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Daniel B.

Daniel B.

Joined on 02/10/07

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Product Reviews
product reviews
  • 11
Most Favorable Review

Very good backup utility

Acronis True Image Home 2009 (CD)
Acronis True Image Home 2009 (CD)

Pros: Extremely good system backup utility: reliable, fast, supports a wide range of hardware. Backup/restore utility can be installed on system, and can also boot directly from distribution disk. Can build a bootable DVD with backup/restore utility and your back, this is convenient. Each successive release seems to be a significant improvement, supporting more hardware and newer systems. For example, the 2009 edition seems to support a wider range of USB hardware, and do a better job of burning directly onto DVD (something I never got working with the previous version).

Cons: The first backup you do will probably be a full-system backup to a file, this is a little cumbersome to select. The default compression level is low for current fast processors, they can back up at full speed with higher (not highest) compression, saving significant space. It would be nice if the product could automatically avoid backing up files that are not needed, such as Windows system restore points, etc. - everything that a Windows disk cleanup would discard. These are all very minor points. The product is very good.

Overall Review: A full backup for a system is large, for me they are frequently over 25G bytes. I install an additional hard drive in each system for use for backups and other large files as needed (for example, Photoshop likes to have a scratch disk). Then the backups are to the second hard drive, archived offline as needed.

Most Critical Review

Major firmware problem when disk not loaded

LG 22X DVD Burner - Bulk 22X DVD+R 8X DVD+RW 22X DVD-R 6X DVD-RW 16X DVD-ROM 48X CD-R 32X CD-RW 48X CD-ROM Black SATA Model GH22LS50 LightScribe Support
LG 22X DVD Burner - Bulk 22X DVD+R 8X DVD+RW 22X DVD-R 6X DVD-RW 16X DVD-ROM 48X CD-R 32X CD-RW 48X CD-ROM Black SATA Model GH22LS50 LightScribe Support

Pros: None, buy a drive from a different manufacturer.

Cons: When no media is loaded in this drive, the firmware 'simulates' loaded media called 'Bluebirds'. Software that detects whether or not a CD is present will always see media in the drive, even if the drive is empty. The 'Bluebirds' simulated media contains Microsoft Windows executable files that are automatically run by autorun.inf, if you use this drive on your Windows system, you may wind up with software installed. LG supplies a program to fix the drive, but this program is Windows-only, that is, the program runs only on systems that the firmware tries to infect. If your time is worth anything, it is cheaper to toss the drive.

10/22/2009

Good scanner, improved software

Plustek OpticBook 3600 Plus B68-BBM31-C 48bit USB 2.0 Interface Fast Single Pass Scanner
Plustek OpticBook 3600 Plus B68-BBM31-C 48bit USB 2.0 Interface Fast Single Pass Scanner

Pros: Good scanner for books, efficient scanning. Software is now fast and reliable.

Cons: Book scanning is a slow process, scanning a typical book might require 2 hours. Software setup for scanning is very cumbersome. For example, the software defaults to storing the scans in a very strange location, every time I scan, I have to change the location. The scan preview window is a small fraction of the screen, so scans cannot be checked properly during preview.

Overall Review: I reviewed the scanner shortly after I first received it from Newegg. The software was then quite buggy. The software crashed frequently, and useful features simply did not work. The software is now much improved. I still avoid scanning more than about 100 pages at a time, then I collect the PDF files together into a single file. Most books I scan are 19th century antiques, this scanner treats them better than any other I know of. The scanner could be improved with simpler and more efficient software, faster scanning, and a design that did not require the book to be opened as far. Many antique books have fragile bindings, even the 90+ degree opening required by this scanner is sometimes a problem.

Good hardware, software is trash

Plustek OpticBook 3600 Plus B68-BBM31-C 48bit USB 2.0 Interface Fast Single Pass Scanner
Plustek OpticBook 3600 Plus B68-BBM31-C 48bit USB 2.0 Interface Fast Single Pass Scanner

Pros: Very good scanner for books, very reasonable price. Can scan hardcover books without damaging the binding or the pages. Good scanning speed.

Cons: The software barely works, and is very buggy. On approximately 10 scans of about 10 pages, the software either crashed or discarded all pages after scanning on approximately 2 of them, apparently randomly. The software update was posted as an RAR file, not a ZIP file, requiring a separate download to obtain a decoder. The updated software deskew function is broken - it takes minutes to run, and badly skews an image, even of a page that was scanned almost without skew and with lined paper (should be easy to deskew)! Check all your settings, the software appears to keep some and lose others each time you restart.

Overall Review: Use the scanner buttons to access the scan-to-PDF function most easily, start with the 'preview' button. Make certain to select 'book' on the scanner panel.

11/25/2009

Great for embedded systems

SYBA SY-IDE2MC-4B IDE to CF/MMC/MS/SD Adapter
SYBA SY-IDE2MC-4B IDE to CF/MMC/MS/SD Adapter

Pros: A wonderful way to build a diskless PC-based system using a flash drive. Great for embedded systems.

Cons: Most CompactFlash drives cannot be used as boot drives. Almost all CompactFlash drives are marked as removable - not fixed - media in the drive itself. For CompactFlash, the drive itself provides the controller, this adapter cannot change the fixed/removable selection. Many operating systems will refuse to boot from a removable disk. Use SD/SDHC flash instead.

Overall Review: SYBA makes a version of this device that lacks the CompactFlash adapter, the SY-IDE2SDMMC. That is probably a better unit to use, unless you need CompactFlash.

10x performance improvement

Intel EXPI9300PTBLK Gigabit Desktop Adapter 10/100/1000Mbps PCI-Express 1 x RJ45
Intel EXPI9300PTBLK Gigabit Desktop Adapter 10/100/1000Mbps PCI-Express 1 x RJ45

Pros: I installed these in some small office Linux servers. The servers had motherboard Gigabit Ethernet (non-Intel). These Intel adapters increased network throughput for large file transfers by more than a factor of 10. All I did was plug in the card and enable the driver.

Cons: Requires a PCI Express slot.

Overall Review: The performance difference with these adapters is so enormous that I will refit many of the workstations with them. Unfortunately, about half the workstations run Microsoft Windows, so it appears I'll have to manually download and install the Intel drivers.