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Steve Z RSS Feed (Ann Arbor, MI)

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ASUS PB258Q 25" WQHD 2560x1440 AH-IPS DisplayPort HDMI DVI-D VGA Ergonomic Back-lit LED Monitor
ASUS PB258Q 25" WQHD 2560x1440 AH-IPS DisplayPort HDMI DVI-D VGA Ergonomic Back-lit LED Monitor
Price: $264.99
64 used & new from $264.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Buy this one!, February 10, 2016
I'll get to the point: this is a really, really good monitor. I bought it because I wanted a 2560x1440 resolution panel but didn't want to pay an arm and a leg for it, figuring that for the price it had to be a compromise in some way - after all, at the time of writing some of the name-brand 1920x1200 monitors cost more than this one.

Turns out I was wrong - there doesn't seem to have been a compromise. I plugged it into my MacBook with the included HDMI cable and it works great at full resolution. This monitor swivels, tilts, and slides up and down nicely. It's nice and compact, with a thin bezel around the border. And while I'm an unabashed Apple fan, I have to admit that it looks as good as my Thunderbolt Display (which cost almost three times as much).

If you're on the fence, get this one. To do better you'd have to spend twice as much.

Perfect Pixel 30" Yamakasi 301 Sparta 2560x1600 S-IPS DVI-D WQHD Computer Monitor
Perfect Pixel 30" Yamakasi 301 Sparta 2560x1600 S-IPS DVI-D WQHD Computer Monitor

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Works great with MacBook Pro - but you need the Apple Dual Link DVI Adapter!, November 2, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I bought this monitor because my physician advised me that bending over a laptop all day was doing bad things to my spine. I'm an engineering graduate student, which means I spend lots of time at home in front of a computer. I wanted something large enough that I wouldn't get eye strain from working all day. I didn't want a low-end TN panel, but I didn't want to shell out $1000 for the Apple Thunderbolt Display, either.

So, I was intrigued when I found out about these direct-from-Korea, no-name-brand screens. Far as I can tell, what you're getting is 90% of an Apple or high-end Dell monitor for about 1/3 the price. I'm pretty impressed - shipping took two days (I ordered on Tuesday night, it showed up on Thursday), there are zero dead pixels or backlight bleeding. Others have mentioned overheating of the display or power supply, but I haven't had any problems.

There's lots of documentation online about how this display isn't Mac compatible, but I use the monitor with a 13" MacBook Pro (the 2014 retina base model, to be specific) and it works great. The secret is the Apple Dual-Link DVI adapter. It costs $95 here on Amazon (though you can find it used for less). You must use the adapter to get the full resolution - the regular mini-Displayport to DVI or HDMI WILL NOT give you the 2560 x 1600 output you need. I also wouldn't recommend going to the Apple store to buy the adapter - when I went the salespeople had no idea what I was asking for (despite it showing up online as "in stock" at their store) and even asked me what you would ever use it for. (Weirdly, the adapter is rated poorly online - it turns out a lot of people have trouble because the adapter isn't getting enough power from USB. If necessary, use a USB hub.)

The monitor itself it great - I use it for programming, reading, and engineering documents. The only major complaint I have is that the matte coating is a bit sparkly, which makes whitespace in particular look a bit strange. t's not perfect, but for $400, it's a steal. If you want a brand-name 30" IPS display, plan to spend at least 3-4x the money.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Feb 2, 2015 4:22 PM PST

MPD Digital rg-58-sma-uhff SMA Male to UHF Female cable
MPD Digital rg-58-sma-uhff SMA Male to UHF Female cable
Price: $14.24
4 used & new from $10.61

1.0 out of 5 stars Broke after two days, July 30, 2013
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Ordered one of these to connect a Yaesu HT to a full-wave 2-meter antenna at a campsite. The first day it worked great. The second day, the SMA connector just fell right off into the mud, leaving the exposed wire end behind. Again, this was at a fixed-base station - there was no wire strain or pressure on the connector, unless you count picking up the radio and setting it back down. Even though I ordered it just before a trip, the return window was so short that I already missed it.

Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch
Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch
Offered by Melva's
Price: $33.88
159 used & new from $11.48

308 of 350 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Worth buying a PS3 to play!, January 22, 2013
= Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars 
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
With the recent announcement of the PS4, you might think that the era of the PS3 is over. But it isn't - yet. I hadn't owned a gaming console for several years when I found out about Ni no Kuni. Now, I played my fair share of games back in the day, but the video game market in recent years has just seemed... dull. In large part that's because I don't care for first-person shooters or fantasy sports games. I don't begrudge anyone who does, but I play games for the same reason I read books: to escape into a story. Online shootouts with trigger-happy 14-year olds just doesn't do it for me.

Of course, the gaming studios mainly make games for those 14-year olds, not me. So instead of original content and new stories, we get Call of Duty sequels. So when I found out Studio Ghibli was involved in production of a video game, I was only cautiously optimistic. It seemed too good to be true, and it was hard to imagine that their first video game collaboration would be a resounding success. Then I saw the screenshots... and that was when I started poking around eBay for a second-hand PS3.

Because, you see, the game art is astounding. It's really a step above any video game world you've ever seen. Ni no Kuni is simply a Studio Ghibli anime rendered as an entire walk-through world. As you play, you'll come across a scene and think it's the best-looking shot in the game. And then, a few minutes later, you'll come across something better. One of my favorite visuals comes late in the game: a character's backstory told with haunting, comic book-style sketches. It should go without saying that this isn't a game you want to play on an old CRT TV: an HD screen is the way to go, the larger the better (mine is a 100-inch projection system - I was worried about quality, but the game looks great.) Also, turn up the volume: I'd be denying the skill of Joe Hisaishi if I didn't mention the music. In my opinion, it's the best score he's done since Spirited Away.

Now, if the game just looked and sounded great, it would still be worth playing. But the other half of the game's development was done by Level 5. Level 5 has been building critically-acclaimed JRPG's for over a decade. And they've been getting better at it. The story builds throughout the game, is clever and amusing, and seems to make an effort to avoid cliches while also making fun of them (your first major objective in the game is to find the king's red herring). As a resident of southeast Michigan, I'd be remiss if I didn't point out that this is certainly the first time Detroit (or a throwback to a 50's era Detroit suburb, rather) has been featured in a JRPG! There's even a "To I-75 North" sign on one of the streets in the neighborhood.

The battle system in Ni no Kuni is the best and most fun I've ever used - a clever hybrid of live-action and turn-based attacks. Basically, most actions have a time-out period after you use them, but you're still free to move around the arena, or cancel an in-progress attack if you suddenly need to cast a spell instead. But that's not all - like most games involving physical battle, there are defensive moves (usually overlooked in favor of repeatedly pressing the attack button!) In Ni no Kuni, you must learn when to defend, when to attack, and when to use provisions/spells if you're going to beat the game.

I played the game all the way through and completed all the side-quests. In the end, it took me just over 100 hours spread across January to April, but you could certainly do it in less, and I could have easily spent more. A big factor in this game is how many familiars you want to collect and battle with - I only had about 30 total. There's also an entire in-game book (the Wizard's Companion), of which I've read only bits-and-pieces. If you think the game is expensive, think of it this way: if you buy the game at full price and a used PS3 for, say, $200 total, you're paying $2/hour for entertainment for a few months. My only real complaints are the click-through dialog text, which gets to be repetitive, and that most of the side-quests weren't very hard. But really, these are small complaints in a masterpiece game. Quite frankly, if you're on the edge about playing the game, you should go do it. You won't regret it.
Comment Comments (32) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 6, 2015 4:37 AM PST

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