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Microsoft Surface Type Cover 2 (Purple)
Microsoft Surface Type Cover 2 (Purple)
Offered by ProjectorSupercenter!
Price: $78.00
65 used & new from $39.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome Accessory, If You Know the Ins-and-Outs, September 22, 2014
I feel like an idiot now, but before I figured out the touchpad gestures I probably would have given the Type Cover 2 a 3/5. After spending an hour to learn the gestures and getting used to them, however, I have to give the Type Cover 2 a 5/5.

The keyboard itself is fine, and I won't get too much into that. But one main detractor I've read in the reviews is the touchpad and the difficult-to-press left and right buttons. Whether you know the gestures or not, the two left and right buttons are still a pain in the butt to use, but once you've learned how to use the gestures it's like those two buttons don't even exist anymore. You can find guides all over the internet, but since nobody has posted them yet, here's what I would keep in mind while learning the touchpad. Most of them are pretty obvious. But trust me though, the better you know it, the more you'll love it. (Or hate it less, depending on where you're coming from.)

Single Finger-Press Gestures

1) Tap it once with one finger, and it serves as a left clicker. (Duh . . . But get used to it and say goodbye to the left-button.)
2) Swipe in from the right and you bring up the charms.
3) Swipe in from the left and you have your most recent applications.
4) Tap once, tap a second time while leaving your finger on the touchpad and you can highlight and drag text/icons without holding down the left-button.

Double Finger-Press Gestures

1) Double tap with two fingers simultaneously on the touchpad and this serves as a right-click.
2) Move two fingers simultaneously on the touchpad up and down and you can scroll up and down. It's inverted to mimic movements on the touchscreen.
3) Use your two pointer fingers or your middle-finger/pointer finger and you can zoom in and out of whatever it is that you're working on.
4) Swipe in from the left-side or right-side of the touchpad with two fingers and you can use this as a back or forward button while using Internet Explorer. (This does not work with Chrome.)

Some Other Little Tidbits

1) I find that the touchpad works best for me when I'm lightly grazing the tips of my fingers on it. YMMV. I didn't know this before, but I love the fact that they put in a bazillion different sensors in the touchpad so I don't have to press down or scroll so hard like I usually would with a regular laptop touchpad.
2) Some of the gestures do not work or have a slight lag with certain X86 software. It's somewhat disappointing, but I won't take off anything for it since this is mainly dependent on the software developers.
3) I find that I'm using my touchscreen less. I love the touchscreen on my Surface Pro 2, but I hate cleaning my finger prints off of it all the time. Knowing the gestures is like having a mini touchscreen without actually using the touchscreen. Less cleaning for me!

And that's it! If you hated the touchpad as much as I did when I first got it, hopefully this will help turn your hate into some sort of appreciation. Nowadays I only use the mouse when I'm working on an extended desktop. I used to pack my Bluetooth mouse and extra batteries with me before I left the house with my Surface, but every bit of weight counts when I'm out in the city, so it feels great knowing I can confidently use the Type Cover 2 on-the-go while leaving the extra weight at home.

FiiO E1 Portable Headphone Amplifier, Sound Booster With Volume Control - For Apple iPod, Nano, Classic, Video, iTouch And iPhone 3G/4
FiiO E1 Portable Headphone Amplifier, Sound Booster With Volume Control - For Apple iPod, Nano, Classic, Video, iTouch And iPhone 3G/4
Offered by All About Office
Price: $8.50
10 used & new from $8.50

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fixed My Broken Jack and More, February 23, 2014
Long story short. I knocked my iPod off my desk while the speakers were plugged in and ended up jamming half of a 3.5mm plug in the audio jack. I tried pulling the plug out with toothpicks, pens, tweezers, whatever. You name it. Eventually I gave up and started looking for a solution that used a digital-out and stumbled upon the Fiio E1.

After a couple weeks of usage, I have to say that I definitely got more out if it than what I expected. I only wanted a fix to my jam-logged plug, but ended up getting better clarity, sound-stage, sound separation and warmth to my music. The difference isn't as noticeable with my cheaper Panasonic earphones, but with the MDR-V6 I immediately noticed that the amp made my headphones less fatiguing and music much more pleasurable than if I were to not use it at all.

The only complaints I have with the item are the finicky buttons and the excessively long cord; both of which make for a less than perfect ergonomic experience. But other than that? Awesome. I wish there was a UBS-OTG version of this product for Android phones. (Without having to splurge for an E18, of course.) Damaged jack or not, I highly recommend this if you're looking for a battery-less boost to your audio quality with a nice pair of low impedance headphones. This was definitely worth more than the $10 I spent.

Ricoh GR 16.2 MP Digital Camera with 3.0-Inch LED Backlit (Black)
Ricoh GR 16.2 MP Digital Camera with 3.0-Inch LED Backlit (Black)
Offered by Emmy Photo
Price: $596.95
29 used & new from $489.00

78 of 85 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Power in a Pocket, May 25, 2013
The first thing you notice when cracking open the box is the GR's size. It looks pocketable, and under most normal circumstances it is pocketable. The camera is light and fits nicely into the front pockets of my Express shorts and producer pants. The pocket-bulge is nearly identical to an iPhone fitted with an Otterbox case. On the other hand, you can go ahead and toss away any conjured fantasies of stuffing it into a pair of 511s though. It won't happen. I've already tried. Ergonomically, the GR feels great in the hand. The grip is sort of sticky (in a good a way), so it adheres nicely to my palm & fingers; making it perfect for comfortably long shoots.

One of the most important things while taking photos is limiting the barrier between you and your subject as you snap the shutter. The less a camera is in your way, the better. Luckily for the GR, it's quite simple to assign and change up the functions to suit any particular style of workflow so it gets out your way immediately. It's somewhat reminiscent of the OM-D. It may take a day or two to find the most intuitive button layout that suits you, but once you've found it, you'll probably never have to touch it again. (As an aside, if I could add one feature to the menu, it would be the ability to shoot RAW alongside small or x-small jpegs. Currently the camera can only save RAW photos alongside large JPEGS.) In action, I find the GR snappy and stealthy; buffer speeds are quick, focusing is lighnting fast in adequate lighting, and the shutter is barely audible. It's not all chocolates and roses though. Despite being accurate, the focus is slow in low-light; the latter being a room with one or two lamps on. In the aforementioned shooting scenarios, the camera sometimes takes between 1.5-2 seconds before it locks. But once you're accustomed to the snap-focus feature and prejudging distances, it's not that big of a problem.

If you're in the market for this camera, you know you're in it for the large-sensor photos. Heading over to Flickr and browsing the real-life samples will probably give you a better indicator of the IQ than what I can put into words. To put it simply, the GR's sensor/lens combination is one of the sharpest kits I've ever used; even wide open. (Much sharper than my old X100.) The photos have a nice `pop' to them that I find tough to achieve with the Panasonic 14mm. ISO looks clean up to 3200; with noticeable noise kicking in at 6400. Keep an eye on the white-balance though. It strays from the norm every once in a while, more so than my m43 cameras. But if you're shooting RAW it's easily correctable in-camera. And for bokeh lovers, I'll be upfront. At 28mm, this is not a bokeh machine. You can isolate subjects, but the f/2.8 lens is best suited for contextual shooting. I prefer compositions with backgrounds and context while shooting 28mm anyways, so this is no issue to me. Having video at the flip of a switch is nice too. However, I wish I could have some kind of basic control over the shutter speed while recording in order to smooth out the motion cadence a bit.

Before you purchase the camera, please be aware of its limitations. The GR will not suit everyone; especially at its current price. But for its target market, it's almost everything one could ask for. Luckily, I am that targeted market. And while f/2.8 is adequate, the GR does not substitute my Panasonic 20mm combined with Olympus' stabilization. But if you're okay with the limitations & you must have DSLR-like IQ in a pocket, what are you waiting for? Thus far I've taken the GR to a rave, a few dinners, and many other places that my larger ones will not go. Personally, that alone is priceless.
Comment Comments (13) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 5, 2013 10:38 AM PST

Olympus M.ZUIKO DIGITAL ED 12-50mm F3.5-6.3 EZ Lens
Olympus M.ZUIKO DIGITAL ED 12-50mm F3.5-6.3 EZ Lens
Price: $499.00
23 used & new from $214.99

45 of 46 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Jack of All Trades, July 9, 2012
From day one, the micro-four-thirds line-up has been flooded with 14mm zooms. Need a standard zoom for basic day-to-day usage? You can have one of the 14-42s, a 14-45, a 14-140, or even a 14-150. Take your pick. Everywhere you looked it was 14mm, 14mm, ad nauseam, 14mm. I'm not too keen on the physics behind each lens, but reasoning tells me that the choice of focal-length was probably due to physics rather than a decision made in a shadowy dark room by a band of sinister lens-designers whose main evil plot was to chain everyone into shooting 14mm. Although most of the zooms are great in their own quirky little ways, they're frustratingly not wide enough to actually be wide. Enter the 12-50mm. (Note: I would mention the 7-14 or the 9-18, but they're both priced way out of the standard-zoom bracket. And well, they're really not standard zooms.)

In the end, what matters most in a zoom is how it feels in-use and how it renders. From my experience, the 12-50mm hits the spot on both accounts. The cool thing about the 12-50mm is that it has all has all these zoom levers covered in a series of neat clicks right at the tip of your fingers. When needed or preferred, you can click the the barrel of the lens down and leave it in a tactile zoom position. From the latter position, you can click it forward and the lens magically turns into a power-zoom. And if you feel like getting close to some bugs and shooting macro, you simply hold the macro button down on the lens and shift the lever all the way forward. The lens suddenly transforms into a macro. Before I received the lens, I wasn't expecting this. To be honest, I was just expecting a 12mm zoom that would cover a good range when I needed it. The implementation is quite clever and definitely caught me by surprise. It's kind of like having three different lenses in one body. (But don't tell that to the wife before grabbing the plastic.)

Like all other zoom lenses, this lens has received some flack for a compromise on optics. A lot of it isn't as bad as what many enthusiasts claim. In my opinion, that's for pixel-peepers. I'm not a pixel-peeper, nor am I a photographer, but I do enjoy capturing fleeting memories whilst enjoying life in the present. I've printed a few 12x16 canvases for fun, all which turned out fabulous, so I can safely say that this lens passes my litmus test for image-quality. (Your requirements may be higher.) If my composition is spot-on, the lighting ideal, and the prints somehow turn out remarkable, then this lens must be pretty darn good. Oh, and the focus is lightning quick too.

I could make this review all rosy, but there are a few negatives. The lens is dark from 12mm on out; lacks image-stabilization on Panasonic bodies, which is a concern for heavy run-and-gun video shooters; and is somewhat longer in length compared to the smaller lenses in the lineup. The pictures are deceiving though. Once you grab your hands on it, the lens feels and looks smaller than whats represented in the marketing photos. The lens is similar in size to the small, skinny Coke cans that you find in grocery stores in Germany or Japan. It doesn't extend in-use, so it always stays the same size. Overall, I have to say that this lens is great value for its price. It's sharp, fast, flexible, wide, long, weatherproof, and does an admirable job at macro photography. If you're looking for any of the aforementioned, don't hesitate. For what it is, I give the lens a 5/5.

Panasonic HFS014042 14-42mm Zoom lens for Micro third cameras
Panasonic HFS014042 14-42mm Zoom lens for Micro third cameras
Price: $164.95
20 used & new from $99.00

29 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not Bad, February 22, 2012
This lens gets way too much bad rap. I've owned and extensively used nearly every lens in the micro-four-thirds lineup since I've jumped into the system--from the Nokton, to the Leica, and even the wobbly first-generation Olympus kit-zoom--and, to be honest, this lens fares pretty well compared to the rest. I don't care if I'm chastised for this, but I can't even tell a difference in image-quality among most of the lenses at equal settings. Instead of using the lens like how most people use zooms, I tend to only switch between 14mm and 25mm. It might seem crazy, but that's just how I see and shoot. I've been shooting with primes forever, so I see focal-lenghts more as a personal choice for perspective rather than a way to pull an object in or out of the frame.

Overall, the Panansonic 14-42mm does an admirable job for a daytime or travel lens if I don't need the speed, thin depth-of-field or extra bagspace. It focuses almost instantly and is inexpensive, sharp, and well underated. The only thing limiting me from taking awesome pictures with this lens is my vision. If my pictures suck, as yours probably do on most days, it probably has more to do with my shoddy vision or subject rather than the lens. (Seriously, how many more slight photo variations of your feet, shoes, car, pets, or flowers can you take?) For what it is, which is a cheap and sharp standard zoom for everyday or travel shooting, the 14-42 is a bargain.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: May 22, 2013 7:28 PM PDT

Panasonic DMC-GH1K 12.1MP Four Thirds Interchangeable Lens Camera with 1080p HD Video
Panasonic DMC-GH1K 12.1MP Four Thirds Interchangeable Lens Camera with 1080p HD Video
9 used & new from $499.00

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome Camera Loaded w/ Features, August 31, 2010
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I recently reviewed the E-P1 a couple months ago stating it would be my last camera. Well, I lied. I started getting into video more, so I wanted a camera with full manual control and 24P at an affordable price. That narrowed it down to a 7D, T2i, or GH1. I chose the GH1 mainly due to lens compatability and size. My feelings towards the camera were a bit cold at first. I knew that it was loaded with features, but I guess the E-P1's aesthetics (and my G11) just felt "warmer" when using it. The GH1 is a bit more industrial, but now that I'm used to it, it really doesn't matter much.

The main feature that separates the GH1 from many cameras, not just m43, is the high-bitrate 1080P video (after hacking). I won't get into technicalities, but I will say that most of my footage has been nothing short of amazing. I shot a little movie on backyard bugs (lame, I know) for a couple of days after receiving the camera and the footage really does look like something from National Geographic or Discovery Channel. The only gripes I have about the video is the banding at ISO's past 800. If not properly exposed, the footage is borderline unusable for full-screen viewing. It's not too bad for small-screen web viewing, but if I'm doing something presentable, 500 is probably my limit.

Pictures from the GH1 are pretty nice too, but the JPEGs aren't as good as the PENs. If you're not feeling too inspired to edit each and every photo, and you simply want a great out-of-the-box JPEG machine with nice skin-tones and colors, get a PEN. You definitely will not be dissapointed. I've made prints from both the GH1 and the E-P1, and I can honestly say that prints from the E-P1 look better; to my eyes at least. However, it's a moot point if you're shooting RAW. The GH1 has better ISO sensitivity (worse banding control, however), and I wouldn't mind pushing a photo to 1600 or even 2000 since I have Dfine and can easily clean up most of the noise and banding seen at higher ISOs.

While the GH1 is bigger, uglier (IMO), and less portable than the PENs, it makes up for it with better ergnomics, a swivel LCD, and a nice and bright EVF. The PEN looks better than the GH1 when displaying the two bodies next to each other, but the GH1 feels better in the hand after getting used to the aesthetics. Although the GH1 isn't substantially larger than the E-P1, the extra protrusions from the viewfinder, and grip may make it less portable for some who value size over function. It's definitely not as large as my old E-620 or E-510, but it is large enough that I'll consider leaving it at home or in the car if I don't have my messenger bag on me.

Overall, I have to say that I really like the GH-1. Video is amazing, pictures are great, and as of now it's probably the best all-around camera in the m43 range. I can't find a reason to glance at the GH2 unless if Panasonic somehow increases the AVCHD bitrates to 35-40MBps and improve FPN.

If you're looking for high quality videos at an affordable price, it's hard not to recommend the GH1. If you don't care too much about 1080/24P video and can settle with 720/30P with great JPEGs, then I recommend the E-PL1 or E-P2 (E-P1 has no manual controls for video to stop strobing at high shutter speeds). In the end, I say 4.5 stars, but I'll give it 5 because of Amazon's star rating-system.

Olympus PEN E-P1 12 MP Micro Four Thirds Interchangeable Lens Digital Camera with 14-42mm f/3.5-5.6 Zuiko Digital Zoom Lens (Silver Body/Black Lens)
Olympus PEN E-P1 12 MP Micro Four Thirds Interchangeable Lens Digital Camera with 14-42mm f/3.5-5.6 Zuiko Digital Zoom Lens (Silver Body/Black Lens)
13 used & new from $205.00

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Love it!, November 19, 2009
Long story. My first SLR was an Olympus E-510. After using it a while I started going down this slippery slope of using and acquiring OM glass. I had no problem with the 2x conversion, but the small OM lenses were just screaming to be used on a smaller body. I then purchased an OM2 just for experimenting around and started doing the unthinkable; shooting film. (I've never shot film before.) The small size made it so much fun to carry around; more-so than the E-510. Being glued to the OM2 made me crave an even smaller digital SLR or even a digital range-finder. So I began looking at the options.

Epson RD-1? No slouch, but a bit rare and on the pricey side. Leica M8? Maybe if I sold a kidney. M9? Yeah right. Maybe if I sold half my organs. E-420? Loved the way it felt, but it didn't have the E-510's IS to compensate for the smaller/slower Olympus primes; specifically the 25mm pancake. E-620? This one seems okay; smaller form-factor, IS, better ISO performance, and an awesome swiveling LCD. As much as I loved the E-510, I sold it for an E-620. Besides for the funny red-ish indoor WB, I loved nearly everything about the E-620. But there was one little problem. Despite it's smaller size, the OM2 was still making it kind of jealous. The OM cameras were just thinner, sexier, and craved my attention a bit more. As much as I tried to avoid m43s, I knew I had to at least give it a chance. So I tried it at a store, loved it, and reluctantly sold the E-620 and most of my 43 glass to fund the E-P1 and the 20mm Panny prime.

All I have to say now is "wow!" What a relief to finally have something to carry around and make digital photography fun. You know how they say the best camera is the one that you always have on-hand? Well for me, the E-P1 is it. I try to avoid the technical stuff as much as possible, but ISO is good, image-quality is stellar, and the size is perfect. Carrying a digital camera around is no longer a personal debate, but now it's a deliberately unconscious act. I'm used to Olympus menus, so it took me about 10 minutes to learn the ins-and-outs of the camera. As for the focusing complaints that I hear about, it's really not that bad. It's actually quite good, in my opinion. I'm not a bird, sports, or action shooter so the focusing problems that others seem to pick up are nearly unnoticeable to me. (I use the center point and recompose, or select a different focus-point when needed.) I guess if anything sucked really bad, it would be the Olympus Master software. I've hated it since the E-510 days. But then I would be rating software--not the camera.

The E-P1 isn't perfect, but for me it is. The camera might not be a winner for some, but I can honestly see myself using the E-P1/20mm combo until it malfunctions. (I mainly shoot primes and rarely go beyond 50mm in full-frame.) If you're a DSLR user and simply want a small and nice camera to carry around and have fun, the E-P1 is a great choice. And as your one and only camera? It depends on what you do, but it's working out splendidly on my end. I highly recommend the E-P1.

[One more thing, even after playing a camera version of musical-chairs, I still have the OM2 and a set of primes. :o) Although they're not Leica-legendary, I truly believe the OM cameras are timeless classics.]

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