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  • Chris 3:31 pm on August 16, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Review,   

    Tiger Woods 10 Wii – Review 

    My recent Wii gaming didn’t stop with Wii Sports Resort that I last reviewed, the lovely wife surprised me with a fresh copy of Tiger Woods 10 for the Wii. I’ve long been a fan of the Tiger Woods games and normally I play on the 360 where the graphics and gameplay are phenomenal. The idea of using the Wii controller came with mixed emotions for me, I’m very used to playing TW on with a gamepad.

    I will say this in the beginning, I went into this expecting to be annoyed and frustrated, I was pleasantly proven wrong. When comparing games across different platforms it is important to realize that even though the same game is released on different platforms it doesn’t mean you get the same game. TW10 on the 360 is an amazing graphical experience, on the Wii it is more about the controller.

    There are some great games for the Wii and TW10 is near the top of the list. Like all TW games it has golf, various mini-games and training aides but they are pretty cryptically placed and I still haven’t found the driving range or putting practice course, they might not even be in the game. I’d much rather have these than the poor implementation of frisbee golf that they did include. The game overall is very solid with only a few minor problems but frisbee golf is probably the weakest link, EA should have looked at Wii Sports Resort and modeled their frisbee golf after that one.

    As far as playing with and without the Wii MotionPlus adapter, there is a slight difference when playing with it attached than there is playing without it. With it I found that my shots are more accurate but not enough to hinder gameplay and not enough to warrant running out and buying another MotionPlus adapter.

    POSITIVES

    + Great gameplay, high replay value
    + Easy game to play with friends or alone
    + Control scheme is one of the best on the Wii (my opinion)
    + Can be played with or without the Wii MotionPlus attachment.
    + Fun game, dare I say a bit more fun that playing with a gamepad.
    + As an added bonus if you are “older” (like me) your neck and upper body doesn’t crack as much when you play, this is nice because it also carries over to when you aren’t playing, I can twist me head in all kinds of directions now without it sounding like I am eating cereal.

    NEGATIVES

    • Sometimes when using the aiming aid the percentage/distance meter gets in the way.
    • Frisbee golf.
    • Not a good main screen layout.
    • Can’t find game modes that should be there, i.e. driving range, putting practice course.

    
Final: If you’ve got a Wii and enjoy golf games this is a definite purchase.

     
  • Chris 10:21 pm on July 16, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Review, Tiny Speaker   

    Bytech Portable Mini Speaker 

    Review updated: 07.21.09 – see end for update

    Up this week is a product that I found a week later than I actually needed it the Bytech Portable Mini Speaker from Best Buy in the mobile phone department for $19.99. It is a 2 inch speaker with a rechargeable battery and accordion type “subwoofer”.

    In the box:
    2 inch speaker with 3.5mm connector
    3.5mm extension
    2.5mm adapter
    USB cable
    “user manual” (using the word manual very loosely here)

    The USB and 3.5mm extension cable are convenient and retractable and stow easily, the 2.5mm adapter on the other hand is something that if you don’t need immediately will most likely make its way to the back of your junk drawer never to be seen again.

    Not sure what to expect from a 2.8 watt speaker that fit in the palm of my hand and featured an accordion subwoofer I was actually very unimpressed when I pulled it out of the box and plugged it into my iPhone, mainly because the GSM noise coming from it, this was sold in the mobile phone section. I promptly unplugged and added the 3.5mm extension and turned it on with earplugs firmly in place, no need to flare up the tinnitus if I don’t have to. Once again, not really that impressed, I was glad that I bought it local and not online so I wouldn’t have any problem taking it back, but I decided to give it another go, turn down the volume and let it run for a while and see if a little break-in period would help. I’m glad I did, the speaker actually doesn’t sound that bad and that’s fully closed so I unlock it and ready myself for the accordion subwoofer to shake the room and well, it didn’t but it did add some depth to the sound and was quite pleasant. For what it is and what I need it for, basically chucking it in my backpack for a little music relief this summer when out in the world, it is small, doesn’t require much space and it can be used with the items I normally carry around if needed. It is far from the sound quality of a decent set of headphones or speakers but for a 2 inch speaker it pumps a nice volume level.

    My walking around pack has a Solio charger (and adapters), iPod/iPhone cable, and now the small speaker with retractable cables and they all fit in a tiny pocket with an energy bar and my lucky platypus and I still have room for the odd Clif Bar or two.

    POSITIVES
    + price, in the grand scheme $20 isn’t that much and it is small, I’ve seen other versions for around $10

    + you could plug it into an iPod and put it in your pocket playing music at a low level all day and when people ask if you hear that music you could look at them and say “what music” as you pull out your phone that isn’t playing music
    + if you are a cubicle dweller and “the man” frowns upon you using company equipment for entertainment it is easily slid into a desk drawer 

    + battery life is pretty impressive
    + the possibilities for use are actually pretty open
    + the retractrable cables are convenient for other items, the USB adapter is USB to mini-USB

    NEGATIVES
    
- requires a small break-in period to sound good
- GSM noise if you don’t use the extension

    • it would have been nice instead of a retractable extension 3.5mm cable if the retractable extension was built into the unit

    Final: Recommended Conditional Recommendation*

    *UPDATE – As I stated above this was bought in the mobile phone department of Best Buy which is unfortunate since it suffers from an annoying GSM static feedback issue with prolonged use and this is with the 3.5mm extension cable, it should be sold in the portable audio section, it pairs well with an iPod or other portable player but not with an iPhone.

    bytech

     
  • Chris 9:01 pm on July 7, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Review   

    Review – Mini-DisplayPort to DVI adapter 

    With the purchase of the new MacBook Pro last month it also meant the need to purchase a new dvi adapter since Apple switched from mini-dvi to mini-displayport.  This is normally one of those $30 accessories you just buy when you buy a new Mac, but I decided that I’d try a little experiment. I found a dealer on eBay selling a “generic” mini-displayport to dvi adapter for under $14 shipped. I went into this endeavor not having high hopes for it because I’ve seen reports of the official mini-displayport adapters having problems, but $15 is a small price to pay to see if I saved $15 from buying the official one or if a $30 adapter would actually cost me $45.

    The “generic” ones are plentiful on eBay and range in price between $10-$25 but the bulk of them ship from China, most for free but still take about a week to get to you, especially if you live in the great northeast like I do. I found a dealer in Denver had one for $13.95 shipped, so I ordered and three days later I got it.

    The first thing you notice about it is that the packaging is almost identical to the official apple one but the color of the adapter isn’t white and it isn’t as rounded. The color is more light beige, think classic pc parts, the dvi connector is a rounded rectangle and is a bit fatter. I remove it from the package and hook up the monitor, put the MacBook to sleep, close the lid, plug it in, hold my breath and say “oh mighty MacBook please awaken from your slumber” like I do every time I wake up the MacBook and voila, I’m looking at my desktop magically taken from the actual MacBook to the beautiful widescreen color corrected monitor. No defects, no odd lines no fuzzy text, just a crisp clear image…test one, pass. Then I open up the MacBook and see if it will pull off a mirrored and extended desktop to see if I get the same results…test two, pass.

    In the end, I actually can’t say anything bad about the “generic” mini-displayport to dvi adapter from Betamacs-Sales in Denver, Colorado, the offered free fast shipping on a product that did what it is supposed to and it saved me a couple of large lattes.

    POSITIVES
    + price, a net savings of over $15 over the official version
    + it works
    + true plug and play

    NEGATIVES

    • it isn’t white
    • it is a bit fatter

    The negatives aren’t really worth mentioning unless you are a true Apple “i” person who feels that their current product is rendered obsolete by the introduction of a new or refreshed product.

    Final: Highly Recommended
    dpdvi

     
    • jack 4:25 pm on July 16, 2009 Permalink | Reply

      Super-Duper site! I am loving it!! Will come back again – taking you feeds also, Thanks.

    • Henry 10:13 am on August 31, 2009 Permalink | Reply

      Can I ask how long is the cable length? It looks about 6″ so did you have an issue with the distance from the MacBook to the monitor?

      • Chris 9:47 pm on October 13, 2009 Permalink | Reply

        Hi Henry. Sorry for the late response, it is about 6 inches long and actually this plugs into the monitor DVI cable. Thanks for stopping by.

    • Sterling 6:47 pm on November 24, 2009 Permalink | Reply

      Hi Chris. Happy to have found your post as I’m troubleshooting my adapter now. I picked one up a few weeks ago. Awesome out of the packaging, but now my MBP refuses to detect my monitor, or flickers blue to black in the way it does as it usually moves to monitor spanning mode, only it never makes it all the way, just flickers and then turns blue.

      Have you had any problems or know any tricks to try? Have tried all manner of restarting/plug-in/etc combinations I could come up with.

      Thanks!

      • Chris 10:01 pm on December 18, 2009 Permalink | Reply

        Hi Sterling.

        Sorry about the late reply to this but I’ve been using mine for quite a while now with no issues. The only thing I could think of is to head on into the Apple Store and see if they can test your mini-DisplayPort connection, if that’s not an option you could always buy/borrow a different adapter and see if you have the same problem. Other than that it could be the actual DVI cable.

        Thanks for stopping by.

  • Bryan 11:52 am on August 20, 2008 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: AX Micro, battery, Bluetooth, Charger, Dock, Headset, Megan Saulsbury, , Review,   

    Review of AX Micro bluetooth headset 

    I recently received a really nice bluetooth headset from Megan Saulsbury. Before I start the review, I would just like to thank her for letting me review this product. The AX Micro is made by Tritton Technologies. Tritton also makes many other cool gadgets which you can see on their website.

    In the box of the AX Micro it has the headset, it has the bluetooth, a very convenient charger, two different sized rubber pieces that you can put on the bluetooth if you ears are bigger or smaller, and the instruction manual. This bluetooth comes with a very nice dock, that makes it very easy to charge. Plus, this bluetooth only takes around 2 hours to charge completely which is great for a bluetooth of this size.

    The AX Micro is a very small and affordable bluetooth headset. On the AX Micro there are only 3 buttons. One on the left side one on the right and one on the front of it. The two side buttons are used as volume controls and the button on the front is used for taking calls and connecting the bluetooth to your phone. Connecting the device to your phone is very easy. When your phone is looking for bluetooth devices, just hold down the center button and within seconds it will be connected. The button on the left side is to put the volume up and on the right it is for the volume down.

    When I buy a bluetooth headset, the first thing I want to know about is the sound quality. The sound quality on the AX Micro is pretty good. It isn’t the best sound quality you can have from a bluetooth but I can still understand the other person.

    I only found two minor problems with the AX Micro. The first was with the connection while making calls. Sometimes if the bluetooth is in your pocket the call will start to break up. But it has never completely cut off in the middle of a call, as long as the bluetooth is close to the phone you won’t experience many problems. The second problem was fitting it into my ear. Just at the beginning when I was trying it on, it was hard to find out which way it should go in. But, after I figured out how it should sit in my ear, I had no problem getting it in any other time.

    I think that the retail price for this product is pretty reasonable, $49.99. But now you can get the AX Micro for under $40 in many stores online. Here is my final review of the AX Micro by Tritton Technologies.

    Review

    • Easy of use 10/10
    • Sound quality 7/10
    • Design 8/10
    • Connection 7/10
    • Overall Rating 8/10
    Thank you again Megan Saulsbury for letting us review this product.
     
  • Bryan 2:21 pm on March 25, 2008 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: is.gd, Review, Snurl, Twhirl, TwitPic,   

    Review of Twhirl 

     abac_logo.gifIf you use twitter you know that sometimes it is annoying when you always have to keep on bringing up their website to post something. Now with Twhirl you don’t have to do that. Twhirl is a free Twitter client that lets you do everything that you do with the normal twitter.com. It also makes it very easy to post things and reply to people.Twhirl lets you do everything that you would normaly do with Twitter. You can reply to people, send direct messages, delete posts, and mark tweets as your favorite.There are also other things that Twhirl has combined with twitter to make your experience with Twhirl even better. The first improvement that they made was making it very easy to shorten urls. As you probably know you are only allowed to put in 160 characters in one update. So you need to make the url shorter if you want to share it with your friends. With Twhirl you can choose either Snurl or  is.gd.The second improvement that they made was making it easy to post pictures on Twitter through TwitPic. TwitPic is a website that lets you upload photo’s to share them with your friends on Twitter. I have posted a couple of pictures using TwitPic through Twhirl and it works very nicely.Twhirl also notices you if you have a twitter that just came in so you are always up to date. You can also set the time span between when it checks for new twits. Thwirl also has different color schemes so you can make it look how ever you want. There are also a couple of other little things that this application does. One is that it uses a thing called TweetScan. In this you can search the public timeline to see if anyone posted about a topic that you are interested in. I have used this and it works great. Twhirl is also compatible with many operating systems. They are 2000, XP, and Vista for Windows, and also Mac OS X. The last great thing that Twhirl does is it can combine more than one Twitter account. This is defiantly useful so you don’t have to keep on going back and forth between Twitter accounts.To get Twhirl you can go to this link, and download it. I suggest that everyone tries it because it is a great application. 

     
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