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Craig S.

Craig S.

Joined on 12/09/02

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Product Reviews
product reviews
  • 40
Most Favorable Review

Extraordinary Scanner, Great Value!

EPSON Perfection V700 B11B178011 Epson Dual Lens System,  Film & Photo Flatbed Color Scanner
EPSON Perfection V700 B11B178011 Epson Dual Lens System, Film & Photo Flatbed Color Scanner

Pros: Easy to set up, easy to use. Reflective scans are excellent. Capable of outstanding color accuracy using VueScan Pro's IT8 color calibration. Slide and film scanning is easy and the results are close to CoolScan quality. Digital ICE works great for removing dust and scratches of slides without undue softening or loss of detail.

Cons: Software included is adequate at best. SilverFast's newest version makes scanning batches of slides easy but to get it you'll pay well over $200 to upgrade it from the version bundled with the scanner. VueScan Pro should have been bundled with it and the rest of the wimpy software should have been omitted. Should include reflective and transparent IT8 calibration targets in the box.

Overall Review: This scanner performs extremely well for film and slide scanning. At full resolution the resulting scan files are HUGE so plan ahead and purchase as much memory your machine can use and add a good 400-1000 Gigs of hard drive storage. I've scanned and restored a lifetime's (several thousand slides) worth of old family vacation slides my Dad took. Some have been put on slideshow discs playable in my DVD player (low resolution scans) and some have been scanned at maximum resolution and printed at 16"x20" on my Canon iPF5000 printer at full 16-bit output with jaw-dropping excellent results. The only scans I've gotten that were noticeably better were made on a $16K Ima*** drum scanner.

Runs cool. Works Beautifully.

G.SKILL Ares Series 16GB (2 x 8GB) DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model F3-1600C9D-16GAR
G.SKILL Ares Series 16GB (2 x 8GB) DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model F3-1600C9D-16GAR

Pros: Reasonably priced. Good performer for standard CPU clock speeds Runs cooler than expected

Cons: None

Overall Review: Installed this as the second channel of RAM (32GB total) for the media server/player. Works like a charm. CD/DVD ripping transcoding and file format conversions run noticeably faster than when it was running 16MB RAM. Media server/player uses a stock Core i7-3770 processor running JRiver Media Center, dB Poweramp Suite and a few others.

Fast. Easy to set up.

D-Link  DCM-301 DOCSIS 3.0 Cable Modem
D-Link DCM-301 DOCSIS 3.0 Cable Modem

Pros: Lightning fast performance. VERY reliable. Easy to install. Green lights aren't nearly as annoyingly bright as blue LEDs.

Cons: Doesn't install itself.

Overall Review: This modem has been in service since August 15, 2015. It's been rock solid reliable and has only needed to be restarted once. Yes, you read that right: ONCE. It's VERY fast, FAR faster than the throughput on my previous Motorola DOCSIS 2.0 modem and then some. I don't get people who replace their modems, don't bother to call their ISPs AND then complain when their new modem is behaving erratically or has failed. First of all, call your ISP to have them run a status check on the new modem. Most reliability and performance issues reported by the other reviewers are easily avoidable. For example, when setting up this modem, the Xfinity tech told me that my new modem was reporting that the Xfinity line signal was too strong. Leave it that way and the modem will eventually start behaving erratically and then die. I found this out the hard way years ago. The solution was to simply install a coaxial line signal attenuator between the modem and the incoming coax cable to lower the broadband signal strength from the ISP to within an acceptable operating range for the modem. Yes, that's all it takes. Coax line attenuators are pretty darn cheap and easy to obtain from online retailers or your internet service provider. The attenuators commonly come in three levels of signal reduction, Buy one of each. Don't EVER convince yourself that cable modems are universally plug and play for any and all internet service providers. They are NOT. Even when the modem is listed as compatible by either ISP or manufacturer, those compatibility guidelines DO NOT take into account incoming signal strength. More often than not, you need to make sure the incoming signal is not slowly frying the input section of your new modem. Almost all cable internet providers run their line signal strength well above spec to make sure all their customers receive a strong signal. So simplify your life and take the little time and effort it takes to call your particular internet service provider's tech support department to make sure your modem is installed correctly and is compatible with your incoming broadband line signal strength. You'll find that the payoffs of blazing speed, reliability and not having to endure all the malfunctioning equipment drama is soooo worth it. Happy computing, everyone!

Easy Signal Strength Fix

ARRIS SURFboard SB6141 8x4 DOCSIS 3.0 Cable Modem
ARRIS SURFboard SB6141 8x4 DOCSIS 3.0 Cable Modem

Pros: Fast as lightening. Line signal strength issues can be easily resolved, will extend the service life of the modem and prevent premature failures like those I've read about in prior reviews.

Cons: Sounds like the cut-rate, minimum wage paying contractor Motorola hired for their product support is worse than incompetent. Signal attenuators have been a VERY common solution for overly high incoming line signal strength for the last decade or so. Cable companies have known about this issue for at least 15 years or more. It's another sad example of unbridled corporate greed at its finest...

Overall Review: Sorry to see so many users are having problems with signal strength issues. A while back a Comcast/Xfinity service technician inserted an inline signal attenuator in series between my surfboard cable modem and the cable coming from the outside box. The signal dropped to levels that made the modem VERY happy and it solved the problems I was experiencing with network disruptions. Coax line signal attenuators are commonly available in -3db and -6db sizes through a TON of online retailers. if you need more attenuation, link them together in series. Whenever you move to a new location OR get a new cable modem, check the signal strength against the modem specs. Once the modem is connected to the cable and powered up, it will give you signal strength in db via its GUI. Check your modem specs to see if your modem needs to have the signal attenuated. If so, insert the appropriate values of coax line attenuators between the modem and the cable feed. Check signal strength again via the GUI and adjust as necessary with additional attenuators if you need them. Simple, inexpensive, effective and absolutely NO tools required. And it will keep your new or old modem from getting fried by excessively high signal input.

Solid and Quiet Value

SeaSonic M12II 620 Bronze 620W ATX12V V2.3 / EPS 12V V2.91 SLI Ready 80 PLUS BRONZE Certified Full Modular Active PFC Power Supply
SeaSonic M12II 620 Bronze 620W ATX12V V2.3 / EPS 12V V2.91 SLI Ready 80 PLUS BRONZE Certified Full Modular Active PFC Power Supply

Pros: - Very quiet in my application. - Impressive fit and finish. - Built like a tank with quality parts. - Fully modular, not semi-modular. - Good for HTPC, Media Center PC. - Flat black color is attractive in most any case build.

Cons: Whether or not it's true, it has been reported that this PSU does not support the latest energy-saving features implemented in the latest Haswell-series Intel CPU's. With that said, my build employs a Core i7-3770 and this PSU functions perfectly with all the energy saving features it has. And I checked to make sure before writing this review.

Overall Review: This PSU is currently replaces the 280W LiteOn PSU in a Lenovo H520 Desktop. Since this PSU is larger than the one it replaces, it was a tight fit. It helps immeasurably if you insert the cables you'll need into the PSU BEFORE installing if you have limited rear clearance in your case. Next month, I will be moving all the innards into a Fractal Design R4 Silent Case as it is used exclusively as a JRiver Media Center/HTPC. I am planning to add dual pairs of Seagate 2TB NAS drives in RAID 1 pairs using an external controller card which this PSU should handle without breaking a sweat. Well, that's unless I go completely bonkers with upgrade fever and swap out the current Lenovo mobo with an ASRock H77M mobo that has on-board RAID and would also allow me to increase the RAM past the Lenovo board's 8GB RAM limit. Would likely spring for a small SSD for the OS and apps as well as invest in a better CPU cooler while I'm at it. It never ends, does it?

Great Little NAS Drive with BIG Performance

WD 3TB My Book Desktop External Hard Drive - USB 3.0 - WDBFJK0030HBK-NESN
WD 3TB My Book Desktop External Hard Drive - USB 3.0 - WDBFJK0030HBK-NESN

Pros: Reasonably quiet. Great value. Runs reasonably cool, just keep it well ventilated so you don't fry the poor thing. Easy to set up. Ideal for music and media vault duty in most homes. Distributes different hi-rez music streams to several locations at once without a hiccup. Works amazingly fast when using JRiver Media Center.

Cons: LED light on the front can be distracting in dark rooms. Built-in Twonky server app is horrifying slow if you're releying on it as the primary server software over DLNA. This isn't a problem if you're employing a dedicated computer running media server software like JRiver Media Center, Media Monkey and the like.

Overall Review: Absurdly easy to set up. I was stunned that it wasn't far more difficult. This drive is used primarily as the centralized network storage drive for my music library. It serves multiple computers and Android tablets using JRiver Media Center on Gigabit ethernet and Wi-Fi. The tablets mostly pipe the tunes to the ridiculously good G-Boom bluetooth portable speakers (great for shop, garage and outdoors). Most of the music files are in lossless FLAC format so they're quite a bit larger but far better sounding than MP3. This little NAS has had ZERO problems handing five simultaneous music data streams at once. If this thing dies, I'll likely get another. To get appreciably better, I would have to upgrade to an Intel Zeon-based FreeNAS server running RAID 1 mirroring, with dual Gigabit LAN connections and THAT runs about $1500 and up, waaay up.