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mark r.

mark r.

Joined on 07/20/01

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Most Favorable Review

Good all around camera

D-Link DCS-933L Day & Night Wi-Fi Camera with Wi-Fi Extender
D-Link DCS-933L Day & Night Wi-Fi Camera with Wi-Fi Extender

Pros: The versatility in ways this can be mounted is excellent. You can either stick with the basic upright stand it comes with and use it on a flat surface, or you can mount it to either a vertical wall or ceiling. The range of motion is excellent on the mount and allows for precise adjustment by tightening the connector. The setup wizard is easy to use and forces you to set a password for your device which greatly improves security. Unfortunately, it requires only an alphanumeric password (letters and numbers) and does not allow special characters ($%# etc.) so you are limited in the password you can use and they are less secure. Once the basic setup is completed and you have created an online Mydlink account you can choose to enable the various event triggers and whether to have the device email you alerts, images and or video. Setup of the email notification was relatively simple via the website with Hotmail, Gmail and yahoo all being supported with a simple username and password. At this point I recommend that you download the User Manual from the website and use this as a reference for logging into the device itself and setting any extra options. Setting the event triggers was also relatively simple via the website although you will need to login to the device itself if you want to enable video to be sent as it seems that only images are sent using the default settings. Logging into the device also allows you to fully customize the camera settings for items such as the usual brightness, contrast and saturation as well as image and video resolution. My initial tests were done by enabling the motion detection and specifying a particular window in my room as the area to monitor for movement. I then walked past that area a few times to see if an event was triggered and whether an email was sent to my account. Within 30 seconds I received emails into my Hotmail account each with 6 images, 3 before the triggered event and 3 after, all of great quality and totaling 200kb in size. I then changed the setting to capture video instead of still images. Again an email was received although it took just under a minute as the file size was 2MB in size for the 6 second video. The image quality of the video was clear and stutter free with the same 640x480 image resolution as the still images. Image quality can be reduced if required to 320x240 or 160x120 for situations where smaller files are needed or you have internet upload bandwidth restrictions. As well as PC access you can also access your live camera feed using the downloadable app for you Android or iOS device. For the purposes of this review I used an Android smartphone device using Wi-Fi and Sprint 3G and an Android Tablet using Wi-Fi and Verizon LTE. The free app easily downloaded and was straight forward to log into the application. The live feed and sound were clearly visible using a Wi-Fi connection, however, the 3G connection of the smartphone was not fast enough to connect to the device. T

Cons: The setup wizard does not allow you to initially select and setup your device using a wireless connection if you have chosen to hide your wireless network (not broadcast your SSID). You will either need to temporarily enable SSID broadcast or setup your device wired and then configure the wireless setting later by logging into the device itself as even the online mydlink website will not work. Many of the features are not available via the mydlink website and require you to connect into your device using its web based console which is ok to use but designed more for those used to configuring home routers etc. Unfortunately for some, the fact that this device requires a powered connection may limit the ways in which it can be used. If you wish to mount this product high up on a ceiling or wall you will need to run a power cable up the wall, of which you will have to purchase separately as the 3-4ft power cable will not be long enough. If you your home internet connection has a slow upload speed (DSL, AT&T u-verse etc) then you may experience problems viewing the image from the camera remotely as upload speed is important to get the image to the internet. Image quality is only 640x480 so no HD picture from this camera. The Wi-Fi extender feature is not available if you decide to use the wired connection on the back of the device. You must both enable Wi-Fi and remove the cable from the device to be able to use the Wi-Fi extending capabilities.

Overall Review: The 2nd major function of this device is the “Wi-Fi extender” feature. What this essentially does is give better Wi-Fi coverage in your home by enabling devices to connect to your wireless network via the camera rather than having to go directly to your wireless router or access point. This means that you can have your wireless router on one floor of your home and the camera on the other floor to give better coverage. I tested this feature using and Android app “Wi-Fi analyzer” in my 2 story home where the wireless router is located upstairs and my test area was downstairs. The results were very impressive with a significant boost to wireless strength downstairs and better coverage. For those technically minded, the signal from upstairs was approximately -65db and downstairs -40db so quite an improvement. There is no install CD included in the packaging. Now whereas some may see this as a CON others, like myself, view this as a PRO as it produces less waste and often drivers can be outdated on the install CD provided so you will likely still end up downloading a newer version. The product is only available in white so there is no black version if you want to mount in an area with a darker surround and not have it stand out. Overall I would say that if you have a need for watching kids or pets or would like to setup a security camera for when you are away then it is a product definitely worth considering. It stands out above most others by adding the “Wi-Fi extender” feature but it is slightly hampered by only being a relatively low resolution 640x480. If you require a higher resolution picture or need the ability to remotely pan/tilt the camera then D-Link also has a very large range of products, each of which seem to suit your needs and at various price points.

Most Critical Review

works fine unless loaded

NETGEAR 8-Port Gigabit Ethernet Unmanaged Switch (GS608NA)
NETGEAR 8-Port Gigabit Ethernet Unmanaged Switch (GS608NA)

Pros: works great with good transer speeds when using gigabit devices. Can be mounted on a wall or upright in 2 different ways

Cons: every few months this switch locks up and stops working. I suspect the device is overheating as it will work again if you switch it off for a few minutes

Overall Review: I have this connected to my main gaming PC, home server and TiVo. Should be fine if you are not transferring large files often but if you are I would get a metal chasis switch which will help reduce overheating

Great product but there are other alternatives

Corsair K70 RGB PRO Wired Mechanical Gaming Keyboard (Cherry MX RGB Brown Switches: Linear and Fast, 8,000Hz Hyper-Polling, PBT Double-Shot PRO Keycaps, Soft-Touch Palm Rest) QWERTY, NA - Black
Corsair K70 RGB PRO Wired Mechanical Gaming Keyboard (Cherry MX RGB Brown Switches: Linear and Fast, 8,000Hz Hyper-Polling, PBT Double-Shot PRO Keycaps, Soft-Touch Palm Rest) QWERTY, NA - Black

Pros: - Great solid keyboard similar to my very old K70 Vengeance that my daughter now uses and has been 100% reliable - nice slim detachable cable for those of you who want to move the keyboard to other locations - Certified XBOX Series X/S compatibility - lots of custom options within the iCue software - quieter than my current keyboard** with less "clack" - no toxic fumes so approved by family feline :-)

Cons: - the keys seems to have extra "rattle" to them which was noticeable when you lightly touch the keys and there was what seemed to be excessive looseness - similar to the rattle the larger keys seem to "rock" rather than push down evenly - Corsair iCue software harder to customize than equivalent software from Razer

Overall Review: Another great keyboard from Corsair with highly customizable RGB layout where you can essentially have every key do something unique using iCue. If you have other Corsair components such as mice and fans that can be controlled via iCue like I do on my daughters gaming PC then this is a great addition and you can match or sync them all together. This will replace my very old K70 Vengeance (Red) that my daughter is using for her gaming PC but personally after using my current keyboard** for over a year I prefer the typing feel of the optical switches on my Razer. **for reference my comparisons are to my Razer Huntsman Tournament Edition TKL (Tenkeyless) which I use because I game with a Razer Tartarus on left side so need smaller keyboard and preferred the optical keys to the Cherry. Corsair does have a TKL Gaming keyboard with Optical keys - CORSAIR K60 PRO TKL RG - which I will be trying if I have issues with current keyboard.

great value extender

TP-Link TL-WA750RE 150Mbps Universal WiFi Range Extender
TP-Link TL-WA750RE 150Mbps Universal WiFi Range Extender

Pros: Easy to setup even if you do not use the super easy "plug and press" method as cat5 cable included. Works as advertised and definitely boosts the signal in a distant room. Visually appealing. If plugged into the lower socket on a wall outlet it is the same size as the outlet and covers the outlet completely and is usually the same color.

Cons: Could not get to run at full 150Mbps, max was 105Mbps Difficult to remove from packaging. Poor signal outside of the room it is plugged into.

Overall Review: This was easy to setup once you managed to navigate the packaging. I opted to not use the PWS button option and plugged it directly into a laptop using the included Cat5 cable. Windows 7 device auto prompted for the login once it connected automatically and the steps were very easy. It was up and running quicker that it took me to get it out of the packaging so nice plus. SIgnal wise, it managed to boost the signal by around 30% initialy as I placed it in the furthest room with a 2 led signal from the main router. After relocating in the same room to a position closer to the main router the signal received jumped to 3 led and signal boost was now over 100% boost (-28db compared to routers -66db) IN SUMMARY - this is a great device for the price point it is at and east to setup which is important. More importantly, IT WORKS and does what it says. As a side note I did test this in my garage using its secondary function as a wireless adapter. I plugged the cat5 from the device into the Ethernet port on the PC and was able to connect with a fairly good signal, despite the many obstacles blocking the wireless connection from the router.

compact and great value

BUFFALO AirStation AC433 Dual Band Wireless USB Adapter - WI-U2-433DM
BUFFALO AirStation AC433 Dual Band Wireless USB Adapter - WI-U2-433DM

Pros: compact size easier to install surprisingly good reception better signal strength than tested internal wifi adapter

Cons: small size means more chance of itgetting lost

Overall Review: Tested on a couple of DELL Latitude E6420 laptops running Windows 7 Enterprise and Windows 7 Pro. Initially I tested to see if it would auto load drivers when inserted but it did not. Not a negative but just an observation. Drivers installed fairly easily once CD was inserted and was up and running in a few minutes. As others had tested speed, my main concern with such a compact device was reception and signal strength, after all, internal wifi adapters have a big advantage as they usually, as with the Dell, have an antenna that runs around the LCD monitor and should technically be far superior. What I found was very surprising and a great surprise as the signal strength of the AC433 was always within +5db signal strength and sometimes actually picked up a better signal than the internal wifi. This was confirmed by running some speed tests via the speedtest website on our business 100/100Mbps connection and the results always gave the AC433 a faster upload and download speed indicating superior signal strength and throughput.

Great LED fan

ENERMAX T.B. Vegas Duo UCTVD8A 80mm 2 Color (Blue/Red) LED Case Fan with Changeable Modes
ENERMAX T.B. Vegas Duo UCTVD8A 80mm 2 Color (Blue/Red) LED Case Fan with Changeable Modes

Pros: Many LED color variations Great clean red and blue led's, no washout Good looking smoked grey fan shroud Manual variable speed control adjustable modes to suit your mood or to suit your install

Cons: LED's do not work below 700rpm not available in 120mm

Overall Review: I have these as intake fans on the top of my clear acrylic Danger Den case directing air on the ram and voltage heatsinks. The LED's provide a VERY clean and solid color giving the case a great look, The brightness of the LED's does vary with RPM so if you try to set them rpm too low via your MB controller (rather than the manual control) the led's will not light up. This is not a big deal as the rpm you will set these on is higher than the low threshold for led's to work. On the highest setting the fans move a lot of air for their size and will be audible, although not annoying

12/22/2013