Media Room Update: Denon 2313 and Steam Big Picture

Since my old Denon 790 decided to self combust (my fault), I decided it was time to finally finish our media room.  The TV is the excellent Panasonic ST50 which I wall mounted a while ago.  The extendable arms are a godsend when you are messing with wires and plugs highly worth it over the standard mounts.

From my Study I ran a 15 meter HDMI cable and a 15 meter USB cable which is connected to the TV.  As you can see, poking through the wall here is a powered HDMI splitter/extender which was required to eliminate Sparkle caused by loss of HDMI signal strength:

Wall plate behind ST50

Unboxing the Denon 2313.

1608

Shiny new Denon 2313.

Denon 2313

The new AUDYSSEY XT Calibration is even better than on the 790 model, I didn't have to tweak anything.

AUDYSSEY Calibration

The Study acts as the information hub with network cables running all through the house, during the build stage I also ran a 15 meter HDMI cable and a 15 meter USB cable (with booster) specifically for PC connectivity.  These keystone wall plates accept standard cables and can be interchanged simply by replacing the type of connection insert.

Study Plugs

And the end result is a seamless Steam Big Picture console type experience for under $50 for the wall plates and cables:

Steam Big Picture HTPC

 

Asus Transformer Prime Australian Unboxing

Just took delivery of my Champaign Transformer Prime delivered all the way from B&H in the states and I must say I am mightily impressed.  When I first got the box from the UPS courier, I couldn't believe how light it was - surely the contents were inside?

Ripping open the box revealed the tiny ASUS box and two bits of tube packing , all in good condition.

Once I Turned the Prime on and configured the Wireless network settings, it wanted to do a firmware update which took about 2 minutes and is probably the quickest booting Android device I have used.   The back of the Prime appears to be more Stainless steel at first glance, its only when it hits various light sources it gives off its subtle champaign gold tones - the camera picks up quite nicely as you can see in the pics below.  The transformer Prime is indeed a slick looking gadget.

On with the obligatory Geeky Unboxing Pics:

Transformer Prime Package has arrived!
Inside the Box
The Transformer Prime Box
Inside the Box 1
Inside the Box 2
Feature Sticker
Back Of the Champaign Transformer Prime
The Transformer Primes SD Card Slot.
Hello!
30% Charge level out of the box.
Firmware Update!
Finally, Play Time.
Transformer Wifi vs HTC Desire

Sony HX9V Unboxing: Pics and Thoughts

Recently I just bought the Sony HX9V compact camera to replace my broken Samsung and I have to say, for a compact, this thing is incredible.  When searching for a replacement the one feature that seemed to set this camera apart was the HD video mode and believe me, the 1080p 60hz video from this Sony HX9V is mindblowing and probably the biggest differential in this price range.

The HQ9X Package
The bubblewrap 🙂
The HX9V Box
Opening the Box
The Sony HX9V Box Contents
The Sony HX9V!

I also grabbed a Patriot 32 gigabyte class 10 SD card from MSY for $44.  It handles the 1080p AVC video just fine.

A class 10 32 GB SD card from MSY

Now for a video sample from this camera, I edited the following in Sony Vegas 10  as a complete noob and the results came out surprisingly good.  Silvan is not the most exciting place in the world though it gives you a good idea what the Sony HX9V is capable of:

 httpvh://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MUCl-QlYui0

The following pictures were taken shortly after buying (more noob shots) most at auto or superior auto and some with background defocus:

Buying Electronic Cigarette's in Australia

I have completely overhauled this guide which can now be found here: Couponic Ecig Guide.

You have probably scoured the net and read all the positive comments on the e-cig phenomena so are ready to buy an electronic cigarette?

If so, you are in for a treat as switching to this battery powered product is definitely a healthier and cleaner alternative to conventional cigarettes and other forms of tobacco smoking.  Personally, switching to e-cigs is one of the best things I have ever done.

What to buy for a first time e-cig purchase? Updated 13th November 2011

For a first time user I would definitely recommend a Joye 501 starter kit or a Ego / Riva starter kit which is similar to the Joy 501 but has a higher capacity battery.  You have a choice of manual and automatic types though I really recommend manual as you can control the vaping experience to suit and as previously discussed, the auto versions can have some serious issues.

JOYE 510, is one of the most popular types of electronic cigarettes.  The starter pack if ordered from a store like Health Cabin comes with 2 manual batteries, 2 atomizers, and 5 cartridges, everything you need in order to make the switch.

JOYE eGo, is a unique design incorporating easy charging with excellent long lasting battery life including 2 atomizers, 2 3.7V 650mAh rechargeable batteries, 2 Atomizer covers, a AC-USB Adapter(US or Euro Plug), a USB Charger, pouch and 5 Standard tobacco flavour cartridges.

JOYE eGo-T, The eGo-T is the first e-cigarette to apply the new tank system for dripping e-liquid directly into its tank cartridge without the use of tissue inside the tank. This new system makes dripping easier and less frustrating for consumers in general.  The eGo-T atomisers can work well on regular all ego batteries (650mah,900mah or 1000mah).

I personally recommend the LR(LOW RESISTANCE) Type B eGo-T over the type A though this is more personal preference than a definite recommendation.  If you can, get a pack of LR type Cartomizers which work well with the EGo type batteries.  A pack of LR cartomises costs around 4 to 5 dollars and this is what I use 90% of the time.

The standard Joye 510 e-cigs look a lot like an analogue cigarette, even including a LED tip to further stimulate the conventional smoking experience.  Most people after trialling the JOYE 510's usually upgrade to the higher capacity versions.  I get around 1 hour of vaping using the 510 between charges but get around 8 hours using the Joye and similar versions like the Riva.

E-juice/E-Liquid, sometimes referred to as nicotine juice, e-liquid, or smoke juice, is a cost effective way of extending the life of your cartridges.  Once your cartridge is empty, simply put a few drops of e-juice into your cartridge.  I smoked about 25 medium strength cigs a day, which were about 8mg rated and found that 18mg e-juice was perfect for my needs. Ecigs deliver nicotine differently to your body so using a higher mg strength juice than what you were normally smoking ends up being quite normal.  Tests have shown the body receives 5 times as less nicotine than the old tobacco ciggie, though compensates by producing a quicker hit of nicotine in the short term.

Whatever you do, don't rush out and buy an electronic cigarette from just any online store.

Not all e-cigarettes are created equal, there are copies, some good, some bad and new sites are appearing daily offering varying degrees of quality merchandise. Some users have issues ranging from simple mechanical failures like battery lifespans, atomizers that have been produced poorly causing them to either get clogged way too easily or arrive dead on delivery.  A dodgy atomizer produces poor vapor quality and lack of volume which could put off a potential tobacco smoking convert - Something I would hate to see happen.

The best way to avoid these problems is to educate yourself on the best models, brands and manufacturers of electronic cigarette products.  Recently a  vast majority of manufacturers are producing cheaply made inferior products which are blatant copies of the original.  The good news is that there are a handful of reputable companies with top of the line ecig goodness that will give you a realistic smoking experience which WILL help you make the switch.

I personally recommend Health Cabin for purchases requiring nicotine, price and quality is top notch, and if you require non nicotine purchases, Ecigz Australia is another local place I frequent for my ecig goods but you shouldn't have any trouble with any aussie supplier.  For other Quality overseas vendors which sell nicotine based ecig products you could try Heaven Gifts and Eastmall.

It is illegal In Australia to sell nicotine products, so most reputable local suppliers only sell non nicotine products in regards to their electronic cigarette wares, it is however fine to import nicotine ecig products for personal use from stores like Health Cabin.

You can also find Electronic Cigarette Coupon Codes at EcigCodes.

Off the cigs thanks to Electronic Cigarettes!

Well it has been 7 days now without a traditional analogue cigarette and I am feeling fantastic.  I first bought a Joye 501 e-cig starter kit a few months ago and slowly reduced my cigarette intake over the coarse of 2 months and finally removed tobacco from my system just before the recent Australian Cig Tax hike.

If you are a smoker, seriously try these devices.  Along with the natural chemicals in tobacco created from combustion (burning of the cig) there are almost 600 man made artificial additives in them approved by our very own government.

In Australia, tobacco is not actually classified as a food or a drug and so there are no standards or controls on what may be used or left on tobacco, including agricultural chemicals and additives.

I have been smoking tobacco for a long time and during the last 2 years I have tried on numerous occasions to stop smoking or even cut down my daily intake.  I tried the patches which did nothing for me, the gum which made me nauseous and going Cold Turkey.  The problem is that Cigarettes hook people in different ways, for me it is probably the routine and the hit of dense smoke in my mouth.  Being a fan of the internet in general I remember last year reading about the electronic cigarette, I initially discounted due to the seemingly absurd nature of the device.  The e-cig (popular term) is supposed to be able to deliver a realistic smoking experience for a long time smoker – Does it actually deliver?

Even before I tried an e-cigarette I was extremely skeptical and no doubt if you are reading this, you’re also wondering “how close to a real fag is it?”

Smokers enjoy their cigarettes. If you smoke then you know what I’m talking about. For many smokers it is a love hate relationship. You know it’s bad for you but you enjoy the sensation and the actual ritual of smoking. That’s why nicotine delivery alternatives like gum and the patch don’t cut it… they don’t simulate the actual smoking experience.

This is where the e-cigarette comes in. It claims to replicate a real smoking experience but without the same health risks and other drawbacks of smoking tobacco. And you know what? It does a pretty good job. It may not be exactly the same but the similarities are great enough to satisfy most smokers.

The parts of a common electronic cig:

A. LED light cover
B. battery (also houses circuitry)
C. atomizer (heating element)
D. cartridge (mouthpiece).

When I first read about electric smoking I thought it was more a novelty than an actual healthier replacement to traditional cigs. Replacing your smoking addiction with a  battery powered cigarette sounds ridiculous.  It wasn’t until a week ago that I finally decided to try these E-Cigs myself.

I received my 501 startup kit with great enthusiasm, Gadget freaks will love these things and it wasn’t long before I tried my first puff.

The sensation of the vapor is incredibly similar to real cigarette smoke. The vapor has a warmth to it and it feels like real smoke when you inhale. You also get that immediate nicotine sensation which is very satisfying.

The taste is very similar to tobacco but it isn’t exactly the same.  The vapor is a bit smoother and cleaner tasting and after a few hours I actually preferred the sensation over regular smokes.  My first purchase  included some other flavors like Pepsi, Whiskey, Coffee and vanilla and Double Mint – I must admit, Double Mint is fantastic with a morning coffee.

When you blow out the vapor you see a cloud that looks exactly like smoke but without the lingering smell. As a matter of fact the vapor is nearly odorless and the cloud (which is just vaporized water and nicotine) quickly disappears without a trace. The fact that the breath, hands, hair and clothes don’t stink is a huge plus!  I was having the Double Mint near my sister who commented that it smelt like breath freshener.

I terms of pricing, if you are a pack a day smoker expect to save over $300 a month if you make the conversion to electronic cigarettes – even more in various regions as a pack of cigarettes in Australia is now over $11.  A single nicotine cartridge for most brands of electronic cigarettes is around 25c to $2.00 and is the equivalent of about 30+ cigarettes.

Cigarette smoking is bad, we have all seen the adds and media propaganda, but at least now there is a healthier and more cost efficient alternative.  My positive Electronic cigarette experience motivated me to create this E-Cig post and create a blog here and I hope my experience helps you decide if this is something that may benefit you or someone you love.  Coming from a hardcore Ex analog ciggie smoker, I can honestly recommend giving the electronic cigarette a try… you may find yourself throwing out the tobacco cigs only after a few days – It really does work!