Profile for Dr. Bojan Tunguz > Reviews

Personal Profile

Content by Dr. Bojan Tunguz
Top Reviewer Ranking: 22
Helpful Votes: 601

Guidelines: Learn more about the ins and outs of Amazon Communities.

Reviews Written by
Dr. Bojan Tunguz (Indiana, USA)
(TOP 50 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   

Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11-20
pixel
Livescribe 3 Smartpen for iOS7 iPhone and iPad
Livescribe 3 Smartpen for iOS7 iPhone and iPad
Offered by SmartpenCentral
Price: CDN$ 185.00
16 used & new from CDN$ 195.00

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Ultimate Note-taking Device, Jan. 14 2015
In my line of work (Theoretical Physics) I tend to write a lot, mostly mathematical formulae, graphs and other non-standard material. This tends to create piles of papers, and getting it all organized can be a challenge. I tried using tablet PCs in the past, but the buggy software and the small, unresponsive, screen could not match the experience and effortlessness of writing on the real paper. There had been some electronic-paper solutions over the years, but they all had many flaws that made them unappealing to me. That’s why I got really excited when I found out about LiveScribe. Unlike all the other solutions out there for digital note taking, with LiveScribe you actually use real paper and real (albeit technologically advanced) pen. There is no learning curve for using the system for the basic note-taking, and all the more advanced features are easy to learn after just a very short tutorial. The pen works with special software that imports all of your files (both your writing and the audio recordings) onto your iOS device. The files are in a special format that can be shared online through various websites (Dropbox, Evernote, etc.), and thus it is easy to share your notes with others who might be interested. The written files can also be exported to those sites in .pdf format, and can thus be shared with an even wider audience.

Since I first bought the original LiveScribe pen there have been several major improvements of this design. The third generation LiveScribe is designed to work with iOS devices, and it allows you to transmit your notes almost instantaneously to either an iPhone or an iPad. Unfortunately, there doesn’t seem to be an Andoid version of the software yet, but I am hoping that in the future they will develop this feature as well. I am also hoping that they allow you to sync the smartpen with your PC software again – I have a lot of legacy notes right now and would hate to have them residing on completely different devices.

The pen fits pretty naturally in your hand, and it’s very easy to use. It is much larger than a regular pen, but it actually fits rather comfortably in your hand. In fact, it is probably more ergonomically kind to your hand than a regular pen.

The Livescribe people keep changing the basic features of the pen software quite regularly. In the past the pen itself was able to perform a lot of functions, both through the spoken words as well as on the tiny in-built screen. At some point the pen had been opened to the outside developers, but that feature had been nixed, and it doesn’t seem like it will be reinstated. That’s too bad, especially with this Bluetooth linked pen – I can think of a myriad different tools and features that could be easily incorporated for the use with this kind of device.

In order for LiveScribe pen to work you need to buy notebooks that have been lined up with a special pattern. The paper in these notebooks looks just like any other regular paper to the naked eye, but if you look really closely you would be able to notice a minuscule pattern on all the pages. This pattern gets recognized by an infrared camera in the pen, and this is in fact the way that the pen recognizes and records what is being written. This is an amazing technological trick, but a slight downside is that you need to keep buying only notebooks that are patterned in this special way. The notebooks tend to be quite a bit more expensive than the regular notebooks, but overall they have totally been worth the investment for me. The combination of the pen and the notebooks is definitely much, much cheaper than all the alternatives, and it is way more effective and convenient as well.

The pen also needs special cartridges, and from what I have experienced thus far one cartridge does not last too long, especially as compared to the regular pens. However, I still find this to be a minor annoyance compared to all the benefits of LiveScribe system.

The third generation LiveScribe pen is a great improvement in terms of aesthetics and design. It now looks even more like a “regular pen.” The end tip now includes a soft, rubbery cone that allows you to use this pen as a stylus for your touch-screen devices.

This pen was a bit tricky to set up. The instruction manual is rather sparse and vague at certain points – it took me a while to figure out where exactly the micro USB slot was.

The iOS app is pretty good overall. It sports a very clean and straightforward interface. The pen connects to your iOS device via Bluetooth connection. Connecting to the notebook that I was using, however, turned out to be tricky. It initially took a while for the app running on my iPhone 4S to pick up live writing. It would occasionally drop connection, and at one point I needed to restart the app and the pen in order to resume connection. Fortunately, even when the app is not picking up your writing it still remains safely stored in the pen.

The text feed to the app on your iOS device is a pretty impressive feature. However, the feed is far from smooth and it has a very noticeable lag. This might be as fast as the current technology allows.
I had paired my pen up with iPhone 4S and iPad Mini. It works about equally well with both. The screen size, however, makes a HUGE difference when it comes to legibility. Written text is almost illegible on iPhone, while much more accessible on the iPad. I would imagine that this would be even truer on the full size iPad.

The pen has a retractable tip. There is no need to reach for a separate case in which to store this pen. Twisting the middle of the pen pushes the pen tip forward and turns the pen on.

This pen comes with a small 50-page starter notebook. This notebook is considerably smaller, in terms of both the page format and the number of pages, then the notebook that came with the original LiveScribe pen. It is sufficient for taking a dozen or so one-hour lecture notes, which is far from sufficient for most purposes. It can, however, give you a pretty good sense of how to use the pen and what it’s capable of.

I have not used the sound recording option a lot yet. The audio recording is now “outsourced” to the iOS device. I think this is overall a really good choice. Audio recordings usually take the bulk of pen’s internal memory, and having them stored on the pen from the get-go frees up a lot of resources.

The app features pretty good optical character recognition (OCR) software that turns your scribbling into proper typed text. The OCR works really well with block letters, but it’s much more unreliable with cursive. I had originally thought about writing this entire review with my LiveScribe pen, but after the initial experiments I had decided against it.

There are still many improvements that I would like to see with the LiveScribe pen. I would love if it would be possible to somehow broadcast live the notes that you take. Or at least save the LiveScribe pencast notes as video files that can be easily shared with anyone. I think those features would have a potential to really revolutionize online education for instance.

One day we may truly have a real electronic paper with all the look and feel of the regular paper, plus all the convenience and power of using a digital format to store your creative and other information. Until then, LiveScribe pen and paper are the best products out there that help you with these goals. I have been extremely satisfied with them thus far.

TabletTail: Lynx
TabletTail: Lynx
Offered by Octa Canada
Price: CDN$ 116.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Top Gun Tablet Mount, Jan. 9 2015
There are many tablet mounts available out there. You can get a pretty cheap one that will just prop up your tablet while reading, and something like that may be sufficient for most users and use scenarios. However, if you are looking for a top of the line tablet mount that will do justice to your tablet and serve you for many years, then you can not go wrong with choosing this Lynx mount.

This is simply put, by far, the most technically well designed and elegantly built tablet mount that I have come across. The intricate inner gears and the locking mechanism are on display thanks to the transparent piece of plastic that covers part of the unassembled mount.

This mount is really solidly built and well designed. Its many articulating joints and degrees of freedom ensure that you can fit almost any tablet computer that is currently on the market. It features rubberized grips and a very strong clamp which ensures a secure grip onto anly object or surface to which the mount is attached.

As a desktop mount this mount works wonderfully. These days I get most of my news coverage from the apps I read on my iPad. It’s a wonderful way to get informed, but slouching over the iPad at your breakfast table can really do some serious damage to your posture. iPad is also a bit too heavy to be held continuously, especially if you are trying to eat at the same time. I’ve discovered that this Lynx mount is almost ideal for reading content on your iPad or for using it for typing with an external keyboard. In this regard I cannot recommend this mount strongly enough – it has become an important accessory that I use extensively on a daily basis.

**** Product provided for review purposes. ****

CTA Digital Universal Anti-Theft Security Grip for Tablets  (PAD-UATG)
CTA Digital Universal Anti-Theft Security Grip for Tablets  (PAD-UATG)
Price: CDN$ 49.49

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Strong Simple Security Grip, Jan. 9 2015
This is probably the most solidly built and secure "minimalist" tablet security device. It just consists of a single metal grip holder that attaches diagonally to the back of your tablet. It locks in place using a key, which I believe is a more secure option than a combination lock. It tethers to a fixed structure via a pretty long secure cable, which in turn is also locked via secure keyed lock. As it is to be expected, the grip holder is pretty heavy, and it's not easy to hold a tablet that is inserted in it for a long period of time. The grip is adjustable, and can be configured to fit most large tablets. I've used it with my iPad and so far have not had any issues with it. It is a really well made device that will give you a peace of mind if you need to use your tablet in a public place, or somewhere else that can be exposed to a lot of traffic (your cubicle or office for instance). Highly recommended.

**** Product provided for review purposes. ****

TabletTail: Spider Monkey
TabletTail: Spider Monkey
Offered by Octa Canada
Price: CDN$ 92.99
2 used & new from CDN$ 92.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fun and Functional Mount, Jan. 9 2015
There are many tablet mounts available out there. You can get a pretty cheap one that will just prop up your tablet while reading, and something like that may be sufficient for most users and use scenarios. However, if you are looking for a top of the line tablet mount that will do justice to your tablet and serve you for many years, then you can not go wrong with choosing this Spider Monkey mount.

This is the most innovative and unusual tablet mount that I have come across. Instead of clamps and other mounting gears it features a single, strong yet flexible, stand arm. At first I was skeptical that this "tail" would be strong enough to support the weight ot my iPad, but immediately after the first use I was convinced of its structural stability. It is also a very fun and esthetically pleasing stand. It even looks interesting in its own right, without any tablets standing on it.

The mounting bracket itself is really solidly built and well designed. Its many articulating joints and degrees of freedom ensure that you can fit almost any tablet computer that is currently on the market. It features rubberized grips and a very strong clamp which ensures a secure grip onto anly object or surface to which the mount is attached. The intricate inner gears and the locking mechanism are on display thanks to the transparent piece of plastic that covers part of the unassembled mount.

As a desktop mount this mount works wonderfully. These days I get most of my news coverage from the apps I read on my iPad. It’s a wonderful way to get informed, but slouching over the iPad at your breakfast table can really do some serious damage to your posture. iPad is also a bit too heavy to be held continuously, especially if you are trying to eat at the same time. I’ve discovered that this Spider Monkey mount is almost ideal for reading content on your iPad or for using it for typing with an external keyboard. It keeps the iPad high enough so that I don't have to slouch over it while reading. In this regard I cannot recommend this mount strongly enough – it has become an important accessory that I use extensively on a daily basis.

**** Product provided for review purposes. ****

Inateck USB 3.0 to SATA Converter Adapter for 2.5 inch/3.5 inch Hard Drive Disk HDD and SSD, Power Adapter Included
Inateck USB 3.0 to SATA Converter Adapter for 2.5 inch/3.5 inch Hard Drive Disk HDD and SSD, Power Adapter Included
Offered by InateckOfficial
Price: CDN$ 35.99

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Pretty Good Sara HDD Adapter, Jan. 8 2015
As the menagerie of computers in my office evolved over the years, I needed to manage, upgrade and backup all of them at some point. It’s an ongoing task, which can sometimes be really frustrating. Hard drives are easily the most valuable elements of all of my computers, since a faulty memory card can easily be replaced, while the stored data is oftentimes irreplaceable. This is why I have come to really value an easy access to my hard drives, especially for troubleshooting and repair. And this is why I am such a big fan of hot-swappable external hard drive enclosures – they allow you to access your internal hard drives almost as easily as you can access the external ones.

This USB to SATA converter adapter is perhaps the most compact way of connecting an internal SATA drive to your computer via USB 3. I've used several HD docking stations before, and they tend to be much more bulky and somewhat awkward to use.

I’ve tested this adapter with three different computers – Mac Mini running Yosemite, a Windows 8.1 laptop and a Windows 7 desktop. The converter was recognized immediately with all of these machines. I was able to use it with both the USB 3 and USB 2 ports, and the difference in transfer speeds was obvious. The adapter comes with an external power supply, so it should in principle work with any standard USB port. I’ve tested it with two different Western Digital HDDs – one was 1 TB and the other was 500 GB. I did not try to benchmark the file transfer rates, but they seem to be comparable to the other USB 3 external storage systems that I’ve used.

The adapter seems well made and durable. It was physically extremely easy to insert and take out the HDDs. It is also much more compact and convenient to use than the docking stations that I have previously used.

I have been very happy with this adapter so far. It has helped me backup and restore several of my old HDDs. If you do a lot of fiddling with your computers then this is an essential accessory to have. Highly recommended.

**** Product provided for review purposes. ****

Inateck Mini Wireless Bluetooth 3.0 Universal Audio Receiver, Bluetooth Adapter 3.5mm Audio Music Receiver for Home Stereo Sound System, White
Inateck Mini Wireless Bluetooth 3.0 Universal Audio Receiver, Bluetooth Adapter 3.5mm Audio Music Receiver for Home Stereo Sound System, White
Offered by InateckOfficial
Price: CDN$ 19.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Good Bluetooth Audio Receiver, Jan. 8 2015
This is a very convenient and effective little Bluetooth receiver. It allows you to turn any of your older audio systems into a receiver for your smartphone music. It is very easy to pair – just plug it in and connect to it from your smartphone’s settings menu. I’ve been able to connect to it with iPhone 6 Plus and a Galaxy S3 phone. The receiver comes with a regular phones jack cable as well as a component audio cable. It should in principle be able to connect to any regular audio system.

The sound quality will depend on several factors, including the bit encoding of the music that you listen to and the quality of the speakers that you use. One of the big limiting factors will be the Bluetooth connectivity. No Bluetooth receiver/streamer will be able to transmit the highest encoded music files, so if you are a persnickety audiophile this might not be the way for you to enjoy your music. For everyone else, however, this receiver will be more than adequate.

The receiver is really small and inconspicuous. It looks pretty well made and even elegant.

The receiver is powered through a micro USB cable. This makes it very convenient to use with all those extra cables that I have laying around. Nonetheless, it might be a good idea to design a receiver with its own retractable power outlet prongs. Or even better - an internal battery.

Overall, this is a pretty decent product that serves its primary purpose rather well.

Inateck Superspeed 4 Ports PCI-E to USB 3.0 Expansion Card - Interface USB 3.0 4-Port Express Card Desktop with 15 Pin SATA Power Connector, [ Include with A 4pin to 2x15pin Cable + A 15pin to 2x 15pin SATA Y-Cable ]
Inateck Superspeed 4 Ports PCI-E to USB 3.0 Expansion Card - Interface USB 3.0 4-Port Express Card Desktop with 15 Pin SATA Power Connector, [ Include with A 4pin to 2x15pin Cable + A 15pin to 2x 15pin SATA Y-Cable ]
Offered by InateckOfficial
Price: CDN$ 28.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Card, Jan. 8 2015
I’ve had a Windows 7 (previously Windows Vista) in my living room serving as a media center for a few years. The PC works fine, but over time it had become noticeably slow compared to the new machines I have. I’ve upgraded memory and that has helped a lot. Now I had an opportunity to upgrade the USB slots to the latest 3.0 standard, and that has made more of a difference than I had originally anticipated.

The first thing you notice about this expansion card is its build quality. This is not some cheap knock-off card, but a well-designed and solidly manufactured piece of hardware. The card was easy to install – it just snapped into the appropriate slot. Most of the modern PCs are designed with the upgradability in mind, and many of them can be opened and upgraded without requiring any tools. However, if you have never upgraded a computer or are generally elecronics-phobic, you might want to consult with a family member or a friend who is more into these tasks.

The card was immediately recognized by my system, but only as a 2.0 USB standard. I installed the additional drivers that came with the included CD, and after that the card worked as advertised. I only have a handful of external USB 3 accessories (including a USB 3.0 HDD), but the card worked perfectly with all of them. The transfer speeds were quite noticeable faster, but I haven’t really benchmarked them.

The reason why this card is particularly useful in the media center is a) helps with the playback of large video files directly from an external HDD, and b) USB 3 allows you (with appropriate add-ons and software) to use it to for additional monitors and TVs.

This is indeed a very good card that has completely lived up to its promise. I highly recommend it.

Hubsan X4 H107C 2.4G 4CH RC Quadcopter With Camera RTF - Black/Red
Hubsan X4 H107C 2.4G 4CH RC Quadcopter With Camera RTF - Black/Red
Offered by ChooseNice
Price: CDN$ 69.99
12 used & new from CDN$ 69.99

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Really Fun Affordable Quadcopter, Jan. 7 2015
This is my first multicopter, and a first RC vehicle of any kind to feature a recording video camera. Prior to this quadcopter I’ve used a “regular” small RC helicopter, and that experience has prepared me well for all the perils and joys of RC helicopter flying. Both of these RC ‘copters have been a great experience and preparation for the ultimate challenge of flying some of the more advanced modern RC multicopters.

If you’ve flown an RC helicopter before, the first thing you’ll notice when switching to the quadcopter is how stable and much more maneuverable a quadcopter is. This is, of course, one of the main advantages of having multiple rotating blades – it provides you with additional stability. Even so, you still need to use a decent amount of skill while flying this quadcopter. It will not spontaneously hover in place and it needs constant adjustment when it comes to its positioning. This is OK with me – as I’ve already mentioned, one of the primary uses of this quadcopter for me is as a training device for more advanced multicopters. In my case a few weeks of not-too-regular practice was sufficient to get the hang of it and feel very comfortable flying this thing under all sorts of conditions.

At first I was apprehensive about flying this quadcopter indoors – I was really concerned that it would hit all sorts of objects around my house and either break them or get itself damaged in the process. However, eventually I got over it and became really good about avoiding most major obstacles. I am still not good enough to be able to do some of the more demanding maneuvers, and probably never will be.

Flying outdoors is where the real fun lays with this quadcopter. Initially I tested it around my back yard, not venturing beyond my fence or much higher than the top of my house. Eventually I got bolder and let it soar high above at the point where I was hardly able to see it any more. The danger with this is that bringing it down can be really tricky, and I was unable to avoid a few crash landings. Fortunately for me, this quadcopter is fairly durable and was able to survive even some more hair-raising crashes.

This quadcopter comes with a set of replacement blades and a protective bumper. I’ve only slightly worn out the blades thus far, but I can see them needing a replacement before too long. I would strongly recommend getting an extra set of replacement blades down the road. From what I’ve seen on Amazon, most of them are shipped from China, so you might want to order them well in advance.

The video quality is at best OK. This is a nice way of getting to see your neighborhood from above or getting a first taste of areal footage. However, video footage made with this quadcopter will probably not be of much interest to anyone except your family and friends, unless it gets to films something truly rare and remarkable. Furthermore, turning the camera on and off is really tricky – the on/off button is really small and tucked away. Nevertheless, I have really had fun using the video feature and will continue to shoot videos with this thing.

This quadcopter is one of the most fun purchases I’ve made in a while. The prices of RC multicopters keep coming down, and there is an increasing number of manufacturers and vendors specializing in this product category. Hubsan X4 still leaves a lot to be desired, but at this price point I can hardly think of a better RC quadcopter.

Canon Office Products MX472 Wireless Office All-In-One Inkjet Printer
Canon Office Products MX472 Wireless Office All-In-One Inkjet Printer
Offered by ESPrice
Price: CDN$ 54.55
7 used & new from CDN$ 49.95

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Powerful Budget All-in-one, Jan. 6 2015
I have used several printers, including several all-in-ones, over the years. The three main brands that I've owned include HP, Epson and Canon. They each have their own set of perks and qualities, and overall the functionality and quality of printers have steadily improved over the years. I am still slightly partial to HP printers overall, but this Canon printer definitely has many things going for it. Below are some of my main observations.

**** Look and Build ****

If you are looking for an all-in-one that will help you reduce the clutter in your office or home, then this one is definitely not for you. It weighs over 30 pounds and occupies a significant amount of desktop real estate. It is however a very solidly built and generally very reliable printer.

**** Setup ****

The setup was relatively straightforward and pain-free. However, some of the more advanced functions are a bit hard to figure out how to do. The user manual is not of much help here.

**** Connectivity ****

A Wi-Fi printer connection nowadays seems like a must, and most printers that I've come across in recent years seem to have it as a standard option. This printer easily found my home network. I also appreciate the fact that it has AirPrint as a standard option. My household is heavily reliant on iOS devices and it feels wonderful to be able to print from any one of them.

**** Printing ****

This is definitely one of the best features of this all-in-one. The print quality is really high for a printer of this caliber, especially when it comes to photo printing. You can comfortably print pictures up to 8.5 x 11 and get some really astonishing results. However, the color printing uses up a lot of ink, and if you don't need the prints immediately, getting them printed online is still a much more affordable option.

Printing is also relatively fast, although it takes the printer some good half a minute to wake up for the first print.

**** Scanning ****

I've only scanned a few documents so far and have generally been impressed with results. However, scanning is very slow and be prepared to wait quite a bit to get your pictures digitized.

**** Fax ****

So far I have not used the fax feature. You would have thought that by now faxing would have gone the way of VHS tapes, but certain professions (I am looking at you medical professionals) still insist on having most of their official documents faxed to them. So it's a good feature to have for a once-in-a-while faxing need.

**** Overall Impressions ****

If you are in the market for a powerful all-in-one yet are still budget conscious, then you will not go wrong with buying this device. However, it is really bulky and some of the functions are not as fast and nimble as I would have liked.

TaoTronics Elune TT-DL01 Dimmable LED Desk Lamp with 4 lighting Modes: Reading/ Studying/ Relaxation/ Bedtime, 5-Level Dimmer, Touch-Sensitive Control Panel, 1-Hour Auto Timer, Built-in 5V/1A USB Charging Port -Piano Black
TaoTronics Elune TT-DL01 Dimmable LED Desk Lamp with 4 lighting Modes: Reading/ Studying/ Relaxation/ Bedtime, 5-Level Dimmer, Touch-Sensitive Control Panel, 1-Hour Auto Timer, Built-in 5V/1A USB Charging Port -Piano Black
Offered by Sunvalleytek Canada
Price: CDN$ 69.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Really Nice Desk LED Lamp, Jan. 6 2015
Since most of my work is done at the desk, I am a big user of desk lights. Until now I was a big fan of halogen lights since they gave me the most intense and concentrated light. However, they have a whole host of issues: they get really hot, and their light bulbs tend to be really hard to replace. Since the LED lighting has come a long way in recent years, I was ready to try it out with my desk lights. So far I have been pretty impressed. Here are some of my impressions of this TaoTronics Elune desk lamp.

**** Pros ****

- Decent amount of light. I have completely replaced my old halogen desk lamp with this one. Works fine for my main purpose while at my work desk – writing reviews such as this one.

- Neat and elegant design. The lamp looks very contemporary and stylish. Fits well in most modern office environments.

- Convenient dimmer provides for very easily adjustable brightness. I usually like my desk lamps to be as bright as possible, so this feature is not a major plus for me, but I can see how it would be helpful for many others.

- No major source of heat. LED lights are very cool to operate.

- Reasonable price. Since the LED lights use much less power than the conventional lightbulbs, they are much cheaper to operate. This desk light could easily pay for itself after a few months to a year of operation.

- Ability to use the lamp as an USB charger. I can always use another way of charging my iPhone!

- Sturdy build. This is one of the sturdier LED desk lamps that I've come across.

**** Cons ****

- No way to adjust the angle of the lighting beyond up and down. Most desk lamps these days have very flexible necks that allow you to adjust them to almost any spatial angle imaginable. This desk lamp only has two degrees of freedom.

- The LED light quality can feel a bit cold and uninviting. This is not a major issue for me for desk lights, but in general I prefer light bulbs with much more “warm” look and feel.

**** Product provided for review purposes. ***

Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11-20