Review: Bose QuietComfort 25 and 35 Noise-Canceling Headphones

Noise-Canceling Headphones

Full disclosure: I was not paid for this review. If you purchase anything on Amazon through my affiliate links, even if it’s not an item from the review, it’ll help support me without costing you anything. Just be sure to clear your browser cookies first. Thank you 🙂

I’ve mentioned before that I have sensory issues. Certain sounds cut straight to my ears and distract me. Voices specifically steal my attention making it hard to concentrate if there’s a TV or radio on in the room. Most people can tune that type of noise out but to me it’s like somebody’s calling my name repeatedly and I can’t not hear it. Eventually I need a break from the noise or I’ll get on edge. This is why I decided to invest in some noise-cancelling headphones. I originally wanted something wireless but at the time everything I’d read suggested wireless sets weren’t really there yet. I’d been aware of Bose for some time when I tested a few different brands on display at the local Best Buy. If you’ve ever been to Best Buy you’re aware of how loud all the displays get. I slipped the Bose QuietComfort 25 headphones on and suddenly that went away. This immediately caught my attention and at a nearby Target I tried another set. They had a demo of the noise onboard an airplane and again things we quieted. I made up my mind to order a pair online since I could get them cheaper than in store. Even at discount they were still the most expensive headphones I’d ever bought for myself at that time.

Bose QuietComfort 25 Noise-Cancelling Headphones

I got the Bose QuietComfort 25 Acoustic Noise Cancelling Headphones in white to match my iPhone. (only available in black and white at the time) They came in a nice travel case with an adapter for airplanes, a cable with inline controls to connect to your device, and a AAA battery. As an over-ear model they offer inactive noise-cancelling by physically cupping your ears. Talking with them on can feel weird as your own voice sounds muffled. Once you install the battery and flip the switch on the right earpiece they go into active noise-cancelling which means they produce sound meant to counter that coming in. It took a bit of wearing to get comfortable leaving them on as my ears would get warm and you can’t really rest your head on your side but neither of those are deal breakers. I’ve noticed the active noise-cancelling can distort music if you’re more concerned with sound quality and leaving it on for extended periods starts to hurt my ears after a while so I tend to leave it off when I’m sitting at my desk. When I’ve flown with them it made a very noisy flight feel like a more tolerable bus ride. My ability to hear the announcements over the intercom was improved where without they were barely intelligible. I’m not an audiophile but I like the quality of sound they produce. They’re soft yet solid and well made. For my needs I couldn’t be happier with them.

Bose QuietComfort 35 Wireless Noise-Cancelling Headphones

Looking for a link to recommend I saw the Bose QuietComfort 35 Wireless Noise-Cancelling Headphones bluetooth option was available. Being tethered to my desk, while not the worst thing in the world, is still something I’d rather not deal with. The updated model could also pair with multiple devices. I jumped at the chance and ordered them in black since I couldn’t find a silver pair marked down. They arrived in a similar configuration to the 25s, only no AAA battery as they came with a rechargeable lithium ion battery installed and a USB to micro-USB cable for charging. There’s concern eventually the battery will need replacing but I see more devices going this route. It comes with a cable for using it as a wired headset though the volume controls have been moved to the right earpiece. Pairing was a little confusing at first since I wanted to try figuring it out without the instructions. Basically you flick the power on switch all the way over and hold it a moment to pair a new device, flick to cycle through paired devices. A voice prompt tells you how much life you have left in the battery and which devices you’re connected to. The sound quality once paired is good. The range works nicely if I’m on the same floor as my device. If I’m connected to my computer downstairs and go upstairs it starts to break up. I’ve also had it break up while in the same room as my device depending on how I’m laying in bed. I’ve used the microphone on Skype calls and for the convenience of what it is found it acceptable. When the mic is enabled it makes a tone and the sound quality drops a few seconds then goes back to normal. The active noise-cancelling is less aggressive than on the 25s though the inactive isn’t as good. I’ve worn both while turned off and the 35s let more sound in. If noise-cancelling is your main goal, stick with the 25s. That said, the 35s are more comfortable to leave on and to listen to along with the benefit of being wireless. In most instances I’d rather have the 35s for their options and ease of use, save situations where I really need a better noise barrier. They’re both excellent headphones and I recommend trying them out if this review has peaked your interest.

Review: 4K Video Downloader & 4K YouTube to MP3

  • On November 24, 2014 ·
  • By ·

Full disclosure: I’m submitting this review for a free license key. However I feel comfortable reviewing and recommending these programs because I use them pretty regularly and the free versions meet most people’s needs.

4K Video Downloader is a tool for downloading video and audio from YouTube, Vimeo, SoundCloud, Flickr, Facebook, DailyMotion, and various other sites. You can set the type of file you want to save, the quality, (all the way up to 4K) the save location, and other things in the settings. Enabling Smart Mode lets you save your settings as well as the save location so all you have to do is copy the URL and press one button. You can even download entire YouTube playlists at once. (You’ll need a license key to download more than 25 videos in a playlist at a time, however.) I like using it as a download manager because you can set a list and come back to it later. If there was any trouble downloading it displays an error message for that specific file and you can right-click on it to copy the URL.

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You can currently download a version for free on Windows, OS X, and Linux.

4K YouTube to MP3 is a variant of 4K Video Downloader specifically for saving audio as MP3, M4A, or OGG in whatever quality you choose. I use it every week to make the audio version of our podcast I post on the site. It behaves almost identically to the video counterpart and is nice to have when you’re downloading audio and video at the same time.

I suggest you look over the specifics of what these programs can do as there’s plenty of boxes to tick for things like generating .m3u playlists from downloads and automatically adding files to iTunes.

My Issues

No program is perfect however these are actively being developed so when bugs do come up they tend to get fixed. There was a version this summer that kept crashing on launch for me that got really annoying. Also if you’re downloading from a site other than from the list above the titling format gets screwed up and can result in names like “http%3A%2F%2Fexample.com%2Fvids%2FName%2FNAME%2520-%252021%2520-%2520Name%2520-%2520Name%2520Name.mp4” making a file renamer worth it’s weight in gold.

My biggest problem, other than the occasional video just refusing to work, is junk files from failed downloads.

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That top file was the video I was downloading. The other two are temp files as the top one comes in that are supposed to get deleted once it’s complete. Sometimes a download will fail and leave those junk files in your folder, sometimes it’ll even leave the failed download there and you have to look for it when you retry the download. A lot of this has been fixed in later versions though I still run into it once in awhile. I still recommend both products highly because they make it easy to save things in the format, size, and quality I prefer. They’re also great for bulk downloads making it easy to manage grabbing lots of files.

Review: Little Nemo (1911)

Little Nemo in Slumberland was a newspaper comic strip by Winsor McCay that started in 1905. The story would usually involve some bizarre and fantastic dream by the title character, Nemo, and usually end with him waking up in bed in the last panel. McCay is considered a pioneer in both the newspaper comic and animation genres. McCay animated several films over his lifetime, achieving an amazing level of realistic movement that would be unmatched by most studios for years to come. His early films used rice paper where backgrounds were traced either by him or an assistant. He developed the system of keyframing and using cycles for repetitive motion.

The 1911 film shows McCay entertaining several of his friends, drawing some of his characters in pen, then promising to make 4,000 drawings in a month to show them moving. We then get a scene of people delivering all the barrels of ink and boxes of paper to his studio. The artist is hard at work drawing and testing a shot when a nosey guest causes piles of drawings to topple over. McCay shows off some of his drawings and the film continues a month later where we see him showing off the finished piece to his friends. Parts of the film are hand-colored to make them match their newspaper counterparts.

This was in the early days of animation when these sorts of shorts would be shown to vaudeville audiences. In films like Gertie the Dinosaur McCay would do tricks of interaction such as telling the character to do things or appearing to pet her. Little Nemo is very technically advanced for it’s time. There’s a level of draftsmanship to the art and quality to the animation that many similar contemporary films never achieved. There’s something to admire about an artist making their own films, especially today when most people tend to think of animation as some huge studio production.

Review: Bosko The Talk-Ink Kid (1929) and Sinkin’ In The Bathtub (1930)

  • On April 23, 2010 ·
  • By ·

In order to understand Bosko you have to understand his time. He was a product of the early sound era in film. His pilot cartoon, Bosko The Talk-Ink Kid, was the first to sync speech. (Steamboat Willie synced audio but no dialogue.) This was an interesting time for animation as things were new and studios were just being founded. Hugh Harman and Rudolf Ising had worked with Disney before setting out on their own. They eventually signed a contract with Leon Schlesinger to produce cartoons for the Warner Bros. Bosko’s design is common for his time. He’s a simple character comprised of mostly black with a white face, similar to Felix the Cat or Oswald the Lucky Rabbit. He sings, dances, and in his early appearances speaks in a stereotypical blackface minstrel voice. Eventually Harman and Ising had a falling out with Schlesinger and moved to MGM, taking Bosko with them. Though you could possibly argue he was supposed to be more of an ink blot or some kind of bug in the Warner cartoons, at MGM he was redesigned into an obvious black boy character.

The whole concept of Warner Bros. cartoons is fascinating even when only seen on a business level. You had animators who sold their cartoons to somebody who sold them to a bigger studio. This bigger studio in turn showed these shorts in their own theaters before their own films and used them to advertise songs the studio owned in their catalogue. Today commercial tie-ins can seem blatantly obvious at times. But think back to the early days of animated cinema or, heck, even back to early television. Frugal spending resulted in airing older films and limited animation which later became a style of it’s own –  a time when one sponsor could own an entire program.

I grew up in the ’80s and ’90s when these types of cartoons were still being shown regularly on TV. I remember when Nickelodeon relaunched their cartoon block to focus on the more popular Warner Bros. characters and cartoons, even using the tagline, “No Bosko. Sorry, Bosko.” It made me kind of sad, actually. Yes the Bosko cartoons are pretty pointless and bland. Yes they’re basically animators jiggling their keys in front of early audiences to make them oo and ah. Yes the designs are often ugly and offensive. But to see them gone to make room for the Daffy Duck and Speedy Gonzales or Bunny and Claude cartoons of the 1960s was depressing. I find it much more surreal to watch zanny films of a bygone era that show the heavy influence of long forgotten vaudeville acts, personally.

Bosko The Talk-Ink Kid is similar to the Max Fleischer Out of the Inkwell films, with Ising drawing Bosko, the drawing coming to life, and then some nonsense to show off Harman and Ising’s ability to animate silliness to sound. I find this sort of novelty charming in other cartoons when it’s used well. (WB’s own You Oughta Be In Pictures a decade later and the pilot of Tiny Toon Adventures later still being good examples) Here it’s brief and defaults to Bosko getting very annoying very quickly before he’s sucked back into the pen. I could see some indie animator today drawing their own characters fighting with them so it’s probably still a decent sales pitch.

Sinkin’ In The Bathtub is the first ever Looney Tune. We see Bosko courting his girl Honey and riding down the hills in a bathtub. Because you see, they were both taking a bath when they first appeared on screen. Because what better way to introduce your characters to an audience than to show them totally naked? And bathtubs are funny. Why are you asking questions? Do you not see us jiggling our keys? Don’t ask questions of our shenanigans. I think the highlight of the whole thing is Bosko sliding down a mountainside with a series of rocks directly in front of him resulting in a continuous run of crotch-shots. Because nothing makes a hit in the junk funnier than repeating it vigorously.

Cartoons like these should be preserved and shown for historical purposes and so that they might encourage future spoofs like the Fairly OddParent’s “The Good Old Days!” episode. Though thin on story they at least have a lot going on onscreen. (Compare that to the subsequent Buddy cartoons that followed after Harman and Ising took Bosko to MGM.) Without them there would be no “That’s all, folks!” so they deserve some place in history.