Atticus James Canon T5i Unboxing Video

Atticus James Canon EOS Rebel T5i EF-S 18-55 IS STM Kit Unboxing

I am always excited to play with new camera gear and just gear in general. After a few months feeling naked
without my DSLR I finally found a great deal online to replace my Canon T4i.

Stay tuned for future reviews using this camera.

Click here For the Unboxing Video.

Leatherman Tread: Now Boarding First Class and Business Class

As many of you know, I own two websites, a firearm review site GearsofGuns.com and “AtticusJames.com A guys Life In Review” site. I have written a few reviews about the Leatherman tools over the last few years. So when I heard about the Leatherman Tread, I jumped on getting one as quick as I could.

 

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Easy? Check

 

Complete? Not So Much

The Leatherman Tread is not the one and done tool you should carry. I doubt the designers had that in mind when they dreamt this tool up, I believe what they did want is a tool that was easy to travel with and that was something that went with any style. They came up with this:

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Around the World in 28 Days….Well the Miles Anyway

As you can read in my previous posts, I just spent a month in India. I just quickly did the numbers so you can see what the experience was.

· 3 Countries

· 9 Airport security check points

· 9 Flights

· 10 Security checks from hotels, tourist attractions, etc

· 10 Airports departing and arriving from

· 29,656 Miles Flown

· Circumference of the earth at the equator = 24,901 miles

Why do those numbers matter? Because that means that in all three countries and in all 10 security checks I went thru, never once was my Leatherman Tread questioned. It was never looked at as anything more than a bracelet. I never once had to check it in my bag. In fact, in two airports I didn’t even have to take it off my wrist.

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Looking at diamonds in Surat, India.

TSA Approved

The Leatherman Tread doesn’t have a knife on it, so it is TSA approved. Most people who see it look passed it, as it just looks like I am wearing an unusual watch band or a metal bracelet.

Crazy Person Here

I am right handed, but I normally wear my watches or bracelets on my right hand. Most people think that I am a crazy person doing that. Honestly I am not really sure why it matters. If I am right handed wearing my watch on my right hand, so what? I like it on my dominant hand.

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All The Tools

The Leatherman Tread has a bunch of tools on it. Hex keys, wrenches, screwdrivers and even a SIM pick. I found it to be really handy for me on the trip because I used a camera holster. It is a spider holster, which has a metal plate with an hex key to attach the plate to the camera.

The problem was, that is blocks the battery compartment. Every time I needed to change the battery, which was often, I had to loosen the plate to get to the battery. I didn’t carry the Hex key (Allen Key) with me since I had the hex key on the Leatherman Tread to change the batteries.

A Conversation Starter

This was fun for me. People would watch me take off what they thought was a watch, fold it and use it to remove a plate. It gave me something else to use to connect with complete strangers, other than just trying to start a conversation about nothing.

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The Price

The Leatherman Tread starts at $160 for the Stainless Steel model. It isn’t a cheap tool and to be honest it isn’t my go to tool in most cases. But it is a tool that has it place. It was perfect to travel with. It is great for those times when you don’t need a heavy duty Leatherman or a full tool bag. It comes in really handy. And let’s admit, it looks great.

The Weight

At first it felt heavy on my wrist. That is mainly because I hadn’t worn a watch in over 10 years. Now that I wear it whenever I leave the house, I don’t really notice it.

I have learned not to swim laps with it on because it feels like a weight dragging my arm down. If you wear a big watch or a smart watch, you probably won’t even notice the weight.

Final thoughts

I still carry my Leatherman MUT at the range and my wave when I know I’ll need a tool. For daily operations, The Tread does just what it is suppose to. Be an awesome bracelet and backup tool.

I really want the black Leatherman Tread too. I would like to see if I scratch up the bracelet as much as I have this one. The scratches really aren’t noticeable unless you are really playing with the bracelet. I believe that is just normal wear and tear that seems to happen on things I own. That’s just the kinda guy I am.

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The Mystery of Mr. Mistry

As I sit here and question my life choices.

Yesterday we were given the total VIP treatment. We went to visit not one, but two diamond factories.

My uncle went to school with a gentleman who owns Lexus SoftMac. If you picked up this card off the street you’d have no clue who he is and what they do unless you googled it.

I knew we were going to see a diamond factory but I didn’t know anything more than that when we left the hotel. We drove across the river and into a Gem and Jewelry park in Surat, India.

As we pulled into a parking lot, Uncle mentioned he did the landscaping for the company. I figured he just knew the company based on that fact.  NO!  It turns out Mr. Utpal Mistry grew up with my Uncle and they are very good friends. Mr.Mistry owns a company that makes diamond cutting machinery and they cut large diamonds.

How large? The one he handed me was the size of a large marble and was valued around $4.5 Million.

4.5 Million Dollar Diamond

Stones, Rocks, Diamonds!

He handed us these stones like they were worth nothing! I will admit I was incredibly shocked that I was holding stones like that. We are walking through the factories with the owners of the companies and the employees are looking at us . We are assuming the thought that was going through their heads were who are these people?

My neighbor back home works for Zale’s so she visits Surat on a fairly regular bases. She said she might be able to try and pull some strings and get us a small tour as this isn’t something the public is just allowed to visit. She is sweet and thoughtful like that.

I think my uncle had more pull and got us the tour of a lifetime. Mr. Mistry was amazing. He was so nice and willing to take us on a tour to see the gems and even let us handle them. I cannot even describe how amazing it was to even be there and see the process.

Uncle, YOU ROCK! You are truly a diamond of a man. You sir shine bright like a diamond. Lucy in the sky with diamonds, diamonds are forever. Every kiss begins with Kay… wait that doesn’t work.

Something around 80% of the worlds diamond are cut in India.  The fact we were on the tour and that Mr Mistry took time from his busy day to share this with us was so incredible.

On a side note:

I have been noticing a weird trend in India. Some men, in really nice suits, wearing sandals. I understand it is because they remove their shoes a lot.  It is just funny for me to see.

When I get home I will have to upload photos solely about the diamond factory because I was allowed to take pictures everywhere! I am not going show some things, but I will show you things like the gems and other pictures I doubt would be a security threat. I wasn’t told I couldn’t post any of the pictures, I just believe it is better to be on the safe side.  Also out of respect to our most gracious host.

Panasonic On-Ear Headphones RP-HS46 Review

I cannot stand “in the ear” headphones. When I am working out they’re always falling out during the best part of the song or during the last few reps when you need that motivation to help you push yourself.

Over the years I have used all different types of headphones and it wasn’t until May 2009 that I found the pair I could stand behind.

Panasonic On-Ear Headphones RP-HS46 Review

The Back-Story

In May 2009 I was working out 5-7 nights a week at my gym alone with my amazing Apple 30GB iPod I used to rock out with. I had gotten to the gym at my normal hour of 11 and got changed in the locker room when I found headphones had ripped the cable out (or something along those lines… I don’t fully remember). I quickly ran to my local Wal-mart to pick up the cheapest on-ear headphones. I found the Panasonic RP-HS46.

I ran back to my gym and worked out using these headphones for the next year and a half. I ended up not working out for a few years after my accident but I always carried my iPod to work with me so I needed a descent pair of headphones to get me by.

The Torture Testing

From 2011 until April 2015 I have used that same pair of Panasonic headphones while working at my fathers company doing decorative concrete work. To give you an idea of what that means, it is a lot of catching the headphone cord on equipment, lots of dust, dirt and sweat getting into the headphones. It is also a lot of bending over and putting pressure on the headphone plug. It is also hundreds and hundreds of hours of music being pumped through the headphones.

After all of that time, the headphones still worked until they finally gave up the ghost and went out on me in April. This forced me to shop online for a new set. When I had last looked online for the pair as a gift, I could only find them for $50-80 dollars on Amazon. I paid $13 (most expensive pair I had ever purchased at that time, so the amount had stuck in my head) when I first picked them up in 2009.

In April I was lucky enough to find them again for $8 a pair online so I picked up two.

Conclusion

Are these headphones the best in the world? No. Do they have the richest sound? No. Do they last unlike any others I have ever used? YES!

I wanted to write this review because as someone who beats the living hell out of clothes and gear just living a normal (for me) life I want to share what I have found to be durable and long lasting and can take the beating I put things through. These fit the bill.

Bird Dog Blackberry Whiskey Review and Recipe

I have been fall down drunk twice in my life. I have been over the legal limit drunk but I have never lost my ability to make wise decisions (that I am aware of). When it comes to going to the bar on a weekend with friends or coworkers I am normally the designated driver. Not because I don’t enjoy drinking, but because I like falling asleep in a comfortable bed and not in a jail cell.

My dog decided to go for an adventure when I was 15. I was lucky and a policeman picked us up and drove us home with  my dog in my arms. That was my first and only time I have been driven in the back of a cop car. I swore never again.

I share these stories with you because I feel like my readers should know what kind of drinker I am. When you read more than one review on alcohol on my website you will understand that I drink because I enjoy the taste. I am not drinking to just drink.

BirdDogBlackberryWhiskeyReview

While I will be the first to admit I am not a connoisseur of any type of alcohol. I am a simple gentleman who likes to taste his drinks and not get completely wasted. I drink more at my house than I do at a bar because I like to know what I am drinking and I like to know that I am not going to pay $14 for a $1.50 worth of whiskey sour.

The Backstory

I was spending a day with my mother shopping (I don’t have a Sam’s Club membership so I use hers and it gives us a chance to spend some time together). On the way back to the house I wanted to stop at the liquor store to pick up a bottle of whiskey for dinner and she wanted to looks for a moonshine that a friend had turned her and my father on to.

I didn’t normally don’t spend time shopping for different brands of any kind of alcohol because I never really thought about it. I am simple I know that I like this brand and this price so I do the straight line for my bottle and the register and then I am out.

Since my mother was with me, we did a little browsing and came across Bird Dog Blackberry Whiskey. My mother saw blackberry and she was like YES! we need to try this. The whiskey was $15 for 750ml bottle which seems like a fair price for flavored whiskey in Texas.

The Taste

We brought it back to my parents’ house and we opened the bottle and the aroma was wonderful! I stuck the bottle in the freezer for an hour to chill it down and then we tasted the Bird Dog Blackberry Whiskey. This whiskey is smooth. It has all the tastes of whiskey when you first taste it and it finishes with a sweet taste of blackberry.

*Side note: when tasting alcohol I was taught to breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth. the reason for this is that if you breathe in through your mouth you vaporize the alcohol which makes it evaporate and cause the burning feeling in your mouth.

The Recipe

The Atticus James Whiskey Sour

AtticusJamesBlackberryWhiskeySour

Ingredients
2 ounces Bird Dog Blackberry Whiskey
3-4 ounces Jose Cuervo The Original Classic Lime Margarita Mix
Ice to fill glass
Directions
Combine the Bird Dog BlackBerry Whiskey and Jose Cuervo The Original Classic Lime Margarita Mix in a large old-fashioned glass with ice. Stir, and serve.

This makes a great refreshing summer drink.

Overall Thoughts

After buying Bird Dog Blackberry Whiskey I am excited to try their other flavors. They have made a whiskey that is not only tastes good just on the rocks but also makes for some mean whiskey cocktails.

Bird Dog Whiskeys are reasonably priced and doesn’t leave you with a bad taste in your mouth

A Gentlemen’s review of Apple’s iPods, iPhones and Mac computers

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Intro into Apple

Growing up I living in a PC household. I remember my first PC was my folks old Windows 95 when they got their new Windows 98. I did my homework on that computer and I loved it. I had all kinds of cool games and I grew up thinking PC was where it was at. In my teens I bought my first apple product after my Microsoft Zune bit the dust 2 weeks after purchase. I am happy to say I have only purchased 2 iPods and both are still running.

My life before the iPhone

In the spring of 2010 I bought my first smart phone, the Apple iPhone 3GS. I tend to spend upwards of a few months weighing the pros and cons of spending any large chunk of change. In January 2010 my contract was up and I wasn’t sure if I really needed the iPhone or if it was just a toy. I spent a week visiting my Grandfather who is an Apple nut like myself. I read every article I could find in his stacks of Macworld magazines.

At that time I was using my folks laptop to check emails on my trip, which would have been easier had I owned a smart phone. I even got to play around with my great uncles iPhone while he was visiting. This was when I got the green light in my head to go out and buy one.

Apple Care and other protections

When I buy an iPhone I get the $99 Apple Care plan and then I immediately head over to my local electronics store and buy a Zagg screen cover.   What is the point of spending that much on a device you carry everywhere if you have no plans on protecting it?

To this day I can tell you I have had my 3GS replaced twice and my 4S replaced 3 times (my 6 is less than a month old). I live about 10 minutes from an apple store which makes it quick and easy to get a phone fixed or to just go and check out the latest products.

My father who is the only android user in the family had a problem with his S4. It took about 2 weeks for it to get replaced by mail and cost him more on top of the protection plan he had with his carrier.

While upgrading to the iPhone 6 at my bulk foods club the guy behind the counter asked if I wanted the protection plan they offered. He tried to tell me how it was better so I started asking him questions from past complications I have experienced with my phone. I asked how long it would take to get a new phone or if they would even warranty it. After 10 minutes he looked at me and told me that he has to try to sell their protection plan. I know from experience the Apple care is better protection for me.

My Home Office Set Up

Screens from left to right

Envision Professional series 19” LCD (Windows)
iMac 27” (2014) with 16GB RAM and 1TB Fusion HHD/SSD, 3.2GHz quad-core Intel Core i5, Turbo Boost up to 3.6GHz Intel Nvidia GeForce GT 755m 1GB GDDR5
Dell 17” LCD (Windows)
Hisense 50″ K610 Series Smart TV (connected to the PC and Mac for screen sharing as well as cable)

On the Desk

UBL iPod dock
Seagate 2TB External HHD (Windows)
Seagate 2TB External HHD (Mac)
Sony STR-DH130 2-Channel Hi-Fi Receiver (TV, Mac, PC, UBL)

Windows

Acer Aspire X3400 8GB RAM and 2TB internal HHD
Windows 7 Home Premium

PC MAC PC

As you might have figured it can be confusing at times which mouse or keyboard you need for the project you are working on or trying to get the PC mouse to drag something from the iMac on to the PC. I have found that after a few months with the split of the Windows monitors that my brain didn’t really see the iMac in the middle as part of the mouse movement anymore.

Why iMac?

This is the second iMac I have owned (the first being a Mid 2007 24” iMac w/ Yosemite, 4GB RAM and 500GB HHD). I received the first one as a gift from my grandfather in 2013 when I was starting my process of looking at Macs. This was a great way to get into the Mac world and see what I was missing, without having to drop $1800 on a new iMac.

I have been working on videos for my other company and I needed a better way of making quality videos than my old windows movie maker. When working with any amount of footage the more CPU speed and ram and hard drive space the better.

I am able to produce better quality videos in a shorter and less frustrating amount of time using the the Mac and the PC side by side. I like to think of my Mac as my creative computer and my PC as my work computer.  This is not to say Mac is not great for work. However, I spend most of my time writing blog post on my Windows Live Writer to upload to my websites. I use my Mac for the “pretty stuff”. I have CS5 Photoshop and a number of other programs that help me edit video and pictures with ease. I have the more boring Word docs on my PC.

Are Apple Products Worth the Cost?

I get asked that question a lot since I use them. I will share with you what I tell most people.

For me? YES! I love that I can backup my phone and know that if I drop my phone and it breaks that I haven’t lost everything. I love the fact that I can get a replacement for my product if it is broken that day and all it takes is an appointment to the local Apple store.

I love that if I am having problems with any of my devices, Apple Care or not, I can get help 24/7. But the biggest reason I think they are worth the money is that they are like a car, if you take care of them they will last you a good long time.   Out of the box, they are simple and I like the K.I.S.S. principle (Keep it simple, stupid).

Final Thoughts

I am an Apple user and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Hisense 50" K610 Series Smart TV Review

Hisense 50 K610 Series Smart TV Review

Introduction

I found this 50” Hisense Smart TV in a black Friday ad in 2013. I had been looking at a new TV for a few months before buying this one as my old CRT had started to die. I am the kind of guy who loves new tech but if I don’t need to replace something I do my best not to and save a few dollars.

The TV is for my home office where I spend most of my time. so I typically watch TV there. I have a nice size office but the layout of the room does not leave many choices for viewable wall space from the desk. While researching TVs I looked at everything from a 32” up 55”. I decided I wanted something larger and could fit this 50″ Hisense in the open wall space.

Specs & Features

Hisense 50K610GW Series Smart TV

Diagonal Screen Size: 50 inches
Type: LCD, LED
Pixel Refresh Rate Speed: 120Hz
Native Video Resolution: 1920 x 1080 pixels
HDMI Ports: 4
Video Interfaces: Component, Composite, HDMI, USB, VGA
Networking Options: Ethernet, Wi-Fi
3D: No
Web Streaming Services: Yes
Height: 25.9 inches
Width: 44 inches
Depth: 2.3 inches
Weight: 55 lbs
Average Contrast Ratio: 6359:1
Average Black Level: 0.0603 cd/m^2
Peak Brightness: 383.46 cd/m^2
Average Power Consumption: 105 watts

Price

The MSRP is $628.00 but I picked this up for $350 during the holidays.

Web Apps

I run more than one computer on my desk and I normally have either music or a YouTube video playing in the background as I work. When I am rendering or gaming my computers are not able to keep up with another video playing on my screen so I switch over to the YouTube app on my TV and I am able to watch full HD videos.

When I do some video editing for my other work I like to be able to check the quality of the video on different size screens and see how the video came out.

Video Interfaces

Since my computers are set up to run multiple screens, I have a VGA cable that is connected to both the TV and the computer. This allows me to view the projects I am working on with a large screen.

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Overall Thoughts

While 4K and 5K TVs are the big thing right now I don’t have a need to see every pore on my new anchors face. This 50” Hisense Smart TV is the perfect size for my needs. I like the fact that I am able to use hulu, youtube, netflix, and all the other apps on this TV. I mainly just use it for my normal cable viewing. The TV is slow to respond at times but overall I like the TV and I would say if you are in the market for a new 50” this is worth looking into.