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Ron Cronovich "Ron" RSS Feed (Kenosha, WI)
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Logitech MX Anywhere 2 Wireless Mobile Mouse, Long Range Wireless Mouse
Logitech MX Anywhere 2 Wireless Mobile Mouse, Long Range Wireless Mouse
Price: $49.99
53 used & new from $43.43

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A great option for frequent travelers with small hands. Not for me, though., August 27, 2016
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
The MXA2 has some features that will be really useful for some folks, for example:

It can track on almost any surface, as advertised. The built-in bluetooth is handy when your computer doesn't have any free USB ports. And the ability to recharge the internal battery via USB makes charging as easy as charging your phone. And if you travel a lot, the small size is great.

But for me, the most important thing is comfort. For work, I occasionally have sessions of mouse-intensive computing that last hours. (I'm in the middle of one right now and writing this review to procrastinate.) The MXA2 is too small for me to hold comfortably - my slightly longer than average fingers stick way out over the end of the mouse.

Also, the MXA2 didn't track as precisely when I connected it via bluetooth. There was the occasional random cursor jump, and sometimes moving the cursor to a very specific part of the screen was difficult.

A much better option for me is the Logitech M705 Marathon Mouse Logitech Wireless Marathon Mouse M705 With 3-year Battery Life. I bought one 2 years ago for work. It's always worked perfectly and I haven't yet had to change the batteries. It's super comfy, even for long computing sessions.

My best advice to you is go to a local store where you can hold this mouse and some other models to see which is the most comfortable. Remember - when buying online, you can see all the specs and features, but you can't know how comfortable it is until you can hold it in your hand.

Good luck with your purchase decision. Whichever way you go, I strongly recommend buying from Amazon or other retailer with 30-day no questions asked return policy, because you have to use it for a while to tell if it's the right one for you.


Logitech Wireless Marathon Mouse M705 With 3-year Battery Life
Logitech Wireless Marathon Mouse M705 With 3-year Battery Life
Price: $29.60
163 used & new from $11.95

4.0 out of 5 stars More comfortable (to me) than many newer models, but missing features on newer models., August 27, 2016
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
An older model mouse that's still great. I bought two years ago to use at work. It's worked perfectly all this time and I've only had to change the battery once. The mouse's size and ergonomics are great - I can mouse for hours without fatigue.

There are zillions of different models of mice, and lots of tradeoffs you have to consider. Comparing this older Marathon M705 with the newer MX Anywhere 2 illustrates some of these tradeoffs.

The MX Anywhere 2 can track on almost any surface. It has a permanent internal battery that recharges via standard micro USB cable, which is more convenient in my opinion than recharging the AA batteries in the M705. And it can connect to your laptop via bluetooth, if you want to free up a USB port, or via Logitech unifying receiver (the same one that comes with the M705).

But the MXA2 is more expensive than the M705, and for me, the big thing is comfort. My hands are slightly bigger than average and my fingers are longer than average. The MXA2 is too small for me to use comfortably for long periods of time. When holding it, my fingers stick way out beyond the end of the mouse. It's not horrible, just a bit awkward - especially after a while.

In contrast, the Marathon M705 is a little bigger (but still easy to travel with) and has, for me, perfect ergonomics. It's super comfortable to use.

I ended up returning the MXA2 and purchasing a second M705 to use at home and when traveling.

For some folks, the MXA2 will be more comfortable, or at least won't be as uncomfortable as it is for me. And the MXA2's ability to track on nearly any surface will be more valuable to some people than to me.

For me, the M705's strengths, not to mention its lower cost, make it the best choice for me.

The unfortunate thing about buying online is you can't hold the mouse first to get a sense of its ergonomics and comfort. So I strongly recommend going to a local store and holding difference mice to see which one is more comfortable before purchasing online.


KEF LS50 Mini Monitor - High Gloss Piano Black (Pair)
KEF LS50 Mini Monitor - High Gloss Piano Black (Pair)
Price: $1,499.99
2 used & new from $1,499.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another glowing review for the LS50s! But allow time to break them in., August 23, 2016
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
In 1993, I bought a pair of KEF speakers for $400, paired with my Linn Majik integrated amp and was in stereo heaven for 20+ years. That equipment still works and sounds great, but I am fortunate to be in a better financial position now and wanted to buy some (even) better speakers. I was biased toward KEF based on my excellent experience with previous KEF speakers (I also bought the KEF X300A about 2 1/2 years ago and LOVE them), though I did audition a few other speakers in this price range before purchasing the LS50s.

I love the LS50s and really can't add much to the glowing comments of other reviewers - both regular folks like you and me and professional reviewers.

But I will say this: the LS50s really need to be broken in. Out of the box, they don't sound good (nor did my X300As or the KEFs I purchased 20 years ago). After 5 hours of break in, they will start to sound nice and you'll have an idea of their potential. After 20 hours of break in, they'll sound very, very good. They will continue to improve over the next 50 hours but not as dramatically as in the first 20.

I strongly suggest running a CD on infinite repeat while you're at work for a few days, and overnight if your stereo is far enough from your bedroom that it won't disrupt your sleep.


Monoprice 102681 3-Feet High Quality RG6 RCA CL2 Rated Digital Coaxial Audio Cable
Monoprice 102681 3-Feet High Quality RG6 RCA CL2 Rated Digital Coaxial Audio Cable
Price: $6.22
19 used & new from $5.30

5.0 out of 5 stars Highly recommended, works great, great price, August 23, 2016
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I bought this cable to connect the digital coax output of my Cambridge Audio cd player to the coax input of my integrated amp, which contains its own DAC. Compared to connecting the cd player using standard analog RCA cables, the sound quality is better with this monoprice coax cable, though the difference isn't HUGE as the Cambridge cd player has a pretty good DAC built in.

The cable is well-made and I have very good experience with past Monoprice cables lasting years and years.

The price is very, very reasonable.


Sanus SF26B1 Black (Pr.) 26-inch Speaker Stands
Sanus SF26B1 Black (Pr.) 26-inch Speaker Stands
11 used & new from $85.00

5.0 out of 5 stars Highly recommended speaker stands, I love the height (26"), looks, performance, and price! Straightforward assembly., August 23, 2016
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I bought these stands for my KEF LS50s. My local high-end audio store used them to demo the KEFs and other speakers I was considering. They highly recommend them. But they charge $50 more than Amazon.

I bought them from Amazon (one of Amazon's marketplace sellers, actually). Setup took 30 minutes or so and was pretty straight-forward. I've been very happy with their performance. I've owned cheaper speaker stands and more expensive ones, shorter and taller ones, and these are definitely my favorites.

Also, they look good and are very unobtrusive.

Highly recommended.

I should note that the Amazon Marketplace seller I purchased these from was Adorama Camera (!!). Their service was excellent and shipping was prompt. The stands arrived with zero damage and zero missing parts. I recommend them.


Pawfect Pet-Large Soft Sided Airline Approved Pet Carrier For Dog Or Cat, 18" L x 12" W x 11.5" H, Black
Pawfect Pet-Large Soft Sided Airline Approved Pet Carrier For Dog Or Cat, 18" L x 12" W x 11.5" H, Black
Offered by JAR Enterprises,LLC
Price: $39.95
2 used & new from $29.95

3.0 out of 5 stars Good not great, there's a better (and less expensive) option you should consider instead, August 23, 2016
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I bought this a few months ago to replace a hard plastic carrier with a metal grate for a door. On long car rides, my cat would claw at the metal grate to try to get out, and his paws would get bloody. I knew I had to switch to a soft case.

This one is a good one in most ways. I got a large one for my medium sized cat, and it's large enough that he is comfy inside and has room to turn around and change positions. It might be too large to take on an airplane, though.

It seems reasonably well-made.

But I don't strongly recommend it for two reasons.

First, the sides aren't very rigid, and as a result it doesn't hold its shape very well.

Second, the one by Amazon Basics is better and a little less expensive. AmazonBasics Black Soft-Sided Pet Carrier - Large I bought both of them because I have two cats, and I definitely prefer the Amazon Basics one.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Aug 24, 2016 7:31 AM PDT


Milty Zerostat 3 Anti-Static Gun, Blue
Milty Zerostat 3 Anti-Static Gun, Blue
Price: $79.99
20 used & new from $79.99

3.0 out of 5 stars Makes a difference, but often just a small difference, and it's expensive for what it is, August 23, 2016
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I bought this to reduce static on LPs before playing them.

I find it does make a difference, though not a huge difference in many cases. And it's expensive for what it is.

(I've also used it in a few other applications to reduce static - sometimes it works well, other times not so much.)

Should you buy this? The decision isn't a no-brainer. If you can afford it, go ahead, just don't have really high expectations.

I see that other people have higher opinions of the Zerostat 3. Their opinions are just as valid as mine. But it's good to get different perspectives before spending your hard-earned money, so you can have more realistic expectations.


FosPower (3 Feet) 24K Gold Plated Toslink to Mini Toslink Digital Optical S/PDIF Audio Cable with Metal Connectors & Strain-Relief PVC Jacket
FosPower (3 Feet) 24K Gold Plated Toslink to Mini Toslink Digital Optical S/PDIF Audio Cable with Metal Connectors & Strain-Relief PVC Jacket
Offered by FosPower
Price: $7.99
3 used & new from $5.95

5.0 out of 5 stars Highly recommended for hi-fi audio, assuming your devices have the right plugs, August 23, 2016
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I'm perfectly happy with the quality and performance of this cable, and the price was excellent.

I've used this cable in two different ways to connect Apple equipment to my stereo with built-in DAC.

The first one is connecting a Macbook Pro to an external DAC, or a stereo amp with a built-in DAC. The standard 3.5mm earphone jack on the Macbook Pro can output standard analog signals or optical.

The second one is connecting an Apple Airport Express to an external DAC or stereo amp with built-in DAC. The Airport Express has the same dual-purpose 3.5mm audio output: analog or optical.

In both of these applications, this cable allows you to bypass the DAC of the Macbook Pro or the Airport Express, which you'll want to do if you have a good stereo with built-in or external DAC. This significantly improves the sound quality.

(I would also add that streaming to your system via wi-fi using an Airport Express is much better than streaming over bluetooth, I've done both and have done A/B comparisons - and it's far easier than I was expecting to set up the Airport Express to do this - I got my Airport Express refurbished from the Apple online refurbished store for 1/2 price and it is indistinguishable from a new one - highly recommended!)

Important note: The 3.5mm analog output jack on most devices does NOT also support optical output. A few people who bought this cable did not know this and found the cable to be useless and gave it a bad review. That's not the cable's fault. Be sure this cable is what you really need before ordering. If it is, you'll be happy.


AmazonBasics Black Soft-Sided Pet Carrier - Large
AmazonBasics Black Soft-Sided Pet Carrier - Large
Price: $27.99
8 used & new from $22.37

5.0 out of 5 stars Better than the more expensive name-brand soft pet carriers, highly recommended!, August 23, 2016
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I have two medium-sized cats. Previously, I used hard carriers whose doors were metal grates. In the car, one of the cats would constantly work at the grate to try to open the door, and his paws would start bleeding. It was time to get a soft carrier.

My first soft carrier was a name brand that cost much more than the Amazon Basics one. It did the job okay, but the sides were not rigid enough and it would collapse too easily.

The large Amazon Basics carrier is just about perfect. The sides are just rigid enough that it holds its shape. It is soft and comfy inside. I love that it has a door on top as well as on the front - sometimes at the vet, the cat won't come out of the carrier front door, so you can open the top door and just lift him out.

I've only had it a few months, but it seems reasonably well-made - at least as well-made as the more expensive name-brand carrier I bought.

One last thing about the size: I got the large. The medium is big enough for a cat but not very roomy inside. The large is big enough that the cat can comfortably turn around and change positions. I think this is very important on long car rides. The only downside of the large size is it might not work for bringing your cat on an airplane. But I never do that, so it's no problem for me.


Apple AirPort Express Base Station (MC414LL/A)
Apple AirPort Express Base Station (MC414LL/A)
75 used & new from $45.98

5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent for streaming hi-fidelity audio, better than bluetooth, and refurbished is the way to go, August 19, 2016
I bought a refurbished Airport Express to stream music to my stereo system via wifi. I couldn't be more satisfied. Sound quality is much better than bluetooth.

SETUP, EASE OF USE, AND ANALOG VS OPTICAL

Setting up the Airport Express to stream audio to my stereo was easier than I expected and took only 10 minutes (including taking it out of the box). Once set up, my stereo via this Airport Express shows up as a sound option on all my iDevices and my laptop.

The Airport Express has a standard 3.5mm minijack which does double-duty: you can connect a standard analog cable or an optical cable.

My stereo has a built-in DAC and TOSlink optical inputs, but I didn't have the right cable (3.5mm spdif/optical on one end, TOSlink on the other), so I used a standard analog cable, as the Airport Express has a very good DAC built in and outputs good quality analog signal. It sounded very good. I think most people would be very happy with the sound quality using a basic analog cable.

But optical sounds better: I ordered this inexpensive cable FosPower (3 Feet) 24K Gold Plated Toslink to Mini Toslink Digital Optical S/PDIF Audio Cable with Metal Connectors & Strain-Relief PVC Jacket and used it to connect the Airport Express. Doing so bypasses the DAC in the Airport Express and outputs a purely digital signal. I chose my stereo amp because it has a pretty great DAC built in, so it was no surprise that audio from the Airport Express sounded better.

SOUND QUALITY, AIRPORT EXPRESS VS BLUETOOTH

The Airport Express produces a signal at full CD quality (16 bit / 44kHz). If the file you're streaming is that resolution or lower, you'll hear it without any additional loss from streaming. In other words, it will sound as good streaming as it does over a wired connection.

If you're streaming a higher resolution track, the Airport Express will downsample it to 16/44, so it won't sound as good as a wired connection. It'll sound as good as a CD, though.

In either case, you're getting MUCH better audio quality with the Airport Express than you'd get with Bluetooth. Bluetooth compresses the audio signal, so on the other end the signal is degraded somewhat and doesn't sound as good.

Before getting the Airport Express, I streamed to my Cambridge Audio integrated amp using a $100 bluetooth dongle manufactured by Cambridge Audio and designed to work well with my amp. I was pleased with the sound quality, I never knew bluetooth could sound that good - though I was always aware that it didn't sound quite as good as a wired connection.

I bought the Airport Express thinking I'd return it if it didn't sound better than my bluetooth dongle. I did A/B comparisons, and streaming via wifi to the Airport Express sounds noticeably better than streaming to the expensive bluetooth dongle, though the difference was less noticeable for compressed MP3/AAC tracks and more noticeable for CD or better quality tracks.

So I am definitely keeping the Airport Express

REFURBISHED

I bought a refurbished Airport Express from the Apple online store for $50. The only way you can tell it's refurbished is it comes in a different box. The unit itself literally looks and operates like brand new. I would never buy a new one when refurbished is an option.

That said, I can't speak for units refurbished by a third party. I'd definitely get one from Apple, which at the time I'm writing this is cheaper than the 3rd party refurbished units.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Aug 19, 2016 8:24 AM PDT


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