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Robert K.

Robert K.

Joined on 03/05/04

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Product Reviews
product reviews
  • 19
Most Favorable Review

GREAT, but understand this!

SiliconDust - HDHomeRun Network-based Dual Digital - HDTV Tuner Ethernet Interface
SiliconDust - HDHomeRun Network-based Dual Digital - HDTV Tuner Ethernet Interface

Pros: WORKS WELL: Since 2005, bought 5 different tuners; only this was reliable w/ XP Media Center 2005. Flawless install in Vista Home 32 and Windows 7 Home Prem 32 & 64. Excellent picture, PVR great, writes unlocked programs to DVD. CONVENIENT: Mount anywhere. Nothing added inside computer, makes smaller, cooler, quieter home theater. Works with all my systems. SUPER SUPPORT: Frequent updates, getting better and easier. Thorough instructions on the Web!. TWO INDEPENDENT TUNERS: Record/watch 2 programs simultaneously. Buy a splitter to connect both to 1 antenna or cable. Or, with good signal, connect one to an antenna for a BETTER quality picture--most cable companies take compress the same antenna signal to stuff more channels on their old coax lines. EXCELLENT CUSTOMER SERVICE: When my 3-yr old unit died, they offered to replace it for $75, less than half the price of a new one. Fair deal! Their CS department answered my emails within a few hours.

Cons: NO CABLECARD, NO ANALOG INPUTS: YOU WILL NOT GET ALL CABLE CHANNELS. You should get all receivable "Off the Air" (OTA) antenna signals and/or all "Clear QAM" channels your cable company carries. "Clear" means unencrypted, and "QAM" means digital cable signal. As far as I know, cable companies are required to deliver local stations in Clear QAM. I get some 19 stations. PBS and all network stastions are in HD if the station is sending HD. This unit will not receive NTSC (70-year-old-technology analog signals). These are no longer being sent OTA, but may be still be used by cable companies to deliver fuzzy video on their lower channels. These look worse on your new flat-panel set than they did your Dad's ancient CRT set!

Overall Review: We mostly watch PBS and some local channels. Our OTA signal is poor, so we buy cable service. Did you know your cable company probably offers "Basic Antenna Service", which gives you ONLY local channels? Comcast charged only $10/mo ($120/yr vs $1700/yr some folks pay!). Our new Verizon FiOS will provide the same for $12/mo when we are over the promotional deal. Since we almost NEVER use the cable-only channels, it's a no-brainer to drop them. We love Netflix @ $10/mo, especially with their new streaming service--beats "on Demand" hands down! Think about it... SiliconDust is planning a new model to include CableCard. This will decrypt, so you should be able to watch ALL the channels you pay for. Verizon wants $3/mo for a CableCard (vs. $10 for an HD tuner), so this ought to pay for itself quickly. WARNING: My son can't seem to get a CableCard from Comcast for his set. They seem to be dragging their heels--maybe CableCard can't get some profitable feature? Check before you commit!

11/15/2010
Most Critical Review

WARNING! Not Usable As Is!!

3M 6200 Half Facepiece Respirator, Medium
3M 6200 Half Facepiece Respirator, Medium

Pros: PART of a high-quality piece of safety equipment. You need to find the correct disposable cartridges and filters to fit this mask AND that have the appropriate rating for your use, e.g. dust, spray paint, etc. The disposables you need to buy before you can actually USE this thing may cost 3 times as much as the mask. But I am sure that properly fitted, this will help keep you safe. Your health is worth it!

Cons: This is the MASK ONLY. It REQUIRES two cartridges and filter to be purchased SEPARATELY. This Marketplace seller does not list these here. Also you need to be sure a Medium mask will fit you properly. I am giving THE SELLER a bad rating for making some of you think you are getting real protective gear this cheaply. BTW: Yes, I also don't like reviews that address the seller rather than the equipment, but in this case I fear that some of you might expect to take this out of the box and use it, but then have to locate the other parts elsewhere. So go ahead and give me a "Not Useful" rating if this is as obvious to you as it was to me.

Overall Review: I am posting this review to make you aware that this item, by itself, is UNUSABLE. From another Newegg listing: "Use with NIOSH-approved 3M Filters 2000 Series, 3M Filter 7093, P100, 3M Cartridges 6000 Series, or 3M Dual Airline Systems."

Good Value, A Tad Flimsy

Diablotek REACTION CPA-8817D3 Black INSIDE BLACK Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case USB 3.0 max VGA LONG CARD
Diablotek REACTION CPA-8817D3 Black INSIDE BLACK Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case USB 3.0 max VGA LONG CARD

Pros: Nice design, easy to work with, has clever 2-piece drive clamps, Very low cost. Looks nice, is roomy. Front panel includes Reset button, headphone and mike jacks, 2 USB 3.0 ports with cable that plugs right into the header on my Gigabyte Z77-D3H mb, and a knockout for mounting am ESATA connector (if you can find one that fits--the ones on two different ESATA brackets I have do not.

Cons: Metal gauge too thin. Someone seems to have leaned on it and indented the top. straight across, including the side lips. A mystery! Only 2 sets of 3.5" and 2 sets of 5.25" disk clamps included. Had to use old-fashioned screws for one drive. Still easy to do, with good access.

Overall Review: I got this as part of a combo. It looked good, so I used it. I am giving it 4 stars because it is a good enough case, easy to work with and a moneysaver. The dent is not very visible under my desk, and it is simply not worth reinstalling the guts in another case. The light weight could be a plus if you need to move it often, but you'd best be careful doing it. Personally, I would get a stronger one next time.

Solved My Range Problem

AZiO BTD-V201 USB 2.0 Micro Bluetooth Adapter
AZiO BTD-V201 USB 2.0 Micro Bluetooth Adapter

Pros: Range. Easy, quick setup. Range. Software on disc works very well under Win7 64 Bit SP1. Range. VERY inexpensive. Range. I found the Toshiba driver to be very reliable and VERY easy to pair. Have I communicated how happy I am?

Cons: None. However, I have used this only for cable-replacement (keyboard and mouse) links. I can't vouch for its abilities for other purposes (profiles) such A2DP, which I may set up for my BT stereo headphones. Even if this fails, I won't be upset.

Overall Review: I have a big home-theater setup which regrettably places me over 14' from the Media-center PC. While I am able to use the HDTV screen from that distance, NO "wireless" (non-Bluetooth) keyboard nor mouse has worked for me at over 7' distance. I think this short range is intentional so adjacent office cubes won't interfere with each other. Bluetooth's nominal 30' range SHOULD work, but also fails me. I have the Microsoft BT Elite KB and BT mouse, and get about 12' range.They ALMOST work! I've tried at least 4 different USB dongles, all with the same unhappy result. This Azio has a much more powerful transmitter and more sensitive receiver. As I had hoped, it gives me solid communications. Azio claims 100', but I am delighted with how well it works at 15'.

Enjoying This!

Nikon D5100 16.2MP CMOS Digital SLR with Vari-Angle LCD Monitor Body Only
Nikon D5100 16.2MP CMOS Digital SLR with Vari-Angle LCD Monitor Body Only

Pros: I bought this over similar cameras for the articulated (fully tiltable) LCD display panel which lets me take pictures of kids and pets at their eye level, or overhead event pictures in crowds. Not used a LOT, but excellent when needed. And almost indispensable for extreme closeup (macro) photography. I am getting clearly superior images compared to my previous non-DSLR cameras. The D5100's extremely high pixel count is valuable when using very high-resoulution lenses. I generally recommend AGAINST pixel-count comparisons, but with this camera and Nikkor lenses, you CAN see image features being resolved even when they are magnified so individual pixels are distinguishable. Other DSLRs are comparable, but this lets me use my ancient Nikkor F vintage 1970 (and newer) lenses, It is relatively light and compact for a DSLR, which is a plus for me. VERY fast shooting. Fantastic autofocus. Fun in-camera effects I thought I'd never use.

Cons: If you are accustomed to a "Point & Shoot" camera, be ready for a nuch bigger and heavier camers. Borrow one for a couple of days to make sure it fits your life style. Not a shortcoming of the camera; just a general warning! It can use old Nikon F lenses, but requires "AF-S" lenses for full functionality. Some features of more-expensive models were removed to reduce manufacturing cost, some only for marketing reasons. No deal-breakers, but a bit annoying.

Overall Review: This is an addendum to my earlier review which I wrote before I bought this camera because I was concerned that newbies needed to be clear about having to spend at least $150 for a lens for a "body only" camera. Now that I've owned the camera for several months, I can address my very positive experience. If my Pro and Con tags seem contradictory, it was done intentionally. Judgement of compact/light vs. big/heavy is personal. The D5100 is actually more compact and lighter than many other DSLRs, but be ready for this. In my youth, I carried a film SLR and SIX prime lenses with me, until I realized this made vacatios become work! I spent the next 30 years using a variety of cheaper, smaller, easier to use cameras. As a retired geezer, I got seduced by the FAR superior quality, flexibility, and speed of DSLRs. This camera is a good compromise in cost, wright, and size. And I an VERY happy with the image quality I am getting.

Love it! Buy one!

Nikon 2197 SLR Lenses AF-S DX NIKKOR 55-300mm f/4.5-5.6G ED VR Lens Black
Nikon 2197 SLR Lenses AF-S DX NIKKOR 55-300mm f/4.5-5.6G ED VR Lens Black

Pros: I bought this to extend the telephoto range of my Nikon D5100 (with 18-105mm F:3.5). This has a very useful zoom range. I like the overlap between 105mm tele on my walkaround lens and the 55mm wide of this lens; it minimizes lens changes. I was surprised at the excellent resolution of this lens even when I used it on an extension tube for 1:1 macro images. I enjoy the 9x magnification I get (normal 35mm lens is 50mm, this goes to 450mm). A whole lot of fun. I find it very fast focusing in reasonable light. I got amazing pictures of birds in flight over a hundred feet away! The VR II image stabilization is also amazing: I can hand-hold this lens at 450 mm equivalent with lots of visible shake, which instantly calms down as I press the shutter release to the point where I can get sharp images at 1/125 sec, when I'd expect to need 1/500!

Cons: Seems to have focusing problem with my cheap CPL (polarizing) filter. May be the fault of the filter, maybe the lens. Has rotating front element, which is not nice for a polarizer--but should not affect focus. Without the CPL filter, images are razor sharp. Included lens hood very effective and easy to use--but delicate (repairable). Do not use as lens protector. Trust me.

Overall Review: Good quality, has metal mount. Smooth yet without lens "creep" (zoom changes as you tilt lens up or down). Relatively light--nice for travel. Outstanding value! f:4.5 is only about 1/3 stop slower than ordinary f:4, easily compensated by increasing ISO setting (newer cameras like my D5100 give excellent results even at ISO 800 or higher). Add "CPU" type extension tube (must have contacts to exchange data with camera) to get great 1:1 macro images from several feet away! So light and compact I recently accidentally grabbed my camera with it attached to go to an outdoor wedding. Had trouble getting group pictures because widest zoom is 82mm equiv, but was able to get lots of good pictures including many stunning images from 30' away. Super separation from background, beautiful bokeh (look it up!) Never would have gotten these with my 18-105 lens--but I did miss having it!