Review: Garmin eTrex 10 GPSr

Manufacturer: Garmin | Year: 2011 | List Price: $119.99 | Buy from Amazon

After finding over 50 geocaches, we started thinking about buying a GPSr to save money on the data that we use when we geocache using the Geocaching Intro iPhone app. One day, one of our family friends came over to our house and surprised us with a Garmin eTrex 10.

The Garmin eTrex 10 the base model of the eTrex series. It has a transflective monochrome display and 25 hours of battery life. It is durable, rugged, and waterproof to IPX7 standards. It supports paperless geocaching and holds up to 1000 waypoints. The eTrex 10’s high sensitivity receiver makes use of a WAAS enabled GPS receiver with Hotfix and GLONASS support. It features a sun and moon calendar, hunting and fishing information, area calculation, and other stuff you’d expect from an outdoor GPSr.

I think the Garmin eTrex 10 is an easy-to-use and affordable GPSr. The readings are dead on, making it ideal of Geocaching. The interface is simple and intuitive without sacrificing functionality. The monochrome display is as good as black and white screens get. The only complaint I have is the map. It lacks important information such as certain land masses. For example, the entire country of Singapore doesn’t exist on the basemap. The map is also missing roads, small bodies of water, and certain cities. The only landmarks you’ll find on these maps are your waypoints, borders, country names, and a selection of cities. Other than that, the eTrex 10 is an awesome GPS for outdoor use.

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List Price: $119.99 | Buy from Amazon

Review: Battle Nations

I was introduced to Z2 Live by way of Trade Nations back at the end of 2010. I really enjoyed the game, but after I got past a certain point, it just started to get boring. The tedious checking on crops and running of shops had no real goal, and I haven’t played for over a year.

But when I saw a classmate playing something resembling Trade Nations, I asked him what it was and decided to have a try. I had heard of Battle Nations before, but never looked into it. The first thing that strikes you is the deep story involved. Unlike Trade Nations, where you were a lone city in an empty meadow, Battle Nations has a proper setting with likeable characters. The unavoidable tedium of a city-building game is softened by the humour of the people involved in those tasks.

However, the main element that sets this game apart from other city-builiding games is the combat. While it is rather simplistic combat, it provides an incentive to get to the next level so you can get different types of troops to raid your friends with. The time-management of your troops also brings another element of strategy into the mix, albeit a rather annoying one.

You can always buy nanopods to speed things up, but I think that not only takes the strategy game for themselves, it messes up the game for everyone else. I’m sure this will never be changed, as the makers of the game have no doubt skewed the stats on purpose to make money, but it really is frustrating. The more and more I play Head-to-Head battles with random opponents, the more I notice how uneven the game really is.

But in the grand scheme of things, that doesn’t seem to matter much. The Friend system is great, in my opinion, and now even better with the new Assistance system released a few days ago. Since I’m only at Level 17 and a free player, I can’t cover the whole game, but what I can tell you is that the game gives you quite a bit of fun for no money at all, and (if you feel like ruining the game for others) you can always pay for more stuff to do and to speed up the game.

So check it out on the App Store. You can visit Z2Live’s website here and the forums (with lots of tips and tricks) here. What do you think of the game? Tell us in the comments!

Review: Lamy Blue Cartridge Ink

Manufacturer: Lamy | List Price: $5.50 | Buy from Amazon

When I bought my Lamy Safari five months ago, it came with a Lamy Blue Cartridge. I was saving it, but I finally decided that it was time to use it and write a review on it. When I first popped the cartridge, the ink flow was horrible. After writing for a couple days, it got its typical  dark blue. By then, it was almost a third gone. Besides that, its a great everyday ink. The scanner made the ink look purple, but it’s not. As the name suggests, the ink is blue in real life.

The paper used was Staples 20 lb copy paper. The cartridge made it impossible to swab the ink in the “Swab” section, but the water was smeared 3 (rather vigorous) times in the “Water” section. Thanks for reading!

(EDIT: The pen used was actually a Lamy Safari F, not a Lamy Safari M.)

List Price: $5.50 | Buy from Amazon

Review: Noodler’s Luxury Blue

Manufacturer: Noodler’s | List Price: $13.50 | Buy from Amazon

When we finally convinced our mum to get a fountain pen, she decided she needed a bulletproof ink for work. It’s not really a bad ink, but in terms of the colour you get I just don’t think it’s worth it. It is pretty good at withstanding the trial by Q-Tip though.

Believe it or not, the writing on the sheet is actually English! It says: ‘A business ink that looks professional and is bulletproof.  It dries quickly to a faded jeans colour and it’s flow is consistent. It gets a lower rating due to the nib-creep (it covers the whole nib) and its price: it costs 3 times a regular Noodler’s bottle.’ I was a little more cruel with the Q-Tip this time (compared with the Aurora Blue review). The swab is a little inconsistent but it should be about 2 or 3 layers of ink. The paper is 20 lb Staples copy paper.

List Price: $13.50 | Buy from Amazon