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Country: North America, US, United States
City: 77092 Houston, Texas
- Brad M - This thing can take a beatingStarted using this drive sometime around the start of February 2013. Worked fine and I didn't disconnect it until late April before I moved to a new property. I packed the drive at the bottom of one of my cardboard moving boxes (probably a mistake). After I unpacked everything, I hooked up the drive and heard a clicking sound about once a second. The drive was failing to spin, and was not being detected by my computer. I figured I must have dropped the box too hard at some point during the move and that it was probably dead at this point.
I realized I was testing it with a USB 2.0 port and tried 3.0 for kicks but no difference. I then tried the "freezer trick". I bagged the drive up and stuck it in the freezer for nearly 24 hours. Took it out and it was covered in condensation. Hooked it up and it was exactly the same - clicking every second. Gave it a few really good whacks for the heck of it, and even hit it on the desk pretty hard since I didn't have anything to lose. No dice.
My last resort was going to be to open the drive and forcibly spin the platters to loosen them, but I put it off. A couple of days later I happened to look at the brand name on my composite video splitter and noticed it matched the brand name on my external HDD's AC adapter. Hmmmm.....I then realized that I might have gotten the AC adapters mixed up. I tried the adapter I was using with my splitter on the HDD and sure enough it spun right up. All my data was intact, no issues whatsoever.
I know that not all HDDs are reliable, but knowing that a properly manufactured drive can handle the abuse I gave this one (just about everything I tried to fix it was a big no-no for HDDs), I have to give credit where it's due. While I don't plan on exposing the drive to water or whacking it on the side of my desk anymore, it's nice to know that it can take quite a beating should it find itself in an unfortunate situation in the future.
Oh yeah, the drive is pretty fast as well.
- Chris - Very pleased with this tablet!This tablet is a cinch to get accustomed to, if you are already familiar with the Android operating system (OS). I was a little less familiar with some of the applications in it. For example, there are "hidden" menus for many programs, and it took me a little while to develop the habit of where to touch on the screen to access these things, but not extremely long. If you are a person how doesn't mind tapping a few places and finding where things are, this should not be a problem. It's just the basic learning curve, and does not apply to this specific tablet, but rather the Android OS.
The tablet itself is fairly light. I have not handled a lot of other tablets, however, so I cannot compare. But because I am used to carrying around a laptop and books for school all the time, this it seems light to me. However, it does have enough wait that you don't feel like throwing it around. I like that however. It weighs just enough to make you think twice about throwing it around, which I would not recommend anyway at this price. Which leads me to the price...
It is certainly expensive. And if you are looking for only an eReader, this is overpriced and overpowered for you. However, if you are like me, where you want something much closer to a laptop/netbook/notebook, but want the general feel of an eReader, then this is a great choice. It's cheaper than the iPad 2, unless you buy the iPad 2 on a contract, which ends up costing you more in the long-run anyway. For a quad core processor and a solid feeling tablet, this price is actually much better than some of the "last generation" tablets which only have a single or dual core processor. Therefore, unless you are planning to wait until the next round of tablets that comes out later this year and onwards, this tablet will meet or beat most (or all?) of the other options in terms of price and performance.
With the newest update of the Android OS, you can control the screen brightness (ie. ICS - not sure what the abbreviation means). Because of this, if you are in a low light area, you can turn down the brightness to the lowest setting, and this really helps me because you can still use it perfectly, but it doesn't strain my eyes as much as a bright screen does. Even better, it only takes two taps on the screen to make this change, so it is much faster than doing it on a laptop, for instance.
The battery life, because of the ICS setting, is much better than I was expecting. I also turned off the GPS setting, which I don't really need anyway. The combination of these two things, and turning off the screen when not in use, has allowed me to use it between 2 and 3 days. Because a lot of the usage is me reading books (I am a graduate student, I read a *lot*), I actually keep the screen on a lot. So, I would estimate that I keep the screen on, plus wifi, plus occasionally doing other things like checking email, for approximately 4-6 hours a day. This is, of course, spread out throughout the day. And so, I would venture to say that I can use it without the need to charge for about 8-12 hours of "constant" usage. This is beyond what I expected when purchasing the tablet. And that means I am really happy!
The headphone jack allows for headphones, and the quality through that is pretty good. I have not played a ton of music, so I cannot really talk too much about good or bad. But it seems at least comparable to listening to music through my phone or laptop on headphones. There is also a speaker, which is admittedly not amazing. I mean, there isn't a tone of space for high quality speakers inside. But it is not awful by any means, either. In addition to the listening capabilities, the microphone appears to be pretty decent also. I played 5 different songs (two of which were Chinese songs - from China, which Mandarin Chinese lyrics) with Shazam, and Shazam got all the songs correct within 5-20 seconds of listening. There was not a huge amount of background noise, but the microphone picked up these songs well enough for Shazam to work flawlessly, so I have to assume that it is of at least moderate quality.
OVERALL CONCLUSION: No regrets after almost 2 weeks of owning the Transformer Prime (TF201). It is a little expensive, but the quality and it's ability to take whatever I throw at it shows that it is worth the extra money over most other options. If you are in the market for a good tablet, at about the average high-end tablet price, then the TF201 is highly recommended!
- Stephen Collins - Bleak. So bleak.Try as I might to go into reading McCarthy's The Road without preconceptions, I just couldn't do it completely. I'd seen the film, I knew of other friends who read it and had varying (though broadly positive) responses to it, and had looked at a bunch of the reviews on Goodreads. Let alone the fact that it's a Pulitzer Prize winner (amongst a not-inconsiderable list of other awards).
That all said, I think I largely managed to read the book without those collective factor weighing overmuch upon me. No small feat.
McCarthy's book touches so many factors - the Hero's Journey, a road tale, father-son relationships, dystopian fiction, post-apocalyptic fiction, cautionary tales of what might happen if Mankind continues on our merry way, environmentalist warnings of a world denuded of its biosphere. The richness of all of these intersecting at once, and the interesting style of McCarthy's writing, which is stripped very bare but remains full of depth and meaning, makes The Road something more than just an interesting piece of fiction; rather, it's an artwork in and of itself.
Possibly (if not certainly) the bleakest tale I've read in a good long while, The Road should be something we all read. It may not necessarily be to everyone's taste, but should be read.