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MWebb RSS Feed (Berkeley, CA)
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ViewSonic VX2370SMH-LED 23-Inch SuperClear IPS LED Monitor (Frameless Design, Full HD 1080p, 30M:1 DCR, HDMI/DVI/VGA)
ViewSonic VX2370SMH-LED 23-Inch SuperClear IPS LED Monitor (Frameless Design, Full HD 1080p, 30M:1 DCR, HDMI/DVI/VGA)
Price: Click here to see our price
57 used & new from $149.00

5.0 out of 5 stars Get this one, NOT the "newer model" in 24", it isn't sRGB: VX2370SMH-LED 23-Inch, May 12, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Get this one, NOT the "newer model" in 24", the "newer" model isn't 100% sRGB capable PLUS factory calibrated (most factories skip individual calibration to match minor variations in electronice and screens). This is the model I am reviewing: VX2370SMH-LED 23-Inch.

4 years ago I bought one of the early consumer-grade Viewsonic IPS monitors, the VP2365WB 23-Inch, and it couldn't hold a candle to this VX2370SMH. I got rid of it and replaced it with an LG.

And the LG can't hold a candle to this VX2370SMH! I kept reverting to my iPad for quality video watching before getting this Viewsonic. Now, in a dark room, this Viewsonic is ALMOST but not quite as good my my iPad 4 - which is a huge step in the right direction, given the $149 cost of this 23" IPS, 100% sRGB, factory calibrated monitor. The only better option would be an iMac - Apple puts fantastic screens on those puppies. But trust me, this Viewsonic is the much more "pocket book friendly" alternative. I am running mine, ironically, off a Mac Mini, but of course you can turn this monitor off a Chromebox of Windows computer as well - or even off a tablet if you have an HDMI output.

Now for some minor pluses and minuses:

+ I like the tilting feature. If I am seated on my Swiss ball, I'm eye-level and the monitor is straight up and down. If I (somewhat precariously) kneel on the Swiss ball, that puts my eyes way above the monitor, but compared to the LG I can tilt the monitor back just like a laptop screen for a more uniform distance-to-eyes at both the top AND the bottom.

- I HATE the on-off switch button location on the pedestal...at the pedestal TOP, almost buried - I take that back, ACTUALLY buried - under the bottom edge of the screen.

- I wish this had a SECOND HDMI port. In terms of VGA and DVI, it's generous, it comes with those ports, but HDMI is so convenient these days, I wish I had a second port so I could switch to another device without unhooking a cable.

+ I "downsized", very knowingly and deliberately, from a 27" monitor to this 23". The RIGHT SIZE is dependent on your sitting distance from the screen, if you are using the monitor for full-screen video watching, which I do a lot. I could have probably gotten by with a 21". The 27" was overkill, like sitting in one of the front rows at a movie theater.

I don't know how long this monitor will be available. The so-called replacement has one nice new feature - flicker-free backlight adjustment by using an analog power source for the LED's instead of "digitial pulse modulation" which essentially means turning the LED's on and off at a rapid rate at the same power to raise or lower illumination. In any case, if you find your way over to the Viewsonic web page to look for different models and sizes, this is the "magic text" you should look for, QUOTE: "sRGB Color Correction Technology Delivers the Most Accurate Color Performance Available ViewSonic LED monitors embedded sRGB color correction technology reproduce 100% sRGB rich color for color performance matching original input sources without decreasing or leveraging color quality. sRGB ensures all displayed images/videos are as natural as the original sources, displaying real color for captured camera and camcorder content."


AmazonBasics Stylus for Touchscreen Devices Including Kindle Fire HD 8.9-Inch, Kindle Fire HD 7-Inch, Kindle Fire, Apple iPad 2, iPad 3, iPad 4, iPad mini, Samsung Galaxy Tab, Nexus 7 and Nexus 10
AmazonBasics Stylus for Touchscreen Devices Including Kindle Fire HD 8.9-Inch, Kindle Fire HD 7-Inch, Kindle Fire, Apple iPad 2, iPad 3, iPad 4, iPad mini, Samsung Galaxy Tab, Nexus 7 and Nexus 10
Price: $6.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Not as good as your fingertip...but not as greasy, either., May 12, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Not as good as your fingertip. On the other hand, never greasy, never smudges.

So I make a simple compromise:

1. If I am watching videos, I use this to keep the screen pristine. The stylus is more than accurate enough in that setting.
2. If I am browsing content, I use my fingertip and just pay the piper and Windex the screen once in a while.

So - what are the stylus-related problems I face? Believe it or not, accuracy ISN'T one of them! But "missed taps" are, and when scrolling content which is a mix of active (touch to activate) and passive content, I get too many unintended activations - windows popping up! - that I don't get with ordinary "finger tip" control.

I regret getting this Amazon version with the "finger loop" on the end I'll have to remove the loop and find another use for it. Think twice about whether you want this zipper-pull version, I got it because it was the only black one, but if I could do it over, I'd get the one with the pocket clip.

If the "rubber tip" on this gets oily over time, use some rubbing alcohol (maybe some fingernail polish remover, but it might dissolve the tip) or other degreaser to gently remove the oil or grease.

One thing I learned for sure - once you start using a stylus, you'll keep using it, the screens stay a lot cleaner (this works on ANY modern finger tip sensitive touch screen, just not on the old plastic Palm Pilot "pressure type" screens).


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5.0 out of 5 stars The Ultimate Key Ring Utility Knife, May 12, 2015
Note: The scallops on the serrated side of this Mini Pal blade face up, if you are right handed and use this to whittle a pencil tip.

This means the flat side is "down" for greater control in whittling - Emerson places his serrations on his chisel-ground combat knives on the opposite side, and if I try to whittle with an Emerson, it "bites" too deep and unpredictably.

Curiously enough, the Mini Pal's "slightly bigger brother," the Urban Pal (1.5") are also on the "Emerson-side." You can see the difference in the pictures I will attach.

I prefer the 1.5" blade length of the Urban Pal over the 1" length of this Mini Pal - the Urban Pal is closer to the minimum usable blade length of micro-pocket knifes like the classic Spydero Lady Bug or the Cold Steel Micro Recon.

HOWEVER, the pictures will show that the Urban Pal is probably just too large for a key ring, while the Mini Pal is much more conveniently sized.

Note that this new generation Mini Pal has a purely "friction" sheath, compared with the last generation which had a snap lock (released with a squeeze on the side lever). The sheath is nice and snug, however, so don't fear accidental slippage (caution: make sure the blade tip is actually IN the mouth of the sheath while putting it back in, or grip the top ridge of the sheath, so you don't poke yourself if you make a mistake - this actually applies to returning any blade to its sheath or scabbard).

Also note that there is no way to tell by "feel" whether the blade will be "up" or "down" when you pull it out. You can fix this by wrapping a tiny rubber band, or some electrician's tape, around one handle side only so you can tell blade orientation purely by feel.

No sharpening is possible, except on the very tip of the blade which is plain-edged, since the the serrations are simply too narrow squeeze in even the edge of a triangular ceramic rod to re-sharpen. Likewise, no factory resharpening is offered by Cold Steel. However, the serrations have a long life and most sharpening services I've run into are willing to re-grind this to a conventional non-serrated plain edge at the end-of-life for the serrations, after which you can re-sharpen on your own with ceramic rods or a whetstone just like any other knife.

(If you choke up on the blade for opening packages - a good idea anyway to avoid over-penetration into the contents - you will greatly extend the useful blade life, since the tip CAN be resharpened at home.)

My best suggested use is attaching this to a Photon light. Really great to have a tiny, bright, long-lived light in combination with a handy utility knife. Unlike a pocket knife (like the earlier mentioned Lady Bug and Micro Recon) this won't accidentally partially open if dropped on the floor or jarred in your pocket.

The photos show the Urban Pal and this smaller Mini Pal side by side, both inside their respective sheaths and outside, both sides of each blade, and relative sizes in the hand in the "utility hold" position which is more accurate for whittling than "handle between the fingers."

Usual "street price" for this is $18-$19 and, as always, a search engine is your friend in looking for a fair deal.
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Dell Venue 8 16GB Android Tablet Black (NEWEST VERSION)
Dell Venue 8 16GB Android Tablet Black (NEWEST VERSION)
Offered by TECH BUY
Price: $119.80
44 used & new from $81.08

3.0 out of 5 stars Magnificent screen, performance RUINED by bloat (but you can clean it up), May 7, 2015
Magnificent screen, horrible performance until you tinker with "Uninstall Programs" and "Disable Programs" settings. I literally could not initially browse in Chrome, even only one or two tabs open, until I made these fixes:

First, uninstall all programs you don't use, the Amazon pre-installed apps are especially draining on system resources. In the Play Store, select Apps, go to My Apps, "uninstall" "updates to this system app." This saves some storage space, but doesn't disable the background resources used by those apps.

Next, to to Settings (for the tablet), select apps, and disable all of these:

Force stop and Disable the following Apps:
Amazon app suite
Amazon Kindle
Amazon Local
Amazon Music
Android Live Wallpapers
Appstore (Amazon)
Audible
Basic Daydreams
Black Hole
Browser
Bubbles
CamCard
Chrome (I use Chrome Beta from the Play store)
com.android.providers.partnerbookmarks
com.android.wallpaper.holospiral
Email
Exchange Services
Google One Time Init
Magic Smoke Wallpapers
Market Feedback Agent
Music Visualization Wallpapers
My Dell
OpenWnn
Phase Beam
PocketCloud
POLARIS Office 5
Skitch
TalkBack
(Thanks to Daniel N. of the Dell Forum for posting that list).

Result: usable tablet for light, few tabs open, browsing. SUPERB TABLET (thanks to the high rez, 1080p, 8" color-accurate screen) for Netlix, YouTube, GooglePlay video etc. I got mine for $99 on an internet closeout, and was about to return it (or throw it under a bus, it is that frustrating) until I read the tips above. And mine is a May 2015 model which did TWO firmware updates after first boot - so Dell has paid some attention to user complaints, but not enough.

BTW I own the previous Intel-powered versions of the 7" and 8" Dell Android tablets, and they are superb - I don't know how Dell blew it on this replacement with upgraded screen.


Dtk® New High Performance Laptop Battery Replacement for Lenovo Y480 Y480a Y485 Y580 Y585 G480 G485 G580 G585 Z380 Z480 Z580 Z585 (11.1v 5200mah 6-cells) Notebook Computer Battery
Dtk® New High Performance Laptop Battery Replacement for Lenovo Y480 Y480a Y485 Y580 Y585 G480 G485 G580 G585 Z380 Z480 Z580 Z585 (11.1v 5200mah 6-cells) Notebook Computer Battery
Offered by YOHO
Price: $26.50

5.0 out of 5 stars No issues, no problems with the DTK, April 5, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
As promised. With non OEM batteries, that's actually high praise! This was much cheaper than online battery warehouses, but YMMV so always comparison shop.


Fintie HP Stream 7 (Model 5701/5709) Slim Shell Case - Ultra Slim Lightweight Stand Cover for HP Stream 7 32GB Windows 8.1 Tablet, Black
Fintie HP Stream 7 (Model 5701/5709) Slim Shell Case - Ultra Slim Lightweight Stand Cover for HP Stream 7 32GB Windows 8.1 Tablet, Black
Offered by Fintie
Price: $4.99
3 used & new from $4.99

5.0 out of 5 stars SlimShell is "Apple-quality" at "no-name" pricing., April 5, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I have both HP Windows tablets, the HP Stream 7 and the Stream 8. I liked the 7 so much, I got the 8, and I liked the Fintie SlimShell case so much for the 7, that I got the one for the 8 too.

Note that if the product name or description doesn't say "SlimShell," you will be getting a version that has flaps of material that wrap over each end of the Stream 7 and 8 to hold the tablet in place.

In the SlimShell version, the tablets just snap into the hard-shell plastic corners. I prefer the lighter weight and lower bulk of this design. It is very similar in concept and execution to the Apple Smart Case, except the Fintie has a hard plastic shell on the back, which is covered, except the sides, with the same "leatherette" used on the front 3-sectioned folding cover.

The cover is very similar to Apple Smart Covers - it is leatherette lined with microfiber to be gentle to the screen.

The cover also has two magnets, which match to the bottom of the case to keep the cover closed; you can fold the cover into a triangle to act as a reasonably decent stand for the tablet, if you want to watch a video on your desktop or want to have a go at using an accessory BlueTooth keyboard (I recommend the Amazon Basics) for typing. Fintie also makes a Folio Edition with a built-in keyboard, but I haven't tried it.

The single big negative of this cover/case is that it makes an already fat and heavy tablet that much bulkier and heavier. However, Windows is all about getting some real work done, and I really trust this to protect either Stream when placed in my daypack. The only additional protection I use is a Ziploc plastic bag to keep dust and water away from the device, "just in case."

Highly recommended.


iPhone 4S Case, TOTALLEE Clip 'n' Clear Hard Transparent iPhone 4 4S Case Thin Snap On Back
iPhone 4S Case, TOTALLEE Clip 'n' Clear Hard Transparent iPhone 4 4S Case Thin Snap On Back
Offered by Totallee
Price: $14.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Very slim and close fitting. No screen ridge for screen protection., February 25, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Thinner than a gummy case. Not as thin as the new Totallee ultrathin iPhone 6 cases. Clear plastic acrylic plastic, likely to scuff and scratch (I would have preferred frosted, but you may prefer clear).

Curious front panel design - it clamps onto the metal band running around the screen edge - so it doesn't rise up over the glass panel. This means there isn't any ridge to protect the screen if you set it face down on a counter. If you carry your phone in a pocket this won't matter, since the screen will just rub against fabric. Or if you use a screen protector it doesn't matter. I'm not sure it the "below the rim" clamping position is a feature or a bug - you know how that goes. Some users will welcome it if they like to swipe in from the screen edge.

Less protective than a gummy style case. Probably the most compact case out there, at least it is for me so far. I will probably swap this in and out with a wrap-around gummy case, depending on how I'm carrying and using the phone.

The lens on the back is of course surrounded by a plastic cut-out.

In terms of fit there are no issues. I deducted one star solely due to the use of clear instead of frosted acrylic plastic.


Airline Headphone Adapter for Airplanes/Flying
Airline Headphone Adapter for Airplanes/Flying
Offered by EF-Cloud
Price: $2.36
7 used & new from $2.36

5.0 out of 5 stars BYO earphones and forget the airplanes junk, February 18, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Essential to escape the curse of crumby airline headphones. Silicone tipped earphones (not Apple hard plastic ear buds) will block a lot of the airplane's ambient noise. But I recommend you aim for the stars and get noise canceling earphones like the Audio Technica sub-$50 pair to really, really have a good flight.


Ontario 8848 RAT Folding Knife (Black)
Ontario 8848 RAT Folding Knife (Black)
Price: $22.98
51 used & new from $22.97

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Buck 110 folder, redux, February 18, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This is a modern variation on the "Buck knife" aka 110 folder or "folding hunter". In other words this is a WORKING knife, a UTILITY knife which doesn't sacrifice practicality for "tactical looks" or "assisted opening thrills", while including much-needed finger-sliding protection in the form of the finger guard towards the front.

Now a little history to put things in perspective for this amazing sub-$40 folder. Once upon a time, pocket knives were "disfavored" by a hodge-podge of local laws and descriptions. It was tough to get much more than a slip-joint (non-locking) short-bladed folder that you could legally carry where it belongs, in your pocket.

In 1963, though, Buck began internal development which revolutionized what we expected from, what we accepted, in folding knives despite anti-knife laws. Buck's internal mandate was to build a "folding hunter" that would be functionally as good for hunters and farm workers as as their fixed-blade approximately 4" waist sheath hunter.

They did it, laws be darned, in 1964 with the 3.75" 110 Folding Hunter.

In order to carry legally, they included a waist sheath.

Eventually, municipalities and states came to their senses (not New York, of course), and allowed pocket carry of most folders. Today, we even get "assisted openers." Of course if you have a 110 in your collection - and as one of the last of the quality, budget, American made folders, you should - you recognize that the 110 is too darn heavy. (With the possible exception of the PaperStone edition.)

Now let's take another detour through history.

The next two huge technological changes in folders were the invention of opening holes (give credit to Saul Glesser at Spyderco) and the huge rush to "tactical" or at least "tactical looking" folders. Since the big, round Spydie hole was patented, other makers moved to thumb studs and disks and later smaller, oval holes. In terms of tactical folders, the blade designs became less useful for everyday chores like kitchen paring (and hunting) and more dramatically (theatrically?) aimed at last ditch fighting - despite the fact that modern armies prefer assault rifles over swords, and side arms over bayonets.

Now we've come full cycle. The utility folder, again. AND THE RAT IS ONE OF THE BEST. Fat handle for easy grip. Thumb studs on both sides for ambidextrous opening. FFG (full flat grind) for cutting efficiency, with drop point for blade strength (ever seen Buck 110's with that pointy clip point broken off?). Edge lock for simplicity (I prefer lock-backs, but they are somewhat prone to dirt getting in the lock-joint, and theoretically subject to accidental release from pressure along the spine of the handle).

Here are some pros and cons of this particular model:

+ Satin finish (not stonewash) blade in classic drop blade says "working knife," not "tactical."
+ On mine, a solid detent to keep it closed in pocket, but allow relatively easy opening. Very easy once you come off the ball-bearing.
+ Comfortable handles.
+ Easy to close.
+ Incredibly sharp from the factory.
+ Well-proven steel that holds its edge well enough, and is easier to sharpen than some harder steels. Well-proven toughness, not brittle.
+ Cut-out at front handle is protective.
+ Nice thumb-ramp for locating ("indexing") your thumb.
+ Removable fasteners in case you every need to tighten them.
+ Bronze, not Teflon plastic, washers are smooth for opening and more durable.
+ Blade is centered and doesn't wobble.
- Handle isn't very grippy at all. I recommend Gun Tape. But the smoothness helps pulling it off your pants seam if you use the pocket clip.
- As with every folder I have except Spydies, if you are in panic mode the thumb studs are not reliable. The Spydie big hole is hard to miss with your thumb, and allows a more secure grip on the handle. You can test this yourself by taping up your favorite folder's blade with electrical tape (for safety) and having your spouse or roommate set a timer - when the timer goes off, your job is to get the knife out and open as quickly as humanly possible, without dropping it or flinging it around. As one reviewer noted, by reversing the pocket clip location you can improve your grip on the handle while opening.
- Weighs a lot less than a Buck 110, but almost as thick.

AND THE FINAL, HUGE, PLUS:

This is a cheap (to buy) folder built like a $70 knife. The quality far exceeds the price. Also, as of the date of this review, it is made in Taiwan, currently a slight step up from the best Chinese folders (like Kershaws) albeit a slight step down from Seki City Japan.


Buck 0110GRS4 EcoLite TM Paperstone Knife (Grass Green, Large)
Buck 0110GRS4 EcoLite TM Paperstone Knife (Grass Green, Large)

5.0 out of 5 stars Lighter than regular 110's, January 21, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This is not a review of the classic Buck 110 Folding Hunter, just of the new handle, Paperstone.

Forget the "paper". This has more in common with kitchen counters - rock solid, rock like, not paper-like at all. You can Google "Paperstone" to find out exactly how it is made; it uses thin layers of special paper soaked in hard resin.

The main advantage of "Paperstone" as used here is a much lighter handle than on conventional Buck 110's. Buck's earlier effort in this direction, using Bakelite on their all-plastic handled 110 variants, wasn't nearly as successful - those knives look ugly to my eyes, and the handles over thick. The only negative to the Paperstone is the somewhat sharp edges on the open side.

Buck appears to have discontinued the Paperstone 110 line, so you will have to find old-inventory, or used, at this point.


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