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Profile for Dr. Bojan Tunguz > Reviews

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Content by Dr. Bojan Tunguz
Top Reviewer Ranking: 29
Helpful Votes: 680

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Reviews Written by
Dr. Bojan Tunguz (Indiana, USA)

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Verbatim 4.7 GB up to 16x Branded Recordable Disc AZO DVD-R 50-Disc Spindle 95101
Verbatim 4.7 GB up to 16x Branded Recordable Disc AZO DVD-R 50-Disc Spindle 95101
Price: CDN$ 23.98
38 used & new from CDN$ 18.00

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Solid, Inexpensive DVDs, Jan. 16 2015
I got this spindle specifically for an additional backup of my photos. From my previous experience with Verbatim DVDs I ‘ve gotten an impression that they are some of the most reliable recordable optical media that I’ve used, good enough for most of my archiving purposes. I also chose these particular DVDs based on their Amazon reviews and ratings, and so far I have not been disappointed.

Since I got them I’ve gone through about a dozen DVDs and have not had a single corrupt disk. I’ve burnt all of the DVDs on two of my Mac computers – one with an internal superdrive and one with an external USB-attached superdrive. I’ve tested the burned DVDs on both my Mac and Windows computers, and they have all worked just fine.

The DVDs look well made and decently durable. I've been burning CD-R and DVD-R for well over a decade, and so far I have not had any issues with corrupt disks in the long run. However, I still use couple more backup options for the most important documents - a small Windows Home Server and now Amazon Cloud drive. In the near future I intend to try out some of the "indestructible" DVDs as well, but for now I think that my backup options are secure enough for my needs.

Crucial 16GB Kit (8GBx2) DDR3/DDR3L 1600 MHz (PC3-12800) CL11 SODIMM 204-Pin 1.35V/1.5V Memory for Mac CT2K8G3S160BM
Crucial 16GB Kit (8GBx2) DDR3/DDR3L 1600 MHz (PC3-12800) CL11 SODIMM 204-Pin 1.35V/1.5V Memory for Mac CT2K8G3S160BM
Price: CDN$ 99.13
39 used & new from CDN$ 90.70

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Solid and Impressive, Jan. 16 2015
I am a big fan of Mac Mini computers and have been waiting for a while for Apple to refresh this product line. Historically they have been some of the most customizable Apple computers. I've already upgraded both the memory and the hard drive on my old 2009 Mac Mini, and it was pushed to the edge of what was physically possible to do with its inherent hardware limitations. I like to buy the low-end of these machines and gradually upgrade them over the years as they my needs grow. However, I was pretty shocked with the specs of the late Mac Minis (late 2014) - no quad-core support, soldered-in memory modules, and no OS-X Yosemite support for the third party SSDs. So after learning about all of these shortcomings, I reluctantly decided to buy the previous generation Mac Mini instead. I got myself a late 2012 Mac Mini with quad-core i7 2.3 GHz processor, 1 TB hard drive and 4 GB RAM. I was happy with the processor and the hard rive for the most part, but RAM was much lower than the ideal configuration I'd like to have. So I decided to purchase these 16 GB Crucial memory modules. The Amazon reviews seemed to be pretty positive, and this seemed like a very affordable high-quality product. So far I have been very pleased with them. They were easy to install, and made my Mac feel MUCH faster. This is probably now the fastest machine I own. Opening and closing applications feels like a breeze, as does powering up the system. They work like a charm and I am right now one really happy camper. I highly recommend this product.

XT-XINTE Battery for Hubsan H107D/H107C Quadrocopter 4-axis RC Aircraft
XT-XINTE Battery for Hubsan H107D/H107C Quadrocopter 4-axis RC Aircraft
Offered by XINTECA
Price: CDN$ 6.66

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Decent Battery, Jan. 16 2015
My original Hubsan battery died. It was my fault though - my quadrocopter got stuck on a tree for a few days and the battery probably got wet. I decided to get a new one through Amazon. It took it a few weeks to arrive, but once I got it it worked straight out of the package. The battery is slightly thicker than the one that Hubsan came with, probably because they used more/thicker tape for this one. However, I was still able to install it. I've used the battery a few times and so far it has worked without any issues. Now I am considering buying one or two more, as spares.

CTA DIGITAL Wall-Mount Bathroom Stand for iPad and Tablets with Paper Holder (PAD-WBS)
CTA DIGITAL Wall-Mount Bathroom Stand for iPad and Tablets with Paper Holder (PAD-WBS)
Price: CDN$ 32.98
11 used & new from CDN$ 32.98

5.0 out of 5 stars Fun High Quality Product, Jan. 16 2015
When I first came across this product my first thought was "OK, do I really need to spend more time in the bathroom pooping?" I have a pretty bad habit of reading in the bathroom as it is, but so far my reading habits have been primarily limited to the printed material. Yes, I've taken my iPhone, iPad and Kindle to the bathroom on a few occasions, but those were mostly exceptions. With this mount, however, I would have a lot of incentive to take my iPad there.

The mount was not too hard to install, but you should be pretty confident in your DIY chops. It is a very sturdy product made out of high-quality materials. It will certainly be able to withstand the "harsh" bathroom environment. However, be very thoughtful about its exact positioning. It may be hard to re-install, especially if you have tiled bathroom walls.

The reading experience with this mount was a lot of fun. It gives you a whole different way of experiencing the #2. My favorite experience so far has been watching the Netflix movies while on the loo. :)

I originally thought about writing this review on my iPad while using this stand. But that turned out to be a bit too awkward. The mount is much better for content consumption than it is for content creation. Besides, I wouldn't want any of the readers of my reviews to get all grossed out while reading them. :)

This is a fun and whimsical product that pushes takes another twist on your all-consuming digital lifestyle. If you are even mildly tempted to get it, I'd say you should totally go for it.

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

AmazonBasics 4-Port USB 2.0 Ultra-Mini Hub
AmazonBasics 4-Port USB 2.0 Ultra-Mini Hub
Price: CDN$ 8.49

5.0 out of 5 stars Effective Little USB Hub, Jan. 16 2015
This is a very decent looking, compact and useful mini USB hub. It is meant to effectively add three additional USB 2.0 ports to your computer.

The ports seem to be working as advertised. I’ve only tested this hub with my Mac computers, although it should be compatible with Windows and Linux machines. The transfer speeds seem to be within the parameters of the 2.0 USB standard, although I have not done any precise quantitative benchmarking. The hub seems durable and well-made. It is compact and easy to carry around – it’s about twice the size of a larger USB stick.

This product is particularly suitable for people on the go who have several USB devices that need to be used simultaneously. It helps you attach all of your legacy devices while you are away from your desk. It can also serve the purpose of attaching the USB devices to your desktop at home, but its short cable means that you will have to connect them in a very tight little space close to your computer.

One of the USB ports is located on the "inside" part of the hub. I have not had any issues with this configuration, but I can see where having all four ports on the same side could come in handy.

The Amazon packaging, as with most of their branded products, was very easy to open. The packaging box, though, was a bit on the large side and an overkill for such a small device.

Transcend 32 GB Micro SDHC Class 10 with Adapter TS32GUSDHC10 (Discontinued by Manufacturer)
Transcend 32 GB Micro SDHC Class 10 with Adapter TS32GUSDHC10 (Discontinued by Manufacturer)
Offered by MemoryC
Price: CDN$ 17.98
33 used & new from CDN$ 13.79

5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome Little Card, Jan. 15 2015
I have used micro SD cards for years. They are still the most convenient external storage solution for smartphones and other small electronic cameras. A micro SD card like this one that comes with an SD adapter is also a great way to transfer your files from the card to a proper computer.

I've gotten several of these Transcend micro SD cards, and have used for several purposes. One of them I use with the included adapter inside my Canon DSLR camera. It's good way of having the flexibility of directly transferring the photos you take either to the computer or to an Android phone/tablet. The speed of the card is pretty good for my purposes, including shooting HD video. It seems to be indeed a proper Class 10 SD card.

The second card I use with my Nextbook Windows 8.1 tablet. It's a very good way of expanding the limited internal storage that came with my tablet. The card was easy to install, and it worked without a flaw with the Nextbook.

I was also impressed with the packaging for this card. It is incredibly easy to open, and the inside packaging doubles as a storage case for the card and the adapter. This comes in really handy - micro SD cards are incredibly easy to lose.

Amazon Kindle 5W USB Power Adaptor
Amazon Kindle 5W USB Power Adaptor

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Effective But Poorly Designed and Overpriced, Jan. 15 2015
This is a pretty decent and effective charger. It is well made, and at 5W/1A/5V it has the "standard" electrical specs of the most small USB chargers. One design feature that I really like is the fact that it has retractable power outlet prongs - this makes it very easy to carry around. However, as far as the design is concerned this power adapter leaves a lot to be desired. It is really short and wide, and oftentimes covers an additional power outlet or two on the power strip. Placement of the USB port on the side is even more annoying. It makes it really hard and inconvenient to reach the port, and impossible to do if you have other outlets on the power strip occupied with chargers or power cords. Furthermore, this adopter is pretty expensive. At $20 it is probably the most expensive such small adapter that I have come across. You can get many similar or even better adapters for half to the quarter of the price that this one sells for. This price is really puzzling, since most of the Amazon branded products are known for their pretty good quality at an unbeatable price. I got this adapter as part of my Fire TV Stick package, which I bought at $20 when it first became available for preorder. Yup, I got a whole video streaming device, with this adapter included, for the price that the adapter regularly sells by itself. It really makes you wonder.

CTA Digital Suction Mount Stand with Theft Deterrent Lock for iPad, Tablets and Smartphones  (PAD-SMT)
CTA Digital Suction Mount Stand with Theft Deterrent Lock for iPad, Tablets and Smartphones  (PAD-SMT)
Price: CDN$ 38.49
11 used & new from CDN$ 15.59

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Secure and Convenient, Jan. 15 2015
I love my iPad, and enjoy working with it in all sorts of places. However, leaving it sitting around is just a magnet for petty thieves. Tablet and smartphone theft is on the rise, and it's very important to start taking small electronics device security seriously.

PAD-SMT security stand is one of the smallest and most convenient tablet security contraptions that I'v come across. It seems very well built and sturdy. This small and convenient security stand attaches to your tablet with a powerful suction cup. The suction cup is pretty strong, and adheres to the tablet extremely securely. I tried pulling it off manually, and although I am a pretty strong guy I was not able to pull it away even a bit. The same holds for the suction cup that attaches the stand to the table or any other flat smooth surface. However, it is quite likely that a very determined thief with some nifty flat blades might be able to pry the suction cups away. This protection device is not designed for such determined professionals, but for all those casual thieves that you might come across in your daily work. I would also point out that the mount suction cup works much better with the modern flat-backed tablets, than with the older ones with a curved back (first generation iPad for instance).

The security cable for this stand is very solid and it won't be easy to break. The three-number security lock balances the need for security with the convenience of being easy to open.

This device works quite well as a stand. It props up your tablet, and allows you to read articles, browse the internet, or watch videos. Thanks to its suction cup attachment to the table, it is one of the most stable and secure tablet stands that I've come across.

I've tested this stand with an iPad Mini and even iPhone 6 Plus. It worked really well with both of them.

Overall, this is a pretty solid introductory level security device for your tablet. It might be an ideal such device for use in a coffee shop or some other similar public area.

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

Livescribe 3 Smartpen for iOS7 iPhone and iPad
Livescribe 3 Smartpen for iOS7 iPhone and iPad
Offered by SmartpenCentral
Price: CDN$ 198.00
18 used & new from CDN$ 198.00

3 of 3 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
2 used & new from 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. ****

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