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Electronic Gadgetphile RSS Feed (St. Paul, MN)

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VMware Fusion - Old Version
VMware Fusion - Old Version
8 used & new from $0.99

56 of 58 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Works As Advertised - And Works Well, December 11, 2007
Like many MacAddicts on this site, I have a couple of PC based applications that I need to run apart from my Mac applications and didn't want to invest in separate hardware. I used Bootcamp Beta on my older iMac and found it to be OK but didn't like having to reboot to get to the other OS. Recently I purchased a new iMac 2.8 Mz with 4 GB of ram and wanted to see if VMware Fusion would provide me with the convenience of easily switching between Leopard (Mac) and Windows Vista Ultimate. The installation was reasonably painless and I had both systems up and running in short time. I loaded up my essential PC programs - MS Money and MS Publisher - and they worked like a dream. I did note that the Vista Aero effects would not work even when I optimized the system using the VMWare tools. Not a big deal. I then installed a PC game, Call of Duty, and could not get it to run effectively. I dropped back to earlier PC games such as MS Age of Empires and Command and Conquer and they also failed to perform adequately. I assumed it was a Vista thing and installed a separate copy of Windows XP which ran really well but just not games. Curious as to whether it was a virtualization (likely the MS/VM video drivers) versus hardware issue, I un-installed the Windows systems, re-based the Leopard system, installed Bootcamp and then Windows Vista Ultimate. After assuring Microsoft that I was not using my copy of Windows on multiple machines they gave me the secret code with authorized my Vista copy on my Bootcamp partition. When I brought up Vista through Bootcamp I found it to be very quick, Aero effects worked and more importantly, my PC games all installed and ran flawlessly. Now I am considering reinstalling VMware Fusion on the machine along with Windows XP to allow the easy switching back and forth between OS's (via VMware Fusion) and still have the capability of playing my *essential* PC games on the same machine via Bootcamp. In summary, I like VMware Fusion and it performs very well - just not with my PC based games.
(December 26, 2007 Update) I did install VMware Fusion on the Leopard partition and am running Windows XP and it is really running everything well with the exception of games. I love the ease of dragging pictures and files back and forth from WinXP to Mac and vice versa with no problems. I have PhotoShop in the Mac side and Microsoft Publisher on the Windows side and it is really painless editing jpegs and then dragging them into Publisher. Running very stable on both sides of the partitions. Still have Windows Vista Ultimate on the Bootcamp partition and it really handles the PC games well but not convenient for switching back and forth between PC and Mac OS's - reboot requred for every change. One curious feature I noted is with the two Seagate external backup drives I have attached to the iMac - one FAT 32 for Windows and the other HTFS format for the Mac. When I am running Leopard I can see and access both drives but when I start up VMware Fusion and bring up Win XP, the FAT 32 drive disappears from the Mac desktop and shows up on the WinXP side only. As soon as I suspend the VMware Fusion the FAT 32 pops up on the Mac desktop again. Not a problem, just interesting. I would suggest that if you are installing VMware Fusion on your Mac that you create enough space in your Windows partition to accommodate your future needs as well as your current ones - the methods I have seen for expanding partition sizes are fairly complex. Still really happy overall with this software.

Canus Goat's Milk Bar Soap, 3-Count Boxes (Pack of 4)
Canus Goat's Milk Bar Soap, 3-Count Boxes (Pack of 4)

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Conditioner for Your Skin, October 24, 2007
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Wifey was given a bar of the Canus Goat's Milk Bar Soap by a neighbor who swore by its ability leave the skin smooth and soft. So wifey used it in the shower and really liked it, thus convinced that it was safe would do me no harm I tried it. I found the soap to be good for washing up, had no odor and left my skin feeling clean and hydrated plus I didn't have any strange urges to eat tin cans:>) We liked it and wanted more "Goat Soap" but didn't want to beg the neighbor for more so I was given the task of finding it. Amazingly, a Google search revealed that it was available through Amazon and if I ordered enough I would get free shipping. I placed the order, it came a week later and wifey was thrilled. Happy wife, happy life.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Feb 14, 2008 7:05 PM PST

No Title Available

86 of 86 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Watchdog, October 24, 2007
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I am fortunate enough to have two residences that I live in depending on the time of the year. Spring and Summer in Minnesota and late Fall and Winter in Southern California. Leaving the Minnesota home unattended throughout the Winter is anxiety inducing as a power or furnace failure in the sub zero weather could lead to frozen pipes or other disasters. I do have internet cameras monitoring the house along with an indoor/outdoor thermometer that can be seen on the camera but I need to have access to high speed internet and the power needs to be on in the house in order for me to see what is going on. I wanted something more secure but didn't want to pay an alarm service several hundred dollars to add in temperature monitors to my existing entry alarm system. After searching around I found the Control Inter Freeze Alarm on Amazon. The reviews were good so I went to their website and downloaded the product manual to see the details on what it could do. I was impressed at the capability and features so I ordered one. When it arrived I scanned through the instructions and set it up in about 10 minutes. The software control of the unit (embedded) is ingenious and kudos to the developers. Once plugged into the electrical and phone lines you can set it with numerous variables like setting the alarm temperature, how long at the temperature before it calls one of the three numbers you program into it, how many rings before it answers - yes you can call the unit and it will report temperature, power condition and backup battery level - you can also reprogram any of the selectable parameters over the phone after entering your password and choosing the desired variable from the very simple voice guided menu. I was concerned that my answering machine would answer before the unit and I would never get through or I would only get the freeze alarm and never the answering machine. Control has an ingenious solution where you select a ring count for answering that is higher than the answering machine - my answering machine answers after 6 rings so I set the Control Inter Freeze Alarm to answer on 8. The Alarm will retain the ring count for ~3 minutes so I call the home number and get the answering machine after 6 rings, hang up and call again and the Alarm answers after 2 rings and I'm in. Really well done. The manual is very comprehensive but difficult to read for techno-phobes. Fortunately, the unit is very simple to use and using the manual only for specifics will make setup easy and painless. Testing the unit is a bit awkward as you need to put the temperature probe in a waterproof bag and immerse the protected probe in ice water and then wait until the unit starts calling out the programmed phone numbers and alerting as to an alarm condition - it works but I would have rather seen a test button to do the same thing. Having said all of that I am very pleased and I like the unit a lot.

February 2008 update. Working on my computer late two nights ago my cell phone rang and it was my Minnesota home calling me here in California - strange I thought as I answered the phone as no one is at that home. The voice on the other end was Inter Freeze Alarm telling me that the temperature in the house was 45 F and an alarm condition existed. I decided to wait until morning to see if it was some sort of anomaly before calling my son who is going to school in the area. I called the alarm early the next morning and it indicated the temperature was now 40 F and an alarm condition existed. Called my son who went over to the house, found out the furnace blower motor had seized and got the repair company in a few hours later. This puppy just paid for itself several times over with the damage that could have ensued with frozen pipes and subsequent water damage.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 28, 2009 7:31 AM PST

HP Photosmart C6180 All-in-One Printer, Fax, Scanner, and Copier
HP Photosmart C6180 All-in-One Printer, Fax, Scanner, and Copier
20 used & new from $89.99

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Flawless with Mac, October 24, 2007
Needing to have a wireless network printer, copier and scanner I did a bit of Googling and narrowed in on the HP 6180 as having the combination of features, quality and price that I was after. Most importantly, it supported both PC and Mac operating systems - not all do so it pays to check ahead of time. Unboxing and setup was very good as is typical for HP who really thinks these things through. Loading the software on my Sony SZ laptop was easy but the program is huge and loaded with lots of HP extras that had minimal value for me. Discovering the printer wirelessly on the network was quick and without incident which was good. Trying to print to the unit was another story as I could "see" the printer on the network and print a test page from the HP Toolbox but not print from any application including Wordpad which is one recommended by HP's Online Help. I did numerous uninstalls, reinstalls, loaded the latest drivers from HP's very helpful website to no avail. Lastly I spent almost two hours online with HP support and we tried dozens of things but nothing worked. My last resort was to baseline the SZ - a huge pain given the number of applications and necessary updates but good for system stability overall. I reloaded the HP software and it worked - my best guess is that something in the Windows XP Pro OS was corrupted and conflicting with the HP software. Now for the best part. Wifey's MacBook Pro was sitting in the den turned on and connected wirelessly to the network while I was struggling through the Windows install on the Sony SZ. I needed to print some business documents so I emailed the files to her account and went over to her computer to install the HP 6180 and try printing from there. I used the Mac print utility to discover the printer and it was already there. The software was already on the system and setup to print which it did flawlessly. I congratulated her on installing and configuring the software on her Mac however she claimed she didn't do anything. I was amazed. Until I received my new iMac this week. I set it up in the usual painless Mac way, installed the software from HP and it configured itself and was ready to go in less than 15 minutes. The print quality is very good and I like that I can replace individual ink cartridge colors as they deplete as opposed to an entire multi-color cartridge - the unit tells you which colors are low or in need of replacement - will even show up on your host computer as to what the individual ink levels are. Scanning is a bit slow but it works fine and the resolution is good. I haven't hooked up the FAX as the Time Warner VOIP phone system doesn't work with FAX machines. Overall, I really pleased with the unit and it's overall performance on the Mac systems and a bit less so on the PC systems given the interaction with the Windows OS and the size of the software install.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 9, 2009 10:42 AM PDT

Sony VAIO VGP-BPS2C Standard Capacity Battery for Sz and Fe Series Notebooks
Sony VAIO VGP-BPS2C Standard Capacity Battery for Sz and Fe Series Notebooks

23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Direct Replacement, September 14, 2007
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
My Sony SZ laptop worked well for the first 13 months of ownership and then the battery died. Not just poor battery life but outright died - most likely due to an internal short in the battery pack. Checking my warranty information I found that the battery is not covered by the extended warranty I bought, was beyond the one year Sony warranty and not subject to one of Sony's battery recalls. After some serious Googling I learned that the replacement batteries are expensive, generic batteries are about half the cost and some folks have reported bad experiences with generics. When I looked into the generics I did note that the power density was not the same as the Sony branded product - look at the mAh rating and the higher the better. Further Googling evidenced that Amazon was price competitive and I had the assurance of Amazon service. The new battery arrived quickly and is an exact copy of the original I had in my Sony laptop when I bought it. My only wish is that they were cheaper and longer lasting.

No Title Available

70 of 73 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Comfort, September 14, 2007
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I have plantar fascitis which means that walking distances without orthotic shoe inserts and well supported rubber soled shoes quickly results in agonizing heel pain. Finding good walking shoes that look good at a reasonable price is almost as painful. In short, these work so well that I now have three pairs and are my shoes of choice for any activity short of dress up functions. I would note that they tend to run a tad smaller than other walking shoes and you may want to order a half size larger than normal if you have orthotic shoe inserts. Best approach is to find a store where you can try them on to verify size and then buy them from the source that offers the best price, choice and service which is usually going to be Amazon. I am really pleased with these shoes and will probably buy another pair (color) when they go on special sale.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jul 2, 2014 4:30 AM PDT

Schumacher SE-1-12S-CA  Fully Automatic Onboard Battery Charger - 1.5 Amps
Schumacher SE-1-12S-CA Fully Automatic Onboard Battery Charger - 1.5 Amps
Price: $19.84
31 used & new from $15.87

107 of 114 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Solid Quality, September 14, 2007
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I am fortunate enough to maintain two houses - one in the mid-West for the summer and a second one in the Palm Springs area for the winter. Rather than drive 1500 miles each way I have a couple of cars in each location so each set will sit idle for six months of the year which means I usually have two dead batteries when I arrive for the season. I tried a cheaper brand of trickle charger in the desert last year and it worked but I was afraid that if it burned out I would still return to dead batteries. I really like the quality of the Schumacher products having two of their multifunction battery chargers that have worked well for over 10 years. When I saw that they offered high quality trickle chargers I bought two of them to make the switch to worry free charging. The chargers are well built and heavy for their size and the build quality is typical Schumacher. The chargers are intended to be installed in the engine compartment with battery connections that are permanently connected to the charger and for power a short plug comes out of the side of the unit and is easily connected to a grounded extension cord. I really didn't want to install these under the hood even though they supply the mounting brackets and screws required but I did like the idea of the permanent connection to the battery as opposed to a clamp which could fall off in the middle of the season and leave me with a dead battery. Remembering how the chargers connected in the Power Wheels toys my sons had several years ago, I was able to find polarity keyed plug connectors in the trailer wiring section of the local auto parts store and now have a short pigtail permanently connected to the battery and the ability to plug and unplug it into the charger when I want. Now I have the best of all worlds, the security of a solid connection to the battery and the flexibility of being able to plug and unplug the charger with ease. I like this a lot.
Comment Comments (4) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Feb 22, 2013 10:47 PM PST

No Title Available

31 of 35 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Comprehensive - But Maybe Too Much So, August 14, 2007
I needed to get a copies of Access and Publisher for my new laptop which was running 2003 Office Standard. After Googling around a bit I determined that Office Professional would give me these plus the upgraded to 2007 Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Outlook applications with a host of other features including Business Contact Manager for about the same cost. The install was reasonably painless and the software activated and registered without any problems - not always the case with Microsoft but this time they seemed to get it right. After using the applications for a couple of weeks I am still trying to get used to the "Ribbon Bar" which is markedly different, somewhat intuitive and decidedly more comprehensive. The applications take longer to initialize and Outlook has become painfully slower but works. I am running it on a Sony SZ230P with Intel Centrino Duo T2400 1.83 GHz running XP Pro with 2 gigs of RAM so maybe it is underpowered. I did uninstall the desktop search agent which seemed to make the system more sluggish and have now improved performance a bit. I am reasonably proficient in the Office applications but probably only use 5-10% of the functionality embedded - but I carry the overhead on the system which, I believe, bogs the system down overall. Would be nice if MS would allow the configuration of various levels of sophistication during the install process depending on the needs of the user. In summary, I will continue to use the Suite and become more proficient in using the "Ribbon Bars" and hoping that MS will issue some upgrades that speed up the system overall until I can afford to upgrade the laptop to a faster processor.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: May 6, 2010 3:20 PM PDT

Escient FireBall SE-80 Digital Music Manager (Discontinued by Manufacturer)
Escient FireBall SE-80 Digital Music Manager (Discontinued by Manufacturer)

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Essential Component for Your Stereo, July 20, 2007
I bought a new house and first became aware of the SE-80 when the Home Theater installer recommended it. I was initally skeptical and not too willing to pay close to $1,000 for what I considered an iPod on steroids. Ultimately, I relented and went with the installer's advice and included it in the system. I am really glad that I did because the SE-80 does everything I hoped for and more. In my installation the unit is hooked up to the home network, Sony XBR LCD and stereo system. I have numerous albums loaded on the 80 GB hard drive and was able to do it wirelessly from the iTunes application on my laptop. You just network into the SE-80, open the folder for adding music and drag and drop the mp3 albums out of iTunes into the folder. You can then call up the albums on the TV and select the ones you want and you're good to go. Another feature I really like is the Internet Radio which brings in numerous stations from across the net including several choices of NPR which is difficult to receive OTA where I live. All in all I really like the unit, the documentation is great, it is simple to use - only wish it was a bit less expensive. Having said all of that, I would buy it again.

Polycom Communicator C100S Blue
Polycom Communicator C100S Blue
Offered by iSave
Price: $128.45
43 used & new from $118.95

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Product & Fair Price, June 6, 2007
I am an independent consultant who needs to make a lot of calls, frequently long conference calls and quite often to Europe. After researching numerous options I settled on Skype as providing the cost and flexibility I needed to facilitate my needs which includes making calls on the road. I then needed to optimize the way I communicate with Skype and progressed from the built in microphone and speaker on my laptop (too much feedback), to a headset, both bluetooth and wired (OK but tethered to the computer with wired and comfort in hour two with Bluetooth), to a speaker phone. Having used the Polycom speaker phones for many years in Corporate America I was familiar with their superior build quality and excellent audio clarity and performance. I also considered wireless Skype phones but the chargers and auxiliary hardware I would need to carry on the road ruled them out.

The Polycom C100S has been great with no issues on microphone or speaker setup and performance. I do note that the clarity of the calls is better on "wired" high speed connections as opposed to "wireless" connections but even the "wireless" is adequate. The "wired" connections are clear with excellent tonal range and performance. The reviewers who have had performance problems may want to try a "wired" connection to their high speed internet before they bail out of this product.

The only knock I would have is that the built in USB cable does not look as robust as the rest of the unit and is a bit difficult to wind up properly so that the case closes cleanly. The unit is self contained in the convenient carry case and requires no additional cables, power supplies or other accessories - very portable. All in all I am quite pleased with the product and would repeat the purchase again.

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