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Country: North America, US, United States

City: 07070 Rutherford, New Jersey

  • John Williamson - Seagate Backup Plus 3TB: All that it's claimed to be, and more

    "Make the computer work for you; don't work for the computer."

    That was the advice that I had received years ago from a computer software consultant when I was first setting up a backup tape drive (remember those?) on some work computers using a series of scripts to do the job. Those routines made it far easier for one new to the IT field, and that advice received stands true today.

    This Seagate Backup Plus 3TB USB 3.0 Desktop External Hard Drive is different from the smaller portable USB drives in use by many of us. It's not only a large capacity 3TB drive that's capable of backing up a lifetime's worth of memories, it has a separate AC power supply, and at about 1 pounds, it's no portable lightweight. This one is best used for home or SOHO (Small Office, Home Office) installations. It's good out of the box for both Windows PC and Mac OS X (10.6 or higher) installations.

    Unpacked the drive right after it arrived and found it to be well-packed in a straightforward recyclable package. All that is needed for plug-and-play installation was here, including the power supply, a USB 3.0 cable (backward compatible to USB 2.0), a simple quick start guide, and the hard drive itself. The drive measures about 1" wide, 4" deep and 6" tall, and is obviously designed to be used in a vertical position from the way that the vents are designed. The drive is interestingly modular in that there are optional Thunderbolt or Firewire 800 add-on adapters available for those who need them.

    Hooking up the Backup Plus drive was simple. It was instantly recognized by my Windows 7 PC, so I connected it to my Plugable 7 Port USB 3.0 Hub which is connected to the same PC, and again it was instantly recognized. It was time to make a decision: should I re-format the drive and use the Windows Backup routines as I've done in the past, or should I let it install the Seagate Dashboard software? I have an extreme dislike for bloatware, that software with large and often-unused additional 'features' that we find with so many computers and peripherals.

    Though I've run the Seagate Dashboard software before, and had removed it as being klunky and inadequate, pure curiosity made me wonder if it had been improved in any way, so I installed it and let it run. It turned out to be worth that second look, but if you choose this route, be sure to open Dashboard, go right to Settings, then check on the Update tab. As of this review mine is running version 2.2.26, and despite its deceptively simple interface it does a very good job.

    After setting up my initial backup routines, decided to explore a bit and since the Dashboard app claimed to be able to save files on social networks, decided to give it a try. Was pleased to find that it was quite capable saving all of my images, videos and files on Facebook, even those in private directories. Saving the images and videos from Flickr and YouTube was fast and easy. Have not tried sharing files back to these social networks as that's a process that I would prefer to do manually.

    The important thing to remember is that even if one chooses to use other backup software solutions, this Backup Plus external hard drive is excellent and proven piece of computer hardware. If you choose to not use the Dashboard software, then you can just remove it and/or re-format the drive. If you're running Mac OS X 10.6 or higher, you may want to re-format the drive and use the Time Machine backup utility that's already built into OS X.

    This new drive is a far cry from my old Seagate FreeAgent Desktop 250 GB 3.5" USB 2.0 External Hard Drive, purchased here in 2007. That was used as a backup device for a pair of 80GB hard drives in an old computer running Windows XP. Funny thing is that while one of the old hard drives failed, the FreeAgent drive didn't, and is still functioning to this day, though it's slow compared to the newer offerings. Maybe it's because of long-term reliability that keeps me coming back to Seagate.

    The Seagate Backup Plus 3TB USB 3.0 Desktop External Hard Drive is spacious, quiet, easy to set up the way you want, runs relatively cool, and is backed up with a 2-year limited warranty. For many it will be an easy plug-and-play installation, and for those who wish to use their own settings or backup software, it's easy to configure. This one is highly recommended as it is all that it's claimed to be, and more.

    4/19/2013

  • Gary F. Taylor "GFT" - Is There Anybody Out There? Glitchy, Flawed, and Masterful

    "Album oriented music" refers to the idea that an album should not be evaluated on the basis of any single selection, but on the basis of the collection as a whole. It was a notion that went hand-in-glove with the idea of "concept album," in which every single selection was in some way related to every other selection in the collection. "Rock opera," which involved piecing together selections to create a narrative, was not too terribly far behind--and a double album release was considered a test of creativity, prestige, and the ultimate marketing coup. All four of these were signature ideas of 1970s popular music, and all four reached a final critical mass Pink Floyd's 1979 THE WALL, which put a punctuation mark to decade before the on-rush of the excessive synthesizers and flashy music videos that characterized much of the 1980s.

    Most bands go through cycles in which the musical ideas of one particular bandmate overrides those of the others--and in the late 1970s Pink Floyd fell under the near-absolute domination of Roger Waters. Originally given to psychedelia and progressive styles, and often tinged with a certain meloncholia, Pink Floyd became darker still, with the 1979 THE WALL the ultimate result. So ultimate, in fact, that Waters left the band shortly thereafter, declaring that Pink Floyd had run its course. As it happened, he was greatly mistaken: although he was no longer a part of it, the band continued on with significant success.

    Although it received broad critical approval and sold extremely well, THE WALL was not immune to criticism even in 1979. Then as now, it was a work that you either really liked or disliked--and a good many of those who disliked it were Pink Floyd fans who had been so enthusiastic about the band up to that point. It was, they complained, musically bloated and the story it told was trival. I myself, eighteen when THE WALL was first released, was not particularly enthusiastic about it, and for exactly those reason. Over time, however, my opinion has shifted.

    It is indeed musically bloated. I suspect this actually arises from the techology of the day. In 1979 record buyers expected each side of an vinyl album to run at least twenty, twenty-five minutes, and the entire album forty-five minutes to an hour. Anything less and the buyer felt shorted. Even at this run time most albums contained significant filler, songs that weren't necessarily bad but which didn't measure up to the best of the cuts. It logically followed that a double album would have double the music--and there indeed are a number of points in THE WALL where one feels the music has been spread a bit thin with repetitions designed to meet the quota of minutes the format required.

    The story is indeed trivial--but only if you regard it in the way you have been told to do so. When THE WALL was first released, a great many critics focused on the narrative element and rushed to tell us all about it. THE WALL is about a rock star named Pink Floyd. His father was killed in the war. His mother was suffocating. His school years were hell. His wife left him. The pain cuts him off from the world and now he uses drugs and alcohol that drive him into a personal chaos which he himself ultimately condemns. Yep: that's THE WALL. Okay, sure.

    But THE WALL is not a narrative in the sense that it starts at point A and continues on to point Z, and if that is what you expect you are bound to be disappointed. It presents its events with a certain randomness, touching upon one, detailing another, returning to the first, flashing back and forth between traumas in what seems to be a drug-laced and nightmarish confusion. The album famously opens with what can only be described as a classic stadium-rock sound--only to collapse suddenly into a plaintive, often industrial sounding series of vignettes that speak of man and the machine. Selections float to the surface of this wash: "Mother," "Goodbye Blue Sky," "Young Lust," "Hey You," "Nobody Home," "Comfortably Numb," "Run Like Hell," all of them bitter, angry, despairing, with snips of sound and phrases and melody that reference each other in much the way a tangled mind might.

    The great failing of THE WALL, at least in my opinion, is in the last few minutes of the recording, when the rock star suddenly jolts into a fit of self-evaluation and self-condemnation in a serio-comic sort of way. I've always found this bit a little forced, and I think the overall concept would have been better served with a more direct build toward the same anthem-like statement that opened the album. But I have to say that, all things considered, this is a trivial complaint; while THE WALL may be flawed, and while its easy to second guess the band that created it, it hangs together remarkably, exceptionally, extraordinarily well.

    Bleak? You bet. Glitchy? And how. Flawed? Absolutely. Does any of this undercut its singular value? Not hardly. Worth the cost? And then some.

    GFT, Amazon Reviewer

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