Archive for category Review
Recently my old HP Inkjet printer stopped working so I needed to purchase a new printer. I don’t print all that often and I rarely print photos so I have fairly basic requirements so I don’t want to spend too much. With smartphones and tablets being so popular I wanted one that would support both iOS and Android. Apple supports printing with AirPrint and Google supports printing via Cloud Print. It is actually kind of difficult to find a printer that supports both AirPrint and Cloud Print. Each printing technology lists supported printers, but the lists are not complete and not cross referenced with each other. So you can find a printer that supports AirPrint, but not Cloud Print.
Another feature that I wanted was cheap 3rd party cartridges. I’m tired of paying $50 to HP just for one set of black and color cartridges. One set of ink cartridges costs more than the entire printer. The printer manufacturers say don’t use 3rd party ink. But I’ve used it in the past and it worked fine for my use. Even if the 3rd party ink breaks your printer, you can just buy a new printer that includes new cartridges so you haven’t lost much.
Here is the list of requirements for the new printer:
- Inexpensive to buy the printer
- Supports Google Cloud Print
- Supports Apple AirPrint
- Inexpensive Ink Cartridges
After looking around it seems that the only printer company that supports all of these requirements is Brother. The other major manufacturers all were missing one feature. On many printers they only supported both AirPrint and Cloud Print on their more expensive printers. Or the printer supported both printing technologies but there were no inexpensive ink cartridges.
I ended up purchasing the Brother MFC-J435. Setting it up was easy. It has an LCD screen so I was able to select my wireless network on the screen and type in the passkey on the numeric keypad. To enable AirPrint and Cloud Print you just need to use a web browser on your computer and connect to the IP Address of the printer (find the IP Address in the Settings menu of the printer). The printer has a scanner and auto document feeder so you can put a bunch of papers in the feeder and they will all be scanned automatically. The printer also has a fax feature if you still need to use faxes.
Another useful feature is the Brother iPhone app. The app connects to the printer automatically and you can print and scan with it. I haven’t tried printing because AirPrint is supported natively by the iPhone. But the scanning feature is pretty cool, you can insert the documents that you want scanned and hit scan in the app. All the pages are scanned and then combined into a PDF which you can then email to yourself.
As for the ink it is very cheap. At Amazon you can get 10 cartridges for about $7 with free shipping. I haven’t personally used this ink yet because I’m still on the original cartridges, but the pack has a 4 star review on Amazon which is really good for 3rd party ink.
Summary: Here is the link to the cheap Lapdawg Clone:
As of this writing the price is $49.99 with free shipping, no coupon required. This is less than half the price of the Lapdawg branded version when shipping is included.
I frequently use my laptop while lying down in bed. I’ve tried using assorted pillows to prop up the laptop but that never seemed to work, it was never in the right position.
So I started looking around and found out there is a company that makes a nice looking laptop bed stand called the Lapdawg. The Lapdawg X4 stand looks pretty good from their site, it is very adjustable and it looks high quality. I was interested in buying the Lapdawg X4 until I saw the price of $89 + $16 shipping ($105 total + possible tax), more than I wanted to spend on a laptop stand. They have a coupon field when you purchase, but I looked around and couldn’t find any Lapdawg coupon codes that would reduce the price to something I was willing to pay.
So I started looking around for a laptop stand for a more reasonable price. On Amazon I found a laptop stand that looks exactly like the Lapdawg and has decent reviews. The stand is a clones of the Lapdawg and exactly the same (find the link in the summary at the top of this page). In comparing the pictures from Lapdawg’s site with the pictures on Amazon you can see that it is likely the exact same stand. Look at the hinges on the legs, you can see it has white markings around them to measure the degrees, these are exactly the same on both. It looks like the Lapdawg company rebrands these laptop stands with the Lapdawg name and then they sell them on their own site.
I went ahead and ordered the laptop stand from Amazon since it was significantly less expensive than the Lapdawg and the shipping was free. The laptop stand that I received from Amazon looks exactly like the Lapdawg. It has all the same folding features and has the white degree dials around the hinges. The only difference I can see is that my stand comes with a a cooling fan powered by USB. Personally I don’t bother to use the fans, my laptop stays cool enough, but in case you want them they are there. Luckily I never notice the fans, they are small so they don’t take up any extra space and the cord is detachable so it doesn’t get in the way.
I’ve been using the laptop stand for a month now and it is great (I’m actually using it to type this blog post). The hinge adjustments are kind of a pain because there are six of them. I just leave it in the configuration that I like because it is a hassle to reset all six hinges everytime you want to put it way.
I wanted to buy a RC car for my son. After looking around it seemed like the Rockslide RS10 from Redcat Racing was a good choice. There are a lot of expensive rock crawlers out there, but I didn’t want to spend too much. There is no reason to spend a bunch of money on high performance competition parts when the crawler is just going to be used in the backyard.
This looked like a good RC car for my son because:
They go slow so he doesn’t need a lot of room.
They can drive in a lot of places that other RC cars can’t
Batteries last a long time per charge
We can build obstacles together that he can drive over
In looking around the Rockslide RS10 seemed to be a recommended crawler. It is relatively cheap and had decent performance. I couldn’t find any better ones so I went ahead and bought the RS10.
I received the rock crawler within the week. The crawler is very impressive out of the box. It is big and it looks very tough and well made. The crawler comes with almost everything you need. The only thing it doesn’t come with are 8 AA batteries for the transmitter.
After charging up the battery we took it out to try it out. The truck is very impressive. It can climb things that you would not be able to expect it to do. To give you an idea of what it can climb: A standard curb on a road is a little too high to climb if you drive straight on, but if you drive in at an angle you can climb the curb. The people who have seen the truck are very impressed at the ease that the truck can climb obstacles.
The transmitter that comes with the truck is nice for a bundled transmitter. It has an LCD screen on it where you can make adjustments. There is a button on it that allows you to control which steering mode the truck is in: front, rear, or two all wheel steering modes. The only thing I don’t like about the transmitter is the limited range, it only works to about 20 feet. With a rock crawler you’re usually going to be close to the truck anyway so it isn’t a big deal, but it would be nice to have a little more range sometime. I wish that Redcat could have included a 2.4ghz transmitter instead even if it cost a little more.
I had a few problems with the truck. The servos that control both the front and rear steering wore out. They started making a clicking sound when steering and eventually stopped working. Redcat Racing repaired the servos for free under warranty, but from what I have read the stock servos are of low quality so I’d expect the replacements to break too. So instead I replaced them with these metal gear servos that people online seem to like. The new servos were easy to replace and worked without any configuration. So far they have worked great with no evidence of them wearing out.
The screws that hold the struts onto the wing fell out after a few uses. I recommend using Loctite on these screws so they don’t come out. I wish Redcat would warn people about this in their manual because once the screws fall out they are impossible to find.
Overall I really like the Rockslide RS10. The performance is very impressive for a good price. It is one of those things that both the adults and the kids can have a lot of fun with. If you are looking for a good RC vehicle without spending too much I recommend getting the Rockslide RS10.