphone 3g, Iphone, Touch, Classic
Universal Windshield Car Mount Holder with Large Suction Cup for Apple Iphone 3g, Iphone, Touch, Classic
Offered by Accessory Xpert
Price: $12.95
2 used & new from $12.95

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Garbage - Not worth $1, July 9, 2009
Poorly made, huge and and clunky, more suitable for an 80s era brick phone - not suitable for a sleek device like the iPhone. It just a bunch of cheap plastic parts that fall apart.


Actiontec MegaPlug A/V 200 Mbps Ethernet Adapter
Actiontec MegaPlug A/V 200 Mbps Ethernet Adapter

29 of 31 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Much Better Than Wireless, January 10, 2008
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
It's nice when something works right out of the box with no problems.

I don't get the 200 Mbps that is claimed but I didn't expect that. Not with a 100 Mb/S network adapter.

I did some simple benchmarks copying files from a Network Attached Storage (NAS) drive to a notebook PC and here are the results:

Copy a 2 GB File from a NAS disk to local disk: 661 Secs = 3.02 MB/S or 30.2 Mb/S.

Copy 814 files (fonts) as above, total of 104 MB / 814 files = ~128KB/File: 135 Secs = 770 KB/S. The slow result is probably because the Windows create file process is slow.

Copy a 125.5 MB File as above: 35 Secs = 3.22 MB/S or 32.2 Mb/S.

Copy a 19.8 MB File: 5 Secs = 3.94 MB/S = 39.4 Mb/S.

The performance might be better with a GigaBit Ethernet adapter but the notebook PC is not equipped with one.

All in all, 30 to 40 Mb/S is just fine with me. And the connection is extremely reliable, unlike wireless. The setup is a snap. No drivers are required. The supplied software just enables data encryption.

I strongly recommend this network device. I have ordered a second pair and plan to turn off my wireless.

Update - 01/08

I now have two pairs of MegaPlugs and no longer use wireless.

The benchmarks I did before were repeated with two PCs with Gigabit Ethernet adapters and files copied from PC to PC instead of using a NAS disk. Here are the results:

Copy a 2 GB File from one PC local disk to a second PC local disk:
310 Secs = 6.45 MB/S or 64.5 Mb/S.

Copy 814 files (fonts) as above, total of 104 MB / 814 files = ~128KB/File: 98 Secs = 1.06 MB/S. The slow result is probably because the Windows create file process is slow. As before, the worst result of the bunch.

Copy a 125.5 MB File as above: 20 Secs = 6.275 MB/S or 62.75 Mb/S.

Copy a 19.8 MB File: 2 Secs = 9.9 MB/S = 99.0 Mb/S.

Again, I didn't get the advertised speed of 200 Mb/S but 60 to 100 Mb/S is very good by my standards. And it deserves repeating - the connection is flawless! Never a hiccup or glitch - wireless rarely achieves that.

Great product. Should be available in a single unit package.

Actiontec MegaPlug A/V 200 Mbps Ethernet Adapter
Comment Comments (6) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 30, 2008 5:41 PM PDT


Second Best [VHS]
Second Best [VHS]
VHS
Offered by Johns Value Venue
Price: $5.00
36 used & new from $1.00

9 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Masterpiece in the Genre: Possibly William Hurt's Best Performance, May 25, 2004
This review is from: Second Best [VHS] (VHS Tape)
This overlooked film is possibly William Hurt's best performance. IMDB rates it a 7.0. Hurt, playing Graham Holt, morphs from a wooden, self conscious, unmarried, "not the masterful type" of small town postmaster into an emotional but strong, decisive and loving father of an emotionally disturbed young boy whom he has adopted.

The boy, Jamie, is artfully played by Nathan Yapp. Jamie is haunted by memories of his mother's suicide and a brief kidnapping by his jailbird, drug addict father, played by Chris Cleary Miles, as Jamie says, "so we could spend some time together, get to be together."

Yapp and Miles, both, give such riveting performances. It seems a shame that neither have done any work since this film.

One might compare Second Best to American Heart with Jeff Bridges and Edward Furlong. That's a good film with Furlong playing his hurt and rejected kid role from T2 but little more. Bridges carries American Heart and the film will tug at your heart strings but it is no masterwork.

Second Best will tug at your heart strings, tickle them to laughter, break them and then make them whole again. It is an extraordinary film about two people tenuously seeking family love and experiencing, in their own private ways, the fear of rejection and failure.

I am very glad to see that Amazon has severed the links to "certain other films," possibly because of my prior, acidic comments.

Don't be misled by any links connected with this film. This is not William Hurt in Kiss Of The Spider Woman; possibly his second best film (pun intended.) Second Best has nothing to do with pederasty.

Second Best is a wonderful and warm family drama. Aside from a few crass lines, which are funny, this film is a real, wholesome piece of work about the terrors of extending love to a damaged child. If your kids are 10 or more years old, watch it with them. If you don't have kids, it might even inspire you to go out and adopt one.


The Emperor's Handbook: A New Translation of The Meditations
The Emperor's Handbook: A New Translation of The Meditations
by Marcus Aurelius
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $15.86
91 used & new from $7.85

78 of 80 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Masterful Translation of a Masterpiece, June 2, 2003
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
The Hicks brothers' collaboration has produced a masterful translation of a masterpiece. "The Emperor's Handbook" captures the sublime essence and ancient character of "The Meditations" but never strays into the arcane terminology of the ancient Stoics. The Hicks brothers also avoid the forced and complex grammatical constructs found in other translations. This translation could easily be understood by a sixth grade child yet it sacrifices none of the profound meaning or prosaic beauty of the original. Most refreshing is the absence of any effort to turn the work into some New-Age mystical revelation.
Having read about nine translations I must say, this one is, by far, the best contemporary English translation available. There are other fine ones such as the work by Hard and Gill or even the Loeb Classics version but they are better suited for people already familiar with Marcus Aurelius and Stoic philosophy.
My warmest thanks go out to David and Scot Hicks for a work that I hope will broaden the audience of Marcus Aurelius.


The Spiritual Teachings of Marcus Aurelius
The Spiritual Teachings of Marcus Aurelius
by Mark Forstater
Edition: Hardcover
42 used & new from $0.01

26 of 30 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars An uninformed, trivial cash-in on the self-help market, January 9, 2001
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Forstater's book is either an uninformed and trivial glance at one of the masterworks of Western philosophy or a quick-and-dirty attempt to cash in on the self-help market.
Forstater says, in the third paragraph of the preface, "Marcus Aurelius wrote a book of "spiritual exercises" for himself that was in effect the first self-help book ever written." This demonstrates that he never studied Epictetus's Encheiridion; the title itself meaning "ready at hand" or "handbook" in contemporary speech.
This disappointing book is written in two parts. Part One, as said, is a trivial glance at the history and meaning of the Stoa. Part Two consists of some selections from the adequate, Victorian era translation by George Long. These selections have been transliterated into colloquial American with Forstarter's own subjective, subject titles and no references to the original work, such as "Med. XII.1."
Save your money and download the G. Long translation from the net or buy the C. R. Haines translation from Harvard (Loeb Classical Library,) or even the Penguin edition.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jul 2, 2010 8:22 PM PDT


Marcus Aurelius (Loeb Classical Library)
Marcus Aurelius (Loeb Classical Library)
by Marcus Aurelius
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $19.57
58 used & new from $12.89

92 of 94 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A handbook to transform consciousness, April 27, 2000
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I have read several translations of this work and have found the C.R. Haines version to be the best in terms of clarity and annotation. The format is also excellent, measuring just 4 ' by 6 ' inches, making it easy to keep in your pocket for daily reading.

"...when philosophers are kings and kings are philosophers..." Plato

If you ever hear someone turn the phrase, "when philosophers are kings," remember this; they already were and, that's right, you missed it. You missed it by about 1,820 years, give or take a few.

After some 25 or more years of training, a man born Marcus Annius Verus ascended to the Imperial throne of the Roman Empire and is known to history as Marcus Aurelius Antoninus or just Marcus Aurelius. Probably the best qualified ruler the world has known, Marcus Aurelius was a man and a ruler to whom historians most frequently point as someone who always placed the welfare of the people above all else.

Marcus Aurelius, the last in a series of philosopher emperors, spent most of the last thirteen years of his life in the damp and gloomy forests along the Danube. Beset by treason, incompetence and corruption he waged relentless war on the first few of uncounted waves of barbarian invaders who would ultimately destroy the Romans so thoroughly that not even their language would survive.

During this time he kept a diary of sorts. I use the word diary in the sense that Marcus wrote this book for himself alone, with no care whether any other should ever read it. He called his little book "To Himself."

What Marcus ultimately produced is a sometimes scattered yet concise handbook on how to live contented under any circumstances. It is here for us to inspect, to read and learn the inner thoughts of one of the greatest philosophers and humanitarian leaders in the history of the West.

There is to be found, if we are but willing to read, a definite system for controlling our thoughts and therefore our lives and our happiness. This "handbook" on how to be the source of your own happiness, commonly known as The Meditations, teaches a system of thought that, with a bit of practice, will show that you really are the only possible source of you own happiness - a source without limits and without end. This way of seeing the world also has side effects which are; greater participation in life, less frustration and little if any anxiety, anger or depression.

(2007) I must add: the new translation - "The Emperor's Handbook: A New Translation of The Meditations" by the Hicks brothers is a superb contemporary English version. There have been other attempts but they don't even come close to the work of David and C. Scot Hicks. Look it up.


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