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Jean-Etienne LaVallee "JELaVallee" RSS Feed (Richmond, VA USA)
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Zeikos ZE-HC36 Deluxe Medium Hard Shell Case With Extra Padding Foam For Cameras, Camcorders, Photograpic Equipment and Portable DVD Player
Zeikos ZE-HC36 Deluxe Medium Hard Shell Case With Extra Padding Foam For Cameras, Camcorders, Photograpic Equipment and Portable DVD Player

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Field Case for The Bebop Drone!, June 22, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I got the medium sized model of case expressly for making a field case for my new Parot Bebop Drone. I specifically wanted a hard case that could protect the drone as carry-on or checked baggage on flights.This case totally meets my needs and expectations for this purpose.

To note: I'm only flying with the base model Bebop and not the unit that comes with the skycontroller. If you're looking for a case that can accommodate both a Bebop AND Skyconyroller, this is not the case for you.

Here's my gear setup with this case (see photos for layout):
1 - Bebop drone (rotor removed for compactness/rotor safety)
12 - Rotors (3 flight sets, could hold more)
5 - Bebop battery packs (or 4 packs & 1 charger)
1 - SR10000 WiFi Range Extender
1 - 10 dBi flat patch antenna (~8" x 10" x 1")
1 - PS3 Gamepad
1 - 12000mAh USB/9v-12v power pack
1 - Pile-o-wires to put it all together

I fly with a WiFi extender (~800m range LoS) and gamepad wired to my android phone (nexus 6). It's a perfect control/base station combination for the Bebop and is supported by the stock Parot FreeFlight 3 app and the excellent 3rd party app ARDrone Flight Pro.

Pros:
1. Solid construction
2. Highly customizable foam and panel set included
3. Shoulder strap is a nice addition
4. Can carry an entire 1080p video drone flight kit in a carry-on size case.

Cons:
1. Would have preferred combo locks over the cheap key turn ones. Not worth knocking, given the price, tho...
Comment Comment | Permalink


Fragfx Shark V2013 for PS3, PC and MAC - Wireless
Fragfx Shark V2013 for PS3, PC and MAC - Wireless

5.0 out of 5 stars Mouse-Nunchuck Console Controller Perfection, November 29, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
First off, I'm writing this review from the context of an old school FPS keyboard-mouse PC gamer. My ideal controller setup for such is a Razer keypad and a wired, high speed, high res optical mouse festooned in programmable buttons.

Now, imagine my frustration when I started playing FPSs and 3PSs on my PS3 (which was honestly acquired for my kids as much as for me...) and found that the part of my brain responsible for controlling POV-style games had been hardwired for keyboard-mouse. For me, suddenly having only two little analog sticks and about a dozen buttons (counting the the D-pad) felt like a massive step backwards and made any sort of FPS or over-the-shoulder 3PS games actually unenjoyable.

Not being one to just throw-in with "Console Games Suck" crowd, I set out to figure this out... First up was digging out our old Wii and figuring out why I didn't have this problem on that system. Metroid Prime 3, Goldeneye: Reloaded, and CoD all were quite playable and fun... So, nunchuck-wand controls and I didn't have problems... And a nunchuck really is just a half of a game pad, so, what was my problem with the game pad? As a final test, got a PS Move setup (yay, GameStoop refurb'd products) and a copy of one of my PC favorites Portal 2 (also a deal at GameStoop). Low and behold, I could play just fine with Sony's take on the nunchuck-wand control scheme, and rediscovered my love for Aperture Corp and it's neurotic A.I.s. Unfortunately, Sony hasn't really pushed the PS Move as a first-class citizen in the controller world and as a result, there really aren't a lot of FPS games that are Move compatible... Boooooo.

My last attempt at this was to do a goog for "keyboard mouse PS3" thinking that maybe some creative maker or 3rd party had figured this problem out... PS3s do have USB ports, so I didn't think it was much of a stretch. Imagine how excited I was to find the FragFX! Someone had figured it out AND packaged it up!

Now... I've had the controller for about 2 weeks now and can say that it's a complete breath of fresh air. Not only is the play nearly flawless for a keyboard-mouser like me, but it's opened a whole catalog of awesome games I had written off. I've also tried it on my gaming Mac and found it to be a very comfortable scheme as well.

This far, I've tried the following games: Battlefield 3 & 4, CoD:AW, Portal 2, Crysis 3, Bioshock: Infinite, Deadspace 3, The Last of Us (beautiful game), and the classic, Doom 3. All were easy to get tweaked and play great with the FragFX Shark. While they up sell the feature, I didn't find the dead zone wheel to be as valuable on the PS3 as I thought it would be, but the build quality and use of standard AA batteries was a plus for me.

Highly recommended and I hope the SplitFish folks support the next gen platforms too. For that matter, Sony could do their platform and catalog a favor by just releasing a PS3 compatible mouse to work alongside their Move "navigator" nunchuck. Either way, a very worthwhile purchase.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Feb 12, 2015 10:14 AM PST


Pacific Rim (bonus features)
Pacific Rim (bonus features)
DVD
Price: $9.99

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Great Drama Hiding in Godzilla vs. Mech Sci Fi Clothing, October 7, 2013
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
That this movie had such a poor showing at the U.S. box office is a total shame. I dare anyone to watch the first hour of say any of the Transformer or Fast-and-something-something-Furious films and then the first hour of this flick and tell me they really belong in the same "summer blockbuster" category.

That being said, this is a Guillermo del Toro film and with it comes his blending of drama, mysticism, mythical-demonism and tongue-in-cheek social commentary. If you loved Pan's Labyrinth, Hellboy/Hellboy 2, or Chronos AND you like the anime/Japanese-SciFi humanity vs. BIG monsters genre, then you're going to love this film... and chances are good, even if you don't, you'll get sucked into it anyway.

The acting is acceptable for the cast he had to work with... The leads give solid performances, the secondary roles are a bit caricatured at best, but that's also a del Toro signature. My biggest gripe was that a number of secondary characters looks just like the male lead... to the point that I got confused a few times as to which was which.

The special effects are really quite amazing... all the detail and high-octane ballast of a typical Michael Bay Boo(b)m-fest, with none of the empty after taste. del Toro's use of continuity shoots and live-set/green-screen blending could teach the folks at Skywalker Ranch a thing or two, as well. He get's really great performances and dynamism in his action sequences by seamlessly blending real action with computer-animation in a way that makes the audience care about what's going on in the scene and not just blind/deafened by it.

Pros:
1) Structure - The film actually has 3 acts and each one establishes more back-story to the three main characters and the cloud of secondary and minor characters.
2) Character-driven - By the end of the film, I genuinely care about all of the characters and the challenges they face entering the final act, rare in a sci-fi action flick.
3) Hail to The Geeks - Instead of just making the geeky characters of the story comedic foils or even worse, conduits for deus ex machina, the geeks of this story play a critical part in both the development of the main plot and the enriching of the whole world the story establishes.
4) Length - This is a long film... it takes its time building up and then takes its time delivering the final show-down, but it delivers and delivers quite well.
5) Romance that doesn't suck - The one romantic thread in the film doesn't devolved into an obligatory sex scene or love-at-first-sight idiocy... it's based on a bond between two people that grows as the story develops and has a solid, mutual basis of existing between them (both characters having survived terrible experiences and still healing from them).
6) Creativity - The elements all seem very cliche at first... Big monsters, Big robots, FIGHT! But the more the story expands the more del Toro's extreme attention to details and unique styling become a center piece to the film... He's oozing with creative genre-bending juice and this film is like an entire fruitbasket of it.

Cons:
1) Pace... This is a long movie and at times I felt like it was having to go out of its way to provide narrative exposition over weaving critical back-plot points into the story development.
2) Pace... There are times I was glad I was watching this with a rewind button. This could be due to del Toro's Spanish-speaking background where rapid-fire dialog, full of sub-context and parallel conversations is a norm (not being racist/culturally insensitive here, just noting the nature of the language and how it's spoken). While I enjoy this realistic banter, round-robin approach to dialog (think anything Joss Whedon has produced), it can make it hard to keep track of characters and sub-plot.

Here's to hoping this flick has a nice long sub-culture existence in years to come!


CIPA 60100 Wide Angle Lens - 8" x 10"
CIPA 60100 Wide Angle Lens - 8" x 10"
Price: $7.99
38 used & new from $7.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Cheaper than a back-up camera and 10x easier to install!, October 7, 2013
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
We have a minivan with a bike-carrier attached to the towing receiver that we keep on the vehicle 24-7 for convenience (it's arms fold-down when not carrying bikes and it's the style that can be folded away from the back gate when accessing the trunk-space). Since installing it, we've had the problem of not being able to judge the distance between the back of the carrier/vehicle and other vehicles/objects behind us). This fresnel lense did the trick! Gives us great view of the bumper corners and a good sense of the back-edge of the bike carrier and also is a good way of spotting other vehicles "sneaking" up in our blind-spots on the highway.

Pros:
1) Easy to install
2) Clear visibility looking directly at it or through the rear-view mirror
3) Excellent wide-angle view below and to the sides of the vehicle
4) MUCH cheaper than installing an after-market back-up camera/monitor

Cons:
1) Getting air bubbles out was a bit trickier than originally thought, but an (easy) second application of the lens and it worked great.


Logitech Harmony 880 890 720 Battery Charger / Cradle
Logitech Harmony 880 890 720 Battery Charger / Cradle
Offered by shiras web deals
Price: $12.99

5.0 out of 5 stars The best solution for a Harmony remote that won't charge it's battery anymore., October 7, 2013
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
For anyone who owns a Logitech Harmony remote that uses the small "digital camera" like rechargable battery packs, this is a life saver. My Harmony 880 has been having progressively worse charging issues for the past year and we thought it was due to the aging battery. After replacing said battery pack and trying to charge it only to have the same problem, I did some research and found out this is a perpetual problem with Harmony remotes that used the tray-style charging station.

Now with this charger, I keep one battery on the charger and one in the remote and swap them about once ever week or so. Saved me easily $200+ for a new remote or at least $50 for a new Harmony Remote charging base that may not have fixed the problem.


Falling Skies Season 3
Falling Skies Season 3
Price: $23.99

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Drama and History Wrapped in SciFi, August 14, 2013
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Season 1 Was a good start and great cast with a limited budget.
Season 2 Had a good budget, expanded the storylines significantly and brought a real human survival element to the tale.
Season 3 Has made this a mainstay in my home and turned into a parable of the strength human spirit faced with unimaginable odds and suffering.


No Title Available

25 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome to Get Toddlers Swimming with Confidence, May 8, 2013
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I have a pair of these for both my 7 year-old daughter and my 3 year-old son.

My daughter has been swimming since about 3 years old and was previously using Speedo children's goggles but would often complain about them hurting her eyes after prolonged wear. When we started working with our son to get him acclimated to being underwater we started with similar "small-socket" goggles but they were seriously irritating his eyes.

A friend who is a triathlete recommended the Aqua Sphere brand and we gave them a shot. Both kids love them, the goggles fit over their eyes more around their brows and upper cheeks. Both kids like these much better for both that and the wider head straps that have nice ratcheting adjustment straps on the sides of the goggles that don't get snagged in hair.

For my son, this has really changed his comfort and confidence in the water; after only 4 swimming sessions with these he's been separating from me underwater and coming to the surface on his own and I'm sure he'll be swimming independently very shortly much like his sister at the same age. Can't ask for better than that!

And we liked them so much, we bought two adult pairs for my wife and I too.


SHARKK Silver Aluminum Wallet Credit Card Holder made byy SHARKK Brands
SHARKK Silver Aluminum Wallet Credit Card Holder made byy SHARKK Brands

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sturdy, Compact and Easy to Organize, May 8, 2013
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I've recently converted to using an iPhone "wallet case" for carrying around my bare essential wallet needs (a debit card, a credit card, drivers license and security RFID badge for work) and rarely carry cash and when I do, I just use a simple money clip.

The problem being that the other dozen cards I used to have packed in my wallet 100% of the time are still needed about 1% of the time and with this new compact phone/wallet combination, I'm regularly finding myself at the grocery store w/o my discount/gas card or at Costco/Bestbuy/Sam's Club/etc. w/o my club card or at a doctors appointment w/o my insurance card, etc.

The SHARKK wallet is perfect for keeping these 1%-utility cards organized and easy to get to. I keep it in my day bag or toss it in my car's dash "cubby" and know it's there when I need it but otherwise on a hinderance. Just ordered another one for my wife to do the same.

Pros:
1) Solid construction
2) Accordion slots make for easy organization/retreival of cards/money
3) Solid clasp that doesn't easily pop-open

Cons:
1) Doesn't take well to over-stuffing... really can only hold about 12 cards before straining the clasp.


ZAGG PRO Bluetooth Keyboard for Apple iPad 2 / iPad 3/ iPad 4 - Aluminum
ZAGG PRO Bluetooth Keyboard for Apple iPad 2 / iPad 3/ iPad 4 - Aluminum
Offered by World Class Inc.
Price: $22.99
25 used & new from $2.67

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Significant Flaw in iPad Slot!, April 26, 2013
I have a Logitech UltraThin Keyboard Cover for my iPad 3 and purchased one of these for my wife's iPad 2. My understanding from those in the know is that the Logitech cover is a licenced design from ZAGG and we assumed that the designs would be nearly identical. Unfortunately, there is one very significant flaw:

The slot that holds the iPad upright DOES NOT have a magnet in it like the Logitech model. This means that when using the keyboard you have to keep it on a nearly horizontal serface or the iPad just flops out of the case.

This is a big no-show for ZAGG as most of the time we use our iPads while lounging in the livingroom or chilling in bed and having to struggle with getting the correct angle to keep the ipad in place is moronic. By comparison, I can pickup my iPad with the Logitech keyboard cover attached to it and the cover doesn't even budge without significant shaking or wiggling.

We're going to return this model and go to the tried and true on we know works well and was well engineered.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: May 17, 2013 7:18 PM PDT


Professional iOS Network Programming: Connecting the Enterprise to the iPhone and iPad
Professional iOS Network Programming: Connecting the Enterprise to the iPhone and iPad
by Jack Cox
Edition: Paperback
30 used & new from $1.98

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The "Missing Manual" to iOS Network Programming, February 5, 2013
Coming from a mobile development background including Palm, WinCE, iOS and Android development, I can tell you that it's very rare to find a single resource that demystifies network programming in the mobile landscape quite as well as this book.

The structure of the book is very logical and guides the reader through a clear progression from fundamentals through intermediate techniques and covers several "challenging" advanced topics that regularly stump iOS developers. The content is concise and well-focussed and the examples do a good job of illustrating the subject matter of the book without being either impractical or obscure (as can often be the case in coding books). While Apple does a great job of providing solid references and sample code for the iOS SDK, it can sometimes be lacking the kind of focussed-topic guides that this book provides.

It's clear this book is written by seasoned professionals who have had real-world experience in iOS development. For someone "in the trenches" like myself, the brevity, focus and clarity of their writing is a breath of fresh air over the bloated tomes you often find on shelves and "last-version bins". And even if you feel you know everything there is to know about iOS networking dev, I would say you should still get this book for the Security and Payloads sections and keep it on hand for all the rest.

This will certainly be a welcome addition to "Mac OSX and iOS Internals" and "iOS SDK Pragmatic Programmer's Guide" on my bookshelf.


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