Archive for the ‘Reviews’ Category

E-Flite Blade MCP X Review

Over Thanksgiving, I broke the tail boom on my new MCP X heli, so I hardly got to fly it. I never got to take it to an open space, a requirement due to my novice skill level. It’s all fixed up now and we took i to the park yesterday (Sunday).

At first, it was pretty difficult. Not sure why, but at one point I found that the vertical swashplate guide was out of its groove. Perhaps it had been that way all day.

Anyway, I really got the hang of it and totally love it.

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Kindle Fire

Bought the wife a Kindle Fire (pre-order) the day they went up for sale, 8 September 2011. It arrived yesterday.

I played with it a bit at night after work.

First big complaint: The Kindle Fire doesn’t get loud enough. I was watching Ip Man via Amazon Prime on it and I couldn’t get the volume high enough. Same was true watching a couple YouTube videos about RC helicopters, which are plenty loud enough on my MacBook Air and iPad 2. This is a big problem. I didn’t point it out to my wife.

Also, I really miss having a physical home button.

I also miss having physical volume buttons. How the hell do you change the volume while playing Angry Birds? (My wife was playing, I don’t find Angry Birds very interesting to play for more than about a minute a month.) This volume thing sucks.

Web browsing is okay. Even my wife remarked that page loads are disappointingly slow. I’d seen a video comparing iPad to Fire page loading yesterday and the Kindle loaded pages in 14 seconds that the iPad 2 loaded in 4, so I was prepared for slow page loads. Hopefully this is just a DNS thing and I’ll be able to change the Fire over to using Google DNS without screwing with any of the Silk browser’s cloud-based web browsing acceleration magic. We’ll see.

The list of huge (pretty) icons of the last-used apps and such is annoying in that you can’t delete items from first position — you have to push them down in the deck by running other apps. I opened the pre-installed Pulse app to see what it was. I don’t remember what it was now, the morning after, but I do remember that I wanted that stupid thing out of my face.

Address Book: What does this sync to? I want to sync my address book to my wife’s Google Contacts so they in sync with her Blackberry. How do I do this? Is this possible at all with the Kindle Fire?

What’s Good

The price. $200 makes up for a lot of disappointment.

The Kindle Fire’s size is nice for one-handed holding. Nice for watching a movie while holding our five week old daughter. I like that. Though I couldn’t hear the videos I wanted to watch, which was a shame.

28 November 2011 update: Fire still sucks. But wife wants to keep it, even though she agrees that it’s pretty bad.

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The short version: If little helicopters interest you, buy one. They’re $20, come on.

Don’t buy the crap they sell at the mall — buy a Syma S107G. Don’t buy cheaper helis from other manufacturers. The best bang for your twenty bucks is a Syma S107.

My daughter, who is six years old, has crashlanded it in the pool, where it sunk to the bottom (and survived after I blew the water out with my compressor and let it dry overnight), stuck it on the roof where it sat for about ten hours and dropped it to the dirt from 25 feet in the air numerous times. Parts bill so far: $0.00. This thing is a tank, a submarine and a bit of a rocket. It’s not actually fast, but it hovers stably and is a joy to use.

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I’ve had this Nikkor 50mm lens for over a week now. I’m very happy with it. I wish it were wider, but that’s the shakes with a DX body.

Photo-wise, I don’t miss my 85mm f/1.4. I do miss its sexy body, but I’ll get over it.

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Motorola Triumph, Briefly.

Google Talk on my wife’s Virgin Mobile BlackBerry has been frequently telling her and her contacts that she’s online and quietly not delivering message to or from her. Restarting Google Talk app fixes this, until it recurs hours later. Could be that our Sprint network coverage at the house is spotty. Some research on my part has uncovered complaints about RIM’s Google Talk chat client fro BlackBerry.

My wife (and I didn’t twist her arm) tried a Motorola Triumph this weekend. Surprisingly, Google’s Google Chat Android client was logging her out. Not as bad as false reporting her as logged in, but still non-optimum. So I set her up with BeeJive IM and put her on the wifi at the house. I don’t remember why I changed clients, actually, but whatever.

But she can’t stand the Android keypad. And the Android 2.2 autocorrection is, in a word, completely freaking awful. I confirmed. 2.3’s autocorrection (checked on someone’s 2.3-based Nexus S) seems fine.

So she decided she’s going back to her BlackBerry.

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Roller Derby

Ivan invited us to a roller derby last night. The wife couldn’t make it, but I went with our daughter.

I was wondering if it’d be like roller derbies I see in movies, such as the recent one with Ellen Paige, Whip It. (Had to look up that title.) Well, for better or worse, it was like roller derbies portrayed in cinema.

My daughter had a hot dog, played a lot of skee-ball and got to go to bed a little late. She had a good time.

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My Canon S95 camera is still the bee’s knees. I Love it. I bring it everywhere in my small Timbuk2 messenger bag, protected by its little Olympus neoprene case.

Its color rendition is phenomenal and it takes excellent video. It’s still not for taking photographs of moving targets, such as my daughter. I have my Nikon D90 for that.

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