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R. Ocampo "Artisan" (North America)

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La Crosse Technology BC1000 Alpha Power Battery Charger
La Crosse Technology BC1000 Alpha Power Battery Charger
Price: CDN$ 59.99
11 used & new from CDN$ 59.99

3.0 out of 5 stars One of the Better Overnight Smart Chargers. Needs Improvement to Make the Display Intuitive., July 6 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This is one of the better chargers to get with your rechargeable batteries. I have a sack of Sanyo Eneloop batteries and couldn't be happier with pairing this charger with those batteries.

I have an everyday Sony fast charger that has a convenient display. it tells me the recharge state of the batteries in a simple back lit graphic. Once the charge is done, the back light turns off.

With the La Crosse, it does have a display with multitude of readouts on the state of the battery which is for more advanced users. The problem is that with the text-only display, it can get confusing how to read and interpret the data especially if you don't use it frequently like myself.

I do like this charger because based on reviews it is more advanced in charging and conditioning the battery to make it's lifespan last longer.

It defaults to a slow overnight charger which you can change the setting to increase the voltage to make it recharge faster. However, you will have to press the buttons almost immediately upon power up.

So for me, if I want a fast charger I pull out my Sony smart charger. If I'm not in a hurry and don't mind the slow overnight charging then I use this.

I am hoping La Crosse makes the graphics and operation more intuitive including a backlight so you can view at night without an external light.

Seagate NAS HDD 4TB SATA 6GB NCQ 64 MB Cache Bare Drive ST4000VN000
Seagate NAS HDD 4TB SATA 6GB NCQ 64 MB Cache Bare Drive ST4000VN000
Price: CDN$ 169.98
18 used & new from CDN$ 169.98

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the Best Drives To Get For Your NAS, July 6 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Ordered a couple of these for the LaCie 5Big NAS Pro as my home server and looks like a match made in Heaven from day 1. Knowing how fragile hard drives can be during shipping especially with OEM packaging, I was crossing my fingers during the installation. Inserted the disks one by one and was recognized within a minute.

The disks are very quite and barely give off more heat than is expected from a server in my storage room when I leave it on 24 hours alongside the Arris DVR + External Hard Drive, Cisco Switch, and APC Back Up. In any case, when I know I don't need to access the NAS, I turn it off to save of electricity as well as prevent more wear and tear on the hard drives.

So far since last December installation, I have had no problems being reported by the NAS. Knock on wood a million times now that I've said it.

It's very quiet thanks also to the 5Big NAS Pro enclosure. I can't hear a thing except when it powers up and down.

Overall I would recommend these NAS drives.

LaCie 5big NAS Pro Diskless Cloudbox (9000362U)
LaCie 5big NAS Pro Diskless Cloudbox (9000362U)
Price: CDN$ 508.98
6 used & new from CDN$ 508.98

5.0 out of 5 stars Better Than I Imagined., Dec 19 2013
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
FIRST IMPRESSIONS:

I was a heavy LaCie user back in the early 2000's with their external storage and optical disc reader/writer. One of my external drives gave up it's life just after a year and I lost a lot of data which is my fault for not having a back up. I realize the passive cooling on their aluminum case won't cut it. All hard drives that is being frequently used needs active cooling one way or another. Drives that will be connected for a short period to back up files and then stored away again will have no problem with passive cooling. When I checked the forums about my external model, I was stunned how many people had drive failures as well and I swore off LaCie entirely. The thing is LaCie was known to boutique filmmakers and photographers so they depended on it for heavy use, which I know now was a mistake.

I went from simple external enclosures to finding a dependable NAS. A few years ago I bought HP's MediaSmart Server which I found effective at that time. There were quirks to it's bloated interface which was painfully slow to navigate. And despite it's limitations on file character length, I couldn't complain with it's stability which to this day is still standing strong.

I thought it can only get better with new NAS in the market so I got a Seagate Black Armor NAS. I couldn't believe how clunky the interface was which was even worse than the old timer HP MediaSmart. And how painfully slow the connection was despite having two gigabit ethernet. I would have a disk disconnect from time to time which would mess up the RAID 5 configuration and it would slowly rebuild itself.

Fast forward to the end of 2013 and I started looking for a better NAS that was fast, dependable, a solid build, and great design. Surprisingly this LaCie 5Big NAS Pro kept on coming up. Even more surprising are the above average reviews.

BUILD:

From the outside, it looks like one solid aluminum block. In fact hidden underneath this solid skin is a plastic shell which helps make the weight manageable.

You have a big blue button in front for to power on and off. The clicking sensation feels nice and not cheap. Once it powers up, the blue button glows with a bright backlight. The blue light has been a LaCie trademark, which is a nice touch within the cold aluminum. The issue I have is it’s too bright at night. You can power off the light easily on the web interface. But I wish there was another option to adjust the brightness. I want to retain the blue light, but I don’t want to be blinded by it. As comparison, the old HP MediaSmart Server’s blue lights can be adjusted. There should be no reason why LaCie isn’t able to do the same. As it stands, the light is either bright on or off.

PORTS:

At the back of the block are the ports arranged on the bottom. You have 2 x USB 2.0 ports, 2 x USB 3.0 ports, a VGA port, 2 x Gigabit Ethernet LAN ports, power port for the external power supply.

The USB ports serve a multi purpose from connecting the supplied LaCie USB installation key, a printer, a UPS device, or another hard drive.

The VGA port for direct connection and trouble-shooting when you can’t connect via the web interface.

Two Gigabit Ethernet LAN ports to connect to your router, switch, hub, or another server which in this case will be your DAS (Direct Attached Storage). What I did and would recommend is to attach the two LAN ports to your switch to manage the flow of communication. By utilizing the two ports at the same time, you are given a choice of either a faster connection (Load Balancing) OR a more reliable/stable connection (Fault Tolerance).

- Load Balancing will give you a 1.5X speed connection per the manual. You don’t get a full 2 x Gigabit speed perhaps due to limitations in the build, but a 1.5 x Gigabit speed is better than a Gigabit speed. This is all theoretical of course assuming your network and the hard drives (plus RAID) settings can keep up.

- Fault Tolerance is when you have two connections, but only use one Gigabit active LAN. When the primary connection fails, the second one takes over.

- As a side note Load Balancing can handle a drop in one of the ethernet connections but the 5Big unit will take some time to adapt to the drop versus Fault Tolerance which is instantaneous.

- Choosing one or the other will depend on your priority. If you depend on the unit for faster speed accessing, say multimedia files, then Load Balancing is best. Whether you choose one or the other it’s best to have a back up drive on your network or in another location.

For the power port they made a good decision to keep the unit compact enough to hold the 5 hard drives and the processor as well as keep the extra heat out. You do get a massive brick I’d say twice the size of a regular power brick of laptops.

INSTALLATION/INTERFACE/SPEED/STABILITY:

Installation for my diskless choice is relatively fast enough. You insert the included LaCie USB key to install the OS (but first make sure to have the latest OS files loaded into the key downloadable from the web). Power up the unit and then start inserting the chosen hard drives one by one starting with the left-most side.

From there the web interface from your computer will take over so you can see the actual install procedure. Here you will choose the RAID configuration as well as check the latest OS version to download. Once the installation is done, you then set up your users and preferences.

The web interface is as beautiful and simple as the unit itself. I am impressed with the GUI which is simple, but extensive enough. Of course when I say extensive, I mean this unit will serve the need of small businesses, home office, or homes with larger demands in storage and user base.

There are no added applications to slow down the interface like in a Windows server OS. While in Seagate’s NAS interface, the GUI is so bland it’s painful.

This 5Big NAS Pro is very fast. This is relative of course depending on your chosen RAID configuration.

This unit, despite Seagate taking over LaCie, can theoretically take on any SATA drive. But they do have a recommended list of “tested” drives for a more reliable and stable server environment.

OVERALL:

I am impressed and happy with my purchase and in going back in trying this LaCie 5Big NAS Pro model. I’m glad I didn’t try a LaCie with their earlier 5Big models which had mediocre reviews. With this latest iteration, they nailed the speed and performance aspect.

I can only hope that they do not limit the choice of hard drive models to only Seagate drives in the future if they want to keep LaCie independent of the Seagate business unit.

I have no hesitation recommending this model.

One final note is that if you are in no hurry to get this up and running, I would purchase the DISKLESS 5Big NAS Pro version and then load your own chosen compatible hard drive. You can use as little as one hard drive up to five. It wouldn’t make sense to buy this and only use one drive with absolutely no data security. At least use two hard drives and have one backup the other. When you have enough money to expand, you can easily do so by inserting disk three to five.

Even if you want to go 20TB big in one shot, it is cheaper to buy the diskless version and then purchase your 5 x 4TB NAS compatible drives which in my case cost me 30% cheaper than if I purchased the 20TB model. The only difference is that LaCie has loaded the unit with 5 x 4TB drives (I won’t be surprised if these were the same Seagate 4TB NAS drives I chose) and did the RAID installation already. The 30% premium you pay is to get you up and running in a few minutes after unpacking the unit. If you plan ahead before your current storage solution fails, that 30% savings can mean extra equipment or even two more 4TB hard drives in standby should one fail down the road. I’ll say it again, plan ahead.

HP LaserJet P1006 Printer
HP LaserJet P1006 Printer
Offered by CA Ultra Sales (18-26 Business Days Delivery Time)
Price: CDN$ 755.89
8 used & new from CDN$ 295.08

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good Design and Value for Home Printing Needs, Nov. 14 2009
I was going to give it three stars because of the ridiculous Amazon Canada pricing, but held back and reminded myself I'm reviewing the product itself.

After years of depending on inkjet printers for simple documents to photos, I was tired of watching the expiration date on the ink cartridges. Having re-assessed my printing needs, I realized I should have switched to a laser printer even before.

Of course prices were a factor in terms of ink and toner replacement as well as the unit itself. Not these days.

PROS:
- HP LaserJet P1006 has an attractive price point going for below $100
- Combined ink and toner in one. No need to purchase two accessories for printing as HP combined it in one.
- Because it's dry ink to start with, there is an infinite ink life which is perfect for people who don't print as often anymore and just need a printer that's ready when called for after a long dormant rest.
- For a laser printer, this is a very compact unit that can fit in more spaces than ever before where it was once impossible for laser printers
- Design. Modern and professional looking silver and dark grey scheme with round, smooth edges.
- Relatively quiet. I was expecting a blatantly loud printing start up, but HP has managed to make this very decent and perfect for a home environment.
- Compared to the basic P1005, this P1006 has (a) more memory, (b) a bit faster printing speed, (c) extra slot for envelope printing
- I have to quote HP but it prints "bold, crisp text and sharper images". It really does!

CONS:
- HP became more cheap to ensure you replace the ink cartridges sooner because the included "starter" cartridge is only half the original supply at 750 pages versus 1,500.
- At this day and age, wireless and network printing should be an option that can be built into the unit versus having to buy an external product that needs it's own power supply.
- USB cable. How much does it cost to provide a cable to ensure trouble-free printing right out of the box without having to assess if the old cable has a tear.
- No auto-off feature that should shut itself if not used for at least 5 minutes to reduce phantom power. It only goes into powersave mode which still draws 3 watts just waiting for the next print which could be days or even months.

WIRELESS PRINTING CONNECTION VIA APPLE AIRPORT EXTREME DUAL MODE.
Since day one of installation, the printer was connected to an Apple Airport Extreme Dual Mode router. As for printing wireless with a Mac computer, there has been no problem passing the documents to the router. I simply installed the latest driver from the HP site and simply added the printer.

Not surprisingly for an Apple product, I did have problems printing wireless via a Sony Vaio laptop running Windows Vista despite downloading the latest drivers as well as Bonjour (which I've had no problems printing with the same set up under an older HP printer). Then after having given up, I decided to try again and it did print. Nothing changed except maybe one of those Windows Vista software updates down the line. HP drivers and Apple

Bonjour software version were all the same. I won't be surprised if it wouldn't print suddenly one of these days again as I've read online with other people's experiences.

I do have to point out that direct connection via USB to either Mac or Windows computer hasn't given me any problems when test printing. So if you plant a direct connection, then wireless printing wouldn't be an issue.

OVERALL:

I love the look of the printer and the print quality it provides for the cost of actually having a relatively itsy bitsy laser printer.

I'm not a fan of the half-value sampler ink cartridge. I'm not a fan of the replacement cartridge cost which doesn't surprise me why re-manufactured and third-party replacements are available. If this concerns HP, then they should simply lower the price so they have repeat customers.

For home printing needs that don't need everyday printing and require long life ink cartridge, I wouldn't hesitate recommending it at all.

Microsoft Office 2008 for Mac Home & Student Edition
Microsoft Office 2008 for Mac Home & Student Edition
4 used & new from CDN$ 146.25

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Best value among all Microsoft Office 2008 versions, July 31 2009
With the advent of Mac OS X in 2001, Microsoft has so far released three updates of Office starting with Office v. X at the same year, then Office 2004 and last year's Office 2008.

UNIVERSAL. The most notable update to Microsoft Office 2008 for Mac is the use of universal binary which means it can natively run on both newer Intel Macs and PowerPC (PPC). So if you have both older and newer Macs, then it's good to know you can use the same software to install on either machines.

LICENSE. The license I've read so far allows the installation to: 1) a primary device, 2) a portable device for use by the single primary user, and 3) on a network device for use as remote access by the single primary user.

VERSION. The standard version includes Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Entourage and Microsoft Server Exchange Support.

The Special Media version contains the above and adds Microsoft Expression Media (basically a digital asset manager for USD100.00 more.)

The Home and Student Edition includes the basic Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Entourage. HOWEVER, Home and Student Edition includes three licenses for non-professional use. If you don't make a profit using the software and only need it for the home, this provides the best value and most logical purchase decision.

CHANGES. To be at par with the PC version Microsoft Office 2007 and support Office Open XML file format. Oddly enough, lack of Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) support made this the weirdest update for a more supposedly advanced operating system.

SPEED. Not really anything to gloat about in a PPC environment. But this was obviously made to enhance Intel Macs.

OVERALL. I was perfectly fine with Office X. I was also perfectly fine with Office 2004. I'm still okay with Office 2008. I think like the rest of the users who thought of updating for a better workflow, all I ended up was spending more to maintain better compatibility with my OS. But as criticisms keep pouring in, compatibility is not the strongest factor especially when switching between Office 2007 and Office 2008.

in my opinion, if speed for Intel Macs is your concern then this is a worthy purchase. For users holding on to PPC Macs, this is really not for you and I would just continue using Office 2004.

However, if you're only switching to a Mac then this is an essential purchase and with 3 licenses to use on three devices for the home it's really something you don't have to decide on. It's worth the price especially if you constantly exchange Office files between friends and classmates.

Microsoft Office 2008 for Mac
Microsoft Office 2008 for Mac
7 used & new from CDN$ 104.07

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Expensive, but Essential, July 31 2009
With the advent of Mac OS X in 2001, Microsoft has so far released three updates of Office starting with Office v. X at the same year, then Office 2004 and last year's Office 2008.

UNIVERSAL. The most notable update to Microsoft Office 2008 for Mac is the use of universal binary which means it can natively run on both newer Intel Macs and PowerPC (PPC). So if you have both older and newer Macs, then it's good to know you can use the same software to install on either machines.

LICENSE. The license I've read so far allows the installation to: 1) a primary device, 2) a portable device for use by the single primary user, and 3) on a network device for use as remote access by the single primary user.

VERSION. The standard version includes Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Entourage and Microsoft Server Exchange Support.

The Special Media version contains the above and adds Microsoft Expression Media (basically a digital asset manager for USD100.00 more.)

The Home and Student Edition includes the basic Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Entourage. HOWEVER, Home and Student Edition includes three licenses for non-professional use. If you don't make a profit using the software and only need it for the home, this provides the best value and most logical purchase decision.

CHANGES. To be at par with the PC version Microsoft Office 2007 and support Office Open XML file format. Oddly enough, lack of Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) support made this the weirdest update for a more supposedly advanced operating system.

SPEED. Not really anything to gloat about in a PPC environment. But this was obviously made to enhance Intel Macs.

OVERALL. I was perfectly fine with Office X. I was also perfectly fine with Office 2004. I'm still okay with Office 2008. I think like the rest of the users who thought of updating for a better workflow, all I ended up was spending more to maintain better compatibility with my OS. But as criticisms keep pouring in, compatibility is not the strongest factor especially when switching between Office 2007 and Office 2008.

In my opinion, this is really not a necessary update and I would just continue using Office 2004. Wait and pass on this release until Office 2010 for Mac is brought out and hopefully bringing back and keeping Windows and Mac features in sync.

Four stars if you're just buying a Mac version of Microsoft Office. Two stars for a non-stellar revision to date.

HP EX485 MediaSmart Home Server
HP EX485 MediaSmart Home Server

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Needs a PC to work on a Mac, July 27 2009
The HP EX48X MediaSmart Home Server series is a worthwhile version 2 release that retains it's familiar mini-tower design.

NOTE: The ONLY difference between an EX485 and an EX487 is whether you want 1x750GB (EX485) or 2x750GB (EX487). The additional bump of $150.00 for another 750GB does not make sense when you can spend the same amount immediately for a 1.5TB capacity as of this writing. So order an EX485 and buy your own chosen hard drive brand to install.

THE GOOD:

- 4 internal drive bays that allow installation of SATA I/II hard drive with potentially unlimited size even up to 2TB per disk or more per forum chatter.
- Additional 1 eSATA port and 4 USB ports to attach external hard drives to expand storage space when all four internal bays have been filled and/or for removable off-site storage and backup.
- 1 Gigabit ethernet port that MUST be connected to a router. You cannot connect this directly to an Ethernet port of your PC.
- Relatively easy to remove and install hard drives. No tools required.
- Supplied Ethernet cable to get you up and running without additional materials.
- Remote connection and streaming via setting up your own personal website.
- LIMITED MAC OS X capability.

THE BAD:

- You MUST have a Windows PC to set up and control the server from assigning a server password and user accounts, adding and removing hard drives, managing backups, and checking health of the unit and network.
- Initial 750GB space is not sufficient especially for it's current price offering.
- HP MediaSmart and Windows Home Server software is clunky even with update 2.5. There is a bit of a lag when clicking within the software menu.
- Some adjustments require restarts for changes to take effect which means the need for server downtime.
- Time Machine integration requires software installation versus simply having the ability for one hard drive bay to be allocated for it and prevent problems especially when restoring.

EXPERIENCE:

Despite the cons, I'm still rating this with high marks. The design and concept of having a very compact Home Server that is expandable makes it a winner. There is sufficient processing power to handle the home server needs.

CONNECTING TO A ROUTER:

Works best if you have a respectable Wireless-N router with Gigabit Ethernet connection and Universal Plug and Play support. Out of curiousity I've tried a basic Linksys WRT320N and installation and settings were automatically tweaked between the MediaSmart server and router to allow REMOTE connections.

As a primary Mac user, I actually use an Apple AirPort Extreme Dual Band router and I had to manually tweak the settings myself to open up a few Private and Public TCP ports as well as assign a static DHCP address for the MediaSmart server to acquire each and every time it powers up and connects to the router.

OVERALL:

The only solid miss is their lack of full integration with a Mac OS. I'm hoping their next software release will focus on a snappier performance with minimal lag.

But once settings has been adjusted via a Windows PC, you can practically forget about it and let it do it's task as a server running 24x7 or have the ability to sleep and save power at specific hours of the day when no one is home.

Unlike other servers, this allows any brand of hard drive without having to lock you out and patronize their own. If you are in the market for a home server, you've come to the right brand.

Apple Keyboard Kit
Apple Keyboard Kit

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Almost perfect in design., March 22 2009
I upgraded to this keyboard from the last version which is the white USB with transparent plastic casing. You may recall that prior to introducing the white USB plastic keyboard was the similarly styled black keyboard.

As you can see, this latest Apple keyboard iteration is a significant departure from the last two in terms of material and design.

PROS:

- MATERIALS.

Aluminum. The obvious major additional component is aluminum on the exterior versus an all-plastic offering in the past. This is one strong keyboard.

Also the look is in-line with the current Apple design and their generous use of aluminum. In fact this keyboard is what should have been included starting as far back as the Power Mac G5 desktop.

Plastic. The keys have an elegant texture and matte appearance that gives a night and day impression of higher quality. (Since the keyboard was relatively newly introduced, time will tell from frequent use if this texture on the plastic will wear out sooner than later.)

- DESIGN.

Function. My number one objective in patronizing this keyboard was the additional use of the function keys which allows access to certain Mac OS X shortcuts including being able to control iTunes.

Spacing. The spacing of the keys is similar with their notebook line-up where each keys are individually enclosed around an aluminum material versus an open design which would allow more dust and dirt to enter in between keys. Now, the entrance of any dust has been minimized.

(HOWEVER, the same is true to dust that has in fact entered inside the keys already. It would be nearly impossible to remove them at this point. Imagine it was very, very difficult then to remove dust that has entered the old keyboards, moreso with these models.)

Slim. Unbelievably thin which allows your hand to be in a more natural position since it's closer to the tabletop and not painfully raised. This slim profile extends to the keys. Now you don't have to depress each key so much. This allows less repetitive stress injury as well as faster typing. If you don't need to depress the keys so much, then you don't have to exert so much force and movement. Not exerting much movement allows you to go to the next key stroke.

- USB. Two USB outlets are still provided and retained despite the slim profile. This time the USB sockets are on the opposite ends of the keyboard versus placing them both on the front. The good thing about this is that it allows a stealth placement of the USB plugs.

- CLEANING. Easier cleaning of the keys. You can slide a cloth gracefully from one key to the next without snagging in between.

CONS:

- As mentioned above, the individual wrapping of each keys around the aluminum material helps deter dirt and dust from entering in between. However, this also prevent any of those debris from exiting as well once it has entered.

- Adjustable L.E.D. Back-lighting, anyone? Where is it? I'm surprised with the backlighting on keys of the Apple notebook which has been around for years has not been carried over to the desktop keyboard line. This is a no-brainer in design addition at this point and a big omission not having thought about it even with the recent introduction of the compact wired version.

THOUGHTS:

First there are complains that the USB sockets are not powerful enough to provide charging function to power-hungry devices such as the iPod. This will never be possible unless there is a power socket for the keyboard to connect to an electrical outlet.

The short-length of the USB cable is actually perfect to prevent more cable clutter. You can plug the keyboard directly to your Apple monitor, iMac or Mini. If you use it for a desktop, then the included USB cable extension (same as the old version) is there to help you plug it to the computer hidden under your desk.

I would have given this keyboard 5 stars if it only incorporated a built-in back-lit LED on the keys. If that were the case, it would have been a perfect introduction to a new era of Apple design and it would have been tough to beat something better than this in the near future.

Also, since Apple has gone one-step in providing a relatively ergonomic keyboard. How about going further and creating a split-type keyboard similar to what Microsoft has done with their Natural keyboard line in the past.

Overall, with little minutes spent on this keyboard you will naturally adapt to this new feel and shallow typing depth and hopefully enjoy it the same way I do without regrets in tossing out my old Apple keyboard.

Rosetta Stone French Level 1, 2 & 3 set with Audio Companion
Rosetta Stone French Level 1, 2 & 3 set with Audio Companion

48 of 49 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Best Language Learning Software Available, Dec 23 2008
THE CONCEPT:

The concept of Rosetta Stone is simple - learn a language the same way our parents thought us through picture books. We are shown a photo and told what it is. We then say the word over and over until it is second-nature in our brain. When the photo comes up, we can easily identify it.

Unlike other programs, there is no need to memorize a ridiculously long phrase or sentence that doesn't mean anything to us at the moment. In Rosetta Stone, we start with simple objects and words. Then we build to phrases and sentences using those same objects that we learned about.

WHAT'S INCLUDED:

There is an included USB headset with mic so you can speak, analyze and compare your pronunciation with the voices on the program.

The interface is simple and easy. There is nothing to learn. You install the program, activate the levels depending on what you purchased and then create a user so that you can save and go back to where you left off.

Which means you work at your own pace.

The latest addition to Rosetta Stone learning software is the so-called Audio Companion. Unlike other learning software that simply comes in an audio CD that you pop into your vehicle to listen and hopefully learn, this Rosetta Stone Audio Companion is a supplementary to the program. Do not attempt to learn by simply listening to the CDs. These were created to assist your learning experience for words that have already been imprinted into your brain by way of visual association.

CONS:

Like all other programs, this also has it's short-comings. Because Rosetta Stone immerses you right into the visual process, there are numerous times where you are fed phrases and sentences which only leave you wanting to ask questions on why it was constructed that why or when to leave out a letter in pronouncing a word which has slightly changed.

I would want to be able to CHAT with someone on the other end to help me understand further before I go on to the next level of learning. Isn't that the same way when we were younger. We always asked WHY so we can understand the rules and be corrected for proper speaking.

When I repeat the word, Rosetta Stone says I am correct. When I speak the same word to an actual friend who is native to the language I am not understood as much. I need to know when to pronounce certain letters and when not to. The program simply spoon feeds me the words. I can repeat a million times the word and boost the volume until my ears bleed, but for a person who speaks another language I need to know if there is a silent letter involved or if the letter is in fact pronounced but only in a subtle manner. You will know what I am saying when you get into the program itself.

Lastly, despite the so-called Dynamic Immersion, you will not be able to learn as much and as fast if there is no one else you can converse with in the process of learning. Like your parents who were constantly speaking to you in a language you don't understand, your 24 hour immersion and constant questioning is what makes you finally understand. With Rosetta Stone and all other program, your learning and inability to ask questions is what makes learning a second language slow and limited.

OVERALL:

However, despite these I would strongly recommend Rosetta Stone as the only program to successfully make you understand another language in the fastest way possible. The price of the software is steep, but definitely worth it. It is there for you to learn and re-learn over and over.

Finally after installation, don't forget to check for software updates (if the software has not done so already).

Hope you enjoy learning a second language as much as I am learning right now with the help of Rosetta Stone.

Belkin 3-Outlet Mini Travel Swivel Charger Surge Protector with Dual USB Ports (1 AMP / 5 Watt)
Belkin 3-Outlet Mini Travel Swivel Charger Surge Protector with Dual USB Ports (1 AMP / 5 Watt)
Price: CDN$ 21.98
21 used & new from CDN$ 15.59

29 of 30 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not so MINI, but a great small surge product, Nov. 15 2008
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I've been searching for a product that can extend the outlet on my bathroom for the electrical products that I use. I finally came across this Belkin mini surge protector and features:

- 3 AC power outlets
- 2 USB outlets ONLY for charging (not data transfer) at 5V / 500mA at each port
- Surge protection on all 5 outlets
- 918 Joules Energy Dissipation
- 125V / 15A / 1,875W Continuous Duty Electrical Rating
- 36,000A Maximum Spike Current
- Lifetime Warranty on product
- USD75,0000.00 connected equipment warranty
- 360 degree rotating plug lockable into 4 possible positions

Simple, elegant design in a smooth plastic casing of white and light grey colour. Once plugged, the green LED light will indicate if the power source is grounded.

The box comes with one USB to mini-USB cable to get you started in charging your USB devices as well.

DO NOT throw the prong cover that initially comes attached to the surge protector prong. As the manual states (for those who still care to read the User Manual these days), you can use this plastic prong cover to help further balance the device against any surface. You do this by inserting the plastic prong cover on the bottom of the surge device via a small notch. Also, the plastic cover is handy to use when traveling. Before dumping the surge protector along with your other devices, cover the prongs to prevent it from scratching other objects.

The prongs can be rotated 360 degrees loosely. However, there are 4 positions that enable you to lock it so it doesn't flail along clumsily in any direction. You do this by pressing into the rear a "release button". It's not a raised button, but a flat plastic portion that you have to press hard in order to release the lock. It's quite difficult (at least with the model I received) at first and feels like I'm going to break the plastic button. But I guess if this is normal then it can be construed as a safety measure so it doesn't easily rotate with a simple touch.

IMPROVEMENTS:

The term "mini" is subjective. It isn't really that compact as I would assume from seeing the photo. It is small, yes. However, as a surge protector that can take 3 AC and 2 USB outlets, I will give Belkin the benefit of naming it a mini device.

I would STRONGLY prefer the re-design of the spacing on the AC outlets by allowing larger plugs connected side-by-side. As it is right now, only normal AC plugs and not block-style plugs are allowed without loosing all three outlets. So my proposal is to delete the middle AC outlet and move it to the end-cap of the device (opposite to the 2 USB outlets). As of now, there is nothing there so rather than cramp the 3 AC plugs, then move the third at the end and thus allowing for block-style plugs to be used and still retaining the 3 AC functionality.

OVERALL:

I would not hesitate to recommend the purchase of this surge protection for compact spaces as well as travel purposes especially with the lifetime warranty and amount of protection is offers.

Other brick-style retail stores are ridiculously selling this at double the price Amazon is currently selling it at. Only a store with the initials of HD is selling it at below what Amazon is offering it. If you live beside that store, go ahead and drop by for it. Otherwise if it's not urgent to get the device and with the current free shipping of Amazon, just purchase it alongside other items and save on fuel.

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