Monday, October 10, 2011

FiiO E11 Portable Headphone Amplifier With Micca Accessory Pack - Review

Micca Distributor - 5/5
Seller shipped very promptly and I received the package a day before the start of the estimated delivery dates. 

Package was shipped via USPS in a bubble wrap soft package. I would've preferred a similar sized small hard cardboard box instead for better protection.

I really appreciate the 100mAh bigger extra battery and universal (battery) charger by Scud. It's very thoughtful, useful and economical at this price.

Scud Universal Charger SFC-519 - 4/5
The charger has a NEMA 1-15 electrical plug, if you're outside the United States, you might need an adapter for sockets. Build quality is above average and the charger can be technically used to charge batteries of various mAh types. The charger's apple logo lights up when a battery is connected and starts blinking rainbow colors while charging. 

SCUD SCL-1109 A 3.7V 900mAh (extra battery) - Battery BL-5B - 4/5 
It's too soon to comment on this battery's longevity. I haven't had any issues after a single charge.

KXD BL-5B 3.7V 800mAh (stock battery) - 4/5 
It's too soon to comment on this battery's longevity. I haven't had any issues after a single charge.

Fiio E11 - 4/5 
Built quality is very good, doesn't look or feel cheap. Having markers on the volume knob would really, currently there is no reference point and you could easily leave it on a higher volume and damage your ears or headphones.

This or any other headphone amp will make lower impedance headphones hiss, but thats physics and not a flaw with the device.

I use it with my Lenovo T410 laptop and acts like a hardware equalizer with my beyerdynamic DT 770 PRO 80 Ohm headphones. It does add that extra quality I wanted, but not a huge improvement, that's also because the Lenovo T410 uses a Conextent audio chipset.

My listening preference is 'L' Gain and '1' Eq.

beyerdynamic DTX 101 iE - Mini-Review

I recently bought the beyerdynamic DT 770 PRO 80 Ohm headphones, and they're worth it. beyerdynamic being so well respected, I went for their DTX 101 iE Earphones, they look great, feel fantastic, no comfort issues. But In my opinion they sound terrible. My 15+ year old Aiwa Sound GT earphones sound better.

FYI they also hiss badly with my portable headphone amp (FiiO E11). These are low impedance headphones, so an amp is not required at all.

They sound dull, flat and lifeless.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Online shopping experiences

I recently got my first credit card and started shopping online, perhaps my experiences will encourage others to have a safe and fun shopping experience.

Being outside the United States, United Kingdom or Canada. There are few to none, quality shopping choices. Situation is worse in over-hyped Dubai, at least price wise, other side of the ugly coin is the UAE gets the worse spec'd products.

What's the alternative?
Well is the best option at the moment, they give you US, UK and a Chinese shipping address.

Do UAE retailers not care?
Most I think are complacently enjoying their eroding pseudo monopolies, thinking they control channels of distribution and price. That won't last long.

Others are greedy, like the big distributors in the region, I won't name names, because of the ridiculous liable laws in the UAE, which favor big business, employers and curb freedom of speech considerably.

What do I need?
1. Credit card.
2. PayPal (eBay owned), Amazon Payments, Google Checkout or a Moneybookers account.
3. US, UK or Chinese shipping addresses.
4. Amazon US or UK accounts.
5. eBay US or UK accounts.

Amazon Vs eBay - Where should I buy from and which is better?
I've personally bought from both without any big issues, apart for some delay at times. Amazon and eBay both have excellent reputations and consumer protection policies. They reverse transactions when things go wrong.

Amazon sells directly and marketplace style like eBay.

Amazon sells in three two ways:

a) Direct - Sold by and fulfilled (warehoused, packaged and shipped) by Amazon.
b) Market place - Sold by vendor and fulfilled (warehoused, packaged and shipped) by Amazon.
c) Market place - Sold by vendor and fulfilled by vendor.

eBay is a market place (But It Now) and auction model, however their buyer protection applies across their site. All the selling is done by vendors. Fulfillment may be done by Amazon at times.

Amazon has the better e-commerce platform, site and services in my opinion. However, you'll find good, reputed, trust worthy sellers on both Amazon and eBay.

1. Pay online with PayPal or Moneybookers if you buy from smaller or lesser known online stores. This way your credit card details aren't spread across (possibly on poorly secured servers) the web.

2. Check delivery addresses on shipments - Mistakes are made with tracking numbers or worse yet shipping addresses.

3. After spending some time playing with your goods (yes there are so many jokes here), provide detailed reviews of your experiences good or bad. How courteous was the seller? How was the packaging? Don't write a bad review about the seller if you subjectively don't like the product or it didn't fit your need. Unless it was broken or something. This is even more important if you buy obscure stuff - This encourages the good merchants and improves or weeds out the bad ones.

4. Get email alerts and filter them in you inbox. Keep the payment confirmations seperate and have different folders for Amazon, eBay or newegg etc. I use nested labels in Gmail to organize this.

Security tips
1. Make sure the padlock on your web browser indicates a secure connection via 'https'.

2. Keep your OS and browser updated with the latest security patches.

3. Avoid doing online transactions on public computers, smart phones, tablets etc.

4. Avoid public wifis for online transitions. Technically it's secure because of https, but if you can wait to get home, then wait.

Google Checkout vs PayPal vs. Amazon Payments: What's the best eCommerce option? -

Monday, May 2, 2011

Opera - 10 years of usage insights

I've been using Opera as my primary browser since the year 2000, so I think it gives me some insight on areas of improvement.

1. Downloads acceleration, backend work mostly. Focus on speed should be universal.
2. Status bar like Chrome, indicating uploads percentages. keep it optional of course.
3. Add some kind of animated icon while clearing private data. The entire interface freezes and Windows reports it as not responding during the cache flush process.

Feature requests
1. IRC - Auto update to themes like skins and promoted via My Opera.
2. Auto updates for skins.
3. Auto Nightlies and Beta channel updates.
4. Publicly transparent bug tracking and feature request handling system.
5. One click profile backup for bookmarks, toolbars, keyboard shorcuts and related files.
6. Global sync: Bookmarks, Toolbars, settings, Content blocker list, Cookie whitelist, every conceivable user customizable feature.
7. Add Zoom to 'Edit site' preferences.
8. One click settings backup.

Opera ASA's behavior over the last ten years, indicates they are very slow to user feedback and only got off their laurels these days because of Firefox and Chrome. So I don't expect them to listen to this because people have been asking for this at Opera forums for years and they have never made any efforts to centrally compile these requests.

I will continue to use Opera as my primary browser and Chrome as secondary, but these days I've grown tired of all their casual attitude to user feedback. Beginning of the end for Opera, perhaps? but I sure hope not.

Edit: Opera Next, look it up

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