reviews

Review: October Baby (Movie)

October Baby posterAfter receiving the typical deluge of 'new faith-based movie coming soon!' marketing emails from The Maximus Group, my wife and I decided to go watch October Baby last night.

I'll just offer a few observations here, as I don't want to get into a full-on review, especially since there are hundreds of more-detailed reviews online. To preface this review, I'm going mostly on techincal/production quality merit... the story was compelling, and the movie is worth watching, but I don't feel this movie was worth a full $10+ ticket price at a movie theater.

Gun Shops and Ranges in St. Louis, MO (and Metro Area)

A great, decade old thread on The High Road forums prompted this article, which is my own roundup/review of different gun shops and gun ranges in and around the St. Louis area. I'm not an advanced shooter or anything, but I enjoy exercising the right to bear arms, and to take down paper targets with some friends!

I'm going to simply give a list of the ranges and shops I've been to (and some I haven't), and give the vitals and some brief impressions (this post will be updated over time as I visit more places on the list):

Ultimate Defense (St. Peters)

Map - Website - 636-278-2825

Review: GuitarJack Model 2 - Audio Interface for iPhone 4/4S, iPad

Jeff's Rating: 5/5

tl;dr: For stereo audio input, mic input, and guitar input, there's nothing better. Sound quality is excellent, and the unit is physically solid—almost too solid!

[Update on iPhone 5 compatibility: Sonoma says the GuitarJack works like a champ with the iPhone 5 if you use one of Apple's 30-pin to lightning connectors.]

In my quest to find the killer solution for audio recording/input on my iOS devices, I've tested a ton of different external microphones and audio interfaces for the iPhone 4/4S, iPad, and iPod Touch. One class of device—a multi-channel input through the iPhone 4's dock connector—has been elusive until just recently, when three different devices were introduced a year after the iPhone 4:

Review: Fostex AR-4i iPhone 4/4S Stereo Audio Interface

Jeff's Rating: 4/5

tl;dr: Five stars for the capabilities, four for the fit and finish. It's a great tool, but not without a few rough edges. (See note about iPhone 4S compatibility).

[UPDATE on iPhone 4S compatibility: I've heard many reports of people having trouble with the AR-4i and the iPhone 4S; my own usage indicates that there is one quirk with this combo: the wireless signals on my phone go away while plugged into the AR-4i. Example recordings with various firmwares below:

Review: Bose Companion 2 Series II Multimedia Computer Speaker System

Jeff's Rating: 4/5

tl;dr: Five stars for sound quality (especially considering the size of the speakers), but a 3 for the price (you still pay for the Bose® name).

For a very long time, I've used my computer, with a 24"+ display, as my TV, computer, DVD/Blu-Ray player, Xbox 360 setup, etc. Because of this, I had my 5.1 surround sound system, with some very nice speakers and a great sub, plugged into and surrounding my computer. It enveloped me in the most amazing aural arena I've ever experienced.

However, after marriage, I moved the surround sound system into the living room, along with a new TV and the Xbox and and Apple TV. That means I went back to the stone-age days of computing sound, using the tinny built in speakers on my iMac (now MacBook Pro). For a while, I was satisfied with this, as I didn't do a lot of music listening or gaming on my Mac.

Review: iRig mic for iOS and Android

Jeff's Rating: 4/5

tl;dr: Great-sounding, reasonably-priced microphone, purpose-built for the smartphones and tablets, with few downsides.

iRig mic with HTC Evo 4G LTE

The iRig mic was introduced in 2011, and promised to be one of the best ways to get sound from your mouth or instrument into the iPhone 4, iPod Touch or iPad/iPad 2. Since then, it has been tested to work with newer iOS devices like the iPhone 5, and many Android phones. I've updated this review (in 2013) to reflect my more extensive testing since I originally reviewed the microphone in 2011.

Review: MaxConnect USB External Enclosure for Unibody MBP Optical Drive

Jeff's Rating: 3/5

tl;dr: A good way to get some use out of a displaced internal SuperDrive. Case design has its flaws, but it works pretty well.

If you want to make your MacBook Pro a true mobile workhorse, there are few things you can do that are better than adding in a second hard drive (for capacity or RAID), and/or swapping out the main hard drive for an SSD and loading your OS onto that (it's ridiculously fast!).

Review: iPhone 4 Tripod Mount - SnapMount

Jeff's Rating: 5/5

tl;dr: Right in all the right ways, this is one of the two tripod mounts I keep in my bag.

There are finally a plethora of different iPhone 4 tripod mounting solutions on the market, and this is a very, very good thing. You can browse other Reviews on my website to find some examples of other great tripod mounts—some very nice for specific purposes, others that are only marginally better than duct-taping your iPhone to a tripod!

Snapmount for iPhone - on mini Tripod

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