Amazon Prime Streaming

Amazon Prime Streaming

Amazon Prime StreamingHow I finally got around the Insufficient Bandwidth Messages on my Samsung Smart TV


I am a big fan of Amazon Prime – enough that I cancelled my Netflix subscription a while back and started using Amazon Prime Streaming instead. I have been using Amazon Prime for the last two years just for its many other benefits, particularly the free, two-day shipping on just about everything I order. The video and movie selection appeared to me to be just as good as Netflix so I am now saving a few bucks a month by cancelling my Netflix subscription.

Amazon Prime Streaming with Apple TV

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Dell Inspiron 15

Dell Inspiron 15
Dell Inspiron 15 Model 7579

The Dell Inspiron 15, model 7579 is a is a well-made, 15.6″ laptop. I purchased this to replace the old, Core-2 Duo, 15″ Laptop that I use for business in my classroom at school. Microsoft, in their infamous ways really knows how to bring old hardware down to its knees, make it outdated, and force you to buy something new whether you once believed you ever needed to or not. My old laptop ran just fine until the nagging Windows-10 update finally got the best of it and upgraded it without me ever agreeing to it. Over time, the massive number of Windows-10 upgrades slowed the machine down to the point I could barely use it anyore. This new, 15.6″ Dell Laptop is not only much faster, but makes the laptop more useful in a number of different ways. Before I get to the pros and cons, let me just give you a brief run-down of the hardware specifics on the Dell Inspiron 15-7579, Laptop and a very non-technical explanation of what they do for you: 

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Ethernet over Power with the Netgear Powerline 500

ethernet over powerThe Netgear Powerline 500 uses Ethernet over Power technology to solve wife range problems in the home. Ethernet over Power technology has been around several years. With numerous products on the market designed for the home and small office there is a large selection of competing brands to choose from at a very affordable price. I am a disappointed in myself for not thinking of this sooner. Unlike modern homes today which are built with technology and digital entertainment in mind, my 28-year-old home is not equipped with ethernet jacks in every room. In fact, I am writing this article from my office on the only computer in the house with a wired, ethernet connection. All of the family’s laptops, PC’s, and mobile devices rely on the latest Cable Modem / Router provided by Comcast.

What is Ethernet over Power?

How does the Netgear Powerline 500 Work?

Netgear Powerline 500
Netgear Powerline 500 Adapter

Ethernet over Power (not to be confused with Power over Ethernet or PoE) offers you a rock solid network connection in situations where WIFI just isn’t cutting it in your home or office. With Ethernet over Power  you are provided with two or more RJ45 Network adapters. The Netgear Powerline 500 comes with two adapters, two Ethernet cables, and documentation. One adapter is plugged directly into your wall outlet. An RJ45 Cable is connected between the adapter and your router. The other adapter is connected to the power outlet near the remote PC. An RJ45 cable goes between the adapter and the remote computer’s Ethernet port. Once connected, you have a  rock solid network connection between the wired PC and the router with absolutely no dependence on WIFI range, distance or limitations. The Netgear Powerline 500 works completely independent of your router’s WIFI. Using Ethernet over Power is basically as good as an RJ45 connection.

Why use Ethernet over Power instead of WIFI?

The modem/router combo unit that Comcast provided me is supposedly the very latest and was designed to address the numerous complaints from customers about limited WIFI capabilities around the house. Despite being designed with the very latest WIFI capabilities and adequate, advertised range, the Comcast router still drops connections on other, distant WIFI devices, particularly on my son’s PC which is a fair distance away and separated by a couple of walls and different floor level.  This problem continued even after my son changed his computer from the upstairs bedroom to a closer downstairs bedroom and was well within the acceptable range of the router. His internet performance was extremely show even after trying three different network cards; and even when his WIFI status shows that his connection was rated as excellent. I was about to try a fourth network card when I remembered a similar situation at my school. Teachers relied on various routers throughout the building for WIFI on their laptops. We all had problems with very slow performance and losing our connection. The only exceptions were those laptops that were located in the same room as the router or at the very least on the same floor, in close proximity. In our case, we had to have additional routers installed which involved some additional and somewhat complicated setup from our IT professional. While it might be worthwhile to do this at a school or office, it might not be practice for a home situation. You might ask, why not just have an Ethernet drop installed in your house? The answer is cost and convenience. Either you’ll have to be handy drilling holes and dropping cables through them yourself, or you will have to pay someone anywhere from $85.00 to $200.00 per line drop. What does it cost to get a couple of Powerline Adapters, instead?

Netgear Powerline 500 Cost and Performance

I chose the Netgear Powerline 500 because it was the only Ethernet over Power product available at my local Best Buy Store at a reasonable price. There are other, cheaper powerline adapters with very good ratings, but I was not able to find any of them locally. Still, I paid only $55.00 for the Netgear Powerline 500. In other words, I paid roughly half the price of what it would cost to have a line dropped in the house. Even the line drop is a somewhat limited solution. Would if you were wanting to move the computer to another location or room? As its name implies, the Netgear Powerline 500 offers network speeds of up to 500Mbps. Real-world tests indicate that these kinds of speeds are not actually achieved, but it really doesn’t matter. The Netgear Powerline 500 blows away the speed of any 100Mbps wired connection and is way faster than any internet connection of today will require. Now, you might be asking, why don’t all businesses use Ethernet over Power technology instead of wiring cabling all throughout their buildings? This might have to do with the actual speed limitations. Businesses today, are looking ahead at the very fastest connection speeds available, including things like Fiber and PoE. Power over Ethernet or PoE is basically a way of transmitting power over existing data lines for maximum speed and connectivity. There are other, faster and more expensive Ethernet over Power products that might find its way into enterprise and data center markets, but as of today, this technology is mostly desired by home users and small office environments. While I am not aware of speed and distance limitations of Ethernet over Power technology, I am sure there is much information to be found online in case you are curious.

Does it Really Work?

Connecting the Netgear Powerline 500 was probably the simplest and fastest hardware installation I have ever made.  Unlike setting up WIFI devices, Ethernet over Power requires absolutely no connection or security settings on the computer or router because you are hard wiring into your router. It is as much plug-and-play simplicity as you can possibly get. While other users have complained of a little hitch or two getting it going, I had no such trouble at all. The instant I plugged my son’s computer and ethernet cable into the powered Netgear adapter and his Ethernet jack on the back of his computer, he was connected to the internet.  Since making the Netgear Powerline 500 installation 3 weeks ago, my son’s internet connection has remained fast and connected 24-7.

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Winegard HDTV Antenna

Winegard HDTV AntennaI bought the Winegard HDTV Antenna on impulse, on-site without having any prior knowledge of the brand, research or reviews. What prompted me to buy this particular outdoor HDTV antenna was the low, $35.00 price tag at Home Depot. I was actually shopping for both a splitter and an inexpensive, outdoor HD antenna. As it turns out, I didn’t need a splitter. You may or may not need a coax splitter either, but before we get to the installation concerns and questions, let’s talk about the actual benefits of having an outdoor HDTV antenna.

Why an Outdoor HDTV Antenna?

Over a year ago, I gave up pay TV and started using internal, HD antennas to pick up local channels off-air. I will get into the specifics of why I gave up pay TV a little bit later in this article, but for now, let me explain why I decided to go with an outdoor HDTV antenna. I have three HD TVs in my house: A 42″ LG LCD Flatscreen in my den; a 32″ LCD in my upstairs bedroom and a 65″ Mitsubishi, Projection HD television in the basement. When I cancelled my DirecTV service over a year ago, I bought three, inexpensive, indoor HD antennas for each of these televisions.  The television antennas worked pretty well, if not for two problems:

Problems with Indoor HD Antennas

  • One, Indoor antennas do not help with your room decor.  In order to get the most consistent picture, it seemed I had to place my antenna in the most conspicuous places.
  • Two, even when I found the best place for the antenna, the picture would often freeze and become scrambled on the most used and popular, local stations such as CBS, NBC and ABC.

My best reception came from bedroom television upstairs which was positioned high up on the wall of our vaulted ceiling. This also happened to be the cheapest antenna of the three I purchased. This is when it dawned on me that the position of the antenna was way more important than the quality of the actual HD antenna. An outdoor HDTV antenna started to make a lot of sense. It made even more sense when I realized that my old, DirecTV dish was already wired to all four televisions in my house. Since the wiring was already there, shouldn’t I be able to just replace the current TV dish with an inexpensive outdoor HDTV antenna? The easiest way to test this would be to take one of my current, indoor HDTV antennas and simply connect it to where the cable leads into the DirecTV dish.  Can I use satellite dish as antenna?

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Canon SX510HS Camera Review

Canon SX510HS CameraRight off the bat, I can make three, important claims about the Canon Powershot SX510 Superzoom Camera: One, I am absolutely certain that the SX510HS does not provide the greatest image and video quality of any digital camera. Two, I am equally certain that the Sx510 does not possess the biggest nor best superzoom capabilities of any digital camera on the market. Three, the Canon Powershot SX510 provides perhaps the biggest punch and bang for the buck of any digital camera for its price range. At around $200.00, the SX510HS allows you to capture stunning, detailed photographs and videos of far-away subjects which cannot be revealed with the naked eye. Below is a brief sample of a German Shepard wanting in the back door of his/her home from around 200 yards away from my deck. You can see the scratches on the door paint and frame around the window as well as the color of the dog collar and the expressions on its face.

Canon Powershot SX510HS Superzoom Demonstration

SX510HS Offers Greatest Bang for the Buck of any Digital Camera

Obviously, the subtitle is only my opinion, but having a 30X, full-motion zoom lens in such a small form factor is what makes the $200 Canon SX510HS Camera an extremely impressive tool. Canon probably has one of the best reputations around for making digital cameras, but not all of their consumer-grade products are adored by true photo enthusiasts and camera review blogs. I usually spend a good deal of time on sites like Dpreview, Steves-Digicams and Digital Camera World while shopping for a new camera. While these are excellent websites for gaining a truthful and comprehensive view of the capabilities and quality of cameras, they don’t always represent the needs and desires of your typical bargain-hunting, digital camera user. I knew this camera would be well worth the $200 I spent on it, simply by browsing the dozens of reviews of other users like myself who appreciate the power of a superzoom lens in a small unit.

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Friendly Swede iPad Stylus

Friendly Swede iPad Stylus
A Review

Friendly Swede iPad StylusThe Friendly Swede has really outdone himself with this 6-piece set of stylish, good-looking iPad / iPhone Stylus Pens. The Friendly Swede iPad Stylus comes in a colorful set of six. Many apps on tablets and smartphones simply work better with a stylus. The other day, I was at my local, OfficeMax store where I noticed they sold iPad Stylus pens for $19.95 each. This seemed rather expensive to me, even though I had never really bought or shopped for a stylus pen before. I decided to see if I could find something cheaper online and boy was I pleasantly surprised when I came across a 6-piece set of stylus pens from, The Friendly Swede. Until you’ve tried these stylish looking stylus pens, you’ll never know whether or not $9 bucks will get you something worthwhile. I decided to give them a try.

The Friendly Swede iPad Stylus

6-Piece Stylus Pens

I ordered this 6-piece style pen set from Amazon for just $8.99. These pens came to me with free shipping since I ordered another item and my total order with Amazon topped $50.00. For $9.00, I figured the pens must be pretty cheap, but as long as they worked I was okay taking a risk. Thanks to a big snow storm in Philadelphia my entire order was delayed by about 6 days, but that’s certainly not the fault of Amazon or the Friendly Swede. When I opened the small package of the 6 stylus pens, I was rather surprised by the professional appearance and packaging. These stylus pens even come with a connector and string that ties the pen into your headphone port to keep it attached to your device, as well as a micro-fiber cleaning cloth which does an excellent job removing smudges from your screen. The most surprising part about the 6-piece stylus set, however, is the quality and workmanship of the pens. These are very attractive pens that are very well made, weighted just right and feel really good in your hands.  They come in a set with 6 different colors: Blue, light blue, green, pink and purple. They look great, but, how well does the stylus work on my iPhone and iPad?

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Wireless Weather Station

Wireless Weather StationThis Wireless Weather Station replaced the broken atomic clock that was in my bathroom for several years. Named, Touch Weather, by Oregon Scientific, this particular wireless weather station was appealing to me for a couple of reasons: The picture on the box indicated a very bright, easy-to-read display and a small, attractive design. I really only wanted another atomic clock for getting ready for work in the mornings, but decided having a temperature gauge in the bathroom would be an equally good idea.  Let me give you my opinion the features and functions of this particular unit.

Touch Weather

Wireless Weather Station by Oregon Scientific

As the graphic on the box indicated, Touch Weather is a rather small, attractive unit with clear, easy-to-read, retro-like, LCD display.  The unit is named, Touch because you can switch between In-Door and Outdoor temps simply by touching the screen.  The first touch of the screen will illuminate the display. Touching it again will toggle you through the outdoor sensors, 1-3, then bring you to an indoor weather screen. Both indoor and outdoor weather includes both temperature and humidity displays. There is also, of course, a self-setting, atomic clock and date which can be viewed by touching the digital read-out. Other features of Touch Weather include a minimum/maximum temperature record of indoor/outdoor temperatures and an alarm.  Okay, so these features sound pretty good, but how well does the Touch Atomic clock actually work as a wireless weather station?

Touch Weather Clock Likes and Dislikes


The unit is attractive, small and takes up little room in the bathroom. The temperature readings have been very accurate thus far by comparison to my other wireless weather station in my den as well as the Weatherbug app. on my iPhone which uses a weather station just a couple of miles away. Having both indoor and outdoor humidity on such a small device is useful to me and it is easy to change between displays. The max/min temp/humidity is a good idea if actually worked. This brings me to my dislikes of the Touch wireless weather clock.

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Bluetooth Wireless Speaker

Best Bluetooth Speaker under 100

iHome Wireless SpeakerWhat is the best way to get wireless outdoor music on a tight budget? I recently had my outdoor deck replaced and unfortunately it meant having to rip out the outdoor, JVC speakers which were attached to my basement stereo and mounted to my outdoor deck facia. I neither had the time nor energy to re-wire the speakers to an antiquated, in-door stereo system. By the same token, I didn’t want to spend a lot of money for an expensive Bose, Wireless speaker system. I decided to make it my goal to find the best sounding wireless speaker/s I could find for under $100.00. This actually turned out to be a reasonably easy task. All of the department stores sell various wireless speakers which operate via bluetooth and/or iPhone/iPad docks and have demo buttons so you can listen to them. The secret for me was  to find one that delivers the best sound for under $100.
In addition to sound quality, the best solution is the easiest solution. Music already exists in our iTunes libraries and can be played from the computer or home stereo via Apple TV and AirPlay. Why not have a Bluetooth speaker for taking the music outside? Small speakers don’t produce as much sound as larger, more expensive ones, but really, how loudly can you play your music outside and still remain friends with your neighbors. I decided to check-out, reasonably priced, Bluetooth speakers for outdoors. I did some research and narrowed it down to these two choices:

Soundfreaq Sound Kick vs. iHome iBT4 Bluetooth Wireless Speaker

Soundfreaq Wireless SpeakerIt makes a great deal of sense to compare these two speakers for a couple of reasons: One, they both cost $99.00 each. Two, they both use the same, blue-tooth wireless technology to play music from a remote device like an iPhone, iPad or other blue-tooth device. The Soundfreaq was the first speaker that caught my eye due to the $99 price tag and glowing reviews from actual users. I read the box and played the demo which unfortunately, was limited to drum and rap beats and didn’t really give me a a good idea of how the unit would sound with my own kind of music. I was impressed with the volume, clarity of sound and high rating so I was all set to buy it. Then, just as I was about to walk out of the store, another unit caught my eye.

iHome iBTR Outdoor Boombox

The iHome iBTR looked like the type of equipment that was made for the outdoors. It also looks like some type of shortwave radio you might see from World War II, which actually makes it kind of adds to the ‘cool’ factor. It has a rugged, rubberized exterior with a handle – perfect for taking out by the pool. It also includes an FM radio with antennae which is something the Soundfreaq does not have. When I pushed the demo button, I thought the sounds coming out of the iHome had better bass and fuller, overall sound. Still, I was hesitant to choose it because it didn’t have quite the number of rave reviews as the Soundfreaq.  Still, I chose the iHome over the Soundfreaq and took it home.

Performance and Operation of the iHome Wireless Boombox

When I brought the iHome wireless bluetooth boombox home, I was a little confused at first because there were no instructions inside the box. On the other hand, there are only two dials and a button – it can’t be too hard to figure out, right?  In fact, nothing could be more intuitive if you’ve ever paired a Bluetooth device before. One dial chooses between radio and Bluetooth playback setting.  The other dial is for controlling the volume and the button in the middle is labeled, Pair for connecting to your Bluetooth device. I turned on my iPhone, went to the Bluetooth settings and pressed the Pair button until I was connected. It was as simple as that. I was playing Jack Johnson an instant later and it sounded reasonably well. At least as well as I would expect from a $99.00 speaker. I took the iHome out to the pool and it was plenty loud enough. I liked the handle and the radio antennae. It was very convenient. Yet, something kept telling me I needed try the Soundfreaq since it had such glowing reviews from users. Is it possible that I overlooked how well it sounded in the store?

Performance and Operation of the Soundfreaq Wireless Blue-tooth Speaker

I went back to Target and purchased the $99.o0 Soundfreaq with the intention of comparing it with the iHome and taking the inferior one back in its original packaging the next day. For some reason, I was really rooting for the Soundfreaq to win this contest. Perhaps that is due to the power of suggestion. I brought the Soundfreaq home much to the bewilderment and chagrin of my wife who was perfectly happy with the one we already had. Unlike the iHome, the Soundfreaq has no rubberized, outdoor-like exterior and lacks an FM radio antennae. It is considerably smaller and sleeker. Cosmetically, the two are complete opposites. Another thing that intrigued me is that the Soundfreaq is advertised as a stereo speaker. No where on the box does iHome’s $99.00 product advertise it as having stereo sound. But, beauty is in the ear of the listener. Both my wife and I listened to the two side-by-side and immediately preferred the deeper, fuller sound of the iHome Wireless Speaker. It took all but 45 seconds for me to turn them both off, wrap up the Soundfreaq and package it back inside of its box for a return trip to Target.

Conclusion of Best Wireless Bluetooth Speaker

The iHome iBT4 wins the contest for it’s rubberized, rugged exterior, carrying handle and FM radio output. Neither of these boomboxes are going to give you a great, mid-range, professional, stereo sound, but both of them will satisfy the typical needs for an outdoor, portable music system that works with your Bluetooth devices. I would recommend either of these units, but for my own taste, the iHome iBT4 was the better choice.

Differences Between $99.00 Soundfreaq Sound Kick vs iHome iBT4

Both of these units are under $100 and feature wireless playback from any Bluetooth device. Sound is similar based on your subjective opinion, but here are a few differences that might make or break your opinion.

  • The iHome has a carrying handle the Soundfreaq does not
  • The Soundfreaq has a sleek, slim design, the iHome is boxy and square (retro)
  • The Soundfreaq has a USB port for charging your iPhone or other USB devices – the iHome does not.
  • The iHome has an FM Radio with built-in Antenna, the Soundfreaq does not.
  • The iHome has both an auxiliary input and output, the Soundfreaq has only an input.
  • The Soundfreaq provides 7 hours of battery life compared to 6 hours for the iHome.  

In my estimation, the iHome has a much fuller sound and I like the convenience of the FM radio antennae. If you prefer a smaller form-factor and a USB port for charging your devices, you might lean towards the Soundfreaq. Both of these wireless speakers represent good value for the money.


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Logitech M325 Mouse


The Logitech M325 is about one third the price of the Microsoft 5000 Laser mouse I bought 4 years ago. What I used to think was the best wireless mouse is now in my trash can. As I zip around Windows 7 and surf the web with the sleek, comfortable, well-made and cheap, Logitech M325, it is obvious that you don’t always get what you pay for with user interface products such as mice and keyboards.  The Microsoft Laser 5000 mouse was still working when I trashed it, but the scroll wheel became mushy, difficult to use and the entire unit often failed to track my movement. The Laser 5000 required a long cord and receiver that takes up space on the desk. The M325 has only a tiny USB plug.  There is much to be said for simplicity that goes unnoticed. Plug in the M325 adapter and in seconds, you’re up and running.

Operation of the Logitech M325 Mouse

Having put up with the mushy feel of the Microsoft Laser 5000, the M325 feels amazing – the wheel is solid, precise inspiring great confidence as you use it. I found the default movement to be a little fast for my tastes, so went into the control panel and adjusted the speed down a couple of notches. The M325 glides across either my wood-grain desk or mouse pad with ease – never losing track of my movements. I never liked the silly side buttons on the Laser 5000 because I was constantly inadvertently pressing them and causing strange behavior to occur with my screen. The M325 can reverse and go forward through web pages simply by pushing the wheel to the left or right. Keep in mind, the Logitech M325 Mouse M325 is not a laser mouse, it is a 2.4GHz radio controlled, optical mouse. Technically, this means the M325 may not be as precise or accurate, but you would never notice the difference. What you will notice is more reliable, smoother overall operation. The M325 is small and fits just right in my hand. The unifying receiver by Logitech will allow you to connect up to 6 different input devices. Unfortunately, it will not worth with bluetooth devices like the new, Logitech K810 keyboard I just purchased that will not work on my bluetooth-less PC. Logitech claims the M325 mouse will operating up to 18 months on a single battery. What they don’t say is whether or not that means the mouse has to be turned off each time it is not being used. While, the M325 works right out of the box, there are some advantages to installing the latest version of Logitech’s Setpoint software from their website.

Logitech M325 Mouse

Software Features

If here is only one reason to install the Logitech Setpoint software is because it will let you know how much battery life you have left. Should the mouse ever stop operating as it should, you won’t be left wondering if it’s the battery or the optical sensor is dirty or some other problem is inhibiting its operation. The SetpPoint software allows you 11 different pointer-speed settings, 4 acceleration choices, pointer trails and a Smart Move setting which I found to be quite useful for accurately finding your way around the screen. The scroll button can be set for 1, 3, 5 lines or entire screen. All buttons are programmable. Logitech’s SetPoint software also has an entire game-configuration screen and an advanced settings mode for configuring application-specific button assignments.  While the Logitech mouse software is not necessary for smooth operation of the M325, it is worth taking the time and drive space to download and install on your system, especially if you want to use other devices which use the unifying receiver.

Logitech M325 Review Conclusions

Best Wireless Mouse for the Money

For its smooth operation, quality-feel, good looks and low price tag, the M325 deserves 5 stars. I give it only 4.5 because there is always room for improvement. Perhaps Logitech might incorporate a bluetooth radio in their unifying receivers of future input products. The Logitech M325 also gets high marks for appearance and variety. You can choose between multiple colors and patterns. It is a very attractive mouse that outperforms other products costing 2, 3 and 4-times more.

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Is the iPhone 5 Worth It

Is the iPhone 5 Worth Buying?If you’re reading this, you probably already own an iPhone 3 or 4 and wondering is the iPhone 5 worth it over your older model. If you’re contact with your phone carrier is due for renewal, you can upgrade to an iPhone 5 for $199.00 and a small activation fee (usually $15 – $35 depending on whether or not you’re with Verizon, Sprint or AT&T). It has only been out three months, but is the iPhone 5 worth buying? I’ll be honest, I have become progressively less ‘wowed’ with each new iPhone upgrade since I originally purchased a 3GS about 4 years ago. Still, there are some notable differences that might make the iPhone 5 worth the $199 upgrade price:

Reasons to upgrade to the iPhone 5

  • Longer screen. More viewing area, especially when turned sideways
  • Lighter weight / thinner design
  • Higher resolution, 8MP Camera – Much better photos in poorly lit rooms
  • Faster processing: Up to 3 times faster than the 4S running certain applications
  • Much faster, new 4G / LTE networking bandwidth
  • Longer battery life (supposedly)

Next, I’ll explain whether or not the claimed improvements above really live up to their expectations. First, let’s go over some of the drawbacks of the new

Reasons not to upgrade to the iPhone 5

  • Lightening Connector – your old charging devices and docks are not compatible
  • Nothing earth-shattering or new about functions and operation
  • Longer screen makes the phone seem narrow and some apps don’t recognize the bottom of screen

Conclusion: Is the iPhone 5 Worth It?

The longer screen doesn’t get me too excited – in fact, it seems small and narrow. The iPhone 5 is thinner and lighter, but that lone, is not a huge deal for me ither. The higher resolution, 8MP camera, however, is significantly better than the camera on the iPhone 4 and the in door pictures look about as good as a nice, point and shoot digital camera. I’ve noticed very little difference in the speed of operation, despite the faster processor of the iPhone 5. The 4G / LTE network has not yet made much of a difference either, due to the limited coverage offered by providers. The longer battery life is a huge myth. Each of my new iPhone upgrades has had progressively worse batter life and the iPhone 5 is no exception. The bottom line is that if you want better pictures and support for better network speed,makes the iPhone 5 worth it while we wait a long time for the iPhone 6.


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Brother HL-2280DW

HL-2280DW Review

How do you rate the Brother HL-2280DW Laster Printer? 

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Benefits of Laser All-In-One Printers over InjetsI bought the Brother HL-2280DW All-In-One Laser Printer to replace the HP C6180 Ink Jet that has been in use for the past 6 years. In my household, we’ve learned that trying to use photo printers for business scans, copies and printing is more trouble that it’s worth. Even as a photo printer, the HP C6180 has not really loved up to it’s purpose. It is costly, slow and a nuisance to print your own photos. We got increasingly sick of all of the time it used to take for the Ink jet to become ready to print. The C6180 is excessively obsessive and fidgety before it begins printing – and don’t dare open the ink tray. It will take a good 2 minutes for it to become ready to print again. When I looked into laser printers, particularly the Brother all-in-one series, I got excited about printing again. Here’s why:

  • Fast printing with virtually no startup waiting period
  • Cost per monochrome page is Much Lower
  • Less Down-Time replacing long-life toners instead of Ink Cartridges
  • Consistent quality from page-to-page.
  • Lower Maintenance
  • Lower total cost of ownership

Advantages of the Brother HL-2280DW

Cheap Toner for the Brother HL-2280DW

For around $30.00 you can get a 1200 page toner and I’ve seen them for as low as $21.00 with coupons. The C6180 advertised 600 pages on a $19.00 black cartridge, but I never got close to that with mine, partly because the ink is also being used for photos.
brother hl-2280dw

Superior Brother Laser Printing Software

HP software loves to take over your entire computer loading up all kinds of software and documentation that slows down your startup times and generally makes using your computer more tedious and difficult. The HL-2280DW installation is straight forward.

Brother Scanning, Copying and Printing Software

Brother’s software installation was straight forward. The advanced menu makes it easy to choose what you want to do: Scan, Print, Copy, OCR icons are all right in front of you. There is no waiting to get them to work. They pop right up when you push on them. The buttons on the HL-2280DW can be configured and customized to your own preference. For instance if you want to scan a document to one or more PC’s in your house, it’s easy to do.


It’s easy to double sided prints with the HL-2280DW. Simply choose the double sided print option from your print menu. I was amazed at how easy this was to use. I chose a two page resume and printed it on both sides of one page without hassle the very first time I tried it.

Wireless Networking

Finally, we can print from all computers, laptops and devices in our home without hassling with network settings. The HP C6180 never worked properly or consistently. Wirelessly connected PC’s constantly had to have the printer driver removed and re-installed.

Fast Scans and Copies

Unlike Inkjet printers, the Brother Laser 2280DW, All-In-One doesn’t have to do a bunch of preliminary, mumbo jumbo before it scans or copies a document. Push the copy button and bam – it goes right to work and does it rather quietly and effortlessly.

Pros and Cons of the Brother HL-2280DW Laser All-In-One Printer


  • Prints very Fast – up to 27 pages per minute with no startup delay
  • Quiet and smooth operation
  • Extremely affordable Laser Toner provides 1200 pages for $21 – $30
  • Duplex (Double-Sided) Printing
  • Easy, uncluttered Full-Featured software installation and Use
  • Trouble Free Wireless and/or wired connectivity
  • Clean and Easy-to-Use Control Interface with Configurable Buttons


  • No Multiple Sheet Feeder: Must copy one sheet at a time
  • Small LCD Screen is hard to read at an angle
  • Doesn’t print color (if that’s what you want)

All in all, I give the Brother HL-2280DW all-in-one Laser Printer a big thumbs-up.

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Is the iPad 3 Better Than the iPad 2?

Is the Ipad 3 Better than the iPad 2While looking at Apple products over at Best Buy last Sunday, a young lady asked the store rep, “is the iPad 3 Better than the iPad 2?”
I didn’t really understand the answer the young sales rep gave to her. He said that the iPad 3 was not really any better than the iPad 2. The only difference is that it is faster; has a better camera and displays higher resolution images and text. Am I missing something here? How is that not better? I have to come to the defense of this young man just a little bit. I think he was being kind. Perhaps, the lady only had $400 in her budget for the iPad 2 and the young man did not want to make her feel badly for not being able to afford the iPad 3. Somehow, I don’t think his words about the high res pictures, images, text and faster processor made her feel any better. I watched the demo on the iPad 2 and compared it to my iPad 3 and here was my impression:

iPad 3 versus the iPad 2

If you’re a visual person like me, the higher screen resolution on the iPad 3 is enough reason to pay $100 – $200 more over the discounted iPad 2. Get this – the iPad 3 screen resolution is 2048 x 1536 pixels vs 1024 x 768 of the iPad 2. That’s double the resolution. But, the real difference is the way it looks on your eyes. I thought my iPad 2 looked pretty sweet until I saw the brilliant graphics and text on the iPad 3. There is a world of difference, and though you might not appreciate it without a side-by-side comparison, once you’ve seen it the iPad 3, it’ll be hard to go back to your old iPad 2. Not only is the resolution superb, but the graphics, images and apps pop up and react noticeably faster on the quad-core processor of the iPad 3. In a nutshell, though, the iPad 3 is better than the iPad 2 merely for the way it looks. The 5MP camera is a huge improvement on the iPad 3 and you can shoot video in 1080P as opposed to just 720P for the iPad 2. So, is the iPad 3 Worth it?

Is the iPad 3 Worth it?

I remember when I got my iPhone 4 and gave the old 3GS to my wife. I felt sorry for her – having to work with such an inferior screen resolution. The same difference exists between the new iPad 3 and the iPad 2. Once you see it, you’ll never ask which iPad is better again. The iPad 3 is most certainly a worthwhile upgrade. It looks like it’s time to give my wife the hand-me-down and upgrade to the beautiful, iPad 3.


  • Vastly improved Screen Resolution
  • Much faster, 4 – core processing


  • iPad 3 is more expensive by about 20%
  • iPad 3 battery, I’ve been told, doesn’t last as long

Don’t get too hung-up, though, on the specifications of iPad 2 vs iPad 3. You’ve gotta get the iPad 3 in your hands and use it and look at it before you fully appreciate why it blows away the iPad.

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