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E. J Tastad's Profile

Customer Reviews: 374
Top Reviewer Ranking: 914
Helpful Votes: 3057

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Reviews Written by
E. J Tastad "ejt" RSS Feed (Marion, IA United States)

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Seagate Backup Plus Slim 1TB Portable External Hard Drive for Mac with Mobile Device Backup USB 3.0  (STDS1000100)
Seagate Backup Plus Slim 1TB Portable External Hard Drive for Mac with Mobile Device Backup USB 3.0 (STDS1000100)
Price: Click here to see our price
47 used & new from $78.25

5.0 out of 5 stars Smart Drive? Great for mobile/connected backup, April 17, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Hard drives are becoming smart? Well, the software is. I imagine to differentiate from other brands they are adding a lot of smart software for connected devices.

Key Features (of Seagate Dashboard 3 Software):
Mobile device backup and restoration.
Upload to Facebook/Flickr/YouTube. Backup of Facebook/Flickr to Seagate drive.

Plug into USB port. Ready to use.

Optional Setup:
Install software. On Mac, double click on .dmg file on disk. Run installer. Downloaded software from Internet. Required admin privileges and a restart. Took a couple minutes.

Seagate Dashboard 3.0:
User friendly Interface.

Starts with Simple "Social" or "Mobile Backup" pane or you can click on a specific drive.
Social is for uploading content to Facebook, Flickr, or YouTube or download content from Facebook or Flickr and back it up on the external drive. Sort of neat to be able to easily save a local copy.

Also, you can back up your mobile device using a Seagate Mobile Backup App, which lets you back up to your drive over WiFi or via Google Drive or Dropbox (according to App). This could be a handy feature as well. This requires some additional signup but was very quick. Was backing up within 5 minutes. Signup for Seagate account, download App. Log in to Seagate account on both mobile device and PC. Create a backup plan on the App (what to backup, like photos and/or videos, whether to delete them after backing up, etc). Start the backup. Mine failed the first time but retrying it and it went right away, not sure if PC wasn't ready for it or not. Depending on what you have to backup, it might take a long time. Backup files show up on the drive under SeagateDashboard->email address->Device Name. They aren't in any special format.

Back to the drive information
Drives on left, couple tabs on top. Basic info tab says storage use on each drive. I clicked on my drive and clicked "Manage" and clicked "Test". Little progress bar worked for 3 minutes and said "Passed". No other information given. Section to enable or disable LEDs on the drive. Tried it and it worked. Great if you don't like the little heartbeat LED.

Build Quality
Nice metal top enclosure with plastic bottom. Short USB 3 cable included.
Overall the software is very easy to use and everything worked well for me. I would buy this drive if I wanted a compact 1 TB drive for general use or for backing up social media sites and mobile devices. UUSBHAUB6LA 6 Feet Micro USB Cable - A to Left-Angle Micro B UUSBHAUB6LA 6 Feet Micro USB Cable - A to Left-Angle Micro B
Price: $6.99
46 used & new from $4.50

5.0 out of 5 stars Great power cord for NX30 Camera, April 16, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I use this as a power cord for my Samsung NX30 camera. I use this with a USB power pack and use it to extend the life of the camera battery either on a tripod, or by slipping the USB power pack in my pocket and running the USB cable up to my camera. Worked fine for doing firmware updates with a different camera as well.

Samsung NX30 20.3MP CMOS Smart WiFi & NFC Interchangeable Lens Digital Camera with 18-55mm Lens and 3" AMOLED Touch Screen and EVF (Black)
Samsung NX30 20.3MP CMOS Smart WiFi & NFC Interchangeable Lens Digital Camera with 18-55mm Lens and 3" AMOLED Touch Screen and EVF (Black)
Price: $997.99
9 used & new from $796.43

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Samsung NX has Matured, April 15, 2014
Fast and accurate focus
Great selection of lenses
Superb grip
Well built

Occasional lockups
Still waiting for genuine replacement batteries (as of this writing)
Viewfinder with glasses could be better

Bottom Line:
I highly recommend this mirrorless camera. I have a Sony A7R, Fuji X-M1, NEX 3N, and have used many more. This Samsung NX30 is my go to camera. I love the grip and feel of the camera, the responsive controls, fast AF, and great selection of lenses. My complaint is that the viewfinder looks a bit small through my glasses (I am near sighted) and if pointed towards the sun the eye sensor sometimes doesn't work with my glasses on.

When you buy an interchangeable lens camera you need to consider what other lenses, flashes, or other system devices are available. Does it do what you need it to do? I am exclusively a RAW shooter, so JPEG quality is not important to me (the NX30 is generally fine for JPG, but probably geared towards consumers). The Samsung NX has an excellent set of lenses available. For Zooms they have a 12-24mm, 16-50mm f/2-2.8, 16-50mm power zoom compact, 20-50mm compact, 18-55mm, 18-200mm, 50-200mm. For primes, which is what I shoot most of the time, they have: 10mm f/3.5 fisheye, 16mm f/2.4, 20mm f/2.8, 30mm f/2, 45mm f/1.8 (2d or 2d/3d), 60mm f/2.8 macro, and 85mm f/1.4. These primes are all very good. The 45mm is probably the fastest focusing, and large aperture, making it a great general purpose telephoto. All practical purposes it fills the same function as a 50mm, don't worry about the slightly different focal length. The 85mm f/1.4 is amazing quality, but is more specialized. It is a great head and shoulders portrait lens or general purpose telephoto. The 30mm f/2 is a must have if you like prime lenses. Large aperture and very compact. Sharp across the frame at f/4 or f/5.6 and sharp in the center from f/2. Samsung is adding flash support, they have a SEF-580A which is a top end flash, and Metz makes a 44 AF-1 for Samsung (don't get Pentax/Samsung, those are for the older Samsung GX cameras). The system is now pretty strong for most users.

The focus is very dependent on lens, as with any system. All the lenses except the 60mm and 85mm are focus by wire and the 60 and 85mm use ultrasonic motors and have direct manual focus as well. This makes them slower than most of the focus by wire motors which have smaller lens elements that can focus quicker. The 45mm, 10mm, 16mm, 12-24mm, 18-200mm focus very quick. The 30mm is pretty average, and the 20-50mm pretty slow.

What is quick? The 45mm f/1.8 focuses as fast or faster than most high end DSLR cameras in moderate to good light. In low light, the CDAF takes over and will be slower than an SLR, but the NX30 does pretty well for a mirrorless camera.

Continuous AF with Continuous shooting (low speed drive mode) works very well, but is basically take shot, refocus, take shot, refocus, and doesn't do a great job tracking, but I find you might get 2 fps or so with a subject running towards the camera. The faster lenses are going to help here.

Touch to focus/shoot. You can set the touch screen to take a shot immediately after focusing. This will generally be excellent for your active kids. You touch on the kids face and the camera will focus and take the shot almost instantly after focus is achieved making for a nice sharp shot.

Overall I think AF is better than average for mirrorless cameras.

The extendable viewfinder is unique and in interesting feature for those that shoot with the camera lower to the ground. I find I use the articulated screen more, but it is a nice feature to have anyway.

The WiFi features are very good. I mostly use direct upload to facebook and the new remote viewfinder is excellent, allowing you nearly full control over the camera from your smart phone; with minimal lag and decent frame rates (nowhere near 30 fps), yes, you can touch to focus and also use RAW. I think it is the best WiFi implementation to date. Having the touch screen really makes entering passwords nice, etc.

Touch screen is more responsive than earlier models and very high quality. It is multi-touch so you can pinch to zoom, etc.

USB Charging. Only camera I know of that you can charge USB and use it at the same time. No need for AC battery adapter. Only drawback here is USB port is in middle of the grip, so I bought a compact right angle USB cable to plug in so I can still hold the camera and charge at the same time using USB battery pack.

i-Fn. Two modes, normal where you press i-Fn on lens and change aperture, ISO, or other configurable parameters using lens ring (or touch screen by swiping finger) or the other mode lets you press i-Fn and override one of the other buttons. I set metering mode to force the EVF on when you press i-Fn first since I sometimes have trouble with the eye sensor.

Grip. This is my favorite part, it feels dreamy in my fairly large hands. Most mirrorless cameras are too small and fail miserably here. The grip is large and very comfortable to hold, along with the very light weight of the camera it makes it easy to hold for extended periods.

Controls. Some are a bit small, but overall they work well and plenty of direct controls.

Build Quality. Composite shell, but very sturdy. Doesn't feel any more fragile than other enthusiast models, but it is much lighter. Sometimes people think of weight as quality, which is not a good correlation. My A7R has more metal in the body, but is not really better built than the Samsung.

Image Quality:
RAW image quality is comparable to other good APS-C sensors. Samsung has come a long way since their original 14.6 MP sensor. I would say this is better than Canon but not quite as good as Sony, but more than good enough to be competitive. JPEG quality is too personal to judge, some will like it and some won't. I think it is fine, but not great. Maybe too harsh with the noise reduction.

Buffer performance:
Huge improvement over earlier models. Camera no longer becomes unresponsive. Performance is superb, new shots can be added to buffer when it is emptying. Maybe 8 or 9 RAW frame buffer. Performance after buffer is still a bit slow, the camera doesn't write files out quick enough even with fast memory card, but the large buffer generally means this isn't an issue.

Battery Life:
Typical mirrorless, depends more on how long you have camera turned on over how many shots you take. Probably 300 +/- typical use.

My Suggestion:
Buy the NX30 and be sure to get either the 30mm f/2 or 45mm f/1.8 lens. These will provide excellent image quality with a great experience. I would look at other lenses depending on your usage profile, but these two lenses really help set apart the system. The 45mm with its fast focus and shallow depth of field and the 30mm with its compact size and superb image quality. The kit 18-55mm is also a fine lens, better than average for a kit lens (if you get a good copy, I say this about all kit lenses) so don't disregard it, but it also isn't what makes the system special.

Eucerin Baby Eczema Relief Body Creme, 5 Ounce
Eucerin Baby Eczema Relief Body Creme, 5 Ounce
Price: $7.99
11 used & new from $6.80

5.0 out of 5 stars Soothing Relief, April 14, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This lotion is great for dry itchy skin, baby or adult. It really helps with my eczema and my children. Works as well as most prescriptions and seems better for the skin then using steroid creams. The lotion is a bit on the greasy side, but perfectly reasonable. I wipe the palms of my hands off on a rag (or my pant lags) after applying.

Amazon Fire Game Controller
Amazon Fire Game Controller
Price: $39.99

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not as refined as console controllers, April 8, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This is a fine controller for the Amazon Fire TV, but I find that the controls are not as precise and the remote not as comfortable to hold as a console controller.

I have a really hard time accessing the top flappers on the controller, and also the analog sticks are not as precise as they should be. In SEV I found it difficult to point right at aliens face, it would keep swinging past or not go far enough.

Overall, this is a solid remote, well built, and I think will be a great controller for basic console gaming for the masses. Honestly, I think this solution (Fire TV and controller) is a better solution for many people than a Wii or Wii U. It is nice to not have to deal with a separate console. Serious gamers will still want their high end console of course.

As for pricing, I think this is fine, especially given limited time offers available on it. Clearly the controller is more profitable than the Fire TV, but overall package deal is still really good given what you get.

Munchkin Latch BPA-Free Bottle, 4 Ounce, 4 Count
Munchkin Latch BPA-Free Bottle, 4 Ounce, 4 Count
Price: $33.49

3.0 out of 5 stars Stick with 3 piece bottles, April 7, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Unless your child has an issue with 3 piece bottles, I wouldn't use anything special. Let's be real: with how often you have to wash bottles the fewer the pieces the better. My kids have never had issues with my favorite bottles, the Tommee Tippee, and they are much easier to clean.

I tried using these bottles and couldn't tell much difference in flow between having the bottom totally sealed with my finger and having the seal open so it could vent air. Bottom line is the bottle will vent air as soon as child stops sucking for a minute and you are going to have to burp them anyway.

I am no medical professional, but personally I would only give these a try if my child was specifically having issues with a traditional bottle, and none of them have had issue.

Torani Sugar Free Syrup, Vanilla, 25.4 Ounce (Pack of 4)
Torani Sugar Free Syrup, Vanilla, 25.4 Ounce (Pack of 4)
Price: $24.62
4 used & new from $24.62

5.0 out of 5 stars Great Flavor, April 7, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I love this sugar free syrup. Has great flavor without too noticeable taste of artificial sweetener. It is great to add to any drink, coffee, hot chocolate, or whatever you want a vanilla flavor added to. Most people will be familiar with this sweetener if they go to coffee shops and get vanilla flavored coffee.

Starrett Exact Plus KTXP106-25-N ABS Plastic Case Silver Grey Measuring Pocket Tape, English Graduation Style, 25' Length, 1.06" Width, 0.0625" Graduation Interval
Starrett Exact Plus KTXP106-25-N ABS Plastic Case Silver Grey Measuring Pocket Tape, English Graduation Style, 25' Length, 1.06" Width, 0.0625" Graduation Interval
Price: $15.22
2 used & new from $15.22

4.0 out of 5 stars Quality Tape, April 3, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This is a high quality tape and it really does have excellent standout. It easily goes 2 or 3 feet past most of my standard cheap tapes. It is large which fits my large hands very well and has a nice solid sliding lock on it. My only complaint is it is fairly expensive, but given quality it is probably acceptable. I am not a contractor so I can't comment on professional use durability of this. I bought for the long standout so I can measure distance to a target without requiring assistance, and it works for that purpose.

Sony LA-EA4 E-Mount  to A-Mount Full-frame Adapter
Sony LA-EA4 E-Mount to A-Mount Full-frame Adapter
Price: $348.00
13 used & new from $319.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars No AF Assist Light Possible, April 3, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Good AF with A mount lenses
Tripod mount to reduce strain on cameras mount.

No AF Assist light possible (not even flash units light)

Bottom Line:
This will fit most A mount users needs, but the 3 star is since it won't meet my needs at all. I bought this hoping to turn my A7/A7R into an SLT camera for when I shoot weddings/events, and it does do that with the exception of the AF assist light, which I find critical for receptions.

For performance, expect performance like low end SLT cameras, which is pretty good. It won't match the A99 and you also don't have all the same focus modes as the A99. I already got rid of this and can't recall which one was missing, I think it was using the left, center, or right zones. Also, screw mount lenses will be a bit slower, and overall operations seems much louder than my A99. Not sure if the body muffles the sound on the A99 or if something with how this works changes aperture opening sounds, etc.

So, if you don't need the AF assist light I would give it 4 or 5 stars. It is useless to me without the light so I rated it 3 stars.

Amprobe IR-710 Infrared Thermometer - 0F to 716F, 10:1
Amprobe IR-710 Infrared Thermometer - 0F to 716F, 10:1
Price: $56.43
5 used & new from $54.29

5.0 out of 5 stars Accurate over a range of temperatures, March 23, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This worked well, wether it was for my oven or my refrigerator. The beam is tight (10:1) and the laser pointer is accurate. I bought a similar device down at the harbor at a freight store and it wasn't very accurate.

Build quality is good, and everything works as it should. The built in display light is handy, as is the laser pointer. Jut remember that at 10 feet, the measuring spot would be 1 foot wide, so the laser pointer is just for getting it close, the actual measurement area is much larger.

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