Date Joined: 09/21/02
Pros: Great image after dark, even with IRs turned off, if there's any ambient light at all (street lights, normal floodlights, etc). With IRs, typical spooky B&W image; w/o IRs, good color even at night.
Cons: Image is completely washed out after the sun rises - totally white by 8:30 am in January - so it's completely useless outside during the day, even on an overcast day. Two cameras in a row did exactly the same thing, so it's not just a sample defect. If you insist on buying this camera, get a Newegg Premier membership first, because you'll need the free return shipping.
I HATE Samsung's insistence that you control the camera through their cloud server. It's even worse than Razer's Synapse. There's very little you can do with just the camera's internal web page; you have to log in to Samsung's smartcam.com site to control the camera in your own house.
Even through smartcam.com, control is very minimal. You're pretty much stuck with whatever setup Samsung wants you to have.
Overall Review: For just a little over half the cost, Hikvision makes FAR better cameras, the best home security cameras by far for the price. The 3-megapixel Hikvision DS-2CD2332-1 gives an amazing range of control directly in the camera, things like adjustable backlight compensation that I've never seen in a sub-$150 camera before, and spectacular images 24/7 with the IR turned off. It sees better at night than I do. And (unlike this Samsung) the Hikvision is ONVIF compliant, so setup in Blue Iris is nearly effortless.
Well, they're cheap, but that just means they're not worth returning, so even that is a Con after all.
Cons: I tried several different brands of AA NiMH batteries, and it just flashed red for all of them, meaning (according to the instruction manual) that it doesn't recognize them as NiMH batteries or that they're internally shorted. All of the batteries measure a little over 1.2 V on a Fluke digital multimeter, so there's nothing wrong with them. It's the stupid, useless charger.
Maybe it only works with their own brand, or only with new NiMH batteries, but that's NOT what the description says. It specifically recommends using it with old batteries, which mine are.
I bought two of these chargers, and both do exactly the same, so it's not just a lemon.
Pros: I don't know where to start. It's like having a high-quality video camera that you can control over the internet just as well as if you had it in your hands. Everything about this camera is amazing, including:
* Fast, flawless auto-focus, from less than four inches to infinity, in daylight, near darkness or IR illumination; I can't find any situation in which the auto-focus fails except total darkness, when there's no image to focus on anyway. I can zoom in on a spot surrounded by much closer obstacles, and it focuses perfectly on the more distant spot every time
* Fast, precise manual focus, if you prefer it, through its built-in web page
* Smooth, precise pan and tilt
* Power over Ethernet, so only one, easy to route cable no matter where I need to mount the camera
* Rich, true colors by daylight; IR cut filter that kicks in and out at exactly the right light levels; crisp, clear black-and-white image under relatively wimpy 850nm IR illuminators
* 10x optical zoom. If nothing else, this would make the camera worth every cent. I can zoom in and read a license plate 500 feet away, with the auto-focus responding almost as fast as the zoom throughout its range. This is astonishing in a ~$200 IP camera
Cons: None, unless 704x480 isn't enough resolution for you - but remember the 10x optical zoom lens, and the license plate at 500 feet. I'll take that optical zoom over a multi-megapixel sensor with digital zoom any day.
Overall Review: I've bought more than a dozen IP cameras in the past five years, and I've never been this excited about one before. It's worth far more than it costs, and I can't say that about any of the others.
Haven't used the SD card slot or the included software and probably won't. I use Blue Iris, the best low-cost security camera software in the world.
Pros: I'm writing this in response to the comment by Jewel of Kingston Tech Support on my original review, since Newegg doesn't provide any other way to do it. See "Other thoughts" below.
Overall Review: The Kingston compatibility list at the link Jewel provided is incomplete. My tablet is an Asus VivoTab Smart ME400, which is not in their compatibility list, and this device works perfectly in that tablet's single microUSB port. Her statement that "those microUSB ports [on Windows 8 tablets] are typically designed for charging only" is outdated, if it was ever true. I don't believe it ever was true. On Android tablets, maybe, but not Windows.
When a Windows 8 tablet has only one USB port, it is going to be for communication with a USB device as well as for charging. Windows 8 has a radically new UI, but inside it's still Windows, and Windows PCs ALWAYS have USB ports. It would be unbelievably stupid for any manufacturer not to provide a functional USB port on a tablet designed for Windows 8.
I obviously can't guarantee that this device will work in every Windows 8 tablet, but I definitely CAN guarantee that Kingston's current compatibility list is incomplete.
Pros: These powerline adapters work well and are plug-and-play (no setup AT ALL), if you're comfortable forgoing password protection within the powerline network. These adapters are fully compatible with Netgear's other AV 200Mbps adapters.
Cons: This adapter DOES not allow plugging any grounded (three-prong) power cord into the other outlet! You can plug an ungrounded (two-prong) cord into the other outlet, but the top of this device intrudes into the ground pin's space in the other outlet. It's a stupid and totally avoidable design flaw, and it probably explains why these kits were selling for under thirty dollars.
So the pass-through outlet isn't really a bonus with this stupid product - it's only compensation for the adjacent wall outlet it makes unusable.
Pros: Mine was refurbished by US Micro, and unless they just happened to get a brand new T410 in for refurbishing they did a fantastic job. Not only is it a new, refurb-licensed Win 7 Pro installation with no bloatware, but every millimeter of the computer is spotless and looks brand new.
The only sign of use at all was a little bit of grime INSIDE the edge of the hard drive compartment when I opened it up to try an SSD in it. That's good, though - it proves that US Micro did what refurbishers always should do but most don't: they cleaned up the product so it looks brand new even though it obviously isn't.
Even the fingerprint reader (which the spec didn't mention so may not be on every unit) was immaculate, and something you have to rub your finger across is going to get the most crud of all. I've never had a laptop with a fingerprint reader, so it was a nice surprise, and I love it. Mine also has a white LED in the top edge of the display frame that shines down on the keyboard if you need it, which is a nice feature.
My last ThinkPad was in the mid 90s, long before IBM sold their PC lines to Lenovo. It had about a 10-inch display, was about two inches thick, weighed about 10 pounds and had ONLY the mid-keyboard ThinkPoint "pencil eraser" pointing device (which I still hate, but which ThinkPads still have, although in an improved form) - no touchpad. People who talk about how antiquated THIS laptop is don't know what they missed.
The build quality is at least as good as it was on the old one. The spectacular way Lenovo took over IBM's PC business without dropping quality AT ALL should quiet the whiners who complain about "Made in China" as if it's synonymous with "toxic junk". When I was younger, "Made in Japan" meant "junk", and look how much THAT has changed. The Chinese are catching up fast, and in another decade or so people who whined about Chinese quality will sound just as crazy as somebody complaining about Japanese quality would sound now.
Overall Review: A fantastic deal. The best laptop I've ever owned and the best $280 I ever spent. They're out of stock now, but I'd buy another one in a heartbeat if they became available again.
Pros: Cheap when on sale
Melts cheese and butter on toast, cooked meat, etc
Wonderfully small (not much bigger than a breadbox, for those who remember What's My Line?, or than the four slices of square supermarket sandwich bread that just barely fit on its tiny rack. (It can accommodate only two slices of the wider "country" or "farm"-style loaves that are now more popular.)
Cons: Doesn't do anything else well
Confusing instructions (but at least the English is good)
Manufactured dent in top, which has no effect on function, only appearance
Overall Review: I bought this on NeweggFlash for under $20, hoping it would melt butter on toast that's gotten cold, cheese on cooked hamburgers, etc, which it does just fine.
That's all it does well. I hoped it might also be useful for toasting things that are a pain or impossible to toast in a regular vertical pop-up toaster, like sliced English muffins, large or extra-thick slices of homemade bread, etc. It's not.
It takes forever to toast bread, and then it only browns what's directly above or below the halogen glow-tubes that run across the middle. I haven't even tried to bake or broil anything in it, because that's clearly beyond its abilities.
Its only controls are a four-position knob that selects off, top element only, bottom element only, or both; and a knob that sets a mechanical timer for up to 15 minutes or always-on (although some kind of non-adjustable thermostat cycles the power off and on so you never get serious heat inside). It's one of the annoying but common mechanical timers that has to be turned past five minutes before setting a shorter time.
The otherwise adequate instruction booklet refers to the three element-control settings as "bake", "broil", and "toast", but there are no such markings on the toaster oven. Instead there are little schematic symbols that show fairly clearly (left-to-right) no element active, top element active only, bottom only, or both. A little practice verifies that they correspond to "broil", "bake" and "toast" respectively. The instructions make no mention of the symbols on the toaster, but at least the English is good.
Mine came with a large dent in the top, covering about a third of the area toward the right side. It obviously left the factory that way, because the packaging was undamaged and effectively insulates the item from all but intentional damage. The dent has no effect on the toaster's function, but it is an unsightly blemish on an otherwise attractive-enough silver-painted little product.
Since it does the very limited task I bought it for, I'd buy it again at a low-enough price, but I can't recommend it to anyone who expects a true toaster oven.
Pros: low sale price on Newegg Flash
folds up ingeniously into a small, pocketable package
Cons: This headphone cannot reach both ears around the back of my head, and it's not adjustable. I do have a large head, but not so large they make horror movies about me. If this were adjustable by even a half-inch it would be okay, but it's not.
This is a foolish design flaw. Since behind-the-head headphones don't really have to "fit" (unless they're too small), there's no reason to make it as small as it is. Evidently the designers assumed all humans have tiny skulls like theirs.
I went ahead and set it up anyway just to see if it worked. It paired fine with a Toshiba-based USB bluetooth dongle I bought from Newegg a couple of years ago. The sound quality seemed okay, but there were erratic delays between the sound and the movie I was watching (what I bought them for, so the thoughtful ladies next door won't think it's me moaning or screaming and call the cops - which they did once; I had to prove I wasn't a home invader holding myself hostage). Since the delays were erratic I couldn't adjust them away using either the VLC or GOM player, so even if they had fit my head I wouldn't have used them.
Overall Review: Measure ear-to-ear around the back of your head. If the distance between the two ear openings (or whatever the place kids stick beans is called - canals, I think) is more than about 11 inches, don't bother buying this headphone. It won't fit.
If you have a small enough head and you want them for use with a cell phone or to listen to music, you probably won't notice the erratic delays, but you definitely will when watching video if your bluetooth link works like mine.
Since maximum head size isn't mentioned anywhere in the listing, Newegg gave me a complete refund with no argument. Thanks, Newegg!
Pros: I tested this drive in the three applications that would be most useful to me, and possibly to most customers: as an internal PC hard drive, as an external USB 3 drive, and as a NAS drive (its primary target market). It so impressed me in every application that there will be no Cons in this review; if I overflow the Pros section, I will use Cons (and maybe even Other thoughts) for the overflow, with a clear note there to that effect.
I started out just mounting the drive in the last remaining internal bay in my Antec P183 V3 case (it's obvious from my choice of case that silence is important to me; I also have a fanless Seasonic power supply, a fanless video card (I'm not a gamer), and a gigantic CPU heatsink so that I can use essentially silent fans - the noisiest thing in my PC is a 7200 rpm WD HDD), alongside a different model Seagate HDD, two Western Digital HDDs and two SSDs.
One of those WD drives is the 1TB Caviar Black WD1002FAEX I mentioned earlier, 7200 rpm, 6.0Gb/s, with 64MB Cache, which for a couple of years has been my standard reliable, high-performance but affordable hard drive. All of my testing of this new Seagate drive compared it to that WD drive, as a possible successor. I have two of that same WD drive set up as RAID1 in the Synology DS212j NAS box which is the primary, central backup for all my computers.
Seagate has done a LOT recently to eat into WD's reputation as the only manufacturer of reliable, high-performance, affordable hard drives, but I still feel a little radical even considering a Seagate to replace the WD Blacks (the existing Seagate in my PC is used only for local backup, so its performance isn't critical, and redundant backups on my Synology NAS mean its reliability isn't even critical - although it has done its job well for more than two years).
The most obvious immediate difference is that the new Seagate doesn't make a sound, not that I can hear anyway. It might as well be an SSD for all the noise it makes. It's not as fast as they are, so I wouldn't use it (and didn't even test it) as my Windows drive, but it's just as quiet as they are for my purposes.
As I've said in other reviews, I'm not a benchmark numbers geek. I care about whether a product does well what I need it to do, not how it scores compared to other products in performing a bunch of abstract exercises. But since I have limited time to spend on this review, and since I'm looking at this drive as a possible replacement for another specific drive, it made sense to do some limited benchmarking.
In testing the internal PC and USB applications, I used ATTO's Windows Disk Benchmark, because it's simple, it's free, and it gives me as much information as I need. In the NAS, I just verified compatibility between the drive and the NAS and timed how long it took to fully repair the almost-full RAID using the new Seagate compared to one of the WDs that's been in the NAS from the beginning.
Continued under Cons...
Cons: (This drive HAS NO CONS! This is a continuation of the review started under Pros.)
Although this new Seagate drive doesn't have its rotation speed specified (others have said it's 5400 rpm, but I don't know), it's about 25% faster than the 7200 rpm WD, and it's a LOT quieter. In the ATTO Disk Benchmarks, with the two drives mounted internally side-by-side, the read and write speeds were around 140 MB/sec for the WD and around 175 MB/sec for the new Seagate. Impressive. (Read and write speeds are close enough together that it's not worth reporting them separately.)
To evaluate USB 3 performance I bought a little Anker Uspeed USB 3.0 to SATA 3ft Converter Adapter Cable from another vendor (Newegg doesn't carry it) because it gets fantastic (and well-deserved) reviews and costs under twenty dollars. Again, the new Seagate was notably faster than the WD Black, especially when reading: around 140 MB/sec for the WD and around 175 MB/sec for the Seagate, the same 25% increase as when they were mounted internally.
When writing in the USB configuration, there was no significant difference: both drives write at between 110 and 120 MB/sec, although the Seagate is in the higher end and the WD in the lower end of that range. I don't know enough about USB 3 to explain any of this; I'm just reporting what I got.
Testing in the Synology NAS involved removing one of its WD Black drives and replacing it first with the new Seagate drive, and then with the original WD drive but reformatted in Windows to NTFS - so that the NAS would have to reformat it to the ext4 file system it uses internally, just as it had to do with the Seagate.
Since the NAS got essentially a new drive in both cases, it had to repair the almost-full RAID 1 (785.59 GB used out of 912.45 GB total) both times. The RAID repair succeeded both times without a hitch, taking 3 hours with the WD and 3 hours 5 minutes with the Seagate, an insignificant difference.
I couldn't think of any other testing to do in the NAS - just to make sure the new Seagate drive would work in it and that repairing the RAID didn't take an ungodly amount of time. That's enough to convince me that the new Seagate is a very attractive replacement for the WD Black in that application as well.
Overall Review: I haven't decided yet which of these three applications to use the new drive in - probably in the NAS to increase its capacity above 1TB (I'll have to buy another drive, though, to maintain the RAID 1 configuration). It's good to know that it's a great candidate for any of those applications if I need it.
Of its three primarily selling points - that it's quiet, fast, and super-reliable, I can corroborate the first two. I'm as willing to take Seagate's word for its reliability as I am the word of any drive manufacturer, including WD.
WDs are no longer the only drives I'll consider buying when performance matters; now Seagate has taken the lead for both speed and noise, and their credibility for reliability is as good as anybody's (the three-year warranty vs WD's five doesn't particularly bother me).
Pros: First off:
Don't look for benchmarking results and spec-juggling games in this review, or for a full inventory of every device and major component I own. I have a home-built (components from Newegg, of course) Win 7-64 PC with a CPU, memory, a mess of HDDs and SSDs and other stuff, blah blah blah. Inventories don't interest me, I don't trust specs and benchmarks, and I'll get Win 8 only if they drag me off to prison first.
I was an electronic engineer for 30+ years and had more than enough of that tech-spec stuff while I was paid to do it. Hardware can look impressive and ace the benchmarks but fall flat in real life, and vice versa. It's a waste of time and energy that makes bean counters happy. It's also a game some perfectly normal people enjoy playing, and that's fine, but I don't. I'm a nerd, just not a benchmark numbers nerd. (For a similar reason I refuse on principle to characterize my Tech Knowledge as "High"; I wouldn't even want to know myself if "Somewhat high" weren't good enough for me.)
All I care about is how well a product does what I need it to do, and what I need THIS product to do is improve on the performance of a wireless router that has served me flawlessly for years, with such unfailing reliability that I think of it as a friend, the TRENDnet TEW-633GR. It has been running continuously for nearly four years and has never required a hard reset a single time in those 30,000+ hours. If it has ever even hiccuped, it was while I was asleep. I don't have time before writing this review to assess the long-term reliability of this new router, but I'll do that in a later review if necessary. I'll be the only Jim with this attitude.
I like the boxy, lightweight plastic case. It looks like a book with colored lights on the spine and wires out the back.
It handles Gigabit Ethernet just fine, which is what I STILL care about most in a router. That's how I connect what I think of as REAL devices (my home-built desktop, which I'm working on now and use 99% of the time, and my two NAS RAIDs), having learned the hard way that wireless just can't cut it for speed. Maybe -ac will prove that wrong, but it's too soon to tell.
I use wireless only for my two laptops, my two Brother laser printers, my Android tablet, and my odd assortment of eight wireless-g and -n IP cameras. Since even 450 Mbps is a severe bottleneck for video streaming simultaneously from eight cameras, I'd run Cat 6 cables to all of them if I could, but I can't.
The good news (Sorry, old friend!) is that this new router does deliver the promised 50% increase in -n throughput over the 633's 300 Mbps. (That's as close to a benchmark as I'll get.) Using Blue Iris 3, I can get an average of 7 fps from all eight cameras where I had to settle for 5 or less with the old router. Since camera video is MY multimedia (one screen to watch movies on is plenty), that's where wireless performance counts most with me, and this router does not disappoint.
Cons: MY BIG COMPLAINT:
TRENDnet provides no configuration upgrade path! The 633 and the 812 both let you save the router's configuration for later restoration if needed, but there's no way to import the 633's configuration into the 812. Obviously some product-specific stuff can't be imported, but I had to spend a godawful amount of time manually copying over every digit in the MAC and IP addresses and names of the 19 devices on my network, before I could do anything meaningful with the new router (I don't like DHCP).
With just a little foresight, TRENDnet could have eliminated all that mind-numbing, hair-pulling work. Maybe they don't yet realize that they have a loyal customer base who will naturally look to them when it comes time to upgrade and would appreciate just a little more help in making the upgrade. Wireless routers have been around long enough that first-timers probably are a minority now. Surely most customers are upgrading existing networks like me, so "Network setup wizards" aren't particularly useful.
I don't like the wholesale trend toward internal antennas in wireless routers. While it's true that they can be factory-tuned better than detachable external antennas, NON-detachable external antennas (like the three on my TEW-633GR) can be factory-tuned just as well as internal antennas, and they offer far greater flexibility in router placement. I'm sorry to see them go.
I loved being able to put the 633 anywhere I needed to, in any orientation, and then fiddle with the antennas to get the best performance. I like the 812's bookish look, but not being able to lay it on its side is annoying. It's not just that it lacks feet on the side--it doesn't work nearly as well because it throws the antennas off, particularly for the cameras in the garage, the basement, and in the shed across the back yard. If the 812 had the 633's antenna setup, I'd probably retire the 633, instead of sitting on the fence where I am now.
Overall Review: This router's big selling point is still a VERY big unknown. Who knows yet whether wireless-ac will really offer the speed and reliability of Ethernet? It'd be great, but I have strong doubts. If TRENDnet had included a client adapter with the router, I'd have tried it out, but I'm not going to spend another hundred bucks now just to find out.
Pros: Nowadays, "refurbished" often just means "used", with whatever fingerprints, scratches, food, bodily fluids, etc, the previous owner left on it. This radio looks brand new, and since other reviewers have said the same, Emerson must either actually bring these up to new condition or just sell new radios as refurbished for some reason (maybe people think they're getting a better deal, even if the price is the same as new, PLUS Emerson only has to provide 30-day warranty support).
Mine works as well as I need it to. It receives a few AM and FM stations, but I never listen to the radio, so I don't care. I bought it ONLY for the weather radio, which works fine, although I've never had one before so I have nothing to compare it to. It's not as clear or loud (but more about that under Cons) as the normal stations, but I can certainly understand what the synthesized voice is saying.
Finally, the price. Since this radio will end up costing nothing - IF the rebate comes through (which is always a big "if") - I have nothing to lose anyway.
Cons: If the radio is turned off and you press the big silver WEATHER button on top, the sound blasts out loud enough to wake the dead, and the volume is NOT ADJUSTABLE! The preset volume is guaranteed to make you deaf if you're not deaf already.
You MUST turn the radio on FIRST, and ONLY THEN press the WEATHER button; when you do it that way, you can control the volume with the volume wheel on the side (which increases the volume as you turn it downward, which is weird, but it IS marked correctly). That big button is the only way to activate the weather radio band, since the BAND switch only gives you AM and FM.
They should put a gigantic red warning sticker over that WEATHER button that you have to remove before you can even press it, instead of burying the information in tiny print deep in the instruction manual. They say the volume is "fixed at optimum listening level", but that's true only for dead people. If it were a typical Chinglish manual, I'd assume they meant "maximum" instead of "optimum", but the English is excellent.
It's a VERY serious flaw, since the only reason to have that button is to get weather information immediately in an emergency; but the fixed, preset volume is so loud that the sound is so distorted you can't understand what the voice is saying, even in the few seconds before your hearing is permanently destroyed. You'd have to either remember the correct (and unintuitive) turn-on sequence or have the manual handy and find that information in the fine print, which defeats the immediacy that big button promises. That may well be why these are being sold as refurbished.
I'm going to stick a big label on the radio to remind me NOT to press that button before turning the radio on, since I'll be using it so infrequently I'm sure to forget otherwise.
Overall Review: Despite that big flaw, I'm glad I bought this radio. I might not be if I'd paid full price for it.
Pros: Works great as long as the outdoor temperature is above about 60°F. The lights are very bright, the PIR detector works great and the battery stays fully charged even when surprisingly little light reaches the solar panel. Fairly easy to mount, although the lamps can't be adjusted downward as far as I'd like.
Cons: Doesn't work at all in the winter. The solar panel charges the battery and enables the light after dark just fine, but the PIR detector never turns it on. The same thing happens with all four units I bought, so it's a design flaw, not a random defect.
Maybe PIR sensors never work in cool or cold weather, but if so the manufacturer should tell consumers about it, specifying the operational temperature range or something like that.
Overall Review: I bought them primarily to light to way to and on my front porch for UPS and FedEx deliveries in winter when it gets dark around 4:00 pm, but since the PIR detector doesn't work in winter they're useless for that purpose.
Pros: This is by far the best such product I've ever seen. It looks and feels great, it's extremely flexible, and it's the perfect size and design for working in bed. It's easy to set different heights on the two sides if you need to do that so that the platform is level. I'm about as fat as a person can be and still walk, and there's plenty of room for me under this thing.
I had none of the trouble some others did getting this set up and making all the adjustments required. It's a very straightforward process: click the big white button on the leg joint to release the latch, move the leg to where you need it to be, click the button again to re-enable the latch; then - if it doesn't pop right back out - move the leg slightly until it does.
Cons: None that I've encountered.
Overall Review: I use this to hold a wireless keyboard, not a laptop, so I haven't used the fans or USB ports. My Logitech K750 solar powered keyboard fits perfectly. I've been using my big K350 Wave keyboard because its mammoth size makes it easier to hold with one hand while pecking with the other (I never learned to touch-type because I was young way WAY back when they only let girls take typing in high school). But I really like the K750 better and now it's easy. I may even learn to type after all since I now have two free hands.
Pros: I reviewed this bread machine in early May just a few days after I got it. I still LOVE it, and I use it about once a week, but I no longer use it for making French bread, which is mostly what I wrote about before. I'm glad this machine got me started in making bread, but I discovered pretty soon that French bread really needs to be made by hand, and by a process that takes almost 24 hours (only about an hour is actual work, and it's so much fun I love doing it even if I don't particularly want the bread). It's indescribably delicious.
I discovered a fantastic recipe for more-or-less standard American white bread that was designed for bread machines, and it's by far the best you'll find anywhere. I'll put the recipe in the "Other thoughts" section below. It's a little bit sweeter than supermarket sandwich bread, but it's so fantastically delicious that you won't mind.
(I can't stand whole wheat bread - ESPECIALLY bread made with the new "white" whole wheat flour, because it lies: it looks like white bread but tastes like whole wheat. One of the reasons I got this bread machine is because I got furious when my favorite supermarket started using that horrible flour without warning in a store-baked artisan Italian bread I loved before.)
Cons: still NONE
Overall Review: FANTASTIC BREAD MACHINE WHITE BREAD
Put the mixing paddle on the spindle in the bottom of the bread machine pan.
Put these ingredients in the pan:
3 tablespoons butter cut in pieces
1 cup lukewarm water
1/3 cup lukewarm milk (to save heating the milk, use hot water, and when it mixes w/ milk and butter from the fridge it'll be lukewarm)
3 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
Put on top of the liquids in the pan, like a mountain:
3 3/4 cups unbleached all purpose flour (If you measure flour by weight instead of volume - which is the ONLY way to guarantee that bread made by ANY recipe turns out right - that's 450 grams or 15.9 ounces of flour. If you really care about making bread, buy a digital scale; you can get them online for under 30 dollars)
Make an off-center crater in the mountain of flour, and in the crater (so it doesn't touch the liquids) put:
1 1/2 teaspoons active dry (or instant, or bread-machine) yeast
Put the pan in the machine, twist slightly clockwise to lock it down, and close the lid.
Plug the machine into the AC outlet.
Select the basic bread program (#1 on this machine), 1.5-pound loaf size, and medium color.
About four hours later (including an hour for it to cool, so it's only three hours if - like me sometimes - you can't wait) you'll have a loaf of the most delicious bread you've tasted in a long time.
NOTE: Don't forget to use the handy little metal tool that came with the machine to fish the mixing paddle out of the bottom of the loaf, if it sticks there, which it does about half the time for me. You DON'T WANT to bite down on it! and you also don't want to lose it, because without it the machine is practically useless (you could mix the dough somewhere else and then bake it in the machine, but who wants to do that?).
Pros: By far the best humidifier I've ever had. It's relatively quiet, very versatile, and very effective at humidifying a small room quickly or slowly and maintaining the humidity for many hours before refilling.
The humidifying airflow is practically inaudible even at the highest of the four mist settings. It does make an almost constant sound like gently trickling water, more noticeable the higher the mist setting; but it is a very pleasant sound, much like the little tabletop fountains that were popular several years ago in part because this is a sound most people find relaxing.
It also occasionally makes the glug-glug water-cooler sound another reviewer likened to his dog barfing. That's funny, but I've had a lot of barfing digs, and this sounds more like a small water-cooler when air bubbles up through the tank to replace water that flowed out the bottom.
Cons: The manual - like the manual for every single Rosewill product I've ever bought - is ridiculous and useless, written in the world's worst Chinglish. Rosewill manuals are ALWAYS more of a liability than an asset, because they never help at all; every second spent reading them is a second wasted, which would have been better spent trying to figure out how the thing works by trial and error, which you always end up having to do anyway.
The tank's rounded top that becomes the bottom when you're filling it does make filling awkward, and the lack of a handle makes carrying the tank more awkward than it could be; but I consider both of those minor defects that are far outweighed by this humidifier's many advantages.
The humidity display does - as most other reviewers noted - seem to stay stuck at 35% no matter what you do, but I found out why. It's because 35% is the lowest humidity it reads, and it only changes in 5% increments. Most rooms requiring humidifiers are going to start out at something less than 35% relative humidity (else you wouldn't need a humidifier), and maybe a lot less than 35%. Since the display reads 35% for ANYTHING below 40%, it can take a lot of water to get it up to that point. If the actual humidity starts at 20% (not unusual in my bedroom), the display is going to read 35% until the actual humidity gets to 40%.
I sat here for several hours with the mist at its lowest setting and a constant 35% on the display; but when I cranked the mist up to its highest setting, in less than an hour the display had risen up through 40%, 45%, 50%, and now 55%. Cranking up the output saved me a frustrating encounter with the good folks at Rosewill, who seem to want to blame us for the problem since they evidently don't understand it.
So if you're stuck at 35%, try that. An earlier reviewer said his room was so foggy he couldn't see across it, but his humidifier was still reading 35%, so maybe there are some units that are defective.
Or maybe you do need to give lots of room around and even under the humidifier for it to get accurate readings, as some of the Rosewill folks have suggested. Mine is sitting on a wire shelf, so there's unrestricted airflow in every direction including below it, which may be necessary, but I don't know.
Overall Review: As of this minute, I love it.
The filter is attached to the inside of the tank's fill cap (a clever design). I assume other reviewers are correct in saying that it's not replaceable, but the manual does say something cryptic about salt, so it may be possible to rejuvenate it like a chemical water softener. I may investigate that later, but for now I'm using distilled water anyway.
What the manual says, for anyone who's good at reading Chinglish, is:
"Note: Filter is pre-installed in the humidifier, and can be used recycle, but please remove the filter after 60-80L (16-21 Gallon) used, then immerge into the salt water, so it is better used. The warranty of the filter is about 1-2 year according to the water."
Pros: The cable works fine, reliably passing data through at between 400 and 500 megabits per second according to the Windows 7 Resource Monitor. System backups that were taking two to three hours on a powerline or wireless connection now finish in 20 minutes or so, which is what I was looking for.
Cons: I don't know how Rosewill gets away with calling this a CAT 6a cable, when "CAT 6" is clearly marked all along the length of the cable's jacket. It IS shielded, though, which CAT 6 cables don't have to be, so maybe it complies with the CAT 6a performance spec. I have no way to verify that.
Overall Review: Although Rosewill may be fudging the "CAT 6a" claim, I'm completely satisfied with the performance, at a price far less than what a genuine 100-ft CAT 6a cable would cost.
(I bought this from another major online vendor because shipping was free there, but it's exactly the same Rosewill part number.)
Pros: Very good image quality, true colors, extraordinary resolution for the price
Very deep depth of field - no need for focus adjustment
Unusually useful and flexible image adjustment in software
Very small compared to other cameras at this price
Fairly good wireless performance
Cons: Antenna is NOT removable (description here says it is)
Only one mounting socket limits mounting orientation options. Most similar cameras have two mounting sockets for the included mounting bracket or a tripod, one on the bottom and another on the back; this camera has one only on the back. That plus the design of the included bracket severely limits the mounting options. I'm going to use this camera to look out through a window in my garage door, which both lets me see what's going on in the driveway and verifies that the door is closed (it has opened on its own a few times). To do that, it must be mounted on the door itself, which means that it needs to make a sort of gooseneck turn, pointing back in the direction of the surface on which it's mounted. Mounting it that way is impossible with this camera as it comes from the factory; I'll have to rig up a special mount for it or use a more flexible bracket from another camera.
Overall Review: The white case is a disadvantage in most ways, an advantage in some. It looks good, so for use inside a home or office it is attractive and unobtrusive. But for viewing out through a window, the reflection of the bright white case in the glass seriously degrades the image. Since that's how I plan to use it, I'll paint the case black. But practically all similar IP cameras come in white cases, so this disadvantage is not at all unique to this camera.
Pros: It looks nice.
Cons: I cannot access the drives on this piece of junk from Windows. No matter what I do it says "Access denied!" The documentation is incomprehensible and useless. Online tech support is asleep, on vacation or dead. User forums are run by arrogant jerks who act like anybody who doesn't already know how to get this junk to work should be shot so we won't bother them in their ivory tower.
Overall Review: The people who love this piece of junk must have some secret they're not telling anybody else. I've been wrestling with this for four days and have gotten nowhere.
Pros: Very bright, perfectly aimed, bluish (typical "white" LED) light
Surprising build quality for the low (<$10 for all six) price
All six lights worked and all batteries were fresh when received
Large textured rubber push on/push off switch at opposite end from LEDs is very convenient, better than some other types (like the cap twist on keychain Maglites)
Received two days after ordering, from coast to coast, w/free shipping - Great seller!
Cons: Have to install the wrist straps myself, with TINY metal rings - so tedious I may just not do it; a negligible "con" as far as I'm concerned
Overall Review: Based on some other reviews, I may just have been lucky to get a set in which EVERYTHING worked perfectly, batteries and all, but I have no complaints.
I can see that the lenses are just glued in, as other reviewers have said, but so far none of them have fallen out.
Having to install the wrist straps is a slight inconvenience if I even bother to do it, but I don't think they're much of an asset anyway; if the flashlights had been sold with no wrist straps I would have bought them anyway.
Pros: After doing the firmware upgrade to 1.0.3, 5514 (which is ESSENTIAL!), this is the best of the five or six IP cameras I've bought in the past few months. It's the first so far that will output 640 x 480 at 30fps consistently via WiFi, which I'd begun to think I'd never see. It captures readable images under practically all lighting conditions, under either IR or visible light at night (one 23W cf floodlight lights up my whole back yard well enough to tell what's going on), while still giving almost natural colors during the day. (This is where the FW upgrade is essential; w/o it, the camera is totally useless in daylight.) The ONLY problem is the lens....
Cons: This camera has the very worst lens I have ever seen on any camera. It's as bad as a plastic spy camera I might have ordered for 19¢ from the back of a comic book in the 1950s, alongside X-Ray glasses and dogs in teacups. The focus is adjustable, but you can either get some things ALMOST in focus OR other things ALMOST in focus, but not everything, and nothing is really sharp. Even when things are as in focus as you can get them, they look like they're underwater. What areas are in focus almost seem random; at first I thought it was a center/edge thing, but the areas of clearer focus seem to be random. And it's not caused by shallow depth of field: things equidistant from the camera are almost clear while others aren't.
I didn't plan to use the standard lens anyway, and I have several on order, but a camera this good really ought to come with a usable lens, and this one just is not.
Overall Review: I'm hoping the lenses get to me from Hong Kong before the 30-day return period ends, because if this problem turns out NOT to be the lens (although it really almost has to be), I'm going to be a VERY unhappy customer.
Pros: Resolution is good. It really is 1280 x 1024; the reviewer who said it's just 640 x 512 doubled is either mistaken or didn't set up the camera for high-resolution (or got a defective one). Ditto the large incremental moves when panning/tilting: that's all adjustable (down to a barely perceptible 1°) in the software if you take the time to find it.
The use of white rather than IR LEDs is an advantage to me, because I'd much rather have true colors than invisible illumination. But... (see Cons)
Cons: White balance is WAY off - as bad as a cheap IR camera - and it is not adjustable; the only SW options are Auto and Hold. It snowed last night, regular, white snow, but the camera shows it looking like pink cotton candy. The only way I can make it white is by killing the color completely.
I thought the lack of IR would mean true colors, but that's wrong; so you get the worst of both worlds: visible illumination and pink snow.
Overall Review: This camera is going back to Newegg.
Pros: Installed, no firmware update needed, copied W7-64 image from WD HDD, booted and ran perfectly. No problems AT ALL! I'm not interested in benchmarks, but W7 starts and shuts down at least twice as fast, with no annoying HD chatter. I couldn't be happier.
Pros: Cooktop works well, after a learning curve. I'd never used an induction cooker before. It actually does respond more like a gas burner than a normal electric burner, with INSTANT response to the controls, but without the wasteful room-heating and buildup of gunk on the kitchen walls you always get with gas burners.
Cons: Pot is very cheap, stamped from a very thin sheet of stainless steel, and it heats slowly. It took me twice as long to boil 3 quarts of water (the max it can hold) in it vs a $10 pot from W*lmart, on this induction cooktop. The pot also has an odd shape and a large raised ring in the bottom, so it's not suitable for frying eggs, cooking meat, pancakes, or anything else that needs a flat bottom. The only reason I can think of for that odd ring is that it helps stiffen the very thin steel this pot is made of; the lid seems better quality than the pot, and that's not saying much. Not worth the $10 it adds to the cost of the cooktop alone, except it does give you an induction-heatable pot right away if you don't already have any.
TOTALLY USELESS instruction manual, which is typical from Rosewill; learning to use this cooktop is definitely a trial-and-error experience, and the very peculiar controls do not help at all.
Overall Review: Since the cooktop heat is controlled by something like a thermostat or continuously cycling timer, when it's set to anything lower than the maximum 1500 Watts it cycles continually between full on and off, so it takes a while to figure out what setting is going to keep a pot of pasta, for example, boiling but not boiling over.
The various cooking and control modes are so complex, unintuitive, non-user friendly, and miserably documented that I have no idea what most of them do. I just set the power level and the timer, and so far that's been enough.
Pros: Truly plug-and-play, no driver or setup required (in Win 7-64)
MUCH faster than wireless
MUCH more reliable than wireless
No need to couple phases (in my house, at least)
works flawlessly through 60-yr-old house wiring
recertified as good as new but MUCH cheaper (only 30-day warranty, but who needs a warranty with a product this good?)
2-prong AC plug (important in an old house!)
Cons: I have tried and tried, and I cannot think of ANY cons at all.
Well, even recertified it costs more than wireless, but IT WORKS!
Well, this adapter won't work with some other Netgear powerline adapters using different (non-AV) technology, but that wasn't a problem for me,
Well, when you add a new adapter to an existing powerline network, IF you have set a new encryption key on the adapters already installed (which is not required) you have to reset all the adapters manually (with a paper clip) and then start over, but it's still easier than setting up a wireless network.
Overall Review: I have a 60-year-old house with wiring that has obviously been cobbled together over that whole period (much of which I suspect never did meet code requirements), and when I change out an outlet the old one nearly always crumbles into bits as I pull it out. I have not yet found a single outlet anywhere that these adapters don't work in, giving better than 100 Mbps throughput between all adapters, even in old original outlets so worn out that they can barely hold it in place. On my wireless-n network, I'm lucky to get 50 Mbps between a PC and the router ten feet away in the same room. I bought three of these when they were just a little over 20 dollars, and I just ordered three more since they dropped to under 20. I'm going to throw the wireless junk away.
Pros: Great price when on sale for <170.
Very easy to install and set up; only wireless cameras could be easier, and they might be less reliable.
Very thin (approx 1/8" diameter) 60' cables carry both power and video.
DVR records any or all channels w/time/date in image.
Fairly good black&white night image.
Fairly good UI on unit, from PC on network w/included SW, and web interface (although only IE is supported, not Firefox).
Pre-installed 500BG HDD holds many days worth of recording and is easy to offload via the network connection or an external USB drive (but the drive must be LINUX-compatible).
Playback: step forward by frame or 1/16x, 1/8x, 1/4x, 1/2x, 1x, 2x, 4x, 8x, 16x, but NO reverse at any speed.
Cons: ATROCIOUS color in daytime images from all cameras. Whites and blues are green, greens are gray, and only reds are anywhere close to what they should be. Brightness and contrast can be adjusted, but not color or tint. Even adjusting the monitor can't make natural looking colors. Since it's exactly the same in all four cameras, it must just be crummy camera design.
Even highest resolution is no good for details farther than about 30'. You'd be able to see a person, but not identify him.
Overall Review: The terrible color fidelity may not matter too much for security use (although you might not be able to tell what color a car really is, for example), but I'm more interested in observing the wildlife that come around my house, and it's terrible for that.
At night, the IR illumination is concentrated in the center of the frame but gives excellent illumination as far as claimed (30') in that central spot. There is adequate illumination to the edges of the frame as far as 30' away, and low resolution makes anything much farther than that unusable anyway. The 11 LEDS are visible (dim red) but only if you look straight at them; they don't visibly light up the area they shine on.