2.5″ and 3.5″ SATA HDD Stage Rack

Found out about this on lifehacker.com, a 2.5″ and 3.5″ SATA HDD Stage Rack that allows you to plug a laptop or desktop hard drive easily without having to disassembling any kind of enclosure. This makes it very useful in lab or work environments where you need to Ghost many hard drives or recover data from hard drives frequently. Not terribly expensive at $42.

Saigon City: Authentic Vietnamese Cruisine

So we were in San Mateo on Monday so that I could get an adjustment from Andrea’s chiropractor, Dr. Anthony Nguyen at Back in Shape Chiropractic. We were in the mood for some Vietnamese sandwiches, so I did a search on Yelp.com and Saigon City came up as highly recommended.

After the adjustment, we walked to Saigon City, which is close to Back in Shape; 3 blocks. They are located at 418 East 3rd Avenue in San Mateo. The place is decent size, the dining room can comfortable seat about 30-40 people. The place is kept clean and presentable.

There wasn’t any wait time to be seated as the restaurant hardly had any patrons; probably because it’s a holiday although we arrived around 5PM, dinner time. The menu has ample selection, but we were only interested in the Vietnamese sandwiches. The price is a bit steep: $2.75 per roll versus San Jose, $1.50-$1.75. We ordered (1) chicken, (2) Vietnamese hams, and (1) grilled pork sandwiches. Everything tasted good. They gave a decent amount of meat with vegetables, but definitely doesn’t hold a candle to the Vietnamese sandwiches in San Jose where for $1.50-$1.75 you get overflowing meat and vegetables. We would probably order from here again and maybe try a few other dishes here next time. They are open everyday from 11:30AM to 9:30PM.

There also is deli next to Back in Shape that charges $4 per Vietnamese sandwich…

Shure E2C-N, premium ear buds: An In Depth Review

The set of ear buds that you receive packaged with the Apple iPhone leaves things to be desired for sounds quality and comfort. So not long after getting the iPhone, I began looking for a great pair of ear buds; something that produced clear, crisp, and natural highs and mids and good solid deep lows. I’ve read quite a number of reviews on the Shure and they seem to be a popular choice.

It’s not easy to find good ear buds that also work with the iPhone because of the recessed headphone jack. Unfortunately the Shure E2C-N are not “iPhone compatible”. You can use the Shure with the iPhone, but the ear bud jack has to be inserted a certain way. This makes it a pain-in-the-ass to use because if you accidentally touch the jack, you lose sound because the contacts lose connection. To fix this, you have to strip off some of the excess plastic covering around the jack.

Build Quality

shure-e2c-n-apple-iphoneI purchased the Shure E2C-N at an AT&T store for $99. The first thing I noticed about the Shure E2C-N is how well built these ear buds are. The wires are twice as thick as the stock iPhone ear buds. Even the Shure drivers are almost twice as big as the Apple’s! From feel alone, you can definitely tell where some of the $99 goes towards.

While the wires are nice and hefty, they are a bit on the long side. I’m 5 feet 8 inches and I wear my iPhone at my belt and I found I had to put a good 2 inches of wire into my pocket to keep it from dangling in front of me. Many people would agree that the Apple ear buds are just about perfect length, just long enough to keep the wire from dangling everywhere.

Another major drawback with the E2C-N is the lack of a hands free microphone that comes standard with the Apple iPhone ear buds. Some people may not use the hands free, but I find it incredible convenient when I’m listening to music and someone calls; I can take the call and then go back to listening to my music, all without taking off my ear buds.

Comfort and Fit

If you have never worn in-ear ear buds before (I never had), it takes a bit getting used to. The idea of sticking some plastic and rubber deep into your ear canal is a bit unnerving. But to truly effective and “sound-isolating”, it has to tightly close off the ear canal so that nothing interferes with the sound and you hearing it.

shure-e2c-n-apple-iphone.jpgPutting the Shure EC2-N on isn’t as quick or easy as the stock Apple ear buds; you don’t just stick it in the opening of your ear. The Shure goes on a specific way; first the inner ear tube and then the driver follows behind to create an additional seal. I highly recommend that you use the smallest available foam coverings on the ear tube first, as in most cases you’ll find it is the optimal fit.

Long term wear is definitely very uncomfortable. I found I was getting headaches because the Shure was putting pressure on my inner ear and it made it very difficult to enjoy the music. I also noticed a higher level of ear wax buildup when wearing the Shures.

Another thing worth mentioning is something that has been brought up numerous of times: the rubbing sound. Because the wires are thick and the ear buds provide such a high level of sound isolation, when you walk or run the wires rubbing against your shirt cause a vibration sound that can get quite annoying quite quickly. There is no real way to remedy this problem other than to minimize the wires from rubbing against your clothes. This is the same idea behind using two Styrofoam cups tied together with a string end to end. When you pull it tight and talk into one Styrofoam cup, the other person with the other Styrofoam can hear you.

One last quip I have about the ear bud jacks is the way the jack is shaped: L shaped rather than straight. It may not bother many people, but it does bother me.

Sound Quality

The Shure E2C-N sound amazing. The mids and highs sound lifelike, but the lows leave something to be desired. I tried adjusting bass boost on the iPhone’s EQ but that didn’t help much. The sound isolation works very, very well. I commuteshure-e2c-n-apple-iphone2.jpg via BART (underground subway) and the echo sound of the train flying through the subway tunnels makes it difficult to concentrate. With the Shure E2C-N, outside noises are “canceled” by at least 40%. Keep in mind that sound isolating is completely different from noise cancellation. Noise cancellation technology uses software to block unwanted sounds and in some cases, introduce additional “artifacts”, such as buzzing, to your music.

The Shure E2C-N are great if you primarily listen to vocal, acoustic, or classical music. You’ll be sorely disappointed if you listen to rock and rap with these ear buds.

Recommendation

Are the Shure E2C-N worth it? Yes and no, it depends. The sound quality is great but lacking in bass. It isolates a lot of outside noises but is very uncomfortable to wear for short of long periods of time. The build quality is excellent, but the ear bud jack doesn’t fit correctly with the iPhone, but will work great with the iPods.

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How Times Flies When You’re Having Fun: My 1 Year Anniversary

I’ve been so busy with so many different things that I completely forgot about my one year anniversary (February 12) at work! It’s amazing how time flies. It only seemed like its been a few months since I left San Jose State University for the City and County of San Francisco.There is only so much that can be achieved in one year. So what have we done since I’ve been there? Continue reading How Times Flies When You’re Having Fun: My 1 Year Anniversary

MacBook Air at the Burlingame Apple Store

So I finally got a chance to see the MacBook Air live in person at the Burlingame Apple Store and the pictures definitely do not do it justice. I’ve seen the unveiling over at TUAW and various pics on the net, but it’s definitely something to see it in person. It is amazing small and beautiful.

Asian Pearl Peninsula

I keep driving by Asian Pearl Peninsula on El Camino Real in Millbrae, CA and this place is like always packed. Packed with Asian people, so for a Chinese restaurant, that has got to be a real good sign. There have been occasions where there have been lines out the door.So I made reservations for Andrea and I to try it out; figured what the hell. I had made reservations for Friday at 7PM, but we were about 25 minutes late. First, parking is practically non-existent there. They have a free public parking lot behind the restaurant, but it was full, curb side street parking was also full. We got lucky and found a spot near Capuchino High School. When we got inside, the place was absolutely packed. I went to the maĆ®tre d’ and told her of our reservations and fortunately there was a table available for two near the window, so they sat us immediately. I was afraid we were going to have to wait cause according to Yelp reviews, this place has a habit of seating their “VIP guest” before other people. Continue reading Asian Pearl Peninsula

Apple iPhone versus LG Voyager, initial thoughts

Our friend Hoai got the LG Voyager recently. Before I go on, full disclosure, I own an iPhone. So does Andrea. I’m very happy with the iPhone and Apple products for the most part. So this initial review might be bias, but I’m going to try my best to be impartial. Also keep in mind that this is only an initial review and by no means a complete in depth review. When I get a chance I’ll review it more in detail.

Cell Phone Design

My first thought when I saw and held the LG Voyager was that it was clunky and felt overly plastic; it doesn’t quite feel as sleek and well built as the Apple iPhone. The aluminum body does make the iPhone slightly feel heavier than the Voyager, but it’s well worth the slight additional weight (4.8oz vs. the Voyager’s 4.69oz). The iPhone has a simple, but aesthetically pleasing look to it whereas the Voyager seems a bit too busy with the speakers on top and the various buttons on the side. The Voyager doesn’t quite feel as comfortable in the hand versus the wider iPhone, but when holding the Voyager, I don’t feel like the phone is going to slip out of my hand.

Sound Quality

The Voyager definitely has the iPhone beat on this. I didn’t get a chance to compare to the sound quality on a call, but I do find the iPhone is a little low at times. Playing music or videos via the speakers on the Voyager sounds surprising loud and clear whereas on the iPhone, because the speakers are located on the bottom, more muffled and drowned out.

To Flip Or Not To Flip

So one of the biggest features touted on the Voyager is the full QWERTY keypad, which I do agree is easier to type messages accurately, but buttons feels so outdated. Using the iPhone’s touch screen feels like a Star Trek device, in a good way. I definitely like the virtual rotating screen of the iPhone over the flip screen of the Voyager.

Initial Review Conclusion

I saw the sample video of the TV function on the Voyager and it looks very promising; unfortunately the Bay Area seems to be the one of the places not currently supporting the V CAST Mobile TV as of yet. Another cool feature on the Voyager is expandable memory via micro SD card whereas the Apple iPhone’s memory is set at 4/8/16 GB.Also another thing I don’t quite like is the force feedback touch screen of the Voyager. It feels like I’m getting static shocked every time I press something on the screen. The touchscreen doesn’t seem as responsive as the iPhone either. The flick-scroll works so much smoother and seamless on the iPhone than the Voyager. Every time I was trying to flick-scroll, I ended up selecting a contact unintentionally.Given the chance to play with the LG Voyager longer, I may find other things I like and don’t like, but for now, I definitely like my iPhone much more.