Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Logitech Z-2300 Review - Among The Best Computer Speaker Systems

Contextual Background
For a really long time, and I mean reaaaaally long time :-) - about 7 years, we have had Yamaha's dimunitive computer speakers that have defined our music and video watching experience on the desktop computer sitting in the second bedroom. The experience, expectedly, has been so-so and ho-hum with nothing to write home about. Our nearest comparison benchmark for sound systems was the 2 year old high end speakers in our TV room hooked into a high end receiver, so our bar was set high. Having recently bought a widescreen 1080p capable LCD monitor, we were on the lookout for enhancing the audio experience for movies, games, and music we tend to watch and play more these days on the computer.  We looked at several sites and one speaker system kept coming back to us as the best PC speaker based on our research and that was the Logitech Z-2300 THX Certified 2.1 Speaker System with a Subwoofer

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Top Five Best Quality Affordable Microphones including Rode Podcaster, Blue Yeti Pro, etc.

Picture this - Your innermost desire for a long long time has been to produce a professional recording at your home recording setup. You have been wanting to showcase your talent to the world, be it family, friends, or relatives or to a recording label or to popular TV shows like American Idol. You have frequently put off that purchase of a high grade microphone as it typically had a high price tag and perhaps have had to settle for a cheap microphone with average sound quality. You are now absolutely ready to take that plunge and make that investment in an affordable high quality Microphone for your home recording.

But you end up spending enormous amount of time looking for a good value but high quality microphone for your hard earned money.

If this is you, this blog entry is intended to help you look at nicely priced microphones that really shine with quality and help you make a more informed decision quickly and acquire a good quality microphone at an affordable price. I hope this article helps you cut to the chase.

I have compiled a list of the Five Best High Quality, Reasonably Priced Microphones (including USB microphones) in the market based on their popularity, ratings, and preferred buying patterns on various websites.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Blue Yeti USB Pro, Rode, Audio Technica - Microphone Stand

One of the frequent questions that comes up privately many times over the past months since I posted this Blue Yeti review, is about the recommended Blue Yeti microphone stand and for any other microphone you are using.  So I am adding content here to help folks on the lookout for this.

Blue Microphones Inc. does not manufacture a microphone stand other that the desktop stand that the Blue Yeti USB or Blue Yeti Pro microphone comes with.  But it does come with a standard threaded mount socket where standard microphone stands can be used. The options include tripod boom stands and desktop swivel stands.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Blue Snowball USB Microphone Review : The most affordable high quality USB microphone

Contextual Background 
In a previous review, I covered the Blue Yeti USB Microphone - a product I consider to be the ultimate in professional quality USB microphones at the $100 - $150 price point.

After buying the Yeti, I had the opportunity to try out the Blue Microphones Snowball USB Microphone (White) - a retro looking product that preceded the Yeti, and one of the first microphones offering a variety of recording patterns with modern day specs.

Although I did not purchase it (given that I already had Yeti), I gave the Blue Microphones Snowball USB Microphone (White) a few tries to judge its quality and fidelity.

Sunday, February 07, 2010

Review Of Blue Yeti and Blue Yeti Pro - The Ultimate Pro USB Microphones At a Great Price - Look here For A Voice Sample

Contextual Situation
Up until now, my trusty Shure SM58-LC Cardioid Vocal Microphone without Cable, a dynamic cardioid microphone has worked well for my Home Recording needs. My need was for finer sound capture like a professional singer/voice over artiste, through a wider frequency range microphone.  I also needed the digital sound  to come directly from the microphone and not be converted from analog on the computer.

I had choices : a professional microphone or an external audio interface that would send in digital signals directly with a high quality output. However, good quality audio interfaces can cost quite a bit and my budget was limited.

Enter Blue Yeti and Blue Yeti Pro
Blue Microphones Inc have come up with two high quality multipattern Condenser microphones called Blue Yeti USB and Blue Yeti Pro Multipattern Condenser Microphone that make you love your voice, and your musical instrument sound unlike many other conventional microphones out there in this price range.

At the time of writing this article, I had purchased the THX Certified Yeti USB microphone from Amazon for about $25 less than most other outlets that sell it around $149.99 - I got it for $124.41 a little while ago BUT current prices are even lower around $100. You can get the Blue Yeti USB Microphone from here.

I am absolutely thrilled with the quality of the Blue Yeti USB Microphone compared to all the previous ones I have had. My review of the Blue Yeti microphone below is based on my experience with it in addition to how the Blue Yeti USB compares with the newest entrant, the Blue Yeti Pro Multipattern Condenser Microphone.

I have been using the Blue Yeti Microphone since early 2010 and I have to say this is probably the best microphone I have ever had. Read on below for why.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

You never know, you could get lucky!

If you believe that there is no such thing as luck, you might be in for a surprise. From the wierd occurrence of the same person winning the lottery several times to beginner's luck that happens often to rookies to many other things in life - luck, good or bad, seems to play a major role in our lives.

Take a look at this video and you will agree that there is always a chance for things to turn better and you can feel very positive about it. The video has a nice sound track too !

Friday, August 21, 2009

How to keep Coffee Fresh for Months - Get a Perfect Cup of Coffee

I am one of those who loves to have a perfect cup of coffee every morning!

I am not an Eight O'Clock Coffee person but rather a Six O'Clock coffee enjoyer!
And I need my perfect cup of coffee every day every month of the year.

I know a lot of folks who buy Coffee in the bulk and technology has improved to a large extent in the packaging that you could have freshness sealed in within Aluminum based vaccuum sealed packages.

That said, fresh ground coffee powder has a different taste and aroma that, for the discernible connoisseur, would be a telling difference. Fresh ground Coffee powder has that extra sharp aroma that tickles your senses of Olfaction :-) making you want to have that perfect cup of coffee each time you near a packet of coffee.

But how do you keep the fresh ground coffee powder from losing its freshness and aroma as each day passes?

One way that many people already know is to own a coffee grinder and get small amounts each time. That's a hassle for many who rely on Grocery stores to get freshly ground coffee powder and for whom time is at a premium.

Moreover, the cost of small quantities is often very high so you are better off buying in bulk and leaving the chore of grinding it to a one time affair. Buying bulk coffee beans and grinding it on an as-needed basis is also fine but may not work for everyone.

Here's what I have found to keep the taste, aroma, and freshness around for months.

If you buy loose unpackaged Coffee powder or grind it afresh at stores, ensure the contents are in a very good (air tight if possible) package. Retain the amount of Coffee powder you need for short term use in a glass container (very important in my view to store short term use powders in a glass container due to the ability of glass to retain powders in moisture free conditions and also due to malefic effects of plastic containers on aromatic absorbent powders like coffee).

For the remaining Coffee powder, tightly wrap a rubber band and place it in the freezer section of your refrigerator. The freezer section holds the tightly packaged powder in good shape for months. As you use the powder each day, ensure that you give a bit of a shake to the package so the contents don't solidify into a rock. And don't let even the slightest bit of damp hands or droplets of water around the packet at any time.

In my experience, the freshness and aroma lasts for at least three months and starts to dip by miniscule amounts over the next few months. I have found 6 months to be the maximum limit.

Hope this is a good tip for lovers of the morning Cuppa Joe. :-)

Here are some very good prepackaged Ground Coffee Products :

Share your tips and tricks here by leaving a reply.
Comments Welcome Always!
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Monday, August 03, 2009

MyWebSearch Hijacked Firefox on Mac? Here's how to remove it

This post is mostly relevant to Mac OS X. If you are affected by this browser redirect hijack on Windows, this Post should help. If that does not work, the following browser hijack solution may still be helpful to you as well.

If this article is helpful to you, the best way to let me know is through comments. Of course, I dare not ask you to click on Google Ads :-)

If you are facing browser location bar search hijack problem from Comcast, follow instructions here to disable DNS helper from Comcast - you will need your user id -

This morning, I was browsing through TrafficSwarm, a traffic generation website where one browses other sites to get credits to get traffic on your site.

One of the web sites listed in their advertisements for credits pointed to a website that lured me into providing an auto layout design tool along with smileys (Unfortunately, at the time, I did not realize that this nasty browser redirect hijack tool MyWebSearch was behind it, and do not remember the website that dished this out to me, Sorry about that).

I downloaded this Firefox extension naively and as soon as it restarted Firefox, all browsing came down to a halt while I saw a new web search tool bar was added to my Firefox toolbar. This toolbar was never mentioned in the download page. Now, I was trying to figure out if Comcast had an outage or my router was out, etc only to realize a few minutes later that Safari was working fine (helps to have multiple browsers :) ).

I uninstalled this extension and Firefox was happy again and launched and got on with my work.
A couple of hours later, I typed a search query into the location bar :

I would usually get Google search results or a direct website hit based on their "I'm feeling Lucky" algorithm. Instead I got this :

Basically, my browser was hijacked by MyWebSearch to do browser redirection to their site. Now I went through all of the Firefox system preferences to see if I could change back my default search engine to Google but could not find any that pertained to that. More googling later someone suggested looking at about:config for something unrelated.

I went to the (now well known) configuration location for Firefox by typing "about:config" on the location bar. Searching for "defaultSearch" in the filter bar, gave me "Google" as the default engine.

Darn it, where did they put their redirect hijack config in ?

Puzzled, I now put in "myweb" in the filter bar and lo and behold, there was this nasty user set setting below that showed, how this trojan hijacked by browser without asking me.

I clicked with two fingers on the track pad (the one that brings up pop up menus on Macs), and selected "Reset" for both the lines.

And now it was set back to the default :

And now the search result is back to Google :

Glad this nasty episode of browser redirect hijack is over.

If you are in a similar situation, hope this entry helps you.

Or best yet, be warned about how browser hijack can affect you. I see all around the web people struggling with this even more when it comes to Windows as it never seems to go away completely.

Monday, July 06, 2009

How to add meta tags to Blogger (SEO with Blogspot)

This is a great blog that opened by eyes to what was missing in my blog entries. Meta tags are THE most important piece of information on any website and is key to Search Engine Optimization (SEO).

Here's the link :

Monday, August 25, 2008

Cool Tech: Human motion powered battery charger

Fascinating research in harnessing human motion to create electric charges sufficient to power a phone charger.

I hope this can be taken a step further and placed in a motion based device such as a vehicle and you get a faster charger without connecting to an electric socket.

Take it even further, factories could use this idea to build larger electric generators based on their own equipments' various motion based actions to build regenerative power.

I think as a concept, this has potential to be a very good cogeneration concept from a humble phone charger device all the way to industrial strength regeneration.

Here's link again: