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Michael P.

Michael P.

Joined on 01/29/02

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Product Reviews
product reviews
  • 9
Most Favorable Review

Interesting concept, usable but could use better execution - Update

ZALMAN FG1000 Black 6 Buttons 1 x Wheel USB Wired 2000 dpi Gun Mouse
ZALMAN FG1000 Black 6 Buttons 1 x Wheel USB Wired 2000 dpi Gun Mouse

Pros: The vertical orientation makes this much easier on the wrist for long-term play. The trigger-like buttons and scrollwheel placed for the thumb feel natural. The optical sensor in the nose actually means that you can move large distances horizontally with very little hand movement. The pinky rest may be too small for many people to rest their entire pinky, but it keeps the majority of it from dragging on the table. There is a separate rest for the ring finger above that, so the pinky isn't squished by the idle weight of the ring finger. See more detail in "Other Thoughts". In other words, the intended grip isn't obvious (and not in the docs), but once found, it's rather comfortable.

Cons: No software for Windows 7 or 64-bit, which means that the "programmable" buttons aren't. Zalman tech support first replies don't necessarily apply, and seem generally in bad English. Even with the software, the DPI button is fixed in purpose and can't be used for anything else. The forward/back buttons use the side of the thumb and are awkward to use, even after several weeks' working with it. The scrollwheel color relates to the DPI and can't be set separately. The blue fits my setup, but I would prefer the DPI associated with the red. The scrollwheel does not allow horizontal scrolling. This is my update, added because it gets more frustrating all the time, largely due to wide-format web pages. I know most gamers don't use horizontal scrolling, but if you don't use it just - don't use it. I use it a lot. Or I would if I had it, and keep running into problems from missing it. As others have noted, I now find the trigger sticking on. The buttons are poor quality for a

Overall Review: It does take a little getting used to, especially to be accurate, but that's also the case if you're just going to a higher-dpi mouse than standard. I have an average-size hand. The unit initially felt small, but I got used to it. My hand slouches a lot, so it doesn't take up the entire height like it would on a handgun grip. My pinky rests on the bottom ledge, and my ring finger is on the slanted spot above it. Those who felt crushed may have had their pinky on the slanted part. This gives a distinct place for each finger - pinky on the base, ring finger on the slope, other two fingers on the triggers, and thumb on the wheel. Oh, and I decided to stick with the middle DPI to get the blue lighting that matches my keyboard and speedpad...

Most Critical Review

Cheap, but...cheap

LITE-ON USB Black 8X External Top Load DVD/CD Burner Model eTAU208-96 LightScribe Support
LITE-ON USB Black 8X External Top Load DVD/CD Burner Model eTAU208-96 LightScribe Support

Pros: Inexpensive - a recorder for lower cost than most external readers. USB-powered - no brick needed. Includes Nero Essentials.

Cons: Has to use a VERY short cable (40cm/15in or less) or it doesn't get enough power. Even with the included 7 1/2" cable, it sometimes doesn't get enough power (I assume that's the reason) and flakes out. It's not robust with slightly-scratched disks - my other drives had no problem with the disk in question, an OS install disk, hard to bypass. Even when it works correctly, it goes to sleep when idle and may require unplugging/plugging back in to wake up, which was a problem with my OS install (AIO PC w/ no optical bays). Nero 8 Essentials is two versions old. Nero has an update available for this to work on Windows 7, but my computer didn't like it - it wanted the update before it would install the program, but the updated installer doesn't like the install key on the earlier disk. Some report they have the disk work with no problems, so YMMV.

Overall Review: If you don't need it regularly, it's lightweight and convenient. I mostly needed it for OS install since I didn't have any other external DVD reader, and (with patience and cleaning the disk) I got it to work for that.

Good computer, mediocre refurbishing

Lenovo M58 Small Form Factor Desktop PC Core 2 Duo e7550 2.93GHz, 4GB RAM, 160GB HDD, DVD ROM, Windows 7 Professional 64 Bit
Lenovo M58 Small Form Factor Desktop PC Core 2 Duo e7550 2.93GHz, 4GB RAM, 160GB HDD, DVD ROM, Windows 7 Professional 64 Bit

Pros: This is a good price for a Core 2 Duo computer with 4GB RAM, and refurbished Lenovo desktops bring a premium. This one also actually has Windows 7 Professional, while most of the refurbs have Hope Premium. Lenovos seem to have a much lower failure rate than most other manufacturers.

Cons: The keyboard and mouse sent by the refurbisher are dirt cheap. The keyboard doesn't even wake up from sleep - you have to unplug it and plug it back in. I'll get with the provider to see of they'll replace it. They put a warranty registration icon on the desktop (which goes to a website), but they did not install the Lenovo software or drivers, only the generic Microsoft drivers. They put the replacement COA sticker over top of the old one, which means it will fall off sooner than it should. The case was rather scratched up, two of the rubber feet were missing and one was about to fall off - which means I had to remove all of them so it wouldn't rock, and (as I expected) the Vista sticker was still on the front. And the inside was dusty, which I think should have at least been blown out good.

Overall Review: Allow an extra $10 to get a not-quite-so-cheap keyboard. The mouse has a cheap feel to it, but at least it works. There are no PS/2 ports, so you can't reuse your antique-but-reliable ones.

Old tech under a new name

Microsoft Streets & Trips 2013
Microsoft Streets & Trips 2013

Pros: Nice price for mapping software

Cons: The 2013 version of this Microsoft software doesn't support either the 2012 version of Windows (Windows 8) or the 2013 version of Office.

Overall Review: I have used Streets and Trips (and MapPoint) for years, but now I use my Garmin GPS instead. As a bonus, Garmin actually updates their database regularly, since we know that businesses regularly open, close and move. If I had a business, I might consider it - or MapPoint, but even the $300 MSRP MapPoint doesn't support Office 2013, Windows 8, Windows Server 2011, or Windows Server 2012. I really don't want to have to keep older tech around just to support my mapping software.

10/30/2013

Interesting concept, usable but could use better execution

ZALMAN FG1000 Black 6 Buttons 1 x Wheel USB Wired 2000 dpi Gun Mouse
ZALMAN FG1000 Black 6 Buttons 1 x Wheel USB Wired 2000 dpi Gun Mouse

Pros: The vertical orientation makes this much easier on the wrist for long-term play. The trigger-like buttons and scrollwheel placed for the thumb feel natural. The optical sensor in the nose actually means that you can move large distances horizontally with very little hand movement. The pinky rest may be too small for many people to rest their entire pinky, but it keeps the majority of it from dragging on the table. There is a separate rest for the ring finger above that, so the pinky isn't squished by the idle weight of the ring finger.

Cons: The software isn't for Windows 7 (though the Vista driver should work), but doesn't have a driver for 64-bit anything even though almost everything shipping now has Windows 7 64-bit. I contacted Zalman tech support, and got a response that didn't apply and was in bad English. The second reply was short and to the point: "In your case, the FG1000 doesn’t support Windows 7 64-bit. We apologize for the miscommunication." This means that the "programmable" buttons aren't. Even with the software, the DPI button is fixed in purpose and can't be used for anything else (which is OK because it's awkward and can't easily be used in gameplay anyway). The forward/back buttons use the side of the thumb and are awkward to use, even after a couple of weeks' working with it. I suppose these aren't used much for games though. The scrollwheel color relates to the DPI and can't be set separately. The blue fits my setup, but I would prefer the DPI associated with the red.

Overall Review: It does take a little getting used to, especially to be accurate, but that's also the case if you're just going to a higher-dpi mouse than standard. I have an average-size hand. The unit initially felt small, but I got used to it. My hand slouches a lot, so it doesn't take up the entire height like it would on a handgun grip. My pinky rests on the bottom ledge, and my ring finger is on the slanted spot above it. Those who felt crushed may have had their pinky on the slanted part. This gives a distinct place for each finger - pinky on the base, ring finger on the slope, other two fingers on the triggers, and thumb on the wheel. Oh, and I decided to stick with the middle DPI to get the blue lighting that matches my keyboard and speedpad...

Low-cost touchscreen

Shuttle X50V2-01 Intel NM10 All-in-One PC Barebone
Shuttle X50V2-01 Intel NM10 All-in-One PC Barebone

Pros: Low cost for a touchscreen. Atom D510 is still Atom, but it is dual-core, hyperthreaded, and 64-bit. Can take 4GB RAM, better than many in this form factor.

Cons: Processor is an Atom - netbook-grade, and with embedded video. On-board video doesn't handle HD video well. No option for on-board optical - must use USB optical for most OS installs. Max 500GB HD. No eSATA, which would help compensate for the HD and optical limitations.

Overall Review: Wish I could get just the display portion for half the price and use a different computer portion. Then I'd use this as a 15" multi-touch display on an i5 mini. I'll plan to update this review after I have more experience with it.