Mini-reviews on the forum
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Find and Run Is the BombThis thing is the bomb.com! Does exactly what it says it will. Certainly a must for anyone with loads of programs in their start menu who want what they want QUICKLY. Configurable enough to quick-run anything on your machine. [about Find and Run Robot]
Mini-reviews on the forum
This page collects various reviews that have been posted by users on our forum. To browse a more complete and up-to-date collection of mini-reviews, check out the mini-review section of our forum here.
MSR Price: $179.99
The Logitech G910 Keyboard, dubbed the 'Orion Spark', immediately caught my attention. I've long before standardized on the Logitech series of peripherals after vacillating between several brands, and now have the Logitech G13 Keypad, G930 Wireless Headphones, G710+ Keyboard, and G602 mouse. I have several other Logitech peripherals also- they've been pretty reliable with dependable and easy to use software (that comes into play later), and features that fully leverage the uses of the peripheral in question.
In general, because of my use of the G13, I don't really use the keyboard for anything but chatting/typing and anything I couldn't fit on my profile. But for development, I've found that the feel of the gaming keyboards is better suited than most of the non-gaming class keyboards. So I didn't really have that many needs or expectations going into this. The primary things I liked were the lighting options, the romer-g switches, and the Arx control integration. The Arx control is an app that you download on your Android or iOS device, and it communicates with your devices attached to your computer, to show layouts of controls, resources of the computer, and even control the launching of games and such. It divorces the UI elements that they've been trying to integrate into devices from the device itself, which I thought was a good idea.
Unboxing, the G910 seemed a bit flimsy in construction compared to the G710+. The G710+ feels really solid, and like it's built to last for years, the G910 hails back to the more flimsy construction of prior lower end keyboards like the G15. It has only one cord, which was better than the G710+, but it has no passthroughs, so that explains the simpler connections. But as I've never used passthroughs, that wasn't a concern. Connecting it was a breeze as usual, but then I found that it didn't show up in my Logitech Gaming Software. After some research online, I found that they had made several updates to the gaming software, and one of them introduced the G910, so that made sense. Downloading it, I ran into my first problem. The site didn't let me download the 64-bit version of the software, and the 32 bit version won't install on a 64-bit system. After some research, I found that it was mirrored on another site because this has apparently been a problem on the Logitech site for a few months now. Troubling, but at least I got the software.
The software was all it said it was and more. You could customize it to the nth degree- both hardware and software uses. It added functionality to my already installed peripherals. And the ability to light up regions on the keyboard in different colors based on the game profile- it made me think of using my keyboard more and my G13 less.
The keys are strangely shaped, but I became used to it quickly- they have a beveled area in the center of the key, which really helps to increase my typing speed strangely enough, and give feedback that my finger is positioned in the key. The switches themselves, I didn't notice much difference between them and cherry MX brown keys. They do have an o-ring around each key, which gives a bit of dead space when the key is clicked, which I don't really like as I love the clickiness of mechanical keyboards, but I got used to it.
It seemed the perfect keyboard, but as time went on, I began to become less enamored. It was more a function of the software update rather than the keyboard itself however.
As I stated, you can program the game to respond to the profile that you have loaded, and color keys according to that profile. But in the case that you aren't gaming, you have to go into the software and switch it from profile lighting scheme to another scheme, or all of your keys won't be lit-up. An annoyance, but with the SDK I knew I could program something that would take care of this, and it was pretty well detailed and simple, even if I was going to have to do a refresher on LUA as the scripting language uses it.
The larger issue was the memory usage/footprint. Normally it ranges around 40M to 70M or so with the UI open for LCore.exe- the main program. I was playing a game, and the game was all of a sudden responding less after an extended gaming session. The LCore process was using 4GB(!) of RAM. I found several references, both on their forums and on other outlets to this- it has been a problem since build 145 was released last year. One was even in a review, though it didn't affect the final score as "they have to fix it at some point". Apparently not, as they've barely acknowledged it, and refer you to a user workaround, which is a stopgap measure, and disables the use of the Arx control and resets your lighting profiles each time you use it.
I've also tried my own workarounds- one was using Process Governor (great app, by the way) to limit the amount of memory that it could allocate. I figured it would catch it, close, and I could just restart it. It doesn't handle out of memory exceptions at all, and crashed my computer 3x before I gave up on that approach. So I tried to create a batch file that would use pskill to kill it on demand, and then restart it. Apparently, after restarting it, the memory leak is even worse, because I've noticed that actually starting the process, I can watch it gobble memory. As a last resort, I coded something to use the memory level to trigger the restart, but that's when I found out how bad the memory leak actually was- once it starts getting higher in usage, the scale of memory loss is not a standard progression, and so it would shoot past my set limit before I could do anything about it.
I really love the keyboard. But the software is killing it. I'm comntemplating whether to return it (it was a gift, so doing so involves more than just taking it back), or just hoping that they fix the software eventually. My personal verdict? Give it a pass for now.
Reference to threads:
Several times I've had pretty technically inept clients (friends) that want to send me files to do things with, or I want to get files to. And in many cases, its a recurring theme. With gmail pushing drive so files getting secured and not attached to e-mails and other avenues being either hard to use, or pay to use- not to mention, it's not hosted on your servers- it's hard to find something that just works.
Enter ProjectSend. ProjectSend is a self-hosted application (you can install it easily on your own VPS or shared web hosting account) that lets you upload files and assign them to specific clients that you create yourself! Secure, private and easy. No more depending on external services or e-mail to send those files!
Today's board game microreview is for "Wits and Wagers".
Wits and Wagers is a very clever mixture of trivia, betting, and social interaction. It's fast to play, super easy for anyone, and easily supports 7 players or more with teams.
Gameplay works essentially like this: On each round a trivia question is read that has a numerical answer. All players (teams) write down their answer on a dry erase card, and then all answers are laid out in numerical order. At this point, everyone can bet on which answers are correct. In this way, even if you have no idea what the answer is, you have a chance to bet on the answers from people who you think might know.
The social element of seeing what answers others gave, and how confident they are, and the range of answers -- is all quite fun. And the strategy and risk taking of betting your accumulated chips is very fun.
I've played this twice now with large groups -- the first time was fun but not magical; the second time -- playing with people i didn't know well, was extremely fun.
Highly recommended if you have a large group of adults. There are special editions for families and kids (though i think it works better with adults).
Another party board game mini-review, this time for a game called "Telestrations".
Telestrations is a light-hearted drawing game that works similarly to the kids game of "Telephone". Each player gets a secret word (or phrase), and tries to draw it. They then pass along their pad clockwise to the next player who looks at the picture they drew, and tries to guess (in words) a description what it is a drawing of. Then that player passes along the pad clockwise and the recipient draws a picture of the description that the previously player wrote. So as each pad goes around the circle, it becomes a sequence of drawing, description, drawing, description, etc..
After each pad has gone around the circle, players take turns becoming the center of attention and showing off the sequence of drawings and descriptions in their pad while everyone else laughs at how wrong things went.
The best part of this game is that the worst artists create the most fun. Children will especially enjoy being the center of attention as people enjoy the mayhem.
It's a pure fun game that should work well for any group, has tons of laughs, and is great for kids of all ages. Highly recommended.
The normal edition supports up to 8 players; there is a "party pack" that goes up to 11 or 12.
Intro and Overview:
RIPT is a shareable (with other RIPT users) scrapbook-clipping program.
I thought I'd publish a review of this forgotten, elegant program for those who (like me) might find an occasional - if not frequent - use for it. I don't really need it now, as I tend to use:
I LOVE this program. For me, it is the perfect brainstorming tool I've always been looking for.
It's easy to change the look of each element. It's easy to put background shapes around a selection of elements. It can export easily as images, pdf, whatever. You don't need a "center" like most mindmaps. It's easy to link things together with lines or arrows. It's easy to do simple alignments of elements.
I've been looking for something like this for years. I tried a whole bunch. Things like Personal Brain are too fancy and complicated. Mindmaps never worked for me at all. Visio is too much and too hard to do simple things. I settled on Edge Diagrammer (thanks mouser!) for a while because it was the easiest of those flowchart tools to use. Regular notetakers and outliners are not freeform enough for brainstorming.