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Michael O.

Michael O.

Joined on 10/25/04

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Product Reviews
product reviews
  • 6
Most Favorable Review

Works great

APRICORN 2TB USB 2.0 / eSATA 3.5" DVR Expander II for DirecTV ADTVE2-2000
APRICORN 2TB USB 2.0 / eSATA 3.5" DVR Expander II for DirecTV ADTVE2-2000

Pros: Easy to install, just plugged it in and rebooted the settop. Video quality is great. We mostly watch HD and I haven't noticed any glitches or macroblocking.

Cons: A little noisy. You won't hear it over your program, but you definitely hear a little whirring sound if the TV is turned off.

Overall Review: Pay no attention to the reviewers who complain about have to reboot when you install/remove the external HD. This is a function of the settop box, not the hard drive. Complain to your service provider.

Most Critical Review

Couldn't get this to power a Cisco SPA504G

NETGEAR 5-Port Gigabit Smart Managed Plus Switch, PD Powered, Pass-through, ProSAFE Lifetime Protection (GS105PE)
NETGEAR 5-Port Gigabit Smart Managed Plus Switch, PD Powered, Pass-through, ProSAFE Lifetime Protection (GS105PE)

Pros: Looks nice?

Cons: I bought this to power a Cisco 504G IP phone that supports PoE. It didn't work. I just got a green blinking light that meant "PoE Fault", whatever that means. This is a known good phone by the way, I am able to power it using a different PoE switch.

Overall Review: Be sure to note that you can ONLY power the switch itself using PoE. There is no option to use a wall adaptor.

Poor documentation, had to return it

GIGABYTE GA-H77TN LGA 1155 Intel H77 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 Thin mini-ITX Intel Motherboard
GIGABYTE GA-H77TN LGA 1155 Intel H77 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 Thin mini-ITX Intel Motherboard

Pros: Small, good connectors

Cons: Manual and website support is woefully incomplete.

Overall Review: I didn't have as much luck with the M350 case. For one thing, this is a mini-ITX board, which means that the I/O shield was too small and didn't cover the hole in the back of the case. And the power supply I had (4-pin DIN) wasn't compatible with the motherboard, which had some kind of connector I didn't recognize. I might have been able to work with this, but the manufacturer doesn't document ANYWHERE what kind of connector to use or a part number for a compatible power supply. I ended up having to return this for a different brand. Full disclosure, I've built up a dozen+ ATX builds, but this is my first ITX build.

Solid upgrade for an old computer

EVGA GeForce GT 240 512MB DDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 Video Card 512-P3-1240-LR
EVGA GeForce GT 240 512MB DDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 Video Card 512-P3-1240-LR

Pros: No need for an external power supply. Good performance on Starcraft 2. No install or drivers issues.

Cons: SC2 graphics ended up on medium. Not shabby at all, but not nearly as good as my dedicated gaming computer (of course.)

Overall Review: I wanted a second computer to play SC2, and my wife's computer is a couple of years old with a subpar video card. So I wanted an upgrade that would work with the extremely limited power supply (300W +/-). This card worked like a charm, no install issues at all. Game performance was substantially improved -- it did everything I expected.

11/10/2010

QA problems!

Seagate Momentus 7200.4 ST9500420AS 500GB 7200 RPM 16MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 2.5" Internal Notebook Hard Drive Bare Drive
Seagate Momentus 7200.4 ST9500420AS 500GB 7200 RPM 16MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 2.5" Internal Notebook Hard Drive Bare Drive

Pros: Seemed reasonably fast when it was working.

Cons: I bought a new laptop with two of these suckers in it. The first one was apparently DOA and was causing Windows to lockup on boot. Once I ran some diagnostics and determined my boot problem was caused by a bad drive, I had the laptop manufacturer send me another one. Now, 6 weeks later, I noticed a lot of disk errors and ran SeaTools. Another bad hard drive! I'm not letting another Seagate drive into my laptop at this point, and I've already purchased a new drive from another vendor.

Overall Review: I've also had a < 1 year old Seagate harddrive fail on my DVR computer (the Windows drive, not the DVR video drive.)

Good solid SOHO firewall

CISCO ASA5505-BUN-K9 Cisco ASA 5505 10-User Bundle
CISCO ASA5505-BUN-K9 Cisco ASA 5505 10-User Bundle

Pros: Great reliability, I don't think it has ever crashed (although I like to reboot it every 30 days for luck). Extremely configurable, you can give every computer in your network exactly the network access you want. We originally bought it to set up VPNs with business partners, and it's worked great for that. ASDM (the GUI management tool) works well for most of your day to day configuration and monitoring needs. Very feature rich, and Cisco regularly adds new features assuming you pay to get the software updates -- they are not free. Excellent online documentation, literally thousands of pages of reference documentation. I send all my logs to a Linux syslog server. I also send selected logs to my email account. I like being able to customize the logging like this.

Cons: Not for the faint of heart. ASDM can do most basic things, but at some point you will need to use the CLI. Absolutely worth it in my opinion, but don't consider this a plug and play device. Number one pet peeve: Site to Site VPN feature can authenticate remote hosts by IP address or by FQDN. But this feature is NOT configurable on a per-tunnel basis -- it's global. This can be a big problem if you are connecting to multiple clueless business partners with different policies.

Overall Review: The different licensing options can be confusing. You can always upgrade later, but I think you save money picking the best one up front.