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Brother MFC-J870DW Wireless Color Inkjet All-In-One with Scanner, Copier and Fax Printer
Brother MFC-J870DW Wireless Color Inkjet All-In-One with Scanner, Copier and Fax Printer
Offered by Printers on sale (No Tax)
Price: Click here to see our price
158 used & new from $91.15

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Really!, December 4, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Purchased after a long experience with Epson Artisan series printers that met my expectation excepting its seemingly planned obsolescence. My sole requirements for an all-in-one other than reliability and perform as advertised: limited photo and color printing; frequent scan to PDF and limited direct print to CD/DVD surfaces.

Gave away a perfectly good Epson Artisan 837. For a replacement: no new Artisan and confused by new Epson print technology not available for CD/DVD print. So researched for a new brand. Found this Brother printer with some good reviews and reasonable ink cost per page. I purchased it from Amazon and, as usual, it arrived promptly, well packaged.

The installation using a USB connection under Windows 8.1 went well once I figured out I had to install several seemingly separate programs from different vendors. Brother did have available firmware and software updates that installed fine. Not so with the 3rd party software, "expired" and other reasons.

My first scan failed to display on screen and in print a prominent patch of yellow highlighter. My first series of paper prints were significantly faded color that a VIVID setting failed to even change from the default setting. Unlike my Epson and Lexmark experience, I ended up manually adjusting printer device settings to find some improvement. Decided at that point to keep it.

After the return period expired, the Brother Control Center scanner software suddenly stopped working: no device recognized either from the PC side or by manual entry from the printer to the PC. I uninstalled then reinstalled using Brother's latest print and separate scan software and firmware. Print only, no scanner recognized. Uninstalled then reinstalled from the Brother CD only. Same result. I repeated a third time but using a Brother utility to uninstall and not installing third party software I had no use for anyway. Time for help from Brother.

I recall investing an extraordinary effort on Brother's web site to find any way to ask for help. The email help link walks you thru many canned links before finally releasing your email request, no phone support number found either. Mind you that Brother seems to find my inbox almost daily; but, a three day wait for an email help request. The reply was a link telling me to do what I had already advised I had done. I dutifully invested several more hours to perform the tasks exactly as directed. With absolutely no correction to the Control Center failure to talk to the MFCJ870, I had to email to obtain a support phone number and wait a day + for the reply.

It is really sad when we have to demand that a phone support person actually listen to us. "Excuse me; but, I've said I've done that.' Then, the blame game started. Microsoft, HP, my cable, on and on. Finally: 'Brother does not warrant its software. You have to drive your printer to a Brother support center with your PC so they can charge you to look at it." Really!

My analysis: Great hardware. Lousy software that could benefit from some tech reading Microsoft coding tips. Useless third party software. Unacceptably rude phone support.

I can most likely fix this with a full Windows 8.1 install. But, will it last more than six weeks? My solution is to buy a Epson and give this junk away with instructions to trash it if there is a repeat of lost scanner or poor color saturation. Never again!

APC BN1350G Battery Backup/Surge Protector
APC BN1350G Battery Backup/Surge Protector
Offered by Cheapees
Price: $160.39
6 used & new from $144.31

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Newer is not necessarily better, September 12, 2014
The BN1350G is for my home theater and Internet: 550 watt plasma, a Blu-ray, DirecTV receiver, cable modem and small router.

I replaced an older APC 1500W extended run quad battery unit with this. In SW Florida, we are accustomed to afternoon thunderstorms. A recent one demonstrated to me that the old Uninterruptable Power Supply (UPS) was in need of replaceable batteries. Since its purchase maybe 8 years ago, American Power Supply is now part of an international corp., Schneider Electric. The older UPS is no longer supported by warranty or equipment protection. Under new management, new features are evident so I opted for a new UPS rather than buy new lead acid batteries.

To save time, I purchased the BN1350G locally. Same type dual batteries; but, new features and packaging. No need to pop open rigid plastic covers and connect battery terminals to cables with tools. Simply slide open the cover, turn the mated dual batteries upside down and close the cover. Could not be easier. The 1350 adds a LED display in place of the older unit's LED lights. Now I know how much voltage is coming in. A bar graph shows me my load capacity now too. I'm pushing 2 to 4 of 5 bar segments (40% to 80%).

I kept all settings as delivered but you can alter: power saving mode, voltage sensitivity threshold, display illumination period, audible alarm mute. I'm not using PowerChute software either. Our somewhat frequent power outages are very brief except during hurricanes. So, I am little concerned with how long the UPS will run. If the battery load is too high, Plan B is to leave Internet stuff connected only.

I used APC’s American web site to check for more specifications. Like its multi-language product brochures, the web site seems far too complicated trying to deliver all languages and products. Surprise, APC’s web site denies the BN1350G even exists! So is my warranty good APC? Oh, the former multi-thousand dollar equipment warranty seems a thing of the past too. Two years on the unit only. One star off.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Sep 21, 2014 11:36 AM PDT

Samsung Electronics 840 Pro Series 2.5-Inch Solid State Drive
Samsung Electronics 840 Pro Series 2.5-Inch Solid State Drive
19 used & new from $150.00

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars No Brainer, June 13, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I do not know if it is 'confused reviewers' or Amazon; but the 840 Pro series is NOT the 840 EVO series. Different NAND. Very important difference in technology.

That aside, this SSD exceeded my expectations. It replaced an excellent OCZ Vertex II SSD so this not euphoria from a "spinner to SSD" conversion. My 126 GB SSD was nearly full. I was not able to uninstall two "drivers" I had not installed. I was due for a fresh reinstall, done annually. My laptop was not shutting down or restarting due to some gremlin. I am deferring replacement for the Intel 9-series. I am stuck with a "slower" SATA 3Gbs port till then. (we do not see 3GB/s or 6GB/s anyway...)

So, modest expectations; but, a strategy that includes moving the 256 GB 840 Pro to a successor machine.

Before you do anything, install Samsung's "Magician" software to your existing OS. This software makes a great SSD exceptional, whether 840 Pro or the 840 EVO series. This will find your 840, validate it as genuine then allows exceptionally easy firmware update. With that done, I installed a fresh copy of Win 8 then Win 8.1 within 2-3 hours including applications, old files and setup. Install "Magician" and use it to tweak your OS for a SSD, optimize the drive, allow more overflow and use the significant Rapid mode feature and run performance benchmarks.

I sensed the 840 Pro was quicker but here are the metrics using Samsung "Magician". Same laptop with SATA II, same performance tests against the older OCZ Vertex II and later the 840 Pro after installation and usage. Numbers below are a three run average.

Seg. reads: OCZ 280 versus Pro 575
Seq. write: OCZ 234 versus Pro 534
Ran. read: OCZ 30,200 versus 40,116
Ran. write: OCZ 29,818 versus 37,708

Bottom line, fast gets faster. Samsung "Magician" improved the above metrics about 5% in sequential and 10% with sequential. Understand, I would not spend the bucks for this improvement and the new 840 Pro costs about the same as the OCZ Vertex just a few years ago but it twice the capacity. The 840 Pro weighs significantly less than the older SSD and probably consumes less energy too, neither a purchase mover.

There are three negatives. Disappointed that this technology is manufactured in China, not S Korea. Be aware of a jump late 2014 in hard drive speed as the interface moves from SATA to PCIe. "Magician" software will run Rapid mode on only one 840.

Thermaltake 10 to 17 Inches Massive V20 Notebook Cooler (CL-N004-PL20BL-A)
Thermaltake 10 to 17 Inches Massive V20 Notebook Cooler (CL-N004-PL20BL-A)
Price: $17.51
15 used & new from $15.99

6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars V20 vs Cooler Master NotePal U3, June 13, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I had to replace the Cooler Master NotePal U3 after two years of good experience. Its thin wire from the USB adapter to the fans cracked, shorting out the three fans less I wiggle it...tiring.

The V20 has the same type wire but it exits the USB adapter at a satisfactory 45 degree angle, clearing a nearby additional USB port. Both USB adapters allow a second USB device plugged thru its outer end.

The V20 has a large a single large fan whereas the NotePal U3 had three MOVEABLE fans that I placed directly below the 3 primary air intake of my laptop. Neither fan setups at full speed are noisy or distracting. Not scientific, but the air exiting my laptop seems cooler with the Thermaltake V20, the key reason for using a cooler.

The V20 is smaller but supports a laptop almost 16.5" wide; but, not as well as the Cooler Master. It had a rear indentation that accommodated the rear mounted battery of my laptop, hooking it into place. If I place my laptop with its battery hanging off the rear of the V20, the keyboard is flatter but the rear weight bias lets the laptop tip off if not careful. I am deducing that rear battery elevates the laptop base enough to allow the center-concentrated air flow to spread out some. Good since the fan does not accommodate all the air slots of my laptop.

The Cooler Master base is aluminum. The V20 is plastic. The rear curl of the U3 base allowed the edge of my laptop to slide into it when carrying both in a backpack, nicely secured. I would not expect the plastic V20 to travel as well!

Both provide a fan speed variable control with the V20 adding an on/off as well. It is not needed (vary from off to full) and the monotone controls at left rear inconvenient with all the cables there.

Bottom line, I am OK with the V20. I opted for a lower price and smaller size since I plan to replace my laptop soon with a tablet/laptop. The large single fan seems more effective than three moveable; only due to the slight elevation from my battery allowing the air to spread out. Both are quiet. The V20 blue light is not visible, thankfully.

Freedom No-Pull Harness ONLY, Medium 1" Black
Freedom No-Pull Harness ONLY, Medium 1" Black
Offered by Etailz
Price: $30.03
5 used & new from $21.82

35 of 36 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ez Walk vs Freedom, January 2, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I've used the Freedom harness daily for 3 months, four walks per day. I had used a Gentle Leader Easy Walk purchased thru Amazon Dec 2010, a standard collar prior to that since his rescue Oct 2009. The Easy Walk remains as a backup since it is fully serviceable. Both have one inch straps and a black / gray color. Both very well made, unlike the pet brand stuff.

I followed the Ez Walk size suggestions but felt it way too big, fully tightened yet my dog could back out. Its reflective feature useless on a long hair dog. The reflective leash was rough so I stopped using it after a few days. So, I was motivated to find a better one.

Biscuit is a 55 pound dominate male Australian Shepherd. As a herding breed, he is all about herding cats, squirrels, bikes, bikers, diesel trucks or any noisy and moving thing. Otherwise, he likes to lead the way at my pace always either at leash length ahead of me or at my side when exercised. A speeding delivery truck will not stop him from charging right at it so the leash is for that, not to keep him submissively at my side. Not into that...

Both are a one inch width I feel is important due to his strength and the Freedom medium and larger are that width. The Freedom webbing is thicker than the Ez Walk. Both have a front chest loop that does flip the dog around to stop the pull or charging without inflicting pain. The Ez Walk ring of that loop is sewn in place so it must rotate the entire loop, pulling hair with it. The chest and back loops of the Freedom are open so the ring moves easily.

The Ez Walk has two adjustable loops for chest strap length adjustment. Neither loop retained its setting so constant tightening, No so with the Freedom that has the same type loop adjustment. The Freedom strap is thicker and there is a plastic guide that clamps the straps together prior to the loop adjuster. Since I measured his chest, I received the correct size requiring very little one-time adjustment.

The Freedom has two clips while the Ez Walk has one chest clip. After using the Ez Walk, Biscuit does not now need the chest clip. I use the shoulder clip except when I can anticipate his likely lunge then use both chest and shoulder clips to the single now shorter leash. The side to side shoulder clip pressure seems adequate to communicate to him which direction we are going. When he does lunge, the tight one inch strap deters him anyway. The complexity of the Freedom is a consequence of the double clip that is nice to have but over time, less needed. When not using both clips, I open the free clip and run the leash portion just below the handle to keep it from flopping around. That secured clip is also useful for used poop bags!

I do have two minor observations not worth a star for this Freedom review. While the black lead with gray handle is 'spiffy', I'd prefer to black handle that does not show the dirt. Yes, you will feel intimidated with so many clips, loops etc. In short order, the Freedom sort of retains his shape. I align it by putting the two shoulder clips left & right opposite with the long strap with belly clips out front. Biscuit knows it goes over his head and actually helps slip it on with his eyes closed!

If you experience a dog backing out, I suggest, from my experience, that you are not tightening the chest strap enough. The Ex Walk would not retain that tightening but the Freedom does. I hope that helps!

Microsoft Windows 8 Pro - Upgrade [Old Version]
Microsoft Windows 8 Pro - Upgrade [Old Version]
Offered by Speedy Traders
Price: $81.99
19 used & new from $81.99

0 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars OK I have no touch screen but, August 25, 2013
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I go back to DOS 3.0 and this was the easiest install ever, less than 5 minutes onto a SSD.

It is definitely faster and less quirky that Windows 7, especially with file explorer and large file handling.

There is some culture shock learning new methods but far from impossible.

ASUS RT-N66U Dual-Band Wireless-N900 Gigabit Router
ASUS RT-N66U Dual-Band Wireless-N900 Gigabit Router
Price: $114.70
144 used & new from $84.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dog's favorite toy, August 25, 2013
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I demand / expect little of a wireless router other than security. My cell uses its 5 GHz frequency while my laptop its 2.4GHz frequency and Gigabit Ethernet.

BE SMART: Unless you want your neighbors using your Internet and maybe seeing your activity, invest a very small amount of time to use the security features. I'm sorry but "admin" or "password" do not cut it nor using your name or address AND broadcasting that as a SSID. This device is easy to set up.

It's been six months and Asus is still issuing firmware updates unlike some vendors who provide little support. I do find their numbering strange but they work.

I made the conscious decision to stay with 802.11 A, B, G, and N and not adopt C yet. It is still faster than my 50 Mbps cable modem.

This device is friendly with Windows 8 64-bit too.

Oh, my Australian Shepherd manages to move its Ethernet or power cable pulling it from its elevated perch at least weekly. It keeps on ticking.

Panasonic KX-TG7741SDECT 6.0 Link-to-Cell via Bluetooth Cordless Phone with Answering System, Silver, 1 Handset
Panasonic KX-TG7741SDECT 6.0 Link-to-Cell via Bluetooth Cordless Phone with Answering System, Silver, 1 Handset
Offered by JP Deals, LLC
Price: $99.99
3 used & new from $36.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars It's OK and works as expected, August 25, 2013
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Like many of you, I dumped my wired phone for a cell long ago. I added a basic land line should a hurricane knock out cell service. To my surprise, no local store sold a basic telephone. The phone company failed to ship the ordered phone within 3 weeks. So Amazon to the rescue.

I am trying to isolate my disdain for my local phone line provider from my opinion of this product.

As a wall phone, this is outright ugly and a hassle to squeeze the phone line and power line inside the wall mount. My cell has better voice quality. May be the provider but sometimes there is distortion and other times not but all are tinny sounding.

No range issues or wireless frequency conflicts.

I still cannot figure out why the cell could care less if I have a leading 1 or even an area code when this phone cannot connect with a local number reached by the cell. Again, maybe the provider but works sometimes, others not.

I cannot load telephone contacts from an Excel file like my cell. Similarly, the entire usage process seems so outdated from listening to messages to deleting them. I do believe Panasonic could make an effort to design a user interface similar to what most people use more: a cell phone. This baby is stuck in the 70s. So is the line provider. No wonder they are nearly extinct.

But, it works as long as I keep things simple. Oh, the charge time is adequate but you will have a difficult time knowing the battery needs a charge until you realize the phone has not rung in a while.

Cooler Master Elite Power - 460W Power Supply (RS460-PSARI3-US)
Cooler Master Elite Power - 460W Power Supply (RS460-PSARI3-US)
Offered by DIRECTRON
Price: $32.50
19 used & new from $25.00

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars You do not need the PC manufacturer's unique power supply, August 25, 2013
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Someone before me added a video card to a PC without ensuring the factory power supply was adequate. The inevitable freezes and quirks were causing the owner to consider a new PC.

Some manufactures of PCs design a power supply mount that may have an extra pin. You feel obligated to buy their over-priced, under-performing replacement power supply. Think again. Their flimsy cases allow you to bend the pins out of the way and yes, even drill a new hole to accept a likely not needed sheet metal screw.

There is nothing fancy about this Cooler Master unit except its reasonable price to power performance. The PC and new video card it now supports is not left on constantly; so power efficiency was not a consideration. With a case modification, it installed just fine and had the appropriate power connectors. Still running like a champ months later and new PC expense avoided for a few bucks.

EVGA GeForce GT 620 1024MB DDR3 Dual DVI, mHDMI Graphics Cards 01G-P3-2621-KR
EVGA GeForce GT 620 1024MB DDR3 Dual DVI, mHDMI Graphics Cards 01G-P3-2621-KR
2 used & new from $145.59

5.0 out of 5 stars Did the job, saved trashing a PC, August 25, 2013
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
It worked as advertised, didn't generate egg-cooking heat and no problem with software drivers or supporting two monitors of little demand.

I fixed someone else's problems so here are some pointers if you change what came in your PC.

Make sure the power supply is adequate. This one was not so the PC kept freezing when someone replaced the factory video. Next, use PCI not AGP if the motherboard supports it. Look for GDDR memory with a higher number for more processing speed. Last comparison shop. Video cards are quite competitive. You may find the next higher model number for the same or near same price including shipping and tax of any.

This modest expense even with a new power supply brought new live to a 3-year and PC almost trashed.

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